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Bollywood 20 US Affairs 10
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Personality 26 Spiritual Awareness 30
New Delhi: Prime Minister-desig-
nate Narendra Modi’s initiative to
invite the leaders of all SAARC
(South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation) countries
for his swearing-in ceremony on
Monday has evoked a warm
response with the Afghan,
Maldivian and Sri Lankan presi-
dents and the Bhutanese and
Nepalese prime ministers confirm-
ing their participation.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif was yet to decide about if he
will participate.
Bangladesh will be represented at
the ceremony by its parliament
Apart from leaders from the
SAARC countries, Mauritius
Prime Minister Navinchandra
Ramgoolam will also attend the
External Affairs Ministry
spokesman Syed Akbaruddin said
in a series of tweets that India had
received confirmation about the
participation of Afghanistan
President Hamid Karzai, Sri
Lankan President Mahinda
Rajapaksa and Maldives President
Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom at
Modi’s swearing-in. The Pakistan
Foreign Office said Prime Minister
Sharif will decide on Friday
New Delhi: Voices
are growing in the
Congress party over
the role of "Team
Rahul" in the Lok
Sabha elections
with suggestions
that the aides of
vice president
Rahul Gandhi could
not read the ground
realities. Party lead-
ers have begun giv-
ing vent to their
feelings after the
party' s debacle in
the polls.
However, the criticism is not targeted
directly at Rahul Gandhi, who led the party's
campaign, but his team which aided him in
campaign planning and strategy.
Former union minister Milind Deora, who
said that Gandhi's advisers did not have their
ears to the ground, stuck to his remarks
Thursday but noted that his remarks were
expressed out of "deep loyalty" and "pain".
Deora said there were strong murmurs in
the party that people who were calling the
shots did not have electoral experience, sta-
tus, standing and credibility in the party.
Deora, who did not take names during an
interview to a national daily, also made a
veiled criticism of Gandhi, saying that those
who "take the advice also have to bear
Former Congress
Continued on page 4
President Pranab Mukherjee has invited
Narendra Modi to form the government;
swearing in ceremony on Monday, May 26.
Rahul and Sonia Gandhi at the CWC meeting
Modi's invite to
SAARC leaders
evokes warm
Sharif to decide Friday on attending; Jaya slams invite to Rajapaksa
Team Rahul under fire from party leaders
Washington: The United States on Thursday
said it was ready for high-level interactions
with prime minister-elect Narendra Modi,
but it will wait to hear from his government
on the logistics.
The US does not want to “impose an archi-
tecture or a time-table” on the new govern-
ment. “We will be waiting to hear from
them,” said US assistant secretary of state
Nisha Biswal.
The Gujarat-born state department’s sen-
ior-most official for India, and South and
Central Asia, was speaking to Indian media
Her boss, secretary of state John Kerry, is
keen to visit India “soon” to meet Modi and
re-extend President Obama’s invitation to
him to visit the US.
The annual strategic dialogue between the
two countries, held alternately in their
respective capitals, could have afforded
Kerry that chance if the dialogue was hap-
pening in Delhi.
It’s DC’s turn to host it this year.
But the US was open to considering
changes in the timetable and structure of the
dialogue to facilitate that meeting, if that was
the earliest meeting
US ready for high-level interactions with Modi: Biswal
Continued on page 4
New Delhi: US Ambassador to India
Nancy Powell on
Thursday left after an
eventful stint here.
She will be replaced
temporarily early next
month by Kathleen
Stephens, a career
Stephens will serve
as the charge until a
new permanent
ambassador is nomi-
nated and confirmed
by the US Senate. President Obama has
not yet nominated anyone for this impor-
tant diplomatic posting. A career foreign
service officer, Stephens is expected to
arrive in New Delhi early June. She was
US ambassador to South Korea from 2008
Powell leaves, Kathleen
Stephens is interim US
envoy to India
New Delhi: The lack of experienced players in NDA
ranks seems to have opened up the prospect of BJP
veterans landing key portfolios in the incoming
Modi government. Sources said while there was
uncertainty about the chances of former party presi-
dent Murli Manohar Joshi and leader of opposition
in the outgoing Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj getting
ministries which are part of the Cabinet Committee
on Security, the situation has perked up somewhat
because of what is being referred to as BJP's "poor
bench strength". While Swaraj could be considered
for the ministry of external
Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma Swaraj,
Shourie to get key cabinet posts
Continued on page 4 Continued on page 4
Continued on page 4
New York: The Jain Center of America, NY cel-
ebrated the 2612th Janma Kalyanak Mahotsav (an-
niversary) of Bhagwan Mahavir on May 11 at the
Martin Van Buren High School in Jamaica, Queens.
Bhagwan Mahavir was born on the 13th day of the
growing phase of the lunar month of Chaitra at Kundalpur
in Bihar, India. He is the 24th Tirthankar of the present era
and spread the word of ahimsa and anekantvaad – non-
violence and multiplicity of faith - throughout his lifetime.
His teachings have a lot of relevance in modern day world
and he continues to be worshipped by all Jains alike.
The event was coordinated through a cultural pro-
gram of dance and drama. All the performances were
representing the life, teachings, or devotion of Jain
Tirthankars, saints and followers of the faith. About 185
kids from age of 3-30 participated in the programs -- a
beautiful medley of songs, rhythm, colors and grace.
Counsel General of India Shri Dnyaneshwar Mulay
graced the occasion with his presence and greeted the au-
dience of about 1,000 people. Assemblyman David We-
prin, Councilman Rory Lancman and former Comptrol-
ler of NYC, John Liu were also present at the event and
addressed the gathering. They refected on their experi-
ences with the Jain Center located in Elmhurst, Queens,
and how the life and teachings of Mahavir are a source of
guidance for peace and harmony in modern day life.
The Jain Center has been organizing Lord Mahavir’s
birth anniversary for over 30 years and has used it as a
medium to impart its cultural and Jain religious values
to the community’s children and the next generation.
CG Mulay, former NYC Comptroller John Liu and Councilman Rory Lancman.
The performances represented the life and teachings of Jain Tirthankars & saints.
The tableaux of the chariot in which Bhagwan Neminath,
the 22nd Tirthankar, rode last and then renounced the world.
Little girls in colorful dance costumes stole hearts.
New York State Assemblyman David Weprin addressing the audience.
(from right) Jain Center of America Chairman Jawahar Shetti and President
Rajesh Shah lighting lamps in front of an image of Bhagwan Mahavir.
The dignitaries present dwelt on how the life and teachings of Lord Mahavir are a source of guidance for peace and harmony in modern day life.
RELI GI ON 2 May 24-30, 2013





3 May 24-30, 2014 TRISTATE COMMUNITY
Washington, DC: The Embassy of
India in the US has announced the
new operational locations of Cox &
Kings Global Services Pvt. Ltd.
(CKGS), which has started provid-
ing Visa / OCI / PIO / Renunciation
of Indian Citizenship Certificate
application support services in the
country from May 21. Cox &
Kings has replaced BLS Interna-
The locations of CKGS Service
Centers across US are:
New York- 2nd Floor, 235
West, 23rd Street, New York, NY
Washington DC- Suite 100,
1250, 23rd Street NW, Washington,
DC 20037.
Chicago- Suite 1003, 19 S, La
Salle Street, Chicago, IL 60603.
San Francisco- 1st Floor, 225
Bush Street, San Francisco, CA
Houston- Suite 550, 1001
Texas Avenue, Binz Building,
Houston, TX 77002.
Atlanta- 1st Floor, Suite 180,
5883 Glenridge Drive, Atlanta,
Georgia 32328.
CKGS Helpdesk phone numbers,
also operational, are: Toll free no:
1-866-978-0055. Local numbers:
408-709-1764 and 408-709-1773.
The website of CKGS is already
For any enquiries:
For applicants, who propose to
send their applications by mail,
banker’s checks/Money order ac-
companying these applications
should be drawn in favor of the new
service provider Cox & Kings
Global Services Pvt. Ltd. with the
revised service fee.
Applicants, who have already
submitted their applications to BLS
International can check yhe status
of these pending applications on
the website of CKGS.
New locations of visa services
provider Cox & Kings released
By Jinal Shah
New York: Even rains could not deter celebrators on
Newark Avenue in Jersey City, also known as Little
India, to celebrate BJP’s sweeping win in the Indian
elections. Drenched in colors of Holi, they chanted:
‘Modi, Modi!’.
For thousands of supporters who devoted lot of their
money and time campaigning in India for the saffron
party and in particular Narendra Modi, this was to cele-
brate the historical moment when it became known that
Modi will be India’s next PM.
Free food was served on Newark Ave, but for those
who had fought against US visa ban for Modi, the ver-
dict brought the taste of triumph. President Obama has
invited Modi to visit Washington DC.
The celebrations actually began on May 16 night itself.
At Times Square where election results were telecast live
by Times Now, people with saffron flags and sashes
chanted: ‘Modi, Modi!’
Very popular among NRIs in America, Modi had
ensured that he remained in touch with the diaspora
through video technology if not in person.
At Newark Avenue, the entire street was blocked. It
was like a mix of Navratri and Holi with rain dance.
Stores played loud Bollywood music. Arvind Patel,
owner of Rajbhog who organized the event, distributed
free sweets and Modi Magic snack packs.
Said Pushpa Agnihotri who came with her two kids,
“We have never followed India’s elections so closely.
Although we are not BJP supporters, the celebrations are
an excuse for us to get away from routine for a while.”
"The atmosphere here is electric and usually we see
such celebrations only during Diwali. Everyone here is
happy that Modi won with such a huge majority. Some
Gujarati 'thali' restaurants that offer a full dish for $ 9
were offering it at $ 2.99 to celebrate Modi's win. People
were distributing 'laddoo' packets with Modi's photos on
it," a Shree Shah, originally from Vadodara, said.
Overseas Friends of BJP (USA) organized several vic-
tory celebration events across USA including New
Jersey, New York, Washington DC, Tampa, Chicago,
Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. “We
are organizing a mega victory celebration in New Jersey
on June 1, Washington DC on May 31, and Houston on
May 30. Some BJP leaders are expected to attend these
events and a live address of Narendra Modi is also being
planned,” said Chandrakant Patel, President of OFBJP.
Modi’s victory celebrations on
Newark Avenue in Jersey City
‘Modi, Modi!’ in New Jersey
Washington: Dinesh D'Souza, an
Indian-American conservative com-
mentator and author who shot to
fame with a critical documentary of
President Barack Obama in 2012,
has pleaded guilty to violating fed-
eral campaign finance law.
D' Souza, based in San Diego,
admitted to exceeding donor limits
in 2012 by arranging for others to
give to the New York Senate cam-
paign of Republican candidate
Wendy Long, said Manhattan's US
Attorney Preet Bharara Tuesday.
D'Souza also admitted to making
false statements about those dona-
tions. A former policy advisor to
President Reagan, D'Souza directed
the documentary, "2016: Obama's
America," based on his own book
"The Roots of Obama's Rage".
According to the indictment,
D'Souza and his wife contributed
$10,000 to Long's campaign. He
then directed associates to con-
tribute on behalf of themselves and
their spouses, totaling $20,000.
D'Souza was to reimburse them.
Federal election law limits indi-
vidual campaign contributions to a
federal candidate to $2,500 each for
a primary and general election cam-
paign. The law also bars any person
from making contributions in the
name of others or reimbursing
another person's contribution.
Long lost to Democratic incum-
bent Kirsten Gillibrand in 2012.
Long and other Republicans, like
Senator Ted Cruz, have argued that
the government was unfairly target-
ing D'Souza for his political affilia-
tion, according to CNN. D'Souza
too argued for the charges to be dis-
missed on grounds of selective pros-
ecution. Last week, a judge denied
that motion, citing "no evidence" to
support it.
Meanwhile, Deadline Hollywood
cited D'Souza's producer Gerald
Molen as saying the indictment
would not stop the upcoming sequel
to "2016: Obama's America", which
has already set a July 4 release date.
D'Souza says his film imagines
what today's world would be like if
America had never existed because
"we are now living in the America
that we warned our fellow citizens
could come to pass if President
Obama were re-elected". "2016"
made more than $33 million since it
was released in July 2012.
Obama baiter D'Souza pleads guilty to campaign finance fraud
Though there is no confirmation from
Narendra Modi, his American supporters
are planning a red carpet welcome
for him come September.
Dinesh D'Souza
Rep Grace Meng (D-NY) hosted a meet-and-greet with four prominent Asian American
Congressional hopefuls last week in Flushing, two of whom are of Indian origin: Upendra
Chivukula (left) and Manan Trivedi; other two being Roy Cho and Ted Lieu.
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4 May 24-30, 2014 TURN PAGE
Washington: An Indian
American student has won the
coveted National Geographic
Bee championship that includes
a $50,000 college scholarship,
National Geographic said.
Akhil Rekulapelli, 13, hailing
from Virginia, outclassed fellow
Indian American Ameya
Mujumdar in the final head-to-
head round of the nationwide
contest held in Washington
The geography whizkid also
received a trip to the Galápagos
with National Geographic' s
Lindblad Expeditions. The last
round competition on stage,
hosted by television journalist
Soledad O'Brien, had 10 stu-
dents, including three who had
previously competed in the
The championship question
that helped Akhil clinch the title
was: "Oyala, a planned city
located in the rainforest 65
miles east of Bata, is being built
as a capital for which African
country?" Rekulapeklli
answered correctly: "Equatorial
Eighth grade student
Rekulapelli emerged ahead of
more than four million students,
who originally competed in
school-level bees across the US.
Mumbai: Madhur Bhandarkar
has never shied away from voic-
ing his support for Prime
Minister designate, Narendra
Modi. And now, the filmmaker
is all set to take his affiliation on
screen. If sources are to be
believed, Bhandarkar is keen on
making a biopic on NaMo.
"Madhur had even met Mr
Modi ten months ago and has
been very impressed by his
journey from being a tea-seller
to becoming India's 15th Prime
Minister," says a source, adding,
"The film is being planned and
will feature Modi's entire life -
from his childhood to the pres-
ent. Madhur' s team has thus
being doing a lot of research on
Modi' s life." So, who is the
National Award-winning film-
maker planning to cast as Modi
in the film? "It is too early to
talk about it," says the source.
Asked if the film will take off
immediately, the source shares,
"The film will happen but only
after Madhur finishes work on
his forthcoming films. "
Bhandarkar was unavailable for
a comment.
Modi's invite to SAARC leaders...
Continued from page 1
whether or not to attend Modi’s oath-
taking ceremony and noted that it
expects a “meaningful dialogue” with
India after Modi assumes charge.
Modi, who surprised the world with
his election victory, invited the lead-
ers of all the SAARC countries in a
major diplomatic signal to the region
as well as to the global community.
The invitation to Rajapaksha was
criticized by Jayalalitha’s AIADMK
and DMK because they blame
Colombo for atrocities on Tamils dur-
ing the ethnic war there.
Modi will be sworn in as India’s
14th prime minister at the ceremony
that is expected to be attended by
over 3,000 invited guests and will be
telecast live. The swearing-in ceremo-
ny will be held in the open forecourt
of Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presiden-
tial palace here.
Jaitley, Rajnath Singh, Sushma...
Continued from page 1
affairs, Joshi may be entrusted with
the crucial defence portfolio.
BJP chief Rajnath Singh and leader
of opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun
Jaitley continue to be seen as the
frontrunners for the two other CCS
ministries — home and finance, in
that order.
Party circles also expect former
telecom and disinvestment minister
Arun Shourie to get an important
But uncertainty continued to hang
over whether LK Advani, another vet-
eran who opposed Modi's anointment
as PM candidate, will get to be
Speaker. BJP sources said Advani had
expressed interest in the constitution-
al post which is supposed to be
autonomous of the political executive
and, therefore, not a subordinate to
the PM.
Team Rahul under fire from party..
Continued from page 1
MP Priya Dutt Thursday said a "big-
ger role" in the party organization
should only be given to "elected rep-
"The Congress governments at the
center did a lot for the welfare of the
people but we could not project our
achievements or communicate them
well," she said.
Dutt acknowledged there was dis-
connect between the party and the
people at the grassroot level. "We
need to check that and take corrective
measures," she said.
Party workers have also been com-
plaining that there was lack of
avenues in the party to voice their
opinions to the top leaders.
The Congress won just 44 seats in
the Lok Sabha polls.
US ready for high-level ...
Continued from page 1
possible with Modi. Though the US
has made enough overtures to
expunge its anti-Modi record, nerv-
ousness persists in Washington. And
not just the White House. A number
of US lawmakers had themselves
paraded at an event on Capitol Hill on
Thursday in support of the new gov-
Ed Royce, Republican chairman of
the powerful House foreign relations
committee, recalled meeting Modi
after the 2002 earthquake and being
impressed by his response.
Powell leaves, Kathleen Stephens is...
Continued from page 1
to 2011 and previously served in sen-
ior positions in Washington, Asia and
Powell, 67, who assumed charge as
US Ambassador here in April, 2012,
had announced ending of her tenure
in India in March this year.
Analysts have linked Powell' s
abrupt March announcement of retire-
ment after only two years in the job to
her failing to contain the Devyani
Khobragade affair and reaching out
too late to Modi following his emer-
gence on the national scene even as
America's European partners were
making overtures to the BJP leader.
Akhil Rekulapelli the champ
Indian American student wins National Geographic Bee
Bhandarkar planning a biopic
on Narendra Modi
Rupee sees biggest
single-day rise in
nearly a week
Mumbai: The rupee posted its
biggest single-day rise in near-
ly a week after Reuters report-
ed that the finance ministry
was working on a proposal to
cut fiscal deficit, with gains
also helped by improving
global risk sentiment. The
rupee hit a session high of
58.41 per dollar, stopping just
short of an 11-month peak on
Monday, on the Reuters report
that the finance ministry was
hoping to cut the 2014/15 fis-
cal deficit to 3.8-3.9 per cent
of gross domestic product,
below the current target of 4.1
per cent.
5 May 24-30, 2014 TRISTATE COMMUNITY
New York: Over 300 supporters attended The
Nanubhai Education Foundation’s 10th An-
niversary celebration. The event hosted at 404
NYC was held in honor of a decade of com-
mitment to transforming public education in
rural India. Sakina Jaffrey from the Primetime
Emmy Award nominated original series, House
of Cards, came to support the organization,
along with Sheetal Sheth, best known for her
role opposite Albert Brooks in Looking for
Comedy In The Muslim World. Another big
supporter that dazzled the evening was Award-
winning director and photographer Indrani Pal-
Spokesman for Nanubhai Education Founda-
tion, actor Manish Dayal, best known for his
role as Raj Kher, in The CW series “90210”
also attended the NEF gala.
The gala is the primary source to raise funds
for the Nanubhai Education Foundation’s
Scholars and Residential Teaching Fellows
Programs, which focus on awarding college
scholarships to girls from financially vulnera-
ble families in rural India and building English
speaking skills for students in rural boarding
schools through native English speakers, re-
"The support we received at the 10th annual
gala is instrumental in allowing Nanubhai to
distribute over 15 scholarships to young rural
women to pursue higher education and com-
plete a college degree. For the vast majority,
they are the first of their family to go to college.
This is a remarkable achievement and one that
we all should be very proud of! By educating
these 15 ladies, we are vastly improving not
only their lives, but the lives of their future
families as well."” says Nita Nehru, Co-Chair
of the Board for Nanubhai Education
Nanubhai Education Foundation raises
over $60,000 at star-studded annual gala
Celebrates a decade of public education work in rural India
New York: Kavita and Lalit Bahl of Stony
Brook have pledged $3.5 million to estab-
lish the Kavita and Lalit Bahl Molecular
Imaging Laboratory at Stony Brook Med-
icine. The high-tech laboratory will enable
Stony Brook physicians and researchers to
diagnose and monitor disease at the mo-
lecular level, as well develop new targeted
treatments for cancer, neurological disor-
ders, and other diseases, the university said
in a press release.
Plans for the laboratory include Long Is-
land’s first Cyclotron, a particle accelera-
tor that is used in medicine to create ra-
dioactive tracer molecules to enhance di-
agnostic capabilities or treat specific dis-
eases, particularly cancer.
The Bahl Molecular Imaging Laborato-
ry will be located in Stony Brook’s Med-
ical and Research Translation (MART)
Lalit Bahl, an employee of Renaissance
Technologies, and his wife, Kavita, were
inspired to give to Stony Brook in light of
Renaissance founder Jim Simons’ match-
ing gift program to the University. Upon
learning about Stony Brook’s history in
medical imaging discoveries – starting in
the 1970s when a Stony Brook Chemistry
professor, Paul Lauterbur, developed mag-
netic resonance imaging (MRI) technolo-
gy and subsequently received a Nobel
Prize – the Bahls decided to help Stony
Brook establish a molecular imaging labo-
“We are grateful for the generosity of
Kavita and Lalit Bahl, and their visionary
contribution to Stony Brook’s medical im-
aging program,” University President
Samuel L. Stanley said.
Kavita and Lalit Bahl
Guests at the event
Spokesman for NEF Manish Dayal,
NEF Co-chair Nita Nehru and NEF
supporter Sakina Jaffrey
Couple pledges $3.5 M to
Stony Brook Medicine
New York: India-born former Goldman
Sachs director Rajat Gupta has sought a stay
on a US court order to start serving a two-
year sentence from June 17 on insider trad-
ing charges, contending that his bail condi-
tions should be continued till his motion to
re-hear his case is decided upon.
In a 23-page motion filed in the Court of
Appeals here, Gupta's lawyers asked the
court for "an order staying his surrender date
and continuing bail pending further appellate
Gupta, who had lost his appeal to overturn
his conviction on insider trading charges,
was ordered in April to surrender and begin
his two-year prison sentence on June 17.
His lawyers said his bail should be contin-
ued pending the court's final disposition of
his petition for rehearing and, if rehearing of
his case is not granted, pending the Supreme
Court's final disposition of his certiorari (a
writ seeking a judicial review) petition.
