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December 11, 2009 Volume 1, No. 20

New Zealand’s first Indian weekend magazine
For Free dIstrIbutIoN

Charity | 22
When Starship landed in the Solomons

Kurbaan | 18
Film review

At a glance
Striving for wellbeing
If there is one rallying point for Kiwi Indians for the better part of the past century, it is one organisation that has grown encompassing people of Indian origin in all corners of NZ: The New Zealand Central Indian Association (NZICA). Page 7

Conquering Afghanistan
The western media says no country has ever conquered Afghanistan, but the fact they conveniently forget is that not too long ago the Indians conquered, subdued and ruled Afghanistan, an episode of history that is carved into the recesses of the Afghan mind. Page 15

The three idiots
Three Idiots is a comedy of ideas that is as provocative as it’s funny, as widely entertaining as insightful. A laugh riot of a film that talks about the most important of human pursuits: self-actualisation. Releases on Christmas Day. Page 21

Greetings from Team IW
Team IW wishes you and your family an enjoyable holiday season, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year filled with joy, good health and prosperity. IW’s print edition will be taking a break after this issue and we’ll be back in early 2010. Our web edition will be updated as usual and you will also receive the popular weekly newsletter over the holidays. Enjoy your break and stay safe.

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India-NZ Biz Council’s South Island chapter launched
The South Island Chapter of the India New Zealand Business Council has been launched in Christchurch. The Chapter, which will organise regular seminars and round-tables to inform and support members, is expected to connect and inspire more South Island businesses to develop and implement strategies towards India. At a recent well-attended function on Thursday 26 November at Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology (CPIT), the Deputy Mayor of Christchurch Mr Norman Withers performed the official ceremonies of initiation. Mr Withers commented on the long history of friendship between the two nations, noting in particular that his own family had fought side by side in both world wars with Indian troops. He also noted the increasingly important role the local Indian community played in Christchurch affairs, and reinforced the many areas of commonality between the two nations. “I am proud to be able to launch this important initiative on behalf of the City of Christchurch,” he said. Earlier, host Beth Knowles, International Director CPIT, had welcomed attendees and pointed out the growth in Indian student numbers coming to New Zealand, with over 200 Indian students annually coming from India to attend CPIT. India New Zealand Business Council’s newly-appointed Patron, Sir Richard Hadlee, attracted keen interest from those who attended. Since first visiting India in 1976, Sir Richard has had a long association, not the least being that Bangalore was the venue in 1988 when he set his then-world record tally of 374 Test wickets in the first test of India New Zealand Business Council Chair, Mr Wenceslaus Anthony, said that he hoped that the presence of a local chapter would increase the council’s ability to serve the interests of members, and to better inform stakeholders of opportunities and issues to do with India trade. Local businessman Robert Barker, Director, New Zealand Innovative Future Solutions (NZIFS) will head the chapter, with help from New Zealand Trade & Enterprise’s “face of India” Don Rae and other local members, he said. Chapters will soon be launched also in Wellington and Auckland to make Council events and executive members more accessible for local businesses around the main centres. Keynote speaker, Mr John Ascroft of Jade Software Corporation, outlined his company’s approach over the past 3 years to succeeding in in the Indian market. Characteristics including patience, humour and personal contact were highlighted and Mr Ascroft also took the chance to urge authorities to provide more frequent and direct f light connections to support development of trade. The event concluded with Q&A and a networking session. Mr Anthony said, “If this is a signal of the level of interest to come in other centres, the Council is looking forward to 2010 as being maybe the best yet in the Council’s long history.” The Council was established in 1988 and is the longest-standing business organisation focused solely on encouraging trade between the two countries, and the most representative.” - Indian Weekender news desk

New Zealand

L-r: Robert Barker (Head- INZBC Christchurch Chapter), Sir Richard HadleePatron-INZBC, Don Rae: International Market Manager – India- NZTE, Wenceslaus Anthony- Chairman-INZBC, Norman Withers- Deputy Mayor, John Ascroft- Jade Software Corporation
that series. In the second test his 10 wicket haul helped New Zealand to a rare test win in India, and in a home series against India in 1989/90, he become the first bowler in history to take 400 test wickets. Most recently, Sir Richard has become more involved at a business level, a recent highlight being when he launched Apollo Hospital Group’s first dedicated knee clinic at a ceremony in Hyderabad. He is keen to lend his support to New Zealand business in India,


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



New Zealand

India to ease NZ tourist entry Dr Worth in the clear,
New Zealand tourists may soon be able to obtain visas on arrival in India

say police

New Zealand’s close ties and friendly relationship with India may soon reap rewards for tourists intending to visit the world’s largest democracy. The Indian government may be set to offer New Zealand tourists visas on arrival. New Delhi had always been reluctant to offer such visas because of security concerns, but has selected New Zealand and four other countries, the Indian Express newspaper reported. “The government . . . has decided to clear the names of Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Luxembourg and Finland as the countries whose nationals can fly into India and obtain a visa at the airport,” the newspaper reported on its website. “A formal notification in this regard is likely

to be made very soon.” The decision – nominally to boost tourism – will be the first time India has offered visaon-arrival services other than to the citizens of Bhutan and Nepal. Previous proposals have been linked to a desire to see reciprocal arrangements for Indian travellers. “The choice of the selected countries has been dictated by the fact that no national of any of these countries has ever been found to be involved in – even linked to – any terror-related incident anywhere in the world.” Interestingly, Australia does not figure in this list. - Indian Weekender news desk

Police clear former MP, but the Prime Minister is yet to state why he said he would have sacked the MP if he hadn’t resigned
There will be will be no charges laid against former National Government minister Richard Worth following a six-month inquiry, police said earlier this month. Dr Worth resigned as Member of Parliament after a controversial complaint of a sexual nature that was lodged with the Wellington Police, and another Auckland woman claimed he harassed her with text messages and phone calls. Inquiry head Detective Inspector Paul Basham said police had completed a “careful and thorough investigation into the matter”, which included peer review by a senior CIB officer and assessment by police legal advisers. “Having completed the investigation, the police have determined that there is no basis for proceeding with any criminal charge against Dr Worth,” a police spokesman told the New Zealand Herald. Police interviewed Dr Worth in Auckland in June. After the sudden announcement of Dr Worth’s resignation as a minister in June, following a campaign orchestrated by the Labour Party and its leader Phil Goff, Prime Minister John Key said that he would have sacked him had he not resigned. “His conduct does not befit a minister, and I will not have him in my Cabinet,” Mr Key had said at the time. Though he also said then that he would possibly reveal why he had lost confidence in him at some stage, he did not want to contaminate a police investigation at the time. Later on he said he would not comment on the issue. Mr Key has still not revealed his reasons why he would have sacked Dr Worth even if he had not resigned – something which has now become all the more important now that he has been cleared by the police of any wrongdoing in the matter. - Indian Weekender news desk

Short film deadline extended
Entries for the Short Film Contest close December 24
You now have more time to submit your entries for the Short Film Contest being held in New Zealand, Australia and India. The organisers of the Contest, which is part of the International Film Festival 2010 – being held in New Zealand for the first time, have extended the deadline to January 30. It was originally scheduled to close December 24. The deadline extension follows the rescheduling of the Indian Film Festival from February March to March April 2010 So, if you consider yourself a filmmaker, get cracking and submit your entries before the end of January. You could be in to win a trip to India and a chance to work on a life changing experience of doing a Bollywood filmmaking internship. The organisers of the Indian Film Festival 2010 are now calling on potential entrants to start submitting their entries. Enter your short film for exhibition alongside some of the most promising new filmmaking talent from Australia, New Zealand and India. IFF2010 has life-changing prizes to offer the winner of its short film and video competition. Prizes include: l A trip to India. l An internship on a major Bollywood film production. l See your film played to viewership of 300 million+ on World Movies India television channel. l Television exposure. Watch your film play on your own TV on World Movies Australia. l Walk the red carpet alongside high profile members of the Australian, New Zealand and Indian film industries. l Have your film screened in cinemas in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth & Auckland. Closing Date: Saturday 24th December2009. Entry Requirements: Your film or video needs to have SOMETHING to do with India, whether it is the location, a key Indian crew member, or a reference to India or Indian culture in the content. Films should not be more than 10 mins, and can be shot on any format, although shortlisted films will need to meet certain quality standards for cinema exhibition. Visit for further details. How to Enter: Simply download our entry form and upload your film or video on YouTube. Submitted films must be less than 10min and have some link to India. Full details of how to submit, deadlines and criteria can be found at All queries regarding the competition can be directed to competitions@ The IFF Short Film Competition is an exceptional chance to have your film work widely seen alongside the best productions from the sub-continent. Winning entries will also feature at the Indian Film Festival to be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Auckland in March and April. - Arvind Kumar

Daljit becomes licensed immigration advisor – will now provide free legal advice
Daljit Singh JP spokesman of the NZ Sikh Society and convener of the Supreme Sikh Council has been officially declared as a licensed immigration advisor under the prevalent new immigration advisor law. He has been provided with this license by the Immigration Advisors authority based on his track record and past experience of dealing with immigration related matters. Thus, Daljit can now legally provide advice to people on immigration related matters. It is pertinent to mention that a new law was passed in May which prohibited people from providing immigration advice unless they had a valid license. Daljit provides his services as a JP every Thursday at the Papatoetoe Citizens Advisory Bureau and talking to Indian Weekender, he has pledged that he will provide free service as an immigration advisor to the community and thus help solve their complicated immigration maters if any. Indian Weekender wishes him luck for providing this free and valuable service to the community. Daljit can be reached on 021803512 for a free consultation or the readers can send their queries by email to and we will pass those requests on to Daljit for his expert advice. - HS Basiala

Manukau’s teaching gardens a success
Nearly 600 people are now involved in Manukau City Council’s teaching gardens project. Two new teaching gardens have been established at East Tamaki Domain and Mangere Centre Park, bringing the total to six for the summer course which started mid-October. Plots are allocated to an individual or a group to grow vegetables for a season, and participants are taught a range of skills from seed germination through to harvesting. The 20-week course prepares participants to grow their own fruit and vegetables at home. There are some plots left for the summer season, so anyone interested should phone the Parks Booking Officer 263 7100 for an application form. Enrolments don’t close until the end of November says Robert Findlay, Manager Park Recreation and the teaching garden co-ordinator. “The response has been great and we are pleased to have good mentors at all sites including Ake Ariki, June Alexander Kingi and Ari Tauroa at Mangere Centre Park.” Mentors Terri Marchant and Zahood Sheikh at the East Tamaki teaching garden have a novel way of letting students know that they are present on the site. They hoist the New Zealand flag on the old Croquet Club flagpole. Mr Findlay says that the two planned gardens for Manurewa and Otara are on hold until external funding is obtained. He believes the Manukau Parks teaching garden model where the gardens are essentially outdoor classrooms is a sustainable one. “During our programme students are taught basic horticulture husbandry which they then transfer to their own home garden,” he says. All course students are automatically members of the Manukau Parks Garden Laughter and Food Processing Club. Clubrooms are located at the Stadium Reserve in Papatoetoe. The club is due to open its doors early in the New Year.

Bollywood flick to be filmed in Queenstown
Dharma Productions, a Bolywood film production company plans to shoot one of its latest ventures in Queenstown in late January, putting New Zealand’s premier holiday destination on screen for viewing by as many as 150 million viewers across the world. The major feature film “I Hate Luv Stories” stars Bollywood heart-throb Imran Khan and opposite the lovely actress Sonam Kapoor and is due for release in May 2010. Tim Hunter, the chief executive of Tourism New Zealand said the opportunity to showcase New Zealand and for media coverage in India was huge. “The movie itself will attract a huge audience but the media surrounding the filming and the release will also present great opportunities for promoting New Zealand as a visitor destination,” he said. - Indian Weekender news desk


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


New Zealand
year, 120 students are expected to be sponsored. Individuals are also quite welcome to sponsor a child or children and also be able to monitor their progress through the years. Mrs Rai said at they were currently focusing on students in the Western Division of Fiji, but were expecting to branch out to the rest of Fiji if suitable helpers could found at the other end. “If you have passion for something, you’ll find time for everything,” said Mrs Rai, aptly summing up the sentiments of her members. “While it may seem we are doing all the work, we would like to acknowledge the efforts

Charity straight from the heart
You may often hear of Indian community groups raising funds in the name of some charity, only to see it diminish and die a natural death, and sometimes with no clear indication of where the money has gone. The organisers may be genuine, and some not so genuine. Some may be in it only to further their own agenda – to seek glory and the limelight. One Auckland based community group, which held its annual fundraiser recently, is proving the critics and doomsayers wrong. The Auckland Girmit Women’s Fellowship

has gone from strength to strength since it was formed 10 years ago and has never basked in any media attention. Its members, 15 women, have worked behind the scenes to raise funds for underprivileged female students in Fiji’s schools. And recently, the fellowship raised at a dinner and dance function an amount big enough to knock your socks off – yes, a whopping $20,000 in a single night. As fellowship president Sashi Rai puts it: “We’re not in it for ourselves.” What started out as a coffee group discussion among a group of like-minded women in 2000 is now one of the more successful charities associated a worthwhile cause back in their homeland. “Our base is now so much stronger,” Mrs Rai, an Auckland bank executive, told the Indian Weekender. “We are a humble society with a humble group of volunteers who have done wonders. “Encouraged by the support this year, I’d say the future is indeed looking very bright. “We now aim to create more awareness and more women are welcome to join,” Mrs Rai said. “But we are looking for women who will show a bit of commitment, and not just make an appearance and disappear.” Last year, the fellowship raised $19,000. The money is then sent to the Fiji Girmit Council in Lautoka, Fiji, where four other women helpers take charge of things and organize suitable students to receive help. Working on a basis of $150 per year to help educate a child in Fiji, the fellowship sponsored 110 students this current year. When it started out, the fellowship sponsored 23 girls. Next

PAssIoNAte: Auckland Girmit Women’s Fellowship president Sashi Rai (standing at back) with guests at the fundraiser; Some of the fellowship members at the fundraiser in Auckland recently.
and help from our husbands and families, without their help it would not be as successful.” The fellowship has now set its sights on a bigger fundraiser next year. Fellowship members are: Sashi Rai (president, Arinam Gounder (secretary), Padmini Dass, Asha Dass, Shiro Mani, Prem Sharma, Anita Singh, Sandhya Prasad Sharma, Shobna Singh, Nalina Narayan, Nirmala Prasad, Bimla Gordon. Main sponsors this year: McDonald’s Royal Oak, Dr Sunil Pillay, Roop Darshan, Saras and Madhu Dayal, ASB Bank, Soni Indian Weddings, Balbir Golian, Ronald Gordon, Frucor Beverages, Auckland Indian Sweets and Snacks. - Arvind Kumar

Illegal windscreen washing at Manukau intersections decried
Windscreen washing at intersections is illegal and dangerous and motorists who pay window washers are encouraging their behaviour, says the Manukau City Council. This is in response to the increased reappearance of windscreen washers at some of the city’s major intersections, as is the case with busy intersections in Central Auckland as well. Safe Communities Portfolio Leader Councillor Dick Quax says motorists should be aware that windscreen washers only exist because people are paying them rather than firmly saying no to their request. “Not only is it dangerous for the window washer it is also dangerous for motorists trying to avoid these people as they dart in and out of the traffic.” Windscreen washing at intersections is banned under Manukau City Council’s Public Places bylaw. The advice to motorists who are approached by a windscreen washer is to politely but firmly refuse their offer to clean their windscreen and not hand over money. If everyone follows this advice it will help to reduce the practice.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



New Zealand

Registrar gives tips on finding Residents find ‘Safe at Home’ programme reassuring a good immigration adviser
“Are you a licensed adviser?” is a good opening question when someone offers immigration advice to migrants, Barry Smedts, Registrar of Immigration Advisers, said earlier this week. “It’s important that when migrants are asking for help with their visa or permit applications, that they seek advice from someone who is legally entitled to give advice. There are a number of avenues open to migrants, including but not limited to licensed immigration advisers,” Mr Smedts said. “The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act recognises that cost may be a prohibitive factor for some migrants seeking immigration advice. For this reason, a number of groups are exempt from the requirement to be licensed, some of whom are unlikely to seek payment for their advice. These may include MPs and their staff, community law centre volunteers and citizens advice bureaux. “For a complete list of all exempt categories and to find a licensed immigration adviser, I recommend people visit the register of licensed advisers on the Immigration Advisers Authority’s website, www. “It’s important to remember that all licensed advisers have proof that they are licensed. When a migrant visits a licensed adviser for the first time, they should be shown the adviser’s licence, proving they are licensed and they should also receive an explanation of and be given a copy of the code of conduct that licensed advisers must

