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Obama bests Romney


n the end, it seemed like a facile victory for President Obama over Governor Mitt Romney, at least in the Electoral College (332:206), though in popular vote, it was a close 50:48.

Indian Americans overwhelmingly voted to re-elect President, and they are rejoicing. See our extensive US election coverage, pages 5-14.

Dr Ami Bera widens lead in Congressional race from California


Washington: Dr Ami Bera, an LAborn physician son of Indian immigrants, has increased his lead in the race for California's 7th Congressional district bringing him a step closer to making history. If he wins, Bera will only be the third Indian-American elected to the US House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund in 1952 and current Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal in 2004. Running for the second time for the seat around Sacramento, Bera Continued on page 6

Dr Ami Bera

Diwali
The Festival of Festivals
The 17-page SATimes Special Section Inside.

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excellence in journalism

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November 10-16, 2012

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US ELECTIONS

November 10-16, 2012

Barack Obama - Term II of balancing mystique and realpolitik


By Minu Jain New Delhi: The burnish may have dulled, the excitement of "Yes we can" somewhat diminished from four years ago. But the romanticism of being Barack Obama, the first African American president who rose from a middle class, mixed racial upbringing to occupy the White House, continues to be the stuff of legend. Obama was Tuesday re-elected for another term in the White House - writing in another page of history. He is still up there as the icon of hope in a world battling discrimination but the US president twice over is balancing everyday realpolitik with the burden of a billion dreams. There is the best-selling author and the formidable orator who has articulated so powerfully the struggle of being the son of a black Kenyan father and a white American mother growing up in middle class America. And then there is President Obama, 51, who took office in a world just coming out of the recession, struggled for four years to keep the economy afloat and battled challenges abroad. On Victory Night II in Chicago Tuesday, his famous "Yes We Can" speech came back in a happy refrain as the president reminded his supporters: "It doesn't matter whether you're black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, abled, disabled, gay or straight. You can make it here in America if you're willing to try." In the last decades, the US has seen charismatic presidents, glamorous ones even, a Hollywood actor, another that was a farmer but none quite like Barack Hussein Obama, born in Hawaii on Aug 4, 1961, to Barack Obama Sr. from the Kenyan Luo tribe and Ann Dunham from Kansas. Obama, a lawyer by profession, exercises If color was one defining identity, Obama has also been candid about the many conflicting emotions that his name evoked. Barack means blessed in Arabic, he remembers telling a friend, and adding, "My grandfather was a Muslim." In the aftermath of 9/11, the "day the world fractured", he writes in the preface of his blockbuster book, the name became an "irresistible target of mocking websites from overzealous Republican operatives". Much of President Obama's life is an open book. Literally. From detailing experiences with a German girlfriend to his beginnings as a community worker, he has laid bare a lot of his life. Perhaps this is why so many have felt a sense of empathy for him. That he actually made it to the White House made it a personal journey of triumph for many who fought long and hard for civil liberties not just in the US but in other parts of the world too. Champagne may not have popped across the world this time but it was that same hope that echoed this Tuesday, exactly four years to that Tuesday when America voted in Obama for the first time. The hard-nosed politician, the dreamer, the conflicted teen - it is tempting to cast Obama in the mould of a legend. But the mystique battles the reality of being president of the world's only superpower. The disconnect between the hype and the reality did indeed get sharper every day of his four year presidency. His black identity, his Muslim identity, his white identity... all have been called in to play in the last four years. Two years ago when he came to India, fears he might be seen as a Muslim with a headscarf back home had prompted Obama to cancel his trip to the Sikh shrine Golden Temple in Amritsar. As Obama begins term two, can those crises be laid to rest?

After making his re-election speech, President Obama celebrates with First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden.

an irresistible, emotive pull. Still. He is a Christian with a Muslim grandfather who went to a Muslim school in Indonesia for two years and unhesitatingly declared Hussein as his middle name during his 2009 oath-taking ceremony much to the discomfiture of conservative America. He is black and white, with the former becoming the leitmotif of his life. Obama was nine when the significance of his being a different color hit him. It was in Indonesia, where he lived with his mother for a few years after her marriage to an Indonesian, Lolo. She left the young Barry in a library; he finished his homework, read his comics and started leafing through the collection of Life magazines when he came across the photograph of a man with a ghostly blue pallor. "The man had received a chemical treat-

ment, the article explained, to lighten his complexion... There were thousands of people like him, black men and women back in America who'd undergone the same treatment in response to advertisements that promised happiness as a white person. "I felt my face and neck get hot... I had a desperate urge to jump out of my seat, to show them what I had learned, to demand some explanation or assurance," Obama writes in his autobiography "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Life and Inheritance". It was a feeling that stayed with him for long. Even with his maternal grandparents, who helped raise him in Hawaii. "Never had they given me reason to doubt their love; I doubted if they ever would. And yet I knew that men who might easily have been my brothers could still inspire their rawest fears."

A rainbow coalition propelled Obama to the finish line


A key to Obama win was garnering votes of 93 percent of African-Americans, 71 percent of Hispanics, and 73 percent of Asians.
By Arun Kumar Washington: Winning four more years in the White House on the cusp of a late surge from his support base, President Barack Obama scored a narrow yet decisive victory over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Emerging triumphant from a long, contentious and expensive election battle that cost the two campaigns a billion dollars each, Obama celebrated his re-election in the early hours of Wednesday with a call for unity. "We are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation," he told supporters at his campaign headquarters in his hometown of Chicago after walking on stage with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia and Sasha to tumultuous cheers. "While our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the US, the best is yet to come," he added. Buoyed by a slowly but surely recovering economy and a display of cool leadership during Superstorm Sandy, Obama surpassed the decisive 270-vote threshold easily in the Electoral College and had 303 electoral votes to 206 for Romney, at last tally, much easier than the cliffhanger that the opinion polls promised it to be. The much smaller 50-48 percent gap in the popular vote between the two contenders reflected better the dead heat race that most polls leading up to the election had projected it to be. Joyful supporters danced and cheered at Obama's victory party in Chicago, and the president thanked them for ensuring the nation will continue to move forward while warning the battle for change they seek will continue to be difficult. "We will disagree, sometimes fiercely," Obama said, noting that "progress will come in fits and starts" and the victory Tuesday night "won't end all the gridlock". Obama won battleground states of Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado. One other battleground, Florida, remained too close to call even on Thursday. Exit polls showed Obama received strong support, as expected, from women voters as well as overwhelming support from AfricanAmericans and strong backing from Hispanic voters, similar to the coalition that carried him to victory four years earlier to make him the nation's first African-American president. Meanwhile, Democrats retained their majority in the Senate, ensuring another divided Congress after Republicans held their majority in the US House.

November 10-16, 2012

TURN PAGE

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CIA chief Petraeus quits over extramarital affair


Washington: The abrupt departure of celebrated general, David Petraeus, at the helm of America's top spy agency, CIA, after admitting an affair sent shock waves across the political class. The retired four-star general, who had a distinguished 37-year career in the military prior to joining the CIA, helping turn the tide against insurgents while commanding forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, became CIA chief in September 2011. raised by both sides of the political divide for his handling of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Petraeus, 60, was at one time speculated as a possible Republican challenger to President Barack Obama. The FBI had a tip he was involved with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and investigated the alleged affair to determine whether it posed a security risk, CNN reported citing an unnamed official. The FBI was not investigating Petraeus for wrongdoing. The concern was that he potentially could be blackmailed or put "in a vulnerable spot," the official said. Broadwell spent a year with Petraeus in Afghanistan interviewing him for the book she cowrote, "All In: The Education of General David Petraeus." It is not clear whether Broadwell is the woman with whom Petraeus has admitted having an affair, CNN said."After being married for over 37 years, I showed extremely poor judgment by engaging in an extramarital affair. Such behavior is unacceptable, both as a husband and as the leader of an organization such as ours," Petraeus said in a letter to colleagues, explaining his decision to step down. Obama, who has accepted the CIA chief's resignation, said: "By any measure, he was one of the outstanding general officers of his generation, helping our military adapt to new challenges, and leading our men and women in uniform through a remarkable period of service in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he helped our nation put those wars on a path to a responsible end. As director of the CIA, he has continued to serve with characteristic intellectual rigor, dedication and patriotism."

Naomi gives Jodhpur a tourism boost


By Prakash Bhandari Jaipur: Thank you, supermodel Naomi Campbell, said Jodhpur to the diva for giving the blue city such a big international exposure by hosting the 50th birthday of her Russian billionaire boy friend Vladimir Doronin in the ancient desert city. By choosing Jodhpur over Jaipur, she created a niche for the former kingdom which the tourism department even after spending millions could not have been successful in creating. In a first, over a dozen chartered jets zeroed in on Jodhpur bringing in such celebrities as Demi Moore, Kate Moss, Diana Ross, Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson, musician Bob Geldof, designers John Galliano and Vivian Westwood and a host of others. The event was managed by a company run by former Indian aviation minister Prafulla Patels daughter Poorna Patel, who brought 15 truck loads of decorative material to deck up the Umaid Bhawan Palace and the 15th century Mehrangarh fort. The fort where the partys first dinner was hosted never looked as bright when it was lit up with laser beams.

Fashion diva Naomi Campbell at one of the parties she hosted in Jodhpur

A friend of India set to take Now enjoy uploading videos on Wikipedia over as Yale president
Washington: Peter Salovey, provost and chief academic officer of Yale University, who has played a key role in building the Ivy League institution's linkages to India, will become the university's next president in June 2013. Salovey, whose appointment was announced by the New Haven, Connecticut based university Friday, has been a critical figure of the Yale India Initiative and has been instrumental in deploying institutional resources in support of the India Initiative. He succeeds Richard C. Levin, another India friend who assumed the Yale Presidency in 1993 and announced his intention to step down earlier this year. Dr Ami Bera Story Continued from page 3 was ahead by a razor-thin 184 votes against Republican incumbent Dan Lungren, with 88,406 votes to Lungren's 88,222 when the polling

Moscow: Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopedia, has launched a new project enabling registered users to post videos, according to the portal's press service. "A new video player has been enabled on Wikipedia and its sister sites, and it comes with the promise of bringing free educational videos to more people, on more devices, in more languages," Wikimedia Foundation said Friday. Wikipedia articles have remained largely text-based until now. The video upload project, carried out in cooperation with opensource video start-up Kaltura and the Google search engine, was launched in 2008. But it was delayed due to numerous technical problems. The new HTML5 player is a result of a combined effort between Wikipedia, Google and Kaltura. Wikipedia, which sees 25 million unique daily visitors to its English section alone, currently hosts only about 15,000 videos. The videos were added either via the older Ogg Theora player that has been in use since 2007 or as part of testing the new player, based on HTML5. his lead against Lungren to 1,779 votes, the Sacramento County Registrar of Voters announced Friday. Five other Indian-American contestants have already lost their Congressional bids.

The FBI had a tip, Gen. Petraeus was involved with his biographer, Paula Broadwell (right).

ended Tuesday making the race too close to call. With "tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots" still being counted three days after the Nov 6 election, Bera has increased

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November 10-16, 2012

November 10-16, 2012

US ELECTIONS

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Get things done now, Obama told


Washington: Now that he has reclaimed the US presidency, Barack Obama needs to "think big" and take bold steps both domestically as well as abroad, a Washington Post writer has said. Quoting Lyndon Johnson's famous comment -- "Well, what the hell's the presidency for?", writer David Ignatius suggested to Obama: "Surprise your adversaries with bold moves and concessions that create new space on which to govern." "Think big. Take risks. Get it done. Maybe someone should slip a note in Obama's desk drawer that asks: What would Lyndon Johnson have done to make it happen?" Ignatius said Thursday. Ignatius said Obama needed a policy equivalent of David Plouffe, the president's senior campaign adviser who ruled early on to focus on nine battleground states to win the presidential election. "He was like a general who concentrates his forces at the points of greatest vulnerability and then prevails through sheer force of will," the writer said. "Obama's performance as president has often lacked this decisive, strategic quality," he said. In both foreign and domestic policy, the impression of Obama was "of a careful president who reacts to events, waits for others to make the first moves and plays to avoid losing rather than to win". Ignatius asked Obama to identify a list of necessary and achievable goals, and then pursue them with the unyielding manipulative skill of a Lyndon Johnson. His priorities should be changes in social security and medicare and reform of the tax code. In foreign policy, Obama will need to be equally strategic, Ignatius said. Here the priorities should be a deal with Iran that verifiably limits its nuclear program and avoids war; a deal in Afghanistan that averts civil war when US forces leave in 2014; and a deal for a political transition in Syria. "And, finally, a deal to create a Palestinian state so that Israel has secure borders and the Arab world can get on with the process of becoming modern and democratic." Ignatius said: "A successful second term is less about ideology than about results."

America has never been about what can be done for us. Its about what can be done by us, together, through the hard and frustrating but necessary work of self-government. That's the principle we were founded on.
President Barack Obama, November 7, 2012

Social media explosion in US election


Washington: Social media technologies made the US presidential election one of the most instantaneously shared and documented events in history with tweets, jokes and photos surging in real time through internet pathways around the world. Micro-blogging portal Twitter lit up Tuesday within seconds of word from national broadcast media that President Barack Obama had been re-elected with innumerable tweets, including one from Obama - "This happened because of you. Thank you." - ranging in tone and content from the jubilant to the livid. Twitter said it recorded more than 31 million election-related posts Tuesday, easily making the vote the most-tweeted political event in the site's six-year history. At one point, as election results were unfolding, users tweeted at a rate of 327,452 per minute. A post made later in the evening to Obama's Twitter account showing the president hugging his wife, Michelle Obama, with a caption saying "Four more years," instantly became the most popular re-tweeted message of all time, with over 585,000 re-tweets, the service said. The victory message was posted before Obama even took to the stage in Chicago to give his acceptance speech, illustrating the central role his campaign gave to social media in the campaign. Obama's opponents angry at his re-election also took to the social media universe with furious - and sometimes totally ludicrous - comments, including a colourful blast of invective from billionaire realestate mogul Donald Trump. "The electoral college is a disaster for democracy" Trump tweeted, followed shortly thereafter by: "This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!" At one point he even called for a revolution because of the election result - a tweet the publicity-loving Trump deleted soon thereafter after some questioned its permissibility. Photos and comments about the election also abounded on Facebook and Instagram, including pictures of voters waiting in long lines at the polls - a serious blemish on Tuesday's election - and several pictures of students at the University of Mississippi burning an Obama campaign sign. There were also many upbeat and hilarious posts on major social media sites including one from Jamie M. Blanchard who posted on Twitter: "I'm so excited about Barack Obama's reelection I nearly jumped out of my binder." She was referring to a comment made recently by Obama's main rival, Mitt Romney, who said he was given "binders of women" to consider for filling jobs in his administration when he served as governor of the state of Massachussetts.

In the end, it seemed like a facile victory for President Obama-- fending off challenge from Governor Mitt Romney -- at least in the Electoral College math (332:206, if we put Florida in Obama column), though in popular vote, it was a more modest 50:48.

Obama claims a win in Florida, but votes still being counted


Washington: President Barack Obama's campaign on Thursday issued a statement announcing the president had won Florida. However, it's been more than 48 hours after the election and not all of the votes in the Sunshine State have been counted, and the state still hasn't certified the election, reports say. In addition, media outlets like the Associated Press still have not called the race in Florida, saying it's too close to call. With the state still undecided, Republican challenger Mitt Romney's campaign along with the Republican National Committee are still waiting for Florida to finish its counts.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

US ELECTIONS

November 10-16, 2012

House stays red and Senate blue


By Vikas Girdhar New York: Republicans kept a hold on the House of Representatives, a crucial victory after the party failed to wrest away the presidency from Barack Obama and the Senate from the Democrats. The GOP led 233 to 194 on Thursday. The Republicans controlled the House by 242193 going into the election, and all 435 seats were up for grabs. Some noteworthy House races were: in Arizona, where Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick defeated Republican Jonathan Paton in the 1st District; in New York, where Bill Owens (D) defeated Matt Doheny ( R ) in the 21st District; in California, where Jerry McNerney (D) defeated Republican Ricky Gill in the 9th District; in Colorado, where Scott Tipton ( R ) defeated Democrat Sal Pace in the 3rd District; and in Texas, where Democrat Pete Gallego defeated Republican Francesco Canseco in the 23rd District. Michele Bachmann, after a failed run for Republican nomination for President, had a slim win over Democrat Jim Graves for Minnesota Congressional seat. In the Senate races, with 51 seats out of 100 needed for majority, the Democrats maintained control with 53. An all-time high record number of women were elected to the Senate this year, 20, joining the 17 already in place. Of those 20, 16 are Democrats, including Tammy Baldwin, the first openlygay senator. Some noteworthy Senate races were in New York, where Kirsten Gillibrand defeated Republican Wendy Long; in Montana, where Tester defeated Rehberg; in California, where Democrat Dianne Feinstein defeated Republican Elizabeth

Winners

Kirsten Gillibrand (D) - Senate seat from New York

Elizabeth Warren (D), Senate seat from Massachusetts

Michele Bachmann ( R )House from Minnesota.

Governor races: Saving grace for GOP


S
ure, they failed to take the White House or the Senate. And, yes, they lost seats in the House. But Republicans werent total losers on Nov. 6. They maintained their majority control over the nations governorships. There will soon be 30 GOP state executives, which the Republican Governors Association touted as a major accomplishment given how evenly divided the country is right now. Here are results of the 11 governor races. Delaware: Jack Markell (D) def. Jeff Cragg (R) Indiana: Mike Pence (R) def. John Gregg (D) Missouri: Jay Nixon (D) def. Dave Spence (R) Montana: Steve Bullock (D) def. Rick Hill (R) New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan (D) def. Ovide Lamontagne (R) North Carolina: Patrick McCrory (R) def. Walter Dalton (D) North Dakota: Jack Dalrymple (R) def. Ryan Taylor (D) Utah: Gary Herbert (R) def. Peter Cooke (D) Vermont: Peter Shumlin (D) def. Randy Brock (R) Washington: Jay Inslee (D) def. Rob McKenna (R) West Virginia: Earl Ray Tomblin (D) def. Bill Maloney (R)

Emken; Texas, where Republican Ted Cruz defeated Democrat Paul Sadler; in Florida, where Democrat Bill Nelson defeated Republican Connie Mack; in Virginia, where Democrat Timothy Kaine defeated Republican George Allen; in Pennsylvania, where Democrat Bob Casey defeated Republican Tom Smith; and Connecticut, where Democrat Chris Murphy defeated Republican Linda McMahon despite the latter having spent $91 million on her two campaigns for Senate. In the high profile and expensive Massachusetts race, Elizabeth Warren (D) defeated Scott Brown. In Missouri and Indiana, however, the Senate races took a turn when the Republican candidates made controversial comments about rape. In Missouri, where Republican Todd Akin was defeated by Democrat Claire McCaskill, the former claimed that women cannot get pregnant from legitimate rape. Afterward, it was all downhill. When is rape ever legitimate, wondered just about everyone after the August comment. In Indiana, where Democrat Joe Donnelly defeated Republican Richard Mourdock, the latter just about sealed his fate when he com-

Losers

Linda McMahon ( R ) of WWE fame - Senate seat from Connecticut

mented that women who get pregnant during a rape is something God intended. These comments were made in October, while the Romney campaign was in its crucial stretch of swaying voters. Needless to say, it attempted to distance itself from the fellow Republicans ignorance.