In seeking an order to stay his surrender
date, 65-year-old Gupta is prepared to file a
petition for certiorari on an expedited basis,
the motion said.Gupta had in April petitioned
that a three-judge panel, which upheld his
conviction and two-year prison sentence on
insider trading charges, should reconsider its
decision and the appeals court rehear the
case, arguing that "critical evidence" in his
favor was excluded at trial.
In the motion filed on Tuesday, Gupta's
lawyers said his combined petition for panel
rehearing and rehearing en banc (a session
where a case is heard before all the judges of
a court) has yet to be decided.
They said he presents no risk of flight or
danger to the community and has abided by
all conditions of release set by the district
"The certiorari petition that he plans to file
if his rehearing petition is denied will raise at
least two substantial questions, as detailed
below. If either of those issues is decided in
Gupta's favour, a new trial will be required.
If bail is not continued, Gupta may serve half
of his two-year sentence before the Supreme
Court decides his case," they said.
The lawyers said if his combined rehearing
petition is denied, Gupta is prepared to file
the certiorari petition on an expedited basis.
Rajat Gupta seeks stay of prison surrender date
New Jersey Performing Arts Center,
1 Center St., Newark, New Jersey
July 12, 2014; 3 PM to 8 PM
Followed by Gurudev’s personal
blessings and Prasad (dinner).
Registration is required for this
complimentary (no-charge) event.
Over 2,000 seats already booked.
Only a limited number of seats left.
or call 516 484 0018
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Get the Blessings of Satguru Brahmrishi
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you know it is an opportunity of a lifetime!
Brahmrishi Sri Guruvanand Ji
Swami “Gurudev” is one of the
few living Satgurus. He has
invoked all Chakras of his
Kundalini and achieved all Siddhis.
Free bus transportation will be available from Long Island,
Queens and Edison, NJ.
The Business Center for New Americans (BCNA) hosted its 3rd
Annual Immigrant Heritage Week Awards breakfast on April 24.
BCNA provides microloans to start-up and grow businesses, along
with a variety of classes and extensive one-on-one consulting. The
staff assists clients with everything from the creation of a busi-
ness plan, to obtaining the required licenses and permits to oper-
ate their business, to help with marketing and general business
management. Pictured in photo:Vish Dasma, Senior Loan Officer-
Queens office & Aaron Lackman, Refugee Program Manager with
BCNA clients. For more details visit:
Washington, DC: A seven-foot
tall bronze statue of India's free-
dom movement leader will be the
centerpiece of the Mahatma
Gandhi Memorial of North Texas
with walls inscribed with some of
his quotes.
After four years of planning and
fundraising, ground was broken at
Thomas Jefferson Park in Irving
for the memorial last Saturday,
according to
Two groups, the Indian
Association of North Texas and the
Indian American Friendship
Council, raised $250,000 for the
project, which is estimated to cost
$700,000. South Carolina's Indian-
American governor Nikki Haley,
Consul General of India
Parvatheneni Harish and Irving
Mayor Beth Van Duyne attended
the groundbreaking.
Haley, talked about how
Gandhi's principles of peace and
love were just as important in the
US today as they were in India dur-
ing the independence movement.
She also commented on how it was
appropriate for the memorial plaza
to be funded entirely through pri-
vate money, as the Indian
American population is the demo-
graphic least dependent on govern-
ment subsidies.The Mahatma
Gandhi Memorial Plaza will be
officially dedicated on Oct 2,
Mahatma Gandhi's birthday.
Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Plaza
coming up in Texas
Washington, DC: Indian-American Neel
Kashkari, one of Republican party's top candi-
dates for governor of California, has joined
issue with the party's 2012 presidential nomi-
nee Mitt Romney over his call for an increase
in the minimum wage.
Hours after Romney's call Friday, Kashkari,
a former treasury department official who
oversaw the $700 billion government bailout
program during the 2007-08 financial crisis,
criticized President Barack Obama and other
Democrats for trying to raise the minimum
Such a move would be devastating to work-
ers, the former investment banker said speak-
ing to a Republican women' s group at a
Friendly Hills Country Club luncheon in
Whittier, a city in Los Angeles county of
California, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"That's good for those workers who get to
keep their jobs," he was quoted as saying. "It's
devastating for those workers who are out of a
job as a result of it. They don't talk about
that." "The timing of the clash was awkward
for Kashkari," said the Times noting that
"Romney is one of the Republican luminaries
- including former Governors Pete Wilson of
California and Jeb Bush of Florida - whose
support Kashkari has featured in campaign
mail and TV advertising." Kashkari did not
mention Romney's newly announced support
for a higher minimum wage but did pay trib-
ute to the former Massachusetts governor,
Times said.
"I think he would've made an excellent pres-
ident-and by the way, I think he'd still make
an excellent president," Kashkari was quoted
as saying. Romney said Friday that he does
not plan to run for president again in 2016.
In an interview on MSNBC, Romney also
said that he'd decided to support a minimum
wage hike because the Republican Party "is
all about more jobs and better pay."
Neel Kashkari clashes
with Mitt Romney over
minimum wage
Jersey City, NJ: The New Jersey
City University will be honoring
Chirag Patel on June 5th at the icon-
ic landmark, Ellis Island.
He will be honored with the
Alumnus of Distinction Award at
NJCU’s American Dream Gala.
Coming to the U.S. as a young
man from India, Patel never doubted
that with hard work and imagina-
tion, he could be part of the
American Dream.
In 2002, he and his brother Chintu
started the Bridgewater-based com-
pany Amneal Pharmaceuticals. With
revenues of more than $3 billion,
Amneal is now the sixth largest
generic pharmaceutical company in
the nation.
In 2011, the Patel brothers were
named the Ernst & Young National
Entrepreneur of the Year Life
Sciences Award winners, a presti-
gious business award for entrepre-
“Chirag epitomizes the drive and
determination we see from our stu-
dents on a daily basis,” NJCU
President Sue Henderson, said. “We
applaud his great success and his
commitment to helping others
achieve their own dreams.”
Patel will share center stage with
two other luminaries: former
Congressman Frank J. Guarini who
will receive the NJCU Leadership
Award for Lifetime Public Service;
and Carlos Rodriguez, president and
CEO of ADP, who will be honored
with the NJCU Corporate Citizen
The purpose of the American
Dream Gala is to raise scholarship
money for students planning to
attend NJCU, a four-year state uni-
versity with a student population of
more than 8,400 undergraduate and
graduate students. About 54 nations
are represented in the student body.
Eighty-five percent of the full-
time undergraduates at NJCU
receive some kind of need-based
financial aid.Chirag Patel received a
Bachelor' s degree in Business
Administration and Accounting
from Gujarat University, India
(1986) and New Jersey City
University (1989) and has qualified
for CPA Certification in 1993.
NJ varsity to honor Chirag Patel at Ellis Island
With brother Chintu he started Amneal Pharmaceuticals in 2002,
now 6th largest generic pharma co. in US
Chirag Patel
6 May 24-30, 2014 NATIONAL COMMUNITY
Washington, DC: A leading
American medical journal
has lashed out at US law-
makers for being influenced
by the powerful gun lobby to
block the nomination of
Indian-American Vivek
Murthy for the top post of
US Surgeon General,
describing it as a new form
of "political blackmail."
"The critical question is
this: Should a special-inter-
est organization like National
Rifle Association (NRA)
have veto power over the
appointment of the nation's
top doctor? The very idea is
unacceptable," the New
England Medical Journal
said in its latest issue that hit
the stands yesterday.
Boston-based Murthy, 36,
if confirmed by the US
Senate, would be the first
Indian-American and the
youngest ever to occupy the
top position. In its editorial,
the Journal alleged that 10
Senate Democrats were
apparently prepared to vote
against Murthy's confirma-
tion because of his personal
views on gun control.
The gun lobby led by the
NRA has been opposing
Murthy's nomination, who
supported Obama' s move
against gun-culture in the
"It is of great concern to us
and to many other members
of the healthcare community
that Murthy's nomination is
in jeopardy because of NRA
opposition," the journal said.
"The NRA opposes Murthy
solely on the grounds that he
has advocated reasonable
and mainstream forms of gun
regulation, including an
assault-weapons ban, a limit
on ammunition sales, and
required safety training.
Given that there are more
than 30,000 firearm deaths in
the US each year, Murthy's
views on potential safe-
guards are unsurprising," the
editorial said.
This is the first time the
NRA has flexed its political
muscle over the appointment
of a surgeon general. The
NRA has taken this action
even though the surgeon
general has no authority over
firearm regulation.
Murthy has already said in
his testimony before the
Senate HELP Committee
that if confirmed, his princi-
pal focus will be on the
national problem of obesity
prevention not firearm poli-
cy, it said.
Medical Journal lambasts NRA move
against Murthy’s nomination
Dr Vivek Murthy
Cardiologist Mitul Kadakia wins
National Award For Excellence
Houston: Indian-American car-
diologist Mitul Kadakia has been
granted the 2014 Gregory Braden
Memorial Fellow of the Year
Award by the Society for
Cardiovascular Angiography and
Interventions Foundation.
The award, considered a
tremendous prestige in the cardi-
ology community, is given to one
graduating interventional cardiol-
ogy fellow per year, out of the
thousands in the US.
Kadakia is currently a fellow in
Interventional Cardiology at the
Hospital of the University of
He received his undergraduate
degree from Harvard College and
his medical school degree from
Harvard Medical School.
Following medical school, he
completed a residency in internal
medicine at Brigham & Women’s
Hospital and cardiology fellow-
ship at the Hospital of the
University of Pennsylvania.
Kadakia’s clinical and research
interests include new devices and
therapies for coronary and valvu-
lar heart disease, percutaneous
structural cardiac interventions,
advanced imaging for structural
interventions, and bleeding
reduction in acute coronary syn-
Candidates for the Gregory
Braden Memorial Fellow of the
Year Award are evaluated based
on their interventional skills in
multiple modalities, personal
contribution to cardiovascular
research, authorship in cardio-
vascular research journals, prom-
ise for making contributions to
cardiovascular research, and ded-
ication to patient care and well-
7 May 24-30, 2014 NATIONAL COMMUNITY
Washington, DC: Chief of
Naval Research Rear Adm.
Matthew L. Klunder announced
April 18 that Dr. Abhay Pasupa-
thy of Columbia University was
one of the award recipients under
the Office of Naval Research
Young Investigator Program.
The Department of the Navy is
awarding a total of $12.5 million
to university professors selected
from many highly qualified ap-
plicants to conduct naval-rele-
vant research in areas from ro-
botics to corrosion prevention.
Pasupathy’s proposal is con-
cerned with “Electronics from
One-dimensional Nanostructures
of Two-Dimensional Materials.”
A native of Bangalore, Pasupa-
thy is an IITian. He earned his
Ph.D. from Cornell University in
2004 and was a postdoctoral as-
sociate in physics at Princeton
University before arriving at Co-
lumbia in 2009.
Physics was a natural path, “it
runs in the family,” the Indian
American told Columbia Re-
search news. His father is a
physicist, and many of his rela-
tives are scientists and engineers.
Pasupathy won a Presidential
Early Career Award for Scientists
and Engineers in 2010 and was
named a 2011 Sloan Research
Columbia’s Abhay Pasupathy is US
Navy’s Young Investigator award winner
Washington, DC: An Indian-American expert in com-
parative constitutional law has been named dean of a
top law school in the US state of California.
Sujit Choudhry, 44, is currently the Cecelia Goetz
Professor at New York University School of Law and is
the founder of its Centre for Constitutional Transitions.
His five-year term at the University of California,
Berkeley, School of Law will begin on July 1.
In a statement, the University of California Berkeley
executive vice chancellor and provost Claude Steele
called Choudhry a "brilliant scholar, professor, and
mentor", who would inspire and lead with "big ideas"
during a time of rapid change in the legal profession.
"Choudhry's enduring commitment to social mobili-
ty, diversity, and educational excellence will bring re-
newed energy to the law school's core mission of pub-
lic service and community engagement." Steele said.
The Indian-American called the Berkeley Law dean-
ship the opportunity of a lifetime.
"Berkeley Law is simply a remarkable institution," he
"It is among the very best law schools in the nation,
and is an integral part of one of the world's great re-
search universities. I am deeply attracted to Berkeley
Law's public mission, it is committed to equality of op-
portunity, academic excellence, and diversity like no
other law school that I know," he added.
A prolific scholar, Choudhry’ core work addresses ba-
sic methodological questions in comparative constitu-
tional law. He also studied constitutional design as a
way for states to transition from civil war to peaceful
democracies, especially in ethnically divided societies.
Prior to joining New York University, Choudhry was
an associate dean and the Scholl Professor of Law at the
University of Toronto.
Described as "highly interdisciplinary", Choudhry
held cross appointments in the university's political sci-
ence and public policy departments.
He was a member of the blue ribbon Governing
Toronto Advisory Panel and sat on the board of direc-
tors at Legal Aid Ontario, one of the world's largest
publicly funded legal assistance programs.
Sujit Choudhary named dean of UCB School of Law
New Jersey: Community members came out
in full force and rallied in front of the State
House in Trenton, N.J., May 14 demanding a
fair and speedy trial for Aakash Dalal, who’s
been held at the Bergen County Jail for more
than two years on charges of planning vandal-
ism and arson attacks on Bergen County syna-
“We are here not just for Aakash,” NorthJer- quoted Ankur Vaidya, a key member
in the Support Aakash Dalal team and president
of the Federation of Indian Associations. “We
are here for every single immigrant who is mis-
treated by the justice system,” he added.
Akash Dalal is in a solitary confinement in 6’
x 8’ room since March 2012 without any trial
or allowing reasonable bail, a press release is-
sued by the Support Aakash Dalal team said.
At one of the support meetings held in March
at the Edison Hotel in Edison, N.J., a video
presentation described Aakash Dalal, as a bril-
liant student with a SAT score of 2280 from
2400(95%), 4.0 GPA in the college, captain of
the school tennis team, a second prize winner
in a science competition.
“This is indeed demoralizing and the govern-
ment/administration must set up clock to start
the legal proceedings immediately and provide
the affordable bail amount which an average
American can fulfill,” the press release said.
Several prominent members of the commu-
nity addressed the rally, hosted by Pradip (Pe-
ter) Kothari.
Dalal’s parents mortgaged their house to
raise enough money to pay his $1 million bail
in 2012. But shortly before he was to be re-
leased on bail in June 2012, prosecutors
charged him with conspiracy to kill Martin De-
laney, the assistant prosecutor handling his
case at the time. Prosecutors said Aakash Dalal
prepared a list of enemies and targets, and
made efforts to obtain an assault rifle. His bail
was increased to $4 million and he has re-
mained in jail since.
After the speeches, Kothari and Vaidya pre-
sented a memorandum to Governor’s represen-
tative requesting him to take quick actions to
resolve this situation.
Indian Americans rally in support of Akash Dalal
Demand speedy trail
Akash Dalal has been in jail
since 2012 awaiting trial
Prof Abhay Pasupathy
Washington, DC: Anil
Pahwa, a Kansas State Uni-
versity engineering profes-
sor, is one of 13 individuals
chosen nationwide as a pres-
tigious Jefferson Science
Pahwa, a Logan-Fetter-
hoof chair professor of elec-
trical and computer engi-
neering, will spend the
2014-2015 school year at
the U.S. Department of State
in Washington, D.C., As a
Jefferson Science Fellow,
the Indian American profes-
sor will serve as a scientific
adviser and help with na-
tional foreign policy.
"I hope to contribute to the
national foreign policy relat-
ed to my expertise in the
field of electric power and
energy," Pahwa said in a
press release.
"About 20 percent of the
world's population doesn't
have access to electricity,
which includes 70 percent
of the population of sub-Sa-
haran Africa. My goal is to
advance policies and plans
that can reverse this trend
and improve lives of people
around the world."
Following his fellowship,
Pahwa will return to Kansas
State University in Septem-
ber 2015, but will remain
available to the State De-
partment or USAID for
short-term projects for the
following five years.
Pahwa studies the applica-
tion of advanced computer
and communications tech-
nology to enhance efficien-
cy, reliability and quality of
electricity delivery systems.
His research also involves
using small renewable ener-
gy resources within the grid
and off-grid locations.
Pahwa has had extensive
international experience.
From 2007 to 2011, he
served as the electrical engi-
neering coordinator for a
World Bank-funded project
to strengthen higher educa-
tion in Afghanistan. In 2007,
he also spent approximately
three weeks at Kabul Uni-
versity to prepare a new cur-
riculum and mentor faculty
and students.
Pahwa came to the United
States from India in 1977 to
pursue graduate studies in
power and energy systems.
He came to Kansas State
University in 1983.
Kansas academic Anil Pahwa selected
Jefferson Science Fellow
Prof Anil Pahwa
Sujit Choudhary
8 May 24-30, 2014 NATIONAL COMMUNITY
Baisakhi celebrated at Embassy residence
mbassador Dr. S.
Jaishankar hosted
a reception at his
residence on May 17, 2014
to celebrate the Sikh festi-
val of Baisakhi. The festi-
val symbolizes the begin-
ning of the harvest season,
a celebration of the fruits
of the farmers' toil and a
thanksgiving for a bounti-
ful harvest. For the Sikhs,
it also marks the founding
of the Khalsa Panth by
Guru Gobind Singh.
Over two hundred guests
belonging to the Sikh com-
munity from various parts
of the United States attend-
ed the celebration, which
featured a religious invoca-
tion, a cultural program of
songs and dances from the
Sikh tradition, and an ex-
position by a noted Sikh
scholar on the relevance
and meaning of Baisakhi.
In his greetings to the
members of the Sikh com-
munity, Ambassador Jais-
hankar noted that the gath-
ering was both to mark the
auspicious occasion and to
recognize the contributions
and concerns of the Sikh
community in the United
Reflecting on their rich
contributions over the
years to India-U.S. rela-
tions, Ambassador Jais-
hankar recognized the Sikh
community in the U.S. as
the pioneers among the In-
dian-Americans embody-
ing the spirit of India, who
also gave the first Indian-
American Member of U.S.
Congress. He emphasized
Embassy's commitment to
the welfare and progress of
the Sikh community in the
United States, and cited as
example his recent public
support for the initiative to
allow Sikh members of the
U.S. military to display ar-
ticles of faith.
A congratulatory mes-
sage on the occasion sent
by Governor Martin
O'Malley of Maryland was
read out.
Indira Talwani becomes first South Asian judge
in Massachusetts
ndian American lawyer Indira
Talwani has become the first
Asian American federal judge
in Massachusetts and the second
female judge of South Asian de-
scent nationwide with her confir-
mation by the US Senate.
The Senate confirmed her May
8 by 94-0 votes to fill a vacan-
cy on the US District Court for
the District of Massachusetts.
Daughter of immigrants from India and
Germany, Talwani, 53, received a bachelor
of arts degree, cum laude, in 1982, from
Harvard College.
She received a juris doctorate in
1988 from University of Califor-
nia Berkeley School of Law, grad-
uating Order of the Coif.
"She has the support of her
home state senators, Senator
(Elizabeth) Warren and Senator
(Edward) Markey," Senate Ju-
diciary Committee chairman
Patrick Leahy noted putting her nomination
to vote before the Senate.The Judiciary
Committee had reported her favorably to
the full Senate by voice vote Feb 6.
Wells Fargo announces Wells Fargo Works for
Small Business
By Staff reporter
n recognition of National Small Business
Week, Wells Fargo announced Wells Far-
go Works for Small Business (SM), to
help small businesses achieve financial suc-
cess. With the new initiative, Wells Fargo also
is announcing a goal to extend $100 billion in
new lending to small businesses by 2018.
Wells Fargo reiterated its support towards
small businesses especially in the south Asian
community at the South Asian Young Women
Entrepreneurs (SAY WE) conference – Raise,
Rise, and Rule. With the new initiative, Wells
Fargo also announced a goal to extend $100
billion in new lending to small business by
2018. Under the new initiative, Wells Fargo
will deliver resources, guidance and services
to help small businesses. “Wells Fargo Works
for Small Business provides wide-ranging
support for business owners throughout the
US to help them build knowledge, access cap-
ital and expand their community of support.
The new platform encompasses the compa-
ny’s commitment to helping small businesses
grow,” said Nancy Wong, Wells Fargo’s SVP
Asian Segment Manager to South Asian
women entrepreneurs at the conference. The
conference, first of a three-city financial edu-
cation initiative, discussed topics including:
building your business credit, reinvesting in
your business, protecting your credit score,
creating relationships with business bankers,
marketing your new business, reaching out to
the media and implementing a social media
Ambassador Dr. S. Jaishankar with the congratu-
latory message sent by Governor Martin O'Malley
of Maryland on the occasion of Baisakhi.
Symposium on Global Health Education & Physician
Migration at AAPI’s annual convention
billion people in 57 countries are said
to be facing daily struggle to access
basic healthcare due to shortage of
healthcare professionals within each of these
countries. Millions of children, women and
men in some of these poorest nations die of
diseases without ever having a chance to meet
or being treated by a trained healthcare pro-
fessional. Many advanced nations import
healthcare professionals from developing na-
tions in order to fill their own healthcare
shortages. The critical shortage of skilled per-
sonnel, especially in remote areas of the
world is a major obstacle to meeting the Unit-
ed Nation’s Millennium Goals by 2015.
With a view to enhance the understanding
and the need for global health education, the
American Association of Physicians of Indi-
an Origin (AAPI) is organizing the first ever
symposium on “Global Health Education &
Physician Migration” which will be held on
Saturday, June 28, 2014 in Room 217, Henry
B. Gonzalez Convention Center. San Anto-
nio, TX. The symposium will be part of the
32nd Annual Convention to be held from
June 25th through June 29th 2014 at the Hy-
att Hotel here. Over 2,000 talented and dedi-
cated physicians of Indian origin are expect-
ed to gather and deliberate on ways to en-
hance their own professional growth and
identify ways to network and stay united and
offer a unified voice to protect their rights as
well as explore possibilities to give back to
the society at the annual convention.
