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Subcontinent 21

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Spiritual Awareness 30

NEW YORK EDITION Vol.4 No.39 January 21-27, 2012 60 Cents 1 million sign petition to recall Wisconsin Governor

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Priyanka Gandhi ready to play bigger role in Congress India, Page 12

Yoko Ono ’s peace through art mission to India Art & Fashion, Page 15

India to invest $35 billion to stimulate economy New Delhi: India is to launch a $35bn wave of public sector investment to reverse a decline in the fast-growing economy’s growth rate and return it closer to double digits, according to the prime minister’s office. The emergency stimulus measures are a strong response to widespread criticism of policy paralysis in New Delhi and a dramatic fall in economic growth to 7 per cent from an earlier 9 per cent. The Manmohan Singh government has ordered 17 state-owned companies to use reserves money to invest in a mix of infrastructure projects and overseas energy purchases, reported Financial Times in an exclusive. “They are sitting on piles of cash,” said Bollywood heavyweights party with Oprah Bollywood, Page 16

Romney riches new hurdle in his path to nomination

17 state-owned companies such as ONGC and Coal India to use reserves to invest in infrastructure projects and overseas energy purchases. one official of the urgent need to trigger a mobilization of currently “inactive” resources to boost confidence in the economy, and promote India’s energy security. The move also strives to prompt privatesector companies – which have expressed reservations about investing in the domestic Continued on page 4

Washington DC: With a fortune that may run into a quarter of a billion dollars, Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest men to ever run for president. But currently his reluctance to reveal all about his riches and tax returns is proving a millstone around his

Riveting battles for the ballot in 5 Indian states New Delhi: The only certainty about the polls in five Indian states to be conducted over more than a month starting Jan 28 is that they will be fair and free—and riveting. Anti-incumbency factor in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, for example, will ensure ding-dong ballot battles. The results may also throw up pointers as to how much the corruption scandals and the protracted Lokpal Bill impasse of the last one year damaged the image of the ruling Congress party at the Center. The impartial Election Commission has ordered Mayawati's statues and her election symbol of elephants carved out of stone covered and at the same time, it has hot down Congress' pro-Muslim sops. The most crucial of the middle India states, Uttar Pradesh, will see a battle between the two old regional adversaries, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), while Congress and the BJP watch from the sidelines. The anti-incumbency factor, which led to the SP's ouster in 2007, may be felt by the BSP this time, largely because of its neglect of significant development proj

The Election Commission has ordered Mayawati’s ubiquitous statues covered in the run up to election in Uttar Pradesh. Continued on page 4 Read more election news on page 12

Perry endorsing Gingrich dulls Santorum’s Iowa win neck. Republican rivals’ vehement attacks over his career in the leveraged buyout business and the shrouded wealth now pose a major political risk on his march to GOP Continued on page 4

Dr Kaushik bestowed highest award for overseas Indians Jaipur: Dr. Surendra Kumar Kaushik, a New Yorker known for setting up a women’s college in his native Rajasthan, was presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award at PBD Jaipur on Jan 9 by President Pratibha Patil. He was one of only two Indian Americans and 14 eminent overseas Indians to receive the highest award for NRIs and PIOs. The award citation commended his contributions in the field of economics and for enhancing the Indian community’s stature abroad. Dr Kaushik, 67, a B.S. in commerce from the University of Rajasthan and a Ph.D. in economics from Boston University, is a professor of finance at Pace University in New York City and

Dr. Surendra K. Kaushik receiving the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award at PBD Jaipur from President Pratibha Patil. Westchester, NY. He married Helena Pokornicki, a health professional, in 1944. She suffered a debilitating stroke in January 1991 and is cared for by Dr. Kaushik since then. He Continued on page 4

Tristate Community


January 21-27, 2012

Another Indian American lands in insider trading net New York: Sandeep Goyal, a junior research analyst at the Manhattan office of Neuberger Berman, an investment management firm, was charged on Wednesday with insiders trading along with six others. He joins a growing group of Indian-origin professionals accused of such crimes recently. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged Goyal and others with profiting $78 million using insider trading information on Dell and Nvidia. Goyal, 39, who has pleaded guilty and is cooperating with the government, faces a maximum statutory prison sentence of 25 years. Goyal, a former employee of Dell, used old contacts there to access information not available in public

Preet S. Bharara, who brought the charges, exposing the latest insider trading ‘circle of friends’ including Sandeep Goyal, a Manhattan analyst.

John Liu blows up $190,000 in campaign cash on fundraising probe defense New York: Beleaguered New York City Comptroller John Liu spent nearly $190,000 in campaign funds in the last six months to cover expenses related to investigations into his fund-raising, new city filings show. During that period, Liu raked in $516,000 in contributions for his mayoral war chest — the lowest amount out of all the presumptive candidates who have so far filed with the city. This, political pundits have opined, combined with his taint on fundraising, virtually takes him out of the race for city mayor to replce Micahel Bloomberg next year. Public Advocate Bill de Blasio raised nearly twice what Liu took in with $1 million, according to his filings. The hefty haul put him ahead of other candidates for the period. His

campaign earned an additional $300,000 over the last filing period. But de Blasio’s total $1,598,950 cash on hand is far behind City Council Speaker Christine Quinn’s $4.56 million. Quinn and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer both banked $550,000 during the latest cycle, filings show. Liu’s campaign financing is the subject of a federal criminal investigation. The Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office charged Liu fund-raiser Oliver Pan with laundering money for the comptroller’s political war chest. The feds alleged Pan accepted a $15,200 contribution from an undercover agent and then broke the money into 19 chunks of $800 each to evade the city’s limit on donations.

domain, the SEC said. And he sold it to a ‘circle of friends’ at two hedge funds , Level Global Investors and Diamondback. Preet S. Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan who brought the charges, said at a news conference, “It was a club where everyone scratched everyone else’s back.” Goyal didn’t make very much — $175,000 from Diamondback for “consulting work”— compared to the millions made by Indian-origin professionals accused or convicted on insider trading in the US recently. In the Galleon case, Anil Kumar and Rajiv Goel were both said to have made millions, while working with Sri Lankan-born Galleon boss

Raj Rajaratnam. Level Global Investors, one of the two hedge funds named now, made $53 million of the said profits, the government said. Level Global is the most prominent hedge fund touched by the government’s insider trading prosecutions since the Galleon Group closed after the arrest of its co-founder, Raj Rajaratnam. More than a year ago, the government raided a series of hedge funds. Federal agent stormed the offices of Level Global, Diamondback Capital Management and two others in November 2010 to retrieve documents and other materials. Months after the November raid, Level Global closed.

Celebrity Cricket League Season 2 on TV here

New York: Uniting India's biggest passions cricket and movies, Celebrity Cricket League Season 2 is here, running from Jan 19 to Feb 15. Bollywood superstar Salman Khan and numerous other actors, Telugu heavyweight Venkatesh, Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, Tamil heartthrob Suriya, and Kannada hero Sudeep are all vying for the trophy in this extravaganza. After a glamorous opening in Sharjah, the tournament goes to 6 Indian metros culminating in a final in Hyderabad on Feb 12. Six teams will play a total of 18 matches. Dish Satellite is supporting the Games by providing all its subscribers in any pack and a la carte the following special offer: Watch lim-

Salman Khan’s Mumbai Heroes tasted their first victory against the Chennai team in Sharjah in CCL II. ited time FREE preview only on TV Asia (Ch: 788) on Dish Network. TV Asia will also telecast the matches.

Late News

Zardari has immunity, Gilani tells court, appearing in person Islamabad: Embattled Yousuf Raza Gilani Thursday made a rare personal appearance for a Pakistani prime minister in the Supreme Court here and stepped forth in defense of President Asif Ali Zardari, accused of corruption during his wife Benazir Bhutto's two stints as the premier. Hauled up by the Supreme Court for not initiating action against Zardari, Gilani told a 7-member bench during his seven-minute submission that the constitution provides immunity to the president. A large number of ruling Pakistan Peoples Party supporters shouted slogans outside. The case will now be heard Feb 1, giving a breathing time to the 59-year-old prime minister who faces contempt charge from the apex court and has also run foul of the

powerful army after sacking Lt. Gen. (retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi as defense secretary. Lodhi was seen to be clos0e to army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. The "emerging political developments" -a reference to the simmering confrontation between the army and the democratically elected government, and a new folding tussle between the apex court and the Gilani regime -- Thursday made former president Pervez Musharraf, who was to return to Pakistan by January-end, to postpone his arrival home. There was high drama as Gilani himself drove down to the court, and was mobbed by boisterous activists of the PPP. Gilani was on the defensive before the judges, who had Jan 16 issued him a con-

tempt notice for failing to take legal action against Zardari despite the court's directive, insisting he would never even dream of challenging a judicial fiat. Outside, he looked confident as he waved to supporters, both while entering the court and later. Justice Asif Saeed Khosa said Thursday was a great day for Pakistan. Gilani told the bench: "It will not give a good message to proceed against a president who is elected by a two-thirds majority." "I have discussed this with my friends and experts, and they agree he has got complete immunity," the daily Dawn quoted him as saying. Prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani before his court appearance in Islamabad.


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January 21-27, 2012

Rushdie no-show will put spotlight on Oprah at Jaipur litfest By Prakash Bhandari/SATimes Jaipur: Avoiding any categorical statement, the organizers of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), have announced that the invitation extended to controversial author Salman Rushdie stands. Yet, they have withdrawn the schedule from the printed program which stated that Rushdie would participate in a discussion during the festival. Using diplomatic language, the coproducer of the festival, Sanjay Roy said that the invitation to Rushdie still

stands. The invitation created ripples in the Rajasthan government following protests against the author by several Muslim organizations. Roy and his team members, notably author Namita Gokhale, met the local leaders and heard them out. It is learnt that they assured Muslim organizations that Rushdie would not attend the festival and they should not hold any demonstration. The Rajasthan government had also counseled against participation of Mumbai raised Rushdie. Rushdie, along with authors Rita

India to Invest Story Continued from page 1 market – to follow suit. But some observers have criticized the move as a throwback to the “old formula” of the 1970s when Mrs Indira Gandhi used public infrastructure spending to boost growth. India’s top policymakers are worried about the economy’s loss of momentum, and ebbing business confidence after a dismal year characterized by political bickering, high profile corruption scandals and an exit of foreign capital. Companies such as the ONGC, Coal India and the National Mineral Development Corporation, have signed agreements to spend as much as $35bn of their cash or bank balances over the fiscal year starting in April to expand their operations. The sum is almost twice the $19bn foreign direct investment into India in 2011. Among the proposed measures, Coal India, which had a successful initial public offering last year has been asked to “actively consider investment” in allied sectors such as road, railways, waterways and power to improve the transport of coal. Fast-tracked investments, mainly in the coal and oil sectors, will be monitored quarterly by the prime minister’s office to prevent backsliding. Of the total, Rs400bn ($7bn) has been identified for investments overseas to buy assets like coal, gas and oil. ONGC has undertaken to spend Rs205bn in foreign investment in the coming fiscal year; Coal India has agreed to

Kothari and Tarun Tejpal, was slated to discuss on January 21, the second day of the festival, the nuances of English with noted writer Ira Pande on the topic 'Inglish, Amlish, Hinglish: The “chutnification” of English'. He was to participate in two other sessions. The Muslim organizations said that Rushdie through his writings had annoyed religious sentiments of the Muslims and demanded that he should not be allowed to visit India from America, where he lives. Rushdie had a fatwa against him

Rs60bn. The move by the Singh administration also reflects India’s determination to push for higher growth in spite of uncertainty surrounding the global economic recovery and renewed anxiety about the performance of Eurozone economies Romney Story, Continued from page 1 nomination for President. More bad news for Romney: Newt Gingrich, buoyed by endorsement from Rick Perry who ended his own campaign, was closing the lead Romney held in South Carolina primary. And certified results from Iowa caucuses Thursday morning showed Rick Santorum leading Romney by 34 votes, a reversal from the eightvote edge for Romney on caucus night. Romney’s finances are complex and farflung. He and his wife, Ann, have reported holdings in dozens of publicly traded companies, mutual funds and high-end investment partnerships, with much of their family wealth held in blind trusts that conceal their full size from public view. And Romney’s disclosure on Tuesday that he pays an effective tax rate of about 15 percent on his income focused new attention on some aspects of his finances, including his millions of dollars in donations to the Mormon Church and his continuing compensation from Bain Capital, the private equity firm he left more than a decade ago. In the debate on Thursday in Charleston, SC, before the South Carolina primary, Romney’s opponents were expected to keep demanding he release his tax returns before their party

since 1989 after the publication of 'The Satanic Verses'. He had participated in the JLF in 2007 but there were no protests then. The fatwa was eased in 1998, but not withdrawn when the Iran government said it had no intention to enforce it. However, if Rushdie is a no-show, the spotlight at the Jaipur festival will be on the US talk queen Oprah Winfrey who would participate in an interview with TV journalist Barkha Dutt Jan 22. She is coming to town for the shooting of her program "Next Chapter" at the City Palace.

picks a nominee, while Democrats, previewing likely attacks in a general election campaign, accused Romney of having something to hide. “We can’t fire our nominee in September,” Gov. Rick Perry of Texas said on Wednesday on “Fox and Friends.” “If we’ve got a flawed candidate going forward who’s going to get eaten alive either because of business practices or because of the taxes and the system that’s set up, we need to talk about it now.” Romney aides said privately, reported New York Times, that they were prepared for the attacks on Romney’s wealth, which they believe will backfire, aligning Romney’s critics with liberals and rallying more Republicans to his side. Yet, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, one of his top supporters, said Wednesday morning that Romney should make the returns public “sooner rather than later.” Romney has not pledged to release past returns, and the one he has suggested he would release, in April, is a work in progress. At the end of last year, he could have arranged to have some of his compensation deferred. Dr Kaushik Story, Continued from page 1 established Helena Kaushik Women’s Postgraduate College in 1999 in his native village Malsisar, district Jhunjhunu, where there was no college in a 35-km radius, let alone a women’s college. It is a fully accredited college in the University of Rajasthan system. It does not charge tuition because of generally low incomes of area residents and is financed from

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There is a special emphasis on the Bhakti and Sufi poets who illumined the literature of the medieval South Asia from Kabir and Meera Bai to Rumi and Shams Tabrizi. Like the indomitable crowds of the Arab Spring, the poet saints reached for social justice and the dignity of an individual. With its 22 schedules languages,122 regional languages, four classical languages and hundreds of mother tongues and countless dialects, India exists in a ongoing state of translation.

American private donations from individuals and foundations. Dr. Kaushik has received numerous honors including a Legislative Resolution in April 2009 in The New York State Assembly lauding the Helena Kaushik College on its 10th Anniversary and the New Jersey General Assembly the following year. He has numerous publications – books, edited books, articles in finance and economics to his credit over the last 40 years. The other Indian American to receive the prestigious award at PBD 2012 was Kalpalatha Kummamuri Guntupalli, MD, cited for her contributions in the field of medicine and public service. She is a pulmonologist practicing in Houston. India elections Story Continued from page 1 ects. If the Congress does better than before in UP, it will help the ascent of party's heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi, who is expected to be the party’s choice for prime minister in 2014. The anti-incumbency is likely to unsettle the Akali Dal in Punjab, which has tended to vote for the Akalis and the Congress in alternate elections. The Congress' hopes of staging a comeback have been buoyed by its success in the 2009 parliamentary polls, when it won eight of the 13 seats while the Akalis won four. Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa are the three other states going to the polls. Elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh will be announced later this year.

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Tristate Community

January 21-27, 2012

Plans afoot for grand Republic Day celebration in NJ Edison, NJ: Demonstrating a united face prominent Indian American organizations have a decided to jointly celebrate India’s Republic Day on January 28, 2012. “We want to teach the younger generation about the strength of our motherland,” said Atma Singh, president of Indian Congress Party, USA, a social outfit claiming allegiance to the ruling Congress Party of India. “The younger generation of Indian Americans who were born and raised in USA knows very little about India and its constitutional structure.” The event will begin at 11 am and continue for four hours during which Middle and High


School students will be engaged in varieties of thematic activities based on India’s federal structure, its constitution and its history. The event will take place at Royal Albert’s Palace in Fords, NJ. Atma Singh said that leading community leaders with roots in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have been invited to participate in the celebration. “Leading entrepreneurs and professionals from different fields of activities will share the same platform in the honor of the world’s greatest democracy,” he commented.

India hands $ 1 million check to UN Women

Now Hindi course for high school students at Bensalem School District Bensalem, PA: Bensalem Township, located on the outskirts of Philadelphia has become the first school district in the state to teach Hindi in its High School beginning September 2012. The School Board of Bensalem Township, in its meeting on January 11, 2012, unanimously adopted a resolution to introduce Hindi curriculum for High School students. The decision came after a series of promotional efforts made by Yuva Hindi Sansthan, a non-profit educational and cultural institution and supported by local Indian population. “We are very happy that the school board has accepted the long term demand of our community,” said Yagnesh Choksi, one of the directors of the school board. “We consistently made efforts to introduce Hindi so that our children grow up with knowledge of the national language of India.” The board’s decision was made in the presence of dozens of Indian American

Ambassador H S Puri handing over the check to Dr Michele Bachelet, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women

Dr. Surendra Gambhir, chairman, YHS addressed the Bensalem Township School Board meeting held on January 11, when the board adopted a resolution to launch Hindi curriculum in its High School. (photo by Ashok Ojha) community members and Bensalem Ashok Ojha, YHS office bearers of Yuva Hindi president offered full support Sansthan. Dr. (Mrs.) Heather and help of his organization. Nicholas, president of Dr. David Baugh, Bensalem School Board, sup- Superintendent of Bensalem ported the need of diverse School District, expressed his population of Bensalem confidence that High School Township that comprised of a students in his district will variety of ethnic and cultural take advantage of the ‘Hindi groups. “We are confident 1’ course that will be offered that Hindi learning will open for the first time. up new opportunities to About ten percent of familiarize our students about Bensalem Township, which Indian culture,” she said. has a population of more than Promising to provide edu- 60,000, comprise of people of cational resources for jump Indian origin, mostly from the starting a Hindi curriculum at state of Gujarat.

Woman delivers 'Jhatpat' on PATH train New York: An Indian-origin woman gave birth to her first child during the train ride from New Jersey to New York, in what would be her most unforgettable journey. At first, Rabita Sarker, 31, of New Jersey said she thought she was experiencing false labor pains as she boarded the train run by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in Jersey City. But as the Manhattan bound train entered New York, Sarker knew her baby could not wait any longer. As she went into labor, few passengers helped her panicked husband deliver the baby boy they nicknamed "Jhatpat" - the Hindi word for "fast", a report in the New York Daily News said. "He decided to come and that was it. Nothing could stop him. Nothing could keep him inside for longer," the report quoted Sarker as saying. She was later admitted to a New York hospital. "I don't think anybody could actually

The Sarker couple with the new bundle of joy dream of such a delivery," she added. Sarker and her 30-year-old husband, Aditya Saurabh, were already on their way to the hospital for a medical check-up. "We were coming here to check if it was false labor or not," she said. "I was like, 'Okay, I'm just doing it for peace of mind'". Wanting to avoid the always-crowded Lincoln Tunnel, they decided to take the commuter train 'PATH' that runs from New Jersey to New York.

United Nations: Ambassador H S Puri, Permanent Representative of India to the UN Jan 12 handed over a check of US$ 1 million towards Government of India’s contribution to the core voluntary budget of UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women). This contribution constitutes the second installment of India’s multi-year pledge to provide five million US dollars as core predictable funding to UN Women’s

resources.The check was received on behalf of UN Women by Dr Michele Bachelet, Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women. On this occasion, Ambassador Puri also reaffirmed the Government of India’s steadfast commitment to the goals of gender equality, the empowerment of women and gender mainstreaming enshrined in the mandate of UN Women.India is currently one of the members of the Executive Board of the UN Women.


Tristate Community

January 21-27, 2012

AVG celebrates holiday season with Vedanta Retreat By Nupur Joshi/SATimes Pennsylvania: For a number of Hindus across the country, the arrival of the holiday season does not imply the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ only. Each year, members of the Arsha Vidya Gurukulam (AVG), located in Saylorsburg, PA, look forward to attending a year-end Vedanta Retreat to enrich their minds and souls. On December 23, 2011, AVG held a retreat focusing on Sundara Kandam and Narada Bhakti Sutra of the Valmiki Ramayana. Adult lectures were led by Swami Tattvavidananda, student of Swami Dayanada Saraswati, while youth members attended a variety of

Savithri Mani, Cultural Program Coordinator, with kids classes including yoga, Sanskrit, Though Christmas is largely a Vedanta, chanting, and Tae Kwon Christian holiday, it did not go Do, with multiple teachers. uncelebrated at the Gurukulam.

