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www.thesouthasiantimes.info Vol. 4 | No. 37 | January 7-13, 2012 | 60 Cents The South Asian Times NEW YORK EDITION Excellence In Journalism See pages 6-15 for an exclusive interview with him and focus on Rotary movement. Man of the Year 2011 Kalyan Banerjee President, Rotary International It is a matter of pride for India and Indians everywhere that Kalyan Banerjee, a businessman from Vapi, Gujarat, is serving as the 2011-12 President of Ro- tary International. Having served this veritable ‘United Nations of non-profit organizations’ for four decades with distinction, he has become the third Indian to lead Rotary International in its 106 years of history at a time when due to Rotary’s persistent Polio Plus campaign since 1988, the world has come ‘this close’ to rooting out the crippling disease afflicting children.

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Vol. 4 | No. 37 | January 7-13, 2012 | 60 Cents

The South Asian TimesNEW YORK EDITION Excellence In Journalism

See pages 6-15 for an exclusive interview with him and focus on

Rotary movement.

Man of the Year 2011Kalyan BanerjeePresident, Rotary International

It is a matter of pride for India and Indians everywhere that

Kalyan Banerjee, a businessman from Vapi, Gujarat, is serving as the 2011-12 President of Ro-

tary International. Having served this veritable ‘United Nations of non-profit organizations’ for four decades with distinction, he has become the third Indian to lead Rotary International in its 106

years of history at a time when due to Rotary’s persistent Polio

Plus campaign since 1988, the world has come ‘this close’

to rooting out the crippling disease afflicting children.

The world in frames 34 Chalo Punjab Campaign 35 Annual Predictions 74 Spiritual Awareness 78

NEW YORK EDITION

The rise of the

fifth estate

Social Media,

Page 61

Will Obama be

re-elected

President?

Reign of the

bold, beautiful

and the tough

Bollywood,

Page 67

Top 50 Coolest

Desis of 2011

People,

Page 55

President Banerjee gets Rotary touse social media for growth

The South Asian Times Person of the Year 2011, Kalyan Banerjee,President (2011-12) of Rotary International, gave an exclusive

interview to this paper at Rotary Headquarter in Chicago.

By Parveen Chopra

ByChicago: Keenly aware that Rotary is seen as

an organization of the old people-- in the West at

least -- and losing members, RI President Kalyan

Banerjee is leading the organization to try to con-

nect with the youth again. Harnessing the social

media is part of the move to mend matters. The

legacy of his presidency he wants to leave is

“having raised Rotary to the 21st century level so

people come to Rotary."

In India, of course, Rotary is growing and

attracting young people.

Banerjee’s presidency is bound to give a further

impetus and standing to the movement there,

Continued on page 4

Vol.4 No.37 January 7-13, 2012 60 Cents Follow us on TheSouthAsianTimes.info

How Jaipur prepared to host PBD-2012 Jaipur: Preparations were in full

swing in this Rajasthan capital for

the three-day Pravasi Bharatiya

Diwas (PBD) diaspora conclave

Jan 7-9.

PBD-2012 will see participation

of President Pratibha Patil, Prime

Minister Manmohan Singh, sever-

al union ministers and chief minis-

ters and some 1,300 NRIs from 54

countries across the globe.

At a high-level review meeting,

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok

Gehlot directed the officials to

expedite the pending works. He

wanted important monuments and

government buildings in the city

to be lit up during the PBD.

A control room has been opened

at the Birla Auditorium which will

operate round the clock for the

guests. He also asked police to

make arrangements for swift flow

of traffic during the event.

The beautification work of the

Rajasthan capital, known as the

Pink City globally, is in full throt-

tle.

Various bodies in the city,

Continued on page 4

PBD kicks off withfocus on inclusivegrowth and youth

Jaipur: India's annual conclave to

connect with its 30 million diaspora

in some 130 countries kicked off

Saturday in this Pink City, with the

focus this time on inclusive growth

and the youth.

The organizers, the Ministry of

Overseas Indian Affairs, were

expecting more than 1,300 dele-

gates from 54 countries to partici-

pate in the three-day event, called

the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD),

the 10th edition thus far hosted by

the Indian government.

"The main thrust of the event is

to find ways and means on how to

make the younger generation of

people of Indian origin understand

India. We will discuss this at length

at the meet," Minister of Overseas

Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said.

Trinidad and Tobago Prime

Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar

will be the chief guest at the 10th

edition of the conclave with the

theme "Global Indian -- Inclusive

Growth".

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

will deliver the inaugural address

here Sunday, while President

Pratibha Patil will deliver the vale-

dictory address and also confer the

Pravasi Bhartiya Samman awards a

day after.

"The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas is

celebrated every year to mark the

contribution of overseas Indian

community in development of

India. It is a pride, privilege for

Continued on page 4

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting his counterpart fromTrinidad and Tobago, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at Rashtrapati

Bhavan in New Delhi Jan 6, 2012. Smt. Gursharan Kaur and Dr.Gregory Bissessar are also seen. Persad-Bissessar is chief guest

at the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Jaipur.

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4 Community

PBD StoryContinued from page 3Jaipur, the Pink City, to host this

convention," Rajasthan Chief

Minister Ashok Gehlot said.

"We eagerly look forward to wel-

coming the illustrious sons and

daughters of our great nation."

The Rajasthan government, this

year's co-hosts, said major efforts

have been made to beautify the city,

including the sprucing up of its

world famous monuments. The

state's handicraft emporium

Rajasthali has announced a 10-per-

cent discount for delegates.

Keynote speakers from the feder-

al government include Finance

Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Road

Transport Minister C.P. Joshi and

Environment Minister Jayanthi

Natarajan. Besides, Rajasthan

Governor Shivraj Patil will speak

about the message of Mahatma

Gandhi.

Also participating are a host of

chief ministers -- Goa's Digambar

Kamat, Gujarat's Narendra Modi,

Jharkand's Arjun Munda, Kerala's

Oommen Chandy and Madhya

Pradesh's Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

The timing of the PBD has been

so chosen to mark the return of

Mahatma Gandhi, India's best-

known Pravasi and Father of the

Nation, from South Africa on

January 9, 1915.

PBD JaipurStoryContinued from page 3including the Jaipur Development

Authority (JDA) and Jaipur

Municipal Corporation (JMC), are

working day and night to make the

city look lavish and clean. A JMC

official said wall paintings and

lighting on government buildings

have been completed and few small

things will be finished by Friday.

Meanwhile, an official of the

Confederation of Indian Industry

(CII), the PBD's organizing partner,

said that sessions on issues like

water, solar energy and gender

issues will be organized from Jan 7

to Jan 9 at Birla Auditorium here.

Elaborate security arrangements

have been made keeping in view of

the visit of several VVIPs.

Manmohan Singh, Gehlot and

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister

Vayalar Ravi will address the inau-

gural session followed by the

keynote sessions by Finance

Minister Pranab Mukherjee,

Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna,

Planning Commission Deputy

Chairman Montek Singh

Ahluwalia.

Person of the year StoryContinued from page3prominent Indian Rotarians said,

adding that Banerjee's ascension is

matter of pride for all Indians and

India. Banerjee, a businessman

fromVapi in Gujarat, is a pioneer of

polio eradication. The global

PolioPlus campaign has made

Rotary very visible. In India no

case has been reported for almost a

year. “Today PolioPlus has taught

us to have a bigger impact in the

world,” Banerjee says.

He may be heading the biggest

service organizaion in the world,

but he tapped his inner core and

Indian ethos to come up with the

Rotary theme of 2011-11: 'Reach

Within to Embrace Humanity', pic-

tured into a beautiful logo by

artists.

The Editor picks a Pic

Cleanup bid for PBD washescolour off Hawa Mahal?

Investor /Funds

Available

Jaipur: An effort to clean the

famous Hawa Mahal ahead of the

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)-

2012 here may have left the 18th

century 'Palace of Winds' with

colourless patches and also dam-

aged some of its outer surface,

archaeological sources said

Friday.

Apparently over-enthusiastic to

clean the city ahead of the PBD,

the civic authorities here washed

the pink coloured Hawa Mahal

using the fire brigade's water pres-

sure hoses, the sources said.

The action on the outer surface,

carried out to remove dust and

grime from the building, has left

several patches on the monument

with faded color and damaged

parts of it, the sources said.

Experts are saying the action

was unwarranted and the cleaning

was carried out without any care

and supervision.The city is being

cleaned ahead of the PBD being

organised here Jan 7-9. "During a

visit to tourist spots in the city a

couple of days ago, Rajasthan

Tourism Minister Bina Kak had

expressed dissatisfaction over the

sanitation work at Hawa Mahal.

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January 7-13, 2012 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

This photograph has intensity, emotion, drama and suspense about a calamitous event. You would haveseen it before. At the White House President Obama watches on live video the Navy Seals mission to fishout Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden from his hideout in Abbottabad, Pakistan unfold along with VicePresident Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, alongsideother Security staff, including Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, National Security

Adviser Tom Donilon, and Counter-Terrorism chief John Brennan.

6

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

“WORD PEACE IS POSSIBLETHROUGH DEVELOPMENT”

-KALYAN BANERJEEBy Parveen Chopra

It was difficult to get an appointment

with Kalyan Banerjee due to the hectic

travel schedule a Rotary President has

to follow. But, through the good offices of

Past Dist Governor, Ravi Bhooplapur,

SATimes got an appointment recently.

Once we meet him in his chambers on the

top floor of the Rotary Headquarters in

Chicago, we are put at ease. He talks flu-

ently, simply, meaningfully. Excerpts from

the interview where he reflects on what

his presidency means for India, what he

intends to do to see Rotary grow, and what

Rotary can do to bring down hostilities

between cultures and countries:

How do you perceive Rotary as an

organization?

RI President Kalyan Banerjee: Rotary

is the world’s largest service organization

spread in 200 countries with 1.24 million

members. Diversity is very great and

because of our involvement in things like

polio it is becoming increasingly well-

known and people and groups are begin-

ning to seek Rotary partnership. Rotarians

are persons of influence and reach in

every community and they are the the

movers and shakers of society and so

when they get involved they are able to

connect with great depth. The Rotarians

are from various fields and vocations,

industrialists, lawyers, doctors, religious

people. Rotary is not a religious organiza-

tion but all religions are important, equally

significant, regardless of who you are.

In fact, we were the organization which

first took up the task of polio eradica-

tion, and were followed by UNICEF and

government organizations. Bill Gates has

given us $350 million dollars and contin-

ues to give. The time and effort Rotarians

have spent on immunizing children in

countries like India and Nigeria has been

immense. In India there is almost no polio

case for last 11 months.

Rotary has been involved in other

things like we give the largest number of

international scholarships every year—

peace scholarships—for people at six

selected universities, programs that

enhance peace. How to enhance peace?

One is through development. Second is

through discussions and meetings, associ-

ations rather than taking drastic action.

Third is through enhancing trade, com-

merce, promoting friendship and coopera-

tion. When people come together like

USA and China, a relationship is formed.

In America everything you come across is

made in China. When people come togeth-

er, one is a seller one is a customer, the

relationship is something different. Before

they do anything else they’d think of the

economic aspect of it. India and Pakistan

are also getting together in so many ways -

trade, sports. Pakistani children come to

Indian hospitals and Rotarian gets free

operations done for them and bear the

cost. I like to tell the story of a Pakistani

boy who said after the operation and

recovery that Pakistan gave him birth but

India gave me a new life. He said “India

Zindabad and Pakistan Zindabad”. Forces

of peace today are becoming stronger.

Human development is only possible

when there is peace. Look at it the other

way, if you do human development, hope-

fully peace will follow. That is what

Rotary is trying to do - human develop-

ment to promote peace.

What does it feel to be the President of

such an international organization like

Rotary?

RI President: Most of the time I don’t

think about it, if you think you can go

crazy. It is a great honor to be the

President and a responsibility. I hope and

pray that I measure up to the task and

leave with satisfaction having raised

Rotary to the next level, to the 21st centu-

ry level so that people come to Rotary as

the world’s most favored NGO, the most

sought after NGO, most reliable, depend-

able organization. It is, of course, an

ongoing process, and not a project that can

be finished in a year. We are doing polio

eradication, but take the problem of water,

that cannot be solved in a year. I am not

saying that everyone should be educated,

but I say at least start the process.

What does it mean for India and

Indians that you have become Rotary

President?

RI President: Rotarians in India are

happy, they are charged, highly motivated.

I am a president from India after 20 years.

In the lifetime of many Rotarians it would

the first time that an Indian is president.

So they are very happy. It is a matter of

pride.

The 2011-12 theme you gave—‘Reach

Within to Embrace Humanity’- for

Rotary has something to do with Indian

philosophy. So what Indian values or

ethos are you instilling in Rotary?

RI President: You cannot bring in any

particular ethos, one should not try. Let us

not forget that Rotary is an international

organization—different religions, different

cultures, different thought processes. But

basically you are right, it is an Indian

theme, an Indian philosophical theme, it

comes from our culture. But how it con-

nected with people I cannot really imag-

ine. As Gandhiji said you be the change

you want to see in the world. If you want

to reform the world, to love all, learn to

love yourself. You have to start with your

neighbors first. In English there is a say-

ing that it is easy to love the whole wide

world, it is only the fellow next door who

is a problem. Still narrow focus, start with

loving your family, and start with your-

self. One has to know what one’s goal in

life is and what has an individual done to

make your life meaningful, and life of oth-

ers happy. If you reach within yourself, if

you understand yourself better you are

better able to accept others, embrace oth-

ers in the sense that everyone then

becomes your brother.

From Indian culture and religion, any

particular people influenced you--

Gandhi, Vivekananda and whether you

follow any particular branch of religion

or philosophy?

RI President: We have been associated

with Ramakrishna Mission, and believe in

his teachings and from then on to Swami

Vivekananda. Same as Gandhi said, you

can make all the difference. The power of

the world comes from the individual and

the power of individual comes from your

your own mind.

You can be whatever you want to be.

That is what our philosophy says. I am a

god believing man, not a god fearing man.

One should live according to certain prin-

ciples and things work out.

I heard an Indian guru say that the

purpose of life is to serve others…

RI President: Yes, at the end of the day,

you really think, you are born, you grow

up, you live, you work, you die. Rotarians

make a lot of money, but why we are

Rotarians is because we get pleasure out

of giving the money, utilizing the money,

helping others. That is what makes Rotary

different. A person was asked what he was

worth and he said one million dollars.

“Only one million, but you are a billion-

aire.” he was told. He replied, “Sure I may

have a billion dollars but I donate only one

million and so that is my worth.”

Whatever time, money, effort you spend in

looking after others measures you, who

you are.

Continued on page 7

RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee reveals the 2011-12 RI theme during the openingplenary session of the 2011 International Assembly, 17 January 2011,

San Diego, California, USA.

Bill Gates, a big donor to Rotary, greeting Kalyan Banerjee and others at the RI Convention on May 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

7

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Continued from page 6

During your presidential term, which

initiatives you are taking to take Rotary

further?

RI President: You have to look at the next

generation of Rotary. Different kind of proj-

ects one can do of course. I tell people to do

whatever is suitable in your area. Some are

working for clean and safe water, in some

areas they are working for AIDS, for literacy.

Knowledge is very important for develop-

ment of a nation. Nani Palkhivala once said,

‘if a nation wants to be ignorant and free,

that never was and never will be’. A big flaw

in India is illiteracy, more than 40% illitera-

cy, and that is a lot of people. Rotary is try-

ing to work with the government in a country

like India, trying to provide public private

partnership to bring about literacy. That is a

way for us to move forward in such develop-

ing countries.