Aapka Colors expands distribution in US
apka Colors, the flagship general en-
tertainment channel of Viacom18 Me-
dia Pvt. Ltd., announced its partner-
ship with Verizon FiOS TV. Aapka Colors
launched on April 29, 2014 as part of Verizon
FiOS TV’s South Asian Package on Channel
No. 1750. Aapka Colors will join several oth-
er top South Asian-targeted programming
services – TV Asia, SET Asia, STAR India
PLUS and Zee TV – in Verizon’s South Asian
programming package. The addition of Aapka
Colors is dedicated to providing wholesome
viewing for the entire family through reality
programs like Mission Sapney, Fear Factor,
Dancing with the Stars, and Bigg Boss. The
network also airs long running, top rated,
scripted series such as Balika Vadhu, Uttaran,
and Madhubala. Gaurav Gandhi, Group Coo
– IndiaCast, said, “Aapka Colors has been en-
tertaining millions of viewers around the world
each night with its engaging content and now
Verizon customers will get a chance to be en-
tertained and delighted by the biggest dramas,
reality shows and movies on the channel.”
Indira Talwani
9 May 24-30, 2014 NATIONAL COMMUNITY
New York: Tamil Sangam (NYTS)
organized a Carnatic Music Concert
at PS 24 Andrew Jackson School in
Flushing, New York on April 19 to
celebrate Tamil New Year - Chithi-
rai Thirunaal.
It was a perfect evening to enjoy
traditional raga-based Carnatic mu-
sic concert in New York. Carnatic
Music Concert involves age-old ra-
gas of South Indian tradition where
the Vocalist and accompanying mu-
sicians would have to sit cross-
legged on the decorated stage for
nearly three enduring hours for this
performance. Mahanadhi Dr.
Shobana Vignesh is an accom-
plished Carnatic music vocalist in
India, and she had performed all
over the world stages. Accompany-
ing artists were: Mrs. Gowri Ra-
makrishnan (Violin), Mr. Ranendra
Kumar Das (Tabla), and Mr. Yazh-
panam Senthooran (Mridangam).
Dr. Shobana started the program,
in front of the elite audience, by
singing “Maha Ganapathim”, giv-
ing everyone in the audience a feel
of reverence to the music. Her ex-
cellent quality melodious voice per-
fectly coupled with flawless instru-
mentals violin, tabla, and mridan-
gam – carried the audience through
rest of the concert to a mesmerizing
Dr. Shobana rendered the concert
with a unique list of songs compris-
ing devotional and classical Tamil
and a couple of cinema songs. The
songs are all from her signature se-
ries which have enthralled the audi-
ence for many years now. The list of
songs included ‘Maa Mayura Meed-
hil’ (a devotional song on Lord Mu-
ruga), ‘Alai Payudhe Kanna’, ‘Man-
asa Sanjarare’, ‘Aadikkondar And-
ha Vedikkai Kaana’, ‘Brinda Vana
Nilaye’, ‘China Chiru Kuzhandai
Onru Kanavil Vandhadhu’, ‘Mari
Vere Gathi Evarayya Rama’, ‘Kurai
Onrum Illai’, ‘Satha Panduranga’,
and ‘China Chiru Kiliye Kannam-
ma’. The songs covered are from
the eternal musical trinity -
Trimurthys of Carnatic Music
namely: Sri. Thiyagaraja Swamy-
gal, Sri. Muthusamy Diksithar and
Sri. Shyama Sasthri. The songs
from Independence Movement Poet
from Tamil Nadu Sri Subramaniya
Bharathiyar and other legendary po-
ets were also included, giving a
beautiful variety to this musical
Dr. Shobana continued the pro-
gram after a brief pause for felicita-
tions with ‘Neela Karunakarane
Nataraja’, and followed with ‘Brah-
mam Onruthaan’. Heeding to re-
quests from the audience, she also
sung the movie song originally ren-
dered by her ‘Sri Ranga Ran-
ganathanin’ from movie Mahanadhi
- her debut movie the name of
which has become her title since
then. She continued with ‘Muthai
Tharu Bathi’ and concluded the con-
cert by singing ‘Vaazhiya Sen-
thamizh’ and apt rendition matching
the cause of the event.
During the felicitations, the Chief
Guest of the event famous vocalist
in New York, Ms. Savitri Ramanand
of Mukthambar Fine Arts and the
younger sister of famous vocalists
“Bombay Sisters” honored Ma-
hanadhi Dr. Shobana, and praised
her perfect notes and the beautiful
voice as it is one of a kind. Ms. Sav-
itri Ramanand appreciated individu-
ally the talents of accompanying
artists and how she knew them and
their talents especially Yazhpanam
Senthooran who literally grew on
NYTS stage.
NYTS Advisor Dr. M.N. Krish-
nan honored the Chief Guest Ms.
Savitri Ramanand with a Ponnaadai.
NYTS Advisor Ms. Kanchana
Poola conferred the title of
“Thamizh Isai Peroli” on Mahanad-
hi Dr. Shobana Vignesh. NYTS
Committee members honored the
accompanying artists.
Among the prominent personali-
ties attending the concert was Mr.
Prasanna (‘Guitar Prasanna’), a
well-known guitarist from Chennai
filmdom. He was introduced on
stage by Mr. Ramesh Ramanathan
and honored by NYTS President
Mr. Vijay D Vijayakumar. NYTS
honored the prominent supporter
Mr. Karthik Dama, and thanked the
supporters Prince Jewelry, Apna
Bazar and Mr. Jagadeesan Poola.
When the concert came to a con-
clusion everybody in the audience
felt as if they had a whirl- wind vis-
it to India and attended the famous
festival of music in Chennai. Many
said this enjoyment of music would
stay with them forever and thanked
NYTS for organizing such a classic
‘Mahanadhi’ Shobana enthralls music lovers at Tamil Sangam event
‘Mahanadhi’ Shobana performing and with the Tamil Sangam officials and dignitaries
US AFFAIRS 10 May 24-30, 2014
New York: Gov. Andrew M. Cuo-
mo was nominated Wednesday to
again run for State Governor at the
Democratic party’s convention in
Melville, Long Island. The con-
vention is the symbolic start to the
campaign season for the fall elec-
Multiple polls suggest Cuomo is
well ahead of Rob Astorino, the
Republican nominee for the top
post in the state.
Gov Cumo has selected former
Buffalo-area Rep. Kathy Hochul
to run for Lt Governor, signaling
he is still concerned with improv-
ing his showing with upstate vot-
ers. He made the announcement in
a video address to delegates of the
convention at in Melville. Lt. Gov.
Robert J. Duffy earlier said he will
not be on the ticket this time. Cuo-
mo said Hochul, who served less
than two years in Congress before
losing in 2012, "knows the needs
of upstate New York, and the par-
ticular needs of Western New
York." On the convention's open-
ing day, Democrats also nominat-
ed Attorney General Eric T.
Schneiderman and Comptroller
Thomas DiNapoli for re-election.
The delegates also approved for-
mer Gov. David A. Paterson as the
party's new chairman, replacing
Assemblyman Keith Wright.
Dems nominate Gov. Cuomo for second term
New York: Westchester County Ex-
ecutive Rob Astorino accepted the
nomination for Governor of New
York at the Republican State Con-
vention in Rye Brook on May 15.
Chemung County Sheriff Chris
Moss was nominated as Astorino’s
running mate for the office of Lt
In his acceptance speech, Astori-
no hammered home his signature
themes about the importance of
lowering New York taxes and re-
ducing regulatory red tape on large
and small business owners who cre-
ate jobs. Astorino also lamented that
the “once great Empire State of
New York is now ranked by the
American Legislative Exchange
Council as having the worst eco-
nomic outlook in America, with the
highest property taxes and the high-
est overall tax burden.” On a posi-
tive note,. he said that New York
has what it takes to become the na-
tion’s economic powerhouse again.
In a separate statement, Astorino
congratulated the people of India
and the Indian community in New
York on the successful culmination
of India’s historic national election
and hoped that the Indian Ameri-
cans in New York too will turn out
in large numbers in the November
“Astorino is well connected with
the Indian American community in
Westchester and eager to work with
Asian Americans all across the
state,” says Varinder Bhalla, who
was invited to attend the Republi-
can Convention as a guest of the
County Executive.
Astorino is currently serving his
second term as County Executive
after being re-elected by a 13-point
margin in a heavily Democratic
Westchester County Executive
Rob Astorino .
Astorino gets GOP
nomination for Governor
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is well ahead of Republican nominee
Rob Astorino, polls say.
Washington: President Obama on
Wednesday vowed to get to the
bottom of alleged misconduct at
Veterans Affairs agency hospitals,
calling the reported activity "dis-
honorable" and "disgraceful" but
expressing confidence that VA
Secretary Eric Shinseki will con-
tinue working with the administra-
tion to solve the problem "at this
stage.""If these allegations prove
to be true, it is dishonorable, it is
disgraceful and I will not tolerate
it, period," he said in remarks at
the White House. The White
House is facing an increasing out-
cry over allegations that VA hospi-
tal employees tampered with data
and built hidden waiting lists to
obscure the long delays veterans
faced when needing care.
Delays at veterans’ hospitals will be fixed: Obama
New York: Credit Suisse has
done what no other huge bank
has done in over two decades:
plead guilty to criminal
In a sign that global banking
giants are no longer immune
from criminal charges — de-
spite public concerns that fi-
nancial institutions have
grown so large and intercon-
nected that they are “too big to
jail” — federal prosecutors
demanded that Credit Suisse’s
parent company plead guilty
to helping thousands of Amer-
ican account holders hide their
wealth and evade taxes.
In the Federal District Court
in Alexandria, Va., a Credit
Suisse lawyer, Alan Reifen-
berg, accepted the plea agree-
ment in a 45 minute hearing
before Judge Rebecca B.
As part of a deal with the
Justice Department, the Swiss
bank agreed to plead to one
count of conspiring to aid tax
evasion. Credit Suisse, which
has a giant investment bank in
New York and whose chief ex-
ecutive is an American, will
also pay about $2.6 billion in
penalties and hire an inde-
pendent monitor for up to two
“This case shows that no fi-
nancial institution, no matter
its size or global reach, is
above the law,” said Attorney
General Eric Holder Jr. “Cred-
it Suisse conspired to help
U.S. citizens hide assets in
offshore accounts in order to
evade paying taxes. When a
bank engages in misconduct
this brazen, it should expect
that the Justice Department
will pursue criminal prosecu-
tion to the fullest extent possi-
ble, as has happened here.”
The severe rebuke from fed-
eral prosecutors — as well as
from the Federal Reserve and
New York State’s banking reg-
ulator, Benjamin M. Lawsky,
who agreed to punish the bank
without shutting it down —
stems in part from Credit Su-
isse’s failure to fully cooper-
ate with the United States gov-
The resulting plea deal will
strike a blow at overseas tax
dodging and the shadowy
world of Swiss bank secrecy,
which had become a hallmark
of the country’s financial sys-
tem and the scorn of American
policy makers.
It took months of careful
planning. Recognizing that
criminal charges could prompt
regulators to revoke a bank’s
license to operate, the corpo-
rate equivalent of the death
penalty, prosecutors met with
the Fed and Mr. Lawsky to
discuss punishing Credit Su-
isse without putting it out of
business and imperiling the
economy, according to inter-
views with people briefed on
the matter who were not au-
thorized to speak publicly.
The case will provide a tem-
plate for prosecuting other fi-
nancial misdeeds — both
present and future. BNP
Paribas, France’s largest bank,
is next in line to plead guilty
in the coming weeks, the peo-
ple briefed on the matter said.
Credit Suisse pleads guilty in tax evasion case
Corporate Office: 385 Seneca Avenue, Ridgewood NY 11385
718.821.3182, www.AtlanticDialysis.Com
Kejriwal sent to jail in
defamation case
New Delhi: AAP leader Arvind
Kejriwal was sent to judicial cus-
tody in a defamation case filed by
BJP leader Nitin Gadkari, hours
after he apologised for resigning as
Delhi's chief minister in February.
Kejriwal, 45, was first sent to a
lock-up in the court complex before
being taken in a police van to the
Tihar Central Jail, where a large
number of Aam Aadmi Party work-
ers promptly staged a noisy protest.
Police detained several AAP lead-
ers - Manish Sisodia and Sanjay
Singh among others - when they
refused to budge from the protest
This led to a traffic jam in areas
like Delhi Cantt in south Delhi.
The judge gave the order after
Kejriwal told the court: "I am fight-
ing corruption. I will not seek bail as
I have not done anything wrong."
In keeping with a stand he took
earlier, Kejriwal told the court he
would not furnish a bail bond as the
case was a political one.
The sudden development came
just after Kejriwal offered his first
public apology for abruptly resign-
ing as Delhi's chief minister Feb 14
and sought fresh elections in the
capital. Referring to his resignation
after a 49-day stint following his
failure to get the Jan Lokpal bill
passed, Kejriwal said: "We made a
mistake, and I apologize for it."
BJP leader Harsh Vardhan, a legis-
lator now elected to the Lok Sabha,
said his party wanted fresh polls.
New Delhi: The Congress prom-
ised a thorough organizational
revamp and structural changes as
measures to win back confidence of
people after the party's worst defeat
in a Lok Sabha election but did not
spell out the way it will be accom-
Both the resolution adopted at the
Congress Working Committee
meeting here and Congress presi-
dent Sonia Gandhi's speech gave
the party's disconnect with the vot-
ers as reasons that led to the party
just winning 44 of 543 Lok Sabha
Party sources said that there
could be a reshuffle of All India
Congress Committee office-bearers
in the coming weeks. The party has
little time for recovery as it has to
face assembly elections later this
year in Maharashtra, Haryana, and
Jammu and Kashmir and possibly
While an admission of failures is
likely to go down well with the
workers, who wanted the leader-
ship to do some plain-speaking,
there is still no clarity about the
kind of change that will be brought
about in structures of the party, its
scale and its timeline.
Party vice president Rahul
Gandhi has been advocating direct
elections to fill various posts and
opening up the organisation and the
resolution indicated the party could
go in that direction as it talked
about creating "opportunities and
structures that will pave the way of
a thorough revamp of the organisa-
tion at all levels".
Union minister Kamal Nath has
suggested that CWC members
should also be elected and not nom-
inated by the Congress president.
However, a section of the party is
not satisfied with the outcome of
Rahul Gandhi's moves to usher in
internal democracy in Youth
Congress saying that it had brought
in a crop of leaders who were not
adept in agitational politics.
Sonia Gandhi said party should
ponder why its support base has
eroded and if the party was in tune
with the aspirations of the youth
and keeping pace with the change.
She also said the party needed
"clear-headed and fresh thinking
that will help us correct our short-
comings" but did not elaborate.
Decimated Congress does not outline roadmap
New Delhi: President Pranab
Mukherjee formally appointed
Narendra Modi as the next prime
minister of India after the latter
met him, along with senior leaders
of his party and the National
Democratic Alliance, and staked
claim to forming a government.
He will take his oath on May 26 at
6 pm as India's 14th prime minis-
The oath-taking will take place
in the expansive forecourt of
Rashtrapati Bhavan and will be
telecast live to the nation. It would
be the first time, as Modi himself
pointed out, that someone from
the post-Independence generation
would lead the country.
“Narendra Modi, Leader of the
BJP parliamentary party, called on
the president today. As Narendra
Modi has been elected leader of
the BJP Parliamentary Party and
BJP has the majority support in
the House of the People, the presi-
dent appointed Narendra Modi as
the Prime Minister of India and
requested him to advise the names
of others to be appointed members
of the council of ministers,” a
communique from the Rashtrapati
Bhavan, the presidential palace,
"The President will administer
the Oath of Office and Secrecy on
May 26, 2014 at 6 p.m. at
Rashtrapati Bhavan,” the state-
ment added.
Earlier, in an emotional yet
euphoric moment at the Central
Hall of Parliament House, Modi
was unanimously elected leader of
the BJP parliamentary party
where he talked of "era of respon-
sibility and hope" and said he
would not disappoint his party or
the country.
Addressing the party MPs and
other leaders in the Central Hall,
which he visited for the first time
and on the steps of which he went
down on his knees in reverence to
the 'temple of democracy', Modi
said the majority given to the BJP
in the Lok Sabha was "a vote for
hope and faith" and said his rise
from humble origins was a tribute
to the greatness of Indian democ-
"A government should be one
that works for the poor and this is
why the new government is com-
mitted to the poor of the country
and dedicated to the youth of the
country as well as our mothers
and daughters," said Modi.
In his 30-minute speech, Modi,
who helped his father as a tea ven-
dor in a small town in his native
Gujarat, stressed he should not be
seen above the party and credited
the stunning electoral victory to
its organizational strength.
Modi became emotional and
broke down when he responded to
party veteran L.K. Advani' s
remarks that he had done a favour
by leading the BJP in the election,
a move that Advani had initially
"Please don't use the word 'kri-
pa' (favour)," Modi said, referring
to Advani’s earlier remark that
Modi had done a favour to the
party in helping in its impressive
He paused for a few minutes,
had a sip of water and then contin-
ued. "A son doesn't do a favour to
his mother. A son works with ded-
ication. I treat the BJP as my
mother just as India is my moth-
er," said Modi, almost breaking
"The party has done me a favour
by giving me an opportunity to
serve." "The celebrations, excite-
ment will go on but the era of
responsibility has begun."
Modi remembered former prime
minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee,
who is ailing, the freedom fighters
and leaders who had drafted the
Modi is India's 14th PM
President Pranab Mukherjee formally appoints Narendra Modi as the
next prime minister of India; Modi remembers Atal Bihari Vajpayee, gets
emotional while addressing party leaders in Parliament's Central Hall
Arvind Kejriwal offered public
apology for abruptly resigning
as Delhi's chief minister
Party sources said that there could be a reshuffle of All India
Congress Committee office-bearers in the coming weeks.
11 May 24-30, 2014
Anandiben is new Gujarat CM
Gandhinagar: Senior BJP
leader Anandiben Patel took
oath as Gujarat's first woman
chief minister here at the head of
a 21-member ministry.
Governor Kamla Beniwal
administered the oath of office
and secrecy to Patel, 73, and her
ministers at a public ceremony
at the sprawling Mahatma
Mandit convention centre here.
Later, 20 cabinet colleagues
were also sworn in. Patel was
also elected chief of the
Bharatiya Janata Party legisla-
ture wing.
Besides Modi, senior BJP
leaders including party president
Rajnath Singh, L.K. Advani,
Murli Manohar Joshi and Arun
Jaitley attending Thursday's cer-
Anandiben Patel (right) is Gujarat's first woman CM
President Pranab Mukherjee with Narendra Modi
at Rashtrapati Bhavan
12 May 24-30, 2014
Nitish resigns, Bihar gets new CM
Patna: The first fallout of Narendra Modi
wave was seen in Bihar where Chief Minister
and Janata Dal (United) senior leader Nitish
Kumar took moral responsibility of his party's
rout in the state and resigned from the top
After hectic parleys, Jitan Ram Manjhi, a
68-year-old Mahadalit leader was sworn-in as
the 23rd chief minister of Bihar.
Manjhi along with 17 ministers took oath of
office at a simple ceremony at Raj Bhavan
"Governor D.Y. Patil, who administered the
oath to Manjhi and his ministers, directed the
new government to seek a trust vote on the
floor of the house May 23," officials said.
Soon after taking oath, the soft-spoken
Manjhi told media persons that he will speed
up development work initiated by outgoing
chief minister Nitish Kumar.
"I will take everyone's help to speed up the
development of Bihar. I will follow the devel-
opment roadmap of Nitish Kumar," he said.
Manjhi was named by outgoing chief minis-
ter Nitish Kumar after he was authorised by
the Janata Dal-United legislature party to
select a new leader.
Nitish Kumar refused to withdraw his resig-
nation after his party's debacle in the Lok
Sabha polls.
Manjhi, a graduate, began his life as a shep-
herd to earn his livelihood. His father Ramjeet
Ram Manjhi was a landless labourer.
"It is a fact that Manjhi in his childhood
worked as a shepherd for a farmer in his
native village," a close relative of Manjhi said.
Manjhi along with Nitish Kumar and JD-U
chief Sharad Yadav Monday met Governor
D.Y. Patil and staked claim to form the gov-
Party leaders said Nitish Kumar chose the
soft-spoken Manjhi as he is a non-controver-
sial leader with a clean image.
Manjhi - from the Mushahar community -
was SC/ST welfare minister in the Nitish
Kumar cabinet. He is legislator from the
Makhdoompur assembly constituency.
Manjhi also contested the Lok Sabha poll
from Gaya constituency but lost.
A native of Mahkar village in Gaya district,
Manjhi is the third Dalit to become chief min-
ister after Bhola Paswan Shastri and Ram
Sundar Das. People in his village celebrated
by distributing sweets, playing with colors and
dancing to drum beats.
By Prakash Bhandari
Jaipur: Rajasthan Chief Minister
Vasundhara Raje has something in com-
mon with Narendra Modi's Man Friday
Amit Shah. Like what Shah accomplished
in UP by combining organizing skills and
capabilities, Vasundhara achieved 100 per-
cent success rate in the parliamentary polls
because of innovations. She introduced 13
new faces as candidates and asked four sit-
ting MLAs to contest. Spurred by the
landslide in the assembly election of
December 2013 and riding on the Modi
wave, her BJP equaled the Congress
record of 1984 by winning all the 25 seats
at stake.
Vasundhara Raje, immediately after
starting on her second stint as CM, had
coined a slogan for the BJP: Mission 25. It
was a tall order, but the Congress was
badly drubbed in the assembly polls. A
political science graduate from Mumbai's
Sofia College, Vasundhara turned into a
management guru and marketed the
Modi's brand.
Outgoing Union minister and PCC pres-
ident Sachin Pilot admitted that a party in
power always enjoys the advantage if the
Lok Sabha elections are held immediately
after the Vidhan Sabha poll. Young Pilot
was brought in after the assembly poll
debacle, but he failed to do the turnaround
and himself lost from Ajmer. All the five
ministers in the Manmohan Singh's cabi-
net from the state lost.
Significantly, the electorate voted across
the caste lines, except in Barmer where the
BJP rebel Jaswant Singh lost because of
the consolidation of the Jat votes in favor
of BJP's Col Sona Ram Choudhry, who
himself was a deserter from Congress.