Long Island Council of Churches receives a $20,000 grant to serve poor Hempstead: The Nassau County Bar Association’s charitable arm, the WE CARE Advisory Board, awarded the Long Island Council of Churches a $20,000 grant to help the LICC feed individuals and families in crisis and provide other essential social services for poverty-stricken residents in Nassau County. The LICC, region’s largest ecumenical and interfaith organization, operates an emergency food center located at 450 North Main Street in Freeport, and provides food and other social services from its Hempstead office. "We are delighted and pro-

foundly grateful for WE CARE’s latest grant,” said Rev. Tom Goodhue, the LICC’s Executive Director. “It was one of the largest they have given us. WE CARE’s support helps us to keep up with the ever growing number of our neighbors who are in need. Our Freeport Food Center, for example, fed 331 more seniors in 2011 than in 2010. Without WE CARE, we would not be able to feed all the families who depend on us to eat. We are profoundly grateful for the Nassau County Bar Association’s faithful support and compassion for the hungry Nassau residents we feed.”

Because AVG holds religious tolerance and knowledge in such high respect, youth members were encouraged to sing Christmas carols and create their own renditions. Along with these classes and performances, youth members also worked with AVG faculty through the week to present a Cultural Program on December 30. The program consisted of several skits, dances and musical performances by children up to the age of 18. With only two days left, the retreat was far from over. The following day began with a Lord Dakshinamurthi Mula Mantra Japam. That night, youth members came together to produce a Talent Show, independent of the faculty’s help. Presentations ranged from

skits to mridangam performances, Kathak to Bharata Natyam dance performances and Hindustani to Carnatic classical vocal performances. Later, in order to induct the New Year, Swami Tattvavidananda and Swami Sarvabhutananda Sarasvathi gave lectures and performed prayers with the hundreds of attendees present in the temple. Meanwhile, Swami Dayananda Saraswati made a special appearance via webcam from India. Members of the Gurukulam were delighted to see his smiling face. The final day of the retreat comprised the New Year Puja. A vast number of members attended the event, hoping that 2012 would have an auspicious beginning.

Book launch of ‘Lives on the Brink’ Edison, NJ: The Asian Women's Safety Net has organized a luncheon to launch Anu Peshawaria's book: "Lives on the Brink" Bridging the Chasm between two great nations - India and the United States on Sunday, January 22, 2012 from 12:00 pm - 3:00 pm at Benihana Restaurant, 60 Parsonage Road here. Anu Peshawaria is the Legal Professional and

Advisor to C.C.A at the Embassy of India in Washington D.C., as well as the consulates in San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, and New York. Organizations present will have the opportunity to discuss important issues with Peshawaria and gain insight to the solutions and tools needed to further assist domestic violence victims.

Adnan Munawar appointed to Nassau County’s HRC New York: Adnan Munawar, a South Asian businessman and lawyer of Pakistani origin, has been appointed Administrative Law Judge of Human Rights Commission in Nassau County, New York. Currently a partner

at Munawar AndrewsSantillo & Weissman LLP, a plaintiff law firm based in New York City, providing legal services in all areas of personal injury, Munawar was appointed to the position at the end of last year.

As Administrative Law Judge he will be looking into cases of violation of human rights in Nassau County as and when referred to him by any of the 12 Commissions that overlook the cases initially.

Cardiologist Srinivas Murali named governor of ACCWP Pittsburgh, PA: Dr. Srinivas Murali, director of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and medical director, Cardiovascular Institute at West Penn Allegheny Health System, has been named governor of the American College of Cardiology for Western Pennsylvania. This appointment signifies the high regard in which Murali is held among his peers and colleagues, according to the ACC, which also noted the intense enthusiasm and strong character evident in Murali’s

willingness to serve the cardiology community of western Pennsylvania and the country in this capacity. Murali will serve a three-year term from 2013-2016. Murali is an internationally recognized physician in heart failure, cardiac transplantation, mechanical circulatory support and pulmonary hypertension. He is widely considered to be one of the country’s preeminent experts in these fields. The Indian American cardiologist graduated from the University of Madras and completed his residency

training in internal medicine at the Jewish Hospital and Medical Center in New York in 1983. After completing his cardiovascular fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh, he joined the faculty there in 1986. Murali was the medical director of the Cardiac Transplantation Program at the University of Pittsburgh from 1991 to 2002, and associate clinical director of the UPMC Cardiovascular Institute till 2005. He joined WPAHS in 2005 and is currently a professor of medicine at the Temple

University School of Medicine. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in the field of heart failure, pulmonary hypertension, mechanical circulatory support and cardiac transplantation. Murali has given over 100 presentations in national and international scientific meetings, and serves on several committees in the American College of Cardiology, International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, Pulmonary Hypertension Association and the Heart Failure Society of America.

Srinivas Murali

National Community


January 21-27, 2012

Indian-Americans in Atlanta take up guns in self-defence Washington, DC: Indians in the in a Georgian city in the US are learning to use firearms after a spate of violent home invasions and robberies in recent months. IndianAmericans living in Roswell, a suburb of northern Atlanta, are being helped by the local police in receiving gun training to help protect them from robberies. Over the weekend, community members gathered at a firing range, adding that the Roswell police has so far charged seven Colombian

nationals with home invasion. "This is my first time," Ashish Dhume was quoted as saying. C K Patel, former president of the National Federation of Indian Associations in the US, said, "We have reports that Indians were targeted in Atlanta. Indian businessmen and their establishments were being targeted." According to him, Indians are targeted because they keep jewelery at home. "There have been cases where they were robbed of

their jewelery immediately after they purchased it from a shop and were bringing it home." "Some of our friends actually got robbed. We don't want to be victimized when we are at home," he added. "I feel confident I can use the gun and protect myself," he said after receiving an hour-long training. "I just wanted to see what it feels like and learn some safety issues, more than anything else, just in case I get into a situation," Nivelle

US Senator upset over delay in FDI in Indian retail New Delhi: Influential US Senator and co-chair of the Senate's India Caucus Mark R Warner today expressed his disappointment over delay in India allowing foreign investment in multi-brand retail. "I am seriously concerned about delay in implementation of FDI in multi-brand retail," he said at CII Partnership Summit 2012 here. His comments come within days of US Trade Representative Ron Kirk postponing his visit to New Delhi - perceived to be conveying the US displeasure on India going slow in giving market access to the American companies, in areas like retail, insurance and banking. Warner is leading a Congressional delegation to India and meeting top government and business leaders in New Delhi, Jaipur, Hyderabad and Kolkata. The team is exploring opportunities to expand ties in areas of trade and defense between the two countries. Bowing to intense from Opposition parties and its own ally Trinamool Congress, the government suspended its decision to allow 51% foreign direct investment (FDI) in the multi-brand retail. However, the government has re-launched efforts

Senator Mark R Warner to achieve consensus among different stakeholders on the politically sensitive issue.

Bilimoria said. The community believes that Indian-Americans are being targeted because they follow the tradition of keeping gold in their homes. In fact, Indian-American communities in other parts of the US, like Virginia and New York, too have been target of robberies. But this is the first time that they are taking training in shooting as a self-defence measure. "Indians seem to be adverse,

probably culturally, but once you settle down in this country, you have got to adapt to the country," Dijjocam Raina was quoted as saying, adding that he had not held a gun in 20 years, but now he plans on buying one and keeping it close for safety. Local police conceded that the Indian-American community is being targeted by robbers who held them at gunpoint and snatched away their gold and other valuables.

India opens consulate in Atlanta for Southeast Atlanta: The government of India has opened a new consulate to serve the Southeast. Georgia governor Nathan Deal and Consul General of India in Atlanta Ajit Kumar Dec 29 announced the consulate's opening. In addition to Georgia, the office will serve the states of Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well as the US Virgin Islands and the US commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Kumar previously served as the Indian consul general in Frankfurt, Germany, and Durban, South Africa, and as ambassador of India to the Republic of Zimbabwe. In Atlanta, he will lead a team of 20 full-time employees. The consulate will serve the approximately 100,000 Indian Americans living in Georgia and

roughly 290,000 across the Southeast with services such as visas, passports and other documents. It also will help facilitate Georgia's surging business with India. Figures from the Georgia Department of Economic Development show that the state exported $562 million worth of goods to India in 2010. That was a 35% increase over 2009. Georgia is the 10th largest exporter to India among US states. "This marks a significant milestone in Georgia's international evolution," said Deal on making the announcement. "The Consulate General is the crowning symbol of the dynamic business and cultural connections India shares with our region and state."

Ro Khanna raises record money for Congressional bid Washington, DC: Indian-American attorney Ro Khanna, who served for two years in a senior position in the Obama Administration, has raised a record $1.2 million in one single quarter for his Congressional bid in 2014. The fund raising details of 35year-old Khanna were revealed in a report submitted by him to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) on January 9. One of the high ranking IndianAmericans under the Obama Administration, Khanna was Deputy Assistant Secretary for the US and Foreign Commercial Service, a unit of the International Trade Administration for two years till August 2011. He is currently Of Counsel at

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a Palo Alto based law firm where he specializes in intellectual property and clean technology law. "Unless I missed something in looking back through FEC records, I don't think any non-incumbent House candidate in the nation has raised more in his or her opening 'out-of-the-gate' campaign quarter in the past decade," wrote Josh Richman in san Jose Mercury News. "In fact, I see only two or three instances in which a non-incumbent House candidate raised more than that in any single quarter since 2000," Richman said. Interestingly, Khanna has not announced his constituency, but local media reported that he is eye-

ing District 15 of California which includes Fremont. Khanna's fund raisers have attracted top Democratic leaders including Nancy Pelosi, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and eminent Indian-Americans like venture capitalist Vinod Khosla. According to FEC filing, some of the top donors include Google investor Ram Shriram, Tibco founder Vivek Ranadive, Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen, entrepreneurs Talat and Kamil Hasan, venture capitalist Yogen Dalal, and political activist Shefali Razdan Duggal. "I am most excited by the ideas and energy brought to our campaign by some of our nation's greatest innovators such as Reid Hoffman,

Ro Khanna Marc Andreessen, and Peter Thiel," America needs to create an ecosysKhanna was quoted as saying. tem for innovation in the 21st centu"I learned a lot about what ry," he said.


National Community

January 21-27, 2012

Subrata De named EP of Andrea Mitchell show New York: Subrata De, a senior producer on “NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams,” has been named EP of MSNBC’s “Andrea Mitchell Reports.” De has been with NBC News since 1998 and for the last several years as been Williams’ lead producer, traveling with him across the country and around the world. In a note to staff, MSNBC executive editor Yvette Miley writes, “It is truly an amazing time for MSNBC to have a tremendous journalist with such an outstanding background join our team.” De takes over for Jennifer Suozzo who has been named senior broadcast producer of “NBC Nightly News” weekend editions. In her note, after the jump, Miley points out “Andrea Mitchell Reports” is MSNBC dayside’s longest running show. De was working with NBC Nightly News as senior producer, working primarily with anchor and managing editor, Brian Williams. In that role, she oversaw stories and remotes from over 20 countries, including Iraq, Iran, Haiti and Afghanistan. She has traveled with Williams on nearly every major news event since he became anchor in 2004, taking Nightly News to New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to Cairo at the height of the uprising in Tahrir

Subrata De with Brian Williams Square. De was also lead producer on the anchor’s many presidential interviews, including six with President Obama. In addition to her work at Nightly, she was senior producer for Brian Williams Reports “Taking the Hill: Inside Congress” and “Inside the Obama White House.” She began her career with NBC News in 1998 as a field producer for Dateline. She’s the recipient of many industry awards, including two DuPont’s, 4 Emmy’s, the RFK Journalism Award and a Gracie for Individual Achievement. De will lead both NY and DC based members of the “Andrea Mitchell Reports” team.

Jessi Kaur takes message of compassion from books to stage California: A Cupertino author is taking her writings on the importance of tolerance and compassion from print to the stage. Jessi Kaur is turning her 2009 book The Royal Falcon into a stage musical that is set to debut in the Bay Area this month. The play, much like the book, tells the story of Arjan, a young boy who is taken on a fantastical journey through time by a falcon that teaches him the importance of certain virtues. "The message is to practice kindness, compassion and forgiveness. We're all part of one big large family sharing the same planet," Kaur says. "My life's goal is to give this message in as many ways as I can." The narrative is centered around a wartime episode from Indian history, where a water-bearer named Bhai Kanhaiya engages in acts of compassion during a time of conflict. Despite the cultural backdrop, Kaur says this play is not just a play about Sikhs or Indians. The cast of the musical is multicultural, and the lyrics of the songs are based on verses from Sri Guru Granth Sahib, a scripture that Kuar says upholds the unity of mankind, celebrates diversity and demands respect and dignity for all. "This is a universal message," she said. "I did not want it to be just for the Indian or Sikh community." The young cast is multi-ethnic and features 16 children and four adults. Tanna and Tony Kienitz team to direct the production, while the original score was composed by Manesh Judge and Mike Anand. The songs and their accompanying choreography reflect

Jessi Kaur’s book The Royal Falcon is being adapted for stage several musical genres, including jazz, hiphop and even rap. Kaur worked with her directors and songwriters to tweak her original story into something ready for the stage. She estimates that about 20 percent of the book was reworked and enhanced so it could be better expressed on stage. Kaur, a member of the Cupertino Fine Arts Commission, is a frequent speaker at interfaith conferences and addressed the Parliament of the World's Religions held in Barcelona, Spain, in 2004.

A US delegation led by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius calls on the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, in New Delhi on January 11, 2012.

Indian-origin American gets bail in road accident case Mumbai: An Indian-origin American student was Wednesday granted bail by a court here in a road accident and drunk driving case in which his girlfriend was killed Dec 30 last year, police said. "We had arrested Viral Goradia, 27, Tuesday after he was discharged from hospital. He was produced in a local court here and was

granted bail for surety of Rs.15,000," said an official from Kherwadi police station. "We will file the charge sheet in the case in a few days," the official added. Goradia Dec 30 rammed his car into a road divider in Bandra in northwest Mumbai. He was travelling in the car along with his girlfriend Ankita Cheda, 24,

who was killed on the spot. Goradia, who was driving under the influence of alcohol, was also seriously injured. An MBA student from New York, he was booked under penal provisions for rash driving and causing death by negligence. He was also booked under provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act.

National Community

January 21-27, 2012

'More Indo-US collaboration will improve millions of lives' Madurai: Indo-US collaborations like the American Business Corner would make it easier for Indian companies to work with American companies, and in the process improve the lives of millions of people in the years to come, the United States Consul General, Chennai, Jennifer McIntyre , said here today. "Our two countries can only benefit from sharing our resources and expertise. Incredible growth has been happening in India’s Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities, like Madurai and these American Business Corners will make it easier for Indian companies to work with American companies," McIntyre said. The Consul General inaugurated the American Business Centre located at the Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry premises here. "Even more importantly, these types of

connections, in addition to continued hard work on the US-India relationship, will play a role in improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the years to come," she said. McIntyre said that over the past few decades, the Indo-US bilateral economic cooperation had resulted in dramatic increases in investment and trade. US-India foreign direct investment increased by nearly 165 per cent between 2005 and 2009, she said. US exports to India have quadrupled over this last decade, while Indian exports to the US have grown by 180 percent, McIntyre said. Adding that business-to-business engagement was at the "very forefront of relations" between two countries, she said the instructions from the US government was to continue to open doors for greater private sector engagement.

Kansas student wins ‘Who Wants to Be a Mathematician’ Boston: Shyam Narayanan, a freshman at Blue Valley West High School in Overland Park, Kansas, who discussed a math problem with President Barack Obama after winning the Mathcounts National Written Championship, won first prize in the third annual “Who Wants to Be a Mathematician” competition. In the national competition, held here Jan. 9, Narayanan competed against nine other contestants who were selected based on their scores on a qualifying test that was sent to schools nationwide. In addition to the win, the Indian American student has made history for the contest as he is the youngest person ever to qualify for the competition. Narayanan plans on using his $10,000 winnings to start a math club at his school. He will keep half and the school’s mathematics department will take the other half. Two other Indian Americans were among those who qualified for the contest, organized by the American Mathematical Society to reward strong math students. They are: Raj Raina, a sophomore at Novi High School in Missouri, who likes going on bus trips to participate in extracurricular activities. He had said earlier that if he won first prize, he would visit Egypt with his family. Rachit Singh, a sophomore at Pullman High School Central in Washington, was the other qualifying Indian American student, who loves to draw when he can find the time. He was a grand prize winner in the Avista Video Challenge. During the competition, students had to answer several multiple choice math ques-


4 arrested for murder of gas station clerk in NJ New Jersey: Police have arrested four people in connection with the shooting death of a gas station clerk during a robbery at BP station in Phillipsburg, N.J.Kismathdas Kasam, 47, who was shot during the Jan. 5 robbery, was remembered by family and friends at a candlelight vigil Jan. 15 at the Indian City restaurant in Phillipsburg. Kasam was shot in the leg during the robbery and died two days later at St. Luke's Hospital in Fountain Hill, Pa. On Jan. 12, Warren County Prosecutor Thomas S. Ferguson announced the arrests of Andy Torres, 22, Alexis Flowers, 21, and Zachary Flowers, 18, all of Allentown, Pa., and David Beagell, 21, of Blakeslee, Pa., in connection with the shooting, The Express Times reported. The suspects were charged with first-degree felony murder armed robbery and related offenses and sent to the Lehigh County Prison on $1 million bail each. According to the report, Alexis Flowers waived her extradition hearing Jan. 13; the three others were scheduled to have their

extradition hearings Jan. 17. Ferguson said the four planned the robbery and specifically targeted the BP station, which has been the site of many robberies. Torres and Zachary Flowers approached Kasam, demanding money at gunpoint, Ferguson said. "The gas station attendant cooperated but he was subsequently shot," he added. The prosecutor said Torres was believed to be the gunman and so he has been charged with an additional count of first-degree. "He's charged with murder because he intentionally and in a premeditated fashion, shot and killed the victim," Ferguson was quoted as saying. He said police received a tip from a friend of one of the suspects after Rajwant Gill, the owner of the BP station, announced a $3,000 reward for information about the killing. "One of the defendants had talked to a friend about what had happened," Ferguson was quoted as saying."That friend ... felt compelled to come to authorities. That started the train rolling, so to speak."

Naindeep Singh of the Jakara Movement receiving 2011 Youth Leadership Award at the SALDEF Annual Gala from Manjit Singh and Jaideep Singh.

Law Office of Bikram Singh & The Patel Law Firm Shyam Narayanan tions in a certain period of time, a challenge that 15-year-old Singh said he was ready for. “I should be fine,' Singh recently told the Associated Press at his home. “I love doing math.' He was not always a whiz with numbers, however. When he was in elementary school, Singh's mother said the boy's mind would wander whenever he sat down with a math textbook. It wasn't until seventh grade that he became more interested in the subject, but since then Singh has excelled in mathematics. He was one of 520 students to take the U.S. Junior Math Olympiad exam this year, placing among the top 14 high-scorers in the country.

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Rana Sodhi receiving 2011 Bhagat Singh Thind Community Empowerment Award at the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF) Annual Gala.

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US Affairs

January 21-27, 2012

Wikipedia, Google join anti-piracy bill protest Washington: Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, went offline Wednesday, joining a daylong internet strike of over a dozen other websites, including Google, to protest proposed US laws purportedly aimed at combating digital piracy. Discussion forums Reddit and Boing Boing, and Firefox browser designer Mozilla also are closing down Wednesday in protest. Hundreds of other sites, such as search-engine giant Google, are posting links on their home pages highlighting opposition to the legislation, the Washington Times reported. The English version of Wikipedia's website became inac-

The striking petition from Google protesting the bills in Congress. cessible at 5 a.m. Wikipedia is opposing the US Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect

Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) being debated by Congress. Jimmy Wales, who founded the

site, told the BBC: "Proponents of SOPA have characterized the opposition as being people who want to enable piracy or defend piracy." Google blacked out its logo on the US version of its website and added a link encouraging Americans to oppose the bills. SOPA and PIPA being debated in the Senate target foreign websites that violate copyrights online by banning US companies from providing them with advertising, payment or other internet services. The proposed laws "endanger free speech both in the United States and abroad, and set a frightening precedent of internet censorship for the world," said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales in a statement.

Critics argue that the proposals would stifle internet innovation, a key driver of US and global economic growth. Supporters of the bills include movie and music companies such as Walt Disney, content providers such as the National Football League and News Corp., pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly, and the US Chamber of Commerce. They argue the bills' sweeping provisions are necessary to shutter the burgeoning numbers of foreignbased cybercrime sites that sell counterfeit goods, pirated software or fake pharmaceuticals, or stream copyrighted content like music and movies.