On the precipice of calamity


By Arjit Mehta New York: On Tuesday, November 6th, 2012 the electoral college of the United States of America elected sitting President Barack Obama for another term. On Wednesday, November 7th, the stock market fell 2%, its biggest drop in over a year. The reason for the financial markets dismay is the imminent fiscal cliff facing this country. Unless an agreement is reached in Congress by January 1, 2013, a debilitating combination of federal spending cuts and tax increases will be instated. In August 2011, The Budget Control Act of 2011 was passed by the federal government to increase the federal debt limit. At the time, the country faced a potential sovereign default on its borrowings worldwide. After a contentious battle for months in both the Senate and the House of Representative between both parties, this bill was passed. In order to gain Republican approval for this bill, Obama and the Democratic Party had to accept a deficit reduction plan. As part of this compromise, a Joint Selection Committee was created and tasked with producing bipartisan legislature that would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. If they were unable to do so, automatic cuts in federal spending would commence on January 2, 2013, and the Bush era tax cuts would expire. The committee failed. President Obama has roughly 8 weeks to reach an accord with Congress that would prevent the spending cuts and the

Post-victory, Obamas first test is to try to avert the fiscal cliff

The psephologist who hit the bulls eye on Nov 6

increase in taxes, which collectively add up to approximately $700 billion, or 5% of GDP. If left undeterred, this bout of austerity would send shockwaves through the economy. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that as a direct result of these initiatives, the economy would contract 0.5% in 2013 and unemployment would rise from 7.9% to 9.1%. Political analysts are expecting both a shortterm and a longer-term deal to avert this unfavorable situation. The short-term expectations is for a deal that will extend the Bush era tax cuts, raise the debt ceiling, and prevent automatic cuts to some $85 billion of defense and other spending. Ideally this would happen before the end of the year, as the Treasury Department has indicated that we will reach our debt limit by early February. Long-term, both parties would be wise to raise revenue by slowing the growth in entitlement spending and revising the convoluted tax code. However, a key aspect that cannot be discounted in these negotiations is the willingness or otherwise of both parties to communicate and compromise. The Republicans feel slighted after the recent defeats on Election Day and are not particularly eager to assist President Obama in achieving any of his long-term goals. Without some GOP members willing to cross the aisle, no agreements can be reached and no new legislation can be enacted. Significant compromises from both parties will be required to reach this goal. Otherwise, their discord has the potential to hold the economy hostage, and to turn back the clock on the meager economic recovery we have seen since 2008.

Even as others were calling it a tight race, NYT blogger Nate Silver (right) gave Obama 83.7% chance of winning. New York: Polling data guru and New York Times blogger Nate Silver correctly called all 50 states results for the Presidential election held on Tuesday. The FiveThirtyEight blog analyst, despite being pilloried by other pundits, outdid even his 2008 prediction. In that year, his mathematical model correctly called 49 out of 50 states, missing only Indiana (which went to Obama by 0.1%.) This year, a last-minute flip for Florida, which finally went blue in Silvers prediction on Monday night, helped him to a perfect game. He was able to silence his critics who ridiculed his approach and forecast. Republican pundits had predicted landslide victories for Mitt Romney in several states that Silver disagreed with. Nw he is having the last laugh. On the NYT blog, Silver collates opinion poll results and analyzes them in order to form estimates about how many of the 538 electoral college votes each presidential candidate will win. Praise for Silvers work began blossoming as election results flowed in on Tuesday night. His sudden fame saw sales of his book, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail but Some Dont, spike by 850% on Amazon this week.

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November 10-16, 2012

US ELECTIONS

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Congressional candidate Ami Bera's fate hinges on absentee, provisional ballots


Five other Indian Americans in fray for seat in House of Representatives lose
Washington, DC: The electoral fate of Indian American physician Dr Ami Bera, who has a slender lead of 184 votes over his Republican rival in the Congressional election from California, now depends on counting of tens and thousands of provisional and absentee ballots, which might take days or even weeks. Republican stalwart Dan Lungren has refused to concede the election to Dr Bera, who gained a slender lead of 184 votes after all the votes in the hotly-contested Seventh Congressional District of California were counted last night. This has necessitated the counting of the provisional and absentee ballots, which is estimated to be more than 75,000. Unlike the counting of normal ballots, those for provisional and absentee ballots takes time as "There are tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted, and we may not know the outcome of this race for days or even weeks. We remain cautiously optimistic and will monitor the final count closely," the Lungren campaign manager Jeff Wyly said. According to Sacremento Bee, County election officials have not yet tallied all the absentee and provisional ballots turned in by Election Day but spokeswoman Alice Jarboe said the sheer volume appears to be record breaking. "I can tell just by the bins and all.... the pink return containers that are filling up these hampers," she said of the scene at the elections office. Bera, who outraised Lungren in fund raising, was endorsed by charismatic Bill Clinton during the Congressional elections. He was also endorsed by the Sacremento Bee newspaper. If he wins, Dr Bera would be only the third Indian American to have ever been elected to the House of Representatives after Dalip Singh Saund, in the 1950s, and Bobby Jindal, in 2005 and 2008, who is now the Governor of Louisiana. Besides Dr Bera, five other Indian Americans were in the race for a seat in the House of Representatives but none of them could make it on Tuesday. They were Ricky Gill and Jack Uppal from California, Dr Syed Taj from Michigan, Dr Manan Trivedi from Pennsylvania and Upendra Chivukula from New Jersey. Except for Gill who represents the Republican Party, the other five candidates were from the Democratic Party.

Dr.Ami Bera at his campaign headquarter in California

every signature have to be matched and physically checked if everything is in proper order. "Although we do not know our race's final results, we feel confident going into the next several

days," Dr Bera said in a statement yesterday. "The top priority right now is to make sure that every vote is fairly counted," he said. The Lungren campaign too remained optimistic of the results.

Barve is first ever Indian American Presidential Elector chosen by Obama


Washington, DC: The Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates Kumar Barve was the only IndianAmerican among 10 Presidential Electors chosen for the State of Maryland by the Obama Campaign. He thus becomes the only Indian-American politician ever to be chosen as Presidential Elector in any Presidential election. I have the privilege of being chosen by the Obama campaign to be one among 10 Presidential Electors of the State of Maryland As you are aware, the US Constitution provides for the election of the President through the mechanism of an "Electoral College." While this has become a ceremonial function, I still consider this a great honor, Barve said. I will be one among ten people who represent those voters of Maryland in the "Electoral College." All 10 of us are pledged to vote for Obama because Obama won our state. Technically, the 538 electors are the people who elect the next president. Because Obama won so many states he has more than enough votes to be officially certified as President, he said. On Sept 11, 1990, he won his first election - the Democratic primary for the Maryland House of Delegates. As a result, Barve became the first IndianAmerican state elected official in history. Since then Indian-Americans success in electoral politics has been spectacular. He represents a district with a population of roughly 110,000 that is in central Montgomery County, Maryland. For 12 years, Delegate Barve was assigned to the House Committee on Economic Matters, which had jurisdiction over HMO and health insurance reform, business regulation, consumer protection, and state economic development strategy. He served as the first Chairman of the Science & Technology Sub-Committee. Prior to becoming Majority Leader Barve was elected Chairman of the Montgomery County Delegation. In this capacity, Barve was the legislative leader of the largest county in the state of Maryland. Barve was a co-sponsor and primary architect in 1993 of Maryland's landmark reform of health insurance. He was the prime sponsor of Maryland's 1995 law that allows HMO patients to use physicians outside of their HMO network. Appointed chairman of the Technology Subcommittee in 1996, Barve established himself as a leader in technology policy for our state. He was the sponsor of the Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and Marylands technology tuition assistance program. In 2000, Barve was the prime architect of the landmark e-commerce Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). With its passage, Maryland became the first state in the nation to place this important consumer and business protection statute in effect.

Tulsi Gabbard becomes first Hindu-American in US Congress


Washington, DC: While all five Indian-American candidates hoping to enter the US Congress lost out, Tulsi Gabbard created history by becoming the first HinduAmerican to enter the US House of Representatives. An Iraq war veteran, 31year-old Gabbard defeated K. Crowley of the Republican Party with a handsome margin in Hawaii's second Congressional district. Her victory has been cheered by the Hindu-American community across the country. The heavily Democratic district also elected one of two Buddhists to have ever served in the Congress, Mazie Hirono, who won her seat in 2006 but is now running for the US Senate. Born in American Samoa to a Catholic father and a Hindu mother, Gabbard moved to Hawaii when she was two. In 2002, at age 21, she was elected to the Hawaii state legislature. The next year, she joined the Hawaii National Guard, and in 2004 was deployed to Baghdad as a medical operations specialist. After completing officers' training, she was

Democrat Colleen Hanabusa, right, congratulates candidate Tulsi Gabbard after both women won their Hawaii Congressional district seats on Nov. 6, 2012.

deployed to Kuwait in 2008 to train the country's counter-terrorism units. "Although there are not very many Hindus in Hawaii, I never felt discriminated against. I never really gave it a second thought growing up that any other reality existed, or that it was not the same everywhere," Gabbard said in a statement soon after she took an unbeatable lead over her Republican challenger. "On my last trip to the mainland, I met a man who told me that his teenage daughter felt embarrassed about her faith but after meeting me, she's no longer feeling that way,"

Gabbard said. "He was so happy that my being elected to Congress would give hope to hundreds and thousands of young Hindus in America, that they can be open about their faith, and even run for office, without fear of being discriminated against or attacked because of their religion," Gabbard said.At 21, Gabbard became the youngest person elected to the Hawaii legislature. At 23, she was the state's first elected official to voluntarily resign to go to war. At 28, she was the first woman to be presented with an award by the Kuwait Army National Guard.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

November 10-16, 2012

12

November 10-16, 2012

US ELECTIONS

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Indians' favorite US President


Manmohan Singh congratulates President Obama
I
t gives me great pleasure to convey to you my warmest congratulations on your reelection as the president of the United States. The renewed confidence that the people of your great country have reposed in you is as much a tribute to your qualities of head and heart as it is an indication of the faith that the American people have in your leadership. Your mandate gives you a historic opportunity to continue to work for the welfare of the American people as also for global peace and progress at an admittedly difficult juncture, not just for the U.S., but indeed for the world at large. Over the last four years, consistent with our vision of a global strategic partnership between India and the Unites States, the ties between our two democracies have seen sustained growth. We have not only advanced cooperation across the full spectrum of our bilateral relationship, but also deepened our engagement in the pursuit of global peace, stability and prosperity. I have personally valued our friendship and I look forward to continuing our rewarding association in order to build further on the enduring foundations of our shared values and the accomplishments of the past four years. I have no doubt that there is much more we can do together to further strengthen the IndiaU.S. partnership and thereby advance peace and stability, expand mutual economic opportunities, harness the potential of science and technology, innovation and higher education and empower our people to address global challenges. My wife joins me in wishing you and Mrs. Obama, as well as Malia and Sasha, good health, success and happiness as you prepare for a new term in office. --Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

Ambassadors blog : On President Obamas re-election


atching President Barack Obamas re-election last night was inspiring, and in some ways reminiscent of his historic win four years ago to become the 44th President of the United States. The closely fought contest brought to the fore strengths of a political system based on popular will that binds India and the United States the worlds largest and the oldest democracies. What will President Obamas re-election mean for India-U.S. relations? The President and the Prime Minister of India sent warm, congratulatory messages to the U.S. President immediately after the elections results were announced. In his message, President Pranab Mukherjee emphasized the shared values and interests between India and the United States, and expressed confidence in the continued progress in our strategic partnership. I believe that the leadership that both Prime Minister Singh and President Obama have imparted over the last four years, has moved India-U.S. strategic partnership from a 'consolidation' phase into one of comprehensive and multifaceted engagement. Prime Minister Singh was invited by President Obama in November 2009 to be the first State guest of his Presidency. President Obamas own landmark visit to India in November 2010, the first by a U.S. President in his first term, paved the way for many accomplishments in our relationship. I am constantly impressed by the fact that a silent revolution is taking place in the way India and the U.S. engage with each other. The depth and expanse of their mutually rewarding partnership, and the stakes

both countries have built in each others success are unprecedented today. Strong people-to-people exchanges and sterling contributions by the Indian American community are constantly enriching this engagement. Our trade and economic partnership and collaboration in innovation are new sources of strength to our engagement. Our deepening cooperation in education, energy, health, agriculture and science and technology now touches the lives of millions in both our countries. People, as I have always said, are at the pulsating heart of this relationship. Our strategic partnership today is rich in content, comfort and candor. It also has an ever-increasing global relevance, making a difference beyond our shores, from Afghanistan to Africa. There is increasing convergence in our foreign policy priorities. We have shared approaches to some of the most complex regional and global challenges of our times. Our defense partnership, including defense trade, has been strengthened, just as our cooperation in counter-terrorism and other strategic pursuits, including maritime and cyber security. The Obama Administrations commitment to Indias membership of the multilateral export control regimes, as well as President Obamas support for Indias permanent membership of the U.N. Security Council, has indeed been encouraging to us. We remain committed to bring our civilian nuclear cooperation to tangible fruition. There is a rich and textured agenda ahead of us. The shared vision of Prime Minister Singh and President Obama will continue to guide our close relationship to an even deeper and more rewarding engagement, even as it derives strong support from across the political spectrum in both our countries. --Nirupama Rao, Indias Ambassador to the US November 7. 2012

President Obama making his victory speech in Chicago

Indian-Americans say Obama victory good for India, diaspora


Washington: Indian Americans have welcomed the re-election of President Barack Obama saying his administration has delivered and victory is good for the community and India both. "Obama's victory is very good for the Indian American community and India," Thomas Abraham, founder president of GOPIO said. "The Asian American community, and in particular Indian Americans, has a high presence in his administration as political appointees and this trend will continue," he said. "When Obama went to India, he gave a surprise by endorsing India as a permanent member of the UN Security Council," Abraham said. "So the Democratic administration has delivered and we will see increasing cooperation in defense, science and technology, trade and fighting terrorism," he added. Welcoming Obama's re-election, Milpitas, California, based North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) said the Punjabi community is celebrating his victory because of his several initiatives including the Dream Act for the immigrant children and Obama healthcare law. On top of this "Obama rose above politics and felt concerned, taking appreciable steps to garner sense of safety and security amongst community members" when six Sikh worshippers were killed in a shootout at Oak Creek Gurdwara in Wisconsin in August, said association's president Satnam Singh Chahal. New York's noted IndianAmerican attorney Ravi Batra said, "Barack Obama proved that the hard road is the sure road for resuscitating the American Dream." Republican challenger "Mitt Romney forced Barack Obama to be at his best so that American exceptionalism continues to provide solace and support for all who love freedom and want a better tomorrow for their kids the world over," he said.

US Sikhs happy at Barack Obama's re-election


Washington: The Sikh community across America has expressed happiness at President Barack Obama's re-election saying he has demonstrated deep respect for the Sikh faith and stood by the community. The election outcome was "especially great for the Sikhs because Obama has demonstrated in the last four years that he has deep respect for the Sikh faith", said Rajwant Singh, chairman of the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE). "He has strong commitment to protect the civil rights of the Sikhs in the US and has gone an extra mile to stand by the community in the aftermath of the Wisconsin gurdwara shootout," he said. Navneet S. Chugh, managing director of the Chugh Firm, a Los Angeles-based largest Indian law firm and president of the Santa Ana Orange County Gurdwara, hoped Obama would move forward with promised immigration reform. Amar Sawhney, president and CEO of Boston-based Ocular Therapeutix, Inc. and a board member of EcoSikh, said: Obama's "policies and actions have been directed towards inclusiveness and benefit more than the few". Sartaj Singh Dhami, an active Sikh youth leader in Washington and an Outreach Director of SCORE, said Obama was "the strongest president to date who has worked to highlight all issues for all minorities".

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

US ELECTIONS

November 10-16, 2012

13

Who did we vote and why


Indian Americans traditionally favor the Democratic party. Indeed, a survey found that nearly three-fourth of Indian Americans voted for President Obama on Nov 6 in the pivotal swing states. The SATimes asked members of the community to explain their voting preferences.

