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CELEBRATING 11th YEAR OF PUBLICATION

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South Asia Times Vol.11 I No. 8 I MARCH 2014 I FREE

SAT

s o u t hasiatim es.com .au Editor: Neeraj Nanda

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South Asia Times

Ph: (03) 9095 6220 M: 0421 677 082

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Add: PO Box 465, Brentford Square, Victoria 3131

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IFFM-2014 all set to sizzle Melbourne

Read on pages 5 & 6

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from the editor

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southSouth asia times 5 Asia Times

SAT

South Asia Times

PUBLISHER/EDITOR Neeraj Nanda M: 0421 677 082 satimes@gmail.com

EDITOR (Hindi Pushp)

Dr. Dinesh Srivastava dsrivastava@optusnet.com.au

SAT NEWS BUREAU/Australia (Melbourne) Neeraj Nanda satimes@gmail.com

SAT NEWS BUREAU/South Asia (New Delhi, India) RAJIV SHARMA rajeev.anchor@gmail.com PRASHAT TANDON news.prashant@gmail.com

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South Asia Times (SAT) is a monthly newspaper published in English (2 pages in Hindi) from Melbourne, Australia. Contributors supply material to SAT at their own risk and any errors will be corrected as quickly as possible. SAT does not accept responsibility for the authenticity of any advertisement, text content or a picture in the publication. No material, including text or advertisements designed by the SAT or pictures may be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the editor/publisher. Opinions/ stories/reports or any text content are those of the writers/contributors and not necessarily endorsed by the SAT.

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South Asia Times

IFFM-2014 all set to sizzle Melbourne, nominations announced

By Neeraj Nanda

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elbourne: Indian subcontinent movie lovers and fans are in for a treat with the Indian Film Festival Melbourne 2014, gearing up for the big entertainment bonanza this year, with a new international awards program and a packed program of films to showcase the diversity of Indian cinema to Australia. Becoming a competition festival is a feather in its cap and an honour to Melbourne which is hosting the 2014 Festival (May 1-11). This milestone has been achieved with the announcement at a media conference (March 4) in Mumbai of nominations for the five international awards which have been instituted by the festival for the first time this year. The inaugural IFFM was opened on May 2012 at Hoyts Melbourne Central by Ted Baillieu, Louise Asher and a host of India's biggest stars and filmmakers, including IFFM Ambassador Vidya Balan, India's reigning leading lady. She is also the Brand Ambassador for the 2014 festival. Vidya’s new movie ‘Shadi Ke Side Effects’ has just hit the big screen globally and creating waves at the box office. Vidya Balan will visit Melbourne in late March to

officially launch the 2014 festival program and the awards will be announced at a gala event at the Princess Theatre on 2 May, 2014. Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business, Louise Asher, who led a Super Trade Mission of more than 100 organisations to India, announced the nominations for the five international awards in Mumbai. Joining Festival Ambassador and renowned Indian actress, Vidya Balan and festival director Mitu Bhowmick-Lange at the Taj Lands End in Bandra, Ms Asher said a new program of international awards would add a new dimension to the festival.

“Five international awards – Best Performance Male Award, Best Performance Female Award, Best Director Award, Best Film Award and Best Indie Film Award will be

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judged by a prominent jury comprising of Phillip Noyce, Raju Hirani, Suhasini Maniratnam, Jill Bilcock, Simi Garewal and Rajeev Masand,” Ms Asher said. Contd. on pg 6


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from the editor

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IFFM-2014 all set to sizzle Melbourne... Contd. from pg 5 The stellar list includes award-winning Australian director Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence, Dead Calm, The Quiet American); world renowned Australian film editor Jill Bilcock (Strictly Ballroom, Elizabeth, Moulin Rouge, Red Dog and Shekhar Kapur’s upcoming

Paani) and 2013 Gold Jury member for the Mumbai Film Festival; celebrated Indian film maker , Raju Hirani ( Munnabhai MBBS , Lage rahoo Munna Bhai and 3 Idiots ) Indian actress, producer and television presenter Simi Garewal; Rajeev Masand, one of India’s most respected film critics

(The Indian Express, Star News, CNN-IBN, GQ India), and Indian actress, director, writer and producer, Suhasini Maniratnam. Ms Asher said the Victorian Government has funded this festival since it began in 2012 and has committed to take the festival through to 2015. —SAT News Service

THE NOMINATIONS: BEST PERFORMANCE: MALE • Irrfan Khan – The Lunch Box • Farhan Akhtar – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag • Raj Kumar Yadav - Shahid

BEST PERFORMANCE: FEMALE

• Deepika Padukone – Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram-Leela • Sonakshi Sinha – Lootera • Nimrit Kaur – The Lunch Box

BEST DIRECTOR

• Rakeysh Mehra – Bhaag Milkha Bhaag • Ritesh Batra – The Lunch Box • Anup Singh – Qissa • Anand Gandhi – Ship of Theseus

BEST FILM

• Bhaag Milkha Bhaag • The Lunch Box • Lootera • Goliyon ki Rasleela Ram-Leela

BEST INDIE FILM Cr. Intaj Khan (Right) chatting with actress Vidya Balan (Left) in Mumbai as Mitu Bhowmick (Centre) looks on.

• Filmistaan • Fandry • Ship of Theseus

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Daniel Andrews slams proposed changes in Racial Discrimination Act, multicultural funding cuts By Neeraj Nanda

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elbourne, 05 March: The Abbott governments proposed changes to the Sec 18 (c) of the Racial Discrimination Act have come under heavy criticism from the Victorian Labour Party. Leader of Opposition, Mr. Daniel Andrews denounced the proposed changes which he said could water down the law against hate speech, racial vilification, hateful writing and preaching among others. The Leader of Opposition was addressing media persons at a multicultural media event in the Victorian Parliament. He said Victorian Labour was against proposed changes to the Sec 18 (c) of the Racial Discrimination Act and said the ruling Victorian government and the Liberal Party have not spoken against it. Daniel also attacked

the proposed cut to funding of multicultural bodies started by the previous Labour government in Canberra. The funding cuts, Daniel said, were targeted against the Migrant Communities Employment Fund (MCEF) and the Building Multicultural Communities Fund (BMCF) which may lose around $ 6.6 m and $ 14 m funding from the Federal government. On a question by SAT on the threat to ABC and SBS funding, Mr. Andrews said, “He was worried about the future of the ABC and SBS.” About Victoria, Daniel said, “I will stand up for Victoria, if anyone does anything wrong” The Leader of Opposition expressed anguish at the rising crime in Victoria and said, “The crime rate in Victoria has gone up in three years in Victoria and that was bad news.” —SAT News Service

‘Can’t say’ who will be India’s Deakin Univ. partners Nanobiotech investment in India next PM : Shekhar Gupta

By Deakin Research Communications

By our reporter

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elbourne, 26 February: The BJP is the front runner for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections but who will be the India’s next Prime Minister can’t say, said Indian Express Editor - in - Chief Shekhar Gupta. He also said a front consisting of the Congress and all other anti-BJP parties can be effective against the BJP but it’s unlikely to happen. Shekhar Gupta was addressing a select gathering of

academics, journalists, intellectuals and others during a talk ‘Understanding India in Transition’ at the Melbourne University organised by the Australia India Institute (AII) today. Shekhar Gupta detailed the rise of BJP’s Narendra Modi and the Aam Admi Party (AAP) as expressions of the new generation taking a break from the past. Though he felt Modi raised ‘deep suspicion’ among many and that’s why he has to ensure social cohesion and follow the constitution.

On the question of minorities the Indian Express Editor- in-Chief said, “Nobody can exclude any section of the people while ruling India.” But “If Modi comes to power he is likely to change”, Shekhar Gupta said. On a question from the audience whether Modi in power will have any problems globally, Shekhar Gupta felt things will change as Modi being a Gujarati will be more interested in raising capital. - SAT News Service

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elbourne, 29 Jan, 2014: The TERIDeakin Nanobiotechnology Research Centre (TDNBC) is set for a $10 million expansion, resulting in a state-ofthe-art facility in Gual Pahari near New Delhi. During her recent visit to India, Deakin Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander said that the expansion would considerably enhance the Centre’s ability to focus on global issues such as food security

for growing populations in changing climates, sustainable agricultural practices and environmental sustainability. The new field of nanobiotechnology has opened up a spectacular new world of possibilities in biomedical, agricultural, energy and other fields. A crucial focus of the TD-NBC is its emphasis on clean, non-toxic and environment friendly nanoparticle synthesis, including the use of micro-organisms such as bacteria and fungi in the biosynthesis of metal nanoparticles. This holds immense

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potential for addressing some of the world’s most pressing problems. Jointly funded by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India and Deakin, the TD-NBC is currently home to 19 full-time research scientists, project associates and technicians, and 13 PhD students. The new facility - expected to be operational by 2015 will have the capacity to accommodate an envisaged 100-plus researchers, including 50 PhD students. Source: Deakin University.


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50 % cut in public transport fares for overseas students from 2015

By our community reporter

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ew Delhi : The Coalition has promised fifty per cent discount on ‘annual public transport tickets’ to international students if it comes to power again in the year end state elections. The discount is expected to cover trains, trams and buses. Speaking at the 2014 Indian Education Summit in New Delhi, Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher said international education is Victoria’s largest single export, worth over $4.3 billion annually. “We are proud of the high quality educational experience we can offer international students and we are committed to ensuring they also have a safe and rewarding time in Melbourne and Victoria and every opportunity to enjoy our acclaimed quality of life,” Ms Asher said. Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said the initiative would provide a 50 per cent discount on annual public transport tickets covering trains, trams and buses for all eligible international students. “Victoria’s scheme will make available discounted tickets in all metropolitan travel zones, including Zone 1 only which covers inner Melbourne, as well as within regional centres,” Mr Mulder said. “The scheme will be trialled from 2015 for three years in partnership with education providers to reduce transport costs for eligible students in eligible Melbourne metropolitan and country educational institutions. “This will make international students feel even more welcome when they come to study in

Victoria and enhance our reputation as a world leading international student city. “An overseas student will now save up to $1105 per year travelling across the greater city of Melbourne,” Mr Mulder said. Ms Asher said the new scheme joined a range of other initiatives to improve the international student experience in Victoria, a media release says. These include support for the International Student Welcome Desk at Melbourne Airport that ensures new students have the information they need to adapt quickly to life in Victoria and an International Student Care Service, which provides vital support, advice and help to international

students 24 hours a day, seven days a week. International students can also receive a free Culture Card which provides special offers to Victoria’s cultural experiences, from sport to the arts and community events and the Study Melbourne website, a central source of information available in several languages for international students settling into life and study in Victoria. Ms Asher was in Delhi leading the Victorian Government’s latest Super Trade Mission to India, showcasing Victorian strengths in health and aged care, information and communication technology, sustainability, tourism and education. —SAT News Service

Payment boost for 3.6 million pensioners By our community reporter

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elbourne: Pensioners and people on other payments have received a boost as more than 3.6 million pensioners will receive an increase to their payments from 20 March. Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews, said the increases will help pensioners keep up with rises in cost of living expenses and are driven by the CPI increase of 1.9 per cent for the six months to December 2013. “The Coalition Government is pleased to deliver increases to those on the Age Pension, Disability Support Pension, Carer Payment and veterans’ income support,” Mr

Andrews said. “Another increase will occur in September and reflect growth in the Consumer Price Index or the Pensioner and Beneficiary Living Cost Index, whichever is higher. “The rate is also benchmarked to Male Total Average Weekly Earnings to help the pension keep pace with community living standards.” According to the media release Mr Andrews said single age pensioners will receive an increase of $15.70 a fortnight, while age pensioner couples will receive $23.80 extra a fortnight. “This means total pension payments for people on the maximum rate will be $842.80 a fortnight for singles, and $1,270.60 a fortnight for couples,” Mr Andrews said.

“In addition, around one million allowance recipients will also benefit from increases to income support payments such as Newstart and Parenting Payment on 20 March.” Single recipients without children on the maximum rate of allowance will receive an extra $9.70 a fortnight. The maximum fortnightly rate will be $519.20. Singles with children on the maximum rate of allowance will receive an extra $10.50 a fortnight. The maximum fortnightly rate will be $561.80. “Parenting Payment Single recipients will receive an extra $13.50 a fortnight. The maximum fortnightly rate will be $725.10,” says the media release. - SAT News Service

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The overseas student will now save up to $ 1105 per year travelling across Melbourne.


