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December 17, 2010 Volume 2, No. 19

New Zealand’s first Indian weekend magazine
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Bollywood | 24
A chat with teen icon Genelia D’Souza

Community | 19
Kolkata celebrates a very special Christmas

from the Indian Weekender Team

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



New Zealand

Young Riten does Fiji and the Pacific proud
dev NadkarNI A young Fiji agriculturist of Indian descent has won a rare accolade for his ideas to attract young people to one of the most vital professions that is increasingly being seen by youngsters as unsexy in the developing world – farming – and suggesting the use of technology to maximise yield and profit.
Nadi born Riten Chand Gosai won the CTA ARDYIS Pacific Regional Prize at an international essay competition in South Africa last month. The European Union-funded Technical Centre for Agriculture and Rural Development (CTA is its French acronym) ran the competition in the 79nation grouping of developing countries known as ACP (African Caribbean Pacific) in which all the island nations of the South Pacific are included. The problem of food security does not get the attention it deserves, when compared to issues like climate change about which there is far more coverage in the media. Rising populations and Riten receiving his award in Johannesburg, South Africa rapidly growing prosperity, particularly in the tion, which explains China’s pursuit of farmlands fast growing economies of India and China, are in distant countries like New Zealand – to ensure exerting ever-growing pressure on the food supply future food supply for their growing populations. Amid these pressures there is yet another issue chain. As these countries grow, their demand for that is affecting agriculture particularly in denatural resources grows by leaps and bounds. It is veloping countries rather severely. Less and less no surprise that forests equivalent to several foot- young people are attracted to farming, which is ball fields are lost because of urbanisation, which creating a severe shortage of human resources in is also claiming farmland for increased demand in the farming sector. Young people are attracted to urban lifestyles and farming isn’t seen as a “sexy” housing. This leaves less land and water for food cultiva- profession to be in. selected 2 finalists from each of the 6 ACP regions (South Africa, East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific). These 12 finalists were invited to Johannesburg, South Africa, to present their essays last month. Out of the 12, 6 regional winners were selected. Riten was declared the “Pacific Regional Winner” for his essay titled, “Use of information and communication technology to address information poverty and reluctance of farmers to commercialise in the Fiji islands”. On being asked what it was like to have won the keenly contested competition, Riten told Indian Weekender: “I had my fingers crossed. Going to South Africa to present our essays if front of expert personnel was an achievement in itself – the win was a bonus.” What made the young Riten take to a profession increasingly seen as uninteresting and unglamorous by young people? “Right from high school, an aspiration was always there to do something and prove that agriculture is not a layman’s subject, especially for a Pacific country like Fiji where we survive by agriculture – as a matter of fact, we need agriculture. “Consequently, that urge to change the stereotype and negative attitude of people, particularly the youth, toward agriculture provided me with the inspiration to write something that really appealed to the judges. I wanted my essay to have some meaning, to carry some weight and to be able to influence the youths to join me in saying ‘yes’ to agriculture,” Riten said. Riten has had an excellent career at Mulomulo Primary and Mulomulo Secondary schools and has been the dux and head boy. He was adjudged

The essay competition was run as a programme of ARDYIS – Agriculture and Rural Development Youths in the Information Society – a project to involve youths in agriculture and exploit ICT (information and communication technology) tools for the betterment of agriculture in ACP countries and also to raise the standard of rural areas and the rural population. Youths between the ages of 18 to 30 were encouraged to participate from all ACP countries. Out of the hundreds of entries received, the jury







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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


New Zealand Mayor orders review of CCTV to fight crime

Best Senior Prefect in 2005. He won an AusAID (Australian aid programme) scholarship for “Bachelors of Agriculture” degree at the University of the South Pacific’s (Alafua Campus in Samoa) in 2008. “I have been in Samoa for 3 years now and am graduating with my degree on December 17,” he said. “But the greatest achievement so far is winning this competition in South Africa and being declared the Pacific Regional winner.” What next for Riten, whose prize is a first for the whole of the Pacific region? “I would like to encourage the youths of Fiji to quit the stereotype that agriculture is for weak students – it just may be the most important sector in Fiji in 2-3 decades when climate change, urbanisation and population growth threaten our food security. Interactive use of ICT tools (especially mobile phones) has potential to greatly assist with agriculture and rural development,” Riten said. “We, being in Fiji, just cannot ignore agriculture and focus on industries alien to us – we have to give agriculture first priority. This will encourage rural development as well. Any discussion on such topics is most welcome and I encourage youths to join my bandwagon. “When I envisage the future of the Pacific in 20 – 30 years and think of its food security, I see agriculture extremely important. A country like Fiji needs innovative people in this field who can really move this industry without serious implications on the environment and its sustainability. “While the fragile Pacific environment needs protection, increased agricultural output is also vital – we need skilled agricultural professionals

to avoid this imbalance. The Pacific needs a green revolution of its own and I believe I can contribute.” Riten says he plans to put up a web page, probably on a social networking site like Facebook in the next few weeks to post news related to agriculture and the Pacific. “I also want to assist youths via this webpage – giving advice, career tips, discussing ideas and how to get into agricultural studies and move away from this negative attitude people have toward agriculture,” he says. Another Fiji resident, Miriama Kunawave Brown, won the The Pacific Representative Award at the Johannesburg event last month.
riten’s ideas to get the youths involved: -Awareness: youths are simply unaware of the opportunities available to them through agricultural studies. For some reason, other fields like commerce, medicine, engineering, etc. are always encouraged during careers class. Agriculture gets a no no. This simply has to be avoided. Youths need to know how important agriculture will be in the future. -ICTs (information and communication technologies): These are being innovatively used in many ACP countries and should be in itself a pulling factor for youths as ICT tools are always attractive. -Thematic e-debates and e-discussions

The Mayor has ordered a review of closed circuit television and its use in the battle against crime. The review is one of the 100 projects launched by Len Brown in the first 100 days of the Auckland Council. CCTV is becoming increasingly popular as a tool to prevent and detect crime as the technology becomes more widespread, sophisticated and cost effective. The issue for the new Auckland Council is how best to coordinate the use of existing CCTV systems and to extend the use of CCTV in association with New Zealand Police, town centres, business associations and residents. Private businesses, associations and

agencies other than council own the vast majority of CCTV systems operating in the streets of Auckland. Reported crime increased in all three of Auckland’s police districts last year. It increased by between 1.2% in the Waitemata Police District last year, 1.6% in Auckland City Police District and 6.9% in Counties Manukau. “The use of CCTV is a proven tool in solving crime and making people feel safer,” says Len Brown. “We can reduce crime in Auckland by coordinating the way we use CCTV. We owe it to our people to make them feel as safe as we can in our streets.” The review will be completed by March.

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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



New Zealand

A wedding destined to be seen by millions across India is set to be staged in Auckland next month – no doubt taking away the breath of Kiwis unused to the extravagance of maharajah style marriage.

Auckland set to witness mother of all weddings
“It is good to have something unique and special,” she says. “We don’t just want an ordinary wedding; we wanted something totally unique.” They have hired the Formosa Golf Club and booked out most of the Langholm for January 6 to 8 and have had designers create a Rajasthan setting in which the groom will ride in on the chariot to meet his former beauty queen bride. “He arrives like a king or a prince,” Aruna said. The 40 groomsmen will arrive in nine helicopters flying in formation over Auckland. “Ideally we wanted to hire an island for three days, because we’ve got up to 400 people coming from overseas,” Aruna said. They are having trouble finding an elephant.

The wedding of Auckland doctor Pooja Chitgopeker to Chicago industrialist Vikram Aditya Kumar at the Formosa Golf Club in east Auckland will be loud enough to be seen across the city – and on New Delhi Television (NDTV’s) My Big Fat Indian Wedding series. Complete with lions, tigers, perhaps an elephant or two, the groom will ride in on a chariot, watched by a guest list including Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble and American right wing idols Sarah Palin and Donald Rumsfeld. Bhangra king Daler Mehndi will provide the music. Aruna Chitgopeker, who admits she is being seriously stressed by the organisation of it all, has no doubt it’s the perfect thing to do for the oldest of her two children.

“We have tigers and lions. We have all that sorted. There are rules and regulations, they are not going to be let loose, there will be in special cages. “It is quite overwhelming, it is all exciting and there is so much to do. “There is a bit of a nervous feeling, being such a high end wedding as well.” Pooja, who graduated last month from Auckland University medical school, was born in Manchester, England, but spent most of her childhood here, attending Diocesan School for Girls. She won the Miss India New Zealand (2002) contest, Miss India Worldwide (2003) (1st runner up) and Miss Auckland (2002) (1st runner up). She says that after she won the beauty contests, Bollywood came calling. She instead decided on the family tradition, medicine. Now hoping to become a plastic surgeon, she is now with her husband to be in Chicago.

It’s not an arranged wedding. “It’s a love marriage, we are in this century.” The families are praying furiously for fine weather after they ruled out alternative venues in Jaipur or Maimi for the traditional Hindu wedding. Her father, Mohan Chigopeker, is a doctor who served as team doctor for both the Indian and New Zealand cricket teams. Kumar, who was born in Chicago, is CEO in waiting of family owned Autotech Viktron Group, a Bangalore based company that is a world leader in computer circuit board equipment. As for the guest list, Aruna was not too sure who had RSVP’d yet. Palin and Rumsfeld – Kumar family friends and supporters – had got the invites, and so has Prime Minister John Key and Mayor Len Brown. In a rare change of exclusive weddings, the media are also invited. - Michael Field


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



New Zealand

Seniors open hearts to Indian Weekender’s cause
It was heartwarming to watch the more than 200 seniors of Indian origin have a great time at the Christmas party organised especially for them at Chaska Punjab Da restaurant in Epsom last Saturday. Impeccably organised by the Jeet Sachdev-led Bharatiya Samaj, the seniors spent several hours mingling with each other, singing, dancing and generally having a ball in keeping with the spirit of the festive season. Co hosts Roopa Sachdev and Shivani Arora gave the proceedings their own special touch by making the guests feel at home and encouraging and urging each and every of the members present to participate in the gaiety. A highlight of the afternoon was the manner in which the seniors opened their hearts and their wallets for the Indian Weekender Make A Difference for St John Appeal. The project aims to raise funds toward an ambulance for the nation’s largest ambulance service, St John, as a gesture of goodwill and gratitude from the Indian community in Auckland and the rest of New Zealand. In response to a brief speech by Kiwi Medozen hands went up. Then he went on to narrate his own experience and the lack of such a convenient facility back in India because of which there are so many easily avoidable deaths every year. He urged all those present to donate generously. Most seniors who spoke during the programme seconded his appeal and wished Indian Weekender well in its endeavor to establish an ambulance donated to society with donations from the Indian community. Mr Bertrand thanked those present for their generosity, as did Mr Gupta of Indian Weekender. Mr Jeet Sachdev, Ms Roopa Sachdev and Ms Shivani Arora also congratulated Indian Weekender on taking up the project. dia Group director and Indian Weekender publisher Giri Gupta and a short presentation by St John’s volunteer Mr Bertrand, nearly every senior member present donated to the cause by inserting coins and notes in the two sealed boxes as they were taken around the hall by volunteers. One senior citizen gave an impromptu speech in support of the case with all spontaneity. “How many of us have used this amazing service?” he asked. Several The gathering was treated to a lovely repast complete with entrees and an Indian style lunch served up by the recently reinvigorated management of Chaska Punjab Da. -Indian Weekender Correspondent


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


New Zealand

Green focus for new St John facilities
The people who help people will get a boost in the form of a new environmentally friendly St John building in Auckland. In its position at Mt Wellington, this new facility provides a much-needed central base for staff who work to enhance the health and well-being of all New Zealanders. While demand for St John services has grown, the buildings that housed St John people did not keep pace. The new space allows St John to provide accommodation on one site for various teams who have been sharing cramped temporary space such as motel units and portacoms for years. The new building will enable increased collaboration among the various teams of St John at one common location for many of its shared service activities for the whole organisation. Well before project commencement the project manager and architects gained insights into and appreciation for the community organisation which has a range of valuable and reliable products and services including the Ambulance Service. St John is in its 125th year of service to New Zealanders and in that time has grown to become one of the country’s largest charities, touching the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. The architecture of the new headquarters embodies materials and forms from previous phases of development and provides a distinctive and contemporary character for the new front door to the campus. The building has a number of Environmental Sustainable Design (ESD) features to enhance the quality of the working space and to reduce the long term environmental impact of the building. Each building module has been carefully sized and oriented to maximise daylight penetration and natural cross ventilation across the work spaces. Timber screens reduce thermal gain and control sunlight on the northern elevations. Vertical climbing frames supporting native creepers will bring vegetation within arms reach of the opening windows and in doing so soften the view towards the adjacent parking areas. Rainwater is harvested and stored for sanitary and irrigation uses. Materials and fixtures have carefully selected throughout the design to minimise energy consumption and to lower operating costs long term. The building includes staff showers to encourage cycle commuting, café bars to encourage social interaction between various depart-

ments, multipurpose conference centre for the campus and museum and archive spaces for St John historical artifacts. The building at 2 Harrison Road, Mt Wellington will be officially opened on Friday December 17 at 10am by His Excellency The Right Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO, KStJ. The new St John facility is an addition to four 1980s buildings spread over the site. It will house 127 staff. The vision of St John is enhanced health and well-being for all New Zealanders. Its goals

include providing effective emergency medical care, help and support to deliver the best possible outcomes for New Zealanders. National statistics for the year ending June 2010 include: 371,224 patients treated and trans-

ported to hospital and community locations; 17,166,606 kilometres travelled by ambulances; 9,574 events serviced; 57,398 people trained in first aid; 8,045 community volunteers; 5,714 Youth members.

Auckland Council calls for people’s panel
The Auckland Council People’s Panel is looking for Aucklanders who want to have a say on issues and be a sounding board for future plans, policies, innovative new services and service improvements. Shelley Watson, Manager Communications and Public Affairs says the People’s Panel gives Aucklanders an opportunity to provide feedback on the things that are important to them. “We want to know what Aucklanders think about our services, policies and plans, and to hear new ideas about how Auckland can become the world’s most liveable city.” Joining the People’s Panel is easy. Simply log on to http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt. nz/peoplespanel, complete your details and we’ll invite you to complete your first survey or feedback form. Participants will be asked to provide feedback on at least three topics a year via a monthly email. In return, we will share the results and feedback so that residents can see how their views are impacting and shaping council policies, plans and services. “Auckland is a culturally diverse region. The People’s Panel needs volunteers from all communities across the region to join in and take part. We want to ensure that results and feedback represent the views of all Aucklanders.” “We particularly want residents from the West, South and North Shore areas. The former Auckland City and Rodney District areas are represented from previous panels whose membership has transferred from the former councils.”