Voted Obama

traditional Democratic party supporter, I stuck to my core beliefs and repeated my vote for President Obama. I believe, he needed another term to fulfill some of his novel programs for uplifting the quality of life of poor Americans and see fruition of the Healthcare Reform Bill with its full national implementation. I also think employment creation ideally would have been a higher priority than healthcare. In the national interest, it will be the moral responsibility of Republican majority Congress to support President Obama and help the US come out its difficult economic crisis. India is a key strategic business partner of US and the best results of this relationship will be seen under the leaderships of Manmohan Singh and Obama. Indian Americans are likely to flourish in Obama's second term due to favorable tax codes for the middle class, increased educational opportunities and incentive driven business policies. High Indian American voters turnout on election day was critical in Obama winning the election. --Dr Mukesh Hariawala Heart Surgeon, Boston

though the idea was shot down as communist. If Canada can give their citizens free healthcare, why cant we? --Karishma Sharma Senior Supply Chain Planner (Elizabeth Arden), Hicksville

"Democracy is not a spectator sport." We have a historic chance to have a seat at the table and voice our concerns. It starts with the ballot box. --Bhinish Shah Director, RE Investments, New Jersey our years ago when I drove down to my voting place the Memorial School in Wo o d l a n d Park, New Jersey I had a spring in my step and a hope for the first African American to potentially become President of the worlds most efficient democracy. Long lines greeted me then but an optimism that something exciting was about to happen, especially after President George W. Bushs disappointing eight years, was reassuring. On Tuesday, November 6, after 1,463 days I was third in the line and the mood was different. We are just recovering from the aftermath of a walloping hurricane Sandy, fallen trees, dangling wires, huge gas lines and a generally sullen mood. Poll officials seemed robotic and less enthusiastic. Just as communities in New York and New Jersey have to recover after last weeks devastating storm, America too has to recover from the last few years of depressing news. An imperative need to mentally return to normalcy is a priority. Four years ago and today I prefer the person who told the truth most often. In spite of Mitt Romneys avowed successes as a business entrepreneur, there was something about the Republican candidates policy and political outpourings that didnt quite mesh. As former President Bill Clinton said at the Democratic Convention in September, the arithmetic didnt add up. Extremist positions that the Right has been propagating will not help. We hope, President Barack Obama will use this renewed opportunity his second term to reach across the aisle to senators and Congressmen/Congresswomen of the Republican ilk, and jointly resolve the countrys multifarious problems. --Raj S. Rangarajan Art Writer, New York

am relieved that Obama won. The thought of Mitt Romney having the ability to select 3-4 Supreme Court justices scared me. He would have repealed Roe vs. Wade and turned back the progress on women's rights. Also as a middle class, small business owner I believe Obama supports my interests better than Romney would have. Four more years! --Shyno Chacko Pandeya Co-Owner, Santhigram Wellness White Plains, NY

voted Obama, no question. It took eight years to ruin this country and take it into recession. Even though the effects of the recession began to show four years after President Bush became President, he was still re-elected. Its not fair to Obama to only get four years to try to fix the country. He has done a lot that proves his credentials. He has brought American soldiers back home from Iraq. He extended healthcare for children to the age of 26 to be covered under parents insurance. He has provided housing grants of up to 10K for first-time home buyers. He even tried to get Americans free healthcare even

o me a vote for Obama means a vote for someone who understands what it means to struggle. Obama never came from a famous or wealthy family. In fact, he was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. He is gifted, but it was a struggle for him to find himself. Through setting high standards for himself, he rose to the position he is in, never forgetting where he came from. That's inspiring to me. His background and experience show in the policies he has put in place-from health care reform to financial regulatory overhaul to the presidential directive ordering a stay on deportation of undocumented youngsters with no criminal record, he has shown he is in touch with the common person, and that is important to me. South Asians are a fast growing segment of the population, largely in the middle class, yet have traditionally been silent in having their political voices heard. Voting and organizing helps to further the issues that are important to us. If we do not raise our voices now, we will continue to live in frustration and resignation, saying to ourselves and each other that "the system doesn't work". As Maria Wright Edelman said,

he frenzy, the energy of this voting day was amazing. It seemed that this time around more voters were out there and they had a target to accomplish. And so they did. The people spoke and President Obama is back with a bang. Obama and the Democratic Party are our personal choice. Contrary to what the Republicans would like to believe and have us believe, the US, despite inheriting multiple negatives from the previous administration, has made progress under the leadership of President Obama. The liberal and progressive thinking and actions of the President and the Democratic Party reflect positively the ideology and sentiment of the Indian National Congress. Both favored farmers, laborers, labor unions, and religious and ethnic minorities; they have opposed unregulated business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes. In recent years both the parties have adopted a centrist economic and social democratic agenda. Now we hope the President is able to deliver on jobs, immigration, a robust welfare state, climate change, and peace. Lavika Bhagat Singh & Prof. Paul Nehru Tennassee Washington Chapter Indian National Overseas Congress (I), USA

Voted Romney
omneys my man. Romney is a businessman who rewards hard work and thats the way it should be. Obama is a socialist who believes in handing out freebies, even to those who are lazy. Romney comes from big money and thats who I want handling the economy. Governors have more experience making significant decisions than do Congressmen anyway. --Amit Gogia Business Owner, Farmingdale

Ambivalent
personally dont follow politics too much but I do not like R o m n e y because he seems fake, is rude, unprofessional and I dont believe he has any concrete plans. I mean, as a healthcare professional, I shouldnt support Obama but I just think he has a tempo and has a better understanding of an economic crisis and what it takes to deal with it practically. --Srushti Shah Medical Student, Hicksville

eople hoped much from our current President, Obama. His decisions and actions were to rectify the problems in our country but people have come to realize the kind of mess he had inherited. Therefore, he couldnt match up to the expectations of people. Whereas, Governor Romney has proven himself as a good administrator but his policies and agendas might not be good enough to tackle the situation. Under the circumstances, Obama most likely will be the favored candidate by the American society. --Suresh Thakkar Bank Executive, Hicksville

would not like to disclose who I voted for. But looking at the overwhelming support, I feel Obama will serve his second term as president. He has worked hard and is very sincere. Even though he did not fare well on immigration issue, he proved good on other accounts. --Ranju Batra President of the Association of Indians in America, New York

--Contributed by Vikas Girdhar, Jinal Shah and Parveen Chopra

14

November 10-16, 2012

US ELECTIONS

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Sandy stops few from voting, including myself


electricity, a severe gas shortage or the threat of another storm the following day would stop the voters on Nov 6. This is exactly the type of stuff I had heard while waiting on the line at East Street Elementary School in Hicksville, NY. I wholeheartedly agreed while I listened to the resolve of the people speaking with each other behind me in line. As I walked in, I noticed a frenzied atmosphere. People were walking from one end of the gymnasium to the other, task in mind and papers in hand. Tables were set up every few feet with papers of registered voters. Each table had about two or three individuals behind it performing their duties for getting voters to the polls and on their way as swiftly and in as organized a way as possible. I noticed most of the crowd around me as elderly. I had gone after the typical 5 oclock workday had ended so I had expected to see a lot more of the working class as opposed to most retired senior citizens. I heard them speaking about topics ranging from the weather to who they would be voting for, with some of course remaining tight-lipped in their discussions. I felt like I had done my homework, in more than one way. On television hours before I planned on going in to vote, newscasters were detailing the long lines and even longer waiting times of polling centers this year. I was prepared to wait as

By Vikas Girdhar Hicksville, NY: Amid the mess left behind by Sandy just a week prior and with a snowstorm looming on Wednesday, there were throngs of people looking to exercise their right to vote in the ever-close presidential election on Tuesday. The well-documented aftermath of the massive hurricane that left thousands without power or homeless did little to sway voters from making their way to polling centers. Even if polling centers had to be moved for reasons caused by Sandy or had to bear the wrath of near-freezing temperatures indoors, the show, as they say, still went on. Voters were not going to be caught under constraints of a hurricane that quite frankly got on the last nerves of people all across New York. Scores of people came out to voice their opinion on who should be given the green light to lead America for the next four years. Not fallen trees, broken homes, a lack of

long as possible. I had also put months of work into making an informed decision for who I personally wanted to lead my country. I had listened to hours of debates and seen the countless defining moments of each respective campaign en route to forming my choice. We all know what happened at the end of the day. President Barack Obama had been elected over challenger Mitt Romney to lead the nation for another four years and New York was overwhelmingly ProObama too. What it took for residents of New York

to put in the votes to make that happen from their state, at least, is what will stick in their minds the most for people as they look back on Election 2012. They will see Sandy. They will see its aftermath. They will see long lines, flooding, problems with housing, mass transit and petroleum. But what they will see biggest and brightest will be the coming together of citizens in the face of a battered state to exercise their civic dutiesand how nothing Mother Nature or any other entity could stop them.

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Diwali - Light up your lives

eepawali or Diwali is certainly the biggest and the brightest of all Hindu festivals. It's the festival of lights (deep = light and avali = a row i.e., a row of lights) that's marked by four days of celebration, which literally illumines the country with its brilliance, and dazzles all with its joy. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali is separated by a different tradition but what remains true and constant is the celebration of life, its enjoyment and goodness. The origin of Diwali Historically, the origin of Diwali can be traced back to ancient India, when it was probably an important harvest festival. However, there are various legends pointing to the origin of Diwali or 'Deepawali.' Some believe it to be the celebration of the marriage of Lakshmi with Lord Vishnu. Whereas in Bengal the festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Kali, the dark goddess of strength. Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed God, the symbol of auspiciousness and wisdom, is also worshiped in most Hindu homes on this day. In Jainism, Deepawali has an added significance to the great event of Lord Mahavira attaining the eternal bliss of nirvana. Diwali also commemorates the return of Lord Rama along with Sita and Lakshman from his fourteen year long exile and vanquishing the demon-king Ravana. In joyous celebration of the return of their king, the people of Ayodhya, the Capital of Rama, illu-

minated the kingdom with earthen diyas (oil lamps) and burst crackers. These four days Each day of Diwali has its own tale, legend and myth to tell. The first day of the festival Naraka Chaturdasi marks the vanquishing of the demon Naraka by Lord Krishna and his wife Satyabhama. Amavasya, the second day of Deepawali, marks the worship of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth in her most benevolent mood, fulfilling the wishes of her devotees. Amavasya also tells the story of Lord Vishnu, who in his dwarf incarnation vanquished the tyrant Bali, and banished him to hell. Bali was allowed to return to earth once a year, to light millions of lamps to dispel the darkness and ignorance, and spread the radiance of love and wisdom. It is on the third day of Deepawali Kartika Shudda Padyami that Bali steps out of hell and rules the earth according to the boon given by Lord Vishnu. The fourth day is referred to as Yama Dvitiya (also called Bhai Dooj) and on this day sisters invite their brothers to their homes. The significance of lights & firecrackers All the simple rituals of Diwali have a significance and a story to tell. The illumination of homes with lights and the skies with firecrackers is an expression of obeisance to the heavens for the attainment of health, wealth, knowledge, peace and pros-

perity. According to one belief, the sound of fire-crackers are an indication of the joy of the people living on earth, making the gods aware of their plentiful state. Still another possible reason has a more scientific basis: the fumes produced by the crackers kill a lot of insects and mosquitoes, found in plenty after the rains. The tradition of gambling The tradition of gambling on Diwali also has a legend behind it. It is believed that on this day, Goddess Parvati played dice with her husband Lord Shiva, and she decreed that whosoever gambled on Diwali night would prosper throughout the ensuing year. Diwali is associated with wealth and prosperity in many ways, and the festival of 'Dhanteras' ('dhan' = wealth; 'teras' = 13th) is celebrated two days before the festival of lights. From darkness unto light... In each legend, myth and story of Deepawali lies the significance of the victory of good over evil; and it is with each Deepawali and the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, that this simple truth finds new reason and hope. From darkness unto light the light that empowers us to commit ourselves to good deeds, that which brings us closer to divinity. During Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of firecrackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Diwali is celebrated around the globe. Outside India, it is more than a Hindu festival, it's a celebration of South-Asian identities. If you are away from the sights and sounds of Diwali, light a diya, sit quietly, shut your eyes, withdraw the senses, concentrate on this supreme light and illuminate the soul.

November 10-16, 2012

19

My second Diwali away from home


By Roopsi Narula

his year amidst all the excitement of Halloween, there was a question that kept popping in my head. When is Diwali? I also felt a little regret, thinking whether I had already missed Diwali for this year. Being in the US, I would not have done much on Diwali anyway. Diwali or the festival of lights is celebrated every year in October/November, all across India with great fervor. For the Hindus, it marks the return of Lord Ram after 14 years of exile. Sikhs celebrate it to mark the victory of Guru Hargobind, the sixth Sikh Guru, who succeeded in releasing 53 Hindu kings imprisoned by the Muslim Emperor Jahangir. Jains celebrate Diwali to mark the attainment of Nirvana by Lord Mahavir. Thus, the festival marks victory of good over evil and many days of celebrations all across India. Born in a Sikh family in North India, Diwali was one of the most important festivals in my family. Preparations of Diwali used to begin days before the festival. The

Two weeks after celerbating Diwali, Sikhs celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak Dev.

helpers in the house joined my Mom in her cleanliness spree before the big day. I remember how Mom often reprimanded me saying, Dont you want to clear the mess in your room even on Diwali? Some more preparations included buying new dresses, gifts for friends and firecrackers with Dad. I remember how even as a kid, I noticed the rising prices of fire-

crackers every year. With passing years, I also became more pricesensitive, thus reducing the number of firecrackers I demanded from Dad. Finally, I became acutely environment conscious and stopped buying firecrackers altogether. A typical Diwali day at home used to begin with visitors who would start steaming in with Diwali gifts. The first thing I used

to do as soon as someone left was to open the gifts! Mithai or sweets are the traditional Diwali gifts. However, over the years, I saw these changing to cakes, assorted biscuits and other gifts. How I used to wish someone would get me chocolates on Diwali! Diwali evening was marked by a customary visit to the gurdwara to join the evening prayers and light candles. I remember how I excitedly joined Mom in lighting candles outside the gurdwara and our house. After the lavish Diwali dinner at home, the night was followed by nerve wracking noises of bursting firecrackers, which continued till the wee hours. On the days following Diwali, one could still hear bursting of firecrackers. I also remember how everyone I met used to be so sweet-averse because of overdose of eating sweets on Diwali! Diwali for us was actually the beginning of the festive season. Around two weeks after Diwali, we used to celebrate the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism. This day was also marked

by a visit to the gurdwara - praying, lighting of candles and bursting of crackers. The festive season continued with Christmas fun in school and the excitement of the next year. Later when I was in hostel or working in another city, I remember how I would always head home for Diwali as Diwali is complete only when one is with family. Now just a few days before Diwali as I sit in pitch dark in Hicksville, New York, an area big swathes of which are out of power ever since Hurricane Sandy, I fondly think of Diwali lights back home in India and wish this Diwali leads each one of us from darkness to light and brightens the world with happiness and prosperity. Roopsi Narula is an MBA from H u l t International Business S c h o o l , Boston, and has recently joined The South Asian Times as Business Consultant. She can be reached at roopsi@indousmedia.com.

November 10-16, 2012

20

Maha Lakshmi Puja for health, wealth and prosperity


By Tania Gupta he festival of Diwali is also called Maha Lakshmi Pujan festival and is celebrated in Pradosh Kaal, the auspicious period. People worship Mata Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth, for auspicious omens in family and life as this puja is considered auspicious.

Narak Chaturdashi Narak Chaturdashi is celebrated one day prior to Diwali. This day is also known as Narak Chaudas because it is believed that Lord Krishna killed Narakasur on this day. Prayers are offered in the evening and lamps are lit. HOW TO PERFORM DIWALI PUJAN? Materials for diwali pujan Place the idol of Maha Lakshmi and idol of Lord Ganesha (in sitting positions). Then, you need keser, rice, roli, bettle-nut, fruits, sweets, milk, flowers, kheer, sindoor (Vermilion), batashe, coins, honey and cloves. Dry fruits, Ganga Jal, curd, incense sticks, cotton, coconut, kalava (red thread) 11 lamps, and copper urn. Performing Diwali puja The first requirement is to draw the Navgreh or establish the Navgreh yantra on clean ground, or plate. Place the selected Puja items like copper urn filled with Ganga Jal, honey, curd, bettle-nut, cloves, coin etc before the idols and cover them with red cloth. Take the dry coconut and encircle it with thekalawa and then place it on the urn. The Idols of the Lakshmi, Ganesha, and Brama or their pictures can be used to decorate the Pooja place where the navgreh yantra is made. If you have Idol of Maha Lakshmi made of metal bathe it with milk and curd and then with Ganga jal. After that decorate it with flowers, garlands and add Sindoor. Light the Panchmukhi lamp on the right side with pure Ghee or Sesame Oil. Method Take akshat, flower and water in your hands. It is also good to keep some money in front. Then you resolve that as you a certain person on a particular place will do the pooja of certain Goddess and God and that you will get the best of results. First, one should worship Lord Ganesha and then Maa Gauri. Take some water in your hand and chant the lines Om Deepavlya namah And offer the puja material before taking AKSHAT in your hand and chant the navgreh stotra. After that Lakshmi is worshipped whole heartedly and the worship is concluded. Bahi-khata puja For performing this pooja of Bahi-Khata you need to draw the Swastika using Kesar and sandalwood on the books of Bahi and Khata during the Muhurat time of the puja. Then you write Shree Ganeshaye namah on the books, and keep in a bag akshat, grass, coriander, lotus bundle, 5 pieces of turmeric, and donation. After that you put the swastika symbol on it and offer the belongings to Mata Saraswati. You need to chant the following mantra 108 times after offering the belongings to Goddess Saraswati. and worship the Locker with flowers, incense sticks and others. Once the pooja is over you keep the bag containing coriander, turmeric, grass, money etc in the locker. Here are few remedies for Diwali If you are not getting enough income for the hard work that you do you have to drop a dry coconut on flowing water from the day of Diwali regularly for the next 44 days and write the Beej Mantra on the coconut before dropping it. For financial problems due to vastu defects you need to flow a square piece of copper for 40 days in running water from the day of Diwali. If you are suffering losses in business and cannot make constant profits, place seven beetle- nuts coverd with silver foil in the place of Worship of Lakshmi on the day of Diwali. For the next seven Mondays wrap them again with silver foil and on the eighth Monday collect all the beetle-nuts from the place of worship and offer them at the temple of Lord Vishnu. If you are in a business where you offer credit to people and suffer huge losses, on the first Saturday of any month bury black surma or eye powder at any deserted place. If money is not coming your way even after working hard you should perform this: On the first Saturday of Shukla Paksha distribute Prasad of Sabji Puri to people and repeat for next 11 Saturdays. For increasing income in your business you should take an empty pitcher and flow it on running water on a Wednesday and do the same for the next 6 Wednesdays. If your business is not establishing, fill a pot of iron with water and keep it at the head side of your bed at night. Throw away the water in the morning from your house. Feed rotis to cows of wheat flour every Sunday if your business is facing threats from government orders.

Once you chanted the mantra you worship Saraswati praising her, The one who holds the shed of lotus, pestle, Hal, shell, Shul, Chakra, bow and arrow. She has the graceful sparkle as of moon. The one who slaughtered devils like Shumba and others and the one who is from is the seed of voice and who is complete with Sachidanandmay Vigrah. I worship that Bhagwati Saraswati." After that Bahi Khata is worshipped with flowers, incense sticks, and essence lamps and Navedya. Chant the following mantra as you worship. Brief explanation of Kuber Puja It is important to note that Nishit Kaal and Pradosh Kaal are used for Kuber Pooja. For performing the pujan you need to draw Swastika on the locker or the box that you use to store money. Then you call LORD KUBER upon it chanting the mantra as follows

If you are dissatisfied with your work eat a little bit of gur (jaggery) before leaving home every day. If you find that your income is unstable and savings are minimum and the paternal property is perishing you must keep some object of iron under your bed and on Saturdays fill an iron pot with water and put under your bed. When you wake up next morning put the pot under a Bodhi Tree. Try this for next 40 Saturdays. Here is one more surefire remedy to please Goddess Lakshmi. But you have to do it with discipline for the next three months and you will surely get unexpected results. From the day of Diwali or from the first Friday of Shukla Paksha vist the nearest temple of Laskhmi, Seetaji and Durga Mata or any Goddess barefooted. Light the lamp with pure ghee and offer garlands to all of them and sweet Prasad. Important tips to please Maha Laskhmi Having Indian Gooseberry (Amla) daily pleases Mata Lakshmi. Whited colored clothes are very dear to Lakshmi and one should wear them to please her because Mata resides in a house of sheel and lotus flowers. To please Goddess Lakshmi one should take an early bath and wear clean clothes. It is also recommended that one worships Lord Shiva regularly

and should have faith in God. One can observe fasts for Vishnu on Ekadashi and offer Amla to Lord Vishnu. Women and girls must be respected because Lakshmi stays in a place where women and girls get respect. We should keep our senses in control and should follow the moral values of life to let Lakshmi enter our house. One needs to be compassionate towards birds and animals. Religious practices should be followed in a disciplined and systematic manner.