Two sports celebrities were in the fray
this time. Olympic medalist Rajyavardhan
Singh Rathor won the sear for the BJP
from Jaipur (rural). But Md Azharuddin of
Congress lost from Tonk-Sawaimadhopur
to Sukhbir Singh Jaunapuriya, a Gujjar
from Haryana handpicked by Vasundhara.
In Jaipur, the BJP had fielded a virtual
non-entity like Ram Charan Bohra against
the sitting Congress member Mahesh
Joshi. But Bohra won by a margin of 5.39
lakh, the highest in the state.
The Congress fielded three princes (one
princess) against BJP's one prince. Union
minister Chandresh Kumari, the princess
of Jodhpur, lost to the pauper Rajput
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, for the
Jodhpur seat. Union minister Jitendra
Singh lost from Alwar, and Ijjyeraj Singh,
could defend his Kota seat. All this proof
that the royals’ days are over. The lone
prince of the BJP, Dushyant Singh, son of
Vasundhara Raje, however was an excep-
tion and recorded his third consecutive
victory from Jhalawar.
Buta Singh, once a blue-eyed minister of
both Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, lost
the election as an Independent from
Raje wins all 25 seats for Modi
Lucknow: After the elec-
tion drubbing of the two
regional powerhouses –
Mulayam Singh Yadav’s
Samajwadi Party (SP) and
Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj
Party (BSP) – in Uttar
Pradesh, came the revamp.
The BSP chief sacked all
zonal coordinators of the
party and dissolved all
frontal organisations and
zonal and district units,
while chief minister
Akhilesh Yadav sacked 36
party leaders, who held
posts of chairman, vice-
chairman and advisor in
different government bod-
ies. Those sacked included
32 leaders of cabinet min-
ister or minister of state
Some ministers of the
Akhilesh Yadav govern-
ment might face the axe
too, once party chief
Mulayam completes his
review. Six ministers of
Akhilesh Yadav govern-
ment had contested and
lost the Lok Sabha elec-
tion. Their performance
has come up for a review
The decision to sack
came soon after a meeting
of the state cabinet called
by the CM at his Lal
Bahadur Shastri Bhawan
Annexe office here.
Asked if he would follow
in the footsteps of Bihar
CM Nitish Kumar and
resign, Akhilesh said,
“Uttar Pradesh has differ-
ent political equations. It
cannot be compared to
other states.” He also rub-
bished reports that he
walked out of a cabinet
meet on Monday.
At a review meeting,
Mayawati issued a ‘per-
form or perish’ warning to
senior party leaders.
Mayawati had summoned
leaders from all over the
country to discuss the
party’s no-show in the LS
elections and to chalk out
future action plan.
Srinagar: Seeking the
peoples reaction through
e-mails, convening
brain-storming sessions
with party colleagues
and promising not to
buckle under defeat are
some of the steps being
taken by the battered
National Conference
(NC) in its bid to bounce
NC president and
Chief Minister Omar
Abdullah has said the
defeat of the ruling
Congress-NC alliance in
all the six Lok Sabha
constituencies in Jammu
and Kashmir has
shocked him.
More worrisome than
the NC-Congress com-
bine candidates losing in
the Lok Sabha election is
the fact that out of the 46
assembly segments that
constitute the voting seg-
ments for the three Lok
Sabha seats of the Valley,
the NC led in just seven.
The first casualty,
however, has been the
electoral alliance
between the centrist
Congress and the region-
al NC.
"We have lost because
of our alliance with the
Congress. We shall now
fight the state assembly
elections on our own,"
said Nasir Aslam Wani,
provincial general secre-
tary of the NC.
Reacting to Wani' s
statement, a senior
Congress leader said the
Congress did not beg the
NC to forge an electoral
alliance with it.
The growing differ-
ences between the NC
and the Congress have
been further aggravated
by the defeat at the hus-
tings and whether or not
the ruling coalition in
Jammu and Kashmir
becomes a victim of this
acrimony will have to be
Nitish Kumar with new Bihar
CM Jitan Ram Manjh The BSP chief sacked all zonal coordinators of the
party and dissolved all frontal organisations and
zonal and district units
Will NC overcome
election debacle?
Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje makes
a clean sweep of the Lok Sabha polls.
UP: 36 SP leaders axed,
Maya dissolves BSP panels
13 May 24-30, 2014 INDIA POST-VERDICT
By Harjap Singh Aujla
he BJP’s hurricane flattened every-
thing in its way. Of course, the
remotely controlled decade old gov-
ernment in New Delhi was squarely to
blame for its non-governance or mis-gover-
nance. 2G, coal blocks, Commonwealth
Games scandals and the Robert Vadra rags
to riches scandal and the runaway rise in
prices of essentials, all added up to sully the
image of the grand old Congress Party.
All across India, Narendra Modi ran an
aggressive campaign. The nation saw in
him the masterly oratory of Atal Bihari
Vajpayee and the courage of Sardar Patel.
He succeeded in uniting a caste riddled
Hindu society into a solid voting monolith.
The Muslims and other minorities were a
scared lot, but the majority community was
In Punjab, there was no Modi wave. The
Sikhs in Punjab were bitter at Modi’s
repeated attempts to evict Sikh farmers set-
tled in the Rann of Kutchh since the days of
Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965. They were
settled in there as a bulwark against the
Pakistani infiltrators after the 1965 Indo-
Pak War.
There was a strong anti-incumbency
wave against the Shiromani Akali Dal
(SAD)-BJP regime in the state. The people
were fed up with the “Goonda Tax” on sand
and gravel charged by the pro-government
mafia. They were bitter at the attempts to
throttle out the state owned public transport
by buses of the ruling family. Rampant
unemployment among the educated youth,
irregular disbursement of pensions to gov-
ernment retirees, delayed payment of
salaries to government employees,
unscheduled power cuts and rampant cor-
ruption in government offices at all levels
were some of the reasons for the wide-
spread dissatisfaction among the electorate.
The Congress was likely to benefit, but the
sudden appearance of Aam Aadmi Party
(AAP) took virtually every anti-incumben-
cy vote away from the Congress. The
Congress got 33% vote share, the SAD got
26%, the BJP 9% and the AAP got 24.4%.
There was resentment in Punjab against the
misrule and corruption in New Delhi, but it
was dwarfed because of the resentment
against the state government. The hardcore
supporters of both the Congress and the
SAD-BJP stood stubbornly behind their
party candidates, but the burgeoning dissat-
isfied voter block pulled its weight behind
AAP, delivering them 4 Lok Sabha seats.
The AAP drew first blood in Punjab as its
most vocal candidate Bhagwant Mann
trounced his wealthy opponents Vijay Inder
Singla of the Congress and Sukhdev Singh
Dhindsa of the SAD by a margin exceeding
211,000 votes in Sangrur. AAP’s Prof.
Sadhu Singh bagged the Faridkot seat by a
margin of 176,000 votes. Dr. Dharam Vir
Gandhi of the same party edged past
Maharani Preneet Kaur in Patiala. In the
Fatehgarh Sahib constituency, a former top
bureaucrat turned politician Harinder Singh
Khalsa edged out Sadhu Singh Dharamsot
of the Congress and millionaire land devel-
oper Kulwant Singh of the SAD.
The Congress candidate and former chief
minister Captain Amarinder Singh recorded
an impressive 102,000 vote upset victory
over BJP’s national level stalwart Arun
Jaitley in Punjab’s most important con-
stituency of Amritsar. In neighboring
Jalandhar, Congress’ Chaudhry Santokh
Singh defeated Akali Dal’s candidate
Pawan Tinnu. Ludhiana seat also went to
Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittoo --
he defeated a deserving candidate Advocate
Harwinder Singh Phoolka by just 20000
votes. Thus Punjab’s three top economic
prime-mover cities went into the Congress
The SAD bagged four seats including
Khadoor Sahib (Ranjit Singh Brahmpura),
Ferozepore (Sher Singh Ghubaya),
Anandpur Sahib (Prem Singh
Chandumajra) and Bhatinda (Harsimrat
Kaur Badal), all due to the strong presence
of AAP. The national winners the BJP won
Gurdaspur (Vinod
Khanna) and barely
managed Hoshiarpur
(Vijay Sampla).
The author can be
contacted at har-
Three-way split of votes in Punjab
There was no Modi wave in the Akali Dal ruled state. The
anti-incumbency votes were stolen from the Congress by
AAP, which won its only 4 seats from Punjab.
The Congress candidate and former
chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh
recorded an impressive, upset victory
over BJP’s national level stalwart Arun
Jaitley in the state’s most important
constituency of Amritsar.
AAP drew first blood in Punjab as its
most vocal candidate Bhagwant Mann
trounced his wealthy opponents from
the Congress and Akali Dal and won by
a margin exceeding 211,000 votes
in Sangrur.
14 May 24-30, 2014
Abe invites Modi to Japan for
annual summit
New Delhi: Japanese Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe called up BJP prime
minister-designate Narendra Modi
and invited him to Japan to continue
the annual bilateral summit meet-
ings. In reply, Modi said he has "a
wonderful experience of working
with you, and I would like to cooper-
ate with you to take India-Japan ties
to newer heights from now on".
"I appreciate your inviting me to
visit Japan. I look forward to meeting
you," Modi said. In their telephone
talk Monday, Abe congratulated
Modi on the "historic victory" of the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the
general elections. He said Japan and
India share fundamental values and
strategic interests as the two biggest
democratic countries in Asia "and I
believe Japan-India relationship is
blessed with the largest potential for
development of any bilateral rela-
tionship anywhere in the world",
according to a press statement from
the Japanese embassy. He expressed
his wish to work closely with Modi
"towards further development of the
Japan-India Strategic and Global
Partnership" and invited him to
Japan to continue the annual summit
meetings. Modi thanked him for the
congratulatory statement, and
remarked that "Japan has made a sig-
nificant contribution to the develop-
ment of India". "I would like to
express my deep gratitude to the
Japanese people and the Japanese
government," the prime minister-
designate said.
"Japan and India are traditionally
tied with common cultural values,
and we are recently promoting our
mutual strategic partnership. India is
facing various problems domestical-
ly and internationally, but I will work
to squarely address these problems
since we are given a clear mandate
by the people of India," the statement
quoted him as saying.
New Delhi: In a major diplomatic signal to the region as
well as to the global community, India's prime minister-
designate Narendra Modi, who surprised the world with
his election victory and is set to head the country's next
government, has invited heads of all the SAARC coun-
tries, including Pakistan, for his oath-taking ceremony
May 26. "The letters were sent this afternoon. Foreign
Secretary Sujatha Singh wrote to her SAARC counter-
parts inviting their leaders to the swearing in on
Monday," external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed
Akbaruddin said.
Akbaruddin said in a statement later that the ministry
has been holding "informal consultations" with SAARC
members on the matter and hoped to have their respons-
es in the next couple of days.
"This is for us a first of sorts because this is the first
time that India has invited all SAARC members to
attend a swearing-in ceremony of the prime minister,"
he said. SAARC comprises, besides India, Pakistan,
Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, the Maldives, Bhutan
and Afghanistan.
However, all eyes are on Pakistan to see if Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif will accept the unexpected invi-
tation. Asked if Sharif, who came to power last year,
would attend the ceremony, Pakistani diplomatic
sources said the invite has been received, but could not
say as yet if their prime minister would be attending.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
said Modi's move to invite Sharif and other SAARC
leaders was "excellent". On Twitter, Abdullah expressed
the hope that it would be the beginning of sustained
talks between India and Pakistan.
Bangladesh parliament Speaker Shirin Sharmin
Chaudhury will represent her country at the swearing-in
ceremony. This was confirmed by Bangladesh State
Minister for Foreign Affairs M. Shahriar Alam to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has to go
to Tokyo May 24 on an official visit that will run
through to May 28.
Former envoy Sheel Kant Sharma, who has served as
SAARC secretary general, said it was a "fantastic
move" by Modi to give the regional grouping such
importance. Sharma told IANS: "It is a very, very wel-
come move. It is a clear message that he plans to begin
with the region."
Former envoy Hardeep Singh Puri, who has joined the
BJP, told IANS: "It is a brilliant initiative, well consid-
ered. SAARC is home to 1.6 billion people, we share
common developmental challenges. It is one of the least
integrated sub-regions in the world, the connectivity is
He said if the region stays united, the potential was
immense. "It is a signal from the PM-elect to the
SAARC heads of government and state that we have
common vital interests in the stability and prosperity of
the region and would be willing to talk to each other for
the development and prosperity of SAARC."
Modi has been greeted by many world leaders, from
US President Barack Obama to British Prime Minister
David Cameron, and by neighbours Pakistan,
Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
An avid tweeter, with more than four million follow-
ers, Modi, who has great communication skills, has
taken to Twitter diplomacy to respond to some of the
leaders and inform his followers about the world leaders
who have greeted him.
Modi will take oath as India's 14th prime minister at
the ceremony that is expected to be attended by over
3,000 invited guests and will be telecast live. The swear-
ing-in ceremony would be held in the open forecourt of
Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace.
In a first, Modi invites SAARC heads to swearing in
Washington: After shunning him
for over a decade, US is warming
up to Narendra Modi with a fresh
invitation to visit Washington and
recalling its envoy headed home
four days before he becomes
India's new prime minister.
Normally an ambassador's return
would not be much of news, but
analysts have linked Nancy
Powell's abrupt March announce-
ment of retirement after only two
years in the job to her perceived
failure to read the writing on the
Powell is apparently blamed for
failing to contain the Khobragade
affair and reaching out too late to
Modi following his emergence on
the national scene even as
America's European partners were
making overtures to the Bharatiya
Janata Party leader.
Washington's renewed invitation
to Modi came in a congratulatory
message from Secretary of State
John Kerry after his appointment
as India's prime minister following
BJP' s "resounding victory in
India's historic national election."
Declaring that the US was
"deeply invested in our strategic
relationship" with India, Kerry
Tuesday said that Washington was
ready to work closely with Modi
"and the new government to pro-
mote shared prosperity and
strengthen our security."
Calling India-US friendship as
"absolutely vital," Kerry said he
looked forward to returning to
India soon and "echo" President
Barack Obama' s invitation to
"Prime Minister Modi to visit the
United States at the earliest oppor-
Obama's invitation to "candidate
Modi" in a congratulatory call last
Friday finally ended Washington's
boycott of the BJP leader, whose
US visa was revoked in 2005 over
his alleged role in the 2002
Gujarat riots.
Neither Kerry nor the State
Department spokesperson Jen
Psaki Tuesday made any reference
to the visa flap that had threatened
to derail what Obama has famously
described as "one of the defining
partnerships of the 21st century".
Psaki announced matter-of-factly
that Powell will depart New Delhi
May 22nd "with a deep apprecia-
tion of the Administration and the
State Department for her outstand-
ing work as ambassador to India."
"Under her guidance, we contin-
ued our strategic partnership across
a number of important areas, such
as trade, defence, space, and educa-
tion," Psaki said without offering
an explanation why Powell could
not wait until the formation of the
Modi government.
Former US ambassador to South
Korea Kathleen Stephens will step
in to serve as the charge until a new
permanent ambassador is nominat-
ed and confirmed by the Senate,
she said. "She will arrive in Delhi
in early June and looks forward to
working closely with the new
Government of India on a range of
issues," Psaki said.
Meanwhile, in an editorial
Tuesday the New York Times said
"with the strongest mandate of any
incoming government in India in
30 years," Modi, has a historic
opportunity to shape the country's
future." In the piece titled "Modi's
Obligation to Justice," the influen-
tial US daily recalled "his troubling
past, when he was associated with
deadly riots in his home state of
Gujarat that killed more than 1,000
people, most of them Muslims,"
"Modi needs now to offer a pow-
erful balancing message by acting
promptly to end the neglect of
nearly 4,000 Muslim families dis-
placed by the 2002 riots and now
living in 86 settlements in
Gujarat," it said.
'The new government should also
demonstrate its commitment to a
fair and effective judiciary," the
Times said as "ensuring impartial,
speedy and certain justice for all of
India's citizens would do much to
inspire confidence across the
US opens new chapter with Modi's India
Washington's renewed invitation to Narendra Modi came in a
congratulatory message from Secretary of State John Kerry.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in India
All eyes are on Pakistan to see if
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will accept
the unexpected invitation.
New Delhi: The NDA’s emphatic victory
in the national election establishes Gujarat
Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the
BJP’s undisputed leader, who is next
expected to overhaul leadership roles
within the party.
Modi intends to promote leaders who
hold sway over social and regional groups
and dilute the upper-caste dominance in
decision-making within the party.
"Bhajpa ab Brahmin baniyon ki party
nahi hai (BJP is no more a party of
Brahmins and Baniyas)," Modi had
declared at a rally in Muzaffarpur during
his campaign.
The statement, explained party leaders,
did not suggest the marginalization of
upper-caste leaders but acknowledged the
need for the BJP to look beyond its tradi-
tional structure. Instead of hurriedly
changing existing leadership roles, Modi's
focus will be to promote a new set of
leaders who would eventually become
"faces" of the party in their respective
areas. "Under Modi, the BJP will see the
rise of leaders from influential social
groups with mass following. Leaders from
areas where the BJP has been traditionally
weak will also get important positions in
the party and the government," a senior
BJP leader said.
"Unlike in the past, this time Modi
invested in a number of OBC candidates
in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and the move
has delivered results. The experiment to
weave in new social combinations will
continue under his leadership," a BJP
leader said.
Modi’s immediate challenge will be to
replicate the national success in the cru-
cial assembly elections that follow in
states such as Maharashtra and Delhi,
where the BJP has performed well.
His popularity among the masses is as
strong as his acceptance in the party's
organisational structure. He is former
prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and
party leader L K Advani rolled into one,
say party insiders. “If Vajpayee was
party's face, Advani was its driving force.
Modi is both.” Given his organizational
skills and clout within the party, Modi’s
supporters expect the assembly elections
to be a cakewalk.
By Amit Kapoor
he Lok Sabha election results have
been surprising and stunning, to say
the least. No one expected such a
thumping win for the Bhartiya Janata Party
in the elections and the way it decimated
the Congress.
The election results are quite significant -
not merely because we have a single party
majority in 30 years, the welcome end of
coalition politics, or the emergence of a
new leader in whom the youth believes,
etc. The most significant shift is India and
Indians have moved away from from a feu-
dalistic mindset. We see the first indica-
tions that India and Indians are getting
over sycophancy, of being in love with the
certain set of leaders as they belong to a
certain lineage.
I have nothing against any individual
though I had exceedingly high degree of
moral dilemma as to how can I accept
someone as a leader just on the basis of
his/her birth or lineage. We are a democra-
cy and have a right to elect, though the
Congress and especially the coterie had
been propagating the cause of the family.
I have held strong opinions on the issue
and I am compelled to speak today as I
fear that we might fall back into the trap of
dynastic politics. The cacophony in this
regard has already started within the party.
Not that everything is perfect with the BJP
or it doesn't have dynasties, but it is the
sheer dominance of one single family in
the Congress party and the mind space it
occupies is deeply concerning that rankles.
Had the Congress formed yet another
government at the centre, a tragedy of
sorts, I quite likely would have written the
"India's feudal mindset does not allow
the people to break the dominance of the
existing political parties. Families have
hijacked the democracy that
India had set out to be, and
they have tried to establish
monarchical dominion in the
"The cognitive handicap has
been fully exploited by the
political families, which have
made the political environment
of India their private corpora-
tion. Independent India is a
democracy where the people
choose a government by the
people, for the people and of
the people. The makers of the
constitution trusted the Indian
citizens to vote for the right
candidate who would, in turn,
elect the appropriate prime
minister. However, soon the
political parties turned the pub-
lic domain into a private battle
with families vying for votes as
market shares.
"The political parties were
once constituted of statesmen
and the elite who could think objectively
for their country and run the government
efficiently. However, soon the parties were
taken over by one family member after
another, and now it has become their pri-
vate domain where no other deserving or
undeserving candidate is allowed to step
up as a candidate for heading the govern-
ment at the level of a state or the nation.
Democracy lies in shambles as the govern-
ment has suddenly transformed into a gov-
ernment by the family. In the blind faith
and trust that we put in the families (fief-
doms and kingdoms), India was prepared
to accept the notion that son of a ruler is a
The opinion and conviction against feu-
dalistic mindset has developed over a peri-
od of time though it peaked when we saw
the destruction of our institutions in the
past ten years. The most painful was that
the Prime Minister's Office was relegated
to being an information centre with limited
ability to act or contribute. As The
Economist has said in one famous article,
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was a
Gandhi family retainer. People wouldn't
have liked it because it was probably an
abject reflection of the reality. To say the
least, the family took away in many ways
one's pride of being an Indian.
If someone disagrees about the status of
the Prime Minister' s Office, I would
request them to get back to Sanjaya Baru's
book about the stark power and dominance
of the family.
There is a paradigm shift from the feu-
dalistic mindset and we need to appreciate
the emergence of Narendra Modi for this.
Anyone can get up and demean Modi, but
we cannot forget the service he has done to
the nation by fighting the election the way
he did. For the first time we see that people
are willing to shun the family and break up
political dynasties. This is important as
henceforth politicians would have to per-
form to remain in office or the citizenry
would dump them for their non-perform-
Today I am proud to be an Indian as the
people have taken first steps to move away
from the clutches of feudalistic mindset.
This is as well reflected in everyone's talk
about the performance of Narendra Modi
and not about his caste or background.
This seriously is the emergence of new
India and we need to respect it.
Narendra Modi's popularity among the masses is as strong as his acceptance in the
party's organisational structure.
People have taken first steps to move away from the clutches of feudalistic mindset.
Modi's victory signals rise of new India
15 May 24-30, 2014
16 May 24-30, 2014 INDIA POST-VERDICT
Narendra Modi showing the letter from President Pranab Mukherjee
confirming him India's 14th Prime minister.
Prime Minister-
Narendra Modi
fought back tears
in an emotional
first address to
party colleagues in
Parliament, giving
a message of hope
and promising to
live up to the
expectations of
the country’s 1.2
billion people,
especially the
poor. His 30-
minute speech
also saw Modi dis-
play a rare emo-
tional side that
moved almost
everyone present
in the Central Hall.
Some glimpses of
the historic
Actor-politicians Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha attending Narendra
Modi's address in Parliament Hall.