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |




UNESCO condemns murder of Pakistani journalists
New York : The head of the Unite d Natio ns agen cy taske d with defend ing pres s freed om on Tues day cond emn ed the rece nt murders of three Pakis tani journ alists , notin g that the fact that they lost their lives in two sepa rate incident s on the same day unde rline s the grav e dang ers facin g med ia profe ssion als in the Sout h Asian natio n. Altaf Chan dio, pres iden t of the Mirp ur Khas pres s club in Sind h prov ince and the bure au chief of the priva te Sind hi lang uage chan nel, AWA Z (voic e), was repo rtedl y shot outs ide his hous e on Dec 6 by unid entif ied gunm en. Abdu l Wah ab, a journ alist for Expr ess New s, and Perv ez Khan , a journ alist with WAQ T TV, were also killed on 6 Dece mbe r, when a suici de bom ber struc k a gove rnmen t build ing in Ghal anai, a town in the Fede rally Adm iniste red Triba l Area (FATA). “The killin g of Altaf Chan dio, Abdu l Wah ab and Perv ez Khan is a deni al of freed om of expr essio n, a fund amen tal right that is a corners tone of a dem ocra tic socie ty,” said UNE SCO Direc tor-G ener al Irina Boko va. “The fact three journ alists have lost their lives in two sepa rate incid ents on the same day unde rline s the grav e dang ers facin g journ alists in Pakis tan,” she adde d. “I call on the auth orities to do their utmo st to bring the perp etrat ors to justic e, to show that impu nity will not be toler ated in Pakis tan.” Acco rding to the Inter natio nal Fede ratio n of Jour nalis ts, the recent killin gs bring to 14 the num ber of med ia profe ssion als killed in Pakis tan so far this year.

Imran Khan in Coca-Cola’s ‘Shadow’
Mumb ai: Bo llywood hea rtth rob Imr an Kh an has bee n rop ed in for Co ca- Co la’s late st commu nic ation campai gn ‘Sh adow’. Par t of the glo bal ‘Op en Ha ppi nes s’ campai gn in India, this is the firs t eve r campai gn in the his tor y of Co ca- Co la India , which wa s firs t rele ase d on mo bile pho nes and online me dia and is now being rele ase d on televis ion. The campai gn has alre ady bee n dow nlo aded and pre viewe d by ove r 300,00 0 con sumers and alre ady has ove r 90,000 refe rra ls online. Acc ording to An and Singh, Director- Ma rke ting, Co ca- Co la India, “Through the late st ‘Sh ado w’ Ca mp aign, we aim to fur the r cre ate

a stro ng em otio nal con nec t wit h today ’s you th by highlightin g the nee d to connec t wit h the peo ple aro und us in our busy cos mo politan life.” The late st commu nic atio n is targ ete d at the you th and rein forc es the nee d to connec t wit h oth er hum an beings in this lon ely wo rld. Using vis ually exc iting ele me nts of shadow pup pet ry, the late st ‘Sh adow’ film showc ase s how a bot tle of Co ca- Co la act s as a cat alyst in ma king an ins tan t connec tion bet we en two stra nge rs.

The sile nt yet uni que inte rac tion of the two protag oni sts brid ging the gap of urb an iso lati on and con nec ting ove r a bot tle of Co ca- Co la – has bee n apt ly capture d and is bes t exp lain ed by the tag line ‘Co ke Khule Toh Ba at Ch ale’ (Co ke Op ens Up Pos sib iliti es).


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


Pillai pens a new Mahabharata
Kolkata: Noted author Radhakrishnan Pillai is busy penning a new Mahabharata which would be the key to corporate success. ‘’Corporate Chanakya’ is the simplification of the ageold formulas of Chanakya’s Arthashastra to achieve success in the corporate world,’’ the author said here. The Sardar Patel Award- 2009 winner author has also emphasised on the need to enjoy education. “Education should be enjoyed but should not transform into a burden.I believe, the annual examination and fees concept should be abolished,’’ the management guru said. He was speaking on an interactive session on his book ‘Corporate Chanakya’ in Kolkata on Thursday. “The book contains sections on leadership, management and training. In short,it is a guide to corporate success,’’ Pillai added. “This book, is like a daily capsule. You do not need to read the whole book to understand. Read one chapter a day, try to visualize it, then it is worth learning. Do not just study it, live it,’’ the author said. Asked about his next project, Pillai said, “My next work will be on the Mahabharata, on their management and administrative policies, techniques etc.” “But nothing is final, I am working on it. And it will take at least a span of two years to conceptualise my thoughts. And the name of the book might come up as Management on Mahabharata,” Pillai said.


ICC Cricket World Cup fever grips Indian children
Mumbai: Young people across India will get a chance to experience what it is like to take part in an ICC Cricket World Cup this week when mini versions of the tournament are held across the country. Schools events will take place across the eight host cities in India, as the countdown clock moves ever closer to the start of the ICC Cricket World Cup which begins on 19 February next year. The schools tournaments will be held in Mumbai (14-15 December), Nagpur (14-15 December), Mohali (14-15 December), Kolkata (14-15 December), Ahmedabad (17-18 December), Delhi (17-18 December), Chennai (17-18 December) and Bengaluru (17-18 December). In addition, young adults will receive HIV education and awareness sessions both at school and during the tournaments as part of the Think Wise initiative, a joint partnership between the ICC, UNAIDS, UNICEF and the Global Media AIDS Initiative that has been running since 2003. The initiative aims to raise awareness around HIV prevention and eliminate discrimination against people living with HIV and AIDS. These awareness sessions will be supported by Stumpy, the official mascot of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011, who will interact with participants and distribute official memorabilia. India batsman and Think Wise champion Virender Sehwag said: “I am very excited about playing in the ICC Cricket World Cup next year and it is great to see that young people across the country are getting involved in the tournament as well. “I know that I was inspired to play the game when I watched the World Cup when I was younger and hopefully some of the players taking part in the schools tournaments may go on to play for India at a future event.” The focus for the Think Wise campaign for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 will be ‘Get the Facts, Protect Yourself’. The campaign will encourage young people to be informed, take appropriate action to prevent HIV infection and stand together against stigma and discrimination often facing people living with HIV and AIDS. Further details on what activities will take place as part of the Think Wise partnership will be announced in due course. Schools and community programmes ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 are also being delivered in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Chinese premier visits India to repair fragile ties
New Delhi: Under the shadow of mistrust over many prickly issues, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao arrives India on a three-day state visit from Wednesday to forge trade ties and hammer out a common ground on climate change. The subject of stapled visa issued by China to Kashmir residents is likely to figure in the talks during the visit which will also mark celebrations of the 60th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between the two Asian giants and the closing ceremony of Chinese Festival in India. Jiabao is scheduled to visit Tagore International School at Vasant Vihar, later on Wednesday. On Thursday, he will visit Forecourt in Rashtrapati Bhavan, where he will be given a formal reception. Later, he will lay wreaths on the Samadhi (tomb) of Mahatma Gandhi at Raj Ghat. Keeping a busy schedule on the same day, the Chinese premier will meet External Affairs Minister S M Krishna and attend a delegation-level talk with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh before a number of agreements are signed between the two nations.

“The two neighbouring countries should work together as a world factory and world office,”
Later on the day,he will call on Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and President Pratibha Patil. Jiabao will also attend the closing event of the Chinese Festival in India to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two Asian nations. On Friday, he will Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha around 10 a.m, an hour before emplaning for Islamabad. Jiabao’s visit is extremely crucial at a time when the two nations have gone through hitches over a number of issues in recent times. China’s Ambassador Zhang Yan said on Monday that ‘special care’ is needed for the ‘fragile ties’ between the two Asian nations, while India’s Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao assured of a balanced and positive approach of the host nation. “China-India relations are very fragile and very easy to be damaged and very difficult to repair. Therefore, they need special care in the information age,” Yan said at a conference on India-China relations by the FICCI here. ‘To achieve this, the government should provide guidance to the public to avoid a war of words,” he said stressing the need for more trust between the two neighbours. The Chinese Ambassador also maintained that there was enough space for both the countries to grow and prosper. “The two neighbouring countries should

work together as a world factory and world office,” he said. Rao,on the other hand, said the democratic set-up of India at times leads to a diverse view of things from the neighbour’s end. She said, “Often, our Chinese friends speak of a certain gulf in appreciation of each country vis-a-vis the other, especially when it comes to opinions of that are expressed in the media of the two countries. “Our Chinese friends are increasingly exposed to the vibrant, I would say, noisy nature of our democracy. The fact that many schools of thought contend, many opinions are expressed which are often at divergence with each other. But I would urge them to understand that there is a certain very commonsensical, very rational approach that we in India have to China.” Pointing that China was India’s largest neighbour, Rao added, “We regard in a real sense and an absolute sense the importance of building bridges with China, understanding China better, creating more of a mutually beneficial relationship between the two countries.”

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



“We will work closely with Germany both bilaterally and within the G-4, to enhance the effectiveness of the Security Council, as well as in support of the expansion of the permanent and non-permanent categories of its membership,” Singh added. He also appreciated Germany’s consistent support, including in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, for the opening of international commerce for India in the field of civil nuclear energy. Singh also emphasized on enhancing trading ties between the two nations in sectors such as manufacturing and infrastructure and high technology trade. Inviting Merkel to visit India next year, Singh pointed that 2011 would mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Germany. Germany will organize a Year of Germany in India beginning September 2011, and India will organize the Days of India in Germany during 2012-13. “I have invited Chancellor Merkel to visit India next year, and I look forward to hosting her in Delhi,” the Indian prime minister said. Singh returned to New Delhi last Sunday, concluding his three-day visit to Belgium and Germany during which he attended the EU-India Summit and met Chancellor Angela Merkel.

‘Sky is the limit’ for ties with Germany
Berlin: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, wrapping up his Germany visit, underlined the close partnership the two nations share and pledged India’s commitment to further the ties. “India’s relations with Germany are excellent. There are no bilateral irritants and I believe that the sky is the limit for our cooperation,” Singh said at a joint press interaction with German Chancellor Angela Merkel here on Saturday, while also inviting Merkel to visit India. Highlighting that Germany is India’s largest trading partner in Europe, he emphasized on Germany’s key role in ensuring financial stability and economic recovery in the Eurozone and assured of India’s support to Chancellor Merkel in this endeavour. “The economic resurgence of Europe is critical for a balanced recovery of the global economy. We have agreed to continue our close consultations within the G-20 framework to work towards such an outcome,” Singh said. The Indian prime minister also expressed optimism of greater ties between the two nations when they both serve on the United Nations Security Council in 2011 and 2012.

India’s tour to South Africa is ill-timed, says Wasim
New Delhi: Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram feels that India’s tour to South Africa is ill-times just before the World Cup and players have a chance to pick up injuries. “I have been keenly following Indian cricket for a while and I can safely say that they are playing too much cricket. According to me the timing of the South African tour, starting December 16, is not good at all,” said Wasim, a fastbowling legend. He said, “I will beg to differ with Imran Khan’s views on India’s upcoming tour of South Africa. Imran has said a tough tour of South Africa ahead of the World Cup will stand India in good stead. Not really.” “Making a balanced cricketing calendar has been a problem with the Indian Board in the last five-six years. There is a serious overkill. India play too many matches round the year and no wonder their fast bowlers are getting injured far too often,” Wasim was quoted as saying by “No matter how good the players’ form is, the South Africa series will end just a couple of weeks before the World Cup and that is little too close. Although, they may not be tired physically because it’s their job to play cricket but it will certainly take a mental toll on Indian cricketers. Any series that involved three Tests, one T20 and five ODIs is quite tiring and there is a great risk of injuries,” he added. Wasim feels that as far as India’s hunt for the fourth and fifth bowler goes, Ishant Sharma is the one for the job. “I will always want to invest on a player who is going to be around for a long while. And according to me, Ishant is only 22 and very eager to perform. Ishant has had a lean patch but is back in contention. The Indian think-tank should back him to the hilt. He is tall, has a high-arm action and is hard-working and hence should be given the adequate support. Given the conditions in South Africa, he should thrive there,” he said. He also said that India are favourites to win the World cup. “I want to reiterate the fact that Dhoni’s boys will certainly be rated very highly on present form and in favourable conditions as well. India have gelled together as a unit and are looking to be the most confident team. In the last three World Cups, Australia were the clear favourites and it is after a long time that they are not being counted in the title race. The 5-0 whitewash against New Zealand has once again proved India’s might in world cricket. The win does not say that New Zealand were a weak side but the result clearly indicates India have a strong bench strength,” he said.

Captaining the side was special: Gambhir
New Delhi: Gautam Gambhir, under whose leadership India white-whashed the series against New Zealand by 5-0 margin, said captaining the Indian side that played against Kiwis was a ‘special’ feeling and he never imagined such a result. “Captaining this side was a special thing,” he said in an interview to a national channel. “You dream of captaining your country, the day was special for me”, he added. He also said he never imagined a 5-0 margin victory against Kiwis. “Never imagined a 5-0 victory,” he said. Gambhir also mentioned that the 5-0 thumping over New Zealand also showcases how eager the young players were to perform against the Kiwis at the ‘best of their abilities’. “The side was hungry to perform,” Gambhir said. Speaking on the crucial South Africa series he mentioned that: “We need to start well versus South Africa, we have the talent to beat South Africa in South Africa.” He also mentioned that he want to perform well against all the nations which includes South Africa. Gambhir captained the side against New Zealand in the absence of skipper M.S. Dhoni and most of senior players, who had departed for South Africa for preparations. The three-Test series against South Africa starts on December 16 at the Centurion.

Krishna temple to be built on Moscow outskirts
Moscow: A new Krishna temple is being planned on the northern outskirts of Russia’s capital Moscow, after authorities allocated a plot for it, according to reports. Reports suggest that construction on this temple in Vereskino village on Novoskhodnenskoye Highway will begin by December 31, 2012. This is the outcome of petitioning and efforts by International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) and other Hindu community and India Government which began as far back as 1991 and saw many ups and downs. Architectural design has reportedly been already approved and the project will be finalised and construction permission obtained in 2011. Project will reportedly combine classical Indian temple design with modern technologies. Besides a spacious sanctuary for worship, this temple complex is proposed to include an Ayurvedic hospital, center for social programs, auditorium, accommodation for devotees/pilgrims, etc. Meanwhile, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) on Monday applauded efforts of ISKCON and other Hindu community and India Government to realise this wonderful proposed Krishna temple complex. Lord Krishna is the eighth avatar (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu and subject of major Hindu scriptures such as the Bhagavad-Gita (Song of the Lord) and Bhagavad-Purana.

For all your legal needs
Aaron Kashyap
BA, LLB Barrister and solicitor Level 1, 351 Manukau Road, PO Box 26-596, DXCP 32513, Epsom, Auckland Mobile: 0274 857 302 Phone: (09) 6238277 Fax: (09)6235177 Email:
10 Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



India Briefs
‘overweight’ airhostess gets back job
after a being out of it for five years, television reports said on Sunday. She affirmed BJP leader L K Advani’s blog post on Saturday indicating her return to the party, news channel Times Now said. Advani had written that since Nitin Gadkari had become BJP president he had focused on bringing back people like Jaswant Singh and Uma Bharti back to the party. The former Madhya Pradesh chief minister had went on to form the Bharatiya Janshakti Party (BJSP) after being expelled following her outburst against BJP leader L K Advani, in full glare of television cameras. She has now said that she was first approached by Gadkari and will make a formal statement after January 14 next year. Kolkata: The Calcutta High Court on Friday upheld a plea by a former Indian Airlines (now Air India) airhostess who was sacked for being overweight and ordered the national carrier to reinstate her. A division bench of justices Pratap Kumar Ray and MK Sinha asked Air India to give the litigant, Nipa Dhar, ground duties within two months. The airlines was also asked to pay all her dues since 2001, when she was sacked, within three months and constitute a medical board to examine her health. Nipa Dhar had challenged her dismissal by Indian Airlines in 2001 for being overweight. She was reportedly served a notice by the airlines in 2001 that she was 15 kgs overweight and when she had requested for a ground duty, she was handed down termination letter. Dhar’s counsel, Madhumita Roy, submitted before the court that her client’s weight had increased after taking medicines prescribed by an airline doctor for altitude phobia.

