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The South Asian Times

e x c e l l e n c e

Vol.8 No. 41 February 20-26, 2016 80 Cents

Washington: Republican front
runner Donald Trump "is not
Christ ian" if he calls for the
deportation of undocumented
immigrants and pledges to build a
wall between the US and Mexico,
Pope Francis said on Thursday.
The Pope, who was travelling
back to Rome from Mexico, urged
the US to address the "humanitar
ian crisis" on its southern border,


but did not te ll American

Catholics not to vote for Trump.
Trump immediately fired back,
calling Francis' comments dis
"No leader, especially a reli
gious leader, should have the
right to question another man's
religion or faith," he said, adding
that the government in Mexico
has "made many disparaging

Sri Srinivasan mentioned

as Obama pick for
Supreme Court justice
Washington: The sudden death
of a US Supreme Court justice
has catapulted an Indian
American judge to the top of suc
cession stakes amid a major
political battle during an election
year. Srikanth Srinivasan, 48,
who became a judge of the US
Court of Appeals for the District
of Columbia Circuit a tradi
tional launching pad for Supreme
Court nominees in May 2013
after a 970 Senate vote, was on
the shortlist of many in the
Speculat ion over whom
President Obama would nomi
nate to replace Antonin Scalia
started hours after the conserva
tive judge's death Saturday morn
ing in Texas even as top
Republicans said the choice
should be left to the next presi
dent. Obama said Saturday he

Indiaborn Srikanth Srinivasan is

a judge of the US Court of
Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit.
(Photo courtesy National Law Journal)

would nominate a successor "in

due time," and the Senate will get
"plenty of time to give that per
son a fair hearing and a timely
vote" even as Senate Republican
leaders and presidential candi
dates were dead set against the
move. Any list of potent ial

Continued on page 4

See page 9 for Indian Americans supporting Srinivasans nomination


ART 18

i n

j o u r n a l i s m

New York Edition

remarks about me to the Pope".
"If and when the Vatican is
attacked by IS, which as everyone
knows is IS' ultimate trophy, I can
promise you that the Pope would
have only wished and prayed that
Donald Trump would have been
president," Trump said.
Meanwhile, President Obama
hammered home his belief that

Follow us on

JNU student leader

held for sedition,
provoking protests

Continued on page 4

Sharif, Modi
likely to meet
in Washington
next month
Islamabad: Pakistan Prime
Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to
meet his Indian counterpart
Narendra Modi in Washington
next month on the sidelines of a
nuclear summit hosted by US
President Barack Obama, a media
report said on Friday.
Sharif and Mo di have both
accepted President Obama's invita
tion to attend a nuclear summit he
is hosting in Washington on March
31 and April 1, diplomatic sources
told Dawn.
"The chances are strong, very
strong," said a senior official.
"But you know the history of
IndiaPakistan talks, you cannot be
certain about an event until it has
happened," the official added.
It will be the first time that both
Indian and Pakistani premiers will
be attending the nuclear security
summit, which President Obama
initiated in 2010.


The students of Jawaharlal Nehru

University participate in a march in
Delhi to show solidarity with JNU
student leader Kanhaiya Kumar
who was arrested on a sedition
charge. (inset) Kanhaiya Kumar
being produced in court.
(Photos: IANS)
New Delhi: JNU student leader
Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested for sedi
t ion, on T hursday moved the
Supreme Court for bail as students
rallied in support across the coun
try and the opposition took the
row to President Pranab
A Supreme Court bench said
Kumar's plea will be heard on
Friday morning.
His lawyer Vrinda Grover told
the judges that the atmosphere in
the Patiala House Courts, where
the accused was allegedly assault
ed by a group of lawyers, was not
conducive for moving the bail
The bail plea came as the JNU
issue triggered by a meeting on
Kashmir at the Jawaharlal Nehru


University (JNU) sparked student

protests in Delhi, West Bengal,
Bihar and Karnataka with protes
tors demanding Kumar's release
and dropping of sedition charges
against him.
The 28yearold student leader
was arrested on February 12 for
allegedly raising antinational slo
gans at the JNU event three days
earlier against the 2013 execution
of Afzal Guru, the Kashmiri mili
tant blamed for the terror attack
on Indian parliament in 2001.
Kumar has denied the charges.
Kumar, the first president of the
JNU Students Union from the CPI
affiliated AISF, drew support from

Continued on page 4
See page 11 related stories.

excellence in journalism

February 20-26, 2016

February 20-26, 2016


Sonika Vaid croons

Nikki Haley endorses
Marco Rubio for president her way to American
Washington: South Carolina's
Republican IndianAmerican
Governor Nikki Haley endorsed
Marco Rubio for president, giving
the son of Cuban immigrants a
huge boost just days before the
state's crucial primary on
Born Nimrata 'Nikki' Randhawa,
the daughter of Sikh immigrants
from India, told a crowd of sup
porters last week that she chose to
back a candidate who can "show
my parents that the best decision
they made for their children was
coming to America."
"I wanted somebody with ght, I
wanted somebody with passion, I
wanted somebody who had convic
tion to do the right thing," she told
a crowd of hundreds gathered for
Rubio's outdoor rally in Chapin,
The Florida senator, in Haleys
view is best suited to restore
Republican party's principles of
limited government and cutting
debt to Washington.
"I want a president who under
stands they have to go back to
Washington DC and bring a con
science back to our Republicans,"
Haley said.
Haley, the state's most popular
Republican politician in polls and a
rising national party star often
mentioned as a likely vice presi

Idol top 14

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Republican

presidential candidate Marco Rubio appeared together
Wednesday night in Chapin, SC. (Photo courtesy Reuters).
dential pick, was South Carolina's
most coveted Republican endorse
ment in the 2016 presidential
"She embodies for me everything
that I want the Republican Party
and conservative movement to be
about," Rubio told the Chapin
crowd. He also made frequent ref
erences to their similar immigrant
The Florida senator needs to do
well in South Carolina after nish
ing fth in New Hampshire follow
ing a rattled debate performance.
The popular secondterm gover
nor's endorsement could he lp
Rubio, who with 14 percent trails

Republican frontrunner Donald

Trump (38 percent) and Texas
Senator Ted Cruz (22 percent).
Haley who gave the Republican
response to President Barack
Obama's State of the Union last
month wherein she urged voters
not to listen to the "angriest voic
es" has criticized Trump for his
combative campaigning. Trump
disparaged Haley during a
Wednesday evening rally, saying:
"She's very very weak on illegal
Former Florida Governor Jeb
Bush told reporters on Wednesday
that he was "disappointed" he did
n't get Haleys backing.

New York: Indian

American student
from Massachusetts,
Sonika Vaid has sur
vived two rounds of
compet it ion
American Idol: last
week the top 24 con
testants were tasked
to perform twice: the
rst a solo number
and the second a duet
w ith
American Idol win
ner. The 20yearold
Indian American Sonika Vaid
Vaid sang Taylor performed Taylor Swift and The Civil Warss
Swift and The Civil
Safe & Sound for her solo on
Wars' Safe & Sound
American Idol. (Photo courtesy Fox)
for her solo, while for
her duet with season 13 winner the? Whats that sound? Your
Cale b Johnson, she covered voice is so good, Sonika, it just
Adeles Skyfall. Vaid impressed is. Jennifer Lopez, not icing
the celebrity panel to snatch a Vaids nerves, encouraged the
place in the top 14 live shows, young singer to loosen up.
Your voice is so beautiful, seri
which will be held in two weeks.
Sonika, I thought that was a ously. Choose songs that really
really good job in fact it was make you fee l something
one of the more emotional per instead of stuf f that just suits
formances Ive seen, said judge your voice, something that makes
Harry Connick Jr of Vaids solo your heart sing.
Vaids parents Anna and Ken
cover. Fellow judge Keith Urban
were shown on camera
quipped, I was making some
their daughter from the
notes and then you started
singing and I was like, What audience area.

AAPI convention to be held in NYC July 4 weekend

New York: AAPIs 34th annual convention
will be held at the Marriott Marquis, Time
Square in New York from June 30July 4,
2016, Dr. Seema Jain, President of AAPI,
announced during the curtain raiser event
held at the Indian Consulate here on
February 12.
We are expecting to have a record atten
dance of more than 2,000 de leg ates
including Physicians, Academicians,
Researchers and Medical students at the
convention. The annual convention offers
extensive academic presentations, recogni
tion of achievements and achievers, and
professional networking at the alumni and
evening social events, she added.
Ambassador Arun K. Singh, Indias envoy
to the US, inaugurated the curtain raiser
for the annual meet of the American
Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

Amb. Arun Singh releasing AAPIs 34th annual Convention Souvenir

at the consulate event in the presence of AAPI President
Dr Seema Jain and President Elect Dr Ajay Lodha.
(AAPI). He also praised the many contribu
tions of AAPI members in the US and back

home in India. Consul General

Dnyaneshwar Mulay said that physicians

of Indian origin are well known around the

world for their compassion, passion for
patient care, medical skills, research, and
leadership. The convention this year is
being organized by AAPIs New Jersey
chapter. Elaborating, Dr. Rita Ahuja,
Chairwoman of the convention, said. We
have been working hard to put together an
attractive program for our annual get
together, educational activity and family
AAPI is an umbrella organization which
has nearly 90 local chapters, specialty soci
eties and alumni organizations and repre
sents the interests of over 60,000 physi
cians and 25,000 medical students and
residents of Indian heritage in the United
States. New York based Dr Ajay Lodha is
AAPIs PresidentElect who will take over
the ofce at the convention.

February 20-26, 2016

Priyanka to make Hollywood

debut with 'Baywatch'
Los Angeles: Indian actress Priyanka Chopra is out
to put India on the global map again. She is on
board to play the villain in the upcoming
"Baywatch" movie, based on the hugely popular
1990s TV series, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson
announced via an online video.
"She's one of the biggest stars in the world... the
beautiful Priyanka Chopra, we lcome to
'Baywatch'," Johnson said in the video posted on
Instagram. He is seen in the frame with the former
beauty queen against seaside and excitement
seems to be at its peak.
Priyanka, who has found international populari
ty after playing the lead role in American show
"Quantico", shared on social media: "And it's time
to tell you all officially! Baywatch it is! Being bad is
what I do best!!! You better watch out!"
Her debut film in Bollywood, "Aitraaz", in fact
featured her in a negative role. In "Baywatch", she
will be seen essaying Victoria Leeds, said a report
by In an Instagram post to welcome
Priyanka, Johnson wrote: "She's one of the biggest
stars in the world. Insanely talented, relentlessly
smokin' and extremely dangerous perfect for

Quantico star Priyanka Chopra and Dwayne

'The Rock' Johnson made the announcement
via online video.
'Baywatch'. Welcome Priyanka Chopra to our bad
a** and incredibly dysfunctional family."
One of the most watched TV shows globally,
"Baywatch" was about the Los Angeles county life
guards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles,
California. It starred David Hasselhoff and Pamela
Anderson among others. Priyanka will begin
shooting for the movie version of the show with its
cast and crew next week.

Indian American missionary sued for funneling millions for personal use
Dallas, TX: Dallasbased Stanley Law
Deceptive Trade Practices Act, as
Group initiated a class action law
well as fraud and unjust enrich
suit a week ago in United States
District Court for the Western
Gospel for Asia is a global mis
District of Arkansas against Gospel
sionary organization that operates
for Asia, Inc. and several af filiates
in South Asia, primarily within
for fraudulently soliciting hundreds
India. GFA tells potential donors
of millions of dollars in charitable
that it supplies the "poorest of the
donations, and then misdirecting
poor" with food, provisions, and a
Gospel for Asia's
the money into the personal leader, KP Yohannan Christian message. Lead attorney
empire of Gospel for Asia's leader, (Courtesy of official Marc R. Stanley said, "K.P.
K.P. Yohannan. The lawsuit alleges
Yohannan and his Gospel for Asia
that Gospel for Asia, Yohannan, and
inner circle have been exploiting
other GFA officials misrepresented to donors the goo dw ill and generosity of devout
how, when, and where charitable donations Christians around the country for years.
would be spent, and funneled vast amounts Gospel for Asia should return all the money
of the hundreds of millions of dollars GFA has it's taken from donors who thought they
collected into forprofit businesses and an were contributing to charity." Yohannan is a
expensive headquarters. Plaintif fs Matthew Keralaborn Indian American missionary who
and Jennifer Dickson charge defendants with is now settled in DallasFort Worth
violat ions of RICO and the Arkansas Metroplex, Carrollton, TX.

Chairman and Co-Founder

Kamlesh C. Mehta

Associate Editors:
Hiral Dholakia-Dave

Co-Founder: Saroosh Gull

Contributing Editors: Meenakshi Iyer,

Nilima Madan, Melvin Durai,
Dr Prem Kumar Sharma, Ashok Vyas,
Dr Akshat Jain, Ashok Ojha

President: Arjit Mehta

JNU student leader held...
Continued from page 1
the Congress, Left and Delhi's ruling
Aam Aadmi Party which denounced
the government for "high handed
The BJP said workers from the All
India Students Federation (AISF) and
All India Students Association (AISA)
attacked its of fice in Patna during
their solidarity march, leaving several
people injured. The attackers were
carrying sticks and hurled stones and
water bottles, the party said.
Another clash was reported between
RSSaf filiate ABVP and the leftwing
SFI at the College of Science in
Rajasthans Udaipur city. Three SFI
leaders including its president
Saurabh Naroka were allegedly
attacked while they were distributing
pamphlets support ing Kanhaiya
The Uttarakhand BJP said it organ
ized rallies at its district headquarters
to sensitise people about the impor
tance of the countrys unity and
integrity in the wake of the JNU con
In Haryanas Yamunanagar, workers
from the ABVP took out a Tiranga
Yatra and raised nationalistic slogans.
Similar marches were also organized
in Ambala, Bhiwani, Hisar, Sirsa and

Now its
Continued from page 1
GOP presidential hopeful Donald
Trump would not be elected, knocking
his reality show past and penchant for
drawing media attention.
"I cont inue to be lieve that Mr
Trump will not be president. And the
reason is because I have a lot of faith
in the American people. And I think
they recognize that being president is
a serious job," he told reporters in
California earlier this week.
"It's not a matter of pandering and
doing whatever will get you in the
news on a given day. And sometimes
it requires you making hard decisions,
even when people don't like it,"
Obama continued.

He also noted the need to be "able to

work with leaders around the world in
a way that reflects the importance of
the office."
Trump punched back at a campaign
rally in Beaufort, South Carolina on
Tuesday evening. Said Trump about
Obama, He has done such a lousy job
as president. You look at our budgets,
we have a $19 trillion national debt.
We cant beat ISIS. Obamacare is terri
ble our borders are like sw iss
cheese. He has set us back so far [that]
for him to say that is a great compli

Sri Srinivasan mentioned...

Continued from page 1
replacements begins with Srinivasan,
said CNN noting that Obama would
likely try to find someone that at least
some Republicans in Congress might
find acceptable given that the opposi
tion party controls both chambers.
Obama first nominated Srinivasan
to the post in 2012, and the Senate
confirmed him, 970, in May 2013,
including votes in support from
Republican presidential contenders
Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
Srinivasan was Obama's principal
deputy solicitor general, most notably
working on the successful fig ht
against the Defense of Marriage Act.
Srinivasan also has experience on
the other side of the aisle, serving as
an assistant to the solicitor general
during the George W. Bush adminis
tration and as a clerk to Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor.
Meanwhile, Republican Senate
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
insisted the next administrat ion
should make the appointment.
But Democratic Senate Minority
Leader Harry Reid said "failing to fill
this vacancy would be a shameful
abdication of one of the Senate's most
essential Constitutional responsibili
ties." The succession battle comes at a
time when the Court is expected to
hear several cases with huge political
implications, including on abortion
and affirmative action.

Jaipur (India) Bureau

Prakash Bhandari

IANS Washington Bureau

Arun Kumar

Photographs: Gunjesh Desai/
Xitij Joshi/

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Art and Design: Vladimir Tomovski

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publication do not imply connection or endorsement of these businesses. All rights reserved.

February 20-26, 2016


Googles Sundar Pichai backs Apple over

cracking shooter's phone
Washington, DC: Google's IndianAmerican
chief executive Sundar Pichai sided with
rival Apple in its battle over a court order to
help the FBI access information on the
encrypted iPhone used by a Pakistani
American shooter in San Bernardino.
Pichai Wedenesday directed followers to
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's open let
ter Tuesday night arguing that helping the
FBI try to get into the phone used by Syed
Rizwan Farook would sabotage the security
of "tens of millions of American citizens."
Farook and his Pakistani origin wife,
Tashfeen Malik, gunned down 14 people at a
so cial services agency Dec 2 in San
Bernardino, California, before being killed in
a shootout with police.
FBI Director James Comey said last week
that investigators still haven't been able to
get at the information on Farook's iPhone
5c. A Riverside, California court Tuesday

directed Apple to help FBI crack the phone

by developing software to hack into one of
its own devices.
In a series of tweets Wednesday evening,
Pichai argued that even that would essen
tially put tech companies in the position of
hacking their own customers:
1/5 Important post by @tim_cook. Forcing
companies to enable hacking could compro
mise users' privacy.
2/5 We know that law enforcement and
intelligence agencies face significant chal
lenges in protecting the public against crime
and terrorism 3/5 We build secure products
to keep your information safe and we give
law enforcement access to data based on
valid legal orders 4/5 But that's wholly dif
ferent than requiring companies to enable
hacking of customer devices & data. Could
be a troubling precedent
5/5 Looking forward to a thoughtful and

Sundar Pichai
(Photo courtesy:


Washington,DC: Noting that the
biggest banks continue to pose a sig
nificant risk to the US economy, Indian
American top federal bank official Neel
Kashkari has called for breaking them
into smaller ones.
"I believe the biggest banks are still
too big to fail and continue to pose a
significant, ongoing risk to our econo
my," Neel Kashkari, 42, President of
the Federal Reserve Bank of
Minneapolis, said in his first major
public appearance after occupying the
top fed position recently.
Kashkari, who served in the Bush
administration as a top Treasury offi
cial at the time of the 2008 financial
crisis, said that enough time has
passed to understand causes of the cri
sis and it is still fresh in their memo
ries. "Now is the right time for
Congress to consider going further
than DoddFrank with bold, transfor
mational solutions to solve this prob
lem once and for all," Kashkari, the for
mer US Treasury of ficial who led the
2008 bailout program for the nation's
biggest banks, said in his remarks at
the Brookings Institute, a top US think
Kashkari, who lost the last election of
governor in California, said the policy

Neel Kashkari
(Photo courtesy:
makers must give serious considera
tion to a range of options including
breaking up large banks into smaller,
less connected, less important entities
as efforts to rein in the banks through
the 2010 DoddFrank law "did not go
far enough."
He suggested turning large banks
into public utilities by forcing them to
hold so much capital that they virtually
cannot fail (with regulation akin to that
of a nuclear power plant) and taxing
leverage throughout the financial sys
tem to reduce systemic risks wherever
they lie.
"Options such as these have been
mentioned before, but in my view, poli
cymakers and legislators have not yet
seriously considered the need to imple

ment them in the near term. They are

transformational, which can be unset
tling," Kashkari said.The financial sec
tor has lobbied hard to preserve its
current structure and thrown up end
less objections to fundamental change.
"The economy is stronger now and
the time has come to move past
parochial interests and solve this prob
lem. The risks of not doing so are just
too great," he said.
John Dearie, acting CEO of the
Financial Services Forum, said the
largest financial institutions are small
er and less complex with twice the cap
ital and triple the liquidity since
Kashkari left government to enter poli
tics. The Fed's stress tests show that
large financial institutions can with
stand a crisis far worse than 2008, and
the largest banks have 'living wills' to
guide an orderly winddown without
putting taxpayer money at risk, he
"Of the 10 largest global financial
institutions, only a few are USbased.
Breaking up the USbased global finan
cial institutions would ensure that one
of the US' most competitive global
industries serving companies small and
large is turned over to banks based
outside the US," Dearie said. (PTI)

open discussion on this important issue

The government, Cook contends, is asking
Apple to create a "backdoor" to its own secu
rity systems.
"Up to this point, we have done everything
that is both within our power and within the
law to help them," Cook wrote in a letter
published on the company's website.
"But now the US government has asked us
for something we simply do not have, and
something we consider too dangerous to
create." React ing to Cook's stand,
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald
Trump said he was floored that Apple had
not volunteered to aid the FBI. "Who do they
think they are?" he asked on Fox News.
Speaking to reporters in South Carolina,
Senator Marco Rubio said he hoped the tech
giant would voluntarily comply with the
government's request, but acknowledged the
court order is far from a simple issue.

Colorado state
honors life of

Houston: Lawmakers in the US state of Colorado have

unanimously adopted a joint resolution sponsored by an
IndianAmerican legislator to honor Mahatma Gandhi for
dedicating his whole life to fighting injustice through non
violence and peaceful resistance.
Colorado House of Representatives and the Colorado
Senate on Friday adopted the resolution prime sponsored
by Indian American Colorado State Representative Janak
Joshi, who is the first IndianAmerican legislator in the
Colorado General Assembly.
The resolution received the backing and coprime spon
sorship of State Representative Joann Ginal and most
members of the Colorado House of Representatives,
including the Speaker of the House Dickey Lee
Hullinghorst and was unanimously passed with bipartisan
Harish Parvathaneni, Consul General of India in Houston
termed the development as an important initiative and
said Gandhis message has far greater relevance today.
Harish said he was deeply humbled to see the numerous
ways in which the life, writings and political approaches of
Gandhi fundamentally motivated and changed people
around the world, including so many of the elected repre
sentatives of the State of Colorado.
The Colorado Senate also separately passed a similar
resolution at the sponsorship of State Senator Kent
Harish joined several members of the House of
Representatives, IndoAmerican members of the cabinet
and prominent leaders of the Indian American community
in reading the resolution. (PTI)

February 20-26, 2016


JFK and Hicksville middle schools teams

reach robotics competition final
Queens, NY: John F. Kennedy
Middle Schools Robot ic
Raccoons have advanced to the
nals in the FIRST LEGO
Robotics Competition. The team
comprising Sean Davis, Anav
Sandhala, Trisha Sandhala, Arav
Sandhala, Udithi Kothapali,
Markowitz, Alyssa Morturano,
Ryan Andersen and Seth Osman
has also received the judges
award for the overall combined
high scores at this years com
pet it ion he ld this past
Superbowl Sunday at Central
Islip High School. It is the sec
ond year in a row this team has
advanced from among 60 other
teams to qualify for the nals to
John F. Kennedy Middle Schools Robotic Raccoons
be he ld on Fe bruary 28 at has advanced to the FIRST LEGO Robotics Competition
Longwood High School.
This years tournament theme was called Comsewogue School Community, which is
Trash Trek. While the students attended being used to improve the recycling habits
several eld trips to Brookhaven Town, of the students at the middle school.
And of course, for the past several months
Maggio Sanitation, Covanta Energy Facility,
team worked on the construction and
and the Caithness energy generation plant,
of the LEGO robot to perform
they learned the ins and outs of trash to pre
to trash. More information
pare for their competition presentation. In
can be found at:
addition the team created an online survey
that analyzed the recycling habits of the

Hicksville Middle
Schools Meteorites
robotics created last
tremendous progress,
reaching the nals in
R o b o t i c s
Compet it ion. T he
South Asian dominat
ed team comprises:
Somya Mehta, Sejal
Thayavally, Viveka
Despite being a rookie team, Hicksville Middle Schools
Jain, Victor Lobo,
Meteorites has reached the FIRST LEGO Robotics Competition
Dylan Gaznabbi,
finals. Their mentor Shiv Chopra (right, front row)
Rohan Manjre kar,
is President of Hicksville High Schools robotics program.
Esha Singh, Aniket
Sonika and Jaskaran Kohli. Their coach is Trash Trek, the rookie team tried to solve
Catherine Temps, and mentor is the problem of microbeads, little plastic
Shiv Chopra, President of Hicksville balls that threaten the environment.
High Schools robotics program. Lauren Seeking help from professors and politi
Colwell and Michael Johnson are also cians, they were able to learn more about
the issue and nd solutions. And of
The Meteorites will meet JFK middle course, the team was regularly meeting
school and other teams in the nals to be for the past several months to build and
held on February 28 at Longwood High program the LEGO robot to perform tasks
re lating to trash as required by the
School, in Suffolk County, Long Island.
This years tournament theme being competition.