You need to chant this mantra Om Kuberaiye Namah 108 times

The author is a Delhi-based astrologer who can be contacted at www.horoscopenzodiac.com or by email: astrotaniagupta@gmail.com.

November 10-16, 2012

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From darkness to light


Lead, Kindly Light
"Lead, Kindly Light, amidst th'encircling gloom, Lead Thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead Thou me on! Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see The distant scene; one step enough for me. I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou Shouldst lead me on; I loved to choose and see my path; but now Lead Thou me on! I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears, Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years! So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still Will lead me on. Oer moor and fen, oer crag and torrent, till The night is gone, And with the morn those angel faces smile, Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile! Meantime, along the narrow rugged path, Thyself hast trod, Lead, Saviour, lead me home in childlike faith, Home to my God. To rest forever after earthly strife In the calm light of everlasting life." -- John Henry Newman
President Obama at a Diwali celebration at White House Diwali is the festival of lights, a time when members of some of the worlds great faiths celebrate the triumph of good over evil. Its significance is laid out in Sanskrit verse which says lead us from falsehood to truth, from darkness to light, from death to immortality. In Hinduism Diwali marks the return of Lord Ram from exile when small lamps lit his way home. The lighting of lamps continues today marking the celebration as a time of reflection of the year gone by and time to pray for good year to come. This is the time for celebration and also a time for contemplation when we remember those who are less fortunate, those who may not be eating and celebrating as festively, those who dont enjoy the same rights to speak. Let us at this sacred time join together across all denominations, all religions to make a habit of empathy and reach out to those most in need -- President Barack Obama

November 10-16, 2012

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To get you into the festive spirit


BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Diwali celebrations

Diwali is just around the corner and if you are still undecided on how you want to celebrate the festival, fret no more. SATimes lists the key celebrations, parties taking place in the month of November for you to pick.
Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights and New Year, is a time to celebrate good fortune, family and friendships. Celebrate with performances, and arts and crafts inspired by Diwali. Where: Asia Society, 725 Park Ave, New York, NY When: 10 November 2012, 1:00pm - 4:00pm $5 students, seniors, children; $7 members (Dual Family members Free); $12 nonmembers. Tickets available the day of event. Mangal Dhwani - A Diwali Special Morning Concert Where: Pal Building, 33 Baldwin Rd, Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ 07054 When: Sunday, Nov 11 2012, 9:30AM Hosted By: Taalsadhana Phone: 908-421-4813 Taalsadhana presents Mangal Dhwani, a Diwali special morning concert with Shri Kunal Gunjal, Shri Partha Sarathi ChatterjeeSantoor Sitar Duet, Smt. Sanhita Nandivocal recital, Suryakansha Deshpande on tabla and Ramchandra Joshi on Harmonium Visionary Circle Diwali Benefit Party at the Rubin Museum of Art When: November 13, 2012 7:30 p.m. - Late. Where: Rubin Museum of Art; 150 W. 17th Street, New York, N.Y. 10011 www.rmanyc.org Save the date for the Rubin Museum of Art Visionary Circle Diwali Benefit Party. Join the Visionary Circle members as they celebrate the first night of the Indian Festival of Lights with a Bhangra DJ, Bhangra dance lessons, and cocktails provided by Kingfisher Beer and Medea Vodka. Tickets: Tickets to attend the Visionary Circle Diwali Benefit Party start at $100 for individual nonmembers please see http://www.rmanyc.org/diwaliparty for more details Diwali Gala hosted by Roots and Wings Foundation at Pranna Where: Pranna Lounge, 79 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 When: Thursday, Nov 15, 2012, 7:00PM Hosted By: Roots and Wings Foundation Phone: 2128750012 Celebrate the Festival of Lights with Roots and Wings India, NYC's Premier Diwali Fundraiser and Donate in the spirit of Diwali! Indian Association Of Long Island- Diwali Celebrations Where: Akbar Restaurant, 2nd St, Garden City, NY 11530 When: Friday, Nov 16 2012, 7:00PM Hosted By: India Association of Long Island Phone: 917-715-2883 Organized by the executive council of Indian Association of Long Island, Diwali celebrations will include cocktails, cultural programs and entertainment, dinner and dance. Surati's Diwali - Lights of India event in Newport, Jersey City Where: Boca Grande, 564 Washington Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07310 When: Saturday, Nov 17 2012 5:00PM Hosted By: Surati For Performing Arts, Education And Entertainment Phone: 2013601553 Rimli Roy and Surati invite you to DIWALI - Lights of India A family-friendly, multicultural festival celebrating India's most Popular Festival DIWALI with visual & performing arts, crafts, food, drinks, fun and festivities. Part of the proceeds will go to victims of Hurricane Sandy. An Evening Of Culture, Entertainment And Dancing Traditional, Fusion, Jazz, Opera, Bollywood And Bhangra Acts The Ramayana & The Story Of Diwali (Special New Script) - Blending Indian Dance Theatre, Opera And Broadway Techniques On Stage For The First Time Ever! Authentic Full Indian Buffet - Specially Catered Live Band Afterparty DJ & Dancing Other Features Aum Events Diwali mela with live performance by Indian Idol Bhumi Trivedi Where: Garden State Exhibit Center, 50 Atrium Drive, Somerset, NJ 08873 When: Saturday, Nov 24 and 25th 2012 12:00PM Hosted By: AUM Events Phone: 732 763-0118 Aum Events presents 5th DIWALI MELA NJ for two days. Diwali Mela includes cultural shows, display of diwali festivities along with BOOTHS & VENDORS from various Corporate houses viz Airlines, Money Transfers, India Property Show, Media, Insurance, TV Channels, Phone Cards, Auto Sales, Mortgage Companies, Banks, Realtors, Tours, Cruises, Films, Entertainment and Local business houses like Boutiques, Jewelers, Fashion, Arts, Handicrafts, Gifts, Food, Mithais, Snacks, Mehendi, Photographers, DJs, Video, Decors and more.

Where: Hicksville High School, 180 Division Avenue, Hicksville, NY When: Nov 10, 11, 14, 17 Hosted by: BAPS Phone: 718-539-5373 Diwali and Annakut celebrations will include main Diwali celebration on November 9th (6:30 pm onwards), chopda pujan on November 10th (6 pm onwards), grand Annakut on November 11th (9 am to 6 pm), New Year Annakut on November 14 (arti 9 am) and childrens Diwali on November 17 (10:30 am to 7 pm) Telugu Fine Arts Societys Deepavali celebrations Where: East Brunswick Performing Arts, 200 Rues Ln, East Brunswick, NJ 08816 When: Saturday, Nov 10, 2012, 3:00PM Hosted By: Telugu Fine Arts Society Phone: 9737158944 Dont miss the great entertainment by Tollywoods all time famous stars Dharamavarapu Subramanyam, comedian and singers Sri Krishna and Malavika. Dazzle Up This Diwali Broadway Style Show Where: Hyatt Regency on the Hudson, 2 Exchange Pl, Jersey City, NJ 07302 When: Saturday, Nov 10 2012 6:30PM Hosted By: Manisha Beriwala Phone: 201-993-5805 'Most Glamorous setting overlooking Manhattan skyline at the Ballroom, Hyatt Regency in Jersey City. Dazzle Up This Diwali includes: First-time-ever Broadway style show on Diwali by Galli Theater Co. of NYC, Sizzling performances by award winning artists of Junoon Performing Arts Dance group, kids performances, Open Dance

Floor to the tunes of DJ FARAZ and Guest DJ SUHEL, Red Carpet, Heena Tattoo, Teen Patti shootout, Full Indian buffet, Drink Tickets all coming together for a fun filled evening to celebrate Diwali. Celebrate Diwali with your young ones. Pre Diwali Bash Plus Sandy Relief Where: Devi Restaurant, 8 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003 When: Saturday, Nov 10 2012, 10:30PM Hosted By: Bollymixnyc Phone: 7247778187 And Where: K-Lounge, 30 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 When: Saturday, Nov 17 2012, 1:00PM Hosted By: Bollymixnyc Phone: 7247778187 Join The Best Desi Party A K A Bollymixnyc For Annual Diwali Bash. Music by DJ Bhav from MTV India, and DJ Gaurav from Mumbai spin the best Tarot Card Reading , Free Gifts, Diwali Sweets , and much more. Diwali Lights Up at Asia Society: Family Day

--Compiled by Jinal Shah

November 10-16, 2012


By Anil Mulchandani ttar Pradesh is the land of Lord Rama, the place where he was born and spent his formative years. We started out from Lucknow for Ayodhya, considered to be the birthplace of Lord Rama. One of the holiest of Hindu cities, it is described in ancient texts as a town founded by Manu, the law-giver of Hinduism. This city is ranked as one of the seven holiest cities for Hindus in the Puranas. The Atharvaveda described Ayodhya as "a city built by Gods and being prosperous as paradise itself." Valmiki is said to have written the Ramayana at Ayodhya and Tulsidas wrote highly about this historic city in his version of the great epic. The city even bears mention in Tamil Alvars. While the city gets its name from the ancient king Ayudh and is best known as the land of Rama Rajya, many other great rulers and leaders like Jadabharata, Bahubali, Brahmi, Sundari, P a d a l i p t a s u r i s v a r j i , Harishchandra and Achalbharata also hailed from Ayodhya. After two and a half hours of driving east from Lucknow we reached the Gaghra River (also called Sarayu) and got a glimpse of the sacred shrines running along the river banks. Here, a tea vendor told us that it is not only Rama devotees who visit Ayodhya. For Jains, Ayodhya is important as the birthplace of five Tirthankaras and because their texts mention that Mahavira also visited this city. The Buddha is said to have visited and the city thrived as a Buddhist center. Lord Swaminarayan was born at Chhapaiya, which is about 40km from Ayodhya and spent time here making this is a staging post for Swaminarayan pilgrimage as well.

26 Finally, we descended the mud banks to the river and negotiated for a boat to take the journey that photographer Dinesh Shukla had taken decades ago with his late mother. We were soon surrounded by gulls looking for a snack. As the sunset turned the river a blazing golden yellow, the boatman told us that Lord Rama himself praised this spot for its spiritual powers, which can uplift mankind and that he is believed to have stayed at the ashram of the BharadwajRishi here. ``Valmiki and Tulsidas praise this place in their works. Lord Rama, Lakshman and Sita crossed the Yamuna River and there is a reference to Lakshman constructing a boat to cross the river. There are many places on the banks of the Yamuna related to the exile period of Shri Ram like Akshay Vat, Sita Rasoi (Jasra Bazaar), Rishiyan (the abode of Rishis), Murka (Hanuman Mandir),claims the boatman. From Allahabad, the road runs 128km southwest to Chitrakoot, the pilgrim town along the Mandakani, between Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. According to the Ramayana, Lord Rama lived on the Kamadgiri Mountain near the Mandakini River and it is believed that his brother, Bharat, came to this site to entice him to return to Ayodhya and rule Koshaldesha, the kingdom of the Kaushala dynasty to which they belonged. When Rama refused, Bharata asked for his footwear which he placed on the throne of Ayodhya. Below the hill sacred to devotees or Rama, the Hanuman Dhara is a natural spring that flows over an image of Hanumana. The river shores, hill and town are full of temples and ashrams. A boat ride from Ramghat offers a delightful view of the riverfront temple town.

Ayodhya - In the footprints of Lord Rama

Prayag - the holy meeting point of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati is an important pilgrim place

Excavations have revealed ruins dating from around the seventh century BC and one of the oldest Jain figures. Among the scores of temples on the river bank the most striking is the Hanuman Garhi, set in the old fort of Ayodhya. A climb of about 76 steps leads to its gilded interiors. Nearby is Darsrath Bhavan. As expected, most of the temples and ghats are dedicated to Rama, Sita and Laxman. The Kanak Bhavan, a short distance from the river is a palatial complex with a temple. The Ramkatha Museum has grand images and ancient texts. Like the rest of India, Ayodhya is modernizing and everywhere you find signs of coaching classes, new schools and computer courses.

While we were told that we could catch a Ram Katha or Rama Lila performance in the evening, we had to move on to Allahabad where we had booked our accommodations. It was evening when we reached Allahabad and we drove to photograph the Prayag or Sangam, before sunset. From the national highway, we took the turn towards the river frontage along the Yamuna where women perform arati or evening worship at Saraswati Ghat by floating diya, small oil-filled lamps, downstream. Immediately to the west, in Minto Park, a memorial marks the exact spot where the British Raj came into being, when India was taken away from the East India Company in 1858 and placed under the aus-

pices of the Crown. East of Saraswati Ghat, close to the Sangam, loom the huge battlements of Akbars Fort that look most impressive from the boat. At the main gates of the fort stands a poorly restored polished stone Ashoka Pillar, inscribed with the emperors edicts and dated to 242 BC. As is usual at such places, we were soon crowded around by boatmen looking for business, the numbers rising as we walked past the stalls selling flowers, offerings and prayer objects to pilgrims visiting the Hanuman Temple (very colorful and featuring an unusual reclining Hanuman) and the river confluence.

Kanak Bhavan Temple in Ayodhya

A huge statue of Lord Rama

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

November 10-16, 2012

November 10-16, 2012

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Delight your guests with a 3-course Diwali feast


By Promila Gupta here are too many dinners and invitations during Diwali and one is at a loss what special Diwali dishes to offer to guests during the festival month. For a typical Diwali 3-course dinner I have chosen some simple vegetarian dishes starting with Surati Patties as entre, then main meal consisting of Anjeeri Kum-Kum, Guchhi Biryani, Janate-Numa and Shahi Salan. The third and final course is the dessert Badam Barfi. Soak the figs in warm water for about 20 minutes. Remove the excess water, dry and finely chop the figs. Mix in the garlic, ginger, green chili, onion, garam masala and salt. Remove the stem of the mushrooms. Make 2 tsp filling in the mushroom bottom and use bread crumbs for keeping the mixture in place. Shallow fry the mushrooms on both sides. Brush with saffron milk and serve hot. half an hour 200 grams okra (Bhindi) chopped 100 grams potatoes cut into small cubes 100 grams carrots, cut into cubes 50 grams green round beans cut into pieces 100 grams frozen peas 100 grams paneer cubes 30 grams desi ghee 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tabs ginger garlic paste 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp red chili powder 2 tsp garam masala 1 cup tomato puree 2 tsp sugar 1 lemon- juice Salt to taste Oil for frying Drain the excess water and boil the Chana dal in 1-1/2 cup water. Cook for about 15 minutes till the dal is tender. Keep aside. Heat oil and deep fry the potatoes and okra for a few minutes. Drain excess oil by spreading them over paper towels. Keep aside. Melt the ghee in a heavy based pan. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala and all other ingredients. Cook for a few minutes and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat. Cook for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Guchhi Biryani

Surati Patties

Ingredients 500 grams potatoes boiled, peeled and mashed 2 tabs plain flour Salt to taste Vegetable oil for deep frying Ingredients for the Filling 100 grams desiccated or freshly grated coconut cup fresh coriander leaves- finely chopped 2 green chilies finely chopped 2 pods of fresh garlic finely chopped 20 grams cashew nuts cut into small pieces 15 grams sultanas 2 tabs sugar Salt to taste Add salt and the plain flour to the mashed potatoes and make into soft dough. Divide the dough into 18 to 20 equal portions. Shape them into a flat round disk. Mix all the filling items well. Place 2 tsp of this mixture in the middle of each disk. Lift up sides and seal edges. Flatten each disk. Deep fry till golden brown on both sides and serve with raita or kheer.

Anjeeri Kum-Kum
Ingredients 600 grams mushrooms 300 grams dried figs 1 tsp garam masala tsp garlic paste tsp ginger paste 1 green chili finely chopped Juice of lemon 1 onion finely chopped Bread crumbs 8 to 10 strands of keasr (saffron soaked in cup milk) 3 tabs oil Salt to taste

Ingredients 3 cups rice Ingredients for the filling 50 grams sliced Guchhi (dried mushrooms) 30 grams paneer mashed 15 grams cashew nuts chopped 10 grams sultanas 1 inch long ginger piece finely chopped 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds Ingredients for the curry 2 onions finely chopped 100 grams hung curd 1 tabs ginger garlic paste tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp red chili powder 2 tsp garam masala 30 grams cashew nuts ground 1/3 cup oil Salt to taste Boil the rice in excess water and cook till three quarters done. Drain excess water and keep aside. Mix the filling items together so that they are uniformly mixed. Heat oil in the pan. Add the onion and saut. Then add the ginger garlic paste and hung curd. Cook for a few minutes. Then add the turmeric powder, garam masala, red chili powder and salt. Lower heat and cook for 5 to 7 minutes. Place 1/3rd of rice in the bottom of a pot. Then lay a layer of 1/3rd of filling and finally 1/3rd of the curry. Repeat till you get 3 alternate layers of rice, filling and curry. Place on low heat and cook till rice is fully cooked and Guchhi is tender. Garnish with fried onion strips. Serve hot.

250 grams coriander leaves 3 green chili 1 tsp roasted cumin seeds 1 tsp amchur powder Salt to taste Ingredients for the gravy 500 grams frozen spinach 100 grams dry fenugreek leaves 100 grams tomatoes 30 grams ghee 1/2 cup diced 2 onions finely chopped 100 grams natural yoghurt 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp garlic paste 1 tabs ginger garlic paste 1 tsp turmeric powder 1 tsp red chili powder 2 tsp garam masala Salt to taste Ingredients for the garnishing 1 inch long ginger piece cut into thin strips cup fresh coriander leaves finely chopped cup grated cheese Peel the skin off the potatoes. Cut into halves and scoop out the flesh leaving a uniform thick shell for the filling. Deep fry these shells till golden crisp. Remove and keep aside. Place the ghee in a heavy frying pan. Add chopped onion. Fry till golden brown. Add the Frozen spinach, fenugreek leaves, tomatoes, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala and salt. Mix well. Cover and cook on slow heat for about 15 minutes so that the spinach is cooked. Switch off the gas and add the yoghurt and mix and let it cool a bit. Blend it to make a puree. Now fill the fried potato shells with the mixed filling ingredients. Arrange the potato shells on a baking tray. Cover with the spinach puree. Sprinkle with the grated cheese. Bake in a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes till cheese melts. Serve hot garnished with ginger strips and coriander leaves.