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TIV: All about our students By our community reporter

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ime has now come to take advantage of increasing one’s knowledge and skills, upgrade to the next level in the profession or start

a new career. At the Technical Institute of Victoria (TIV), one can gain qualification in Hospitality, Horticulture and Business. The motto is “All about our Students”. The Institute strives to provide quality education through innovative

teaching methods, incorporating the latest and emerging trends in the industry. Qualified academic staff, with extensive industry experience and have successfully taught students of diverse backgrounds are always ready to extend a

NMC: Dedicated to quality training

By our reporter

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The North Melbourne College (NMC) training has been of a high standard and quality, mainly because of the commitment and dedication of qualified trainers who deliver the courses. NMC is dedicated for consulting and training services to Light Vehicle Automotive industry, therefore NMC training programs make the difference. Talking to SAT, Mr. Prabhakar Agraja, Principal Execu-

tive officer, NMC said, “As a resident from Western region of Melbourne, I recommend a mission to provide dependable effective, efficient and competitive regulatory service for ensuring quality of Automotive graduates, thereby promoting sustainable economic growth.” “Today’s automotive student is one who wants to complete his qualification in an apprentice-type fashion. This situation suits the small to medium workshops, which needs entry level mechanics who are keen

and willing to learn, and the student, who is learning through verbal instruction and physical interaction with the various ‘handson’ stimuli that will secure their job today and their career in the future. I believe that NMC will definitely encourage the enthusiastic students to participate in Vocational Education and Training,” he said. He further said: “Hence, by supporting VET sector, NMC team is doing their bit for Victoria State, Australia”. —Supplied

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helping hand. Modern facilities are continuously enhanced to ensure one gets the most from the learning experience. Places in TIV courses will go quickly. Hurry and check with the Institute’s friendly staff. —Supplied


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Birthday Celebrations of Nirankari Mission's spiritual leader

By Raj Gopal

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elbourne, 23 February: The Sant Nirankari Mission (SNMM) celebrated the 60th birthday of His Holiness Satguru Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, at the mission ground in Rowville. The Day was celebrated as 'Guru Puja Diwas' by the Nirankari Mission at various places across the world with great zeal and enthusiasm. The Sant Nirankari Mission is an all-embracing spiritual movement, cutting across all divisions of caste, colour, and creed. The Mission seeks to reveal God also known as Nirankar to all human beings irrespective of their religious faith, sect or community and thus liberate them from the shackles of ignorance, superstition, ritualism and dogmatism in the name of devotion to God. To celebrate the occasion, family friendly event was organised that included various activities of volunteers, games, songs, dances, speeches and other fun activities. Event was graced in the presence of many distinguished guests including Hon. Bruce Atkinson MLC (President of the Legislative Council – Victoria), Ms Manika Jain (Consulate General of India – Melbourne),Cr. Darren Pearce (Mayor of Knox), Nick Wakeling MP (Cabinet Secretary - Parliament of Victoria), Cr Joe Cossari (City of Knox). Many guests from the radio and print media including SAT Editor, Neeraj Nanda ,Savita Soni, SBS Radio (Hindi) and photo journalist Guruswamy were also present.

The event commenced with volunteers inspection by SNMM In-charge and Prayers. SNMM volunteers performed PT Parade. Various games were organised for male and female volunteers and children to convey the message of accomplishing given tasks with discipline, Mrs Veenu Rattan (Female Volunteers Co-ordinator) highlighted the mission’s contributions in many community welfare activities in Australia and also Mission’s efforts and contribution in spreading the message of Peace, Humanity, Compassion and Oneness globally. Cr Darren Pearce said that the Sant Nirankari mission believes in responsible living in society and achieving noble goals beyond its own community. Mr Nick Wakeling MP expressed his joy for being part of the celebration. He emphasized on the mission’s great partnership with Rowville and Knox council. He also congratulated Mission for being recognised as the biggest organisation for blood donation in the state of Victoria. Hon. Bruce Atkinson MLC praised the Mission for its work. He said that it’s very easy to give advice to others but it’s difficult to walk the talk. He further added that in reality the Nirankari Mission and all the volunteers associated with the mission follow “Walk the Talk”. Mission is setting example for others by participating in Blood Donation, Clean up Australia drive. Ms Manika Jain praised the efforts of the Mission in

maintaining the old teachings of Vedantic era and she congratulated that Mission is working hard to spread the message of love, peace, harmony and oneness. She was impressed with the participation of youth in these activities. Cr. Joe Cossari appreciated the efforts of Mission in celebrating the birthday of His Holiness in a distinct style. He congratulated the mission for playing important role in promoting the importance of multicultural diversity in the community. He recognised the Mission as the important community not only of Knox but whole of Australia and Victoria specifically. Mr Raj Kumar (Committee Member SNMM) said that this mission is a Spiritual mission. He said spirituality is not a matter of learning but a matter of becoming. He explained the meaning of the mission with the lines: “We are not human beings having spiritual experience but we are spiritual beings having human experience”. He highlighted the three teachings of the mission, Remembrance of God, Congregation and Selfless service. Mr Sunny Duggal (Committee Member & Volunteers Incharge SNMM) praised and thanked the contribution of volunteers for their efforts during the whole year in various services at the premises and in communities outside. Rev. Indar Jit (Branch Incharge SNMM) blessed the audience from Holy chair and emphasized the importance of God-Knowledge in life. He

praised the importance of Satguru and application of his teachings in our daily lives. He said that one who prays and gives importance to Satguru, enjoys the blissful life. He added that it is not enough to have God knowledge, it’s more important to apply in daily life. The celebration continued later in the afternoon in the form of Cultural activities. Saints from the mission performed dances, songs, poems all filled with the spirituality and devotion. Young saints from the mission performed the skit to convey the Mission’s message. Bhangra (Punjabi folk dance) and Sufi dance by children were other highlights of the event. The event concluded with submerging of the audience in a dance with devotional songs. At the very entrance of the venue, jumping castle was installed. Kids had real fun for the whole day. Face painting and Henna stall was put up next to Jumping Castle. Kids got their face painted with their favourite cartoon characters and ladies got Henna designs on their palms and hand. Reception desk was set up to provide the information to the guests about the mission and event. Folders containing mission’s literature and programme information were handed over to all the guests. Guests were also encouraged to register with the mission to get updates on coming events. The publication stall displayed the mission’s literature in the form of books and CD’s. Provisions were also made available for the attendees to subscribe for the mission’s periodicals.

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We are not human beings having spiritual experience but we are spiritual beings having human experience”. He highlighted the three teachings of the mission, Remembrance of God, Congregation and Selfless service. Health and safety was given top priority and all the safety measures were taken into consideration. First Aid counter was installed and qualified doctors from the mission provided their services. Refreshments stall was set up to serve various Indian snacks and drinks free of cost during the event. Immediately after the blessings from the Holy chair, community meal was served at the Community meal hall. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed the authentic Indian food and sweets were served. The event successfully reflected the amount of efforts put by the management and volunteers and almost everyone appreciated the planning and execution of the event. For more information: www.nirankari.org/melbourne


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Melbourne Durbar

By Desi Oz

The 24 Hour Experience

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he 24 Hour Experience is a unique participatory live art event running from noon March 29th until noon 30th of March 2014. The event will be presented as part of the inaugural 2014 Festival of Live Art. A living documentary of Melbourne, The 24 Hour Experience unfolds in real time with 24 distinct live works presented in a new Melbourne City location on the hour. The works have been developed by a team of top Melbourne artists and many more collaborators who have been inspired by the poetic minutiae of everyday life. 50 places are available for art adventurers to embark on this unique 24-hour journey revealing what often remains concealed to the public eye. Beginning at Fed Square, the 24 Hour Experience takes place in the State Library, the Magistrates Court, Melbourne City baths, Malthouse Theatre, The Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, Princes Bridge,

the Queen Victoria Gardens and some mystery locations that promise to reveal hidden perspectives of our city. The 24 hour passes to the event are fully catered for, including food,

drink and quiet places to snatch a quick catnap during the experience. Joining the leagues of iconic Melbourne durational performances and arts experiences such as White Night, Nite Art and Life and Times Episode 1-4 (Nature Theater of Oklahoma, Melbourne Festival), The 24 Hour Experience is durational yet unique, characterised by intimate and experiential works that integrate its audience into the encounter. The 24 pieces have been created through engaging with a series of community organisations, bringing together a group of Victoria’s leading artists, including conceiving artist Gorkem Acaroglu, writer Raimondo Cortese, film director Jonathan aufder Heide, Sapidah Kian, Penelope Bartlau, Georgina Naidu, Susie Dee, Zoe Scoglio, Elizabeth Dunn, Darius Kedros and Greg Ulfan. 50 first round passes are available for purchase via the official website. Second round tickets will be released

The 24 hour passes to the event are fully catered for, including food, drink and quiet places to snatch a quick catnap during the experience. closer to the festival. For more information about The 24 Hour Experience: www.24hourexperience.com.au www.facebook.com/ The24HourExperience www.twitter.com/24HourMelb Source: PiecesOfVictoria

Voice of Amitabh Bachchan Crime Stoppers S success ikandar Khan , known as "The Voice of Amitabh" & Managing Director of Star Beats Entertainment, Mumbai will be in Melbourne on 16th March, 2014 at the AIII Sandown Racecourse Holi celebration event. He started his career while doing his B.A. in economics from Bhavans college (Mumbai), as a mimicry artist. He started to mimic Mr. Amitabh Bachchan's voice. He later started to imitate other films stars voices due to which he toured many countries for stage performances with tremendous response. He also works as a mimicry & voice over artist for commercial advertisements, serials, albums, remixes, corporate & audio-visuals, films and for live stage shows. His latest audio release is T Series - Leena On The Chuk Chuk Mix.

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n 2013 calls to Crime Stoppers resulted in a record 1,115 arrests. The number of charges laid in 2013 increased by more than 30 per cent compared to the previous year. Charges laid in 2013 rose to 3,982, an increase of more than 30 per cent compared to 2012. More than 80 per cent of offenders featured in the ‘Victoria’s Most Wanted’ page in the Herald Sun newspaper were arrested because of information provided to Crime Stoppers. Information provided to Crime Stoppers in 2013 resulted in the seizure of more than $19.5 million in drugs along with nearly $540,000 in cash. Property worth more than $876,000 was also recovered. If you see something or know something, call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Source: Vic Govt. www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082


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Aussie grass could hold key to addressing world food shortage M By News Desk

elbourne: Queens land University (QUT) scientists say a native Australian grass found around Charleville in Queensland could hold the key to ensuring the long-term viability of a crop critical to world food security. Deputy Director of QUT's Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, Prof. Sagadevan Mundree, said rice is one of the most important staple foods throughout the world but salinity and drought stresses were putting the crop's long-term future under enormous pressure. Prof. Mundree heads a team of scientists working in partnership with scientists in India to determine whether strategies adopted by the Australian native resurrection grass could be used to genetically improve

abiotic stress tolerance in rice.

"Current rice varieties are heavily dependent on fresh water," Prof. Mundree said.

"However it is commonly accepted that the salinization of soils is a growing problem globally. In addition, the lower and erratic rainfall pattern has resulted in major reductions in crop productivity, including rice.

"Salinity and drought stresses often go hand in hand and both sound the death knell for rice production. Rice, which is also a grass, finds salt toxic. "There is an urgent need to develop more resilient varieties of rice that can cope with less water and are more tolerant of salinity stress." Prof. Mundree also said the world's population was expected to reach 8.32

billion by 2025, and it was currently estimated that one-third of that population would suffer from severe food and water scarcity. He said Australia was strategically positioned to work with the world's major rice-growing nations to develop a solution.

"QUT has developed a strategic partnership with the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) in New Delhi and the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University (TNAU) in Coimbatore in Southern India," he said. "TNAU recently celebrated 100 years of research on rice and has a global reputation for its work. The ICGEB is one of three key international centres in the world addressing global food security issues, with the other two being in Cape Town, South Africa and

Triest, Italy.

"Here at QUT we have already isolated genes from the Australian resurrection grass that would be used to enhance stress tolerance in rice.

"Now we will work to get a better molecular understanding of how the drought-tolerant gene works and prepare it for transfer into rice by our Indian partners. "The native Australian grass is called a "resurrection plant" because it can tolerate extreme environmental stresses, including severe drought, salinity, high temperature and high light-intensity stresses for prolonged periods and resurrect within 24-72 hours upon rehydration. "We are very confident that we will be able to harness this death-defying property and provide rice

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Current rice varieties are heavily dependent on fresh water.

varieties that will help sustain the growing world population in the midst of global warming." Prof. Mundree said the three-year project had already attracted interest from companies keen to see a demonstration of stresstolerant rice. The $600,000 project is jointly funded by the Department of Biotechnology, India, and the Australian Government under the Australia-India Strategic Research Fund. —SAT News Service


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INTERVIEW

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southSouth asia times 13 Asia Times

Bang Bang Hrithik Roshan has multiple talents By News Desk

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rom launching his own clothing range HRx – Push Your Extreme to filming his latest movie ‘Bang Bang’ and venturing into directing and producing, Hrithik Roshan is a man with multiple talents. With a reputation of excellence in the Bollywood industry, Hrithik’s hard-work and versatility projected him onto the international scene as one of the most acclaimed Indian actors of his generation.In the 2013 blockbuster hit film Krrish 3, he played India’s first super hero. Hrithik also took the brand endorsement world by storm, by becoming the ambassador for international brands such as RADO, Oppo Mobiles and Mountain Dew.

Excerpts from the interview: Q: How do you rate

yourself as a dancer? Aamir Khan thinks you're damn good? A: My passion for dance has been there for as long as I can remember. Watching Michael Jackson dance effortlessly, definitely fuelled that passion. Though I don’t think I am a great dancer hence I practice a lot to achieve all that I can when I am on the dance floor. I would love to do some live stage shows hopefully soon! If the right opportunity arises to take part in a dance concert, then I’ll certainly consider it. Q: Tell us a bit more about your fashion line? How did that happen? A: I always envisioned HRx – Push Your Extreme to be a platform that could inspire people to bring out their best and to never give up. My team together with Afsar Zaidi from Exceed Entertainment and Sid Shah from The Wild East Group have taken my philosophy and

turned it into a brand.HRx together also represents an extreme state of mind that inspires one to be the best version of themselves. The lightweight product range includes comfortable casuals as well as leisure sportswear teamed with sports footwear for men. The products are made of premium fabrics crafted with a contemporary slim fit and dominated by vibrant colours. The business model for HRx has been conceptualised by Exceed and The Wild East Group. They have positioned it as the first celebrity brand extension in India, thought-through and built in the same way heritage brands are in Western countries, where licensees will be appointed in different categories bringing in specific expertise. Q: We hear you're off to the US for a health checkup? What'll happen to your movie projects?