“For a complete list of all exempt categories and to find a licensed immigration adviser, I recommend people visit the register of licensed advisers on the Immigration Advisers Authority’s website, www.
adhere to,” Mr Smedts said. The code of conduct sets out the ethical and professional standards of behaviour for a licensed immigration adviser. This gives migrants a clear understanding of what they can expect from their licensed adviser. Mr Smedts said the Authority can also take action against unlicensed advisers. “If a migrant takes advice from someone they suspect is neither licensed nor exempt, they should contact us immediately. The Immigration Advisers Licensing Act is in place to ensure migrants get the consumer protection rights that New Zealanders take for granted,” Mr Smedts said. - Indian Weekender news desk

extreme crisis. When it comes to the concept It does this by providing of safety in the home, most more robust security options so people are inclined to think The most common as to make victims’ homes more of structural safety, propdifficult to break into and to give erty protection like burglar sentiments victims victims valuable time to obtain alarms, keeping dangerous help. It helps to reduce victims’ goods out of reach of little, express after time on fears of retribution and allows unsuspecting hands and ensuring heating systems, house the programme are that them to feel confident in their homes. wiring and the likes are up to The outcomes to date have safe standards. they have not slept so been reduced levels of repeat For many among us victimisation and improved stathough, being safe at home well for years and that bility for children and adults. means being able to rest easy Once a high risk victim is knowing that someone you they feel safer than identified and referred to the proshared your life with is no gramme, an assessment of their longer the threat they used to they have ever been. suitability for participation on it be. is carried out. In November 2008, The assessment has a risk the Auckland City District component and, if the victim is deemed high risk Western Area Family Violence co-ordinator, Serby way of set criteria, they are accepted into the geant Garry Ball, was one of a number of staff programme. from various agencies to set up the Safe at Home Through the support of the various agencies programme. involved, participants are able to have monitored In short, the programme is a combined Governpersonal alarms and robust locks for doors and ment and non-Government interagency response to windows installed, be provided with mobile phones, victims of family violence. Agencies involved are torches, reinforced doors and frames, smoke detecSHINE, CYFS, WINZ, Police, Family Community tors, fire extinguishers, and any other safety feature Services, the Fire Service, Housing NZ, BUPA and deemed necessary to protect the victims in their SPM Builders. homes. It aims to create an alternative course of action The responses that have been received from for high risk victims of family violence who, until victims who have been included in this programme the programme’s inception, typically needed to be has been totally positive. relocated at short notice, move their children to new The most common sentiments victims express schools and try to start new lives in unfamiliar enafter time on the programme are that they have not vironments or locations. slept so well for years and that they feel safer than The Safe at Home Programme helps vulnerable they have ever been. people maintain their own environment and to keep vital local support networks in place at times of


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


New Zealand

Striving for the wellbeing of Kiwi Indians
NZICA wants Indian MPs in the NZ Parliament to do more
dev NAdkArNI
If there has been one rallying point for Kiwi Indians for the better part of the past century, it has to be the one organisation that has grown from strength to strength encompassing people of Indian origin in all corners of this small country: The New Zealand Central Indian Association (NZICA). According to records, the first Indian migrated to New Zealand in 1890. The outlook toward Indians and immigrants in general in those days was a far cry from what it is today. Ideas such as racial equality barely existed. Early migrants who came here mostly from the Indian states of Punjab and Gujarat were put to great hardship not just by the climatic conditions that were vastly different from the tropical climes of India, but also by problems of language and racial discrimination. The Indian community throughout New Zealand at that time in its history, felt the need for a single body to represent them in their fight against oppressive legislation and discriminatory immigration policy, and to promote harmony between Indians, the Maori people, and the dominant European population in New Zealand; and to respond to misleading propaganda concerning Indians living in New Zealand. The New Zealand Indian Central Association was thus formed in 1926 with three branches Auckland, Taumarunui (which was called the Country Section) and Wellington, where there was a sizeable population of Indians residing. As well as the ideals of getting Indian settlers on an equal footing with the European population, the founders of the Association also had a long way,” he said. “We are now thriving in every conceivable field be it business, industry, white collar work, media, journalism, they are technocrats, the whole works. That recognition has been a little slow in coming.” Proportionate to its population, Indians are poorly represented in the New Zealand parliament or even official bodies, he said. “There are hundreds of government bodies and boards. How many Indians do you see on them?” He said NZICA has been taking up such issues and that both parliamentarians of Indian origin today – one each in the two main political parties – are a result of the pressure that NZICA has steadily and assiduously built over the years, he said. But there were several issues that Indians faced in several sectors such as immigration, social development, security and health. “Go to the immigration website – you will see job and education opportunities for students from overseas countries, especially Europe, South East Asia and even China. But you won’t find this for Indians. “So the responsibility of NZICA and its branches is to ensure that we get an equal opportunity everywhere. NZICA is also a platform to link to our roots and opportunity for people to network within the community and foster a sense of belonging for children. “We also need to impress upon India that what they are doing right now is not acceptable. The way the Government of India is not even able to send a new High Commissioner for the past six months shows how lightly they take such an issue. Also there is not even a body formed to look at the FTA even six months after the elections in India although the New Zealand government is so keen on it and continuously following up.” There was a stark contrast in the way in which China pursued its FTA with New Zealand and the way that India is doing it, he said. NZICA has always strived to be apolitical and has had a neutral political stance, he said. The two MPs of Indian origin have had one year to settle in, he said. “It is now time to ask them what have they delivered to the community. Contrast that with how changes in the immigration rules because of appropriate lobbying from the Chinese community is all set to help more Chinese people to immigrate here. Is there a similar assistance to boost the Indian community? We don’t see it there.” Watch Mr Veer Khar’s interview on

rootINg For kIWI INdIANs: Veer Khar, NZICA General Secretary
at heart the cause of all Indians, be it political, educational, health, welfare or cultural identity. Today the three branches have grown into ten independent, self governing, incorporated branches throughout New Zealand, all affiliated to the New Zealand Indian Central Association which is an incorporated body. The Officers of the Association consist of the President, Vice President, General Secretary, Assistant Secretary and Treasurer. The affairs of the Association are managed and controlled by the Executive Committee plus a nominated member from each affiliated branch. The executives meet each quarter or more often if the need arises. The officers and the committee are elected at the annual conference attended by delegates from each branch. Mr Veer Khar, the frank and outspoken General Secretary of NZICA told Indian Weekender that the association continues to work hard toward getting all Indian organisations within New Zealand to affiliate with it, “The more united we stand, the stronger we become,” he said. New Zealand, for a long time, was far from a level playing field for immigrants and had one of the most racist attitudes of any country in the earlier decades of the last century. “Our forefathers fought inequities one problem at a time and slowly worked hard to gain more and more acceptance. What we are today is thanks to their tireless efforts,” he said. “We are also thankful to New Zealand leaders like former prime minister David Lange who loved the Indian community and worked closely with our previous generation.” Still, the manner in which European New Zealanders and others view Indians needs to change in line with what modern Indian have come to stand for, Mr Khar said. Because of the early settlers who took up agriculture and managing corner dairies in a big way for several decades, there has always been a tendency to view Indians as farmers and smalltime retailers or even taxi drivers. “The modern Indian immigrant has come


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On November 13, 2007, at the Diwali Celebration held at the New Zealand Parliament in Wellington, the NZICA saw the completion of the Historical Book Project. The Governor General, Hon Anand Satyanand launched the book “Indian Settlers: The Story of a South Asian Community”, written by Dr Jacqueline Leckie of Otago University and published by Otago University Press, Dunedin.

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At the 82nd Annual Conference held at Pukekohe in 2007, President of NZICA invited the former High Commissioner of India Mr. Ernest to present a plaque to Dr. Jacqueline Leckie for writing the NZICA’s historical book “Indian Settlers”. Dr. Leckie thanked NZICA for choosing her to deliver this dream project. To date sales of the book have been very good.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Indian economy up 7.9% against all odds
New Delhi: Contrary to all expectations the Indian economy is back with a bang. In the July-September quarter the country’s GDP grew at 7.9%, its fastest in 18 months and just 1% lower than China’s. The figure is not only higher than the 6% predicted by the Reserve Bank of India, but also 6.3% by the Planning Commission and the 6.5% by the Prime Ministers economic advisory committee. Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said that this unexpected jump in growth is due to the government’s Rs.1,86,000 crore stimulus package and reviving consumer demand and hoped that this would provide the ground to post at least 7% growth for the full year 2009-10. The bulk of the growth that is 9.2% has come from the manufacturing segment, while mining and construction activities expanded by 9.5% and 6.5% respectively. A major negative influence has been the agriculture sector due to the failure of monsoons in many parts of the country.

India remembers victims of 26/11
Mumbai: India’s financial capital Mumbai held tearful memorials to mark the first anniversary of the terror attack on the city on the 26 of November 08. The ordinary Mumbaikar went to school, college and office as any other day but paused to remember the 166 victims who were killed in the 60-hour attack. Thousands of commuters rushing to their offices halted to pay respects to those who lost their lives in the attacks on the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus. The Force One - the new crack security force of the State government , trained on the lines of the National Security Guard Commandos, launched here last two days ago (Tuesday) - made its first public appearance by staging a parade from Nariman Point to Chowpatty this morning. The Mumbai Police had a separate parade later in the morning and displayed the latest arms and ammunitions it has acquired in the past one year after the attacks. The police march was an exercise to reassure the citizens that the police are better prepared now in the eventuality of any attacks. Earlier in the day Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and his cabinet colleagues visited the precincts of the Hotel Trident-Oberoi at Nariman Point to offer homage to the victims killed there. At the Trident hotel, chefs and laundry boys gathered to remember the attacks. Outside, a black granite column read: “In memory of our guests and our staff”. A wreath of white lilies lay next to a glass case with burning candles. Home Minister P. Chidambaram inaugurated a memorial to honour the martyrs erected by the Mumbai police.

The state government had also organised an all-religious prayer meeting at the Gateway of India in the evening that was attended by prominent members of society and the masses. Meanwhile ordinary citizens all across Mumbai held blood donation camps and candle light marches and vigils. The ravaged Chabad House, a Jewish community centre was reopened with a commemorative prayer meeting where residents had lit candles outside. Nine militants who were responsible for the attack were killed by police in the attacks. The lone survivor, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, is on trial in the Mumbai courts.

Jarnail Singh and appealed the Ludhiana: After a day full protesting mob to maintain clam. of violent clashes and rioting Fearing that any Later, having learnt that DJJS scripted by migrant labourers retaliation could function had a “smooth start” on last Friday, Ludhiana witand was on at the venue on Channessed a fresh round of viofurther aggravate the digarh road, the visibly charged lence and arson that claimed activities suddenly got into one life on Saturday morning situation, the cops action and broke off the cordons after radical Sikhs spilled With high over the city streets to protest brought back Jarnail erected by police. and swords pitch sloganeering a religious congregation being organised by a Hindu organiSingh and appealed in their hands as the protestors started running towards the road sation Divya Jyoti Jagriti Sansthe protesting mob leading to venue, the cops used than (DJJS) whom the Sikhs tear gas to block their ways but accuse of indulging in acts of to maintain clam. in vain. blasphemy. Unperturbed with the stiff reThe city youth, who is yet sistance posed by guarding cops as a group of to be identified lost his life after he sustained agitated hard liners reached Samrala chowk, one bullet injuries during the police firing in Samrala of the closest entry point to function venue, the chowk. The police opened fire when a group of police initially sought to stop them by firing in Sikh activists broke off the cordon and sought to air but later had to resort to lathicharge and open march towards the venue. Another youth , who firing. too sustained injuries in his upper part of leg was Two activists sustained injuries during the rushed to Christian medical college and hospital melee and were immediately rushed to local civil in critical condition. hospital. Later one of the injured died at hospital, Venting their anger on public transport, the a police spokesperson said. Sikh activists broke off police cordons, pelted Since the day DJJS head Swami Ashutosh stone on vehicles hence provoking the cops to Maharaj announced himself as incarnation of resort to firing that left two protestors injured. God and allegedly asked its followers not to Determined to disrupt the DJJS function, the pay respect to the Guru Granth Sahib. Tension hardliners gathered at Pheruman Shaheeda gruhad been brewing in city since the day DJJS anrudwara near Dholewal chowk early morning. nounced Swami Ashutosh’s visit to city. Having Following speeches by the Sikh leaders as gathered on a common platform various radical the tempers ran high and activists were about outfits had joined hands to oppose the function to march towards the venue of Sansthan’s reliand had warned the district administration of “ gious gathering, the cops took one of the leader worst” in their bid to stop dera head from visitBaba Jarnail Singh into “preventive custody”. ing city. Provoked by the detention of their leader, the acBefore the religious congregation, the DJJS tivities challenged cops with swords and other activists had proposed to take out a procession weapons in their hands. but were denied permission by district magisFearing that any retaliation could further trate. aggravate the situation, the cops brought back

Ludhiana Tense


Anything for the master…
Kolkatta: Five men in the Burdwan district, about 100 km from Kolkotta, took impersonation to the extreme. Using fictitious names and addresses they were serving jail term in place of local CPI(M) leaders. The incident came to light during a routine inquiry by the sub-divisional office. He says “ I realized that the people who were inside the jail were imposter and not the ones against whom the case was going on” Meawhile the five who had been booked on charges of arson and looting, have been served fresh summons and now have to surrender before the court. This incident has created an embarrassing situation for the administration and they feel that the imposters could be from very poor families and could have agreed to be in jail for the money offered.

Madhu Koda arrested
New Delhi: Madhu Koda, former Jharkhand chief minister, who is embroiled in the disproportionate assets cases has been arrested on Monday, 30 (see Indian Weekender, November 27). The arrest led by Koda’s refusal to respond to the state vigilance investigation bureau’s second summons to appear before it on November 28 for interrogation. He has been sent to 14 days judicial custody, informed officials. Earlier Koda has also ignored as many as three notices from the Enforcement Directorate to appear before it on November 11, 15 and 19 for interrogation. The Enforcement Directorate has been probing charges of money laundering involving Rs.5,500 crore by Koda during his 23-month tenure as the chief minister of Jharkhand.

Assam Congress holds record number of meetings
Shillong: The ruling Congress party in Assam created a history of sorts on Sunday by holding more than 18,500 meetings across the state. The party which hopes to win a third time has kicked off its campaign for the 2011 state assembly elections. A Congress party spokesperson said a total of 18,828 public meetings were held across the state on Sunday aimed at reaching the grassroots workers ahead of the 2011 assembly elections. Elections in the state are due in May 2011. Assam Congress party president Bhubaneswar Kalita (pictured) said “no matter when the elections are held, we are ready to face the people. We know the Congress government since 2001 has changed the entire landscape of Assam with all round development taking place,”

China objects to road construction
New Delhi: In a confrontational act, China has objected to road construction in Demchok near the Line of Actual Control in the Ladakh region of Kashmir. The road project was being built under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and had to be stopped. Besides providing connectivity the eight kilometre stretch road was also providing employment to the locals. India has a border dispute with China and despite several rounds of talks, the issue is still pending. Demchok village is the last inhabited area before the Line of Actual Control near the Chinese border. Villagers had complained to the authorities that the Chinese army had obstructed their work saying that the territory belongs to China. Most the people of the areas are nomads and migrate from place to place during summer. They use this road. Chering Dorjay, chief executive councillor of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council confirmed that the road was well withing Indian territory. India disagrees with China’s claims stating that apart from occupying 90,000 sq km of land on the eastern side of the border; China has also occupied 38,000 sq km of territory in Aksai Chin plateau in the western Himalayas. - All India stories by Shobha Rao, India correspondent

Ajmal Kasab’s lawyer removed
Mumbai: Abbas Kazmi, lawyer of the lone surviving terrorist Ajmal Kasab was on Monday, 30 sacked after he indicated that he was likely to cross-examine all of the around 340 “formal “ witnesses in the case. Principal judge M.L.Tahiliyani observed that Kazmi is “ determined to consume time of the court unnecessarily and the issues are being raised only a view to drag the trial” He also said that “ One should not be under a wrong impression that the interest of justice means the interest of the accused only. The interest of justice necessarily includes the interest of the prosecution too” Justice Tahiliyani then appointed Kazmi’s assistant K.P.Pawar as Kasab’s lawyer. Throughout the courtroom drama main accused Kasab sat quietly in his corner, head bent, folded hands and did not react or object when the judge told him of Kazmi’s removal.