Hema Malini in Parliament Hall
to attend Modi address.
BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy
and actor-politician Kirron
Kher at Parliament.
Senior BJP leaders L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj with Meenakshi Lekhi
and others at the Modi address.
Punjab CM and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal and
Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at Parliament.
New Delhi: India's official prime
minister Twitter handle will be
handed over to PM-elect
Narendra Modi, an official state-
ment said, a day after the
account was reset sparking a
furious backlash.
A Twitter war erupted when
the @PMOIndia handle was
archived and its 1.24 million fol-
lowers "transported" to a new
account by the office of outgoing
prime minister Manmohan
Singh' s team reset the
@PMOIndia account and
renamed it @PMOIndiaArchive,
angering the incoming Modi-led
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
government which complained
that it would have to start from
scratch to build up followers.
The BJP called the action "dis-
graceful, unethical and illegal",
adding that the PMO account
was a national digital asset and
not a personal one.
But Singh' s office said that
both the official account and its
existing followers would be
handed to Modi's government.
"The Twitter account
@PMOIndia has been secured
by Twitter and they are assisting
in the handover of the same to
this office to be available to the
incoming PMO administration
along with its (existing) follow-
ers," Singh' s office said in a
statement late Wednesday.
A restored @PMOIndia
account on Twitter showed
Modi, who is extremely active
on Twitter, has been sharing the
milestones in his election cam-
paign journey with his 4.2 mil-
lion followers.
INDIA POST-VERDICT May 24-30, 2014 17
New Delhi: Jockeying for key posts in Team Narendra
Modi has intensified as the swearing-in ceremony will
take place on May 26. Sources said that Arun Jaitley
and Arun Shourie are the top two contenders for the
Finance Ministry.
Arun Jaitley has the upper hand even after his defeat
in the Lok Sabha elections, say sources. This as Arun
Shourie has been out of the political picture for a
while. BJP President Rajnath Singh is likely to be the
Home Minister. Sushma Swaraj is likely to get the
Human Resources Development or the Defence
Ministry. Sources, however, say that Sushma may also
opt to be the Lok Sabha Speaker if not given a portfo-
lio of her choice. The suspense over senior leader LK
Advani's role is also there.
Meanwhile, Murli Manohar Joshi is eyeing the
Defense Ministry too, say sources. Harsh Vardhan is
likely to get the Health Ministry while Ravi Shankar
Prasad is also reportedly eyeing the Law Ministry.
As Prime Minister, Modi may achieve what incum-
bent PM Manmohan Singh could not — structural
reforms for effective implementation of government
policies. It would mean lesser but effective ministries
and outcome-based programme implementation.
The work for it has already started with the secre-
taries told to prepare a blue-print and present it to
Modi after the swearing-in on May 26. Modi’s team
also has a plan looking at sector-wise approach.
Government sources said they would propose merg-
er of some economic and social ministries. In the new
format, there could be an energy ministry by merging
power, petroleum and new and renewable energy min-
istries with minister of state in-charge of different sec-
tors. A holistic social empowerment ministry may
integrate social justice and empowerment, disability
affairs and tribal affairs. The rural development and
panchayati raj ministries would be under charge of a
Cabinet minister.Considering Modi’s focus on job cre-
ation, the departments for youth affairs, skill develop-
ment — spread across labour and HRD ministries —
and medium and small industries may be with one
Jaitley, Shourie to be key
players in Modi team
PMO Twitter account to be
'handed over' to Modi
Arun Jaitley and Arun Shourie
By Parthasarathy Chaganty
o power on earth can stop an idea
whose time has come" is a favourite
quote of the outgoing Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh. If ideas can
come in the form of men, Narendra Modi,
set to be sworn in as India's new prime min-
ister, is one such manifestation.
Thirty years after 1984, the last time a
single party was returned with an absolute
majority in Lok Sabha elections and when a
consensus has evolved that the era of single
party rule was over for good, there emerges
Modi who almost single-handedly led a
grueling election campaign to secure an
unprecedented 282 seats out of 543 for his
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Together with
allies, the National Democratic Alliance
(NDA) has romped home with a comfort-
able tally of 336 seats, beating predictions
of all but a lone pollster.
The BJP's decisive victory is even more
remarkable for the decimation it has caused
of the Grand Old Party. While a Congress
defeat had been widely expected, even its
worst detractors could not have imagined its
count to plummet from 206 in 2009 to just
44. Clocking an average of 7.5 percent per
annum of growth over a 10-year period of
rule is no mean achievement for any coali-
tion. But averages are for economic histori-
ans; what seemed to matter to the voter was
the sub-5 percent growth during the last two
years. The problems of the outgoing
Congress-led United Progressive Alliance
(UPA) were further compounded by the
spate of corruption scandals that surfaced
during the past few years.
The challenges facing the Modi govern-
ment are largely defined by the legacy of
the UPA rule. The prime object of the new
government should be to take the economy
back to the high growth (8 percent plus) tra-
jectory at the earliest. This calls for a slew
of carefully considered measures, adminis-
trative as well as legislative. A major legacy
left by the UPA is the raft of rights-based
legislation, notably right to work and right
to food. The land acquisition law gives a
better deal for the landowners, but corre-
spondingly makes it harder and costlier for
industries to acquire land. These supposed
welfare measures may not have saved the
day for UPA, but remain as statutes on the
book, which the new government will have
to deal with.
Even if the BJP reconciles itself to such
measures in ideological terms, it needs to
undertake a critical evaluation of the vari-
ous schemes so as not to fall in the same rut
as the previous government. More than Rs.2
trillion were spent on rural employment by
the UPA during its tenure, but there is little
to show in terms of physical assets like
check dams, roads and levelled fields. Apart
from large-scale leakages, payments under
the scheme are mostly viewed as entitle-
ments rather than wages for productive
Contrary to popular perception, barring
retail, the BJP welcomes FDI in almost all
other sectors (even up to 100 percent in cer-
tain cases), especially where it brings in
new technology or innovation. Whether it is
FDI or investment from domestic industry,
it is the "ease of doing business" that mat-
ters most. Inordinate delays in project
approvals and numerous hurdles at various
stages of implementation can sap the energy
of even the most enthusiastic and commit-
ted investors. Ensuring time-bound
approvals and implementation of projects
holds the key to spurring investment and
If there is one measure that will have a
significant impact on easing of supply con-
straints, it will be to scrap state monopoly
on coal mining and permit merchant min-
ing, with allocation of coal blocks through
auction. Rolling out the much delayed
Goods and Services Tax (GST), for which
the necessary spade work has been done,
will send out a positive signal and aid
growth. It is also necessary to bring about
an investor-friendly tax regime.
Lastly, as the new government lacks
majority in the Rajya Sabha, every effort
should be made to enlist the cooperation of
the opposition groups wherever possible as
calling joint sessions of the houses for pas-
sage of bills on a regular basis cannot be a
practical solution. A cooperative approach
is needed vis-à-vis state governments as
speedy implementation of projects is not
possible without their support at the ground
From all indications, the prime minister-
designate, Narendra Modi, appears to be a
man equal to the task.
Challenges facing Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi outside the Parliament
May 24-30, 2014
Port of Spain: The victory of the BJP, led by
Narendra Modi, in the Indian election has been
hailed by a large section of the people of
Trinidad and Tobago where the Indian diaspora
accounts for nearly 40 percent of its 1.3 million
population of the twin islands.
Since Thursday, hundreds of ethnic Indians,
both from the diaspora and Indians who have re-
cently settled here, have been switching TV
channels to keep themselves updated on the re-
sults. The country kept well-informed on the
election through the press and social media.
Scores of Indians, who are here on work per-
mits, have endorsed Modi's win as a "new direc-
tion" for India's progress and development.
The Indian diaspora here was originally
sourced from India, principally Uttar Pradesh
and Bihar between 1845 and 1917, when over
1,48,000 Indians came to enhance the country's
agricultural capacity.
Trinidad and Tobago's Minister of Foreign Af-
fairs Winston Dookeran told the media that
Modi's victory was the "beginning of another
chapter in Indian democracy and economic
"In terms of our relationship, I know this will
not mean any fundamental departures, and there-
fore an intensity of our relationship should
emerge," said the international economist who
visited India several times and was guest lectur-
er at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.
"I am sure both the countries would work to-
gether to construct a new architecture for a
peaceful stable and economically progressive
world," Dookeran said.Religious leaders said
Modi visited Trinidad and Tobago in 2000 to at-
tend the World Hindu Conference at the Univer-
sity of the West Indies here. Modi's victory sig-
nalled that the Gandhi and Nehru dynasties were
fading, said Andy Knight, director, Institute of
International Relations, University of the West
Indies, St. Augustine.
London: An Indian-origin mem-
ber has quit a political party in
Britain, branding it "racist" and
Sanyajeet Thandi, 20, who had
been introduced at a Independence
Party meeting as a future leader,
said it had abandoned its core sup-
porters and now appealed to the
"stupidity of ignorant anti-immi-
grant voters for electoral gains",
the Daily Telegraph reported
Thandi, who joined the party at
17 as an event co-ordinator of the
youth wing, said new posters
pointing the finger at immigration
"epitomize" what has gone wrong
with the party.
Party leader Nigel Farage has re-
cently sought to rid the grouping of
its racist image by appearing at a
rally flanked by 40 ethnic minority
supporters, the report said.
"I don't care what you call us but
from this moment on, please do not
call us a racist party," Farage was
quoted as saying.
Indian-origin leader
quits British party
alleging racism
Toronto: With the Bharatiya Jana-
ta Party (BJP) securing an ab-
solute majority in the Indian
parliamentary elections and
Narendra Modi set to take over
as the prime minister, Toronto-
based Fairfax Financial Hold-
ings, run by Hyderabad-born
Prem Watsa, is set to launch a
publicly listed India fund.
Watsa says Modi
will have “a trans-
formational im-
pact on India.”
With a stake al-
ready in an insur-
ance company and a travel agency in In-
dia, Fairfax Holdings will soon list its In-
dia fund targeting $1 billion in assets un-
der management. It will include $300 mil-
lion from Fairfax itself.
Watsa hasn’t yet decided the
stock exchanges where the India
fund will be listed.
Hyderabad-born IITian Prem
Watsa, 63, is by far the richest
Indo-Canadian. He came to
Canada after completing his de-
gree in chemical engineering
from IIT Madras. He is
an MBA from the
Richard Ivy
School of
Business of
the Universi-
ty of Water-
loo in Canada. Called the Warren Buffett
of Canada, Watsa took control of Fairfax
in the mid-1980s. It has over 8,000 em-
ployees worldwide. Fairfax also controls
10 percent of Blackberry shares.
Prem Watsa to launch $1 billion
India fund after Modi’s victory
19 May 24-30, 2014
Indians in Trinidad and Tobago
hail Modi's victory
Richest Indo-Canadian Prem Watsa is called
Warren Buffet of Canada
London: Royal Mail has apolo-
gized to an Indian-origin man for
racist abuse against him by an em-
The man, who has been asked to
remain anonymous for fear of fur-
ther attacks, was walking along a
street in Bangor town in Northern
Ireland Friday afternoon when a
Royal Mail van drove alongside
him and its passenger shouted racist
comments at him, the Belfast Tele-
graph reported Wednesday.
The company wrote to apologize
to the victim's partner after she con-
tacted the company to complain.
The woman said she was unhap-
py with the company's response and
did not feel the incident was being
taken seriously.
However, Royal Mail said that it
did not tolerate racism and added
that any member of staff found to
have been involved in such an inci-
dent "would be subject to discipli-
nary procedures." "I do not accept
this apology from Royal Mail. The
person who shouted the racist abuse
should be sacked. Royal Mail
should be showing that this type of
behavior is not tolerated," she was
quoted as saying.
Royal Mail apologizes for racial abuse
London: The University of
Birmingham has appointed
India-born businessman
Lord Karan Bilimoria as its
new chancellor, the univer-
sity announced Monday.
Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea
CBE, the India-born
founder of Cobra Beer, will
take up his role at an Instal-
lation Ceremony in July,
making him the seventh
University of Birmingham
chancellor, the university
said in a release.
He follows in the foot-
steps of chancellors includ-
ing the Joseph Chamberlain
and Anthony Eden, the Earl
of Avon, and succeeds Sir
Dominic Cadbury, who
stepped down last Decem-
ber after 11 years in the role,
the statement said.
"We are absolutely delighted
that Lord Bilimoria will be our
new chancellor. He is a highly re-
spected global businessman and
Crossbench Peer with a clear pas-
sion for higher education and the
value it brings to society and to
the economy," David Eastwood,
vice-chancellor of the university,
The chancellor acts as the cere-
monial figurehead of the univer-
sity and has an important ambas-
sadorial role, working with the
vice-chancellor and the pro-chan-
cellor to raise the university's pro-
file and advance its interests na-
tionally and internationally.
Lord Bilimoria new chancellor of
University of Birmingham
Brazilian Postal Department launches stamp
commemorating 100 Years of Indian Cinema
Karan Bilimoria,
founder of Cobra Beer
20 May 24-30, 2014 ULTIMATE BOLLYWOOD
he poll battle is over and many film celebrities like
Hema Malini, Moon Moon Sen and Kirron Kher
have emerged victorious to become members of
"Dream Girl" Hema Malini, contesting on a Bharatiya
Janata Party ticket from Uttar Pradesh's Mathura, won eas-
ily, while actress Kirron Kher, also BJP, emerged victori-
ous from Chandigarh, defeating not only former railway
minister Pawan Kumar Bansal of the Congress as well as
actress-turned-politician Gul Panag of the Aam Aadmi
The male BJP star politicians also made it. Vinod
Khanna retained Punjab's Gurdaspur while Shatrughan
Sinha was re-elected from Patna Sahib and Paresh Rawal
tasted victory on his maiden electoral foray, winning from
Gujarat's Ahmedabad East.
Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari, also a BJP candidate, won
from Delhi North East constituency while Bollywood
singer Babul Supriyo won from West Bengal's Asanol but
music director Bappi Lahiri, contesting for the same party,
was not as lucky in Sreerampore where he ended up third.
Some celeb politicians contesting as candidates of
Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress in West Bengal
also made to parliament.
Moon Moon Sen was elected from Bankura, matinee
idiol Dev aka Deepak Adhikari from Ghatal, Satabdi Roy
from Birbhum constituency, Sandhya Roy from Midnapore
and Tapas Pal from Krishnanagar.
Popular Malayalam actor Innocent, an independent can-
didate supported by the Left, contested from Chalakudy in
Kerala and won.
Another unlucky celebrity was southern star Ramya, who
lost in Karnataka's Mandya to the Janata Dal-Secular can-
didate, despite being the sitting MP having won the seat in
a by-election last year.
Anupam Kher meets
Narendra Modi
eteran actor Anupam Kher met the country's next
prime minister Narendra Modi, and hailed his
"dynamism and patriotism". "Wonderful to meet
our future Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji at Gujarat
Bhavan. Jai Ho to his dynamism and patriotism," tweeted
the actor, whose wife Kirron Kher won a Lok Sabha seat
as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from
She won with over 42 percent votes, and Anupam was
by his wife's side during the poll campaign.
The Modi-led BJP won a staggering 282 seats in the
545-member Lok Sabha, becoming the first non-Congress
party since independence to get a majority on its own.
Narendra Modi is currently
in the capital city,
where he was
Tuesday elected
leader of the BJP
p a r l i a me n t a r y
party, paving the
way to his
becoming the
prime minister.
Vinod Khanna retained Punjab's Gurdaspur while
Bhojpuri actor Manoj Tiwari won from Delhi
North East. Kirron Kher emerged victorious from
ollywood's Dreamgirl Hema
Malini, who has won the
Mathura parliamentary seat
on a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
ticket, is determined to prove
all the cynics and smirkers
wrong. She says she's not
in politics to "pose for
pretty pictures in beauti-
ful saris", but to bring
"changes needed in the way the
constituency is run".
"They were making fun of me
because they thought I was just
here in Mathura to pose for pretty
pictures in beautiful saris.
"They forgot that I've spent six
years in the Rajya Sabha before
attempting to contest the Lok Sabha
elections. So I am not only a glam-
orous star whiling away my time,"
said the veteran actress.
"Now those cynics will sit and
watch my performance. They will
say, 'Let's see what she does.' Well,
all I can say to them is they will get
to see a lot of me in Mathura,"
she added.
The actress, who cel-
ebrated her victory
with her daughters
Ahana and Esha,
feels her physical pres-
ence in her constituency
is not enough.
"It would be simple
enough for
to visit Mathura once a month. But
that isn't enough. There's work to be
done and many changes needed in
the way the constituency is run,"
said the 65-year-old.
She doesn' t deny that the
Narendra Modi wave helped her
ul Panag's defeat as an Aam
Aadmi Party (AAP) candi-
date from Chandigarh in the
Lok Sabha election, hasn't dampened
her spirits. She says she will continue
to work with Arvind Kejriwal's team.
Having lost to veteran actress and
Bharatiya Janata Party nominee
Kirron Kher, the spirited Gul said: "I
am most certainly going to continue
in politics. I wasn't here for just one
election season. I am in it for the long
haul." Gul has no quarrel with the
way the mandate went in her con-
stituency. "Chandigarh has exercised
its franchise in a peaceful and deci-
sive manner. It has given the
Bharatiya Janata Party a clear man-
date. I'm absolutely at peace with the
mandate. I'd like to thank the people
of Chandigarh for their love and sup-
port," she said. The former beauty
queen feels she and AAP did well for
a first timer. "It was our first election
in the Union Territory and having
won one-fourth of the vote, I feel we
are a voice that cannot be ignored."
Gul is very hopeful about the future.
"I do hope the National Democratic
Alliance is responsible with the man-
date that the people of India have
bestowed on it, and that they're open
to an inclusive and participative gov-
ernance," she said.
I'm not a star whiling away my time: Hema
Hema Malini
won the
Not here for only one election season: Gul Panag
Actor-politician Gul Panag
21 May 24-30, 2014
bar waiter has identified bollywood
actor Salman Khan in court in Mumbai
and said the actor came with his
friends to have drinks in a five-star hotel hours
before his car allegedly mowed down a group
of persons sleeping on the pavement, killing
one of them 12 years ago.
The waiter, Molay Baug from JW Marriot
Hotel, told the court that he had served cock-
tails and white rum to the group, but could not
recall whether Khan also consumed the drinks
with his friends that night.
"It was dark and the lights were dim... I
could not see who consumed the drinks... All
that I can recollect is that I served the drinks to
the group, which came along with Salman
Khan," Baug said during cross-examination by
Khan's lawyer Shrikant Shivade.
The waiter admitted that it would be difficult
for him to say whether all the people in that
group had taken alcohol that night.
Another witness Laxman More, a policeman,
who was on guard duty for Salman Khan's
younger brother Sohail Khan said he was post-
ed at the Khans' residence in Bandra that night.
Though Salman and Sohail went together to
'Rain Bar' that night, Sohail returned after mid-
night. Around three hours later, a man came
and informed police posted at the residence
that Salman had met with an accident.
Khan is accused of driving his SUV onto the
sleeping pavement dwellers, killing one and
injuring four others near a bakery shop in
Bandra west Sep 28, 2002.
ctor-politician Shatrughan Sinha,
fresh from the massive BJP victo-
ry in the Lok Sabha election, says
it is time to forget the "politics of caste
and community" and focus on "develop-
ment, progress, prosperity and peace". He
adds that without "being prejudiced",
people should watch Bharatiya Janata
Party's (BJP) "performance". Excerpts
from an interview with Shatrughan Sinha:
Q: In spite of the pre-result whispers
to the contrary you have won by a mas-
sive margin?
A: Ha ha! We're getting ready for cele-
brations. Yes, I've been getting congratu-
latory calls and messages from colleagues
and friends from the industry... Amitabh
Bachchan, Aamir Khan among them.
Shabana Azmi called and raved about the
massive mandate. I've won by a much
higher margin than the last time. It seems
I've broken my own record.
Q: Inflation and corruption brought
the BJP and Narendra Modi into
power. Do you agree?
A: Yes. The failure of the UPA govern-
ment and its leadership was reflected in
the massive rise of corruption and in the
How long could the masses tolerate
these conditions? Every revolution is
born out of instability and chaos. The 'ha-
haakar' of the UPA government proved to
be the 'jaijaikaar' of the BJP.
Q: The general perception is that you
belong to L.K. Advaniji's camp. Would
that be a problem in your equation
with Narendra Modi?
A: Let me state clearly, I belong to no
camp. Even as an actor, I never belonged
to any camp in the film industry. I was as
devoted to the film industry as I am to the
Bharatiya Janata Party. I am in no camp
except the BJP. Having said that, I'd like
to add that Advani-ji has contributed the
maximum to bringing the BJP into power.
Q: Nitish Kumar's decision to part
ways with Narendra Modi proved his
undoing. Comment?
A: That decision proved a deadly deci-
sion for him. It put the last nail in his
political coffin.
Q: There was a signature campaign
against Narendra Modi in your film
A: Oh god! Pseudo-intellectuals headed
by a headless team. Their high command
was a headless chicken.
Q: Are you going to take over the
Information and Broadcasting minis-
ter's portfolio?
A: I won't hesitate while taking up any
responsibility that my party wants me to.
Long back I was offered the I&B portfo-
lio, but I had declined.
Salman Khan
better than earlier
motion capture
films: Phil
amil superstar Rajinikanth's mag-
num opus "Kochadaiiyaan" is a lot
better than several earlier films
made using motion capture technology in
the west, says Phil Stilgoe, founder of
Centroid motion capture company, which
worked on the movie.
Soundarya Rajinikanth Ashwin-directed
"Kochadaiiyaan" is India's first motion
capture photo-realistic 3D animated film.
"I've been in this industry for nearly 15
years and I have seen the technology
evolve. I can confidently say that
'Kochadaiiyaan' is a lot better than several
earlier films made using motion capture
technology in Hollywood," Stilgoe added.
"I've also heard some criticism about the
film but it has to start somewhere. I'm more
interested in how will this technology be in
a decade from now and how India will use
it to make it their own," he said.