Islamabad cannot use terror : German Chancellor

Goa to have women fire fighters soon

Panaji: Goa Fire and Emergency Services Department (FESD) will be recruiting young women in the Fire services by April 2011, State officials today said. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of annual inspection day parade of the FESD, Chief Secretary Sanjay Shrivastava said that “recruitment rules” for allowing women to be inducted into the fire force are in the process of finalisation. The entire work force is at present being examined by administrative reforms department so that all 13 fire stations across the State can have women in fire fighting. State Home Minister Ravi Naik who was also present for the event said that the induction of women force is essential ‘as male fighters might attract accusations of molestation during rescue operations.’

Berlin: German chancellor Angela Merkel for the first time sent a strong message to Pakistan saying that Islamabad cannot use terror as a means to any end. After a bilateral meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Merkel said that Berlin would take up the terror issue with Islamabad. “We want to do whatever we can to make it clear to Pakistan that terror cannot be a means to an end in solving a political problem. We will make it clear to Pakistan that terror is unacceptable,” said Merkel, after the 11th EU-India summit, where the two sides met for the first time and issued a joint declaration on international terrorism. Senior officials accompanying the PM, said this was the first time such a strong statement had come out from the EU. While the German Chancellor also complimented India for its stand taken at the Cancun conference on climate change, Singh said the world must continue to build upon the progress that has been made at the conference. Both India and Germany are set to take over as non-permanent member of UNSC next month and the two leaders said that they would work together within G4 to advance UN reforms and also to strengthen and advance their permanent membership claim.

uma bharti confirms return to bJP

New Delhi: Expelled Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Uma Bharti has confirmed that she will be returning to the Hindu nationalist political group

SIT Queenstown Campus 0800 QT 4 SIT / 03 442 5375
Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 | 11



Suva: Blue Lagoon Cruises will begin sailing to Lau a first for any cruise company in the country (Fiji). With the maiden voyage scheduled for May 16 2011 and two more cruises planned for August 15 and November 14, Blue Lagoon looks set to open a new and exciting chapter for Fiji Tourism. A year in the making, Blue Lagoon Cruises has created a world-first tourism opportunity for visitors to Fiji in the process becoming the first cruise operator to offer itineraries to the area known as ‘The Exploring Isles’ the rarely visited Lau Island group. From May 16, 2011 the boutique cruise

Blue Lagoon Cruises will sail to Lau

specialist’s 35-berth MV Mystique Princess will set sail on its inaugural voyage to the Lau Islands as part of a seven-day itinerary. The ship’s crew will be complimented by a local cultural expert who will join the voyage to provide presentations and background on the unique regions to be visited en route. The itinerary encompasses a cruise along the southern side of Vanua Levu towards isolated Kioa Island. A highlight of this port of call is the greeting afforded by the local people who paddle canoes out to meet the ship resplendent in traditional costume.

Fiji rejects Australia’s framework for law and justice engagement in pacific
Suva: Fiji’s Solicitor-General and Permanent Secretary for Justice Mr Christopher Pryde said Fiji had rejected Australia’s Framework for Law and Justice Engagement in the Pacific. Mr Pryde questioned Australia’s commitment to the Pacific region at the 29th Pacific Islands Legal Officers’ Network (“PILON”) meeting in Brisbane last week. “The issues of money laundering, human trafficking, and transnational crime are problems not just for Fiji but for the whole of the Pacific. Australia’s policy of isolating Fiji and withholding assistance and co-operation at the operational level to tackle these issues demonstrates Australia is not wholly committed to the region,” Mr Pryde said. “NZ, Australia, and the Forum and Commonwealth Secretariats, in particular, need to review their policies of isolation and non-co-operation with Fiji and work for the common good for the whole of the Pacific region and leave aside their political differences. “Crimes such as human trafficking and money laundering will not stand still. They will not wait until 2014; we must tackle them now. The longer we delay in addressing these issues, the worse they become. The policy of isolation and nonco-operation by Australia only works to strengthen and play into the hands of criminal elements in the Pacific,” he said. Mr Pryde was also critical of the way the three-day meeting was chaired by the Australian Attorney-General’s Department. “The head of the Australian AttorneyGeneral’s Department chaired the meeting on the first day. On the second day, the chair was handed over to a junior person from the AG’s Department. She checked with each of the member states whether this was acceptable but chose to deliberately ignore Fiji.” “This type of behavior, which is typical of Australia, is not only childish but unprofessional and disrespectful to Fiji as a Pacific Island country. Other countries in the region may have their differences of opinion with Fiji but they still treat Fiji with common courtesy and respect. Australia needs to take a lesson from other pacific island countries and act in a way that is appropriate for the region. Unfortunately, episodes such as these serve to highlight Australia’s difference with countries in the region,” he said. Despite Australia’s non-co-operation, Fiji continues to honour its international obligations, including applications for mutual assistance, enforcement of court orders, and requests under the various applicable Hague Conventions. “Fiji expects more from a country that sees itself as a leader in the region. Australia’s attitude is singly unhelpful in dealing with issues such as transnational crime in the Pacific region,” he said. The PILON was attended by 12 Pacific Island states, including Fiji and a number of observer delegations including the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Commonwealth Secretariat. The meeting was held in Brisbane, Australia from 8-10 December, 2010.

Car hire and 7 nights accommodation * from $399. Of course, you may just prefer to park up.

New zealand law society meeting positive

Justi ce perm anen t secre tary Suva : Solic itor-G ener al and Minis try of and Law Soci ety pres iden t Mr Mr Chris toph er Pryd e met the New Zeal . Jona than Temm in Welli ngto n last week d be unab le to atten d the This was after Mr Temm indic ated he woul rau. Attor ney- Gene ral’s Conf eren ce in Dena discu ssed vario us issue s “The meet ing was a very posit ive one. We Mr Temm has agre ed to conc ernin g the lega l profe ssion in Fiji and in prov iding cont inuin g lega l look at assis ting the Fiji lega l profe ssion Pryd e said. educ ation cour ses in the New Year,” Mr tion to Mr Temm to atten d the Mr Pryd e had earli er exten ded an invita ce in Dena rau but Mr Temm 12th Annu al Attor ney- Gene ral’s Conf eren mitm ents. was unab le to atten d beca use of work com atten ded by 360 peop le from The Attor ney- Gene ral’s conf eren ce was throu ghou t Fiji.

With your own car to roam around Fiji, it’s your turn to be the tour guide. Explore beaches only the locals know about or just enjoy a scenic drive. With 8 days car hire and accommodation you’ll discover places you never knew existed, but may never forget. Contact Awesome Holidays today and find Fiji’s best parking spots. Phone 09 974 3815 or email
*Sales until 31 Dec 2010, travel commenced prior to 30 March 2011. Price is per adult only for combo pass and does not include airfares to/from Fiji.  Accommodation is based on twin share in Nadi at Wailoaloa Beach Resort, Travellers Holiday Apartments and 1 night free in Downtown Hotel; in Suva at Ananndale Hotel Apartments.  Accommodation must be booked in advance.  Rental car for 7 days, is based on a Corolla AE100.  Subject to availability and special conditions apply. 



Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



1 2 3 4 5 6



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Fiji to assume msg chair
th e Fo re ig n M in ist er of Fi ji Ra tu In oke Ku bu ab ol a, an d th e Pr im e M in ist er of th e Re pu bl ic of Va nu at u, Sa to Ki lm an . Th e re co nc ilia tio n ce re m on y wi ll be gi n wi th a tra di tio na l se vu se vu by Fi ji to ch ie fs of So lo m on Is la nd s be fo re Va nu at u pr es en ts its tra di tio na l gi fts .




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cturi ni


3 4 5 6 11 10 9 8 7

nones onsecea


See more of Fiji. Car hire + 7 nights * for only $399.

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With your own car to roam around Fiji, it’s your turn to be the tour guide. Explore beaches only the locals know about or just enjoy a scenic drive. With 8 days car hire and accommodation you’ll discover places you never knew existed, but may never forget. Contact Awesome Holidays today and find Fiji’s best parking spots. Phone 09 974 3815 or email
*Sales until 31 Dec 2010, travel commenced prior to 30 March 2011. Price is per adult only for combo pass and does not include airfares to/from Fiji.  Accommodation is based on twin share in Nadi at Wailoaloa Beach Resort, Travellers Holiday Apartments and 1 night free in Downtown Hotel; in Suva at Ananndale Hotel Apartments.  Accommodation must be booked in advance.  Rental car for 7 days, is based on a Corolla AE100.  Subject to availability and special conditions apply. 

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |




From the Editor

Corruption – who is the culprit?
The big-time corrupt persons are only corrupt because of the people they deal with. Corruption is a two-way thing - the person instigating and the person corresponding. Among the Indians, many consider it a reeti-reewaj to bribe people/scratch their backs/extend a gift to facilitate something and they say it is a gift. The receiver of the bribe and the person bribing are equally to blame. The only way to stop this is to make sure one does not bribe/facilitate/ gift to someone to cut a better deal. – -Nalinesh Arun In India scams these days are running into USD 50 billion after more than 2 years of reporting by only one mainstream newspaper and citizens journalism on internet. The “stakes” are always rising – it never comes down! If more mistakes and more money “at stake” can be tolerated, corruption will grow, and you will have billion dollar scams. But these big time corrupt persons will also deliver some good services to the community. I agree we are all make human mistakes but I am not in favour of donating more tax dollars to corruption, I am personally of the view that with one mistake discovered, the person should be out. –AN

No light at the end of the tunnel
It’s clearly going to be a troubled holiday break for New Zealand’s leaders – and all New Zealanders. The run up to Christmas and New Year is littered with worrisome indicators of continuing problems in the path of the country’s economic recovery. The blowout of the deficit that will require the country to step up borrowing from the present $250 million a week to $350 million; the fact that the rejigging of the tax rate in October is not looking like it is going the way it was expected to go with bigger shortfalls in meeting collection targets; the continuing lag in the real estate market; the precipitous dip in new private sector investment and the lack of appetite for bank credit are just a few red flags that make the road ahead look harder than ever. This is over and above problems such as the long languishing export sector so vital to New Zealand’s economy; continuing high prices of consumer essentials and a stagnant job market that makes the overall picture look even bleaker. Opinion is divided among economists whether New Zealand is headed for a double dip recession, with any faint glimmers of hope of recovery in the past quarter looking set to fade away into last year’s darkness at least in the first quarter of next year. In the midst of it all, the government is not looking like it has the answers. Despite the muchtouted financial wizardry of its leadership, it is unable to show New Zealanders any light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel only seems to get longer and with many more twists and turns, some admittedly beyond the government’s control – such as the Canterbury quake and the leaky homes payout, besides other unforeseen circumstances that have strained its finances. In the coming weeks, we are more than likely to see blame for the long delayed recovery being heaped on these “unforeseen” circumstances, because clearly, it is the easy way to explain away non achievement for any government in power. The government’s lack of courage in seizing the opportunity to take bolder decisions on the economy and mopping up resources with tougher reform, despite the strong mandate and popularity that the government had in the first two years, is now beginning to show. As a result the measures it has announced in the past few weeks – such as laying more emphasis on savings in the 2011 budget and other belt tightening measures like controlling government spending are already beginning to look ineffectual in front of the mounting problems that threaten the country’s already weak economic situation. Besides, belt tightening is easier said than done particularly next year, given that it is an election year and with a big international event like the Rugby World Cup on the cards. No government in power can hope not to spend in an election year. Despite its continuing huge lead over Labour in the opinion polls, the National government cannot expect to put in practice the kind of belt tightening its needs to do to take corrective measures. Some of the measures it will have to consider seriously to raise funds are sale of assets in government enterprises to the private sector. This is indeed a political hot potato but the government has few other options. National’s leadership will have to seriously consider going into what it has already dubbed “no go zones” in the realm of taxation – such as a capital gains tax. It has always been suspected that these reforms would be expedited in National’s second term after next year’s elections, which it is expected to win – at least as things stand – given the complete disarray in the Labour camp and its lack of any credible game plan or even the projection of a decisive and credible leader so close to the election. With a looming election year in which the government clearly looks as though it is more likely to duck rather than dare take tough decisions despite leading in the opinion polls, an opposition that continues to look rudderless with its leadership nearly in tatters and a global economy looking as bleak as ever, Kiwis look to be in even harder times at least in the first half of next year. If nothing else, the rugby result may lift the country’s spirits in the second half. Or they may not, who knows. And no incumbent government would like to seek reelection in circumstances like that. So it is reasonable to expect a pre RWC election. Which means no tough decisions in the first half of next year – and bleak times will continue. Time to stop sounding so Grinchy? Have a great holiday and a Happy New Year. – Dev Nadkarni

Pansy Wong Resignation
I agreed with the Indianweekender that Mr Key should be quick thinking but artfully procrastinating as political leader. We all don’t agree that Ministers or MP’s should use public money for personal gains, but then we should also see that how much money is at stake and what is the contribution of that person to party and community as minister or MP. I think if a person is doing good job, we mush give his/her one chance. we r all human beings and can make mistakes. – Kuldeep Arora

Pike River
We pray to the Almighty that their souls rest in absolute peace. We also pray that the grieving families be given all the support, courage, comfort and the determination to go forward in life.... – Muni Ratnam

Beyond the two B’s
It’s fantastic that we have embedded our traditions and cultures in our new home. As our populations grow and we stablise our role here, I need to reflect on another issue, democracy and influencing public policies come to mind. Sure politics may not suit to be a career of choice for many of us, however, how else do we shape the politics of our new home and legislations that affect our democractic participation. It is time for critical thought? Wishing you Safe Holidays!... – Ann Pala

Facade of Democracy
Unfortunately the writer has not given the facts. The demand for independence was raised by the Federation Party lead by an expatriate Indian, A.D. Patel. His party’s motto was: “We are fighting for the interests of the Indians.” Hence, hardly any support from the Fijians, especially the Fijian chiefs. Conversely, the Fijian leaders (Mara, Cakabau,Ganilau, Toganivalus, etc) formed the Fijian Party and later the Alliance supported by the Eurpeans ... -Gul

Portuguese influence on Goa created these issues
Germans have a valid concern. Germans have naturally drifted away towards the broadminded atheism and agnosticism, but the Chrisitianity that was injected into Goa has led to increase in ills like drugs, sex, and other filth in the native Goans who got forced/induced by the illicit activities of the priests and mercenaries Portuguese used in Goa to destroy the culture and beauty. – Maria Hernandez I can’t believe how ridiculous Maria’s comment is. It’s a hodge podge of ideas devoid of any chronology. Having been a resident of Goa it was paradise on earth right from the 1960s when the Portugese left, through to the early 1980s. Government apathy, corruption, greed, low end tourists that treat the place like a waste basket and the systemic influx of poorer migrants from other states have contributed to it’s downfall. –David D’Souza

Opinion Poll:
should savings in New Zealand made compulsory?