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Bhopal gas tragedy remembered
New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha last week mourned the victims of the Bhopal gas disaster of 1984, as members expressed their “heartfelt sympathies” for the “human tragedy of unparalleled magnitude” A mere lip service this as the government is yet to settle the compensation of many of the victims of the tragedy, twenty five years on. The tragedy occurred on the night of December 2-3, 1984 when the township near the Union Carbide factory was asleep. Tonnes of toxic Methyl Iso Cyanate (MIC) spewed out of the pesticide plant in Bhopal killing more than 3,500 people instantly. Research conducted by the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) until 1994, says that between 8,000 and 10,000 people were killed within the first three days of the tragedy, and about 25,000 people later died from the effects of exposure. The magnitude of the catastrophe can be gauged that even today the groundwater in the area is still toxic making the residents sick. The first to test the water samples was Union Carbide themselves, the results showed lethal amounts of toxins in the groundwater. The report was hushed up. Greenpeace activists’ survey found that more than 350 tonnes of toxic waste about the site still pollute the soil and groundwater. An estimated 100,000 people reside in the area and about 30,000 of them have to draw the ground water, as the infrastructure set up by the government for clean drinking water is inadequate. This has led to cancer, congenital defects and a host of related illnesses. Investigations have shown that the company had been dumping thousands of tonnes of waste around the plant for years before the accident,

Radioactive contamination at nuclear plant
Mumbai: About 55 employees of the Kaiga Nuclear Power Plant in Karnataka were exposed to minor nuclear radiation after drinking contaminated water in the plant. The incident was detected five days ago, when routine urine tests tests of maintenance unit employees showed that the tritium level was higher than the normal level. The workers were immediately hospitalised and treated. They have now been discharged. Tritium, also known as Hydrogen-3, is used in research, fusion reactors and neutron generators. Scientists carried out immediate checks for radioactivity at the plant site but no leakage was detected, sources said. A top official said that this could be an act of sabotage and a probe has been ordered by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL). A water cooler - which was identified as the source of radiation leakage - has been isolated and put out of service. “The act is clearly the handiwork of a disgruntled employee and we are trying to find out he person who has done this,” said Union Minister for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan. Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar while confirming that it was an “inside job” said “The staff who had access to the heavy water vials and the various points in the chain where the vials could have been diverted are being examined” While the probe is on, the focus would be on examining whether there was an intent to sabotage the functioning of the plant or a disgruntled employee playing a “vicious prank”.

all in the knowledge of successive state governments. A private charity had sent 15 samples from around the area to laboratories in Switzerland and England which showed concentrations of some toxins were actually rising “as the chemicals leach through the soil and into the aquifer”, it said. “This report will nail their lie,” Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action told newspersons. “There are still high concentrations of carcinogens and birth defect-causing chemicals and heavy metals in the water,” he said. Dow Chemicals which purchased Union Carbide in 1999, insists all liabilities toward the plant were cleared in a 1989 out of court settlement worth 470 million dollars, the bulk of which was used to partially compensate victims and to relatives of dead victims. Failure to disburse the compensation has also led to a legal battle between victims and the state with the Supreme Court giving a deadline to pay the compensation. Reports indicate that approximately $390 million is still with the government fund as a result of earned interest.

Sharad Pawar to launch coconut plantation drive
Thrissur: The Pilot project of replanting and rejuvenation of coconut in three districts of Kerala at a total cost of over rs 2000 crore was formally launched by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar at Thrissur on December 6. The scheme, being jointly implemented by Coconut Development Board and state department of Agriculture in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Thrissur districts, was launched by the minister at Kerala Agriculture University, Vellanikkara. Minister of state for Agriculture, K V Thomas, presided, a PIB press release said. The replanting and rejuvenation programme aims at the removal of all senile and disease affected palms, replanting with quality planting material and rejuvenation of coconut gardens by adopting proper management practises. The project’s total cost in kerala will be rs 2260.86 crore with a central subsidy component of rs 474 crore.

New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil entered the record books on Wednesday, 25 November as she became the first woman president to fly in a fighter aircraft. The 74 year old president who undertook the approximately 30 minute sortie in a Russian made Sukhoi-30 MKI said “It was thoroughly inspiring, a wonderful and unique experience”. Wearing an olive green G suit and the cap of the no. 30 Squadron the Rhinos, the petite president looked a picture of confidence as she got inside the cockpit. Wing Commander S. Sajan piloted the Sukhoi touching a speed of 850 kmph at a height of 2.7 km above the airfield. She experienced a gravitational force of level 2G. Fighter pilots are trained to take a maximum of level 9G. Flashing a victory sign after landing at the Lohegaon air force base in Pune, the president shook hands with the pilot and patted him for smooth ride in the combat aircraft. The president said “I feel reassured that our defence forces especially our pilots have the

President Patil flies into record books

skill and the expertise and are well equipped to protect our nation.” Brushing aside the recent controversy of inducting women fighter pilots in the air force she said she had full confidence in the ability of women but would let the experts and the government take a call on that.

Chatishgarh herbs to ward of thieves
Will doing a few rounds of an Indian gooseberry tree cause expectant mothers to have a son? Well, the Chhattisgarh State Medicinal Plant Board says it will. The Board also says a gulbavakal plant on the premises can protect the house from thieves. These are among the claims made by the Board, which is trying to popularise the state’s herbs. On being asked whether such claims are justified, the Board’s Chief Executive Officer S.C. Agrawal said, “Such beliefs have been continuing from time immemorial and the department has not added anything new.” He added the aim was to enhance the importance of medicinal plants. Nearly 44 per cent of Chhattisgarh’s area is under forest cover. In trying to make something of this, the government declared the state a ‘herbal state’ in 2001. The Board’s initiative has been denounced for promoting superstitious thinking. Dr Dinesh Mishra, recipient of a national award for science and technology communication, said the unique medicinal values of plants are meant for allopathic and ayurvedic use. “Instead of misleading people with superfluous ideas and superstitions, the Board should have publicised the inherent curative qualities of these medicinal plants,” he said. “Because of such irrational messages, superstitious practices take precedence over scientific thinking or medical treatment among rural masses,” said Mishra. Ayurvedic practitioner Dr Alka Chouhan had a piece of advice: enlighten people about the beneficial vitamins, minerals and nutrients found in the plants.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Mr Wah Sing, an agricultural graduate who spent years farming and exporting ginger, sold his exporting business before venturing into property development. In 1999, he bought the Garden City site and began construction in 2001, just months after the 2000 coup. “I think the risk with property development is much less than other things I’ve done before, much greater than farming, where you have these biological factors, climatic uncertainties. Property development compared to that is a much safer. And of course the banks are much more willing to finance it,” Wah Sing said. He is expecting construction work to come to a head by next month at the earliest and although space availability has yet to be advertised, it has already attracted interested parties. “I haven’t publicised it yet but I already have a few tenants. We are adding around 16,000 square feet of new space on top the 80,000 square feet we have at the moment,” Mr Sing Wah said. - Pacnews Suva: Fiji has slipped 25 places on the latest FIFA World ranking and is now ranked 133 out of the 203 countries listed in the ranking. The South Sea Islanders who enjoyed an impressive ranking in the 100-108 placing earlier this year because of their historic victory over the New Zealand All Whites last November have dropped dramatically due to their non involvement in international fixtures. Fiji FA chief executive officer Bob Kumar says the drop in ranking is not a real concern as the changes were bound to occur in the standings due to the world cup qualifiers and international friendly matches between the nations in the African and northern continents. “We had actually anticipated a drop since there were a lot of world cup qualifiers and international friendly matches played all over the globe last month.” “The ranking fluctuates every month and teams that play international matches will always get improved rankings.” When asked about Fiji’s international commitments for the new season, Kumar said the new national team management and national coaching director are working on a plan for international matches and there may be some international commitments for the senior team. “We have a new team director, Anil Sharma who is working out things with our head of coaching and development, Saiyad Ali and they are trying to get some international matches for Fiji” Meanwhile, New Zealand which will represent the Oceania region in the World Cup has jumped 6 places after its win in the qualifiers against Bahrain and currently enjoys the 77th spot. Former Oceania giants, Australia has also improved and is ranked 21 compared to its previous ranking of 24. In the Pacific, New Caledonia is second to Fiji with a ranking of 139 (+2) while Vanuatu lies on 157 (+2). The ranking of the other island nations are as follows: Solomon Islands 171 (+2), Samoa 183 (0), Guam 185 (+1), Cook Islands 185 (+1), Tonga 191 (0), Tahiti 195 (-1), American Samoa 203 (0), PNG 203 (0). In the top ten, Spain has regained the number one status and has pushed former world champions Brazil to the second spot. Netherlands and Italy retain the third and fourth spots while Portugal has jumped into fifth place after moving five places up on the ladder. Other countries in the top ten include Germany, France, Argentina, England and Croatia. - Pacnews

Fiji Business Park nears completion Fiji soccer slips 25 places in FIFA ranking
Suva: Fiji’s first business park, Garden City, which went ahead with expansion plans despite the events of December 2006, is now on schedule to complete construction by next month, said owner Yee Wah Sing. The self-made former ginger farmer – who is now into property development through his company Marco Polo Holdings – told FijiLive that it was factors other than the then prevailing political climate drove the decision to go ahead with the Garden City expansion. “This is one of the first projects that was actually conceived, designed and initiated after the coup of 2006. We had a choice on whether to stop or go on with it but we didn’t see any reason for it to stop,” Mr Wah Sing said. “The funding was there, the interest rate has actually come down although it was up at one stage. So there are some favourable factors. Of course the devaluation in April raised costs a bit but I don’t think the cost will ever come down so we thought we might as well carry on with it. Costs will always go up, historically it has shown that. Building costs in the last nine years have almost probably doubled now.”

Air Pacific invests in Hong Kong route

Fiji Police strengthen border drug watch
Suva: Fiji’s police force is strengthening its border policing efforts to keep an eye on people entering the country with hard drugs. Police Commissioner Esala Teleni (pictured) said his department had taken pre-emptive measures following government’s decision to open travel routes to more overseas destinations. Fiji’s national carrier Air Pacific launches flights to Hong Kong today amid some concerns about the possibility of attracting criminal elements. Mr Teleni told FijiLive that his department had already begun to strengthen its position at the Nadi International Airport. “We’re working on our intelligence capacity and I don’t see it as a problem but it maybe a challenge to us,” he said. He said police were monitoring people coming into the country with the help of Immigration and Customs. He said hard drugs were not a problem for Fiji presently but they were ready to deal with the problem if it did arise. - Pacnews

Suva: Fiji’s national carrier, Air Pacific, is to make its first flight to Hong Kong today. Air Pacific general manager strategic planning, Dallas Foon, said Hong Kong was a major hub in Asia. And though the airline is projecting a $10 million loss on this investment, Mr Foon said, these figures would be subsidised by the profit the airline makes from other routes. “This initiative has been carefully planned and Air Pacific is willing to accept these losses considering the huge returns it will gain from this route later on. For now, he said, the figures were conservative but the airline was looking at much stronger returns once it developed the service. “This is a huge potential for the airline” Mr Foon also said with the airline’s part-

nership with Cathay Pacific Airways provided a stronger marketing power. “Cathay Pacific is the home carrier for Hong Kong and with the airline as our proactive partner, we would be able to efficiently serve not only Hong Kong but the Asian and European market,” he said. Fiji Islands Hotel and Tourism Association chief executive officer, Michael Wong, welcomed the decision by Air Pacific to take a challenging approach. “We’re supportive of what the airline is doing because we also see the Hong Kong hub as a very important destination. This gives Fiji a linkage, to not only the whole of Asia, but to Europe, India, Japan and the Pearl River Delta,” he added. - Pacnews

Fiji’s borrowing sending country backward: Economist
Suva: A leading Fijian economist says figures provided in the country’s latest budget show the country is going backward. Professor Waden Narsey, an economist at the University of the South Pacific, says despite big increases in spending on the police and military, Fiji’s GDP will actually decline by 2.5 per cent. “The data that has been given out with the budget documents indicates that we are just still going on the downward slide,” he said. Professor Narsey has told Radio Australia’s Pacific Beat program that tourism and food production are down, and Fiji’s interim Government has resorted to borrowing to pay for everything. “Revenue has been very, very stagnant in real terms,” he said. “Essentially what the Government has been doing is borrowing. They are going to borrow almost 500 million dollars this coming year.” Professor Narsey says the production of sugar - a key crop - has been dropping since 2006 and is currently at a record low. Declining local production of items like rice, beef and dairy products has also raised Fiji’s reliance no imports. He said large investments in tourism the economy’s “great hope” are unlikely to pay off. “I think the 2009 arrival figures will be barely below the 2006 arrivals,” he said. “Despite the very, very large amount being pumped into the market of tourism, combined with the global crisis and all that, that tourism is not going to show any great dramatic growth.” Fiji’s administration initially did not release any budget documents following Fiji’s leader Frank Bainimarama’s budget address last week. Professor Narsey said the administration which took over in a coup in 2006, is passing its debt on to future generations. “The tragedy also is that in the last three years, they have made the terrible mistake of borrowing abroad, which means that a larger part of our public debt has been denominated in foreign currency,” he said. ”We are looking at problems ahead. What this Government is doing is instead of curbing in their current expenditure and all that, they basically are borrowing and passing the burden onto the next generation.” - Pacnews/ Radaus

Traffickers target Fiji passports
Suva, Fiji: Fiji is being used as a transit point for international networks of human traffickers, with victims being brought in under forged Fiji passports, says former director Immigration Viliame Naupoto. Mr Naupoto said some of these cases had come to the attention of the Immigration Department. “Fiji passports can be easily forged making it almost effortless for human traffickers to get to Fiji or use Fiji as a transporting hub” Mr Naupoto said. Mr Naupoto this could be solved through upgrading the security features on Fiji passport. He also suggested that heavy penalties should be given to those who lose their passports. He said this would help Fiji counter the global problem of human trafficking. He said Fiji was an ideal destination for human trafficking with its hub location and air access to major destinations. “Human trafficking is considered the fastest growing underground industry globally,” he said. These victims were brought to Fiji under the guise of coming to work or study but would eventually either be dumped here or moved to another country.” He said the Immigration Department had received unconfirmed reports of foreign nationals buying valid Fiji passports which they suspected were altered. Mr Naupoto said human traffickers scour the world, buying passports which they then sell for thousands of dollars to unsuspecting victims. He was speaking at the Attorney General’s conference at the Warwick Hotel. Meanwhile, former judge Nazhat Shameem said immediate steps must be taken to investigate and prosecute offences of human trafficking. - Pacnews


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Business body formed to fight HIV/AIDS in Fiji
Suva: Fiji’s business community has launched a Business Coalition Against HIV and AIDS (BAHA) to create awareness in the workplace against the disease. Launching the 40-member coalition outside the Reserve Bank of Fiji building in Suva, BAHA chairman Caz Tebutt said HIV and AIDS had threatened the productivity, profitability and welfare of employees. “BAHA’s campaign begins by supplying contraceptives to workplaces around Fiji so it is made available to their staff to encourage HIV protection,” Ms Tebutt said during a press conference at the Reserve Bank. Ms Tebutt said the coalition was encouraging business organisations to ensure they had training resources because workplace HIV/AIDS policies and programs could play a vital in raising awareness about HIV, prevent HIV infection and help care for people living with HIV. “We’re encouraging organisations to ensure that they have training resources to promote the prevention of HIV and also to ensure that there is no workplace discrimination.” Fiji’s President, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, who was chief guest at the launch also showed his support for the campaign. “This is a symbol of hope for those with HIV and also a symbol of hope for those without HIV so it’s for everyone in Fiji,” Ratu Epeli said. Ms Tebutt also acknowledged the Reserve Bank for showing their support towards HIV prevention. “I would like to thank the Reserve Bank for allowing us to go ahead with our campaign. They house the economic power in Fiji and it’s very symbolic; that’s why we’ve chosen this building for the launch.” Workplaces around the world are wearing red today to mark World AIDS Day. Ms Tebutt said this was an opportune time for employers to talk to their staff about the prevention of this deadly and incurable disease.