Rotary is considered to be an organization

of old people, particularly in America. In

India we have young Rotarians. In America

we tell the young people they may be very

busy but they can spar a couple of hours in a

day for social service. Change is taking place

and young people are coming to Rotary in

America. Connectivity, and connectivity in

family is important, which is missing here.

Mother Teresa said parents and children

don’t get along and in the home begins the

disruption of the peace of the world. If fami-

ly is not peaceful than how will a nation be

peaceful?

So Rotarians age is growing and num-

bers falling…

RI President: In this part of the world,

yes. Not in India. India and Asia are growing

because Asia is newly emerging part of the

world. If you don’t connect with younger

people today the tomorrow it will be too late.

They will not come back to you.

So how do you increase the member-

ship?

RI President: If Rotary does work…

Earlier we looked ourselves as a community

based organization. Today PolioPlus has

taught us that we can have a huge impact

through the world. So if you look at bigger

issues, instead of building a school in your

own community, communities can come

together to raise the education level. Then,

not only a community, the country changes.

So that is how we should think. We are the

most important people in a community, but if

important people in different communities

get together, all communities coming

together make a country and countries get-

ting together to make the world. That is what

the trend in Rotary is.

What can Rotary do to decrease the hos-

tility between the Muslim and non-

Muslim worlds?

RI President: Rotary does exist in many

Muslim countries like Pakistan, Malaysia,

Indonesia. But not in Middle East due to

their social structure. Change is happening

now. Rotary is now in Egypt, Dubai, Abu

Dhabi. We are trying to bring them all

together . Through the years lot of mistrust

came down because of political background.

Rotary is the best way to remove the mis-

trust. For one, if we can solve the water

problem in the Arab world, peace will pre-

vail there.

In China also Rotary has not made

headway, so what is the basic requirement

for Rotary to flourish?

RI President: Free economy, free think-

ing, freedom of speech, of association. Basic

freedoms are required.

Ideology-wise where does Rotary stand?

RI President: Doing good to others.

Peace. Peace through development and

progress in today’s world. Ideology is to help

people. Somebody has said, if people get

together, so too will nations. We are trying to

bring people together.

I believe a Rotary president has to trav-

el a lot.

RI President: In a given year, 50 to 60

countries.

How many languages you speak?

RI President: Not too many. Hindi,

Gujarati, Marathi, Bengali and of course

English.

Where in India was your upbringing?

RI President: I was born in Calcutta, stud-

ied in Gwalior and lived in Vapi, Gujarat.

What about your children?

RI President: I have one son who is chem-

ical engineer, married to a Thai girl in

Australia. He has two grandchildren.

Daughter is settled in Saudi Arabia and has

Canadian citizenship.

How do you manage your Rotary activi-

ties along with your company?

RI President: All my board members are

very co-operative. I am 69 and the company

is already being run by young generations.

We go to board meetings if we are useful in

getting some work done!.

How do you think India is faring in

terms of development and progress?

RI President: India has done well but in

last few years has got bogged down. We are

shooting ourselves in the foot. India needs to

be run by capable people. Technocrats

instead of bureaucrats. We damage ourselves

all the time. We should soar like an eagle

instead of flying like a pigeon.

In a speech once you pinpointed a cur-

rent problem - moral evasion?

RI President: Moral evasion… yes, we

should call a spade a spade, talk about what

is bothering one. People have problems but

how much time they can take out for others.

If you throw the dust out of the door and

close your door, the dust will come back

through the window. You have to reach far

out to keep cleanliness. If you help your

neighbor’s boat across the water then your

boat will also reach the shore. There are a lot

of things going on in India and that is why

Anna Hazare is coming out.

Which world leaders have influenced

you?

RI President: Albert Schweitzer, Gandhi,

who gave their life for humanity. Nelson

Mandela is another example who changed

South Africa. Mother Teresa gave up every-

thing to help the world.

You are a great orator and an inspiration

speaker…

I think you can reach out to people with

simple thoughts, if you live a simple life of

honesty and integrity. I read well. Economist,

India today, I stay connected with Indian

news papers, I read Gandhiji’s autobiogra-

phy.

RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee calls to order the fourth plenary session on 18January during the 2011 International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.

From left: Rotary General Secretary John Hewko, RI President Kalyan Banerjee, andRotary Foundation Trustee Chair Bill Boyd. .

John Osterlund, General manager,Rotary Foundation

Peter DeBerge, RI Deputy GeneralSecretary

BANERJEE’S VISON FORGENERATION NEXT

As we focus on our strategic plan

and Future Vision, I believe it

is time for us to move into a

future-forward mode — not just in the

next year but in the next decade and

beyond.

These are exciting times, changing

times, and times when we keep our

feet firmly on the ground, anchored

in our core values, but look beyond the

far horizon. And as our Generation

Next connects through Facebook,

Twitter, YouTube, and iPhones, I

believe the time has come to join

hands, urge them forward, and go

ahead developing our own Rotary

social network, as we hope to do in the

coming months.

Fulsome praise From roTariaN leaders

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 20128

An album photo of Kalyan Banerjee with other Rotary leaders in India.

Kalyan Banerjee with wifeBinota in the President’s chambers on the top floor of the

Rotary Headquartersin Evanston, IL.

Official group photo of the 2011-12 Directors of the Board of Rotary International with Banerjee seated in the middle. Directors from India Shekhar Mehta and Y.P. Das are on extreme left and extreme right respectively.

Kalyan is like a younger brother to me. He is an outstanding person. Basically he a chemical engineer and how to work on chem-istry of people. His management and corpo-rate experience puts him in a class apart.

Rajendra Saboo, Rotary International President (1991-92)

Passionate, powerful, caring, sincere.

John Osterland, Rotary Foundation General Manager

I have known President Kalyan for many years. He has been committed to becoming the best communicator he can be, not only be-cause his leadership responsibilities demanded it, but also because he wanted it for himself. He responded to the demands of a new posi-tion whenever it came to him. He understood that to be an effective leader he has to be more in touch with who he is and how he wants to serve the community. This has reflected in his theme for Rotary International during the year 2011-12 which is ‘Reach Within to Em-brace Humanity.’ He has reached the pinnacle of Rotary because he knows that really im-portant things in life come through long-term commitment and the rewards are as much in the journey as in the destination.

Ashok Mahajan, Trustee,

Rotary Foundation

He has left a lasting impression on me for being compassionate, sincere, committed and above all humble. These qualities have taken him all the way to the top leadership position.

Y.P. Das, RI Director

President Kalyan has had humble begin-nings, and he still remains down to earth, without ego. I have known him since my Rotary days in India. He is a motivating fac-tor for me. I want to be like him. It is great to work with him. When we established two new clubs in Long Island, he flew down just for 12 hours to USA for the charter ceremony. I personally appreciate his energy, encour-agement and enthusiasm. It is great for our people to have him as the third president of the largest philanthropic, non-governmental organization in the world. He is a pioneer of polio eradication and thus a symbol of rec-ognition of Rotary in India. The credit for what he has achieved also goes to his fam-ily. He has enjoyed 100 percent support and commitment from his wife, Binota.

Ravi Bhooplapur, Past Governor,

Dist 7250

President Banerjee is an amazing personal-ity, fully devoted to the community service and has a tremendous capacity to travel and find time wherever Rotary needs him. After a full day of travel and Rotary activities, he still finds time to prepare his speech for the next event. His oratory is par excellence.

Sushil Gupta, Past RI Director

The very first impression Kalyan Banerjee left me with was that of a man with tremen-dous energy, great passion for Rotary and a diehard optimist. His grassroots approach towards service activities, his tenacity to-wards anything that he perceives, and of course the most importantly it is his humil-ity that has taken him to where he is.

Kalyan Banerjee’s becoming President is of course one of the significant events for the Rotary movement in India in recent times. This will give a major fillip to every aspect of Rotary in India. Rotary in India is passing through a golden period and I can say the best is yet to come.

Shekhar Mehta, RI Director

A higher profileKalyan Banerjee is chair of United

Phosphorus, Bangladesh, and a director of United Phosphorus Ltd., one of the largest manufacturers of agrochemicals in India, and Uniphos Agro Industries Ltd. Born in Kolkata in 1942, he earned a degree in chemical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, in 1964.

He is a resident of Vapi, Gujarat, where he has contributed signifi-cantly to its development as one of the largest industrial estates in India, helping to provide infrastructure for health care and education.Banerjee has been a member of the Rotary Club of Vapi since 1972. He served as club president in 1975-76 and district governor in 1980-81. He began his international service to Rotary in 1995, with his appoint-ment to the RI Board of Directors. He has gone on to serve as general coordinator of the Poverty and Hun-ger Alleviation Task Force (1997-98), trustee of The Rotary Foundation (2001-05), and chair of the Southeast Asia PolioPlus Committee (2009-10). He has served on numerous other

committees, including the Interna-tional PolioPlus Committee (2008-09), Reach Out to Africa Ad-Hoc Executive Committee (2009-10), Leadership Development and Train-ing Committee (2009-10), Permanent Fund Committee for India (2008-09), and the Child Mortality Emphasis Coordinating Team (2008-09).

Banerjee is also active in many other organizations, including the Ameri-can Chemical Society, Indian Insti-tute of Chemical Engineers, and the Senate of the Vishva-Bharati Univer-sity. He has served twice as president of Vapi Industries Association and is a past chair of the Gujarat Council of the Confederation of Indian In-dustry. In addition, he is a trustee for the Jai Research Foundation.Kalyan Banerjee is married to Bino-ta, a social worker, and they have two children and four grandchildren.

Vapi, Gujarat, IndiaDistrict Governor, 1980-81Director, Rotary International, 1995-97 Trustee, The Rotary Foundation, 2001-05 Chair, Rotarian Action Groups Committee, 2008-09 President, Rotary International, 2011-12

Person of the Year 2011

Congratulations to The South Asian Times

Kalyan BanerjeePresident

Rotary International

Accepting Applications for MD Admissions

10

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

STATELY - GRACIOUS - PLAYFUL – PHILOSOPHICAL…

You will run out of adjectives describing

Kalyan Banerjee, who, inbecoming Rotary

International President,has reached the apogeeof a successful, full, ful-filled life. Yet, at the ageof 70, he is traveling theworld with vim and vigor,

directing a service organization that

has 1.2 million membersand 34,000 clubs in virtually every nation

of the world

2011-12 RI President, Kalyan Banerjee speaks at the "On to Bangkok Luncheon" during RI Convention, 25 May 2011, New Orleans, Louisiana. RI’s next annual convention

is at Bangkok, Thailand, May 6-9, 2012.

RI President Kalyan Banerjee and his wife, Binota, greet Pope Benedict XVI during theirvisit to Rome 12 October, 2011.

Kalyan Banerjee and wife Binota enjoyingthe Fellowship Dinner and Dance on 18

January at the 2011 InternationalAssembly in San Diego.

As RI President-Elect, Kalyan Banerjee flew down only for a few hours to charter twoSouth Asian dominated clubs in December 2009. The Hicksville South Club (Charter

President Kamlesh Mehta) and Jericho Sunrise Club (Charter President Vimi Sikka) tookoff with the efforts of Ravi Bhooplapur, past Dist. Governor 7250.

Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar, Kalyan Banerjee andspouse Binota, and RI President Ray Klinginsmith and spouse Judy greet Grand March

participants as they parade into the International Fellowship Dinner and Dance.International Assembly, 18 January 2011, San Diego, California.

Kalyan Banerjee andwife are joined by RIPast President RajendraSaboo and other seniorleaders from India andtheir spouses at theInternational FestivalTalent Night at theInternational Assemblyin San Diego in January2011.

Aide to the RI President-elect Julio Sorjús, RI President-elect Kalyan Banerjee,Moderator Monty Audenart, RI President Ray Klinginsmith, and Rotarian

Coordinator Duane Sterling conclude the flag ceremony during the Opening PlenarySession of the 2011 International Assembly, 17 January 2011, San Diego, California.

President, Kalyan Banerjeecalled on Indian Ambassador

to the US, Nirupama Rao inWashington DC in November

1. He was accompanied byhis wife, Binota, Kamlesh

Mehta,Charter President ofHicksville South Club, and

Ravi Bhooplapur, PastGovernor of District 7250.

11

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

IT ALL BEGAN INCHICAGO…

With humble beginnings as the world’s first service club,Rotary has grown into the world’s largest service organization.

Rotary founder Paul Harris’s original office has been recreated in a room at theRotary headquarters in Chicago.

National flags being displayed at a foyer in Rotary HQ.

Rotary International is a vol-

unteer organization of busi-

ness and professional lead-

ers who provide humanitarian

service, and help to build goodwill

and peace in the world. There are

approximately 1.2 million Rotary

club members belonging to 34,000

Rotary clubs in more than 200

countries and geographical areas.

Founded in Chicago in 1905,

Rotary celebrated 100 years of

service in 2005. The Rotary

Foundation has awarded more than

US$2.1 billion in grants, which are

administered at the local level by

Rotary clubs.

Rotary clubs exist to improve

communities through a range of

humanitarian, intercultural and

educational activities. Rotary also

encourages high ethical standards

in all vocations.

Rotary clubs address critical

issues at home and abroad by pro-

viding health care and medical

supplies, clean water, food, job

training, youth development, and

education to millions of people in

need. Examples of Rotary’s focus

areas include:

Polio Eradication - In 1985,

Rotary International created

PolioPlus – a program to immu-

nize all the world’s children

against polio. To date, Rotary has

contributed more than $1 billion

and countless volunteer hours to

the protection of more than two

billion children in 122 countries.

Rotary is currently working to

raise an additional $200 million

toward a $355 million challenge

grant from the Bill & Melinda

Gates Foundation. These efforts

are providing much needed polio

vaccine, operational support, med-

ical personnel, laboratory equip-

ment and educational materials for

health workers and parents. In

addition, Rotary has played a

major role in decisions by donor

governments to contribute over $6

billion to the effort. Rotary volun-

teers work in cooperation with

the national health ministries,

WHO, UNICEF, and the US

Centers for Disease Control and

Prevention.

Peace effort: In an effort to edu-

cate tomorrow’s peacemakers and

ambassadors, up to 110 Rotary

World Peace Fellows are spon-

sored each year to study at one of

the eight universities for

International Studies in peace and

conflict resolution.

International Education: Rotary

is the world’s largest privately-

funded source of international

scholarships. Each year, about

1,000 university students receive

Rotary scholarships to study

abroad. Rotary clubs also coordi-

nate a high schoolage student

exchange program that has sent

nearly 8,000 students abroad for

three months to a year.

Humanitarian Projects: Rotary

clubs initiate thousands of humani-

tarian service projects every year.

These volunteerdriven projects

address the root causes of conflict,

such as hunger, poverty, disease

and illiteracy.

Literacy: Rotary clubs work to

improve literacy rates worldwide.

Water Management:

Recognizing the importance of

clean water, many Rotary clubs

help to install wells and develop

water treatment and distribution

systems to increase availability of

potable water.

It all started in Chicago where the

world's first service club, the Rotary

Club of Chicago, was formed on in

February 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attor-

ney who wished to capture in a professional

club the same friendly spirit he had felt in

the small towns of his youth. The Rotary

name derived from the early practice of

rotating meetings among members' offices.

Rotary's popularity spread, and within a

decade, clubs were chartered from San

Francisco to New York to Winnipeg,

Canada. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been

formed on six continents. The organization

adopted the Rotary International name a

year later.

As Rotary grew, its mission expanded

beyond serving club members’ professional

and social interests. Rotarians began pool-

ing their resources and contributing their

talents to help serve communities in need.

The organization's dedication to this ideal is

best expressed in its motto: Service Above

Self.