A: I have completed my health check-ups and, with the grace of God, all film schedules are going as per plans. Q: What movies are next in line for you? A: I have resumed shooting ‘Bang Bang’, which is India’s take on the Hollywood blockbuster Knight and Day, which also stars Katrina Kaif. Bang Bang is set to be a rollercoaster of action and emotions, infused with a generous helping of fun, romance and great song and dance routines. The script is intriguing and cleverly unwinds into a thrilling and interesting story. Q: Have you thought about venturing into producing/directing yet? A: I actually began my work in the industry behind the screen, assisting my father, so venturing into producing and direction has always been on my mind. In fact I had a very

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hands-on role with Krrish 3 and was very much a part of the creative and production processes. Being both behind and in front of the camera for a film like Krrish 3 was sincerely a dream come true and epitomises what I have dreamt of in my work. Q: Tell us a bit more about your fitness regime, what kind of diet you follow and what are your favourite foods? A: I do work out every day, ensuring I exercise at least five to six times a week without fail. I eat sensibly and healthily. This doesn’t mean that I don’t indulge occasionally! But on the whole, I do try and stick to a balanced diet comprising all food groups. To remain fit, you must be strong mentally, not just physically, that for me is the key. My fitness workout is a major release for me, my own method of relaxation. —Source: Sterling Media


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Pakistan: Half of qualified women doctors fail to practice medicine B By Beena Sarwar

OSTON, United States, Mar 8 2014 (IPS) - On one of her many visits to Pakistan recently, Sarah Peck, director of the US-Pakistan Women’s Council, spent some time talking to young women medical students in Pakistan. She was struck by their passion and commitment — and by the hurdles they face. The US-Pakistan Women’s Council is working with expatriate Pakistani doctors to find ways to encourage women qualifying as doctors in Pakistan to practice medicine. Women outnumber male students in medical colleges across Pakistan, forming up to 85 percent of the student body in private universities and 65 percent in the public sector. But only about half of them end up working as doctors. There are no nationwide figures for this estimate, but the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council’s records show the discrepancy between the number of women medical students and women doctors in Pakistan. Less than half the 138,789 doctors registered with this nationwide body are women, 62,315. For specialists, the numbers are even lower – of the total 29,914 specialists registered with PMDC, only 8,056 are women. The pattern is also visible in doctors from Pakistan coming to the United States. “When doctor couples come here, the husband starts to work, the wife takes care of the family,” says Dr Jamila Khalil, president of APPNE, the New England chapter of APPNA, the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America. “I grew up here, I was already a dentist by the time I got married,” she told IPS. A Pashtun from Pakistan’s northwest region bordering Afghanistan, she is a dentist and mother of two teens. “It was very hard,” she added, her New England twang evident in her pronunciation of the last word, ‘haahd’. The hurdles women

Many women in Pakistan qualify to become doctors, and then do not practice. Credit: Fahim Siddiqi/IPS. doctors face in Pakistan and how to support them came under discussion at a lunch meeting that Sarah Peck attended recently in Somerville, Massachusetts convened by APPNE. One of the organisers, Dr Khalil Khatri, a dermatologist and former president of APPNE, was also present at the APPNA winter session in Karachi last December where Peck met women medical students. At the Karachi meeting women medical students had identified many different factors behind the difficulties they face in practicing medicine. There are social pressures and lack of support, with mothers, mothers-in-law, and husbands often not wanting women to work. Families may help young couples with household matters and childcare but they also pressure them to conform to traditional gender roles. Then, those who don’t go into ob-gyn or pediatrics have to deal with male patients, frowned upon in that highly gender segregated society – although the women medical students at the Karachi meeting said they had no issues seeing male patients. What was hard, they said, is the harassment they face, like finding the locks broken on their changing room doors, making it

difficult for them to strip and scrub down. Male peers and supervisors don’t take this seriously. In fact, those who complain face further problems. Transport issues and security concerns, especially for those working late night shifts, are also daunting. “One way to tackle the security and transport problem would be to arrange shuttles for women medical students especially after hours,” suggested Dr Nasar Quraishi, a pathologist visiting from New Jersey. One of Dr Khatri’s nieces in Karachi recently started working as a doctor there. “When she has to work late nights, her parents are constantly worried. Two of my other nieces are in medical school there, but they also have every intention of practicing.” Saima Firdous, 32, a medical student from Pakistan who finished her post-doc at Harvard University last year and is a board member of APPNE, says there is a need for “more women-only medical colleges in Pakistan, so that more people allow girls to study medicine.” “Coming from a conservative, rural family, I found it really hard,” she told IPS. “Our culture doesn’t allow girls to live or travel alone. I’ve had to fight a lot.” Her brother didn’t want

her to attend the co-ed medical school in their city, Rawalpindi, but he also didn’t want her to go to the only women’s medical college in Pakistan, in Lahore, where she would have to live in a hostel. “It was my three older sisters, who themselves have never been to school, who stood by me and supported me,” said Firdous, who for two years conducted a television show on the state-run Pakistan Television aiming to educate rural dwellers about basic health issues. She received a major blow when the man she was in love with and about to marry, a U.S.-qualified physician who had encouraged her in her studies, told her that she could finish medical school, but he didn’t want her working as a doctor. “I refused,” she said. “I hadn’t studied all those years to sit at home.” Traveling alone to the United States, where she initially stayed with family friends, was another hurdle. “When I’m done, in another two or three years, I want to return to Pakistan and work, motivate other girls,” added Firdous. “Women doctors are already respected role models in Pakistan, in all fields. Women have a loud voice in media and society in general,” said Dr Naheed Usmani, a paediatric

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There are social pressures and lack of support, with mothers, mothers-in-law, and husbands often not wanting women to work. Families may help young couples with household matters and childcare but they also pressure them to conform to traditional gender roles.

oncologist from Pakistan who lives and works in the Boston area, and has also worked in Pakistan for several years. The Council should train women doctors from the Pakistani diaspora to mentor and help students problemsolve, she told Peck. The Council could also use its network to identify and train mentors based in Pakistan. In the long term, there is a need to “increase motivation among women medical students and support them to not give up,” Dr Khatri told IPS. “Secondly, educate society to develop a system where medical students are enabled to carry on their work after graduating.” The Council’s partnership with U.S. doctors of Pakistani origin provides no quick-fix solutions to these myriad problems, but it is a step in the right direction. Erum Sattar, a law student from Karachi and president of the Harvard Pakistan Student Group who was present at the lunch, said that the Pakistani students at Harvard would help in any way, perhaps by facilitating video conferencing for mentors and connecting people.


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Kerala throttling its golden goose

Vembanad lake in Kerala is the lifeline for over a million people. PHOTO: Samson Alapuzha/IPS. By Keya Acharya

A

LAPPUZHA, (India), Mar 6 2014 (IPS) Farming, tourism, poor fishing practices along with misdirected policies are muddying the famous backwaters of Kerala, one of India’s best known holiday destinations. Nowhere is this misuse more visible than in and around the 95-kmlong Vembanad Lake. Bearing the brunt are small fishing communities which are caught between dwindling fish catch, worsening water quality and the usurpation of banks – traditionally used as fish-landing points – by tourism operators. “Until about eight to 10 years ago, I would collect this amount in just twothree hours,” says fisherman Ashokan, pointing to a mound of black clams in his canoelike boat. “Now I work the whole day to procure it,” he tells IPS. Kerala’s backwaters, a tourist hotspot, are made up of a 1,500-km waterway network of canals, lagoons, lakes and rivers that run parallel to the Arabian Sea and are fed by both saline and fresh water, contributing to a unique ecosystem. Many areas in these wetlands are below

sea level, allowing sea water to flow inwards. Major towns and cities dot the backwaters, such as the historic port city of Alleppey, now called Alappuzha, where the Maharaja of Travancore oversaw the building of canal waterways in the 18th century. At the heart of this entire ecosystem is the Vembanad wetland area, spread over 36,500 hectares and fed by six large rivers and seawater. It is a lifeline for over 1.6 million people living on the lake’s banks. More than 150 species of fish are found in Vembanad Lake. The Horadandia atukorali fish is found only around Pathrimanal island in the lake. The ecological significance of Vembanad’s rich biodiversity has made it the country’s largest Ramsar site, meant to accord protection for conservation. But being a Ramsar site has not brought any protection for Vembanad Lake so far. The waters of the lake are now divided by the Thanneermukkom barrage, built in 1975 to shut out saltwater ingress into fields in a bid to promote double cropping of paddy in areas surrounding the lake. The lake’s sea water ingress traditionally helped flush out

waste while containing flood waters. The lack of a mix of saline and freshwater, vital to fish breeding, has affected fish species. “Prawns spawn at the mouth of the estuary and baby shrimps are carried inwards into the lake with tidal sea waters, but they are now trapped, unable to flow inwards because of the barrage,” T.D. Jojo from the Ashoka Trust for Ecology and Environment (ATREE) tells IPS. Chemicals from reclaimed farmlands, illegally discharged effluents from tourism houseboats and lakeside industries such as coconut husk retting have contributed to significant pollution in the lake. The Thanneermukkom barrage, built on the narrowest part of the lake’s width, closes its gates each year from Dec. 15 to Mar. 31, and this has proved to be long enough to hamper fish breeding and also cause decomposition of nutrients in the lake. As fishing stocks have decreased, fishermen have begun using methods that harm fishlings. Over-fishing is now a problem in Vembanad. ATREE scientists have been working the last six years to conserve the ecology of the

lake. “We now have 13 lake protection groups, trained to check water quality in the lake,” says Dr. Priyadarsanan Dharmarajan, team leader of the ATREE Vembanad conservation project. Fishers, whose complaints on the lake’s deteriorating health were not taken seriously for years, now feel vindicated by data that shows low salinity and high acidity corresponding exactly to the shutting of the barrage gates. “We want both saline and freshwater for farming and fishing, so we have asked for the barrage to be opened a little earlier,” says Murlidharan, member of a joint farmer-fishing forum and a fisherman for 30 years. But the forum has small farmers whose voices are not heard by rich farming interests. “Our primary concern is paddy. It is not possible to open the Thanneermukkom barrage a little earlier,” district collector N. Padmakumar, Alappuzha’s top administrative official, tells IPS. “The ratio of farmers to fishermen is 10 to one. Whose interest should I protect?” He is also short of answers on the ecological degradation of Vembanad. “It (degradation) has happened historically.

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The lack of a mix of saline and freshwater, vital to fish breeding, has affected fish species. I don’t have a magic wand to make things right. There should be political will on the part of the government to do something.” The resorts on the lake’s banks blame the houseboats for the pollution, but the houseboat owners deny this. “Houseboats don’t pose a problem for the lake,” says operator Dilip Kumar. He also tries to sweep aside allegations of declining fish catch. “You can get prawns as big as this (pointing from his fingers down to his elbow) for 80 rupees (1.15 dollars) a kilogram,” he says.


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India: Women on the move face many dangers h By Stella Paul

YDERABAD, India, Feb 28 2014 (IPS) - It was 8.45 pm, and a 22-year-old woman was looking for a cab to go home after a trip to a city mall in India’s Hyderabad city. A cab arrived, and the unsuspecting computer engineer got in, little knowing she was stepping into a trap. Within minutes the driver, accompanied by another man, locked the door and sped towards a forest on the outskirts of the city. The men tied her hands and raped her for four hours. Then they dropped her at her place and left after threatening to hurt her family if she reported the crime late last year. Nearly 25,000 rapes took place in India in 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. About half of these sexual assaults took place in buses, taxis and three-wheeler autorickshaws. A month before the engineer was raped in Hyderabad, a court had sentenced four men to death for raping and murdering a 23-year-old woman in New Delhi, on Dec. 16, 2012. A judicial committee assigned to recommend ways to curb violence against women in India suggested improvements in public transport vehicles after the Delhi incident. Thirteen months and many more rapes later, the Indian government devised a plan in January to implement some of those recommendations. With an initial fund of 15 million dollars, the plan includes installing GPS trackers, closed circuit TV (CCTV) cameras and emergency phone call facilities in all public transport vehicles in 32 cities that have a population of one million or more. According to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the government proposes to “establish a unified system at the national level and state level in 32 cities of the country with a population of one million or more, over a period of two years.” The plan has been “formulated with the purpose of improving safety and protection of women from violence by using information technology.” The government move is seen by many as a constructive step. “This could be the first

Women join the struggle to board a bus near Hyderabad in India. Travelling by public transport presents a constant danger to women. PHOTO: Stella Paul/IPS. step towards making roads more secure for women,” Kirthi Jayakumar, a Chennaibased lawyer and founder of Red Elephant, a nonprofit organisation raising awareness against gender violence, tells IPS. “It will benefit women in two ways – making their spaces safer and also making more jobs available for women – as surveillance will require a workforce in its own right.” Jayakumar suggests that the government must create a strong workforce studying video feeds from these cameras. Defunct surveillance gadgets and poor police vigilance has always been a security concern in India – one reason why some women’s rights activists are sceptical about the road safety scheme. Rapid population growth and expansion of cities pose a big obstacle to the success of any vigilance and surveillance mechanism, says A.L. Sharada, programme director at Population First, one of the main partners of the United Nations Population Fund in India. Unless the government regulates urban development, violence against women on roads is unlikely to come down, she says. “Road safety is not about making a few vehicles smart,” Sharada tells IPS. “It’s about

making roads safe for women to go out at any time of day or night with confidence. To do that we need better governance, better policing and also a good communitybased support system for women. Without these, you can’t change the scenario.” Sharada cites the example of Mumbai, that has seen a spate of sexual assaults against women on the road of late. “The government has installed CCTVs at most crossroads. But most of these cameras are either defunct or of poor quality. Also, the police patrolling is so inadequate that women are molested and attacked even in broad daylight. Where is the mechanism to ensure that the gadgets are in working condition?” Some also point to a “gaping hole” in the road safety plan such as the exclusion of trains, used by millions of women every month. There are widespread reports of women being molested, raped and even murdered on trains. A recent victim was a 23-year-old engineer from Machlipatnam, a city 340 km from Hyderabad. On Jan. 16 her body was found by a road outside Mumbai where she worked for a leading software firm. She had reportedly boarded a train from Hyderabad to Mumbai 12 days earlier.