Leadership that elevates
PAdmINI gAuNder
A common loyalty to the nation is identified as the most important prerequisite for the successful governing of a multiethnic country. Fiji lacked this at independence as both the major ethnic groups in the country, the indigenous Fijians and the immigrant Indians, had their primary loyalty to their community and identified themselves first and foremost with their ethnic group rather than with the nation. So observers of the Fiji scene in the 1960s were unsure of the direction it would take and they saw the future of the country as bleak. They agreed that the most important requirement for the survival of the country as a peaceful, multiracial nation was enlightened and selfless leadership. One writer even warned that if the leaders of the major ethnic groups did not act with foresight, putting the country before their community, then Fiji might become “something like a Cyprus in the South Pacific … Little hope remains for Fiji unless all racial groups …act now with vision, resolution and self-sacrifice to subordinate their narrow, sectarian interests to the interests of the country as a whole”, Watters concluded. Fortunately, when Fiji became self governing and party politics started in earnest, the country enjoyed enlightened leadership from the leaders of both the major ethnic groups. Ratu Mara and A. D. Patel were both prepared to subordinate their narrow, sectarian interests to the interests of the country as a whole. This proved the ‘scaremongers’ wrong and it became clear that ‘the Federation Party leaders performed the Opposition role well’ (Norton, 2004, p.165). Kevin Hince offers these criteria for assessing a leader. The important questions to ask, he says, are whether the person concerned wanted “personal power” or was he/she doing “community service”; was he/she a “positive force for development or a divisive, destructive agent; a leader of men or manipulator”. I F. Helu makes a similar distinction between leaders who follow

If Patel helped to elevate the sugarcane farmers by fighting for them against the might of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) Ratu Mara made it a reality by agreeing, as Chief Minister, to the takeover of the sugar industry in 1969
the Socratic tradition of service and the Sophists. Socrates believed leaders should work for the good of the country unlike the Sophists who believed only in having personal power Joshua Rabukawaqa, on the other hand, had elaborated the difference between an outstanding leader and a mediocre one. It could be judged from the kind of equality that the leader provided for the people, he said. “There are two kinds of equality. There is the equality that elevates and creates and the equality that levels and destroys. You give leadership to the one who has proved himself to the world to lead. He will elevate and create the others to enjoy the same status he has”. Ratu Mara and Patel both wanted to elevate the people which they did while they were leaders. If Patel helped to elevate the sugarcane farmers by fighting for them against the might of the Colonial Sugar Refining Company (CSR) Ratu Mara made it a reality by agreeing, as Chief Minister, to the takeover of the sugar industry in 1969. CSR used to threaten to withdraw whenever decisions were made which were not favourable to them. The colonial government used to make concessions and persuade them to stay on. In 1969, however, the elected government of Fiji decided to let them go when CSR claimed that it could not operate under the terms of the Denning award. Similarly during Ratu Mara’s time Fijian commoners were elevated in many ways. They were given the franchise which they did not have till 1963. All of them were also given access to higher education which during the colonial days used to be the privilege of a select few, mainly the chiefs and sons of chiefs. Providing higher education for everyone in the country was a policy that Patel had also been promoting throughout. With Patel’s death in 1969, however, the party he had founded and led to look after the welfare of the exploited people of all ethnic groups in the country, slowly turned into an ethnic Indian party with no longer a clear ideology, resulting in the failure of the Westminster system. Ratu Mara and Patel were similar in many ways, although most would be shocked by this claim because during most of his political career Patel disagreed with Ratu Mara. I say they were similar because they both had a similar national outlook. They looked at the country as a whole and what was best for the country rather than at the needs of any particular community. They

were also very proud of their cultures but at the same time respected other cultures. Ratu Mara and A.D. Patel both seemed to have wanted personal prestige (more than anything else) but they were enlightened enough to understand that what would give them prestige was what they achieved for the community and the nation (and in the case of Ratu Mara, it stretched to the whole region). They also had a similar educational background. They both were educated in England and had great respect for British education and British institutions like democracy and the rule of law. They both were capitalists but they were against exploitation. They both were also against colonialism, especially the exploitation of the non-whites by the white colonial powers, which was a common feature of colonialism. The main difference was that while Ratu Mara was against colonialism, he remained a loyal subject of the British crown, seeing it as an extension of the Fijian chiefly system as most Fijians did, whereas Patel could not see any difference between the British monarchy and British colonialism. Ratu Mara and Patel had clear policies for their political parties. While formulating these policies they looked at what was good for the country as a whole rather than for just a particular community so the policies they put forward were for the benefit of the people of the country without any ethnic distinctions. They believed in integrating the people of the country. The methods Ratu Mara and Patel advocated for bringing about integration, however, were different. While Ratu Mara believed in a slow change brought about mainly through education, Patel believed integration could only be achieved through a common electoral roll. This is where the difference came between the two leaders though their ultimate aims were similar. They both were “positive forces for development” rather than “destructive agents”.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



with the man and the material. It takes advantage of the benefits bestowed by the five elements of nature to create a congenial living and working environment thereby facilitating spiritual wellbeing and paving the way for enhanced health, wealth, prosperity and happiness. We are lucky to have amongst us one of the foremost practitioners of this art in India, Dr Raviraj Ahirrao, Ph. D. and his wife Mrs Manjushree Ahirrao who are touring New Zealand during the month of December. Dr Ahirrao has been awarded several honours for the work that he has carried out in this field. He has been a regular presenter on Zee Marathi, which has seen him in over 170 episodes, besides several articles in Times of India, and other local dailies. During his visit, he will be holding a unique talk show based drama “Vasturaviraj” for the benefit of the audience in Auckland. The show is being held at:

Vaastu Shaastra – from Soul to Universe: a unique talk show
The five elements of universe – earth, water, air, fire, and space have always had a great impact on mankind. Infact the role of directions, cosmic waves, the five basic elements and the electromagnetic waves are the founding basis of the science of “Vastu”. Vastu Shastra as it is known is the oldest form of “architechtural science” which has been described in the Sthapatya Veda. The importance of Vastu is not lost on mankind. Several different ways of looking at Vastu have emerged over centuries. The west dubbed it a kind of “esotericism”. The Chinese called it “Feng Shui”. While the latter has been more popular, one must not forget that Vastu predates all these. The fundamentals of Vastu are also the fundamentals of these later arts. Vastu Shastra: A Result – Oriented Science. Vastu Shastra has grown out of life. It has its techniques of identification with nature. Life and destiny are a part of the universal fabric of Nature. In Marathi, this is described as “Pindi Te Brahmandi”, which translates as English, as “From Soul to Universe”. The human body is created from the five basic “elements” in the Universe. Our body is the abode for the soul. Our building or Vastu is the dwelling place of the body. This building dwells in nature. It is an integral part of nature. Nature is occupied by the five basic elements of the Uni-

dr raviraj Ahirrao with President of India mrs. Pratibha Patil
verse. Our body is made up of the five basic elements of the Universe. It means that the dwelling place (Vastu) comes between the human body and nature. The exchange of energy between human body and nature is an integral part of the natural phenomena. There is an invisible and constant relation between all the five elements. Thus, man can improve his conditions by properly designing his buildings by understanding the effectiveness of these five natural forces. Vaastu sastra combines all the five elements of nature and balances them

Venue: Fickling Centre, Address: 546, Mt Albert Road, Three Kings Date: Saturday, December 19, 2009 Time: 2.00 ~ 5.00 pm Entry: Free. RSVP: Jayshree (0210775596 /906204448) Varsha (0274731078/095348000) or Sandhya (092777523)

‘Rang Barse’ at AUT Holi fest
AUT in Auckland will be a sea of colour early next year as the university goes all out to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colours. And for the first time at any New Zealand university campus, a “rain dance” will be held to mark the festival which celebrates the victory of good over evil. “It won’t be a religious function, but more a totally fun thing,” Agastya Pesara, president of AUT’s Indian Students Association told Indian Weekender. The “rain dance”, more like a “Rang Barse” event, will be held at AUT Quad on February 28, just a day before the institution opens up for first semester classes. Agastya said he was grateful the AUT management had agreed to host such a diverse and colourful festival for the first time. The “rain dance” will be held at the open air AUT Quad in Wellesley St, where participants will be allowed to splash or smear colour on each other amid a drizzle. “If there is no rain on the day, we will make it rain in the form of artificial sprinklers to make it look like the real thing back in India,” Agastya said. Lots of coloured powder is available to participants on the day and they all celebrate their happiness by smearing it on each others’ faces. Agastya said apart from the festivities, Indian food stalls will be there and also day-long music with DJ Jimmy, well known among the Indian music circles, starting at 10am, and expected to end around 3pm. “A lot of fun will be had and it is open to all, not just Indians,” Agastya said. “Hundreds of nonIndians will be there, too.” Holi is an ancient festival of India and was originally known as “Holika”. The festival finds a detailed description in early religious works such as Jaimini’s Purvamimamsa-Sutras and Kathaka-Grhya-Sutras. Historians also believe that Holi was celebrated by all Aryans but more so in the Eastern part of India. It is said that Holi existed several centuries before Christ. However, the meaning of the festival is believed to have changed over the years. The main day, Holi, also known as Dhulheti, Dhulandi or Dhulendi, is celebrated by people throwing coloured powder and colored water at each other. Bonfires are lit the day before, also known as Holika Dahan (burning of Holika) or Chhoti Holi (little Holi). The bonfires are lit in memory of the miraculous escape that young Prahalad accomplished when Demoness Holika, sister of Hiranyakashipu, carried him into the fire. Holika was burnt but Prahlad, a staunch devotee of god Vishnu, escaped without any injuries due to his unshakable devotion. Holika Dahan is referred to as Kama Dahanam in Andhra Pradesh. Numerous Hindu groups in New Zealand will be celebrating the festival. - Arvind Kumar

Sarod maestro Vikash Maharaj’s “Sangam” to be staged next month
Migrant Heritage Charitable Trust Inc (MigHT-i) is continuing its work of bringing to fore the rich heritage of Indian Music in New Zealand. This time we are fortunate to have the father son duo of Pt. Vikash Maharaj and his son Prabash Maharaj visiting New Zealand in January. MigHT-i is glad to bring the program “SANGAM” on January 16 at venue near you in Auckland and 23rd January in Wellington. Hailing from Varanasi, India, Pt. Vikash Maharaj is one of the leading Sarod players of the prestigious Benaras and Maihar Senia Gharana. He belongs to a family of great performers of Indian classical music, such as Pandit Kishan Maharaj, and Pandit Nanku Maharaj. Pandit Vikash Mahraj has mingled “taal” and “raag” to present an exquisite touch of his own creative soul. The Pandit is well known for his unique blend of melody and fluency in sarod recitals of “ragas” and “talas” of his own style

that entirely differentiate him from other sarod performers. For further details contact Prashant : 09 5348000 or

For all your legal needs
Aaron Kashyap
BA, LLB Barrister and solicitor Level 1, 351 Manukau Road, PO Box 26-596, DXCP 32513, Epsom, Auckland Mobile: 0274 857 302 Phone: (09) 6238277 Fax: (09)6235177 Email:
12 Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Lawyer provides free legal advice
Heval Hylan, Principal of Hylan Law Barrister & Solicitor, will be providing free 10-minutes consultation and legal advice on: Immigration, Refugee matters, Contracts and Employment, Family Court, Trusts as well as other areas of law. Heval arrived in New Zealand in 1994 and received a LLB from Waikato University and Post Graduate in Legal Studies from Auckland University. He speaks English, Kurdish, Arabic, Turkish and Farsi and has several publications to his credit. He was the General Secretary of New Zealand Refugee Council and Volunteer Legal Advisor for Citizen Advice Bureau, and a Board Member and Chairperson of Migrant Enterprise – Auckland. When: Fridays, 9.30 a.m. – 12.00 noon Where: Auckland Regional Migrant Services, 532 Mt Albert Rd, Three Kings Plaza, Three Kings To register, please contact reception at 09 6252440 or email at

Bakshi opens out-of-Parliament office

out oF PArLIAmeNt: Finance minister Bioll English inaugerates Mr Bakshi’s office
National MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has opened his out-of-Parliament office in Papatoetoe. Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Bill English officially opened the office for Manukau East-based List MP Mr Bakshi on 1 December. Mr Bakshi and Mr English were jointed by fellow National MPs Melissa Lee, Dr Paul Hutchinson, Dr Cam Calder. “The opening went very well. I was delighted with the turnout,” Mr Bakshi says. About 200 people people, including members and chairs of several Indian organisations, were at the opening to support Mr Bakshi. In his speech, Mr Bakshi thanked his supporters for their support during the election and in the past year. “I would like to thank the National Party for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to have a National office based in South Auckland,” Mr Bakshi says. “I have had the privilege, since being a National MP, to travel around New Zealand and meet many people. The experience of being an ethnic MP for the National Government had truly been life changing.” The office is located at 131 Kolmar Road, Papatoetoe, and is open between 10am and 3pm, Monday to Friday. Phone (09) 278 9302 to contact Ashvinder Kaur OOP Agent for MP Bakshi’s Office or email

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Time for some real action
As another year winds down and everyone wonders how fast 2009 has whizzed past, it is time to take stock of the past twelve months and look forward with a sense of anticipation as we enter the tenth year of this century. This has indeed been a difficult year for the world as also for New Zealand, following the global financial meltdown. It was a difficult time for any new government to take on the reins of the country, especially so after an almost decade long rule by another party that left the country’s coffers dry as it exited the corridors of power. The National Party came to power at such a trying time riding high on the hopes of Kiwi voters who swept it into the Beehive on a popular vote. One year later the opinion polls show that the National government’s popularity is still high, though there is a steadily growing body of people who think it could have done more in these past twelve months given the popular mandate it had. There has been little action on the more substantial promises that were made and the government has given the impression of focusing more on the incidentals. We are yet to see a single bold measure to kick-start the economy – something that has been needed even long before the global financial crisis unfolded. New Zealand has been steadily slipping behind not just Australia but most of the developed countries in the OECD list and our vulnerabilities of being a small country with declining exports and with one of the most highly traded currencies and an almost unsustainably ballooning debt are beginning to look overwhelming as each week passes. Other longstanding problems that need quick resolution are the country’s taxation system – to speak nothing of low wages – and the political hot potato of the social benefit system that has become the monster it is today because of poorly-reasoned social engineering theory. Few countries have such a lax and unjustifiably generous benefit system that is open to widespread abuse at the expense of honest, hardworking tax payers. Ideas to correct these have been thrown around and discussed at length but there has been little political will shown by the government so far, with greater inclination and urgency shown toward assuaging concerns of its political allies like the Maori and Act parties. Whether it is the strong anti-incumbency factor against past Labour governments or just the wish to give the National Party and Prime Minister John Key a fair chance and a long rope, the latter’s popularity remains largely undiminished even one year after the elections. But it is not likely to remain that way for long. The time for action is now – before the growing feeling that this is a ‘do nothing’ government snowballs into disillusionment with it. The time for action is now and the prime minister knows it. He has indicated that there will be action in the New Year. His government must act decisively leveraging this popularity. Early next year, among other things, the taskforce on taxation will submit its report. Broad-basing the tax system is urgent. So is reforming the social benefit system that is so open to widespread rorting, which successive governments have refused to deal with by simply looking the other way. Boosting productivity and exports is equally important. These are all linked and if pursued with purpose and seriousness would put more money in Kiwi pockets while raising their standard of living. But to achieve that, strong political will is necessary. Of which we have not seen much in the past twelve months. Actions taken in the first quarter of the next year will determine the future of Prime Minister John Key’s government. If the slow, dithering attitude of 2009 continues into next year, the going for his party in the run up to the 2011 polls will increasingly tougher. And New Zealand will continue slipping down the OECD indices with more and more Kiwis fleeing overseas as the global economy bounces back. This is 2009’s last print issue and we at Indian Weekender wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. – Dev Nadkarni