Badam Barfi

Shahi Salan

Janate-Numa
Ingredients 4 or 5 large size potatoes Oil for frying Ingredients for the filling 100 grams mint leaves

Ingredients 1 cup chana dal soaked for at least

Ingredients 500 grams almond kernels 1 cup sugar cup water Ingredients for the garnishing Silver Vark (very thin foil) Soak the almonds in hot water FOR 6 TO 7 MINUTES. Drain excess water, remove skin and grind them to a coarse paste. Add very small quantity of water, if needed. Heat the sugar and water in a heavy pan. Bring it to the boil and then reduce heat. Keep cooking till the syrup thickens and bubbles start forming. Add the almond paste and cook. Continue the stirring during cooking to avoid sticking. Cook till the mixture starts to move away from the sides of the pan. Spread the mixture evenly on a greased plate. Smooth finish the top. Keep aside to cool and decorate with silver vark. Cut into rectangular or diamond shape and serve.

November 10-16, 2012

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Corporate gift industry is booming


For those looking for high-end gifting options at affordable prices, customized hampers containing a wine bottle, chocolates and other eats is an option this festive season
Gift hampers for this festive season Gift hampers for this festive season

he corporate gift industry is booming and quality utility items at affordable prices is the mantra this festive season. A combination of aesthetic as well as utility items has hit the shelves to help companies strengthen their relationship with clients and employees without burning a hole in their pockets. The trend has witnessed an upsurge in the last few years and according to industry insiders, the estimated market for corporate gifts has reached the Rs.12,000 crore ($2.5 billion) mark. Exclusive items at affordable prices are what consumers are looking for, points out Anuj Sawhney, managing director of Swiss Military India, a pioneer in corporate gifting solutions. "What we feel is that organiza-

tions today are looking for something exclusive and good in quality. There has been a 200 percent surge in the demand. People are looking for a mix and match of traditional and modern ideas. There is a rising emphasis on premium quality gifts but at affordable prices," Sawhney said. "For example, our products such as innovative travel gear are popular for senior level gifting because at that level professionals are always on the go. Our leather accessories and hand-crafted limited edition writing instruments are also extremely popular," he added. Praveen Rao of D'Mart Exclusif said the corporate sector was demanding aesthetic as well as utility items. "Corporate companies are moving away from traditional items such as diaries and

small electric appliances to aesthetic as well as utility pieces. The trend has also picked up among individual gifting," said Rao. "Nowadays the corporate sector generally picks up silver trays, a pair of goblets, deities' gift sets, candle stands, dry fruit bowls and the like," he added. Keeping consumers' demand in mind, Rao's company offers a melange of utility products such as silver plated crystal gifts, wood and silver tissue boxes, silver-plated coffee set and deities. "A limited edition of deities hand-crafted in sterling silver, porcelain and marble is being picked up for individual and corporate gifting," said Rao who is offering his products in a price range of Rs.850 to Rs.6,000, which doesn't burn a big hole in

the buyers' pocket. For those looking for high-end gifting options at affordable prices, customized hampers containing a wine bottle, chocolates and other eats is another option this festive season. "We have an evolving consumer now and Diwali, Christmas and New Year are known to be the best time to acknowledge the work of employees or support of clients by gifting them something different. "The tradition of gifting sweets has made way for spa coupons and other customised gifting options. We are offering customised wine packages this festive season for our premium clients," said Tarun Sibal, marketing head of Fratelli Wines. At Fratelli, wine bottles are paired with various items. For

instance, one can pick customised packages of wine and organic caramelized nuts or wine teamed up with playing cards and chocolates, among others. These are available at a price range of Rs.615 to Rs.2,670 and Sibal says the combinations are a hit. "We mainly deal with private buyers and corporate clients. We have seen a humungous increase in the demand for customised packages in the past one year. It has risen almost 10 times, whether it's for internal clients (employees) or mass corporate gifting," said Sibal who is also offering the option of a customized bottle-neck tag of a company's logo. "The demand is so high that we have stopped taking orders now," he added.

India Inc to splurge less this Diwali: Survey


New Delhi: India Inc is preparing to drastically cut its festive season gifting budget by 45-50 percent this Diwali, according to a survey by industry lobby Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry (Assocham). The survey carried out last month found that big corporate houses across all industry sectors, grappling with shrinking earnings and profit margins, will cut their Diwali gift budgets. The survey by Assocham Society Development Foundation (ASDF) covered 150 companies with an employee strength of 500-plus, in pharma, banking, financial services, insurance, automobiles, hospitality, manufacturing energy, infrastructure and FMCG sectors. Nearly 20 percent of the 150 companies surveyed have decided to do away with the concept of corporate gifting this year and utilize the extra funds made available for other productive purposes. Similarly, nearly two-thirds of the respondent business houses said they would be spending much less on corporate gifting. Many of them declared that they were going ahead with corporate gifting halfheartedly since it had become "an annual tradition and unavoidable". Interestingly, the corporate houses this year are more inclined to presenting digital cameras, expensive watches, writing instruments, wallets, smart phones, affordable tablets, confectioneries or sweets gift hampers vis-a-vis the traditional gifts of gold coins, dry fruit packets and luxury gifts. This was corroborated during a reality check among the dry fruit market in Delhi's Khari Baoli, which rued that corporate orders have dipped by more than 75 percent this year while prices of dry fruits have shot up by up to 25 percent. The ASDF survey revealed that in 2009, India Inc. had splurged over Rs.2000 crore in Diwali corporate gifts, which shot upto Rs.3,200 crore in 2010. But in 2011, corporate gifting budgets were trimmed by 25-30 percent.

Demand for China-made Diwali items surges


in the quick survey said Chinese lights were almost 50 percent cheaper as compared to Indian lights. Moreover, Chinese items have more variety. The cheaper Chinese products can help reduce Diwali budget by almost 35 percent. Nearly 72 percent of the traders who participated in the survey said the demand for the earthen lamps or diyas were declining year after year and shifting towards fancy and designer diyas, which are mostly made in China. "A Chinese string of 100 tiny bulbs can be bought in the range of Rs.40 to Rs.60. Lights in the shape of pineapples, pomegranates, rice and net stars among others are seen to be popular among buyers," said a trader at Delhi's Sadar Bazaar, the biggest wholesale market in North India. China-made lightweight idols of Hindu gods and goddesses made of polystone are becoming increasingly popular in India. Nearly 76 percent of the wholesale dealer of gift items said the cheap Chinese materials have caught the imagination of middle class shoppers. "People use Chinese items because they are very cheap also consume less electricity and even the poor can afford to buy them," said a trader.

The demand for China-made products has surged 45 percent year-on-year this season New Delhi: Demand for cheap and fancy Chinamade Diwali items like lights, lampshades, Ganesha and Laxmi idols, rangolis, crackers and gift products, has increased sharply this year, a survey has revealed. According to the survey conducted by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), the demands for China made products has surged 45 percent year-on-year this season. Assocham secretary general D.S. Rawat said local artisans were the worst hit because of the influx of Chinese items in this festive season. Nearly 78 percent of the people who participated

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Give your anarkali trendy makeover this Diwali


ored of free flowing anarkali-style suits? Tweak it this festive season to give it a western touch by playing with the 'kalis' and, who knows, it can even double up as a gown. A little twist here, a little turn there can make your anarkalistyle suit more trendy, say designers, telling fashionistas to play around with the hemline, use light embellishments and team it with palazzos. "I think the anarkali needs a re-invention as we are seeing the same pattern for so long. The only thing that most designers are doing is raising or dropping the hemline. I just feel that one could be a little more futuristic in dealing with the anarkali," designer Niki Mahajan said. "We can turn around a little bit to make it more glamorous and different. As a designer, I can make it more interesting by controlling kalis on one side and playing on the other by giving a sharper neckline and repositioning colours," she

A little twist here, a little turn there can make your anarkali-style suit more trendy; play around with the hemline, use light embellishments and team it with palazzos
added. "Anarkalis have always been a hot favorite for young women during festivities. It is, however, time to tweak anarkalis and make them more western. Little changes here and there can make it trendy. One can try anarkalis that have a European feel, which means they can be worn as gowns also," designer Joy Mitra said. Some emerging trends this festive season are layering and draping with lace and lighter embroidery. Kalidar kurtas are also hitting the shelves and people are going in for more layering and draping with a lot of lace work. They are also asking for more styling, not just embellishments, said designer Gautam Gupta. "The unique thing that I have discovered this festive season is that people are looking for lighter work," he added. "Yes, they want the clothes to look heavy with a little bit of bling, but at the same time they want the material used for the embroidery to be light," he added. Apart from the regular georgette and chanderi, fabrics like kota and lightweight Japanese yukata, instead of zardozi, are being used to make anarkalis. "It's easy to move in fabrics like kota as it brings a lot of flexibility," Gupta added. Festivity also means a splash of bright colors. According to Ashish Parikh from brand Studio Virtues, "Coral shades, which could be experimented with embroidered belts, are making a big comeback. Fuschia, purple and red are also trending big time."

Anarkali by designer Pam Mehta.

How does one accessorize anarkali suits? Go for a simple clutch and matching footwear to add drama to your attire, said designer Rajdeep Ranawat. He also suggested that jewels should be "classic and elegant". "One simple mantra to focus

while wearing Indian line is: choose colours that complement the skin, silhouettes that complement the body and embellishments that complement the personality. Carry the outfit with elan and a confident poise thereafter," added Ranawat.

Card games: Try 'Kissing Missing' this Diwali!

he traditional 'teen patti' wins hands down when it comes to card games on Diwali, but experimentation is the new buzzword! This festive season, try your luck with interesting variations AK47, 1942 A Love Story and Kissing Missing - they have caught the fancy of the young and old alike. The pre-Diwali card parties are already on a roll. Classic 'teen patti' or flash, involving three playing cards, has been around for years, and brings friends and family together for the occasion. In this traditional game, each person puts in a fixed amount of money for the first chance. People win on the basis of a trail, pure sequence, impure sequence, colour, pair or highest card. The stakes may vary from game-to-game and people-to-people - with some playing with Rs.5 or Rs.50, and some putting Rs.1,000 or even Rs.10,000. But now there are more options to choose from: AK47: Ace, King, 4 and 7 become the jokers in this variation. If a player has any of these cards, they can be used as a substitute for a missing colour or number to make a competitive sequence. Muflis: In the usual 'teen patti', the high-

Now, now there are more card-playing options to choose from

est card owner wins, but it's the opposite in Muflis. A person with the lowest cards, walks away with the moolah. Discard one: Instead of three, the players are dealt four cards in this variation. Simply keep the best three to play, and like the name of the game, discard one!

Kissing Missing: The name is definitely catchy, but the game is a little complicated. Each player gets five cards. If you get a pair, you consider it as one joker, and it is called 'kiss'. And for 'miss', any two alternate numbers in a sequence (for example 6 and 8) will together be considered one

joker. You have to discard one extra card out of the five, and play the game. Matha: This one totally works on guess work! Each player just gets one card. Without seeing your card, you have to put the card on top of your forehead (matha), in a way that all other players can see your card. Then you look at others' cards, and take a guess if your card is lower or higher. The suspense makes this game enjoyable. Lallan Kallan: One odd colour in your pack of three will be the joker in Lallan Kallan. If you have two red cards and one black card, the 'kallan' will be considered the joker. And this works vice-versa too. By chance if all your cards are of the same color, you are out. Blackjack: The sum of all three cards that you get, must be 21 or below. Anything above 21, is considered 'bust' or disqualified. Picture cards carry 10 points, aces carry one point or 11 points, and all other cards carry points as per their face value. The player whose cards add up closest to 21, wins the game.1942 A Love Story: Here, 1, 9, 4, 2 are all jokers, and the catch is that you can't speak in English during this game! Stick to Hindi, or you'll be out!

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

November 10-16, 2012

November 10-16, 2012

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Diwali set to dazzle despite inflation


Mumbai/New Delhi: Bucking the inflationary trend that has hurt most sectors, the gold sales chart in Pune is spiraling up and looks to be heading for a Diwali peak, after a Dussehra high. Gold is selling at Rs 31,200 per gram but that has not deterred deterred people from buying some extra glitter this Diwali. A good rush at jewelry shops this festive season is translating into a significant increase in sales as compared to last year. According to Sourabh Gadgil, partner, P N Gadgil Jewelers, customers are willingly spending on gold jewelry since the festive season is preceded by a wedding season. He said people are buying gold bars and coins, too, but the majority is buying jewelry. The gold market is doing good. When the market is bullish, people invest in gold but during the festive season they prefer jewelry over gold bars or coins, adds Gadgil. During Dussehra, jewelry stores registered a 50 per cent increase in sale. During Diwali, it will probably cross 50 per cent, adds Gadgil. Sangeeta Lalwani, director of Gold Mart Jewelers says, At Gold Mart, sale of jewelry is far more than bullion sale primarily because coins and bars are meant for investment and not celebration. M.B. Ashtekar Jewelers on Kasba Peth also saw good sales. At this jewelry store, Dussehra sale was as good as last year. We are hoping it will be even better during Dhanteras and Diwali. Mangalsutras make the maximum part of the total sale. Sale of ornaments is 25 per cent more than pure gold items like coins and bars. Platinum jewelry costs over Rs 32,000 per gram, clearly not too much higher than gold. Gadgil said platinum is not an alternative to gold when it comes to Diwali. Across the world, gold consumption is 4,000 tonne a year and platinum 40 tonne a year. Even at P N Gadgil, just 0.2 per cent of the total festive sale is accounted for by platinum. People relate gold with Diwali and not platinum, he adds.

A good rush at jewelery shops this festive season is translating into a significant increase in sales

Glam up your
New Delhi: People always end up spring-cleaning the drawing room or bedrooms around festive time. Try doing up the kitchen this season with fancy and colorful kitchenware and appliances available in a wide range. Brands like Arttd'inox and Fisher & Paykel have introduced a new variety of tableware, cookware and home decor range to give a new look and makeover to the cooking space. "A kitchen has turned out to be the showpiece zone in any home. People just love to furnish and decorate their kitchens to make these places look better and efficient," Sanjeev Wadhwa, country manager, Fisher & Paykel, said. The brand manufactures and markets innovative household appliances, and for the season has introduced a new range of companion products, which includes steam oven, coffee maker, combo microwave oven and compact oven. "These days, the trend is more of having kitchenware concealed in the cabinets so that kitchen becomes a part or gets integrated with the living spaces. People prefer having built-in or integrated

Diwali diet:
New Delhi: The fragrance of sweets already fills the air. Very soon pretty boxes packed with laddoos, barfis and the choicest delicacies will start piling up at homes. Diwali, after all, is incomplete without sweets. But the aftereffects of bingeing can be disastrous, more so if you are on the heavier side. And if you are vulnerable to heart disease or have diabetes, you must exercise caution. But that doesn't mean refraining from all sweets. Dieticians and doctors suggest that the craving for sweets can be assuaged with healthier, low-calorie alternatives like fruit yoghurts, dry fruits and dark chocolate. It will just take a little effort to ensure that you're buying and gifting the right kind of sweets. With an assortment of sweets spread out before them, even the most health conscious people end up gorging on sweets during Diwali. Clinical nutritionist Ishi Khosla says people tend to binge during Diwali as they see a lot sweets around them, and that stirs up their sensory faculties. "The smell and look of sweets weakens your

kitchen this Diwali Keep kilos in check

Brands like Arttd'inox and Fisher & Paykel have introduced a new variety of tableware, cookware and home decor range

Avoid sweets. You can choose healthier alternatives like dates, bitter chocolates or nuts

appliances in their kitchen," he added. The price range of their products vary from electric cooktops starting at Rs.30,000 to a CoolDrawer priced at Rs.2,25,000. Meanwhile, Arttd'inox, a brand by JSL (Jindal Stainless) Lifestyle Limited, is offering home products in contemporary designs. "This festive season we are offering products that are innovative in terms of a perfect blend of traditional with contemporary. The combination of colorful designs and Indian motifs, keeping the global usage in mind, we feel are in very much in trend this festive season for kitchenware," Deepika Jindal, managing

director, JSL Lifestyle Limited, said. The brand has come up with a couple of items incluidng T-lite holders, candle holders, puja thalis, and small gift items in serve ware. "We have our own set of in-house designers who study trends, do research on market demand before launching any product. We study international brands and keep a tab on what's coming out globally to give our customers what they want and would like to see," she added.The price range of the products starts from Rs.500 and goes up to Rs.27,000 for over six categories of designer stainless steel products for the home.

resolve. So it's best not to store them at home. Instead, you can distribute them to people who need them more. You can choose healthier alternatives like dates, bitter chocolates or nuts." She also cautions people about the quality of sweets they order. For instance, fresh sandesh or fruit yoghurt is far healthier than gulab jamuns. Honey or jaggerycoated nuts are also a good option. Dietitians suggest it is better to distribute the sweets one gets, as it reduces chances of overeating. "People can share the sweets with kids as they burn calories easily. It's also a good idea to distribute sweets in the

neighborhood, especially because we do not know where the sweets come from. There is a high chance of adulteration," says consultant dietitian at Max Healthcare, Cheenu Prashar. Dietitians also recommend 'guilt-free' eating. They say worrying too much about your weight also creates problems. "This is the time when weight gain is at its peak. Diabetics become less careful about their sugar intake, and those who are predisposed to diabetes show signs of high sugar," says consultant, endocrinology and diabetology, Moolchand Medicity, Dr Sanjiv Bhambani.

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Ramayan performance in Bali, Indonesia.

Diwali with 6,000 candles at Google Inc. headquarters in Mountain View, California, October 27, 2011.

An image of Hanuman is paraded at the Diwali celebrations in Leicester, UK. The city has the largest Hindu population outside India.