Stilgoe also says that the film should not
be compared with any other film made
using the same technology because the fac-
tors involved are different.
"It's unfair to compare 'Kochadaiiyaan'
with other films because you're talking dif-
ferent budgets, different time frames and
different experiences. But I don't think
these comparisons will be there in five to
10 years time because people will realize
they were wrong to jump to conclusions,"
he added.
While "Kochadaiiyaan" was made on a
budget of Rs.125 crore, Stilgoe clarifies
that not all motion capture films incur high
"The perception that you need to have
high budget to use motion capture technol-
ogy is wrong. For instance, if you were to
go to a location and need a crowd of thou-
sand people, you can create that with just
two people in a studio in a few hours using
this technology and save a lot of cost," he
"Kochadaiiyaan" is India's first
motion capture photo-realistic
3D animated film.
Actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha
Don't judge us on your prejudices: Shatrughan
SUBCONTINENT 22 May 24-30, 2014
Bangladesh and Modi: Hopes and fears
By Subir Bhaumik
hen Bangladesh media ran reports
that Narendra Modi wants to set
up a separate department in the
Home Ministry to combat "infiltration", it
provoked furious reactions with many sug-
gesting a change of regime in Dhaka.
"Neither Hasina nor Khaleda can handle
someone like Modi," said a tweet. Said
another: "Let us also throw out the five lakh
(500,000) Indians who work in Bangladesh,
many on mere tourist visas."
For many in Delhi, this may be news but
Indian remittances from Bangladesh has
grown over the years with a flow of techni-
cal manpower to that country. "Let Modi
throw out India's first lady who hails from
our country," said another tweet, referring to
Subhra Mukherjee's ancestral village in
Narail which her husband, President Pranab
Mukherjee, visited during his 2013
Bangladesh tour.
One hopes Modi, a Twitter enthusiast,
should have seen these tweets to understand
how the "India factor" plays out in
Bangladesh. While both Prime Minister
Hasina and Opposition Bangladesh
Nationalist Party (BNP) chief Khaleda Zia
called up Modi to congratulate him and
Hasina invited him to visit Dhaka, at a pop-
ular level, there seems to be considerable
unease with Modi for the 2002 Gujarat riots
and his recent threats to illegal migrants
from Bangladesh to "pack up and leave".
As Bangladesh's top ladies went all out to
court the poster-boy of Hindutva and even
the Jamaat-e-Islami congratulated Modi on
his victory, the public domain, specially the
vibrant Bangla blogspace, was full of angst
and uncertainity over Modi's taking over as
India's prime minister with such a decisive
majority. The media headlines were domi-
nated by Modi all the while. Like it or not ,
a regime change in Delhi looks like some-
thing has changed in Dhaka.
Hasina has a great stake in carrying for-
ward the improved bilateral relations with
India, for which she has risked so much.
Not only does she expect continued Indian
support for her regime to offset Western,
especially US pressure, for fresh elections,
she also hopes Modi can do what
Manmohan Singh tried and failed -- to sign
the Teesta water sharing treaty and imple-
ment the land boundary agreement.
Manmohan Singh's government more than
made up for the failure to sign and imple-
ment these agreements that Delhi has com-
mitted to, by strong support to ward off
Western pressure Hasina faced over the Jan
5 parliament polls that the BNP-led opposi-
tion alliance boycotted. China and Russia
later joined India in supporting Hasina to
turn the tables on the US.
In backing Hasina, Manmohan Singh
appeared as resolute as in going ahead with
the India-US nuclear deal, though he could
not get round Mamata Banerji on the Teesta
and land boundary issues.
Hasina hopes the Modi government would
value her as a strong ally for her effective
crackdown on northeast Indian separatists
and Islamic radicals and for addressing
India's connectivity concerns and would
help her deflect Western pressures for a
fresh elections. Hasina would also be keen
that Modi does not live up to his poll prom-
ise (which got BJP rich electoral dividends
in Assam) of "pushing out Bangladeshi ille-
gals" because any such pushback, however
symbolic, would complicate bilateral rela-
tions and put huge domestic pressure on the
Awami League government to get tough
with India.
When Hasina told Modi to visit
Bangladesh "soonest possible", she also
reminded him that all outstanding bilateral
issues can be sorted out through dialogue.
Her government has started a major crack-
down on human trafficking rackets operat-
ing in the country. An Indian national, head-
ing a ring smuggling young Bangladeshi
women to work as maids in Indian states,
has been arrested by Dhaka Police in May
along with several of his local accomplices.
Many similar racketeers have been nabbed
in recent months. Hasina's government dis-
courages illegal migration and promotes
legal labour exports to any country which is
interested. Her officials argue that legal
migrants send back huge remittances which
is Bangladesh's second biggest source of
foreign exchange after garment exports.
Modi's own party has sent out conflicting
signals -- its Assam unit has fiercely
opposed the land boundary agreement and
its Bengal unit is ambivalent on both the
land boundary and the Teesta issues, though
party general secretary Varun Gandhi (in
charge of West Bengal) has supported both
the agreements in the interests of good rela-
tions with Bangladesh in an edit-page article
published by a leading national newspaper.
Khaleda Zia's priority also has much at
stake. After being outmanouvred by Hasina
in the Jan 5 polls, she would be keen to
ensure India does not play favourites in
Dhaka, a line briefly pursued by the
Vaypayee government. Khaleda fondly
recalls how then national security advisor
Brajesh Mishra rushed to congratulate her in
person as Vajpayee's emissary. Mishra's
public statement that India has no favourites
in Dhaka was very well received by the
BNP. That changed within a few years after
evidence surfaced that a huge amount of
weapons were reaching the northeastern
rebels through Bangladesh and Pakistan's
ISI was using Bangladesh territory for back-
ing them and Islamic radical groups target-
ing India.
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif directed
interior ministry officials to
secure the early release of a
Chinese tourist abducted from the
country's northwestern region
reportedly by the Taliben, media
Sharif issued directives to the
interior ministry and other con-
cerned authorities to effect quick
coordination between the security
departments for securing early
release of the abducted tourist.
A Taliban group claimed
responsibility for kidnapping the
tourist in Pakistan while he was
travelling from Lahore to
Balochistan, media reported.
Hong Xu Dong was kidnapped
from Darban area of Dera Ismail
Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,
Dawn online reported.
Abdullah Bahar, leader of the
Taliban group, said they have
kidnapped the Chinese tourist
from Darban and he was in their
custody and has been shifted to a
safe area.
Bahar said the Chinese tourist
was kidnapped to force Pakistani
authorities to release Taliban mil-
itants in their custody.
Security forces have recovered
Dong's belongings from the spot
from where he was abducted.
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Bangladeshi Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina
Secure early release of abducted
Chinese tourist: Sharif
I s l amabad:
G i v e n
N a r e n d r a
Modi' s sub-
stantial experi-
ence as chief
minister, it is
unlikely that
he will overtly
a n t a g o n i s e
either India’s
s i z e a b l e
Muslim minor-
ity, or its
neighbors, a
Pakistani daily
The Bharatiya Janata Party also
has a history of engaging with
Pakistan more than the Congress
and, therefore, only time will tell
whether the new Indian prime min-
ister follows the legacy, the Daily
Times editorial said.
“The Indian Prime Minister (PM)
in waiting has overcome the stain of
communal violence, accusations of
religious fundamentalism and the
withering attacks of secular Indians
to storm into power after netting the
first full majority for any party since
the 1984 elections put Rajiv Gandhi
in power,” the newspaper said.
“This is what a real ‘tsunami’
looks like, the result of numerous
tectonic shifts in the bedrock of
India’s polity, manifested in a tidal
wave of enthusiasm for Modi’s per-
ceived ability to deliver on his
promises,” it said. The newspaper
added the perception was based on
13 years of steady canvassing and
image building by Modi, which has
absorbed criticisms against him.
Bogged down in incumbency and
dynastic policy, the ousted Congress
party lost its forward-looking
momentum to the BJP, it said.
However, the BJP's Hindutva ideol-
ogy may be cause for concern for
Indian Muslims, the newspaper said.
The newspaper also criticised
Modi's capitalist policies in Gujarat.
It said Gujarat saw only eight per-
cent growth over the last decade,
which was less than Tamil Nadu’s
8.6 percent and Bihar's 15 percent.
Modi will take along Muslims,
neighbors: Pak daily
However, the BJP's Hindutva ideology may be
cause for concern for Indian Muslims.
Pakistan's Geo
TV faces ban
Islamabad: Pakistani authorities
have suspended the licences of
three television channels owned by
the Geo TV network, a leading
daily reported.
A panel formed by the Pakistan
Electronic Media Regulatory
Authority (Pemra) to review a
complaint filed by the ministry of
defence against the TV network for
leveling allegations against an
intelligence agency has also
ordered that Geo TV offices be
sealed, The Dawn reported.
The panel members told
reporters in Islamabad that they
have decided to suspend the
licences of the three channels -
Geo News, Geo Entertainment and
Geo Tez - with immediate effect.
However, a final decision on the
revocation of the licences will be
announced after a meeting May 28,
which will also be attended by
government representatives.
"All members unanimously
decided that the licence for Geo
News be cancelled. However, due
to a legal formality that could not
be completed, we have sent our
recommendations to the Council of
Complaints, advising that they
respond before May 28, the date
for our next meeting," said Mian
Shamsur Rehman, a member of the
BUSINESS 23 May 24-30, 2014
Decisive poll results positive for India's ratings: Moody's
New Delhi: A landslide victory
for Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya
Janata Party (BJP) in the just con-
cluded general election is “credit
positive” for India's sovereign
profile as well as corporate sector,
ratings agency Moody's said.
In a report related to credit out-
look, Moody's said the new gov-
ernment's strong mandate, which
shows an overwhelming majority
of 334 seats in 543-member Lok
Sabha or lower house of parlia-
ment, for the BJP-led National
Democratic Alliance (NDA),
“increases the possibility of a sta-
ble central government that will
pursue a shared economic agenda
to address India's macroeconomic
From a broad sovereign per-
spective, the results of the elec-
tion announced May 16, will have
the immediate effect of sustaining
investor sentiment, which has
also recently boosted India's equi-
ty indices and the rupee, Moody's
“Moody's also considers that
the completion of the election
will allow stalled policies relating
to the corporate and infrastructure
sectors to resume, a credit posi-
tive for the country's corporates,”
Vikas Halan, vice president and
senior credit officer of Moody's,
said in the report.
Moody' s observations were
made in the report, titled “India's
Decisive Election Outcome Is
Credit Positive" as part of
Moody's Credit Outlook.
“Moody's notes that India raised
diesel prices immediately after
the voting, the first such move
since the previous government
halted regular price increases in
March, and we expect further
price hikes in the months ahead,"
Halan said.
Such price rises will be credit
positive for oil marketing compa-
nies as they will reduce spending
on fuel subsidies and lower these
companies' borrowing require-
Moody's also expects that the
new BJP-led government will
increase natural gas prices, which
would benefit upstream oil and
gas companies and provide
greater long-term incentives for
New Delhi: The IT and telecom
industry stakeholders are expecting
policy stability, better technology
enabled e-governance and technolo-
gy adoption from the new Narendra
Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party
(BJP) government in the coming
"The most critical thing for the
new government will be to bring the
industry back on firm financial foot-
ings. The industry is under a debt
pressure after the recent spectrum
auctioning in February, there are a
lot of penalty charges on many com-
panies; the financial picture is not so
good," Rajan S Mathews, director
general, Cellular Operators'
Association of India (COAI), said.
"We are hopeful that the new gov-
ernment will aid us in helping main-
tain a long-term clear, stable, pre-
dictable, development-oriented and
investor friendly policy regime,
which recognizes the long term
nature of the investments and long
project maturity requirements of the
telecom sector. The key areas of
long-term policy focus are stable
licence terms and conditions, effec-
tive merger and acquisition, securi-
ty, green telecom targets, taxation
and roadmap for future technolo-
gies," he said.
Others feel the telecom sector in
the recent past had gone through a
bad phase due to second generation
(2G) issue, cancellation of licences
and tariff hikes and now with the
new government there is a chance to
inject fresh momentum into the sec-
tor. "After being the darling of for-
eign investors and the poster child
of economic growth, Indian telecom
fell from grace over the past few
years due to corruption scandals,
cancelled licences, tax disputes,
debt crises and tariff hikes; now
there is a chance to inject fresh
momentum into the sector,"
Mohammad Chowdhury, telecom
leader, PwC India, said.
He said in the first 100 days in
office the new government should
give voice to the masses. With rural
telecom penetration well below 50
percent, the new government should
take a fresh look at encouraging the
industry to put more money into
rural network expansion.
"Narendra Modi has always advo-
cated increased use of technology in
governance and digital literacy.
With the BJP in power, they can
aggressively promote technology
adoption among different stakehold-
ers, foster technology enabled e-
governance initiating citizen-gov-
ernment interface which has direct
synergies and linkages to manufac-
turing, spurring market growth,
employment and standard of living,"
said a Manufacturers' Association of
Information Technology (MAIT)
Deposit Rs.10,000 crore for Subrata's
release: SC to Sahara
New Delhi: The Supreme Court asked
Sahara Group companies SIRECL and
SHICL to deposit Rs.10,000 crore of
investors' money to secure the release of
Sahara chief Subrata Roy and two other
directors in judicial custody since
March 4.
"You come with a specific proposal and
not cast your net so wide, stalemate will
not help anybody, including investors.
Come with a specific, logical and accept-
able proposal," the bench of Justice T.S.
Thakur and Justice A.K. Sikri told the
Sahara Group at the conclusion of a two-
hour hearing.
Asking the Sahara Group to come with
an acceptable proposal to pay Rs.10,000
crore - a condition for Roy and two direc-
tors' release from judicial custody - the
bench said the proposal that would be
made will be given to the Securities and
Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for its
Moody's observations were made in the report, titled “India's
Decisive Election Outcome Is Credit Positive"
IT, telecom players expect policy stability
Sahara chief Subrata Roy is in jail
Shah Rukh Khan second richest
actor in the world
London: Matinee idol Shah Rukh Khan has
emerged as the second richest actor in both
Hollywood and Bollywood combined list.
Wealth-X's Hollywood and Bollywood
Rich List puts comedian Jerry Seinfeld right
on top of the rich list. With an estimated net
worth of $820 million, the 60-year-old
comedian emerged as the wealthiest actor.
However, it was Shah Rukh Khan, who
was the only Indian actor in the top 10 com-
bined rich list of Bollywood and Hollywood
stars. Khan was found to be richer than
Hollywood giants like Tom Cruise, Tom
Hanks, Clint Eastwood or Adam Sandler.
Wealth X said "Khan is estimated to be
worth $600 million. Immensely popular
around the globe as well as in his home
country, India, Khan is also a producer, TV
host, co-owner of an Indian cricket club and
a philanthropist. He has appeared in more
than 50 Bollywood films and is a regular at
the annual Cannes Film Festival".
Tom Cruise is the third richest actor worth
$480 million followed by Johny Depp and
Tyler Perry both tied at $ 450 million.
Shah Rukh Khan is estimated to be
worth $600 million
INTERNATIONAL 24 May 24-30, 2014
Nigeria twin blasts claim 162 lives
Lagos: As many as 162 people
were killed in the twin blasts that
hit a market in Nigeria's central city
of Jos, security agencies said.
The explosions, which targeted
Terminus market, went off some 20
to 30 minutes apart, setting fire to
the entire venue.
"The death toll stands at 162.
This is the number of victims
recovered from the scene of the
explosions, but we are still search-
ing through the smoldering debris
for more bodies," said Mohammed
Abdulsalam, coordinator for the
National Emergency Management
Agency in the city.
"The figure may rise when the
search is over," Abdulsalam said.
A journalist on the scene of the
first explosion called it "massive."
People were screaming and run-
ning, some covered in blood. Some
had to be carried away, the journal-
ist said.
An ambulance driver who asked
not to be identified said he saw at
least 15 bodies and about 30
Plateau State Commissioner
Chris Olakpe described the blasts
as "terrorist activities," but refused
to speculate on who might be
He said the first blast was a sui-
cide car bomb, while the second
was caused by an improvised
explosive device in a separate car.
Olakpe said 46 people were killed
in the blasts and that 45 were
injured, disputing the higher death
toll provided by Abdulsalam.
It is not uncommon for authori-
ties to report conflicting death tolls
in the immediate aftermath of
"Terrorists usually want to cause
fear and trepidation," said Olakpe.
"By tomorrow, we will get on top
of the matter."
In a statement, President
Goodluck Jonathan condemned the
bombings as a "tragic assault on
human freedom" and described
those behind them as "cruel and
"President Jonathan assures all
Nigerians that government remains
fully committed to winning the war
against terror, and this administra-
tion will not be cowed by the atroc-
ities of enemies of human progress
and civilization," the statement
said, adding that Nigeria was com-
mitted to implementing anti-terror-
ism measures and resolutions put
forth at a recent summit in Paris.
CNN had previously reported
three blasts at two markets --
Terminus and Abuja. Terminus
market is also known as the New
Abuja market. A possible third blast
may have been a gas canister ignit-
ed by the first bomb. Late Sunday,
a bomb in the northern Nigerian
city of Kano killed at least four
people, according to local police.
The blast occurred at a busy inter-
section in a predominantly
Christian area of the city and left
several cars burning, Kano police
spokesman Rabilu Ringim said. It
was not immediately clear who was
responsible for the attack, the
spokesman said.
Terrorism in Nigeria has been in
the spotlight recently since more
than 200 schoolgirls were kid-
napped by the militant group Boko
The terror group abducted 276
girls on April 14 from a boarding
school in Chibok in northeastern
Nigeria. Dozens escaped, but more
than 200 girls are still missing.
In his statement, Jonathan reaf-
firmed his government's commit-
ment to take "every necessary
measure" to find the girls and coop-
erate with other countries in the
region to combat the "Boko Haram
The president also said Nigeria
was determined to ensure safety
and security in schools in Borno
state and other parts of the country
and to rebuild the school in Chibok.
The government will collaborate
with U.N. education envoy, former
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown,
to launch a safety program called
the "Safe Schools Initiative," said
presidential spokesman Reuben
President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the bombings
United Nations: Russia
will veto a draft resolution
of the UN Security Council
which intends to refer the
Syrian civil war to the
International Criminal
Court, Russian UN
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Churkin, Russia's perma-
nent representative to the
UN, made the remarks as he
was speaking to reporters
here at the end of a closed-
door meeting of the
Security Council on the sit-
uation of eastern Ukraine,
Xinhua reported.
Asked whether Russia
will veto the draft resolu-
tion on Syria, Churkin said,
"Yes, (I) will do."
Russia has voiced its
opposition to the referral of
Syria to the International
Criminal Court.
The 15-nation Security
Council is expected to vote
on the draft resolution on
Under the UN Charter,
Russia is one of the five
permanent council mem-
bers with veto power.
France, another perma-
nent council member, circu-
lated the draft resolution
May 12 in a bid to bring
Syria before the
International Criminal
Court for review of war
crimes and crimes against
The Syrian government
has for long charged that
regional countries are facili-
tating the flow of foreign
jihadists into Syria to join
the rebels' battle against
government forces, Xinhua
The Syrian crisis started
in mid-March 2011 when
anti- government protesters
took to the streets calling
for reforms. But it rapidly
evolved into a civil war that
has so far killed over
150,000 people and dis-
placed about one third of
Syrian population.
Russia to veto draft
UN resolution on Syrian war
Shanghai: Chinese President Xi Jinping
has called for cooperation in development
and security in Asia, adding that "no coun-
try should dominate" the continent.
He said this while addressing the
Conference on Interaction and Confidence
Building-Measures in Asia (CICA) that is
being attended by over 20 heads of states
and governments.
The Chinese president said that Asia "is
increasingly becoming a community" that
requires better cooperation against terror-
ism, separatism and extremism, at the same
time "respecting the sovereignty of the
member countries".
Among those attending this year's CICA
are Russian President Vladimir Putin,
Iranian President Hassan Rohani and
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, besides
UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon.
In times when his country disputes its
maritime sovereignty with neighbours,
including Japan, Vietnam and the
Philippines, the Chinese president pledged
his commitment towards "development
through peaceful process", referring to
China's role in North Korea's denuclearisa-
tion negotiations and rehabilitation work in
Xi also called for the creation of a new
"Silk Route" to strengthen cooperation
among Asian countries with greater empha-
sis on economic ties.
Welcoming the two new member coun-
tries, Qatar and Bangladesh, the leader pro-
claimed that "Asia is the most dynamic and
promising region of the current world sce-
Born out of Kazakhstani president' s
Nursultan Nazarbayev initiative in 1992,
CICA is an organisation with 26 member
countries and nine observers ranging from
Ukraine to Japan, even including the US.
No country should dominate Asia:
Chinese president
Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin
Chinese President Xi Jinping
US military men
to find kidnapped
Nigerian girls
Washington: The US has
deployed about 80 military per-
sonnel to Chad as part of its
efforts to find more than 200
schoolgirls who have been kid-
napped in Nigeria, US
President Barack Obama said.
The personnel will support
the operation of "intelligence,
surveillance, and reconnais-
sance aircraft" for missions
over northern Nigeria and the
surrounding area, Xinhua quot-
ed Obama as saying in a letter
to Congress.
"The force will remain in
Chad until its support in resolv-
ing the kidnapping situation is
no longer required," Obama
Over 200 girls from Chibok
community in northeastern
Nigeria' s Borno State were
abducted in April. Extremists
group Boko Haram claimed
responsibility for the act in a
video and threatened to sell the
On May 12, a Pentagon
spokesman, said that 16 mili-
tary personnel from US Africa
Command had joined the inter-
national effort to help find the
kidnapped schoolgirls.
SPORTS 25 May 24-30, 2014
Kolkata: Continuing their dream
run, Kolkata Knight Riders moved
closer to the knock-out round by
galloping to a eight-wicket win over
Chennai Super Kings as their bats-
men led by Robin Uthappa put up a
sparkling show in an Indian Premier
League match here.