India’s ultimate gift to the world Excellent article and we look forward to many more articles like this. These articles will help promote our cultural heritage of Bharat. - Guna Magesan Good thought provoking article. Our youngsters should definitely read this, instead of being swept off their feet by Western/ American culture. Shobha Rao Kiwi Indians and overseas travel I agree with you about the fact that Indians often shy away from world travel. However you need to realise that it is not that NZ Indians do not want to travel around the world. Given a choice of 3 to 4 weeks of annual pay and parents who are tucked away thousands of miles away, the heart rules over the head and you invariably make the same trip over and over again. For Indians living in India the story is completely different. They live with their extended families so options are different. Sutapa Mukund Firefly and fiery dragon Well, have always loved fireflies, little magical creatures from my childhood memories, so I’d pick a much lesser bug to use as an analogy. It’s a great article, though. There’s a popular hinglish saying: Bolne mein kya tax – no tax on your speech, therefore it’s easy to say what you don’t mean, and mean what you don’t say, politician style. Suzanne Furtado Excellent article. Good point about Hone, he didn’t even realise the irony of his comments. Great article though, really well written. Sundar R Hindu-Maori relations I take this opportunity to record my appreciation for the activities of the Hindu American Foundation as well as the Hindu Maori initiative. There is an urgent need of such initiatives with the pro-Christian religions of Europe and Africa and even in India about such religions of Arunachal, Nagaland etc., which are often misunderstood and misinterpreted. Prof. Dhanush Dhari Misra It is a beautiful step taken and such initiatives go a long way in establishing brotherhood and harmony. Bravo. Bhanu Prakash Congratulations on this fantastic achievement. I am born in Fiji and have lived in Auckland for 35 years and have been a founding member and Trustee of Vishwa Shanti Ashram in NZ. We always read with interest the information we recieve, please keep up the good work and if you need any further input or assistance please do not hesitate to contact me. Dron Chand Congrats. Hindu American Foundation develops social and communal hormony, brotherhood, integrity among the people of the world. This foundation also provides a platform for educates leaders in public policy, academia, media and the public at large about Hindu Dharma and global issues concerning Hindus and other religions. Dr. Anil Mishra Whole India is proof of Ramayana and Mahabharata You will find a lot of proof of these events, no matter what the date was, in the stories told by villagers all over India. Western world has always wanted to prove us wrong, because they have wanted to advance their point of view on history. Jitendra Singh Kurbaan Prize winners Congratulations to Nimmi Binny, Bee Reddy, Mukesh Patel, Shobita Singh, Praveen Lata Ram and Prema Kumar. Five of you win FREE Kurbaan CDs and the sixth, Prema Kumar, wins a personally autographed CD by Mugdha Godse, lead actress of the movie All the Best.

From the Editor

Indian Weekender volume 1 No 20 Publisher: Kiwi Media Group Limited group editor-in-chief: Dev Nadkarni online editor: Arvind Kumar India Correspondent: Shobha Rao Chief technical officer: Rohan Desouza rohan@ design: Tanmay Desai / Advertising: Giri Gupta - Ph: 520 0922, Mob: 021 221 1131. Email - Please email original editorial contributions, community notices and pictures to Views expressed in the publication are not necessarily of the publisher and the publisher is not responsible for advertisers’ claims as appearingv in the publication Indian Weekender is published by Kiwi Media Group, 98 Great South Road, New Market and printed at APN Print, Ellerslie, Auckland Copyright 2009. Kiwi Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

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Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Conquering Afghanistan: What the West can learn from India
rAkesH krIsHNAN

The western media says no country has ever conquered Afghanistan, but the fact they conveniently forget is that not too long ago the Indians conquered, subdued and ruled Afghanistan, an episode of history that is carved into the recesses of the Afghan mind.
If there’s one thing that really gets me worked up, it is this: the western media keeps peddling the fairy tale that no power – from Alexander 2300 years ago to Britain in the 19th century and Russia 30 years ago – was able to conquer Afghanistan. To me it reeks of ignorance, and reporters in western countries have exhibited a lot of that. Remember, this is the same bunch that devoted reams of newsprint to the lie that al-Qaeda was getting help from Iraq, when in reality Iraq under Saddam Hussein was the most secular in West Asia. But how could experienced and Pulitzer Prize winning writers ignore facts? Don’t they have armies of researchers at their beck and call? Also, newspapers like the NYT and The Guardian have excellent research departments that can dig out the region’s history! The truth is that just 180 years ago Maharajah Ranjit Singh (1799-1839) and his brilliant commander Hari Singh Nalwa defeated the Afghans and the tribes of the Khyber Pass area, in the process securing India’s north west border. Had it not been for Ranjit Singh, Peshawar and the northwest frontier provinces of India (now in Pakistan) would have been part of Afghanistan today. But first a flashback: Afghanistan had always been a part of India; it was called Gandhar, from which the modern Kandahar originates. It was a vibrant province that gave us excellent art, architecture, literature and scientific knowledge – a world far removed from today’s Taliban infested badlands. It was an Indian province until 1735 when Nadir Shah of Iran emboldened by the weakness of the later Mughals ransacked Delhi and everything on the way. This was a highly opportunistic and reckless act because for the past 25 centuries India and Iran had respected each other’s borders, and though always a bit nervous of each other, the two empires never tried to subvert each other. But because of his greed Nadir Shah changed the equation. He annexed Afghanistan and asked the Indians to forget about ever getting it back. However, Ranjit Singh was not prepared to play according to the Persian script. Nadir Shah’s successor, Ahmad Shah Abdali, had been launching repeated raids into Punjab and Delhi. To check this Ranjit Singh decided to build a modern and powerful army with the employment of Frenchmen, Italians, Greeks, Russians, Germans and Austrians. Two of the foreign officers who entered the Maharaja’s service, Ventura and Allard, had served under Napoleon. Says historian Shiv Kumar Gupta: “All these officers were basically engaged by Ranjit Singh for modernisation of his troops. He never put them in supreme command.” After conquering Multan in 1818 and Kashmir in 1819, Ranjit Singh led his legions across the Indus and took Dera Ghazi Khan in 1820 and Dera Ismail Khan in 1821. Alarmed, the Afghans called for a jehad under the leadership of Azim Khan Burkazi, the ruler of Kabul. A big Afghan army collected on the bank of the Kabul River at Naushehra, but Ranjit Singh won a decisive victory and the Afghans were dispersed in 1823. Peshawar was subdued in 1834. The Afghans and Pathans had always considered themselves superior to the people on the Indian side. They especially looked down upon Indian Muslims and contemptuously referred to them as Hindko. The fact that the Indians were superior in all respects – wealth, culture, literature, art – mattered little to them, as physical stature was the only basis for this peacock-like strutting. So how did Ranjit Singh manage to conquer such fierce mountain people? Mainly by using a blend of sustained aggression latter smoothened by Indian magnanimity. Of course, his biggest weapon was the scourge of the Afghans –Hari Singh Nalwa, who in one battle defeated 20,000 Hazaras. To defeat the cunning and fierce Hazaras on their treacherous home turf was no mean feat but to do that with only 7000 men was the stuff of legend. Indeed, Hari Singh had become a legend. He realised that to dominate the warlike tribes, the Sikhs had to give them the same treatment the Afghans had given the Indians in the past. According to Kirpal Singh, “Hari Singh set up a very strong administration in the Peshawar valley. He levied a cess of Rs 4 per house on the Yusafzais.” Ranjit Singh ensured that the Afghans never again became a threat to India. The wild tribes of Swat and Khyber were also tamed. These are the same people who massacred British armies, and against whom the Americans and Pakistanis are now struggling. There are three reasons why Ranjit Singh won a decisive victory and in Afghanistan and the northwest while the West is floundering. First, terror tactics were followed by a period of liberal and secular Sikh rule. In fact, secularism was the defining character of Ranjit Singh’s rule. There was no state religion, and religious tolerance was an article of his faith. He refused to treat Muslims like second class citizens. Compare this with the callous strafing of wedding parties by US and European troops or the Nazi uniforms being worn by Czech troops. When his victorious army passed through the streets of Peshawar, the maharajah issued strict instructions to his sardars to observe restraint in keeping with the Sikh tradition, not to damage any mosque, not to insult any woman and not to destroy any crops. Two, like the NATO forces in Afghanistan today, Ranjit Singh’s army was a coalition too. The Indian king’s forces were made up of Sikhs and Hindus, while the artillery almost fully comprised Muslims (as the Sikhs and Hindus thought it below their dignity to serve in this new wing of the military). Over half a dozen European nations are assisting US troops just as European specialists worked for Ranjit Singh. Also, for the first time in Indian history, Mazhabis, for centuries considered untouchables, become a regular component of the army. However, there is a key difference – Ranjit’s Singh’s forces worked like clockwork with one aim in mind and that was to secure the empire. Today, the US is reluctant to do all the fighting, the British forces are simply not up to the task of taking on the fierce Afghans and relies on bribes to keep away the Taliban fighters. Which Afghan will show his opponent respect if they bribe them not to shoot? The Ukrainians, Poles, Australians, New Zealanders, Czechs, and who knows how many more nationalities, are present in Afghanistan clearly to curry favour with America and wrap up their respective free trade agreements. Nobody, it seems, has the balls to take on the Afghans, except from 30,000 ft in the air. Around 30 years ago, the Russian general Nikolai Ogarkov advised Leonid Brezhnev’s cabinet not to invade Afghanistan, saying that the country was unconquerable; today NATO generals are asking Barack Obama to get out of the place or else the Americans will have to leave in the same state as they left Vietnam – in their underpants. But Hari Singh and Ranjit Singh showed how a mixture of ferocity, valour and compassion could tame Afghanistan. And that’s the third reason: at the end of the day, the Indians just did a much better job of fighting. - Rakesh Krishnan is a features writer at Fairfax New Zealand. He has previously worked with Businessworld, India Today and Hindustan Times, and was news editor with the Financial Express.

Government by Greed: The Fijian Holdings saga
Fijian Holdings Ltd. (FHL), the flagship of Fijian business enterprise, is a huge $300m conglomerate that belies periodic laments about lack of Fijian participation in business. Established in 1984 by the Great Council of Chiefs (GCC), FHL was supposed to be owned by provincial councils, the Native Land Trust Board (NLTB), the Fijian Affairs Board (FAB), and Tikina and village groupings. It was felt that Fijians were missing out on participating in the high-returns commerce sector and that FHL would provide risk-free participation as it operated on the basis of privileged contracts and therefore, was free from competition. On its board were respected and business-savvy non-Fijians like Lyle Cupit who would ensure its health while rich dividends flowed to Fijian collective units. Two important points need to be established here to understand how FHL was thwarted from its original objectives by the cabal that has featured in this series. One, FHL was an offspring of the GCC; therefore, any changes to FHL policy had to be endorsed by the GCC. And two, the GCC was too chief-dominated for non-chiefly interests to effect any changes to FHL shareholding policy. The stranglehold of the chiefs therefore, had to be weakened within the GCC itself to speed up the change and allow ambitious non-chiefs to access the infinite riches FHL promised. Once again, the push to change the membership of the GCC can be traced back to 1990 when Rabuka was jockeying for power and Mara was forced to back onto his last bastion of support, the GCC. Chiefs Weaken in GCC Wholesale changes were made to the composition of the GCC in 1990 under the rhetoric of reestablishing chiefly power in national governance. Out of a total of 55 members, the GCC now comprised: 3 nominees from each of the 14 provinces and Rotuma, 6 nominees of the Minister of Fijian Affairs, the PM, President, VP and Sitiveni Rabuka (as the only life member). Ambitious interests eyed avenues within this arrangement for maneuvering. The provincial representatives did not have to be chiefs, and it became common to have chiefs and influential commoners making the provincial trio. Then the 6 nominees of the Fijian Affairs Minister comprised a mixed composition. On top of this, a good number of chiefs showed a weakness for “city life” during their visits to Suva for GCC meetings. And the power-players devised a potent concoction comprising the otela, kalavo kei na vua-ni-kau karakarawa – hotel, young lass and the blue pill (Viagra). That was the magic wand that swayed the vote in the GCC at crucial times. It was this influence that led to a change in policy at FHL in 1991 when shareholding was relaxed to include “Fijian owned companies”. This led to a scramble to register individual and family-owned companies for $2 in order to bid for the El Dorado that FHL offered. And by June 1992, some 27 privately-owned companies held shares in FHL. As would have been expected, there was a rush to secure finances from the National Bank of Fiji (NBF) and ‘Equity Window schemes’ of the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) in order to buy FHL shares. Key personnel ensconced in these banks played a pivotal role in this enterprise to kick-start Fijian business. Thus blue-chip shares from easy cash disbursed by Fiji’s own banks under the rubric of “Fijian assistance” became an intoxicating pill that drove and taught the power-players that much more was there for the taking. So much was taken that the NBF died at $250m while the FDB hemorrhaged at $220m. A scrutiny of FHL’s shareholding at this stage is revealing. Commoner Shares in Fijian Holdings Ltd. In 1992, the Native Lands Trust Board (NLTB) and Fijian Affairs Board (FAB) held 30% shares in FHL while the power players held 70%. A number of shareholdings were revealed in a fiery 1993 Senate meeting by outspoken Kadavu Senator Manu Korovulavula. In Kadavu, the provincially owned Kadavu Development Company owned $50,000 shares. KJY Investment Ltd., owned by cabinet minister Konisi Yabaki, held $100,000 shares. While Taoi Investment Ltd., owned by FTIB chief Jesoni Vitusagavulu and Ulaiasi Taoi (President, Indigenous Fijian Business Council), held $200,000 shares. A closer scrutiny showed that Konisi Yabaki was Chairman of Kadavu Development Company and Jesoni Vitusagavulu Secretary of the same when they amassed prime FHL shares to themselves at the expense of their province. In Lomaiviti, the province owned $55,100 shares while KB Investment Ltd. and 5X Investment Ltd. owned $100,000 each. Another company, Vensalisi Investment Ltd. owned $80,000 shares. Former Deputy GM/NBF, Kalivati Bakani owned KB Investment and had joint shareholding in 5X Ltd. Financing for these shares also almost-naturally came from NBF. In Lau, the provincial council held $55,100 shares, Stiks Investment Ltd. held $150,000 shares, Q-Ten Investment Ltd. had $200,000 shares, and Kepa Investment Ltd. had $100,000 shares. Stiks Investment is owned by the Weleilakeba family of which Sitiveni Weleilakeba was the CEO of FHL. Q-Ten Investment was owned by the Qarase family of which former PM Qarase is head. And Kepa Investment is owned by the Lakepa family. The Qarase Connection Ousted PM Qarase was Chairman of FHL from 1992-95 when the scramble for FHL was at its frenetic best as a small number of well-connected individual shareholders outbid and outdid their own provinces in owning shares in FHL. Qarase not only facilitated this move that was against company policy, but actively encouraged it in a bid to have that policy, that he saw as a hindrance to individual ambitions, changed. He then conveniently became the GM of FDB from 1996 till he’d helped drain that bank of $220m. In 2000, he was providentially handed the reins of national government and from thence he proceeded to execute his business acumen on the national tableau. Stay tuned for more on Qarase in the next issue. - Subhash Appana is an academic and political commentator. The opinions contained in this article are entirely his and not necessarily shared by any organizations he may be associated with both in Fiji and abroad. Email

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |




Wellington Regional Hindu Conference to focus on Community Development
The Hindu Council of New Zealand is organising the Wellington Regional Hindu Conference on Saturday, February 27, 2010, in Lower Hutt, Wellington. The theme of the conference is “Community Development – A Hindu Perspective”. HCNZ believes in the ideal of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (the world is one big family). Hindu New Zealanders have come from Fiji, India, South Africa, United Kingdom, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Caribbean, Mauritius and more countries. HCNZ has always worked to bring together people from different geographical and cultural backgrounds, community groups, like minded Hindu organisations, Tangata Whenua, Government agencies and Non-Government Organisations (NGO) together, to discuss concerns of community and find out and set pathways for working towards the betterment of the community. This conference aims to discuss successes in community development from Hindu perspectives, based on the principles of Hindu Dharma. The conference will discuss initiatives that government agencies have shown in community development, role of volunteers in community development, development of community based health, wellbeing and social services, involvement of youth for community development and youth perspectives of community development. It will be of interest to members of the community, government agencies who work in the area of community wellbeing, academics, students, and NGO’s. Hindu Conferences over the past few years have only taken place in Auckland. This is a great opportunity to share the work done by HCNZ with the community in Wellington region and strengthen the network between volunteers from Auckland, Wellington, Hamilton, Rotorua and other regions of New Zealand. For more information, please contact Dr Rajiv Chaturvedi, Coordinator, Wellington Regional Hindu Conference, Joint General Secretary, Hindu Council of New Zealand Inc. Phone: 021 079 5036 Email: - Indian Weekender news desk

Talented youngster

Divyesh Naidu has been awarded as the most talented person at the Balmoral Big Day Out event on November 14 at Balmoral School. He was one of the many from a host of entrants drawn from a host of ethnic groups at the “Balmoral Got Talent” quest. Divyesh Naidu has been awarded as best Indian Drum player (tabla).