NYC to help illegal immigrant survivors of crime

New York: In a bid to provide
undocumented immigrant survivors
of crime and human trafcking, the
New York City last week announced
a new initiative to provide them
with services in court so that they
can have equal and just protection
under the law without fear of
deportation. The announcement by
Mayor Bill de Blasio and
Commissioner and Chair of the New
York City Commission on Human
Rights Carmelyn P. Malalis will also
help such illegal victims of crime
and human trafcking to remain in
the U.S. during investigation and
provide them a pathway to legal
permanent residence
Today, New York City announced
that it has expanded its capacity to
meet the needs of immigrant com
munities. U and T visas serve
undocumented immigrants who
have suffered abuse and encourage
them to report the crime regardless
of their immigration status. By pro
viding an additional avenue for


ment in investigations and prosecu

tions, and provides them with a
chance to legally work, integrate
into their communities and get on a
pathway to lawful permanent resi
dence. The T visa, which applies
only to undocumented immigrants
who have been trafcked into the
United States, allows victims to
remain in the U.S. for up to three
years to assist in the investigations
or prosecutions of trafcking
crimes, and also provides a pathway
to lawful permanent residence.
Certication by a law enforcement
agency is the rst step in the visa
process and applicants must submit
their certication to the United
States Citizenship and Immigration
Services for approval to receive a
visa. According to USCIS, crimes
that qualify for U visa certication
include rape, torture, trafcking,
incest, stalking, domestic violence,
sexual assault, abusive sexual con
tact, prostitution, extortion and sex
ual exploitation, among others.

Direct admission of students abroad (DASA) 2016

scheme of Ministry of Human

Deve lopment,
Government of India of fers
admission to foreign nationals/per
sons of Indian origin (PIOs)/non
resident Indians (NRIs) / Indian
nationals studying abroad for under

immigrants to report unlawful

activity, the Commission is creating
a more fostering environment for
immigrant communities, said
Mayors Ofce of Immigrant Affairs
Commissioner Nisha Agarwal.
Out of roughly 11.3 million
undocumented immigrants in the
United States, 535,000 call New
York City their home. Due to their
undocumented status, many immi
grants do not report crimes such as
domestic violence, sexual assault
and human trafcking for fear of
deportation. The U. S. Congress cre
ated both the U and T visas in 2000
as part of the Victims of Trafcking
and Violence Protection Act to
encourage undocumented immi
grants to come forward and report
crimes, and to aid law enforcement
in investigations and prosecutions
of criminal activity. T he U visa
allows undocumented immigrant
victims of crime to temporarily
remain in the U.S. for up to four
years while assisting law enforce

graduate engineering programs and

post graduate programs (M.Tech./
M.Arch./M.Plan./M.Des./MURP &
Central Universities, CFTIs and
other premier technical institutes of
India. Contact Details: Coordinator

DASA 2016, DASA Ofce, National

Institute of Technology Srinagar,
Hazratbal, Srinagar190 006,
Jammu & Kashmir, INDIA. Phone:
01942414167, Fax : 0194
2414178, Email:,

New York: An Indianori
gin eighthgrade student
has been honored in
Hartford for his efforts to
help underprivileged stu
dents in the US and
around the world with his
charity organization, a
media report said.
Ishaan Patel, founder of
Plant ing Pencils, was
recently honored by the
Organization during the
Republic Day celebration
in the legislative ofce
Ishaan Patel, founder of Planting Pencils
building in downtown
(Photo courtesy:
Hartford, the Bristol Press
reported on Monday. A son of tions, and works with other asso
immigrants from India, Patel ciations promoting social and
attends Kingswoo dOxford civic activities.
"The goals of our organization
School in West Hartford. He cre
ated his charity to improve are to let the values of our cul
access to education for under ture and heritage contribute to
served children around the the strength of America, and for
us to all be productive partici
The Milan association is com pants in the civic and social
posed of people from India living issues of the bigger community,"
in US. It is engaged in promoting said Suresh Sharma, president of
the traditional art and culture of Milan Cultural Organization.
Sharma and all the directors of
India in the US. It organizes and
participates in cultural events, the organization were impressed
setting up exhibitions of Indian by this teenager's efforts to tack
handicrafts in schools, colleges, le global education problems.
educational and cultural institu (IANS)


Ranvir Trehan named

Kennedy Center trustee
Washington, DC:
Kennedy Center is
President Barack
the busiest perform
Obama plans to
ing arts facility in
the US and annually
Trehan, an alumnus
hosts about 2,000
music, dance and
Inst itute
theater performanc
Technolog y and
es for audiences
Science in India, as
totaling nearly two
general trustee on
Board of the John F.
It also supports
Kennedy Center for
art ists in the cre
the Performing Arts
ation of new work
in the American
and serves as a
leader in arts educa
Ranvir Trehan
"These ne public
t ion. Trehan, who
(Photo courtesy:
servants bring a
came to the US in
depth of experience and tremendous 1964 after receiving a BS from BITS,
dedication to their important roles. I is chairman of the Trehan
look forward to working with them," Foundation, a philanthropic organiza
he said in announcing Trehan's tion he founded for giving primarily
appointment along with ve other for international development in
2003. It's focused on global poverty,
Dedicated to the memory of as well as a performing arts center
President John F. Kennedy, the and human services.

February 20-26, 2016

Real estate agent to embark

on world bike tour
New York: Raj Kohli, an
tricycles to nonprots dur
Indian American real estate
ing his tour. Some of the
agent in Tucson, Ariz., plans
causes Kohli is interested in
to embark on his second
supporting include environ
world bicycle tour beginning
mental issues, breast cancer,
mid2016. A continuation of
obesity, education, peace
his rst world bicycle tour
e f forts and clean water.
from 19811983, the two
Kohli, who was born in Uttar
andahalf year tour aims to
Pradesh, will end his tour
raise money for nonprots
w ith an extended trip in
around the world.
India lasting several months.
The theme of Kohlis sec
Son of a military ofcer,
Raj Kohli aims to raise
ond world bicycle tour, which
Kohli received his B.S. from
funds for nonprofits
will cover over 18,000 miles
St. Xaviers College, his law
(Photo courtesy:
and 25 countries starting in
deg ree
Europe and heading to Asia
University, his M.B.A. from
via the Middle East, is Live and Let Live. Arizona State University, and his Masters in
Kohli will ride a recumbent tricycle for six Finance from T hunderbird School of
to 10 hours per day. In addition to inviting International Management.
local people who support nonprots from
Sponsors of Kohlis world tour will receive
each country to ride with him for 20 or 30 tshirts, headbands and other gear featur
miles as part of his fundraising ef forts, ing his tour logo. Those who wish for more
Kohli plans to auction of f his bike at the information or are interested in sponsoring
end of each country ride. He is also working Kohli can contact him at
with a tricycle company to donate multiple or (520) 8919119.

Science & Technology: Proud contribution of Indians in the US

UTA scientist devises novel materials for solar fuel cells

New York: An Indianorig in
chemist from the University of
Texas at Arlington (UTA) has
developed new highperforming
materials for cells that harness
sunlight to split carbon dioxide
and water into useable fuels like
methanol and hydrogen g as.
These "green fuels" can be used to
power cars, home appliances or
even to store energy in batteries.
"Technologies that simultane
ously permit us to remove green
house gases like carbon dioxide
while harnessing and storing the
energy of sunlight as fuel are at
the forefront of current research,"
said Dr Krishnan Rajeshwar, dis
tinguished professor of chemistry

Dr Krishnan Rajeshwar. The new

material may improve the
safety, efficiency and costeffec
tiveness of solar fuel generation.
and biochemistry and cofounder
of the university's center of

renewable energy, science and

technology. "Our new material
could improve the safety, efcien
cy and costeffectiveness of solar
fuel generation which is not yet
economically viable," added
Rajeshwar, who earned his PhD in
chemistry from the Indian
Institute of Science in Bengaluru.
The new hybrid platform uses
ultralong carbon nanotube net
works with a homogeneous coat
ing of copper oxide nanocrystals.
It demonstrates both the high
electrical conductivity of carbon
nanotubes and the photocathode
qualities of copper oxide ef
ciently converting light into the
photocurrents needed for the pho

toe lectro chemical reduct ion

"Dr Rajeshwar's ongoing, global
leadership in research focused on
solar fuel generation forms part
of UTA's increasing fo cus on
renewable and sustainable ener
gy," said Morteza Khaledi, dean of
the UTA college of science.
Dr Rajeshwar's work is repre
sentative of the university's com
mitment to addressing critical
issues with global environmental
impact under the Strategic Plan
2020. "Creating inexpensive ways
to generate fuel from an unwant
ed gas like carbon dioxide would
be an enormous step forward for
us all," Khaledi added.

The new material also demon

strates much greater stability dur
ing longterm photoelectrolysis
than pure copper oxide which cor
rodes over time, forming metallic
The team is designing, building
and demonstrating a "microuidic
electrochemical reactor" to recov
er oxygen from carbon dioxide
extracted from cabin air.
The prototype will be built over
the next months at the center for
renewable energy science and
technology at UTA, said the nd
ings published in the journal
ChemElectroChem Europe and a
companion article in the Journal
of Materials Chemistry.

Engineer discovers ground breaking 2D semiconducting material

New York: A team led by an Indianorigin engineer
from the University of Utah has discovered a new kind
of 2D semiconducting material for electronics that
opens the door for much speedier computers and
smartphones that consume a lot less power.
The semiconductor, made of the elements tin and
oxygen or tin monoxide (SnO) by the associate profes
sor Ashutosh Tiwariled team is a layer of 2D material
only one atom thick, allowing electrical charges to
move through it much faster than conventional 3D
materials such as silicon.
T his material could be used in transistors, the
lifeblood of all electronic devices such as computer
processors and graphics processors in desktop com
puters and mobile devices.
Transistors and other components used in electronic
devices are currently made of 3D materials such as sili
con and consist of multiple layers on a glass substrate.
But the downside to 3D materials is that electrons

University of Utah associate professor Ashutosh Tiwari

holds up a substrate layered with a newly discovered 2D
material which promises to speed up our computers and
smartphones. (Photo courtesy:
bounce around inside the layers in all directions.
"The benefit of 2D materials is that the material is

made of one layer the thickness of just one or two

atoms. Consequently, the electrons can only move in
one layer so it's much faster," Tiwari said.
Transistors made with Tiwari's semiconducting
material could lead to computers and smartphones
that are over 100 times faster than regular devices.
"Because the electrons move through one layer
instead of bouncing around in a 3D material, there will
be less friction, meaning the processors will not get as
hot as normal computer chips," the authors noted.
They will also require much less power to run, a
boon for mobile electronics that have to run on battery
power. According to Tiwari, this could be especially
important for medical devices such as electronic
implants that will run longer on a single battery
charge. "The field is very hot right now and people are
very interested in it," Tiwari said, adding that in two or
three years, we should see at least some prototype

February 20-26, 2016


Man wins $3.1 mn in discrimination suit

Washington, DC: An Indianorigin man who

was among 47 immigrants denied recruit
ment as police of ficers for being foreign
born has won a $3.1 million discrimination
suit filed ag ainst the Chicago Police
Department, the media reported.
Masood Khan won $3.1 million in com
pensation, along with Glenford Flowers, a
Belizeborn man, as victims of the discrimi
natory hiring policy, reported T he
American Bazaar on Thursday.

Both men took part and passed the 2006

police exam. But their candidacy was
rejected because they had lived in the US
for less than 10 years. They filed charges of
discrimination, which were upheld by the
US Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission and referred to the Justice
Department. "Chicago, throug h CPD
(Chicago Police Department), has pursued
policies and practices that discriminate
against individuals born outside the US

because of their national origin and that

deprive or tend to deprive foreignborn
individuals of employment opportunities
because of their national origin," the law
suit stated. The Department of Justice also
sought back pay, interest on lost wages and
compensatory damages on behalf of Khan
and Flowers who applied to be police offi
cers but were re buf fed by the rule.
According to the complaint, more than 92
percent of the candidates that were reject

ed because of the rule were foreignborn,

while only eight percent of these had lived
in the country for more than 10 years.
T he Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission began the investigation into
the policy but was unable to reach a resolu
tion and the case was referred to the
Department of Justice in 2014.
T he Chicago City Council's Finance
Committee is expected to sign of f on the
$3.1 million settlement on Monday.

Masterchef fame Hetal Vasavada wants Anoushka Shankar loses

to make Gujarati food worldfamous Grammy to Angelique Kidjo
New Delhi: In the US, she is 'the
Indian girl from Masterchef '!
Indian American che f Hetal
Vasavada, who has been treating
her foreign friends on the reality
TV show with khichdi and coconut
curry soup, says food from her
native Gujarat also the home of
Indian Prime Minister Narendra
Modi is neglected in the west.
She hopes to bring the cuisine in
limelight in the most "traditional"
way. Vasavada, 28, who was one
of the top six finalists of the last
season of Star World show
"MasterChef US" said that most
people in the west think that
Gujarati food is all about dollops
of sugar. But she wants to dispel
the notion as she feels regional
cuisine is an answer to foreigners
who think Indian food is "heavy"
and "creamy." "I think Gujarati
food is neglected a lot, especially
in restaurants in the US. There are
south Indian restaurants with
dosa, and then there are Punjabi
restaurants. A lot of people think
that Gujarati food is just lots of
sugar... but it's not. It is definitely

Hetal Vasavada
(Photo: Twitter)
healthy and very tasty," says
Vasavada. There are other things
to Vasavada's stride be it being
the first Indian vegetarian to be a
part of the foreign show or be it
popularizing the somber Indian
khichdi. Now, she wants to do
more to widen the perception
about Indian food in the west.
Vasavada is happy about the
growing interest around Indian
food on foreign shores, as she
shares that now people are willing

to experiment beyond the butter

chicken and chicken tikka.
"I think a lot of people are ven
turing out and trying new food
and different versions. There are
two reasons why Indian food is
becoming famous because of
different spices, and because peo
ple are ready to try different food.
"W hen I was younger there
were not many ethnic restaurants
in America, but now Indian
restaurants are only 30 minutes
driving distance," she said.
Vasavada left behind the busi
ness world to pursue her dream in
the culinary world. She was a
business developer at a tech start
up and, post her "Masterchef US"
stint, is now treading the path of a
"food consultant."
"You get recognized at so many
places and people say 'Oh, you are
the Indian girl from Masterchef'.
Post the show, things have been
wonderful because I get to pursue
my passion as my career," said
Vasavada, who is pregnant with
her first child and hopes to pen a
cookery book post delivery.

Los Angeles: Acclaimed sitarist

Anoushka Shankar, who recently
presented at the 58th annual
Grammy Awards, said she had
"fun" being backstage with the peo
ple she admires.
"It was really fun being back
stage with people I admire and get
ting to be a part of what many call
the 'real' Grammys in the daytime,
where a truly global and diverse
group of artists are represented,"
said Anoushka.
Anoushka was also nominated
for an award in the Best World
Music Album category for her solo
album "Home" but she couldn't
grab the coveted trophy. This was
the fifth time that Anoushka was
nominated for the Grammy
Awards. She lost out to Beninese
singer Angelique Kidjo. "I teased
Angelique to stop beating me in
that category! She's an amazing
artist and woman and deserves
every win though," Anoushka
sportingly said about her defeat.
However, she praised Indo
British filmmaker Asif Kapadia for
winning Best Music Film award for

It was Anoushka Shankars fifth

Grammy nomination so far
"Amy", a documentary on the life of
late singer Amy Winehouse.
"Oh, without doubt he deserved
that win. 'Amy' is an incredible doc
umentary into the life of a unique
artist and the trials of an addict.
Recovery is something very close
to my heart for personal reasons
and therefore, the film impacted
me greatly," she said.
The daughter of late sitar player
Ravi Shankar said that she enjoyed
rapper Kendrick Lamar's perform
ance the most. Lamar won big with
five trophies for his album "To
Pimp a Butterfly." Anoushka, who
is ready with her new album "Land
of Gold", says she is going to tour
India later this year to promote it.

ATA gears up for grand silver jubilee conference in Chicago

New York: American Telugu Association
[ATA] the 25year old premier national
organization of Telugus in North America
is gearing up to unveil its Grand ATA
Conference to mark its silver jubilee on an
unprecedented scale to showcase the rich
enduring Telugu culture in the form of art,
music, dance, literary, religious, social,
economic, health forums from July 13rd
in Chicago at Rosemont Convent ion
Center in Rosemont, Illinois.
With the formation of over 70 important
committees served by 70 chairs and 100
CoChairs w ith over 200 Members
/Advisors and over 300 vendors all are
geared up to host this mammoth conven
tion. Several busloads of families from
many cities are expected to arrive in
Chicago this summer to join the unprece
dented gathering of Telugus at the con
vention. Joining this mammoth ef fort,
Telangana government has announced
that it will send a 15member cultural
troupe to augment the ATA festivities at
the convention. The main order of the

ATA Board Meeting with national, regional leaders, trustees and other officers held at Westin Hotel in Princeton, New Jersey
business in Princeton, New Jersey where
the regional teams met recently entailed
the election of K.K.Reddy as Conference
Director and Chandrasekhar Reddy Palvai
as Conference Convener; while Krishna
Mushyam and Jagan Bukaraju were elect
ed as Conference CoConveners all of
this front line team was unanimously cho
sen w ith acclamat ion. ATA Board of
Trustees also appointed a new Treasurer
Vinod Koduru and five new Trustees who

were administered oath immediately.

Mahidhar Musukula was appointed as
Office Coordinator.
Coordinator said the goal of the conven
tion is to promote literary, cultural, educa
tional, religious, social, economic, health
and community activities of the people of
Telugu origin.
Iftekhar Shareef, Reception Chair dis
closed the plans to rope in VIPs, digni

taries and elected officials both from India

and the United States to grace the conven
tion and added that some have already
expressed keen interest in attending.
Hanumanth Reddy, ATA Founder in his
statement said American Te lugu
Association will host the ATA Conference
in Chicago in a way to show the tri
umphant journey of ATA which earnestly
began in Chicago 25 years ago and today
it has grown exponentially.

February 20-26, 2016


Indian Americans back Sri Srinivasan

for Supreme Court
Open letter to the President by Attorney Ravi Batra

Why Srinivasan?

H.E. Barack Obama

President of the United States of America
Re: Nomineecandidate as successor to beloved Justice Nino Scalia

Dear President Obama,

The untimely demise of Mr. Justice Scalia is a grave loss to our Republic, as he, singlehandedly,
made us honor the Constitution as our collective Founding
Fathers originally intended. J. Scalia, of Sicilian ancestry,
was a great American and enhanced the American Dream
for all even if I didnt agree with him in every holding. But,
he was a Jewel in the Crown of Justice, and he will be sore
ly missed.
I write to applaud your honoring the Constitution, exactly
as J. Scalia ruled we all must, by stating that you will nomi
nate a successor. In addition, I write in support of certain
great Americans with immigrant roots like J. Scalia: USA
Preet Bharara, AG Kamala Harris and CJ Sri Srinivasan.
That Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has
announced that he will violate the Constitution this year,
while in February 1988 he voted in President Reagans last
year for J. Anthony Kennedy is an insult to J. Scalias cher
ished Originalist doctrine. While politics is a necessary vehicle for democracy to function, a blan
ket promise to breach the Oath by Leader McConnell is as appalling, as it is illegal.
Still, politics being politics, and Senate being in Republican control, this solitary fact aids in
tempering your choice of nominee and among the three I proudly mention only CJ Srinivasan
has been voted up 970 and the fact that he clerked for the revered Justice Sandra Day
OConnor and has, like myself, defended other nations sovereignty by preventing extraterritori
al jurisdiction of our courts, makes him a Centrist worthy of prompt Senate confirmation. Your
nomination will delight every IndianAmerican, including those serving in our military, and
indeed, 1.2 billion Indians, that America has finally seized the moment of destiny to join at the
legal hip two natural allies, under law a destiny that has been beckoning, by my thinking, since
Lord Charles Cornwallis lost these Colonies to General George Washington and upon landing in
Bombay decreed 5000 Indians men, women and children killed as he was going to rule with an
iron fist and not lose the Empires thencrown jewel India. That CJ Srinivasan will continue to
honor, in his reserved and nonactivist way, our cherished Constitution is a known fact. I urge
you to nominate CJ Srinivasan and make America stronger and J. Scalia proud. You have a patri
ots and a lawyers heartfelt thanks. The validation of an entire community incidentally results.

Ravi Batra

mong likely President Obama

picks, media outlets have men
tioned Sri Srinivasans name
prominently as Justice Antonin
Scalias replacement on the U.S.
Supreme Court. The Indian
American appeals court judge has
probusiness credentials and a stel
lar resume.
If he was nominated his back
ground may make it more politically
challenging for Republicans as they
plan to block anyone put forward by Obama.
Srinivasan, 48, has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit since he was confirmed on a 970 bipartisan vote in the
U.S. Senate in May 2013. Republican senators who supported him then
would likely be asked to justify why they couldn't back him for the
Supreme Court.

"I believe Judge Sri Srinivasan would

be a great addition to the Supreme Court
bench. His balanced sound decision mak
ing abilities and his deep sense of fair
ness, coupled with his high intellectual
ability make him a perfect candidate for
the job. Besides, its about time that an
Asian was appointed to the Supreme
Court bench. I would not like to specu
late on his chances of getting nominated
but if he were nominated, he would have
a good chance of getting confirmed
given his track record of getting con
firmed to the D.C. Circuit by 970."

Rajiv Khanna
President, IndiaAmerica Chamber of Commerce,
and Partner, BakerHostetler

Obama sets battle lines for Supreme Court nominee

Washington: Vowing to name an "indis
putably" qualified nominee to replace a con
servative Supreme Court judge who died sud
denly last Saturday, President Barack Obama
has asserted there was no bar on making
appointments in an election year.
"The Constitution is pretty clear about
what is supposed to happen now," he said at
a news conference in California Tuesday,
lashing out at Republicans who have threat
ened to block his choice for a replacement of
Justice Antonin Scalia.
The socalled strict interpretation of the
Constitution by which Republicans, including
presidential contenders, want the choice of
the ninth judge to be left to the next presi
dent is nowhere to be found, he said.
"I am amused when I hear people who
claim to be strict interpreters of the
Constitution suddenly reading into it a whole
series of provisions that are not there," he
said. "I am going to present somebody who
indisputably is qualified for the seat and any
fairminded person, even somebody who dis
agreed with my politics, would say would

Justice Antonin Scalia died last weekend,

leaving the US Supreme Court evenly split
among four liberal and four conservative
judges. Republican leaders have
threatened to block President Obamas
choice for a replacement, arguing the
appointment should be left to the next
President. (Photo courtesy AP)
serve with honour and integrity on the
court." He added: "Your job doesn't stop until
you are voted out or until your term expires."
Asked if he was going to choose a "moder
ate nominee" as speculated to win his confir

mation, Obama replied with a flat "No" to

"I don't know where you found that," he
said. You shouldn't assume anything about
the qualifications of the nominee other than
they're going to be wellqualified."
Amid the escalating Supreme Court nomi
nation battle, the Republican chairman of the
Senate Judiciary Committee, Charles
Grassley, appeared to break ranks with the
party. "I would wait until the nominee is
made before I would make any decisions" on
hearings, he said. Still, Republicans have kept
Obama from filling all but one of the vacan
cies on the 12 regional federal courts of
appeal. Later in the day Grassley said he's
"concerned about balance" on the court
which with the death of Scalia is evenly split
among four liberal and four conservative
judges. Analysts suggested that president
could decide to find the candidate he
believes has the most stellar legal qualifica
tions and thus increase political pressure on
Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch
McConnell for a vote.