“Whether in city trains or metros, there are so many instances of horrific violence against women,” says Sandhya Pushppandit, a documentary filmmaker and activist at Akshara, a Mumbai-based NGO. In 2008, Akshara had co-launched India’s first emergency helpline for victims of gender violence aiming to provide an ambulance within 10 minutes of a call. “But our trains have no helplines and emergency call buttons. One can pull a chain and bring the train to a halt, but this in itself doesn’t guarantee either the victim’s safety or the arrest of the criminal. Besides, in a small public transport vehicle like the auto-rickshaw, the emergency call button might well be deactivated by the rapist,” Pushppandit tells IPS. One solution, says Anu Maheshwari of Young Leaders Think Tank, a New Delhi-based youth policy research group, is to address the factors that trigger fear among women on the move. Maheshwari shares some insights from a recent survey that the think tank undertook in 18 Indian states: “From the data we collected, 90 percent of sexual assaults on public transport happen in poorly lit areas. In most cases, the driver of the public transport vehicle violates traffic rules such as jumping the signal

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Nearly 25,000 rapes took place in India in 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau. About half of these sexual assaults took place in buses, taxis and three-wheeler autorickshaws. or allowing more passengers than the law permits. “Our study shows that women do not trust the police well enough to call for help. So improving road infrastructure, strict implementation of traffic laws, trust building and sensitisation of the police force have to be an integral part of any road safety scheme.” But, says Sharada, while laws can only lay down rules, they can’t change mindsets. “To achieve the latter should be a matter of immediate concern for our thinkers.”


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southSouth asia times 25 Asia Times

1947 Partition Archive: Preserving lost chapter in world history B By NEWS DESK

erkelay/Melbourne : The US based 1947 Partition Archive launched its first crowd funding campaign in order to collect thousands more stories in 2014. “I feel like a bottled plant,” relates Z. Ansari, on becoming homeless overnight in the wake of riots that engulfed his homeland during Great Britain’s accession from India. “I have no roots. I can be put anywhere.” As a Muslim, he found himself on the wrong side of an artificially and hastily carved out border between newly created India and Pakistan, known as the Partition of 1947. Communal violence engulfed his homeland and his family was forced to flee, not knowing where they were going or why. Having lost all material property, he migrated with his family to Pakistan along with millions of other Muslim families, during what’s known as the world’s largest forced mass migration. Ox-cart caravans stretched nearly 15 miles in length and trains were overloaded and packed beyond capacity. “I looked up to see the same sky, the same stars, but this was India,” explains J. Hemrajani upon arriving in Delhi from a small town in Sindh, Pakistan. The year 1947 marked the end of the British rule in South Asia, as well as the birth of India and Pakistan. During the transfer of power, law and order broke down. Chaos unfolded as India and Pakistan were divided along religious lines. An estimated 15 million people became homeless and over a million lost their lives. As many as 100,000 women were abducted and countless children were orphaned. Many of the eyewitnesses, now in their 70s and 80s, still remain deeply emotionally wounded. Moreover the global legacy of Partition lives on today in the form of the disputed Line of Control between India and Pakistan, the world’s second most heavily militarized border. Yet, little has been done to capture and memorialize the victims’ voices. This is what a small team of volunteers based out of the University of California in Berkeley have set out to change, through their newly founded organization, The 1947 Partition Archive. The group uses web based “crowd sourcing” to record and preserve witness oral histories. Via free online workshops anyone, anywhere can learn the basic techniques for recording witness accounts in their family and community, which are then submitted to The 1947 Partition Archive for preservation into perpetuity. Over the last year nearly

500 individuals trained as Citizen Historians from over 20 countries. Nearly 1000 video interviews ranging in length from 1 to 9 hours were submitted for preservation. There’s a great urgency to record the oral histories as witnesses who remember are now in their 80’s, 90’s and beyond. To reach as many Partition witnesses as possible, before it is too late, the group has launched a campaign on the international crowd funding site IndieGoGo. “Because we are huge believers in grassroots and crowd sourcing, we wanted to take that route. This way, anybody from anywhere can contribute,” says the founder, Guneeta Singh Bhalla. Through their grassroots effort, The 1947 Partition Archive hopes to

train up to 1000 Citizen Historians and preserve 3000 witness accounts in 2014. The crowdsourced funds raised from their IndieGoGo campaign will enable all the tools needed to reach this goal. “I feel like I was forced into exile,” recalls refugee and witness G. S. Sekhon. “Except I did nothing wrong to deserve that.” A partition library is presently under construction. Once completed, the library will be a compilation of all known resources on the 1947 partition managed by a team of volunteer staff and interns, and kept updated through your contributions. For more information: www.1947partitionarchive.org Source: Media release, January 24, 2014

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The year 1947 marked the end of the British rule in South Asia, as well as the birth of India and Pakistan. During the transfer of power, law and order broke down.


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Abhishek Bachchan in Orissa as END7 Campaign Ambassador

By NEWS DESK

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rissa, India : In a striking and emotional moment, Abhishek Bachchan, who has been named the first END7 Campaign Ambassador in India by The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases (Global Network), poured water over the feet of an elderly man suffering from lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis), a debilitating and disfiguring neglected tropical disease (NTD), at the Banamalipur Resource Centre run by Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action (CASA) just outside of Bhubaneswar in Orissa, India. The eastern state of Orissa has one of the highest burdens of NTDs in the country. Mr. Bachchan met women and men suffering from lymphatic filariasis. These patients shared heartbreaking stories with him, including how the stigma and shame associated with the disease’s massive swelling prevented them or their children from marrying, securing employment and socializing freely within their own communities. He also witnessed first-hand various disease management and disability prevention techniques, including washing, drying, exercise, massage, and elevation of the limbs, to alleviate some of the suffering. "We have a staggering proportion of fellow Indians

Emotional moment as star pours water over the feet of elderly man infected with lymphatic filariasis (elephantiasis) PHOTO: Supplied. who are infected by or at risk of contracting at least one NTD.” said Mr. Bachchan. "My first site visit with END7 has been a deeply moving, personal experience that allowed me to understand how these diseases can devastate entire families through the pain and stigma they cause," he continued. "We are making good progress and have free, safe treatments available. But we must build greater

momentum and every Indian should do their part to help make defeating NTDs by 2020 our country's next big health success story." Maintaining the progress that India has gained against NTDs is crucial as India comes closer to achieving the control and elimination of five NTDs by 2020. Mr Bachchan will play a key role in drawing attention to NTDs as an achievable health priority for

India, educating the public about the impact of NTDs and the importance of public participation in free NTD treatment programs, whilst also encouraging national and state level policymakers to continue making the costeffective investment in NTD programs. "The lymphatic filariasis centre that we visited today is at the forefront of India's efforts to combat NTDs," said

Wyndham Indian councillors differ on Vic. Trade mission By Neeraj Nanda

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elbourne: The two Indian origin councillors in the Wyndham Council differ over the Victorian government’s upcoming Trade Mission to a few countries including India. The differences cropped up between Cr Gautam Gupta and Cr Intaz Khan during a Council meeting on 24th February, 2014 during discussion on a motion, ‘Job losses in West’ moved by Councillor Gautam Gupta and Cr John Gibbons. In fact, Cr Intaz Khan seconded the motion for urgent discussion. Cr Intaz Khan supported the Victorian Trade Mission saying it will help enhance trade between India and Australia and create jobs. This came in response to Cr Gautam Gupta’s submission that the money spent on such missions should instead be spent ‘to create programs that support em-

ployment in the West’. “I believe that the State Government had good intentions in running such multi-million dollar programs however they could not manage the outcomes. We need good intentions and more importantly we need good governance. I want to know if these programs have led to job losses via outsourcing or a net investment, “Cr Gupta said. Though the motion was carried unanimously, the shadow of recent job losses and its impact on Wyndham City and the broader Western metropolitan region in relation to recent announcements by key manufacturers including Ford, Holden, Toyota and Alcoa was evident. Cr Intaz Khan is part of the Victorian Trade Mission’s education section representing his college Western Institute of Technology (WIT). —SAT News Service www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

Dr. Neeraj Mistry, managing director of the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, the initiative behind the END7 campaign. “CASA has a winning model, treating over 20,000 LF patients and providing cost effective medicines to prevent thousands more cases of LF in Orissa. By integrating NTD programs with other health initiatives on water, sanitation and nutrition, this centre is a micro example of what India can achieve with NTD control and elimination programs at greater scale." Lymphatic filariasis, along with other NTDs, can be prevented with a yearly dose of albendazole or DEC. Pills to treat the most common NTDs are donated by pharmaceutical companies or procured by the Indian government, offered free of charge to the public. Many NTD programs use existing infrastructure, such as schools and community centers, to administer the medicine, making NTD treatment one of the most cost-effective public health initiatives available today. END7 is the first and only global public awareness campaign dedicated to controlling and eliminating the seven most common NTDs by 2020. It was launched in 2012 by the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases, an advocacy initiative of the Sabin Vaccine Institute. Source: Sterling Media


South Asia Times south asia 28 South Asia Timestimes

Business

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Setback for Adani, GVK as ‘Land Lease’ quits Abbot Point project

By our business reporter

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risbane, Australia 26 February 2014: Indian coal giants in Australia Adani and GVK have suffered a setback after one of the world’s largest infrastructure developers, Lend Lease announced that it has pulled out of the highly contentious AP-X coal terminal at Abbot Point in Queensland, alongside Australia’s World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef. This follows BHP Billiton’s decision in November last year to withdraw their proposal to build the Terminal 2 project at Abbot Point and surrender their development rights, ruling out greenfield coal infrastructure developments in a slumping coal market. In 2012 Rio Tinto cited ‘economic uncertainty’ for shelving plans for its port

development at Fitzroy Delta in Central Queensland. This means the only companies still pursuing coal terminal developments at Abbot Point are Indian giants Adani (Terminal-Zero) and GVK (Terminal 1) in partnership with Hancock Coal Infrastructure. The health of their financial projects has been assessed as poor. Greenpeace Australia Pacific Senior Campaigner Louise Matthiesson said, “Proponents of coal terminal expansion at Abbot Point are increasingly recognising the environmental, reputational, material and financial risks of developing these damaging projects, acknowledging there is no business case to proceed, and pulling out. A 2013 report by the US Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found that Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, rail and terminal

project in Queensland is “uncommercial”. Similarly, another IEEFA report in 2013 examined GVK’s $10bn Alpha coalmine, rail and terminal project, finding it was “uneconomic” and a “quagmire not an investment”, and warning that “no investor should take part”. When questioned during today’s (26 Feb., 2014) half yearly investor briefing, Lend Lease CEO Mr.Steve McCann confirmed that following an internal review Lend Lease has allowed their partnership with Aurizon on the project to lapse, and were “therefore no longer involved in the AP-X project at Abbot Point.” Greenpeace has calculated that the AP-X development would require up to 13 million cubic metres of dredging in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, on top of the 3 million cubic metres of

dredging already approved for the GVK and Adani projects. The Lend LeaseAurizon partnership ‘NorthHub’ was shortlisted to develop the huge new coal terminal in April 2013 by the Queensland Government, a media release says. The development of AP-X would require several million tonnes of seabed dredging and dumping in Reef waters. It would lead to thousands of additional ship movements each year, risking damage to the Reef, its coral and wildlife. The expansion of Abbot Point would enable the escalation of coal mining in the Galilee and Bowen Basins in central Queensland. The Australian Youth Climate Coalition worked in pressuring Lend Lease to withdraw from the AP-X development due to its potential impacts on the world’s climate and the Great Barrier Reef. —SAT News Service

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

A 2013 report by the US Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) found that Adani’s Carmichael coalmine, rail and terminal project in Queensland is “uncommercial”


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southSouth asia times 29 Asia Times

New economic crisis engulfing developing countries

By Martin Khor*

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ENEVA, Mar 6 2014 (IPS) - Several developing countries are now being engulfed in new economic crises as their currency and stock markets are experiencing sharp falls, and the end is not yet in sight. The “sell-off” in emerging economies has also spilled over to the American and European stock markets, thus causing global turmoil. Countries whose currencies were affected in the second half of January include Argentina, Turkey, South Africa, Russia, Brazil and Chile. A hike in interest rates by Turkey and South Africa has so far failed to stem the depreciation of their currencies. An America market analyst termed it an “emerging market flu” and several global media reports tend to focus on weaknesses in individual developing countries. However, the broad selloff is a general response to the “tapering” of purchase of bonds by the U.S. Federal Reserve, which marks the slowdown of its easymoney policy that has been pumping many hundreds of billions of dollars into the banking system. On Jan. 29, the Federal Reserve reduced its monthly asset purchase by another 10 billion dollars to 65 billion dollars, following the 10 billion reduction in December. It gave a new boost to the weakening of emerging market currencies. A lot of the Federal Reserve money pumping had earlier been taken up by American investors and placed in emerging economies as they searched for higher yield. With the tapering expected to raise yields in the U.S., money is flowing out from bonds and stocks in the emerging economies, putting pressure on their currencies. The capital flows have reversed direction. The current “emerging markets sell-off” thus cannot be explained by ad hoc events. It is a predictable and even inevitable part of a boom-bust cycle in capital flows to and from the developing countries,

The depreciation in currency and the capital outflows could put strains on the affected countries’ foreign reserves and weaken their balance of payments. which originates from the monetary policies of developed countries and the behaviour of their investment funds. This cycle, which has been very destabilising to the developing economies, has been facilitated by the deregulation of financial markets and the liberalisation of capital flows which in the past had been carefully regulated. This prompted massive and increasing bouts of speculative international flows by Western investment funds, motivated by the search for higher yields. Emerging economies, having higher economic growth and interest rates, attracted the investors. Yilmaz Akyuz, chief economist at South Centre, analysed the most recent boom-bust cycles in his paper Waving or Drowning? A boom of private capital flows to developing countries began in the early years of the 2000s but came to an end with the flight to safety triggered by the Lehman collapse in September 2008. However, the flows recovered quickly. By 2010-12, net flows to Asia and Latin America exceeded the peaks reached before the crisis. This recovery was largely caused by the easy-money policies and near zero interest rates in the U.S. and Europe.