1 million sign petition to Obama assures to bring jobs back to US President Barack Americans have changed, but our get the loans and support they need recall Wisconsin Governor Washington: Obama has reiterated his call to government has not. In fact, it's got- to sell their products around the Madison,WI: Critics of Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin on Tuesday said they had collected more than 1 million signatures, or nearly twice as many as required, on petitions to recall Walker and force a new election. Leaders of the recall effort say the number of signatures is so large as to put any serious legal challenge out of reach. Barring a legal fight, Walker, a Republican who took office a year ago and set off a firestorm by curtailing benefits and collective bargaining rights for public workers, will face a new election in the late spring or early summer. Nationally, only two governors have ever been removed through recall. “This sends a message,” said Graeme Zielinski, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Democratic Party, who described the 1 million names as evidence that this was the largest signature drive for a recall effort in US history. Walker said in an earlier interview that he believed a recall election now appeared inevitable, but that he thought he would ultimately keep his job. On Tuesday, his campaign office issued a statement on his behalf about the petitions. “I look forward

make the government more efficient and assist companies to bring jobs back to the US from abroad. "Right now, we have a 21st century, but we've still got a government organized for the 20th century," Xinhua quoted Obama as saying during his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday. "Over the years, the needs of Gov. Scott Walker to talking to the people of Wisconsin about my continued promises to control government spending, balance the budget and hold the line on taxes,” Walker said. Petitions were also submitted on Tuesday for recall elections of the lieutenant governor, Rebecca Kleefisch, and four Republican state senators, including Scott Fitzgerald, the majority leader who helped pass Mr. Walker’s collective bargaining cuts over the protests of Democrats, who fled the state last year to block a vote. Democrats, who are in the minority in the State Senate, 17 to 16, hope to seize at least one seat and take control. Democrats had controlled both legislative chambers and the governor’s office before the election of 2010, when Republicans, including Walker, swept into office.

ten even more complex. And that has to change." He proposed Friday to merge six trade and commerce agencies into one to make the federal government more streamlined and efficient. Officials said that 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would be cut through the attrition. "These changes will make it easier for small business owners to

world," said Obama urging the US congress to reinstate the authority that past presidents have had to streamline and reform the executive branch.He also repeated his promise to put forward new tax proposals to reward companies that choose to bring jobs home and invest in America and eliminate tax breaks for companies that move jobs overseas.

US to force drug firms to report money paid to doctors Washington: To head off medical conflicts of interest, the Obama administration is poised to require drug companies to disclose the payments they make to doctors for research, consulting, speaking, travel and entertainment. Many researchers have found evidence that such payments can influence doctors’ treatment decisions and contribute to higher costs by encouraging the use of more expensive drugs and medical devices. Consumer advocates and members of Congress say patients may benefit from the new standards, being issued by the government under the new health care law. Officials said the disclosures increased the likelihood that doctors would make decisions in the best interests of patients, without regard to the doctors’ financial interests. Large numbers of doctors receive payments from drug and device companies every year — sometimes into the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars — in exchange for providing advice and giving lectures.

Analyses by The New York Times and others have found that about a quarter of doctors take cash payments from drug or device makers and that nearly two-thirds accept routine gifts of food, including lunch for staff members and dinner for themselves. The Times has found that doctors who take money from drug makers often practice medicine differently from those who do not and that they are more willing to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways, such as prescribing powerful antipsychotic medicines for children. UThe Obama administration estimates that more than 1,100 drug, device and medical supply companies will have to file reports, generating “large amounts of new data.” Federal officials said they would inspect and audit drug company records to make sure the reports were accurate and complete. Companies will be subject to a penalty up to $10,000 for each payment they fail to report.

Romney remains the candidate to stop Columbia: All the other four surviving candidates piled on Mitt Romney in South Carolina debate organized Monday by Fox News, but the Teflon man maintains his strong lead and seems unstoppable. Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman had departed from the race earlier that day and surprisingly endorsed Romney despite his earlier frontal attacks on the frontrunner. The rest of Romney rivals at the debate went hard after him questioning his business record, if he supported allowing convicted felons to vote and whether he would ever release his personal tax records. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has in any case been hammering Romney for his record as the head of Bain Capital in the

1990s, accusing him of padding his wallet at the expense of middle class jobs. A 28-minute film produced by Winning Our Future, a proGingrich super PAC, featured interviews with workers laid off under Bain's management. On the debate stage, Gingrich accused Romney of running companies with a pattern: leaving them "with enormous debt and then within a year or two or three having them go broke." Romney’s response: "Some of the businesses we invested in weren't successful and lost jobs, and I'm very proud of the fact that we learned from the experience," he said. "We invested in well over 100 businesses, and the people have looked at the places that have added jobs and lost jobs and that record is pretty much available for people to take a

close look at. But my record as the governor of Massachusetts and as the person who led the Olympics flowed from the fact that I had experience turning around tough situations." Texas Gov. Rick Perry called on Romney to release his tax returns. Romney said. "I have nothing in them (tax returns) that suggests there's any problem and I'm happy to do so. ... If I become our nominee, and what's happened in history is people have released them in about April of the coming year and that's probably what I would do." Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called out a pro-Romney super PAC for releasing an ad that criticized Santorum for his support of a bill that let convicted felons vote once they had served their time. Santorum hit

Mitt Romney walks to his campaign bus after holding a rally in Florence, SC, Tuesday. back, saying he felt that people who served their time should be allowed to vote and pressing Romney on his own position. Romney held firm on his position. "I don't think people who have committed violent crimes should be able to vote again," Romney replied. "That's my view."

US Affairs


January 21-27, 2012

The bid to bundle US trade agencies By Jonathan Masters/Council on Foreign Relations resident Barack Obama requested Congressional approval Friday to reorganize the federal government, a plan that includes consolidation of six trade and commerce agencies into a single, streamlined department. The creation of an umbrella department is geared toward the administration's goal of increasing the competitiveness of US companies in the global economy, and spurring export-led growth. Through his National Export Initiative, the president has pledged to double US exports within five years, which he argues would create up to two million new jobs. Some lawmakers welcomed the proposal as a necessary reduction in the size of government (WashPost), while critics questioned the logic of creating a "new bureaucratic behemoth" to enhance efficiency.


What's at Stake Specifics of the White House proposal are forthcoming, but any plan that enhances the ability of U.S. corporations to tap into the global marketplace could have significant

Obama’s proposed consolidation of six trade and commerce agencies into a single, streamlined department, he argues would create up to two million new jobs and double exports within five years, but his critics questioned the logic of creating a new bureaucratic behemoth. ramifications for domestic job creation and economic growth. Exports supplied nearly half of U.S. GDP growth in 2010, and access to foreign markets is likely to be a primary factor in the country's long term prosperity. The Department of Commerce reports that 95 percent of global consumers live outside the United States, while the IMF states that roughly 87 percent of global growth over the next five years will take place overseas. A Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task force report on U.S. trade emphasizes the trend: "With the fastest growth now taking place


in emerging markets that are often unfamiliar to U.S. companies, the U.S. government needs to expand its trade promotion efforts." The United States currently ranks second-to-last among developed economies in trade as a percentage of GDP. In November 2011 (Bloomberg), the U.S. trade gap hit a five-month high, exceeding analysts' estimates at $47.8 billion.

nesses in particular with a "one-stop shop" in navigating the federal bureaucracy. The administration expects the plan to garner bipartisan support, but some legislators have already pushed back. A joint statement from Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) criticized the idea of folding the office of the U.S. Trade Representative (WashPost) into the proposed new department, saying it would hurt U.S. exports and job creation. Amy Wilkinson, a public policy scholar at Harvard's Kennedy School, raised questions over integrating the Small Business Administration into a "larger bureaucracy," saying it should be at cabinet level (CNN). David Rothkopf of called the consolidation long overdue and "an excellent initial step toward more sweeping reforms."

The Debate The White House claims a consolidated trade/commerce department would eliminate redundancies and provide U.S. firms and small busi-

Policy Options Outside of agency restructuring, experts have a variety of suggestions for how Washington can revive trade. Former Senator Tom

Daschle says the U.S. needs a more assertive trade policy, and recommends the Congress grant the president greater leeway to negotiate trade agreements under the Trade Promotion Authority. "We haven't had TPA authority now for many years," he says, "and it's not a coincidence that the trade agenda has languished.The Peterson Institute's C. Fred Bergsten says the United States should first attain a fully competitive exchange rate for the dollar. "The bulk of our current misalignment," he notes, "is vis-Ă -vis the Chinese renminbi and small group of other Asian currencies, which must be permitted to strengthen substantially." This CFR Task Force report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy recommends several new policies to spur exports and increase the competitiveness of U.S. firms abroad, including an ambitious trade-negotiations agenda, a robust and strategic trade enforcement effort, a comprehensive worker retraining policy, and more competitive export financing. The author is Associate Staff Writer, Council on Foreign Relations.


India-State Elections

January 21-27, 2012

Priyanka ready to play bigger role in Congress Rae Bareli (Uttar Pradesh): Congress president Sonia Gandhi's daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra has clearly indicated that she is ready to play a bigger role in the Congress party, provided her brother Rahul Gandhi gives the nod. In a brief interaction with the media persons before set went into closed-door parleys with local party functionaries in Rae Bareli, the charismatic 40-year-old declared, "I am ready to extend any help to my brother". Her brother, a Congress general secretary, is also making untiring efforts to re-establish the Congress party in this state where elections to the state assembly are to be held next month. Asked if she would continue to

Priyanka Gandhi in Rai Bareli, Uttar Pradesh. confine herself only to campaigning in the assembly segments of

EC rejects BSP's plea on covering statues

UP Chief Minister Mayawati. New Delhi: The Election It said that its order is in accorCommission rejected the Bahujan dance with the law and in keeping Samaj Party's (BSP) plea to recon- with its constitutional mandate for sider its Jan 8 order to cover statues ensuring level playing field during of elephants and party chief the elections. Mayawati, built in public places and The poll panel said the BSP's conat government expense, until the tention that the statues of elephants assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh are as erected are different from the over.It also expressed dismay at election symbol of party is not party chief and state Chief Minister acceptable. "In that case, other politMayawati terming the decision ical parties would be in a position to seek allotment of the elephant sym"casteist" and "anti-Dalit". "The EC needs to reiterate that it bol in different posture," it said. It said it is disturbed that takes its decisions and enforces them within the provisions of the Mayawati has cast serious asperConstitution and that does not sions on the commission by attributinclude considerations of religion, ing anti-Dalit and casteist motives to race, caste and community in the its order and also by alleging that manner allege," the poll panel said the directive is inspired by pressure from some political parties. in a release.

parliamentary constituencies of her mother and brother, Priyanka shot

back, "Well, for now I am here in Amethi and Rae Bareli only. But if my brother wants, then I will promptly move elsewhere; perhaps we can take a final call on that after I have discussed the issue with Rahul." She observed, "My brother is pretty clear about what he wants and the role he would want me to play in the campaign. As far as I am concerned, I will do anything to help my brother and go to campaign wherever he wants me to go." Known for her prompt responsiveness, Priyanka stopped her vehicle when a group of women waved out at her outside a private industrial unit that was shut for two years, leaving the workers jobless.

Though the women workers looked angry while narrating their tale of woe because of the closure of the unit, she tried to cheer them up by patting the cheek of the one who was most aggressive, while asking her to have patience. And when she told them, "since the election model code of conduct is in force, there is little that we can do right now, but we will certainly look into it after the elections", the frown on the faces of the agitated women turned into smiles. She told mediapersons, who were trailing her since morning, "We have been trying to work out some solution for these people who are naturally keen that their factory be restarted, so that their source of livelihood is restored."

UP elections: BJP to field Uma Bharti New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party has decided to field its leader Uma Bharti as a party candidate in the forthcoming Uttar Pradesh assembly elections. The decision to field Uma Bharti, a former Madhya Pradesh chief minister, as a party candidate in the polls was taken by BJP President Nitin Gadkari. Uma Bharti, who is already a lead campaigner of the BJP in the state, said that she would abide by the decision. :We will work for getting majority ...we will turn Uttar Pradesh into Uttam Pradesh (best state)," she said. Party leaders said that Uma Bharti will be fielded from Charkhari constituency of Bundelkhand region. The move

Uma Bharti. comes amid efforts by the BJP to Classes (OBCs) in the Uttar get backing of Other Backward Pradesh elections.

Poll panel stops work in Badal's constituency Chandigarh/Lambi (Punjab): The Election Commission (EC) has directed the administration of Punjab's Muktsar district to stop immediately the work on a temporary road in the Lambi assembly constituency, from where Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal is seeking re-election. Special chief electoral officer Usha R. Sharma told media here that the concerned district authorities have been directed to get the work stopped immediately and send a report in this regard. The poll panel agreed that the construction and

paving of the temporary road was in violation of the model code of conduct. The road was being hastily laid through agricultural fields by state government agencies to connect a Dalit settlement of the 'Baazigar' community in the run-up to the Punjab assembly elections Jan 30. Badal is locked in a bitter triangular contest in this constituency, with his younger brother Gurdas Badal of the Peoples Party of Punjab (PPP) and cousin Mahesh Inder Singh Badal of the Congress challenging him.

Development deficit dogs poll-bound states New Delhi: With high fiscal deficits -- an indicator of poor financial management -- the five poll-bound states of Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Uttarakhand and Goa, home to about 230 million people, leave very little for development, a report says. An analysis of budgets of these states, done by the National Election Watch and the Association of Democratic Reforms, shows that good economics ranks low in priority with the governments.

"As most of the revenue spending is on staff salaries, pension and interest, very little is left for development in these states," Trilochan Sastry, former dean of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, said. "Politics and development go hand in hand. The voters must demand development from politicians," added Sastry, who worked on the report. The highest fiscal deficit is in Uttar Pradesh, amounting to an all-

time high of Rs.20,513 crore ($4.06 billion) in 2008-09 followed by Punjab, which recorded a fiscal deficit of Rs.6,690 ($1.3 billion) crore in 2008-09. A fiscal deficit occurs when a government's total expenditure exceeds its revenue. Sastry said Uttar Pradesh, which is inviting the maximum attention, is lagging behind most other states on basic development indicators like health, education and infant mortality.

Similarly, fiscal deficit in Manipur increased three-fold from Rs.217 crore in 2008-09 to Rs.733 crore in 2009-10. Incidentally, Punjab, perceived as a "rich" state, had an aggregate revenue deficit of Rs.13,580 crore during 2005-2010 while the other four states managed to show a revenue surplus in the same period. In fact, the bad economics further compounds the problem of the five states. The report mentions that in 2008-

09 and 2009-10, Goa, a tourist hot spot, did not receive any debt waiver from the central government as the state's fiscal deficit was higher than the prescribed ceiling of 3.5 percent and four percent of the Gross State Domestic Product, a measure of goods and services produced, respectively. In Uttarakhand, in 2005-2010, the budget projections for revenue deficit and fiscal deficit each year have consistently not been achieved, said the report.



January 21-27, 2012

Gujarat Lokayukta's appointment upheld, Modi upset Ahmedabad: In a setback for Chief Minister Narendra Modi, the Gujarat High Court upheld Justice (retired) R.A. Mehta's appointment as Lokayukta by Governor Kamla Beniwal. But the state government said it would challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court. Gujarat government's standing counsel in Supreme Court, Hemantika Wahi, told reporters in Delhi that a petition challenging the high court's order would be filed Thursday morning and mentioned in the apex court later the same day. The petitioners in the case termed the high court judgment here as historic and said the government's arguments that the governor's move to appoint the Lokayukta was arbitrary has been rejected. "The Lokayukta's appointment in the state is constitutional, valid and legal and the government's arguments that the governor's move to appoint the Lokayukta was arbitrary has been rejected," petitioner Anand Yagnik said.

The Gujarat government said it would approach the Supreme Court. "The way forward is to study the judgment and after having the competent legal advice we shall challenge it before the honorable apex court of this country," Gujarat government spokesperson Jay Narayan Vyas told reporters. "We will move to the Supreme Court for further remedy because we believe that the issue raised by us is fundamental to the safety of the federal structure and also very central to provisions of the

The Gujarat government said it would approach the Supreme Court. Mehta, a former high court judge, told news channels that he would abide by his responsibilities as and when they were assigned to him. A two-judge bench had last October delivered a split verdict on the government's plea questioning Mehta's appointment. While Justice Akil Kureshi had upheld the appointment, Justice

India, China seal new border mechanism

Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi. New Delhi: Seeking to step up bilateral ties amid hiccups, India and China decided to set up a new mechanism to maintain peace on their border, and resolved to enhance mutual trust as they ended the 15th round of boundary negotiations.Called a "working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India-China border affairs," it was finalized after two days of talks between India's National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and China's State Councillor Dai Bingguo, who are special representatives on the boundary question. The agreement was signed by India's ambassador to China S. Jaishankar and China's Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin in the presence of Menon and Dai. "The working mechanism will address issues and situations that may arise in the border areas that affect the maintenance of peace and

tranquility, and will work actively towards maintaining the friendly atmosphere between the two countries," says the text of the agreement. It will help prevent misunderstanding between the two countries arising from incursion into each other's territory, stemming from the undemarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC). The mechanism will be headed by a Joint Secretary and a Director General from the Indian and Chinese foreign ministries respectively. It will also include diplomatic and military officials. The two countries stressed that maintaining and strengthening peace and tranquility in the IndiaChina border areas was very significant for enhancing mutual trust and for resolving the boundary question at an early date. The 16th round of boundary talks will be held in China.

Sonia Gokani disagreed. The case went to a third judge, Justice V.N. Sahai, who completed the hearing Dec 29, 2011 and announced the verdict Wednesday. "There was a difference of opinion in the two-judge bench and today the verdict of the third judge came and he said he agrees with the view of Justice Kureshi," Yagnik said.

Constitution of India," he said. Reacting to the judgment, the Congress said it has been proven that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) -- which is in power in Gujarat -- is not firm in removing corruption from the country. "In the last several years they have been delaying the appointment of the Lokayukta and in parliament they did not let the Lokpal bill pass and their true face has been unveiled," Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said in New Delhi.

Court's order harms federalism: BJP New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the Gujarat High Court's decision to uphold the appointment of state Lokayukta by the governor was a "setback to federalism". "The divided judgment of the Gujarat High Court is a setback to federalism," Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha

Arun Jaitley told reporters on the sidelines of a function here. "The governor is a nominee of the central government. If a governor gets primacy over the state government on the appointment of Lokayukta, it amounts to government of India appointing the Lokayukta," he added.

Court case by army chief 'unhealthy' precedent: Govt New Delhi: The legal battle between Indian Army chief Gen. V.K. Singh and the government over his age sets an "unhealthy precedent", the government said, even as Defense Secretary Shashikant Sharma met the general in a one-on-one meeting when the issue is said to have come up for discussion. Minister of State for Defense M.M. Pallam Raju described the court case as an "unfortunate" development that does not augur well for either the defense ministry or the armed forces. "It is an unfortunate development and it is not a healthy precedent either for the (Defense) Ministry or the armed forces... It is an unhealthy precedent. It does not auger well either for the Ministry or the forces," Raju told reporters on the sidelines of a National Cadet Corps camp function. Later in the day, Shashikant Sharma met Gen. Singh soon after Indian defense ministry hosted Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Bijay Gachhadar. While Sharma was present at the meeting with Nepal's deputy prime minister, the Indian Army was represented at the meeting by its vice chief, Lt. Gen. Sri Krishna Singh. Gachhadar, however, met Gen. Singh later at his office in South Block, informed sources said, indicating that there is nothing much to his absence at the bilat-

Much is being read into every move of the army chief Gen. V.K. Singh since he sued the government over his age row. eral meeting and it was as per protocol. Soon after these bilateral meetings, Sharma and Gen. Singh met at the latter's office for half-anhour and this meeting too was in relation to the debriefing on the bilateral talks held with Nepal sources said. Much is being read into every move of the army chief since he sued the government over his age row, challenging the defense ministry's rejection of his statutory complaint to rectify records to indicate his birth date as May 10, 1951, instead of 1950. A day later, the defense ministry filed a caveat in the apex court, urging it not to pass any order on the general's petition before hearing its views. The Supreme Court is yet to fix

a date for hearing the army chief's petition, though another public interest litigation on the same issue will come up for hearing on Friday. The row has pitted the seniormost officer of the 1.13-millionstrong army, the world's second largest, against the government, a first in independent India. It also has the potential to derail the succession schedule of the army, as 1950 birth year would mean Gen Singh retires in May this year and if 1951 is accepted as the birth year, he gets to serve another 10 months till March 2013, when his slated three-year tenure will end. The army's chief holds the posts for three-year term or till 62 years of age, whichever is earlier.