PeoPLe Must be eduCated




Indian Weekender volume 2 No. 19 Publisher: Kiwi Media Group Limited Group editor-in-chief: Dev Nadkarni online editor: Arvind Kumar India Correspondent: Shobha Rao Chief technical officer: Rohan Desouza rohan@ design: Tanmay Desai / advertising: Giri Gupta - Ph: 520 0922, Mob: 021 221 1131. Email - Please email original editorial contributions, community notices and pictures to Views expressed in the publication are not necessarily of the publisher and the publisher is not responsible for advertisers’ claims as appearing in the publication Indian Weekender is published by Kiwi Media Group, 98 Great South Road, New Market and printed at APN Print, Ellerslie, Auckland Copyright 2010. Kiwi Media Group. All Rights Reserved.

Letters may be edited for correctness of spellings and clarity

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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



Living in a world without the West
rakesH krIsHNaN sIMHa

As the world enters the second decade of the millennium, signs of a precipitous decline in Western power and prosperity are clearly evident.
PIGS! No, I’m not swearing at anyone. PIGS is the acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Spain – the four European countries so deep in economic troubles that not even light can reach the bottom. Indeed, 2010 could be the last Christmas many Western countries will celebrate in the way they have done in the years past. For, a black hole of financial and social troubles is threatening to dislodge Europe and North America from the apex position they have occupied for barely 300 years. By the time the current recession pans out, vast swathes of Europe will have living standards lower than Thailand’s. Many East European countries are already hopelessly poor, with joblessness and crime rampant. In many cities prostitution is the only ‘industry’ left. Western Europe’s powerhouse, Germany, has been propping up the tottering economies of the European Union. Germany has paid out hundreds of billions of dollars to its poor cousins, mainly because it cannot let them sink – they are a ready market for German products. But how long can Germany support its bankrupt brothers? Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper wonders if Britain’s current condition is a harbinger of the West’s future. It says that intergenerational poverty, rare in most countries today, has become a factor in a notable British subculture. That tallies with a British government report, which shows that if you are born poor, you stay poor. Worse, millions of middle class British youth are faced with the stark choice of either stepping down into the underclass or migrating. However, it is the American implosion, when it comes, that will be the most spectacular. Earlier this year Tracy, a small town in California, declared that its residents will now have to pay every time they call 911 for a medical emergency. Residents can pay a US$48 fee for the year, which allows them to call 911 as many times as necessary. Or there’s the option of not signing up for the annual fee. Instead they will be charged US$300 if they make a call for help. Remember, California is America’s richest state. You get the picture. As we move into the Christmas season, more than 35 million Americans are starving. Some of them will die but the American coroners will merely write “Died of natural causes” in their post-mortems. It is indeed a strange country where millions live on a meal (or soup) a day while the rich live in mansions as usual. Contrary to what the media says, it’s not the Iraq and Afghanistan wars that are hollowing out the West. It’s just that the East is just becoming wealthier in comparison through better economic practices and systems. Also, the West is not able to corner cheap supplies of oil and minerals like it could in the colonial days. Chew on this figure – $123,000,000,000,000. For the numerically challenged that’s $123 trillion and China’s estimated economy in the year 2040. For perspective, the US economy is worth some $14 trillion today. What it means is China will soon become a colossus and the US will have to simply take a deep breath and retreat to shallow waters. Yes, the titans of tomorrow will be China and India – not necessarily in that order. The second string will be a motley star cast comprising Russia, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Indonesia, Argentina, and of course the US. That will be the shape of the world without the West. For Western powers that’s a scary thought. For generations they have ruled the planet by colonising countries, and through rock solid alliances like NATO. Those that disagree like the Russians, Venezuelans, Serbians, North Koreans and Iranians are made targets of subversion. But now the BRIC states (Brazil, Russia, India, China) are determined to break the dominance of the West. These rising powers are increasingly “routing around” the West. There are two ways this works. One, the rising powers are deepening their trade, defence and cultural ties. Two, in doing so these countries are loosening the ties that bind them to the international system centred in the West. So in effect, they are creating an alternative arrangement in which they neither enter into conflict situations with the West nor enter into subservient alliances (like those offered to South Korea and Japan). This simply makes the West irrelevant. For instance, India’s biggest trade partner is now the UAE. Its biggest weapons supplier is Russia and its largest supplier of crucial telecom equipment is China. In effect, the West is getting squeezed out. China has become the world’s factory that produces virtually everything from iPods to rockets. Russia has brought its vast mineral resources onto the world’s market so that rising powers don’t have to buy them from Western middlemen. Moscow’s astute diplomacy has shut out the West from the huge gas and oil fields of Central Asia. India, already the world’s software HQ (Intel and IBM have more employees in India than in the US) and is becoming a manufacturing powerhouse. Indeed, India’s growth story could easily despatch China to the back pages. Both India and China are racing each other to buy up the world’s minerals and commodities. The routing around the West phenomenon is increasingly visible. Look at the Russia-India T-50 fifth generation fighter bomber. It is being designed and built in Russia with avionics and electronics from India, with potential buyers in China, Venezuela, Algeria, Malaysia and Indonesia. Or picture this: a Venezuelan whiz kid conceptualises a computer tablet, the software for which is developed by India’s Infosys, mated to hardware manufactured in Taiwan, financed by a Malaysian multinational and marketed by an Abu Dhabi firm. Well, it’s the stuff that’s giving nightmares to Western companies. It is a measure of the decline of the West that just as America cancelled a replacement for its aging Space Shuttle, India announced its Mars mission, with plans to land on the moon by 2020. India now launches more satellites than the US, with an Indian PSLV rocket creating a record last year by launching 10 satellites in one go. But why is the West getting bypassed and is there hope for the agitated Western masses who are rioting across Europe as the recession bites? One reason is that the Western economic model has failed spectacularly. Not only has it failed to lift most countries in the wider world, even in the West it has only benefitted the rich. Banks and financial institutions across the Western world have lied to their customers and stolen trillions of dollars. The politicians, who are supposed to have protected these unfortunate investors, have lied even more and shielded the bank robbers and then rewarded them with hundreds of billions in bailout cash. Clearly not a Kodak moment! On the other hand, vast swathes of China and India are becoming gentrified – that is, the poor are becoming middle class and the middle class moves up one notch and so on. Try getting hold of a full time maid in India these days. You get the picture. The West has had its heyday. Unfortunately its liberal democratic traditions have not benefitted 95% of the planet. In sharp contrast the model of authoritarian prosperity espoused by Russia and China has yielded spectacular results. PIGS is a four letter word after all! (About the author: Rakesh Krishnan Simha is an infidel. He is a features writer at New Zealand’s leading media house. He has previously worked with Businessworld, India Today and Hindustan Times, and was news editor with the Financial Express.)

Why India/Indian is the Target
PadMINI GauNder
The last few months have been very eventful for the Indian community. There were the Diwali celebrations in which the different ethnic groups that make up this multicultural nation took part. Before that there was the Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi, the Indian capital. We heard of the lack of preparation and the dirt at the venue and the filthy conditions where the athletes were supposed to stay! In the middle of all these there was the controversy about Paul Henry’s derogatory remarks about our Governor General and the Chief Minister of Delhi. Both of them were too busy with other more important things to worry about someone insignificant like Paul Henry but the Indian community as a whole took offence at his remarks and protested. But why has the Indian/India suddenly become the target of these attacks? I would say that it is because India is doing well all round in spite of the recession. India is not much affected by the recession unlike the rest of the world and people have started noticing this success and they do not like what they see. So to discredit India they look for faults and come up with whatever they can. This is a dangerous trait and it should be nipped in the bud. It is similar to the anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany in the 1930s. The Jewish people were hard working and they were able to survive in spite of the tough economic times. The others who saw it did not like it. This led to the dislike of the Jewish people which resulted in the persecution of millions of Jews for no other reason but that they were Jews. We have to learn from history to avoid such inhumanities happening again. With India and the Indians in recent years, their successes in many areas have made people realise that they are inferior to none. When the world first came to know about India through the early European travellers like Megasthenese and Marco Polo people admired what they read and heard about. The Chinese pilgrims like Fahian were also full of praise for India. Recently it was pointed out at the UN that India conquered China culturally for over two thousand years without having to send any soldiers. When people came to know about India’s wealth many came and plundered it. The best example was Mohammed Ghazni who was supposed to have come several times with the only intention of taking all the wealth he could lay hands on. Then there were the Mughals who came and made India their home. The last to come were the Europeans which included the French and the Portuguese apart from the British. The English, unlike the Mughals, did not want to make India their home but enjoy the economic benefits while making sure that their country remained superior to India. From the beginning they realised how India was rich not only in material things but in culture also. In human talent the Indian seemed to excel. The British realised that the Indian weavers could weave finer clothes than the mills in Lancashire so they cut off the thumbs of the Indian weavers to make sure that their mills had no competition! As early as 1835 Lord Macaulay declared: “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief, such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation” (Address to the British Parliament, 2 February, 1835). Within half a century Macaulay’s policies had the impact he desired. Talking of “the destructive success” of the education policy that the British had, Swami Vivekananda observed: “The modern young (as well as the old) Hindu struggles in vain to understand the religion of his forefathers, and gives up the quest altogether.” Since Independence in 1947 India has prospered in many ways. India’s wealth has increased but the problem lies in the unequal distribution. Since it follows democracy, unlike China, it is difficult to ensure that wealth is distributed fairly. When at the beginning the problem became evident people were persuaded to give up what they had in excess and help their fellow countrymen Acharya Vinobha Bhave is one person who comes to mind. He had his Bhoodan Movement in the 1950s as he walked through the whole of India persuading people to give up the extra land that they had. A lot of people were persuaded to do so and many ladies also came forward and gave away their extra gold jewels. However, the problem of unequal distribution has remained, widening the gap between the rich and the poor. After Independence for some decades India struggled to bring herself up on a level with other advanced countries. There was strict control over foreign exchange and foreign goods were prohibited while giving protection to local products like khadi, handloom, Indian handicrafts and other things indigenous to India. There was a renaissance of indigenous cultures and traditions. But the Indian middle class who could not buy foreign things started craving for everything foreign. Slowly the economy improved and from an under developed country, India became a developing nation and finally it is now a developed country. Now that there is no restriction on foreign exchange, Indians realise that Indian made things are often superior to foreign goods. Such is the improvement in India that people who had wanted to somehow get out of the place now want to go back to India to spend their retired life back in their home country. India has not only gone ahead economically but it has gone ahead in many other ways. It became a world leader in Information Technology. Recently at the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi not only did India finish second; other countries participating had to admit in the end that the organisation was superb and in spite of the initial hiccups the facilities were world class. It has also become the top in cricket. It is this all round progress in India that makes people take notice and look for faults to discredit her. It is, as was said earlier, a similar situation to that of the Jews in Germany in the 1930s. So people in authority should take good notice to avoid the situation from deteriorating.

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |




Auckland celebrates Srinivasa Balaji Kalyanam
Mayuri tamhane, IW correspondent
Over 1500 devotees of the Shirdi Saibaba Temple of NZ Inc performed Srinivasa (Lord Tirupathi) Kalyanam (wedding) on November 28, with great fervour at the Mount Eden War Memorial Hall in Balmoral. Fifty families performed the Kalyanam ceremony. The day began with Suprabhata Seva (waking up Lord Srinivasa from bed) by chanting of Suprabhatam. Then Lord Balaji was decorated with a variety of flowers and Tulasi garlands which is called Tomala seva. Pandit Chandru of Papakura Ganesh Temple started the Kalyanam (wedding) in the beautifully decorated mandap. Devotees took darshan of Lord Balaji, Mata Padmavathi and Mata Alivelumanga, followed by Mahaprasad. The evening started with Shirdi Saibaba’s Dhoop Arathi, followed by Unjal seva (swing seva), Sahasra Deepalankara seva (having darshan of Lord Balaji in the midst of 1000 lamps and then Ekanta seva (putting Lord Balaji to bed). The highlight of the evening programme was Sahasara Deepalankara seva. The murthis of Lord Balaji, Mata Padmavathi and Mata Alivelumanga have come from one of India’s greatest spiritual centres, Tirupathi, and they will be in Auckland with Shirdi Saibaba Temple. Every devotee was given the famous Laddu from Tirumala. Shirdi Saibaba Temple devotees have considered themselves fortunate to have obtained the laddus from Tirumala Tirupathi Devastanam. “On behalf of Shirdi Saibaba Temple Committee, I sincerely thank all the devotees who made this event a grand success. With the kind support of the devotees and sponsors we could raise around $15000 from this event. We will continue to do these kind of successful events in the future,” Ravi Chittajallu, secretary of the Temple committee told Indian Weekender. The Temple conducts regular bhajans and aarathi every Thursday from 7.30pm, at Sylvia Park School, Longford Street, Mt Wellington. More details about temple events are available at


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



Book on cricket captains offers insights to inspire ‘young guns’
People always look for inspiration when faced with any challenge. When people seek inspiration, what they are often really seeking is Hope. When we hear about leadership the one thing we hear all Leaders do in common is provide Hope. As Napoleon Bonaparte once said “A Leader is a Dealer in Hope.” That certainly seems to have been the key message to the “young guns” of Indian cricket and the central theme of the latest book on Indian cricket authored by Prof. Suryaprakash Chaturvedi titled ‘Hamare Kaptan – Nayudu se Dhoni Tak’ which was released at the hands of Indian cricketer Virender Sehwag at a book release function held in Delhi. “It is nice to see that books are being written on our past heroes. It will help the current generation to know about our former greats,” Sehwag said, speaking at the function just before the start of the recently concluded India-Australia cricket series. Praising the book, the ‘Sultan of Multan’ Shewag said he will share the information provided in the book with all his team-mates and maybe even gift the book to Dhoni. Whether Shewag did pass on a copy of the book to captain Dhoni and his boys is another matter but if India’s emphatic win over Australia in both the Tests and ODIs is anything to go by then the leadership qualities of captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni enumerated in the book were certainly illustrated on the field throughout the series. Prof. Chaturvedi’s books on cricket offers a different perspective to readers and cricket followers by ref lecting on the heroics of the past. The narrative of Hamare Kaptan feels like cricket folklore being told by an academician who is passionate about the subject and has spent a lot of time in research studying the game, the matches and it’s leading personalities. Hamre Kaptan gives readers information in the form of tales and incidences from the lives of all the captains to have led India on the cricket field right from Capt. C.K Nayudu through to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and highlighting their success and failures. His book achieves where others fail and it does so by providing insights which inspires. Acknowledging the need to preserve the history of the game Shewag said “Books like this will help us understand our cricketing past better. We would certainly want to know how our former captains led the teams, what were their tactics, how they batted, bowled.” Fielding questions by the media about the format of the game, the opener defended Test cricket. “There used to be so many draws in Test matches that would keep the crowds away but things have changed. We are getting more and more results in Test cricket and even a target of 350 can be chased in a day in a Test match. Cricket has not changed. A few innovations have