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



An India more ancient than Ancient India
There is an India more ancient than recorded history, more hoary than recorded time. This pre-history era of the Indian sub-continent has been opening up to the world only the past 70 years or so. Its monuments are at Mahenjo Daro, Harappa, Dholavira, Lothal and many other archaeological sites scattered on the Indian subcontinent. Archaeologists agree that these ‘recovered’ cities were well planned and had a high degree of sanitation at a time when the world was thought to have been near the end of the Neolithic Age. The above sites and recently discovered cities beneath the waves off the coast Gujarat and Tamil Nadu attest to a civilisation of such a high standard that it was only rivalled by western civilisations just a thousand years ago, offering this delicious tit bit that Asia was at least 2000 years more advanced than Europe of that time. Western dating practices place some of these finds around 3500 BCE, with 2500 – 1900 BCE as the height of this civilisation. Originally known as the Indus Valley civilisation it is now called the Harappan civilisation as cities lost in time are discovered outside of this valley on the subcontinent. The datings, carbon and otherwise, makes the Indian subcontinent civilisation a contemporary of the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations. Yet, each decade of research throws up datings that push the start of this civilisation further back in the annals of time. With such findings, our Indian mythology is getting validated. There existed a civilisation on the subcontinent that far surpassed any of its time, that went back into time immemorial (for the West at least). Only by studying Indian mythology can a picture of the civilisation be somehow composed. Archaeological science will not presently validate this civilisation as anything more than its interpretation of the Bronze Age. Indian scholars are putting the Mahabharata and the existence of Krishna into the timeframe of what is called the Harappan civilisation. Indian scholars now generally agree that Krishna passed away on January 23, 3102 BCE. This date was arrived at by comparing and relating ancient documents’ time frames with the Gregorian calendar. Any reading of the mythology surrounding Krishna tells us of the advances in that civilisation, of the level of knowledge demonstrated and the achievements of a culture steeped in art, architecture and technology. Even if we take away the somewhat astonish-

ing episodes of weaponry demonstrated during the Mahabharata war, the level of advancement remains incredible. Vehicles that fly tops the list: what technology was available to the ‘Harappan civilisation’ to allow for such a vehicle to exist? The ‘vimana’ references are peppered through-

out both the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. A whole school of thought existed around this technology, and still does. Another amazing Indian text the Agastya Samhita gives the precise directions for constructing electrical batteries: “Place a well-cleaned copper plate in an earthenware vessel. Cover it first by copper sulfate and then moist sawdust. After that put a mercury-amalgamated-zinc sheet on top of an energy known by the twin name of Mitra-Varuna. Water will be split by this current into Pranavayu and Udanavayu. A chain of one hundred jars is said to give a very active and effective force.” Agastya Samhita (the Indian Princes’ Library). Leaving aside the technology from our mythology, the genealogy and the time frames of the yugas appear to correspond well with Harappan Civilisation. The Dwapar Yuga ends with Krishna’s death (or Parikchit’s death, depending on whom you are talking). Krishna’s royal line continues down to the Mauryan kings of the middle ages, 138 generations, noted and listed by Indian historians and harking back to 3000 BC. The trend has been to talk of Ancient India as being pre-Moghul (16th century and after): the time of Asoka, Harshavardhan, Guptas, Chauhans, going right back to the time of the Greeks in India. In the South the kingdoms of Pandyans, Cholas, Cheras, Kadambas, Western Gangas, Pallavas, Vijayanagar and Chalukyas dominated in this so-called ancient times. In the great timeframe of cyclic Indian yugas, this so-called ancient India is really pretty modern. The ancient India that existed pre-3000 BC and maybe all the way up to 30,000 BCE is only accounted for in our mythology. The discovery of the sunken city off the Gujarat coast could easily be Krishna’s Dwarka, which sank at his death. What of the sunken city

off the Tamil Nadu coast? It is a very interesting “fill in the gaps” that reveals to us what a great civilisation we had, and are heading towards if we get it right. The past, in our case, is the blueprint for our future. To be continued: Part II – A language as yet undeciphered: The text of Harappa that baffles linguists. * Nalinesh Arun is a former Fiji journalist who lived in India for many years and is now based in Christchurch

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |




Kurbaan: the cyclical nature of terrorism
One might have guessed that at the lack of spontaneously choreographed, lip-synced Bollywood love song that something was wrong in the courting stages of the romance between Avantika (Kareena Kapoor) and Ehsaan (Saif Ali Khan). The film establishes itself completely on the seemingly innocent relationship between the protagonists, leaving us with the feeling that perhaps it was too good to be true. It was. What starts off as a cheesy, unconvincing romance between two university professors in India unexpectedly transcends into a thrilling, underground Islamic terrorist drama set in the suburbs of New York. Upon learning that her new husband is part of a terrorist group, Avantika, caught in the whirlwind of extreme plot twist, discovers a new life of silence – a life where men organise plots to blow up subway stations in the name of Allah and their wives make them chai. Avantika, who once adorned herself in gypsy skirts and chandelier earrings, took to wearing a headscarf once she had been trapped and silenced by her fundamentalist neighbours. Kurbaan does not depict freedom is only being restricted to women - the aptly cast Om Puri plays the elderly ringleader, similar to the elegantly clad Dons of the Italian mafia, and he has a harsh rule and influence upon the families around him. Ehsaan, otherwise known as Khalid, an infamous highly-skilled terrorist wanted by the FBI is joined by three other Muslim men residing on the same street. Ehsaan later recruits AmericanMuslim Riyaaz (Vivek Oberoi), a war journalist masquerading as a fundamentalist pro-suicide bombing cadet. The acts of “terrorism” themselves were more in favour of glamourised cinematic artistry as opposed to nitty-gritty realism. In particular, a police-chase sequence results in Ehsaan

single-handedly killing a whole squad of American policemen, concluding his massacre with an enormous, expensive fire blast. Such overstatements, which are a staple in Bollywood films, are not left out of the politically relevant Kurbaan. Avantika snooping in her neighbours’ basement and running for her life in her own home is reminiscent of every American teen horror blockbuster. The several extreme close-ups of Ehsaan’s bullet wounds made it seem as though it was actually a bite from a B-grade zombie film where the special effects and make-up crew could selfindulge, but it did nothing for the intensity of the situation.

Apart from moments where the film exchanges narrative realism for cinematic clichés, weak dialogue and visual overstatements, Kurbaan, although formulaic in structure, as a whole turned out to be moderately complex, with social commentary as its box-office saviour. Or maybe that was due to the big budget and star studded cast. Kurbaan plays it safe by eradicating racial and gender stereotypes and by taking no sides. Nobody wins. There is no justification for suicide bombings by Islam followers just as there is no justification for government-sanctioned bombings on innocent civilians. Who would have thought that a university

professor could be a wanted terrorist leader? Or that another university professor could fall in love with a terrorist? By the end of Kurbaan, audience empathy is felt for both Avantika and Ehsaan, as by then their relationship is comprised of mutual passion and despair. Where Kurbaan succeeds in destroying media stereotypes, the film fails in the sense that it attempts to give reasons for suicide bombings. For example, Ehsaan is plagued by the unjust death of his ex-wife and child so he turns to Islam, bombs and political sabotage to seek revenge on those responsible – namely America. Now, what about American-born suicide attackers who have not experienced traumatic life in the Middle East themselves? What about suicide bombings that occur within countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, where Muslims are killed by Muslims? Kurbaan does make a compelling point about the cyclical nature of terrorism – indeed it is both the American government and the fundamentalist Islamic world that need to change in order to co-exist. - Manisha Anjali is a double major graduate of Film TV / Media and English from the University of Auckland


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


Her luck quotient seems to be growing stronger by the day
While her latest release De Dana Dan has opened to a mixed response, Katrina Kaif is undoubtedly riding high on the success wave. Both her last two films, Ajab Prem Ki Gajab Kahani and New York have reaped rich dividends at the box-office and one of the reasons being cited for their success is the charming presence of Katrina Kaif. More recently she was seen on the cover of Vogue Magazine.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



IshQ Bector, India’s mad-max music import from Canada is set to launch Rakhi Sawant in an all-new hi-glam avatar shortly. Rakhi’s amazing metamorphosis will be seen in the title track of IshQ’s latest album ‘Jhagde’ to be released on Pen Audio. “The spunky brand, known for her bold and brazen personality attracting mass appeal, will now be seen in a completely classy, up market trendy look and style,” informs IshQ. Rakhi’s new look comprises of boy-cut hair and jazzy tops right out of a Karan Johar movie and the hottest hot-pants to compliment them. “We’re taking her cattiness to the next level,” quips IshQ. The composer, who also sings and performs for his videos (most of them having crazy shocking antics and scandalous lyrics), is best known for his hit video track ‘Aye Hip Hopper’, ‘Karle Gunaah’ from the movie ‘Ugly Aur Pagli’, ‘You Got Me Rockin and Reeling’ from ‘Billu Barber’, the title track of ‘Maan Gaye Mughall-e-Azam’ and rap-vocals for ‘Race’. In the new video of ‘Jhagde’, the Sawant babe will be seen coming to blows with IshQ in a freestyle boxing match. Who wins it and how is a mystery. But Rakhi, full of excitement about her new chic look, laughs and hits hard, “If IshQ thinks he will get away with the jhagde, he’s sorely mistaken. Even with a hip look, I can beat the Hip Hopper black and blue in any boxing match.”

Bappi Lahiri’s Hollywood Rakhi Sawant gets a makeover! music-biz connection
Sporting layers of his glittering trade-mark chunky jewellery, pop-icon and Bollywood composer Bappi Lahiri seems to have won over Hollywood bigwigs as well. Little wonder then that noted Los-Angeles based music mentors, Don Grierson, Ritch Esra and (India-born) Neli Kools, have singled out the rolypoly Lahiri to formally support them in their international ‘on-line’ portal venture (“Musicbizpro”). Bappi-da revealed this on the eve of his birthday when he was flanked by his cheering foreign guests, “It’s a commendable gesture on the part of Don, Ritch and Neli to come all the way to India to scout for upcoming and polished musical talents and promote them mainly through ‘on-line’ portals. We are deprived of our music royalties and dues all thanks to the rampant music piracy. So with this comprehensive consultancy, I suppose it will prove to be a blessing for the music industry and a muchneeded ‘Godfather’ to hundreds of struggling NRI singers all over the world. In due course they will get their share of limelight and the financial benefits as well. Which is why I am with their group and hope to make an international sureela dhamaaka in early 2010,” Few are aware that Bappi-da had also composed and sung a special song dedicated to the Mumbai 26/11 terror-attack victims which went ‘Hum Sub Ek Hain’. The enterprising Lahiri’s current mission seems to be an anti-dote of sorts to the tag ‘Slumdogs’. (Remember ‘Slum Dog Millionaires’?) “For me the street-kids living in hutments are actually ‘slum-stars’. Which is why I have picked up a group of eight promising slum children, groomed them and made them sing for my upcoming pop-album, which I have sent to Los Angeles. Currently they are ‘mixing’ the tracks out there and they are going

gaga over the ‘Slum-Stars numbers,” he claimed. Not one to be lagging behind as far as global track tributes to the ‘late’ Michael Jackson go, the Bollywood composer has “recorded a special number ‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ with Jackson associates, which will soon be released internationally. That’s not enough. Despite being passionately involved with pop-fare, Lahiri has not jilted filmi songs, having recorded a racy dance-number for ‘Spaghetti 24x 7’ ( yes, it’s a Hindi movie) which will have Mithun Chakraborty competing onscreen with his real-life son Mimoh. - Chaitanya Padukone


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



The saga of Three Idiots hits the screens on Christmas Day

Two friends (Madhavan and Sharman Joshi) embark on a quest for a lost buddy. On this journey they encounter a long forgotten bet, a wedding they must crash, and a funeral which goes impossibly out of control. As they make their way through the perilous landscape, another journey begins: their inner journey through memory lane and the story of their friend—the irrepressible free-thinker Rancho (Aamir Khan) , who in his unique way , touched and changed their lives. It’s a story of their hostel days that swings between Rancho’s romance with the spirited Pia (Kareena Kapoor) , and his clash with an oppressive mentor, Viru Sahashtrabudhhe (Boman Irani) And then suddenly one day Rancho vanished ….. Who was he? Where did he come from? Why did he leave? The friend who inspired and influenced them to think creatively and independently, even as a conformist world called them three idiots. Where is the original idiot now? Finally, in the misty mountains of unparalleled beauty, the friends find the key to the secret. Three Idiots is a comedy of ideas that is as provocative as it’s funny, as widely entertaining as insightful. A laugh riot that talks about the most important of human pursuits: self actualisation. Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor have romantically come together for the first time for the Vinod Chopra film directed by Rajkumar Hirani of Munnabhai MBBS fame. Though 3 Idiots is essentially a story of three friends; ZoobiDoobi is the only romantic song that has been picturized on Aamir Khan and Ka-

reenaKapoor and it beautifully captures the sizzling chemistry on celluloid. ZoobiDoobi is a tribute to all romantic songs of golden era, choreographed by Bosco; it has been shot over eight days in Mumbai. releasing on: dec 25, 09 directed by: raj kumar Hirani Produced by: vidhu vinod Chopra music by: shantanu moitra

