You are on page 1of 32

The South Asian Times

e x c e l l e n c e i n j o u r n a l i s m
Follow us on Vol.6 No. 49 April 5-11, 2014 60 Cents New York Edition TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Congress-led UPA faces rout in battleground states

New Delhi: The Congress and UPA are facing decimation in a wide swath of states from Delhi and Rajasthan in the north to Bihar and Jharkhand in the east, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh in the centre, Maharashtra in the west and Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu

and Karnataka in the south. In sharp contrast, the BJP and its allies are riding high in almost all these states, with Tamil Nadu being an exceptional case of neither major alliance doing well, according to an opinion poll conducted for a TV channel. The poll conducted by

Hansa Research for NDTV and released on Thursday estimated that the BJP would win 21 of 25 seats in Rajasthan, 25 of 29 seats in MP, eight of 11 seats in Chhattisgarh, 10 of 14 seats in Jharkhand, 16 of 28 seats in Karnataka and four of Continued on page 4

US readies welcome mat, visa for India's new leader
US officials deny that the sudden resignation of US envoy to India Nancy Powell was related to recent tensions between the two countries, but few were buying it.

Fort Hood shooter had psychiatric issues but showed no ‘sign of likely violence’
Washington: The soldier who went on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas , had a history of mental illness and had been taking medication for anxiety and depression, but Army leaders said Thursday that they had not considered him a potential threat. Investigators said they were still trying to clarify a motive for the attack but were focusing on the fragile state of mind of Spec. Ivan Antonio Lopez, a 34-year-old military truck driver and Iraq veteran. Officials said he killed three fellow soldiers and took his own life Wednesday in an outburst of gunfire at one of the country’s largest military installations. Lopez, a married father of four, was given a full psychiatric evaluation last month and had been prescribed “a number of drugs,” including the sleep aid Ambien, according to Army Secretary John McHugh. But the Army psychiatrist who last saw Lopez found no “sign of likely Continued on page 4

Narendra Modi will be entitled to a US diplomatic visa with full immunity if he becomes India’s next PM
U.S. Ambassador to India Nancy J Powell had called on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in February. She quit her post on March 31.

By Arun Kumar Washington: The US is getting the welcome mat out for whoever may be India's new prime minister, including BJP’s Narendra Modi, as the law automatically entitles a head of government to a US visa. "We will work with whoever the people of India decide should lead their country," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters Monday as a Congressional Research Service memo advised law makers

Iraq veteran Ivan Lopez is identified as the shooter

regarding visa policy for Modi. The memo covering queries from lawmakers suggests that Modi, who was denied a US visa in 2005 over his alleged complicity in the 2002 Gujarat riots, will be entitled to a US diplomatic visa with full immunity if he becomes prime minister. "We believe it's a critical partnership, and we're moving forward with it," Harf said when asked about the recent memo from the bipartisan CRS, which analyzes issues of the day for the Continued on page 4

India Elections 10

NRI Awards 15

Personal Finance 25

Spiritual Awareness 30

excellence in journalism

2

April 5-11, 2014

FESTIVAL

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

urati's sixth Holi event was a resounding success again with over 2,000 people enjoying it. Based in Jersey City and India, Surati for Performing Arts’s annual Holi Hai festival event on March 22 was held at Exchange Place, Jersey City. It has come to be known as the biggest Holi celebration of its kind in the Tri-State area, brought to the community by Surati founder and artistic director Rimli Roy. The attendees had a rocking time throwing colors on each other, savoring the delectable food, dancing alongside live performers. Surati company dancers and musicians, including local artists, performed for an audience that included the Indian Consul General in New York, Dnyaneshwar Mulay, NJ Assemblyman Raj Mukherji, Assemblyman Carmelo Garcia and many other community and

S

business leaders. City Council President Rolando Lavarro presented a Proclamation to Rimli Roy and Surati for their contribution to the cultural diaspora of the community, on behalf of Mayor Steven Fulop and the City Council. This year Surati presented two guest artistes from India - Sumit Roy (better known as India's Calypso King and the "Nat King Cole of Kolkata") who also happens to be Rimli's father, and Rachit Tiwari (Kathak / contemporary dancer, choreographer). Ambassador Mulay, Assemblyman Mukherji congratulated Surati for bringing Indian culture to an international platform, celebrating the festival with the diverse population in Jersey City. Sponsors included the Hudson County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs and The South Asian Times.
Crowd shot of Surati’s Holi Hai event in Jersey City against the backdrop of Manhattan skyline. (Photo: Amartya Roy Chowdhury)

Surati Founder and Artistic Director Rimli Roy, holding a proclamation from the Jersey City Mayor and City Council, on the stage with dignitaries including Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay (second from left). (Photo: Nan Melville)

Entertainment segment included Bollywood style and classical dance performances.(Photos: BhushanAhire)

Mormons throng the biggest Holi event in America

N

early 50,000 people celebrated Holi festival last weekend at the grounds of Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, Utah, said to be the biggest in this part of the world. Revelers danced to music, practiced yoga and threw colored corn starch in the air once every hour during the Festival of Colors. The large majority of participants are not Hindus, but Mormons, The Salt Lake Tribune reported. Thousands of students from nearby Brigham Young University take part in the festival. “It’s an opportunity for young Latter Day Saints (Mormon) kids to come and celebrate their spirituality without alcohol or drugs,” said Caru Das, the temple’s

priest. He added the event feels more like a rock concert than a religious ceremony. He termed the festival a spiritual and financial success. Funds raised sustain

his religious community and help the members take Holi to other cities. The next Festival of Colors is in Salt Lake City on May 3.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

TRISTATE COMMUNITY

April 5-11, 2014

3

No buyers for Nancy Powell's 'retirement' story
Media in India is speculating that USAID administrator Rajiv Shah may be sent as US ambassador to New Delhi.
By Arun Kumar Washington: No one is buying the American story that the resignation of US ambassador in India, Nancy Powell, was unrelated to recent tensions between the two countries, but as yet there is no definitive word about her likely successor. A section of the Indian media has speculated that Powell may be replaced by USAID administrator Rajiv Shah, the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama administration, as the US tries to clean the slate with India. But analysts said President Barack Obama is unlikely to win Senate approval of a political appointee in a hurry in a deeply divided Washington even as there is bipartisan support for strong India-US relations. Time magazine linked the Powell resignation to the recent diplomatic and India might soon be settled". The Washington Post also noted that Powell had resigned "after only two years on the job, sparking some speculation overseas that the administration may have been looking to replace her". Noting that "Powell only arrived in India in April 2012, and these diplomatic posts typically last three years", the Post said: "The buzz in New Delhi is that Powell's departure may be related to ongoing tensions over the uproar in India after the arrest of Devyani Khobragade." However, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf Monday denied that Powell's sudden resignation was in any way "related to any tension, any recent situations" between India and the US. "There's no big behind-thescenes story here," Harf told reporters suggesting "this is the end of a distinguished 37-year career". "I think after 37 years, she deserves to retire." "But I want to dispel any rumors out there that this is related in any, to anything besides her longplanned retirement," she said. "It's not at all related to anything happening in the relationship, it doesn't indicate any realignment of the relationship." Meanwhile, the US India Political Action Committee (USINPAC), which describes itself as the political voice of the Indian American community, has urged President Obama to appoint a new ambassador to India. "Having a senior leader in New Delhi is vital to ironing out differences on some of the issues that have crept up between the two countries so that a purposeful new beginning is made to turbo-charge the relationship," it said.

Nancy Powell has resigned as US Ambassador to India. (right) Rajiv Shah.

row over the Khobragade affair, noting that it came weeks after "US-Indian relations floundered in December after police in New York City detained and allegedly stripsearched" Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade.

The New York Times said in a story from the Indian capital that Powell's resignation "was greeted by many in New Delhi's diplomatic community Tuesday with a sense of hope that some of the grinding disputes between the United States

US jury indicts Indian MP in Property tax rebate, expanded bribery conspiracy pre-K in New York state budget
Washington: In an unprece(FCPA), among other offenses. dented case, a Chicago jury has According to the indictment beindicted a Congress party Rajya ginning in 2006, the defendants alSabha MP in an alleged internalegedly conspired to pay at least tional conspiracy to bribe state $18.5 million in bribes to secure liand central government officials censes to mine minerals in Andhra in India to allow mining of titaPradesh. The mining project was nium minerals. expected to generate more than K.V.P. Ramachandra Rao, aka $500 million annually from the KVP and Dr. KVP, 65, a Rajya sale of titanium products, includSabha member from Andhra K.V.P. Ramachandra ing sales to unnamed "Company Pradesh, was indicted by a fed- Rao is sitting Rajya A" headquartered in Chicago. Sabha MP from eral grand jury in June 2013 All six defendants were charged Andhra Pradesh along with an Indian-American with one count each of racketeerbusinessman and four other foreign nationals, ing conspiracy and money laundering conspirthe Justice Department announced Wednesday. acy, and two counts of interstate travel in aid of Rao is described as a Member of Parliament racketeering. Only one defendant, Dmitry Firin India who was an official of the state gov- tash, aka "Dmytro Firtash" and "DF," 48, a ernment of Andhra Pradesh and a close advisor Ukrainian national, was arrested March 12 in to the now-deceased chief minister of Andhra Vienna, Austria. He was released after posting Pradesh, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Also charged 125 million euros bail and has pledged to rewas Gajendra Lal, 50, an Indian national and main in Austria until the end of extradition propermanent resident of the US, who formerly ceedings. The indictment alleges the defenresided in Winston-Salem, North Carolina dants used US financial institutions to engage Under the federal indictment unsealed in the international transmission of millions of Wednesday excluding Rao, five of the six de- dollars for the purpose of bribing Indian public fendants are also charged with conspiracy to vi- officials to obtain approval of the necessary liolate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act censes for the project. Albany: The New York Legislatechnology bond act to go beture on Monday passed a $140 fore voters in November. billion election-year budget that Although a measure prowill expand pre-kindergarten posed by New York City statewide and provide tax relief to Mayor Bill de Blasio for a tax homeowners and corporations. hike on the city's wealthiest The Democratic Governor Anindividuals to fund full-day drew Cuomo said the budget pre-K was rejected by lawbuilds "on the state's progress makers, the budget deal adds over the past three years in order $340 million for pre-kinderto grow the economy and create garten, mainly for New York new opportunities for New YorkCity. ers and their families." "What I said was we needSenate Republican Leader Dean ed reliable funding for five The budget provides Skelos said Republicans and Deyears at the dollar figure we $340 million for premocrats "put party labels aside" set," de Blasio said at a news and worked together to "deliver kindergarten, mainly for conference Monday. "What New York City, a pet real results that will truly make a did we get? Reliable funding project of Mayor positive difference in the lives of for five years at the dollar Bill de Blasio. the people we represent." figure we set." The LegislaAgreement on the spending plan was reached ture also approved an estimated $1.5 billion in by Cuomo and legislative leaders last weekend. homeowner tax relief tied to local governments Education was a sticking point for the Legis- staying within a 2 percent tax cap the first year lature, which spent hours debating funding for and enacting cost-saving plans the second year, statewide full-day pre-kindergarten, charter benchmarks for Cuomo, who called his properschools and the flawed rollout of the Common ty tax relief "the single most transformative Core, a new testing standard. part" of the budget. The plan would also cut The deal also includes a $2 billion school manufacturers' tax rate to zero.

4

April 5-11, 2014

TURN PAGE
US readies welcome mat, visa... Continued from page 1 lawmakers. Asked if that included Modi, the spokesperson said: "Well, I think it remains to be seen what the outcome of the election will be, so let's not try and do too much predicting in here." "Secondly, we have a very close relationship with India on a whole host of issues, whether it's energy, the economy, environmental issues, security issues." "That has not changed. We look forward to growing that even stronger," Harf said. "The people of India get to decide who leads their country. We'll work with whoever they decide." The March 18 memo from Ruth Ellen Wasem, specialist in immigration policy at CRS said if Modi "were to become Prime Minister of India, he would automatically be eligible for an A-1 (diplomatic) visa as head of state, regardless of the purpose of his visit". The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) "further provides that the grounds for inadmissibility" excepting specified terrorist grounds and documentary requirements establishing identity "do not apply to those on A-1 visas", the memo noted. Meanwhile, Harf also denied that the sudden resignation of US Ambassador to India Nancy Powell Monday was in any way "related to any tension, any recent situations" between India and the US.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info
Congress-led UPA faces rout in... Continued from page 1 seven in Delhi. Thus, in these six states combined, the party would bag 84 out of 114 seats on its own. The BJP with its allies would win 21 of Bihar's 40 seats, 36 of Maharashtra's 48, 16 of AP's 42 and three of Tamil Nadu's 39, leading to a total of 76 out of 169 seats in these four states. As against this, the poll predicts that the Congress will win just 29 seats in AP, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Delhi put together, while the party and its allies will win 25 seats in Bihar, Jharkhand and Maharashtra. In short, the overall tally in all of these states put together would be 160 for the NDA and a mere 54 for the UPA. In Tamil Nadu, the poll predicts that the AIADMK will win 25 seats, the DMK alliance 11 seats and the BJP alliance three seats, leaving the Congress facing a blank slate. In Andhra Pradesh, there would be two distinctly different battles mainly between the TDP-BJP and the YSR Congress in Seemandhra and between the Congress and TRS in Telengana. Put together, the TDP alliance is estimated to win 16 seats, the YSR Congress 10, the Congress eight and TRS seven. In Maharashtra, the NDA will win 36 seats and the UPA just 10, the poll predicted. In Bihar, the NDA gets 21, the UPA 11 and the ruling JD(U) a mere six. In Delhi, AAP will win two seats and Congress one, the remaining four going to BJP, the poll predicted. Fort Hood shooter had ... Continued from page 1 violence, either to himself or to others,” McHugh told a Senate panel. Another Army leader described Lopez’s health in more dire terms. “We have very strong evidence that he had a medical history that indicates unstable psychiatric or psychological conditions,” Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the commanding general of Fort Hood, said at a news conference. “We believe that is the fundamental, underlying causal factor.” Around the same time that Lopez visited the Army psychiatrist, he legally purchased the .45caliber semiautomatic pistol that he used in the shooting, Army officials said. The soldier bought the firearm on March 1 from Guns Galore, a store in nearby Killeen, Tex., officials said. The shop is the same one that sold a semiautomatic pistol to Maj. Nidal M. Hasan, the Army psychiatrist and al-Qaeda sympathizer who carried out a mass shooting at Fort Hood in 2009, killing 13 people.

Mangano honors Nassau’s Outstanding Women
n celebration of cated women who have Women’s History made outstanding personal Month, Nassau County contributions for the enrichment of the lives of Executive Ed Mangano others in their communiannounced this year’s outstanding women of ties. Among the honorees is achievement, who were Indian American Kalpana honored at a ceremony on Patel of Plainview who was raised in India with March 31. The ceremony strong beliefs in giving at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration Barn Kalpana Patel back to the community, was a fundraiser to benefit which she has done and was one of the Nassau Hurricane still continues to do. Patel honorees Recovery Fund (NHRF). is President and CEO of The ceremony honored 13 dedi- Unique Computer Inc.

I

India now only country with legislated CSR
New Delhi: With the implementation of the new company law from April 1, India has become the only country in the world with legislated corporate social responsibility (CSR) and a spending threshold of up to $2.5 billion (Rs.15,000 crore). The new law mandates that all companies, including foreign firms, with a minimum net worth of Rs.500 crore, turnover of Rs.1,000 crore and net profit of at least Rs.5 crore, spend at least 2 percent of their profit on CSR. According to industry estimates, around 8,000 companies will fall into the ambit of the CSR provisions and this would translate into an estimated CSR spend of $1.95 billion to $2.44 billion. With higher economic growth and increase in companies’ profits, this mandatory spending will go up. "India is the only country that has made legislation for CSR spending," Sai Venkateshwaran, partner and head of accounting advisory services at KPMG India. "Many big companies have been actively engaged in the CSR activities, but the number is low. The new law will lead to a significant increase in the numbers," said Venkateshwaran, adding the mandated spending would be in the range of Rs.10,000 crore to Rs.15,000 crore annually.

Printed Every Saturday by Forsythe Media Group, LLC ISSN 1941-9333 76 N Broadway, Suite 2004, Hicksville, NY 11801 P: 516.390.7847 Website: TheSouthAsianTimes.info Updated Daily Chairman and Co-Founder Kamlesh C. Mehta Co-Founder: Saroosh Gull (Editor@DesiClub.com) President: Arjit Mehta Board Advisors (Honorary) Ajay Lodha, MD, Lakhpat B. Mehta, Esq. Rajasthan High Court & Supreme Court

Managing Editor: Parveen Chopra C : 516.710.0508 Editor@TheSouthAsianTimes.info Associate Editors Jinal Shah, Hiral Dholakia-Dave, Meenakshi Iyer Contributing Editors: Melvin Durai, Dr Prem Kumar Sharma, Harry Aurora, Ashok Vyas, Dr Akshat Jain, Nupur Joshi West Coast Correspondent Pooja Jain, Pooja@TheSouthAsianTimes.info New Delhi Bureau Meenakshi Iyer Delhi@TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Strategy and Marketing Jinal Shah P: 315-436-1142 jinal.shah85@gmail.com Marketing & PR (Washington DC) Chander Gambhir, P: 703.717.1667 Jaipur (India) Bureau Prakash Bhandari Prakash@TheSouthAsianTimes.info Photographs: Gunjesh Desai/ masalajunction.com. Xitij Joshi/xitijphoto.com Photo Journalist: Sandeep Ganatra Cartoonist: Mahendra Shah Art and Design: Vladimir Tomovski Bhagwati Creations, Rahul Sahota, Dhiraj Kumar

Web Editor: B.B.Chopra News Service: HT Media Ltd. IANS Newswire Services IANS Washington Bureau Arun Kumar arun.kumar@ians,in Printing: Five Star Printing, NY Contacts Editor@TheSouthAsianTimes.info Subscribe@TheSouthAsianTimes.info Advertisements Advertise@TheSouthAsianTimes.info P : 516.390.7847 F : 516.465.1343 Website: www.TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Notice: The South Asian Times is published weekly by The Forsythe Media Group, LLC. POSTMASTER: Send all address notices, subscription orders/payments and other inquiries to The South Asian Times, 76 N Broadway, Suite 2004, Hicksville, NY 11801, USA. Copyright and all other rights reserved. No material herein or portions thereof may be reprinted without the consent of the publisher. The views expressed on the opinion pages and in the letters to the editor pages are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of The South Asian Times. The editor/publisher does not warrant accuracy and cannot be held responsible for the content of the advertisements placed in the publication and/or inaccurate claims, if any, made by the advertisers. Advertisements of business or facilities included in this publication do not imply connection or endorsement of these businesses. All rights reserved.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

TRISTATE COMMUNITY

April 5-11, 2014

5

Preet Bharara: It's been an eventful year
said while addressing a compliance and legal society annual seminar in Florida. "Without a doubt, it has been an eventful year. Out of my office alone, we have seen...more insider trading convictions at trial, including that of Mathew Martoma; a jury verdict against Bank of America for reckless mortgage lending practices...the indictment and subsequent guilty plea of SAC Capital for engaging in insider trading on a scale without any known precedent. "In just the last 12 days alone, we ... saw the affirmance of Rajat Gupta's insider trading conviction. We also, by the way, convicted Osama bin Laden's son-in-law of terrorism charges but that is perhaps a topic for a different conference," Bharara said at the seminar organized by the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA). Gupta, who had served as the head of consultancy giant McKinsey, lost his bid to throw out his conviction after an appeals court last week upheld the trial court's order that he should be imprisoned for two years for insider trading. "No one should receive a get-out-of-jailfree card based on size ... there should never be a presumption of immunity based on size. That is a dangerous thing," he added. Bharara's office also filed a re-indictment in March against Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade on visa fraud charges.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano (fourth from left) and First Lady of Nassau County Linda Mangano (fourth from right), an honoree herself, with rest of the honorees and IAF members.

IAF honors outstanding women
New York: Indian American Forum presented the Third Annual Outstanding Women’s Achievements gala, part of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day Celebrations. On Thursday March 27, who‘s who from the Indian American community was present at Stuart Thomas Manor. First Lady of Nassau County Linda Mangano was the Chief Guest and an honoree too. Master of Ceremonies Renee Mehrra, well known journalist and TV anchorwoman on ITV, made the evening very enjoyable. Five women who excelled in their professions and community services received the Outstanding Women’s Achievements Awards. Dr Chhaya Patel: Founding member of ARCH Foundation, Action Research in Community Health Development, for her contributions in field of Medicine and community services. Swati Vaishnav: Founder of Nartan Rang Dance Academy and member of Board of Directors of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, for her contributions and promotion Indian culture, dances and community services. Sunila Tejpaul: Founder of Forest Hills Montessori School and member of Board of Child Center of New York, for her
Event Promotion

From Rajat Gupta to Devyani Khobragade, US Attorney Preet Bharara is the man behind several high profile prosecutions

New York: America's India-born top prosecutor Preet Bharara has said it has been an "eventful" year for him so far, citing recent successful prosecutions including that of former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta and Osama bin Laden's sonin-law. Bharara said a prosecutor's "bread and butter" and "main mission" is to prosecute individuals who have committed crimes. No individual or institution should presume they have immunity from prosecution because of their influence or size, he

contributions for education, social and community services. Sunita Mukhi: Cultural Producer and interdisciplinary performance scholar in culture. Pandita Tripti Mukherjee: Illustrious Indian classical music vocalist from Pandit Jasraj Music Institute. Chief Guest Linda Mangano praised the efforts of Indian American Forum, Indian American community, congratulated all honorees and stressed the importance of role women play in this world. Nassau county Executive Edward P Mangano presented citations to all honorees and praised their efforts and congratulated them for all their achievements.