How Diwali lights gird the globe

he growing ethnic and cultural diversity of Hindu religion throughout the world provides the opportunity to participate in the celebrations and rituals of Diwali festival that enhances the feeling of being part of a close-knit group of NRIs. Most Diwali celebrations around the world focus on family and friends and it is a time to reflect on the past and vision for a future, perhaps, in a world where people live together in harmony.Outside India also, as Diwali approaches, people clean their homes to escape bad luck in the new year and families gather for a feast and stay up late, celebrating with the help of crackers and sweets. They believe that the Hindu goddess of good luck visits homes that are brightly lit.

here. The celebration and rituals of the festival is mostly similar to that celebrated by their counterparts in India.

Singapore
Hindus in Singapore celebrate Diwali with elaborate light and candle decorations, creating a beautiful spectacle as the night draws in. As a policy, crackers are not sold to avoid noise pollution and only sparklers can be bought. To mark the festival, Little India on Serangoon Road is decorated with lights, garlands and colorful arches. On Diwali day, children accompanied by parents go to open areas to light the sparklers since living here is in highrise apartments. There are more than 18 temples in Singapore and it is customary to offer prayers at the temples. The whole atmosphere provides a feeling of being at home and enables newcomers to easily integrate with the rest of the society. This reminds us of the Tamil proverb "Yaadhum Oore Yaavarum Kelir" which means, 'every country is my own and all the people are my kinsmen.'

and for wearing new clothes and most importantly, decorating buildings with fancy lights. The British city of Leicester is noted for its Diwali celebrations The day is marked by visit to the local temple to worship at the shrine of goddess Lakshmi. Though Oct/Nov is a cold, damp and windy time, the enthusiasm of the festival celebration and lighting lamps on windowsills or by open doorways kill the chill.

Trinidad and Tobago


Here 43 per cent of the population of 1.3 million or 5,60,000 are ethnic Indians. So, Hindu festivals, customs, traditions and observances form an integral part of the society. Diwali has a unique flavor here. The festival is also marked by scores of functions besides the usual rituals. The functions and celebrations also have an official imprint as the Ministers of the Government participate. The celebrations continue for over a week and the headquarters of the National Council of Indian Culture at Diwali Nagar becomes the focal point. Although it is a Hindu festival, in the island's multicultural and multi-religious society it is a national holiday observed by people of all denominations. The day is marked by prayers, feasts and the lighting of thousands of diyas all over the country. In the Hindu community, there are two stories of the origin of Diwali, and in the weeks leading up to the festival they are acted out in full costume in open-air theaters in villages all over Trinidad. Employees and even government ministers dress in East Indian garb and variety shows featuring aspects of Indian and Hindu culture are staged.

residing here try their best to absorb most of the aspects associated with Diwali. The population of this country include 35-40% Hindus, making Diwali one of the most popular Indian Festivals. Many Indians here immigrated from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. The Indian people here refer to themselves as "Hindustani". Sarnami Hindustani (a dialect of Avadhi and Bhojpuri) is an official languages. Unlike Holi, Diwali is not an official national holiday. Yet, it is big festival. Lighting homes, Goddess Lakshmi puja and visiting temples are important features of the celebration.

Fiji
The Festival of Lights is celebrated with much fanfare and gaiety in Fiji. A significant number of Hindus residing in this country celebrate the festival with traditional goodwill and rituals. Such is the euphoria over Diwali celebrations in Fiji that even the non-Hindu population participatesit is a public holiday in any case. The festival gives an opportunity to people of different faiths and communities to come together and live in a spirit of communal harmony. In Fiji, several schools organize Diwali celebrations to let children understand the social, cultural and religious significance of Diwali Festival. In several schools Diwali celebrations are marked by organizing singing, essay writing, quiz, rangoli making and Diwali Greeting Card designing competitions besides hosting talks in Hindi, English and Fijian languages. Traditional Diwali Lakshmi Pooja is also organized in several schools. Such activities go a long way in enhancing the social and cultural development of the community in Fiji's multi racial, multi lingual and multi cultural society.

Mauritius
Mauritius has a sizeable population of Hindus of Indian origin. So Diwali celebrations here is as good as in India. Earthen oil lamps are placed in front of every home - to celebrate the return of Lord Rama from his 14 years of exile -- turning the island into a fairyland of flickering lights. The main day of the festivities is seen as a particularly auspicious day for merchants to make up their accounts and balances for the previous year, to go unburdened into the next. After the morning prayers, Hindus share sweets prepared specially for the occasion with family members, neighbors and friends of any faith, in accordance with the multicultural spirit of Mauritius.

South Africa
The South African culture is a mix of many cultures. It had the largest immigrant Indian community in the world a decade prior to the colonization by USA. The immigrant Indians number almost one million in the country. But most of them are concentrated in the provinces of Natal and Transvaal. A majority of the Indians her are Hindu and they celebrate their many festivals. Diwali holds an important place in the festival calendar of the region. Most of the Hindus here are from UP, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu and they continue to follow their regional variations of Hinduism.

Nepal
Surrounded by the majestic Himalayas, Nepal, is a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, and the erstwhile only Hindu Kingdom in the world. Hindus in Nepal celebrate the Diwali festival with bright lights, gift exchanges, fireworks, and elaborate feasts to welcome Lakshmi, the goddess of light and wealth. Various houses and shop fronts in Katmandu display the bright lights typical of Hindu communities during Diwali. Diwali here is known as Tihar and continues for five days. Every day has its special significance.

Guyana
Guyanas Hindu population of about 7,70,000 constitutes 33% of the total. The Co-operative Republic of Guyana in Southern America celebrates Diwali according to the Hindu Solar calendar. The day is declared as a national holiday. The tradition of celebrating Diwali is believed to have been brought to Guyana in 1853 by the first indentured people from India. The legends related to the festival are similar to those of India. The celebration of the festival includes, distribution of sweets, illuminating the inside and outside of the cleaned up house. The distribution of sweets signifies the importance of serving and sharing. The tradition of wearing new clothes is because they believe that wearing new clothes is the symbol of healthy souls in healthy bodies.

Kenya and Tanzania


One million Indians reside in the former British colonies of Kenya and Tanzania, constituting 1% of the total population of these countries. However, they wield considerable economic influence. They also celebrate major Indian or Hindu festivals. As they have restricted interaction with the locals and do not seek converts they usually celebrate their festivals the same way as India does. Illumination, worshiping of the Goddess of wealth are a common practice. Diwali is a national holiday in Kenya.

America
USA is best known for hundreds of Diwali festivals organized enthusiastically all across the country. In places like New York and New Jersey on the East Coast, Chicago and Ohio in the heartland and in Los Angeles on the West Coast, Diwali celebrations are simply splendid with melas and spectacular fireworks, the most popular being the South Street Seaport Diwali Mela in New York organized by the Association of Indians in America (AIA-NY). There are song and dances programs, art exhibitions, talent competitions and, above all, coming together of various communities and ethnicities and their bonding together. It is a great feeling to be sharing the joy of happiness all around. That is what Diwali is harbinger of a new warmth, a new hope, a new life.

Indonesia
The name Indonesia came from two Greek words: "Indos" meaning Indian and "Nesos" meaning islands. The majority of population in Indonesia follows Islam, though only a few hundred years ago they were all Hindus. Hindus constituent about 2% of Indonesia's total population. However, the Indonesian island of Bali is famous for celebrating the festival of Diwali, as a majority of the population here are Hindus. It is one of the most revered festivals of the locals

Britain
Indians are the second largest ethnic minority in Britain. To get rid of the feeling of missing their homeland, especially during festival times, Indians here celebrate most of their festivals. Diwali is a time for spring-cleaning the home

Surinam
The celebration in Surinam is not as traditional as that observed by Indians. But Hindus

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Kareena Kapoor Khan hottest cracker this Diwali

Anushka, Sonakshi to clash this Diwali

ith Diwali just around the corner, firecracker stalls have already cropped up in designated areas of the city. Like every year, the firecrackers are named after popular Bollywood actors and this time, it's Kareena Kapoor Khan who, if we may say so, is the hottest selling patakha. Sarika Wagh of a cracker stall says that people get attracted to the pictures on the packaging and buy them. This time, the multi-colour sparkle and flower pots with Kareena Kapoor Khan's picture are among the top favorites," says she. Apart from Kareena, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Asin, Sonakshi Sinha and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan adorn the covers of most of the firecracker boxes. Vijay Agarwal, who has been in this business for 40 years now, adds that crackers with Hindi film actors sell like hot cakes. "This time, it's not only Bollywood but even

Hollywood's Angelina Jolie is quite a rage. The crackers are a bit more expensive, but people don't mind shelling out extra bucks for them," says Agarwal. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is seen in her Jodhaa Akbar avatar on most cracker covers. Veteran actress Hema Malini, who still is remembered as the Dream Girl, is also on some of the boxes. So are Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta as a couple on the cover of a multiple aerial star bomb. "The crackers are priced between ` 500 and 10,000 depending on the popularity of the stars," says Vijay Kumar Arora of another cracker stall. "Usually youngsters opt for these crackers, and demand for patakhas with their favourite actor's picture imprinted on them. The multicolour aerial bomb, with 120 shots, which has an image of the Rangeela girl Urmila Matondkar is also one of the most popular crackers amongst youngsters," he adds.

Sonakshi Sinha in a scene from 'Son of Sardaar' and Anushka Sharma with Shah Rukh Khan in 'Jab Tak Hai Jaan'

Kareena Kapoor Khan with Saif

f we think that Anushka Sharma and Sonakshi Sinha only fight over Ranbir Singh, then you need to wait and hear this story. It is not only the male stars in Bollywood who fight at the box-office but leading ladies of Bollywood also involved in box-office war. Anushka Sharma and Sonakshi Sinha are going to clash at the box-office this Diwali. Anushkas Yash Raj banner movie Jab Tak Hai Jaan where she is playing a documentary filmmaker and makes film on Shahrukh Khan who is an army officer will release on November 13, so is Sonakshis film, Son Of Sardaar. In this film, Sonakshi romances Ajay Devgn. Apart from the leading ladies, this two movies are also in news for their legal war. Ajay's production has reported-

ly send legal notice to Yash Raj banner for influencing the distributors. Sonakshi and Anushka are currently not on talking terms due to Ranbir Singh. Anushka and Ranbir are said to be alleged couple. They came closer during the shooting of Band Baaja Baraat and consequently love brewed between them. A rift developed between them when Ranbir signed film opposite Sonakshi in Lootera and done an intimate photo shoot. Anushka did not like it all that Ranbir has signed film opposite Sonakshi and showering praise on Sonakshi. Following this entire story, a big crack developed Anushka and Ranbir and their relationship are now in troubled water. Lets see who wins the box-office battle, Anushka or Sonakshi?

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Ekta, Shilpa, Ameesha to A bumper Diwali for Shahid T host card parties
he Khans are fighting it out for the box office with their Eid, Diwali and Christmas releases in 2012. Meanwhile, tinsel town's chocolate boy Shahid Kapoor has managed to sneak in and create a slot of his own. Shahid is eyeing a bumper Dussehra and Diwali 2013 with his 'Namak' pitched for release in 2013. The film is produced by veteran actor-choreographer Prabhudeva and has Sonakshi Sinha in the lead across Shahid. Critics are calling 'Namak' unprecedented with an actor who doesn't feature among the top five in B'town. The Diwali slot is usually occupied by actors who have been in the business for 20 years or more, like the Khans, Akshay Kumar, Ajay Devgn and more recently, Hrithik Roshan. I n t e r e s t i n g l y, Sonakshi is determined to change her desirable unconventional looks and lose her chubbiness. Apparently, Sona is upset with the

media criticizing her fresh pairing with Shahid Kapoor in Prabhu Deva's upcoming next film 'Namak'. The plump Sona against a carved out bodied Shahid has made some critics say she looks older than a lean Shahid. Sona has decided to prove her detractors wrong. The Dabangg girl has asked co-star cum friend Salman Khan's trainer to help her shed those extra kilos. She is adamant to get into a new shape for 'Namak'. The actress has already started training and is following a strenuous workout regime on the sets of 'Dabangg 2'.

t's that time of the year when Bollywood dress designers are at their busiest. It is also the time of the year when the superstars' social calendar is at its most hectic. The card parties that are the lifeline during Diwali will happen at homes of Ameesha Patel, Ekta Kapoor and Shilpa and Raj Kundra. Ekta is clear her party will start around midnight and end only post breakfast. Ameesha's invitation says, "Since

Diwali is usually spent with close friends and family, please feel free to bring some close friends with you. We, Kunal Goomer (her partner) and I, will be happy to host you." Shilpa and Raj's taash parties are always hit because it has everyone from the Bachchans to the Khans in attendance. "This year the celebration is even bigger because the Kundras are happy that they have been blessed with a son," says a source.

Shahid Kapoor

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November 10-16, 2012

INDIA

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Obama thanks PM, to continue close cooperation


Washington/New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was amongst the several world leaders President Barack Obama personally called to thank for their congratulatory messages and to express "his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead". Manmohan Singh and Obama had a telephonic conversation, said an official statement from Prime Minister's Office in New Delhi. The prime minister congratulated Obama on his re-election and wished him success for his second term in office. He added that this had given an opportunity to the two countries to carry forward and build on the enormous successes that had been achieved in the bilateral partnership in the last few years. "Prime minister also expressed his appreciation for the personal interest and commitment that President Obama had brought to the relationship and said that he looked forward to continuing their close cooperation to pursue their shared vision for the IndiaUS strategic partnership," it said. A White House readout of the president's phone calls with world leaders Thursday said: "Since Tuesday evening, the president has been receiving messages from his counterparts around the world congratulating him on winning re-election to a second term in office." "The president appreciates all of these messages and looks forward to continuing to work with all of his fellow leaders to address the serious challenges we face together in the world. "This morning the president was able to return some of these messages personally, by phone. In each call, he thanked his counterpart for their friendship and partnership thus far and expressed his desire to continue close cooperation moving ahead," it said. In his congratulatory message to Obama, Manmohan Singh personally committed to a "rewarding" association to build further on the global strategic partnership that the two nations have built over the last four years.

Manmohan Singh wished Barack Obama success for his second term in office

Jaipur Literature Festival to focus on Indian writing Sonia asks ministers to implement 2009 manifesto
By Prakash Bhandari

riters from India and abroad will meet at the sixth Jaipur Literature Festival at Diggi Palace in Jaipur Jan 24-28 for five days to discuss literature. The festival will also highlight Indian language writing to explore transitions in literary ethos. Announcing the festival, the organisers in a statement Monday said a host of writers has confirmed their participation. These include Ambai, Benyamin, Bhalchandra Nemade, Diana Eck, Elizabeth Gilbert, Hisham Matar, Homi Bhabha, Javed Akhtar, Kancha Ilaiah, Kunwar Narain, Linda Grant, Madeline Miller, Michael Sandel, Michel Houellebecq, Nadeem Aslam, Neelesh Mishra, Orlando Figes, Pico Iyer, Reza Aslan and Simon Armitage. Described as the mecca of literature, the festival on an average has nearly 57,000 visitors each day and drew more than 122,000 people in 2012, the organisers said. This year too the festival will showcase diversity of writing in over 16 Indian languages, including Hindi, Urdu, Rajasthani, Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Punjabi, Bangla, Malayalam, Gujarati, Sindhi, Kannada and Kashmiri. A special emphasis will be on the transition of Maithili and Bhojpuri literature from the traditional to the

contemporary. A session, "Remembering Sunil Da", will pay tributes to noted Bengali writer, late Sunil Gangopadhyay, who had before his death agreed to attend the festival in 2013. The sessions will also look into Russian literature, Jewish novel, William Shakespeare, Rudyard Kipling, cricket writing, the New Africa, Iran, and writings on contemporary art. Sessions on the Buddha will comprise aspects of literature, aesthetics, philosophy and social issues with discussions by writers and practitioners like Ranjini Obeyesekere, Ani Choying, Benoy K. Behl and Kancha Ilaiah. Co-director of the festival Namita Gokhale said: "This January, the magical banyan tree of the DSC Jaipur Literature Festival will once again spread its branches and extend it roots, to celebrate the tradition of books, dialogue and creativity."

Surajkund (Haryana): government." Alerting party leaders to the She asked ministers to spend challenge of the general elecmore time at party offices and at tions ahead, Congress president party events whenever they Sonia Gandhi asked all ministravelled to a state, especially in ters to get cracking on fulfilling the opposition ruled states. the promises made in the 2009 Gandhi did not mention formanifesto. eign equity in retail but said the "Those of you who are in the government had to take some government should get down to difficult decisions recently and implementing the work left this must be explained to the from the promises made in the people. 2009 manifesto," Gandhi said She also urged the party and Congress president in her opening remarks at the the government to rebut false Sonia Gandhi party's review cum strategy charges being levelled by the meeting being held in this Haryana town bor- opposition. "We have around 18 months left dering the national capital. for the next Lok Sabha election. We must get Seeking opinion of the leaders on how to ready to face the challenge," Gandhi said. give more depth to the government's welfare The one-day meeting of the party is being measures, she also asked the ministers to work attended by about 70 people, including minismore with party leaders so a balance is ters and members of the Congress Working achieved in the implementation of these pro- Committee. grammes. Billed as an informal Samvad Baithak "Sometimes the party leaders are dissatis- (brainstorming session), the meeting will also fied as the ministers do not pay attention to discuss how to create better synergy between their concerns and suggestions," said Gandhi. the Congress and the United Progressive "There should be a continuous dialogue Alliance government, particularly in the between the party leaders and those in the months ahead of the 2014 general elections.