But given that his pick is unlikely to even

have confirmation hearings, Obama could
chose to nominate a "sacrificial lamb" who
would delight the Democratic Party's liberal
base voters and motivate a high turnout in
November's election, CNN said.
Among likely Obama picks, media outlets
have mentioned two IndianAmericans Sri
Srinivasan and Kamala Harris.
Chandigarhborn Srikanth was confirmed
in 2013 by a 970 Senate vote as a judge on
the Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia Circuit.
Harris, daughter of an Indian mother and a
Jamaican father, is currently California's
attorney general and also running for the US
Senate this year.
However, Harris, 51, on Tuesday during a
campaign event in San Jose said that while
she is flattered to have her name mentioned,
she has no interest focused as she is on her
current job and her campaign.
If nominated, either would be the first
IndianAmerican in line for the Supreme


February 20-26, 2016

Ted Cruz overtakes

Trump nationally for
first time in new poll

Washington: Support
since midJanuary.
for Donald Trump
Among registered vot
among Republicans
ers who said they
has declined in the
would participate in a
past month, leaving
GOP primary, he drew
him slightly behind
26% in the new survey,
Sen. Ted Cruz in the
narrowly trailing Cruz,
The Texas Senator
race for GOP presiden
who had 28%. T he
may be more
tial nominee, according acceptable to GOP decline in support for
to a new Wall Street establishment than Trump comes after
Journal/NBC News poll
four other GOP candi
conducted after a com
dates have dropped
bative debate performance that out of the race, a winnowing of the
soured some voters on the New field that has benefited his remain
York businessman.
ing rivals. The poll also shows that
Trump had enjoyed a double if the primary came down to a
digit lead over his rivals, but the headtohead choice, both Cruz
new poll found support for him and Sen. Marco Rubio could beat
falling by seven percentage points Trump by doubledigit margins.


Americans too 'sensible' to

elect Donald Trump: Obama
California: US President Barack
Obama hammered home his belief
that Republican White House hope
ful Donald Trump would not be
elected, knocking his reality show
past and penchant for drawing
media attention.
Obama did not limit his criticism
to the billionaire real estate tycoon,
hitting out at "troubling" statements
from the entire GOP field of candi
dates seeking to replace him.
But he reserved his toughest
remarks for Trump, of fering a
scathing assessment of why he
thinks the American people will not
elect him.
"I continue to believe that Mr
Trump will not be president. And
the reason is because I have a lot of
faith in the American people. And I
think they recognize that being

president is a serious job," he told

reporters in California yesterday.
"It's not hosting a talk show or a
reality show. It's not promotion. It's
not marketing. It's hard," he said on
the sidelines of a summit with lead
ers and representatives of 10
Southeast Asian nations.
"It's not a matter of pandering
and doing whatever will get you in
the news on a given day. And some
times it requires you making hard
decisions, even when people don't
like it," Obama continued.
He also noted the need to be "able
to work with leaders around the
world in a way that reflects the
importance of the office."
"During primaries, people vent
and they express themse lves,"
Obama said, alluding to Trump's
brash, takenoprisoners style.

"Oftentimes it's reported just like

entertainment, but as you get clos
er, the reality has a way of intrud
"The American people are pretty
sensible. And I think they'll make a
sensible choice in the end," he con
Obama, whose successor will be
chosen on November 8, insisted
that Trump was not alone in
expressing unsettling proposals on
the Republican campaign trail.
"He may up the ante in anti
Muslim sentiment, but if you look at
what the other Republican candi
dates have said, that's pretty trou
bling, too," he said.
"T hey're all denying climate
change. I think that's troubling to
the international community," he


By Saeed Naqvi

Sanders clash in the US pres
idential elections could be
God's Gift to political cinema. Some
outlines for a script come to mind:
Clarence Darrow versus William
Jennings Bryan, on two sides of
the famous Monkey Trial in
Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925.
Or the epic battle between Ed
Murrow of CBS News and Senator
ant i
Communist witch hunt.
One can pack Trump's ant i
Muslim, antiHispanic invective in
the script. But where is Sanders in
all of this?
I suspect, the DarrowBryan con
test will work better. The scene is
set in the criminal court of
Tennessee. On trial is a substitute
High School teacher, John Scopes,
for violating the Tennessee Act
which prohibits teaching human
evolution as enunciated by Darwin.
T he result was the classical
FundamentalistModernist clash
focused on whether or not any
reality exists outside the Bible.
In a country where evangelicals
const itute 40 percent of
Republican voters, a debate on
Homo sapiens evolving from apes
may yet raise a storm in pockets
even today.
William Jennings Bryan, who felt
that a study of human evolution
was anti Christian, actually con
tested the presidential race on
three occasions. He was Woodrow
Wilson's Secretary of State, later
humiliated by the famous Defence
Attorney Clarence Darrow. Bryan
and Trump come from an abiding

tradition of antiintellectualism.
Darrow and Murrow represented
the streak in American liberal
decency which makes Sanders'
campaign for the Democratic nom
ination so compelling.
The world changed when the
West, led by the US, interpreted
the collapse of the Soviet Union
not as a victory for freedoms but
as the triumph of the Market, of
rampaging capitalism.
Nation states, more petrified
than elated, allowed themselves to
be stitched together as two party
systems, beholden to corporate
and global finance. Within a short
span, every electoral democracy
gave out a foul stench of crony
Establishments across the board
had lulled themselves into compla
cency. T he g lobal media,
Murdochized, would manage pub
lic opinion in their favour. This
turned out to be a de lusion.
Murdoch today is a bad name in
serious media circles.
Remember how new media tech
nologies were being developed in
Washington to create colour revo
lutions orange, rose, cedar
bypassing local controls. Soon,
advanced models of these tech
nologies were available with every
West Asian terrorist g roup.
Lightening spread of the Internet
has opened up a plethora of the
new parallel media, more credible
than mainstream informat ion
Not just electoral democracies
but all other systems of govern

ment are now under scrutiny by

the people. The result is that two
party systems in democracies are
being challenged. People are plac
ing question marks on other forms
of government too.
W hen the Tunisian vendor
Mohamed Bouazizi ignited the
Arab Spring by setting himself on
fire in December 2010, ordinary
people began to occupy center
stage for the first time in dictator
ships. The late King Abdullah of
Saudi Arabia sensed this settle
ment at the grassroots. He rained
$135 billion on his people.
Then, step by step, the Syrian
and Yemeni theatres were opened
up to externalize internal
upheavals. Today, the Saudis are
riding two tigers from neither of
which can they dismount.
In India the electorate demon
strated its autonomy from the two
party strait jacket by delivering 67
out of 70 seats in the Delhi state
assembly to a barely twoyearold
party called AAP.
Joko Widodo in Indonesia, Pablo
Iglesias in Spain, Alexis Tsipras in

Greece, Antonio Costa in Portugal,

Justin Trudeau in Canada, all new
comers, represent a wholesale
rejection of new economic policies
bringing corruption and economic
disparities in their wake. Jeremy
Corbyn as the new leader of the
British Labour party, and series of
electoral verdicts in Nordic and
East European counties are also a
manifestat ion of disgust w ith
This global trend would tend to
suggest that Bernie Sanders, self
avowed Socialist, is not a rank out
sider any more. But his popularity
among young voters is pitted
against the powerful establish
ments behind Hillary Clinton. And
establishments are at this stage
being corroded, not exactly top
pled. But the process of toppling
them is seriously underway.
Hillary has been First Lady for
two terms, Senator and Secretary
of State. Does her performance as
Secretary of State commend her as
President? Under her watch,
Ambassador Christopher Stevens
was brutally killed in the US mis

sion in Benghazi.
There she was announcing to the
media "I came, I saw and he died".
She was talking of Qaddafi's death.
This alongside footage of Qaddafi
sodomised by a knife.
The next memorable image of
Hillary concerns her management
of the Syrian crisis. "Get out of the
way, Assad," she proclaims with an
imperious wave of the hand. And
Assad is nowhere close to bowing
out. If voters persist with their
quest for the novel, how is Hillary
Clinton a repository of any novel
ty? And yet, the celebrated intel
lectual, Noam Chomsky, is proba
bly right.
"Bernie Sanders is a decent hon
est New Dealer." A "New Dealer",
Chomsky explains, is "someone
who is far out to the left of the
field." Chomsky spots the conflict
between the people and establish
ments doggedly fighting to stay
Sanders is unlikely to make it to
the White House in the system of
"Bought Elections", Chomsky says.
How then has he come this far?
How does Chomsky explain
Trump's popularity? "It is a reflec
tion of depression, hopelessness,
concern that everything is lost."
Trump's propagandist strategy is
in line with a history of directing
anger "on straw men such as immi
g rants, we lfare cheats, trade
unions and all kinds of people who
you think are getting everything
you are not getting".
(A senior commentator on politi
cal and diplomatic affairs, Saeed
Naqvi can be reached on saeed
Source : IANS


February 20-26, 2016



Lawyers rough up journalists
during the hearing on sedition
charges against JNUSU
president Kanhaiya Kumar for
shouting anti-India slogans
at a meeting at the JNU; Kumar
sent to 14-day judicial custody
New Delhi: The JNU student leader
Kanhaiya Kumar, arrested for sedi
tion, was sent to judicial custody
till March 2 while the Supreme
Court made De lhi Police
Commissioner B.S. Bassi personal
ly responsible for his safety after
being told that he was "badly beat
en up" while being brought to
court premises.
Several journalists were again
beaten up by a section of lawyers
at the Patiala House Court much
like what happened earlier this
week before Kanhaiya Kumar
was brought there.
With another day of scuffles at
the Patiala House court, Delhi
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
said the law and order situation in
the national capital was "fast dete
riorating" and the Communist
Party of IndiaMarxist demanded
Bassi's removal following the
"assault" on Kanhaiya Kumar.
Bassi, however, maintained that
the JNU student was not beaten
As the controversy over JNU
Communications and Information
Technology Minister Ravi Shankar
Prasad said the country was eager
to hear "eloquent, powerful and
constructive alternative voice"
from the university.
Metropolitan Magistrate Lovleen
sent Kanhaiya Kumar to judicial

Lawyers wave tricolour at Patiala House Courts in New Delhi.

custody after Delhi Police said it
did not need the Jawaharlal Nehru
University Students Union
(JNUSU) president any more for
The court directed Delhi Police,
who will escort him to the jail
from the court, and the superin
tendent of the Tihar jail to ensure
his safety. Kanhaiya Kumar told
the court that he was attacked by
a group of people wearing black
robes while he was being escorted
by police to the court room. The
le ft ist All India Students
Federat ion (AISF) leader was
arrested on February 12 on after
antiIndia slogans were raised at
an event held at the JNU campus
on February 9 to commemorate
the execution of parliament attack
convict Afzal Guru.
Kanhaiya Kumar, in a statement
leaked to the media, appealed to
students to maintain calm and said
he does not support antinational
act ivity. He condemned the

February 9 event at the JNU and

said those who shouted the
allegedly antinational slogans
included "some people from JNU
and a section of outsiders".
Ten student organisations owing
allegiance to dif ferent political
parties on Wednesday pledged
support to him while Amnesty
International sought his immedi
ate release.
Meanwhile, with the scuf fle at
the court and the assault on him
reached the apex court where a
bench of Justice J.Chelameswar
and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre
said it will be the Delhi Police
chief's personal responsibility to
ensure his safety as well as those
attending the court proceedings.
The court adjourned the hearing
t ill 2 p.m. so that a team of
lawyers, comprising Kapil Sibal,
Rajeev Dhawan, Dushyant Dave,
Ajit Sinha, A.G.N. Rao and Harin
Rawal, and could and assess the
situation in the Patiala House

Arvind Kejriwal blames Modi

government for court violence
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal
blamed the central government for the violence that
took place in the Patiala House Courts complex here
on two days.
Kejriwal told the media after meeting President
Pranab Mukherjee that Delhi Police would not have
remained mute spectators during the violence in the
court if they were not directed to do so.
This means the central government to which
Delhi Police report as their administrative authority
was to blame for what happened in the court on
Monday and Wednesday, he said.
T he Aam Aadmi Party leader added that the
attacks on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) stu
dents and journalists by a section of lawyers within
the court premises on Monday and Wednesday were
a "challenge" to the Supreme Court's authority.
"The Delhi police is a uniformed force... If its mas
ter says don't do anything, they won't do anything. If
the master tells them to shoot, they will shoot,"
Kejriwal said, adding: "Their master is central gov
ernment... this is the dictatorship of the prime minis
ter (Narendra Modi)."

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. (Photo: IANS)

"We raised these issues with the President. Who
will decide who is antinational?" he asked.
Kejriwal also asked why the police have been
unable to arrest those who raised the "antinational
"They cannot catch the boys who shouted slogans,
shame on such a police force," he said.

Policemen take away NSUI activists demonstrating in support of JNU

student leader Kanhaiya Kumar. (Photos: IANS)
court complex.
The team said they witnessed an
"unprecedented" situation with an
atmosphere of "fear and terroris
ing people" and Dhawan told the
court that the "collective view of
the team is that police did not do
their job".
He told the court they were not
only abused in the filthiest lan
guage but were described as
Pakistani agents.
The court gave Delhi Police till
Friday morning to submit its
report and directed the next hear
ing of the matter on Monday.
Earlier, several journalists were
beaten up by a section of lawyers
at the Patiala House Court. Among
the journalists who were assaulted
were a Firstpost photographer and
reporter each as well as a journal
ist from Network 18.
Two groups of lawyers one
opposed to Kanhaiya Kumar and
another supporting his legal rights
earlier got into a scuffle in the

court in the heart of the capital.

The lawyers who attacked the
journalists were noisily protesting
against JNU students who alleged
ly raised antiIndia slogans a week
T he journalists alleged that
police personnel present in the
court refused to come to their
On Monday, many journalists
including an IANS reporter, were
beaten up by the same group of
lawyers in the court.
Bassi however told reporters
that Kanhaiya Kumar was not
beaten up during his appearance
in Patiala House court complex
here but was only jostled around.
He said police have issued sum
mons to three people, including
Vikram Singh Chauhan, one of the
lawyers captured on video in the
court violence on Monday. BJP
legislator O.P. Sharma, who had
been filmed attacking a CP I
activist, had also been summoned.

Posters in Jadavpur demand

freedom for Kashmir
Kolkata: A day after proAfzal Guru
slogans were heard in the presti
gious Jadavpur University, its cam
pus was on the boil as posters "seek
ing independence" for Kashmir and
demanding 'freedom' for Manipur
and Nagaland were put up by some
students, and subsequently torn by a
rival group shouting "Bharat Mata ki
jai".Vice chancellor Suranjan Das dis
missed slogans eulogising parlia
ment attack mastermind Afzal Guru
Aas the handiwork of "fringe ele
ments" and ruled out any action
including calling in the police.
However, police said the matter was
being "thoroughly investigated". The
posters appearing on Wednesday
morning were purportedly put up by
a group which called itself "Radical".
"Hum kya chahe, Azadi/Kashmir ki
Azadi/Manipur ki Azadi/Nagaland ki
Azadi" (We demand independence/
Kashmir's independence/Manipur's

independence/Nagaland's independ
ence), said one poster. Another
empathised with Afzal Guru and
1993 Mumbai serial blasts convict
Yakub Memon, both of whom have
been hanged.
"If the Gujarat mass murderers,
those who hanged Afzal Guru and
Yakub Memon are patriots, and if the
students of Kashmir seeking inde
pendence are antinationals, then we
are all antinationals."
A third poster referred to a quota
tion of Mao Tse Tung and declared:
"We are in favour of freedom fo all
oppressed people." Some of the stu
dents took out a rally denouncing the
"fascist" Narendra Modi government
and decrying the arrest of Jawaharlal
Nehru University Students' Union
president Kanhaiya Kumar and the
atrocities "brought down" on JNU
students by the BJP and other arms
of the "Sangh parivar".


February 20-26, 2016



New Delhi: The BJP won four seats
and the Congress two as the ruling
NDA bettered the opposition in by
elections for 12 seats held across
eight states three days ago. Uttar
Pradesh's ruling Samajwadi Party
(SP) was the worst sufferer.
T he SP lost two of the three
seats it held in Uttar Pradesh one
each to the Cong ress and the
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The
BJP also snatched two seats from
the Congress one each in Madhya
Pradesh and Karnataka. The BJP
was the winner in Maihar (Madhya
Pradesh), Muzaf farnagar (Uttar
Pradesh) and in He bbal and
Devadurga in Karnataka.
The Congress grabbed Bidar in
Karnataka and Deoband in Uttar
Bihar's Harlakhi seat was
retained by the Rashtriya Lok
Samata Party (RLSP). The Shiv
Sena won from Palg har in
Maharashtra, the ruling TRS
crushed the Cong ress in
Narayankhed in Telangana and the
CP IM won from Amarpur in
Tripura again with the BJP taking
the second spot.
Punjab's Kharoor Sahib con
stituency went the Shiromani Akali
Dal way in an election boycotted
by both the Congress and the Aam

The BJP was the winner in Maihar (Madhya Pradesh), Muzaffarnagar

(Uttar Pradesh) and in Hebbal and Devadurga in Karnataka. (Photo: IANS)
Aadmi Party (AAP), the state's new
In BJPruled Madhya Pradesh,
Narayan Tripathi snatched the
Maihar constituency from the
Congress by over 27,000 votes.
Tripathi had won the seat for the
Congress earlier. He quit the house
after joining the BJP.
Uttar Pradesh proved a shocker
to the SP.
BJP's Kapil Dev Agarwal was
e lected
Muzaf farnagar, where communal
riots took place in 2013. He
defeated Chittaranjan Swaroop of

the SP by about 6,000 votes.

Congress's Mavia Ali worsted
Meena Rana of SP in Deoband by
3,424 votes. Both Muzaf farnagar
and Deoband seats were held by
the SP, which faces assembly elec
tions in the state next year.
The SP's consolation came in
Bikapur in Faizabad district. It
retained the seat, the winner being
Anand Sen Yadav.
BJP's Y.A. Narayanaswamy won
from the highprofile Hebbal in
Bengaluru North, defeating C.K.
Abdul Rahman Sharief (Congress)
by 19,149 votes. The loser is the

grandson of former union minister

C.K. Jaffer Sharief.
In the reserved Devadurga con
stituency in Raichur district, BJP's
K. Shivana Gouda Nayak won by
16,871 votes over A. Rajashekhara
Nayak of the Congress.
In Bidar, Cong ress nominee
Rahim Khan finished on top,
defeating Prakash Khandre of the
BJP by 22,721 votes. In all three
places, the Janata DalSecular was
a poor third.
In Bihar, the RLSP's Sudhansu
Sekhar was declared elected from
Harlakhi, defeating Congress can
didate Mohammad Shabbir by over
18,000 votes.
The election was necessitated by
the death of RLSP legislator Basant
Kumar Kushwaha a few hours
ahead of the oathtaking ceremony
of the new Bihar assembly in
November 2015. Sudhansu Sekhar
is Kushwaha's son.
T he bye lect ion in Punjab's
Khadoor Sahib, boycotted by the
Cong ress and the AAP, was
grabbed by the ruling Shiromani
Akali Dal's Ravinder Sing h
Brahmpura. He worsted his near
est rival, an independent, by
65,664 votes.
Punjab Chief Minister Parkash
Singh Badal called it a "massive

Haryana doubles job quota,

deadlock remains

Chandigarh: Even as a meeting

between Jat leaders and Haryana
Chie f Minister Manohar Lal
Khattar failed to break the dead
lock on the reservation issue this
week, the state announced dou
bling of the quota for the EBC
Khattar said the reservation
quota in government jobs and
admissions in educational insti
tutions for the Economically
Backward Classes (EBC) in
Haryana will be increased to 20
percent from 10 percent.
T he Jat leaders meanwhile
refused to call off their agitation
that has severely affected life in
Rohtak and other districts due to
blockade by agitating community
T he chie f minister also
announced an increase in the
annual income ceiling for avail
ing quota from Rs.2.5 lakh to
Rs.6 lakh so that maximum peo
ple could avail of benefits under
this category.
T he
ag itat ing
Wednesday continued their road
and rail blockades at various
places in Haryana even as some

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar addresses during a CII

programme in New Delhi. (Photo: IANS)
of their leaders arrived here for
parleys with the chief minister.
People in Rohtak, Sonipat,
Hisar, Bhiwani and Jhajjar dis
tricts were the worst suf ferers
due to the blockade. It was the
fourth day of their agitation in
Paramilitary forces have been
deployed in and around Rohtak
and other af fected districts to
ensure that the situation does
not get out of hand. The Haryana

government on Tuesday sought

addit ional forces from the
People in districts in neigh
bouring Punjab and adjoining
Haryana are also facing prob
lems due to cancellation or diver
sion of trains and blockade of
roads.T houg h the increased
quota is supposed to benefit the
Jat community also, some Jat
leaders did not seem satisfied
with the decision.

"This is not what we had come

to discuss. The government has
not accepted our demand for
reservation," one of the Jat lead
ers said after the meeting with
Khattar here. However, Khattar,
in a statement later, claimed "a
broad consensus was reached
between the government and the
Jat leaders over the reservation
He announced that a commit
tee under the chairmanship of
the chief secretary to study all
aspects of reservation for Special
Backward Classes and to suggest
the best way forward will submit
its report before the coming
budget session of the Haryana
Khattar said the committee will
consider all suggestions, includ
ing bringing in an appropriate
bill in this regard.
Meanwhile, of ficials said at
least 25 trains were cancelled in
Ambala and Ferozepur railway
divisions due to the blockade at
various places like Rohtak,
Sampla and Jhajjar. At least 20
other trains were diverted
through different routes.

victory of positive agenda of peace,

communal harmony, brotherhood
and development".
The Congress was stunned in
Telangana, M. Bhupal Reddy of the
ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi
(TRS) defeated P. Sanjeeva Reddy
of the Congress by over 53,000
Bhupal Reddy polled 93,076
votes and Sanjeeva Reddy 39,451
votes. M. Vijayapal Reddy of the
Telugu Desam Party (TDP) finished
third with 14,787 votes.
Tripura's ruling Communist
Party of IndiaMarxist retained by
a huge margin the Amarpur seat,
where the BJP edged out the
Congress to take the second spot,
indicating the marginalization of
the Congress in the state.
CPIM's Parimal Debnath defeat
ed BJP's Ranjit Das by 10,597
votes. The CPIM polled 20,355
votes and the BJP 9,758 votes. The
Congress's Chanchal Dey got only
1,231 votes, and stood fourth.
The Indigenous People's Front of
Tripura took the third place with
1,623 votes.
Also on Tuesday, BJP's Ashu
Verma won the mayoral byelec
tion in Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh.
He defeated Samajwadi Party's
Sudan Rawal by 45,228 votes.