In the U.S., the Federal Reserve pumped 85 billion dollars a month into the banking system by buying bonds. It was hoped the banks would lend this to businesses to generate recovery, but in fact investors placed much of the funds in the Western stock markets and in bonds and shares in developing countries. The surge in capital inflows led to a strong recovery in currency, equity and bond markets of major developing countries. Some of these countries welcomed the new capital inflows and the boom in asset prices. But others were upset that the inflows caused their currencies to appreciate (thus making their exports less competitive) and that the ultra-easy monetary policies of developed countries were part of a “currency war” to make the latter more competitive. In 2013, the capital inflows into developing countries weakened due to the European crisis and the prospect of the Federal Reserve “tapering”. This weakening took place at a bad time – just as many of the emerging economies saw their current account deficits widen. Thus, their need for foreign capital increased just as inflows became weaker and unstable.

In May-June 2013 there was a preview of the current sell-off when the Federal Reserve announced it could soon start “tapering”. This led to sudden sharp currency falls including in India and Indonesia. However, the Federal Reserve postponed the taper, but in December it finally announced a reduction of its monthly bond purchase from 85 to 75 billion dollars, with more to come. There was then no sudden sell off in emerging economies, as the markets had already anticipated it and the Federal Reserve also announced that interest rates would be kept at current low levels until the end of 2015. By now, however, the investment mood had already turned against the emerging economies. Many of them were now termed “fragile”, especially those with current account deficits and dependent on capital inflows. Many of the so-called fragile countries are in fact members of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) that had been viewed just a few years before as the most powerful emerging economies driving global growth. In this atmosphere of deepening concerns, it just required a “trigger” to cause a simultaneous sell-off in

www.southasiatimes.com.au - (03) 9095 6220, 0421 677 082

currencies and markets of developing countries. Several factors were to emerge which together constituted a trigger. These were a “flash” report indicating contraction of manufacturing in China; the sudden fall in the Argentinian peso; and expectations of further tapering by the Federal Reserve. For two days (Jan. 23 and 24) the currencies and stock markets of several developing countries were in turmoil, which spilled over to the U.S. and European stock markets. The turmoil continued into the following week, seeming to confirm investor disenchantment with emerging economies, and a reversal of capital flows. The depreciation in currency and the capital outflows could put strains on the affected countries’ foreign reserves and weaken their balance of payments. The accompanying fall in currency would have positive effects on export competitiveness, but negative impacts in accelerating inflation (as import prices go up) and debt servicing (as more local currency is needed to repay the same amount of debt denominated in foreign currencies). *Martin Khor is executive director of the South Centre.


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होली का त्योहार और अंतर्राष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस मार्च के महीने में बहुधा होली का त्योहार पड़ता है | यह त्योहार हँ सी-ख़ुशी और मौज-मस्ती का त्योहार है | सभी तरह के भेद-भाव भूल कर लोग एक-दस ू रे के साथ रं ग खेलते हैं और गले मिलते हैं | होली का सन्देश है कि सत्य पर निष्ठा रखने वाले की सदा जीत होती है | यही बात भक्त प्���ह्लाद की कहानी से भी पता चलती है | इसी महीने अंतर्राष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस भी मनाया जाता है | इस दिवस का मुख्य उद्दे श्य है समाज में महिलाओं की स्थिति का पुनर्वालोकन करना और समाज में उन्हें उचित स्थान और सुविधाएँ दिलाने के लिए नए प्रयत्न करना| पिछले कुछ दशकों में महिलाओं की स्थिति में काफी सुधार आया है परन्तु आज भी उनके सामने कई गंभीर समस्याएँ जुड़ी हुई हैं , जिनमें सुरक्षा, समान वेतन, घरे लू हिं सा आदि शामिल हैं | इन्हें हल करने के उपाय जारी रखने होंगे| इस महीने फणीश्वरनाथ रे णु जी की जयंती भी है जिन्होंने हिं दी साहित्य में आंचलिक उपन्यासों का श्रीगणेश किया था और जिनकी एक कृति के आधार पर फ़िल्म ‘तीसरी कसम’ का निर्माण किया गया था| पाठकगण को इस महीने में पड़ने वाले पर्वों (होली, होला मोहल्ला, मेघ पूजा, आदि) की बधाई| मार्च के अंत में साथ चैत्र-नवरात्रि और विक्रम संवत के नये वर्ष के का भी आरम्भ हो रहा है | इसलिए पाठकों को विक्रम संवत ् कैलेंडर के अनुसार नव-वर्ष की भी बधाई| इस अंक के k;Vyku'j स्तम्भ में होली, महिलाओं तथा स्वामी विवेकानंद आदि विषयों से सम्बंधित कविताएँ हैं | साथ में, वर्ष २०१३ में, वी.सी.ई. हिन्दी में सर्वोच्च अंक प्राप्त करने वाले विद्यार्थी का लेख है और ‘एक थी माया’ कहानी का सातवाँ भाग है | संक्षिप्त समाचार, अब हँ सने की बारी है , मह्त्वपूर्ण तिथियाँ व सूचनाएँ स्तम्भ भी हैं | लिखियेगा कि आपको यह अंक कैसा लगा| -दिनेश श्रीवास्तव

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होली का प्रसंग

—डॉ कौशल किशोर श्रीवास्तव, मेल्बर्न

होली त्योहार है रं ग और गुलाल का, परस्पर मिलन का, हास्य और व्यंग्य का। गुलाबी रं ग प्रतीक है प्रेम का हरा रं ग ग्रामीण हरियाली और खु़शहाली का। रं गों का मिश्रण प्रतीक है बहु - सांस्कृतिक समाज का, पूरब और पश्चिम के मिलन का। होली का इतिहास पुरातन है पर मान्यताएँ अनेक हैं , मेरे अनुमान में यह ब्रज भूमि की धरोहर है , वृन्दावन का चिर संचित आभूषण है । इसके दर्पण में, मैं दे खता हूँ राधा - कृ ष्ण का निर्विकार प्रेम, गोपियों का अलौकिक नृत्य, नारियों का उन्मुक्त जीवन, ऊँच - नीच और भेदभाव का त्याग। इन्हीं में छिपा है होली का सन्देश, रं गों के बादल में दिखता है स्वदे श। इन्हीं बिचारों के बीच मैं खोया था जब एक ऑस्ट्रेलियाई मित्र का फोन आया, "मैं अभी अभी तुम्हारे शहर से होली का माहौल दे खकर आया हूँ, इसमें किसी सभ्य संस्कृति की पहचान शायद ही दिखती है , केवल रं ग और गुलाल का हुड़दं ग दिखता है । ज़ोर ज़बर्दस्ती से रं ग लगाने के आरोप में पुलिस का प्रहार होता है , सड़कों पर अराजकता का दृश्य दिखता है ।" प्रश्न गम्भीर था, पर सामयिक था, मैंने भी ऐसा अनेकों बार दे खा था, अतः समुचित उत्तर दे ना आवश्यक था। मैंने प्रयास किया, "कुछ लोग उत्साह के नशे में सभ्य आचरण की सीमा भूल जाते हैं , पूरी संस्कृति को बदनाम करते हैं । तुमने भी दे खा होगा, क्रिकेट या फुटबॉल के मैदान में अपार भीड़ के बीच, कुछ उत्साही युवक 'बीयर' और 'कोक' की बोतलें फेंक कर उत्पात मचाते हैं , क्या वे हमारी खेल संस्कृति का सम्मान बढ़ाते हैं ? कोई विदे शी मेहमान इसे दे खेगा तो हमें असभ्य ही कहे गा।" उधर से आवाज़ आयी, "तुम्हारी सोच का मैं कायल हूँ संयक्त ु संस्कृति की यही पहचान है , सही परिपेक्ष्य में बातों को समझना आज की अपेक्षा है , मर्यादा है ।"

होली

—वंदना श्रीवास्तव, अमेरिका

सृष्टि की गोद में प्रकृ ति का खजाना है बारह महीनों का यह चक्र सुहाना है छह ऋतुओं ने मिलकर छह रं गों से सजाया है पतझड़ के बाद वसंत का रं ग निखर आया है सृष्टि के क्रम ने जीवन का सार समझाया है फाल्गुन के पग रखते ही नभ ने रं ग बरसाया है पिचकारियों व रं गों से होली का मज़ा आया है प्यार एकता विश्वास का नया पाठ सिखाया है होली के त्योहार ने इन्द्रधनुषीय संसार बनाया है

नारी

दनिय ा वालों, मुझे साफ़ कहना है ु जीवन रण में घात सभी सहना है उस का दसवाँ हिस्सा पुरुष न सहता जग में नारी को जितना सहना है । मैके में है द्वितीय नागरिक कन्या पहुँची जब ससुराल हो गई धन्या घर है सुख-भण्डार मिला क्या उस को नित प़ति दख ु सहने को बची अनन्या। अधिकार न माँगा रही सिर्फ गौणा नारी नर का क्या एक खिलौना ?

-डॉ सुधश े , नई दिल्ली अवसर आने पर नारी ही चूकी मौन रह गई इसी लिए वह मौना । औलाद न करती है तर्पण छीना झपटी में क्या अर्पण सौ स्वार्थमयी दनिय ा में ु नारी तेरा नाम समर्पण ।। शिशु सोता माता जगती है सुख दख ु में निश्चल धरती है नारी जीवन एक तपस्या घर तपती बाहर तपती है

स्वामी विवेकानंद आज भी परिभाषित है उसकी ओज भरी वाणी से निकले हुए वचन; जिसका नाम था विवेकानंद ! उठो, जागो, सिंहों; यही कहा था कई सदियों पहले उस महान साधू ने , जिसका नाम था विवेकानंद ! तब तक न रुको, जब तक लक्ष्य की प्राप्ति न हो ... कहा था उस विद्वान ने; जिसका नाम था विवेकानंद ! सोचो तो तुम कमजोर बनोगे; सोचो तो तुम महान बनोगे; कहा था उस परम ज्ञानी ने जिसका नाम था विवेकानंद !

-विजय कुमार, है दराबाद दस ू रो के लिए ही जीना है अपने लिए जीना पशु जीवन है जिस स्वामी ने हमसे कहा था, उसका नाम था विवेकानंद ! जिसने हमें समझाया था कि ईश्वर हमारे भीतर ही है , और इं सानियत ही सबसे बड़ा धर्म है उसका नाम था विवेकानंद ! आओ मित्रों, हम एक हों; और अपनी दर्ब ु लता से दरू हों, हम सब मिलकर; एक नए समाज, एक नए भारत का निर्माण करें ! यही हमारा सच्ची श्रद्धांजलि होगी; भारत के उस महान संत को; जिसका नाम था स्वामी विवेकानंद !!!

जीवन का सत्य यही तो है आज अचानक सूनी-सी संध्या मेँ विशालकाय वृक्षों के साए में दरू कहीं पहाड़ियों के पीछे क्षितिज के उस पार व्योम के प्रसार में रक्ताभा विकीर्ण करता अस्ताचल को लौट चला है सूरज दरू कहीं, किसी दस ू री दनिय ु ा में डर, भय, आशंका की छटपटाहट को बींधता मंज़िलों की सीमा तय न कर पाने कि रे खा पर निडर, अविचल चला जा रहा था वह दरू कहीं अनन्त की खोज में निर्भय, निर्विकार, सतत, निरं तर न जाने, कितने इतिहासों के पन्ने पलटता अगणित अनुभवों का पुलिन्दा बाँध कर कुकृ त्यों की कालिमा को चीरता कहीं सत्कर्मों की गठरी सहे जता शूरवीरों की गाथाएँ गाता कहीं स्वार्थों की कुटिल चालों को निरखता आज अचानक सूनी-सी संध्या मेँ

cun; a;pne ¾a;p¾ ko

-कुसुम वीर, नोएडा, भारत

न जाने कहाँ छुप गया है वह प्रतापी तेजस्वी सूरज कल फिर लौटे गा सूरज रात की पोटली में सपनों को समेटे पृथ्वी के प्राँगण पर धूप का बिछौना बिछाने अरुण रथ पर सवार उसके आगोश में लजाती उषा की मुख लालिमा को दे ख सिहर उठे गा तब मन मेरा किसी अकिंचन सुख की चाह में आता है रोज़ वह, लौट के चले जाने को कुछ वैसे ही, जैसे हम आते हैं फ़िर जीवन की साँझ में चले जाते हैं अन्तिम पड़ाव में उस अनंत, असीम, परब्रह्म के पास वहाँ से लौटकर आना, आकर फिर जाना विचित्र है यह चक्र सतत अगम, अनित्य, शाश्वत जीवन का सत्य यही तो है

-Xy;ml sumn² jmxedpur² .;rt

a;m a;dmI ne sumn² k;m iky; hw %¹;s) %¹;s a;dmI ko Z$k² ihl; idy; ivXv;s)) idLlI kI gýI imle² hua; anwitk mel) de% sumn gýI vhI² n c!¹ne k; %el))

sumn %@¹; yU\ s;mne² Z;@¹U le kr .Ut) .Itr-.Itr ro rhe² prMpr; ke dUt)) sevk x;sk bn gy;² bne huE ÅIm;n) ab x;sk hog; sumn² ijnke hw ém;n))

idLlI ko vrd;n y;² yh cun;v ai.x;p ) cun; a;pne ¾a;p¾ ko² sumn .ugt le' a;p)) alg !'g se ¾a;p¾ k; de%o² sumn p[yog) p]k;r² net; siht² cikt huE hw' log))