The narrative of Hamare Kaptan feels like cricket folklore being told by an academician who is passionate about the subject and has spent a lot of time in research studying the game, the matches and it’s leading personalities.

come to make it more attractive,” he was quoted saying. If that wasn’t enough the quality of cricket played by both sides during the series especially by India in the two test matches confirmed that the longer version of the game only got more competitive and even more exciting. Speaking at the book release Prof. Chaturvedi brief ly ref lected on the association of former New Zealand cricketer John Wright as the coach and his relationship with Saurav Ganguly as the captain of the Indian cricket team. “What makes a good captain is not just one particular quality but a combination of a set of skills and ability. Whilst individual cricketing skills are a pre-requisite, courage to challenge and confront challenges, ability to take calculated risks, mental and physical fitness and a faculty to play the opposition out is what makes a cricketer a successful captain” he said summing up his book. Suryaprakash Chaturvedi is a former academician and cricket administrator turned author. He began writing on the game covering matches for leading newspapers in India and has since then authored 9 books on cricket in Hindi. The more popular among these to have also been published in English include India and World Cricket and Some Great AllRounders which also features chapters on cricket in New Zealand and cricket hall of fame inductee Sir Richard Hadlee. Prof. Chaturvedi’s books will be soon available in New Zealand. For further details please contact Girish Anantharaman M: 021 02947194 E:

Th e ha milto n Sri Ba laj i Te mp le wit h the Te mp le Tru ste Tru st is co nduc ting a es as so on Ma ha La kas po ss ibl e as they ha shmi Ho ma n an d po ve only 10 8 oja on the ‘ya ntr am s’ to give aw Ja nu ary 29 next ye ar ay. at the Ph oe Th e do na tio n of $51.0 nix Ha ll in Ha milto n. 0 will se cure Devotee s an d yo ur pa rtic ipa tio n. Th frie nd s are inv ite d to e Ho ma n an d pa rtic ipa te po oja will be co nduc an d rec eive the ble ss ted on Ja nu ing s fro m ary 29 at the Ph oe nix the atten da nc e of the Ha ll sta rting Ho ma n an d at 9.0 0a m ( Sa turday po oja . ). Ma ha pra sad will be se Th e praye rs are co nd rve d after uc ted to the po oja . ce leb rate thi s Go ddes s an d inv ite Th e Te mp le Tru ste es he r to yo ur family an have em d ho me s an d ba rke d on purch as ing rec eive he r ble ss ing s a fairly large an d for tun es se cti on by next ye ar en d for the co ming ye ar. an d are inv iting do na tio ns of Go ddes s La ks hmi is $100 0.0 0 pe r often po rfamily or individua l for traye d as be au tiful go thi s purddes s wit h po se. This paymen t four arm s in a lovely ca n be made sa ri an d is over 10 mo nthly ins tal often pic tured eit he r emen ts of sta nding on $100.00 pe r mo nth or a pin k lot us or sta nd on e off paying on a lot us me nt of $100 0.0 0. flowe r. Sh e ha s two lot us es he ld Th e tru ste es are ke en in a back ha nd s an d to take thi s he r fro nt projec t off the gro un ha nd s off ering ble ss d an d are ing s an d in se rio us in ge tting thi on e ha nd off ering we s sta rte d as alt h which is so on as po ss ibl e, so sh ow n by co ins flowin devotee s are g fro m on e kin dly en co urage d to ha nd. ma ke thi s do na tio n. Furth er do Th e Ho ma n which inv na tio ns are okes the gracio us ly ac ce pte d. Go ddes s will be co nd uc ted by Ple as e ma ke co ntact Ch an dru Kuruk ul fro wit h the m the Ga ne sh tru ste es or at the Ma Te mp le in Pa pa kura. ha La ks hmi Pa rtic ipa nts Ho ma n in Ja nu ary 20 are en co urage d to ma 11. ke co ntact

Hamilton Sri Balaji Temple Trust conducts Sri Maha Lakshmi Homan.

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



Join the St John-Indian Weekender ambulance project & help the community...

St John friend to cyclist in need
rosters with Air New Zealand became a bit too much, Canute stepped back and now devotes his ‘spare time’ to arranging Friends of the Emergency Department volunteer rosters. The St John Friends of the Emergency Department (FEDS) volunteers provide comfort and support to patients and their families in hospital emergency departments. In times of distress, people need more than treatment; they also need information and support. That’s where St John Friends of the Emergency Department make such a difference. “My training with St John meant that I was able to help. I was really pleased that I was prepared. The cyclist was too!” The cyclist made a full recovery. Help add another ambulance in the community. St John is the Indian Weekender’s Charity of Choice. Join our Indian Weekender Make A Difference for St John Appeal today. Donate to St John by completing and sending back the donation coupon featured in the Indian Weekender, calling 0800 ST JOHN (0800 785 646) at any time; or via the St John website or aspx Please make sure all donations reference the Indian Weekender Make A Difference for St John appeal.

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Three simple ways to donate 1. 2. 3. Complete and post this form to St John, Northern Region, Freepost 2533, Private Bag 14902, Panmure, Auckland 1741. Call 0800 ST JOHN (0800 785 646) and have this form handy to make a credit card donation. Go online to Yes – I would like to give a donation towards a new ambulance for St John: $30 $40 $50 $100 $ (other)

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When Aucklander Canute D’Souza saw a cyclist suddenly collapse on the road ahead of him, he didn’t hesitate. “I hopped out of the car in the middle of the road and was able to resuscitate him, and then hand him over to ambulance officers when they arrived, says Canute. While more used to taking a ‘back seat’ in patient care, Canute is nevertheless no stranger to emergencies. He has done many shifts in Auckland City Hospital as a St John Friends of the Emergency Department volunteer. When fitting these around his shift

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What’s your game plan?

Second Hindu Youth Conference announced
Hindu Youth New Zealand and New Zealand Hindu Students Forum have announced the 2nd New Zealand Hindu Youth Conference. It will take place on May 7 and 8, 2011. The theme of the conference is “Dynamic Spirit of Youth”. The conference aims to harness the dynamic spirit of youth for the purpose of social progress and transformation. It will provide a forum to empower and utilise the energy and vision of young New Zealanders for constructive social purposes, with a focus on Hindu culture and philosophy. The conference will also discuss and deliberate topics such as pluralism; building leadership in youth; technology; environmental sustainability; seva (Service) social issues and how all this is related to the multicultural melting pot that is New Zealand. Fun activities, games and competitions have also been planned for the two-day event. There will be interactive sessions with presenters from different walks of life who have made a mark for themselves in the society. For relevant government agencies, this would be a great opportunity to meet and mingle with motivated students and young adults. Members of the Hindu Youth New Zealand have been part of government delegations to Asia Pacific regional interfaith dialogue sponsored by the Human Rights Commission (of New Zealand), to the Aspiring Leaders’ Forum held at the New Zealand Parliament, the Parliament Deepawali reception hosted by the Hon. Minister of Ethnic Affairs and other networks, forums and activities at the national and international levels. Hindu Youth New Zealand and Hindu Students’ Forum work towards making a positive difference in the lives of youth and students to enable them to achieve their highest potential. People wishing to participate may convey their interest as facilitators of workshops or to be part of the organising committee to Nitika Sharma, Conference Coordinator and Spokesperson on 0211 579 129 or Bhavisha Daya, Joint Conference Coordinator and National Secretary, New Zealand Hindu Students Forum on 021 025 27197 or email com.

Going to the Twenty 20 match? There are a few things you need to know.

On Boxing Day (Sunday), Eden Park will host the BLACKCAPS vs Pakistan (Twenty 20) Gates open 1pm, 2pm start. Join us for a great game!
Things you need to know • Family and alcohol free zones are available • For everyone’s enjoyment, no unruly behaviour will be tolerated • We are a smoke-free venue • Check the website for what you can bring to the venue. Liquor Ban A liquor ban will be enforced for the duration of the event in specified areas. Please check the map for details. Are you driving? • Road closures will affect many streets before and after the match • Changes made to assigned areas for mobility parking and public drop offs • See map for details. Public transport • Public transport will be operating on a reduced (holiday) timetable with trains replaced by buses. • Go to for details • Taxi drop-offs have changed (see map) Message for residents Permitted parking now available throughout Zone A Need to know more? Visit us online at or phone us on 09 815 5551.

Thanks and enjoy the game!

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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



Kolkata celebrates a very special Christmas
Christmas holds a niche in the festival calendar of Kolkata. It has become much more secular too being celebrated by all. The fondness for the non- indigenous festival has a lot to do with the city’s history, finds Ranjita Biswas
There is something in the air. You can feel the suppressed excitement. Is it to do with the welcome nip in the air, the tangy smell of orange and the sudden burst of colour on the dusty footpath of Kolkata as the ‘Bhutias’ from the hills of Bhutan spread their woollens? No, something more. Then, dot on 1 December, the rotunda in good old New Market turns into a fairyland with glistening pine trees, paper hats and tinsel baubles. Of course, it’s soon to be “Burra Din” –the big day. That’s how people of Kolkata have lovingly coined a festival from across the seas - Christmas of Santa Claus, mistletoe and plum pudding. So what if the pine trees are fake, or the ‘snow’ is flaky cottonwool? It’s Christmas after all. Christmas in Kolkata is something special. Even now when the Sunset Boulevard of the city, i.e. Park Street, is not so brightly illuminated as in olden times and most of the large Anglo Indian community who lent a special sparkle to the festivities have migrated to Australia or Canada, you can feel it. For, by now Christmas has become a festival a Herculean task. True, the special air around Xmas in Kolkata has also to do with heritage and nostalgia. It is a city that flourished under British patronage. Kipling called it “Chance directed, chance created ” as indeed it was three centuries ago. Though there ‘Foo Foo’ bands moved from one locality to another while carol singers from the Salvation Army were a common sight, old timers reminisced. The Bengali zemindars and rich traders vied with each other to prepare the most exclusive ‘dalis’ or ‘dolies’ for the burra sahibs. These gift hampers were piled with sweets, fruits, cakes and toys; sometimes they contained diamond rings and made-to-order Kashmiri shawls. On the other hand, the sahibs had to ‘Indianise’ some of the rituals too “… the British decorated their bungalows and churches with wreathes of marigolds; for pine boughs they palm branches and for Holly- Poinsettias,” a report says. The entire town from the richest to the humblest used to be agog with preparations for the ‘burrakhana’ on the Christmas day. The talk of the town was, of course, the one at the Viceregal residence at Belvedere which now houses the National Library, a heritage property today. Those who were not invited to the party not included in the ‘who’s who’ list. Today, the social ‘do’ tradition is faithfully carried on by the premier clubs in the city. Kolkata’s club-culture is famous even today and each rustles up a special menu for Christmas with roast turkey and the traditional pudding, besides other items. Those days Christmas also meant the beginning of the sporting season. Polo, horse-race and golf hogged the limelight. This tradition still continues. Today, even as the city celebrates Xmas, it is perhaps inevitable that there are nostalgic moments for older citizens for whom the celebration is not what it was. They wonder aloud where are delicacies like Kulkuls and Rosy cookies gone. The once-famous Christmas lunch at Firpo’s which consisted of “roast turkey and cranberry sauce, mince pies, Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, and first-class wine” has disappeared alongwith the restaurant. Nahoum’s, one of the oldest confectioneries in New Market offered out-of-the world delicacies like coconut luzine, pista cakes and almond samosas. No more; it’s too expensive. But the infectious mood of Yuletide happiness has a much greater reach today. People irrespective of religion still like to join in the midnight Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral or pray in the numerous churches. Even non-Christian localities sport Nativity scenes and strings of tuni (tiny) bulbs decorate many a household. As Neil O’Brien, scion of the Anglo Indian community in Kolkata, says, “Christmas has become much more secular today.”

for all encompassing class and creed. Unlike in other places, Christmas in Kolkata is not confined to upmarket clubs or expensive hotels and restaurants. The Bengalis love to celebrate the birth of Jesus with good food, outings and picnics. Come Christmas and you can see long queues in front of reputed cake and pastry shops. Now this tradition has spilled over to the ‘para’(small locality) shops. Even the humblest household would like to have a piece of cake on Burra Din. Reba Mistry is a maid who works in four households a day in the Salt Lake area to make ends meet. But she says, “Buying cake for Christmas day is a must. My son waits for it.” For once the famous Bengali sweets take a back seat. The confectioners, big and small , gear up for the extra demand from long ahead. These days ‘cake-mixing’ attended by celebs in five-star hotels and restaurants has become quite a thing for photo ops. However, the old families of the Christian community still stick to their trusted baker in the New Market-Free School Street area for the authentic cake. They buy the dry fruits long ahead, clean them, and keep the ingredients ready to deliver at the baker’s hovel with his old style oven. The cakes are delicious remain fresh for quite a long time. On the day itself the city’s landmarks, the Alipore Zoo, the grounds of the Victoria Memorial and every open space spill over with visitors enjoying the merry mood and bright sunlight. “Merry Christmas!” you will hear the greeting even from strangers. In the evening of Christmas Eve it is a ‘done’ thing to take a walk in the overcrowded Park Street with family and friends to buy balloons and whistles. Without prior reservation – some do not accept reservation at all, getting a table for a meal is

is dispute as to its birth date (not established by the British but that there was already a locality on the banks of the Hooghly), there is no doubt that the development of Calcutta, as it was known before, as a port and later capital of British India, was due to the colonisers. Young, fast growing Kolkata soon offered exuberant fun and frolic to the somewhat conservative British of the day. Accounts by White ladies talk about picnics, river parties, riding rendezvous and fancy dress balls that accompanied the ‘season’ beginning with Christmas. Indian kings and rich zemindars took to the western-world festivities with great enthusiasm, it seems, from reports. A New Zealand based publication Otago Witness reported (Issue 2285, 16 December 1897) about “The most expensive Christmas card on record” commissioned by the Gaekwar of Baroda to a Kolkata based English firm which was made of pure ivory. Expert carvers worked for six months on the 12x10 card full of intricate designs and studded with 44 diamonds. It was reported to have cost half a million pound sterling at that time. Apparently it was meant for “a certain European lady” but was never delivered to her. But that’s another story. Even after the capital was shifted to Delhi in 1911, the city retained its reputation for the winter festivities. Rajahs big and small from far corners of the country descended in the city with whole entourages. Whole floors of well known hotels of the day were booked to enjoy the best Christmas east of the Suez. Famous dancers and crooners from abroad landed at the port to perform in the night clubs. Tea planters from the Dooars and Assam, forest officers, colliery owners from Bihar crowded the city. Even the Viceroy used to come down from the capital. The centre of attraction, as even today, though in a much depleted form, was the Hogg Market or New Market and the “Army and Navy Store” bursting with goodies from across the seas. The liveried


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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


rd road to success Jack’s long, ha
Jagdish Dube is a simple man with humble beginnings. And despite being at the helm of the first and one of the biggest vehicle dealerships in Auckland, Jack – as he is commonly known – has never allowed his business success go to his head. Instead, as the chief of The Car Clearance Centre vehicle dealership in Otahuhu, Jack is sincere in his tributes to his roots and to those who have stood by him to help guide his business to the heights of success it is enjoying today. “It was hard work, and we have gone from strength to strength to where we are today,” Jack told Indian Weekender this week. The Car Clearance Centre was started up by Jack and his father, Hiralal Maharaj Dube, 16 years ago initially operating out of 31 Salesyard Rd, now at No. 41. Dube Snr had been in the truck and carrier business in Samabula, Suva, and so was the great motivator and mentor in getting Jack started on to the road to success. He passed away two years ago, and Jack has been left with a huge vacuum in his life and the business. “I really do miss him a lot now,” said Jack, who turns 50 next month. “He was always there to guide and help out where he could. “He always knew what was happening, and was the key inspiration for me.” Filling in the gap left by his dad is business manager Dalip Singh, a veteran of more than 30 years’ experience with Carpenters Motors in Suva. “Dalip is a key man in the business and his experience in the industry is invaluable,” said Jack, who is the eldest of five siblings – three brothers and two sisters. Jack also has high praise for his accounts manager Ravnesh Kumar who packs 20 years’ experience with him from ANZ Bank in Fiji. Jack himself started off as a clerical officer with the Lami Town Council, about 20 minutes’ drive west out of Suva City. I, as a cadet reporter covering the council rounds for the Fiji Sun in the early eight-


arvINd kuMar

ies, still remember Jack helping us with any queries we had about council matters. Although surrounded by council bureaucracy and “tough” bosses, young Jack remained down to earth and accessible to all. Following the military coups of 1987, Jack and family migrated to New Zealand where Jack did administration work before setting up Car Clearance Centre. And the rest, as they say, is history. Car Clearance Centre is now a multimillion dollar business, and Jack owes his success to good after sales customer service which has brought him lots of repeat business.