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



reaching out

When Starship landed in the Solomon Islands
Dr. Vipul Upadhyay’s Kiwi team helps treat kids in the Solomons
Recently, a team led by Dr Vipul Upadhyay visited the Solomon Islands to assist the National Referral Hospital in Honiara. The visit was part of the project run by the Pacific Island Project division of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. This trip was funded by the AusAid programme of the Government of Australia. Prashant Belwalkar caught up with Dr. Vipul over the weekend to understand the motive behind his dedicated team’s charitable visit. Can you give a back ground of the visit, your involvement and the team was selected? I’ve previously been to Rarotonga to operate on an infant-in-an-emergency situation. We had also arranged a visit of voluntary work to Fiji which did not eventuate due to change of circumstances. All this is charity work. The Royal Australasian College’s PIP division knows of surgeons who are required to carry out various activities in the Pacific Island nations and we get requests from time to time to offer our services for this cause. Mostly, only the surgeon and the anaesthetist are involved in such visits but I requested the PIP division to include the nursing staff as well. As surgery is only the first half of the job, the recovery and post operative care are quite important aspects for patient care and I wanted to get them involved as well. Fortunately for me, the PIP saw the far reaching consequences of this approach and accepted my request to include the nursing staff. My team included Dr Ian Champan, Ms Ngaire Murry and Ms Shonagh Dunning all of whom belong to Starship hospital in Auckland. It is always easy to work with a known team as we know each other well and the timing as well as tuning works wonders in the field. This was for the first time, I believe, that we had a four member team from the same institution for paediatric surgery on a Pacific island. Hopefully, all such future missions will include the nursing staff as well. What was the nature of work carried out by your team and how many patients did you manage to operate on? Our visit was for one week which involved travelling to Australia and then to the Solomon Islands. Solomon islands comprises six main islands and a population of half a million people. We worked at Honiara where we managed to complete checkups of between 40 to 50 patients (children aged new born – 15 yrs; ward and clinics). During our week long programme we also operated on 15 patients during that period. Most of the operations carried out included urological operations, gastrointestinal surgery and even surgery involving free transfer of grafts. It is quite challenging as the facilities available there are quite basic and the infrastructure is not the same as in New Zealand. We also worked for

dr vipul upadhyay performs a procedure in the solomen Islands
5 days non stop as the trip was short. Apart from the surgery, we were also involved in teaching workshops for the nursing staff for operating room nursing and post operative recovery and care. for the patients. This was very useful to the staff at the hospital there. I also donated a number of my books to the hospital staff for future reference as well as understanding the operative protocols. We are thankful to Air New Zealand as well as Solomon Airlines for allowing us to carry almost 20 kg extra weight of these books for which they did not charge any fees. Did you travel on your own or were you given special privileges by Starship? Vipul: This is entirely charity work done on voluntary basis and we take annual leave to fulfil the obligations. It is especially hard on the nurses as they are donating not only their annual leave but are working under more demanding conditions in this tour. However, I must appreciate the fact that Starship has been lenient in allowing four of its staff to take annual leave at the same time for such noble cause! The idea is to give back to the society that we live in, and this is possibly the best we can do! I have been doing this back in India as well whenever I visit my home town. How did you manage to get such a high number of responses for your visit? Was it based on the wait list at the hospital or some other mode? Vipul: It was interesting to see so many patients as some of them have to travel by boat for 2

days to reach Honiara [the capital]. A very interesting observation for your readers; the communications infrastructure is very rudimentary and some of the villages do not even have a phone there. However, there is radio available on the islands and our visit was widely publicised on the Radio. Apart from those who had fixed up appointments there were a few who turned up based on the news they had heard on Radio. So I guess, the good old airwaves still has some of the best uses in these places. How do you l;ook back at your and has there been any follow up with the authorities? It gives me great pleasure when I am able to contribute to any such initiatives. Overall the trip was a great success in terms of the knowledge that we were able to impart to the local staff. We hope to keep in touch to ensure that the transfer of skills and knowledge is continued in future. The idea is to develop the local skills which can be very useful. After the hectic operative schedule we updated the NZ High Commissioner for the Solomons, Mark Ramsden as well as had a debrief with the staff at AusAid. The visit was very well received by local doctors and nursing staff. They have already extended us an invitation to do another visit next year. Of course, the patients and their parents were very grateful.

aarti chabbria
22 Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


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Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 | 23



Remembering Osho, one of India’s most brilliant minds
rAm LINgAm

OSHO has been one of the most provocative and inspiring spiritual teachers the world has ever known. He was known for his contemporary contribution to inner transformation and the influence of his teachings continues to grow even today, reaching seekers of all ages in virtually every corner of the world
December 11 is the birth anniversary of Osho also known as Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. Of the many Indian Gurus whom the world loved and celebrated, Osho is probably one of the very few masters who had such a worldwide acceptance for his multi-faceted and contemporary teachings. Osho is considered by many to be the greatest spiritual master of the 20th century. Through his compelling discourses he used a convincing logic, compassionate wisdom, contemporary jokes and fitting anecdotes to bring home the truth about ourselves. Osho, born as Chandra Mohan Jain came to be known as Acharya Rajneesh from the 1960s onwards, calling himself Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh during the 1970s and 1980s and taking the name Osho in 1989. Some sources explain that the name Osho was derived from the expression “oceanic experience” by William James; others say that it was derived from an ancient Japanese word for master. Unfortunately some have misunderstood the teachings of this enlightened genius in their hasty conclusions without going through or reflecting on much of his works. They have branded him as a Guru much ahead of our times because his teachings can fundamentally shake any ill-informed hard-nut of orthodoxy. However here are some remarks that matters which are made by eminent people on Osho that says why he is such an important teacher at a macro level. His Holiness the Dalai Lama: “Osho is an enlightened master who is working with all possibilities to help humanity overcome a difficult phase in developing consciousness.” Dr. Deepak Chopra: “These brilliant insights will benefit all those who yearn for experimental knowledge of the pure potentiality inherent in every human being.” Tom Robbins, author: “...he was the greatest spiritual teacher of the 20th century... He understood us better than we understand ourselves.” Dr. A. Schleger, Ph.D., Institute of Technology, Switzerland: “Never before or after have I encountered anybody having such a harmonious and immensely creative view encompassing art, science, human psychology and religiousness. Certainly we would lack substantially without his vision of the new man.” Los Angeles Times: “Summarizing the thoughts of a man whose transcribed teachings have sold a purported 15 million volumes worldwide is not easy. Perhaps the kernel is Osho’s notion that the perfect human being combines the earthly zest of Zorba the Greek and the transcendental spirituality of Buddha.” Osho has spoken on virtually every topic of concern to modern man – talking about everything under the sun and beyond. His thousands of hours of unpremeditated talks, spoken to people around the world over some three decades are available on all types of audiovideo, web and print formats. An enlightened Guru lives through his teachings and so is Osho through his many communes. There are some three hundred Osho Information Centers and Osho Meditation Centers in forty-five countries complicated. He summarises in one of his talks saying “My whole teaching consists of two words, meditation and love. Meditate so that you can feel immense silence, and love so that your life can become a song, a dance, a celebration. You will have to move between the two, and if you can move easily, if you can move without any effort, you have learned the greatness, a love of life ~ Meditation and Love. About his own work Osho has said that he is helping to create the conditions for the birth of a new kind of human being. He has often characterized this new human being as “Zorba the Buddha” -- capable both of enjoying the earthy pleasures of a Zorba the Greek and the silent serenity of a Gautam Buddha. Running like a thread through

“My whole teaching consists of two words, meditation and love. Meditate so that you can feel immense silence, and love so that your life can become a song, a dance, a celebration. You will have to move between the two, and if you can move easily, if you can move without any effort, you have learned the greatest thing in life. Awareness and enjoying this life can grow together simultaneously. And this is my vision of the whole man.” - Osho

around the world. Osho is also often referred to as the most prolific author, with some 600 titles to his name. Just one of the many websites on Osho has a complete archive of Osho discourses consisting of more than 5500 discourses in English (4,800 hours) and Hindi (4,000 hours). In fact the Indian Parliament has placed a complete set of Osho’s books in a special section named after the author, a privilege that otherwise only Mahatma Gandhi enjoys. Osho has spoken on hundreds of mystics and traditions including Buddhism, Christianity, Communism, Hassidism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Sikhism, Sufism, Tantra, Taoism, Yoga, Zen and many more. On a regular basis Osho would remind the seekers of truth who were around him that the silent gap between his words are the essential message. “I am saying things and talking to you just to give you an experience of silence. Those pauses are the most significant thing that is being delivered to you, being transferred to you. Be available in those pauses.” Osho was a Guru who insisted to live in the moment with all the heart and in constant celebration advising us that “To live in the head is stupidity. To live in the heart and use the head whenever it is needed is intelligence.” According to Osho, his teachings aren’t

est thing in life. Awareness and enjoying this life can grow together simultaneously. And this is my vision of the whole man.” Osho’s teachings centred mainly on aware-

all aspects of Osho’s work is a vision that encompasses both the timeless wisdom of the East and the highest potential of Western science and technology.


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Why are NZ Indians shy of world travel?
mAdHuP srIvAstAvA Second of a two-part series; the first part appeared in the November 27 issue
Though not as efficient as flying, overland travel lets you get to know a country more intimately and adds variety to your itinerary. You will have the opportunity to interact with locals, who can serve as wellsprings of information for what to see and do. Your travel agent will take climate and seasonal weather conditions, such as hurricanes, torrential rains, floods etc into consideration as your route is planned. When a destination’s climate is favourable, that’s typically its “high season,” and tourism greatly increases. If you wish to travel during high season, you should book your flights well in advance and expect to pay more for airfare. However, if you are looking to save money and/or be in the company of fewer tourists and are willing to endure a chill or intense heat, you can take the “shoulder” or “low season” options. Before you leave New Zealand, you will have to purchase all of your airline tickets, and all of your flights must culminate in a round trip. In most instances, you must continually move in a westward or eastward trek with no back-tracking. Travellers must have a return or onward ticket out of the country they are visiting. With some fares, each flight in your journey will need to be booked in advance. If you are planning to travel for more than a year, you will have to purchase your tickets in stages since airline tickets are usually valid for a year after their issue date. Once you have purchased your tickets, it is likely that you will incur a cost to change travel dates. Date change rules vary depending on the airline and fare, so be sure to ask your travel agent for the date change and cancellation policy of each airline you are using. And since the least expensive fares sometimes do not offer frequent flyer mileage credits, also ask your travel consultant if there are any such restrictions on your tickets. Your choice of accommodations as you travel is important both in determining the degree of comfort you can anticipate and also your total expenditure. Your travel consultant will provide you with excellent resources for this part of your planning. Most travel planners have access to insider hostel and hotel guides that provide detailed description of not only the amenities of each property. Websites like are good way to read reviews of hotels. Your travel consultant will have access to wholesale rates for hotels that are sometimes cheaper than what you can get on your own. You can also consider house swaps and there are various websites that will help you getting your requirement listed on their websites for a small membership fee. You can also book apartments directly online in certain countries. Bed and breakfast accommodations are available almost in all places. There are religious sects or places where you can stay for free in return of some work like cooking and cleaning. Now that you have made your travel arrangements, you are just about ready to start your adventure. But before you step on the plane, it is time to organize your travel documents. Make sure your passport is current and will be valid for at least a year after your return date. You may need certain visas or other documents for each country you are visiting. Ask you travel agent, which documents are needed at each stop. And keep all of your airline tickets together. In some countries, health certificates are required certifying to yellow fever vaccinations. Check all health requirements of all countries you will be visiting. Make sure that you are appropriate physical condition prior to travel. Visit with a doctor experienced with travel medicine and cover your itinerary. Bring copies of your passport and airline tickets with you on the trip, as well as copies of your passport photos, which are often needed when purchasing rail/metro travel cards. It is also practical to give a copy of your itinerary, passport and return ticket to a friend or family member back home, who can fax them to you in an emergency. During your trip, keep your documents on you at all times, not in your hotel room. A money belt in which to carry documents is a good idea. During your planning, consider how you will handle your finances while on the road. In general, traveller’s cheques, Travelex cash passports and credit cards are the safest bet, since they can be refunded or replaced if lost or stolen. Travelex cash passports and credit cards generally offer the best exchange rate, but in some destinations are less common for trade than others. European merchants prefer credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard. For the rest of the world, it is best to have some American dollars in case you get into a bind. American dollars will be no good in erstwhile USSR countries, where you need to carry local currencies. And remember that you do not want to unzip your money belt and expose your passport and finances each time you need cash. Keep a small amount of local currency in a more easily accessible place, such as your pocket or purse. Monitor your budget and expenses carefully as you travel, as it is easy to lose track of finances as money is changed repeatedly from one currency to another. Have a small calculator with you. This helps you immensely while shopping. After all of your planning for your trip of a lifetime, it would be wise to invest in travel insurance. Some companies have long term travel policies available. Remember that your own health insurance may not be valid abroad. Items generally covered by a typical travel insurance policy include airfare, baggage, health, and trip cancellation/interruption for up to a year. Some companies also offer travel assistance services and worldwide call numbers should something happen. Three items often left off a packing list to the eventual dismay of the traveller: sunglasses, SPF lotions and a hat! Medications should be packed in their original prescription bottles and carried with you, not stored in checked baggage. Of course you will want to take a camera to immortalize your trip and help illustrate your adventure to others, and possibly a journal. Understand that although a state-ofthe-art camera would do those majestic sunsets more justice, keeping a constant eye on such a valuable piece of equipment could prove to be a burden. Is an around the world trip safe? Common sense will be your best defence. Trust your instincts and steer clear of potentially dangerous situations. Do your research before you go so you will be aware of less hospitable areas in the cities you visit. Find out if the water is drinkable or if you should stick with bottled. The latter includes while brushing your teeth, and means foregoing ice cubes. Keep your perspective clear all the time and do not watch each behaviour from a coloured glass. View your trip as educational and as an opportunity to connect with others. Most importantly, relax. The road goes on forever. You are setting off on an adventure that most only imagine. -Madhup Srivastava is owner of Kilbirnie Travel, Wellington. He can be contacted on madhup@xtra.


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |




Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



India finally the No.1 team;
Just when the doubting Thomas’s started writing the obituary of Test cricket, it came back with a bang! 6 different teams, 3 different zones and 3 wonderful results, all in a day’s work. India crushed Sri Lanka in Kanpur, New Zealand beat Pakistan in Dunedin and Australia stream rolled the West Indies in an exciting week of Test cricket. It gets even better, Pakistan got their revenge in Wellington, West Indies put Aussies on the back foot in Adelaide while India reached the top of test cricket for the first time when they beat the hapless Sri Lankans for the second time in a row. Let me start with Australia. West Indies arrived in Oz with their reputation in tatters, but had managed to get their 1st team players back to the fold. The nostalgia of the 80s was still lingering when the first test began and spectators had hoped for some exciting contest. But the welloiled machine of Ponting’s men didn’t let the West Indies settle in their grove. After scoring an exciting 480 thanks to 92 by Katich as well as some useful contributions from the entire top order as well as some wonderful batting by Hauritz at the tail, it was hoped that West Indies would put up a good fight. However, apart from some useful top order contribution and a rear guard action by Ramadin, none of the West Indian batsmen could withstand the Aussies bowlers, even Hussey managed to grab a wicket as West Indies were bowled out for 228 and Ponting asked them to follow on. Things only got worse for there for West Indies, as the second innings saw them score 187 thanks largely to the century by debutant Barath, which gave the Aussies victory by an Innings and 65 runs. The Oz presses were after the blood of West Indies and wanted them to be stripped off their test status. How things have changed in the last 20 years, which has seen the West Indies losing their grip on the top of test cricket and the Aussies are now baying for their blood. But cricket is a great leveller and West Indies came back with a bang in the second test when they scored 451 in their first innings, while dismissing Aussies for 438, the match evenly poised at the end of day 3. Let’s hope that the Aussies media will now stop the negative rant! New Zealand pulled off one of the most exciting wins in test cricket in Dunedin. The series being played in New Zealand due to security reasons, is for the first time in history of test cricket where the home team is actually the visiting team. Pakistan won the toss and put New Zealand in to bat and Mr Reliable, Vettori came close to a century (99) and Taylor too chipped in with 94 to give New Zealand a decent 429 on board. Pakistan in response scored 332 on the back of some fine batting by the Akmal brothers. In response, the Pakistani bowlers ripped through the Blacks Caps line up to restrict them to 153 runs. However, Bond on his comeback trail had other ideas restricted the Pakistanis to 218 to give New Zealand an exciting victory by 32 runs in Dunedin. The second test in Wellington saw the comeback of Tuffey as Bond was once again side-lined with another injury. Tuffey did it in style with a 4 wicket haul along with Vettori (4 wickets) to restrict Pakistan to 264. But the Pakistani bowlers had other ideas when they mauled the Black caps for a meagre 99. The Pakistani’s could only manage 239 in their second test, but chasing 405 was always going to be a talk task for the fragile Black caps. Mohammed Asif, has taken 17 wickets in the 2 tests so far, took a fiver in the second innings and gave Pakistan a series levelling victory by 141 runs, when Black caps would manage only 263 in their second outing! 1-1 as the tour progresses to Napier for the 3rd and final test. Finally to the news of the week, as India fulfils its potential in Test cricket. The Sri Lankan tour was going to be a test for Indians as Sri Lanka had some potentially explosive batsmen in the form of Dilshan, Sangakkara, Jayawardene and mercurial bowlers in form of Murali and Herath. But the bowling was also the weakest link the Sri Lankan armour! The first test in Baroda saw a run feast as India scored 426 runs in the first innings thanks to centuries by Rahul “the wall” Dravid and captain MS Dhoni. Sri Lanka’s reply was even more emphatic as they piled on 760 which included a double hundred by Mahela Jayawardene, and centuries by Prasanna Jayawardene & man in form Dilshan. Sri Lanka were looking for their first victory in India and thought that they could get it in Baroda, but Gambhir and Tendulkar had other ideas as they both scored centuries to save any blushes for India as the match petered out to a tame draw. The second test saw the Indian top order deliver in style as Gambhir, Shewag and Dravid all scored tons to give India a mammoth 642 on the board. Sreesanth, making a comeback bowled with venom to take a fiver and restrict Sri Lanka to 229. Following on, Sri Lanka were fighting to survive in the match, but could only manage 269 in their second outing, handing India a victory by innings and 144 runs, India’s 100th test victory. It took India 432 matches to reach this milestone, the longest by any test playing nation who have managed that, but an important one for India. The series moved to the mecca of cricket in India, Mumbai and the home ground of Indian cricket, the Brabourne stadium. This was the first match of any significance after the incidents of 26/11 last year (the one day with Australia was washed out earlier in November) being played in Mumbai. India had a chance to go to the top of test rankings if they beat Sri Lanka 2-0. Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat, given that Mumbai pitch played true for the first 2-3 days and crumbled on the final day. Murali who had been in-effective so far in the series, was looking at some salvation. However, Dilshan the man in form once again proved his worth when he scored his second century of the series to pile up 393 for Sri Lanka in the first innings. Normally, any team would be happy with that score, but this is the new India and a confident batting line up. Murali Vijay had replaced the in form Gambhir at the top, who took a leave for attending his sisters wedding. Sri Lanka were looking at the opportunity to put India on the mat, but the Sehwag had other ideas as he humiliated the Sri Lankan bowlers into submission with an amazing knock of 264 on Day 2, where India not only wiped off the 1st innings lead of 393 but scored more than 430 runs in a day in the process. The second match running when they have achieved that. Sehwag could not reach his 300 run mark the next day but once again the top order delivered for India as Dhoni piled up his second century of the series when India declared on 726. Sangakkara played a fighting knock in the second innings for Sri Lanka when he scored 137, but the deficit of 333 runs proved too much in the end as Sri Lanka folded for 309 in the second innings to hand India another innings victory and a 2-0 overall trashing in the series.