'Make in India'
gets Rs.15 lakh
crore investment
Mumbai: India's biggest manu
facturing promotional till date
at home the Make in India
Week concluded here with
investment commitments of
over Rs.15 lakh crore ($220
billion), the organisers said.
"T he numbers are in. INR
15,20,000 Cr investment
#MakeInIndia Wee k," the
event's main organiser, the
union Department Of Industrial
Policy and Promotion (DIPP)
tweeted. "INR 1,05,000 crore
of business enquirers generat
ed during #MakeInIndia
Week," another tweet said.
Enumerating the scale of the
event, a separate tweet said:
"8,90,000 visitors
8,245 B2B, B2G and G2G
meetings 1,245 national and
international speakers 215
exhibitors 102 nations.:
Addressing the event's clos
ing ceremony, DIPP Secretary
"Maharashtra w ill become
gateway of India", testifying to
the success of the event held in
the state capital.

February 20-26, 2016




Jammu/Srinagar: Has Peoples
Democratic Party (PDP) president
Mehbooba Mufti finally decided
not to claim power in Jammu and
Kashmir and thereby call off the
alliance with the Bharatiya Janata
Party (BJP) without a formal
announcement? Recent develop
ments suggest she may have.
On Sunday, the Muftis observed
the 40thday mourning of late
state chie f minister, Muft i
Muhammad Sayeed. Mehbooba
Mufti went with only members of
her immediate family to the Dara
Shikoh Park in south Kashmir
Bijbehara town to of fer 'Fateha'
prayers at her father's grave.
All senior leaders of the PDP
were conspicuous by their
absence during her visit to
Bijbehara. Instead, senior leaders
and former ministers went to
of fer 'Fateha' prayers at 11 a.m.
while the Muft i family had
already returned to their resi
dence in Srinagar city.
Sources said Mehbooba Mufti
has virtually been out of commu
nication with party's senior lead
ers recently.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti.

(Photo: IANS)
When BJP state president, Sat
Pal Sharma and former deputy
chie f minister, Nirmal Sing h
called on Mehbooba Mufti on
Sunday in Srinagar, insiders said,
she simply refused to be drawn
into any discussion regarding
government formation in the

"She has not been meeting sen

ior colleagues of her party during
the recent days. What is in her
mind is anybody's guess, but in all
likelihood it appears she does not
want to head the alliance govern
ment with the BJP who have so
far failed to offer any assurances
to her on future arrangement

between the two parties", said a

PDP source believed to be close to
Mehbooba Mufti.
The source said most former
ministers and legislators both
from the PDP and the BJP are in
favour of an early government
formation in the state while Ms
Mufti seems to be worried more
about the future.
"She does not want to lose
tomorrow for today. For many
leaders in the party, it is a now or
never situation. They might never
get another chance to become
ministers in the state, but she has
a long political career ahead," said
another PDP insider.
He said she could not be pushed
into taking a decision that would
barter away the future of her
party for power. "She seriously
believes her father was given a
raw deal. The promises made to
people remained unfulfilled by
that centre that did not move
beyond words during Muft i
Sahib's tenure", he added.
The same source said the BJP
had not been disclosing its cards
clearly after Sayeed's death.

A BJP source said the party high

command is in no hurry to suc
cumb to what these sources call,
'PDP brinkmanship'.
"We cannot be pushed into any
thing because an elected govern
ment is not in place in the state.
Our assurances are already there
and mutual trust between the two
allies means the PDP must
respect and believe our word", the
source said. He also confirmed
that state BJP leaders had been
advised by the party high com
mand not to make any speculative
statements on government forma
tion in the state.
"It will happen when it has to",
said a senior BJP leader declining
to be named.
Given the gradual entrenching
of the PDP and the BJP in their
stated barriers, the moot point is,
even if a government is formed by
the two parties how viable and
lasting would that be?
The measured silence by both
the parties indicates the alliance
could be over in Jammu &
Kashmir before its divorce is for
mally announced.

World's cheapest 'made in India'

smartphone launched at $4'

New Delhi: Taking the world by surprise

with the world's cheapest smartphone, a
little known Noidabased startup
launched a Rs.251 (less than $4) "Made
in India" smartphone that if works well
will be a game changer.
In what could be termed as a fillip to
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make
in India" and "Digital India" initiatives,
"Freedom 251" from Ringing Bells Pvt
Ltd will be available for preorder on the
company we bsite from 6 a.m. on
February 18 till 8 p.m. on February 21.
T he smartphone was unveiled at
Nehru Park here by veteran Bharatiya
Janata Party leader Murli Manohar
According to the company, the Rs 251 "Freedom
251" smartphone has been developed "with
"It is a great news for people like fish
immense support" from the government.
ermen, farmers and women from rural
(File photo)
areas who can use this technology to
"'Freedom 251' heralds a new era in the
empower their lives. I hope the smartphone
will soon have some apps for the different mobile handset and telecom industry from
the end consumer perspective in India.
lyabled too," Joshi told the gathering.
Although there are still some apprehen Farmers would have access to real time
sions about its final appearance and per weather forecast and soil conditions which
formance, if the IndiansAmasses accept the will help them enhance their productivity
smartphone, then it will be a winner in a and income," Ringing Bells president Ashok
country that is one of the fastest growing Chadha said in a statement.
"Women would have easy access to police
smartphone markets globally and is poised
to overtake the US as the secondlargest apps and senior citizens would have access
to medical facilities," he added.
market in next few years.
"Freedom 251" has a Android 5.1 operat
According to the company, "Freedom 251"
system, a 4inch qHD IPS display, a 3.2
smartphone has been developed "with
megapixel primary and a 0.3megapixel
immense support" from the government.

front camera.
The device has 3G connectivity and has
a 1.3GHz quadcore processor, 1GB RAM
and 8GB internal memory and supports
external memory cards of up to 32GB.
To power "Freedom 251", the company
has put a 1,450mAh battery and claims to
have a service network of 650 centres
across India. The smartphone comes with
preinstalled apps like Swachh Bharat,
Women Safety, WhatsApp, Facebook and
Twitter, among others. The deliveries for
India's most af fordable smartphone will
be completed by June 30, the company
said in a statement.
According to the phone's of ficial web
site, the company aims to "empower citi
zens, even in the remotest rural and semi
urban centres of India, with the latest in
digital technology at incredible affordable
prices and cascade knowledge, news and
current issues so that all experience the
confidence of inclusive growth and equal
Ringing Bells recently launched one of
India's cheapest 4G smartphone at Rs.2,999.
It has launched two other feature phones
for the Indian consumers.
According to Internat ional Data
Corporation's (IDC) "Quarterly Mobile
Phone Tracker," 25.6 million smartphones
were shipped in India in the fourth quarter
of 2015 up 15.4 percent from 22.2 million
units for the same period last year.

Six lakh hits

per second
lead to
website crash
New Delhi: A mad rush to book world's
cheapest "Make in India" smartphone
caused the firm's website to crash within
hours of opening up for preorder at 6
a.m.. The Noidabased startup received
nearly six lakh hits per second to buy the
Rs.251 (less than $4) device, the company
said in a statement.
"Dear friends, we are very grateful for
your enormous response and your kind
patronage and would submit that as of
now we receive approx 6 lakh hits per sec
ond, as a result of which due to your kind
overwhelming response servers are over
loaded," Ringing Bells Pvt Ltd. flashed a
message on
"We humbly submit that we are, there
fore, taking a pause and upgrading the
service and will revert within or before 24
hours," the message read.


February 20-26, 2016




By Amit Kapoor

he union Government has

announcements in the recent
past. Under the flagship Smart City
Mission, it recently announced the
first tranche of cities which are to
be developed into smart cities.
Similarly, on feb 15, the govern
ment re leased the Swachh
Sarvekshan2016 which ranks 73
cities on cleanliness and sanitation.
The first list includes 20 cities,
none of which are from some of
India's biggest states like UP, Bihar
and West Bengal. Bhubaneswar, the
capital of Odisha, has topped the
rankings followed by Pune and
Jaipur. The government has offered
a fasttrack window for next 23
cities to upgrade their proposals
and submit them by April 15, to be
included in the next tranche.
Speaking at the occasion, Urban
Development Minister Venkaiah
Naidu mentioned that an invest
ment of Rs.50,802 crores has been
proposed for selected smart cities
and towns during the next five
years. The first tranche was chosen
through a transparent and competi
tive process according to Naidu.

Union Minister for Urban Development M Venkaiah Naidu addresses a

seminar on 'Smart City Delivery of civic Services' in Mumbai. (Photo: IANS)
The Swachh Sarvekshan2016
had a list of cities with a population
of more than 10 lakh. The best per
forming cities lie towards the south
and west. Chandigarh and New
Delhi were also in the top 10 of the
cities considered for the latest
round of Swachh Sarvekshan2016.
The east and some portions of the
north had cities which have been
found to be re lative ly filthier.
Asansol (72) and Dhanbad (73) are

at the bottom of the list.

However, the main challenge that
confronts all the programs of the
government is that of execution
implementat ion.
Implementation is a major chal
lenge for all the projects that India
is working on be it highways, rail
ways or refineries or even present
and previous urban development
projects in dif ferent spaces even
for cleanliness. This is because

delays are a norm in India's project

schedules. Rarely do projects get
completed on time and if they do,
they often become head
lines. A few wee ks ago, Prime
Minister Narendra Modi rightly
lamented the cost and time over
runs that have plagued India's
implementation capability in the
Similar is the case when one
looks at the projects that were
undertaken under the UPA govern
ment's Jawaharlal Nehru Urban
Renewable Mission (JNNURM); one
sees that a lot of cost and time
overruns plagued them. A recent
art icle in T he Economic and
Political Weekly (EPW) written by
Amit Garg and Vid hee Kiran
Avashia analyses this and points to
the alarming statistics on them. Of
the 538 projects examined by the
scholars, 294 suf fered from cost
overruns and 303 suf fered from
time overruns and 166 projects
suf fered from both cost and time
Their study also points to the
startling fact that an astounding 36
percent of the urban projects suf
fered from both time and cost over
runs. Their analysis of fers a cau

tionary tale to the policymakers in

India to look at what went wrong in
the case of the previous urban proj
ects. There may be several reasons
for India's implementation deficit.
Some argue that in a democracy,
things often require t ime as
opposed to an autocracy. While
there is some semblance of truth to
this claim passed on as collective
wisdom, mostly, it is a problem of
coordination between agencies and
precisely fixing responsibility.
Implementation within the smart
cities/clean cities will be a major
challenge as the underlying gover
nance structures are where the
core of the problem lies. T his
bridge between the municipal and
the union level is a welcome one
but much will depend on the imple
mentat ion of projects on the
ground. The focus on technology
and public scrutiny to improve sys
tems is another positive from the
side of the government. The policy
makers will do a host of good to
learn from the successful and not
so successful experiences of the
previous administration. It is hoped
in the process the present govern
ment is able to build clean, healthy
and smarter cities.



By Arvind Padmanabhan

ven as Reserve Bank of India

(RBI) Governor Raghuram
Rajan says the claims made
by analysts on the size of bad
loans in the country's banking
system border on scaremonger
ing, official data does not paint a
rosy picture and even shatters
some popular perceptions.
As per statistics available with
the central bank, the net NPAs, or
nonperforming assets, of all
banks, excluding accrued interest,
was 2.8 percent of total loans as
on September 15 last year. For
staterun banks, it was 3.6 percent
a sign that it is not uniform
across the industry.
But the problem gets com
pounded when one takes into
account the gross NPAs, that also
includes the interest component:
5.1 percent for all banks and 6.2
percent for staterun banks. And
by adding one more component,
rescheduled loans, the issue
becomes even more perplexing.
The quantum of gross bad loans,
along with rescheduled ones (usu

ally done when a loanee is unable

to pay in time, and banks allow
some more time so as to get the
money back), jumps significantly
to 11.3 percent for all banks and
14 percent for governmentrun
Then there are the writeoffs
that is, the loanee has been unable
to pay and banks are forced to
consider them as exposures they'll
never get back. Together with
gross bad loans and rescheduled
assets, this ratio is at 14.1 percent
for all banks and 17 percent for
staterun ones.
For private sector and foreign
banks, it is distinctly lower at 6.7
percent and 5.8 percent.
When we compare historical
data, the total bad exposures,
including rescheduled and writ
tenof f assets, has grown to 17
percent as on September 15 last
year, from 13.4 percent in March
2013 and 14.1 percent in March
2014 and 16.1 percent in March
For private banks the respective
figures are: 5.4 percent, 6.4 per
cent and 6.7 percent, while for

foreign banks, it is 5.5 percent,

6.3 percent and 6.5 percent. Rajan
says not all bad loans are due to
malfeasance. Then governance
must be the reason for private
versus staterun mismatch.

Is this not alarming?

A presentation on asset resolu
tion and management of bad loans
of commercial banks by RBI
Deputy Governor S.S. Mundra at a
banking conclave of the
Confederation of Indian Industry
on Thursday, just ahead of the talk
by Rajan, seeks to put the issues
in perspective.
Contrary to the general percep
tion, the level of stress is a lot
more pronounced in the socalled
nonpriority areas, when com
pared to the exposures to the farm
sector and the micro enterprises.
This apart, large industries are the
ones that have the highest NPA
ratio. The central bank data rein
forces this fact. The ratio of gross
bad exposures, plus rescheduled
loans, plus writtenof f assets for
all banks was 7.9 percent for the
agriculture sector, 12.3 percent

RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan. (Photo: IANS)

for the micro enterprises and a
whopping 23.7 percent for large
For small and medium scale sec
tors it was 16.8 percent and 31.5
percent, respectively.
Rajan, nevertheless, sees hope.
He feels the extent of government
help to commercial banks in the
form of capital will be adequate
Rs.70,000 crore in the present
budget. He is also confident that

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

by March 2017, the banks will

have a clean and fullyprovisioned
balance sheets.
In doing so, the misdemeanor in
the system must also be
addressed. The Supreme Court
has given its consent to banks to
publish the names and photo
graphs of defaulters, including
directors. This "name and shame"
policy must be pursued vigorously
by both banks and the watchdog.

February 20-26, 2016



Amb. Mulay leaving a legacy of efficiency

and closer ties with community
Several events were held to bid farewell to Consul General of India
in New York, Ambassador Dnyaneshwar Mulay.
By Ashok Ojha
New York: In an emotion filled atmosphere,
hundreds of Indian Americans assembled at
Royal Alberts Palace in Fords, New Jersey,
on February 16 to bid farewell to the outgo
ing Consul General of India Ambassador
Dnyaneshwar Mulay, who is scheduled to
take charge of the Overseas Indian Af fairs
department in the External Affairs Ministry,
incorporating the ministry hitherto known
as the Ministry of Overseas India in New
The speakers had words of fulsome praise
for the Consul General at the dinner event
organized by the tristate Indian communi
Amb. Mulay successfully implemented a
policy of bringing the consular services to
our doorsteps, said Dr. Navin Mehta. We
are going to miss his downtoearth
approach in connecting with all sections of
Indian Americans.
Mulay, who is returning to New Delhi after
serving in New York for almost three years,
was credited with bringing ef ficiency and
transparency in the functioning of the
Consulate General of India. My first job
after taking over the office was to clear the
clutter, Mulay recalled and narrated the
steps he took to improve the consular servic
es and extending courtesy and respect to vis
I followed an open door policy and
instructed my staff to respond to each and
every application for consular services, he
said adding that his staff responded enthusi
astically to his directives resulting in a total
transformation in the functioning of the
Consulate. Today we can proudly claim that
we are able to provide emergency visa serv
ices within 15 minutes of receiving an appli
cation, he said pointing out to Dr. Manoj
Kumar Mohapatra, Deputy Consul General,
who galvanized the consular staf f for
improving its functioning.
Emphasizing the importance of high quali
ty of customer services, Mulay recalled a
note written by a 10yearold boy, which was
lying unnoticed in the consulates suggestion
box for years. The content of the note served
as a moment of enlightenment for him as he
could feel the suffering of a young boy who
travelled hours with his family to reach the
consulate office only to find that there were
no basic amenities, such as drinking water or
a vending machine.
We took such comments very seriously
and began responding to all communications
we receive in a timely manner, said Mulay,
as he described the way the application
process at the consulate was simplified.
Mulay also successfully coordinated histor
ical events such as the reception to Prime
Minister Narendra Modi at Madison Square
Garden in September 2014, International
Yoga Day Celebration in June 2015 and

Community leaders honoring Ambassador Mulay at the New Jersey event.

Diwali Celebration in Times Square. None of
these events reflected my true legacy, he
claimed. My true legacy is what we could do
for an ordinary person visiting our office for
consular services.
Commenting on his new assignment in the
Overseas Indian Affairs department in Delhi,
Mulay said that important work lied ahead
for him in order to serve the people of Indian
diaspora. Acknowledging the $25 billion
remittance to India every year by Indian
Americans, he commented, You have
greater responsibility towards your native
land. India is poised to become a world

leader for which people of Indian origin

must play bigger role, investing in their
native country in order to help it make even
faster economic progress.
A number of community leaders paid rich
tributes to Mulay for his community out
reach approach and efforts to promote art
and culture at the Consulate General. Some
speakers complimented him for his literary
At another event organized at the
Consulate of fice in Manhattan earlier this
week, Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin,
Permanent Representative of India at UN

and a contemporary of Mulay in the Indian

Foreign Service, recalled his early days when
Mulay was known as a poet among his batch
mates. A literary person at heart, Mulay
emerged as a fine diplomat fulfilling his
duties, which are like writing hard prose not
Mulay had skillfully handled delicate
issues during the political turmoil in
Maldives where he was serving as the High
Commissioner of India before coming to
New York. His diplomatic skills were put to
test in New York when IndiaUS relations
reached new lows in the event of the arrest
of Devyani Khobragade, the then Deputy
Consul General.
Another significant accomplishment of
Mulay, which went unnoticed, was his con
sistent support to promotion of Hindi in the
United States. Sailing through unfriendly
waters, he led the formation of a nonprofit
organization called Hindi Sangam
Foundation and mobilized the Indian com
munity in the region to unite and support
International Hindi Conferences held at New
York University in 2014, and Rutgers
University in 2015. As the Chief Patron of
the Foundation, Mulay decided to hold the
third International Hindi Conference at the
Consulate premises from April 29May 1,

Farewell event at the Consulate

The appreciative audience at the Consulate event and (right) Permanent Representative of India at
the UN, Syed Akbaruddin , appreciating Ambassador Mulays diplomatic service.

Consulate staff saying thank you

Amb. Mulay posing with the Consulate staff, and (right) receiving a token gift from
the Deputy CG, Dr. Manoj K. Mohapatra. (Photos courtesy, CGNY Facebook page).

The Indian community

in New York, headed by
GOPIO in collaboration
with the Consulate
organized a get together
to bid farewell to the
Consul General, Amb.
Mulay on February 14.
His many great contri
butions covering all
aspect of service were
recalled and appreciated
by every speaker with
the audience in full

The consulate staff organized a farewell for

the Consul General Mulay on February 15.
T he function is better described as a
thanksgiving to him for his exceptional
leadership in leading the consulate during
his tenure. His splendid achievements were
recalled and appreciated, such as founding
a monthly MediaIndia lectures series , mak
ing the consulate a model for Swachh India,
and strengthening the connection with the
Indian community by starting outreach pro
grams called India at Your Doorstep. The
function was blessed with cultural perform
ances by the largest Indian dance company
in the world, Arya Dance Academy.


February 20-26, 2016


Grammys 2016: Kendrick wins

big, Kapadia awarded

Sonam Kapoor.

Los Angeles : The 58th Grammy

Awards ceremony saw rapper
Kendrick Lamar win big with five
trophies for his album "To Pimp a
Butterfly" here on Monday. The
gala, attended by the who's who of
the global music industry, also saw
IndoBrit ish filmmaker Asif
Kapadia win the golden gramo
phone for his film "Amy".
Kapadia's "Amy", a documentary
on the life of late singer Amy
Winehouse, got the Best Music
Film Award. The filmmaker, born
and brought up in London, was
excited more so as the Grammy
Award comes to him after his vic
tory at the British Academy of Film
and Te levision Arts (BAFTA)
Awards. "Amazing! T hank you
Grammys! 'Amy' wins Best Music
Film," tweeted Kapadia, known for
"The Warrior" and "Senna".
Sitarist Anoushka Shankar, who
was nominated for the fifth time at
the Grammys this year, failed to
bag an award in the Best World
Music Album category for "Home".
She has never won a Grammy, but
was happy as this time she became
the first Indian musician to be a
presenter at the event and she
looked pretty in blue in a creation
by Indian designer Manish Arora.
The star of the night, where sep

IndoBritish filmmaker Asif

Kapadia won the golden
gramophone for his film "Amy".
arate tributes were paid to David
Bowie, Eagles's Glenn Frey and
Mothead's Lemmy Kilmister and
Michael Jackson, was Lamar. He
not just impressed with his five
Grammy trove but also with his
For the first t ime in three
Grammy ceremonies, Ed Sheeran
walked home with Song of the Year
Award and Best Pop Solo
Performance for "Thinking Out
Loud". Also, singer Taylor Swift
was honored with the Album of the
Year Grammy Award for "1989" at
the ceremony, he ld at Staples
Centre here.
Interestingly, Lamar and Taylor

Swift were in a faceoff in multiple

categories of the awards, but both
emerged winners when the Best
Music Video category honour was
announced as the allstar video for
Swift's "Bad Blood" remix features
Lamar. There were other Indian
connects too. South African musi
cian Wouter Kellerman's latest
album "Love language", for which
Bengalurubased Grammy winner
Ricky Kej composed, produced and
mixed "Aishwarya", lost the
Contemporary Instrumental Album
category to "Sylva" by Snarky
Puppy & Metropole Orkest.
T he
Composition award went to "The
Afro Latin Jazz Suite", composed
by Arturo O'Farrill and The Afro
Latin Jazz Orchestra, featuring
art iste
Mahanthappa. Singers Mark
Ronson and Bruno Mars's "Uptown
Funk" nabbed the Record of the
Year as we ll as Best Pop
Group/Duo Performance; singer
Meghan Trainor was named Best
New Artist; while "Baby" hitmaker
Justin Bieber walked away with his
first ever Grammy in the Best
Dance Recording for "Where Are
Now", his collaborative work
with Jack (Skrillex and Diplo).