Playing their first match at the
home ground Eden Gardens before a
near capacity vociferous crowd, the
Knights chased down CSK's 154/4
with two overs remaining. For the
Knights, Uthappa top scored with
blistering 67 while allrounder
Shakib Al Hassan played a cameo of
21 ball 46 to take the Knights home
at 156/2 .
With their fifth win on the trot,
KKR have nearly sealed their berth
for the playoffs.
They now have seven wins from
12 matches and are currently ranked
fourth in the points table.
KKR's chances for the knockout
round were earlier brightened fol-
lowing the Sunrisers Hyderabad's
seven-wicket win over Royal
Challengers in the afternoon game.
KKR started off in a blazing fash-
ion with opener Uthappa creaming
the inning's very first ball for a four,
but was lucky to get two "lives"
when his edge off Ben Hilfenhaus
was spilled by R. Ashwin, while
Suresh Raina failed to latch on to a
difficult chance. Pacer Mohit
Sharma was the unlucky bowler.
The 64-run first wicket partner-
ship was broken in the seventh over
when skipper Gautam Gambhir 21
(20b 3x4) was castled by Ishwar
In their last seven outings,
Gambhir and Uthappa have stitched
two century and three half-century
partnerships for the Knights.
Dhoni continued to juggle his
bowlers but could not rein in
Uthappa who hit Ravindra Jadeja
for a boundary past the keeper to
notch up yet another half century.
Jadeja, however, had the last
laugh when Uthappa, (39b, 10x4,
1x6) trying to clear long off,
chipped out to F.du Plesis who
accepted it gleefully.
With just 56 required of the last
eight overs, Manish Pandey and
Hasan played sensibly but scoring at
a brisk rate as the Knights moved
closer to victory. While Pandey (18
not out, 28b) preferred to play
anchor, Hassan (46 not out; (21b,
6x4, 2x6) was the aggressor as he
hit pacer Hilfenhaus for a six and
two consecutive fours in the 17th
over, before sending Sharma for a
four to bring in the victory.
Put in to bat first, CSK rode on an
enterprising half century by Suresh
Raina (65; 52b, 3x4, 5x6) to post a
challenging score on a slow turner.
After the early fall of Dwayne
Smith (5), Raina stitched two cru-
cial half-century partnerships - first
with Brendon McCullum (28; 24b,
1x4, 2x6) and then with du Plesis
(23; 20b, 2x4). McCullum returned
when he skied a Sunil Narine deliv-
ery to be smartly caught by Surya
Kumar Yadav running in from long-
off. The in-form Raina though con-
tinued unfazed as he hit leggie
Piyush Chawla for two consecutive
sixes and a four to score yet another
half century for the Chennai outfit.
The visitors cruised past 100 in
the 15th over, but the 62-run third
wicket partnership was broken when
du Plessis was run out by Chawla in
the 17th over with the score on
IPL: Knights beat Chennai by 8 wickets
New Delhi: BCCI president N.
Srinivasan will have to continue
staying away from discharging the
functions as national cricketing
body chief as the Supreme Court
declined to entertain his plea seek-
ing restoration of his powers.
The apex court bench of Justice
B.S. Chauhan and Justice A.K.
Sikri declined to hear Srinivasan's
plea as, they said, they would not
interfere with the order passed by
another bench.
The court said Justice A.K.
Patnaik, who passed the order, was
very much in the city and
Srinivasan could move him for
whatever modifications he was
seeking in orders passed by the
bench headed by him.
"We are not going to hear. We are
not here to modify the orders of
any other bench. Justice Patnaik is
very much in the city... you can
approach him, " said Justice
Chauhan while declining to hear
Srinivasan's plea.
Declining to entertain the plea by
senior counsel Nagendra Rai,
Justice Sikri said: "The orders he is
seeking to be modified were not
passed ex-parte and he was present
(through his counsel) in the court."
Justice Sikri told Rai: "You are
respondent number two. You were
very much present in the hearing.
This not an ex-parte order. You
were there when order was
Sachin Tendulkar with the Indian hockey team headed to The Hague for the World Cup.
Tendulkar gives pep talk to Indian hockey team
Karachi: The Supreme
Court of Pakistan has rein-
stated Najam Sethi as the
chairman of the Pakistan
Cricket Board (PCB),
annulling an earlier deci-
sion of the Islamabad High
The Dawn reported that a
three-member bench of the
apex court headed by
Justice Anwar Zahir Jamali
heard the case against Zaka
Ashraf's reinstatement by
the high court on a plea
filed by the ministry of
inter-provincial coordination
The Islamabad High Court
Saturday removed Sethi as the
PCB chairman and reinstated
The high court also anulled
decisions taken by Sethi that
raised questions on the appoint-
ments of new head coach Waqar
Younis, batting coach Grant
Flower and spin coach Mushtaq
But the Supreme Court over-
turned the high court's decision.
Leading rights activist Asma
Jahangir, appearing on behalf of
the ministry, said the high court
intruded in matters of policy that
may lead to undermining the
sport of cricket.
The apex court also issued
notice to the parties involved for
May 27 and adjourned the hear-
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz
Sharif, who is also the patron of
the PCB, in February had
appointed a 11-member commit-
tee headed by sethi to run the
affairs of Pakistan cricket.
This committee will make
changes to the PCB constitution
making it a more democratic
body and will also hold fresh
Pakistan SC reinstates
Sethi as PCB chairman
Supreme Court blow to Srinivasan
Najam Sethi
BCCI president
N. Srinivasan
New Delhi: Ahead of the Indian
hockey men's team's departure for
the World Cup in The Hague, crick-
et legend Sachin Tendulkar gave a
pep talk, and asked them not to take
too much pressure in the tournament
that will be played from May 31-
June 15.
Tendulkar shared his experiences
of his cricketing days and motivated
the team to face the challenges of
the upcoming tournament.
"Do not allow pressure to come to
you, irrespective of how strong you
feel the team is. Start each match
with a positive attitude and do a
thorough preparation on each team
that you are meeting, understand
their weaknesses and strengths, and
accordingly prepare yourself," he
told the players.
"You have to keep your mind pos-
itive all through as hockey is a fast
game hence you have to keep your-
self free of pressure. Always
remember no team is stronger than
you. Visualize this in your mind and
you will realise that your body auto-
matically starts responding positive-
ly," he added.
Tendulkar also told the team not to
"take failure to heart as everyone
"But with those failures and expe-
riences you will learn and grow. We
all are here because we have a pas-
sion for what we are following.
Stick to that passion for all the times
to come."
Tendulkar also recalled his inter-
national debut.
"My first match of my career was
not that great as I could not score
and because of which I had sleepless
nights. I finally spoke to my seniors
and they motivated me to not take
pressure and be at ease and control
of my game, which helped me score
58 in my next match. I still follow
this and share the same with every
youngster that I meet," he said.
India captain Sardar Singh said it
was an honour for the team to get
motivated by Tendulkar.
PERSONALITY 26 May 24-30, 2014
By Staff Reporter
nvironmental pollution, income dispari-
ties, and large scale industrial accidents
are commonly cited as inevitable but
unintended social consequences of global eco-
nomic progress. “Nonsense, ” argues
Chandrashekar Natarajan, one of the global
business executives recognized through ICICI
Bank’s NRI of the Year awards in Mumbai ear-
lier this year.
“These adverse social conditions,” explains
Natarajan, “are the result of repeated failures to
understand systems and their second and third
order effects.” And he is determined to change
all that. He was recently recognized as the
Supply Chain Practitioner to Know by Supply
& Demand Chain Executive for his outstanding
contributions to Supply Chain. This was the 5th
time he was awarded with this honor.
As Vice President of Business Process and
Technology, Integrated Supply Chain
Management for the Walt Disney Company,
Natarajan commented, “My passion is to
ensure that all whose lives are touched by the
global supply chain have the opportunity to
earn their living in an ethical, safe, secure, and
sustainable working environment,” at the
awards ceremony this past March. His inte-
grated global strategy is based on a systemic
method for analyzing problems, one of his
seminal contributions to modern industrial
“I have chosen to make my mark on this
world as an engine of social change through
business. I focus on the process by which fac-
tories, vendors and suppliers thousands of
miles away from their primary customer, man-
ufacture and ship products–the system known
as the global supply chain.”
Widely acclaimed in the field of supply chain
management for his innovative problem solv-
ing strategies and understanding of multi-order
effects, he is the co-author of three ground-
breaking books–Simplified Systemic Network
Planning: Six Steps to Effective Network
Planning (VDM Publishing, 2008) with Lee
Hales; Supply Chain Talent Building an
Innovative, Integrative, Inclusive, Inspiring,
Intellectual Supply Chain Culture that
Produces Incredible Impact (In Press) with Ron
Hammond; and Amazing Secrets of Planning
(In Press). He has also penned more than 60
articles on a host of topics and is a sought-after
‘thought leader’ for industry trade programs
such as the Supply Chain Logistics North
America conference and expo, Logicon, and
His insights and influence are 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. At
Coca-Cola, for example, he challenged the
existing paradigm in the beverage industry as
he introduced game-changing business delivery
systems that have transformed the field. His
innovations established a new delivery stan-
dard, CoolLift, that completely re-imagined the
assets, labor resources, and timing of deliver-
ies. His logistics infrastructure roadmap great-
ly improved how Coca-Cola delivers value to
its customer while reducing overall delivery
costs by 2.5% annually. More important, his
systemic analysis of the delivery process led to
changes that reduced worker injuries by 97%,
removed the physical barriers that created de
facto gender bias, and reduced the carbon foot-
print of the delivery system by 50%.
At PepsiCo, his exceptional performance
won him the Supply Chain Innovation award
by the Council of Supply Chain Management
Professionals; and the company honored him
as one of the company’s rare and distinctive
“Best of 2009" out of their 67,000 employees
worldwide, Natarajan also brought innovation
to talent management. His management sys-
tem, applied also at his subsequent assignment
with Anheuser Busch InBev, improved reten-
tion by 33%, and the succession rate by 60%,
and it created a culture that delivered 500%
more cost benefits than expected.
Natarajan’s fingerprints are spread across the
globe. In Sao Paolo, Brazil, he restructured the
entire network of distribution within the city.
Rethinking traffic patterns, instituting 24 hour
per day schedules, and organizing staging areas
for mini-trucks, small trucks, and even mopeds.
His efforts transformed delivery in the city
from an un-navigable tangle of traffic conges-
tion, to one that functions smoothly at all
hours. In Zambia and Tanzania where 1 in 5
children had died before the age of 10 for lack
of basic medications, he and his team har-
nessed Coca-Cola’s distribution capability for
delivering medicines at no additional cost
through a charity program called “Cola Life”.
Natarajan also serves on the Boards of sever-
al for-profit, non-profit, and humanitarian
organizations. In addition, his approach to sys-
temic planning was integrated into the action
plan of the United States’ National Supply
Chain Resiliency Program under sponsorship
by the White House.
His work on the global and national scales
has not distracted him from local matters. In St.
Louis, MO, where he lived prior to moving to
his new home in southern California, he was
very active with the local temple. He re-engi-
neered the operations of the temple’s revenue-
generating lunch program, and raised $1.7M
for the temple’s education center, which pro-
vides 500 students both cultural and spiritual
education, and is central to raising the aware-
ness of the Indian culture and values in the St.
Louis community.
Now at the Walt Disney Company, Natarajan
is a senior executive on the team delivering
technology solutions that align with business
segment strategies, protect brand reputation,
enhance enterprise efficiency, and promote col-
laborative innovation across the enterprise. As
in every other project he has tackled, he is
using systemic planning to optimize the triple
bottom line of profits, planet and people.
He continues to innovate. For Disney’s enor-
mously complex world-wide supply chain, he
is currently integrating into his cutting edge
systems design several newly developed tools
and techniques for creating visibility of behav-
iors by all parties to meet the emerging expec-
tations of customers, insurers, creditors, regula-
tors and of course, non-governmental organiza-
tions. From among the many firms at the fron-
tiers of big data analysis, he assembled a busi-
ness and technology team based on their
unique capabilities for localizing and analyzing
diverse information sources for patterns of con-
formance by supply chain members. Knowing
that visibility alone is not enough to insure the
level of supply chain integrity expected by
Disney, Natarajan’s team is using advanced
incentive programs linked to a variety of insur-
ance schemes. Natarajan’s goal is to drive the
triple bottom line by fostering conformance
with best practices for the “six pillars of reputa-
tion”–ethical/moral behavior, safety, sustain-
ability, quality, security and innovation.
Disney has long been recognized as a leader
in responsible, humane values, often expressed
in entertainment products, but more important-
ly through all aspects of their business conduct.
Natarajan believes that his current system
design process for Disney will establish a new
level of standards for all advanced business
organizations worldwide.
Finding systems solutions to BIG problems
At PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and now the Walt Disney Company, NRI of the Year honoree Chandrashekar
Natarajan is using systemic planning to optimize the triple bottom line of profits, planet and people.
Chandrashekar Natarajan received
the Times Now-ICICI Bank NRI of the
Year award in the Professional cate-
gory in Mumbai this March.
“I have chosen to make my mark
on this world as an engine of social
change through business,”says
By Robert Golomb
ince its inception in 1927, the
Little Neck Douglaston
Memorial Day Parade (LND-
MDP) has for four generations
attracted the good, patriotic folks of
Queens, Nassau County and beyond
who have come to remember and
honor the men and women of the
Armed Forces who gave their lives
to protect the rights and freedom
that we enjoy today as Americans.
That tradition will continue for the
87th year on Memorial Monday,
May 26, as hundreds of men and
women and boys and girls including
veterans, active duty and reserve
military personnel, police officers,
firefighters, emergency workers,
community leaders, parade organiz-
ers and honorees, elected officials,
students and teachers from neigh-
boring schools and a host of march-
ing bands, will depart from the Great
Neck Firehouse on Jayson Ave and
Northern Blvd at 2 pm and will end
their journey about an hour and a
half later at the Divine Wisdom
Catholic Academy schoolyard locat-
ed on Northern Boulevard and 245th
Street in Douglaston.
On this year’s 70th anniversary of
the storming of Normandy’s Omaha
Beach on D Day, June 6th 1944,
LNDMDP this year will pay special
tribute to the estimated 2,500 GIs
who lost their lives and the estimat-
ed 7,500 others who were seriously
injured that day. But what is
unknown to most of the public is
that this year's parade almost never
took place.
Explaining the set of circum-
stances that almost resulted in LND-
MDP not being held this year, Victor
G. Mimoni, the parade’s spokesper-
son, told me when we met last week,
“The old organization began to lose
interest.... With many of its mem-
bers moving out of the community,
the remaining members voted to dis-
band, leaving a void that, if not
filled, would have resulted in the
parade not being held this year and
possibly beyond.”
Mimoni, as he continued,
described how that void was filled.
“Within days of learning there might
not be an 87th annual day parade,
community leaders and just good
old and young citizens of the com-
munity came forward as volunteers
to work together, forming various
event planning committees, running
fundraisers... Because of the pas-
sion, dedication and countless hours
of work of the citizens of Little
Neck and Douglaston, the parade is
Because LNDMDP is back, the
parade spectators lining the streets
of Northern Boulevard will have the
chance to see and hear the voices of
the five heroic World War 2 veterans
whom the members of the Parade’s
new Association selected to be
Grand Marshals. These heroes, now
all in their late eighties and early
nineties and all now parents, grand-
parents and great grandparents are
Rocco Moretto, John McHugh Sr.,
Thomas Dent, John Peterkin and
Lucy Salpeter. They deserve the
honor the Association has bestowed
upon them.
There is the hero Rocco Moretto
who belonged to one of the first
waves of 18 years olds conscripted
to serve in World War 2. On D Day,
June 6th 1944, wading ashore along-
side his comrades in the celebrated
1st Infantry Division, the young sol-
dier reached Omaha Beach as
German bullets and cannon shells
just barely missed ending his life. If
you pass the Veterans of Foreign
Wars Post in Long Island City, you
will see that for his service and brav-
ery before and after D Day the post
is named after him.
There is the hero John Mc Hugh
Sr. who also was a soldier in the
fabled First Infantry Unit on D Day.
For McHugh Sr., service and love for
his country seems to have been part
of his DNA. His grandfather fought
in the Civil War, and his father
fought, earning a Purple Heart for
the injuries he sustained during bat-
tle, for our nation in World War 1.
On D Day, McHugh wallowed
from the shallow waters of the
Atlantic Ocean to reach the sands of
Omaha Beach, the only member of
his machine gun crew to make it
ashore alive. In addition to D Day,
McHugh fought heroically in four
other European battles. If you come
to the parade, you well might see
McHugh proudly wearing on his
chest the Silver Star and Bronze
medal he was awarded for his serv-
ice to our nation.
There is the hero Thomas Dent,
albeit at first an unlikely one. As a
student at Queens College, Dent was
an outspoken on campus peace
activist who argued that America
should never become involved in the
wars that were then raging in Europe
and Asia. Dent’s worldview changed
forever when the Japanese attacked
Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
The former pacifist became a war-
rior almost overnight. And before
the war’s end, he became a hero as
well. Fighting in the Pacific theater
throughout most of the war, Dent
was in the middle of some of the
fiercest land and sea battles
of WW 2.
On one such battle, in early
January 1945, Dent jumped off his
P.T. boat with several other of his
comrades into the waters of the
Pacific Ocean rescuing dozens of
sailors who had been blown off their
ship by Japanese suicide pilots, who
moments before had bombed the
frigate into a burning inferno.
Should you have the honor to talk to
Dent on Memorial Day, you will
hear the soft words of a man who I
suspect understands that while war
is horrible, it sometimes must be
fought by men like him seventy
years ago and his counterparts today
in order for our nation and its people
to survive.
There is also the hero John W.
Peterkin, who is one of the few
Americans to have served in a com-
bat role in the three last American
wars of the 20th Century. Peterkin,
at 17 years old, was assigned as an
U.S. Navy Steward’s Mate, First
Class, in 1945 to the Pacific Theater,
where he served until his release
from active duty in 1946, a year
after the war had ended. Peterkin,
however, returned to military life
four years later, when the Korean
War suddenly broke out. Switching
from the Navy to the Army in 1950,
Peterkin went on to serve two com-
bat tours as a First Lieutenant in the
Korean Peninsula.
When Peterkin was released from
active duty in 1954, a year after the
Korean War ended, it probably
seemed to him that his days of fight-
ing for his country had ended. But
that was not to be. With the advent
of the War in Vietnam, the United
States Army returned Peterkin to
active duty as a Major in 1968.
Before his release from Vietnam in
1973, Peterkin had served on two
combat tours and had received two
Bronze Stars and two Air Medals,
which now rest in his Queens home
alongside the many other awards he
had received for his service in the
two previous wars.
For Peterkin, like John McHugh
Sr., service to his country appears to
be a family characteristic. His
younger son Sylburn Van Peterkin is
a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Army
Reserves. His older son Capt. James
Van Thach (Ret) U.S. Army was
seriously wounded while in combat
duty in Iraq and is now partially dis-
abled. Thach (whose story of hero-
ism and love of country appeared in
this reporter’s column two months
ago) now devotes his time and ener-
gy to visiting and helping injured
soldiers and supporting pro veterans
initiatives and programs.
If you come to the parade, you
might possibly catch a glimpse of
Peterkin as he marches down
Northern Boulevard alongside his
two boys, gazing at them, I would
anticipate, with the look of love a
father feels for his sons and the
respect and admiration that one sol-
dier feels for another.
Last, there is the hero Lucy
Salpeter, the only woman among the
five Grand Marshals and the only
one of them to have never seen com-
bat and never been stationed over-
seas. Lucy though performed a dif-
ferent type of service for our nation.
Joining the Navy Waves as a just
NYU graduated Occupational
Therapist in 1945, Lucy, from 1945
to 1947, provided care and support
for severely wounded WW 2 veter-
ans while they were being treated at
Bethesda Hospital in Maryland. In
1948 she married a fellow caregiver
- decorated WW 2 front-line
Battalion Surgeon Burton Salpeter,
who passed away in 2001.
If you spot Lucy at the parade you
will be looking into the face of a still
beautiful, forever kind, patriotic and
loving woman who possesses first
hand knowledge of the great person-
al sacrifices our veterans have made
for America.
Robert Golomb is a nationally
published columnist.
The only female Grand
Marshal Lucy Lasser Salpeter.
Photo: Ann Schockett
Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade 2013. This year
the parade almost did not happen. Photo: Victor G. Mimoni.
The Parade co-chairs (standing, left to right) Douglas
Montgomery and Charlie McBride introduce the distinguished
war veterans who are this year’s parade Grand Marshals:
(seated, right to left) Lt. Col John W. Peterkin (Ret.),
John McHugh, Sr., Thomas Dent,
Photo: Elana Mugdan.
The Little Neck Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
27 May 24-30, 2014
Honoring our Heroes
DON’T READ THIS if you live in Asia and
worry about dying from a radioactive leak
O A READER forwarded me a terrify-
ing news clipping about a guy who
found an odd-looking bit of metal
FACILITY and slipped it into his pocket. As
you would.
Staff eventually noticed their iridium 192
was missing and sounded the alarm, causing
the man, whose name was Wang, to throw
his find away.
This recent incident in Nanjing, China,
illustrates the joy of doing dangerous things
in a democracy-free country, but teaches use-
ful lessons for all of us.
1) When cleaning radioactive facilities,
interesting pieces of metal MAY NOT BE
2) If you have pocketed such an item,
count body parts regularly.
“Hmm, I seem to have grown another
head. Could that be a sign of something?”
3) People running testing labs should tight-
en procedures if staff say things like: “I don’t
have the iridium 192. I thought YOU had it.”
The article in the Shanghai Daily said
Wang threw the sliver of metal into scrub-
land near his home and ran to hospital
because he felt strange. Go figure.
Lab staff decided that the only safe proce-
dure was to look for it in shifts lasting just
three minutes each, which is about the same
as a normal civil service work shift in China
“Hi, reporting for work, clocking in. Okay,
I’m stepping into the scrubland… walking
around a bit… Can’t see it this way….
Can’t see it that way…. Oh look, it’s nearly
the end of my shift, tidy up time… where do
I pick up my cash?”