“One customer just recently bought his fourth car here,” said Jack, whose company now also offers in-house finance for customers. “We used to carry up to 50 cars before but now stock well over 100 vehicles, all makes and models.” He also attributes his success to taking care of his staff, customers and the community. Jack is also heavily involved in charity work in the community through schools, and is also an avid supporter of the medical camps to Fiji. Jack has two children – Shayne, 22, and Dolly, 18, both students at University of Auckland.

Jack Dube recently ventured into movie making and his maiden venture has been released in theatres and the DVD is due out next year. “Waiting For You” was produced by Jack and Premlata Dube, Dr Singh and Shyam S R Upadhyay, and lead cast includes Bomi Dotiwala and Usha Jerajani; and also well known local TV personality Roopa Suchdev. Directed by Shyam S R Upadhyay and shot entirely in New Zealand, “Waiting For You” is a gentle, warm and very human love story between an elderly, childless Indian couple who have lived in New Zealand for most of their life, far away from home, and what happens when the wife is admitted to the hospital with a heart problem, and her husband has to deal with the realisation that he is going to lose her soon. The past and the present are interwoven into the narrative, as the husband has to cope with an increasing loneliness, as he deals with daily visits to the hospital and returning home to an empty house. In his remembrance of times past, he revisits his homeland of Rajasthan through books in the local library, and starts wandering through the empty, silent city streets, and into a large park in the rain, deep inside his troubled mind. He forms a friendship with a young New Zealand girl, who has a baby, and this simple uncomplicated relationship makes him happy for a time. Family friends try to intervene, but he gradually finds it more and more difficult as his wife’s condition deteriorates, and he resents their intrusion into his personal life, and rejects any help from them. He now knows that he is going to lose his wife, and in their last time together in the hospital, she tells him not to worry about her, and that they will live forever. More details at www.waitingforyoufilm. com


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



‘I am a fan of Madhuri Dixit’
Katrina Kaif is on Cloud 9 these days. First, she got a Barbie crafted to her likeness, and then an item number-Sheila Ki Jawaani-in Tees Maar Khan, that has replaced Munni on the charts. The actor tells Sreya Basu that the film is going to be a complete entertainer
Farah khan said she will give you the biggest item number of the year in her film tees Maar khan and sheila ki Jawaani is ruling the charts. so she kept her promise? Yea. Sheila Ki Jawaani is a fun song; it’s very much part of the movie and not a separate item song. I aspire to become an actress in Tees Maar Khan, and the film I get is called Sheila Ki Jawaani…so you can understand what my character was going through (Laughs). this time, even critics are appreciating your moves in the song… Farah and me tried to do something different. As for me, I was just following Farah’s instructions. I was very clear that even if I have an opinion, I am going to follow her blindly in the film. sheila ki Jawaani has toppled Munni badnaam (from salman khan’s dabaang). What do you have to say on that? I recently met Malaika (Arora Khan) on the sets of Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa 5. Her verdict was, this year, Sheila and Munni rocked. Malaika is a natural dancer. I don’t think she has to put any effort on a song…she is inherently very talented; unlike me, who had to put a lot of effort in the song, with Farah constantly reminding me not to look bubbly in an item number. Farah khan is known for shouting at her cast and crew on the sets. did she yell at you too? I used to walk into the sets with my hands shaking. Farah used to say: ‘What’s wrong with you?’ and I said: ‘I am so afraid of you.’ But never once did she yell at me. So, I don’t know if she was being nice to me or I was really dancing and acting well. Who is one actress is bollywood whom you really look up to? I am a fan of Madhuri Dixit. Her every dance, every expression, every movement, to me, is very aspirational ; especially expressions, which is very essential for an actor, where one can only try, try and try to get the perfect take. I don’t think there’s anybody like her. She is the most beautiful actress ever to come on screen. You are the first bollywood actor who has a barbie doll crafted to her likeness. How was the feeling to hold a barbie that resembles you? As a child, like all young girls, I too have grown up with Barbie. She has been a friend and I have shared many experiences with her. Barbie is the ultimate fashion icon and is the most popular doll in the world. She has captured my imagination for many years and now when I get an opportunity to be a part of Barbie’s heritage – I am enchanted, deeply honoured and humbled as I today join the ranks of iconic women who represent Barbie’s aspirational values. I am extremely grateful to Mattel for presenting me my very own Barbie doll. I hope that my young fans are equally thrilled with this doll.

Kava goes Bollywood
For the first time ever, Fiji’s traditional kava drinking ceremony will feature in a Bollywood movie. The centuries-old cultural practice will be highlighted in Bombay Muumbai, the first Bollywood movie to be shot in the country next March, starring megastar Salman Khan. Fiji-born pop singer Aiysha has a sing and dance role alongside superstar Khan in Bombay Muumbaai and the f lick will feature a special traditional kava ceremony. “We’re going to amalgamate both the countries, both the cultures, together in the film,” Bombay Muumbaai director Prem Raj told the Fiji Times last week. Raj, who is in the country with Aiysha and executive director Mohammed Jamal, said the idea was to promote Fiji to India and the world. “We definitely want to talk about the Fijians, talk about the culture in the movie and promote them too because I feel that this country is as good as my country,” said Mr Raj, who directed Mein Aur Mrs Khanna starring Salman and Kareena Kapoor last year. “It (Fiji and India) has a lot of similarities, the emotions are the same. Lots of people speak Hindi here so why not be a part of Bollywood?” Ex-Suva Grammar student Aiysha, who has done over 300 concerts around the world, said she was “very excited” about her silver screen debut. “That’s something that I always planned to do but just like everything, the timing needs to be right.” Two more Bollywood movies will be shot next year after Bombay Muumbaai.

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



one can listen to, change or pause just like an I-Pod. There is a day-and-night zone which deflects Hard Kaur universe. The website contains everything about Hard Kaur- from trivia about herself, songs, videos, her shopping interests to links to social sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Hard Kaur gets eco-friendly website
Mumbai: Popular Rap Singer Hard Kaur has come with her website, which reveals her ‘real world’. The major attraction is that the website is environment friendly. As one enters the website, he will feel as if he has entered Hard Kaur’s e-world. An interesting thing is the background music, which

Dharmendra turns 75

Mumbai: Veteran actor of B-town, Dharmendra turns 75 on Wednesday. But age is absolutely not a big factor for the ‘angry hero’ of the past as his fans will see him once again on the silver screen in his upcoming movie ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’. Directed by Samir Karnik, the film will feature Dharmendra sharing the screen with his two sons Sunny and Bobby Deol. In his long career in B-town, Dharmendra has acted in several movies which includes names like Phool aur Paththar, Yaadon Ki Baaraat, Sholay, Dil Bhi Tera Hum Bhi Tere, Bandini, Life in a Metro, Apne . His latest venture ‘Yamla Pagla Deewana’ is all set to release on Jan 14.

Arun and I separated months ago: Hurley
London: British actress Elizabeth Hurley has confirmed that her three-year marriage with Indian businessman Arun Nayar has been off for months. “Not a great day. For the record, my husband Arun & I separated a few months ago. Our close family & friends were aware of this,” she said on Twitter on Sunday. H u r l e y ’s post was a rebuttal to UK tabloid reports that she was cheating on her husband with Australian cricketer Shane Warne. B r i t a i n’s News of the World had splashed pictures of the couple caught kissing in the lobby of London’s Bentley Hotel, where they spent two nights together this week, it said. The 43-year-old model-actress had begun dating Nayar in 2003 and the two exchanged vows in March 2007 at the Sudeley Castle in Gloucestershire before tying the knot, Hindu-style, at an extravagant week-long celebration at Umaid Bhawan Palace in Jodhpur. The Daily Mail had also cooked up a juicy story. “It is more than just a fling. Liz is really falling for Shane. Shane has been a real support through the tough time she’s had splitting with Arun,” an unnamed source told the UK tabloid. “The only thing standing in their way is the geography. Shane is mesmerised by Liz. She’s the first person he has felt so strongly about since his divorce. They have so much chemistry,” the report said. The Australian spin-wizard also posted a ‘clar if ication’ to the tabloid reports on his website. “Sadly and unfortunately, (wife) Simone and I split up a while ago, our close friends and family were informed at that time. It is a private matter so we did not make it public. We remain friends and will continue to be good parents,” he said. 41-year-old Warne has three children - Brooke, 13, Jackson, 11 and Summer, 8 - from a series of relationships. Hurley has an 8-year-old son, Damian, with American film producer Steve Bing. She earlier dated actor Hugh Grant for 13 years before the two announced an “amicable” split in May 2000.

‘Meet Brothers’ turns music directors
Mumbai: Popular Hindi band ‘Meet Brothers’ is back again to entertain their fans, as Manmeet and Harmeet turn music directors for the upcoming Rajshri Production film titled “Isi Life Mein”. “Working with Rajshri was a big for us; Rajshri production is an institution in which many things can be learnt while working in it. Working with film cast and Kuku Kohli was a memorable time,” the duo said. The film will have 10 song tracks composed by them, which will include multiple genres like: Rock, Hip Hop, classic, Bhajan, Jazz, Opera- Belle, Romantic and envy. The songs have been sung by popular singers of B-town like Mohit Chauhan, Udit Narayan, Shreya Ghoshal, Kavita Seth and Kunal Ganjawala. “Being a part of Rajshri Production itself is a big achievement and how Rajshri’s movie we all know and their songs are also melodic. So when we got the chance we just grab it,” said the ‘Meet Brothers’, whose popular song ‘Jogi Singh Barnala Singh Aaho’ was immensely appreciated by the audience. Earlier, they had also composed music for the film named “Do Dooni Chaar”. At present ‘Meet Brothers’ will be composing music for 4-5 movies.

I am still young: Anil
Mumbai: Actor Anil Kapoor is publicizing his film ‘No Problem’ in every way. The ‘No Problem’ team visited lifestyle brand Provougue’s showroom here on Thursday to promote their film. Anil Kapoor was looking dashing in a T-shirt; accompanying him, came Akshay Khanna wearing spunky denims, and producer Rajat Rawail. Asked why the film is titled ‘No Problem’, Rawail Said, “There is no problem in making the movie…it’s a mixture of all great comedians from Sanjay Dutt, Paresh Rawal, Akshay Khanna and off course Anil Kapoor and Suniel Shetty.” “Provogue is a leading brand, the clothes are good and I am still young and hence I wanted to promote my film here,” said Kapoor. When asked about the rapport between director Anees Bazmee, he said, “This is my third film with him. The past movies were great; this movie too will be a hit and we will keep entertaining you in future.” “Watch this movie; you will just forget all your problems for the time being; it’s entertaining and fun,” said Khanna.


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



‘Ready to team up again and again with Katrina’
Akshay Kumar is playing a conman in Farah Khan’s Tees Maar Khan. The actor tells Sreya Basu that the film is going to be a complete entertainer
an actor, as a producer also, I am very happy with the results. the film has been made on a unique idea and the results of all our efforts will start showing soon. You have tried your hand at so varied genres…action, comedy, serious roles. but there are critics who say you lack the credibility factor. do you agree? I don’t think about these things so much. I only do those films which I want to do, I feel like doing. I do films to make myself happy, my audiences happy. I am happy to be an entertainer. Is it true that you are always conscious that your market rates keep rising? I do four-five films a year. and now I have my own production company as well. obviously, being the producer, I can’t charge money from myself. so, that way, my rate is zero. but when the films do well, my money comes back to me only. How do you look at the race for the No 1 position in bollywood? I have never participated in this competition for No 1, 2 or 3. We are not horses at Mahalaxmi race course. every year over 150 films are made in bollywood and there are only seven or eight heroes. and for any of us, it is not humanly possible to do more than 3-4 films a year.