By July 1925, Rotary had grown to more

than 2,000 clubs and an estimated 108,000

members. The organization's distinguished

reputation attracted presidents, prime min-

isters, and a host of other luminaries to its

ranks — among them author Thomas

Mann, diplomat Carlos P. Romulo, humani-

tarian Albert Schweitzer, and composer

Jean Sibelius.

In 1932, Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor creat-

ed The Four-Way Test, a code of ethics

adopted by Rotary 11 years later. The test

has been translated into more than 100 lan-

guages.

During World War II, many clubs were

forced to disband, while others stepped up

their service efforts to provide emergency

relief to victims of the war. In 1942, look-

ing ahead to the postwar era, Rotarians

called for a conference to promote interna-

tional educational and cultural exchanges.

This event inspired the founding of

UNESCO.

In 1945, 49 Rotary club members served

in 29 delegations to the UN Charter

Conference. Rotary still actively partici-

pates in UN conferences by sending

observers to major meetings and covering

the United Nations in its publications.

"Few there are who do not recognize the

good work which is done by Rotary clubs

throughout the free world," former Prime

Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain

once declared.

As it approached the 21st century, Rotary

worked to meet society’s changing needs,

expanding its service efforts to address such

pressing issues as environmental degrada-

tion, illiteracy, world hunger, and children

at risk.

In 1989, the organization voted to admit

women into clubs worldwide. Today,

women are an integral part of Rotary's

membership.

After the collapse of the Berlin Wall and

the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rotary

clubs were formed or re-established

throughout Central and Eastern Europe.

The first Russian Rotary club was chartered

in 1990, and the organization underwent a

growth spurt for the next several years.

More than a century after Paul Harris and

his colleagues chartered the club that even-

tually led to Rotary International, Rotarians

continue to take pride in their history. In

honor of that first club, Rotarians have pre-

served its original meeting place, Room 711

in Chicago’s Unity Building, by re-creating

the office as it existed in 1905. For several

years, the Paul Harris 711 Club maintained

the room as a shrine for visiting Rotarians.

In 1989, when the building was scheduled

to be demolished, the club carefully dis-

mantled the office and salvaged the interior,

including doors and radiators. In 1993, the

RI Board of Directors set aside a permanent

home for the restored Room 711 on the

16th floor of RI World Headquarters in

nearby Evanston.

Today, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to

over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200

countries and geographical areas.

BUT WHAT DOES ROTARY DO?

Southeast Portland Rotary'smembers with other volunteerstraveled to the village of SantaClara in El Salvador to drill awell and bring fresh water to

the community for the first timein 2009.

The second largest member-ship of Rotary is in India.

India also is the third biggest contributor to Rotary

International. To top that, Rotarians there are coming

up with concrete suggestions on how to undertake mega community service projects, ready to lead the venerable organization which is losing appeal in western countries.

Nitish C. Laharry, who served as 1962-63 RI President and become the first Indian

Rotarian to rise to that venerable position, was a member of the Calcutta Rotary Club. Coincidentally, the Calcutta Club was the first Rotary chartered in India on 1 January 1920. Today, more than 3,000 clubs operate throughout the country, including the Rotary Club of Vapi, home to the 2011-12 RI Presi-dent Kalyan Banerjee.

R.J. Coombes is credited with starting In-dia’s first club. But a Canadian, James Wheeler Davidson is largely responsible for Rotary’s growth in the country. He was a member of the Rotary International committee that explored extending the organization into other countries, and traveled to India and charted two clubs in Calcutta, Lahore (now in Pakistan), Bombay and Delhi and Madras in the late 1920s.

Today, Rotary has grown to include more than 115,000 Indian Rotarians. In addition to Banerjee and Laharry, many Rotary lead-ers have called the country home, including 1991-92 RI President Rajendra K. Saboo and more than 10 RI directors.

Rotary’s world famous polio eradication campaign, initiated over 20 years ago, brought

added attention to India. The wild poliovirus (types 1 and 3) is endemic in only four coun-tries—one of them is India, the others being Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria.

“My country has benefited greatly from your support and I thank all of you,” said Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s minister of health and family welfare, speaking to Ro-tary leaders and staff at RI headquarters in Chicago on 23 September, 2011. He cred-ited Rotary with “not only the mobilization of funds, but the active participation of Ro-tarians in the field with our operations” for helping India near the goal of polio eradica-tion. With just one case of polio reported in the last 11 months (as against over 500 cases worldwide), India is more determined than ever to ensure eradication of the disease.

“Rotary has invested heavily in surveil-lance in India over the last 12 months,” said Bruce Aylward, the WHO assistant direc-tor-general for polio eradication and related

The IndIa facTor In roTary’s growTh

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201212

Legendary Indian actor is one of promi-nent people all over the world who have

featured in ‘ThisClose’ campaign to highlight the fact that a final push – and funding – is required to eradicate polio

from the world once for all.

Continues on page 13

Continued from page 12

areas, at a September meeting of Rotary’s Inter-national PolioPlus Committee. “That’s the rea-son we can say with confidence that we think we’re getting close to zero [cases] in India.”

Even while membership numbers fall in the western world, and Rotarians’ average age rises, India, and in fact, Asia, is reporting

healthy growth. In the last five years the membership in India has grown by 35%, (the second largest in the world after America, and crossing Japan). The con-tributions to the Rotary Foundation have also grown substantially making it the third largest contributor in the world.

In 2004, Harshad R. Mehta, of the Ro-tary Club of Bombay Metropolitan, and his wife, Naina, became charter members of the Arch C. Klumph Society. Named after the founder of The Rotary Foundation, the society honors Major Donors who contrib-ute $250,000 or more. (Incidentally, New York based Ravi Bhooplapur, Past District Governor, is also a member of the Arch C. Klumph Society.) In 2006, the Mehtas made a $1 million gift to the Foundation, the first donors from their country to sur-pass that milestone of support.

They have also committed to giving $2 mil-lion over the next three years to Rotary’s $100 Million Challenge for polio eradication.

Harshad Mehta is chair of the United Arab Emirates operations of Rosy Blue, a family-owned international jewelry business. He be-lieves strongly in giving back locally and in the global community. Of the push to end polio, he says, “We must further strengthen our re-solve, as we are so close to the ultimate goal.”

Fellow Indian Rajashree Birla has con-tributed $300,000 to endow an Ambassa-dorial Scholarship and support the Annual Programs Fund. During her April induction into the Klumph Society at RI headquarters in Chicago, she made a surprise announce-ment of an additional $1 million commit-ment to Rotary’s challenge.

Rajashree and her late husband, Aditya Birla’s son, Kumar Mangalam Birla heads the Aditya Birla Group, a Fortune 500 com-pany. He feels a strong kinship with Rotary and its commitment to community service. “Rotarians symbolize a culture of giving and caring which is strikingly close to our group’s philosophy,” Birla says.

At Birla’s encouragement in last May, Usha Mittal, wife of Lakshmi Mittal, the steel magnate, generously responded with a $1 million contribution to the Rotary challenge.

Having seen and steered a massive proj-ect like PolioPlus, Rotarians in India are raring to go and coming up with concrete suggestions on how to undertake mega community service projects, and getting ready to lead the venerable organization which is losing appeal elsewhere.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201213

Mother Teresa, who attended the RI convention in SauPaulo, Brazil, in 1981, said, “If we really want to

love, if we reallywant to live, we must love until it hurts… No Rotarian

whose motto is ‘Serviceabove self’ should call himself a Rotarian if he

does not make time to serve,if we love we begin to serve.”

Nitish Lahrry, 1962-63 RI

President, was a member of the Calcutta Rotary,

the first club chartered in

India.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, India’s minister of health and family welfare, visited RI Headquar-ters in Chicago to discuss India’s progress toward polio eradication with Rotary

leaders. He is seen here with International PolioPlus Committee Chair Robert Scott, RI President Kalyan Banerjee and Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair William Boyd.

14

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

PROMINENT INDIAN ROTARIANS

They spoke to SATimes from India asserting that Kalyan Banerjee’s ascension in Rotary willfurther boost the thriving movement in the country. They also speculated on the chances of

a fourth Rotary International President coming from India within the next decade.

Rajendra SabooPast PresidentRotary International

Rajendra Saboo, who became the

second RI President from India 20

years ago, cautions that you do not aspire

for a position in Rotary, nor is there can-

vassing allowed or competing. “You con-

tinue with your dedicated service, and

opportunities come.” His own selection

as president of RI 20 years ago came as a

surprise to him. He took it as an opportu-

nity to come in touch with many more

people, touching humanity in fact.

He recalls how he came up with the

theme for Rotary in 1991-92. “People

started asking me, how can my position at

Rotary help India. Reflecting that one has

to go beyond one’s community and coun-

try, I came up with the theme: ‘Look

Beyond Yourself’.”

Compared to his term as President, the

Chandigarh based businessman says

Rotary’s visibility is much more now,

mainly because of the polio eradication

program.

“A somewhat slide back is the profile of

people becoming members now of what

was considered an elite club once,” Saboo

says, but refrains from judging it as good

or bad. “It has now become an organiza-

tion of the middle class and spread to

small places,” he adds.

Reflecting on the situation in India,

Saboo says that there has to be a linkage

between economic growth and ethical

standards, something that Rotary pro-

vides.

Now 77, he is still chairman of the board

of Saboo Business Group that he built, but

which is now run by his two sons as he

devotes time to his service and philan-

thropic activities.

Sushil GuptaPast RI Director

Kalyan Banerjee’s

ascension in

Rotary will definitely

encourage growth in

India in numbers as

well as contributions to

the Rotary Foundation,

asserts Sushil Gupta.

“It also improves the

public image of Rotary

in India and today,

after almost successful Polio Eradication, the Government of India

considers Rotary an important partner in health and development

related issues,” he elaborates.

Gupta argues that because Rotary is well-entrenched in India,

“there is a tremendous potential to grow because of our sheer num-

bers.” He does acknowledge the challenges of quality membership,

but rationalizes that this is a process and in times to come, Rotarians

in India will play a key role in the development of the nation.

Gupta is veteran of the hospitality industry. He is CMD of Asian

Hotels (West) owning Hyatt Regency in Mumbai. He served as

Director on the Board of Rotary Intl in the year 2003-2005 and is

currently Chairman, Rotary Intl. New Generations Committee. “I

am very involved in water, environmental and health issues,” he

adds.

Shekhar MehtaRl Director

ARotarian since

1985, he is a

member of Rotary

Club of Calcutta

Mahanagar, and was

Governor of District

3291. Shekhar

Mehta has led some of the biggest projects

not only in his District but also in other

Districts in India. He started the Shelter

Kit program which in just one year served

six disasters in India—distributing more

than 4,000 shelter kits at a cost of Rs.2

crore in eastern and southern states. He has

been International Trainer at Anaheim,

USA for two consecutive years. He was

the Representative of District 3290 (Now

3291) to the Council on Legislation at

Chicago in 2004.

Shekhar Mehta is a Chartered

Accountant, Cost Accountant and

Company Secretary. He is a builder head-

ing the Skyline Group of Companies. His

wife Rashi is a past president of the Inner

Wheel Club.

Y.P. DasRI Director

Asecond generation

Rotarian, YP Das says he

joined Rotary in 1971 at age 26.

He is a member of the Rotary

Club of Ambala and has served

in Rotary for almost four

decades in various capacities at

club, district and international level. Currently he serves on the

board of RI Directors. Is he aspiring to be RI President? “I will

continue to work for the community without any aspirations

for any position or recognition,” he says.

Rotary in India, Das reports, is “well entrenched and grow-

ing rapidly. In the last five years membership has grown by

35%, becoming the second largest in the world. India is also

the third largest contributor to the Rotary Foundation. Thus,

sooner or later global dominance will shift from the West to

Asia.”

After long gaps in between presidency coming to India

thrice so far, Das believes that the fourth Rotary President

from India would come in ten years or less. “Which means

that Rotary in India is gaining greater significance and recog-

nition throughout the Rotary world,” he says.

Das has a family business of automobile dealership. He has

two children and four grandchildren from his marriage.

Interviews by Parveen Chopra

Ashok MahajanTrustee, Rotary Foundation

Today, we are on the verge of eradicating

polio from India and probably from the

world. At this juncture, it was essential that a

person of the stature of Rtn. Kalyan Banerjee

led the organization because he has

been a crusader in fighting against polio,”

opines Ashok Mahajan, Trustee of Rotary

Foundation (2009-13), who is also a Member

of the International Polio Plus Committee.

He is sanguine about another Indian

Rotarian becoming the President in future.

“There are over 116,000 Rotarians in India. If

a person has found a way to tap into the needs

and desires of these Rotarians, see the vision

for Rotary from their perspective and help

them to connect with the future of Rotary in a

way that is meaningful to them, then that per-

son can also lead the Rotary world in the near

future.” Talking about Rotary in India,

Mahajan says, “A big movement like this

thrives on big ideas.

Rotary in India is refining its message and

defining its goals more precisely. Rotarians

are coming up with concrete suggestions on

how to undertake mega community service

projects. Rotary’s future in India and else-

where will depend on how it holds the imagi-

nation of those who want to serve.”

As a Director of Rotary International during

2007-2009 and as a Trustee now, “I know I

am up there as the leader of a lot of partners. I

am there as their representative. If the part-

ners think that they would be glad if I was the

leader at a given moment of time I will strive

to leave a legacy of progress,” he says about

his own dedication to the movement. His job

as Trustee is to motivate the District leaders

and grassroots Rotarians in his area to raise

funds for the Rotary Foundation.

Mahajan is an electrical engineer who set

up a manufacturing unit for micro switches.

Two together: Rajendra Saboo withKalyan Banerjee, Past and current

RI Presidents

President of India bestowing 'PadmaShri' on Sushil Gupta for his contribution

to social causes and tourism trade in India.

YP Das with President Banerjee

Mahajan helping Governor ofMaharashtra K. Sankaranarayanan

administer polio drops to a child at RajBhavan. Looking on is philanthropistRajashree Birla, chairperson of Aditya

Birla Group.

Ravi Bhooplapur, the first Indian American to rise to become Dist Governor in New York, speaks about his passion for Rotary, whose greatest contribution he

professes is to make us better people and great citizens. He also touches on the path to Presidentship in

Rotary International.

Becoming Rotarian at the age of 19 in India and continuing to render voluntary ser-

vice enthusiastically under the aegis of Rotary even after moving to America 15 years ago, Ravi Bhooplapur was bound to reach lead-ership positions in what he calls the ‘United Nations of non-government organizations’. He became the first Indian American in New York to become Dist Governor (Dist 7250). And he has become perhaps the youngest to receive Rotary’s all three top honors--the ‘Meritorious Service Award’, ‘Service Above Self’ (2005) and ‘Distinguished Service Award (2007).

Ravi is only 49 and at the speed he is going, and with Indians flying the Rotary flag high in recent years, he stands a fighting chance to be-come the first Indian American president of Ro-tary International. When asked to comment on his prospects, current President Kalyan Baner-jee said, “Yes, he is qualified to become Presi-dent, but there are others equally qualified. So it will all depend on opportunities and luck.”

On the subject, all Ravi says himself is, “Every Rotarian is qualified to become President of Rotary, but it is a platform to serve. For one, you dip into your own pocket for Rotary work. No money is paid for your travels, etc.” But he is a man who likes to give, not take. He has donated a few million in different ways to Rotary so far.

He explains the path to presidentship thus, “The next level in Rotary after you become a District Governor for a one year term is RI Di-rector—Directors are selected once in four years and serve a two-year term. Then there is Rotary Foundation, and you can be called on to serve as its Trustee for a 4-year term. A Selection Commit-tee of senior Rotary leaders picks the President.”