Indian Consulate announces Hindi Conference
be explained by India’s growing economy and Americans’ interest in Bollywood. But the demand for Hindi has also increased because of what Gabriela Ilieva, Clinical Associate Professor, department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies, calls the “heritage phenomenon”. “A lot of Indians who were born here or moved here when they were very small want to rediscover the language and hence the rise,” she said. And even as the demand is steadily rising, it is the supply of resources- especially the use of technology in promoting the language or literature that is posing a challenge. Ashok Ojha, president, Yuva Hindi Sansthan, said, “Introduction of online courses, development of new teaching resources and bringing in qualified teachers is much needed. The conference will bring together Indian American parents, language experts, school teachers, Hindi lovers, academicians and policy makers to build an environment for teaching Hindi to both heritage students and Americans.”

New Jersey Performing Arts Center to be transformed into a spiritual center on July 12, 2014
The International Guru Poornima will be celebrated in the divine presence of Brahmrishi Sri Guruvanand Ji Swami ‘Gurudev’. A disciple of Yogiraj Devraha baba, one of the most esteemed saints of recent times, Gurudev is a spiritual leader, philosopher, humanitarian and a renowned scholar of Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Buddhism. With over 40 years of sadhana, Gurudev has invoked all chakras of his Kundalini—a rare feat accomplished by a few—that unleashes immense spiritual energy. The celebration, organized by World Spiritual Awareness Forum, starts at 3 p.m. on July 12, 2014. Dinner (Prasad) will be served following the event. Both admission and dinner are complimentary. Registration is required to get complimentary admission pass. To register, please visit www.GuruPoornima2014.com. Or call 516-484-0018

Sugandh Rajaram, Chief Coordinator of the Conference,Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay, Ashok Ojha of Yuva Hindi Sansthan and Prof. Gabriela Nik. Ilieva of New York University

By Jinal Shah New York: The Indian Consulate, in association with Yuva Hindi Sansthan, New York University and Columbia announced a 3day international regional Hindi conference on the theme, "Hindi Language in the 21st Century Global World." The Conference, to be held on April 25, has two sub-themes: "Hindi as the Language of the Indian Diaspora" and "Hindi Education." “This conference is continuation of the efforts of Government of India which organized the World Hindi

Conference in New York in 2007. We want the dialogue to continue for assessing and promotion of India’s language and culture in this region of the world,” said Consul General Dnyaneshwar Mulay. Topics for the conference include - Hindi in mass media, Hindi as a heritage language, new initiatives for Hindi: realities and possibilities, debate over the need for Hindi secretariat in New York City, Hindi and technology. Almost 80 US universities and colleges including all Ivy Leagues offer courses in Hindi. That rise can

he NJPAC, a world-class cultural center, will be the venue for the First International Guru Poornima to be held on July 12, 2014. This event that is open to public is getting very enthusiastic response from all over the world. Over 500 spiritually-inclined attendees are expected from India and other countries. Guru Poornima, also known as Vyas Poornima, is a sacred day for Hindus. This is the day to express reverence towards your guru, mentor, deities and those who have made a difference in your life.

T

6

April 5-11, 2014

TRISTATE COMMUNITY

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performs at UN Peace Concert
United Nations: Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan says he is pleased to see that India now has a growing number of young musicians and artists who are extremely talented in playing classical instruments like the sarod, tabla and sitar. The maestro, accompanied by his sons Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan, performed here Mar. 24 at the “Music for Peace” concert, organized by the UN Academic Impact and the Indian mission to the UN, coinciding with Nowruz, the spring festival marking the Iranian New Year. Khan said he is “very happy” to see youngsters in India turning to music, adding that technology and social media has proved to be an advantage for them. “I am very happy that there are many musicians in India in Amaan and Ayaan’s generation, much more than what we had several years ago. We have very talented young sitar and table players, vocalists and dancers.

BAPS hosts 7th Annual Women’s Conference: Lead from Within
Edison: BAPS hosted a Women’s Conference themed “Lead from Within” at 10 centers across North America on March 22, 2014. Over 430 attendees’ women gathered at the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Flushing, NY to participate in this annual event, now observing its seventh year. The conference is inspired by Pramukh Swami Maharaj, the fifth spiritual successor of Bhagwan Swaminarayan, in an effort to highlight the empowering role of women in today’s society and also to ensure their spiritual growth as it will help them sail smoothly through life’s vagaries. Mrs. Tracey Edwards, Vice President of Verizon NY and Councilwoman of Town of Huntington, graced the event in Flushing, NY. She conveyed the message to “Lead from Within” through her personal outtakes and stories as a wife, a daughter and most importantly, a mother. The audience took inspiration from her accounts and realized how they faced similar challenges in their lives. They understood that the choices they made every day make them true leaders. In the opening dialogue, Ms. Reena Patel, Financial research, led an energetic and interactive exchange to identify who they consider to be leaders and why. The conference proceeded to discuss leadership essentials that would make a good leader. Aditi Bhagat, emphasized the need to understand one’s self, one’s belief system, one’s values, and one’s spirituality. Her talk focused on

Sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan with sons Amaan and Ayaan performing at the UN headquarters in New York on Monday.

All of them are at an advantageous situation because of the growth of technology and online platforms, which we did not have earlier,” Khan said. Highlighting the role of music in promoting peace, Khan said he is keen to see music being used as a means to spread peace and tranquility in the world. “We are very keen that through music, there should be peace all over. So many countries like Syria and Egypt today are facing war,” he said as he dedicated his concert to world peace and harmony. The concert at the

UN was attended by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Asoke Mukerji and other envoys and diplomats. Mukerji expressed gratitude to the maestro for his performance, which he said demonstrates the “innate humanity that binds us all together and that expresses itself through music.” Khan performed songs including “Ekla Chalo Re” and “Vaishnava Jana to” on the sarod. The trio received a standing ovation from the audience at the end of its nearly half-hour-long performance.

The meets highlighted empowering role of women in today's society

the need for a connection with one’s conscience as it plays an important role in day-to-day actions. In delivering the closing talk of the conference, Kavita Patel, third year Dental student at NYU, shared fundamental qualities exemplified by leaders she looks to emulate. She expressed her admiration for Mahatma Gandhi, his perseverance and the personal sacrifice he made in the cause for independence. She spoke of her ultimate role model, her guru Pramukh Swami Maharaj; conveying touching examples from his life exemplifying sacrifice humility, stillness and courage. Shushma Kotawala, diamond merchant, stated, as women we lead inmany ways in our life, we wear many hats and all of those hats are very important, today we learnt how to manage every role and every challenge we come across.

Did Devraha Baba live for 250 years?
‘Penguin Book of Indian Journeys’. Tully was told that one reason for Baba’s amazing longevity was that he was forever in Uddiyana Bandha (literally, ‘upward energy lock’, it moves the energy up from the earth, water and fire centers into the heart or air chakra). When Tully asked, “What does the Baba eat?” his interlocutor replied: “Air. He does not even eat fruit. You see, any great yogi can extend his tongue from inside until it touches the top of his head. That’s where the nectar is situated and one drop of nectar is all you need to live for a very long time.” So, a fairly scientific hypothesis of how Baba dramatically prolonged his lifespan is that he drew his required energy from cosmic sources, thus eliminating the toxic fallout (free radicals, etc) that occurs from eating food. Secondly, meditation and a hermit lifestyle lowered his metabolism, minimizing wear and tear in the body. Thirdly, yoga postures and mudras stimulated his endocrine system. From most accounts, we know that Devraha Baba was born in the Deoria district in Uttar Pradesh and was the eleventh in the lineage of Sri Ramanuja Acharya who founded Vaishnavism. Though an itinerant yogi, Devraha Baba was often stationed in Mathura on the banks of river Yamuna, where huge crowds would gather to have his darshan and blessings. We may never fathom the higher levels of spirituality he achieved, but we can salute what he contributed to the society. His very existence inspired people to believe in and take to the yogic path. All-loving and prescient, he guided people who sought him out on the right course to take in life. Apocryphal anecdotes have him warning famous personalities against impending danger. One life Yogiraj Devraha Baba transformed is that of Brahmrishi Shri Guruvanand Swami (called ‘Gurudev’ or ‘Guruji’ by his devotees), who in turn is changing the lives of millions in present times. Devraha Baba brought Guruji to his ashram to save his life from a terminal illness. He predicted that Guruji would achieve the pinnacle of spirituality and he will use that divine energy to serve humanity. Yogiraj’s predictions have come true. Guruji has invoked all Chakras of his Kundalini and with 42 years of rigorous Sadhana he has acquired all Siddhis. Brahmrishi Shri Guruvanand Swami is using the enormous divine energy that he has acquired to help those in distress and to uplift the lives of hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. He has traveled to over 170 countries to teach people the art of living a moral, spiritual life. Guruji has made it very easy for us to understand the true meaning of religion so we can overcome our Karmic debts while we fulfill our worldly duties. The World Spiritual Awareness Forum is delighted that Gurudev will grace the First International Guru Poornima to be held at New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark, NJ, on July 12, 2014. This event, that is open to public, is getting very enthusiastic response from all over the world. Over 500 spirituallyinclined attendees are expected from India and other countries. To learn more and register for this complimentary event, please call 516-484-0018 or visit www.GuruPoornima2014.com.

Devraha Baba

By Parveen Chopra n the pantheon of saints and yogis in modern India, one name stands out: Devraha Baba, who is believed to have lived up to the age of an amazing 250 years. Yes, there is proof that he was indeed over 250 when he gave up his body in 1990. But it is not important how long he lived, it is important what level of spirituality he achieved and what he contributed to the society. For somebody like me of the post-Independence generation, we grew up reading about the living legend named Devraha Baba. There used to be his black and white or sepia photographs -- matted locks and all - in newspapers and magazines, aloft a ‘machan’ (wooden platform), blessing people, from pauper to the prince, by putting his foot on their heads. Eminent people who sought him out regularly included Mrs Indira Gandhi and

I

Rajiv Gandhi, He also ‘touched’ the lives of visiting dignitaries from abroad. There are various claims of Baba’s longevity, starting from 150 years and above. The most credible account comes from none other than Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of Independent India. Dr Prasad wrote in his autobiography that he could personally establish that Devraha Baba was at least 150 years old. At the age of 73, more than fifty years ago, Dr Prasad wrote that his father had sat at the feet of the Baba as a child - that is, in the middle of the nineteenth century - and Devraha Baba was already elderly at that time. The appearance of Devraha Baba at the Kumbh Mela which takes place every 12 years was recorded 12 times. The last time he was at the Allahabad Kumbh Mela in 1989. Famous BBC correspondent Mark Tully has recorded his observations of the Baba from that Kumbh Mela, which formed a chapter in

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

NATIONAL COMMUNITY

April 5-11, 2014

7

Six Indian institutes to get aid from Gates Foundation
To work out solutions to poor sanitation levels in India
New Delhi: Six Indian institutions were on Saturday selected for financial aid from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to work out solutions to the poor sanitation levels in the country. The institutions were given two years to develop innovative, safe and affordable technologies to improve sanitation. Eram Scientific Solutions and Amrita School of Biotechnology from Kerala, Pradin Technologies from Bangalore, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in collaboration with Fresh Rooms Life Sciences, Institute of Chemical Technology from Mumbai and Birla Institute of Technology from Goa were selected for the grant during a fair "Reinvent the Toilet" in the national capital on approaches to improve sanitation. The 45 exhibits showcased at the fair aim to bring safe, affordable and sustainable sanitation to those who need it the most in India. The institutions will work on self-sustained, modular and electronic toilets with solar energy for the Indian weather, and concepts to target pathogens and odor-producing bacteria. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has done a research study on poor sanitation in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha. Brian Arbogast, director for water, sanitation and hygiene at the foundation, said: "By applying creative and new approaches to sanitation challenges, we can improve people's lives. And there is no doubt that these new partnerships with India will help us achieve this." "The foundation is working in collaboration with the department of biotechnology under the ministry of science and technology for better implementation of the projects in the country," Arbogast said.

Cricket finally arrives on US soil, India-heavy team is college champion
25 teams participate in 2014 against only six in 2009; telecast live on ESPN
Washington, DC: The University of South Florida (USF) cricket team, made up of all but one player from India, has won this year's American College Cricket (ACC) championship as the sub-continent's favorite game finally "arrived" in America. One sure sign that cricket has arrived in this land of baseball, basketball and football was the fact that the 2014 ACC National Championship was the first ever cricket game played on American soil to be telecast live on ESPN, according to USF News. The rising popularity of cricket on American campuses is also evident from the fact that 25 teams participated in the 2014 tournament, while there were only six teams in the first ACC tournament in 2009. Not surprisingly, the teams are dotted with players from the Indian subcontinent. The lone non-Indian player on the winning USF team is from Pakistan. Interestingly, half the team members are from Hyderabad. At the final, played at Fort Lauderdale in Florida in the T-20 format, USF defeated the Auburn University Cricket Club, which too had several Indian players, USF News said. Apart from picking up the Chanderpaul Trophy, USF also won several other honors: Sai Ramesh (from Chennai) was declared the Most Valuable Player (MVP) as well as the Best Player of the tournament; Karthik

University of South Florida team with Chanderpaul Trophy

BJP's supporters bet on 'chai pe charcha' in the US
Washington,DC: Drumming up support for Narendra Modi, the Overseas Friends of BJP (OFBJP) is organizing hundreds of "chai pe charcha" events in the US and calling up people in India to influence potential voters. OFBJP US president, Chandrakant Patel, who has been travelling across the US to mobilize non-resident Indians for the "Modi for PM" campaign, claimed that such high level of enthusiasm has never been seen among Indian-Americans in recent times. Ahead of the elections, Patel said OFBJP and several other like-minded organizations have come together to organize "chai pe charcha" at more than 100 places in the United States. These meetings are being held even in smaller cities that have only a few hundred Indian Americans. Some of the cities where such events are being held include Edison, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Parsippany, Mahwah in New Jersey, Washington DC metropolitan area, Tampa, Melbourne and Orlando in Florida, Houston and Dallas in Texas, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Los Angeles, Boston, New York and Memphis. In the past three months, more than 100 "chai pe charcha" programs have been already held. "We need a government that provides voting rights for NRIs, improves consular services, promotes better investment opportunities and provides a secure feeling that every NRI looks forward to. They feel this is possible only with a BJP government," Patel said. In addition to "chai pe charcha" meetings, OFBJP has created two separate team of volunteers, one for social media activity and the other to make phone calls to people in India. In coordination with the BJP headquarters in New Delhi and also state units, Patel said
OFBJP supporters at one such ‘chai pe charcha’ event

Achanta (from Hyderabad) was the MVP of the finals. USF has reached the finals thrice before and finally tasted success this year. "We were desperate to put up a show and win for the supporters who were cheering for us on TV, in the stadium and, most importantly, for USF," said team member Vishwaksena Reddy Vuppunutula, who is pursuing his Master's in engineering management. He admits that one reason he chose USF was "its strong cricket reputation." USF is one of the pioneering five colleges that launched the ACC in 2009. The others are Boston University, Montgomery College, Carnegie Mellon and University of Miami, according to ACC website.

every day OFBJP volunteers are making thousands of phone calls to potential voters requesting them to exercise their right to franchise in favor of BJP. "Our feedback is that these phone calls are having a tremendous impact on Indian voters," Patel said. Taking advantage of the presence of Indian Americans in the IT sector, Patel said OFBJP US is garnering a team for volunteers on the social media platform. "These are cyber warriors who counter the negative campaign that rival parties are making against BJP and Modi," he said, but refrained from giving the number of volunteers who have signed up for its campaigns. In addition, a small group of OFBJP volunteers and local community leaders are spending money from their own pockets to travel to India to campaign in person for the Lok Sabha polls. Patel is traveling to his home state of Chhattisgarh. It is estimated that several hundred Modi supporters are traveling to India this time. OFBJP-USA also has launched a fund-raising campaign, the money from which, Patel said, would be used to give advertisements in local print as well electronic media.

Corporate Office: 385 Seneca Avenue, Ridgewood NY 11385 The South Asian Times 718.821.3182, www.AtlanticDialysis.Com
e x c e l l e n c e i n j o u r n a l i s m

8

April 5-11, 2014

NATIONAL COMMUNITY

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Judge disqualifies Vinesh Singh Rathore from Congressional race
Washington, DC: A California judge has disqualified an Indian-American Republican candidate from a Congressional race to challenge Democratic Congressman Mike Honda but cleared another IndianAmerican of any wrong doing. The Sacramento county Superior Court judge found irregularities in Republican Vinesh Singh Rathore's nominating petition, but did not find that any responsibility lay with Democratic challenger Ro Khanna, as a lawsuit had claimed, according to San Jose Mercury News. Ro Khanna, a former Obama administration official who served as the deputy assistant secretary in the commerce department, has mounted a campaign to unseat seven-term incumbent Honda to represent the 17th Congressional district -- the first majority Asian-American district in the heart of Silicon Valley. "There was never evidence to support the ridiculous claim and it was dismissed by the judge who examined it," Khanna campaign manager Leah Cowan was quoted as saying by Mercury News. "It's obvious that the defenders of the status quo feel threatened by the momentum behind Ro's change campaign and now they've resorted to oldstyle political attacks and dirty tricks." "The well-funded Khanna has been campaigning for about a year, but the entry of Republican Vanila Singh at the start of this year and the entries of Rathore and Joel Vanlandingham this month threw the race's electoral calculus into a tailspin," the Mercury News said. Jeffrey Wald of Fremont, an Alameda county Republican Central Committee member, had sued the voter registrars in Alameda and Santa Clara counties as well as the Secretary of State's Office, arguing that Rathore and Vanlandingham should be kicked off the ballot. "Khanna recruited candidates to enter the race as Republicans to split the Republican vote three ways, effectively diluting votes that would otherwise be cast in favor of (Vanila) Singh," the suit as cited by Mercury News claimed. Judge Sumner, who heard the case, found Rathore did not meet the 40-signature minimum and thus could not appear on the ballot, the Mercury News said, citing one of Wald's attorneys. However, Rathore, 35, a Google product attorney, insisted that all those who signed his nomination papers were legitimate voters. "Judge Sumner ruled to remove me from the ballot because there were instances where a husband filled out his wife's name and address on the nomination papers (though both signed on their own behalf)," he said in an e-mail to Mercury News.

Teen suggests US govt to change font and save millions, ignites debate
Washington, DC: An Indian-American student's bold suggestion to the US government that it could save $136 million a year by simply switching fonts from Times New Roman to Garamond in government printing has caught national attention, with printing officials terming his work as "remarkable" while others dismissed it saying he was too young to understand the "oddity" of font measurement. Suvir Mirchandani, a 14-year-old middleschool student, came up with the suggestion after analyzing ink use for a school project and then expanding his research to government, which spends a whopping $1.8 billion annually on printing. "Mirchandani is only 14, so he can be excused for not understanding this weirdo oddity of the way fonts are measured but the biggest issue with his argument is that he measured Garamond at the wrong size!" says a feature in Fastcodesign.com. Citing blogger Thomas Phinney, a font enthusiast with an MS in printing, it comes to the conclusion that using less ink might cost the government slightly less money but it's not going to come from switching to Garamond. "Garamond's letters are smaller at the same height as other fonts, making it less legible at the same size when printed out," it said. "And even if the government did switch to a font that maintained legibility at the same size as Times New Roman while using less ink, the government would likely not save much money by switching to it," Fastcodesign.com said. For Suvir, it all started as a science fair project when as a sixth-grader at Dorseyville Middle School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he decided to figure out a way to reduce the use of paper and ink, according to CNN.

Suvir Mirchandani says switching from Times New Roman to Garamond can save $136 m annually

"Ink is two times more expensive than French perfume by volume," Suvir was quoted as saying with a chuckle. He's right, said CNN noting Chanel No. 5 perfume costs $38 per ounce, while the equivalent amount of Hewlett-Packard printer ink can cost up to $75. Any way, the US government is in no hurry to follow up on Suvir's suggestion. According to CNN, Gary Somerset, media and public relations manager at the Government Printing Office, described Suvir's work as "remarkable." But he was noncommittal on whether the GPO would introduce changes to typeface, saying the GPO's efforts to become more environmentally sustainable were focused on shifting content to the Web, it said.