My respect for air

hostesses increased
post 'Neerja': Sonam 'Sholay' revisited at Hema Malini's music album release
ollywood actress Sonam
Kapoor, who is playing the
role of an air hostess in
"Neerja", says that her respect
towards the profession has
increased ever since she has
worked on the Ram Madhvani
directorial. "Neerja" is a biopic
on the late Neerja Bhanot who
lost her life while saving others
on a hijacked plane. She was
awarded the Ashok Chakra for
saving several hundred lives as
an air hostess on the hijacked
Pan Am Flight 73 in 1986.
Sonam feels that playing the
character has changed her per
ception towards women who
take up the job of an air hostess.
"I never thought of becoming
an air hostess. But I was get

ting trained for this film and I

must say that the respect I had
for air hostesses has increased a
lot now," Sonam said during an
appearance on TV show "Yaar
Mera Superstar".
"I realised that the 60 percent
training is for safety and emer
gency. There is a hijack training,
safety training and being in the
service industry ,you really feel
that you have a duty towards
your clients and guests."
"So, I really want to tell people
to listen to what the flight atten
dants say and follow the instruc
tions because they know what
they are doing," she added.
"Neerja" also stars Shabana
Azmi and She khar Ravjiani
among others.

fter 40 years, "Sholay" stars

Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya
Bachchan, Dharmendra and
Hema Malini, apart from filmmaker
Ramesh Sippy, shared the stage
together at the music release of an
album by Bollywood's 'dream girl'.
Hema Malini's debut music
album "Dream Girl" was released at
an event in Mumbai.
"And after 40 years the team of
'Sholay' got together in one frame
this evening (Monday night), a
music release of an album of Hema
ji," Big B posted on his blog early
Tuesday morning. "Two of our team
Sanjeev Kumar and Amjad Khan we
have lost. Time waits for no one...
But time also acknowledges the
wait," he said, adding: "Dharamji
and Hemaji live behind my house...
Dharamji on the lane behind my

Hema Malini with Bollywood singer Babul Supriyo, Amitabh

Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jaya Bachchan and filmmaker Ramesh Sippy.
back wall, and Hemaji a few feet
further away, and we never get to
meet each other. "How strange that
we had to meet and get together at
an event." The song "Aji suniye to
zaraa" in the album has been sung
by the actorfilmmakerMP Hema
Malini with singer Babul Supriyo,
who is also its composer. A line of
the track has the lyrics "Big B se

leke paaji", hinting at Amitabh and

Dharmendra, who are lovingly
called Big B and Dharam paaji in
industry circuits.
It was back in 1973 that Hema
Malini was inspired by the leg
endary Kishore Kumar to sing.
Since then, she had it on her agen
da to launch a music album.
(All Photos: IANS)


omedianactor Vir Das, who
has been signed by one of
the largest American comedy
management companies Levity
Entertainment Group, is set to tour
the US again. Vir, who was in the
country last year, will be perform

Vir Das.

ing in cities like Washington DC,

Chicago, Brea, California and San
Jose. "I'm totally thrilled for the
tour. T he kind of response I
received during my first tour was
overwhelming. Tours are nothing
less than a roller coaster ride and I

can't wait to perform for my lovely

audience. Hope we (I and my
team) rock it this year as well," Vir
told IANS.
The actor will leave this week
for his tour and will be having a
weekend show in each city.

he fact that actor Arjun

Kapoor chose to play a man
who wears the apron in the
house instead of the pants in
upcoming film "Ki and Ka", was
very brave on his part, says his co
star Kareena Kapoor Khan.
The film, directed by R. Balki is
about a careeroriented woman
essayed by Kareena, and her
house husband played by Arjun.
Kareena said it's a film with a new
"I think the fact that this is such
a brave script and Arjun has done
this role, is the bravest decision he
has taken. Not many men have the
confidence to wear an apron and
stand in that kitchen and tell their
wife, 'Give me money to run the
house'. That's a big thing," the


February 20-26, 2016


actress said at the trailer launch of

the film. Arjun says the notion of
being a man in this country needs
to be changed.
"I personally feel that to be a
true man is to be able to take care
of the person you love, in any
capacity. In this country, that
notion of being a man is stereotyp
ical... and it should be changed."
Asked if the film is inspired from
his real life in any way, Balki, who
is married to filmmaker Gauri
Shinde said: "Gauri accuses me for
writing things that I never practice
in my life. She says, 'Why don't
you practice at least 10 percent of
what you preach?' The fun is in
doing films which are not part of
your life. "Ki and Ka" will release
on April 1.

Have lot of expectations

from 'Sultan': Aamir
uperstar Aamir Khan said like '3 Idiots', but similar to
that he is eagerly await 'Ghajini'.
ing Salman Khan's next
I g ained 25 kilos in 6
lm "Sultan" and has lot of months and the shooting of
expectat ions
it. my overweight self has been
"Salman's lms are always
completed. The
good, so I have lot of expecta
same char
tions from 'Sultan'. Like how
acter is
all wait with bated breaths for
his lms, I too wait for it.
in the
Denitely it'll be a very good
lm," said Aamir at the screen
ning of
ing of Sonam Kapoor's lm
the lm
when he
Salman plays a wrestler
from Haryana in "Sultan",
Aamir's "PK"
h e r o i n e
A n u s h k a
S h a r m a .
Aamir too
wrestler in
his next lm
W h i l e
Salman earlier
Superstar Aamir Khan
shared pictures
with a moustache, he has been national champion wrestler
recently sharing pictures with like Sushil Kumar ji."
his cleanshaven look. Aamir
"I've been working hard on
had also shared pictures of that look, it'll take 46 months
him with grey hair and over to get there," Aamir said.
weight physique. But he is all
"Sultan" is slated for an Eid
set to lose the excess ab.
release while "Dangal" is set
About his physique in for a Christmas release this
"Dangal", he said, "(It's) Not year.

Actors Arjun Kapoor and

Kareena Kapoor Khan.

'The Revenant' bags top honors at BAFTA Awards

he Revenant" dominated this

year's 69th annual British
Academy of Film and
Television Arts (BAFTA) Awards by
winning four honors, while British
lmmaker of Indian origin Asif
Kapadia's "Amy" was named
the Best Documentary at the
gala. Leonardo DiCaprio
won the Best Actor tro
"T he
Revenant", which
was also lauded
with the Best Film
Director Award, Best
Cinematography and Best Sound.
The awards gala, held here at the
Royal Opera House, was hosted by
Stephen Fry, and saw the presence
of the who's who of the interna
tional movie industry.
Kapadia's "Amy", a documentary
on the life of singer Amy
Winehouse who died in 2011 at a
young age of 27, won an honour,

"The Revenant" dominated this

year's 69th annual British
Academy of Film and Television
Arts (BAFTA) Awards.
and the director said that through
his lm, he had wanted to show
"how intelligent and how witty she
was before it all went out of con
trol". The event saw Brie Larson
being honoured with the Best
Leading Actress award for her role
in the CanadianIrish drama
"Room", while "Mad Max: Fury

Road" took four awards, including

Best Makeup and Hair, Best
Editing, Best Costumes and Best
Production Design. "Titanic" star
Kate Winslet was presented the
Best Supporting Actress Award by
Eddie Redmayne. Winslet said that
it had been "an extraordinary year
for women".
Among the men, Mark Rylance
won the Best Supporting Actor for
his role as Britishborn Soviet
agent in India's Re liance
Entertainmentbacked "Bridge of
Spies", which had nine nomina
tions. Historical period drama
"Brooklyn", based on Colm Tib
n's eponymous novel, won the out
standing British lm. "Star Wars"
actor John Boyega won the Rising
Star Award, which was voted for by
the public. In the Best Animated
Feature Film category, "Inside Out"
pipped "Minions" and "Shaun The
Sheep Movie".
(All photos: IANS)


February 20-26, 2016


No prejudice against early Africans

in India: UN exhibition
By Arul Louis
United Nations: Africans came to India as
early as the 13th century as soldiers and
there was no prejudice against them at that
time. They intermarried with local women,
daughters of rulers and notables, and rose
to become princes and generals in an era of
slavery in America.
Their unique global saga is on display at
the UN General Assembly building in an
exhibition on Africans in India.
The contrast is striking between Africans
taken in chains to the Americas to toil in
plantations and those who were brought to
India to fight as soldiers opening the way
for their rise through the ranks to eventual
ly becoming free and reaching positions of
"It is very different from what we see in
the Atlantic world," said Sylviane A. Diouf,
the director of the Lapidus Center for the
Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery
in New York. She is the curator of the exhi
bition. "At least at that time we cannot see
any strong prejudice in India," she said of
the African experience. "When we look at
the high positions of some of the Africans,
whether as rulers, as prime ministers, as
generals etc., you can see that although
they were foreign, they were black, they
were of a dif ferent religion that did not
prevent them from obtaining high posi
tions." "They also intermarried with local
women, daughters of rulers and notables,"
she added. "There again we can see the
absence of prejudice." It is also a contrast

Portrait of Sidi Haider Khan, who ruled the princely state of Sachin (now in Gujarat) from 1930 to 1947 and belonged to the Sidi
dyansty of African rulers. (right) A painting at the African Diaspora in India exhibit at the UN shows Africans during a meeting
between the ruler of Kutch and the Maharaja of Nagaur.
to contemporary India, where Africans
have come under physical and verbal
attacks from politicians and thugs.
The exhibition is cosponsored by the
Indian Mission to the UN and the UN's
Department of Public Information in associ
ation with the Schomburg Center.
The exhibition features reproductions of
paintings of the remarkable Africans who
attained positions of power and influence.
They were collected from museums and
private collections in India, Europe and the
US, and photographs of the monuments,
forts and palaces they built. The Africans

brought to India were from the eastern part

of the cont inent and were known as
Habshis or Abyssinians and Sidhis. They
went across India, to Bengal in the east to
Gujarat in the west and to Delhi in the
north to the Deccan in the south over cen
turies. One of the first of the notables was a
13th century Abyssinian named Jalalud
din Yakut who rose from a job in the royal
stable to become the political ally of
Sultana Raziya of Delhi as she fought her
brother for the throne willed to her by their
father, the Turkish ruler Iltutmish. After a
fouryear rule Raziya and Yakut were killed

in battle. Another remarkable figure is

Malik Ambar, an Abyssinian who was
brought to the Deccan and in the 17th cen
tury rose to become the regent of the
Nizamshahi dynasty of Ahmednagar. His
portrait figures in the exhibition.
In Gujarat, the princely state of Sachin
founded by African Sufi Sidis held its own
into the 20th century when it was incorpo
rated into an independent India.
A portrait of the last ruler of the princely
state, Sidi Haider Khan, is included in the

Anu Jains painting chosen for group show

Anu Jains
The Beauty of
Life will be
showcased at
a Nassau
group show.

of her

nu Jain, a Long Island

based accounting profes
sional, is also an accom
plished artist. Her work has been
selected for the group show
Truth & Beauty presented by
Nassau County Comptroller
George Maragos at the county
seat in Mineola, NY.
The group show on March 2

celebrates Womens History

Month. Says Anu Jain, In this
show, my paint ing t itled
Freedom The Beauty of Life is
showcased. In this painting, two
white doves symbolizing peace
are being re leased by the
woman, giving the message of
freedom from within her soul
and show ing inner beauty.

Through my paintings I try to

convey the message of peace and
Anu Jain who has lived in
Mumbai be fore coming to
America, has held several exhibi
tions of her creations in Kolkata,
Mumbai, Dubai and Singapore.
In addition to oil and watercol
or paintings, Anu Jain has done

creative work in fabric painting,

stained glass work, and ceramics.
About her inspiration, she says:
I feel the divine presence in
nature, people and birds. I relate
to places where I have lived and I
try to bring out the essence of
that place through my creations.
Anus work can be seen at

February 20-26, 2016



Indian Left parties face an identity crisis

CPI-M leader Prakash Karat cites metamorphosis of the middle class leading to its inability to relate to
Left ideology anymore and absence of workers, poor peasants and agricultural laborers in decision
making positions as the main detriments in his party's expansion and wide acceptance.
By Amitava Mukherjee

n the eve of elections to five

state assemblies including
Kerala and West Bengal, the
Left is now in an identity crisis and
has subjected itself to two oppos
ing pulls from within on the ques
tion of an alliance with the
In a recent article published in a
masscirculation daily, Prakash
Karat, the former CPIM general
secretary, has honestly pointed out
the selfcontradictions that have
hamstrung the communist move
ment of India from its inception.
That the Left has now been clam
oring for an alliance with the
Congress is an outcome of such in
built deficiencies.
At this point, recourse to classi
cal theories will serve the Left no
purpose. Theoretically, communist
parties are meant for factory work
ers but very few leading lights of
the Indian communist movement
can fit in this category. It is inter
esting to guess why Prakash Karat
chose to do such a scathing intro
spection at this moment. Is it an
attempt on his part to keep himself
away from the hullabaloo and the
shrill cries for an alliance with the
Congress that some leaders of his
party are raising?
In the annals of communist liter
ature, this Karat article is excep
tional. He has listed metamorpho
sis of the middle class leading to its

inability to relate to Left ideology

anymore and absence of workers,
poor peasants and agricultural
laborers in decision making posi
tions as the main detriments in
front of his party's expansion and
wide acceptance among the mass
This deficiency is true not just
about the CPIM. All shades of
Indian communist parties are
af fected by it. However, Karat's
argument has also exposed his lim
itations. He still has great faith in
the middle class. If this faith con
tinues, the future of his party is
But Karat himself and almost the
entire frontranking leadership of
his party are results of this system
and it's unfortunate that the real
ization about the position of the
lower strata of society dawned on
him after so many years most of
all after the serious drubbing that
his party received from the people
of West Bengal in the last assem
bly elections.
Instead of writing articles in
newspapers, if he looks at the com
position of his own party's polit
buro he will realize that the job of
cleansing the Augean Stables must
start from the highest policymak
ing body of his own party.
This incomplete identification
with the country's toiling masses is
now finding its manifestation
among certain sections of the Left
in a mad rush for an electoral

alliance with the Congress which

had, in fact, ushered in neoliberal
economic policies, a school of
thought and practice the Left
regards as an anathema.
Although some sections of the
media are trying to drum up sup
port for such an alliance, the CPIM
stands vertically divided over the
issue with the Kerala unit being
totally opposed to such an eventu
ality. Some constituents of the Left
Front in West Bengal like the CPI
and the Forward Bloc have also
expressed their reservations as
they identify the Congress with a
neoliberal economy.
It is really open to question
whether a Left FrontCongress
alliance in West Bengal will be able
to deliver the desired result. In the
2014 Lok Sabha e lection, the
Trinamool Congress had got 39.3
percent of the votes, the Left Front
29.6 percent, the Congress 9.6
percent and the BJP 16.8 percent.
The CPIM's calculation is that by
dint of an alliance with the
Congress, it will be able to match
the voting percentage of the TMC
and thus outsmart Chief Minister
Mamata Banerjee. But there is a
serious flaw in this calculation.
Unfortunately for the Congress,
the party has very little presence
in today's West Bengal, except in
Murshidabad, Malda and South
Dinajpur districts, where the party
commands more than 30 percent
of the votes. But in the remaining

17 districts, the Congress only

enjoys around five percent of the
votes per district. Will this be of
any he lp to the Left Front in
defeating the TMC? The big ques
tion remains here.
But an alliance with the Congress
in West Bengal is sure to put the
CPIMled Left Democratic Front
(LDF) in Kerala in an embarrassing
situation. The LDF is now comfort
ably placed against the Congress
led United Democratic Front(UDF)
so far as the coming election is
concerned. That is the reason why
not only Karat but the entire
Kerala lobby of the CPIM is
uncomfortable about any alliance
with the Congress as this will rob
the Left of the much needed sharp
edge in its campaign against the
By an alliance with the Congress,
Left is certain to lose credibility. In
his article, Karat castigated neolib

eral economic policies and "family

enterprise" like political parties.
Congress leaders may vehemently
deny the charges, but both the
indicators can point towards that
party. It will be interesting to
watch what answer the CPIM prof
fers in the event of an alliance with
the Congress.
In its nearly fiveyear rule in
West Bengal, the TMC has not
been able to give much good
account of itself. If the Kerala
model of removal of each ruling
combination every five years has
any justification, then replacement
of the TMCled dispensation in the
next West Bengal assembly elec
tion is not undesirable. But any
Left FrontCongress combination
will be too opportunist in charac
ter to achieve anything good.

Amitava Mukherjee is a senior

journalist and commentator.

Kashmir needs government of regional parties

By Shamshad Ali

ammu and Kashmir needs a coalition of regional parties

to keep out the BJP, the CPIM's lone legislator in the
state says, however adding that he doesn't expect this to
happen anytime soon.
Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami said his party always knew
that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)BJP coalition was
"an alliance of opportunists". "Their socalled 'Agenda of
Alliance' or 'common minimum program' was merely a faade
to gain power," Tarigami told IANS over the telephone amid
continuing political impasse in the state.
"Now, after (Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed) Sayeed's
demise, they are finding it difficult to reenforce the alliance
as the PDPBJP combine has no common ground to rule, their
agenda is ambiguous," said the longtime legislator from
Kulgam in south Kashmir.
Ever since her father Mufti Sayeed died in early January,
Jammu and Kashmir has been under Governor's Rule because
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has refused to form a government
with the BJP.
Speculation has it that the PDP and the BJP marriage has
run into rough weather although no one says it in so many
words. Opposition parties in the state, however, feel the two
are indulging in a political drama.
The National Conference, the PDP's main foe in the Kashmir

Ever since her father Mufti Sayeed died in early January,

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti has refused to form a
government with the BJP. Maybe because it is difficult
to reenforce the alliance as the PDPBJP combine
has no common ground to rule.

Valley, wants fresh elections. Tarigama disagrees.

"There is no need for fresh elections and waste taxpayers'
money. The state leaders should set aside their minor differ
ences and come together to form a strong government," he
said. "They should look at the larger picture of defeating the
divisive BJPRSS policy in Kashmir."
The PDP and the BJP are the largest and second largest
parties in splintered state assembly. The National Conference
and the Congress are in the third and fourth spots.
"If you look at it, they claimed to have come together to
bridge the gap between the three regions of the state. They
clearly failed to do that. Or else there wouldn't be a problem
today to reenforce the alliance."
Tarigami said Governor's Rule was no answer to Jammu
and Kashmir's problems.
"Governors Rule means Centre's rule, in other words BJP's
rule. "The state has witnessed an unprecedented rise in inci
dents of communally driven violence (with the BJP pulling
the strings). Jammu and Kashmir has no future with the BJP
(in power).
"Babus cannot address the immediate concerns of the peo
ple. They (people) feel disconnected from the state machinery
now," the veteran politician added.
Tarigami argued that he was sure the PDP and the BJP
would finally shake hands to again rule the country's only
Muslimmajority state.

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


February 20-26, 2016


Gujarat to set up foreign desks in

In bid to attract more
Indian students, UK financial hubs to tap diaspora funds
increases scholarships
Kolkata: The number of Indian
students has decreased in the
last few years in the UK, follow
ing a clamp down on bogus col
leges. The British government
will woo Indian students by
increasing scholarships, a
British High Commission of fi
cial said on Friday.
"If you compare the figures
with what was there three to
four years ago, the numbers
have come down. It is because
we clamped down heavily on
bogus colleges.
Now we are maintaining
excellence and only bonafide
institutes are left," Andrew
Soper, minister counse llor
(polit ical and press) of the
British High Commission told
reporters in Kolkata.
He said the inflow of stu

dents from India had stabilized

now and that the UK is expect
ing a gradual increase.
On the scholarship count,
Soper said under the 'Great
Britain' campaign, the UK gov
ernment was offering 59 under
graduate and 232 postgraduate
scholarships across England,
Scotland, Wales and Northern
In the last couple of years, the
number of scholarships under
the UK's flagship Chevening
program had increased four
fold, to Rs 25 crore.
Soper also said ef forts had
been made to ease the visa
process, with every 9 out of 10
students getting it. "If you have
got an admission into a UK uni
versity, you will get a visa," the
official said.

Mumbai: Gujarat Chief Minister

Anandiben Patel said on Tuesday
that her state will set up foreign
desks in global financial centers
like New York, Dubai, Frankfurt,
Guangzhou and Tokyo to attract
investments from the Indian dias
"The Gujarati diaspora is present
in huge numbers abroad and is
prepared to invest towards the
growth of their home state. In
order to institutionalize this, we
will set up foreign desks at New
York, Dubai, Frankfurt, Guangzhou
and Tokyo," Pate l said while
addressing the Gujarat Investor
Summit at the ongoing 'Make In
India Week.'
Giving an overview of the invest
ment proposals in the state, she
said Gujarat has received invest
ment intentions proposals worth
Rs.62,403 crore in 2015, which is
nearly 21 percent of the entire
country. She said the state has
proved its excellence in 97 multi

Help develop India,

Ambassador Navtej Sarna
to UK Indians
London: India's new envoy
Navtej Sarna told leading
members of the Indian
community in the UK that
India House is an "institu
tion open to all Indians"
and the community could
play a "huge role" in help
ing to channelize foreign
investment and in the
deve lopment of its key
At a well attended Indian
community function here
on Friday, Sarna, who took
over from Ranjan Mathai
last month, said Indians in
the UK had flourished
extensively in every field of
human endeavor, econom
ics and business, politics,
culture, medicine and
finance, and had acquired a
political weight and strong
"Even while they flourish
in the UK they have not

Ambassador Navtej Sarna

(Photo courtesy:

forgotten their cultural

roots. On the contrary,
their culture has become
part of British life tan
doori is more popular than
fish and chips, Bhangra is a
byword in London," the
high commissioner said.
Sarna said UK's Indian
community has a huge role
to play in helping India
attract foreign investment
and expertise that would

help develop its infrastruc

ture, its ports, airports and
smart cities and the clean
ing of the Ganga river.
"T he intent ion of the
High Commission is to ini
tiate a two way conversa
tion with members of the
community wherein all
problems could be freely
shared and discussed," he
T he High Commission
would make every effort to
resolve "all concerns", said
Sarna. The high commis
sioner also noted that the
UK had the highest share
of electronic visas that had
been issued 24 percent,
adding that 300,000 OCI
cards (multiple entry life
long visa for Overseas
Citizens of India) had been
issued and 300 applica
tions were being received
every day.

CM Anandiben Patel speaking at Make In India, Mumbai event.

(Photo courtesy:
ple parameters for 'Ease of Doing
Business' and also encourages
small, mediummicro and medium
and MSME industries.
"More than 600,000 such
MSMEs are present in the state
providing opportunities to nearly
four million people. Our policies
have always been industryfriendly
and have managed to attract both
domestic and foreign investors
through its biennial the Vibrant

Gujarat Summit," Patel said.

She noted Gujarat is the biggest
auto hub in India with companies
like Tata, Ford, Maruti, Honda
Scooters and others operating
from there.
Besides, she said there is a huge
growth potential in petrochemicals
and electronics manufacturing sec
tors which have attracted invest
ments of Rs.100,000 crore in past
two years.


New Delhi: Following External Af fairs
Minister Sushma Swaraj terming people of
the Roma community spread across the
world children of India, an international
conference here concluded on Sunday with
a call to recognize them as India's diaspora.
"Roma people are an Indian nation, the
autochthonous territory of southeastern
and western Europe, but also in other parts
of the world, with all attributes that make
them a special national entity," Jovan
Damjanovic, president of World Roma
Organization, said at the threeday
International Roma Conference and
Cultural Festival 2016 here.
"We would like to be treated as the Indian
diaspora and can make a contribution to
our country of origin's growth," he said at
the conference organized by the Indian
Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and
the Antar Rashtriya Sahayog Parishad
Inaugurating the conference on Friday,
Sushma Swaraj said: "You are the children
of India who migrated and lived in chal
lenging circumstances in foreign lands for
centuries. Yet you maintained your Indian
identity. "A strong 20 million population of
your community spread over 30 countries

encompassing West Asia, Europe, America

and Australia speaks of your unique ability
of adapting to foreign cultures. We in India
are proud of you... welcome you with an
open heart."
Said to be descendants of nomadic
groups in northwest India like Dom,
Banjara, Gujjar, Sansi, Sikligar, Dhangar and
others, Romas are known as "Zigeuner" in
Germany,"Tsyiganes/Manus" in France,
"Tatara" in Sweden, "Gitano" in Spain,
"Tshingan" in Turkey and Greece, "Tsigan"
in Russia, Bulgaria and Romania and
"Gypsies" in Britain.
A resolution adopted at the conclusion of
the conference on Sunday called for people
topeople contacts between Indians and
Romani people to be encouraged. "The cul
tural recognition of Romani people is of
utmost importance for strengthening
bonds with Roma," it stated. It also said that
there was a need to set up a cell in the
external af fairs ministry to study and
research the origin of Roma people and
examine what status India can accord them.
It said their language to be researched to
find its roots and heritage in India and
Indian students be taught the history of the
Roma people and their migration.