Py;r idy; hw a;pne² cc;R me' ¾a;p¾) sumn a;s hw ¾a;p¾ se² im$; ske sb p;p))

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M A R C H

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Ek qI m;y;³³³³³³ÚÚÚ á.;g-7â -ivjy kum;r hwdr;b;d

áipzle a'ûo' me' a;pne p!¹; ik m;y; a*r a.y Ek dUsre se p[m e krte qe pr'tu a.y kI g¹rIbI a*r apne pirv;r kI ij¹Mmed;iryo' ke k;r,² m;y; ne iksI a*r VyiKt se ivv;h krne k; inXcy kr ily;) m;y; ne a.y se kh; ik yh x;dI vh kevl apne pirv;r ke ilye kr rhI hw jbik ¬skI %¹x u I isf¹R a.y ke s;q hw) clte smy ¬sne a.y ke cr, SpxR ikye) du%I a.y angRl p[l;p krte huE `r v;ps gy; a*r ¬sI r;t ¬sne xhr zo@¹ idy;) lIijye a;ge kI kh;nI p[Stut hw - sMp;dkâ bhut brs bIt gE) mw' apne xhr ko zo@¹kr dUsre xhr me' n*krI krne lg; a*r vhI'' bs gy;) bItte smy ke s;q mer; .I Ek zo$; s; pirv;r bn gy; leikn ifr .I k.I-k.I muZe m;y; kI bhut y;d a; j;tI qI) mw' soct; - vh kwsI hogIÀ ¬sk; jIvn kws; hog;À leikn muZe yh tOiPt qI² mn me' s'toW q; ik jb mw' ¬sse alg hua; to ¬skI ij¹NdgI a*r ¬sk; pirv;r bs gy; q;) mw' aK¹sr soct; q; ik Ky; vh mere ilE Ek behtr jIvn s'ignI s;ibt hotIÀ a*r .I ”sI trh kI aneko'' b;te'³³³³ijnk; ab koé mtlb nhI'' q;) ifr ac;nk iksI k;m ke islisle me' muZe apne xhr j;n; p@¹;) vh;\ phu\c kr meere mn me' sbse phlI y;d isfR m;y; kI hI a;yI qI) s''yogvx ¬s idn ixvr;i] .I qI) ijs k;m ke islisle me' muZe j;n; p@¹; q;² ¬se pUr; krte muZe

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jgh bn;kr bw# gy; a*r m;y; ke s;q ”s jgh ibt;ye huE lMho'' ko y;d krne lg;) qo@¹I der b;d m''idr lg.g %;lI s; ho gy;) mere idm;g me' bs yhI clt; rh; ik m;y; kwsI hogIÀ kh;\ hogIÀ³³³³ik t.I Ek a;v;j¹ a;é³³³³®muZe m;lUm q;² tum Ek idn yhI'' imloge)® mw' c*''k kr pl$; a*r de%; to² m;y; %@¹I qI) mw' bhut cikt hua; a*r p[.u kI lIl; pr %ux .I áx;yd phlI b;r p[.u kI mhÊ; ko SvIk;r; q;â) mw'ne m;y; ko ग़ौर se de%;) vh a*r .I ¬m[ dr;j¹ lg rhI qI) ¬ske s;q ¬ske zo$e .;é a*r bhn .I qe² jo ab k;fI b@e¹ ho gE qe² s;q me' Ek zo$; s; l@¹k; .I q;) mw'ne muSkr; kr kh;² ®a;ao bw#o² tuMh;rI hI jgh hw² tuMh;r; hI ”Ntj¹;r kr rhI hw)® vh p;s a;kr bw# gé) mw'ne ¬skI trf¹ h;q b!¹;y;) ¬sne mer; h;q q;m; a*r merI trf¹ de%ne lgI) mw'ne kh;² ®kwsI ho m;y;À ¬sne kh;² ®mw' #Ik hU\ a*r tumÀ® ®mw' .I #Ik hU\ )® mw'ne kh;) mw'ne ifr ¬ske .;é-bhn kI trf¹ ”x;r; krke pUz;² ®ye dono'' #Ik hw'À® ¬sne kh;² ®h;\\² ab to aCze SkUl me' p!¹te hw' ) ®mw' cup ho gy;) ifr ¬sne ¬s zo$e l@¹ke kI aor ”x;r; krke kh; ®yh mer; be$; hw)® mere mn me' Ek ksk sI ¬#I² ifr .I mw'ne ¬ske be$e kI trf muSkr;kr h;q ihl;y;) ¬sne pUz;-®tum kwse ho) x;dI kr lIÀ® mw'ne kh;² ®h;\² kr to lI² pr sc khU\ to k.I-k.I tuMh;rI bhut y;d

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s'i=Pt sm;c;r

मेल्बर्न में स्वामी विवेकानंद अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सम्मलेन

मोनाश विश्वविद्यालय ने स्वामी विवेकानंद तथा उनके योगदान का पुनर्मूल्यांकन करने के लिए मेल्बर्न में २१ फरवरी तथा २२ फरवरी को दो दिवसीय अंतर्राष्ट्रीय सम्मलेन का आयोजन किया| इस सम्मेलन में भारत, रूस, जर्मनी, बांग्लादे श,

इज़रायल, अमेरिका, ऑस्ट्रेलिया के विशेषज्ञों ने भाग लिया| सम्मलेन के मुख्य प्रकरण थे – विवेकानंद और पश्चिम; विवेकानंद और उनका प्रगतिशील अध्यात्म, विवेकानंद और पुरातन हिन्दू धर्म ग्रन्थ; विवेकानंद और ईसाई, बुद्ध तथा जैन धर्म;

विवेकानंद और आधुनिक कल में उनका प्रभाव| कार्यक्रम का उद्घाटन ऑस्ट्रेलिया में भारत के उच्चायुक्त, महामहिम, श्री बीरे न नंदा ने किया और कार्यक्रम का संचालन, मोनाश विश्विविद्यालय की प्रोफ़ेसर मरीका विक्ज़ियानी ने किया|

लट्रोब विश्वविद्यालय में हिं दी के नये व्याख्याता - डॉ. इयन वूलफ़ोर्ड

लट्रोब विश्वविद्यालय ने एक नये हिं दी व्याख्याता, डॉ. इयन वूलफ़ोर्ड की नियुक्ति की है | डॉ. वूलफ़ोर्ड ने अमेरिका के टे क्सास विश्वविद्यालय से डॉक्टरे ट की

उपाधि प्राप्त की है और फणीश्वर नाथ रे ण,ु भोजपुरी गीतों तथा मॉरीशस में हिन्दू विवाह पर शोध कार्य किया है | उन्हें हिन्दी साहित्य व भारतीय संगीत में

mhTvpU,R itiqy;\

४ मार्च (फणीश्वर नाथ रे णु जयंती), ८ मार्च (अंतर्राष्ट्रीय महिला दिवस), १६ मार्च (होलिका दहन, मेघ पूजा), १७ मार्च (होली, होला मोहल्ला, सेंट पैट्रिक दिवस), ३१ मार्च (चैत्र नवरात्रि का आरम्भ, विक्रम संवत ् नव-वर्ष का आरम्भ, गुड़ी पड़वा, उगादी), १ अप्रैल (मूर्ख दिवस), ७ अप्रैल (दर्गाष्ट मी), ८ अप्रैल ु (रामनवमी), १३ अप्रैल (महावीर जयंती), १४ अप्रैल (बैसाखी, डॉ. अम्बेदकर जयंती), १५ अप्रैल (हनुमान जयंती, गुरु अंगद दे व जयंती), १८ अप्रैल (गुड फ्राईडे ), २० अप्रैल (ईस्टर)|

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विशेष रूचि है | उन्होंने सूचित किया है कि लट्रोब विश्वविद्यालय में पूर्व स्नातक स्तर पर हिं दी में तीन वर्षीय पाठ्यक्रम उपलब्ध है | अधिक जानकारी के लिए

निम्नलिखित वेबसाइट दे खिये -https://www.latrobe.edu. au/courses अथवा डॉ. वूलफ़ोर्ड से (०३) ९४७९ १४०० पर फ़ोन द्वारा संपर्क कीजिए|

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हिन्दी: मेरी अनमोल यात्रा -तुषार गोयल, ग्लेन वेवर्ली केन्द्र, विक्टोरियन स्कू ल ऑफ़ लैंग्वेजेज़

(हम हर वर्ष वी.सी.ई. हिन्दी परीक्षा में उच्च अंक प्राप्त करने वाले विद्यार्थियों के अनुभवों के बारे में लेख छापते हैं | इस लेख के लेखक ने वर्ष २०१३ की हिं दी परीक्षा में सर्वोच्च अंक प्राप्त किये हैं | इस श्रृंखला का यह पहला लेख है | उच्च अंक प्राप्त करने वाले अन्य विद्यार्थियों के लेख अगले अंकों में प्रकशित किये जायेंगे – संपादक)

मुझे आज भी हिन्दी कक्षा का प्रथम दिन पूर्ण रूप से याद है । हाल ही में मैंने पाँचवी कक्षा में प्रवेश किया था| मैं अपनी हिन्दी कक्षा की ओर सिर झुकाये चला जा रहा था पर मेरा मन बैठा हुआ था क्योंकि पूरे दिन स्कू ल की पढ़ाई करने के बाद मैं हिन्दी विषय की अतिरिक्त पढ़ाई नहीं करना चाहता था। शाम को मेरे मनपसंद कार्यक्रम दरू दर्शन पर आने वाले थे लेकिन हिन्दी कक्षा के कारण मैं उन्हें नहीं दे ख सका। उन कार्यक्रमों की याद में ही मैंने कक्षा के अंदर क़दम रखा। कक्षा में प्रवेश करते ही मेरी अध्यापिका ने मुझे नमस्कार किया। अपनी भाषा में अभिवादन सुनकर अच्छा लगा और भारत की याद ताज़ी हो गई। हिन्दी कक्षा में यातायात के विषय पर चर्चा हो रही थी| रिक्शे और ऑटो की आवाज़ की बातचीत से, मेरे मन में भारतीय सड़कों का चित्र उभरने लगा। उस दिन मुझे न केवल अपने भारतीय यातायात के बारे में जानकारी मिली, बल्कि अपनी संस्कृति और भाषा से जुड़ने का अवसर भी मिला। मैं केवल ६ वर्ष की उम्र में ऑस्ट्रेलिया आया था| इसलिए मुझे भारत के तौर-तरीके, रीति-रिवाज़, आदि को अपनाने का मौक़ा नहीं मिला था। यह अवसर मुझे हिन्दी कक्षा ने प्रदान किया। अब, जब भी मैं भारत जाता हूँ, मुझे हिन्दी में वार्तालाप करने में गर्व होता है । मेरे नाना जी व नानी जी को ख़ुशी होती है जब मैं उन्हें "हे लो" कहने के बजाय भारतीय संस्कृति के अनुसार नमस्कार करता हूँ। कई बार, मैं मामाजी के लिए अकेले ही घर की सामग्री ला पाता हूँ क्योंकि मुझे हिन्दी में बातचीत करने में कोई कठिनाई नहीं होती है । हिन्दी बोलने से दक ु ानों पर मुझे अक् ़सर मुझे चीजें कम दामों पर मिल जाती हैं और सौदे बाज़ी करने का अनुभव भी प्राप्त होता है ! अच्छी तरह हिन्दी समझ पाने के कारण मैं कभी-कभी बाहर जाकर चुप-चाप पड़ोसियों के बीच की गपशप भी सुन लेता हूँ! दरू दर्शन की सास-बहु से ले कर बॉलीवुड के शाहरुख़ ख़ान तक, सारा मनोरं जन आसानी से समझ पाता हूँ। मेरे लिए तो हिन्दी पढ़ना एक अनमोल अनुभव था। इस मार्ग पर चल���े-चलते मैंने अपनी भाषा और धर्म को समझा, कई सारे मित्र बनाये एवं यह एहसास हुआ कि कोई भी भाषा सिर्फ एक कक्षा तक सीमित नहीं होती है , बल्कि वास्तव में भाषा का उपयोग बाहरी संसार में ज़्यादा होता है । मेरी नज़र में 'बारहवी कक्षा के अंकों में बोनस' जैसे लाभ एक भाषा सीखने के बहुत ही छोटे फायदे हैं । बढ़ते हुए विश्वीकरण से दो या अधिक भाषाओं का ज्ञान नौकरी व व्यवसाय, दोनों में लाभदायक है । साथ ही, हिन्दी जानने से मैं न केवल एक दस ू री भाषा में बात कर सकता हूँ, बल्कि एक नए दृष्टिकोण से भी दनिय ा को दे ख सकता हूँ। हिन्दी पढ़ने से मैं ु दोनों ऑस्ट्रेलियाई व भारतीय संस्कृतियों को अपने व्यक्तित्व में सम्मिलित कर सकता हूँ। वी.सी.ई हिन्दी का वातावरण अत्यंत भिन्न था। यह हिन्दी का ऐसा मोड़ था जहाँ कड़ी मेहनत और परिश्रम की सख़्त आवश्यकता थी। हर समय, हर पल बहुमल ू ्य था और दिन प्रति दिन परीक्षा तेज़ गति से पास आती जा रही थी। भविष्य के वी.सी.ई विद्यार्थियों से मैं कहना चाहूँगा कि चाहे आप १ वर्ष से हिन्दी सीख रहे हों या १० वर्ष से, परीक्षा के दिन आपके काम सिर्फ आपकी तैयारी तथा अभ्यास आयेगा। अगर आप सच्चे मन से यह भाषा सीखना चाहते हैं , तो आप निश्चित रूप से इस विषय में सफलता प्राप्त करें गे। मैं वी.एस.एल व अपनी हिन्दी अध्यापिका को धन्यवाद दे ना चाहूँगा क्योंकि उनके सहयोग व मार्गदर्शन के बिना मैं हिन्दी नहीं सीख पाता।