IN BRIEF

Gopal T K Krishna elected co-chair of Iowa Republican party

Dr Sumeet Chugh wins prestigious cardiology award
n Indian-American cardiologist has won the American College of Cardiology's prestigious Simon Dack Award for Outstanding Scholarship in recognition of his contributions to its peerreviewed medical journals. Sumeet Chugh, associate director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and a leading expert on heart rhythm disorders such as sudden cardiac arrest and arterial fibrillation, will receive the award at the 40,000member medical society's 63rd Annual Scientific Session in Washington. "Dr. Chugh is leading the quest to unlock the mysteries of how to prevent sudden cardiac arrest, which is 99 percent fatal," said Shlomo Melmed, senior vice-president of Academic Affairs and dean of the CedarsSinai medical faculty. "Chugh, the Pauline and Harold Price Chair in Cardiac Electrophysiology, is an expert in the performance of radio frequency ablation procedures as well as the use of pacemakers, defibrillators and biventricular

H

yderabad-born Indian-American businessman Gopal T.K. Krishna has been elected as co-chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa state, which has traditionally held the first caucus in presidential elections. Krishna, a successful businessman with a background in electrical engineering, replaces Danny Carroll, who has been elected as chairman, according to an announcement by the party's state central committee in Des Moines, Iowa. "I have been, and am a Republican for all Republicans. The first three letters of my name are G-O-P. I ran because I don't want to wait until the primary elections to promote unity," he said after his election. "I want to continue to increase our party's voter registration advantage and participation in the forthcoming elections. "I look forward to working with Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to advance the Growth and Opportunity Project, work to reach out to

A

Gopal T K Krishna

minorities and bring new people into our Republican Party," he said. "As long as I am Co-Chairman of the Republican Party of Iowa, outreach to all minority communities will be a priority," Krishna said.

devices to correct heart rhythm problems," according to the Los Angeles-based Heart Institute. Chugh initiated and directs the ongoing Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study, a large, comprehensive assessment of sudden cardiac arrest in a community of one million residents. Chugh leads the World Health Organization panel that is charged with performing a worldwide assessment of heart rhythm disorders for the Global Burden of Disease Study, a media release said.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

US AFFAIRS

April 5-11, 2014

9

Supreme Court srikes down aggregate limits on federal campaign contributions
Washington DC: The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down limits on federal campaign contributions for the first time. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, is likely to increase the role money plays in American politics, says The New York Times. The ruling, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines, comes after the 2010 Citizens United decision that abolished limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. But that ruling did nothing to disturb the other main form of campaign finance regulation: caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties. Wednesday’s decision in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, No. 12-536, addressed that second kind of regulation. It did not disturb familiar base limits on contributions from individuals to candidates, currently $2,600 per candidate in primary and general elections. But it said that overall limits of $48,600 every two years for contributions to all federal candidates violated the First Amendment, as did separate aggregate limits on contributions to political party committees, currently $74,600. The decision chipped away at the central distinction drawn by the Supreme Court in its seminal 1976 campaign finance decision, Buckley v. Valeo. Independent spending, the court said in Buckley, is political speech protected by the First Amendment. But contributions may be capped, the court said, in the name of preventing corruption. The court added that aggregate contribution limits were a “quite modest restraint upon protected political activity” that “serves to prevent evasion” of the base limits. Wednesday’s decision only concerned contributions from individuals. Federal law continues to ban contributions by corporations and unions. The court led by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has been consistently hostile to campaign finance limits in its half-dozen decisions in argued cases on the subject so far. Wednesday’s decision may increase overall campaign spending, but it may also rechannel some of it away from “super PACs” and toward candidates and parties, says the Times.

With 7.1 million healthcare signups, Obama nixes repeal chance
Washington DC: President Barack Obama claimed a major victory as over seven million people signed up for medical insurance under his signature healthcare law at the end of the six-month open enrolment period. After a floundering start marked by computer glitches galore at its October launch, government run health market place saw a major surge as people lacking insurance rushed to beat the Monday midnight deadline. More than 4.8 million visits were made to HealthCare.gov on Monday alone, officials said. Taking a victory lap at a White House ceremony Tuesday, Obama said that 7.1 million people had signed up on federal or state exchanges for coverage under the health care law, nicknamed Obamacare, that was passed by the Congress in 2010 without Republican support. The number of enrolled was ing it. "That's what the (law) is all about, making sure all of us and all our fellow citizens can count on the security of health care when we get sick," he said, noting that the "law is doing what it's supposed to do. It's working." “The law is good for the country, regardless of politics, and that the numbers show Americans want it and that it's "here to stay," he said. The law, whose primary goal is to reduce the ranks of the 45 million uninsured, also includes expanded Medicaid insurance for the poor in many states, but those participants are not part of the sign-up total. But Republicans, who have waged a nonstop campaign to repeal or roll back the Affordable Care Act, remained unimpressed. Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement that the law "continues to harm the American people" despite Obama's "victory lap."

Cheered by Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama s peaks from the White House about the Affordable Care Act coming good.

100,000 more than the original target of seven million and over a million more than the revised goal of six million after what Obama called "several lost weeks" due to the glitch-ridden start of the healthcare website.

Calling the healthcare law "a force for good" Obama said it wasn't perfect, but the overall goal of starting to narrow the gap between those with health coverage and those without it has begun, and millions of Americans are embrac-

Ryan’s budget would shave $5T in spending over a decade Artificial islands off
Washington DC: The unveiling Tuesday of Representative Paul D. Ryan’s newest Republican budget may have redrawn the battle lines for the 2014 election, detailing what his party could do with complete control of Congress and allowing Democrats to broaden the political terrain beyond health care and the narrower issues of the minimum wage and unemployment benefits. Ryan, the House Budget Committee chairman, laid out a budget plan that cuts $5 trillion in spending over the next decade. He said it would bring federal spending and taxes into balance by 2024, through steep cuts to Medicaid and food stamps, and the total repeal of the Affordable Care Act just as millions are reaping the benefits of the law. Defense spending would increase. Domestic programs would be reduced to the lowest levels since modern government accounting. And Medicare would be converted into a “premium support” system, where people 65 and older could buy private insurance with federal subsidies instead of government-paid health care. “We need to be a proposition party, not just an opposition party,” said Ryan, Republican of Wisconsin. “We believe we owe it to the country to offer an alternative to the status quo. It’s just that simple.” Even with those tough political choices, the budget would balance in 2024 only because Mr. Ryan is assuming his cuts would prompt a burst of economic growth to raise tax revenues above what independent economists forecast. He also does not adjust the government’s revenue ledger to reflect the cost of repealing the health care law’s tax increases and Medicare cuts, which could total $2 trillion. The Ryan budget will be formally drafted on Wednesday in the Budget Committee and brought to a House vote on Friday — if Republican leaders can muster the 217 votes to pass it over the concerns of moderates who say it goes too far and conservatives who say it does not go far enough. Because Senate Democrats do not intend to even draft a budget this year, the Ryan plan will serve more as a political manifesto than a legislative roadmap for the 113th Congress.

NY-NJ to offer storm protection?

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan

Government to ensure rearview technology in autos by 2018
Washington: All vehicles under 10,000 pounds (4,500 kilos) sold in the US must be equipped with rear visibility technology by 2018 to reduce the number of backover accidents, say authorities. According to the new rule, "the field of view must include a 10foot by 20-foot zone directly behind the vehicle," the regulatory agency National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said. "Safety is our highest priority, and we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable victims of of 210 lives and injure some 15,000 people a year, of whom 31 percent are younger than 5-yearsold, while 26 percent being above age 70. The NHTSA originally planned to put the new rule into effect in mid-2014, but later asked for more time to finalize the details. According to the federal regulatory agency, the cost to the industry will be an additional $200 per auto. However, it said that many manufacturers are already including that technology due to growing consumer demand.

backover accidents - our children and seniors," said US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. US authorities estimate that backover crashes take an average

Seaside Heights, NJ: A string of artificial islands off the coast of New Jersey and New York could blunt the impact of storm surges that proved so deadly during Superstorm Sandy, according to a new proposal. It's a big proposal — one that would cost up to $12 billion — but it's also the kind of innovative idea that federal officials requested as they consider how best to protect the heavily populated East Coast from future storms. "It can save lives and protect property," Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology said. The "Blue Dunes" proposal is part of a competition sponsored by the US department of housing and urban development to come up with novel ways to protect Americans against the next big storm. It is one of 10 projects that will be evaluated and voted on next week, but there's no guarantee any of them will receive funding. Other ideas include building sea walls around cities, re-establishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt waves and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves. The artificial islands plan was created by Stevens Institute, along with the WXY architectural firm and West 8 Urban Design and Landscape Architecture. It is designed to blunt the worst effect of Sandy: the storm surge that pounded the coast. From Maryland to New Hampshire, the storm was blamed for 159 deaths, and New Jersey and New York alone claimed a total of nearly $79 billion in damages.

10

April 5-11, 2014

BATTLEGROUND 2014

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Modi urges people to elect over 300 NDA MPs

The BJP supporters during Narendra Modi's rally in Nawada, Bihar.

End of dynasty rule has come: Modi
Palamu/Kodarma/Buxar/Nawad a: BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has called for an end to dynastic politics, saying there was no place for it in Indian democracy. The Gujarat chief minister, who Wednesday addressed four rallies in Bihar and Jharkhand as part of his Bharat Vijay rally series, slammed the Congress-led government for not bringing back black money from foreign banks. "The Congress is a party of mother and son, the Samajwadi Party is a father, son and daughterin-law party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal is a husband and wife party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha is a father and son party," Modi said at a rally at Palamu in Jharkhand. "Dynastic politics has no importance in a democracy," the Bharatiya Janata Party leader said. In mica-rich Kodarma in Jharkhand, he said the state's resources were being looted. "People of Jharkhand are suffering because natural resources are being looted here." Modi slammed the Congress-led central government for not knowing the grassroots-level realities while making plans. "They make development plans in air conditioned rooms in Delhi, they have no connection with the people," Modi said. "Election in Delhi is about capturing power, it's a narrow view of democracy." In Buxar in Bihar, Modi vowed to bring back black money stashed in foreign countries if the BJP-led alliance is voted to power. "If the Bharatiya Janata Party government is formed in Delhi, I promise to bring back the black money and it will be used for welfare schemes for the poor," he said. "Give us all 40 seats in Bihar as we want to form a government in Delhi with over 300 seats to take the right decisions." He also remembered the victims of serial blasts during his rally in Patna in October 2013 - in which five people were killed and over 80 injured - and slammed the administration for "sleeping" during the blasts. "The time for promises is gone. Now Bihar needs resolution," Modi said. Asking people to vote for the BJP, he said the Congress has not fulfilled any promises it had made in the 2009 polls. "The Congress manifesto is nothing but a dhokha-patra," he said. In a bid to woo Yadav voters, Modi said he hails from Dwarka and hence it was natural for him to be emotionally attached with the Yadav community. In his rally at Nawada, Bihar, Modi accused the Congress-led union government of promoting the destruction of the country's livestock. Modi said the union government was slashing subsidies on agriculture to encourage meat export. "Bihar is a land of people who worship cows but leaders like Lalu Prasad have joined hands with those who are promoting meat export. The green revolution has been sidelined and the government at the centre is destroying the country's livestock in the name of the pink revolution," he added.

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan during a public meeting in Satna, Madhya Pradesh.
Bareilly/Rewa/Beohari/Jabal pur: Stepping up his offensive against the Congress, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi said that it faced "certain defeat" in the Lok Sabha poll and urged people to elect over 300 MPs of NDA to form a strong government. He also urged the Election Commission to probe the "delay" in clearance for his helicopters to take off. Addressing election rallies in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Modi attacked the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government over unending farmer suicides in the country. He also accused the Congress of wanting to create instability and said it was prepared to join hands with the Left and third front parties to keep the Bharatiya Janata Party out of power. After landing in Bareilly for his first election rally of the day, Modi said he was at Delhi airport since 9.30 a.m. but did not get permission to take off. "I try my best to ensure that there is no delay due to me. Today, I am feeling sad. You had to wait for so long in heat. You are doing this tapasaya (sacrifice) in this scorching heat. I assure you that I will not let this go in vain," he said. In a veiled dig at Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is an MP from Rae Bareli, Modi said: "Rae Bareli has elected such strong leaders but see development there." Seeking to woo Muslims, the BJP leader said that most people working in kite industry in his native Gujarat were belonged to the community. Modi also took a dig at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav over the state government's development record. The state's ruling Samajwadi Party has decided not to put up candidates against Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi. "UP chief minister asked for lions from Gujarat. We gave the lions, hoping he will gain some courage but we were mistaken. Lions had to be caged. I invite Netaji (Akhilesh's father Mulayam Singh Yadav) and his family to visit Gir. Our lions are not caged and they roam around freely," Modi said. He also found fault with the Congress-led government for not hitting back after Pakistani troops killed and beheaded Indian soldiers on the Kashmir border."Lal Bahadur Shastri coined the slogan 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' but the Congress slogan now is 'Mar Jawan, Mar Kisan'". Modi referred to Congress manifesto as "dhokha patar (a document of deceit)" and said India needed a stable government after the elections. "Please send over 300 MPs of NDA (National Democratic Alliance). Elect BJP MPs from UP. We will give you a government you want," he said.

My chopper was deliberately delayed: Modi
Bareilly: BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi alleged that his chopper was deliberately delayed by the Delhi air traffic control when he was about to leave for an election rally in Bareilly. In Bareilly, the Gujarat chief minister began his speech by apologising to the crowd for the delay in arriving. He said the ATC did not permit his helicopter to take take off for over two hours on one pretext or the other. Modi, however, told the people that nothing could prevent him from being with his own people and supporters. Slamming the Congress-led government at the centre, the Bharatiya Janata Party leader accused the incumbent Congress MP of doing nothing for the region. "Everyone knows Rae Bareli but no one knows Bareilly though this place is one of the top producers of 'manja' used to fly kites," he said. "Bareilly has a place in the country... Bollywood songs have been written on the city and it had a place on the industrial map. But due to the wrong policies of the state and union governments, development has stopped here," he said. Modi slammed the Akhilesh Yadav government in the state and predicted a rout for the ruling Samajwadi Party in the parliamentary election.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

BATTLEGROUND 2014

April 5-11, 2014

11

Colorful quotes from the campaign trail
n 1857 the slogan was 'kamal aur roti' (lotus and bread), in 2014 it is 'kamal aur Modi' (lotus and Modi).

I

hey (BJP) indulge in politics of hate and its leaders have their eyes set on the post of the prime minister.

T

I

f Advani wants Modi to listen to him, he should drop ‘v’ from his name.

--Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi

am not here to vanish after the elections. I want to come back and serve them...especially take care of the concerns that women in my constituency have.

I

--BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi he BJP of today is not the party that Vajpayee, Advani and B.S. Shekhawat had envisioned and aspired it to be. It has lost sight of its vision and frittered away its virtue for temporary political gain.

--PC Sorcar, magician and BJP candidate from Barasat constituency in West Bengal --Arvind Kejriwal, AAP chief, on Narendra Modi’s alleged links with the business group Adani ar-Har is meant for invoking gods. Ghar-ghar is meant for selling toothpaste. --Ranvir Shorey, actor, on Modi slogans. am neither an orphan politician nor an Independent. Now I have my own party. I am the vice-president.

T

I

H J

he opposition wants to give power to just one person (Modi), but we want to empower all Indians.

T I

--Rahul Gandhi, Congress vice-president ndian politics, the all-you-can-eat buffet that comedians have always dreamt of. --Vir Das, actor/comedian

ust imagine, the husband is with Modi and wife with Samajwadi Party. --Amar Singh, Rashtriya Lok Dal candidate on Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan

W
-

hy is the media only taking forward the message of one person in India? Kapil Sibal, Indian Law Minister

-- Expelled BJP leader Jaswant Singh

--TV entertainer Rakhi Sawant on forming her own party called Rashtriya Aam Aadmi Party, which will seek green chili as poll symbol.

12

April 5-11, 2014

BATTLEGROUND 2014

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Deep flaws in Modi's character, I will defeat Modi, never join BJP: Kejriwal says Chidambaram
New Delhi: AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal has vowed to defeat BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi and denied speculation that he might join the BJP. Addressing impromptu meetings in east Delhi in support of AAP candidate Rajmohan Gandhi, Kejriwal launched a vicious attack on both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. "If my aim was to reach parliament, then I would have fought the Lok Sabha election from a safe seat," the former Delhi chief minister thundered from atop an open vehicle. "I want to defeat Modi. That is why I am fighting election from Varanasi. It is also important to defeat (Congress vice president) Rahul Gandhi. That is why (AAP's) Kumar Vishwas is contesting in Amethi. "Both Modi and Rahul (Gandhi) need to be defeated... They lead two parties that believe in corruption," he said. Kejriwal pointed out that while the BJP had fielded the tainted former chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa in Karnataka, the AAP had put up Rajmohan Gandhi, a grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, in east Delhi.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram

New Delhi: Finance Minister P. Chidambaram launched a strong attack on Narendra Modi saying that the BJP prime ministerial candidate had "deep flaws" in his character and his remarks reflected "a dangerous trend" for the country's democracy. Talking to reporters at the Congress party office here, he also hit out at former finance minister Yashwant Sinha, saying many of the 18 questions put to him Sunday by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader were "puerile." Chidambaram said with the kind of image-building being done, Modi was no longer only a prime ministerial candidate of BJP but the party was being supplanted by an individual "who is saying I will do it". "This is dangerous trend. I am sure people of India will reflect (in vote for Lok Sabha elections)," he said. "If party, democracy, republic, cabinet, government - everything is supplanted by one individual,

Arvind Kejriwal set for a holy dip in the Ganges in Varanasi

then it is dangerous," he said. His attack on Modi came close on the heels of Modi targeting Congress president Sonia Gandhi at an election rally over the 2012 killing of two Indian fishermen by Italian marines who were then allowed to leave India. Chidambaram wondered what the country of Gandhi's origin had to do with the issue which was being dealt by the courts. He also alleged that Modi had deliberately referred to full name of former chief election commissioner J.M. Lyngdoh during an election campaign in Gujarat, had in the past referred to practitioners of Islamic faith as "we five, our twenty five" and made "dus numbri (derogatory)" insinuations by referring to residential address of Sonia Gandhi. "Such a person aspires to be prime minster. I am ashamed...there are deep flaws in character of Narendra Modi," he said. "He can't resist such derogatory remarks. Such perverse characterisation."

"This is the difference between the BJP and AAP," he said. It was the second straight day of campaigning in Delhi by Kejriwal for the Aam Aadmi Party, whose minority government collapsed Feb 14 after just 49 days. He denied reports in a section of the media that he might end up joining the BJP. "I have never said that, and I will never join any of these parties," Kejriwal asserted, as the AAP cav-

alcade wound its way through some of the more thickly populated areas of east Delhi. Some 800 supporters accompanied him, some on foot and others on motorcycles. Whenever he stopped to make short speeches, hundreds gathered to hear him. Kejriwal recalled the attacks on him in Gujarat and Bhiwani in Haryana, and also how he was pelted with eggs when he went to Varanasi.

BJP poised to do well in Gujarat, MP: Survey
New Delhi: The BJP could nearly sweep the Lok Sabha polls in Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and make major gains in Maharashtra, an opinion poll said. The CNN IBN-The Week March tracker said the Bharatiya Janata Party may get between 20 and 26 seats in Gujarat, while the Congress may get between zero and four seats. The opinion poll said "others" could win two seats in Gujarat, which has 26 seats. The BJP may get 55 percent votes while the Congress could get 31 percent and the Aam Aadmi Party could get six percent votes in Gujarat, the poll said. In Madhya Pradesh, which has 29 seats, the poll said the BJP could win 24-28 seats while the Congress could win one to five seats. It said the BJP may get 52 percent votes in Madhya Pradesh if the Lok Sabha polls take place today. The Congress may get 28 percent votes. In Maharashtra, the opinion poll said the BJP-Shiv Sena-RPI (Athawale) alliance could win between 24 and 30 of the 48 seats.

UPA has fulfilled most promises: Sonia Gandhi Will put up best fight against Rahul Gandhi: Irani
Patna: Congress president Sonia Gandhi said that the UPA government fulfilled most of the promises made to the people in the last Lok Sabha polls and was committed to work hard to improve the lives of people if voted to power again. "We have fulfilled most of the promises (that were) made last time before people," Gandhi said while addressing her first election meeting in Bihar's Sasaram parliamentary constituency. Without naming BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi who has accused the UPA government of failing to fulfill promises made during the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, Sonia Gandhi said the UPA government has implemented MNREGA for job guarantee in rural areas and provided an opportunity for education to all through Right to Education. She said to ensure that no one goes without food, the government implemented the Food Security Act in the country. Gandhi said the UPA government has also promulgated a new land acquisition act to protect the rights of land holders. New Delhi: Actor-turnedpolitician Smriti Irani said she will put up the best fight against Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and is confident of winning the Lok Sabha election in Amethi. It was decided that Irani will be the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate against Gandhi from Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Speaking to Times Now, she said that irrespective of Amethi being a Gandhi bastion for years, "people have not received the benefits of development in the constituency, which is a national shame". Irani said now the people of Amethi are wondering about the chances of change and development as BJP prime ministerial candidate

Congress president Sonia Gandhi addresses a rally in Mewat, Haryana.