February 20-26, 2016



Islamabad: No lessons appear to
have been learnt from the investi
gations into the 2008 Mumbai
attacks, an inuential Pakistani
daily said, nonetheless pinning
hopes on PakistanIndia talks.
An editorial "IndiaPakistan
talks" in the Dawn said that the
start of the Comprehensive
Bilateral Dialogue (CBD) has now
been de layed by more than a
month, but comments by the
Indian Hig h Commissioner
Gautam Bambawale suggest that
ofcials from both sides are trying
to create the right environment
for this to begin.
"While not mentioning any pre
conditions for the start of the CBD,
Bambawale did reveal that the for
eign secretaries and national secu
rity advisers of Pakistan and India
are trying to determine when the
talks can begin, a timeline pre
sumably linked to progress on the
investigations into the Pathankot
air base attack," said the daily.
It wondered at what stage have
the investigations reached? "After
early and seemingly rapid move
ment, the trail appears to have
gone cold or at least news of fur

Pak to approach India to

allow team visit Pathankot

Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale. (File photo)

ther progress has been missing."
The daily observed that the rela
t ive restraint that both sides
showed in the face of immediate
accusations and recriminations
over the Pathankot attack will
only matter if it can lead to mean
ingful cooperation.
"There are still some basic ques
tions about the Pathankot attack
that have not been denitively
answered. Who were the attack
ers? Did they cross the interna
t ional border? W ho were the
architects and planners of the
attack? "Each of those questions

needs only a factual response, but

a legal one so that justice can be
pursued on both sides of the bor
It went on to say that neither
India nor Pakistan seems keen to
publicly put all speculation to rest
"Perhaps behind the scenes
there are disagreements over what
amounts to actionable intelligence
and which parts of the public alle
gations are speculative, but that
would suggest that politics is
interfering with forensic investiga
tion. "Given the resources of the

Pak varsity reopens 25

days after attack
Islamabad: T he Bacha Khan
University (BKU) in Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan,
which was closed following a mili
tant attack that killed at least 21
students, reopened this week after
being given a security clearance.
Vice chance llor Fazal Rahim
Marwat received students as they
entered the campus amid tight
security, Dawn online reported.
"We are satised with the security
arrangements at the campus,"
Marwat said.
The rst day of resumption of
academic activities aims to relieve
students of the "psychological trau
ma they underwent", Marwat said,
adding that special lectures would
be delivered in this regard.
BKU spokesperson Saeed Khan
said security arrangements for stud
ies to resume at the university were
"complete". However, watch towers
were yet to be installed.
"We will not be cowered [by ter
ror threats]... we will continue to
learn," said an MSc student, who
arrived at the campus for classes on
The varsity administration decid
ed a week after the January 20
attack that academic activities will

The Bacha Khan University (BKU) in KhyberPakhtunkhwa

province of Pakistan. (Photo: IANS)
not commence till adequate security
was ensured in the campus located
in Charsadda district of the
Saeed Khan said the university's
security committee, after a thor
ough review, cleared the varsity for
resumption of academic activities.
But students and the staf f would
not use university transport, he
said. Charsadda district police of
cial Sohail Khan also said security
clearance had been given to BKU,
adding that eight policemen will be
stationed in the university premises

and a mobile van will be deployed

Four female university employees
would be tasked with keeping an
eye on female students, he said.
University's director of adminis
tration Shakil said the administra
tion has made foolproof security
arrangements, adding that CCTV
cameras had been installed, bound
ary wall raised to the required
height and number of security
guards increased from 54 to 84. He
said that recruitment of 30 more
guards was underway.

Islamabad: Pakistan would approach India to allow a special inves

tigation team to visit Pathankot to gather relevant information
about the terrorist attack at an airbase in the Punjab town, Radio
Pakistan reported.
Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan made the remarks after Pakistan
earlier offered to send an SIT to probe the Pathankot attack that
left seven security personnel killed.
Indian security personnel also killed six militants in the January
2 attack on the airbase, which is merely 50 km from Pakistani bor
der. The foreign ofce would formally contact India to seek per
mission for the visit of the team as answers to many questions and
links can be identied there, he said. Nisar said the investigation
team has held many meetings and its work was proceeding.

two countries and the importance

of what took place in Pathankot in
early January, a month and a half
ought to have been enough for at
least the basic facts to be mutually
established and shared with the
public in both India and Pakistan.
"Worryingly, it does not appear
that lessons have been learned
from the investigations into the
Mumbai attacks of 2008."
It suggested that perhaps what
is needed is a further dose of

direct prime ministerial interven

"After all, had it not been for the
boldness of prime ministers
Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi,
the CBD was unlike ly to have
materialized." The editorial went
on to say that in making the deci
sion to resume fulledged talks,
the two prime ministers rightly
realized that the IndiaPakistan
relationship cannot be reduced to
a single issue for either side.

Nepal PM to focus on
'clearing misunderstanding'
with India
Kathmandu: Nepal
Prime Minister K.P.
No agreement will
Sharma Oli, who is all
be signed in India
set to embark on an
ag ainst
ofcial visit to India,
national interest, Oli
said he will aim to
assured parliament.
clear all "misunder
"My visit is focused
standing" that crept
on repairing ties not
up in the recent past
further disturbing it,"
between Nepal and
he said. "We have
India and deepen the
very deep relations
bilateral ties based
with India but we saw
Nepal Prime Minister
on shared prosperity.
some minor prob
K.P. Sharma Oli.
Providing details to
lems," he said.
(Photo: IANS)
parliament of his
Oli said rather than
upcoming sixday visit, Oli said getting entangled in the issues, "we
relations with India will be main should move ahead in a new direc
tained on the basis of mutual bene tion".
t, according to the spirit of the
"Nepal see ks peace, unity,
21st century.
respect for each other and shared
Leading a 60member delegation prosperity with India, and I will
that would include ministers, gov focus on inviting Indian invest
ernment ofcials, parliamentari ment in Nepal," he said.
ans, leaders from various political
NepalIndia re lat ions were
parties, business leaders and the plunged to a new low late last year
media, Oli will embark on the visit when an antiConstitution Madhesi
on February 19.
agitation in Nepal's southern Terai
In New De lhi, Oli w ill meet region led to blockading of the
Indian Prime Minister Narendra border points for which
Modi and other government of Kathmandu he ld New De lhi
cials on Saturday and Sunday.
responsible and resulted in
He will later visit Mumbai, where scarcity of essentials including
he will address the business com food, fuel and medicines.


February 20-26, 2016

Washington: US President Barack
Obama has unveiled a new initia
tive to promote economic ties
with members of the Association
of Southeast Asian Nat ions
The initiative, called USAsean
Connect, is designed to set up a
network of hubs across the
region to connect more entrepre
neurs, investors and businesses
between the two sides, Xinhua
quoted Obama as saying.
"We agreed to do more together
to encourage the entrepreneur
ship and innovation that are at
the heart of modern competitive
economies," Obama said.
Obama discussed the initiative
with Asean leaders on Monday
during a session on economic
cooperation between the two
In a joint statement issued after
the meeting, the US and Asean
countries stressed the importance
of pursuing policies that foster
innovation and entrepreneurship.

US President Barack Obama. (Photo: IANS)

The gathering of the US and
Asean leaders, the first of its kind
on US soil, is part of Obama's
efforts to deepen what he called a
"strong and enduring partner
The two sides forged a strategic

Turkey accuses
Russian jets of
bombing civilians
in Syria
Ankara: Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu
identified Russian airstrikes in Syria as "dishon
ourable", claiming that the bombing does not tar
get Islamic State (IS) terror group but the opposi
tion groups which are fighting the Syrian regime.
Claiming that "dishonorable Russian planes"
have launched almost 8,000 sorties in a bid to seal
the corridor to Aleppo province of Syria, Davutoglu
said those jets are responsible for killing Syrian
civilians in bombing raids on hospitals and schools
in Syria, Xinhua reported citing the prime minister.
"Russia is bombing hospitals and schools. And
then it is referring Turkey to the UN Security
Council to take measures for its border security,"
Davutoglu said.
The Turkish prime minister also said the People's
Protection Units (YPG), the armed forces of the
Democratic Union Party (PYD) of Syrian Kurds, will
not be allowed to advance on Azez town in the
neighbouring country, declaring it a red line for
Turkey. "We will do what is necessary if they bid to
advance," he said.
Turkish military hit targets of the PYD several
times since last week, as Turkey considers the
group affiliated to the outlawed Kurdish Workers'
Party (PKK). Russia and Syrian regime uses PYD to
change demography of Aleppo, forcing thousands
of people to flee their hometown, Davutoglu said.
Russia and Syrian regime aim to close corridor to
Aleppo before a ceasefire, he said referring a truce
planned for early March.
Turkish of ficials said their shelling comes in
retaliation to fire from the Kurdish fighters' posi
tions against Turkey, a claim totally denied by the
Syrian Kurds.


partnership in Kuala Lumpur in

November last year.
Southeastern Asian countries. As
the region's economy grew, its
interaction with world powers
has also been increasing.

Pakistan, US to hold
strategic dialogue
this month
Islamabad: Pakistan and the US
will hold strategic dialogue in
Washington later this month on
security, antiterrorism and eco
nomic cooperation, officials said.
It will be the 6th "Ministerial
leve l PakistanUS Strategic
Dialogue" since the dialogue
process began in 2010. The fifth
session was held in Islamabad in
January last year.
Pakistan's top Advisor to the
Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs
Sartaj Aziz and US Secretary of
State John Kerry will lead their
respective sides on February 29,
the Foreign Ministry said.
A Foreign Ministry statement
said the six segments of the dia
logue cooperation in Economy
and Finance, Energy, Education,
Science and Technology, Law
Enforcement and Counter
Terrorism, Security, Strategic
Stability and NonProliferation
and Defence will come up for

"The upcoming meeting will
af ford an important opportunity
to take stock of the entire gamut
of Pakistan's bilateral relations
with the US," the statement said.
T he talks were disrupted in
2011 when the US forces con
ducted a unilateral raid to kill the
alQaida leader Osama bin Laden
in Abbotabad. The process was
restored in 2014.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's
visit to the US in October 2015
provided necessary impetus and
direction to the dialogue mecha
nism, the Foreign Ministry said. It
would be third meeting since
Sharif assumed office in 2013.
Both countries will hold the dia
logue weeks ahead of the visit of
Prime Minister Sharif to
Washington. President Barrack
Obama has invited the prime min
ister to attend a nuclear summit,
officials said.

India: Ensure safety of peacekeepers,

punish the attackers
United Nations: India has called for
ensuring the safety of peacekeepers
deployed in UN missions in a changed
and more dangerous landscape and pun
ishing those attacking them.
India's Permanent Representative Syed
Akbaruddin raised the issue of safety of
troops deployed in UN operations and
said that careful planning and consulta
tions between the Security Council and
the troopcontributing countries while
formulating the mandates "will go a long
way in promoting safety and security of
our peacekeepers".
Speaking before the Special Committee
for Peacekeeping Operations (PKO), he
said India wanted to "strongly empha
sise" that all the countries where peace
keepers are deployed "must ensure that
in cases of attacks on the peacekeepers
there is an ef fective process to prose
cute, punish and penalize the perpetra
tors". Atul Khare, the UN undersecretary
general for field operations, also called
for bringing those who kill peacekeepers
to justice.
Akbaruddin reiterated the demand for
the Council to consult troopcontribu
tors, as required by the Charter, and also
suggested broadening it. "All the mem
ber states have a stake in the peace
process whether or not they contribute
directly to these PKOs," he said. "In an
interconnected world, it is very easy for
member states to be at the receiving end
or at times suf fer collateral damage if
they are in the vicinity of areas which
are unstable and prone to conflicts."

India's Permanent Representative to

the UN Syed Akbaruddin. (Photo: IANS)
The landscape of peacekeeping opera
tions has changed drastically and peace
keepers are facing new challenges like
terrorism and intraethnic conflicts,
Akbaruddin said.
He said India supported the recom
mendation made by a high level panel
last year against the deploying peace
keepers in counterterrorism operations.
"However," he added, "we understand
that these issues need to be viewed with
flexibility in response to emerging chal
"As a country which has participated in
48 UN peacekeeping operations, we
have contributed our share to the main
tenance of international peace and secu
rity with high standards of professional
ism that are troops are known for," he
said. More than 180,000 Indian person
nel have participated in UN peacekeep
ing operations so far and currently

7,798 are wearing the UN's blue helmet.

Protecting civilians in areas of conflict
has emerged as one of the newer man
dates of peacekeeping operations in an
environment of massive disruptions of
civilian life and re fugee crises.
Akbaruddin said that even before the
adoption of the concept, "our troops
have been the leadering peacekeepers
protecting civilians".
In the 1960s in Congo, Capain
Gurbachan Singh Salaria displayed
"great courage" in protecting civilians
and has been honored with a Param Vir
Chakra, India's highest gallantry award,
for making the supreme sacrifice,
Akbaruddin recalled.
And last May, Indian peacekeepers in
South Sudan protected internal refugees
in Melut "against major odds", he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Krovvidi Dinakar
was wounded at that time when the
refugee camp Indian peacekeepers were
protecting came under fire from a fac
tion in the civil war there.
Recently, the UN has faced a crisis of
sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA) by
peacekeepers. Akbaruddin said: "We
have a zero tolerance policy on SEA
cases and would like that there is zero
tolerance on such issues across the UN
too." He added, India "is appalled by the
recent cases of sexual exploitation and
abuse which have surfaced in some of
the UNPKOs. My delegation strongly
condemns these unpardonable acts
when the protector becomes the

February 20-26, 2016



Government willing to walk the extra mile: Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister
Narendra Modi told the opposi
tion that his government was
willing to walk the extra mile and
discuss various issues of concern
during the budget session of par
All parties spoke in one voice
that parliament should function
smoothly, Parliamentary Af fairs
Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu told
reporters after a meeting con
vened by the prime minister to
ensure a smooth budget session
that begins on February 23.
It was the rst such meeting
called by the prime minister amid
sharp dif ferences between his
government and the opposition
on a range of issues, including a
sedition case against a Jawaharlal
Nehru University student leader.
The budget session is crucial
for the government since it is
keen on the passage of pending
legislation like the Goods and
Services Tax (GST) Bill. The bill is

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Opposition parties and NDA

leaders in New Delhi. (Photo: IANS/PIB)
stuck in the Rajya Sabha where
the government does not have a
The past two parliament ses
sions have seen repeated
adjournments on a range of
issues forced by the Congress
and some other opposition par
ties. Modi expressed the hope
that parliament will function
smoothly with the cooperation of
the opposition parties.
"The prime minister told the
meeting that the government is

always willing to walk the extra

mile and take up discussion on
every issue," Naidu said.
Modi hoped that the mood of
the meeting will be reected in
Modi also said that he was not
the prime minister of a party but
of the entire country and that the
government will take appropriate
measures on the issues raised by
the opposition.
Modi said there should be a dis
cussion on these issues and the

government will give its reply.

Naidu said there was growing
disappointment among people
over parliament not functioning
The minister said that the rep
resentatives of opposition parties
present at Tuesday's meeting also
Jawaharlal Nehru University and
Hyderabad University.
The minister said representa
tives of some parties questioned
how sedition charges could be
leve lled ag ainst the student
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley
said at the meeting that highly
objectionable slogans were raised
on the campus and an inquiry
into the matter should be allowed
to be completed. Jaitley explained
the factual situation, Naidu said.
The JNU has been on the boil
over JNU Students' Union presi
dent Kanhaiya Kumar's arrest on

The controversy erupted when

some JNU students organized a
meet on February 9 to mark the
anniversaries of the executions of
parliament attack convict Afzal
Guru and Jammu Kashmir
Liberat ion Front cofounder
Maqbool Bhat. AntiIndia slogans
were reportedly raised at the
On GST, Naidu said the
Trinamool Congress was among
the parties strongly in favour of
the bill's passage in the winter
session of parliament.
Naidu will hold a meeting with
leaders of various political par
ties on February 22 to inform
them about the government's leg
islative agenda and discuss issues
to be raised.
Speaking to reporters after the
meeting here, Congress leader
Ghulam Nabi Azad said his party
raised the issue of the govern
ment's undue intervention in uni
versity politics.

India ratifies WTO trade Profit booking subdues markets,

facilitation agreement
New Delhi: T he union cabinet
accorded approval to the World
Trade Organization's (WTO) trade
facilitation agreement ( TFA)
reached in December 2013 and
which could increase global mer
chandise exports by up to $1 tril
lion annually.
"The cabinet today (Wednesday)
approved the proposal for notica
tion of the commitment to the
trade facilitation agreement under
the WTO," Telecom Minister Ravi
Shankar Prasad told reporters
here after the meeting.
Explaining that the cabinet
approval was part of the TFA rati
cation process by WTO members
towards increasing ease of doing
business, Prasad said that a com
mittee on trade facilitation is being
constituted. "A national commit
tee on trade facilitation will be
formed, which will have the secre
taries of revenue and commerce as
cochairs," he said.
The TFA, approved by 160 WTO
members, aims to streamline and
harmonise customs procedures to

bring an estimated saving of over

$1 trillion annually.
The agreement will come into
force when twothirds of the 161
WTO members have ratied it.
An agreement between India and
the US last year opened the way
for a consensus on the TFA which
eluded the WTO members.
The WTO has said full imple
mentat ion of the TFA could
increase g lobal merchandise
exports by up to $1 trillion annu
ally, the World Trade Organization
(WTO) said in a report on Monday.
T he overall boost to world
export growth per annum has
been estimated at up to 2.7 per
cent due to the TFA deal on stan
dardising global customs proce
dures, which was the rst multilat
eral agreement concluded by the
WTO. India has asked for a perma
nent solution to the issue of public
stockholding for food security pur
poses and not restricted for a peri
od of four years as decided earlier
during the WTO ministerial meet
ing in Bali, Indonesia, in 2013.

Mumbai: Protbooking, coupled with doubts

over the central government's ability to push
through key economic legislations during parlia
ment's upcoming budget session, dragged the
Indian equity markets lower this week. The weak
exports gures for January and dwindling rupee
value also subdued investors' sentiments.
Moreover, investors' condence was eroded by
the continuing conict between the ruling NDA
(National Democratic Alliance) and the opposi
tion, which is seen as having a bearing on some
key economic legislations.
The central government is expected to push
through major economic legislations like bank
ruptcy code and Goods and Services Tax (GST)
Bill during the upcoming session.
In addition, dwindling exports numbers, a weak
rupee and consistent selling by the foreign
investors dented the equity markets.
The Indian rupee weakened by 13 paise at the
close of the day's trade at 68.37 to a US dollar
from its previous close of 68.2324 to a green
"Rupee came under the pressure due to heavy
demand for US dollars from the foreign institu
tional investors (FIIs). The demand could be seen
as an indication for further sales in equity and
bonds by the FIIs," Anindya Banerjee, associate
vice president for currency derivatives with
Kotak Securities, told IANS.

The Indian rupee weakened by 13 paise at the

close of the day's trade at 68.37 to a US dollar.
(File photo)
On the exports front, macro data showed a
slump of 13.6 percent in January in dollar terms
over the same month a year ago.
"Prot bookings on the back of last two ses
sions gains and fears over a washout of the
upcoming parliamentary session led to the
decline in the markets," Anand James, cohead,
technical research desk with Geojit BNP Paribas
Financial Services, told IANS.
Sectorwise, all the 19 indices of the BSE ended
in the red.

24 February 20-26, 2016


Ashwin spins India to series win over Sri Lanka

Visakhapatnam: Offspinner Ravichandran
Ashwin (4/8) spearheaded an incisive bowl
ing attack to help India beat Sri Lanka by
nine wickets in their third and final T20
International and win the series 21 here.
The series win also enabled India remain
No.1 in the T20 rankings.
Chasing a paltry target of 83 runs for a
win, India lost just the wicket of righthan
der Rohit Sharma (13) in the sixth over
when their score was 29. Lefthander
Shikhar (46) and Ajinkya Rahane (22) guid
ed India home in 13.5 overs for a win with
37 balls to spare.
Ashwin was named Man of the Match as
well as the Man of the Series for his impres
sive form.
Earlier, Ashwin) ran through Sri Lanka's
top order to help India bowl out Sri lanka
for a mere 82 runs at the Dr. Y.S.
Rajasekhara Reddy ACAVDCA Cricket
Stadium here.
Ashwin's supreme display was backed by
his teammates as pacers Ashish Nehra
(1/17), Jasprit Bumrah (1/10), leftarm
spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1/6) and part
timer Suresh Raina (2/11) all contributed

The series win also enabled India remain No.1 in the T20 rankings. (Photo: IANS)
to the Sri Lankan debacle.
Sri Lanka's batsmen could never get
going with Dasun Shanaka (19) being their
highest scorer. They were bowled out in the
18th of their allotted 20 overs. India won

PaesChardy reach
quarters of Delray
Beach Open

the toss and chose to field.

Dhoni's decision was justified by offspin
ner Ravichandran Ashwin who opened the
bowling and struck twice in the very first
over. Opener Niroshan Dickwella (1), in for

the injured Chamara Kapugedera, was

stumped on the third ball and his experi
enced partner Tillakaratne Dilshan (1) was
trapped leg before wicket off the sixth ball
to cap off a dream over by Ashwin.
Sri Lanka got rattled by the poor start,
and their troubles worsened when skipper
Dinesh Chandimal (8) skied an aggressive
shot off Ashwin to be caught at midoff to
leave the visitors reeling at 12/3 in the
third over.
Ashw in cont inued to torment the
Lankans, picking up his and the team's
fourth wicket shortly thereafter, dismissing
debutant Asela Gunaratne (4). Sri Lanka
were tottering at 20/4 inside five overs.
Pacer Nehra joined in the act, clean bowl
ing Milinda Siriwardana (4) in the next
over. At 21/5 in the sixth over, Sri lanka
were looking down the barrel. They strug
gled to score freely and kept losing wickets
at regular intervals w ith See kkuge
Prasanna getting run out (9) and Dasun
Shanaka (19) bowled by Jadeja. From there
on, it was always going to be difficult for
the Islanders to post a decent total, and
they ultimately folded for 82.

IndiaPak World T20 game will

be highscoring
Dharamsala: The muchawaited
World Twenty20 match between
arch rivals India and Pakistan at
the picturesque Himachal Pradesh
Cricket Asso ciat ion (HPCA)
Stadium here will have a batsman
friendly pitch and is expected to
be a hig hscoring g ame, the
ground's curator said here.
India and Pakistan will lock
horns at the HPCA Stadium, which
is nestled in the Dhauladhar range
of the Himalayas, here on March
19 and is expected to be a high
voltage clash between two former
champions of the showpiece tour
For Twenty20s, you know how
the wickets are. This one will also

be the same; it will be a batsman

friendly wicket. The pitch is such
that it will be a high scoring
game, HPCA chief curator Sunil
Chauhan told IANS during a chat
here. Chauhan further said that
the condition of the pitch will not
deteriorate through the course of
the match but added that the out
field will be lightening quick.
For 40 overs the wicket will
behave as the same. But the out
field will be fast. We are prepar
ing it right now by using sand and
organic manure. We will start
preparing the pitches on February
24, said Chauhan.
Currently, we are preparing the
outfield. If you see the ground on

February 28 or 29, you will see a

lush green fie ld unlike now,
added Chauhan, pointing towards
the outfie ld where work was
Dharamsala will host six qualify
ing matches of the World
Twenty20 from March 9 to 13
and two main tournament games.
TransTasman rivals Australia and
New Zealand will square of f on
March 18 followed by the India
Pakistan encounter.
I am 100 percent sure it will be
a full house for both the matches.
Both are big games and everyone
is excited to see the India
Pakistan match in Dharamsala,
concluded Chauhan.