He concluded his own term as District Governor in 2010 with glory. “I was one of the top 10 district governors from the entire world recognized at the Montreal Confer-ence--we had achieved maximum member-ship growth—by 280 percent-- in our Dis-trict. Not resting on his laurels, he carries on, sits on many committees and has served as Chair of Future Rotary training leader. On being asked by Kalyan Banerjee to represent him he will travel to South Africa next year.

Talking about Rotary’s growth in India, Ravi finds a lot of energy there, which in his words, gives “Rotarians there an opportunity to do good, also a responsibility to get cor-rect perspective on doing good.” He finds In-dia making good use of Rotary Foundation funds to work on many projects. “India has also groomed leadership very well. There are excellent Rotarians of both kinds – those who are well off and can give money and others who are volunteer workers.

He finds the greatest contribution of Ro-tary is to make us better people and great citizens. “I became a Rotarian at age 18 and owe my all to Rotary. It has taught me how to work harmoniously with different people, companies and philosophies.

You interact with people of different vo-cations. All this helps in your own success in business and life.”

Ravi also appreciates Rotary because it is a no-frills organization, free of redtape, and

unlike many other charities, there is no ad-ministration cost. “No wonder a person of Bill Gates’ wealth and knowledge has chosen to partner with Rotary in many projects.”

‘I owe my all to RotaRy’TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201215

A life of serviceRavi, Long Island-based President of the Xavier University School of Medi-cine (Aruba), has been active in the Rotary movement since 1980. In New York, he was the Centennial President of Rotary Club of Great Neck and a member of Gold Coast Lake Success. Initiating various community and phil-anthropic activities across the globe, he had received Rotary’s all three awards even before becoming District Governor. At his installation ceremony as Governor of Dist 7250, comprising Brooklyn, Queens and Nassau, in July 2009, Ravi said, “People have many ways to spend their time and money; I choose to spend both with Rotary. This is my passion, and I have always met wonderful people on this journey and have benefitted a lot.” Frank Devlyn, past RI President from Mexico, said, “Ravi is an outstand-ing Rotarian, that is why the district elected him.”A peripatetic, Ravi travels a lot in the course of his multifarious activities. He has attended 10 Rotary International Conventions by last count. As a speak-er, he has addressed members on the Rotary Foundation’s membership de-velopment and other motivational top-ics like ‘Philanthropy through Rotary’.Ravi sits on the board for numerous charities, hospitals and businesses. “I am a kind of disaster expert,” he quips. Be it tsunami in Asia, earthquakes in India or in Peru and Pakistan, or Hur-ricane Katrina in US, he instantly gets into action responding to the needs, raising funds and organizing material

assistance to alleviate the suffering of the victims. He is the founder and Chair-man of Gift of Life India that has been instrumental in saving 2,100 children by assisting them with lifesaving opera-tions and surgeries. He served for nine years as Treasurer at the Center for In-dia Studies at Stony Brook University. Ravi’s dream project was setting up a 90-bed natural therapies hospital in Ghataprabha, Karnataka in 2002.Ravi’s heart throbs for humanity every-where, not just in the country of his ori-gin. He has toiled to get funds and med-ical supplies and coordinate a medical mission to Angola, Ghana, Nicaragua, Panama. A burn unit in Nicaragua has provided plastic surgery to 200 children.The community Ravi lives in has needs too. He has worked on Anchor Project, for mentally challenged children on Long Beach. Overall, through Rotary matching grant program, under his lead-ership over 150 grants were completed worldwide in the past 25 years, and also accounted for many reverse grants for North Shore Forest Hill Hospital in Glen Cove, which aids a school for the physically challenged and buys medi-cines for the district Rotacare project.So inspiring has been his journey as a Rotarian that in 2005 Rotary Founda-tion (India) instituted a trophy in his name to be awarded to the best Rotary districts in India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Ravi and wife Jaya Bhooplapur are 4th In-dians to be inducted into Rotary Hall of Fame Arch Klump Society in 2004. They live in Syosset, NY, and have two chil-dren-- Manali, who is studying medicine in India, and son Amogh is in school.

Ravi is the founder and Chairman of Gift of Life India that has been instrumental in saving 2,100 children by assisting them with lifesaving operations and surgeries.

Ravi Bhooplapur and his wife Jayasheela haveknown the Banerjees for many years.

A cancer detection mobile clinic

By Parveen Chopra

878_New York South Asia 10x2 inc.indd 1 10/15/10 11:19:34 AM

Congratulations toThe South Asian Times

Person of the Year

PresidentRotary International

Happy New YearWith best Compliments

fromAll the members of

Rotary Club

Jericho Sunrise

Rotary Club

Hicksville South

Kalyan Banerjee

President Kalyan Banerjee at installation of Rotary Club Hicksville South and Jericho Sunrise. Garden City Hotel, Dec 1, 2009

17

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Trinidad and Tobago PM chief guest at PBD 2012The great Indian diaspora is all set to join the Pink City of Jaipur from January 7-9 that is

ready to host over 1,500 delegates from 65 countries for the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas2012. The theme of PBD 2012 is 'Global Indian-Inclusive Growth.'

New Delhi: Kamla Persad-

Bissessar, the Indian-origin

prime minister of Trinidad and

Tobago in the Caribbean, is in

India on a state visit, where she

will meet President Pratibha

Patil and Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh and also be

the chief guest at the Pravasi

Bharatiya Divas (PBD) pro-

gramme.

One of the highlights of the

trip would be Persad-

Bissessar's presence as chief

guest at the annual PBD event

in Jaipur.

Persad-Bissessar is the first

woman head of government

from the diaspora and the first

dignitary from Trinidad and

Tobago to be bestowed with

this honour.

Persad-Bissessar's forefathers

came to this twin-island

Caribbean nation between 1845

and 1917. They were among

the 147,000 Indians who came

from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar

to work on sugar plantations.

The PBD is an annual event

sponsored by the ministry of

overseas Indian affairs of the

Indian government and the

Confederation of Indian

Industry (CII). This time it is

also being sponsored by the

state government of Rajasthan.

The event aims to promote,

nurture and sustain a mutually

beneficial and symbolic rela-

tionship between India and its

diaspora.

The PBD is a prolific gather-

ing for overseas Indians of

global repute who are highly

successful in their respective

fields of business, trade, medi-

cine, science and technology.

Message from Vayalar Ravi,Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs

Message from Ashok Gehlot,Chief Minister, Rajasthan

It gives me immense pleasure

in extending you a very warm

personal invitation to visit

Jaipur on the occasion of

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas-2012.

The Pravasi Bhartiya Divas is

celebrated every year to mark

the contribution of Overseas

Indian Community in the devel-

opment of India. It is a pride

privilege for Jaipur, the Pink

City of India, to host this con-

vention in January, 2012.

The great Indian Diaspora

embodies the indomitable

Indian spirit of Karma, enterprise, harmony and love for the

land of their roots. Your enthusiastic participation in the

Pravasi Bhartiya Divas over the years and your eagerness to

connect with your motherland bespeaks of the emotional

bonds you so fondly share with the land of your origin.

The Pink City awaits to enchant you with its glorious her-

itage, colorful art and handicraft, traditional folk dances and

melodious folk music.

We eagerly look forward to welcome the illustrious sons and

daughters of our great nation.

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas ( PBD) has emerged as the

flagship event of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs.

The PBD provides a platform that facilitates the overseas

Indian community with their skills, expertise and financial

resources to partner with us and place India on a higher

growth trajectory .

The 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas Convention is being held

in Jaipur, from 7 to 9 January, 2012 with the over-arching

theme “Global Indian – Inclusive Growth”. The focus is to fur-

ther build a borderless platform and enable the global Indian

to provide impetus to the India growth story.

We are holding two pre-conference seminars on Social Entrepreneurship – Water; and Solar

Energy: Investment in R & D. Areas of focus, they create new opportunities for business to con-

tribute with sustainable solutions through know-how, new technologies and innovative products.

Investment opportunities in Rajasthan, the Partner State at PBD 2012, will be showcased.

Avenues to facilitate business will be explored and discussed. Apart from this, the other Indian

States will be present to promote themselves as business destinations and participate in an

Exhibition.

The PBD platform provides an opportunity to interact with Union Ministers of the Government of

India, Chief Ministers of States and Prominent Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) from other countries.

The prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards are conferred and a pot-pourri of cultural per-

formances complete the three-day mega event.

I urge you to participate and build bridges of communication and common interests. I especially

call on our young global Indians to participate with enthusiasm.

It gives me great pleasure to invite you to PBD 2012 and I look forward to meeting you there.

Persad-Bissessar's forefathers came to this twin-island Caribbeannation between 1845 and 1917.

Over 1,500 delegates to attend diaspora conclaveNew Delhi: Over 1,500 delegates from

across the globe are likely to participate

in India's annual diaspora conclave to be

held in Jaipur from January 7-9, 2012,

Vayalar Ravi, minister of overseas

Indian affairs and civil aviation, said.

"We are expecting more number of

participants in the PBD 2012. Over

1,500 delegates are likely to participate,"

Ravi said at a press conference here.

Ravi said the event would provide an

excellent opportunity to connect with

27-million strong Indian diaspora spread

over 150 countries across the world.

The Indian diaspora is the second

largest expatriate community in the

world after the Chinese. "The expatriate

community plays an important role in

the growth and development of the

country. Our aim is to encourage them to

play an even greater role," the minister

said.

The PBD 2012 will be organized by

the ministry of overseas Indian affairs in

partnership with government of

Rajasthan. The Confederation of Indian

Industry is the institutional partner of the

event.

"The event will help the people from

northern part of the country, especially

Rajasthan, to reconnect with diaspora

and go abroad and find jobs," Ravi said.

18

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

A confluence of the global Indian familyThe first Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was held from Jan 9-11 in 2003. The choice of the dateis significant as it was on this day that Mahatma Gandhi, himself a Pravasi Bharatiya in

South Africa for almost two decades, finally returned to India in 1915 to lead India's freedom struggle. A journey so far:

Artists performing at the inauguration of the Pravasi BhartiyaDiwas, in Hyderabad on January 7, 2006.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presenting the first OCI card toNRI Ms. N. Rai at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in Hyderabad on

January 7, 2006.

Then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurating the first PBD in 2003.

Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

(PBD) is an annual affair

that is organized by the

Government of India to recog-

nize the contributions of NRI's

and PIO's who have excelled in

their chosen fields.

While receiving the Report of

the HLC at a public function at

Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on

8th January 2002, Prime

Minister accepted the recom-

mendation and announced that

"Pravasi Bharatiya Divas"(PBD)

will be celebrated in India and

abroad on the ninth day of

January every year.

The choice of the date is sig-

nificant as it was on this day that

Mahatma Gandhi, himself a

Pravasi Bharatiya in South

Africa for almost two decades,

finally returned to India in 1915

to lead India's freedom struggle.

The event offers a platform

where all discusses issues con-

cerning the Indian Diaspora.

New Delhi Hotels takes you

through the History of Pravasi

Bharatiya Divas, India and

offers online information.

The Ministry of Overseas

Indian Affairs and FICCI spon-

sored the first Pravasi Bharatiya

Divas. The main highlight of the

first event was to create 'con-

sciousness of Global Indian

Family'.

The FIRST PBD was organ-

ized in New Delhi from January

9-11, 2003 in recognition and

appreciation of the constructive

economic, political and philan-

thropic role played by the Indian

Diaspora as well as the goodwill

demonstrated by it towards

India.

Overseas Indians are today

estimated to be over 20 million

spread across the world. This

biggest ever event should

emerge as the most prestigious

gathering of the Indian Diaspora.

The first PBD celebration

included an international con-

vention for three days, organized

in partnership with FICCI where

cream of the Indian community

from all over the globe were

present. Seven to eight breakout

sessions were held on a wide

number of topics like Economic

Development, International

Trade, Industrial Development

and Investment promotion, IT,

Biotechnology, Education,

Culture, Science & Technology,

Health and Tourism etc.

Bharat Ratna Pandit Ravi

Shanker and Bharat Ratna Ustad

Bismillah Khan did the initial

invocation in the first event.

Ujjal Dosanjh, Sir Shridath

Surendranath Ramphal, Dr. Hari

N. Harilela, Manilal, Premchand

Chandaria, Dato Seri S.

Samyvellu, R. T. Hon’ble Sir

Anerood Jugnauth, Shri Kanaksi

Gokaldas Khimji, Prof. Fatima

Meer, Lord Navnit Dholakia,

and Rajat Gupta were conferred

with the Pravasi Bharatiya

Samman award.

The second Pravasi

Bharatiya Divas aimed at hav-

ing close interaction of the

Indian Diaspora with the Central

and State government to define

new policy initiatives for the

Diaspora and exploring business

opportunities in India within the

Diaspora.

PBD 2004 was designed to

take forward the collective task

initiated at PBD 2003 of bring-

ing together the Indian Diaspora

and leveraging the potential

offered by the Global Indian

Family.

Hon'ble Prime Minister, Shri

Atal Bihari Vajpayee inaugurat-

ed the three-day event at the

Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium. A

rapt audience listened to a jugal-

bandi by renowned violinist

Dr.L Subramaniam and sarangi

player Ustad Sultan Khan fol-

lowed by an invocation of

togetherness from the

Upanishads rendered by Kavita

Krishnamurthy. H.E. Mr. Bharrat

Jagdeo, Hon'ble President of the

Republic of Guyana, was the

Chief Guest for PBD 2004

addressed the delegates.

This was followed by the

Pravasi Bharatiya Samman

Awards 2004 which were pre-

sented to 12 eminent persons of

Indian origin: the late Kalpana

Chawla (USA), Justice Ahmed

Moosa Ebrahim (Zimbabwe),

Mariam Chisti (Kuwait), Sukhi

Turner (New Zealand), Bharrat

Jagdeo (Trinidad & Tobago),

Fitz Remedios Santana De

Souza (Kenya), Narinder Singh

Kapany (USA), Dipak C. Jain

(USA), Mahendra P. Chaudhary

(Fiji), Lord Meghnad Desai

(UK), P Mohamed Ali (Oman)

and Shashi Tharoor (USA).

The third Pravasi Bharatiya

Divas was held in Mumbai and

attended by large number of

Indian political and business

leaders, professionals, scientists

and innovators from Indian

Diaspora. The third Pravasi

Bharatiya Divas provided a

unique networking opportunity

and also strengthened India's

relation with the Indian

Diaspora.

Prime Minister Manmohan

Singh inaugurated the third dias-

pora conclave on January 7. In

his inaugural address, he

announced that the government

had decided to give dual citizen-

ship to all overseas Indians who

had migrated from the country

after January 26, 1950. He said

the government would simplify

the procedure for registration of

People of Indian Origin for

granting them dual citizenship.

Despite tsunami disaster, the

third Pravasi Bharatiya Divas

elicited an enthusiastic response

from the participants. Over

1,500 overseas Indians from 60

countries turned out for the

event. The three-day event saw

the functionaries of the Central

Government, leaders of Indian

corporate and other fields inter-

act with the delegates on various

sectors of the economy like edu-

cation, health, tourism, science

and technology.

Addressing the delegates, then

Union Finance Minister P

Chidambaram urged the NRIs to

invest in sectors like agriculture,

irrigation, watershed programs,

rural health facilities, village

school, mid-day meal schemes,

computer education, textbooks,

rural roads and electrification

initiatives. He said the govern-

ment believed that the NRIs

were no more `non-resident

Indians` but they were `non-resi-

dent investors` for India.

President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya

Samman to 11 overseas Indians.

He asked the NRI/PIO delegates

to set up an Overseas Indian

Foundation with a seed capital

of $100 million to work towards

predicting earthquakes in the

region.