"Our rivals are levelling baseless charges against the UPA government and accusing us of doing nothing. It is far from the truth," she said. In a reference to Modi's claims of rampant corruption, Sonia said the UPA brought the Right to Information Act to fight corruption. She said the Congress' aim is women empowerment. "UPA has launched several schemes for it and provided scholarship to girls for education," the Congress president said.

Actor-turned-politician Smriti Irani

Narendra Modi will come to power and the Congress will sit in the opposition. Reacting to the comments of the Aam Aadmi Party's candidate from the constituency Kumar Vishwas, Irani said it will be a fight only between the Congress and the BJP.

"Vishwas has a history of being disrespectful towards women. I do not expect an iota of respect from him," she said. Vishwas earlier said the people of Amethi have decided and it did not matter whether a Pakistani, or an Italian or an Irani contests the election.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

BATTLEGROUND 2014

April 5-11, 2014

13

Amethi: The local administration has canceled application of Congress vice-president and local MP Rahul Gandhi for issuance of domicile certificate. "The application should have been made by Gandhi himself with his signature, which was not there. The application was made by one Rajendra Singh with is against law," district magistrate, Jagatraj Tripathi said when asked about cancellation of the application. The papers needed with the application were also not there, he added. "If Gandhi has to apply, he should apply himself in person or send application signed by him with all the essential documents," the DM said. Bank accounts of all the candidates are to be opened on directions of EC and for this domicile certificate is needed, the officer clarified. Congress Amethi spokesman Rajendra Singh had applied for the

Rahul's application for Varun should use his mind instead Amethi domicile canceled of heart: Maneka
New Delhi: As Varun Gandhi courted controversy by "praising" his estranged cousin and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, his mother and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Maneka Gandhi on Thursday said her son's remark on Amethi's development was "not correct" and advised him to be be careful before making any statement. Varun, the BJPs candidate from Sultanpur, had left his party embarrassed after he praised Rahul on Tuesday. But, he changed his track the next day saying his comments should not be seen as an endorsement of any political party or candidate. Defending her son's statement, Maneka said he was innocent and his heart was clean. "I have told Varun not to comment on anything he hasn't seen for himself. What Varun has said is wrong," Maneka told reporters. Maneka also said she had spoken to Varun in this regard and whatever he said on development in Amethi was "not correct". "I have myself gone to Amethi and there is no development there. Nobody should comment on something unless you have seen it with your own eyes. Some people might have told him that good work has been done in Amethi," she added. When asked whether she would advice Varun to use his mind rather than his heart while making state-

Varun Gandhi is the BJPs candidate from Sultanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi

certificate showing Munshiganj Guest house as temporary address of Gandhi and the administration had cancelled the application terming it against rules and regulations.

ments, Maneka said, "Yes...this is true". Varun had said Rahul is doing good work through his self help groups for ameliorating the lot of women and added that he would like to follow it in his constituency while addressing a group of teachers in his constituency. Rahul was quick to respond to Varun's comments on Wednesday, saying, "Varun sahi kah rahe hain" (What Varun is saying is right).

Don't take MNS lightly, says Pawar
Raigad (Maharashtra): NCP chief Sharad Pawar has urged his partymen not to take Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena lightly in the ensuing parliamentary election. Addressing a meeting of Nationalist Congress Party workers, the union agriculture minister said that based on the MNS's past performance in Lok Sabha and assembly elections, it could prove to be an important factor in the coming polls. NCP chief Sharad Pawar "Don't take it lightly. Raj Thackeray has built it up with the legacy he inherited from (the late) Bal Thackeray," Pawar said. great struggles," Pawar said. Pawar's comments assume sigOn the other hand, Pawar took a swipe at Shiv Sena chief Uddhav nificance in view of the feud that Thackeray, saying the party in on a has again erupted between the Thackeray cousins as the election continuing downslide. "He has not been able to nurture temperatures rise.

Can’t pay Rs 10,000 crore for Roy's bail: Sahara
New Delhi: Sahara group expressed its inability before Supreme Court to immediately deposit Rs 10,000 crore for securing bail of its chief Subrata Roy and two directors. Recently, the apex court had agreed to release Subarata Roy from custody, but only after the group deposits Rs 10,000 crore in cash and bank guarantees. Sahara chairman Roy was arrested on February 28 and has been held in a Delhi jail since March 4. He failed to appear at a contempt hearing in a long-running legal battle between the group and the Sebi over the refund of more than Rs 24,000 crore to investors.

434 candidates woo 46 million Karnataka electorate
Bangalore: Karnataka's 46 million electorate is spoilt for choice as 434 candidates, including 21 women, woo them, with political parties rolling out their big guns for campaigning. National and regional political parties are bracing up for a hectic campaign over the next two weeks across Karnataka, going to the Lok Sabha elections in a single phase April 17. With 434 candidates in fray in the 28 parliamentary constituencies, national parties Congress and BJP, regional parties like the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) and a fledgling party like the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) are pulling out all stops. Of the 28 seats across the state, five are reserved for candidates of the Scheduled Castes (SCs) and two for the Scheduled Tribes (ST). Of the total candidates, 195 are independents and 21 are women, including three each from JD-S and AAP, two from the Congress, one from the BJP. In the 2009 general elections, 428 candidates, including 19 women, contested. The BJP won 19, the Congress six and the JDS three. Of the 19 women, only J. Shanta of the BJP won, the Bellary ST seat, while Margaret Alva and Tejeswani Gowda of the Congress lost in Uttara Kannada and Bangalore Rural constituencies. The highest number of contestants in this election, 26, is in Bangalore Central and the least, eight, in Gulbarga reserved (SC), where Union Minister of Railways Mallikarjun Kharge is contesting for the second time to retain the seat.

14

April 5-11, 2014

OP-ED

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Is Narendra Modi rattled by AK-49?
Elections
By Amulya Ganguli

N

arendra Modi's rather unusually harsh criticism of Arvind Kejriwal can raise the question whether the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate has been unnerved by the challenge posed by the Aam Admi Party (AAP) leader in the contest for the Varanasi seat. Compared to the Gujarat chief minister, who won three successive terms in the state and is now the numero uno in the BJP, Kejriwal is an untested novice. Moreover, his curious way of functioning during his 49-day stint as Delhi's chief minister, including staging a dharna, induced Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde to call him an 'yeda', an expressive Marathi term for an eccentric. For someone like Modi, who is playing a prominent role on the national stage, the best way to treat a maverick like Kejriwal is with amused superciliousness. But to launch a vicious attack by calling him a "Pakistani agent" and a "dushman" (enemy) of the nation is to overshoot the mark. The funny aspect of his description of Kejriwal as AK49, recalling his brief 49-day spell as chief minister, was lost in the subsequent tirade. If anything, the tongue-lashing will be seen not only as excessive but also as a sign of nervousness. Whether by accident or design, Kejriwal's response to Modi's transgression of limits was surprisingly mild,

The BJP is not taking the Varanasi battle lightly due to Arvind Kejriwal's entry. For Narendra Modi, the endgame is not going to be a cakewalk.

surprising because the AAP leader himself is not shy of being intemperate. Yet, he only said that Modi's remark did not suit a prime ministerial aspirant. If points were to be notched up with regard to the verbal duel, the first round went to Kejriwal. However, the reason why Modi flew off the handle is not far to seek. The BJP leader has been under considerable pressure in recent weeks. Not only is he engaged in a strenuous campaign, he is also having to

fight a battle against detractors in his own party. Nor are they relative lightweights like Jaswant Singh (who was once expelled from the BJP) or Harin Pathak, both of whom were kept out of the election contest by him. Instead, Modi is up against two heavyweights; the octogenarian "mentor", L.K. Advani, and the silver-tongued orator, Sushma Swaraj, who was preferred by one of the BJP's allies, the Shiv Sena, as the prime ministerial candidate.

Modi must have also come under heavy strain while trying, albeit successfully, to dislodge two members of the old guard, Murli Manohar Joshi and Lalji Tandon, from their old constituencies, Varanasi and Lucknow, to accommodate Modi in the temple town and his camp follower, party president Rajnath Singh, in Lucknow. All this skirmishing is apparently beginning to tell. Besides, Modi cannot be unaware of the uneasiness in the BJP about his propensity to be "insular' and "distrustful", as an American diplomat described him in an internal memo, according to Wikileaks. Modi's disadvantages will be enhanced if he cannot achieve a runaway victory in Varanasi. Few will doubt that he will win. But much depends on the margin of victory. In this respect, Kejriwal can be a spoiler. The AAP leader already has a reputation of being a giant killer for having trounced former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dixit by 25,000 votes. He may not be able to repeat his feat. But he is a highly effective speaker, capable of cutting observations which appeal to the ordinary people because he zeroes in on the patent weak points of politicians, viz, their suspected links with moneybags and the penchant for making tall claims. If the emails being circulated by saffron activists about the dollars being credited to Kejriwal by the Ford Foundation are an indication, the BJP is not taking the Varanasi battle lightly. For Modi, the endgame is not going to be a cakewalk.

Economy as an issue takes front seat this election
Elections
By Vir Sanghvi verybody knows that Indian elections throw up surprises. But the interesting thing about this election is that the surprises have begun even before the first vote has been cast. There is, first of all, the surprise over the identity of the principal antagonists. Pundits had predicted a gladiatorial contest between Rahul Gandhi and Narendra Modi. Instead it is Arvind Kejriwal--who few people took very seriously even a year ago--who has emerged as Modi's most vocal opponent. In contrast, Rahul Gandhi’s attacks on Modi have been far more muted. Then, there is the surprise over the election's big issue. The conventional wisdom was that if Modi became the BJP's prime ministerial candidate, this would communalise the campaign. The Congress would make frequent references to the Gujarat riots while the BJP would play the Hindutva card. In fact, communal issues have not come to the forefront in this campaign (despite the symbolism of Modi's choice of Varanasi as his constituency) and the 1984 Sikh massacre seems to be recalled more often than the Gujarat riots. Even when Kejriwal attacks Modi, it is not for his role in the riots but for his alleged patronage of crony capitalists. Similarly Rahul

E

In the circumstances, it is not surprising that the educated middle class, which is the most supportive of economic liberalisation, is backing Narendra Modi. So are foreign financial institutions and the global investment community.

Gandhi may launch a general attack on the divisive nature of the Hindutva ideology but the Congress has abandoned its old anti-Modi rhetoric: Nobody calls him a 'maut ka saudagar' these days. Rather than try and fix responsibility for the 2002 riots, the Congress would rather rake up Mahatma Gandhi's assassination. And Modi, in turn, hardly refers to Hindutva in his campaign, preferring a secular, governance platform. But the biggest surprise of all has been the

emergence of the economy as this campaign's principal issue. In a sense, what the Congress, the BJP and AAP are really arguing about is the legacy of economic liberalisation. When Modi talks about governance and draws parallels with China, his principal accusation is that UPA 2 frittered away the gains of liberalisation with indecisive, weak and often corrupt, governance. When he draws attention to the so-called Gujarat model of develop-

ment, what he’s really saying is this: He implemented liberalisation and delivered on growth while the Centre and Congress-ruled states could not. Kejriwal's attack is also predicated on the post-liberalisation legacy. According to Kejriwal, economic liberalisation has led to a situation in which governments favour large corporate houses and enrich them at the expense of the poor. The attacks on gas pricing, the emphasis on governmental corruption and the many references to Modi’s alleged corporate backers (and in particular Reliance and the Adani group) are really attempts to argue that the benefits of economic liberalisation have been hijacked by the few at the cost of the many. In the circumstances, it is not surprising that the educated middle class, which is the most supportive of economic liberalisation, is backing Modi. So are foreign financial institutions and the global investment community. That is why the rupee has strengthened and the Sensex has soared on the expectation of a Modi victory and the return of economic liberalisation. This election is different. Yes, identity politics will play some role. But the basic issue-the one that really divides the parties--is the economy and how it should be run. And no matter which side you are on, we should all be glad that finally, Indian elections are being fought over issues of substance.

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

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

AWARDS

April 5-11, 2014

15

imes Now, India’s No. 1 news channel, celebrated the success and achievements of Indians across the world by presenting the inaugural ‘NRI of the Year 2013’ awards on March 24 at a grand ceremony in Mumbai. Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs, Vayalar Ravi, was the chief guest. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan was felicitated with India's Global Icon Award. The awardees were selected under six different categories – Enterpreneur, Professional, Student, Arts/ Entertainment, Philanthropy and Social Good and contribution to India belonged to the USA, UK, Singapore, and the Middle East. The various episodes of the awards including winner profiles were being broadcast on Times Now in its global feeds in over 75 countries. In the USA, Times Now is available on DISH Network DTH and Dishworld IPTV in multiple packs (Hindi Mega Pack, Hindi Premium Pack, English News Pack, World News Pack, and also in the Indian Language Packs Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Urdu on Dishworld).

T

In 1999, Bachchan was voted the "greatest star of stage or screen" in a BBC survey In June 2000, he became the first living Asian to have been modelled in wax at London's Madame Tussauds Wax Museum On 27 July 2012, Bachchan carried the Olympic Torch during the last leg of its relay in London's Southwark.

the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 2006. On 6 September 2013 , President of India Pranab Mukherjee awarded him the Tagore Award 2013 for his outstanding contribution towards cultural harmony.

ENTREPRNEUR

Rupesh Srivastava
Detroit, USA
After completing his mechanical engineering from NIT Jamshedpur, India and serving in the IT industry for 4 years, R u p e s h Srivastava came to the United States in 1993 as a software consultant. He realized the opportunity and started his venture in 1996. After starting Youngsoft Inc, USA he founded the second company ESSPL in Bhubaneswar, India in 1998. Rupesh has founded six companies and is currently the CEO and president of Young soft and H2H Solutions. With his multifarious experiences as a professional, entrepreneur and successful leader he controls a turnover of at least $25 million and provides employment to around 200 persons. ESSPL in India also employs 200 people in Bhubaneswar, Orissa. He established Young Tech Software Pvt Ltd in Varanasi in 2005 with an eye to provide employment opportunities to aspirants in IT He acquired a contract manufacturing company which created good job opportunities Also acquired a stake in an IT company Ritwik Software Technologies Pvt Ltd, Hyderabad He is also a founding member of an E-learning company Yslearn and job board company for nurses called Car4nurses in West Michigan, USA Rupesh Srivastava has been serving TiE Detroit as president for over three years and is working closely with various Economic Development Organizations to contribute to the success of Economic development of Michigan, USA. In this role he has motivated aspirants to become entrepreneurs and encouraging and supporting to create more job growth and resultant employment.

POPULAR CHOICE AWARD

SPECIAL JURY AWARD

MA Yusuffali
Abu Dhabi, UAE
MA Yusuff Ali is an Indian businessman from Nattika in Thrissur district of Kerala. He is the Managing Director of Abu Dhabi-headquartered EMKE LuLu Group of companies that owns the Lulu

Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta is an Indian Parsi conductor of Western classical music. He is the Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Main Conductor for Valencia's opera house. Zubin Mehta is also the chief conductor of Florence, Italy's Maggio Musicale festival. At the Israel Prize ceremony in 1991, Mehta was awarded a special prize in recognition of his unique devotion to Israel and to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. In 1995, he became Laureate of the Wolf Prize in Arts. In 1999, Mehta was presented the "Lifetime Achievement Peace and Tolerance Award" of the United Nations. The Government of India honoured Mehta in 1966 with the Padma Bhushan and in 2001 with India's second highest civilian award, the Padma Vibhushan. In 2005, he was voted the 117thgreatest Israeli of all time, in a poll by the Israeli news website Ynet to determine whom the general public considered the 200 Greatest Israelis. In September 2006 the Kennedy Center in New York announced Mehta as one of the recipients of that year's Kennedy Center Honors, presented on 2 December 2006. In 2007 he received the prestigious Dan David Prize. Conductor Karl Böhm awarded Mehta the Nikisch Ring – the Vienna Philharmonic Ring of Honor. Mehta is an honorary citizen of Florence and Tel Aviv. He was made an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera in 1997. In 2001 he was bestowed the title of "Honorary Conductor" of the Vienna Philharmonic and in 2004 the Munich Philharmonic awarded him the same title, as did the Los Angeles Philharmonic and

INDIA’S GLOBAL ICON

Amitabh Bachchan
Global superstar and cinema thespian, Amitabh Bachchan has tremendous universal appeal. He is one of the most admired Indians across the globe and millions of people world over consider him as the greatest icon. He first gained popularity in the early 1970s as the "angry young man" of Bollywood, and has since appeared in over 180 Indian films in a career spanning more than four decades. Bachchan is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential Indian actors across the globe. Won three National award as Best actor for Agneepath, Black & Paa French director Francois Truffaut called him a "one-man industry. He also had a stint in politics in the 1980s. The Government of India honoured him with the Padma Shri in 1984 and the Padma Bhushan in 2001 for his contributions towards the arts In 1991, he became the first artist to receive the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award, which was established in the name of the legend Raj Kapoor

Hypermarket chain in Middle East. The owner of the EMKE Group, he has diversified the business into multiple significant areas. However the retail sector became his route to the top. EMKE Group opened its first supermarket in the early 1990s in Abu Dhabi and gradually expanded to cover different parts of the UAE capital. Today the LuLu Hypermarkets, Supermarkets and Department Stores control 32 percent of the retail market share Emke LuLu Group has a strong workforce of 31,440 from 37 different operating nations Apart from his busy business involvement, Yusuffali is equally active on the social front and is associated with various organizations. Listed in the Forbes Magazine’s annual tally of billionaires in March 2013 at the 974th position "Most Influential Asian Business Leader in the MENA region" award by Forbes ME in 2012. "Arab Business Leader of the Year 2012" during the third edition of the Global Arab Business Meeting held in Ras Al Khaimah. Listed in the Indian Rich List 2011 by Arabian Business magazine. Conferred with the title of Padma Shri in 2008 Swiss Ambassador’s Award 2012 for outstanding efforts in promoting SwissUAE relations. "Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award" in 2005; the highest Indian government award given to NRIs.

PROFESSIONAL

Chandrashekar Natarajan
Greater Los Angeles Area, USA
Natarajan is the Vice President of Supply Chain for The Walt Disney Company. He has met diverse challenges in emerging Continued on page 16...

16

April 5-11, 2014

AWARDS

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Continued from page 15 markets that have shaped supply chain management and achieved major impacts around the world. Several of his innovation solutions have become global stand a r d s . Natarajan has developed multiple innovations and made multiple contributions to major industries in both developed and developing nations. These contributions have been grounded in diverse experience with three of the world’s leading and largest beverage companies: Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Anheuser Busch InBev as well as with The Walt Disney Company. These innovations include a new delivery standard, CoolLift, that completely reimagined the assets, labour resources, and timing of deliveries. “Applying change management skills to implement my technology vision, I produced the Consumer Products Group’s first dynamic order fulfilment warehouse. In doing so, my team transformed several legacy systems for which we received 14 international awards as well as winning the Consumer Goods Technology “Visionary Award” and the “Supply Chain Innovation Award” at the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals,” states Natarajan. Throughout his career, as he managed the political and social complexities associated with implementing “big ideas,” this has been the greatest single challenge he has faced. He led a team to expand a ColaLife project on the African continent. As a result, the team successfully harnessed Coca Cola’s distribution capability to deliver medicines in Zambia and Tanzania where 1 in 5 children die before the age of 10 for lack of basic medications. “Without investing any additional funds, we were able to improve the lives of many children,” he says. The program has won the accolades of several international organizations.