India women seal ODI series

against Sri Lanka 20
Leander Paes. (Photo: IANS)
Delray Beach (US): Indian tennis
veteran Leander Paes along
with French partner Jeremy
Chardy progressed to the quar
ternals of the $514,065
Delray Beach Open being held
at the De lray Beach Tennis
Center here.
T he IndoFrench combine
took just an hour and 12 min
utes to beat American fourth
seeds Eric Butorac and Scott
Lipsky 64, 75 in the Round of
16. Paes and Chardy will next

face SpanishAustralian com

bine of Marcel Granollers and
Sam Groth for a place in the
semis. Paes and Chardy were
easily the better pair, serving
four aces and winning 66 of the
119 points played in the match.
More importantly, though they
were broken twice, the Indo
French pair exacted revenge by
breaking the fourth seeds four
times during the course of the
match which put the contest in
their favor.

Ranchi: India women's cricket

team took an unassailable 20
lead after their comprehensive six
w ickets w in over Sri Lanka
Women in the second OneDay
International (ODI) at the JSCA
International Stadium Complex
here. India won the first ODI by
89 runs, and like in the first
g ame, they dominated in all
departments of the game. The
third and final ODI will be played
on Friday.
Needing a moderate 189 runs
to win, the home team got to the
mark with 42 balls to spare, los

ing just four wickets. Opener

Smriti Mandhana scored 46, hit
ting four boundaries and one six.
Captain Mithali Raj remained
unbeaten on 53 and stitched a
64run stand for the third wicket
with Harmanpreet Kaur (41).
All the four Indian wickets were
taken by le ftarm spinner
Sugandika Kumari (4/39).
Earlier, a disciplined bowling
effort saw the home team restrict
Sri Lanka to just 188/9. Deepti
Sharma registered her career best
figures (4/29) as Sri Lanka once
again struggled to score freely.

India got their first wicket in

the sixth over through Deepti. Sri
lanka strugg led to score and
reached their 50run mark only in
the 20th over.
India were able to break part
nerships at regular intervals as
the visitors lost the plot.
In danger to be bowled out well
inside the 50 overs like in the
previous game, senior player
Dilani Manodara brought her
experience to the fore and
remained unbeaten on 43 to help
Sri Lanka reach 178/9 in 50

February 20-26, 2016



Who is the perfect candidate, wonders

Indian American author T. Dasu

By Arun Kumar

n IndianAmerican author of a new

novel about a former spyturned
politician has a piece of advice for
Republican president ial frontrunner
Donald Trump: Veer to the centre, and pick
a positive, uplifting message.
Fearmongering can only take you so
far, says T. Dasu, by day a research scien
tist working on problems in statistics,
stream mining, and machine learning, and
author of The Perfect Candidate, the sec
ond in her Spy, Interrupted trilogy.
Also, pick a smart woman as a running
mate, she says on behalf of the campaign
team of her novels hero, a former CIA oper
ative with an IndianAmerican wife, running
for a US Senate seat.
No, not Carly Fiorina. Nikki Haley? she
asks, referring to former HP CEO, who has
quit the presidential race, and the Indian
American governor of South Carolina.
Intolerance of any kind should be reject
ed forcefully, particularly when it is institu
tionalized and turned on those least able to
fight it, Dasu told IANS in an email inter
view. Politicians will say and do anything
to get elected, she said when asked about
the intolerance debate in India and the kind
of rhetoric heard on the US presidential
campaign trail.
And very often the media fans the fire by
amplifying and repeating the most obnox
ious and heinous words, Dasu said.

Thats why it was important to me that

the hero, Stephen James, should have no
part in it; his intolerance is turned towards
peoples behavior for example, terrorist
In Dasus opinion, there is no perfect can
didate in the presidential race at the
moment, not counting her fictional hero
Stephen James, who is principled, fearless
and wants to save the world.
Among the Democrats, Bernie Sanders is
impractical and too focused on one issue,
Hillary Clinton has a credibility problem,
and the Republicans all want to take us
back to medieval times.
She, however, believes that Clinton is the
most qualified and capable candidate in the
field. Dasu said she was inspired to write
spy novels as I have always been a fan of
literary espionage, starting with Graham
Greenes Our Man in Havana, and the early
works of John le Carre, particularly the
Karla trilogy.
The focus is on characters and their
motivation rather than pure plot develop
ments, she said. And being a spy is such a
rich and complex human condition to
deceive in order to defend.
Dasu said her novels had more romance
and social drama than spy craft because I
am curious about the lives of spies rather
than their deeds or craft.
How do they relate to the people around
them? How do their significant others ever
trust them? What do they need to do in

T. Dasu, IndianAmerican author of The

Perfect Candidate, a novel about a spy
turned politician

Though not perfect, Hillary Clinton is the

most qualified, the author opines.

order to keep their professional habits from

seeping into their personal interactions?
I wanted to write about the spy as seen
through the eyes of the people close to
them, Dasu said. And, I have to admit, I
love Jane Austen as much as I love literary
So, romance and social drama and other
situations faced by every thinking woman
naturally creep into my writing.
But she disagreed strongly that the South
Asian characters in the book are stereotypi

cal. First of all, most South Asian charac

ters and writing focus on immigrant angst
and adjustment issues Jhumpa Lahiri,
Chitra Divakaruni the whole culture clash
between Western and Indian values.
Most of the South Asian characters in her
book, she acknowledged, are very well
adjusted and happy, to the point of perfec
tion. But the last book in her trilogy is
very different from the first two books, she
said. It has a unique setting and an unusual
story arc.

How a pacifist religion became warriorlike

Review of two books, The
Sikh Gurus, and Janamsakhis:
Ageless Stories, Timeless
Values, authored by Harish
Dhillon, published by Hay
House Publishers India.
A depiction of the creation of Khalsa
by Guru Gobind Singh
By M.R. Narayan Swamy

gifted writer, Harish Dhillon tells us the history of

the 10 Sikh gurus, bringing out succinctly how a
pacifist religion created by the revered Guru Nanak
in 1499 transformed itself into the Khalsa just 200 years
later, mainly due to the tyranny unleashed by Mughal
empires intent on forcibly converting Hindus and Sikhs
into Islam. And how Sikhism has held on in a sea of
Hindus and Muslims.
In the first hundred years of its existence, Sikhism was
basically a movement of social and spiritual reform.
Because of its many revolutionary concepts, it appealed to
many Hindus and Muslims. But as the religion found more
and more takers, there was plenty of hostility and jealousy,
both from Hindu kingdoms in the northern hills and from
Mughal kings who were not ready to tolerate anything that

would weaken the appeal of Islam.

Although Babur, the founder of the Mughal empire in
India, knew Guru Nanak personally and later Akbar gifted
a 'jagir' during the time of the third Guru (Amar Das) on
which Amritsar was built, the tolerance from the Mughal
side ended with them. The sadistic and totally uncalled for
killing of the fifth Guru, Arjan Dev, in Lahore in 1606
marked the end of the easy, comfortable relationship that
had existed between the Sikhs and Mughal rulers till then.
It was finally left to the 10th Guru, Gobind Singh, to over
haul Sikhs into a well organized, highly skilled and excel
lently trained group of warriors. But as Dhillon underlines,
Guru Gobind Singh did not take Sikhs away from the teach
ings of Guru Nanak. He was forced to change the contour
of the young religion to protect it from extinction. And he
also decided that there would be no further living Guru
and the Guru Granth Sahib would be the new Guru forev
er. Dhillon admits that the Sikh history he is unveiling is
not new. Yet, in retelling a story that is known, Dhillon
who taught English for 47 long years proves he is a great
storyteller. It is a book that will appeal to all, Sikhs as well

A painting of Guru Nanak explaining

Sikh teachings to sadhus.
as nonSikhs. Ditto for Dhillon's other book. "Janamsakhis"
are a collection of 20 interesting and inspiring stories
about the life and times of Guru Nanak. The earliest came
to be written around 1658 or nearly 120 years after the
passing away of Guru Nanak in 1539. In that sense, none
of the stories, Dhillon says, can claim to be most authentic
or authoritative because each chronicler, over time, may
have altered the narrative. Nevertheless, they throw a valu
able insight into the thinking of Guru Nanak, founder of
what is even today one of the youngest religions in the
world. These are indeed inspiring spiritual stories. (IANS)


February 20-26, 2016


Should one revert to a stoneage diet to stay fit & healthy?

New Delhi : Amid all the rush to find a bal
anced diet that can keep one healthy, pre
vent from early ageing and kiss lifestyle
induced diseases a goodbye, modern calorie
counters in India have discovered a new fad:
eat the way our ancestors ate.
The Paleolithic, caveman or Stone Age diet
until now a purely Western phenomenon
is fast catching up with the weightloss
crazy young Indians, say health experts,
warning that since the time and space are so
varied with our ancestors and their food
habits, it is actually dif ficult to suggest a
onesizefitsall formula when it comes to
emulating the palaeo diet for super health.
Simply put, the caveman diet consists of
what our ancestors who, in order to survive
the harsh, brutal forces of nature, ate what
ever came their way from meat to plant
rich food, fruits, nuts and vegetables in raw,
boiled or barbecued form.
"No doubt that our ancestral diet was full
of fiber and nutrients that definitely comple
ment super health and slowageing. The
food consumed today is processed in nature,
low on fiber and high on sodium. This is a
reason behind the increasing ailments like
diabetes, heart disease, etc," says Dr Ritika
Samaddar, head (nutrition and dietetics) at
Max Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi.
"However, we need to keep in mind that
our ancestors had a very different lifestyle
from us. They were far more physically
active; hence the highfiber content in their
food got easily digested," she told IANS.
But was a balanced diet ever there on our

ancestors' mind? One has to remember that

our treeliving ancestors like chimpanzees
and orangutans apart from partying on a
rare meat supper once in a while were
largely vegetarians, eating all kinds of
fruits, nuts and plantrich diets.
So what is an ideal paleo diet? One
from 30,000 years ago when the
Neanderthals disappeared from the
Earth? From 100,000 years ago
or 30 million years ago?
If we believe Rob Dunn, biol
ogist at North Carolina State
University and an authori
ty on food and its ances
tral journey, our ances
tors were not at one
w ith
"Nature tried to
kill them and
starve them
out; they sur
vived any way, sometimes with more meat,
sometimes with less, thanks in part to the
ancient flexibility of our guts," he wrote in a
blog on Scientific American website.
"As for me, I will choose to eat the fruits
and nuts like my early ancestors, not
because they are the perfect paleo diet but
instead because I like these foods, and mod
ern studies suggest that consuming them
offers benefits," he added.
According to Dr Samaddar, it is important
to take a note of important elements that
were part of our ancestral diet but do not try
to ape them. "Include raw veggies and fruits

Join social groups & live

longer in golden years

Photo courtesy: Age Well Foundation

London : How do you plan to take
care of yourself after retirement?
New research recommends that
you join social groups such as
book clubs since having a social
hobby is like regular exercise to
live happier and longer.
The more social groups an indi
vidual belongs to in the first few
years after she or he stops work
ing, the lower their risk of death,
showed findings of a research car
ried out at the University of
Queensland School of Psychology
in Australia.
Researchers Niklas Steffens and
Tegan Cruwys wrote in their study
paper that: "As much as practition
ers may help retirees adjust by

providing support with financial

planning, social groups may also
help by providing social planning."
In this regard, practical inter
ventions should focus on helping
retirees to maintain their sense of
purpose and belonging by assist
ing them to connect to groups and
communities that are meaningful
to them, said the researchers.
T he paper titled Eng lish
Longitudinal Study of Ageing was
published in the journal BMJ
To assess the impact of social
group memberships, researchers
tracked the health of 424 people
at least 50 years old for six years
after they retired.

for highfiber and nutrients but in quantities

that match our lifestyle. Have an active
lifestyle and consume lots of water to ensure
good digestion," she advises.
Not just meat and fruits, researchers are
now looking into the carbohydrate con
sumption in early humans. According
to a team of researchers from
Barcelona in Spain, eating meat
may have kickstarted the evo
lution of bigger brains but
carbohydrate consumption,
particularly in the form of
cooked starchy foo ds
together with evolution
increased our abili
starch, made
m o d e r n
h u m a n s
"The human brain uses up to 25 percent
of the body's energy budget and up to 60
percent of blood glucose. While synthesis of
glucose from other sources is possible, it is
not the most ef ficient way and these high
glucose demands are unlikely to have been
met on a low carbohydrate diet," noted the
researchers in a paper published in the jour
nal The Quarterly Review of Biology.
For Seema Singh, chief clinical nutritionist
at Fortis Flt Lt Rajan Dhall Hospital, key
takeaways from the ancestral diet are
wholesome fruits and vegetables.

"Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxi

dants that protect the body from the harm
ful effects of free radicals. Antioxidants such
as vitamins C and E and carotenoids help
protect cells from damage caused by free
radicals. Other naturally occurring antioxi
dants include flavonoids, phenols and lig
nans," Singh said.
The paleolithic diet excludes dairy or cere
al products and processed food and alcohol
or coffee. "This diet is said to improve health
as paleolithic nutrition improves lipid profile
in people with high cholesterol to a greater
extent than traditional hearthealthy dietary
recommendations," explains Sunita Roy
Chowdhary, chief dietitian at BLK Super
Specialty Hospital.
For Meera Roy, nutritionist and dietitian at
telehealth venture Healthenablr, people are
stressed out today and tend to have high
calorie foods which are not balanced.
"I agree with the fact that raw, boiled and
barbequed are the best food. It keeps us
healthy and slows down the ageing process
as the quantity of fat is very less and the
nutrients are almost intact," Roy said.
Dunn, meanwhile, supplements his diet
chart with much cof fee, maybe a glass of
wine and some chocolate as "these supple
ments are not paleo by any definition," but
he likes them any way.
So, as researchers the world over try to
dissect the best palaeo diet, in a nutshell, the
key to good health is a lifestyle that includes
balanced food, exercise and proper rest and
not any diet per se, experts point out.

New Delhi: A new nonsurgical,
painless medical procedure which
reduces fat from the body within a
day or two was launched here on
According to doctors, under the
procedure termed BTL Vanquish
ME, skin is heated up to 42 degrees
Celsius and the underlying fat to 46
deg rees which burns the fats
including the areas of the body
which takes time to even through
heavy exercises.
"It is basically a painless proce
dure. There is no downtime, no

compression garments required,

and no special instructions to fol
low. Although the skin and the
underly ing fat is heated up,
patients often describe the treat
ment as just a warm feeling, like
standing in front of a radiator," said
Simal Soin, cosmetic dermatologist
at Aayna Clinic.
Medical sciences say people who
exceed their ideal body weight by
more than 20 percent have an
increased risk of type 2 diabetes,
stroke, heart and liver disease, and
orthopedic disorders. Nationally

and internationally, more than a

billion people are overweight.
Soin said the biggest advantage of
the technology is that it was non
surgical and said to be absolutely
safe having no chance of damaging
external skin or muscles.
"This technique has been around
worldwide but now has been intro
duced in India. The fat reduction is
permanent if the patient does not
gain weight. Healthy nutrition and
suf ficient exercise are highly rec
ommended post treatment," said

Agreement between Indias AYUSH ministry and WHO reached

New Delhi: The Modi
Wednesday gave
its approval for
an agreement to
AYUSH ministry
and the World
Health Organisation
( WHO) for collaborative
Ayush stands for Ayurveda,

Yog a
Naturopathy, Unani,
Sidd ha
The longterm
w ith the WHO
w ill he lp in
improving interna
tional acceptability
and branding of AYUSH
systems, facilitate awareness gen
eration regarding AYUSH systems

of medicine by means of educa

tion, skill development, work
shops, publications and exchange
programs between AYUSH and
WHO," an official statement said
here. It will help in capacity build
ing and facilitate advocacy and
dissemination of information on
AYUSH systems amongst the
memberstates, it added.
T he cabinet meet ing was
chaired by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi.


Couch potato? Your brain

may shrink as you age
New York: Do you love to spend
more time watching TV or movies
and hate to exercise? Go hit the
ground running as poor physical
fitness in middle age may acceler
ate brain ageing in just two
decades, warn researchers.
"We found a direct correlation in
our study between poor fitness
and brain volume two decades
later which indicates accelerated
brain aging," said study author
Nicole Spartano from Boston
University School of Medicine in
the US.
People with poor physical fit
ness often have higher blood pres
sure and heart rate responses to
low levels of exercise compared to
people with better fitness.
For the study, published in the
journal Neurology, 1,583 people
were enrolled with an average age
of 40 without dementia or heart
disease and took a treadmill test.
They went through another test
two decades later along with MRI
brain scans. The researchers also
analyzed the results when they
excluded participants who devel
oped heart disease or started tak
ing beta blockers to control blood
pressure or heart problems.

The results showed that those

who performed poorly on the
treadmill test had brain volume
smaller two decades later equiv
alent to two years of accelerated
brain aging.
When the people with heart dis
ease or those taking beta blockers
were excluded, lower physical per
formance was associated with
reductions of brain volume equal
to one year of accelerated brain
aging, the researchers noted.
The study also showed that peo
ple whose blood pressure and
heart rate went up at a higher rate
during exercise were more likely
to have smaller brain volumes two
decades later.
"This showed that poor physical
fitness causes a loss of brain vol
ume," Spartano added.


Wear saris beyond special

occasions, urges Vidya
Mumbai: Vidya Balan, who has
flaunted the sixyard wonder on
international red carpet events
with elan, believes young Indian
women should wear saris more
Actress Vidya Balan, who has
flaunted the sixyard wonder on
international red carpet events
with elan, believes young Indian
women should wear saris more
Vidya unveiled the collections of
handloom saris of three designers
Gaurang Shah, Bappaditya of
Bailou, and Mira Sagar of brand
Vaya in Mumbai. She was
impressed with the mix of modern
aesthetics with traditional weaves.
Vaya, Bailou and Gaurang are
fashion labels at the forefront of a
unique movement that endorses a
fashion aesthetic that inspires the
young modern Indian woman to
don the sari, beyond those special
occasions, Vidya said.
Talking about the new lines, she
said: Each sari is handcrafted
using traditional Indian crafts
manship in tandem with a con
temporary design philosophy that
is inspired by life in the new mil

7.5 percent rise in cancer patients

in India due to lifestyle changes
New Delhi: India has seen a 7.5 percent rise in the
number of cancer patients due primarily to poor
lifestyle choices such as consumption of alcohol,
'pan masala' and tobacco, a study has revealed.
The lifestyle problems have contributed to can
cer of lips, mouth, stomach, colon and rectum
among men and to breast, ovarian and cervix uteri
cancers among women, says the 'Globocan' project
study conducted by International Agency for
Research on Cancer of the World Health
Organization (WHO).
The latest findings of the study show that India
witnessed 10 lakh new cancer cases and six lakh
deaths last year, a 7.5 percent rise over the corre
sponding figures in 2008.
The Globocan project aims to provide contempo
rary estimates of the incidence of, mortality and
prevalence from major types of cancer, at national
level, for 184 countries of the world.
"With more than 10 lakh new cases and over six
lakh deaths reported in a year, India bears a heavy
burden of cancer. Considering the current trends,
the incidence and mortality are expected to reach
more than 12 lakh and more than eight lakh by
2020, respectively," said the study.
Late detection is also the cause of 70 percent of
cancer deaths in India, it said.
While 50 percent of the deaths in the US are
accounted for by people above 70 years of age, 71
percent of the deaths in India claim people in the
productive years of 30 to 69 years. Fifteen percent
of patients are children, compared to the global
average of 0.5 percent.
"There is a lack of knowledge regarding cancer.
There are regions where cancer patients are still

February 20-26, 2016

While 50 percent of the deaths in the US are

accounted for by people above 70 years of age,
71 percent of the deaths in India claim people in
the productive years of 30 to 69 years. Fifteen
percent of patients are children, compared to
the global average of 0.5 percent.
treated as untouchables and deserted by even
close relatives. The fact is that the quality of life
can be improved through proper guidance of doc
tor and support of the family," said Asha Kapadia,
head of oncology at PD Hinduja hospital in
Commenting on the study, Boman Dhabar, med
ical oncologist, Wockhardt Hospital, said, "There is
need to restore the simple lifestyle people used to
lead earlier. Avoiding alcohol, smoke, fatty diet and
proper screening for cancer is very much

Actress Vidya Balan, who has flaunted the sixyard wonder on interna
tional red carpet events with elan, believes young Indian women
should wear saris more often.
lennium. Quirky, fun yet com
pletely Indian, each piece is craft
ed with care and designed to
appeal to the Indian woman of
every age.
Bappaditya of Bailou works
closely with weavers in Bengal to
create experimental weaves such
as a sequinned Jamdani while
keeping intact this art forms
unique heritage.
For Vaya, designer Mira Sagar
has lent her creat ivity to

Maheshwari and Chanderi saris;

and Gaurang Shah is an award
winning textile designer and the
name behind the label Gaurang.
Shah said: The culmination of
three unique labels is united by a
common handwoven thread,
showcasing their creations under
a single roof, is an unique amalga
mation of unseen Indian heritage
The exhibition is being held at
Coomaraswamy Hall in Mumbai.

Focus on quality, not

quantity, of food
to stay slim
New York: Have you come across a
few people who never seem to worry
about weight and yet manage to stay
slim? One secret that works behind
their seeming ef fortlessness may
actually be a sharp focus on the quali
ty of food that they eat, suggests new
research. "These results are encourag
ing because they imply that instead of
putting restrictions on one's diet and
avoiding favorite foods, weight gain
could be prevented early on by learn
ing to listen to inner cues and putting
emphasis on the quality instead of the
quantity of food," said lead researcher
AnnaLeena Vuorinen from the
University of Tempere in Finland.
You know that one friend who never
worries about weight and seems to
stay ef fortlessly slim? That friend,
and others like him might unknowing
ly possess secrets to helping those
who struggle with their weight.
The findings are based on Global
Healthy Weight Registry that sur
veyed adults who have successfully
maintained a healthy body weight
throughout their lives.
The registry was created by Cornell
Food and Brand Lab of Corne ll
University in the US. Those who vol
untarily signed up for the registry
answered a series of questions about
diet, exercise and daily routines. The

researchers then divided the respon

dents into two groups. Group one, the
mindlessly slim, consisted of 112
adults who reported that they did not
maintain strict diets.
The other group consisted of those
who dieted regularly, thought about
food frequently and were highly con
scious of what they ate. After compar
ing the responses from each group,
the researchers found that mindlessly
slim individuals were more likely to
use strategies that differ from tradi
tional recommendations for weight
loss or maintenance. These strategies
include eating highquality foods,
cooking at home and listening to
inner cues in order to stay slim. Also
they did not indicate feeling as guilty
as the other group about overeating.
Furthermore, mindlessly slim people
were more likely to have an enjoy
mentbased, internally informed
approach to food and eating, the
study found. The findings were pre
sented recently at the annual scientif
ic meeting of The Obesity Society in
(All articles: IANS)
Los Angeles, US.