A group photographs of the NRI delegates with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the inauguralceremony of the 6th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2008.

19

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

The Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) convention is the flagship event of the Ministry ofOverseas Indian Affairs organized every year since 2003 with a view to connect India toits vast Diaspora and bring their knowledge, expertise and skills on a common platform.

The 9th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya

Divas convention was held in New Delhi

from 7th to 9th January, 2011. The

Convention was organized in partnership with the

Ministry of Development of North Eastern

Region. The Confederation of Indian Industry

(CII) was the institutional partner. It was inaugu-

rated by the Prime Minister on 8th January, 2011

and the valedictory address was delivered by the

President on 9th January, 2011. The President also

conferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award

on 15 distinguished PIOs/NRIs. Sir Anand

Satyanand, Governor General of New Zealand

was the Chief Guest.

The three day Convention saw a record partici-

pation of over 1,700 delegates. These included 14

Members of the Prime Minister ’s Global

Advisory Council and 3 PIO Ministers, besides

Union Ministers, Chief Ministers and other Indian

and PIO dignitaries.

The flagship event of the Ministry was widely

acclaimed as a grand success for its organizational

as well as substantive aspect, as also for the

choice of speakers and the topicality of the themes

chosen for deliberation at its various sessions. The

two preconference seminars of education and

healthcare drew enthusiastic participation of all

stakeholders and came in for appreciation from

several quarters.There was a separate and special

session on ‘Diapsora role models from the North

East-success stories’ since the focus of PBD 2011

were the North-Eastern States.

The Convention had four plenary sessions:

Engaging Young Overseas Indians; Opportunity

India: Interaction with Union Ministers;

Investment Opportunities in North-Eastern

Region; and Interaction with Chief Ministers on

Inclusive Growth; four specific sessions on

Information, Communication and Entertainment-

Branding the Global Indian, Strengthening

Cultural Bonds with the Global Indian, Gulf

Session and Philanthropy-Diaspora initiative, sep-

arate State sessions and the PBD Oration, Prof.

C.K. Prahalad Memorial Lecture on “Inclusive

Growth for the Bottom of the Pyramid” by Dr.

Gautam Ahuja from Michigan University, USA.

Connecting diaspora with Indian mainstream

2010: Road ahead for India-diaspora interaction

The 8th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya

Divas convention was held in New Delhi

from 7th to 9th January, 2010. The

Convention was organized in partnership with

the Government of NCT of Delhi.

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

was the institutional partner. It was inaugurated

by the Prime Minister on 08.01.2010 and the

valedictory address was delivered by the

President on 09.01.2010. The President also con-

ferred the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award on

14 distinguished PIOs/NRIs. Lord Khalid

Hameed CBE DL Hampstead was the Chief

Guest.

The two-day convention saw a record partici-

pation of over 1500 delegates. These included 16

Members of the Prime Minister ’s Global

Advisory Council and 8 PIO Ministers, besides

12 Union Ministers and 5 Chief Ministers and

other Indian and PIO dignitaries.

The Convention had three Plenary Sessions -

Diaspora: Role and Expectations, Diaspora:

Interests and Concerns & Skills Development;

six concurrent sessions - Returning to 9%

Growth: Diaspora Connect , Leveraging

Knowledge Networks: Global-Ink, Thousands of

Fireflies: Diaspora Philanthropy, Diaspora

Women in Cross-Cultural Environments, Indians

and the Gulf and Future of PBDs and the Road

Ahead as well as separate State Sessions.

2008: NRIs bat for women, urge gender equalityT

he 6th edition of the Pravasi Bharatiya

Divas hosted over 1,500 NRIs in New

Delhi. It had five plenary and a similar

number of working sessions.

The Indian government promised to roll out sev-

eral schemes for the diaspora. The government

also took into consideration several considera-

tions made at the various plenary sessions and

promised to implement each of them. High up on

the agenda of the government at present was to

link the rural Indian woman with the NRIs.

This initiative was taken following a suggestion

at one of the sessions.

The Indian government will now set up a non-

profitable foundation, which will act as an entry

for funds by the NRIs.

Vayalar Ravi, minister for overseas Indian

affairs, said this is the most ambitious pro-

grammes of his ministry. Once the foundation is

instituted, the funds will roll in and will be uti-

lized for the betterment of the rural Indian

woman.

The Diaspora also suggested to the Indian gov-

ernment to ensure that there is gender equality in

the country.

The NRIs felt that there was a need for more

legal protection for women in the country and

India should sign the Hague convention. Ravi said

that talks are being held and there is a need to

amend the law to increase protection for women

in India.

Regarding business and trade, the suggestion

was to open more doors to invest in India. Several

members felt that India was a land of opportunity

in terms of investment and the government should

give them more opportunities in the future.

2011: With NZ Governor General as Chief Guest

20

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Pravasi Sammans : honoring diaspora's contributions

President Patil with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman awardees for 2009, at the 7th PravasiBharatiya Divas in Chennai.

The Indian President with the awardees of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, at the 9th PravasiBharatiya Divas-2011.

President Patil with the awardees of Pravasi Bharatiya Samman–2010.

Then President Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam giving away the Pravasi Bhartiya SammanAward for Rural Development to Mrs Pratima Kale from Philippines, in Hyderabad on

January 9, 2006.

The Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil with the Pravasi Bharatiya SammanAward winners at the valedictory session of the 6th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas-2008.

2003 Rajat Gupta (NY)

2004 Prof. Dipak C. Jain (IL)

Dr. Kalpana Chawla (TX)

Dr. Narinder Singh Kapany

Shashi Tharoor (NY)

2005 Prof Sunil Khilnani (PA)

Dr. Sam Pitroda (IL)

Prof. Jagdish Bhagwati (NY)

Manoj Night Shyamalan (PA)

Vijay Singh (FL)

2006 Dr. Sudhir Parikh (NJ)

Niranjan S. Shah (IL)

Fareed Zakaria (NY)

2007 Gopal Raju (NY)

Nirmal K. Sinha (OH)

Dr. P. Jayaraman (NY)

Dr. M. Anirudhan (IL)

2008 Dr. Thomas Abraham (CT)

Dr. Joy Cherian (DC)

2009 Prof. C.K. Prahalad (MI)

Prof. Sumit Ganguly (MI)

2010 Dr. Mani Lal Bhaumik (CA)

Ashok Kumar Mago (TX)

Upendra J. Chivukula (NJ)

2011 Ashook Kumar Ramsaran (NY)

Rajiv Shah (DC)

PBD Awardees from USA

The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) isthe highest honor conferred on overseas

Indians. PBSA is conferred by the President of Indiaas a part of the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD)Conventions organized annually since 2003 on aNon-Resident Indian, Person of Indian Origin or anorganization or institution established and run bythe Non-Resident Indians or Persons of IndianOrigin, who has made significant contribution inany one of the following fields:

(a) Better understanding abroad of India;

(b) Support to India’s causes and concerns in a tangible way;

(c) Building closer links between India, the overseas Indian

community and their country of residence;

(d) Social and humanitarian causes in India or abroad;

(e) Welfare of the local Indian community;

(f) Philanthropic and charitable work;

(g) Eminence in one’s field or outstanding work, which has

enhanced India’s prestige in the country of residence; or

(h) Eminence in skills which has enhanced India’s prestige in

that country (for non-professional workers).

22

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Jaipur: dreaming of a world class cityThe Rajasthan government wants to develop modern Jaipur, which is outside thewalled city, with skyscrapers, freeways, flyovers, metro rail network, multistoried apartments, international and domestic airports, sewerage and drainage system

and adequate source of its own drinking water.

By Prakash Bhandari/

SATimes

“Jaipur is an ancient city where

town planning has been a tradi-

tion. The Pink City is one of the

most planned cities of the world.

But the new buzz in Rajasthan is

to make it a world class city. It’s

the dream of Rahul Gandhi and

the Congress government under

Ashok Gehlot has started work-

ing towards that.

For starters, the city will see

the metro running by the year

2013. The first stage would cover

9 km. “We are determined to

raise Jaipur as a world class city

where there would be space for

everyone. The city’s historical

part would be preserved and con-

served and its pink feature would

remain intact.

But we want to develop mod-

ern Jaipur, which is outside the

walled city, as a city with sky-

scrapers, freeways, flyovers,

metro rail network, multistoried

apartments, international and

domestic airports, efficient road

system, sewerage and drainage

system and adequate source of its

own drinking water,” said

Rajasthan’s urban development

minister Shanti Kumar Dhariwal.

He said the building laws will be

changed to pave way for high

rise buildings as currently build-

ings are not permitted over the

height of 32 meters.

“We have a vision for vertical

growth as the population is rising

and Jaipur is becoming a big

business hub. The population

would touch 80 lakhs by the

year 2031 and unless we start

planning right now we would

have to face chaotic situation

with the growth of population,”

explained Dhariwal.

However, former city mayor

and currently a legislator Ashok

Parnami argues that rather than

making Jaipur a world class city

efforts should be made to make it

an ideal city first.

“Before conceptualizing Jaipur

as a world class city and making

it comparable with New York,

Tokyo and London, we shall

have to understand the potential

of Jaipur as an international mar-

ket. The cities of London, New

York and Tokyo developed as

they had all the attributes of a

major international business cen-

tre. The development of the city

and coming up of skyscrapers

was led by the inbuilt demand

and once the infrastructure was

created people started calling

them world class and other cities

started comparing themselves

with these three,” said Parnami.

Parnami added that first the

decision makers should try and

develop it as a city that has rea-

sonable infrastructure or a frac-

tion of the facilities that the big

global cities possess. It should

have all the basic infrastructure

that is affordable and should

have the potential to improve.

The town planners should insist

on well classified townships and

other related infrastructure that

the citizens could afford. In

recent times we have seen a num-

ber of haphazardly built malls

and markets. What was created

was much more than the demand.

As a result, there were no takers

and the rental market collapsed.

The dream should be to make

Jaipur as an ideal city and not a

world class city.

Rajasthan’s Urban Development Minister

Shanti Kumar Dhariwal.Transport Nagar flyover in Jaipur

Newly installed Musical Fountain in Jawahar Circle Garden in Jaipur

By Prakash Bhandari

The dream to hold the Pravasi

Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) conclave in

Rajasthan’s first convention center

remained a dream and the convention

would now be held at the Brij Mohan Birla

auditorium, which has a capacity of barely

1,200 while the guest list is of over 1,500

persons.

The state government had decided to

build the proposed international convention

centre at Pratap Nagar on Jaipur-Kota

national highway near the Jaipur airport.

This was to become a landmark complex

and the proposed complex was to come up

on 16 hectares of land under Public Private

Partnership model. But after accepting the

global bid where just one party responded,

the Rajasthan government decided to shelve

the project because of lack of interest

shown by bidders.

This centre would not only have served

as a conference venue, but also as a com-

plex that had provisions for hotels, exhibi-

tion space and a 5,000 capacity divisible

auditorium. First the government invited

the expression of interest and the Rajasthan

Housing Board was made the nodal agency

for the project. In fact, the government

itself woke up late and the idea was first

floated in the middle of 2010.

The company that would have been given

the task of building the center was expected

to pay the Rajasthan Housing Board a min-

imum of Rs 5 crore each year with an

increase of 15 percent every year. The lease

would be for 40 years.

But the lack of interest and the stringent

conditions laid down by the government

saw lukewarm response to the project as the

entrepreneurs did not see it as a feasible

project. The government eventually

dropped the plan.

Convention centre for PBDremained on paper

Just 10 days before the Pravasi Bharatiya

Divas Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot with

some of his Cabinet colleagues and officials

took a bus and inspected various parts of the city

especially those that would come before the

eyes of the guests and the delegates. He looked

unconvinced by the cosmetic changes being

given by various agencies for the mega event.

Gehlot found fault with the color combination

and the concrete structures. The drive from

Sanganer Airport and hotels to the PBD venue

would not be bump-free despite some repair

work. Filth and garbage remains a problem.

Dera Sachha Sauda’s 20,000 volunteers came

two months ago and cleaned up the city. They

collected the garbage but the Jaipur Municipal

Corporation could not even clear that collected

garbage.The officials were surprised when the

CM pointed out poor preparations. “The PBD

should not be seen as an investment forum.

With communication explosion the corporates

know what is the best destination. The

Vasundhara Raje’s BJP government hosted an

investment summit and a picture was painted

that the state would get billions in investment.

Nothing happened. Thus we are taking PBD

only as an emotion connect. Let the delegates

feel that they should do something for the coun-

try of their origin,” Gehlot told the media.

Rajasthan is a big producer of oil and gas, but

as the production points of energy have been

already allotted and with Vedanta led by Anil

Agarwal taking up the stewardship of Cairn

India, there is nothing much to sell on oil and

gas front.

The solar energy, however, has been given

due importance in the economic agenda pre-

pared by the hosts. India is among top five desti-

nations worldwide for solar energy. An evolving

industry, this sector has gained considerable

momentum over the last two years given the

focus on developing clean energy sources.

Though India possesses a large solar energy

resource compared to other renewable

resources, its installed capacity share is just 0.23

per cent. Rajasthan, with its geographical loca-

tion, has been identified by experts as one of the

world’s major solar hubs.

CM not happy with mere cosmeticchanges for PBD

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot explaining to Union UrbanDevelopment Minister Kamla Nath the Jaipur Metro Rail project with

the helpof a model.

23

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

‘Quality delivery is my government’s endeavor’

While gearing up to host Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2012 in Jaipur, Rajasthan is also eagerto showcase a state firmly on the path to progress. An exclusive interview with the state

Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot, who has just completed three successful years in office.

By Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan as a state believes

that forward movement is

possible on the basis of

quality paradigms and it would like

to have its own benchmark across

various fields in ensuring the deliv-

ery of services to the people of the

state like Haryana has done.

The state government is endeav-

oring for the not only effective

delivery of services to the masses

but qualitative also. Chief Minister

Ashok Gehlot is particularly keen

on proper delivery of services in

rural areas. He believes in Mahatma

Gandhi’s adage that the soul of the

country lives in the villages. The

Congress government under him is

committed to improve the life of

those Below Poverty Line (BPL)

and it has launched several schemes

related to health, education and

employment to serve the poorest of

the poor.

An exclusive interview the ChiefMinister gave to SATimes inJaipur in the last week of 2011:

The SATimes: You have

launched an affordable housing

scheme for the economically poor,

middle income group and low

income group in six towns. How is

the scheme progressing?

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot:

Our urban development department

has launched a new public-private

partnership (PPP) housing scheme

for affordable homes with the Avas

Vikas Ltd as the nodal agency. This

scheme aims to benefit the urban

poor.

TSAT: What is your own philos-

ophy on quality?

CM: Quality is the ability to

reach out for the best in anything

that we do; to aspire for a high

degree of cleanliness, for good

health, good education and a happy

and contented family life. On a

larger plane, in terms of

Government, quality would mean

providing services to the people

efficiently and promptly. For exam-

ple, if a person falls ill and gets to

the hospital and is treated immedi-

ately and recovers in good time,

that would mean good delivery of

service. There is variety of other

services that citizens require on a

day to day basis and my philosophy

is that we should be able to provide

these services efficiently, honestly

and in a time bound manner.

TSAT: Do you think the

Government has the capacity to

provide quality services?

CM: The Government is nothing

but a collection of people given the

responsibility, on behalf of the

state, of delivering services through

various departments. If you look at

the Rajasthan’s history you will

find that invariably services have

improved year after year. So, peo-

ple responsible for providing these

services are committed and aware

of their unique responsibility. But

sometimes the numbers are big and

facilities inadequate, then it gets

diluted. This problem is not unique

to Rajasthan but faced by govern-

ments the world over. How to man-

age between the resources available

and the services that people

demand? Here quality plays a vital

role in our ability to judiciously

identify sectors that can provide the

highest common good: like in edu-

cation, health, rural development,

infrastructure, farming, etc.