January 21-27, 2012

Rushdie trip to Jaipur uncertain, cleric seeks apology Jaipur/New Delhi: Controversial writer Salman Rushdie may not attend the Jaipur Literature Festival beginning from January 20 as a leading Muslim scholar asked him to apologize for hurting Muslim sentiments. Although there is no official announcement yet, the sources told IANS that the British Indian novelist may keep away from the Jan 2024 event scheduled at the Diggi Palace Hotel. The sources gave no details but spoke as Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot told Home Minister P. Chidambaram in Delhi that Rushdie's presence could spark off trouble. Muslim groups have come out against the visit by Rushdie, whose fourth novel, "The Satanic Verses" (1988), led to major protests from Muslims in many countries after a 'fatwa' by Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989. Organizers of the popular Jaipur Literature Festival admitted that Rushdie "will not attend" the first

Nearly 250 authors from the world, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, will take part in the festival. day of the event. He was supposed to reach Jaipur on Jan 20 and address two literary sessions. The event's producer Sanjay Roy said in a two-line statement: "Rushdie will not be in India Jan 20 due to a change in his schedule. The festival stands by its invitation to the author." Nearly 250 authors from the

world, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, will take part in the festival. Gehlot told reporters in Delhi: "We don't have any official communication when he is coming... but minorities in the state are protesting against it. I have informed him (Chidambaram) about the situation.

"It is a famous festival. I am sure organizers ... would not want anything to happen that affects the whole festival. I hope we work out something so that things don't turn ugly. "We can't prevent (Rushdie) from coming to India since he is a PIO (Person of Indian Origin) and PIOs don't need visa," said Gehlot, who also met Law and Minorities Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. Many Muslim leaders in Rajasthan have asked the government not to let Rushdie enter India. After Darul Uloom Deoband -- the country's biggest Islamic seminary -- demanded that the writer be denied entry, some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) minority cell in Rajasthan echoed the view. Darul Uloom vice chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, who had urged the Indian government to cancel Rushdie's visa, Tuesday demanded an apology from the writer for hurting Muslim sentiments.

"Rushdie has hurt Muslim sentiments. He should apologize to the entire Muslim ummah (society) for his blasphemous remarks against Islam and the Prophet. Only then we can allow him to travel to India," Nomani said. The Man Booker prize winning writer had earlier visited India in 2000 for a Commonwealth writers' forum, and in 2007 the Jaipur Literature Festival despite widespread protest. Through the week, fans and liberals voiced anguish over attempts to bar Rushdie from visiting India. In a hard-hitting message on Twitter, journalist and commentator Vir Sanghvi said: "Don't take power away from the people and give it to the bullies." Last year, an invitation to Rushdie for the Harud festival in Kashmir that was later aborted, had triggered similar flak. Rahul Pandita, the author of "Hello, Bastar", described the tirade against Rushdie as "shame, shame, shame!"

Ramdev supporters, CWG scam: Suresh Kalmadi gets bail Congress workers clash New Delhi: Supporters of Baba Ramdev and Congress party workers clashed after the yoga guru's activists held protests outside the Congress headquarters, police said. Two Ramdev supporters were arrested, police said. According to eyewitness, a group of around 15 Ramdev supporters shouted slogans and blackened the portrait of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on a board outside the party office at 24, Akbar Road. As they came to know of the incident, Congress workers came out of the office and clashed with the Ramdev supporters, in full view of the TV cameras and media persons. A Congress leader said the protesters were planning to disrupt the party press briefing scheduled at 5 p.m. The incident comes after Ramdev faced an ink attack at a press con-

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has granted bail to Suresh Kalmadi, MP and former chief of the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, accused in a corruption case related to the 2010 sporting event. His aide V.K. Verma was also given bail. The court allowed bail to Kalmadi on a personal bond of Rs.5 lakh and surety of the like amount. Kalmadi was arrested April 26 last year for his alleged role in awarding a contract for installing the TimingScoring-Result system to Swiss Times Omega at an exorbitant cost of Rs.141 crore, allegedly causing a loss of over Rs.95 crore to the public exchequer. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had opposed the bail of the two accused. Kalmadi and Verma moved the court for bail on the observation of the Supreme Court in the 2G case that "bail should be the rule and jail an exception". The trial court in June last year rejected Kalmadi's bail plea, after which he approached the high court.

First Baba Ramdev faced an ink attack; later, his supporters blackened Sonia Gandhi’s poster at the Congress headquarters. ference. The yoga guru's supporters alleged that the attack was masterminded by the Congress.

The former CWG chief Suresh Kalmadi is accused in a corruption case related to the 2010 sporting event. The accused individuals and two companies in the case were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery, and booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

India’s first woman photographer Vyarawalla dies Vadodara: Homai Vyarawalla, one of India's first professional women photographers, died, days after being hospitalized due to a fall from her bed, close friends said. She was 98. Vyarawalla's death is an end of an era in photography, said some of those who were lucky enough to have interacted with the grand old lady, who lived by herself in Gujarat's Vadodara city. "(I am) sad to know of the demise of Homai Vyarawalla, India's first woman photo journalist. Received her blessings at Vadodara Sadbhavana fast recently," tweeted Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. "I have been inspired by the nature of her works. Such documentation does not happen today.

Homai Vyarawalla. There was a spontaneity about her work, which required courage in those days," 78-year-old Nemai Ghosh, movie maestro Satyajit Ray's chronicler, photographer and friend said of Vyarawalla. Vyarawalla who started by clicking photographs as a teenager, took

a number of memorable photographs during her career and was well known for taking shots of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru smoking a cigarette. Nehru was her favourite subject. "I started clicking photographs at the age of 13 in Bombay with a box camera in 1926 and I shot my last photograph in 1970, 40 years ago. Since then, I have not touched the lens. But I am aware of the drifts in press photography down the decades," Vyarawalla had said. Along with being remembered as India's first professional woman photographer, Vyarawalla will also be remembered as "The Grand Old Lady" who, at 98, did all her chores by herself and took a flight of stairs at least twice a day.

Art & Fashion

My art reflects my affair with Lennon: Yoko Ono New Delhi: From the "world's most famous unknown artist" to the "woman who broke up the Beatles", Yoko Ono has had her share of bouquets and brickbats. The conceptual artist, who is putting up her maiden exhibition in India, says her work is an extension of her "karmic love affair" with late Beatles icon John Lennon. "Yes... I met him at an art show. He was recording music at his studio on 3, Abbey Road (in London). Number three is a number connected to music. He came to 6, Mason Yard where I was having my gallery show. Six is a number of love. It was the beginning of a life-long love affair, and karmic too," Ono said in an interview during her visit to India. Lennon and Ono teamed up around 1968 when the former was still with the Beatles - and pooled their genius for several albums. They married in 1969 after a torrid romance. The couple rocked the world for a decade before Lennon was shot dead in 1980 at the end of a busy day in a recording studio in New York. Her installation and performance art at the Vadehra Gallery in the capital (Jan 13 - March 10) is a torch into her life. For several decades, Ono, 78, has been campaigning for world peace and women's empowerment. She draws attention through her avant garde works to the constraints faced by women in their lives. In India, Ono is collaborating with a group of seven women artisans from Bikaner for an interactive installation, "Heal Together" - a cut canvas embellished with traditional embroidery, scraps of colored textiles and graffiti. The women, mostly refugees from Pakistan after the 1971 war, are part of a self-help crafts cluster, 'Rang Sutra', comprising nearly 1,200 women who embroi-

Conceptual artist Yoko Ono paints a graffiti on the wall of the Vadehra Art Gallery in New Delhi, and (inset) with John Lennon in those Flower Power days. der on handloom, silk, wool and plans for India, Ono turned philoleather. sophical. The women have woven and "There are so many things in embroidered 15 odhnis, or hand- this world we can take care woven drapes, to accompany of...Touching base like this, shakOno's installation on gender ing hands to realize that all of us injustice, "Remember Us" - a are very important people... we series of headless female torsos have accomplished that in two laid out on beds of burnt wood days in India. chips and a graffiti on the wall "But I will never leave my soul screaming "Uncursed" in from India. I will be here wherevEnglish, Hindi and Japanese. er I am," she said. The gender installation is at the Indian mysticism has been an centre of Ono's India-specific important influence in Ono's life, multi-media art project, "Our thanks to Lennon's brush with Beautiful Daughters". Transcendental Meditation at "Indian craft is very important Mahesh Yogi's retreat in the for the world and those girls as 1960s in Rishikesh. The couple well. Those girls will never have had even been known to seek an a bad time wherever they are audience with Sathya Sai Baba because they have the skill. We and traveled through the should all be like them and focus Himalayas in search of spiritual ourselves on something we love salvation. to do...and create our own des"The whole world is influenced tiny. by Indian spirituality. India is a "It is a very Asian thing - my very interesting land - it is the mother taught me about music centre of the world's spirituality," and art when I was four years she said. She is also attracted to old...Inside, I am an Asian and Buddhism. outside I am Asian and Western. "The whole world is influenced The world is getting very small," by Buddhism. It is not a religion she recalled. but a logical, theoretical idea Born in 1933 to wealthy don't kill anybody and don't fight bankers in Japan, Ono later with anybody," Ono said. migrated to the US with her famiKnown for her experimental ly. Asked about her long-term music and the Plastic Ono Band, which she set up with Lennon in 1969 to sing songs of peace and freedom, Ono fills her art with this new age search for liberation and people-to-people interface as well. Her live performance, "Cut Piece", in 1964 allowed the audience to step on the stage and snip her draped garment to pieces till she was unclothed. "Art is a tool of social change. But music is music and art is art... They meet sometimes and sometimes they don't. But there is always music around my art, Yoko Ono with artisan women from Bikaner with whom she is collab- touching it, nourishing it," Ono added. orating for an interactive installation, ‘Heal Together’.


January 21-27, 2012

Saris with a twist New Delhi: Designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh, known for her chic and glamorous designs, has presented a modern avatar of the six-yard sari for the new-age woman. The designer has launched her sari range under her pret line Chiconomics. The collection is unique in terms of drapes and presentation. "Blending my signature style, spirit and spunk, the saris are fluid and light weight, giving today's women the simplicity and drama of a well cut ensemble with sensual, understated, sexy zipped-edges and smart pleats," Ghosh said in a statement. Showcasing an entire gamut of ethnic wear in a lighter, playful and more contemporary tone, the saris are designed using cutting

edge technology on fabrics like georgettes, chiffons and satin. Ghosh says "the favored colors this season are bright acid shades like orange, lime green and coral along with a more mellow jeweltoned range," and her collection is also dominated by the same. The designer feels her clothes are understated and can appeal to those who do not like to go overboard with jazzy clothes. "Our label has defied categorization, and our clothes are understated, with silhouettes, characteristic and textures that refuse to be bracketed by terms such as eastern or western. This is what appeals to fashionistas," said Ghosh. The new sari collection is available at the designer's store with a price on request.

A creation by designer Kiran Uttam Ghosh


Ultimate Bollywood

January 21-27, 2012

Bollywood parties with Oprah Winfrey ocialite Parmeshwar Godrej threw a lavish party in honor of American TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey on her maiden visit to India and Bollywood who’s who were invited to the bash. She first dropped at Bachchan’s residence to bless the new born and after spending an hour with the Bachchan family, Amitabh Bachchan himself drove Oprah to the venue at his chauffer. Biggies like Amitabh Bachchan, son Abhishek, daughter-in-law Aishwarya, Shahrukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Priety Zinta, Lara Dutta, Shilpa Shetty, Anil Kapoor, Imran Khan, Neha Dhupia, Sameera Reddy, Dino Morea, novelist Shobha De, and jewelry designer Farah Khan were present. They all went gaga over Oprah's lively nature and clicked photo with her. Aishwarya’s connection with Oprah is long time back when she first appeared on her talk show in


An excited Amitabh Bachchan became a chauffeur and drove Oprah from her residence to the party. 2005. After marriage, she appeared with her husband Abhishek Bachchan in 2009. Excited Amitabh Bachchan, who drove Oprah from her residence to the party, tweeted, "The gracious Oprah Winfrey visits our home, to

No acting for Trishala: Sanjay Dutt

meet us and bless the baby...warm hearted, her to the party in her honor. And Oprah in sari..looking lovely!!" Pregnant Lara Dutta seemed to be very excited to meet Oprah. On her Twitter page, the ecstatic

actress posted a picture of her with Oprah and Shahrukh and wrote, "@Oprah and @iamsrk, two people I absolutely adore! Thankyou for making my day! Now can go into labour happily!” Actress Sameera Reddy also

'The Artist' bags maximum Golden Globe gongs fter leading the nomination pack for the 69th Golden Globe awards, "The Artist" emerged as the big winner at the extravaganza by winning three trophies. "The Descendants" followed close behind, with George Clooney taking the best actor gong for the movie. The star studded ceremony was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. "The Artist", directed by Michel Hazanavicius, was adjudged the best motion picture- musical or comedy, and it also won the best original score motion picture award for Ludovic Bourve, as well as the best performance by an actor in a motion picture award- comedy or musical, for Jean Dujardin. Alexander Payne "The Descendants" walked away with two honors -- best motion picturedrama and best actor in a motion


Trishala is Sanjay's daughter from his first wife Richa Sharma, who was an actress and died of cancer. hen it comes to his daughter Trishala, Sanjay Dutt is a very protective father. He does not want her in showbiz. The 22-year-old was interested in acting but Sanjay didn't back her. "Absolutely true and underline it 500 times," Sanjay said, about his opposition. "If somebody says give me the reason, I am going to show my finger because she is my daughter." Trishala is from Sanjay's first wife Richa Sharma, who was an actress and died of cancer. The 51-year-old Sanjay, now married to Manyata from whom he has twins, believes women have to struggle a lot in the film industry and he doesn't want his daughter to face all this. "If you want the reason, my father (Sunil Dutt) never wanted any female from my family to join the film industry. Not because film industry is a bad place for woman,


not because film industry is taboo in the country, only because it's a huge struggle for women. Being the oldest in the family I can't give up that legacy," said Sanjay, whose mother Nargis was a top notch actress of the 1950s and 1960s. This restriction is not only imposed on his daughter, but his nieces are kept away from the arclight. "My sisters would have also come... even their daughters, who are so pretty, could also have come," he said. Unfortunately, he didn't spend some quality time in her childhood days with Trishala, who was raised by her maternal grandparents in the US. "I have never seen the aspect of fatherhood with Trishala. That's a sad thing and my bad luck. I feel sad for her. Anyways that was my bad luck. I wish I could spend all those moments with her also. Nonetheless, we will make up."

tweeted, "My God! Oprah Winfrey is the warmest most down to earth person I have ever met! What a personality! I'm thrilled!" Oprah looked pretty in orange sari. She visited India for her new talk show 'Next Chapter'.

Meryl Streep won the Best Performance by an 'Actress in a Motion Picture' for 'The Iron Lady'. picture-drama award for Clooney. The best actress in a motion picture-drama was won by Meryl

Streep for "Iron Lady" for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In the best performance by an actress in a motion picture-musical or comedy, Michelle Williams took home the award for her performance in "My Week With Marilyn". Christopher Plummer and Octavia Spencer picked up the best supporting actors' trophy for their work in "Beginners" and "The Help" respectively. The ceremony saw veteran actor Morgan Freeman being honoured with the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese won the best director for "Hugo", while Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Midnight In Paris" won the best screenplay gong, and Steven Spielberg's "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of The Unicorn" bagged the best animated film trophy.

Suspense over Sunny Leone starring in 'Jism 2' hile there has been much speculation on Indian Canadian porn star Sunny Leone starring in Jism 2, the film's producer Pooja Bhatt has decided to keep everyone guessing. "I will announce whether Sunny Leone is in the movie or not, but until then, keep guessing," Pooja told reporters. Mahesh Bhatt had offered the movie to Sunny while she was participating in the reality show


Bigg Boss 5. Meanwhile, Pooja said she was happy that a saucy poster of Jism 2 has been well received. "I am glad that curiosity has increased so soon. I assure you, we will take this curiosity to the peak. I will not let the heat die down because Jism 2 is going to create a lot more 'jadoo' and lot more 'nasha'," Pooja added. She also said Jism 2 will be totally different from the previous movie.

Mahesh Bhatt had offered the movie to Sunny while she was participating in the reality show Bigg Boss 5.

Ultimate Bollywood


January 21-27, 2012

SRK, Ranbir to host 57th Filmfare Awards RK and Ranbir have been paired together to host the 57th Idea Filmfare awards 2011 this year. There are awards and then there is Filmfare. The premium film magazine's award show is something else. If you are featured on Filmfare, you have arrived they say. The prominent award show


began in 1954. The awards get widely noticed for its sheer star presence and long-standing association with Hindi cinema. The hosts of Filmfare are often quirky, cheeky and fun! They amuse the audience with their mad antics. They take healthy digs at their contemporaries and nominees thus keeping everyone glued to their

seats. It was Shah Rukh and Saif who got the ball rolling. Soon after, the younger generation took over with Ranbir and Imran playing the perfect hosts. Filmfare will happen on 29th of January at the Film City this year for which Shah Rukh and Ranbir have been zeroed in as hosts.

The hosts of Filmfare are often quirky, cheeky and fun! They amuse the audience with their mad antics.

Castro's daughter wants No love between Gauri, Priyanka? f rumors are to be believed then Our source recalls that when Gauri Banderas to play dad! there seems to be no love lost and SRK who share a happy vibe with


between Gauri Khan and Priyanka Chopra. Obviously all the talk of an alleged more than good friendship between her superstar husband Shah Rukh Khan and his Don leading lady Priyanka Chopra is the reason why Gauri is supposedly indifferent to PC. What is a coincidence is that years ago, Gauri was reportedly indifferent to another Ms World Aishwarya Rai. Says our source, “When Ash walked out Chalte Chalte, SRK's home production, things between Gauri and the former Ms World were strained.�

"Castro's Daughter" will tell the story of Fernandez, born in 1956 of a romance between young Fidel Castro and Cuban socialite Naty Revuelta, who was married to a doctor at that time. he estranged daughter of Cuban leader Fidel Castro wants Hollywood actor Antonio Banderas to play her father in the upcoming biopic "Castro's Daughter". Alina Fernandez suggested the name of the "Mask of Zorro" star to production company Mankind Entertainment. The movie would be directed by Michael Radform, and shot in Puerto Rico. "I have been a huge fan of Antonio for years, and hope to see him play my father. I think he has a phenomenal charisma, and think he


has the nerve to play the role perfectly... I'm very excited that he would consider this," Fernandez said. "Castro's Daughter" will tell the story of Fernandez, born in 1956 of a romance between young Fidel Castro and Cuban socialite Naty Revuelta, who was married to a doctor at that time. Fernandez, who now lives in the US, studied medicine and international relations and worked briefly in public relations for Cuba's National Theater. She later became a model and left the island nation in 1993.

Madhavan, a kunwara? indi cinema is indeed going places! For the first time on the Indian screen the audience will witness a divorce party. Well, separation calls for celebration in Ashwini Chaudhary's " Jodi Breakers", being produced by Prasar Vision Pvt Ltd. "Parting ways has always been considered to be a negative and heartbreaking experience. But in "Jodi Breakers", we have given it a very humorous color. Following his break-up, the song, "Kunwara", shows lead actor Madhavan celebrating his singleton status once again. His friends have thrown a party for his new-found freedom," smiles Ashwini.


The director has shot the song in different locations to capture the exuberance of bachelorhood. "We wanted to capture the joy of liberation as if a big burden has been lifted of the chest. To enhance it, we even shot a foam party sequence. The song has become a hot favorite with the people especially males who are so used to enjoying freedom. The trend of celebrating separation is looked upon with a different aspect today. It is no longer an embarrassment. In fact, I have had friends who after separating have often had a pleasant and cozy meal at a restaurant experiencing a sense of relief," laughs Ashwini.

The film Kunwara shows lead actor Madhavan celebrating his singleton status once again.

Vidya Balan an item girl now

fter going Ooh La La last year, Vidya Balan is now gearing up for her first item number in Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Ferrari Ki Sawari. The track will be shot lavishly and will see Vids go ultra-glam for it. Reveals a source, "She's never really attempted an item song before, so there was some scepticism. But once she saw portions of the film and met up with Vidhu, she was sold on the idea." The song will be a major highlight of the Rajesh Mapuskar film. "Vinod and Vidya share a great professional equa-


The song is still a work in progress and the concept will be finalized in coming weeks.

Years ago, Gauri was reportedly indifferent to another Ms World, Aishwarya Rai.

Abhishek Bachchan went to wish him for his birthday (Feb 5) before he had married Ash, they were very warm to Bachchan Jr but Gauri wasn't particularly friendly with Ash at that point. However it seems that now things are perfectly pleasant with at least one Ms World and Gauri. Yes Gauri did make it to Aishwarya's baby shower and she shares a nice equation with the entire Bachchan family. Let's hope the other Ms World title winner Priyanka too manages to get back into the gracious Gauri's good books.

tion since her big break in Parineeta. Naturally, it was very hard for her to resist the offer," reasons the source. The song is still a work in progress and the concept will be finalized in coming weeks. The source adds, "There's no rush to shoot the song, which tentatively will be shot early next month. The team wants Vidya as involved as possible in the process. They're trying to make her feel as comfortable as possible." The choreographer for the number is undecided for now.