Farah khan only works with shah rukh khan. so, were you surprised to find yourself in her camp? More than surprised, I was happy about it… I got to play a part in one of her films. that was a more exciting thing for me. so, let’s keep these camps aside; camps are for kids. Your image as ‘aadha robindood’ (half robinhood) is already gaining popularity among the youths… (Laughs) You have to credit that to my character in the film, who loots wealthy people, but does not distribute the riches among the poor. If I would have played a full robinhood, then this film would not have been made. In that case, he would have given away all his riches and won’t have been tees Maar khan. tees Maar khan is having offtrack promotions-the music was launched in a local train, and then there was a party at Juhu beach for the masses. Whose concepts are these? the film is for the masses and we are trying to connect with them. all these weird ideas came from Farah’s brain. there is a train robbery sequence in the film. so, the music launch idea came from there. she made me board a train after 24 years for the music launch. as for the beach party, I have never heard of anything like that before. she wanted to connect directly to the people and tell them about the film. but all of us really enjoyed ourselves. Your pairing with katrina has always

turned out to be a box office success… thankfully, things have been working for both of us and if that’s the trend or way to make it at the box office, we are ready to team up again and again. do you think your pairing with katrina is going to click this time too? We will know that on december 24 when the film releases…doodh ka doodh, paani ka paani ho jayega. as a producer, is there any apprehension about the box office collections? Not just as

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



‘I am a mad girl’
Teen icon Genelia D’Souza is too busy these days with her films It’s My Life, Hook Ya Crook and Urumi. In Kolkata to launch Nocturne lounge, the actor tells Sreya Basu that she won’t change her mad self for anything.
How will you define yourself as a person? I am a person who loves to chill out more than anything else. I spent my entire college life at Café Coffee Day at Carter Road (Mumbai). Even today, I have not changed my lifestyle; I still walk my way from home to the café, though now at times, it’s a bit difficult because of my hectic schedules. and also, because people recognize you? Yes. But unlike other stars, I thoroughly enjoy it. I get super-excited when someone calls me by my name. I too scream back: ‘Aiyeee’. I know, at times, this creates confusion. So I try not to do my mad things all the time. tell us about your childhood days. I grew up in Bandra. I am a complete sportsgirl; I have played everything-from basketball to hockey…the Joggers Park has so much been a part of my life because of my trainings. Not many people know that I am a state-level athlete. People used to call me a tomboy, though I used to say that I am a tomboy with a feminine side, though even I don’t know what that means. (Laughs) I am a mad girl…fully. How did bollywood happen to you? One day I got a call rom Ramoji Rao saythese guys kept calling me for a monthand-a-half. Then, my mom said this is an opportunity and that I should try it out. I always have the option to quit if I am not happy with it. so are you happy the way your acting career has shaped up in bollywood as well as in south? I am totally satisfied. I had a peak, I had a fall, and I have a peak again. But I was never out of work. However, my worst phase taught me a lot. When I am in a hit phase now, I know things can go down. I am really lucky that I got accepted in four industries (Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam). You are mostly projected as a young, bubbly, chirpy girl. are you happy with your image? Absolutely. I am young, fun-loving. I don’t want people to know me as someone who is very reserved and serious type, because I am not. What is the best thing you got yourself after becoming a star? My Bandra apartment. I love bright colours and decked it up accordingly. You will find a red living area, an orange-and-white study-cum-gym, a blue-and-pink bedroom. My home reflects my vibrancy.

Rajinikanth turns 60


Chennai: South Indian superstar Rajinikanth, who has entertained his fans by his unique style of acting and dialogue delivering, turned 60 on Sunday. He celebrated the occasion with his family. But age is absolutely not a factor for the talented performer, as Rajinikanth’s latest release, ‘Enthiran’ turned out to be the biggest hit of this year. His performance in the movie was appreciated by his fans allover. Shivaji Rao Gaikwad, better known as Rajinikanth, gained popularity with the film titled ‘Apoorva Raagangal’. Since then he has successfully performed in multiple films like:‘Mullum Malarum’, ‘Arunachalam’,’ Chandramukhi’, ‘Sivaji’, ‘Enthiran’. Whether it is his unique style of dialogue delivering or flipping cigarettes in his mouth, he has always attracted his audiences. In his long career he has also appeared in Hindi films like: ‘Chaalbaaz’, ‘Uttar Dakshin’, ‘Giraftaar’ and ‘Hum’. Rajinikanth is a recipient of the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian honour, for his contribution to the Indian cinema.

ing he is doing a Hindi film called Tujhe Meri Kasam and wants to launch me! Now, it was bad enough that I got into modeling because I was from a family who has no clue about the glamour world. And films were something I couldn’t even thought of attempting; first because, I was clueless about acting. And then, in my family, films were like ‘No no no, it is a bad world and we can’t get into it…bla bla bla.’ And

Deepika’s wardrobe up for grabs
New Delhi: India’s leading online shopping club has announced an opportunity to bid for style icon Deepika Padukone’s exquisite offerings from her personal closet. Fashion and You and Deepika have partnered together to encourage India’s quest for an Olympic gold. In a novel offer, members from across the country can bid for their favorite movie stars’ personal possessions and help future Indian athletes achieve their dreams through Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ). OGQ strives to compliment the efforts of the Indian Government and various Sports Federations in identifying and funding the best and most deserving medal prospects for the Olympic Games. OGC is a brainchild of Indian sporting legends Geet Sethi and Prakash Padukone with the aim of Olympic glory for India. Speaking about the auction platform, Deepika said: “I am delighted to share my wardrobe with my fans through e-retailers Fashion And You. Each and every ensemble and hand bag are my prized possession and I have very fond memories of them.” “I am very certain that my fans would love to own them and join me as a fashion diva this season. Fashion And You has embarked on a very noble cause of utilizing the proceeds of this Auction Platform to a charitable foundation, which is in the larger interest of the society. “The funds from the auction would support ‘Olympic Gold Quest’ a foundation for promoting sports talent in the country, which is very close to me,” said the actor. The auction also provides members the opportunity to own the beautiful sari adorned by Deepika in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa, for promotion of ‘Om Shanti Om’, dresses and gowns that she carried very gracefully at similar events for the movie.


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



New Year ka funda
and lunar inferences where months are based on the moon, while the seasons are governed by the sun. The current national calendar of India was set up in 1957 by the Calendar Reform Committee that formalized a luni-solar calendar. What is the origin of Indian calendars? The Indian calendars in particular are one of the most ancient calendars of the world as they descend from the Vedic times. There are many references to calendars in the Holy Vedas. The Hindu calendars (regional and the national Sāka calendar) are used mainly for festivals, religious ceremonies, family-social functions, farming festivals etc. The Hindu calculation of time (called Kaal in Sanskrit) is supposed to have come to us from Sage Ganita who is mentioned in the Manusmriti and the Mahabharata. Mostly, the Indian calendars are inherited from a system first articulated in Jyotish Vedānga which is an adjunct of the Holy Vedas. The calendars then got standardized in the ancient astronomical text Sūrya Siddhānta and subsequently reformed by olden astronomers and cosmologists like Āryabhatta, Varāhamihira and Bhāskara. They surmised that ‘time’ is cyclical in nature, which means every starting point will have to be an ending point. Confirming the achievements of Indians in astronomy and cosmology, Marquis Pierre Simon de Laplace (1749-1827) French mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer, wrote: “Nevertheless the ancient reputation of the Indians does not permit us to doubt that they have always cultivated astronomy, and the remarkable exactness of the mean motions which they assign to the Sun and the Moon necessarily required very ancient observation.” The ancient Hindu astronomers, philosophers and mathematicians did not think of time in linear terms with a beginning and an end. Hence time is thought in terms of great cycles of thousands and millions of years and measured in kalpas, yugas, manvantaras, cosmic day and night of Brahma etc which are extremely long periods of time. The concept of time and the resulting account in the form of the calendar has been studied deeply by the scientists the world over. The ancient Indian scientists during their time also came out with some original work in understanding this intriguing concept and measure of time. The fruit of this effort was the Indian calendar i.e. the ‘Panchāng’ or ‘’Panjika’ which India uses till today, tough with reforms. Though we tend to use the universal calendar for all practical, administrative and commercial purposes, we refer to the traditional Panchāng for all new undertakings in life, for auspicious events like weddings, religious rites like Naamkaran, Shraadh, Tarpan etc. The Panchāng


Many of us from India celebrate more than one New Year. Besides the 1st of January every year, we also celebrate another New Year day based on the region we come from in India and the Indian calendar. What are the origins of this Indian calendar, which has been around for more than 5000 years? Who invented it? What is it based on?
The world at large uses the civic calendar system with 01 January 2011 as the New Year day next year. In fact, the celebration of the New Year on 01 January is a relatively new phenomenon based on the calendar system started in Europe during 1852. Prior to that many a calendar reforms happened over the past 2500 years till the Middle Ages. Even with the current calendar we use, there are proposed reforms wanting to switch to a more accurate system. Besides the current calendar which we all use, there are quite a few other calendars which are also actively in use today. Since ancient times many civilizations and societies had devised calendars, along with its periodic reforms suited to their particular needs. Historically there are at least 20 or may be 30 odd calendar systems used for different purposes by different cultures, based on Luni-Solar, Lunar or Solar Calendar systems. To name a few, there is the Hebrew calendar used by Jews, Iranian (Persian) calendar used in Iran and Afghanistan, Islamic calendar, Chinese calendar, Julian calendar, Ethiopian calendar, Thai solar calendar, Buddhist calendar, Bahá’í calendar, Mayan calendar, Hindu calendar called ‘Panchāng’ etc. The traditional Indian and Chinese calendar is a “Luni-solar calendar” based on the combined computations of the actual positions of the Moon (luni) and the Sun (solar). The Indian calendar in use is a combination of both solar covers everything from the phases of the moon, the positions of the constellations, sun, stars, planets, and identifies auspicious time & day for various activities. Panchāng is derived from two words – ‘Panch’ meaning five and ‘ang’ meaning parts. The Panchāng routinely used by pundits and astrologers contain five attributes of the day i.e. which are Vaar (weekday); Nakshatra (star or constellation through which the moon is passing); Thithi (lunar day); Yoga (total distance traversed by the sun & moon from a specific point); and Karana (half a lunar day). In many parts of India, especially in South India, birthdays and other anniversaries are celebrated mainly on lunar days (thithis) and nakshatra. Based on the mathematical analysis found in the ancient astronomical texts, we can only infer that the ancient Indian scientists were too cerebral and superlative. They primarily were Ācharyas belonging to the different branches of Vedic metaphysics. After all the wonderful effort to the measure and reporting of ‘time’, the Ācharyas and Gurus of the Vedic religion gave some startling advice to mankind, who according to them, are caught in the realm of time and space, caught in the karmic cycle. They say that ‘Time’ exists only in the minds of ignorant. Hence they advised to go ‘beyond’ the dimension of time. But how is that possible? Isn’t that mind boggling? I mean time-boggling?

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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |




2012 – the year of reckoning?
Features writer Nalinesh Arun shares his views on the year 2012 and how it is being viewed by others.
As 2012 draws near, a growing number of people are proclaiming massive changes that will be taking place on Earth. Much of the speculation is due to the Mayan (large) calendar which ends on December 21, 2012 (according to its relation with our modern calendar, of course). The movie 2012 has some information about this, and the web is full of it. Type “2012” into a search engine and you will get 332,000,000 results. The web is buzzing with the ‘end of days’ sites, with much greater emphasis than the Y2K bug could ever have generated. All kinds of outcomes are offered, from a meteorite hitting the planet, to utter collapse of civilisation due to greed, to the third world war. All religions are being tapped into for “clear signs” of the catastrophe, as well as prophets and science. Pseudo-scientists have either the Planet X (also Nibiru, or sometimes as having Nibiru, with its Planet X) crashing into earth in or around that date. Other “prophets” say the people of planet Nibiru (or Planet X) will arrive to earth to see what their “creation” (the Human race) is up to. Others still talk of comets or other heavenly bodies striking the planet, causing a climatic change of such proportions that only a half billion people will be able to survive. They imagine a “nuclear” winter that will either send the earth into another ice age, or turn large parts of it into searing deserts. The list of catastrophes is endless on the web. December 2012 is an important time in many calendars and prophesies, including the Hindu calendar, the Hopi prophesies and, interestingly, Maori lore. In Maori lore December 2012 or thereabouts is when the curtain is lifted. Or is dissolved or comes down – depending on the various translations of the phrase in old Maori - “ka hinga te arai”. This speaks of the reunification of “Rangi” (the Sky) and “Papa” (the Earth). The creation legend goes thus – in the beginning Rangi and Papa were partners and were closely clasped together. They had a number of children, who lived in between these two parents, squashed and without light. One day these children (who were all Gods - God of the Wind, God of the Sea, God of War etc) decided to push their parents apart so they could have room to move. They all tried and failed, till one of the Gods, Tane, pushed them apart, separated them, and there was light. Ka hinga te arai then could mean the Earth and Sky becoming one (what would be consequence of such a move, or does it mean something other than coming together?); it could mean the blotting out of the sun due to some kind of covering (whether from an explosion that send dust and debris into the atmosphere to block out the Sun’s rays) or (my favourite) it could mean an opening of the dimensions through an upsurge of the human consciousness so things previously unknown to us becomes apparent. One meaning of the phrase is the removal (dissolving) of the planes separator - basically the merging of the physical and spiritual planes. Some translate this as a time when the unknowables become known through a shift in perception that is forced onto mankind. This, for once, is one of the saner interpretations of what could happen in 2012. In the Hopi Indian prophesies 2012, or thereabouts, is seen as the return of the Pahana (the White Brother from the skies) with whose coming will come the dawn of the ing of what will happen in 2012 – humanity will undergo a change of sorts to their consciousness in that time, with or without help from others. Some web pages are dedicated to this approach, with a number talking of the galactic centring where our sun, for the first time in thousands do for herself and the human peoples” to show the changes the end of the next two years will bring for the Earth. India has long been touted as the guru of the world by the many modern sages and thinkers and innovators of the spirit. They, including The so-called liberations and revolutions have, in fact, not liberated people, just made us more like the people who had held us off from that world of power for so long. Children appear to be more abused worldwide than maybe ever before – with child slavery on the rise, and child prostitution even being condoned by parents in the less developed sections of the world, where a father can sell a daughter to pimps for less than $100. Food production is the highest it has ever been and so much of it is wasted, yet a third of the population find it hard to put together three square meals each day for the family. Water, the most abundant element on earth, is getting expensive to have as more waterways are poisoned and fewer places of clean water become available to the world’s population. And nature is taking its toll (or its revenge) on every sphere of the globe. Mankind, it appears, is finding harder to adjust to the new ways that the Earth is reacting to its perilous situation. These are the problems that have been besetting mankind for a very long time now. And we still haven’t any answer to them. Is the “end of days” phenomenon (this attitude to the years 2012) a subliminal cry of help from the collective psyche of mankind? Why is it that so many from several parts of the planets are concerned so much over a little date? I, for one, don’t believe the Earth will be destroyed. Yet, I can’t help feeling something will happen in 2012. I think it will be a bit of almost everything – some calamity will hit us at a pace and proportion that will force our hands into living a better life. Whether this is a global catastrophe or an event of such proportion that mankind finally says “enough is enough”, I don’t know. One of the prophesies I abide by is that there will be “minor adjustments” to the planet, with minor adjustments seen from the point of view of the planet and not us. This is already happening. Few of us know that the magnetic poles has already shift by several degrees southward over Europe. Some say it is as much as 15 degrees (?). This would explain why Spain and Portugal are presently experiencing snowfall in areas where it was previously sunny at this time of the year.