Categories
India’s Global Icon Special Jury Award Popular Choice Entertainment My India Entrepreneur

Name of the Winner Country
Amitabh Bachchan Zubin Mehta Yusuff Ali M A Keertika Rawat Dr. Kunal Saha Dr. Raminder Singh Ranger Rupesh Srivastava Anand Kapoor Nitish Jain Husain Khaki Mala Kiran Talekar Abdul Muqeet Aastha Chouhan Dr. Ramesh Babu Chandrabhan Singh Chandrashekar Natarajan Y Sudhir Kumar Shetty Venkatesha Murthy Suman Kapoor Vijay Goradia Kesavan Muraleedharan Dr. T Chandroo India Israel UAE UAE USA UK USA UAE Singapore UK USA UAE Singapore UK USA UAE Singapore UK USA UAE Singapore

Student

Professional

Philanthropy

PHILANTHROPY

Vijay Goradia Houston, USA
Vijay Goradia is the Founder and Chairman of Vinmar International Limited, a global distributor of Chemicals and Polymers with headquarters in Houston, Texas. He is also the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of P r a t h a m USA. Pratham is an NGO working to provide quality education to the underprivileged children of India. Pratham was established in 1994 to provide pre-school education to the children in the slums of Mumbai city. In 1998, Vijay Goradia, started Pratham USA in Houston to raise funds for Pratham

India. With a small band of passionate donors, Pratham USA raised $275,000 in 1999. Today Pratham USA has 14 chapters and raises over $10 million for Pratham India. India had a gigantic problem -- of the 200 million school age children, 100 million were illiterate. Every child in India did not have access to education. In 1994, Dr. Madhav Chavan started Pratham India as the first step to solve this massive problem. From that humble beginning, with the help of funds contributed by Pratham USA, today Pratham is the biggest non-profit in the world in the field of elementary education. Pratham's model is unique. Pratham takes education to the children all over India. Pratham is an innovator. It was able to teach an illiterate through the Read India Program. Pratham has touched the lives of 34 million children. Pratham was the first NGO to show that it's inexpensive Balwadi programs could be scaled up. Today Pratham is in 20 states in India, and was able to persuade the Government to collaborate with it. Pratham's programs are low cost: It costs just $25 to educate a child per year. 94% of the funds received go directly to the program. Pratham's Annual Survey of Education Report has focused Government attention on learning outcomes instead of enrolment. ASER is being used by many developing countries in the world. Pratham has become a powerful voice for education reform in India. Based on the needs of the children, Pratham has introduced many programs from Pratham books, libraries, science, computer skills, English, remedial education to rescuing and rehabilitating child labourers. From open schools for girls to vocational and entrepreneurship training. Pratham has received the highest rating from Charity Navigator and has received international awards [Kravis Prize, Skoll award, Wise Prize] and support. Pratham's strength is its army passionate and dedicated volunteers all over India. The impact on the Indian community has been amazing. The more people have learned about Pratham India, the more they wanted to be involved. The man behind Pratham’s success is Vijay Goradia.

STUDENT

Mala Kiran Talekar
Hershey, PA, USA
Mala Talekar obtained her pediatric residency at Sir Hurkisondas Nurrotumdas (HN) Hospital and Research Center, a 250-bedded tertiary care center in Mumbai in 2002-2005. Pediatric Residency taught her a lot, including how certain paediatric illnesses such as cancer could shatter the entire family. This built her interest in curing cancer from the beginning. Currently Mala is a third year fellow in Pediatric Hematology- Oncology at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. She has been recognized for providing great care to patients and has been awarded for her oral presentation on Pediatric Lymphoma. Her passion is to cure childhood cancer and wishes to equip herself to battle this horrifying disease in children. She has been performing experiments on lymphoma cells in the laboratory to see if a drug could be used to treat lymphoma, hoping this would be a breakthrough for children with lymphoma. So far, her research has shown that this agent- ONC201 appears to be very effective on lymphoma in the laboratory. Her research was accepted for presentation at major national meetings in 2013 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), American Society for Paediatric Hematology Oncology (ASPHO), and American Society of Hematology (ASH). She is also going to present additional data at the ASPHO Annual meeting in Chicago this year. Mala also received the “Top Oral presentation award” at the Annual Research Day 2013 of Penn State Hershey Medical Center

and the ASH 2013 Abstract Achievement Award for this research. Personal Project title: “ONC201 (TRAIL-inducing agent –TIC10) and combinatorial therapeutics in paediatric lymphoma: a targeted approach”.

MY INDIA

Dr. Kunal Saha,
Columbus, Ohio, USA
Dr. Kunal Saha has been fighting to remove healthcare corruption and to prevent medical negligence in India since the past 15 years. His battle against “medical negligence” culminated in 2013 when the Supreme Court of India awarded the highest compensation ever in Indian medical history. After losing young wife and US-based child psychologist, Anuradha Saha, as a result of gross medical negligence during a social visit to India in 1998, Dr. Kunal Saha took over a crusade not only to bring justice to his departed wife, but also for the millions of hapless patients in India who are dying every day because of reckless treatment by the hitherto “untouchable” doctors in India. He also took over the seemingly impossible task to weed out the deep-rooted corruption that has plagued the Indian medical education and healthcare delivery systems. He founded “People for Better Treatment” (PBT), a registered humanitarian society to help the victims of medical negligence and to fight medical corruption in 2001. Over the past 13 years, PBT has brought hope for justice for countless alleged victims of medical malpractice and implemented major changes in the deeply flawed medical regulatory system through numerous public interest litigations (PILs) in the Supreme Court and High Courts across India.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

AWARDS

April 5-11, 2014

17

ASSOCIATE SPONSOR OF THE EVENT Ducon Group of Companies
ron Govil is Chairman & CEO of Ducon Group of companies, that are involved in turnkey technology projects for utilities and industrial companies globally. Ducon is a multinational company engaged in energy, environment, material handling, and infrastructure projects for FORTUNE 500 companies in the field of petrochemicals, steel, mining, power, food, plastics and chemicals. Ducon has been in existence since 1938 and was acquired by Mr. Govil in 1996. Over the years, Ducon has developed most advanced technologies, secured over 30 patents and has completed over 30,000 projects around the world. In 2010, Ducon received “The Niche Market Player” award in the environmental field from Frost & Sullivan. Ducon was ranked among the top 50 by Long Island Business news in 2006 and was ranked as the top Indian owned company in North America by News India Times in 2012. Mr. Govil has also been involved in the entertainment field since 1985, by conducting Bollywood concerts, of major film stars, music directors and singers. He was the leading concert tour promoter from 1985 through 1995 in North America. Subsequently, he ventured into financing feature films, and music videos through his company Aron Govil Productions, which has rapidly grown in the film distribution and production business and has made or financed several feature films in India. In 2008, Mr. Govil produced an English language film, “Shoot On Sight” with major Bollywood and Hollywood stars. In 2012 he directed and produced a commercial Bollywood film “U R My Jaan” with super hit songs that climbed to the top of Doordarshan music charts in India. Currently he has several film projects under production.

A

Aron Govil migrated from India at age 13 with his parents and completed his education in USA. He has BS in Chemical Engineering, MBA in Finance and PhD in Environmental Science. After working for several years in technical and management positions, Mr. Govil started his own company in 1986. Ten years later he bought world renowned Ducon and merged his own company in it. In 2007, Mr. Govil was honored by United States Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce with the Excellence Award for his outstanding achievements in Business & Entrepreneurship. In 2011 he was named among the 25 most influential Indians in North America and in 2014 named The Person of the Year 2013 by Global Indian magazine. Aron Govil resides in Long Island with his wife Vandana and they have two sons Vishal and Saagar.

Aron Govil, Chairman and CEO, Ducon Group, New York

The impact of his long-drawn legal and public fight in India has already created greater awareness about patients’ rights and sent a clear message to the members of the medical community across India that human lives are too precious to treat negligently and that the errant medicos will be held accountable for the reckless treatment of patients. Perhaps more importantly, Dr. Saha’s long and unselfish fight over the years with its culmination in 2013 (with a victory in the Supreme Court) has brought a new ray of hope for the countless innocent victims of “medical negligence” in India who until now, had no hope for finding justice in the court of law against the wealthy and highly influential doctors/hospitals and as such, often resorted to take law into |their own hands and attacked the allegedly negligent doctor(s) in a misguided attempt to find justice after losing their loved ones in front of their own eyes from gross medical negligence.

A view of the audience at the awards event held at Trident Hotel, Mumbai.

18

April 5-11, 2014

ULTIMATE BOLLYWOOD

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Indo-Canadian film star Sunny Leone

Mumbai: Following the response to her latest Bollywood release "Ragini MMS 2", Indo-Canadian adult film star Sunny Leone is game to be part of "Ragini MMS 3" if it is made. "Ragini MMS 2", the sequel to the 2011 release "Ragini MMS", released March 21. "If 'Ragini MMS 3' will be made, then I would love to be a part of it even if it is a small role," the actress said here at a

party for the success of films' hit number 'Baby Doll'. The party was organised by the composers Meet Bros Anjjan here Tuesday. Lauding the film's producer Ekta Kapoor, Sunny said: "I think that this brand and franchise which Ekta has created is so big as people are going mad over it from the first movie to the second. "I think that Ekta has done an amazing job to make this go

to the next level - whether it is the songs, acting or story. She is just amazing in everything what she has done for this movie." Meanwhile, Sunny thanked all her fans for their love and support. "This movie has gone above and beyond our expectations. Even on a Tuesday night, we are getting good collections and Monday night we had an amazing collection," she said.

Irrfan to shuttle between 'Jurassic World', 'Piku'

A

ccomplished actor Irrfan Khan will spend the rest of this year living out of a suitcase as he will be shooting for two films - "Jurassic World" and "Piku". This week he leaves for the US to begin shooting for Colin Trevorrow-directed fourth part of the phenomenal "Jurassic Park" franchise. The film is to be shot in Hawaai and New Orleans. “It’s a brief schedule to begin with, though my role is anything but brief. At the moment all I can tell you on record is that it’s a pivotal role. I am very excited about the project. It’s the second American global franchise after 'Spiderman' that I am part of,” said Irrfan, adding that he did not share the Indian audience’s disappointment over the length of his role in "Spiderman". He said: "It isn’t as if my role was reduced for ulterior reasons. Sometimes a particular character’s footage suffers for factors like the film’s length, etc. I was very happy to be part of

'Spiderman'. The remaining part of this year would see Irrfan shuttling between two projects in two continents. “After the first brief first schedule of 'Jurassic World', I’ll be back in India to shoot for Shoojit Sircar’s 'Piku'.

Big B promoting superstitions, activist tells court

A

social activist from Pune has accused megastar Amitabh Bachchan of promoting superstitious beliefs, and filed a complaint before a court seeking action against the Bollywood actor. Hemant Patil has demanded a police complaint against Bachchan and others under the stringent new Maharashtra Prevention and Eradication of Human Sacrifices and Other Inhuman, Evil and Aghori Practices and Black Magic Act, 2013. The immediate provocation for the complaint was Bachchan's portrayal of a ghost in a TV commercial for a children's health drink. Mumbai magistrate Sita Kulkarni has placed the matter for hearing April 18. Bachchan earlier played a friendly ghost in Bollywood movie "Bhootnath", whose sequel "Bhootnath Returns" is due for release soon.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

ULTIMATE BOLLYWOOD

April 5-11, 2014

19

Jinn: Bringing a bit of Anurag' 'Ugly' to open New Pakistan to American cinema York Indian film fest
he New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) will open with Anurag Kashyap's "Ugly", a sensational tale of corruption, indifference, and systemic violence that begins with the disappearance of an aspiring actor's 10-year-old daughter. Celebrating its 14th year, NYIFF, widely recognized as the oldest, most prestigious Indian film festival in the US showcasing some of the greatest talents working in the diaspora, will run May 5 to 10 at a variety of prestigious New York City venues. These include the Skirball Centre for Performing Arts, where the opening and closing films are set be screened, NYIFF announced. Director Anurag Kashyap returns to NYIFF after closing the 2012 festival with his highly received film, "Gangs Of Wasseypur", a two-part five-hourlong drama centred around the coal mafia of Dhanbad, Jharkhand. "We are thrilled to be opening this year's New York Indian Film Festival with Anurag Kashyap's new film 'Ugly'," said festival director Aseem Chhabra. "Anurag has been in the forefront of India's growing indie films movement, always pushing the boundaries and inspiring the new generation of filmmakers. Personally I am a big fan of his films." Kashyap will participate in a post-screening conversation, to be

T

A scene from Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad's film 'Jinn'

A

ccording to Islamic mythology, the Arabic word jinn refers to a class of spirits, lower than angels who are capable of appearing in human and animal forms, and influencing humankind towards good and evil. Stories about the existence of angels in the human world seem to have captured our imagination, washing away evidence of a third race, created by fire which we call jinn. But as much as we fantasize about the existence of these ‘other worldly’ creations, do we really believe in them? 'Jinn' also happens to be the name of the new supernatural thriller by the Pakistani American movie director, Ajmal Zaheer Ahmad, set to release April 4 in theaters across North America. The opening excerpt from the movie talks about jinn – ‘the third kind of creation’, “In the beginning, three were

created… man made of clay, angels made of light and a third… made of fire.” The movie’s cast includes Ray Park, Faran Tahir, William Atherton, Dominic Rains and Serinda Swan. Shawn (Dominic) and Jasmine (Serinda) are a happy, newly married couple until their perfect life is torn apart by a cryptic message warning them of a curse on Shawn’s family for generations, and that he and his wife are now in danger. Shawn, who lost his parent as a child, doesn’t pay heed to these revelations from his past until strange things begin to happen. Scared and unable to explain these happenings, he turns to Gabriel (Ray Park), Father Westhoff (William Atherton) and Ali (Faran Tahir). And in the process, he discovers that there is far more to this world than he had ever thought.

A poster of Anurag Kashyap's 'Ugly'

followed by the opening night gala event, with celebrated IAAC supporters and other filmmakers in attendance. NYIFF also announced this

year's centrepiece and closing films. Renowned actress and filmmaker Aparna Sen will close the festival with her latest work, "Goynar Baksho".

Bollywood's new 'I'll do what I want' woman
S
he has been demure, submissive; bold, beautiful; sexy, flirtatious; and daring. She has also been holier-than-thou and sometimes, also a vamp -- Bollywood, in it's over 100 years of existence, has been a canvas of the several shades of a woman. But here's a new color -- the Kangana Ranaut of "Queen" and the Alia Bhatt of 'Highway' -free-spirited and living life on their terms, much like young contemporary Indian women today. Take a dekko at Kangana's Rani of "Queen" -- she leads a simple, protected life like any other middle-class girl in Delhi's Rajouri Garden, or largely, across India; dates a man who doesn't let her dance her heart out even if she loves to, and isn't comfortable with the idea of having a working woman as his wife. Rani adjusts -- something that most 'bharatiya naaris' would do. But she comes into her own when her fiance calls off the wedding, and she announces to her parents that she wouldn't grieve and would instead embark on her honeymoon to Paris and joy to her life. Her fiance, scared, tries to curb her desire, but here's Bollywood's new 'I'll do what I want' and 'I'll make you do what I want' type of heroine, who chooses to follow her dreams. When she gets kidnapped, what follows is a journey of self-realisation for Veera, who happens to understand that 'travelling' is not about going up and down in the lift of a hotel, that life is not about glittering social gatherings and she soaks in the joys of being in touch with nature and reality. Examples of "free-spirited" women in Bollywood cinema may still be few and intermittent, but the trend is here to stay. Katrina Kaif of "Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara", Deepika Padukone of "Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani" and "Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela", Sonam Kapoor of "Raanjhanaa", Parineeti Chopra of "Shuddh Desi Romance" and "Hasee Toh Phasee", Sridevi of "English Vinglish" and the girls in "Chak De! India" -- they all reflect the new age women who know what they want from life.

Kangana Ranaut in 'Queen' is an example of free-spirited women living life on their terms

Amsterdam -- alone. She survives, enjoys herself, and finds out how there is more to life than having to settle down with a man who doesn't care about your dreams and

desires. Ditto with "Highway". But unlike Kangana's Rani, Alia's character Veera is rich and well-travelled. Yet, she feels something amiss and a ride on a highway brings

20

April 5-11, 2014

DIASPORA

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Indian-origin actress Somi Guha suing BBC for racism
London: An Indian-origin actress is suing BBC for up to one million pounds ($1.6 million) for a racist remark made by the host of a popular motor show, media reported Friday. Somi Guha, 36, has instructed her lawyers to take action after Jeremy Clarkson, host of the program Top Gear, made the racist remark during a series finale, the Daily Mail reported. Clarkson allegedly used the word “slope” - a derogatory term used for people of Asian descent - in the Top Gear Burma Special. Guha consulted lawyers at Equal Justice who said this could cost the BBC up to 1 million pounds. According to Equal Justice, Guha is one of a group of people who were offended by the term and so sought legal advice from the firm, which previously worked on racism allegations surrounding reality show Celebrity Big Brother. According to the report, a BBC spokesman said the corporation has no comment to make on Guha's action. In the series finale, the three hosts - Richard Hammond, James May and Jeremy Clarkson - are tasked with building a bridge over the river Kwai in Thailand. After completion of the show, Clarkson, 53, said, “That is a proud moment, but there's a slope on it” as a man walked towards him on the makeshift bridge. Co-presenter Richard Hammond, 44, replied: “You're right, it's definitely higher on that side.” This left viewers outraged with Twitter users describing it as “not big, not clever, not funny” and “a gag too far.” “Casual racism in the media by established BBC stalwarts is constantly brushed aside,” the Mail report cited Guha as stating in a written

Supreme Court notice on facilitating voting by NRIs
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government asking why NRIs who are registered voters should not get the opportunity to exercise their voting rights in the ongoing general election from wherever they are located. A bench of Justice K.S.Radhakrishnan and Justice Vikramajit Sen issued notice even as Attorney General G.E.Vahanvati sought to present the logistic problem that the Election Commission would face in making arrangements for their voting. Vahanvati told the court that under section 20A of the Representation of the People Act (Amendment), 2010, the registered NRI voters can vote if they are present in the constituency on the day of polling. Describing it a "serious matter" that needed to be dealt with urgency, the court asked government to respond to the plea as it directed the listing of the matter April 7. Appearing for the PIL petitioner Shamsheer V.P., senior counsel Harish Salve told the court that the first phase of Lok Sabha polling in Kerala was going to be held on April 10 and matter was of some urgency. The court was told that there were 11,000 registered NRI voters living in different parts of the world. Dr.Shamsheer has contended that the existing provision under section 20A that mandates the NRI voter to be physically present in the constituency to exercise his vote was discriminatory and violative of fundamental rights under article 14 (Equality before law) guaranteed under the constitution and sought it be read down. "If the relief ... sought ... is granted, then a total number of 1,00,37,761 people will be entitled to cast their vote as against a paltry 11,000 who have registered" at present, he said. The PIL has contended that it was incumbent upon the government to ensure that NRIs too have the same rights and freedom as those enjoyed by citizens living in India. It said that any distinction between the two (those abroad and those who have come to India) resulting in the denial of NRIs right to vote would be violative of article 19(1) as well as article 21. The PIL said 114 countries have adopted external voting and amongst it are 20 Asian countries. It said that the external voting could be by setting up polling booths at the diplomatic mission, or by postal, proxy or electronic voting. Dr. Shamsheer migrated to the UAE 12 years ago prior to which he was enrolled as a voter in his hometown of Calicut, Kerala and had voted in the elections. Subsequently he was removed from the voters list because of his NRI status. He operates nine hospitals in the UAE and a pharmaceutical manufacturing unit with a combined staff strength of around 5,600 people of which 3,600 are Indians.

Jeremy Clarkson (right), host of the program Top Gear, made the racist remark about Somi Guha (left) during series finale of Burma Special. He allegedly used the word “slope” - a derogatory term used for people of Asian descent.

complaint to the BBC. “Discrimination within the industry is accepted. Racial profiling of roles is accepted and expected,” she added. “I find it offensive that Jeremy Clarkson refers to people of different races in pejorative terms.” She wondered what message this gave to children and stated: “...that it's OK to bully and make racist comments.” “Jeremy Clarkson has made derogatory comments about Mexicans. Now he bullies an Asian person. It has to stop,” she said. Guha, according to the report, will now have to apply to a county court under the Equality Act. In a letter on behalf of Guha to Lord Patten, chairman of the BBC, Equal Justice writes of Clarkson: “He and the show must be censured to ensure that another race or nation is not targeted.” As an actress, Guha is known for her roles in the 2006 science fiction movie 'Children of Men' and in hit ITV show,' The Bill'.

Indian wins $272,000 payout in Dubai
Dubai: A court in Dubai has awarded one million dirhams (or $272,257) to an Indian expatriate as compensation after a car accident left him paralyzed, a daily reported Monday. Identified as A.K., the man was travelling in a car from Abu Dhabi to Fujairah in 2012 when he met with the accident in Dubai, Gulf News reported. The Emirati driver of the car was later arrested and convicted for the accident. The court of appeal in Dubai ordered the insurance company to pay one million dirhams in civil compensation to the 47-year-old victim, who was later repatriated. He was hospitalized for three months in Dubai's Rashid Hospital. According to the court-appointed medical committee, the man sustained a 100 per cent permanent disability and his condition would not improve. The victim had lodged a civil lawsuit against the insurance company seeking two million dirhams in compensation. "A.K. sustained medical, physical, financial and moral damages following the accident. He cannot eat, drink, walk or use his hands or legs or even use the washroom without a permanent escort," the lawsuit said.

Indian-origin student tweets to success
London: It took just a simple tweet from an Indian-origin student to impress British Foreign Secretary William Hague. Gopal Rao, an MBA student at the University of Cambridge, answered a question posed by Hague to win the UK Twitter prize, according to a report in Digital By Default News. Hague marked his 200,000th follower on Twitter by asking his followers to tweet the answer to this question: “What do you think is the biggest contribution UK foreign policy can make to the world?” The winning entry was from Gopal Rao (@gopalisation), who answered: “UK foreign policy should focus on emancipation of #girlsandwomen through enterprise, supported by vibrant #socent culture within UK. #meetFS” The prize was to meet the foreign Speaking after the meeting, Hague said: “Thank you to Gopal for coming in to the Foreign Office today, and for the good discussion we had about preventing sexual violence in conflict. Through social media politicians have opportunities to engage a wider group of people than ever before, and this was a perfect example of the value of this.” After the meeting, Gopal sat in on a part of the ‘Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict’ board meeting. “Seeing the passion and dedication both of the foreign secretary and his team was incredible. The building is imposing but the people I met in the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) are friendly and welcoming. I hope digital diplomacy reaps rewards,” Gopal was quoted as saying.