January 21-27, 2012

1,000 artists, 20 countries - India Art Fair cometh illed as one of the biggest carnivals of art this year, the fourth India Art Fair in Delhi Jan 25-29 will feature more than 1,000 artists by 91 art houses from 20 countries, including works by Salvador Dali, Pablo Picasso, Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor, Anthony Gormley and Jean Miro. India's coming of age as an international art destination and recovery of the art market postmeltdown will be the highlights of the event to be held at the National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) Ground in Okhla. The focus of the fair is foreign participation. It is likely to draw leading art houses like Hauser and Wirth (Switzerland), Galleria Continua (Italy), Lisson Gallery (UK) and White Cube (UK) and top-of-chain experts to address forums on business, aesthetics, art practices and awareness. Neha Kirpal, the founding director of the fair, said "the 2012 edition of the fair presents the strongest and most diverse contingent of galleries seen at the


Motherland- a performance art act by artist N. Pushpmala to be presented at the India Art Fair.

fair to date". Nearly 60 percent of galleries are from Asia, including Indian galleries, which make up about half of the exhibitors overall, while 26 percent are from Europe. The remaining 14 percent are from North and South America, the Middle East, Africa and Australia, official statistics said. Estimates say the India Art Fair, founded as the India Art Summit in 2008 as a pioneering platform of modern and contemporary art in India, has attracted more than 170,000 people in the last three years. "The art fair has seen tremendous growth over a short period of time, and much of its success can be attributed to its focus on providing a relevant and transparent platform for the Indian art scene. It has received unprecedented interest from international museums and private collectors, and cultivated a whole breed of new collectors and art enthusiasts within India," Kirpal said. The fair, which has changed its

venue from Pragati Maidan to the NSIC Ground this year, has made a new fashion statement with a new business model. The fair this year will host its visual feasts in designer tents spread over 12,000 square meters designed by veteran set designer Sumanth Jaikishan. "The growing size of the fair, increasing footfall, the global interest generated by the fair and a booming trade drove the organizers to invite foreign partners," a source said. The Indian art market is estimated at a little over Rs.2,000 crore. One of the immediate spin-offs of the new business model of the fair has been the formation of the Collectors' Circle - an outreach program to build an international chain of collectors and art experts - in the run-up to the fair. One main attraction of the fair will be corollaries and collateral events like the video lounge, sculpture court, art book shop, site-specific public art events and live art shows in venues across the national capital.

Delhi Metro through envious foreign eyes By Alyssa McDonald urrying down the steps of a Delhi Metro station, I jump into the first available train. Eyes stare at me. I am not only the lone woman in the train car but also the only foreigner. Like 1.5 million other people in Delhi, I ride on the Metro every day. To get to work, I spend almost 45 minutes on the rail, including switching train lines, before reaching my destination. The first couple of times I rode the Metro, I thought two things: people are staring at me and why do women not use the Metro. It took me days to realize there were 'women only' compartments at the front of each train. Since starting to use these, I enjoy watching men enter and look around to see only women. They quickly make their way down the train to the general compartments looking as though they mistakenly walked into the wrong washroom. I have never seen 'women only' compartments or sections in my home country of Canada. Although I never had a problem at the back with the men, I feel safer with other women around, especially when the train is so full there is not enough room to move. I have seen people trying to jump into trains that were full, while Metro security try to pull them out so the door can close. Not to say the women that ride the Metro are not a little aggressive when they rush for seats. When two girls go for an


Foreigners beware that some etiquette existing in other countries does not exist on the Delhi Metro. open seat, neither backs down which usually results in them both semi-sitting on each other in one spot. There is no Metro in Winnipeg, my home in central Canada. The city of about 680,000 people has been trying for years to build a rapid-transit system, but does not have the funds. The cost of riding the city bus is 2.45 CAD (Rs.125) -- much more expensive than the Metro here, which only costs me Rs 16 for my ride across the city. I am jealous of the Metro system in Delhi and wish we had a progressive alter-

native to the bus and taxi systems in Winnipeg. I have ridden on other Metro systems in Vancouver and Toronto, Canada's largest cities, and feel that the Delhi Metro can compete on a global scale. The Metro also offers a fixed rate for everyone, including foreigners. When taking taxis and auto-rickshaws in Delhi, foreigners usually get quoted a much higher price than locals. It can get frustrating when you get overcharged for transportation just because you are not from here. Tanya Tonning, who is from Norway, is

starting her tour of Asia from Delhi and has been using the Metro to get to markets for shopping. She says it was an easy system to understand and was better than walking the streets of Delhi. "It was very clean. I didn't expect it to be that clean when you look around outside," Tonning said. She stays at a backpacking hostel in Saket where most clients are foreigners wanting to see the sights of Delhi. The hostel encourages its visitors to use the Metro to get around the city and provides them with a map of how to reach the nearest station. Foreigners beware that some etiquette existing in other countries does not exist on the Delhi Metro. There is almost no waiting for people to deboard the train before rushing in, sometimes resulting in getting a shoulder push. Even when seats are reserved for women in the general compartments, I usually see just men sitting there. People hold on to their seats and rarely offer them to people who may need it more. When someone asks someone for a seat, they simply squish over and give them a portion of the seat. Then when someone on the bench gets off, you can spread back out. On my first day ever on the Metro, two people on different trains gave up their seats for me. Maybe they saw in my face it was my first time and I was a little nervous, because the luxury of getting offered a seat has never happened again.



January 21-27, 2012

'Pay me 10,000 pounds for access to British PM' London: In a major cash-foraccess scandal, a 50-year-old Indian-origin Conservative Party activist and fund-raiser was thrown out of the party after he was caught boasting in a video that he could provide Prime Minister David Cameron's personal mobile phone number or a dinner with him for 10,000 pounds. Rickie Sehgal -- chairman of the British Asian Conservative Link (BACL) -- said donors could dine with the prime minister and raise any issue they wanted, the Daily Mail reported Sunday. "Those who pay 10,000 pounds a year get Cameron's mobile," Sehgal told an undercover reporter.

Rickie Sehgal was caught boasting in a video that he could provide David Cameron's mobile number or a dinner with him for 10,000 pounds

Avtar and Carole Kolar murder: Third man arrested London: A third man has been arrested in connection with the brutal murder of an Indian-origin couple – Avtar Kolar and his wife Carole – in Birmingham. The police is now questioning the 37-year-old over the murder of 62-year-old Avtar and his 58-year-old wife Carole, whose bodies were discovered on Wednesday by their son Jason Kolar, a serving officer with West Midlands Police. Earlier, two people were arrested. One man was bailed pending further enquiries, the second man was released without charge, The Sun reports. Post-mortem tests have confirmed that the couple, who had been married for 40 years, died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and that both had been struck a number of times. The arrests came after two of the couple’s four children made a desperate plea for help to catch their parents’ killers. Police have repeatedly refused to speculate about a

Avtar Kolar and wife Carole were bludgeoned to death motive for the murders, but said detectives are looking into a number of lines of inquiry, including a rise in burglaries and gold thefts in the area.

Muslim migration up in Kerala, Christians lose Thiruvananthapuram: More and more Keralites are going abroad for jobs, and the highest migration increase is among Muslims. The number of migrants abroad in 2011 was estimated at 2.28 million, up from 2.19 million in 2008, 1.84 million in 2003 and 1.36 million in 1998. These are among the findings of the Centre for Development Studies here. It has come out with a fifth comprehensive study on international and internal migration from Kerala since 1998. Remittances from migrants form more than 60 percent of Kerala's revenue.

The report said this stood in 2011 at Rs.49,695 crore, from Rs.43,288 crore in 2008. The proportion of Hindus among the non-resident Keralites has shot up. It was 37.5 percent in 2011, and 29.9 percent in 1998. The vast majority of the migrants in 2011 were Muslims (about 45 percent), although the community's share in Kerala's population was 26 percent. While Hindus formed about 56 percent of the population, their share among the migrants was only 37.5 percent. The gain among the Hindus was mostly at the expense of

Christians, whose share shrank from 25.1 percent in 2003 to 17.9 percent in 2011. The 2011 study is based on primary data collected from 15,000 households selected through random sampling covering all 63 taluks or sub-districts. According to study researchers K.C. Zachariah and S. Irudayarajan, the main countries of destination for Keralites have remained unchanged over these years - 90 percent go to Gulf countries. Nearly 40 percent of Kerala's migrants live in the United Arab Emirates and 25 percent in Saudi Arabia.

When confronted about his claims, Sehgal said he was "highly embarrassed" to have been caught boasting, which he said he had exaggerated to impress the undercover reporter. Sehgal was sacked from the party Saturday after senior officials studied the evidence. Sehgal was recently photographed whispering into the prime minister's ear at the Tories' Winter Ball, where tickets cost up to 1,000 pounds. The BACL website features pictures of Sehgal with senior officials, including Home Secretary Theresa May, Attorney General Dominic Grieve and International

Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell as well as London Mayor Boris Johnson. The daily began the investigation following a tip-off from a legal source who said Asian businessmen were using BACL to gain access to Tory ministers. An undercover reporter posing as a businessman met Sehgal and said he was keen to join the BACL's exclusive 1000 Club, which the website claimed could give members access to ministers and MPs for business and personal benefits. The meeting took place at the headquarters of Sehgal's IT company, Transputec Computers Plc, in northwest London.

Not murder, says Oxford don's widow; Indian-origin academic gets bail London: Indianorigin Oxford mathematician Devinder Sivia, who was arrested after an eminent professor was found dead at his home, has been released on bail. The professor's widow said her husband was not Steven Rawlings (left) was found dead at friend Devinder Sivia’s home (right) murdered while Sivia's father described the aca- Rawlings failed to pinpoint the demics' relationship as that of exact cause of his death. Daily Telegraph said Sivia spent "brothers." The body of Steven Rawlings, a over 24 hours in custody but was 50-year-old astrophysicist, was released after detectives said it found at Sivia's home in was possible the death was not the result of any foul play. Oxfordshire Wednesday. The Oxford professor had sufSivia, a 49-year-old Sikh mathematics lecturer at Oxford fered a breakdown last year. A friend of Rawlings said he University, was arrested. He was released on bail Friday as police had spoken to the professor just downgraded the investigation into hours before he died and that he Rawlings' death, reported Daily seemed troubled and was considering resigning from his post at Mail. Rawlings' widow Linda said the Oxford. "He (Rawlings) was thinking about the future and condeath was not a murder. "Steve and Devinder were best templating handing his notice in friends since college and I believe to St Peter's College. He had a very intense job and he this is a tragic accident." "I do not believe that Steve's was a very intense person," Daily death is murder and I do not Telegraph quoted the friend as believe Devinder should be tar- saying. The friend added: "He had nished in this way," Linda was had a breakdown last year and on that occasion was found wanderquoted as saying. British police are now looking ing around the village in his dressat "underlying health issues" after ing gown in the middle of the a post-mortem examination of night."


Op Ed

January 20-27, 2012

India elections: Fair ballot, riveting battles expected

By Amulya Ganguli

ayawati's statues and her election symbol of elephants carved out of stone have been covered, the Congress' pro-Muslim sops have been shot down, the officials believed to be biased in favor of the ruling party have been transferred by the Election Commission and bundles of cash meant for distribution among voters have been seized. The country is ready for another electoral bout among political parties under the commission's stern, impartial gaze, which promises that the contests will be free and the outcome fair. It is the certainty about the results reflecting the popular mood which has facilitated the task of forecasts since the earlier ugly phenomenon of booth-capturing, impersonation and forcibly keeping at bay large groups of voters, mainly in the Hindi heartland, is no longer prevalent. As is known, this remarkable cleansing of the electoral system is the contribution of T.N. Seshan, who was chief election commis-


The country is ready for another electoral bout among political parties under the Election Commission's stern, impartial gaze, which promises that the contests will be free and the outcome fair. sioner from 1990 to 1996. Since his time, the commission, like the Comptroller and Auditor General's office, has been a truly autonomous body. As a result, perhaps the most crucial of the "cow belt" states, Uttar Pradesh, will see another riveting battle between the two old regional adversaries, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and the Samajwadi Party (SP), and two

"national" parties with limited local influence, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), with all of them accepting the results without making too much of a fuss. In all likelihood, the anti-incumbency factor, which led to the SP's ouster in 2007, may be felt by the BSP this time, largely because of the latter's neglect of significant development projects that make a

difference to the lives of the poor and marginalized, reminiscent of a similar indifference shown by Lalu Prasad during his 15 years as Bihar chief minister. In both their cases, the belief that a neat stitching of caste combinations - Mayawati's Dalit-Brahmin rainbow coalition and Lalu Prasad's Muslim-Yadav (MY) alliance - was considered enough to cross the electoral Rubicon. Interestingly, the Janata DalUnited and the BJP, which are allies in Bihar, will be on opposite sides of the fence in Uttar Pradesh, diminishing the latter's chances of getting a sizeable chunk of the other backward caste (OBC) votes via the Janata Dal-United and, therefore, pushing it further down in the electoral stakes. For the Congress, it is a do-ordie battle for the party's heir apparent, Rahul Gandhi. If he falters yet again, as in Bihar in 2010, he will have to reconsider his tactics. But, if the Congress can repeat its 2009 performance in Uttar Pradesh, Rahul will be the frontrunner for the prime minister's chair in 2014. If anti-incumbency is expected

to hit the BSP in Uttar Pradesh, it is also likely to unsettle the Akali Dal in Punjab, which has tended to vote for the Akalis and the Congress in alternate elections. The Congress' hopes of staging a comeback have been buoyed by its success in the 2009 parliamentary polls, when it won eight of the 13 seats while the Akalis won four. In Uttarakhand, the party had to hastily remove Ramesh Pokhriyal from the chief minister's post in favour of B.C. Khanduri, who held the office earlier, in view of the corruption charges faced by Pokhriyal's administration. In fact, there is little doubt that the BJP would have lost power if Pokhriyal had remained in office. Even now, memories of his time in power may damage the party's prospects. In Manipur, the Congress may gain from the differences that have cropped up between two constituents of the People's Democratic Front (PDF) - the Janata Dal (United) and the RJD with the enmity rooted in Bihar between these two parties souring their relations in the northeastern state.

People's wish for democracy remains: Chinese writer Bi Feiyu. By Madhusree Chatterjee eople's wish for democracy has no end, so days of revolution still exist in China, says writer Bi Feiyu, who won the Man Asian Literary Prize for his book "Three Sisters" in 2010. He also points out that Chinese youth are more keen to make money now, but women get less of a chance. The cultural revolution is over and "today's Chinese politics is much better than during that time. But we cannot be happy about that because people's wish of democracy and liberation have no end," Feiyu, 47, told IANS


in an interview here. He was in the country to release the Indian edition of the English translation of his book published by Om Books International. "I believe the days of the revolution are still existing because there is no multi-party system in China, the army does not belong to the country - but to the party. The media is not yet free. All these are the wishes that the Chinese people hope can be solved," Feiyu said. So one cannot assume or feel that the cultural revolution is over "because that means you will be happy", the writer felt. Opening a window into the state of Chinese socio-economic psyche postTiananmen Square in 1989, the novelist said, "Many Chinese, including the knowledgeables, have put their excitement in making money and not on politics."

"I feel that after the Tiananmen uprising, youth's passion towards politics has reduced considerably. They want to be rich while they are very young," the writer said. His novel, "Three Sisters" explores the life of three sisters, Yumi (corn in Chinese), Yuxiu (beauty) and Yuyang (earth) who find their ways out of the petty treachery of the village to the slogans of the cultural revolution and the mad pace of city life. The lives of the three sisters change with their journey from the village to the city. The novelist in the course of his narrative from rural to urban China unravels the contrasts in the situations - the quirks in lifestyles and the rot that the Communist regime had bred in 1970s' China. The socio-political movement that took place in China led by Mao Zedong from 1966 through 1976 to enforce socialism had

left its imprint in almost every sphere of culture - not even sparing the women folk whose lives were dictated by the party. Comparing his three heroines, Feiyu said "Yumi has more socialism, while Yuxiu is more natural. Yuyang does not have any of the characteristics of her two older siblings, but even then the politics does not leave her alone." Feiyu said he had "deliberately created three different women in his novel - and all the three could avoid the autocratic politics of the people who had started the cultural revolution". "Through the real life of these girls in the book, I am letting people know that this kind of life cannot go on... When the youth of today's China see (read) the book, they will tell themselves that the three sisters are not far away from us," Feiyu said.

The views expressed in Op Eds are not necessarily those of The South Asian Times.



January 21-27, 2012

Pakistan Parliament passes resolution supporting Gilani Islamabad: Pakistan's National Assembly passed a resolution supporting democracy in the country, which gave a breather to beleaguered Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani against whom the Supreme Court issued a contempt notice for not acting against President Asif Ali Zardari for corruption. The lower house of Parliament passed the pro-democracy resolution moved by Awami National Party (ANP) leader Asfandyar Wali, Geo News reported. Gilani congratulated the MPs on passage of the resolution, while MPs belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party-Sherpao staged a walkout. Gilani told the house he would appear before the Supreme Court as he was directed to appear per-

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. sonally before it on Jan 19. He said the government wanted no confrontation with any institu-

Memo scandal: Court dismisses plea against Ijaz

Mansoor Ijaz claims to have delivered a memo to then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mike Mullen. Islamabad: A Pakistani court dismissed a plea to file a case against Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz who forwarded a secret memo to Washington that said President Asif Ali Zardari last year feared a military coup. Additional Sessions Judge Syed Wajahat Hassan in Islamabad rejected the petition to file the case against Mansoor Ijaz, reported Geo News. The petition was filed on Jan 7 by Pakistan Peoples Party activist

Khalid Jameel Sati, seeking registration of criminal case against Mansoor Ijaz. Mansoor Ijaz claims to have delivered a memo to then chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mike Mullen last year at the behest of then Pakistan's envoy to the US Husain Haqqani. The memo said Zardari feared a military take-over following the killing of Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, near Islamabad, May 2 last year.Petitioner Khalid Jameel Sati sought arrest orders against Mansoor Ijaz. He pleaded that Ijaz hatched conspiracy against the democracy and the country as he attempted to pit the army and the government against each other. The revelation about the secret memo led to Haqqani stepping down. Former minister Sherry Rehman was then appointed the new envoy to the US. Pakistani parliament and Supreme Court are probing the memo issue.

tion, including the judiciary, and that no one should degrade the mandate of the elected govern-

News.The prime minister made the offer after a meeting with Zardari. Both leaders discussed the current political situation in the country, Geo News quoted sources as saying. Partners of Pakistan's ruling coalition also met and decided that Gilani would appear before the Supreme Court Jan 19. A seven-member Supreme Court bench Monday resumed hearing on the implementation of the NRO, under which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had withdrawn cases against Zardari. Dawn News quoted Law Minister Maula Bux Chandio as saying that the government would talk to lawyers regarding the court's notice and that the next step would be taken in accordance with the law and constitution.

Zardari has immunity: Pakistani PM's lawyer Islamabad: Asif Ali Zardari has immunity from prosecution, says the lawyer of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who has been issued a contempt notice by the Supreme Court for not implementing a directive to act against

the president for corruption. Gilani's lawyer Aitzaz Ahsan said that the president has immunity from prosecution even in Swiss courts, Dawn reported. Zardari enjoyed immunity while in office under the Vienna

Convention, he added. He said that the cases against Zardari were in the nature of criminal cases in which case no proceedings could be initiated against him while he was in office.

Pakistani PM on suicidal warpath, says daily Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani appeared to be on a "suicidal warpath", said a daily, noting that his "raving and ranting will not hide (the) selfishness from the people who have already seen through the charade being enacted before them". An editorial in the News International Wednesday said that the capacity for clear, cool-headed thinking within the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) appears to be disappearing faster than ever. "The prime minister remains on what appears to be a suicidal warpath, pitching himself against other institutions and apparently readying himself to take on the role of a martyr who - in the realm of make-believe the PPP now occupies - can save

Krishna brings healing touch to Tamils Kilinochchi (Sri Lanka): Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna visited this former Tamil Tiger hub and gifted medical equipment to a hospital, unveiled a renovated school and handed over houses built with New Delhi's assistance. On the second day of a four-day visit to the island nation, Krishna took a chopper from capital Colombo to land in Kilinochchi, the former headquarter of the now vanquished Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). He gifted a range of medical equipment to the district hospital in the heart of the small town, about 60 km south of Jaffna.

ment. "We need no certificate to prove our patriotism," Gilani said, citing sacrifices rendered by leaders of the ruling PPP for the cause of democracy in the country.Gilani offered to resign Monday after the Supreme Court issued him a contempt notice for not implementing a directive to act against President Asif Ali Zardari for corruption. Zardari, accused of graft, had been granted amnesty under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), which was issued in 2007 by then president Pervez Musharraf to facilitate the return of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband Zardari. The NRO was struck down as void by the Supreme Court in 2009. Gilani offered to resign to save democratic system and parliament, reported ARY

The hospital, which suffered extensive damage during the final phase of the armed conflict, was rebuilt by the Sri Lankan government and restored to the provincial council. Dressed in casuals and sports sneakers, a relaxed Krishna unveiled an ICU and a fully air-conditioned sterilization room at the 200-bed hospital. Accompanying him were Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris, Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna. Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen and Small Industries Minister Douglas Devananda.

democracy and battle all that it has decided is evil," it added. The editorial said that continuing the aggressive tone in his much anticipated address to the National Assembly, Gilani had declared that neither the judiciary nor the army could derail democracy. "What he didn't mention amidst the display of high emotion is the role his own government has played in subverting the working of democracy by failing to abide by court orders and follow the dictates of the constitution," it said. The editorial went on to say that the crisis the ruling party now faces has been brought about by itself. "Much now depends on what answer Gilani offers to the court when he appears before it."