Kejriwal targets Swiss bank account holders


New Delhi: Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal alleged that brothers Mukhesh and Anil Ambani and Congress MP Annu Tandon, among others, have crores of rupees deposited in banks in Switzerland. He said this was based on a list of 10 account holders in HSBC bank in Geneva that was passed on to him by a senior Congress leader that was later cross-checked by a team of his India Against Corruption (IAC) organization. "In July 2011, the Indian Government received a list of roughly 700 people having bank accounts in HSBC, Geneva. The list contains bank balances of these people in 2006. These names are also part of the list," said Kejriwal during a press conference here. The list named the Ambani brothers as having Rs.80 crore. Three brothers who own Dabur have Rs.25 crores in Swiss banks, while Yashovardhan Birla and Kokila Dhirubhai Ambani have accounts with zero balance, Kejriwal alleged in the conference, also addressed by his associate Prashant Bhushan. "Our sources told us Mukhesh Ambani had come to the finance ministry when the list of 700 Swiss account holders were provided to India. He told the finance ministry 'we are prepared to pay the tax to buy peace and no raids should be conducted'," said Kejriwal. According to Kejriwal, the present CBI director once said more than Rs.25,00,000 crore of ill-gotten Indian money was stashed abroad while the Indian government said that an amount of Rs.6,000 crore is deposited in Swiss banks. He said even as black money was a big threat to India's economic sovereignty, the union government was trying to shield its perpetrators. "Indian government seems to be more interested in helping the guilty rather than punishing them." Kejriwal said the then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had even planned an amnesty for all the 700 Swiss account holders. He also demanded strict action against HSBC bank for encouraging kidnapping, corruption and terrorism in the country. "Like America, we should enact a law that makes it mandatory for foreign banks operating in the country to furnish a list of all account holders to the income tax department," he said, asking the thousands of HSBC bank employees to quit their jobs

Activist-turned-politician Arvind Kejriwal

having Rs.100 crore each, Congress Unnao MP Tandon of having Rs.125 crore, including another Rs.125 crore in name of her deceased husband Sandeep Tandon and Jet Airways chairman Naresh Kumar Goyal of

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November 10-16, 2012

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November 10-16, 2012

NATIONAL COMMUNITY

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Gujarati businessman stabbed to death in Delaware


New York: A Gujarati businessmen was stabbed to death by two masked robbers in his store in Newport, Delaware on Saturday morning. Hemant Chauhan, 57, had taken over the store over a year ago after working in motels till recently. He had migrated to the US in 2001. Delaware state police said a man walked into the store named Newport Penn Bantam Market at 418 Newport-Gap Pike around 7:15pm Friday and jumped the counter and demanded cash from Chauhan. After a brief argument, the miscreant and his accomplice stabbed the victim and ran away with some money. Chauhan was taken to Christiana Hospital where he was pronounced dead. When the incident took place his wife Bhumika was also in the store. Family members said the culprits are yet to be caught. They are not sure how much of cash was looted as Bhumika is still in a state of shock. However, it is most likely that the family will wind up the business in the US and may return to India reported media.

IN BRIEF

Domestic Harmony Foundation organizes Walk-A-Thon Indian Consulate offers support to Hurricane Sandy victims
n Sunday October 28th, supporters of anti-violence and human rights came together to walk in solidarity against domestic violence at Eisenhower Park. The Walk to End Domestic Violence was organized by the Domestic Harmony Foundation (DHF). A portion of the proceeds from the walkathon will be donated to the INN - Interfaith Nutrition Network. For this walkathon, Domestic Harmony Foundation collaborated with a number of other groups, notably the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJWP), Women for Afghan Women (WAW), Indian American Women Alliance (IAWA), Center for Civic Engagement at Hof-

n a press release the Consulate General of India has conveyed its sincere sympathy and support to all persons who have been affected by the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. The Consulate understands that several Indians have also suffered damage. The Consulate hopes that all such affected persons will be able to overcome this difficult situation and that their

lives will soon be back to normal. The Consulate also appreciates the efforts of the local authorities to overcome the challenges posed by this unprecedented crisis situation, the press release read. For assistance in emergency cases, one can contact Mr. V. Perumal, Consul(CPV & PIC), Cell No. 646 289 2194 and Mr. S. Sinha, Vice Consul (Visa), Cell No. 917 434 4785.

Team members of Domestic Harmony Foundation

Indian Consulate hosts CIIS event


lecture by Ameeta Mehra, he Consul General of India, New York hosted a Chairperson of the Gnostic reception for the New Centre and International Centre for Integral Studies, Delhi. York Chapter of the California Mehra spoke on The Founding Institute of Integral Studies Spirit of Auroville, the univer(CIIS) Alumni Gathering on October 26, 2012 at New India sal township in South India was House. The event was attended set up on the philosophical principles of Sri Aurobindo. by about seventy guests comShe stated that Auroville was prising of the members of CIIS, created to bring together citidistinguished academics and senior officials of the Conzens of the world to render themselves to become a willing sulate. Ameeta Mehra, the servitor of the divine conWelcoming the gathering, Consul General Mr. Prabhu guest lecturer of the sciousness, through unending evening education to establish a new Dayal, citing examples of ancient philosophy, spoke about the values of order of human unity. Others who spoke on integral education and its relevance in con- the occasion were President Joseph L. Subtemporary living. biondo and Dean Richard Buggs, of The main attraction of the evening was a the CIIS.

stra University and Family Development Institute.

Health camp on Dec 2 at Secaucus Swaminarayan Temple

n Sunday, December 2, 2012, a health screening and disease awareness and prevention fair will be organized by the dedicated volunteers of Indian Health Camp of New Jersey (IHCNJ) in collaboration with Shree Swaminarayan Temple, 200 Penhorn Avenue, Secaucus, NJ 07094. IHCNJ, a non-profit organization, will hold this health camp for the seventh consecutive year at Secaucus Temple. The pre-registered participants between the ages of 45 and 64 without any medical insurance from the various areas of New Jersey can participate in this full day health screening services. About 15-20 physicians from various specialties of internal medicine, cardiology, ophthalmology, dentist, physical therapy, pain management, medical students and other volunteers will provide their service to screen and educate

patients on diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases, high cholesterol, various types of cancer and other chronic debilitating diseases which is prevalent in South Asian community. The blood test services will be provided by Rupen Patel of Accurate Diagnostics Labs in Edison for all qualified participants at no cost. The blood test reports will be reviewed by the physicians and mailed to all participants with a counseling note, if any abnormalities are detected in the test. The State of New Jersey, Commission for the blind and their dedicated team under the leadership of Dr. Sunil Parikh will provide eye screening to all eligible participants. For detailed information on the upcoming health fair and future activities, visit organization web site at www.IHCNJ.org or contact Dr. Tushar Patel at 848-391-0499.

America India Foundation raises funds for Hurricane Sandy relief


merica India Foundation has focused its philanthropic efforts on uplifting and empowering the lives of the millions of impoverished in India who most need support. In a press statement AIF has offered deepest condolences to families who lost their loved ones during the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. Just as we rallied around the Gujarat earthquake in 2001 to form the American India Foundation, so today we come together once more to offer relief and rehabilitation to assist the victims and begin to rebuild communities. Indeed, we have always remain con-

Indian Americans reach out to Sandy victims


he Hyderabadabi Cultural Association has donated over 120 new blankets to the Hispanic Community of Northern Huntington and also some families of Rockaways in Queens. These blankets were donated by members and friends of HCA. The President, Quddus Mohammed and Mr Naimathullah personally delivered the boxes and promised the Rescue Mission organizers to do more. "There was an urgent need due to cold weather and we responded

immediately to save those children," said Mr. Mohammed. There is an on going need for food and warm clothing and blankets. Red Cross and FEMA has not reached these families. They are mostly daily wage labor who lost homes and are without work.Please Donate: We will continue to collect canned food, rice, pasta, cooking oil etc and blankets for next few weeks. Please call and deliver, he added. email:hcaofgny@gmail.com

nected to our roots in disaster relief, whether in response to 9/11, the 2005 tsunami, or the 2010 Haiti earthquake - and understand the urgency with which dedicated response can help alleviate the destruction and devastation that natural disasters leave behind. With this spirit in mind, we are pleased to announce the Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund. As a trusted vehicle for your philanthropy, 100% of your donation will go directly to rebuilding efforts on the eastern seaboard, said the organization in its press-release. One can donate by visiting the website www.aif.org

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SUBCONTINENT

November 10-16, 2012

39

India slams safe haven for Dawood in Pak


New Delhi: Nearly 20 years after 1993 serial bomb blasts in Mumbai killed 257 people and left 713 others i n j u r e d , Pakistan continues to provide safe haven to fugitive don D a w o o d Ibrahim, India Fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim said at an Interpol meeting in Rome. Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, addressing the Interpol general assembly, pointed out that red corner notices were pending against Dawood Ibrahim, according to an official statement issued here. "I'm constrained to point out that in spite of regular dialogue and credible evidence, the masterminds of one of the most heinous act of terror of last century, that is 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts in which 257 people died and 713 were injured, are still sitting in safe heavens and are yet to be brought to book," Shinde said. "Their presence in a neighboring country is well known and Interpol red notices against them, who are Indian nationals, are pending since 1993," he stressed.

Pakistan would have preferred Romney: daily Another Tibetan self-immolates in Rebkong
Rebkong: An 18-year-old Tibetan identified as Kalsang Jinpa self-immolated in Dolma Square in Rebkong. According to reports, the former monk of the Rongwo Monastery raised a white banner carrying slogans calling for the Dalai Lama's return and the rights of the Tibetan people before setting himself ablaze. Jinpa succumbed to his injuries, raising the self-immolation toll to a staggering 69. Earlier, five Tibetans self-immolated on Wednesday ahead of the 18th National Congress of China's Communist Party of which three young monks Dorje, 15, Samdrub, 16, and Dorje Kyab, 16-set themselves ablaze in front of a police station in Ngaba town, calling for a free Tibet and the return of Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Tamdrin Tso, 23, mother of a young son set fire to herself and died in the Gemar market area of Rebkong (in Chinese, Tongren) county. The fifth self-immolation was reported in Bekhar township in Driru county, Nagchu prefecture, of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Daily Times said the next four years of Obama were unlikely to bring anything radically different in terms of policy

Islamabad: Most Pakistanis desired a Mitt Romney victory, a newspaper said Thursday, adding Islamabad will now have to again work with Barack Obama despite "an unhappy (US-Pakistan) marriage". "President Obama has presided over the deepest trough in USPakistan relations in decades, and historically Pakistan has had better relations with the US under a Republican president," The News International said. The daily pointed out that it was the growing number of drone attacks under Obama that had led to "a powerful anti-Americanism that

reaches deep into the nation". However, the Afghan endgame would mean that Pakistan's role in the peace prospects in Afghanistan will come to the fore, it added in an editorial. "The US and Pakistan will have to work closely - in an unhappy marriage of convenience - on conflict mitigation, and Pakistan's role vis-vis brokerage with and between various groups vying for power in Afghanistan will be crucial," it said. The Daily Times said the next four years of Obama were unlikely to bring anything radically different in terms of policy. "There is no gainsaying the fact though that Islamabad will have to cut its cloth according to what largesse or otherwise flows from Washington from now on," it said. "The US has been trying through carrot and stick methods to get Pakistan to abandon the use of proxies for jehadi extremism, but this is far from an accomplished fact, despite the enormous costs of continuing with that outdated policy for Pakistan itself."

International

China prepares for leadership transition


Beijing: President Hu Jintao warned China's incoming leaders that corruption threatened the ruling Communist Party and the state, but said the party must stay in charge as it battles growing social unrest. In a state-of-the-nation address to more than 2,000 hand-picked party delegates before he hands over power, Hu acknowledged that public anger over graft and issues like environmental degradation had undermined the party's support and led to surging numbers of protests. In other comments, he promised political reform but ruled out copying Western-style democracy. He also stressed the need to strengthen the armed forces and protect sea territory amid disputes with Japan and Southeast Asian nations. "Combating corruption and promoting political integrity, which is a major political issue of great concern to the people, is a clear-cut and long-term political commitment of the party," Hu said. "If we fail to handle this issue well, it could prove fatal to the President Xi Jinping, has been overshadowed by a corruption scandal involving one-time highflying politician Bo Xilai. The party has accused him of taking bribes and abusing his power to cover up his wife's murder of a British businessman in the southwestern city of Chongqing, which he used to run. While Hu did not name Bo - a man once considered a contender for top office himself - he left little doubt about the target.

For Assange, Obama a wolf in sheeps clothing


Vice President Xi Jinping

party, and even cause the collapse of the party and the fall of the state. We must thus make unremitting efforts to combat corruption." Hu was opening a week-long congress at Beijing's Great Hall of the People that will usher in a once-in-a-decade leadership change in the world's secondlargest economy. Despite the high profile of the event and the focus on sensitive issues like reform and graft, the comments were not considered unusual since they mainly

reinforced existing ideas and themes. "It was a rather conservative report," said Jin Zhong, the editor of Open Magazine, an independent Hong Kong publication that specializes in Chinese politics. "There's nothing in there that suggests any breakthrough in political reforms." The run-up to the carefully choreographed meeting, at which Hu will hand over his post as party chief to anointed successor Vice

London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has described re-elected US President Barack Obama as a "wolf in sheep's clothing" and said he expected his government to continue attacking the anti-secrecy website. Speaking from Ecuador's London embassy, where he sought asylum in June in a bid to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crime allegations, Assange said Obama's victory was no cause for celebration. "Obama seems to be a nice man, and that is precisely the problem," the 41-year-old Australian said, after the presi-

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange

dent defeated Republican Mitt Romney on Wednesday to sweep back into the White House. "It's better to have a sheep in wolf 's clothing than a wolf in sheep's clothing."

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November 10-16, 2012

BUSINESS

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Nestle opens its first India R&D center


Gurgaon: FMCG multinational Nestle opened its first research and development (R&D) center in India at the industrial township of Manesar in Haryana. The center will be part of Nestle's worldwide R&D network enabling the company to acquire local knowledge and use it on a global scale. "Our R&D center in India will help us gain important insights into local consumers' eating habits and taste preferences, as well as great expertise in using and processing local ingredients to develop products for India and beyond," said chief executive Paul Bulcke. With the opening of this center, the company aims to extend the range of mainstream products it currently offers in the country, particularly noodles, cereals, beverage and dairy categories, he added. Tariq Anwar, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, was chief guest at the opening of the center. He hoped the center will facilitate exchange of scientific knowledge and development of skills. Nestle has been in India for 100 years. The company's sales agents first started work in Chennai and Kolkata in 1912.

China to overtake India in Kingfisher loss widens to Rs 754 crore overall gold demand
London: China's gold demand is expected to grow 1 percent this year to a record of around 860 tonnes, the global head of metals at consultancy Thomson Reuters GFMS said, with both jewelry and investment sales rising. That increase means China will overtake India as the world's biggest consumer of gold for the first time on a yearly basis, Philip Klapwijk told the online Reuters Global Gold Forum. "China will overtake India ... both in overall demand terms and as the world's largest jewelry market," he said. He said China's jewelry demand is expected to climb to around 520 tonnes from 515 tonnes in 2011, while investment is seen at around 270 tonnes, up from 265 tonnes last year. The balance, of around 70 tonnes, is industrial consumption, Klapwijk said. China is already the main consumer of a range of commodities, including copper, coal and iron ore. It is also the biggest gold producer, with mine output of 371 tonnes in 2011, but it is still having to import large quantities of gold to satisfy domestic demand.

The airline faces the risk of losing its license if a revival plan is not submitted by next month

Mumbai: Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines reported net loss of Rs 754 crore for the July-September quarter on Thursday, a sharp increase from Rs 469 crore in the year-ago period, and said it is working on a plan to resume services. The revenue plunged to Rs 200 crore during its second quarter of this fiscal from Rs 1,553 crore in the same period last year because of disruption in operations and eventual suspension of its licence by aviation regulator DGCA. Even as the company's expenses

declined across various heads, the firm suffered huge restructuring cost. Its tax expenses also rose sharply. Announcing the result, the carrier said it is in discussions with various stakeholders to ensure that there are no future disruptions and expects to resume operations in the near future. It faces the risk of losing its license if a revival plan is not submitted by next month, while bankers are working on plans to handle large scale defaults by the airline.

Sports

Coke to help Rais US stint


Greater Noida: Cola giants Coca Cola will be sponsoring talented India U-16 footballer Uttam Rais six-month training stint at Colorado Rush Football Academy in the United States. The 15-year-old, who was spotted by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) in 2009 at the CocaCola Mir Iqbal Indias young football talent Uttam Rai with Hussain Trophy, will President and CEO, Coca-Cola India Atul Singh, at a felicitation in Gurgaon, also look to land himHaryana. (Photo: Amlan Paliwal) self a students scholarship during his trainUttam is the find of the first ing stint in the U.S. that would Mir Iqbal Hussain Trophy that allow him to stay on for a longer Coca Cola sponsored. Now we are duration. taking the endeavor forward. The Cola giants will be picking Football is not just a CSR activity up the players tab for the airfare for Coca Cola, but serious busiand stay in the U.S. ness, said Singh at the compaCoca Cola chief executive Atul nys headquarters in Singh told IANS that football is Gurgaon.Uttam, who hails from not just a corporate social respon- Sikkim, said he was ready for the sibility (CSR) activity for the challenge and was looking at a company but serious business. fruitful training stint in the U.S.

Sachin bestowed Order of Australia honor


Mumbai: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar was presented with the Order of Australia by Simon Crean, Minister for Regional Australia, at a felicitation ceremony here this week. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard had made the announcement on her visit to India last month, making Tendulkar only the third Indian to receive the honor after Mother Teresa and former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee. Simon Crean, who presented the award to Tendulkar, is also the minister for regional development and local government and minister for the arts. On the occasion, Tendulkar chose to share his experience of playing against Australia. They are fierce competitors who play well and hard. But they also shower you with praises when you do well. And my favorite ground away from home is Sydney, said Tendulkar. Recollecting his maiden tour down under in 199192, Tendulkar said: It completely changed me as a cricketer. Meanwhile, in April 2013, Madame Tussauds is bringing cricket maestro Sachin Tendulkar in Sydney in April 2013. Sachin will take up permanent residence alongside Australian cricket greats Don Bradman and Shane Warne.