TSAT: Bihar and Delhi have

adopted laws to provide time bound

services to people.

CM: You do not require an Act or

a law to ensure speedy and time

bound delivery of services.

However, we have reiterated that

delivery of services to the people

has to be streamlined. Where these

are not available, we try to find the

reasons and improve the delivery

mechanism.

TSAT: Women’s welfare and

empowerment top the agenda of

your government.

CM: In Rajasthan women were

kept under veil and were deprived

of education for generations. It has

been our endeavor to improve the

lot of the women. It’s true that the

women are getting a lot of atten-

tion. Atrocities on women, cases

related to dowry, old age and prob-

lems of the war widows have been

grave. We have set up women con-

trolled police stations in five dis-

tricts and have launched special

housing schemes for war widows.

Women who own properties would

pay less in stamp duty on sale or

purchase of land. We have reserved

50% seats for women in local bod-

ies and panchayats.

TSAT: Has reservation for

women in panchayati raj institu-

tions (PRIs) led to empowerment of

rural women in Rajasthan?

CM: The reservation for women

extends to local bodies. Women are

empowered by urging them to

actively participate in development.

Reservation would make contesting

an election hassle free. I foresee a

qualitative improvement in services

with women coming in governance.

TSAT: How has the scheme

“Beti ek anmol rattan” helped save

the girl child?

CM: The declining sex ratio had

become a constant concern with the

social consequences thereof. A host

of interventions addressing the

female population are making a

palpable dent in restoring the gen-

der balance. Neglect of the girl

child in terms of nutrition, educa-

tion, health care and her overall

development is just one facet; a

more cruel practice is female infan-

ticide and female feticide. Our

endeavor has been to get the girl

child the same importance as a

male child. Several welfare meas-

ures like offering the girl child

incentives in education etc would

give good results.

TSAT: How is Support to

Training and Employment

Programme for Women (STEP)

working out?

CM: STEP is a program of

training for skill upgrades to poor

and asset less women in traditional

sectors like agriculture, animal hus-

bandry, dairying, handlooms,

handicrafts, khadi and village

industries. Financial assistance is

provided to women. Women dairy

projects are being encouraged in the

state as are Women Dairy

Cooperative Societies and we are

very satisfied by the results.

Women are happy with these bene-

fits which are reflected in higher

intake of quality food, improved

health conditions, better clothing,

enhanced savings and finally lead-

ing to increased status.

TSAT: Your Government has

started an award distribution

scheme for farmers to encourage

new and innovative practices in

agriculture. How has it benefited

the farmers?

CM: Yes, the awards will be

given at panchayat samiti, district

and state levels in March every

year. Two farmers would be select-

ed at each of these levels for prizes

worth Rs10,000 at panchayat sami-

tis, Rs 25,000 in districts and Rs

50,000 at the State level. The win-

ners will be selected on the basis of

initiatives resulting in high crop

yield and good quality of farm pro-

duce. We also propose to establish

an Arid Region Mission to promote

farming in areas facing drought and

water scarcity.

TSAT: What is the role of e-

Mitra in development?

CM: In this information age

access to the state government doc-

uments has been made easier and

affordable through e-Mitra. It is an

integrated project to facilitate the

urban and the rural masses with

maximum possible services related

to different state government

departments through Lokmitra-

Janmitra Centers. The Lokmitra is a

single stop, citizen friendly comput-

erized service delivery center so

that the citizens do not have to run

around various departments.

Lokmitra is basically an urban cen-

tric project with more thrust on util-

ity payments. The e-Mitra has

helped in better and qualitative

delivery.

TSAT: How has the Swasthya

Mitra succeeded in extending

healthcare services to far flung

areas?

CM: It’s again the use of technol-

ogy for better and qualitative deliv-

ery. Swasthya Mitra

(Telemedicine) is a network con-

necting 31 district hospitals and six

medical colleges and is under

implementation with ISRO’s sup-

port. This would pave the way for

specialized treatment from special-

ists at various district headquarters

and would be a pioneer effort in

healthcare sector.

Read CM Profile on page 24.

Chief Minister Ashok M Gehlot accompanies UPA ChairpersonSonia Gandhi giving a check of Rs 25,000 to a beneficiary in

Banswada dist under the Grameen BPL Awaas housing scheme.

Gehlot distributing school supplies to a girl in Badwali (Jaipur).

Jaipur Metro will be as good as in Delhi.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot

24

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Ashok Gehlot: A humanitarianguided by Gandhian ideals

When taking office in his first term as Rajasthan Chief Minister in 1998, Ashok Gehlotvowed that he would strive to wipe out the tears from the eyes of the

poorest of the poor. His commitment continues in his second term.

By Prakash Bhandari/SATimes

When taking office in his first term

as Rajasthan Chief Minister in

1998, Ashok Gehlot vowed that

he would endeavor to wipe out the tears

from the eyes of the poorest of the poor.

This pledge was reiterated in his second

innings also.

Right from his student days, Gehlot was

inspired the Gandhian philosophy. He was a

regular visitor to Jodhpur’s Gandhi Shanti

Pratishthan where he came in contact with a

true Gandhian, late Nemi Chand Bhavuk

who baptized him with the ideals and spirit

of Gandhism.

Gehlot worked in the refugee camps at

Bangaon and 24 Parganas districts of West

Bengal during the liberation war of

Bangladesh in 1971. He served the homeless

refugees and later rendered his services for

the development of slums and took part in

camps organized by Tarun Shanti Sena at

Sevagram, Wardha, Aurangabad, Indore etc.

His concern for the poor and the down-

trodden got reflected when as Chief Minister

he made the welfare of the poor, under-priv-

ileged and the disabled a major agenda of

his government.

Gehlot’s humanitarian face saw him

effecting several measures to benefit the dis-

abled and relaxation in the employment

rules in the state government. During the

“Prashashan Gaon Ki Ore” campaign, he

visited rural areas to resolve the grievances

of the poor and ordered the collection of

data on the disabled in the state, their num-

ber turned out to be 16 lakh. Following

which instructions went out to the state

coordination committee on disabled to

review the welfare schemes for the disabled

every six months.

In the state budget for the year 2010-11,

Gehlot, who also holds the finance portfolio,

made provision for disabled students to get

reimbursement of tuition fees above 11th

standard including for higher and technical

education. Recently, the Chief Minister

made an extraordinary humanitarian gesture

when after hearing about the plight of a des-

titute Muslim family of Sarmathura in

Dholpur district highlighted by a news chan-

nel, he ordered a rehabilitation package for

the family. Munna Khan’s two children,

aged 3 and 5, were blind by birth, while his

three other children had only because of

congenital problems.

Through the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund,

Rs 2.50 lakh has been granted for the family

and the Dholpur district collector asked to

help the family under welfare schemes.

The Below Poverty Line (BPL) individu-

als and families are the chief minister’s tar-

get group. Gehlot feels that they deserve

special treatment as they have been living in

poverty for centuries and under Independent

India all the efforts should be made for their

social, economic and educational uplift.

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi launched

the Mukhya Mantri BPL Awas Yojna in June

2011 from the tribal district of Banswara.

This ambitious rural housing scheme in the

next three years along with the Indira Awas

Yojna will benefit 10 lakh BPL families. The

state government would take a loan of Rs

3,400 crore to implement this unique

scheme.

Under the Mukhya Mantri Anna Suraksha

Yojna for the poor 36 lakh poor families

would get 25 kilos of wheat per month at the

rate of Rs 2 per kilo. The state government

would provide Rs 300 crore subsidy under

this scheme. Also the annual income ceiling

for families to be classified as living below

the poverty line has been raised to Rs.

40,000 from Rs 24,000.

Even the once rich and famous are not

immune from falling on hard times and

needing help. Hearing about the poor health

of Bollywood’s veteran character actor AK

Hangal of Sholay fame, Gehlot made Rs 2

lakh available from the Journalists and

Writers Welfare Fund for the 95-year-old

Hangal, who could get then get the specialist

treatment.

Gehlot admires those who perform their

duty with responsibility. He feels that all

disciplined state government employees

who lose their lives while performing their

duty should be treated as martyrs.

Numerous policemen who lost their lives

while in uniform have received accolades

from the Chief Minister apart from benefits

to their families.

Phool Mohammed, the station house offi-

cer of Sawai Madhopur, who was burnt alive

by an unruly mob over an incident, was

treated like a martyr and was given all the

benefits due to a martyr like cash incentive

of Rs 40 lakh to the family, a housing board

house and employment for a family member

in the government. The family of a consta-

ble of Jhunjhunu who lost his life while

fighting dacoits from Haryana was similarly

compensated. The superintendent of the

Jodhpur jail, who was killed by a convict,

was given Rs 10 lakh and other benefits by

Gehlot.

CM Gehlot handing over a tricycle to a disabled person to mark Mahatma Gandhi anniversary.

Gehlot launching e-stamping services under e-governance.

Ushering in equitable progressQuality Moves

� Aapni Yojna scheme of aridRajasthan - water and health committee in

every village responsible for fair distribu-

tion of water conservation, health educa-

tion, payment for services and sanitation.

� Prashashan Gaon Ke Sang campaigninitiated to offer solution to problems faced

by the people in villages.

� Work on Jaipur Metro begun.

� Rajasthan implements Continuousand Comprehensive Evolution (CCE) as a

pliot project in 60 schools.

� Sahbhagita Awas Yojna - affordablehousing scheme launched.

� Special schemes to promote women’sparticipation in agriculture right from their

childhood by offering to incentives during

school, college and technical education.

� Women pursuing doctorate in agri-cultural studies will get an incentive of Rs

10,000 annually for three years.

� Akshat Yojna for unemployed gradu-ates provides for grant of allowances to

unemployed graduate students of the state

whose family income does not exceed Rs 1

lakh per year.

Quality Acts

� Bill for setting up women’s panel toprotect and promote the interest of women

against violence, deprivation and discrimi-

nation.

Quality Achievements

� Release of water policy for betterwater management.

� Water supply in drought affected21,000 villages through tankers.

� Initiatives on employment - one lakhjobs created. Of the 67,000 posts already

approved, 5,000 are of teachers.

� e-governance project in health sector.

� Women empowerment: reservation of

seats for women in panchyati raj institutions.

� Special housing schemes for women.

25

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Rajasthan has arrivedon world tourism map

Visitors now seek variety of tourism experiences as govt. shapes new projects

By Prakash Bhandari

Rajasthan has emerged as

one of the most popular

tourist destinations in

India for both domestic and for-

eign tourists. The number of

tourist arrivals in the state has

increased fourfold in the last

thirty years and according to an

estimate the state receives a mil-

lion foreign tourists and 10 mil-

lion domestic tourists each year.

The state is known for its

diversity in terms of natural

resources, cultural heritage, his-

torical as well as archaeological

wonders and rare wild life. The

forts and palaces, heritage

hotels, colorful fairs and festi-

vals, local art and handicrafts,

etc. has been a unique selling

proposition for tourists coming

to the state. The desert environ-

ment in the western parts of the

state is also a major attraction

particularly for the foreign

tourists.

Four decades ago tourism in

Rajasthan was a small industry

that was largely confined to the

elite foreign tourists and domes-

tic pilgrim traffic.

Tourist arrivals were restricted

to a few thousand tourists annu-

ally and were primarily recorded

in select places such as Jaipur,

the state capital, Udaipur and

Jodhpur (for foreign tourists)

and the pilgrim centers of

Ajmer, Pushkar and Nathdwara

(for domestic tourists). The

employment in the sector and

the sector’s contribution to the

state economy, as well as

employment potential were

limited.

However, over the last few

decades, due to the focused

efforts of Rajasthan Tourism,

various State Government agen-

cies, select entrepreneurs /indi-

viduals, tourism has grown from

an elite and pilgrim phenome-

non to a mass phenomenon put-

ting Rajasthan firmly on the for-

eign and domestic tourist map.

The industry today employs

over one lakh people directly

and over three lakh people indi-

rectly. Its contribution to the

state economy is estimated to be

over Rs 4000 Cr. presently.

Given the increasingly impor-

tant role that the sector plays in

the overall socioeconomic

development of the state, the

state government of Rajasthan

has accorded an industry status

to tourism.

As the nodal agency to pro-

mote tourism in the state, the

Department of Tourism (DoT),

Rajasthan has played a key role

in this growth along with the

DoT promoted Rajasthan

Tourism Development

Corporation (RTDC).

The main tourist cities

of Rajasthan namely,

Jaipur, Udaipur, Jodhpur,

Jaisalmer, Bikaner and

Mount Abu have seen

marginal growth in total

tourist Traffic.

In particular, the Ajmer-

Pushkar circuit is experi-

encing high growth in

both foreign and domestic

tourists.

Also, the Alwar-Sariska

belt is regaining growth

after the introduction of

tigers in the jungle of

Sariska. Sariska which

boasted of a dozen tigers

suffered immensely at the

hands of the poachers who

killed all the tigers.

However a strong willed

initiative by the state forest

department saw the reintroduc-

tion of tigers in the Sariska jun-

gle. Growth in domestic tourism

is largely due to its increasing

popularity as a weekend gate-

way from Delhi.

Amongst the smaller tourist

destinations, Bundi (part of the

Hadoti circuit) has seen a multi-

fold increase in both domestic

and foreign traffic. “The tourism

experience sought from

Rajasthan is changing.

Traditionally the Rajasthan

tourism experience offered

palaces, forts, lakes and the

desert. It is still desired but the

focus is gradually shifting to

more varied tourism products

particularly eco-tourism with

focus on sanctuary tourism,

weekend tourism and confer-

ence tourism. For us domestic

tourists are also as important as

the foreign. The domestic

tourists come round the year,”

said tourism minister Bina Kak.

Rajasthan tourism thrives on

luxury trains and the increasing

craze for such trains has made

these trains as unique selling

proposition.

With the immense popularity

of the ‘Palace on wheels,’ the

Rajasthan tourism Development

Corporation Ltd.( RTDC), along

with the Indian Railways added

another feather in its cap by

rolling out ‘Royal Rajasthan on

Wheels,’ a yet another luxury

train that not only moves across

Rajasthan but also visits places

like Varanasi and Khajuraho.

‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels’

includes luxuries at par-super

deluxe suites, saloons, cubical

showers, satellite TV, spa, gym.

The train has a capacity of car-

rying 82 passengers and 22

coaches. The very famous gold-

en triangle, Delhi- Jaipur-Agra,

is a pleasurable experience with

this train.

With a view to woo the

domestic tourists, the state gov-

ernment initiated a campaign

called ‘Rajasthan Calling.’ The

campaign journeyed through 19

cities of India and included

Bangalore, Chennai,

Chandigarh, Goa, Hyderabad,

Jammu, Kolkata, Ludhiana,

Mumbai, Patna, Pune, Ranchi,

Surat, Vadodara to name a few.

“The campaign not only

enlightened people about the

rich culture and heritage of the

royal state but also showcased a

glimpse of the beauty of

Rajasthan through the special

platter, dal bati churma, mirchi-

bada and kachoris and not to

forget the sweets, that the state

is famous for,” claimed Kak.

“Plans to introduce houseboats

in lakes, adventure tourism, hot

air ballooning, camel safari,

Sariska tiger reserve destination

project are soon to materialize.

Besides Rajasthan Tourism

Development Authority has

recently renovated and upgraded

many hotels by introducing new

furnishings, furniture, linen etc

to provide better facilities and

services to the guests. A few

more projects are in pipeline to

initiate the Ministry of Tourism,

Govt. of India, to grant mega

tourist projects- Jaipur, light and

sound show at Ranthambore,

development work at Bundi,

Shekhawati tourist circuit,”

added Kak.