Pakistani scribe working for US radio killed Islamabad: A Pakistani journalist, who was working for US radio, was shot dead by some unidentified gunmen in the country's northwestern region, police said. Mukararm Khan Atif was offering evening prayers when unidentified gunmen sneaked into the mosque and shot at him in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province's Charsadda district, Xinhua quoted police as saying. He died at the hospital. Atif was

working for the Pashto-language American Diva radio in the area. He was also associated with a local TV channel and had been covering events in the nearby Mohmand tribal region. As per witnesses, two armed motorcyclists fled after the incident. No group claimed responsibility for the incident. According to media groups, a total of 12 journalists were killed in Pakistan last year.



January 21-27, 2012

'Captain took ship off route, abandoned it' Rome: The captain of a Carnival Corp. ship that ran aground off Italy, was granted house arrest hours after audio emerged of a Coast Guard official ordering Francesco Schettino to return to the damaged Costa Concordia and oversee rescue efforts. The captain of a Carnival Corp. (CCL) ship that ran aground off Italy told a judge that he made a mistake by steering too close to Giglio Island, according to a court document. Francesco Schettino, the captain of the Costa Concordia, failed to promptly advise the Italian Coast guard after he struck rocks along

11 people are dead and 22 still missing days after the Italian cruise liner Costa Concordia crashed into rocks.

the coast and later allegedly abandoned the ship carrying 4,200 passengers and crew with at least 100 people still aboard. As per Italian authorities, 11 people are confirmed dead and 22 still missing days after the cruise liner crashed into rocks after leaving for a Mediterranean cruise with over 4,200 passengers onboard. The Costa Concordia's captain, 52-year-old Francesco Schettino, was put under house arrest after being detained with charges of manslaughter and abandoning ship. Judge Montesarchio said the 51-year-old captain admitted that

he deviated from the ship’s programmed route, coming 0.28 nautical miles from the coast. He then allegedly refused pleas from a Coast Guard official to return to the ship, the document shows. He “underestimated the damage” and gave the evacuation order more than an hour after the ship hit rocks by the island, delaying rescue operations, according to the document. Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, said today it has begun refunding passengers and said is arranging lodging, transportation and counseling for passengers and crew.

‘Strike on Iran would ‘North Korea close to collapse’ be catastrophe’

Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov warned that an attack would spark a regional refugee crisis and incite inter-communal tensions in the region. Moscow: Russia has warned that a military strike on Iran would be a "catastrophe" with the severest consequences which risked inflaming existing tensions between Sunni and Shiite Muslims. "As for the chances of this catastrophe happening, you would have to ask those constantly mentioning it as an option that remains on the table," foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said when asked on the chances of military action. Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak earlier said in Jerusalem that his country was not even close to deciding to attack Iran and believed that a military option remained "very far away". Lavrov warned of the "severest" consequences of an attack that he warned would spark a regional refugee crisis and incite inter-communal tensions in the region. "I have no doubt in the fact that it only add fuel to the fire of the stillsimmering Sunni-Shiite conflict. And I do not know where the subsequent chain reaction will end. He added that punitive sanctions aimed at winning more transparency from Iran had "exhausted"

themselves and only hurt the chances of peace. "Additional unilateral sanctions against Iran have nothing to do with a desire to ensure the regime's commitment to nuclear non-proliferation," Lavrov told reporters at an annual briefing outlining Russia's foreign policy views. His comments came as EU diplomats closed in on a July date for a full oil embargo that would suit nations such as Italy with a strong reliance on Iranian supplies. Lavrov said Russia had evidence that Iran was ready to cooperate more closely with inspectors from the United Nations IAEA nuclear watchdog and was preparing for "serious talks" with the West. He also hinted that Europe and the United States were imposing the measures with the specific purpose of torpedoing new rounds of talks. "Iran is now waiting for an (IAEA) delegation so that it can discuss serious issues. So the sanctions that can now be adopted by the European Union can hardly improve the atmosphere or make the talks productive," said Lavrov.

Tokyo: A new book claims that the eldest son of North Korea’s late leader Kim Jong-il believes the impoverished regime is in danger of collapse and that his young half-brother, chosen to lead after Kim’s death, is merely a figurehead. The book by Tokyo-based journalist Yoji Gomi went on sale recently. He says it is based primarily on email exchanges he had with Kim Jong Nam over many years. The book, titled My Father, Kim Jong Il and Me, drew immediate attention as a rare view into the family that has led the secretive country for decades — though Kim Jong Nam is thought to be estranged from his family and the workings of government. Since Kim Jong-il’s death Dec. 17, North Korea has been led by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un. “Jong-un will just be a figurehead,” the book quotes Kim Jong Nam as saying. It claims he said the collapse of North Korea’s economy is likely unless it initiates reforms, which could also bring it down.

The book by Tokyo-based journalist quotes late leader Kim Jong-il’s son as saying that the collapse of North Korea’s economy is likely unless it initiates reforms. “Without reforms and liberalization, the collapse of the economy is within sight,” he quoted Kim as saying. “But reforms and opening up could also invite dangers for the regime.” Gomi, a Tokyo Shimbun journalist who had assignments in Seoul and Beijing, claims he exchanged 150 emails and has spent a total of seven hours interviewing Kim Jong Nam, who was seen as a possible successor until he fell out of favor with Kim Jong-il in 2001.

Not long after Kim Jong-il’s funeral, Jong Nam suggested in an interview with a Japanese TV network that he opposes a hereditary transfer of power to his young half-brother, who is believed to be in his late 20s. That was a rare public sign of discord in the tightly choreographed succession process, but analysts said Jong Nam spends so much time outside his native land that his opinion carries little weight.

US restores diplomatic ties with Myanmar Washington: The United States has formally restored diplomatic relations with the government of Myanmar, or Burma, as it was known before the ruling military Junta changed the nation’s name. The restoration of relations came on the heels of an announcement that the Myanmar regime had released 651 political prisoners. Among those arrested as political prisoners in the course of many conflicts are civilian protestors, Buddhist monks, and students. A day before the prisoner release, the government announced a cease-fire in the long-running conflict between the military and ethnic Karen rebels in the east. AFP reports that a presidential order at the end of last year to end fighting against ethnic Kachin rebels in the north failed to end the conflict there. Around the same time, though, a successful ceasefire was brokered between ethnic fighters of the Shan State ArmySouth and its local government. In the wake of the prisoner release, Myanmar as a state was still not wholeheartedly

embraced by the United Nations, which issued a statement that more reforms were needed. In contrast US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton was enthusiastic, saying, “[t]his is a momentous day for the diverse people of Burma,” and she announced plans to exchange ambassadors with the country. Burma has been in a state of civil war since it was declared independent from British colonial rule in 1948. State violence against ethnic minorities have caused the international community to isolate Burma by imposing sanctions against the ruling government. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese have been displaced by fighting around the nation. Meanwhile, as part of the reforms announced by President Thein Sein, elections are scheduled for April 1. Burma’s most well known leader and Nobel Peace Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released recently after decades of house arrest, has registered to run for office.


January 21-27, 2012

Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang steps down

The 43-year-old Jerry Yang also resigned from the Boards of Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba Group Holding limited. San Francisco: Yahoo's co-founder Jerry Yang stepped down from its board along with all other

Dealers said increased foreign capital inflows into the Indian market and dollar losses against other currencies in overseas markets mainly provided support to the rupee.

Western slowdown squeezes funds for Indian NGOs Kolkata: The debt crisis in Europe and slowdown in the US have created ripples in the remotest of Indian towns and villages, with NGOs feeling the pinch due to cutbacks of 20-40 percent by Western donors. Many small NGOs are facing a viability problem with their coffers drying up. Some have had to shut down their projects. According to Child In Need Institute (CINI), a Kolkataheadquartered NGO which runs projects in West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, funds from foreign countries to organizations like it in India have been cut by 20 percent and upwards. "Foreign funding to NGOs has been reduced dramatically. It has become very tough for us. Many small organizations operating in the poorest areas of the country are facing acute viability problems," CINI's additional director Rajib Halder said.Halder said funds from Europe to the institute, which is a recipient of international development organizations like Unicef, CARE, Save the Children and Britain's Department for International Development (DFID) have been trimmed down by about 20 percent compared to last year.

World Bank lowers global economic growth rate

positions he held in the company, it was announced. The 43-year-old Yang also resigned from the Boards of Yahoo! Japan and Alibaba Group Holding limited, Xinhua quoted the company as stating in a press release. Having founded the online company in 1995 with David Filo, Yang served as Yahoo's chief executive from June 2007 until January 2009. Yang's resignation comes two weeks after the company hired former PayPal executive Scott Thomson to be its new chief executive, BBC reported. Yang had annoyed some shareholders by turning down a $47.5bn takeover offer from Microsoft in 2008. The company's current market value is about $20bn. "The time has come for me to pursue other interests outside of Yahoo!", said Yang in a statement while expressing his support for the company's current management. "I am enthusiastic about the appointment of Scott Thompson as Chief Executive Officer and his ability, along with the entire Yahoo! leadership team, to guide Yahoo! into an exciting and successful future," he said.

Rupee at 2-month high Mumbai: The rupee strengthened by 16 paise to a fresh two-month high of Rs 50.57 per US dollar in early trade on the Interbank Foreign Exchange on increased foreign capital inflows.


"European countries are saying that unemployment there is rising alarmingly; so why do we fund India instead of supporting our own NGOs?" he said. He, however, said CINI has emphasized on domestic funding following the reduction of foreign funds which started from 2008-09. The institution, which had got a grant of $40,000 (Rs.20 lakh) from the World Bank in 2009, also receives support from central and state governments. But the problem is acute for many relatively small NGOs, for which government funds are very irregular. Delhi-based Prayas, mainly engaged in imparting free education to poor children and working women, is going through a tough time following the slowdown. "The economic crisis in the US and the EU has directly affected us. This year, the funds we got from these countries are very limited. This is badly affecting our projects," the NGO's general secretary Amod Kanth said. Kanth, a former special commissioner of Delhi Police, founded the NGO in 1988. Today it runs projects in eight states.

The rupee had surged by 64 paise to close at two-month high of Rs 50.73/74 against the American currency yesterday on strong rally in equities and continued dollar selling by exporters.

Global growth is now projected at 3.1 percent for 2013, down from its June estimate of 3.6 percent. Washington: The World Bank has lowered its global economic growth rate forecast to 2.5 percent in 2012 from its previous estimate of 3.6 percent, amid risks triggered by the ongoing eurozone crisis. Developing countries should prepare for further downside risks, as the eurozone debt problems and weakening growth in several big emerging economies are dimming global growth prospects, the Washington-based organization said in its newlyreleased flagship report "Global Economic Prospects (GEP)

2012". "The world economy has entered a very difficult phase characterized by significant downside risks and fragility," the report said. The bank has lowered its growth forecast for 2012 to 5.4 percent for developing countries and 1.4 percent for high-income countries, down from its June estimates of 6.2 percent and 2.7 percent respectively, reported Xinhua. Global growth is now projected at 3.1 percent for 2013, down from its June estimate of 3.6 percent.

49% foreign stake in domestic airlines soon: govt New Delhi: In a major relief to financially distressed Indian airlines, the government on said foreign airlines would soon be allowed to acquire up to 49% stake in them. After being debated for years, aviation minister Ajit Singh announced the move following a 75-minute meeting with finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in the backdrop of at least two big airlines struggling to avoid a shutdown due to financial troubles. "The question was to allow foreign airlines to participate in FDI... the finance minister has agreed. We will bring out a note for the cabinet now. Already, 49% FDI is there. The question was to allow (foreign) airlines to participate in FDI. The committee of secretaries has also recommended that FDI limit should be raised to 49%," Singh said. Even airline promoters such as Vijay Mallya, chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, have supported 49% FDI for foreign carriers. Besides, Sebi has also expressed its reluctance to relax the takeover code guidelines to permit foreign carriers to acquire shares from the public through an open offer for an additional 26%. By seeking an exemption, the government had hoped to stay within the sectoral FDI cap. Indian carriers face an accumulated debt of $16 billion (over Rs 80,000 crore) on top of cumulative losses of $6 billion (over Rs 30,000 crore). By the end of March, losses are expected to mount to $8.5 billion (over Rs 43,000

Even airline promoters such as Vijay Mallya, chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, have supported 49% FDI for foreign carriers. crore) and debt is projected to rise by another $3-4 billion (up to Rs 22,000 crore) if Air India goes ahead with the Boeing 787 order , according to the Centre for Asia Pacific Aviation (CAPA ). Kingfisher and AI are struggling to survive and other carriers remain undercapitalized . Ajit Singh said FDI was among the important things required by airlines to survive the severe financial turbulence. "We all know that the aviation industry is under a lot of stress," he said.

No MFN status yet for India: Pak Islamabad: Two months after the proposal was cleared, Pakistan is yet to accord Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India, a minister has said. Commerce Minister Amin Fahim said that Pakistan is in the process of normalizing trade relations with India which will culminate in the grant of

MFN status. When MFN status is granted, Pakistan will get market access to some 300 to 500 million consumers in India, the minister added. The Pakistani cabinet, at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Nov 2, 2011, decided to grant India MFN status. The cabinet

also agreed to double bilateral trade from $2.5 billion to around $5 billion. India had granted Pakistan MFN status in 1996 but Islamabad did not reciprocate. Ties between the two countries deteriorated after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack that India blamed on Pakistan.



January 21-27, 2012

India woes leave Dhoni feeling the heat New Delhi: Less than a year after being hailed as India's greatest cricket captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni finds his head on the block after another woeful Test series abroad. The 30-year-old could do no wrong when he led India to World Cup glory at home in April last year, his second big success as skipper after winning the inaugural World Twenty20 in 2007. He now presides over a disintegrating Test team that has lost seven consecutive Tests on foreign soil, four of them by an innings and the rest by margins of 196, 319 and 122 runs. After 67 Tests and 3,509 runs, some say Dhoni barely merits a place in the team any more. "The need is to find a new captain from beneath the wreckage. Dhoni is no longer the answer in Test cricket," former Australian skipper Ian Chappell wrote in a newspaper on Tuesday. "He has failed dismally to rally the troops in two disastrous over-

MS Dhoni now presides over a disintegrating Test team that has lost seven consecutive Tests on foreign soil, four of them by an innings and the rest by margins of 196, 319 and 122 runs. seas campaigns and his own form, not just with the gloves but also with the bat, no longer warrants a guaranteed place in the Test side." Dhoni made 220 runs in four Tests in England last year at an

Why blame only Laxman, asks Gambhir Perth: India's opening batsman Gautam Gambhir said it was unfair to single out veteran batsman V.V.S. Laxman and admitted that the whole team has let down a billion expectations. Gambhir hoped that India would turn around things in the fourth and the final Gautam Gambhir. cricket Test in home," Gambhir told reporters here. Adelaide starting Jan 24. "Whatever backlash that's happenIndia, who suffered a 0-4 whitewash in England seven months ago, ing in India we are ready to accept. arrived in Australia as favourites but We've given opportunity for people now trail 0-3 and are staring at to criticize," Gambhir said. "We another whitewash. India suffered have not played well. I'll be the first their seventh consecutive away Test to accept that," he said. Defending Laxman, Gambhir said loss in the third Test in Perth. Gambhir said the famed India bat- the 37-year-old Hyderabadi, famous ting must take the responsibility for for his match-winning 281 against the debacle. "There was a lot of Australia in Kolkata in 2001, is one expectation from us on this tour ... of the legends of the game and no the kind of batting we have, we've one should decide when he should let the entire nation down. retire. Laxman, who has played 133 Hopefully we can turn things around Tests, had a poor series in England in Adelaide (and) put some smiles and has averaged just 17 in the three on the faces of the people back matches here so far.

average of 31.40 and has managed just 102 runs in three matches in Australia at 20.40. India, ranked the world's top Test side until they were blanked 4-0 in England, will slip to fourth

place if they lose the fourth and final Test against Australia in Adelaide next week in another series whitewash. Current form suggests they will lose, and lose heavily. Dhoni won't be playing, having been banned by the International Cricket Council for one match for slow over-rates during the third Test in Perth, his second offence in the last 12 months. Ex-captains Kapil Dev and Sourav Ganguly have gone on record to say they feel Dhoni needs a quick turnaround to secure his place as Test skipper, while stressing his position at the helm in one-day cricket is not in doubt. Batting great Sunil Gavaskar supports Dhoni's retention as Test captain -- but only because there is no suitable replacement. "The team won't miss him as a batsman," Gavaskar said, reacting to Dhoni's ban from the Adelaide Test. "But as a leader he will be

missed despite the fact that his record is not good. "At the moment, I can't think of anyone who is good enough to take over from Dhoni," Gavaskar said. Dhoni enjoyed a dream run as captain before the current crisis came along. He was named skipper in 2007 when senior players such as thencaptain Rahul Dravid, Ganguly and Sachin Tendulkar declined to play in the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa. Dhoni marshaled his inexperienced side to beat great rivals Pakistan in the final in Johannesburg, sparking a Twenty20 revolution in India that led to the creation of the lucrative Indian Premier League a year later. He was unbeaten in his first 11 Tests as captain, winning eight with three draws. He has now led India in 37 Tests with a creditable record of 17 wins, 10 losses and as many draws.

Sandeep sets up India's win against South Africa New Delhi: India played an intense, attacking game to overcome a spirited challenge from South Africa and win the second hockey 'Test' 2-1. At a time when the hosts were struggling to get past the rival defense, despite playing aggressively, defender Sandeep Singh took the game to a different level when he almost scored a field goal in the 33rd minute. Well, instead of taking the final hit himself, he smartly set it up. The Indian drag flick star grabbed the ball just outside the

rival circle after an infringement on Chingelnsana Singh and swiftly dribbled past three players before passing it on to his junior teammate from Manipur who just had to tap the ball in. Sandeep, who was on the field for about 30 minutes in the match, was not done yet. As the clocked ticked away after the South Africans equalised in the 43rd minute through Lance Loew to raise the prospect of a draw, the player from Punjab sounded the board with his favorite shot - the scorching flick.

Hockey player Sandeep Singh. After failing to capitalise from two earlier penalty corners, India earned their third barely four minutes to go for the hooter. Sandeep simply lapped it up. "This is not the first time that Sandeep has played up front. We have tried him up front earlier in Australia. We want to make him a versatile player," coach Michael Nobbs said.

Sri Lanka orders report on cricket crisis Colombo: Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage has sought a report from the country's cricket board on the issues plaguing the national team. The sports minister ordered Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chairman Upali Dharmadasa to submit the report within a week."The minister had also informed the newly elected board to submit shortterm to long-term solutions to the present crisis," the sports ministry said in a statement. The move came just a day after former Sri Lankan cricket captain turned politician Arjuna Ranatunga told Xinhua in an interview that the national cricket team and the crick-

et board were in a mess. Ranatunga said that the current national cricket selection panel should be sacked following Sri Lanka's poor performance in the United Arab Emirates and South Africa. Sri Lanka has had a poor run over the past few months, suffering a Test and One-Day International series loss in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan and later losing the Test series in South Africa. The Sri Lankan cricketers had not been paid their salaries for several months by the cricket board and only recently a part of it was paid from the money obtained from the International Cricket Council and the government treasury.