The iridium 192 went missing on a
Wednesday morning and was recovered on
the Saturday evening. Staff promised to “do
their very best” not to lose any more in
That’s enormously comforting, you’ll
Wang became “unwell”, a wire report said,
which may be a polite way of saying they’ve
lost count of his limbs, heads, etc.
At a coffee shop, I showed this story to my
friend Stewey, who is thinking of moving to
China for work. (I know it was a cruel thing
to do.)
“Radiation isn’t always bad for you,” he
countered. “Look at Spider-Man, the
Fantastic Four, Daredevil, the Hulk, etc.”
I was going to point out that these were
comic books, but you have to respect peo-
ple’s beliefs.
So instead I said there were different types
of radiation. “If you are affected by that type,
you have to fight crime.”
This silenced him.
He eventually said: “Cockroaches can sur-
vive nuclear wars.”
This was stunningly irrelevant but gave me
a new level of respect for cockroach spray.
Stewey told me that after the nuclear melt-
down in Fukushima, Japan, a guy called
Professor Takayuki Takahashi (I bet even he
can’t say his name six times very fast)
attached radiation meters to monkeys to
gather data. TRUE STORY!
Did this Japanese bloke not see rise of the
planet of the apes?
Since hearing that, I have become con-
vinced that a huddle of super-evolved apes
are living at the Fukushima canteen drinking
Suntory and organizing regular radioactive
water leaks to keep humans away. You read
it here first.
Meanwhile, the Chinese media reports that
work at the Nanjing radioactivity testing lab
has “returned to normal”.
Now that’s scary.
28 May 24-30, 2014 HUMOR
Funny Bone by Nury Vittachi
Laughter is the Best Medicine
Why you will probably die from radioactivity pretty soon
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,
24th May, 2014 Ruled planet: Venus Ruled by no: 6
Traits in you: Your ruling planet Venus makes optimistic,
ambitious, caring, aspiring, and determined. You are very so-
cial and love to make new friends and get into new relation-
ships. You are a huge follower of intelligence and education.
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: Your innovative ideas to earn money may
not meet your expectations. However, you need to keep try-
ing until you succeed. You will find it tough to make money
this year. You may go for investments in various sectors like
shares, gold, land and so on.
Career this year: You will get enough opportunities in your
professional life to prove yourself. You will create a better
impression on your seniors or higher management, which
may result in promotion. You should work efficiently to
maintain your respect at your workspace.
Romance this year: You will share a blissful romantic rela-
tionship with your spouse or partner. Your marriage is on
cards if you are yet to marry. You will find your partner sup-
portive enough in every crucial situation.
Lucky month: May, July, December and March
25th May, 2014 Ruled planet: 7 Ruled by no: Neptune
Traits in you: By nature you are sober, courteous, unique,
honest and courageous as you are ruled by the powerful plan-
et 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 im-
patience, rudeness, and frequent mood swings.
Health this year: You will enjoy a better health this year as
compared to last year. However, the health of an aged fami-
ly member may deteriorate and that will make you bothered.
You may end up spending lot of money for the health issues
of your family members.
Finance this year: This year may bring you huge financial
benefits. You will enjoy the returns of your investments. If
you want to gain financial profits, you have to work hard.
You may invest in various profitable businesses. However,
you should not start new partnerships or trust new friends.
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 em-
ployees. 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, September, March and April
26th May, 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 as-
pects in your nature. You need to work on your nature of be-
ing envious, unreliable, and indiscipline.
Health this year: Though you would not face any major
health related issues, you should take extra care of your
health. Do not take unwanted risk of putting your health in
stake. Go for regular medical checkups.
Finance this year: As far as your financial condition is con-
sidered, you will enjoy a better status as compared to the last
year. You will get enough benefits from your previous in-
vestments. You may plan for new investments. You may go
for partnerships to start new ventures. Domestic as well as
overseas ventures will be successful this year. You need to
create new contacts for the growth in your business as it will
earn you more projects and money.
Career this year: Professionally you will enjoy a smooth
life. You may get recognition in your professional circuit as
a result of your hard work and dedication. Your promotion is
on cards. You should take help of your seniors to learn quick-
ly and perform exceptionally well as it would help you grow
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: September, January, March and May
27th May, 2014 Ruled planet: Mars Ruled by no: 9
Traits in you: Being ruled by Mars, you are aggressive,
courageous, aspiring, focused, friendly, generous, and hon-
est. You lag behind others because you lose many opportuni-
ties. You need to work on your frequent mood swings and
Health this year: Health wise you will enjoy a great time
throughout the year. You may suffer few minor health issues
such as cold, headache or body aches. You need to take prop-
er medications to remain physically and mentally fit.
Finance this year: As far as your financial condition is con-
sidered, you will enjoy a better status as compared to the last
year. You will get enough benefits from your previous in-
vestments. You may plan for new investments. You may go
for partnerships to start new ventures. Domestic as well as
overseas ventures will be successful this year. You need to
create new contacts for the growth in your business as it will
earn you more projects and money.
Career this year: You will be establishing yourself as a very
efficient and important resource in your organization this
year. Your performance will influence your peers, seniors and
higher management. It is the best time to look out for a new
job as it will help you grow both professionally and finan-
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: August, October, January and February
28th May, 2014 Ruled planet: Sun Ruled by no: 1
Traits in you: Due to the positive effects of your ruling plan-
et Sun, you will have the characteristics of a good human be-
ing. By nature, you are accountable, unique, courageous,
committed, competitive, coordinated and intelligent. You
should work on your negative personality traits such as self-
ishness, 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 sportsper-
son, 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 invest-
ments 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 partner-
ships. However, you should verify the financial background
of your partner for your financial security.
Career this year: You may have to take few major decisions
in your profession. You can succeed if you put some extra ef-
fort in your work and deliver quality. You have to drive the
team to put qualitative effort.
Romance this year: If you are yet to be in a committed re-
lationship, you may get into one this year. If you are already
committed, then you may plan for marriage towards the end
of the year.
Lucky month: November, January, March and April
29th May, 2014 Ruled planet: 2 Ruled by no: Moon
Traits in you: Your ruler, the Moon makes you a very friend-
ly 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: You will enjoy a normal health this year.
However, you need to be in regular contact with your doctor
to remain healthy. If you face some minor health issues, you
should take prescribed medication without neglecting.
Finance this year: You will be able to stabilize your finan-
cial condition by reaping profits from your past investments.
You may also plan for new investments this year. You will
find enough new opportunities to start up a new business that
would yield money for you. You should invest in real estate
or stock market for better returns.
Career this year: You will be successful professionally this
year. You will be additional responsibility and you will well
execute them to perfection. Your success may get you vari-
ous awards and rewards as well. You may share your ideas
with the higher management as it would help you grow
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, November, February and May
30th May, 2014 Ruled planet: Jupiter Ruled by no: 3
Traits in you: As you are ruled by Jupiter, you are ambitious,
dignified, friendly, cheerful and highly optimistic. You are a
believer but you do not believe anything without proper
proof. People respect in many ways as you are very social
and friendly to them. However, your arrogance blocks the
way to become a complete person.
Health this year: You may enjoy a great health this year.
However, that does not mean you will start neglecting your
health. You need to take care of your diet and nutrition to
maintain a good health. You may practice some exercises to
remain fit.
Finance this year: Monetary benefits will be tough to
achieve this year. You may not get expected financial support
from your family. Your past investments will not work this
year as expected. However, you may go for new short term
investments, which will gain you enough money. If you are
planning to set up a business, it is advisable not to go for any
Career this year: Your confidence will convert you into a
winner. You will be capable enough to overcome any chal-
lenge you need to face. The chances of your promotion and
transfer are high due to the organizational change.
Romance this year: Your romantic life will become stagnant
this year as you may not give enough time to your beloved.
If you are unmarried and planning to marry this year, it may
not happen because of the negative movements of your stars
and planets.
Lucky month: June, September, December and January
By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma
Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874
Delhi, India: +91-11- 2644 9898, 2648 9899;
Stars Foretell: May 24-30, 2014 Annual Predictions: For those born in this week
ARIES: Keep business interests supreme
while hiring professionals. To avoid con-
flicts give an ear to family members.
Explore new investment opportunities that
comes your way, commit only after considering
the viability of the projects. Traveling proves a
blessing in disguise by bringing a love in your
life. Don’t forget to use your energy to help
someone in distress to benefit both. Your trip
will be beneficiary for work but not for your
personal life. Banks love to finance those, who
invest in properties which are under develop-
ment. Forced travelling brings pleasure more
than expectations.
TAURUS: A very good week to apply
for overseas job. You would prefer to
relax and enjoy the company of family
members in the evening. Certain important
plans will be executed, bringing fresh financial
gains. Love life brings immense romantic pleas-
ure. Try to keep yourself busy because an empty
brain is a devils workshop. Thinking of a holi-
day trip with difference could bring difference
to your budget. Investing internationally means
you have to follow their laws on real estate.
Circumstances would require sticking to your
GEMINI: Promotions and monetary
benefits for dedicated professionals. This
week you move with new excitement &
confidence as you receive support from family
and friends. Speculations are likely to bring
monetary profits. You are likely to get a new
friendship opportunity in the evening. Your con-
fidence and energy will be high during this
week. A group of friends or your partner is look-
ing forward for a vacation with you. A good deal
on commercial property might occur. You are
likely to be contacted by an old friend remind-
ing some sweet memories.
CANCER: You find it very difficult to
achieve set targets at professional front.
Domestic pressure would make you
short-tempered & restless this week.
Unexpected bills will increase financial burden.
You find it hard to please romantic partner.
Control your negative emotions to save your
health. Perfect getaway time for you and your
partner. Property disputes can be there. At per-
sonal front you could be full of good ideas but
might find a little difficult to translate them.
LEO: Good week for implementing new
plans and ventures. You find relief, com-
fort and affection in the company of fam-
ily members. Hard work of previous days brings
good fortune enabling to fulfill monetary prom-
ises. If possible enjoy quality time in the compa-
ny of lover/beloved to cement the lovely bond.
Although soar throat would not come in the way
of routine schedule, even then you must take
some herbal treatments to get immediate relief.
A leisure trip will prove to be a premium time
for you. Their might be a chance of acquiring a
plot from your closed relative. You find many of
your unrealizable dreams coming true during
this week.
VIRGO: Pending proposals will get
implemented with the help of seniors.
Family front seems to go smoothly as
you receive their full support to your plans.
Monetary position is likely to improve later in
the week. Harsh words would only ruin roman-
tic friendship. A week when smile will perpetu-
ally be on your face and strangers will seem
familiar. Being extra ordinary comfortable on an
official trip might affect your work. There are
chances of disputes among the relatives regard-
ing ancestral property. Vigilance is needed as
overt enemies might try to harm you.
LIBRA: Time to put thrust on looking
for self-driven people who could take
business to newer heights. Domestic
concerns will require your immediate attention.
You need to control your spending by purchas-
ing only essential items. Maintain a distance
from people trying to pry into your romantic
affair. Time for Hypertension patients to change
their eating habits. You might get a chance for
business trip, which will help you in new con-
nections. You might deal in some ancestral prop-
erty or any other parental property. If possible,
avoid unnecessarily criticizing yourself.
SCORPIO: You fail to achieve the
desired results on trying to search short-
cuts to professional problems. Arguments
& disagreements with family members might
bring some tense moments. Investing money on
others wording will only be inviting financial
losses. Better to restrain yourself to prevent
losses. You are likely to suffer heartache on sep-
aration from love partner. Your energy level will
be high. Better to channelize it in a positive
direction. Time to resolve your issues otherwise
travel plans may not work out. Be careful as
your long term investment plans are going to
face some legal issues. You might feel frustrated
as temporary but unexpected personal distur-
bances trouble you.
SAGITTARIUS: Subordinates/co-
workers would be very helpful. Time
spent with relatives will be to your
advantage. You succeed in making some extra
cash on playing your cards well. New romance
that some of you are going to experience would
take the worries off mind. Health secret for you:
mental enemies lower the disease-resisting
power of the body therefore, do not allow any
unwanted thoughts to come in your mind.
Traveling overseas would be an experience full
of spark that enlightens your imagination. A deal
regarding residential property can start moving
on its right path. You are likely to enjoy sheer
pleasure & fun if you venture to take a ride this
CAPRICORN: This week much of pro-
fessional success depends on senior col-
leagues cooperation. Relatives bring you
unexpected gifts but also expect some kind of
help from you. If possible take independent
decisions when it comes to making fresh invest-
ments. Spending time with your beloved/lover is
very necessary for you. Positive outlook
impresses those around you besides keeping you
fit & fine. Vacation planning’s might go wrong-
so keep an eye on it. Investment on restaurant
might be strain on your check book. Time to
bring changes by adopting a new & more bal-
anced attitude in daily life.
AQUARIUS: Medical transcription
professionals are likely to find it diffi-
cult to achieve their targets. A close
family member makes you feel jealous and irri-
tated with an envious behaviour. Unexpected
rise in expenses could imbalance budget.
Interference of a third person could create fric-
tions in love. The pressure of making important
decision may make you tensed & highly nerv-
ous. Travel plans for better communication will
be helpful for new horizons. Your rented accom-
modation might be disputed. You harm personal
interests by revealing confidential information
to a third person
PISCES: Traveling brings new over-
seas business opportunities. Family
members will be very positive & sup-
portive to your plans. An auspicious week to
invest money on items that would grow in value.
You enjoy a memorable time with partner to
cement the lovely bond. Charity work undertak-
en will bring mental peace & comfort. Business
or vacation traveling is what you needed right
now. Discussing property matters with parents
can help for better innovations. An improved
look adds to your personality.
May 24-30, 2014 ASTROLOGY
f we want to play a video game
or a challenging game like
chess, we find no trouble tuning
out all distractions to concentrate
on what we are doing.
Millions of people read books
and can do so in a crowded airport
or train, at home with children run-
ning around the house, or even
while the television is playing.
When we want to concentrate on
reading, we are able to train our
mind to tune out all other noises
and focus only on the words on a
Millions of people go to the
movies. A movie may last two or
three hours. People have no trouble
shutting out the rest of their worldly
responsibilities, including their
children at home with the babysit-
ter, or even their Blackberry or text
messages, during the movie, with-
out any problems. Yet, how is it that
when it comes to sitting still to con-
centrate within in meditation, we
cannot concentrate for more than a
few minutes?
Staying silent for any reason
begins with desire and passion.
Whatever we want to do we can
achieve. If we have a desire to
improve our body, we learn how to
silence any distractions to accom-
plish our goal. If we desire to
improve our mind or entertain our
mind, we have no trouble silencing
any interruptions to achieve our
desired outcome.
Look at all the amazing tasks
humans do when they have a desire
and how they put in time to make
their dreams a reality. For example,
people have figured out how to put
a human being on the moon. Who
could imagine that someone walk-
ing on earth, pulled down by gravi-
ty, could rise out of the earth’s
gravitational pull, travel through
oxygen-less space, land on a moon,
without any oxygen, walk on that
lifeless surface, and come back
alive. It is remarkable. Yet, some-
one had the dream to make it hap-
pen and then set in motion all the
necessary steps for it to become a
reality. If we can put a physical
body on a moon, why cannot we
take our spirit and return it to the
spiritual realms from where it
came? All it takes is the desire to do
so and a will to follow the instruc-
tions to make it happen, and it will
Another example of making a
dream into a reality is that of the
astronauts who are able to leave the
space shuttle to do a spacewalk
safely and even make repairs or
upgrades to the ship. Is that any-
thing less than amazing?
Some people are afraid to lean
out their window on a second floor
or higher lest they fall. Yet, astro-
nauts venture out to space, where
there is no oxygen, and face dan-
gers such as the cord breaking,
causing them to float off to their
death in space. Yet, these people
put their mind to doing these feats
and achieved it.
If we ever watched the Olympics,
we are awed by the tremendous
feats that athletes train themselves
to do with their physical bodies. We
marvel at their ski jumps, hurdles,
gymnastics routines, or amazing
triple jumps while skating. We
wonder how they can hurl their
body into the air and do all those
gyrations, seemingly defying laws
of gravity. Yet, they set their mind
to it and their body followed along.
In marathon races people test
their stamina and endurance to run
miles and miles. We marvel at how
they do it. Yet, they had a goal and
worked day after day to increase
their ability to run. They not only
trained their body, but they trained
their mind to keep at the task until
they achieved their goal.
Some people can barely swim
across a pool, yet there are people
who train themselves to swim the
English Channel. We wonder how
it is possible. But someone had that
desire and worked hard to make it
If we look at the field of medi-
cine, we marvel at how doctors
have created ways to transplant an
organ such as the heart or do deli-
cate brain surgery. For centuries no
one could have dreamed these treat-
ments possible, yet people had the
idea to develop these methods, and
they worked hard to make it reality.
The mind is a great tool to use to
achieve a goal. All the great inven-
tions, innovations, and creations
have come about due to the power
of the mind. The question is, why
can’t we control our mind to sit still
to concentrate within?
For success in any field, we need
a ruling passion and commitment.
When we do not succeed at a task it
is because we take it as a low prior-
ity. Then, we do not have the will to
do it. We are focused on all the
other aspects of life. Success
requires us weeding out those time-
wasters or distractions that keep us
from achieving our goal.
In this connection, there is a story
from a novel that illustrates this
point well. Five people were being
held in a prison camp during a war.
They found there was only one way
for them to escape. They had to
escape in a hot air balloon. They
were able to escape to an area
where a hot air balloon was being
kept and were able to lift off before
the guards discovered them. As
they sailed off, they discovered to
their horror, that the wind was
blowing them over the ocean. They
drifted further and further away
from land and were fearful of how
long the hot air balloon would
stay up.
They drifted for many hours over
the ocean waters and then discov-
ered that the balloon was descend-
ing, getting closer to the water’s
One of them said, "We are going
to crash into the ocean unless we
either heat the air in the balloon or
get rid of some weight." Another
said, "We have no way to heat the
air in the balloon so we have to
reduce the weight by throwing
something overboard."
They took stock of what they had
with them. They decided to throw
overboard their shoes, coats, and
weapons which they had smuggled
out with them when they escaped.
As they threw these items into the
ocean, they each took a sigh of
relief as the balloon rose higher.
Hours more passed. Soon, they
realized the hot air balloon was
descending again. What were they
to do now?
As they neared the ocean’s sur-
face, they discussed what to do. All
they had left to throw overboard
was their small supply of food.
With no choice, they threw over-
board their food.
As one said, "It is better to be
hungry than to drown." They fig-
ured they could live for days with-
out food, whereas if they kept the
weight of the food, it would mean
certain death for all five of them by
drowning if the hot air balloon fell
into the ocean.
The balloon rose again and all
were relieved.
Hours more passed. Again, the
solution to throw overboard the
food was only temporary. Without
heat for the air in the balloon, it
started flying lower and lower,
again nearing the surface of the
"Now what?" they wondered.
There was nothing left to throw
Finally, one of the men had an
idea. It was their last resort. They
could cut the ropes that held the
basket in which they were riding.
The basket was heavy, strong
enough to hold five men and their
supplies. If the balloon did not have
that weight to carry, it could stay
"But how will we be saved?"
asked one of the other men.
The man with the idea said, "We
will each tie all the ropes together
strongly to form a basket out of the
ropes, and we will sit on the ropes
hanging from the balloon once we
release the basket from the ropes."
The men knew they would have to
hold on to the ropes for their lives,
but there was no other hope for
The men began to cut away the
basket beneath their feet and tie the
ropes together as support for them.
As they did so, the hot air balloon
had less weight pulling it down and
it rose up again.
As they sat, sitting on the support
of the ropes only and holding on for
their lives, a welcome sight greeted
them. They were nearing land. As
their hot air balloon reached close
enough range for them to swim to
land, they jumped off and swam to
the island safely.
The story has an instructive les-
son. Each time they were faced
with the possibility of their death,
they had to toss out something they
considered the least necessary.
They first decided that their lives
were more important than their
clothing. Next, they had to choose
between their lives and food. They
decided they could live without the
food for a few days. Finally, they
had to decide between their lives
and the comfort of the basket. Each
time they had to discard something
less necessary than what their cho-
sen goal was.
For success in life, especially on
the spiritual path, we must do the
same. In our case, it is a matter of
discarding time-wasters. What are
those things that are keeping us
from our chosen goal?
Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj
said beautifully in a verse:
Begin to live your life according
to your aspirations,
And step towards your chosen
Our trouble is that we have not
yet made up our mind what our
aspirations are. One day we say we
want God, but the next day we want
to make a lot of money. Then, the
next day we want to have a physi-
cally fit body. Then, the next day
we want to travel and see the world.
We do not stick with one goal long
enough to have success. We allow
the chatter of the world to sway us
from our goal.
If our goal is to find God, we
need to stay still, physically and
mentally, in meditation. This
requires us to quiet the distracting
voices that call to us from the world
outside and from our own mind. We
need to set our sights on our spiritu-
al goal and silence all other distrac-
We do not realize what a great
gift simran is. We do not have to
worry about silencing our mind by
ourselves. We can repeat the five
Charged Names given to us at the
time of our holy initiation as a way
to silence the mind. While repeat-
ing the five Charged Names, our
mind is automatically silenced. The
Names do not allow any space for
our own thoughts to distract us.
Simran is a powerful tool given to
us by the attention of the Master to
help us silence our mind. All we
need to do is make a decision. What
is that decision? We need to decide
that we want to find God and that
we are willing to put in time to
meditate. If we make that choice,
then all we need to do is sit still and
keep quiet. Five magic words—sit
still and keep quiet. Repeating sim-
ran helps our mind stay quiet. In
this way, we will be still long
enough for God to have a chance to
meet us and greet us. God will have
a chance to bathe us with the Light
and Sound. Absorbed in the Light
and Sound, we will rise on that
Current to meet the radiant form of
the Master. The Master will then
guide us through the higher spiritu-
al realms until our soul reunites
with God.
Silence distractions to listen to God
By Sant Rajinder Singh
Ji Maharaj
Concluding part of the discourse 'Stay still for god'
30 May 24-30, 2014 SPIRITUAL AWARENESS
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 tradi-
tions, emphasizing ethical living
and meditation as building blocks
for achieving inner and outer
May 24-30, 2014