The Alwar-Sariska belt is regaining growth after the reintroductionof tigers in Sariska jungle

Amongst smaller tourist destinations, Bundi has seen a multi-foldincrease in both domestic and foreign traffic

‘Royal Rajasthan on Wheels,’ a yetanother luxury train moves acrossRajasthan and goes all the way to

Varanasi and Khajuraho

Awards for the RajasthanTourism department

� BestDecorative Stall at

Indian international

travel mart,

Hyderabad 2008,

Ahmadabad Travel

and Tourism Fair-

2009, Surat Travel

and Tourism Fair-

2009, Goa India

Travel Mart-2009,

Pune India

International Travel

Mart-2009, Mumbai Travel and

Tourism Fair-2010.

� Received NationalTourism Award, an Award of

excellence in the ‘Best State’

category.

� Received Best PosterAward at ‘Annual Indian

Association of Tour Operators’

held at Bangalore.

� Received the ‘NationalAward’ under the ‘Best State’

category in the year 2010, for

its significant work in the field

of tourism between

2008-2009.

� Condé NastReaders Travel

Award- 2010’ for

being the favorite

Indian State.

� ReceivedBest Tourism

D e s t i n a t i o n

Awareness award at

India Travel Mart in

New Delhi in 2010.

� Received “IndiaInternational Travel Mart”,

“Best Decorative Stand”

awards in Hyderabad.

� Rajasthan Tourism wasawarded the ‘Best State Award’

in lieu of promoting the state in

the rest of India with colorful

programs and fairs.

� The state received theprestigious ‘National Tourism

Award’ on 28 March 2011 for

its strategy in promoting

tourism across various states.

Bina Kak, RajasthanTourism Minister

With more than 40,000 footfalls the ninth Jaipur Jewellery Show (JJS) has es-

tablished itself once again as a great annual event in the life of the Pink City. The number of participants is increasing but the organiz-ers of the JJS are fighting for space as the city does not have a proper exhibition centre with state-of-the-art facilities to host a show like JSS where security is a huge problem.

JSS is currently the number two jewellery show of the world and this show which is or-ganized with make-shift arrangement would grow in stature and size only if there is a proper exhibition centre.

Jaipur was known for creating traditional jewellery but over the years the jewellers of Jaipur have given value addition and now the gem city has become a major centre for producing diamond ,silver and other forms of jewellery. The large number of participants who displayed their wares stunned the visi-tors with their innovative designs.

The show’s brand ambassador Sonal Chauhan mingled with the visitors, wear-ing and admiring jewelleries. The honor-ary secretary of the JJS, Rajiv Jain said that being the brand ambassador, Sonal Chau-han’s presence during the show added life as more youth came to the show. She raised the level of the city.

The Rotary International president Kalyan Bannerji also surprised the host by visiting the fair. The retailers and buyers evinced keen interest in networking and trading. Visitors from all over the country as well as abroad were seen negotiating and buying jewellery available to suit all budgets.

The foreign visitors were showing more interest in traditional jewellery and gems. It is to be noted that from 451 booths set up over 80 stalls were of prestigious retailers.

The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) also organized 4 workshops on top-ics - 7 Values Factors for Pearls, Looking Beyond 4C in Diamond, Common Gem Stone Treatment and Seven steps of Suc-cessful Sale. A number of retailers and visi-tors participated in the workshop.

The deputy high commissioner of Zam-bia, Andrew B. Branda went through the entire show and evinced keen interest in the traditional jewellery and studded gems. It is to be noted that the jewel-lers of Jaipur buy the emerald rough in huge quantity from Zambia. A del-egation from the Pakistan Institute

of Fashion & Designing went around the stalls and examined minutely the intricate designs of the gems and jewellery displayed at the show.

As a part of knowledge sharing ses-sions which are always a part of the JJS – two seminars were organized at the show entitled “Commercial gems Treatment Update” and “Diamond Sales Through Internet.”

Kashish Sachdeva, Instructor from Gem-ological Institute of America (GIA) said that treatment of commercial gem stones was a norm now. And that there were a va-riety of treatments available for gems.

The different kind of treatment for stones were dyeing, chemical bleaching, surface coating, impregnation, thermal enhance-ment, diffusion treating, clarity enhance-ment and beryl treatment.

GIA, incidentally, is the organization which introduced the concept of 4Cs –colour, clarity, cut and carat weight for gem stones.

In an interesting presentation, Prashant Bhojwani, Manager India, Rappaport, fo-cused on the importance of marketing and trading through the internet. He informed that if the sale of studded jewellery was going up by25-30% owing to internet marketing.

The internet, he said, provided competi-tive edge and maximized profits. It also helps you in buying in better places and one can interact with more customers.

Furthermore, it gives better market infor-mation both for Business 2 Business (B2B)

as well as Business 2 Consumer (B2C).

By Prakash Bhandari

Gold, glitter and diamonds in Pink City

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201226

(left) Models walk on the ramp; (right) JSS media chief Ajay Kala and organising committee member Mahaveer Sharma fixing the jewellery piece on the JSS brand ambassador Sonal Chauhan

The organising committee members of the JSS

Brand ambassador Sonal Chauhan

Jaipur Jewellery Show

Jaipur Jewellery Show

The JJS has contributed in more ways than one in terms of branding the city as G&J

destination. Today, the city of Jaipur has now emerged in its own right, as a city which pro-actively promotes gems and jewellery. And with the event being held right in the middle of the tourist season – suffice it to say that tour operators are vouching for the fact that tourists dovetail their visit with the JJS.

What could be a unique feature for the JJS as an event is the dynamic networking that takes place between Business to Business

This February in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, the world famous Jaipur Foot,

Jaipur Knee and Jaipur limb of Jaipur’s Bhag-wan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayta Samiti (BM-VSS) would be competing for a prestigious “world design impact prize“ of the Interna-tional Council of Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID), a fraternity of industrial designers.

This award, in its inaugural year, aims to recognize, empower and stimulate socially responsible design projects and initiatives around the world. Significantly, Jaipur Foot is a strong contender for this coveted award.

BMVSS is known for creating an amalgam of Jaipur Foot Technology; special humane value system; patient centric management system and funding. Currently their 20,000 limbs are fitted every year. By now, more than 4,00,000 Jaipur Foot and Jaipur Limbs have been given by BMVSS. Toward further development of tech-nology, Jaipur Foot and limb underwent many changes under the aegis of BMVSS, working under leadership of DR Mehta, founder and currently the chairman of BMVSS.

Mehta signed an MOU with Stanford Uni-versity, which resulted in the development of Jaipur Knee. Impact of Jaipur Foot and Jaipur Limb is enormous in terms of its vast coverage all over India and the world particularly to the

(B2B) and Business to Consumers (B2C).Kundan Meena being the theme attract-

ed wide attention. With over 30,000 visi-tors comprising of retailers, stone dealers, manufacturers, exporters and consumers visiting the exposition –JJS 2011 emerged as an outstanding event.

The four-day jewellery show gave a new impetus and direction to the jewellery indus-try. During the show the exhibitors as well as the visitors were gratified. One reason was that affordable and likeable jewellery was available for the consumers. The dazzling display of the Kundan Meena products, sil-ver gold jewellery, diamond and other color

gemstones won the hearts of the visitors.This year, jewellers from two countries –Thailand and Germany participated in the event.

poor and marginalized patients and victims.Stanford University-BMVSS tie up re-

sulted in the development of four-bar link-age polycentric knee joint which according to Time magazine (Nov 23, 2009) is one of the 50-Best Inventions of the world for the year 2009. More than 2600 such knee joints have been provided free.

“The minute you start instituting a charge for your service, the most vulner-able populations are the first sector of so-ciety to be marginalized and it’s precisely this sector of society you wish to serve the most,” explained Mehta.

Mehta, a graduate of the Sloan School of Management at MIT in the US, heads the Jaipur Foot team. Their $45 ultramodern prosthetic is simply unmatched when com-pared to a similar $12,000 limb produced in the US. The beauty of the Jaipur Foot is its lightness and mobility, as those who wear it can run, climb trees and pedal bicycles. The Jaipur Knee is made of self-lubricating, oil-filled nylon and is both flexible and stable, even on irregular terrain. Comparable de-vices include a titanium replacement, which can cost $10,000 or more.

As an Indian civil servant for nearly 40 years, Mehta has been Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and Chairman

Apart from them, exhibitors from Bangalore, Hyderabad, Surat, Junagarh, Mumbai, Kolhapur, Meerut and Delhi came to participate in the event.

M/s.Jewels Emporium and M/s Bir-dhichand Ghanshyamdas both from Jaipur were selected as the best and sec-ond best stalls respectively of JJS 2011.

The selections were done by a special panel. Many booths stood out for their creativity and ambience. One special fea-ture of the show was that as many as 68% of the total booths were designer stalls, and many participants spent lakhs of ru-pees on their designing and fabrication.

The Chairman of the Gems & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC),Rajiv Jain said that the council had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Tourism whereby the gems and jewellery segment will also be included in the Incredible India campaign.

During the evening the coffee table book on Kundan Meena jewellery entitled “When Jewellery Speaks: Celebrating the tradition-al of Kundan & Meenakari” was released by the Princess DiyaKumari of Jaipur. The book was commissioned by Jaipur Jewel-lery Show and is authored by Ms.Shemul Mehta Vyas - a faculty of NID, the eminent institute of India. On the occasion Princess Diya Kumari said that the book captures the living tradition of Kundan Minakari jewellery practised at many centres in India since centuries – with Jaipur in Rajasthan being one of the forerunners.

One special feature of the networking evening was an enthralling fashion show by the top models: Sonal Chauhan, Jesse Randhawa and Mugda Godse, among others. To melodious and throbbing mu-sic, Kundan Meena jewellery was dis-played by the models.

of the SEBI, the equivalent of Securities and Exchange Commission in the US.

Founded in 1975 with less than $10,000, Jaipur Foot is now operating with an an-nual budget of $3.5M, and funded by do-nations, government support and earned income. About 60% of the budget comes from donations, small or big, from India

Over the years, the JJS has become the hallmark for setting new trends. The Kundan Meena jewellery with a hallmark tag was in avid demand. 18 carat diamond jewellery in white gold also became a trendsetter this year; as did light weight jewellery with a heavy look. The studded gold jewellery was also in great demand. The rose-cut di-amond jewellery also seemed to be in fashion along with fusion jewellery.

and abroad. Roughly 30% of the budget is in the form of government grants.

With overhead costs hovering at just 4%, an extraordinary low percentage considering 20% in the non-profit sec-tor, Mehta has proven time and again that his organization spends each and every dollar mindful of its source.

Giving impetus to jewelery industry

Jaipur Foot provides mobility and dignity too

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201227

Theme 2012 Launch:

The new theme was

announced by the Convener

of the JJS, imal Chand

Surana amidst applause.

The theme is – “Diamond

Jewellery – Jaipur Adds

Colors to It.”

As per the practice,

the theme will continue

for two years.

The poster of the new

theme was also released

during the inaugural

function.

The JJS was a big crowd puller

BMVSS chief D.R. Mehta (left) watches two boys with prosthetics run during a camp for fitting limbs in war-torn Iraq.

The footfall in the JJS exceeded 40,000

By Prakash Bhandari

28

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Pioneer jeweler who is a rolemodel to community

By Prakash Bhandari

For two and a half centuries

the Surana family of Jaipur

has been pioneers in the

jewelry trade in India and the

firm Bhuramal Rajmal Surana is

a trusted name. Kamal Chand

Surana is the son of Rajmal and

he has inherited all the goodness

of his father.

Kamal Surana, after completing

his schooling from Jaipur’s St

Xavier’s School, and his practical

training in jewelry and colorstone

manufacturing, traveled outside

India. In 1964 he participated in

the New York’s world fair at

Flushing Meadows by establish-

ing a jewelry booth. The die was

cast and with this experience he

started expanding the family busi-

ness in America.

He moved to US and in 1968

established the first Indian office

with the formation of Far East

Gems Inc. In later years Surana

made frequent trips to Brazil,

Colombia, Africa, Israel and

Thailand. These trips were made

to procure rough emerald stocks,

which were sent to India for cut-

ting and polishing. He soon

became a leader of the color gem-

stone trade in US. In the mid 70’s

and 80’s a number of people from

India particularly from Jaipur fol-

lowed in his footsteps and all of

them received good support from

Surana.

Surana supplied gemstones to

clients like Tiffany, Cartier,

Arpels, Barnett Robinson, Harry

Winston and Oscar Heyman.

Surana, who is the President

and CEO of Surana Jewellers of

Jaipur, was honored in 2011 by

IDCA (Indian Diamond &

Colored Stone Association) with

the Pioneer Award.

Surana is known for his busi-

ness ethics and principles and is a

community leader and role model

to the Indian community. He con-

tributed immensely in co-spon-

soring the first Jain temple in

New York. In the year 2001 he

was honored by RANA

(Rajasthan Association of North

America) for his lifetime contri-

bution.

Kamal Surana lived in the US

for 35 years and raised his family,

but his heart lied in Jaipur. His

desire to return to his native town

brought him back. He set up

Surana Jewellers in Jaipur, a

national brand in India today.

Surana Jewellers gave a new

dimension to Kundan and

Meenakari and a large number of

people from all over the world

come to his showroom in Jaipur

to buy the beautiful jewelry that

he produces. Surana’s legacy and

experience enabled him to create

a new genre of jewelry that

appealed to everyone, no matter

what the occasion.

His wife Prem Kumari support-

ed him in all his endeavors. The

couple is celebrating the golden

jubilee of their wedding.

Kamal Chand Surana and Prem Kumari celebrated golden jubilee of their marriage in Jaipur.

Kamal Chand Surana came

from the gem city of Jaipur,

which boasts a great tradition of

lapidary art.

Jaipur is world’s biggest cen-

tre for cutting and polishing of

gemstones of all kinds. Surana

has been buying rough gem-

stones from various countries

particularly emerald.

One of his great collection

was a 437.77 carat piece of

emerald naturally shaped like

the letter ‘A’. This rare piece of

rock emerald was donated by

Kamal Chand, a Jain, to the

American Society for the

Prevention of Cruelty to

Animals. The emerald was fea-

tured at the auction for Animals

at Sotheby’s in March 1993 and

was contributed to the

Smithsonian Museum’s national

gem and mineral collection.

By Prakash Bhandari

Bi r d h i c h a n d

Ghanshyamdas, one of

the oldest jewelry stores

in Jaipur started in 1942 in the

famous Johari Bazar has created

a brand. By designing and

developing jewelry for every

occasion, it has generated an

ever growing fan base of layout

and high rolling clientele global-

ly. Their showroom offers 22 kt.

gold, diamond, pearl, ruby and

colored gemstone jewelry as well

as gold, Polki and Kundan jew-

elry whereas the first floor dis-

plays exclusively diamond jewel-

ry. The Birdhichand

Ghanshyamdas tale begins with

beauty, elegance and imagina-

tion. The tradition has continued

since, with great creativity and

spirit, focusing on design and

promoting technical innovations.

Every Birdhichand

Ghanshyamdas jewelry item

stands for its design, quality of its

craftsmanship and emotions that

each creation is able to arouse in

the giver and recipient alike.

Every piece typifies the artistic

talent of craftsmen who skillfully

craft them, imparting their work

with passion, promoting creation,

selecting the best materials and

focusing on the details. Their

jewelry embodies the evolution

of taste through time, retaining

an unmistakable style that repre-

sents creation through the

achievement of unparalleled

results.