Sachin Tendulkar is presented with the Order of Australia by Australian minister Simon Crean

Sachin's eyes being matched for his wax statue at Madame Tussaud

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November 10-16, 2012

HUMOR

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Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi

Love marriages a shame and mobiles the culprit


dults have banned love. Any young person who marries someone they love (as opposed to the official partner chosen by adults) will be exiled, said the town council of Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh. "Love marriages are a shame for society," council member Sattar Ahmed told the Daily Mail. I'd love to see him and his wife on a romantic night out. I can imagine them passing the time stabbing voodoo effigies of the opposite sex. But how do you ban love? Anti-love campaigners are targeting mobile phones as the main tools young people these days use to "grow" love. No girls should be allowed to have mobile phones, member of parliament Rajpal Singh Saini told a gathering of men last week, according to the Times of India. If your female children have phones, "take them away," he was quoted as saying. I was reading the news articles above when I realized that if a fiction-writer wrote about a crew of ranting villains banning love, it would be considered scarcely believable. The world's writers of trashy novel and B-movies really need to give these gentlemen an award, or at least a thank-you letter. Going back to mobile phones, here's a related joke: The Indian government digs 1,000

metres down and finds traces of copper wire. "This proves we had a phone network 5,000 years ago," they announce. The Chinese government digs 1,000 metres down and finds nothing. "This proves we had a wireless network 5,000 years ago," they announce. *-* A woman faked a kidnapping so that she could get a day off work last week. Sheila Bailey Eubank, 48, spent the day away from her office in California, US, and then tied herself up with rope and told police she had been kidnapped. But videos from shops she'd entered revealed she was lying. The odd thing is that this tale reminded me a similar case in Japan: except that focussed on a man who loved his work too much. A 29year-old businessman, he overslept, missing an 8 a.m. meeting. Burning with humiliation, he kidnapped himself, drove himself out of town, beat himself up and dumped himself in the middle of nowhere. Then he called his colleagues. "So sorry to miss the meeting, I got kidnapped, you know how it is." *-*

The mystery of the red-bearded prisoner has been solved. People were puzzled that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been appearing in court with a bright ginger-auburn beard, yet Guantanamo Bay prison is not exactly known for haute couture hairdressing salons. Jailers last week revealed he "used crushed berries from his breakfast" to make his own hair dye. Crushed berries from his breakfast? I always stop my kids buying that cereal with dried strawberry chunks because it's so expensive. To improve my living standards, I need to move the whole family to Guantanamo Bay prison. *-* Did you read about that German guy who went out for a few drinks and afterwards couldn't find his car? The Bavarian man, 31, went home in a taxi. The next day he went back and STILL couldn't find his car. Well, he finally found it recently - TWO YEARS after he had lost it. I know a guy who had a few beers in Frankfurt and lost his hotel. He eventually flew back to Asia and told his wife that he had no suitcase of dirty laundry because it had been stolen. Ancient legends talk of "the waters of Lethe", a potion that wipes out memories. I think it's Heineken or Carlsberg. *-* The phone rings. You work at the customer service department of Bouygues Telecom. The caller says that her phone bill is too high. You politely tell her that she has to pay it. She says a mistake has been made. You say the computer cannot be wrong. She says the bill is for 11,000 trillion euros. You tell her it can't be changed. She tells you that no one in the world can pay that much money. You tell her

she can pay in installments. A French news source named Sud Ouest reported that a woman, Solenne San Jose of Bordeaux, took more than 45 minutes to convince staff her bill was wrong, despite the sum being literally ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD. If I ever run a big corporation, these are the customer service officers I want manning the phones. Total impenetrability. *-* Zheng Zhenyong is truly dense. He has applied to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the owner of the world's thickest skull. "I train by headbutting concrete pillars," the man from Shenzhen, China, told Econews, a Chinese website. I would hate to live in an apartment block with this guy running around whacking the foundations with his head. *-* The latest news reports are saying former top cyclist Lance Armstrong ran "the biggest and most sophisticated doping program in sports history". I can almost hear the outraged reaction in Beijing. "Hey, what about us?" Armstong said he "didn't have the energy" to fight back. Hey, Lance, don't you usually have a little something in your pocket that solves your energy problems? *-* A seafood worker fell into a giant steamer and was cooked to death, police in California reported the other day. Poor guy. Mind you, had this happened to a food worker in Shanghai, where thousands of crabs are steamed alive every week, I would have no sympathy. *-* Did you read that the new president of France is trying to win the youth vote by promising to abolish homework? For the first time in history, a world leader and a kid at my children's school are running on the same platform.

Photo of the week

Mike Weigart, 30, brought his surfboard to the ballot box at the polling place at the Venice Beach lifeguard headquarters in Los Angeles Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012. Weigart said "It's awesome the polling place is where I surf."

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ASTROLOGY

November 10-16, 2012

43

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma


Stars Foretell: October 6-12, 2012
Aries: You are likely to become highly ambitious, determined and enthusiastic this week. Your high energy level would bring enormous gains and enhance your reputation. Financially you would become more comfortable and have plenty of time for recreational and other activities. Members of the opposite sex would be source of inspiration and will help you in need of the hour. Some tension might arise with close friends or relatives. Taurus: For those of you who have not been going out lately, you will have plenty of opportunities to meet and build new alliances. Anxiety and indecisiveness that has plagued you in the past seems to end, as optimism and confidence seems to take control. Financial gains likely but you need to be extra careful before entering into any new partnerships. House ladies are likely to be more involved into embroidery, cooking or other creative activities. Children and youngsters will look up to you for inspiration. Gemini: Though progress has been slow and not rewarding on financial front, some news will bring happiness and boost your morale. Business decisions and investments need to be made very carefully, as speculation will only bring major losses. Close relative might make an unexpected visit bringing gifts and presents. These pleasant and memorable moments bring happiness and harmony at home. Your interest in religious and spiritual activities would make you seek divine knowledge. Cancer: Finish your pending jobs that have been hovering over your head before you pick up any new assignment. Work pressure might leave you irritated and exhausted, but you should remember that harsh words and erratic behaviour would only bring disregard and criticism. Financial gains seem likely as you recover delayed and pending payments. Children would need careful handling and proper attention. Try to meditate to calm inner conflicts. Leo:Improvement in relationship with important and influential people would bring a change in your personality. Your confidence and determination would be upbeat and you are likely to win plenty of favours with your charms and pleasant personality. However deception from a close associate and losses due to hasty investment cannot be ruled out. Encourage children to spend their extra time with creative activities and sports. Spouse in a loving and caring mood banishes your troubles away. Virgo: You might be bestowed with rewards and recognition for your recent achievements. The appreciation you receive will have major contributions from your family members and friends. Religious feeling will arise, making some of you embark on a pilgrimage. Journeys and travelling that you undertake during this period would be highly rewarding and educating. Though gains of luxury items are foreseen, but few losses due to hasty speculation cannot be ruled out. Libra: This week you seem to possess the Midas touch. Gains from investment and speculation would be beyond expectations. New plans and offers would dominate the week. For those at service new job opportunities or some sort of monetary benefit cannot be ruled out. Domestic happiness and new romance will flourish. Despite such a prosperous time and financial gains, some tensions due to careless actions of your domestic servants, co-workers or working partners cannot be ruled out. Scorpio: A brilliant week for creative as well as literary activities. Your imaginative talent will prove to be highly lucrative. Financial gains are also expected from investments that you have made recently. New contacts and friendships will develop through social activities. Uncertainty regarding career opportunities of your children will seem to bother your mind, seek advice from an academic counsellor if necessary. Do not overspend on friends and spend more time with family members. Sagittarius: This week you should set your goals and make the best of your efforts to reap the rewards. Your confidence and ability to work on projects, which require high responsibility, would bring you benefits in the long run. This period is also good for building ties with influential people and important govt. officials. A short trip for pleasure later in week cannot be ruled out. Nuptial knots for some lovebirds. Capricorn: This week opportunities to travel should not be turned down. There would be improvement in your business as well as professional skills. Certain legal matters would need immediate attention, therefore seek an advice of a lawyer if necessary. Financial gains will accrue throughout the week, but you need to control your tendency to be extravagant, in order to save. Friends and relations will be helpful to complete pending jobs. Aquarius: Despite some tensions and botheration that you might have experienced last week, this period start on an optimistic note. Excitement and gaiety marks this week with plenty of gains in whatever you do. New ventures and assignments would improve your financial conditions. Your interest in outdoor activities will see you go out on short trips, outings and other entertainment activities. Children are likely to win laurels in extra curricular activities. Pisces: This week you will benefit provided you are willing to take bold decisions at workplace. Your determination and confidence will yield favourable results with each passing day. Money position improves as pending payments get cleared. Your life partner will bring you immense pleasure, but would behave highly possessive. During this period you should go out and build new relationship and contacts, but avoid strangers and people that you have ignored in the past.

Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874 Delhi, India: +91-11- 2644 9898, 2648 9899 psharma@premastrologer.com; www.premastrologer.com

Annual Predictions: For those born in this week


November 10 Governed by number 1 and the Sun. You are active, dynamic, authoritative, brilliant and a talented person. You always welcome new ideas and thoughts, but you need to check your tendency to behave extravagant and stubborn at times. The coming year brings you many opportunities to fulfill your dreams. A pleasure trip to an exotic destination would be high on your agenda. Also during this period you will establish new contacts and fruitful partnerships. Long expected monetary benefits will accrue. Speculation and unexpected gains will make your financial position much better than expected. But despite all goodies, minor tensions and stress will always bother you especially concerning health of your parents and increase in household expenditure. Your spouse would be supportive to your concerns and provide you with love and affection, but children might take advantage of your generous behaviour and cause some disappointment. January, March, October and November 2013 seem to be significant. November 11 Ruled by number 2 and the Moon. You are simple, honest, cooperative, love peace and harmony. You are full of new and innovative ideas and simply a perfectionist in whatever work you decide to do, but you need to control your tendency to be whimsical and jealous at times. Your coming year promises many new surprises and rewards for you. Your long desires are likely to be fulfilled this year. New sources of income will improve your financial position and boost your confidence. Journeys undertaken for work purpose would be beneficial and highly rewarding. Investment in a house and selected stocks recommended. Later in the year a distant trip maybe overseas bring new opportunities for growth and a chance to meet old associates. Legal matters are likely to be extended for much longer than expected and also prove highly expensive. Children will win laurels in their respective fields and will be supportive and understanding towards you. March, June, July and September 2013 will bring prosperity. November 12 Ruled by number 3 and the planet Jupiter. You are ambitious, dignified, independent and kind hearted. You enjoy a good position and respect at your work place, but you need to check your tendency to behave extravagant and dominating at times. Dont be hesitant in executing your new plans in the coming year. Fame and fortune will be at your doorsteps provided you are able to grab the right opportunities. New relationships and attachments will develop bringing you good opportunities through out the year. Gains from speculation is also quite likely. People looking for matrimonial alliances will find a suitable life partner. Health will show improvement despite the hectic hours that you might put in office. Foreign transactions or foreign trips for some. June, August and November 2013 will be eventful. November 13 Influenced by number 4 and the planet Uranus. You are active, practical, enthusiastic, authoritative and energetic. You are intelligent and can do wonders in your profession with your ability and proficiency, but you need to control your tendencies to behave impatient, whimsical and stubborn at times. New proposals and assignments for you this year. Business will flourish and financial gains will lift your confidence. Legal matters that have been haunting your mind will settle to your satisfaction. Promotions and increments are likely for some. Relationship with somebody close might get strained over trivial issues. Romance and new alliances look likely for those unattached. Elders and children in the family will demand a lot of your attention. Health of your spouse may cause concern and anxiety. Sportsmen and artists can look forward to some fame towards the end of the year. May, June, August and October 2013 will be significant. November 14 Governed by number 5 and the planet Mercury. You are practical, sharp, dignified, sensitive, original and dashing. You are friendly and very helpful, but you need to control your tendency to behave impatient and short-tempered at times. A very promising and favourable period starts this year. Investors who speculate in the stock market will benefit financially. Those involved in art and other creative profession should expect recognition and monetary gains. Sudden help from some near one or a friend will bring a major boost to your professional career. This is also a good time to invest in property. Children will be supportive and bring in some happy news later in the year. Pilgrimage or a long journey would be high on your cards. March, June, September and November 2013 will prove to be significant. November 15 Ruled by number 6 and the planet Venus. You have a pleasant personality, sharp memory and you are fond of worldly pleasures. You stay ahead of others because of your interest in new things and new technology, but you need to control your tendencies towards moodiness, timidity and interference in the affairs of others. This period is good for you to take important decision. You shall gather knowledge, information and make new and long lasting contacts. You shall leave no stone unturned to achieve your desired goals. Businessmen will expand their ventures into new and more profitable avenues. Investment in stocks would bring spectacular results. Health would definitely need more attention. Meditation and Yoga should be practiced for spiritual as well as physical gains. Some exhilarating news from your children would boost up your spirits later in the year. February, August, October and November 2013 will be eventful. November 16 Influenced by number 7 and the planet Neptune, you are energetic, ambitious, independent, honest and possess a sharp memory. You are highly innovative and have an in built talent to impress others, but at times you need to control your tendency to behave impatient and erratic at times. This year you will see an improvement in your financial position, but there will be an increase in your expenses as well. Put your efforts on projects that promise long term gains without wasting much time on small problems. Only selective investment will be rewarding and you should avoid speculation on all fronts. Arrival of guests and relatives during this period will be plenty, who will bring you gifts in cash and kind. Employment opportunities for some of you. Romance will be pleasant and will add a spice to your life. The months of January, August and November 2013 will be highly significant.

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November 10-16, 2012

SPIRITUAL AWARENESS

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Concluding part of the discourse Yodeling for God

Masters radiate the power of God


By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
ant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj has beautifully related an account from history of a musician who illustrates the condition of such a disciple. There is a true account of Tansen, one of Indias greatest classical musicians. Tansen was a musician in the court of King Akbar. Tansen is known as the greatest musician of North India. He was one of the nine jewels or the Navaratnas at the court of Akbar, the third Moghal emperor in the history of India. Tansen was born into a Hindu family in Gwalior. When he was young, his parents brought him for musical training to a renowned music teacher, Swami Haridas. The lad became noticed when he played for King Ramachandra. Tansen studied under the great Sufi saint, Sheikh Mohammed Ghaus. He added the element of mysticism to Tansens life, teaching him about Sufism and spirituality. Tansen studied under Sheikh Mohammed Ghaus for three years, while also developing his musical talent. During that time Sheikh Mohammed Ghaus introduced Tansen to the ruler of Gwalior. Tansen and Gwalior s ruler became good friends. Tansen would frequently visit the rulers palace, where he would listen to other musicians. During his visits to the palace, Tansen met Hussaini. Like her name "the beautiful one," Hussaini was truly beautiful. Tansen fell in love with her and married her. Tansen later caught the attention of the Moghal emperor Akbar, who made him one of the nine jewels of his court. Emperor Akbar called him Mian Tansen and since then he has been known by this name. Legend has it that the emperor requested Tansens beloved to leave him so that Tansens heart would break and his music would be raised to sublime heights. It is hard to refuse an emperor, and so she had to leave Tansen. It is said that he loved her so much that his heart shattered into pieces. Unable to see her again, his music became so heart-felt and poignant that all the listeners were equally moved upon hearing him play. This music not only achieved acclaim in his own times, but has been enjoyed and praised for centuries. Legend also has it that his music was so powerful that it could bring about miracles. When he sang it was like he was performing yogic siddhis and riddhis. It is said that one of his ragas was so powerful and generated so much heat that it heated up the room so much so that the Emperors flowers wilted, people were panting for coolness, and the candles on the wall lit up with the hearts of their listeners with even a few words. Anyone who reads the poetry of Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj will find it full of pain. A large part of mystic poetry has been written in a state in which the poet has been broken-hearted. Mystic poetry of saints and Masters is filled with references to pangs of separation, yearning, the heart undergoing torture from separation, and the trials and tribulations through which the lover passes. The poetry of the saints is drenched with cries of anguish suffered when away from ones Beloved, from the Master, or from God. ples experiencing such pain. They cannot help themselves. It is not their fault. Their condition is expressed beautifully in another verse by Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj: Why blame the tipplers for their yearning eyes, When the wine itself dances so ravishingly in the cup? A drunkard may go to a therapeutic program to get over his addiction. He may take a vow never to drink again. Yet if you put a beautiful goblet with rich wine dancing in the cup in front seeing the world and starts seeing God, Gods expressions in the form of the Light and Sound in meditation, and the charged radiation flowing through the Master. It can make all sorts of vows and promises to resist the wine, but when the wine of God is dancing in the form of the Master, all tipplers are helplessly drawn to drink. Their vows and promises are thrown to the wind, and they come running. We may think that we are normal and they are abnormal. We may think we are sane and logical and they are crazy and mad in love. But the truth is, as Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj pointed out, that to reunite the soul with God we all have to reach that stage. Some have reached it sooner than others. We may look down upon them today, but one day, sooner or later, we too will be in that state. There is no getting around it. It is a gateway that each of us must pass to merge back into God. Since we will all reach that stage sooner or later, we need to be sympathetic to the plight of such disciples who are dancing to the music of their heart. They cannot help it. They want to act like everyone else. They want to behave according to the dictates of their society and culture. They are doing all they can to maintain the decorum expected of them. They want to look like a harmonium sitting on a table. But just touch them, stroke them, play them, and they start to sing in agony and ecstasy with the music of their heart. This journey back to God starts with crying out to God. Then, we must listen to the response coming from God. We will then be put in touch with the divine Light and Sound of God. This internal Music will carry us from this physical world into the Beyond. There we will experience the divine bliss of Gods love and the pain of separation when away from God. This dance of bliss and separation leads the soul higher and higher so we can go from being lost in this physical world to reach the spiritual mountaintop to merge back in God. 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. www.sos.org.

The power of God is a magnet for all the souls. All souls are made of the same essence. When the soul comes in contact with God, it is helplessly drawn to God. Thus, when we stop identifying with the body and start identifying with the soul, the souls vision changes from the world to God.
flames. In fact, there was such fear that Tansens music was so hot that the musician himself would burn up and die, that his daughter, out of concern, began singing another type of raga that would produce rain to cool down the atmosphere. As he sang his song of fire, she played her raga of rain, and suddenly rain came down and cooled down the premises. It brought coolness to Tansen so he did not burn up completely. It is said that the effect of playing that raga was so great that he was ill for two months. Such is the power that the music of a heart shattered with agony and pain has that it can be felt by all those around him or her. They can try to hide what is contained within them but the fire of their pain is so great that anyone who comes near will feel its heat. Tansens music was so moving that it brought its listeners to states of ecstasy and agony. It is like great poets who can touch We can see what depths of agony Tansen went through without his Beloved and the effect such works had on its listeners. We experienced the moving verses written by Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj who went through the fires of agony in separation from two great Masters, Hazur Baba Sawan Singh Ji Maharaj and Param Sant Kirpal Singh Ji Maharaj. This is the fire which disciples pass through when they get in touch with their true nature as soul. This fire permeates the heart of those disciples whom we describe as being mad in love, or who have lost all senses. They cannot help themselves just as Tansen had no control over the pain of love he experienced or just as Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj and all great mystic saints and Masters could not stop the fire of love burning within their own souls. It is a stage on the path and we need to be compassionate and understanding when we come across such disciof him, what is the drunkard to do? It is all that he can do to say no, but his hand will immediately move towards the cup. He can try as hard as he likes, but the cup will soon be pressed against his lips and the warm liquid will be flowing into him. He cannot help himself. He is a drunkard. That is what drunkards do. Similarly, those drunk with the love of the Master and God are as helpless as that drunkard who thirsts for wine when they come into the presence of the Master. They are helpless. Why? The reason is that it is not they who are causing this attraction. The Master is radiating the power of God. The power of God is a magnet for all the souls. All souls are made of the same essence. When the soul comes in contact with God, it is helplessly drawn to God. Thus, when we stop identifying with the body and start identifying with the soul, the souls vision changes from the world to God. It stops

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

November 10-16, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

November 10-16, 2012