Gopal Rao answered a question posed by British Foreign Secretary William Hague to win the UK Twitter prize.

secretary and live tweet an event. Gopal met Hague Wednesday and discussed the ‘Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict’ initiative.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

SUBCONTINENT

April 5-11, 2014

21

India must ask Sri Lanka to work with UN
New Delhi: Human Rights Watch has urged India to encourage Sri Lanka to cooperate after the UN voted to investigate allegations of war crimes in the island nation. The UN Human Rights Council in Geneva Thursday passed the Sri Lanka resolution by a vote of 23 in favour, 12 against and 12 abstentions. India abstained. "There will now be an independent investigation into allegations of laws of war violations and other serious abuses by both sides during the conflict in Sri Lanka," Human Rights Watch said in a statement."This is a welcome decision, and one that will encourage victims and activists in Sri Lanka who have strived so courageously for accountability and justice," said Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director of Human Rights Watch. "India chose to abstain, but should now encourage Sri Lanka to cooperate with the UN human rights office to put this resolution into motion."

Musharraf indicted, pleads not guilty
Islamabad: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf was indicted this week on charges of high treason. He pleaded not guilty to all charges. Justice Faisal Arab, who heads the three-bench court, read out the indictment against the former army strongman with Musharraf pleading "not guilty" to all charges, Dawn online reported. "I honor this court and prosecution, I strongly believe in law, I don't have ego problems and I have appeared in court 16 times in this year in Karachi, Islamabad and Rawalpindi," the 70-year-old, who ruled Pakistan from 1999 to 2008, said. "I am being called a traitor, I have been chief of army staff for nine years and I have served this army for 45 years. I have fought two wars and it is 'treason'?" he asked. A non-bailable arrest warrant for Musharraf was issued in case he failed to appear before the court. For his appearance in the special court Monday, three different routes were chalked out by the capital police before Musharraf’s departure from Armed Forces

Attacks on Hindus in Sindh send ominous signals: Pak daily
Islamabad: To sit quietly as intolerance grows against non-Muslims is akin to acceptance of communalism, a leading Pakistani daily said. The frequent attacks on the Hindu community in Sindh province of Pakistan send ominous signals, the Dawn newspaper said in an editorial. A Hindu temple in Hyderabad city of the province was set on fire by unidentified arsonists last week, resulting in damage to an idol and the structure itself, it said. A dharamshala in Larkana was attacked by rioters after a Hindu man in the town was suspected of desecrating the holy Quran. The newspaper said unless consistent efforts were made by the state and society to address such violent incidents, the situation will only deteriorate. "A number of suspects were picked up Saturday while Sindh police officials are looking into different angles to unmask the culprits behind the temple attack," the newspaper said. Apart from the involvement of extremists, the possible role of landgrabbers is also being examined.

Pervez Musharraf has been charged with high treason for suspending the constitution when he declared emergency rule in 2007.

Institute of Cardiology (AFIC). A police squad and commandos reached the AFIC early in the morning to escort Musharraf to the court. For the former army strongman's security, 3,000 police and Rangers personnel were deployed on the routes. Musharraf has been charged with high treason for suspending the constitution when he declared

emergency rule in 2007. He took over in a bloodless coup when he dismissed the government of then prime minister Nawaz Sharif in 1999. Musharraf, who resigned in 2008 as president and went into exile, returned to Pakistan in March last year to run in the parliamentary elections. However, a court disqualified him from competing in the general elections in May.

Nepal plans to host SAARC summit Nov 14

India's booming art market on Pak artists' wish list
New Delhi: In Pakistan, lack of support from public institutions, little awareness about art and the absence of an ardent collector base have resulted in "limited" options for Pakistani artists, who see India as one of the potential markets for their work to flourish in. In return, Indian galleries have positively reciprocated towards Pakistani artists for their distinctive vocabulary in what already is a stiff-market when it comes to contemporary art in India. "Art is growing at a slow pace in Pakistan, but Indian and Pakistani aesthetics are so similar that one can relate to each other's work," Pakistani artist Amna Iiyas told IANS during her visit to India for a cultural art exchange initiative. "Some of the Pakistani artists like Rashid Rana have made it big in India and the world. So, it is one of the best platforms for us to come and showcase our works. India's art market is growing at a good rate and has great potential for us," said the Lahore-based artist, who had garnered great response during her first solo exhibition here in 2010. According to reports, India's $400 million art market is pegged against the worldwide figure of $65 billion, making it a lucrative destination for investors around

A fiber glass painting by Pakistani artist Amna Iiyas.

Kathmandu: The Nepal government has decided to host the 18th SAARC summit Nov 14 this year, officials here said. "Even though our government has fixed the date for holding the summit for this year, the chosen date is yet to be approved by the SAARC members," Minister for Information and Communication Minendra Rijal said. Nepal made the proposal for the summit in November during the meeting of South Asian

Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) council of foreign ministers held in the Maldives Feb 20. Rijal, who is also a spokesperson of the Nepal government, said the proposal would soon be forwarded to the SAARC Secretariat for final endorsement. Nepal has previously hosted the summit twice in 1987 and 2002 since the formation of the South Asian bloc in 1985. The last SAARC summit was held in the Maldives in 2011.

the globe. The Islamic country has slowly, but steadily, gained international visibility in the past two decades, with modern masters like Shakir Ali and Ismail Gulgee and contemporary artists like Rashid Rana, Talha Rathore, Aisha Khalid and Mohammed Imran Qureshi leaving a significant mark at the world's art stage. The 1970s and the 1980s were the era of calligraphy in Pakistan, but gradually, the artists moved into miniatures and 3-D paintings, creating a visual vocabulary of their own that was somehow extremely different from their Indian counterparts. While the contemporary miniatures became a dominant face of

Pakistani art in the West, Indian artists started exploring newer mediums like sound art and installations. Even though India was lucky to have the works of prominent artists like F.N. Souza, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde and M.F. Husain represent the country at several auctions and exhibitions abroad, the real reckoning came with the hosting of the India Art Fair - one of South Asia's biggest art exhibitions - in 2008. This was followed by international auction house Christie's India debut in 2013 where Gaitonde's work sold for a record Rs.23.7 crore ($3.7 million) - making the West to acknowledge and watch out for the budding Indian art scene.

22

April 5-11, 2014

INTERNATIONAL

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

US trying to rope in India, China to isolate Russia
Washington: In a bid to isolate Russia over its annexation of Crimea, the US says it is talking with Moscow's friends like India and China, but it has not yet asked them to impose any sanctions. "Well, I don't think we're there yet. Obviously, we've been consulting very closely with the Europeans about sanctions," State Department spokesperson Marie Harf told reporters when asked if the US was going to seek Iran-oil like sanction from countries outside NATO. "We have been talking with other countries diplomatically, though," she said noting that in the Security Council vote last weekend, "it was significant that China, for example, abstained and did not vote with Russia". "So, we are actively working on the diplomatic side to isolate Russia and that means with countries like China and India and others," she said. "But on the oil part, we're just not there yet." India has not directly criticized Moscow though when Russian President Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last week to explain the Russian Geneva. "It is disappointing to us that India abstained from voting on this resolution when they voted yes for the last two years," she said. "We have made our disappointment known to Indian officials. Beyond that, I'd refer you to them in terms of how they voted," Harf said. The US resolution called for a probe into war crimes allegedly committed in the final stages of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Rejecting the resolution, India said it ignores the efforts at reconciliation being done by Sri Lanka in the predominantly Tamil north, including holding of elections.

NASA suspends cooperation with Russia except for ISS
India has not directly criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin over its annexation of Crimea

position, Singh, according to the external affairs ministry, "emphasised the consistent position India had on the issues of unity and territorial integrity of countries". Manmohan Singh also "expressed hope that all sides would exercise restraint and work together constructively to find political and diplomatic solutions that protected

the legitimate interests of all countries in the region and ensured long term peace and stability in Europe and beyond." Back in Washington, in response to another question, Harf expressed disappointment over India abstaining from US-sponsored resolution against Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in

Washington: The US space agency -- NASA -- has suspended all contacts with its Russian counterpart Roscosmos except for ongoing activities aboard the International Space Station (ISS). "This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, e-mail, and teleconferences or video conferences," Xinhua reported quoting an internal letter published by the US space news website Spaceref Wednesday, citing US-Russian ten-

sions over Ukraine and Crimea. "At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted," it said.There are currently two Americans onboard the ISS. In addition, multilateral meetings held outside of Russia that may include Russian participation are not precluded under the present guidance, the letter added. In March, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has repeatedly said that space cooperation between the two countries would not be affected over tensions in Ukraine.

Lost Malaysian jet: search continues
Perth/Kuala Lumpur: No sightings were reported at the conclusion of search operation in the southern Indian Ocean for the “lost” Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 even as a senior Malaysian official said that all passengers on board the jet have been “cleared” in a criminal investigation that is being conducted. On Wednesday, 10 aircraft and nine ships searched an area of about 237,000 sq km, about 1,500 km northwest of Perth, Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said in its latest update. “There were no sightings reported of any objects related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370,” it stated. “Weather in the search area was fair, with visibility of approximately 10 kilometres.” The JACC also said that the HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar Class submarine of the British Royal Navy, has arrived in the southern Indian Ocean to assist with the search. “With her advanced underwater search capability, HMS Tireless will be a valuable contribution to the search for the missing plane,” it added. Additionally, HMS Echo, a coastal survey ship also of the British Royal Navy, is in the search area to assist in efforts to locate the transponder on the black box. It would also play an important role in the search for debris on the ocean surface and its advanced environmental assessment capability will help to optimise search operations, according to the JACC. “The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia,” the JACC update concluded. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8. The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

The US Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0 magnitude.

Italy has long attempted to win international support in the case.

Five killed in 8.2 magnitude quake in Chile
Santiago: Five people have been killed in a massive earthquake measuring 8.2 on the Richter Scale that hit off Chile's northern coast and triggered tsunami waves, authorities said. According to the University of Chile Seismological Service, the powerful tremor hit off northern Chile's coast at 8.46 p.m. (11.46 p.m. GMT) and the epicentre was located 99 km northwest of the mining port of Iquique, near the Peruvian border. The US Geological Survey initially reported the quake at 8.0 magnitude. The South American country is located in one of the seismically most active regions in the world. The nation is a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes mountain ranges to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Chile borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean authorities used television to order the evacuation of coastal areas, urging citizens to leave their homes and towns speedily. The Chilean National Office for Emergency said more than 10,000 people in some coastal towns have been evacuated. Power went out and communication lines were affected in some areas where landslides blocked roads and highways to the region. The office also said 300 inmates escaped from a women's prison in the city of Iquique and the military was sending a planeload of special forces to prevent looting.

Italy calls for 'functional immunity' for marines
Brussels/Rome: Italy has called upon the international community to emphasise the principle of 'functional immunity' for two Italian marines, accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast in 2012. The marines should be exempt from prosecution in India because they are servicemen who were working on a mission, ANSA reported citing Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. Functional immunity protects state officials from the jurisdiction of other states as they perform actions while on duty. The minister said the two marines were not in India for private reasons but 'on duty'. "The recognition of such a dimension is extremely important," Mogherini said in comments on the case on the sidelines of a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. Marines Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are accused of killing the two Indian fishermen after allegedly mistaking them for pirates. Rome is seeking international arbitration in the case, arguing it is not under Indian jurisdiction as the incident occurred outside the country's territorial waters. Mogherini said the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) had already acknowledged that functional immunity is important. Italy has long attempted to win international support in the case.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

BUSINESS

April 5-11, 2014

23

EC nod for RBI to issue new bank licences
New Delhi: The Election Commission has allowed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to issue new bank licences before the completion of general elections next month. "The commission is of the view that Reserve Bank of India may take necessary action as deemed appropriate by the Bank," the EC said on its website. The RBI has sought the Election Commission's nod over the issue of grant of new bank licences as a matter of caution on not violating the poll code of conduct, which came into force with the March 5 announcement of general elections. The Reserve Bank of India Governor Raghuram Rajan said the granting of new bank licences has no link with politics and the process is purely economic and regulatory. "This (issue of bank licence) is not in any way a political process, it is an economic and regulatory process and is to be seen as distant and different (from politics)," Rajan told media persons here after announcing the RBI's monetary policy. "So, while different political par-

Industry for clean, corruption-free govt
Kolkata: Leading industrial bodies said a clean and a corruption-free government at the Centre could take India on a higher growth trajectory and prosperity. "People are absolutely fed up particularly in the last few years and have started questioning now. A corruption-free government is absolutely important for the betterment of the country," CII president-designate Sumit Mazumdar said. Mazumdar said that whatever happened to the Indian economy in the last few years was 'totally man-made and not linked to any economic cycle'. "The downturn in the economy in the last few years was totally man-made and not linked to the global crisis. This was a result of lack of confidence in the government and business sentiments was adversely affected owing to rampant corruption", Mazumdar, who will hold the reins of the premier industry body next year, said. "One can notice that business sentiments have vastly improved after the announcement of elections. The sensex has been rising, foreign investments are coming and the core sector is doing well," he said. Mazumdar said that this was because people were expecting a good government to come after the elections. He said since the last few years, infrastructure development had come to a standstill. The new government should come with a clear-cut plan on how to weed out corruption from the system. Assocham senior vice-president Sunil Kanoria also echoed similar views. "Corruption has to be weeded out as it has affected business sentiments adversely," Kanoria said.

The RBI received 27 applications, which include from public sector units India Post and IFCI, and from the private sector Anil Ambani and Aditya Birla groups and others

ties may have their views, we have to undertake what we have to undertake," he added regarding the bank's internal processing of licence applications. Explaining that the requirements of due diligence and feedback from investigating agencies had taken more time than expected, Rajan said these reports were received only by Feb 25, whereby the entire process had spilt over into the election season.

The RBI received 27 applications, which include from public sector units India Post and IFCI, and from the private sector Anil Ambani and Aditya Birla groups, Bajaj Finance, Muthoot Finance, Religare Enterprises and Shriram Capital. In the past 20 years, the RBI has licensed 12 banks in the private sector in two phases, last two entities being Kotak Mahindra Bank and Yes Bank in 2003-04.

RBI leaves policy rates GM boss 'deeply sorry' after deadly crashes unchanged
Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), as expected, left key interest rates unchanged in its first bi-monthly monetary policy review and said near-term tightening is not expected if inflation continues to ease. The repo rate, or the interest that banks pay when they borrow money from the RBI to meet their short-term fund requirements, has been left unchanged at 8 percent. The reverse repo rate, or the interest that the RBI pays to commercial banks when they park their surplus short-term funds with the central bank, has been adjusted to 7 percent. The Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) is left unchanged at 4 percent. The marginal standing facility rate and the Bank Rate is also kept unchanged at 9 percent. The status quo in key policy rates mean the equated monthly installments (EMIs) on home, auto and other loans would remain unchanged as these rates determine lending and borrowing rates of the commercial banks. In its previous policy statement announced Jan 28, the central bank had hiked short-term lending and borrowing rates by 0.25 percent. The central bank's action is on the expected lines as most analysts predicted a status quo considering the macro-economic data and election. "The only thing that is surprising in the monetary policy today is lack of surprises," Governor Raghuram Rajan said while announcing the policy statement. Rajan said the central bank's policy is firmly focused on curbing inflation.

GM chief Mary Barra

Washington: Conceding company officials knew of their cars' potentially deadly ignition switches for years, GM chief Mary Barra apologized and said the automaker had a "civic responsibility" to make things right. The manufacturer is under fire for not recalling Chevrolet Cobalts, Saturn Ions and other General Motors models over the past decade, despite its own evidence that the defects were posing a major hazard. Thirteen deaths have been linked to the problems, and GM eventually issued mass recalls this year.Barra said GM has acknowledged the problem, launched an exhaustive review to determine what and who is responsible, and pledged top-to-bottom changes in shifting from a "cost culture" to a focus on safety and quality. "Today's GM will do the right thing," she told a House investigations panel in Washington. "That begins with my sincere apologies to everyone who has been affected by this recall," she added. "I am deeply sorry." Lawmakers pointed to internal documents showing GM at first refused to change the faulty switches because it would have been too costly. The lawmakers, and Barra, expressed astonishment that the company went ahead with using the parts even though they did not meet GM standards. "That is not something that I find acceptable," Barra said.

24

April 5-11, 2014

SPORTS

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

SC splits BCCI, Gavaskar to oversee IPL
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has virtually split the Indian cricket board, naming legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar and board vice president Shivlal Yadav as interim heads respectively for the Indian Premier League and all other matters in place of the tainted incumbent N. Srinivasan. A bench of Justice A.K. Patnaik and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said Gavaskar will only be in charge of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) starting April 16 in the UAE and asked senior vice president Shivlal Yadav to oversee the rest of the work of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The court also barred all those associated with Srinivasan's India Cements company, which owns IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings, from functioning in the BCCI in any manner. The court, however, allowed Chennai Super Kings as well as Rajasthan Royals, whose owners too are facing charges of betting, to take part in this year's IPL. "We make it clear that we have not passed any order preventing any player or team from participating in the tournament 2014," the order said. "Considering the fact that Mr. Sunil Gavaskar was a cricket player of great repute and eminence, a captain of the Indian cricket team for a long period and has a wide experience in cricket related activities and of men and matters, we appoint him, as an interim measure, to function as and exercise the powers of the president of the BCCI in relation to the IPL 2014 till we hear and deliver the judgment in these matters," Justice Patnaik said in the order. Gavaskar "will have power to engage the services of such persons on whom he has confidence for work in connection with the IPL 2014," Justice Patnaik said. "We also direct that it is for Mr. Gavaskar to decide as to whether Mr. Sundar Raman, chief IPL operator, would continue in the IPL 2014 or some other arrangement has to be made in his place," the court said. "In case of any difficulty, Mr. Gavaskar may apply to this court for appropriate orders," it added. Passing the order, the court said it had to pass interim orders "to ensure that all those who love cricket continue to watch cricket in IPL 2014 and the matches are played by the players in accordance with the IPL Rules." "We make it clear that with regard to all other matters of BCCI, the senior most vice president of the BCCI, Mr. Shivlal Yadav, will discharge the functions of the president of the BCCI." Appointing Gavaskar as an interim president, the court noted the offer made by Srinivasan that till investigation into allegations against him is completed, he will not discharge any of the functions of the BCCI chief. The court also said Gavaskar would no more be a BCCI-contracted cricket commentator and he would be adequately compensated for it by the board. The compensation amount will be determined after the court resumes hearing on April 16, it said.

India now have won four consecutive matches on the trot to top Group 2 with eight points.

World T20: India trounce Australia, remain unbeaten
Mirpur (Bangladesh): Two brilliant performances from Yuvraj Singh and Ravichandran Ashwin saw India through in their last Group 2 match of the ICC World Twenty20 against Australia by 73 runs at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium here. Put in to bat, India were powered to 159/7 with Yuvraj's blistering knock of 60 from 43 deliveries. In reply, Australia were dismally bowled out for their second lowest ever Twenty20 International score of 86. Off spinner Ashwin was the key as he clinched 4/11 in 3.2 overs, the best bowling figures by an Indian in the format. India did not take off well as they lost wickets at regular intervals, including star batsman Virat Kohli The men from Down Under never really threatened India anytime with their batting as they kept losing wickets right from the start. Only three of their batsman reached double figures with Glenn Maxwell top scoring with 23. Medium pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar swung the ball beautifully at the start and finished with figures of 1/7 from three overs. But it was man of the match Ashwin who really did the trick with only 14 of his deliveries. Leg spinner Amit Mishra took two wickets while Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja had to be content with one apiece. India now have won four consecutive matches on the trot to top Group 2 with eight points. They had already qualified for the semifinals after beating hosts Bangladesh Friday while Australia have been knocked out of the competition.

Legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar

Sacramento Kings to host Anand to add surprises to his war-room team Bollywood night at NBA games
Sacramento (California): NBA side Sacramento Kings are hosting the team’s first-ever “Bollywood” themed game against the L.A. Lakers. The game will celebrate Indian culture and cinema with various performances. Kings majority owner Vivek Ranadive, the first Indian-born owner in NBA history, has created an NBA 3.0 philosophy focused on cutting edge technology to enhance the fan experience, acting as a positive agent of change in the community and expanding the team’s global brand. This season, the Kings have televised over 20 live games in India, launched a website in Hindi, sent the Sacramento Kings Dancers to Mumbai and signed the team’s first India-based sponsor. “The ultimate power of sports is the ability to connect people across geographic, economic and cultural lines,” said Ranadive. “The Kings strive every day to provide all of our fans with a unique and lasting experience, which is why we have such strong support from the Indian community here and abroad. Together, we are catapulting basketball as the fastest growing sport in India. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and I also have plans to visit, and we hope to continue sharing the Kings experience throughout India," Ranadive added. Chennai: Five-time World chess champion Viswanathan Anand promised a couple of surprises in his team of seconds when he faces defending champion Magnus Carlsen in the World Chess Championship later this year. Anand at a press briefing here after arriving from Russia, where he won the Candidates Tournament, said he might re-jig his team of seconds, or players who help a champion player prepare for the World Championship. "I would chalk a new path for a new result. I won't get a new result if I travel in the old path," said Anand. Asked if he was planning to rejig his team of seconds, Anand said: "I have some ideas. There would be a couple of surprises. Ideas are being thought about. Everything cannot be discussed in open." Four-time women's World champion Susan Polgar of Hungary had told IANS that Anand can perhaps add another strategist to his war-room team. Anand's team during last year's failed title defence here in his home town against Carlsen were his compatriots Sandipan Chanda, K. Sasikiran, H u n g a r i a n Grandmaster Peter Leko and P o l a n d ' s Radoslaw Wo j t a s z e k . Chanda was also a second in Russia during the

Candidates Tournament. Queried about Polgar's views Anand said: "Ideas are there but they cannot be discussed here."
Chess player Viswanathan Anand

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

PERSONAL FINANCE

April 5-11, 2014

25

Tax filing: Education credits and deductions
cannot claim their own exemption if they qualify as your dependent. Students are allowed to take the standard deduction even if they are not claiming their own exemption. The standard deduction amount of a dependent may be lower than the standard deduction of a person who is not a dependent. By Kanwal S. Sra CPA 6th in a series he education of your children, or even of yourself and your spouse, can be a major investment. Knowing if your college-age child is still a dependent, what scholarships are taxable, and which tax credits are available can be confusing. You need to consider your situation to determine which options are best for you. Tax planning is essential to make the most of these benefits. You should determine whether your adjusted gross income disqualifies you from using one of the options or whether your education expenses qualify for the benefit you are considering. The definition of qualified educational expenses often differs between the different tax saving options. You should also consider issues other than tax, for example, the student's eligibility for financial aid and who has control over the money used for college. In certain circumstances, it might be better to have the child pay the education expenses rather than the parent; in other circumstances, it might be better to have the parent pay the education expenses for the student. Scholarships and Grants A candidate for a degree can exclude from income amounts received for tuition, books, and fees. Amounts used for room and board do not qualify for exclusion. Amounts received by a scholarship candidate for services such as teaching or research are taxable income even if providing such services is a required condition for receiving the scholarship or grant. Scholarship prizes won in a contest are not considered scholarships/fellowships if they are not designated to be used for educational purposes only. These must be included in gross income. Payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs are not considered scholarships and are not included in income. Scholarship and fellowship payments for teaching, research, or other services paid by the National Health Services Corps Scholarship Programs or by the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship and Financial Assistance Program are not included in income.

Tuition and Fees Deduction
You may be able to deduct up to $4,000 for qualified tuition and fees paid for higher education even if you do not itemize deductions. Qualified tuition and fees are amounts paid for you, your spouse, or a person whom you claim as your dependent. The tuition and fees must be required for enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. You may qualify for the maximum $4,000 tuition and fees deduction if your modified adjusted gross income is $65,000 or less ($130,000 or less if Married Filing Jointly) or a reduced tuition and fees deduction of up to $2,000 if your modified adjusted gross income is greater than $65,000 ($130,000 if Married Filing Jointly) but not more than $80,000 ($160,000 if Married Filing Jointly). If your modified adjusted gross income is greater than $80,000 ($160,000 if Married Filing Jointly), you cannot take this deduction. This deduction is not available: * If the American Opportunity Credit or Lifetime Learning Credit is claimed for the student * On returns filed with a Married Filing Separately filing status * To a person who can be claimed as a dependent on another person's return, even if the other person chooses not to claim the person as a dependent Qualified expenses used to take the tuition and fees deduction must be reduced by any tax-free benefits received, such as distribution of earnings from a Qualified Tuition Program (QTP) or tax-free savings bond interest. Qualified expenses must also be reduced by the full amount of a Coverdell Education Savings Account (Coverdell ESA) distribution. For example, Charmaine's modified adjusted gross income is under $65,000. She incurred qualified tuition expenses of $5,000 for her son, Anwar, who is a student Charmaine claims as her dependent. Anwar received a $6,000 distribution as the beneficiary of a QTP, of which $500 represents the tax-free

earnings. He also received a $1,000 distribution from a Coverdell ESA. Charmaine's allowable tuition and fees deduction is $3,500 ($5,000 qualifying expenses less $500 taxfree earnings less $1,000 Coverdell ESA distribution).

Coverdell Education Savings Account (ESA)
The Coverdell Education Savings Account (Coverdell ESA) is a custodial or trust account for the sole purpose of paying for the qualified education expenses of the designated beneficiary. The designated beneficiary is considered the owner of the account, which may affect the beneficiary's eligibility for financial aid. The designated beneficiary assumes control of the account upon turning age 18. In addition to higher education expenses, qualified expenses include certain elementary (including kindergarten) and secondary public, private, or religious school tuition and expenses. Expenses include books, tutoring, computer equipment, software and services, room and board, uniforms, extended-day program costs, and the expenses of an individual with special needs that are necessary for that person's enrollment or attendance at an eligible educational institution. Anyone, including the beneficiary, can establish and contribute to this account. However, if the beneficiary is under age 18, the parent or guardian of the beneficiary must set up this account. You can make a contribution to a Coverdell ESA if your modified adjusted gross income for the year is less than $110,000 ($220,000 if Married Filing Jointly). If your modified adjusted gross income is above the limit, it is possible for you to provide the beneficiary with the money as a gift and have the beneficiary make the contribution on their own behalf, as long as the beneficiary's modified adjusted gross income is not over the limit. The maximum total of all contributions for any one beneficiary cannot be more than $2,000 per tax year. No additional contributions can be made to the account once the beneficiary turns age 18, unless the beneficiary is an individual with special needs. The contributions are not tax deductible but earnings are tax free to the beneficiary if they are used to pay for qualified education expenses. A 10% penalty may apply to a distribution that is not applied to qualified education expenses. Money remaining in the account after paying for a beneficiary's qualified expenses can be rolled into another family member's Coverdell ESA account tax free if certain conditions are met. Contributions to a Coverdell ESA are considered a gift from the contributor to the beneficiary and are eligible for the annual gift tax exclusion. The author is an eminent CPA with over 25 years of experience and having 25 offices in Nassau, Suffolk and Queens counties. email:ksra@ksracpaspc.com.

T

Tax filing deadlines
April 15, 2014 Federal Tax Returns Due!
Taxes must be postmarked by this date to qualify for timely filing.

Student Loan Interest Deduction
You may be able to deduct up to $2,500 of interest you paid on a qualified student loan to attend an accredited, higher educational institution. The loan must have been for you, your spouse, or someone you claimed as your dependent when you took out the loan. This deduction is an adjustment to income so you can claim it even if you do not itemize deductions on Schedule A, Itemized Deductions. Your modified adjusted gross income must be less than $75,000 ($150,000 if Married Filing Jointly). If you are filing Married Filing Separately, you cannot take this deduction.

Keep the following in mind when preparing your tax return:

Dependents
Whether a student is claimed as a dependent on your tax return may affect your eligibility, or the student's eligibility, for the different tax benefits available for education expenses. A student is someone enrolled in school full-time for at least five months out of the calendar year. A full-time student under age 24 who has a job may still be claimed as a dependent on their parents' return. If your child must file a return, they

October 15, 2014 Due date for those who filed an extension.
Please be aware that an extension of time to file is NOT an extension of time to pay.

More US elderly writing 'living wills'
n a new trend, more elderly people in the US are completing 'living wills' to guide endof-life medical treatments - up from 47 percent in 2000 to 72 percent in 2010, shows research. “However, even with nearly double the number of people complet-

I

ing advance wills, there was little difference in hospitalization rates or deaths in the hospital,” said researchers from University of Michigan and the Veterans Affairs Ann Arbor Healthcare System. Given the aging population, there has been a great push to

encourage more people to complete advance directives with the idea that this may increase hospice care and reduce hospitalization for patients during the last six months of life, explained Maria Silveira researcher with the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.

Silveira says the increase in advanced directives indicates that people are less timid about broaching end-of-life planning and talking about death with loved ones. “People seem more comfortable having 'the talk' about those dire

`what-if' scenarios and death in general,” she added. People want to ease the burden upon their loved ones who would undoubtedly face difficult decisions when it comes to handling finances, medical treatment and other matters.

26

April 5-11, 2014

SELF HELP

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

What every small business needs to know about marketing
or small businesses, smart marketing is crucial for success. But what does that mean in today’s fast paced, highly wired world? While online and mobile communication has gained importance in recent years, experts say that faceto-face engagement with people who matter to you and your organization remains invaluable. “In a crowded marketplace, making a positive and lasting impression is crucial,” says Skip Cox, Board Chairman for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. “There’s no substitute for an in-person meeting.” No matter the size or focus area of your business, exhibitions, trade shows and other forms of face-to-face meetings can be a powerful business tool, helping with sales, networking, education and business research. But how do you make the most of your time at face-to-face events? Cox is offering some top tips: Socialize: Before the event, identify who you want to engage with while you’re there. Engage those individuals in online dialogue -- retweet them, reply to their messages and join their groups. This will make the initial in-person conversation easier. Social and mobile media can help you take conversations from online to offline and back again. Be more than your booth: Your booth is not the only presence your brand has at an event. Without going too far or coming across as unprofessional, wear something that aligns with your company to help

F

you stand out. Consider the standards of your industry, the image of your business and the tone of the event, and find something that fits with you and your business. Connect your connections: Introduce people who may benefit from knowing one another. Both parties will be grateful to you and you’ll be known as someone who “knows people.” Promote: Get your name out there. Use promotional products strategically. Investigate sponsorship opportunities. Play by the rules: Don’t take advantage of the audience attending an official event by creating nonaffiliated concurrent activities or events, or use public areas to drum up personal business without actually paying to participate. This will only build negative buzz for you and your business. Strategize: Making connections is half the battle. Making the right connections is the more important half. Do your legwork so you can figure out exactly who you want to target. Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a well-established player, getting to know the people who matter can help your business. Ask, don’t assume: Many event organizers are familiar with the struggles startups and small businesses go through and will often work with you to find ways you can participate at a price you can afford. Don’t let perceived cost deter you; ask event organizers what your options are as even a more limited presence can help you find a wealth of opportunities at a fraction of the price.

9 things to consider when deciding whether to sell your home
s the economy continues to strengthen, you may wonder whether to stay in your current home or sell while the timing seems perfect. Since there are many things to sort out, the experts at Homes.com have put together a comprehensive overview of things to consider: Size: If your home is too small, moving may be a more affordable, less stressful option than additions, which can be costly and overwhelming. You can expect to recoup anywhere from 45 to 75 percent in additional home appreciation, depending on the project, according to Remodeling.com. However, the return on investment is not always immediate, which is something to consider if you’re planning to sell immediately. Renovations: If the necessary renovations to stay in your current home seem overwhelming, it may be time to move. For example, a new roof can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000 or more, according to Choice Roofing Group. Large-scale home issues may decrease a home’s market value, but conversely, many home-seekers love the opportunity to customize their dream home. Competition: Do your

A

research. Determine your home’s worth. Then, work with a real estate professional to determine a competitive price point, and let the bidding begin. Lifestyle change: Just as growing families need more room, a shrinking family might mean it’s time to downsize. Retired and looking to travel? Downsizing can free disposable income for a world adventure. Demand: As demand picks up, builders are ready to keep up, and that means brand new homes at varying, competitive prices. Consider selling to take advantage of increased demand and tightening supply. Equity: Year-over-year home

equity growth reached 8 percent at the end of 2013, as reported by the Homes.com Local Market Index. If you love your current place, continue enjoying your home and reap the benefits of increased equity when the time comes to sell. Local economy: If you live in a growing town, it may be wise to stay put. Watch the local economy grow for a year or two and then decide if it’s a good decision to relocate. Updates: Home updates are an opportunity to add value to a home and make it feel brand new. Location: Consider your neighbors, school zone, proximity to work and daily life activities. Are you happy where you are?

Tips to get fit this spring
figure, doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your favorite foods or go carbfree. “Alternative foods can allow you to enjoy favorite options without expending your calorie budget in one meal,” says Eckhardt. Try replacing standard cake or wheat flours with healthy alternatives, like oat fiber and almond fiber. In one shot, you’ll cut calories and increase your protein and fiber intake. If regular baking is unrealistic, look for brands that replace lowquality inexpensive flours and sugar substitutes with good-for-you alternatives. Exercise Spring is a great opportunity to start a fitness regimen that you can stick with all year. You should strive to get at least two and a half hours a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, preferably spread throughout the week, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, you should incorporate muscle-strengthening activities into your regimen to stay strong and improve your metabolism. A workout buddy can help you stay motivated. Wherever spring takes you, you can look and feel great, while enjoying all your favorite foods and activities.

How religion, spirituality influence health
o you know that religion helps regulate behavior and health habits while spirituality regulates your emotions? According to a new research, religion and spirituality have distinct but complementary influences on health. “No one has ever reviewed all of the different models of how religion affects health. We are trying to impose a structure on a very messy field,” said Carolyn Aldwin, a gerontology professor in the college of public health and human sciences at Oregon State University. Religiousness, including formal religious affiliation and service attendance, is associated with better health habits such as lower smoking rates and reduced alcohol consumption. Spirituality, including meditation and private prayers, helps regulate

D

emotions, which aids physiological effects such as blood pressure, Aldwin noted. There can be some overlap of the influences of religion and spirituality on health. “More research is needed to test the theory and examine contrasts between the two different pathways,” Aldwin commented. The goal is to help researchers develop better measures for analyzing the connections between religion, spirituality and health and then explore possible clinical interventions, the researchers concluded. The findings were published in the Journal Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

verybody wants to be in shape for bathing suit season, but all those fun seasonal activities -from barbecues to vacations to baseball games -- can derail a diet. Here are some tips to help you get fit, so you can look and feel your best all season: Vacations It’s tempting to leave healthy habits behind when heading out of town. But an off week can permanently wreck your diet. When possible, opt for active vacations, such as camping trips or touring a city by foot. If you’re planning a more sedentary getaway, stay somewhere with a fitness facility. Vacations can be rare, so don’t sacrifice all the treats of the trip. Prioritize meal-time indulgences so

E

you can enjoy yourself mindfully. For travel days, pack healthful snacks such as fresh fruit, nuts and yogurt as alternatives to high-calorie airport or roadside food. Daily Diet It’s important to assess whether you’re eating the foods you need to get “fit,” versus foods that merely encourage weight loss, say experts. “Unfortunately, many fad diets can leave you feeling fatigued, sluggish or undernourished,” says Andrew Eckhardt, Owner and Founder of ThinSlim Foods and a veteran diet food consumer. To eat right, don’t starve yourself. Stock up on fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meats. And just because you’re slimming down or maintaining your already svelte

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

LIFESTYLE

April 5-11, 2014

27

Soha
felicitates young designer at WIFW

WIFW 2014 grand finale:

Kangana's oops moment on ramp
the chance to walk down the ramp with Kangana and take a bow, but she continued to be happy. "Stuff happen. Kangana is larger than that. She walked for me and I am happy," said Joshipura. Despite the mishap, Kangana was in some way delighted to be back on the fashion runway. "It is nice to be here. Many years after 'Fashion' I am getting to walk on the ramp. I was a fashion disaster in 'Queen' and a fashion victim in 'Revolver Rani'...I love getting dressed and looking good for a change...I like doing shows," said the Kangana Ranaut as the show actress, who will be into surstopper for Namrata Joshipura soon seen in faces. "Revolver Rani". There were long and short dressJoshipura presented her new es, bodysuits, shorts and jackets in range titled electron, which was mostly black. Other colors included inspired by the future. New tech- green, blue and red. niques were used. The knee length boots, gloves, Texturing was used as embellish- gladiator headgear and metal piece ment, leather palettes were created on lips of the models, made the outand twisted fabrics were woven fits more appealing.

A

ctress Soha Ali Khan felicitated India's aspiring fashion designer at an awards ceremony held at WIFW. Wills Lifestyle presented the grand finale of the 8th edition of The Debut, which recognizes the country's talented young designers in the field of fashion. Soha was present at the occasion. "The Debut by Wills Lifestyle is an extremely wonderful initiative. It gives the young aspiring student designers from all over India an opportunity to showcase their capabilities in front of the celebrated fashion specialists," Soha said. Gourav Goel, Pearl Academy, New Delhi was declared the winner of The Debut this time. He received a sponsored trip to Britain for a course at the London School of Fashion. The Debut finale was judged by popular names like Namrata Joshipura and Pankaj & Nidhi.

Models display Namrata Joshipura’s collection

he may have walked with elan in Madhur Bhandarkar's 2008 release "Fashion", but actress Kangana Ranaut was unable to move forward smoothly as the showstopper for designer Namrata Joshipura at the grand finale of Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) autumn-winter 2014 in Delhi. The five-day fashion event concluded Sunday and the "Queen" star was invited to sashay down the ramp as Joshipura's showstopper. With her curly locks tied up, Kangana made her entry in a strap-

S

less floor sweeping black gown with metallic embellishment on the side. Just after taking a few steps, one could notice her struggling with her gown created by Joshipura. Nevertheless, Kangana gradually walked on the LED lit runway. After stumbling a few times, she slightly lifted her gown up with both hands to avoid herself from falling on the stage. "I feel her show was good and I feel bad because I let her down," the 27-year-old told reporters here after the show. The designer missed

WIFW: Pankaj & Nidhi's collection to 'fall' for
D
esigner duo Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja's show at the ongoing Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) autumn-winter 2014 was grand and easy to fall for. The autumn-winter range titled House of cards, which was showcased here Saturday, was undoubtedly eye-catching and the hooting and applause during the show supports the fact. It comprised house of cards gold embellished evening dress, Spanish royalty jacket with Jodhpur pants, liquid gold applique long dress, embroidered tuxedo-bib with silk shirt and draped pants, queen of hearts print dress and much more in colors like gold, black, white and green. Some of the printed dresses were even held together with belts. "The collection is close to us. It's majestic and grand," said Nidhi.

Models sashay in Abraham Thakore creations

Abraham-Thakore choose northeast wild silk for WIFW range
esigner duo David Abraham and Rakesh Thakore selected wild silk from northeast India to create their autumn-winter collection, which they presented at the WIFW. "Our collection is inspired by empowered women and wild silk of northeast," said Abraham. Muga, Tussar and Eri are fabrics woven from wild silk, which was used to create the line. The collection with a palette based on the golden hues of wild silk, evoked various shades of khaki.

D

One of designer duo Pankaj and Nidhi Ahuja's creations

Unlike most of the autumn-winter collections showcased at the fashion event, which started Wednesday, Abraham and Thakore's new range adhered to the theme. There was less skin show and winter outfits like trench coat over a sari, military inspired blouson jacket with kurta and even shawl and scarves were displayed on the last show of day three of the fashion event. But for sari blouse they didn't do what other designers did. Instead of hiding arms of models with the help of full sleeve blouse, they chose to

let the arms show while covering other parts of the body like waist. Belts were also used to hold everything together. Meant for urban women, the range with a few pieces beautified by leopard prints, looked fabulous on models, who walked in flats. They also left behind jewelry pieces and neatly tied up hair. Actor Rahul Dev, dressed in a pair of jeans and black shirt with some of the top buttons open, occupied a seat in the front row and watched the show.

28

April 5-11, 2014

HUMOR

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi

The wisdom of being really stupid works for me
hese days, people overthink every decision they make. To compensate, more people need to underthink their decisions. Luckily, many people, including this writer, do this automatically. Like the man who spent months building a nursery for quintuplets, but learned a few days ago that he just had a fat girlfriend. (Paul Servat of Quebec, if you want to look him up.) Or the guy in Australia who recently got lost in his back garden and phoned the police. "I'm lost." "Where are you?" "In the garden of my house in Darwin." "Thought you said you were lost?" "It's a big garden." A police rescue team found him 300 meters from his back door, NTnews.com reported. Now I can see you starting to smile but it's really important we do not laugh at these people. As Modern Scientific People, we need to consider the positive side of stupidity. Exhibit A is the US police force, which rejected an applicant because

T

he scored too high in an intelligence test. The irritated brainy guy, Robert Jordan, sued. His appeal was rejected by the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals after police chiefs explained that less intelligent appli-

cants better suited the job and stayed longer. Judges considered mounds of data and agreed. Stupid was better. The case took place several years ago but has been much discussed

recently by researchers. Would-be cop Jordan pleaded at the time that he couldn't help being smart, having been born that way. "I maintain you have no more control over your basic intelligence than your eye color or your gender or anything else," he said, according to ABC News. (He should have said: "Me like being brainiac! Woof woof!") The good news is that the US police force can bulk-recruit from Asia. Recently, the Delhi Police force admitted that it had had missed eight years of on-line corruption tip-offs because no one could remember the email password. When they finally managed to download the messages, they found 600 tips, many referring to people who had already died, moved away or been elected to high office. But how exactly is stupidity good? Studies say it improves efficiency (Journal of Management Studies), boosts productivity (University of Texas) and increases happiness (University of Edinburgh). In a study in top journal Nature, scien-

tists divided people into three groups: unconfident, accurate and overconfident. They found that "natural selection is likely to have favored a bias towards overconfidence". I would give more details, but all the studies are full of really big words. I learned the wisdom of stupidity when I was 13. I walked into a gang of neo-Nazis in London, who told me they had a policy of beating up all Pakistanis. A typical bookish Asian kid, I nervously explained: "I was born 1,499 miles from Pakistan in Sri Lanka, as far from the aforementioned country as London is from Russia." They beat me up. The next time, I just talked rubbish. "Yeah! Cool! Manchester United vs Arsenal, right? I like popsicles! Gary Glitter sucks!" They greeted me as a brother. So I don't worry about the future of the world. Consider the words of our greatest modern role model. "Stupidity got us into this mess, and stupidity will get us out." (Homer Simpson).