January 21-27, 2012

How To Live & Die The Man in the Bulb meditates on the dying of the light By Khushwant Singh eath is rarely spoken about in our homes. I wonder why. Especially when each one of us knows that death has to come, has to strike. It’s inevitable. This line from Yas Yagana Changezi says it best: Khuda mein shak ho to ho, maut mein nahin koi shak (You may doubt the existence of God, you can’t doubt the certainty of death). And one must prepare oneself to face it. At 95, I do think of death. I think of death very often but I don’t lose sleep over it. I think of those gone; keep wondering where they are. Where have they gone? Where will they be? I don’t know the answers: where you go, what happens next. I once asked the Dalai Lama how one should face death and he had advised meditation. I’m not scared of death; I do not fear it. Death is inevitable. While I have thought about it a lot, I don’t brood about it. I’m prepared for it. All that I hope for is that when death comes to me, it comes swiftly, without much pain, like fading away in sound slumber. Till then I’ll keep working and living each day as it comes. I believe in the Jain philosophy that death ought to be celebrated. Earlier, whenever I was upset or low, I used to go to the cremation grounds. It has a cleansing effect, and worked like a therapy for me. In fact, I’d written my own epitaph years ago:


tially a loner, I discouraged friends and relatives from coming to condole with me. I spent the first night alone sitting in my chair in the dark. At times, I broke down, but soon recovered my composure. A couple of days later, I resumed my usual routine, working from dawn to dusk. That took my mind off the stark reality of having to live alone in an empty home for the rest of my days. When friends persisted in calling and upsetting my equilibrium, I packed myself off to Goa to be by myself. I used to be keen on a burial because with a burial you give back to the earth what you have taken. Now, it will be the electric crematorium. I had requested the management of the Bahai faith if I could be buried. Initially, they had agreed, but then they came up with all sorts of conditions and rules. I had wanted to be buried in one corner with just a peepal tree next to my grave. After okaying this, the management later said that that wouldn’t be possible and that my grave would be in the middle of a row and not in a corner. I wasn’t okay with that—even though I know that once you are dead it makes no difference. But I was keen to be buried in one corner. They also told me later that

Absolute Khushwant: The Low-Down on Life, Death and Most Things In-Between

“Here lies one who spared neither man nor God Waste not your tears on him, he was a sod Writing nasty things he regarded as great fun Thank the Lord he is dead, this son of a gun.” I had even written my own obit in 1943 when I was still in my twenties. It later appeared in a collection of short stories, titled ‘Posthumous’. In the piece, I had imagined The Tribune announcing the news of my death on its front page with a small photograph. The headline would read: ‘Sardar Khushwant Singh Dead’. And then, in somewhat smaller print: ‘We regret to announce the sudden death of Sardar Khushwant Singh at 6 pm last evening. He leaves behind a young widow, two infant children and a large number of friends and admirers. Amongst those who called at the late sardar’s residence were the PA to the chief justice, several ministers, and judges of the high court.’ I had to cope with death when I lost my wife. Being an agnostic, I could not find solace in religious rituals. Being essen-

do not know what happens to us after we die but one should help a person go in peace at peace with himself and with the world. I’ve lived a reasonably contented life. I’ve often thought about what it is that makes people happy - what one has to do in order to achieve happiness. First and foremost is good health. If you do not enjoy good health, you can never

By Khushwant Singh & Humra Quraishi. Penguin India, Rs 250. they would chant some prayers, which again I couldn’t agree with, because I don’t believe in religion or in religious rituals of any kind. Though I’m quite fit, I know I don’t have much time left. I’m coming to terms with death, preparing myself. And since I have no faith in God, nor in the day of judgment, nor in the theory of reincarnation, I have to come to terms with the complete full stop. I have been criticized for not sparing even the dead, but then death does not sanctify a person, and if I find the person had been corrupt, I write about it even when he’s gone. I don’t believe in rebirth or in reincarnation, in the day of judgment or in heaven or hell. I accept the finality of death. We

be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will deduct something from your happiness. Second, a healthy bank balance. It need not run into crores, but it should be enough to provide for comforts, and there should be something to spare for recreation—eating out, going to the movies, travel and holidays in the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money can be demoralising. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers one in one’s own eyes. Third, your own home. Rented places can never give you the comfort or security of a home that is yours for keeps. If it has garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and flowers, see them grow and

blossom, and cultivate a sense of kinship with them. Fourth, an understanding companion, be it your spouse or a friend. If you have too many misunderstandings, it robs you of your peace of mind. It is better to be divorced than to be quarreling all the time. Fifth, stop envying those who have done better than you in life - risen higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be corroding; avoid comparing yourself with others. Sixth, do not allow people to descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering. Seventh, cultivate a hobby or two that will fulfill you - gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks, or to meet celebrities, is a criminal waste of time. It’s important to concentrate on something that keeps you occupied meaningfully. I have family members and friends who spend their entire day caring for stray dogs, giving them food and medicines. There are others who run mobile clinics, treating sick people and animals free of charge. Eighth, every morning and evening devote 15 minutes to introspection. In the mornings, 10 minutes should be spent in keeping the mind absolutely still, and five minutes listing the things you have to do that day. In the evenings, five minutes should be set aside to keep the mind still and 10 minutes to go over the tasks you had intended to do. Ninth, don’t lose your temper. Try not to be short-tempered, or vengeful. Even when a friend has been rude, just move on. Above all, when the time comes to go, one should go like a man without any regret or grievance against anyone. Iqbal said it beautifully in a couplet in Persian: “You ask me about the signs of a man of faith? When death comes to him, he has a smile on his lips.”



January 21-27, 2012

Mrs Steinheart theory By Robert Golomb he boy sat in his seat nervously, but with a hopeful expectation he had not known before. Mrs. Steinheart, his English teacher, was returning book reports to his seventh grade classmates, and she would be returning his any moment now. Sitting in his seat, a small smile came to the boy’s face as he thought back to the hours he had devoted to writing the report and recalled the sensation of those magical moments when he first came to realize he had loved what he had written and had loved the words he had used. It was the first time the boy, who had just recently begun to experience the joy of reading, had ever read his own writing with a rushing sensation of pride and ownership. Pride and ownership associated with his schoolwork were emotions never experienced before by the boy, who had long ago sensed that his teachers and even his own mother and father regarded him as a loser playing a futile game of catch-up his first six school years. But now, in the first half of his seventh school year, he had finally caught up. And, most amazingly, he experienced the joy of putting his own thoughts into words. “Come up for your book report”, Mrs. Steinheart bellowed. The boy walked to his teacher’s desk and took the three page report from her hands. Racing through the pages, the boy found his grade on the bottom right hand corner of the final page: A/F.


The boy tried to maintain his composure. He could not allow his classmates to see him cry. He knew the teacher gave two grades the top for content the bottom for grammar, but he had carefully monitored his grammar as he wrote and had reread the report when he had finished. Finding no signs of Mrs. Steinheart’s red pen on his paper, he could not imagine where he had gone wrong. He knew he had to find the courage to question the teacher, and so he did when the bell ending the class finally rang. “Mrs. Steinheart, Why did I get an F in grammar? Where are my mistakes?” questioned the boy who had never questioned a teacher before. “That’s not an F. That is a question mark. I graded the paper an A. The question mark is about you writing it. I did not think you could write this well. That is why I wrote the question mark, and that’s why I will not be crediting you with an A in my marking book for your next report card.” Months passed, and the boy whose smile had been erased from his face raised his hand from his seat in the back of the room. “Can I go the bathroom Mrs. Steinheart?” “No you cannot.” When the discomfort racing through his bowels turned into pain and fear, the boy raised his hand again, lifting it high for his teacher to see. But she seemed to be looking in every direction but his. He continued to keep his hand raised, as moments turned into

The recollection of the bad experiences of childhood endures long after the memories of the good experiences have disappeared. This is true with children in their relationships with their parents. It is true with children in their relationships with their teachers. minutes and the minutes seemed to drag on forever. Knowing it was his last chance, the boy partially raised his body out of his seat and began to move his hand in a desperate wave. “What is it?” the teacher asked with a howl. “Can I go to the bathroom?” “How did I know that you were going to ask that question? Okay leave. ” It was too late. The laughing taunts, smiling insults and cruel jokes that followed him the remainder of the afternoon followed him throughout the remainder of the school year. The boy would never forget that afternoon, just as he would never forget the question mark that substituted for what should have been his first A. Despite the kind, patient and nurturing teachers the boy had no doubt encountered before and after Mrs. Steinheart, whenever he thought of teachers, he thought only of her. And while forty years have passed, the image of Mrs. Steinheart as his composite recollection of all teachers would probably have remained had his life not taken a strange twist. Twelve years later, the boy who had turned into a man became a middle school English teacher; and ten years after that, the man who had never forgotten being a vulnerable boy became an assistant principal, whose responsibilities included supervising English teachers and, incidentally, working for many years with seventh grade students In the event you haven’t yet guessed, I was that boy. And whenever I think back to the seventh grade, I become that vulnerable boy again. I have come to believe that the recollection of the bad experiences of childhood endures long after the memories of the good experiences have disappeared. This is true with children in their relationships with their parents. It is true with children in their relationships with their teachers. It is certainly true with me. Had I not become an educator myself, having witnessed first hand that the overwhelming majority of teachers are the polar

opposites of Mrs. Steinheart, it would be her image discoloring my picture of teachers the rest of my life. I would think of that whenever I encountered people who seem to hate teachers, and I have certainly encountered my share. Each time I would ask myself, “Who was the Mrs Steinheart who wounded them?” There must have been such a teacher and such a wound to explain such animosity. Using this as my premise, I developed my own psychological theory about this phenomenon many years ago. I named it the Mrs. Steinheart theory. I had many occasions to apply this theory during the ten years I was an English teacher. Telling a new acquaintance my occupation, I would not infrequently hear a comment like, “You seem so nice. You can’t be a teacher.” I applied this theory during the twenty years that, before my retirement, I was an assistant principal. Informing someone I just met what I do for a living, I would often hear a comment like, “I hope you don’t let those rotten teachers get away with anything.” I have also applied the Mrs. Steinheart theory to even the rare breed of fair and objective politicians, journalists, commentators, who abandon this fairness and objectivity only when it comes to teachers, who become their singular whipping boys and girls. That the success of these individuals can probably in large be credited to the many caring, nurturing and knowledgeable pedagogues who were once upon a time ago their teachers is a point apparently lost on these grown men and women. They just like me, I suspect, were the victims of a Mrs. Steinheart in a year that a teacher stole from their childhood. Robert Golomb is currently an adjunct professor of graduate education, writing and school administration. Before his retirement, he had served ten years as a NYC middle school English teacher and subsequently twenty years as an assistant principal. He writes on range of educational, political, cultural and international topics. He can be contacted by email:



January 21-27, 2012

Ideal parenting? Many celebrities get it right New Delhi: He earns by the minute, yet superstar Shah Rukh Khan never compromises on quality time with his kids. Be it a bicycle ride or a game of soccer, he, like several celebrity parents these days, is always matching steps with his children - a quality others could imbibe, feel experts. A considerable number of urban Indian kids are getting easily swayed by the lure of the Playstation, laptops, movies, internet, social networking and bowling alleys. But in the urge to spend more time with friends and technology, that crucial dialogue with parents is getting lost. And that's not good. Shah Rukh surprised all and sundry when he decided to step on to a Mumbai street with his daughter, Suhana, and a well-built bodyguard, for a cycle ride. He remained nonchalant about the eyeballs he

Shah Rukh Khan’s tweet pic with son Aryan and daughter Suhana at recent Dubai family trip. SRK was out in the dunes, also played midnight soccer with them. grabbed on the streets, and played daddy cool for his little angel. As a parent, it was a rare, special moment

for him. "Taking daughter for a cycle ride in Bandra...hmmm, let's see how it

Eat from a red plate to lose weight: Study London: People who eat from a red plate or drink from red cups cut their food intake by 40 percent, says a new study. The study carried out by German and Swiss researchers said the color red may encourage diners to avoid snacking because it is commonly associated with the idea of "danger, prohibition and stop", the Daily Mail reported. The researchers suggested the governments and food industry could use red packaging on

unhealthy foods as a deterrent, and could even use red color in pubs to prevent people from drinking too much. In the study, 41 male students were asked to drink tea from cups marked with red or blue labels. They drank 44 percent less from cups with red labels. Another 109 people were given 10 pretzels each on either a red, blue or white plate. Those with a red plate ate fewer pretzels. The results were published in the journal Appetite.

turns out...a first for us," King Khan had tweeted before the ride. On a recent family trip to Dubai, he was out in the dunes having fun with his son Aryan and daughter Suhana, and even ended up hurting his ribs during some midnight soccer. But as long as the kids remained happy, he didn't mind! Arjun Rampal, father to two lovely daughters, also indulges a lot. During the full moon Monday night, the actor was up on his terrace with a telescope, and treated his daughters to a faint view of its craters. Even actress Pooja Bedi, who has been in the news for her "Bigg Boss 5" association, planned a trip with her kids -- Aalia and Omar -- after her exit from the reality show to catch up on missed times. "Had so much fun on the ski slopes with the kids today:). Love being the mom that does stuff with

them, rather than watch from side," tweeted Pooja, a single mother. Actress Shweta Tiwari, also a single mom, tries spending quality time with her 11-year-old daughter Palak, and says they share a friendly bond. "I am a very friendly mom. I am a little strict with her, but not very," Shweta, who is seen as an overprotective mom in Sony's TV show "Parvarish". However, she says there is no right or wrong mantra for parenting. "I think we should just let the kids be. All you need to tell the kids is that 'These are the mistakes I made in my life, learn from them, don't repeat them. And you go and make your own mistakes.' As parents, we should talk freely with our kids and have fun with them, so that they don't fear conversations. Otherwise, it is very easy for them to stray away," she added.

Desk job is injurious to health London: A British study has said people in desk jobs could be compromising with their health as it often perpetrates a sedentary lifestyle. According to the research, sitting at a desk all day means you are more likely to slump on the sofa at home and perform no exercise. The average office worker spends five hours 41 minutes daily at their desk, almost as long as the seven hours they spend sleeping, the Daily

Express reported. These deskbound workers are more likely to turn into couch potatoes, increasing their risk of obesity, says the researchers at the Loughborough University, a research-based campus university in Britain's Leicestershire county. The trend is partly blamed on technology making it simpler for lazy people at offices to email a colleague rather than walking over to see them, it adds.

Twinkling, bejewelled Indian wedding cards - got one yet? New Delhi: They could be Swarovski studded, they could match the bride's trousseau, they could come in multiple folds and, yes, they might just cost Rs.100,000 (about $2,000) each. Welcome to the world of the big fat Indian wedding card! The country's wedding market is said to be worth about Rs.1,500 billion (about $30 billion) - and growing at about 10-15 percent every year; so little surprise that marriage invites are getting to be a glitzy and exclusive affair. NRIs, especially, are a major constituent of this market. "It's been studied that NRIs based in the US, Britain, Canada, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand want their marriages to be complete Indian affairs and this desire propels them to visit India for the selection of cards, jeweleries and venues," Gourav Rakshit, the business head of says.The latest fad is exotic invitation cards. Kapco Press Pvt Ltd CEO Neeraj Kapoor, who has been in the business for 26 years, says, "People no longer want simple designs. More

Swarovski embellished wedding invitation cards. designers are entering. Prices have skyrocketed. Everyone, including the NRI, asks for the fanciest and most exclusive design even if it's not worth the amount spent. Some even say Indian designs are simply outstanding and can't be found anywhere else," he said. Triveni Bakshi, a Canada-based NRI, is completely in

Wedding invitation cards in box shaped design awe of Indian designs. "Yes! It's true that Indian wedding cards have no match. I personally like a lot of bling, something which has to do with fabrics or metal. Indian designs have so much variety - scroll with silk fabric and traditional Indian fonts or silver plated wedding card with embossed content." "Innovation is the key and keeping this in

mind ethnic designs have made a comeback. Also, personalized and handmade cards are a big trend nowadays as many people feel these add an emotional touch to the entire occasion," said wedding card designer Raj Kapoor. When it comes to the most sought after designs, striped, bejeweled motifs, bold colors, and vintage patterns matching the design of the bride's wedding trousseau are on the priority list. "Vertical, horizontal and multicolored stripes are termed as one of the most sought after trends this season. Also, embellishing the invitation with small rhinestones, pearl-toned beads or Swarovski crystals makes a low-key invitation style fashionable. The list is endless," said card-designer Piyali Rana. "What is also gaining popularity are motif patterns. Brides ask to create a pattern on wedding cards inspired by her lehengas or saris. For instance, a ring of rosettes, a square of lace applique, or bead work." Fancy boxes made of cardboard, hard plastic or even pure silver are also sent out as invitation cards.



January 21-27, 2012

Humor with Melvin Durai

Watch out for falling objects f you’re planning to go for a walk –- and I strongly advise against this –- you might want to keep your eyes up. You never know what might fall on you: apples, frogs, Russian space crafts. Yes, it’s a dangerous world out there and the best thing you can do is stay indoors. If you absolutely have to go outside, follow my example and say a prayer: “Dear God, if you must drop something on my head, let it be hair. My bald spot isn’t getting any smaller.” Apples may seem like harmless objects, but not when they’re dropping from the sky, as they recently did in Coventry, England. More than 100 apples fell on a main road in the village of Keresley, forcing drivers to slam their brakes. They were lucky they weren’t walking. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, as the old saying goes, but 100 apples will surely bring him. Doctor: “What happened, Mrs. Smith? Why do you have all those bumps on your head?” Mrs. Smith: “It's my son-in-law's fault. I was walking to the Pension Service to discuss my housing benefits and my son-in-law said, ‘Good luck, Mum! I hope your visit will be very fruitful.’” Officials in Coventry are trying to


figure out where the apples came from. One theory is that they were swept up from an orchard by a tornado and dropped on the road, but Keresley parish councillor Sandra Camwell has a more logical explanation: witches. “We're in an area with a spooky history, where there have been witches for centuries, after all," she told The Telegraph. If it were just apples falling from the sky, we wouldn't have too much to worry about. In fact, we might pray that more apples fall, especially in parts of the world where people would lie on their backs and open their mouths wide. London man: “Yes!!! That apple just saved me a lot of money!” Tourist: “But you didn't even eat it.” London man: “Eat it? Are you bonkers? Why would I eat it? I just wanted it to knock out my loose

tooth, so I wouldn't have to pay the dentist.” Unfortunately it’s more than just apples falling from the sky. Just ask anyone who follows the news closely and they’ll tell you about the thousands of frogs that fell in Odzaci, a small town in northwestern Serbia, in 2005, or the hundreds of fish that fell in Lajamanu, a town in Australia’s northern territory, in 2010. “When I told my family, who live in another part of Australia, about the fish falling from the sky, they thought I'd lost the plot,” a woman named Christine Balmer told The Daily Mail. “But no, I haven't lost my marbles. All I can say is that I'm thankful that it didn't rain crocodiles!” Raining frogs and fish is bad enough, although you might get a meal out of them. But here's a warning: if something falls out of the sky, make sure you identify it before you put it in your mouth and start chewing. Even if it looks like a real fish, you should always turn it around to see if you can spot the words “Made in China.” Experts believe that the frogs and fish were swept up by tornadoes or sucked up in a storm, but how do they explain what happened in

Kentucky in 1876? Pieces of meat as large as three or four square inches fell from the sky into someone’s yard. According to The New York Times, “two gentlemen, who tasted the meat, express the opinion that it

was either mutton or venison.” I don’t know about you, but if chunks of meat fell from the sky into my yard, I wouldn’t be tasting it. I’d be running through the streets screaming, "Witches! Witches!"

Laughter is the Best Medicine

by Mahendra Shah

Mahendra Shah is an architect by education, entrepreneur by profession, artist and humorist, cartoonist and writer by hobby. He has been recording the plight of the immigrant Indians for the past many years in his cartoons. Hailing from Gujarat, he lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Tech Life

Siri: Your wish is its command By Shiv Chopra iri is a new program released by Apple for the iPhone 4s. It lets you use your voice to send messages, schedule meetings, place phone calls, and more. You activate it by holding the home button and then you simply say a command. The command can be anywhere from what is the meaning of life to set a timer for 40 minutes. It is still in the beta version so it won’t understand everything you say but it can sure do a whole lot. You can really talk to it as if you were taking to your friend. Such as instead of saying call Marie you can say call my wife. It really understands what you are trying to say. Such as if you were talking to it about seeing if a movie is available near you and then you say how about Mission Impossible, it will remember what you said before and tell you if it is available. It also has a sense of humor such as if you ask it what is the best cell phone, it will give you the answer the one you’re holding and if you ask it what is the meaning of life it will tell you I can’t answer that right now but give me some time to write a very long play where nothing happens. Siri uses apps already installed into your phone which makes it possible for it to set


timers or set alarms. It helps make your everyday life easier, like if you are in a car and then you have to text someone but you can’t use your hands so you activate Siri and tell it who to text and what to text. It also finds answers for you from the web, such as if you ask how many miles are in a yard and you don’t have a converter app it will look it up online and give you an answer. Android was soon to follow. So Dexetra made an app called Iris, Siri spelled backwards, which was supposedly developed in under 8 hours. It at first was a copy of Siri only it wasn’t as smart or resourceful but that has changed because they kept adding updates which built it up to something more than a copy. It still can’t send text messages, make calls or set timers but in due time they will make the program as good as Siri but for right now Siri is still superior.