February 20-26, 2016


Funny Side by Nury Vittachi


ave you noticed that a significant per

centage of parenting time is spent
screaming at your children to stop
Ironic, that. Researchers say that even very
young children are now learning curse words,
because parents break their own anticursing
rules. Youre 3 years old! Stop [@#$%ing]
My gently religious family has always been
totally noncursing, with words like silly
being considered highly risqu, and poopy
head causing people to faint.
Not so in the outside world. I was shocked
recently when I did some broadcasting on a
book show and my loosetongued copresen
ter, who wanted to talk about erotica, was
told that almost all curse words were now
allowed after 9pm.
T his is bad for everyone, because
researchers say that Englishspeaking soci
eties are running out of swear words.
They lose their power now we live in a
world where kindergartners greet each other
with: Good (@#$%ing) morning, you
[@#$%ing] stupid [@#$%^].
Scientists say curses are important because

they evolved to alleviate physical and emo

tional pain.
Still, I do think some people should NEVER
use bad words because they just sound wrong
in their mouths.
Like weather forecasters.
A @#$%load of rain fell this morning, and
the humidity level will rise to a @#$% of a lot
by noon.

Just doesnt work.

One suggestion someone gave me is to use
swear words from other languages. In the US
TV show "Firefly", actors used real swear
words, but only in Mandarin and Cantonese.
Guys, there are a lot of people who speak
Chinese on this planet, or hadnt you noticed?
Still, its true that nonEnglish speakers
have some cool curses. In Hindi, people insult
each other by saying: You are the hair grow
ing on my flank area.
In Mandarin Chinese, people say, You son
of a rabbit. (Sometimes you hear parents
curse lazy children with this phrase without
realizing the irony.)
I had an Italian friend who used to say

Maladicta when I trod on his toes. It sound

ed very sweary but hes literally just saying
Bad word! Bad word!.
Some years ago, I had to train a foul
mouthed newspaper reporter for a job on live
radio. We wrote a list of words that sounded
like curses but were safe for broadcasting use
and taped them to her microphone. The top
three most satisfying ones were Pool, Cow
and Follicle. The next time something bad
happens, try shouting Pool at the top of
your voice. It works really well.
I think you should stop cursing entirely. If
you want to be really classy, I recommend
making all dramatic announcements in Latin.
Here are three useful phrases to get you
1) At the bar:
Di! Ecce hora! Uxor mea me necabit!
(Dear God, look at the time! My wife will
kill me!)
2) On the street:
Recedite, plebes! Gero rem imperialem!
(Stand aside plebians! I am on imperial
3) The most horrible curse in Latin is this
Utinam logica falsa tuam philosophiam
totam suffodiant.
(May faulty logic undermine your entire
Ooh, now thats nasty, right?
One place where you can easily express
things in an impactful way without using bad
words is the Internet.
Or as I sometimes write to my children: Do
not make me use CAPITAL LETTERS.

Laughter is the Best Medicine

New York Head Quarter
422S Broadway
NY 11801


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


February 20-26, 2016


Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874

Delhi, India: +91-11- 2644 9898, 2648 9899;

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma

FEBRUARY 2026, 2016

ARIES: Promotions and monetary ben
efits for dedicated professionals.
Friends and family members would
encourage to work harder. You get some
financial rewards as dedication & hard work
gets noticed. Love companion will be eager
to meet you this week. Pleasure trip would
help in maintaining sound health this week.
Take some time to travel with your spouse
for romance and seduction. Selling a plot
might be profitable as property rates tend to
rise sooner. You are likely to learn many
things from the past experiences.
TAURUS: Pending proposals will get
implemented with the help of seniors.
You are likely to hear a good news
from close relatives. Monetary gains are
likely to be from more than one source.
Proposing might benefit, as chances of suc
ceeding in love are high. Yoga and medita
tion would help in keeping in shape and
mentally agile.
You can make your vacation extra special by
planning it with your family and friends.
Lifestyle home is what you are looking for?
You feel on the top of the world as many
good things happen at a same time.
GEMINI: Good week for implement
ing new plans and ventures. An old
friend makes a pleasant visit later in
the week.
A new financial deal gets finalized paving
the way for fresh money. Search for a true
romantic friend might end this week.
Blessings of a saintly person give peace of
mind. Spiritual vacation is a quest for life,
plan it and enjoy it with your family. Deals
on commercial property can tend to be at
full boom. Nice behaviour would make you a
star of social gathering.

CANCER: Subordinates/coworkers
would be very helpful. Evening
enjoyed with family and close rela
tives brings immense pleasure. Financial
position will improve later in the week.
Blossoming love life brings happiness.
Chances of recovering from physical ailment
are high. Vacation full of beauty and history
as we ll as exciting is waiting for you.
Investing residentially is one thing you can
rely on. Circumstances are likely to make
you friendly with influential people.
LEO: Traveling brings new overseas
business opportunities. You are likely
to plan a short trip with family. Real
estate investment would be lucrative.
Romance is likely to intensify through recre
at ional act ivit ies & entertainment.
Inexhaustible energy enables to participate
in outdoor activities.
Traveling on your own, with a friend or
with the whole family will be exciting and
comfortable too. Investment on overseas
property has to be considered seriously. You
are likely to realise the importance of reach
ing out to people.
VIRGO: Auspicious week to start a
new venture. Unexpected visit by old
friend could give you a pleasant sur
prise. Investment in stocks & mutual funds
would help in earning profits. Romantic
opportunity comes your way as your
sparkling sunshine smile injures a lively &
tender heart. You attain a bloom in health
on sharing happiness with others. Travel in
comfort with kids to an adventurous place
might be possible. Time to spend money on
your homely accommodations. Trusting to a
limit in friendship would augur well for

LIBRA: Professional attitude at work

brings success. Good advice from
family members will help in reduc
ing mental tension/pressure. Longterm
investment in stocks & mutual funds will
enable to earn profits. Romance touches
new heights, as partner positively responds.
A cheerful state of mind would allow enjoy
ing the perfect health. A trip that stimulates
and gives opportunity for work is coming
ahead. A good week to make some invest
ment on kitchen items. You succeed in main
taining a distance from temptations.
SCORPIO : Seniors colleagues are like
ly to lend a helping hand. Sudden
good news in the evening will bring
cheers for the entire family. Improvement in
finances is certain. You are likely to find
someone with whom you will enjoy the
ecstasies of love. Divine knowledge from a
saintly person provides solace & comfort. A
luxurious getaway type vacation with your
spouse waiting for you. You might be pur
chasing a refrigerator or any other gadget
for your house. Taking independent deci
sions would immensely benefit.
SAGITTARIUS: Hard work & dedica
tion would win the trust of seniors at
work. Your ef forts bring success &
happiness at family front. Speculation cou
pled with some unexpected gains improves
financial health.
Love comes your way as friendship turns
into romance. Meditation and yoga prove
beneficial for spiritual as well as physical
gains. Thrilling experience is on your way,
as your trip is full of excitement Purchasing
of electrical appliances can be done. A
desire to do things differently will develop
innovative style.

CAPRICORN: Mental clarity would

remove past business confusions.
You achieve success in personal
work with the timely help & support provid
ed by family members. A new source of
income will generate through influential
contacts. You are likely find comfort in the
arms of romantic partner. A very healthy
week when your cheerfulness gives the
desired tonic and confidence. Pack your
bags as a happy, funfilled holiday is looking
forward. A good deal for residential proper
ty is ahead. Polite and nice behaviour to oth
ers would immensely benefit you.
AQUARIUS: Travel undertaken for
establishing new contacts and busi
ness expansion will be very fruitful.
Misunderstandings with near ones in the
family will get cleared. Investment made this
week would enhance prosperity and financial
security. Love and romantic encounter will
this week keep you in a cheerful state. You
are likely to maintain good health that would
also give you success. An enriching vacation
full of fun is what you need. Time to make
investments on farmlands. Voluntary work
done in past brings laurels this week.
PISCES : Your artistic and creative
ability would attract a lot of apprecia
tion. Children would do their best to
keep you happy. An improvement in financial
position would enable to make important
purchases. Sudden romantic encounter is
foreseen this week. A continuous positive
thinking gets rewarded as you succeed in
whatever you do this week. Time to make
your vacation a dream come true. Your
investment plans are at full boom and you
might succeed in them. People will try to find
out the secret behind your magical charms.


20th February, 2016
Ruled planet: Moon Ruled by no: 2
Traits in you: As you are influenced by the Moon, you are
confident, emotional, imaginative, simple, creative, courte
ous, and warm hearted. You can easily make friends
because of your nature so you enjoy enormous respect
amongst your friends. You should control your mood
swings and you should not be lazy.
Health this year: As far as your health is concerned this
year, you may frequently fall sick. You need to undergo
regular medical checkups and take your prescribed medi
cines on time. Join a gym and try practicing meditation to
retain your fitness.
Finance this year: You would not be able to save any
money for future this year as your earnings will be spent
for something or the other. You may face unexpected
expenses, which would make you a bit financially weak.
You may go for new business ventures but need not get
involved in any partnerships.
Career this year: You will be given more responsibility this
year as you have proved yourself to be an ef ficient
resource for your employer. You may expect a promotion
or salary hike later this year. You should guide your ordi
nates to perform better and bring unexpected results for
your organization.
Romance this year: Your marital relationship will move
forward with lot of mutual love, care, respect and admira
tion. You should not get into any kind of argument with
your spouse as it may disturb your peaceful personal life.
You should get married this year if you are yet to marry.
Lucky month: October, November and January
21st February, 2016
Ruled planet: Jupiter Ruled by no: 3
Traits in you: As you are ruled by the Jupiter, you are ener
getic, ambitious, dignified, realistic, optimistic, reliable,
and very kindhearted. You have the skills of a good listen
er so you can perform well in any field. You should learn
handling tough situations calmly and efficiently.
Health this year: You will enjoy a moderate health this
year. You need to take preventive medicines for weather
changes as it may hamper your health conditions. Do not
neglect your health if you feel uneasy. Consult doctor reg
ularly and practice Yoga for better results.
Finance this year: You will be in huge monetary benefits
this year as you are going to get many contracts if you are
in business. You may travel abroad to for business purpose
and that would be very successful in establishing your
business. You need to create new contacts to get more
business. You should not invest in share market this time
though you may go for real estate.
Career this year: You will be highly appreciated by your
employer for your excellent performance. With the
increased workload, you may also be offered an increased

salary. You should learn to handle pressure situations from

your seniors. You may go for a job change later this year.
Romance this year: You may go through minor personal
disturbances and these could be solved by talking more to
your partner. Do not let the distance grow. Get some time
to talk to your spouse. You may plan a long trip with your
partner to strengthen your relationship.
Lucky month: March , July, October and January
22nd February, 2016
Ruled planet: Uranus Ruled by no: 4
Traits in you: The influence of your ruling planet Uranus
makes you active, practical, enthusiastic, courageous,
ambitious, and highly philosophical. You are very proud of
your traditions, culture and rituals. You are highly reli
gious and have a very sharp mind. However, you need to
work on your impatient and stubborn behavior.
Health this year: You will enjoy a pretty good health this
year though you may go through few minor diseases. Go
for regular medical checkups to retain your good health.
Take care of the health of your family members. Do not
ignore any health related issue as it may lead to further
Finance this year: You will be able to earn more money.
However, you may end up spending a lot of money on lux
ury and comfort. You may go for new business or invest
ments this year as the movement of planets ensures you
good monetary benefits.
Career this year: You will get new heights in your profes
sion because of your excellent communication skills. Your
employer would be very impressed and will admire you.
You may get few extra responsibilities and salary will also
increase. You will get expert in your domain and you must
go for learning new things in your profession.
Romance this year: If you are yet to be in a relationship,
this year is the ideal time to find a partner. You will get
ample support from your spouse in any critical decision
you have to take. You should show your love to your part
ner as it strengthens your relationship.
Lucky month: March , August and December
23rd February, 2016
Ruled planet: Mercury Ruled by no: 5
Traits in you: As you are influenced by your ruling planet
Mercury, you are intelligent, unique, sensible, business ori
ented, dignified, optimistic and charismatic. You are also
pretty warmhearted and friendly. However, you need not
be restless and impatient always to get your things done.
Health this year: Your health will remain good throughout
the year. You need to take utmost care of your health to
maintain it and remain fit. The health of your family mem
bers might be a concern for you this year. Try and avoid
your bad habits and start practicing yoga for the better
ment of your health.

Finance this year: You will earn a lot of money from your
past investment this year. However, you should invest your
money after going through the market thoroughly. Do not
lend or money this year. You may spend a lot of money on
buying comfort and luxury for your family members.
Career this year: You will gain a lot of professional knowl
edge this year. You may think for a job change this year.
You may not get the job satisfaction in the organization
you currently work for. You may not get the expected
appraisal, which would urge you to switch to another com
Romance this year: You should avoid any kind of conflict
with your beloved. Plan a long holiday with your spouse to
make your relationship stronger. If you are unmarried, you
should not get to a marital relationship this year as the
movement of your stars is not favorable for marriage.
Lucky month: June, November and December
24h February, 2016
Ruled planet: Venus Ruled by no: 6
Traits in you: Your ruling planet Venus makes optimistic,
ambitious, caring, aspiring, and determined. You are very
social and love to make new friends and get into new rela
tionships. You are a huge follower of intelligence and edu
Health this year: You need to focus on your health a little
more as you may fall sick frequently this year. You should
go for regular medical checkups to maintain a healthy life.
Your parents may fall sick towards the end of the year and
it will put you in immense pressure.
Finance this year: Your innovative ideas to earn money
may not meet your expectations. However, you need to
keep trying until you succeed. You will find it tough to
make money this year. You may go for investments in vari
ous sectors like shares, gold, land and so on.
Career this year: You will get enough opportunities in your
professional life to prove yourself. You will create a better
impression on your seniors or higher management, which
may result in promotion. You should work efficiently to
maintain your respect at your workspace.
Romance this year: You will share a blissful romantic rela
tionship with your spouse or partner. Your marriage is on
cards if you are yet to marry. You will find your partner
supportive enough in every crucial situation.
Lucky month: May, July and December
25th February, 2016
Ruled planet: 7 Ruled by no: Neptune
Traits in you: By nature you are sober, courteous, unique,
honest and courageous as you are ruled by the powerful
planet Neptune. Your charming nature attracts people
towards you. You love to face challenges and you fight them
pretty well by executing perfection. You need to check for
your impatience, rudeness, and frequent mood swings.

Health this year: You will enjoy a better health this year as
compared to last year. However, the health of an aged fam
ily member may deteriorate and that will make you both
ered. You may end up spending lot of money for the health
issues of your family members.
Finance this year: This year may bring you huge financial
benefits. You will enjoy the returns of your investments. If
you want to gain financial profits, you have to work hard.
You may invest in various profitable businesses. However,
you should not start new partnerships or trust new
Career this year: This year you will reach to the peak of
your professional career and it will offer you huge finan
cial benefits. This year will be pretty rewarding for female
employees. You may get a better performance appraisal as
well as salary hike as compared to your expectations.
Romance this year: The emotional attachment with your
spouse or partner may blossom this year with lot of love,
care, and concern. If you are not married, then you may go
for a romantic relationship. You will enjoy a very blissful
time with your beloved.
Lucky month: May , June and September
26th February, 2016
Ruled planet: Saturn Ruled by no: 8
Traits in you: Your ruling planet Saturn makes you hum
ble, honest, focused, practical, realistic and enthusiastic.
You are blessed with enormous talent and imagination.
Along with the positive characters in you, there are some
negative aspects in your nature. You need to work on your
nature of being envious, unreliable, and indiscipline.
Health this year: Though you would not face any major
health related issues, you should take extra care of your
health. Do not take unwanted risk of putting your health in
stake. Go for regular medical checkups.
Finance this year: As far as your financial condition is con
sidered, you will enjoy a better status as compared to the
last year. You will get enough benefits from your previous
investments. You may plan for new investments. You may
go for partnerships to start new ventures. Domestic as well
as overseas ventures will be successful this year. You need
to create new contacts for the growth in your business as
it will earn you more projects and money.
Career this year: Professionally you will enjoy a smooth
life. You may get recognition in your professional circuit as
a result of your hard work and dedication. Your promotion
is on cards. You should take help of your seniors to learn
quickly and perform exceptionally well as it would help
you grow professionally.
Romance this year: Your relationship with your spouse or
partner will blossom this year. If you are not married, you
may have to wait for few more years though you are eligi
ble for marriage.
Lucky month: March , May , September and January


February 20-26, 2016



By Sant Rajinder Singh

Ji Maharaj

here is a story about how

God sent two angels to earth
to listen to the prayers of
humanity. One angel was asked to
collect all the prayers in which
people asked God for something.
The other angel was asked to col
lect all the prayers of thanksgiv
The two angels descended to
earth and began their task. They
agreed to meet back in a month
with their results. The angel col
lecting prayers asking God for
something, soon became extreme
ly busy. There were prayers that
people had to help them earn
more money, or get a windfall, or
win a lottery. There were prayers
for God to cure people of illnesses.
T here were many prayers for
improved health of ones children,
spouse, parents, siblings, relatives,
and friends. The angel filled the
basket with prayers that people
had for worldly objects such as a
bigger house, newer car, latest
computer , jewelry, expensive
clothing, and for their children

By Sant Rajinder Singh

Ji Maharaj
man was once asked by a
saint if he would like to find
God. First the man said that
he wanted to wait until he got mar
ried and settled down. The saint
returned after the man married
and settled down, and again asked
if he wanted to find God. The man
said, "When I am rich and success
ful at my job I will look for God."
The saint returned when the man
had made a lot of money and was
successful at his career. He again
asked the man if he wanted to find
God yet.
Now the man wanted to wait to
find God until after he had married
off his children.
When the children were settled,
the saint returned. Then the man
wanted to wait to find God until
after he had g randchildren.
Finally, on his deathbed he told the
saint he was ready to find God.
But by then his whole life had
passed and there was no time left.
Let us not be like that man. Let us
make a choice while still young
and vital and in our full senses. Let

new toys. Some people prayed to

God for a husband or wife, for
children or better relationships.
There were so many prayers ask
ing for things that the angel had
to obtain a van while on earth to
carry them all around!
In the meantime the other angel
traveled far and wide looking to
fill the basket with prayers of
thankfulness. One day passed, two
days passed, three days passed,
but no prayers of gratitude were
heard, the angel visited young
people and elderly people, men
and women, people of all coun
tries, all religions and all econom
ic levels. Still not a prayer of
thankfulness was heard. All that
this angel heard were the prayers
asking for things. Wondering
whether it was missing something,
the angel got on the angel hotline
to contact the other angel and
asked whether its basket of
prayers was being filled. Oh, Yes,
I have not only filled one basket,
but have filled many more, said
the angel. But in all my collecting,
I have not heard any prayers of
thankfulness either.
For the rest of the month, the
two angels fulfilled their mission,
and were ready to return to God.
The angel collecting prayers of
requests was laden with many
baskets. T he ange l collecting
prayers of thankfulness had hard
ly any in the basket.
There were a few prayers of
thankfulness, but a tiny amount
compared to the prayers of

We can thank God by leading

ethical lives of nonviolence,
truthfulness, purity, humility
and selfless service.
When God was presented with
their findings, God sighed. This is
nothing new, said God. You now
have a taste of what it is like being
God. People are always praying

for something from Me, which is

all right because at least they are
thinking of Me. But few ever
thank Me.
This story illustrates our human

condition. In life, many people

request others to do something
for them, but how many people
take an equal amount of time to
thank them. Similarly, we pray to
God for so many things that we
want, but how many take the time
to thank God? The post of fice
receives many letters from chil
dren addressed to Santa Claus
be fore Christmas. Yet, after
Christmas, children do not typical
ly send a letter to Santa thanking
him for what they received.
The next time the two angels
are sent by God to come to earth
to collect the prayers of human
beings, let us not disappoint the
one collecting prayers of thanks
giving. Let us be among those who
thank God for the gifts we have
ce le brate
Thanksgiving in the right spirit of
the festival. Let us be among
those who can thank God for the
many gifts we have receivedfor
our human birth, for our health,
for our food, clothing and shelter,
and for our families. Let us also
thank God for our education and
for our jobs. However, let us not
thank God merely with words but
with our deeds. We can thank God
by leading ethical lives of nonvio
lence, truthfulness, purity, humili
ty and selfless service. The deed
most appreciated by God is medi
tating daily so that we can con
nect with the inner Light and
Sound which is the means by
which we can return to our True
Home in the shortest possible


us not wait until it is too late.
We have been allotted a number
of breaths in this lifetime. We can
either waste them away or make
full use of them to complete our
course in spirituality. That is why
the Masters exhort us to make the
best use of this current lifetime.
A spiritual Master undertakes
the responsibility of making sure
our soul will be reunited with the
This responsibility is as that of a
teacher making sure the student is
ready for the highest degree for
graduation. It is his job to make
sure we are prepared and devel
oped spiritually. If we are not
ready, he still has to guide us until
we are ready. Thus, even while
under the care of a Master, he has
to make sure we complete our
course in spirituality.
When someone is seeking, they
often are fired up with intensity to
find the right spiritual Master, or
the spiritual teaching that can help
solve the mystery of life and death.
Yet, after someone finds and joins

a spiritual path, some become

complacent. They may feel that
their quest has ended, but, in reali
ty, their work has just begun.It is
like applying for a school, college,
or university. We intensely fill out
applications and submit admission
papers, and are thrilled when
we receive our acceptance letter.
Yet, their work is not endedit has
just begun. They must work hard
to complete their degree program
to graduate. It is the same on a
spiritual path. Just finding the
right Master who can teach us a
meditation practice that provides
proven results is the beginning; we
have to then start putting in the
effort and commitment to master
the meditation techniques to reach
the goal of realizat ion of the
Once the g reat writer Mark
Twain was having a discussion
w ith a businessman who was
known for being aggressive and
ruthless in his dealings with oth
ers. The businessman said to the
writer, "Before I die I would like to

make a pilgrimage to the Holy

Land and climb to the top of
Mount Sinai to read the Ten
Commandments aloud at the top."
Mark Twain quickly replied, "I
have a better idea. Rather than go
to Mount Sinai where Moses was
given the Ten Commandments,
why dont you just stay home here
in Boston and practice the Ten
Commandments in your life!"
This humorous comment carries
a significant meaning. Many of us
read the Commandments or advice
given by the great saints in the
scriptures. Many of us are happy
even to preach what our holy
books say. But how many of us live
up to the teachings we follow?
T here is a big dif ference
between knowing the theory and
practicing it. It is not enough to
read the books or scriptures and
know the theory. We need to live
up to them in our own lives. If we
learn a method of meditation and
instructions for progress, that is
not enough; the true heart of the
spiritual teachings is in the prac

tice. It is not enough to know what

others have said about it. It is
essential that we have our own
firsthand experience of spirituality.
That can be accomplished when
we sit in meditation.
Progress is a matter of accuracy.
We can become accurate only by
practice. Practice makes perfect. If
we expect to sit in meditation once
or twice in our life and accomplish
spiritual progress, we are being
unrealistic. We need to practice
It is said that if we take one step
toward God, God will take a hun
dred steps toward us. The time we
spend in meditation will be richly
Instead of merely reading the
Ten Commandments, live them. If
we do our meditations and lead
ethical lives, observing the virtues
of nonviolence, truthfulness, puri
ty, humility, selfless service, and
love for all, we will be blessed with
inner vision. We will have the
proof for ourselves of the exis
tence of our soul and God.

February 20-26, 2016