Laughter is the Best Medicine

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

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

ASTROLOGY

April 5-11, 2014

29

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma
Stars Foretell: April 5-11, 2014
ARIES : At work you will be perfect in whatever you do in this week. Friends and family members would lend a helping hand. Monetary position is likely to improve later in the week. Cupid’s arrows would make your heart flutter high. Inexhaustible energy enables to participate in outdoor activities. You will have to go out of routine work to enjoy your vacation. It’s time to make some property investments for your kids. You would be full of good ideas and your choice of activities brings positive results far beyond expectations. TAURUS: Support and appreciation from seniors would raise your morale and confidence. An unexpected message from a distant relative brings happy news for the entire family. Hard work of previous days brings good fortune enabling to fulfil monetary promises. You are likely to enjoy a pleasure trip that will rejuvenate your passions. You attain a bloom in health on sharing happiness with others. Dreaming of travelling is good, but if possible than plan a trip. Purchasing official accessories can lead to improve growth of your office. For some boundless creativity and enthusiasm leads to another beneficial week. GEMINI: A very good week to apply for overseas job. Relatives are likely to give some valuable advice regarding personal life. You succeed in making some extra cash on playing your cards well. Romantic entanglement would add spice to your happiness. A cheerful state of mind would allow enjoying the perfect health. Take some time to travel with your spouse for romance and seduction. Inheriting property from your relatives seems to be ahead. Avoiding controversial topics in friend circle will immensely help. CANCER: Promotions and monetary benefits for dedicated professionals. You receive care and affection from family members. An auspicious week to invest money on items that would grow in value. Chances of your love life turning into life-long bond are high on the card. Divine knowledge from a saintly person provides solace & comfort. You can make your vacation extra special by planning it with your family and friends. Your income can be doubled by renting your house or a part of your house. Success in avoiding making personal judgment about people and their motives will highly benefit. LEO: Pending proposals will get implemented with the help of seniors. Matrimonial alliance for eligible bachelor in family brings joy to all. Investment on long-term plans would pave the way for earning financial gains. Exciting week as your long pending wait for affirmation is going to materialize. Meditation and yoga prove beneficial for spiritual as well as physical gains. Spiritual vacation is a quest for life, plan it and enjoy it with your family. It would be beneficial if you plan to buy a small property. Your compassion & understanding will greatly help a friend in need. VIRGO: Good week for implementing new plans and ventures. A new outlook will be the source of laughter at family front. Improvement in finances makes it convenient in clearing long pending dues & bills. Enjoying the company of partner in a lively restaurant would bring immense romantic pleasure. A very healthy week when your cheerfulness gives the desired tonic and confidence. Vacation full of beauty and history as well as exciting is waiting for you. Real estate is one thing on which you can rely on to invest. You have a good opportunity to involve yourself in some interesting conversation during this week. LIBRA: You are likely to suffer from a feeling that your core competency and knowledge is outdated. Enjoying a picnic with family will not only bring joy but also help in clearing misunderstandings. Successful execution of brilliant ideas would help in earning financial profits. The presence of love would make you feel life meaningful. You are likely to maintain good health that would also give you success. Travelling on your own, with a friend or with the whole family will be exciting and comfortable too. Investment on construction business would flourish your income. Legal matters that have been pending for long time might be decided to your satisfaction. SCORPIO : Subordinates/co-workers would be very helpful. Charming nature and pleasant personality would make you the attraction of family function in this week. A very successful week as far as monetary position is concerned. Love life brings some memorable moments that you could cherish rest of your life. A continuous positive thinking gets rewarded as you succeed in whatever you do in this week. Travel in comfort with kids to an adventurous place might be possible. Dealings for older properties can be in process. Interacting with strangers would highly benefit you. SAGITTARIUS: Travelling brings new overseas business opportunities. Family members appreciate the changes made in & around the house. Indications of earning financial profits through commissions, dividends or royalties. You will have to make some courageous efforts to renew romantic bond. Creative hobbies are likely to keep you relaxed. A trip that stimulates and gives opportunity for work is coming ahead. Your possession for acquiring a plot might be achieved. You use your hidden qualities to make it the best week for you. CAPRICORN: Auspicious week to start a new venture. Friends and family members would encourage working harder. Important people will be ready to finance anything that has a special class to it. Your flashing smile would work as the best antidote for romantic partner’s unhappiness. With a positive outlook & confidence, you succeed in impressing people around you. A luxurious getaway type vacation with your spouse waiting for you. If you invest on smaller properties then it can be beneficiary for future investments. Giving an ear to others advice would immensely benefit you in this week. AQUARIUS: Professional attitude at work brings success. You are likely to hear good news from close relatives. You are likely to make money, if you put savings into conservative investments. Sharing candyfloss and toffees with lover/beloved would bring unlimited joy. Mental alertness would enable to solve a tricky problem. Thrilling experience is on your way, as your trip is full of excitement Your plan to own a house is ought to be in the right way. Your mere presence would make a huge difference provided you give your time to others. PISCES: Seniors colleagues are likely to lend a helping hand. An old friend makes a pleasant visit later in the week. Property dealings would materialize helping in bringing fabulous gains. Company of love partner would inspire to take initiatives in this week. A cheerful state of mind brings mental peace. Pack your bags as a happy, fun-filled holiday is looking forward. Plan to invest in cafeteria or a bakery shop; it might create new opportunities for you. Your sharp observation would help in keeping an edge over others.

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
5th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Mercury Ruled by no :As you are influenced by your ruling planet Mercury, you are intelligent, unique, sensible, business oriented, dignified, optimistic and charismatic. You are also pretty warmhearted and friendly. However, you need not be restless and impatient always to get your things done. Traits in you: You will go through minor health issues this year. You have to take regular advice from the doctor and practice healthy nutrition and diet to remain healthy. Meditation and yoga may help you in retaining a perfect health throughout the year. Health this year: Your new business alliances and partnerships will help you earn financial stability this year. You will receive all the pending payments and money you gave away as loans in the past. You should go for investing in real estates and share market. Finance this year: You need to focus on your profession and put your cent per cent effort to achieve your expected goals. You will be appreciated by your peers and seniors for your efficient output. You may be assigned extra responsibilities as you are very decisive and capable of performing wonders. Career this year: You need to focus on your profession and put your cent per cent effort to achieve your expected goals. You will be appreciated by your peers and seniors for your efficient output. You may be assigned extra responsibilities as you are very decisive and capable of performing wonders. Romance this year: You should avoid any kind of conflict with your beloved. Plan a long holiday with your spouse to make your relationship stronger. If you are unmarried, you should not get to a marital relationship this year as the movement of your stars is not favorable for marriage. Lucky month: April, May, September and December 6th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Venus Ruled by no: 6 Traits in you: As you are ruled by Venus, you are optimistic, modest, focused, punctual, reliable, and dependant. You are pretty interested in doing social work and charity. However, you should control your mood swings, impatience, and whim. Health this year: You need to focus on your health a little more as you may fall sick frequently this year. You should go for regular medical checkups to maintain a healthy life. Your parents may fall sick towards the end of the year and it will put you in immense pressure. Finance this year: You will get financial benefits if you have invested in past. For future financial gains, you may invest on real estate and stock market. You should study the market well before investing on anything. Do not be in a hurry to invest as it may go in loss. Career this year: As far as your professional life is concerned, you are expected to get a lot of opportunities throughout this year. However, you have to work hard and efficiently to convert those opportunities. Being a quick decision maker, you may have to decide on many critical matters in your professional circle. Romance this year: You will share a good relationship with your spouse. You may decide to turn your relationship into marriage if you are not married yet. However, you need to understand your beloved and provide the required emotional support for the betterment of your relationship. Lucky month: May, July, October, January and February 7th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Neptune Ruled by no: 7 Traits in you: By nature you are sober, courteous, unique, honest and courageous as you are ruled by the powerful planet Neptune. Your charming nature attracts people towards you. You love to face challenges and you fight them pretty well by executing perfection. You need to check for your impatience, rudeness, and frequent mood swings. Health this year: You may suffer some minor injuries due to vehicle accidents. However, it will not be critical. You may go through minor health issues during the initial months of the year. Moreover, you will enjoy a sound health throughout the year with proper medical checkups and medications. Finance this year: Your financial conditions will be very stagnant this year. As you will not earn much or spend much, you will lead a peaceful life in money matters. You may invest for future. Do not lend or borrow money from your friends or colleagues. Career this year: This year you will reach to the peak of your professional career and it will offer you huge financial benefits. This year will be pretty rewarding for female employees. You may get a better performance appraisal as well as salary hike as compared to your expectations. Romance this year: The emotional attachment with your spouse or partner may blossom this year with lot of love, care, and concern. If you are not married, then you may go for a romantic relationship. You will enjoy a very blissful time with your beloved. Lucky month: June, August, October and March 8th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Saturn Ruled by no: 8 Traits in you: Your ruling planet Saturn makes you humble, honest, focused, practical, realistic and enthusiastic. You are blessed with enormous talent and imagination. Along with the positive characters in you, there are some negative aspects in your nature. You need to work on your nature of being envious, unreliable, and indiscipline. Health this year: You will enjoy a normal health this year. Though you will not have any major health issues, you need to take proper medication. You may practice yoga and meditation for better results. Finance this year: You may try your entrepreneurship skills this year and you will be successful unexpectedly. You will be able to get many projects, which you help you establish as a good businessperson. You should go for investments in real estate and stock market. Career this year: You may get the chance to complete all your previous assignments and this will enhance your respect as a brilliant performer in your professional circuit. If you are into a profession that demands creativity, then you will be very successful this year as far as your career is concerned. Romance this year: Your relationship with your spouse or partner will blossom this year. If you are not married, you may have to wait for few more years though you are eligible for marriage. Lucky month: August, October, January and March 9th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Mars Ruled by no: 9 Traits in you: Being influenced by Mars, you are believed to be the master of a charismatic personality. You are courteous, courageous, energetic, realistic, modest, and responsive. You follow religion very keenly. However, you have few problems in your attitude and that needs to be worked on for the betterment of your individuality. Health this year: As far as your health is concerned this year, you may not remain healthy throughout the year. There will be few hiccups in your health as you may suffer from many minor diseases. If you want to stay healthy, you should go for proper medication and a healthy diet plan. You have to leave consuming alcohol and smoking cigarettes. Finance this year: Your financial condition will be pretty good as the movements of your stars are favorable for making money this year. You may go for any investment on real estate or gold. Do not trust anyone when partnerships are concerned. You should not lend or borrow money as it will create disputes. Career this year: If you are a working professional, you may face various profession related problems this year. You need to handle all the issues diplomatically else you may lose your job. You may create wonder in the creativity field if you are a writer, singer or actor. Romance this year: Your plans to go for holidays with your partner may not work because of huge work pressure and this may create disturbance in your marital life. You need to take care of the emotional requirements of your partner to lead a peaceful life this year. Lucky month: April, July, November and January 10th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Sun Ruled by no :1 Traits in you: Due to the positive effects of your ruling planet Sun, you will have the characteristics of a good human being. By nature, you are accountable, unique, courageous, committed, competitive, coordinated and intelligent. You should work on your negative personality traits such as selfishness, dependency and pessimism. Health this year: You need to take an appropriate care of your health. You may fall sick in the middle months of the year though those will not be serious. If you are a sportsperson, you need to be very careful for your diet and nutrition to perform better in your sporting events. Finance this year: You may get benefits from your investments later this year. This year seems to be an ideal one to start investing in business, land or gold. Your efforts to earn money may pay off this time. You may go for new partnerships. However, you should verify the financial background of your partner for your financial security. Career this year: The nature of your professional work will allow you find many new job opportunities with high salaries. You should take up a new job to flourish in your career. You will gain required expertise in your profession and perform better than ever. Romance this year: You will spend a peaceful life with your love interest this year. You will lead a blissful life with your beloved with lots of love, care, concern, and support. Lucky month: May, August, September and November 11th April, 2014 Ruled planet: Moon Ruled by no: 2 Traits in you: Your ruler, the Moon makes you a very friendly individual. You are simple, confident, realistic, sincere, and optimistic. You are very innovative and try to perform your work in a different and efficient way. You need to work hard on your characteristics of being jealous and insensitive at times. Health this year: Your health will remain fine. However, you may suffer from various minor diseases say cough, cold, body pain, loss of sleep and so on. To enjoy a very healthy life, you need to get a good control on your diet. You have to stay away from alcohol and cigarettes to avoid any organ dysfunction. Finance this year: Your past investments may yield a lot of money for you this year. You need to be extra cautions while investing huge amounts as it is a bit risky to put money on unpredictable things. Overall, you will enjoy a strong financial condition. Career this year: ou will be successful professionally this year. You will be additional responsibility and you will well execute them to perfection. Your success may get you various awards and rewards as well. You may share your ideas with the higher management as it would help you grow quickly. Romance this year: If you are yet to be in a relationship, this year is the ideal time to find a partner. You will get ample support from your spouse in any critical decision you have to take. You should show your love to your partner as it strengthens your relationship. Lucky month: April, June, November and February

30

April 5-11, 2014

SPIRITUAL AWARENESS

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Learn to let go and be free
wide to be removed from the jar. Suddenly, he heard the owner coming home. He knew that if he did not get his hand out of the jar, he would be caught. But he was so intent upon trying to get the money out that he would not give up. The result was that the man came in, caught him, and had him arrested. We too are like the thief in the story. Desires cause us to be caught with our hand in the jar. Desires keep us bound to this world. It is only by letting go of the things of this world that we can be free. We need to stop clutching for whatever binds us as prisoners of our desires so we can enjoy true freedom. We need to stop clutching and let go. Then we will find the joy of freedom. What kind of joy did the thief have in his pursuit of the money? Instead he ended up a prisoner in the jail. We too are like prisoners in the jail of this physical world. We spend all our time going after things that will not give us happiness. Whatever material gains we have in the world can lead us to more bondage if we are attached to them. For example, if we want a big house, we have to work longer hours to pay for its mortgage. Then we need to fill it up with more and more furniture. That will take more time to work to pay for it, shop to buy it, and then to clean and repair everything. Before we know it, the house that was supposed to bring us pleasure has made us a slave to it.

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
nce upon a time, there was a man who lived alone. He kept his money in a special jar so that no one could steal it. One day, while the man was out farming his land, a thief broke into his house. Looking for something to steal, he came across a heavy stone jar. He could barely jiggle it to hear the coins inside. He could not lift the jar. So the man stuck his hand in the jar to take out the money. His hand fit perfectly into the jar. The man grabbed as much money as he could, holding it in his fist. But when he tried to pull out his hand, it would not come out. He tried his hardest to pull out his hand, but the fist made his hand wider. While holding the money, he could not get it through the neck of the jar. He let go of the money and his hand was freed to come out of the jar. But he was intent upon having the money, so he tried again and again. Each time he enclosed the coins in his fist, his hand was too

O

How can we end our bondage? We need to let go and be free. When we can let go of our desires for impermanent gains, we can be free.
We no longer have time for our family, our children, or pursuits that will give us more fulfillment. We spend all our time going after things that may not give us true and lasting happiness. Similarly, we may want to buy a computer to keep up with the latest technology. We then find ourselves working harder to buy all the right software and equipment to make it work. Soon we realize that we are not happy with a simple computer. We want to upgrade to a faster and more elaborate computer. Next, we find the computer that was supposed to save us time is taking up all our time. We end up spending hours learning to use the computer. We spend hours exploring the Internet. The e-mail system that was supposed to make communications faster is taking more and more of our time. Suddenly, we find fifty people e-mailing us daily and they expect an instantaneous response. If we do not respond right away they accuse us of being nonresponsive and indifferent. Soon, we are spending hours on the computer. We have become slaves to our possessions. How can we end our bondage? We need to let go and be free. When we can let go of our desires for impermanent gains, we can be free. Then, our soul can experience the love and beauty that God has to offer. True happiness comes when we connect with the source of joy within us—our soul and God. To do so, we must turn our attention from the worldly enticements and listen to our soul. Beautiful melodies of God are playing within us all the time. Light and love are shining within us. By turning our attention from the world, we are releasing our hold on the coins that keep our hand stuck in the jar. By letting go, we are gaining eternal freedom. By sitting in meditation, free from all worldly desires and attachments, we can let go and find ourselves free to soar back to 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.

By Sant Rajinder Singh Ji Maharaj
rue friends are those who stand by you always. They will sacrifice themselves for you, and are people on whom you can always rely. True friends listen to your problems and share your burdens. Truly, if we have even one real friend in life, we are lucky. If we think about our childhood friends, how many are still with us now? Have we parted ways already? Perhaps they have moved away, or we have lost contact with them. Let us consider our close friends today. Can we imagine that they, too, will one day be parted from us just as those friends from our childhood are gone? Even if we have one close friend, or even a few, they can only be with us up to our last breath, or their last breath. They can only remain with us in this life and cannot help us in the moment of our greatest need—the time of death. In this connection, there is an interesting story from the Hindu scriptures. There was a learned pundit

Finding a true friend
who was the personal minister of King Prikshat. Each day the minister would read out the scriptures to the king. The particular scripture said that whoever hears the scriptures will receive spiritual liberation and enlightenment. Month after month, the king listened to the scriptures read by the minister. However, he did not attain liberation. One day, the king sat down and thought, “Here I am—listening to these scriptures every day, and I am not yet spiritually liberated. The scriptures say that whoever listens to these holy writings will receive salvation once and for all, but I have not.” Therefore, the king called the minister and said, “Look here. I have heard these scriptures so many times and have not attained liberation. I will give you one more chance to read these scriptures to me from end to end. If I am not liberated after that, you will be put to death.” Trembling in his shoes, the minister began the task of re-reading the scriptures to the king. By the sixth day he was nearing the end of the scriptures, and the king was not satisfied. Fearing that on the seventh day he would be put to death, the minister sat down in his home and started to cry. “Why are you so sad?” asked his daughter when she saw him. The ministered explained the situation to her, “The scriptures say that whoever reads them will be liberated. However, I know that the king is not liberated, nor am I liberated. Therefore, tomorrow, I will be put to death.” The daughter was wise and had an idea. “Do not worry,” she said. “Tomorrow I will speak to the king.” On the following day, the minister’s daughter asked for an audience with the king. “Why have you come?” he questioned her. She told him, “I have come to reply to the question that you have asked of my father. But to do this, you and I must go together to the wilderness.” The king was perplexed, but agreed to go along with her plan. The girl then sent for her father. She brought along two ropes and when they reached the wilderness she tied the king to one tree and her father to another tree. Both were then bound, hand and foot. The king was wondering what all this meant when the girl asked, “Father, can you kindly unbind the king over there?” The minister replied, “I am already bound! How can I free him?” The girl asked, “Your Majesty, will you kindly unbind my father?” The king replied, “Foolish girl, don’t you see that I am bound? How can a bound man unbind another?” That is all she wanted to hear and said, “Then how can you expect my father, who is not free himself, to liberate you spiritually?” The king himself had answered the dilemma in which he had placed the minister. With that understanding, the king spared the life of the minister. At the time of death, we all depart by ourselves. No friends of this world can help us. They can sit by our bedside and hold our hand, but they can neither protect us from death nor accompany us. Knowing this, we still put our reliance on people of this world. Looking back at the friendships we have had in our lives, how many of them led us closer to God, and how many of them have taken us away from God? What kind of friend should we look for then? To be truly awakened spiritually, we should seek the friendship of the Lord. We have only a set number of breaths to reunite our soul with God. Let us do everything possible to attain that goal. The best way to reach the Lord is through meditation, sweet remembrance, and selfless service. These activities safeguard us from being pulled away by distractions of the world. If we do these things, then we will be ready at the time of our death. Having mastered the art of rising above body-consciousness (by meditating daily on the inner Light and Sound of God) , we will know what awaits us in the Beyond. Befriending God makes our spirit soar. Waves of divine love make our soul rise to the eye-focus where we see tremendous Light. Is there any love or friendship of the world that can bring us to the eye-focus and make us rise above physical bodyconsciousness? Only the love of the Lord can make us wide awake—not only in this world, but wide awake into the Beyond.

T

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

April 5-11, 2014

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

April 5-11, 2014