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एक समझदार पति अपनी पत्नी के आये दिन की फिजूलखर्ची पर नाराज़ था| वह अपनी पत्नी से बोला- “तुमको अक्ल कब आएगी ? ऐसी चीज़े क्यों लाती हो जो कभी काम नहीं आतीं?” “आप बड़े होशियार हैं ”, पत्नी ने ताना दे ते हुए सुनाया .........”कितने दिन हो गए आग बुझाने वाली मशीन लगाये हुए घर में? आज तक काम आयी ? अब सर पीटने की बारी पति की थी ................. (प्रेषक –डॉ. सुरेश गुप्ता, मेल्बर्न)


south asia 32 South Asia Timestimes

quick community guide Radio GUIDE

SBS Radio's South Asian

SUNDAY Language Program Hindi..................................9 am to 10 am – 93.1 FM BANGLA Urdu................................10 am to 11 am – 93.1 FM Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 Tamil...............................11 am to 12 pm – 93.1 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SB Radio 2 Hindi.................................8 pm to 10 pm – 88.3 FM Monday & Saturday Singhalese.......................8 pm to 11 pm –97.7 FM 6-7 PM GUJARATI MONDA Y Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 Hindi....................................3 to 4 pm – 93.1 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SBSPm Radio Bengali...............................4 pm to 5 pm – 93.1 FM Wednesday & Friday 4-5 PM Hindi...................................6 pm to 8 pm – 88.3 FM Indian (Fiji)..................................6 pm to 8 pm 88.3 HINDI Punjabi........................1 1 am to 12 Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 noon 92.3 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SB Radio 2 Daily TUESDAY 5 PM

Hindi.....................................6 am to 8 am – 97.7 FM Hindi.................................... 2 pm to 4 pm – 97.7 FM kannada Sydney SBS Radio 3 Melbourne SBS Radio 3 WEDNESDAY Tuesday 3-4 PM

Hindi.....................................6 am to 8 am – 97.7 FM Hindi......................................... 12 to 1 pm – 93.1 FM Nepali Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS1Radio 2 12 pm - 92.3 FM Punjabi............................ 1 am to Melbourne 93.1 FM & SB Radio Hindi................................... .8 pm to 29 pm – 97.7 FM Saturday & Sunday 4-5 PM

THURSDAY PUNJABI Hindi............................... 5.30 am to 7 am – 97.7 FM Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 9 pm – 92.3 FM Tamil.................................... 8 pm to Melbourne 93.1 FM & SB Radio 2 Sinhalese.......................... 1 1 pm to 3 am –92.3 FM Monday & Friday Punjabi............................. 9 pm to 10 pm – 93.1 FM 9-10 PM SINHALESE FRIDAY Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 Indian.................................. .8 Radio am to 29 am – 88.3 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SB Monday & Friday 11AM-12 PM SATURDAY

Sinhalese............................7 am to 8 am – 92.3 FM TAMIL TSydney amil..................................... 12-12.30 97.7 FM & SBS Radio 2 pm – 88.3 FM Indian.................................... am to26 am - 92.3 FM Melbourne 93.1 FM & SB5Radio Monday & Saturday Punjabi.......................................... 12-2 am – 92.3 FM 8-9 PM Indian................................ 9 pm to 10 pm – 92.3 FM Punjabi.................................................. 11 pm to 1 am urdu Sydney 97.7 FM & SBS Radio24/7 2 Radio stations Melbourne FM & SB Radio 2(Subscription) Indian Link93.1 Radio Wednesday & Sunday 18000 15 8 47 6-7 PM Radio Santa Banta  (Internet) Santabanta.com.au WORLD NEWS AUSTRALIA RADIO SydneyJhankar 1107AM88.6 & SBSFM; Radio 1 Thursday; 8 to Radio Every Melbourne 1224AM & SB Radio 1 10 pm; Contact: 94668900 or 0411247320 or Monday & Friday 9404 2111 6-7 am & 6-7 PM

South Asian websiteS India TEHELKA – www.tehelka.com OUTLOOK – www.outlookindia.com FRONTLINE- www.flonnet.com THE HINDU: www.hinduonnet.com TIMES OF INDIA: www.timesofindia.indiatimes.com HINDUSTAN TIMES: www.hindustantimes.com Pakistan DAWN: www.dawn.com THE FRIDAY TIMES: www.thefridaytimes.com THE NEWS INTERENATIONAL: www.thenews.com.pk Sri Lanka DAILY MIRROR: www.dailymirror.lk DAILY NEWS: www.dailynews.lk THE ISLAND: www.island.lk Nepal THE HIMALAYAN TIMES: www.thehimalayantimes.com KANTIPUR NATIONAL DAILY:

community

www.ekantipur.com/en THE RISING NEPAL: www.nepalnews.com.np

PLACES OF WORSHIP HINDU Shri Shiva Vishnu Temple 57 Boundary Rd, Carrum Downs, Melbourne, Vic 3201, Ph: 03 9782 0878; Fax: 03 9782 0001 Website: www.hsvshivavishnu.org.au Sri Vakratunda Vinayaka Temple 1292 - 1294, The Mountain Highway, The Basin, Vic 3154, Ph: 03 9792 1835 Melbourne Murugan Temple 17-19 Knight Ave., Sunshine VIC 3020 Ph: 03 9310 9026 Durga Temple (Durga Bhajan Mandali) Neales Road, Rockbank, Vic 3335 Ph: 03 9747 1628 or Mobile: 0401 333 738 Hare Krishna (ISKCON) Temple 197 Danks Street, Middle Park Vic 3206 Ph: (03) 9699 5122 Email: 100237.354@compuserve.com Hare Krishna New Nandagram Rural Community Oak Hill, Dean’s Marsh Rd., Bambra VIC 3241, Ph: (052) 887383 Fax: (052) 887309 Kundrathu Kumaran Temple 139 Gray Court, ROCKBANK Victoria 3335 Ph: 03-9747 1135 or M: 0450 979 023 http://www.kumarantemple.org.au/ SIKH BLACKBURN Sri Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha 127 Whitehorse Road, Blackburn VICTORIA 3130, Ph: (03) 9894 1800 CRAIGIEBURN Sri Guru Singh Sabha 344 Hume Highway, Craigieburn VICTORIA 3164 (see map), Ph: (03) 9305 6511 KEYSBOROUGH Gurdwara Sri Guru Granth Sahib 198 -206 Perry Road, Keysborough VICTORIA 3073 (see map) LYNBROOK Nanaksar Taath, 430 Evans Road, Lynbrook VICTORIA 3975, (03) 9799 1081 HOPPERS CROSSING Sri Guru Nanak Satsang Sabha 417 Sayers Road, Hoppers Crossing VICTORIA 3029, Ph: (03) 9749 2639 WERRIBEE Gurdwara Sahib Werribee 560 Davis Road, Tarneit VICTORIA 3029 PH: (03) 8015 4707 SHEPPARTON Gurdwara Sahib Shepparton 240 Doyles Road, Shepparton VICTORIA 3603 PH: (03) 5821 9309 JAIN Melbourne Shwetambar Jain Sangh Inc 3 Rice Street, Moorabbin, Vic - 3189, Australia. Phone: +61 3 9555 2439

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info@melbournejainsangh.org http://www.melbournejainsangh.org MUSLIM Melbourne West Mosque 66-68 Jeffcott Street, Melbourne Ph: 03 9328 2067 Broadmeadows Mosque 45-55 King Street, Broadmeadows Ph 03 9359 0054 Islamic Call Society 19 Michael Street, Brunswick Ph: 03 9387 7100 Islamic Centre of Australia 660 Sydney Road, Brunswick Ph 03 9385 8423 Australian Islamic Cultural Centre 46-48 Mason Street, Campbellfield Ph: 03 9309 7605 Coburg ISNA Mosque 995 Sydney Road, Coburg North Coburg Mosque (Fatih Mosque) 31 Nicholson Street, Coburg Ph 03 9386 5324 Deer Park Mosque 283 Station Road, Deer Park Ph 03 9310 8811 United Migrant Muslim Assn. 72 George Road, Doncaster Ph 03 9842 6491, Footscray West Mosque 294 Essex Street, Footscray Glenroy Musala 1st Floor, 92 Wheatsheaf Road, Glenroy Heidelberg Mosque Corner Lloyd & Elloits Streets, West Heidelberg Islamic College of Victoria (Mosque) 201 Sayers Road, Hoppers Crossing Ph 03 9369 6010 Huntingdale Mosque 320-324 Huntingdale Road, Huntingdale Ph 03 9543 8037 Al Nur Mosque 34-36 Studley Street, Maidstone Meadow Heights Mosque Hudson Circuit, Meadow Heights Springvale Mosque 68 Garnworthy Street, Springvale

EMERGENCY CONTACTS EMERGENCY CONTACTS Police, Fire & Abulance ........................ 000 Victoria State Emergency Service (SES)....................................... 132 500 Traffic hazards and freeway conditions.......................... 13 11 70 Gas escape........................................... 132 771 Poisons information........................ 13 11 26 Maternal and Child Line................ 13 22 29 Parentline........................................... 13 22 89 Kids Help Line......................... 1800 551 800 Lifeline (provides confidential telephone counselling)................. 13 11 14 Suicide Help Line.................... 1300 651 251 Animal Emergencies.................. 9224 2222

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HIGH COMMISSION FOR PAKISTAN,CANBERRA 4 Timbarra Crescent, O’Malley ACT 2606 (Australia), Tel: 61-2-62901676, 61-2-62901676, 62902769, 62901879 & 62901031, Fax: 61-262901073 Email: parepcanberra@internode. on.net, Postal Address: PO Box 684, Mawson ACT 2607 (Australia)

Sri Lanka Consulate 32A Brunswick Street ,Walkerville 5081 Melbourne , Phone: 9898-6760, 9248-1228 Email: rodney@techno.net.au

Bangladesh High Commission, Canberra 43, Culgoa Circuit, O’Malley, ACT-2606 Canberra, Australia, Ph: (61-2) 6290-0511, (612) 6290-0522, (61-2)6290-0533 (Auto hunting). Fax : (61-2) 6290-0544 E-Mail :hoc@bhcanberra.com Consulate of Nepal, Melbourne Email: cyonzon@nepalconsulate.net.au Level 7, 28-32 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Ph: (03) 9650 8338 Email: info@nepalconsulate.net.au SBS1 – Daily NDTV News - 11 am - Monday to Saturday. (From New Delhi, India).

TV News/programs Hindi News Urdu news SBS1 - PTV News – 9.30 am - Every Sunday – (From Pakistan). Readymades Roshan’s Fashions 68-71 Foster Street, Dandenong, Vic 3175 Ph: (03) 9792 5688 Raj Rani Creations 83-A Foster Street, Dandenong, Vic 3175 Ph: (03) 9794 9398 Heritage India 54-56 Foster Street, Dandenong, Vic 3175, Ph: (03) 9791 9227 Site: heritageindia.net.au

DVDs, Music CDs & Film Stuff Baba Home Entertainment 52C Foster St., Dandenong 3175, (03) 97067252 Essence of India 76 Foster St., Dandenong 3175 (03) 87744853; 0413707685 Accountants & Loans Deepak & Associates Suite 4 & 6, Bldg.6, Hamilton Place, Mont Waverley 3149, (03) 9807 5992; 0402459174; 0411733737


southSouth asia times 33 Asia Times

quick community guide

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contd from previous page All Banking Needs Rakesh Raizada Commonwealth Bank (Indian Banking) Ground Floor, 378 Burwood Highway Burwood East 3151 Mobile: 0434470095 Email: rakesh.raizada@cba.com.au Immigration iVisa Consulting Level 5, 45 William St. Melb. Mobile: 0409504094 www.ivisaconsulting.com.au 1st Migration PL, Suite 110, Level 1, 672 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn Vic 3122 Travel Agents Gaura Travels 1300 FLY INDIA or 1300 359 463 info@gauratravel.com.au Supa Cheap Travel 381 Burwood Road, Hawthorn 3122 Ph: (03) 98194656; Mobile: 0420201155 info@supacheaptravel.com.au www.supacheaptravel.com.au Mann Travel 329 Clayton Road, Clayton 3168 info@manntravel.com.au www.manntravel.com.au Travel House 284 Clayton Road, Clayton 3168 Ph: (03) 95435123, Mobile: 0425803071 mail@travelhouse.com.au Solicitors/Barristors Vernon Da Gama & Associates 28 Fromer St. Beltleigh 3204 Ph: (03) 95038046; Fax: (03) 95038047 Mobile: 0401407280/042193100 Email: vernondagama@msn.com

VIEW POINT

South Asia Times

ociinfo.inau@vfshelpline.com CONSULAR SERVICES (Passport, Visa, OCI, PIO & Miscellaneous) Please note that all these consular services are handled by VFS Global (Indian Passport and Visa Service Centre) The Consulate General of India in Melbourne will continue to provide to residents of Victoria and Tasmania the following consular services, for which applications would have to be lodged directly with the Consulate: Miscellaneous OCI Services • Miscellaneous Consular Services (such as attestation of documents, transfer of visas from old to new passport, affidavits, birth certificates, life certificates, certificate required to transport ashes or mortal remains to India etc) IMPORTANT: The Consulate does not accept credit cards, EFTPOS, personal cheques or company cheques. Please send only money orders or bank cheques with applications sent through the post. Cash payments are accepted only at the counter. WORKING HOURS General Working Hours 9.00 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, Consular Working Hours 09.30 am to 12.30 pm Monday to Friday, (except on public holidays observed by the consulate) International Students International Student Care Service (ISCS) www.multicultural.vic.gov.au/iscs Ph: 1800 056 449 Emergency Services Police, Fire, Ambulance............................000 Crime Stoppers......................1800 333 000 Property st Property PL, Suite 110, Level 1,672 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn Vic 3122