A still from the movie ‘2012’. of years, will hit the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way. This alignment to the galaxy will have profound impact in the way we use our senses, our brain and our consciousness. Gravitation forces and other cosmic forces (including the cosmic Swami Vivekananda, have said that India will rise as the teacher of the world when the rest of the world is surfeit of its childishness and is willing to learn the way of wisdom from India. Keeping such prophesies in mind, it is no wonder that the younger generation in India and

December 2012 is an important time in many calendars and prophesies, including the Hindu calendar, the Hopi prophesies and, interestingly, Maori lore...
background radiation) will work together in ways that will change us, and everything else, associated with our planet. This includes some major changes to the alignment of the planet, it is said. “But our old ways of thinking, including our biology will change as the Sun, Earth and Pleides line up in space. This will cause an increase in discharge of photons from the sun which is bound to cause changes in our brain pattern,” – astrologer and modern day guru Dattatreya Siva Baba. Others still are saying that around December 2012, several wormholes will open at the centre of our galaxy, allowing “others” from around the universe to finally contact use. Various ideas and descriptions have been given of these others, including the Sons of Light, and a host of “aliens” who are not aliens but our friends from far across the universe. In Hinduism, the field of speculation is vast as far as 2012 is concerned. Several people are putting forth the idea that Kali Yuga will end in 2012, and Satya (Krita) Yuga begins. Other are saying the Kali Yuga has a few thousand years to go, some say 5000 years, others 427,000 years. Some modern “thinkers” believe that the yuga calculations are all wrong and, yes, the Satya Yuaga (the Golden Age) is about to begin. But with a proviso – there will be calamities, natural and otherwise – like financial problems, wars and global warming. These thinkers take the likes of Sri Aurobindo and use his proclamations like “India of the ages is not dead nor has she spoken her last creative word; she lives and has still something to the Indian Disapora is leaning towards a consciousness shift rather than catastrophe in 2012. But as long as we, the Indians of today, continue aping the West, this guru aspect of India will remain in abeyance (but that is another story).

Good and positive

Fifth World

We are presently at the end of the fourth world, according to Hopi Indians. Out in South America it is the Sons of Light returning to Earth to help mankind onto the next step in their evolution. There are many people around the world who believe in something close to this understand-

All and good, as this writer also believes in something positive and even good happening in 2012. After snuffling through the thousands of ideas surrounding the year 2012, one thing was very clear – mankind is desperately looking at ways to stop the wounding of its psyche and the planet. The escalation of the war against the planet and its people has reached a peak that even WWII could not achieve. When children start dying at the rate one every six minute (due to disease, abuse and lack of clean water and food) then it is time to re-look at the way we have been doing things. As it is said: the solution of a problem that exists today cannot be found in the methods of problem solving that we were using yesterday. So we must look to the extraordinary and as yet “unthought” of solutions to our present problems. Every idea of governance that we have seen has its pitfalls, some more than others as shown by the collapse of “communism” in the recent past. The so-called collapse of “capitalism” in the recent years has also shown us what happens when greed and rampant consumerism is let loose upon the people.

Yes, it has been steadily getting worse. The nature and scope of natural disasters in the past few years has been unprecedented. Earthquakes and tsunamis are getting more frequent, global warming (whether man-made or natural) is a fact, and the weather patterns around the world is throwing up surprises almost every day. The level of human suffering will have to peak before “realisation” of the evils of greed, selfishness, partisan leanings and racism takes place for humans. It has to get worse before it gets better. Maybe it is up to us to ride out this ‘worse’ phase before we can get to the golden age. The way of wisdom as shown by our ancient seers is to hold everything in trust – there is no ownership of anything, including the resources of the earth. Just as a school headmaster will look after the property of the school with diligence and with faith, so should every human being look to the things he or she owns, individually and as a collective. But just as when the headmaster is transferred and he give up the ‘ownership’ of the school properties without a fuss, so should human being be ready to give up anything they ‘own’ – their family, their property, their very life. This is the way of detachment that our ancients showed. * Nalinesh Arun is a former Fiji journalist who lived in India for many years. He is now based in Christchurch

Could it get worse?


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |




What are your New Year Resolutions?
oLIver PereIra
We have completed one more calendar year and are almost facing down the barrel of the New Year ahead. Is this a good time to pause for a moment after the hectic pace of this year and reflect on the good times and not so good times we have had this year. Is there anything that you wish had done better, changed if you had another chance? Do you know of someone who graduated this year with honours? Someone who got a promotion? Some one who got married? Someone who had a new bon child? All happy occasions, which were planned for and achieved. As hard it may sound do you know someone who lost a loved one? Someone who suffered a major illness? Were they prepared for such an eventuality? Were they prepared for such unexpected events in their lives? How did they cope financially? Did anyone of us know that there would be such a major earthquake in Christchurch? While Life itself is a gift how well are we prepared for the journey in the year ahead? Most people insure their cars and properties against damage and loss, but time you assessed the risks to you and your family? Life insurance products (sometimes known as ‘risk’ insurance) are or monthly payments to the beneficiary in the event that the insured person dies, or suffers a critical illness or an illness or accident that prevents them from earning their usual income and maintaining their lifestyle and financial commitments. So, can you afford not to have insurance? If you have answered ‘No’ to any of these questions, then you are likely to be ‘carrying’ some level of risk or, in other words, be underinsured. Doing a lifestyle check with an insurance adviser will show whether you have the right kind of insurance for your stage of life. We can help you understand the risks you are carrying, and provide advice on how best to manage these risks within your budget.
The above information has been provided to serve only as a guideline to assist in evaluating your insurance needs. You are encouraged to do your own research before arriving at any decisions. For further information, please contact: Oliver Pereira – OPM Insurance Services Ltd. Ph. 0800 66 77 92 | Faxmail. 021 551 669 | Mobile. 021 66 77 92 Email.

You or a family member needs to go to hospital to have a major operation (perhaps for breast cancer or heart bypass) – would you be prepared to wait on the public health system for treatment, with little choice regarding the hospital care you would receive? You are unable to work for six months due to illness or injury – do you have enough savings to see you through without damaging your long-term financial goals? You or your partner suffers a life-changing and traumatic event such as diagnosis of cancer, a heart attack or stroke, and makes a slow recovery – would you have enough savings to live on during recovery and adjustment without adding financial stress to the situation? You die suddenly leaving your partner and children behind – would they cope financially without an insurance pay-out?

Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes No

many neglect to insure their lives and livelihoods. Even those who have thought to protect their lifestyles may not have the levels of cover they need. When was the last

designed to provide a backup plan to hold things together when life turns an unexpected corner. These products can pay either a lump sum


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



Surviving the Silly Season
varsHa asraNI
It’s the time of the year when you want to relax, be off work and enjoy the sun along with the festive season!! Between all the celebrations, overseas travel, family and friends visiting; it is really hard to resist the urge to dig in to delicatessen, resulting in weight gain that you would have probably fought throughout the year. Its quite natural for your body to react to a change in circumstances, this could be triggered by the food you eat over the next few weeks, your lifestyle and your moods and what you might drink even, and here I am referring to alcohol. One barely thinks about losing weight during holiday’s and it is a possibility that we might even get back to work with a few additional kilos. Consciously or subconsciously we indulge in treats, this is not really your fault but it is the season moods to be blamed ………’s the time where you have boxes of chocolates, cakes, baking and all sorts of treats from family and friends. What do we do to get it all in control? We realise that it is not possible to avoid situations during this time, but let us aim to just maintain yourself to what you are at the moment and keep away any weight gain as far as possible. Exercise may not fit your plans, but even a walk at the beach, a swim or playing with kids at the park can add to some activity. Stretching out at home or shaking a leg on some music of your choice can take the pressure off you and make you feel less guilty. Above all the hardest bit is the discipline with food. It’s always good to try a few tips which can be helpful and avoid the emotional turmoil you may go through when the fun is over and when you stand on the scale to find a few more kilos. Replace the fried variety with healthier options like the tandoor grilled, keep the butter away from the naan, cream from the vegetarian curries and second helpings, choose low calorie drinks and go slow with alcohol, drink responsibly. Avoid extras if possible, always ensure you have a salad on the side at home or at the restaurant – it makes the difference. Mind those sweets...these can cause a huge dent. Indulging in these each day of the week for the next few weeks can definitely not let you fit in the same size dress when the season ends. Enjoy the weather, the holidays with your family and the festive season but watch what you do and eat. Aim to keep your weight the same and drink heaps of water to be hydrated over the summer season. Enjoy the festive season and to make this season more special, we are giving away a handsome discount on your first consultation in the New Year *. For further details email me on This article is a general guideline ONLY. Please see a health professional for individual conditions and needs. -Varsha Asrani is a New Zealand Registered Dietitian. For personal consultations she can be contacted on 0210524353. For any questions, suggestions or views please email her on * Conditions Apply

Helping your child succeed
Primary school children around the country will break this week for the Christmas holidays. It’s an exciting time for children, a busy time for parents, and an opportunity to reflect on your child’s progress in the classroom over the past 12 months. This year, primary and intermediate schools began implementing National Standards. The Standards are signposts that show what children should be able to achieve in reading, writing, and maths, and by when. Parents are sent plainlanguage reports on their child’s progress at least twice a year. are falling behind, so they can get the help they need before it’s too late. We’re supporting the Standards with $36 million over four years to help those children. This money will be used to develop resources and programmes to help lift the achievement of those who may otherwise fall behind and drop out.

Last week, an international study from the OECD came out, showing that New Zealand students performed a lot better than average in reading, maths, and science. This is a credit to the great job our teachers are doing.

Last week, an international study from the OECD came out, showing that New Zealand students performed a lot better than average in reading, maths, and science. This is a credit to the great job our teachers are doing. However, the study also shows we have too many low achievers and that there’s been no overall progress in reading since 2000 or in maths since 2003. That’s why National Standards are so important. One child in five leaves school without the basic skills they need to succeed in a modern economy. National Standards identify those who

We’re also moving education resources to the frontline, and putting children at the heart of the education system – where they belong. At least 50 expert practitioners will be appointed to work closely with schools, and find ways to help their students succeed. We’ve also focused teacher development squarely on lifting student achievement. This year has been a bedding in year for National Standards. I encourage parents to go and talk to your school about National Standards, and how you can work together to make sure your child achieves in the classroom. Implementing National Standards and providing extra support to teachers and schools, is helping every child get the skills they need to succeed, reach their full potential, and make the most of their bright future.

Early Childhood Education vital for Ethnic Communities.
asHraF CHoudHarY- assoCIate etHNIC aFFaIrs sPokesPersoN
All political parties talk big about the importance of early childhood education (ECE), but actions speak louder than words. Labour’s policy for 20 Hours Free ECE was in line with the trend in OECD countries to provide at least two years free provision before children start school. Research shows that children of all ethnicities who have experienced quality ECE perform far better in schooling on average than those who have not, with these differences carrying on into adulthood. National promised parents it would not touch Labour’s 20 hours free ECE. But after being elected it broke this promise and cut $480 million from the sector starting this month. These are the first phase of cuts, which will force up fees while reducing the number of qualified teaching staff at centres. The next cuts come in February. National also promised to improve adult to child ratios, but there is already evidence that the opposite is happening as centres shed staff to cope with Government funding cuts. The Minister is desperately trying to blame the ECE providers themselves for increasing fees, claiming that was not her intention and that centres are “choosing” to do so. But Treasury officials told the Minister that these cuts would increase the cost to families by $40-$80 a week, putting early childhood education out of reach for children from our poorest families. The National Government’s decision to increase GST to 15 percent, despite promising before the election that they would not do so, has also pushed fees up. Given all these broken promises, it is unacceptable that the Minister continues to try and mislead parents by blaming centres for fee increases. And now the Government is carrying out a “wide ranging review” of Labour’s 20 Hours Free ECE funding – in other words another cost cutting exercise. The Government says ECE costs too much and they haven’t seen “value for money” from Labour’s funding increases. This is utter rubbish. For example, the Minister claims participation rates have not increased, yet her own Ministry says enrolments have increased 10% since Labour increased funding to the sector. Labour dramatically increased funding so we could build more centres in areas of high demand and high need, reduce the cost barrier for families participating in ECE, and reflect the real cost of employing 100% qualified staff. This last point is particularly important. Early childhood teachers are professionally trained to teach children during one of their most important developmental stages when their brains are literally being shaped. The responsibility is enormous. And yet this Government seems to see early childhood teachers as nothing more than glorified babysitters. Why else would National say that from February next year centres will no longer be funded to have all of their staff properly trained and qualified? They say only 80% of teachers need any kind of qualification in early childhood teaching, the implicit suggestion being that someone with absolutely no qualification can do just as good a job in making up the other 20%. Times are tough. But every Government has choices, and every Government must have the courage to stand by their decisions and defend them, not cower and try to pass the blame to others. This Government managed to find tens of billions of dollars for tax cuts for the wealthiest New Zealanders, subsidies for greenhouse gas polluters, private schools, and even $1.6billion for a “holiday highway” north of Auckland. They could have taken a small part of that spending and continued to invest in early childhood education and the future of our children. They chose not to. It’s not acceptable. Contact: Ashraf Choudhary 021 799 573.

Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |



Simple Soman and his friend were walking down the street. Soman noticed a compact on the pavement and bent down to pick it up. He opened it, looked in the mirror and said, “Hmmm, this person looks familiar.” His friend wanted to take a look. So Soman handed him the compact. The friend looked in the mirror and said, “Of course you find the face familiar. It’s me!”

Underground Mecca
COOBER Pedy is a mining town in Australia where people live underground to escape from the harsh climate. Opal was discovered here in 1915 by a teenager, Willie Hutchinson. Thereafter, it has been acknowledged as the world's opal capital. On ground, the area resembles a barren nuclear war zone. The dusty desert town faces hot and dry climate with temperatures soaring to nearly 500C in summer and dipping to a freezing -20C during winter. For a town starved of greenery, its first 'tree' was created by welding together pieces of scrap metal! So the early settlers sought shelter in underground homes where the temperature is always pleasant. The first homes were originally 'dugouts' —mines which were abandoned by miners. Soon enough, people dug into the sandstone to create homes for themselves.


Whenever they discovered opals in the process, they simply dug more, making their houses bigger! Today, there are underground hotels and churches in Coober Pedy. You

can even try your hand at scouting for opals, though mining has stopped in the town area. There is also a golf course complete with a pond…only there is no grass and the pond is an oil slick!

THE German Heinkel He-178, the first jet aircraft, made its maiden flight on August 27, 1939.

Easy Draw
3. Why do scuba divers always fall backwards? Draw an elephant from the letter ‘B’.

A Simply Quizzing
rs ge the lette 1. Rearran OOR NEWD one word. o as to form s


2. What do the numbers 11, 69, and 88 have in common?

B Number Fun
Thailand’s former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra sent his 17-year-old daughter to work in McDonald’s so that she could learn the value of money and the importance of hard work. Thaksin Shinawatra is one of the country’s richest men.

C Guess the Age
By looking at the pictures in the family album, can you tell the age of each member?

Complete the number pyramid with the help of the clues given below.


NZ-25 © 2010 Amrita Bharati, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan; e-mail:


Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |

Answers: A. 1. ONE WORD 2. They read the same right side up and upside down.

A boomerang can hit a quarry and return to the hunter. False. A boomerang returns to the hunter only if it misses the quarry. If it makes even the slightest contact with the quarry, it cannot return.



B. 3. Because if they fell forwards they would bang their heads on the inside of the boat.

C. If you look at their faces carefully, you will see their ages in English numerals. The son is 30, grandson 10, grandfather 90, daughter-in-law 23, mother 50, grandmother 80 and father 61.

Clues : 1. There is no Roman representation for this number. 2. ___ Downing Street. 3. The sum of the first ten odd numbers. 4. 143 x 7 = ____. 5. 111111 11 = ______.



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Indian Weekender | December 17, 2010 |


and Presents


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