Black Caps stutter after a great start.

This catapulted India to the #1 position in the ICC Test rankings. They overtook Sri Lanka and South Africa! It has been a real team effort for Team India, where every individual has contributed with either Bat or Ball. For once, we are coming together as a team and are living upto our potential! Hope this is the start of better things. We will be truly called a great cricketing nation when we display the consistency of the Australians (and beat them in their own backyard) and are not seen as a flash in the pan! Go TEAM INDIA!


Can you put a price on your family’s security?
oLIver PereIrA
In the event of any misfortune, well-planned life insurance can protect your loved ones from financial difficulties. However, in most cases, people find it difficult to estimate the correct value of insurance they need. Partly this is because life insurance needs change through different stages of life. Young people with no dependants may not have much need for life insurance. As one’s family responsibility grows, life insurance needs too increase. Thus, a periodical review based on your family circumstances is required in order to ensure that the coverage is adequate. Here are some guidelines to help you decide if life insurance is the right security for you: Children: Children do not need life insurance since no one depends on income from them. Beginning Families: Life insurance should be purchased if you are considering starting a family. Your rates will be cheaper now than when you get older and your future children will be depending on your income. Established Families: If you have a family that depends on you, you need life insurance now! This does not include only the spouse or partner working outside the home. Life insurance also needs to be considered for the person working in the home. The costs of replacing someone to do domestic chores, home budgeting and childcare can cause significant financial problems for the surviving family. Young Single Adults: The reason a single adult would typically need life insurance would be to pay for their own funeral costs or if they help support an elderly parent or other person they may care for financially. Otherwise, if one has other sources of money for a funeral and has no other persons that depend on their income then life insurance would not be a necessity. Non-Child Working couples: Both persons in this situation would need to decide if they would want life insurance. If both persons are bringing in an income that they feel comfortable living on alone if their partner should pass away, then life insurance would not be necessary except if they wanted to cover their funeral costs. But, maybe in some instances one working spouse contributes more to the income or would want to leave their significant other in a better financial position, then as long as purchasing a life insurance policy would not be a financial burden, it could be an option. Elderly: As long as you do not have people depending on your income for support, life insurance at this stage in life would not be necessary, unless again, you do not have any other means to pay for your funeral expenses. But, be aware that purchasing a life insurance policy at this age can be very expensive. Before doing so, first talk to an Insurance advisor or accountant about looking into other options Like a Funeral Cover or saving options to pay for your funeral costs before considering life insurance. There is a broad relationship between needs and assets over a period of time. Thus, not much life insurance is needed in the initial stage. The same is true in the empty nest stage. The maximum need for life insurance arises during the mid-phase, when one is married and has children. In other words, one may go for life insurance so long as the asset-level is lower than the need-level once the asset-level surpasses the needlevel, the importance of life insurance declines. The above information has been provided to serve only as a guideline to assist in evaluating your insurance needs. You are encouraged to do your own research before arriving at any decisions. For further information, please contact: Oliver Pereira – OPM Insurance Services Ltd. Ph. 0800 66 77 92, Faxmail. 021 551 669, Mobile. 021 66 77 92 Email.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |




Protecting our environment and our way of life
HoN joHN key, PriME MiNisTEr of NEw zEalaNd
New Zealand’s environment is at the core of our quality of life, our national identity, and the reason why so many people choose to migrate here. From Cape Reinga to the Bluff, there is little doubt that we enjoy some of the world’s most pristine and accessible natural beauty. Our clean and green brand has seen New Zealand become a top tourism destination. But good environmental practice is not just important for protecting our natural heritage and our tourism trade. It is also crucial for lifting New Zealand’s game and securing the sort of future we want for our children. Our environment is why many Chinese/ Korean/Indian people have chosen New Zealand as their new home – to take advantage of our wide open spaces and provide a better life for their children. During our first year in office, the Nationalled Government has worked hard to provide real leadership on environmental issues, and we have moved to implement a raft of policies that balance our environmental responsibilities with our economic opportunities. Over the past year we have set out clear environmental priorities for the Ministry for the Environment: climate change, freshwater management, biodiversity protection, oceans, air quality, outdoor recreation, waste management, and contaminated site clean-ups. As part of our commitment to environment management, we have established the Environmental Protection Agency. This will be the vehicle for providing clearer central Government leadership around many of the environmental issues facing New Zealand. National’s approach to climate change is about making sure New Zealand plays its part in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions. But we’re also realistic about the costs, the impacts on jobs, and what a small country like New Zealand with a large agricultural sector can achieve. That is why we have made changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Over the past few months we’ve put a lot of work into making the New Zealand ETS workable and affordable. Our changes to the ETS will halve the electricity and fuel price increases that the previous Labour Government was planning. They will also encourage businesses and families to be more energy efficient, which will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. National remains committed to pursuing sound, practical environment policies to achieve emission reduction. As well as improving the Emissions Trading Scheme, we have launched other programmes that are already delivering for New Zealanders, including our $323 million Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart initiative. The scheme provides grants of up to $1800 towards a third of the cost of insulation or a cleanheating device for houses built before 2000. Over 180,000 homes throughout New Zealand will have access to these grants regardless of income. This scheme is proving very popular. About 20,000 homes across the country have been insulated since its launch in July. Already, it’s improving energy efficiency, reducing the cost of energy for households, and reducing health risks. We also understand the value of renewable fuels. That’s why we’ve invested $36 million into a biodiesel grants programme, promoting biodiesel production to kick start the industry. And we’ve passed legislation that exempts electric vehicles from road user charges to encourage their uptake. These new policies provide a refreshing approach to new energy technologies that are good for our economy and good our environment. We’re proud of our environmental initiatives so far, but there is a lot of work ahead of us. National has an ambitious agenda for the environment, and you will see more environmental policies rolled out in the coming years. Our environment and our clean and green credentials are too important for us to rest on our laurels.

Government plans to facilitate summer jobs
mr kANWALjIt sINgH bAksHI, NaTioNal lisT MP
Summer is a great time for students. For some students, it’s an opportunity to relax after an intense period of study. For others, it’s the opportunity to earn some money. This year, students may have a tougher time finding summer work. Jobs are scarce and competition is high. More than 160,000 students are registered with Student Job Search. That’s why the National-led Government has set aside $1 million to support Student Job Search in targeting individuals and businesses with jobs that need doing. There are a lot of jobs that students can do, whether it’s helping out around your home, helping out family and friends, volunteering or filling in for staff who want to take leave over summer. I am encouraging every New Zealander who has some work available to take on students this summer. Student Job Search will be squeezing every vacancy it can out of the summer job market. The Government is also keen to support students who want to continue their studies through the summer. Our summer research scholarships scheme has been a real success. We created 1600 research opportunities, allowing students to study in their chosen academic field while earning money over the summer months. The idea came out of the Prime Minister’s Job Summit earlier in the year, following concerns from universities that there weren’t enough job opportunities for students to boost their finances during the holidays. We set aside $4 million in Budget 2009 to fund this initiative, and the universities, which allocated the places, matched the Government’s investment in the scheme dollar for dollar. This kind of partnership is exactly the kind of opportunity that National wants to create. We believe it is what New Zealand needs to grow our knowledge base for the future. In our first year in government, we have put in place a number of programmes that support young people. As well as the summer scholarships and funding for Student Job Search, we are funding up to 9000 workplace opportunities, industry specific training partnerships, and extra places at polytechnic and technology institutes.

can i win a $150 shopping voucher when i send money?

Keeping unwanted pests and diseases away from our borders
HoN dAvId CArter, MiNisTEr for BiosEcuriTy
In an effort to increase biosecurity at our borders, the Biosecurity Amendment Bill has been passed through Parliament. This new law will double the instant fine to $400 for people bringing illegal food, plants and animals into New Zealand, in a bid to protect our ecosystem from unwanted pests and diseases. This means that members of all of our communities need to be extra vigilant in ensuring that they are not breaking our country’s biosecurity laws and that every person entering the country declares food or plant material. This new law represents a major step towards improving border processing practices as well as cracking down on travellers who deliberately f lout our biosecurity laws. It is an important change to biosecurity at our border and sends a clear message about how seriously the Government takes New Zealand’s biosecurity protection. Our country’s clean green image and relative lack of pests hangs on our border security and keeping unwanted diseases, animals and noxious weeds out of our delicate ecosystem. Travellers who don’t declare or dispose of products such as fruit and meat upon arrival pose a significant threat to New Zealand’s economic, environmental, and social well-

This new law will double the instant fine to $400 for people bringing illegal food, plants and animals into New Zealand, in a bid to protect our ecosystem from unwanted pests and diseases.
being. The doubling of the instant fine for not making such a declaration is an appropriate ref lection of the seriousness of this offence, and will increase awareness of New Zealand’s strict biosecurity measures. As well as raising the instant biosecurity fine from $200 to $400, the new Bill also increases the maximum penalty for conviction in Court for the same offence from $400 to $1000. The Bill was passed with support from all parties in Parliament and represents our country’s firm commitment to maintaining and protecting our nation’s borders.

To celebrate the opening of your new local Fexco Pacific branch at 1250 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill, we’re giving away a $150 shopping voucher every week between 31 August and 30 November 2009. Send a Western Union® Money Transfer and complete this entry form to enter the draw. Terms and conditions apply. See instore for details, or visit
name: email: mobile:

0800 270 000

Money exchange available here!


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |



Family Trust, a useful asset-planning tool
rAvI meHtA

Continued from the November 27 issue of issue of Indian Weekender
Asset Protection in case of relationship property There may be occasions when a couple has got substantial jointly owned assets. If one of the spouses dies, the other spouse will become sole owner of those assets. The surviving spouse may enter into relationship with another person. The property held in his/her name will become relationship property. After lapse of 3 years, the new partner may be entitled to half share in those assets. But if the assets are held in trust in the first instance, these are protected from becoming future relationship property. Similarly your assets are to pass on to your children after your death. Their partners will be entitled to share in those under Relationship act. If you want to protect your assets and want those to go to your children and not to their spouses, in the event of their separation, a trust can be a good solution. Entitlement to rest home subsidies Entitlement to rest home subsidy is dependent on your asset position. You can have assets up to a certain amount to qualify for it. But only assets held in your personal name and not held under family trust are taken into consideration for calculating your eligibility. So having assets under family trust and not under your personal name is a good solution. Disadvantages of forming a family trust: When you transfer the assets from your name to trust, you lose personal ownership. Although you may have control as a trustee, you are to act in accordance with wishes of other trustees as well. There is more administrative and accounting cost. There is one time cost of setting up a trust and transferring the assets to it. Sometimes spouses do want to undo the trust in the event of split, which is difficult to do once you have transferred those to trust. Some of the disadvantages can be overcome by careful planning and thought at the time of formation of the trust. The trust deed should be drafted carefully by specialist trust lawyer or Trustee Company. Regarding cost involved, yes, there is a cost. You buy insurance to protect your assets and to protect your income earning capacity and for that you pay insurance premium throughout your life. By setting up a family trust also you are protecting your assets, so you should be ready to bear the cost. What is the right time to form a family trust? In New Zealand, one can gift $27000 in any 12 months without paying gift duty. Suppose you and your spouse have assets of $540000, it will take 10 years for gifting to be completed and assets to be protected in case you and your spouse decide to set up a family trust and transfer those assets to it. With time, the value of those assets should go up, so if you decide to set up the trust and transfer the assets after few years, the gifting process will take longer. So it is in your interest to transfer the assets to trust sooner. If you buy a house today in your personal

Some of the disadvantages can be overcome by careful planning and thought at the time of formation of the trust.
names and transfer the same to family trust later on, it will be more expensive as compared to if you had bought the house under family trust in the first instance. Note : It is very important that you should get a trust set up by an experienced solicitor who has got good trust law knowledge and same should be done in conjunction with good financial advice as to how to structure your overall asset portfolio and also which assets should be held in trusts. - Ravi Mehta is an Auckland based Financial Advisor and can be contacted on ravi.

Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |




5 easy tips for Hernia
1. Practice Pranayam package of 8 breathing exercises every day. (Contact us for free classes 09 6223308) 2.Take 2 tablets of Kanchnaar Guggul food supplement twice a day with warm water. 3.Take four pieces of amla candy or chatpata twice a day. 4. Do not apply any heat and avoid any pressure over the swollen area. 5. Take Swami Ramdev Ji’s Aloe Vera Juice twice a day along with Amla Juice and hot water. Free yogA CLAss Mount Roskill: Monday 6.30pm North Shore: Thursday 6.30pm 123 Sunset Road, North Shore Botany - Sunday 9.30am India trade group, Unit E, 8 Bishop Lenihan place (Behind Punjabi Dhaba).

recipe by ruby dhillon

• Grate the raw potatoes and put them in a

• 4- Potatoes (large and peeled) • 1-Egg • 3tbs- Spring onions chopped • 2tbs- Chana Flour ( Besan) • 2tbs- Onion grated • 1tbs- Lemon juice • Salt according to taste • Oil for frying

sieve for straining.
• Beat egg in a bowl and add spring onions,

flour, onion, lemon juice and salt.
• Squeeze out any water from the potatoes

and stir them also into the egg mixture.
• In a fry pan heat oil and drop potato

mixture by ½ cup at a time.
• Flatten each fritter into 3- inch rounds. • Cook the potato fritters from both the sides

and serve hot with chutney.

Classifieds: Places to rent
5 serai Place , Flat bush: 3 BR ,a bathroom and a separate toilet. Internal access to single garage and laundry from the lounge. Fully fenced with double iron gates. Rent $390 p/w. 4 week Bond plus one week rent in advance. Ready to move in. 31b Arthur street ellerslie: 5 Bedroom, 3 Bathroom with double garage. Modern. Rent $780 p/w. 4 week bond plus 1 wk rent in advance. Ready to move in. 12 dennis road Papatoetoe: 3 Bedroom, 2 living, 2 bathroom, double garage. Master bedroom is large double and has access to ensuite and walk-in -wardrobe. The other 2 bedrooms are double in size. Viewing from 9th dec . Available to move in 19th dec. Rent $365 p/w. 4 week bond plus 1 wk rent in advance.
Contact for all properties listed:

Pallavi Phone: 263 9558 Mobile: 021 915 361


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |


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Indian Weekender | December 11, 2009 |

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