INDIAN CONSULATE (MELBOURNE) Address : 344, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia , P.O. Box No: 33247 Domain LPO Vic 3004 General phone: +61-3- 96827836 Fax No: + 61-3- 96968251 Web site: www.cgimelb.org PHONE NUMBERS Phone Number for General Consular Enquiries(operational only during Consular Working Hours i.e. 0930 hrs to 1230 hrs, Monday to Friday) For PCC and PCC and Driving License Verification enquiries 03- 96825800 02 8223 9908/ 1900 969 969 Email ID for General Consular Enquiries consular@cgimelb.org Visa enquiries: visainfo.inau@vfshelpline.com Passport/Police Clearance Certificate/ Driving License Enquiries passportinfo. inau@vfshelpline.com, OCI/PIO Enquiries

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south asia 34 South Asia Timestimes

business

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Mars latest to announce “No Deforestation” Palm Oil pledge W By Carey L. Biron

ASHINGTON, Mar 10 2014 (IPS) - The multinational food giant Mars, Inc. unveiled Monday a new set of guidelines aimed at ensuring that its palm oil supply lines are completely traceable and sustainable by next year. Global demand for palm oil has increased substantially in recent years, for use in both foods and household goods. Yet the industry, overwhelmingly centred in Malaysia and Indonesia, has been rife with environmental and labour problems. "This isn’t an activist-led commitment. They’re doing it because they want to do it." -- Bastien Sachet Recent months, however, have seen a cascade of major reform commitments from both palm oil suppliers and well-known consumer brands such as Mars. “Rapid expansion of palm oil plantations continues to threaten environmentally sensitive areas of tropical rainforest and carbon-rich peatlands, as well as the rights of communities that depend on them for their livelihoods,” Barry Parkin, chief sustainability officer at Mars, best known as the maker of M&Ms and other candies, said Monday. “We believe that these additional measures will not only help build a genuinely sustainable pipeline for Mars, but will also help accelerate change across the industry by encouraging our suppliers to only source from companies whose plantations and farms are responsibly run.” Under the new guidelines, Mars will require that all of its suppliers have in place sourcing plans that are both fully sustainable and fully traceable by the end of this year, to be implemented by the end of 2015. The company, headquartered just outside of Washington, is also instituting a “no deforestation” pledge for its palm oil supply as well as its sourcing of paper pulp, soy and beef. “Four years ago, Nestle decided to go for full traceability and no deforestation, but at the time that decision was seen as very niche because it was being pushed by environmental activists,” Bastien Sachet, director of the Forest Trust, a global watchdog group that focuses on responsible products and whose newest member is Mars, told IPS. “The great thing about Mars, particularly in their push against deforestation across commodities, is that this isn’t an activist-led commitment. They’re doing it because they want to do it, which means that they see what’s happening.” In this, Sachet refers to a growing trend from both palm oil supply companies and major consumer brands to recognise that previous industry certification efforts to clean up palm oil supply lines have been relatively ineffective. Ensuring the traceability of palm oil, on the other hand, turns this certification model upside-down.

“Over the last four years, the general public, industry and the brands have struggled to make progress on sustainability with the tool of certification. Meanwhile, we saw forests being trashed in Malaysia and Indonesia, a process that’s also beginning in Africa,” Sachet says. “But now they’re realising that certification is not the only way to go. Instead, we can get traceability first, figure out where it’s coming from and then figure out what’s happening around its production. Eventually we can incentivise those guys who are doing well with more market share – and penalise those that aren’t.” While much of the industry is currently based in Southeast Asia, many observers point to looming problems in Africa, where land is starting to be snapped up by speculators. Yet Sachet says the new policies being put in place by the global food industry could be laying the grounds for finding a balance between development and conservation throughout the palm oil industry.

Half the supply

A voluntary certification process for responsible palm oil production, known as the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), has been in effect for a decade, and most of the major users of palm products do abide by its guidelines. Yet it’s become increasingly clear that RSPO certification has been unable to halt the industry’s mass deforestation and destruction of endangered habitat. Mars’s Parkin notes that his company “recognised that even though we have already implemented a 100% certified supply of palm oil, this is not enough.” Other major brands have made similar realisations in recent months, including Unilever, Hershey, Kellogg and L’Oreal. Perhaps more critically, this trend has now included some of the largest global palm oil suppliers, including Wilmar (in December) and

Golden Agri Resources (GAR, just last week). Wilmar alone accounts for more than 40 percent of the global palm oil supply. Altogether, companies controlling a bit more than half of that supply have now committed to having their products be deforestation free by 2015. As recently as the middle of last year, that figure was zero. “There has been progress and I definitely think we’re on the right track, though there’s still a long way to go,” Calen May-Tobin, lead analyst for the TropicalForest and Climate Initiative at the Union of Concerned Scientists (USC), a watchdog group here, told IPS. “It’s also important to remember that these are still just public commitments. The action happens when these commitments get turned into policies and are actually implemented. Last week, UCS released a scorecard that rated palm oil-related sustainability progress by the packaged food, fast food and personal care industries. May-Tobin, who was a co-author on the new report, notes that much of the new public pressure has been aimed at the packaged-food companies. “On the one hand, it’s clear that when consumers speak up, these companies listen. On the other hand, I think the report’s major finding was how poorly the fast-food sector did,” May-Tobin says. “Further, there are still a number of other large traders that now need to follow Wilmar and GAR’s example. We think the consumer companies are equally key in helping drive the traders, as the average consumer doesn’t necessarily know who Bungee or Cargill is, but they know Hershey and Mars.” Advocacy groups are using the recent momentum to urge holdout companies to unveil their own commitments. Greenpeace, the group widely credited with pushing

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Global demand for palm oil has increased substantially in recent years, for use in both foods and household goods. Yet the industry, overwhelmingly centred in Malaysia and Indonesia, has been rife with environmental and labour problems. Nestle to make its landmark pledges in 2010, is currently focusing on the U.S. consumer-goods giant Procter & Gamble (P&G). “Mars joins a growing list of companies … that are finally promising forest-friendly products to their consumers. It shows that global public pressure is working, and is leaving P&G, which refuses to clean up their supply chains, increasingly isolated,” Areeba Hamid, forest campaigner at Greenpeace International, said Monday. “P&G is relying on a certification scheme that has failed to prevent rainforest destruction in the habitat of endangered orangutans, or help reduce man-made fires like the ones that covered Singapore in smog last summer. It’s time P&G finally becomes proud sponsors of rainforests and commits to No Deforestation.”


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Akshay Kumar’s flying visit to the set of ‘Holiday’ By Carey L. Biron

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une: Always the consummate professional, the super cool and talented Akshay Kumar recently undertook a mammoth feat to ensure he arrived on the set of his forthcoming film ‘Holiday’ on time. The action star and sports fanatic boarded a state-of-the-art chopper (helicopter) and then rode a customised motorbike to the awaiting production crew and his co-stars. The uber-busy Akshay was in the Maharashtra metropolis of Pune, where he was shooting for the film ‘Gabbar’, when he was called to Mumbai for the next day to complete a song sequence from his upcoming action-thriller movie ‘Holiday’. Not one to let time or tide stand in his way, the multi-

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tasking Akshay hopped straight aboard a chopper and then rode his motorbike from Mumbai Airport to the suburban studio in Bandra in order to reach the set by the next day afternoon. A source explained: ‘Akshay Kumar was supposed to reach the studio around 4pm and he reached there on time. The film’s director and his team were surprised to see him ride in on the bike. They expected him to get late as he was coming all the way from Pune. But the fact is that Akshay often takes his bike to reach shoots on time.’ The delectable Akshay then made it a trio of transport modes, as he left the Holiday set in a car! ‘Holiday: A Soldier Is Never Off Duty’ is an action thriller remake of the 2012 hit Tamil film Thuppakki and is written and directed by A.R. Murugadoss (Thuppakki, Ghajini). It features a stellar cast, including Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha in the lead roles and veteran actor Govinda in a supporting role. The film is scheduled to release on 6th June 2014 internationally by Reliance Entertainment. Source: Sterling Media


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Clinical Sri Lanka canters to Asia Cup title

By our business reporter

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ess than a fortnight ago, the Asia Cup got underway with Lahiru Thirimanne hitting a century and Lasith Malinga taking a five-wicket haul in a Sri Lankan win over Pakistan. On Saturday (March 8), the tournament ended with a nice touch of symmetry as the same actors reprised their roles with the same result. Malinga’s 5 for 56 ensured Pakistan was kept to a manageable total, after which Thirimanne stroked 101 in 108 balls to lead his side’s charge towards its fifth Asia Cup title – tying for the record of most trophies in the tournament with India. It also meant Sri Lanka maintained its spotless record in the tournament as well as in Bangladesh since late January, completing a five-wicket win in just 46.2 overs with clinical domination. Fawad Alam’s century had headlined Pakistan’s 260 for 5 at Sher-e-Bangla stadium, but Sri Lanka’s response was in keeping with how its stay in in Bangladesh had gone: finding the right men for the occasion, efficiently cutting down on its own mistakes and maximising on its opponents’, and emerging winners at the end. Fittingly, Angelo Mathews, the captain, struck the winning runs, flicking Mohammad Talha to square leg. The title-run marked a nice turnaround from the previous edition in 2012, when Sri Lanka stumbled from one defeat to the next before crashing out winless. Thirimanne was Sri Lanka’s man for the chase and he received excellent support from Mahela Jayawardene, who had endured a poor tournament till that point. Jayawardene found himself warming to the big stage once again with a 75 (93 balls) of his own during a 156-run stand for the third wicket. In Sri Lanka’s chase, Saeed Ajmal bowled with loop, guile, turn and the highest craft that could be expected from a spinner, taking 3 for 26 in what was virtually a one-man bowling resistance. Ajmal’s double strike in the 11th over of the chase, accounting for

a rapid Kusal Perera for 42 and Kumar Sangakkara for a first-ball duck, had breathed life into the contest, and left Sri Lanka 56 for 2 after a quick start. But that was the last time Pakistan was in it. Ajmal did strike in his final over, the 45th of the innings, castling Thirimanne with a beauty, but by then only 14 were required from 35 balls. During the stand that mattered, Thirimanne and Jayawardene made good use of a generous helping of hit-me balls, but in spite of the deliveries bowled on the legs and those that gave the batsmen either enough time or room or both, their skill and character in what could have been a challenging chase was vastly impressive. Thirimanne was superb square of the wicket on either side, flicking and cutting with elegance. He had played second fiddle in the opening stand with Kusal, but had looked far more assured, with nary a wrong shot. The only bowler who had to be negotiated very carefully was Ajmal, and Thirimanne proved equal to the task. Of the others, he was alert enough to keep out the

occasional good delivery while capitalising when lines went astray. The one time he erred, he was let off, with Umar Akmal slow to react to a thick edge off Shahid Afridi when the batsman was on 36 in the 20th over, with the team score just past 100. At the other end, Jayawardene was no different. In spite of coming in on the back of low scores, Jayawardene didn’t hang about spending too long on getting his eye in. Mathews had stressed on how Jayawardene was a “bigmatch player” and his run of low scores weren’t a worry, and Jayawardene set out to prove his captain right. He brought up a first fifty in 13 innings, finessing a cut to the point boundary off Umar Gul. Off the next ball, he was put down in the deep by a diving Mohammad Hafeez but, by then, with Sri Lanka 184 for 2 and needing 77 off 101 balls, the chase was motoring along. Jayawardene was out to a cross-batted shot that was out of character, but at 212 for 3 in 37.2 overs, the fielding side’s shoulders were already beginning to droop, and not even the couple of wickets they got

towards the end could alter the result. There was no suggestion of a droop at the innings break though, when Alam’s unbeaten 114 (134 balls) had held the innings together. Alam and Misbah-ul-Haq joined forces at a perilous 18 for 3 in the fifth over, and resurrected the innings from there. The start was down to Malinga striking once in each of his first three overs, taking out Sharjeel Khan, Ahmed Shehzad and Hafeez. He would come back to snare Misbah and break a 122-run stand, and finish with the wicket of Umar in the final over to complete a second five-for in the tournament. After Malinga’s initial strikes, Misbah and Alam rebuilt carefully, calibrating their acceleration for later after first stabilising the innings. The fourthwicket stand was well past a hundred when Malinga was brought back in the 37th over, and he made an immediate breakthrough, Misbah holing out to longon. The Pakistan captain was disappointed with himself, feeling perhaps rightly that his wicket hadn’t

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been earned, but could only walk back for 65 off 98, leaving his side 140 for 4. It was the perfect time for Umar to walk in, and he didn’t hang about. He kept busy with the singles and occasional boundaries, and exploded in the final few overs, with Alam joining in. On 94, Alam flicked a full ball on the leg stump over midwicket to become the first left-hand middle-order batsman to hit a century for Pakistan in ODIs, much to his and Umar’s delight. Umar himself seemed more pleased than Alam at the achievement, adding to the revelry of a crowd that came out in large numbers. Umar’s 59 off 42 was the spunkiest innings among the Pakistan batsmen, full of superbly timed shots. The duo put on 115 in just 13 overs before Umar fell to Malinga, providing exhilarating entertainment in the death overs, as 49 came off the final four. The finish was good, but against a side that didn’t lose control of the chase from the start, it eventually turned out to be too little, too late. Source: ICC, 8 March, 2014


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Sat march issue 2014