January 21-27, 2012

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma Stars Foretell: January 21-27, 2012 Aries: Stabilization in your relationship with your family members seems certain if you are willing to compromise on certain fronts. Professional gains for some bring gains and prosperity. Your new ideas and technical knowledge will make a good impression on others. Residential moves and renovation during this period will prove auspicious. Outdoor sports events and entertainment programme will help you keep relaxed. Taurus: This is a period to invest with extreme precaution and care. Past investments need another reexamination. If you're planning on investing in a new venture then you better take small factors into consideration. Your ability to charm others will put you in the limelight. Property or vehicle transactions seem quite likely. Children will cause some dissatisfaction but spouse remains quite cooperative. Gemini: Your optimism will push your career to new heights. Put some of your innovative ideas into your work to reap longterm benefits. The next few days will see pressure on your work front arise giving you little time for recreational and other activities. Gifts and presents will be plenty from visiting guests. Avoid standing for surety of any one to avoid unnecessary complications in the coming period. Family members will be supportive and caring. Cancer: This is an excellent time for professional advancements, promotions and recognition. At work you will be in the good books of your seniors and you will also benefit monetarily. Romance is in the air, so make the best of it and avoid any arguments with your lover. Opportunities to go out with friends will be informative and pleasurable. You need to do more things that you enjoy in order to relax. Foreign transaction or overseas journey will prove to be highly beneficial. Leo: You will be in a commanding position as your confidence and enthusiasm will be high. Important messages should be attended to immediately. You will make financial gains if you get involved in speculation. A spiritual person’s blessings give comfort and relief. New relations and attachments will develop as a result of vacation and other recreational activities. Get involved in activities that will help you keep in perfect shape. Virgo: Financial matters demand more attention. You should cut down your expenses on entertainment and shopping. Financial difficulty will even effect your health. Stay focused on your goals, but take necessary precautions. For some, a change of residence or a new construction will prove highly auspicious. Your erratic behaviour will raise emotions at home. Don’t take criticism too seriously. Travel will be highly exciting but expensive. Libra: Some challenging project will see you express your skills in a very different way. New approach will give you new confidence on which you will build future hopes and dreams. Businessmen and investors will see past investments reaping profits. Relations with somebody close might get strained over petty


issues. Good week to call important people over to your place. Spouse will be highly supportive and shower you with love and affection. Legal affairs will create a state of nervousness. Scorpio: Your present health condition will be primarily because of the work pressure that you carry on your mind. You need to take time out with your friends will help you relax and regain your energy. Relationships with your clients will strengthen and you can accomplish a lot through smart negotiation and diplomacy. This week you should meet people who can further improve your career goals. Take care while driving, especially during the nights. Sagittarius: This week you will focus on domestic issues and should think about the immediate needs of your family members. Spouse and children will be a source of immense happiness. Guests and visitors bring you gifts in cash and kind. Going out with friends will be exciting and you will learn new and different skills. A good diet, coupled with fitness program will make you feel better. Capricorn: Work will suffer this week as romance clouds your mind. You will find it difficult in concentrating on your jobs and getting favours from others. Keep your focus clear on your goals to reap professional benefits. Pleasure trips for some will be educating. Little time for meditation and yoga will be important for mental as well as physical gains. Group involvement will entertertaining, but expensive if you don’t learn to say no. Aquarius: You will meet interesting people at social functions that you attend this week. Your ability to stand out in the crowd will bring you popularity and recognition. Your creative ability will surface, bringing you good ideas to make extra money. Great period to go out shopping for expensive items and jewelry. Spend some time with the one you love. Travel will be highly educating. Pisces: Money making efforts will be profitable provided you work on new ideas and plans. This seems to be an excellent time for you to do things that will keep you relaxed and entertained. This period seems exceptionally good to take time out for hobbies, or take an adventure trip or go out on a short vacation. Friends and family members will seek your advice. Wonderful week to look into new courses that interest you.

Before you consult... i) Accurate Data: Please make sure Date, Time and Place of birth is accurate. ii) Careful: Did you check background of the astrologer before disclosing your secrets. iii) Fee: Discuss the charges before, don’t feel shy. It’s his business. iv) Expectation: Expect the best, if the outcome is not as desired, never give up. v) Consult: Take second opinion before spending thousands on cure/remedies.

Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874 Delhi, India: +91-11- 2644 9898, 2648 9899;

Annual Predictions: For those born in this week January 21 Governed by number 3 and the planet Jupiter, you are energetic, honourable, ambitious, dignified and an intelligent person. You are a person with outstanding personality and ability to make many friends. You are always appreciated for your sincerity and commitment, but your need to check your tendency to behave over ambitious and dictatorial at times. This year new money making ventures prove highly lucrative. Your financial position will show remarkable improvement and you will spend more on luxuries to increase your comfort level. Investment in stocks and real estate is recommended for long term gains. Foreign trips will bring you monetary gains. Your spouse will be cooperative through out the year and will shower love and affection. Marriage proposals for those eligible. Health needs proper care. The months of January, May, August and October will prove to be important and significant. Number 3 and planet Jupiter filled your coffer with qualities like activeness, respectful, challenging, ennoble and reasoned. People will unanimously endorse all your principle and spellbound by the positive vibes coming out of you. A focused and well behaved person but need to cut down your tyranny and excessive pride holding nature. All your money task will end up on constructive note. The year promises you to urgently and quickly increase the size of your coffers which you yourself cut short by engaging in prodigal activities to have everything in life which you desired for so long. Deceitful and cautious tricks adopting for securing future are highly yielding in nature. Crucial juncture of your life is over the seas trip which provides you unending fame. Your coalition partner is highly helpful and will always be besides you irrespective of the situation. Sincerely look what needs to be done to be in fit and fine state. January, May, August and October will be conducive for you. January 22 Dominated by number 4 and the planet Uranus, you are simple, energetic, authoritative, jovial, reliable and highly organized person. You possess magnetic appeal and you are very fond of accepting challenges, but you need to check your tendency to behave moody, timid and spendthrift at times. This year someone close to you would bring you unexpected opportunities. Financial gains would also accrue from past investments. A wonderful period to do things that you enjoy and make you feel good. A distant journey for pleasure or pilgrimage seems likely later in the year. Your health would remain good but health of an aged family member would become a matter of concern. New friendships and contacts would develop during this period. The months of May, June and September will be important. You have immense confidence to deal with any situation indefinitely. People will boomeranged to you once have an interactive session with you. But you must pull out your sore, dissembled and extravagant attitude. You will receive lots of acclaim not by domestic people but also from far flung areas. Previously adopted action plans to increase your bank balance will start showing positive signs. A rejoicing and enjoyable time to hang out with your family and do all sort of adventurous activities. Year nearby its end promise you to have world tour or to some consecrated place. Some apprehensions from the side of elders health would be lighten by yours in good state. Time to mix with some unknown person who might act as “Friend in need is friend in deed”. May, June and September will be fruitful for you. January 23 Ruled by number 5 and the planet Mercury. You are energetic, practical, sensitive, friendly, diplomatic and helpful person. You are highly respected because of your ability to take quick decisions, but you need to check your tendency to behave restless, hasty and timid at times. The year your loved ones would do things that would please you. Your energy level and confidence would be high and you would be able to complete more work in less time. Distant travel that you undertake would, bring you pleasure and rewards. Health despite some initial hiccups would be more or less fine. You need to spend time on meditation and yoga for remarkable gains. The months of March, June, September, December will be highly significant and result oriented. Number 5 and planet Mercury will decreed you. Because of your apolitical and pragmatic nature to get the nod of each and every person associated with you before they even think of it. Besides being active and amiable you need to curtail down your restive, precipitate and unsure approach. Your near and dear ones hailed you like anything. Tightened and well systematic flow of your acumen will help you to complete the task within stipulated time which in turn increases your dynamic and assurance level. Frequently swaying from one place to another will open vista of opportunities for you to grow further. You might get impacted by some health concern but overall enjoy disease free life. A word of advice to go for some fitness centre to pullout yourself from fearing state. Match, June, September and December will be eminent for you. January 24 Influenced by number 6 and the planet Venus. You are highly energetic, independent, ambitious, dashing, courageous and emotional person. You are extremely helpful and fond of socializing with people who have similar views, but you need to check your tendency to behave shy, introvert and lazy at times. This coming year your rewards would commensurate according to your efforts. Your imagination and skills would do wonders for you and your creativity would help you accomplish difficult tasks. Some excellent opportunities would come through your association with people who hold position of authority. Not a very favourable period for a matrimonial alliance. Exciting news from children would come your way later in the year. The month of May, October and December would be highly important. Number 6 and planet Venus will shape your demanding life fairly. You are extremely gumptious, autonomous, passionate, smart, brave and sensitive individual. Unanimously people will come to your for suggestion and put you at the top most position of any society of involved, but should curb your tendency of being covert or conservative sometimes. The incentives or fruits for your deeds are not binding to limited extent but can surpass the

threshold level if worked little bit of more hard work. People watch you for your out of box ideas and welcome you with your untapped skills which create rejoicing situation wherever you go. Big guns at forefront will extend their support unconditionally to you and will help to stay ahead of others. Evade getting into any relation. May, October and December are meaningful for you. January 25 Governed by number 7 and the planet Neptune. You are independent, brilliant, quick, co-operative, shrewd and friendly person. You possess a unique sense of humour, which makes you very popular in your group. You dislike arguments and confrontation, but you need to check your tendency to behave jealous, introvert and selfish at times. This year romantic entanglement would be pleasant and chances to enter into a matrimonial alliance would be very strong. New ventures and partnerships would be profitable. Religious feelings would arise making you embark on a pilgrimage later in the year. Expect gifts and goodies both in cash and kind, but some unexpected expenses will take you by surprise. The months of January, June, August and October will especially be significant. Number 7 and planet Neptune will provide the needed balance to your life. You are sovereign, magnificent, swift, helpful, clever and amiable lad. You become center of attraction wherever you go by your jovial and drollness nature. You always keep yourself away from controversies and oftenly from disputations simultaneously you need to inhibit covetous, conservative and self-interested attitude. Love will follow you with the ever binding nature. Its high time to enjoy few time left of bachelorhood. Entire proceeding of your business explores new avenue for you which becomes more yielding for you. There is string diversion towards spiritual matters for finding the truth behind life. On one hand gains will be there in the form of hitting a lottery and on the other hand the same position will make you spend lavishly on luxury items. January, June, august and October will be good for you. January 26 Ruled by number 8 and the planet Saturn. You are assertive, cheerful, confident, authoritative and enthusiastic person. You are gifted with remarkable imagination and talent. You have your own personal style, which is elegant and exclusive, but you need to control your tendency to behave erratic, hypocrite and jealous at times. This year efforts that you put would bring excellent results. Romance would be on the top of your list and new intimate alliance for those unattached seems strong. Your financial condition would improve as you pickup job involving higher responsibility and position. Some exhilarating news from distant relations will boost up the spirits of the entire family. Travel and journey will be highly pleasurable. The months of February, July, October and December will be significant for you. You are different in the crowd as you have incredible personality coupled with positive, upbeat, surefooted, classical and excited attitude. Number 8 provides you unbelievable speculation and planet Saturn keep check your wandering, dissimulator and green eyed traits. Swanky by nature and graceful by behavior are your defining attributes. The formula whatever it be you adopt to escape from the situation will thoroughly backed you. Presumably hope to have some bigwigs in your contact with may be some who can accompany you throughout your life. You are likely to have more power than ever before. Arrival of some far away relatives set the stage for some party for the entire blood related people. The lost charm and thrill of life will be resumed by some travelling. February, July, October and December will be satiating your longings. January 27 Influenced by number 9 and the planet Mars, you are dynamic, confident, energetic, warm hearted and a very religious person. You are very simple by nature and like to solve problems in a practical and uncomplicated manner, but you need to check your tendency to behave jealous, lazy and erratic at times. This year financially you would face some problems initially, but things would become better later in the year. Traveling would be undertaken for attending auspicious events. Avoid entering into any financial joint ventures and stay away from speculation. Your beloved would seek commitment from you and if you avoid your relationship could easily suffer. Wedding bells will ring for those eligible towards the end of the year. The months of February, May, September and November will be highly important. Being an active and convinced fellow you tend to establish a new framework each time you stuck with some perplexed problems. You always respect of the diverse category of people living. Not only this you also possess immense energy and coziness throughout your life. Refrain from being envious, lousy and fickle minded. You easily bypass the abrasive time related to money and things will take over the charge by supporting you this time. Nothing can stop you to go for some religiously moving from one place to another. Reverse your thoughts if thinking of some collaboration with any person. Commitment and dedication can only save your dying relation with your spouse, consider it. Be ready for changes and modification which occurs in one’s life after marriage. February, May, September, November, Number 9 and the Mars will provide the required impetus to your life needed to get excel everywhere.

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Spiritual Awareness

January 21-27, 2012

Oneness with God is the gold medal of spirituality Concluding part of the discourse ‘Olympics of meditation’

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj The discipline to do what it took to be successful in achieving his spiritual goals Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj exemplified discipline. He did whatever was necessary to be successful in achieving his spiritual goal of union with God. This success depends on meditation, which he did daily for the longest possible time. He meditated six to eight hours daily as instructed by Hazur. Along with this, he lived up to the ethical virtues prescribed by the spiritual teachings. This involved leading a life of nonviolence, truthfulness, purity, humility, and selfless service. He was the epitome of nonviolence to the point that he would not even unnecessarily harm plants or trees. We could see how in his house at his ashram he did not want a tree that grew through the ceiling of the rooms to be moved. As an infant I was brought by my parents to be with Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj in Rishikesh at the start of his mission. When Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj was collecting banana leaves from which the food would be served for a meal, he brought nine leaves. When Sant Kirpal Singh Ji asked him how many people were eating, and he replied seven, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj told him he should have only brought seven banana leaves and we should not unnecessarily take the lives of any more plants than were necessary. Just look at the extent of his nonviolence to even think like that! Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj made a rule in the house when he was raising his family that people should only talk good of others and not engage in gossip, slander or criticism. He practiced this virtue himself and was a model for others. He was an embodiment of truthfulness. At a time when bribes were the norm in the field of business, he himself refused bribes and told his son, Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj, to also refuse bribes. He was the model of selfless service. He served the sick and needy all through his life. Even

before he was initiated, when the great world influenza epidemic broke out the disease killed millions globally. The disease was so infectious that people feared touching the dead bodies of those in their families to give them a proper burial. But Sant Kirpal Singh Ji organized a team and helped with the burial of the family members of the community who had died from the disease. As part of his daily routine, he would visit the sick and needy in their homes or visit them in hospitals. He also did a tremendous amount of selfless service for Hazur and the mission, from physical seva in building the ashram, to helping in publications, writing books, and holding satsang. He was the only one Hazur allowed to convey the initiation instructions during Hazur’s lifetime. His ethical life also involved living on a strict vegetarian diet, avoiding all meat, fish, fowl, and eggs, with no alcohol or hallucinogenic drugs. You can imagine how much discipline would be involved for a child to tell his nonvegetarian parents that he did not want to eat meat. When told by his father that meat was good for him, he told his

him that he had done the right thing in doing his duty and giving the satsang. Time and again, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji had choices, and he always chose to do what the Master wanted him to do. It was no wonder that Hazur commissioned him to carry on the spiritual work since he was the most obedient of Hazur’s disciples. Focused on his own spiritual goals instead of what others were doing Sant Kirpal Singh Ji always focused on his own spiritual goals instead of what others were doing. He stuck to his schedule of meditation, his ethical virtues, and his discipline no matter what. Sant Kirpal Singh Ji was not concerned with what others were doing. He kept his attention on what he had to do. He never got involved in criticism or backbiting even though others may have done so. This focus on his own spiritual progress kept him from falling into the traps that many others do of wasting time on focusing on what others are doing. This quality helped him use his precious breaths of life to attain union with God.

right. Never letting failures sidetrack him Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj never let failures sidetrack him. He experienced the same ups and downs of life that every disciple goes through but he never let that stop him from meditating no matter what. A verse by Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj describes this condition as follows: As the caravan of my desires moved forward, I mistook each approaching turn for my destination. Whenever we work for a goal we move forward. We feel that when we reach a turn in the road we have come to the end of our journey, but we find it is only a turning point. When we drive up a mountain, we see the end of the road and do not realize that the road turns and continues higher. Many people stop when they come to what they thought was the end of the journey. They are daunted by the fact that the journey continues. But Olympic winners reach a goal and realize there is another goal to attain. They keep going. Similarly, Sant Kirpal

There are also some who indulge in tall talk and calumny; they are ever ready to slander. But our duty is to love all. If they do not give up their wicked ways, why should we leave our noble ways? – Huzur Baba Sawanji Maharaj father that he did not want to make a graveyard of his body. He then stuck to the vegetarian diet even as a young boy. He also observed obedience to the Master no matter what. He often spoke of following the Master’s commandments in spirit and letter. He did this himself, and this helped him achieve the ultimate goal of union with God. When his Master told him to give satsang in his town, he did so regularly. One time when Hazur happened to visit that town, Sant Kirpal Singh Ji got word that his Master was nearby. He was in a dilemma whether to run to see his Master or give satsang. He ultimately decided that since Hazur had told him to give satsang he should do so. Then, when satsang was over, he went to the place where Hazur had been, only to learn that Hazur had already left to return to his own ashram. Sant Kirpal Singh Ji was heartbroken that he had missed the darshan of his Master. He then went to see Hazur later that evening. When he had a chance to meet with Hazur he asked whether he had done the right thing in giving satsang instead of going for darshan. Hazur reassured

Not letting obstacles stand in the way of his spiritual goals Sant Kirpal Singh Ji did not let any obstacle stand in the way of achieving his spiritual goals. Neither physical pain, negativity of others, or setbacks stopped him from his chosen path. Think of the stamina needed to meditate for long hours, yet he did so no matter what. Think of the grueling schedule of work, career, family, and meditation he observed, yet he never became sidetracked. Think of the labor he put in to do seva. After a long day’s work he would engage in physical or intellectual seva to help others. Although he may have been tired, he would go out and serve others after work. He would stay up late doing seva for his Master, often working the whole night through. As tired as his body may have been, he attended to meditation and seva. Think of the criticism he received from others as he made progress on the spiritual path. When he had the love and attention of Hazur others became jealous and tried to make things difficult for him. Yet, he never let any of these difficulties stop him from doing what was

Singh Ji Maharaj did not give up when the road appeared to end and then a turn carried the road higher. He made the turn and kept going no matter what it took and did not stop until he reached his goal of union with God. Once when others were critical and making it difficult for Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj to see Hazur, he had to endure a period of separation from his Master. Others did not allow Sant Kirpal Singh Ji to see Hazur. Hazur wrote a beautiful letter to Sant Kirpal Singh which said that there are all sorts of disciples who come to satsang: "There are some whose hearts are overflowing with love and are ready to sacrifice their all—body, mind, and money. There are also some who indulge in tall talk and calumny; they are ever ready to slander. But our duty is to love all. If they do not give up their wicked ways, why should we leave our noble ways?" This encouraged Sant Kirpal Singh Ji to keep going, to stay true to the ethical virtues, to meditate and do seva despite hardships inflicted by others. He knew that, despite these difficulties, he had the love and blessings of his

Master to sustain him. Full concentration and focus Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj had full concentration and focus in meditation. He would say that if we could sit accurately in meditation, we would soar within. As a disciple, he focused on his meditation for six to eight hours daily. He made great spiritual progress. When he meditated, he did not take phone calls, engage in gossip, go to the movies or waste time. He stuck with his schedule no matter what. Meditation on the inner Light and Sound requires full concentration and focus. It does not involve any difficult postures or asanas. We simply sit in a convenient, comfortable pose that we can sit in the longest without moving. We close our eyes gently as we do when going to sleep. We gaze into the middle of the field of whatever is lying in front of us when our eyes are closed. We gaze minutely, penetratingly to find out what is in there. This gazing will result in light sprouting forth. We may see lights of any color, flashes of light, an inner sky, clouds, stars, moon, and sun. Ultimately, we see the radiant form of our spiritual Master or guide who takes us on the inner journey. Absorption on the stream of Light and Sound takes us through the inner spiritual realms of the astral, causal, and supracausal realms. Ultimately, we reach the realm of Sach Khand in which we become one with the Lord. This is a journey of love and bliss. God is an ocean of all-consciousness and love. When the soul reunites with God, we are immersed eternally in ecstasy. This is the gold medal of spirituality. Oneness with God is the goal. If we could follow the example of Sant Kirpal Singh Ji in our own lives, we too would achieve union with God. Sant Kirpal Singh Ji would say that what one person can do so can another. The best way we can honor his life is to also try to do what we can to win the gold medal of spirituality. If we follow the example of Olympic gold medalists and the life of Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj, we will have the blueprint to merge our soul back with God. Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj said in a verse: Begin to live your life according to your aspirations And step towards your chosen goal. Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj is an internationally recognized spiritual leader and Master of Jyoti Meditation who affirms the transcendent oneness at the heart of all religions and mystic traditions, emphasizing ethical living and meditation as building blocks for achieving inner and outer peace.


Vol 4 Issue 39 January 21-27, 2012