Be it exquisite creations such

as Adrishya, Noor or Hunar, all

have been perfected into a fine

art by Birdhichand

Ghanshyamdas.

Adrishya: The word means

invisible. Their golden jewelry

by that name is bedecked with

precious stones but without the

gold visible at all. In this collec-

tion, the poetry of nature remains

a constant theme. The fleeting

beauty of flowers and their

poignant romance are immortal-

ized in Adrishya as iridescent

motifs.

Hunar: Hunar means ‘talent’.

It’s a mesmerizing collection of

traditional Indian jewelry; appre-

ciated especially for innovative

uses of the popular Mughal and

Persian enameled Kundan jewel-

ry studded with table cut dia-

monds to create bold, vibrant

jewelry. This exquisite creation

goes well with the grand Indian

weddings and traditional occa-

sions.

Noor: It is a collection of con-

temporary diamond jewelry!

From solitaires to elaborate sets

studded with fine diamonds,

Noor symbolizes class and opu-

lence for the modern woman.

The name is still looking at the

future with passion, creativity

and commitment.

The Birdhichand

Ghanshyamdas brand enjoys suc-

cess all over a leading luxury

jewellery brand respecting the

highest artesian traditions and

elegance of an inimitable style.

Aranya : This is Birdhichand

Ghanshyamdas’ latest launch

named after nature/forest. It is a

sublime collection of jewelry that

respects environs. A range which

has been conceived with the

abundance of nature, crafted

scrupulously to redefine good

taste with a touch of grace.

Kamal Surana, seen here with his family, returned to Jaipur after 35years in New York and set up Surana Jewellers, today a brand.

Kamal Chand Surana

Perfected art and craft of jewelry At Jaipur based Birdhichand Ghanshyamdas Jewellers, every piece typifies the artistic talent of craftsmen who stamp their work

with passion and creativity, besides selecting the best materials and focusing on the details.

Aranya is inspired by nature,respect for environs.

Adrishya is sobedecked

with preciousstones that

gold is invisible.

Hunar isKundan

jewelry stud-ded with tablecut diamonds

29

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

A pioneer of gemstonebusiness in the US

By Prakash Bhandari

In 1964, Haridas Kotahwala, son of a

leading gemstone dealer of Jaipur in

Rajasthan, started traveling the world

in search of opportunities to expand his

business. He went to the Middle East,

Europe and finally New York, where he

had gone for the world trade fair and

found that he had reached his destination.

In 1968, Haridas opened one of the first

Indian owned gemstone and diamond

offices in US.

Haridas’ father late Gokuldas Kotahwala

came from a family of traditional jewelers.

Originally the family had an emerald man-

ufacturing and wholesale company but

with hard work, dedication, vision and

determination, the Kotahwala family grew

into a multinational organization spanning

three continents and over nine offices

throughout the world dealing in a com-

plete spectrum of gemstone and diamonds.

Haridas is the eldest of four brothers and

leads the family in the true sense of a

Hindu patriarch.

Currently, Haridas Kotahwala is guiding

his two sons Alok and Vishal, who man-

age a diversified jewelry, diamond and

colored stone operation Royal India USA

Inc, New York. They have manufacturing

operations in three countries and sell their

products to over 40 countries.

Haridas has brought an equal amount of

passion and dedication to serving his com-

munity. He regularly travels to Jaipur and

recently celebrated his 50th wedding

anniversary with Sharda Kotahwala at

Jaipur’s Hotel Marriot and this golden

evening was attended by the luminaries of

Jaipur and also from New York, Mumbai

and other places. On their respective 50th

wedding anniversaries, Haridas

Kotahwala & fellow jeweler, Kamal

Chand Surana, each donated 50 bicycles

and 50 comforters to Jaipur foot maker

Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Society.

In 1984, he became one of the founding

members and first vice president of the

Indian Diamond & Colored stone

Association (IDCA). He is the president of

the biggest body of the NRI Rajasthanis –

the Rajasthan Association of North

America (RANA).

“RANA is a social body committed to

the Rajasthanis and we have 350 mem-

bers. We are trying to bring together the

Rajasthanis spread all over North

America. We are trying to set up a

Rajasthan Bhavan in Massapequa in Long

Island at a cost of $2 million. This will

cover 40,000 square foot area and would

serve as our cultural center. The negotia-

tions to acquire a synagogue is on and

soon we will be able to finalize the deal,”

says Kotahwala.

He said RANA was established with six

community leaders with a

vision to preserve and promote culture,

values and heritage of Rajasthan and cre-

ate a special oasis in the Indian American

community.

Kotahwala has received many accolades

throughout his illustrious career and was

honored by RANA for his social achieve-

ments. In 2004 he was honored by World

Business Forum with proclamation from

New York Assembly and US Congress for

his dedication to his community. In 2008,

he received the Pioneer Award from the

IDCA for leading the Indian jewelers

community.

Haridas is also the chairman of Navika

Capital Group LLC, a real estate company

with investment of over $180 million.

This company is wholly owned and man-

aged by Indians in US.

A proud grandfather of seven grandchil-

dren, he continues to be proud of his fami-

ly and his extended family of the diamond

and colorstone community and the

Rajasthan community.

Haridas Kotahwala, chief of Royal IndiaUSA, Inc, in New York. He is also

President of RANA, which is on the vergeof raising a Rajasthan Bhavan in Long

Island.

Haridas, seen here with his children and grandchildren, is the eldest of four brothersand leads the family in the true sense of a Hindu patriarch.

Haridas recently celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary with wife, Sharda Kotahwalaat Jaipur’s Hotel Marriot and this golden evening was attended by the luminaries of

Jaipur and also bigwigs from New York, Mumbai and other places.

Haridas Kotahwala

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

30 Nostalgia

January 7-13, 2012

Long before any one of the current Miss World title winners, there were three princesses in India, who were considered some of the most

beautiful women. These were Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur, Princess of Berar Durru Shehvar and Princess Niloufer of Hyderabad.

The story of Princess Niloufer is curious and fascinating. She had lost her father when she was only two years old. When she was eight, the Turkish royal family was exiled. They moved to Nice in Southern France. With no income to live on, the entire royal family was dependent on the pension they received from the Nizam of Hyderabad. At that time, Time Magazine estimated the Nizam to be the richest man in the world.

Some years later, the daughter of the last Turkish Caliph, was proposed as a match to the Nizam’s elder son. During the discussions, the Nizam felt that the Turkish side was asking for a very high Mehr (dowry) and imposing dif-ficult conditions. In order to make the proposal go through, Princess Niloufer was proposed to be married to the Nizam’s younger son. Thus, in 1931, Hyderabad royal family got two Turkish brides: Durru Shehvar and Niloufer. At the time of the marriage, Princess Niloufer was only 15 years old.

A few weeks later, the two princesses, Durru Shehvar and Niloufer set sail for India. On the way, they were taught how to wear sarees and the expected etiquette in the presence of the Nizam. After their landing in Bombay, they boarded the private train of the Nizam. When it pulled up in Hyderabad station, Niloufer, she stepped off the train ever so lightly. All eyes were on her.

Niloufer moved in to the palatial Hill Fort with her husband. Her husband was a poet of Urdu. Almost every evening, he organized a mushaira. He lived a lavish lifestyle and doted on his wife, getting her painted and photographed. Life seemed to be quite comfortable and all was well in the Nizam’s kingdom.

From being a bride of Hyderabad Nizam’s son at 15 to leading a glamorous public life in the West, her story is curious and fascinating

Niloufer with her friend Begum Aga Khan at the Ascot Derby

Princess Niloufer shown getting off a train

Durru Shehvar, Princess of Berar; she was Niloufer’s cousin and married to her brother-in-lawPrincess Niloufer

Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur considered one of the most

beautiful women in the world

The life and times of Princess Niloufer The life and times of Princess Niloufer

Princess Niloufer with husband Muazzam Jah, the younger son of Nizam of Hyderabad

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Nostalgia 31

January 7-13, 2012

As the years rolled by, Durru Shehvar gave birth to a son, Mukarram Jah. When several years passed and still Niloufer had not conceived, she consulted various doctors in Europe and was planning to go to America for a medical visit. During this time, one of her maids died during childbirth. At that time, there was no spe-cialized hospital for children and mothers. Niloufer’s resolve to build such a hospital materialized in the form of the current Niloufer Hospital in Hyderabad.

The absence of children made her private life empty. On the other hand, her public life became very glittering. She was invited to several functions and took the lead for women’s advancement. During the Second World War, she obtained training as a nurse and helped in relief efforts. Her beauty and her active public life received mention in the press and frequently on cover pages of magazines. She was judged one of the 10 most beautiful women in the world and was offered several roles in films.

Princess Niloufer’s style attracted the public and caught the attention of the media wherever she went. She had sarees especially crafted by Mad-havdas, a designer from Bombay. In later years, when she shifted to wearing European style clothes when travelling abroad, she still managed to cut a fine figure. One of her European dresses formed the topic of discussion in the New York Times.

In 1947, when India became independent, Prin-cess Niloufer was in a peculiar position. Hyderabad had yet to decide on joining the Indian Union.

The Nizam dilly-dallied, sometimes wanting to become independent and sometimes desiring to join India. Ultimately, Hyderabad was added to the Indian Union, when the Indian Army conducted an operation called the “Police Action”. The Nizam was retained as the Head of the State, though he had become just a shadow of his former self.

Princess Niloufer heard the news of Hyderabad’s extinction when travelling abroad in France. She de-cided never to return to India again. Sometime later, her marriage came to an end. She continued to live in Paris, with her mother, in an apartment. Since she was only 36, she attracted a lot of attention. Among her friends were Ali Khan (Aga Khan’s son), the Duke of Windsor, Princess Sita of Baroda, film stars such as Maurice Chevalier and Olivia de Havilland. She was offered yet another role in a Hollywood film (“Moulin Rouge”) but she turned it down again.

In 1961,Princess Niloufer visited the United States. She was the Guest of Honor at the Impe-rial Ball, held at the Plaza Hotel. During her brief visit, she received extensive coverage in the press. An exhibition of Princess Niloufer’s sarees was held at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York city. They can be viewed at http://www3.fitnyc.edu/museum/Exoticism/intro.htm Princess Niloufer died in Paris in 1989. Her mother’s grave was opened, and both mother and daughter were united again.

The author can be reached at [email protected]

The cover of Time Magazine, showing the Nizam of

Hyderabad and calling him the Richest in the World.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201232

From man-made disasters to nature’s fury, from landslide victories to political uncertainties, from seven-billionth joy to winning Rs 5 crore on KBC - here is a rewind of events that India witnessed during 2011.

When pictures told the story

The Yuvraj joins headlines: The skeptics were many but the peripatetic Con-gress general secretary set out to prove them

wrong as he crisscrossed the country in 2011,

sometimes to mobilise youth into joining poli-tics, other times walking

into village homes to hear the problems of people

and share a meal. Rahul Gandhi’s litmus test lies only months away when Uttar Pradesh and other

states go to the polls.

The Himalayan Quake: A 6.8 magnitude quake rattled the North-East with Sikkimas its epicenter on September 18.

The tiny north-eastern State was worst-hit. The quake severely damaged Sikkim’s infrastructure and the Kanchen-

junga Conservation Area besides leaving scores dead.

Historic win in West Bengal elections: The Trinamool Congress won an absolute majority in assembly polls and brought down the curtain on the 34-year uninterrupted rule of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM)

led Left Front. The state got its first woman chief minister in Mamata Banerjee.

Slapgate left politicians shocked: The trend started off by an Iraqi journalist last year seems to continue. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar became the latest victim of public fury, when a delhi-based lorry driver, Harvinder Singh,

assaulted him (seen in a TV grab after the attack) during a function in New Delhi.

The six that won us World Cup: He led the Indian team to the World Cup win in 2011, ending India’s 28-year-old

wait for a second world title. Immediately after the World Cup, the Chennai Super Kings under the

captainship of Dhoni became the first Indian Premier League (IPL) team to win back-to-back titles.

Meet the crorepati from Bihar:

He was the everyday man who went from becoming

a computer operator earning Rs.6,000 in

Motihari, Bihar, to winning Rs.5 crore

on the TV show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”.

The sensational turn-around in fortunes

made the 27-year-old an instant celebrity.

The world’s seven-billionth baby:

Nargis, a girl born in Mal village in Uttar

Pradesh on October 31, was welcomed as the

world’s seven billionth baby - an honor she

shared with a girl child born in the Philippines

and a boy in Russia.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201234

From Middle-East uprising to Japan’s worst nightmare, from dictatorship coming to an end to pulling out troops from war-ravaged Iraq,

here is a slide show of a tumultuous 2011.

The World in Frames

A nightmare for Japan: A deadly earthquake and tsunami hit north eastern

coast of Japan’s main island of Honshu on

March 11, 2011. The disaster in Japan left more than 15,000 dead. The Japanese govern-ment estimates the de-

struction cost the country upwards of $300-billion.

US pulls out of Iraq: According to arecent CBS poll, 77 percent of the American electorate approves of

President Barack Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. Two in three

Americans say the Iraq war was not worth the cost.

Remembering Steve Jobs: A man lighting candles to pay tribute to Steve Jobs outside an Apple store in Beijing,

China. The Apple founder Steve Jobs created markets and product categories. He changed how we consume informa-tion and entertainment. He redefined leadership at Apple.

A fall of dictatorship: Muammar Gaddafi’s 40-year rule ended after rebel forces seized Tripoli on August 23. The 69-year-old leader was on the run when he was captured

and killed in his hometown of Sirte on Octber 20.

A tribute to Kim Jong-II: People offering their condolences in front of a portrait of the late North

Korean leader Kim Jong-Il in Jagang Province. Kim built an uclear arsenal, which culminated in North Korea’s first nuclear test explosion in 2006. Another test

took place in 2009. Kim Jong’s son has taken over.

Mubarak’s turn to bite the dust:

Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule ended unceremoniously when he was forced to quit in

February after an 18-day unrest that left around

400 people dead. Mubarak is currently

facing a trial on charges of ordering use of force

against protesters.

Mission Possible: US gets Laden:

The hideout house of slain Al-Qaeda leader

Osama bin Laden in Ab-bottabad. One of the most important events that put Pakistan in the dock in front of the whole world was the May 2 killing of bin Laden. The Al Qaeda

founder was gunned down in a unilateral

operation by US commandos at his

hideout at Abbottabad.

I welcome you all to the launch of “Chalo Punjab” Campaign!

When I met our party President respected Mrs. Sonia Gandhi last month, she advised us to work unitedly to get NRIs votes & support for elections in Punjab. I took her advice to heart! I am mighty pleased and thankful to God, in short span of two weeks, I have been able to mobilize NRIs from every group, every religion, every caste and every region of United States to join us in Chalo Punjab campaign.

Punjab. With help of my team we have been pretty successful toward achieving that goal.

We all are thankful to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi who after renunciation, chose Dr. Manmohan Singh, a Punjabi , for the highest position in India. Punjabis are prominent in political, social and economic areas. With an estimated US-based one Million Punjabi population, we are an ethnic group to reckon with! We have the potential to create change through our collective voice and active participation. Through NRI support my vision is to make Punjab the best state in India. I invite you to join the crusade against corruption and participate in the development of Punjab.

Join us in Chalo Punjab Campaign and make a difference!!

Hon. Sonia GandhiPresident, Indian National Congress party

Dr. Manmohan SinghPrime Minister, Govt. Of India

Dr. Karan SinghChairman, Foreign Affairs Department, AICC

Hon. Anand SharmaVice Chairman, Foreign Affairs Department, AICC

George AbrahamSect. General of INOC, USA

Ravi ChopraSr. VP, East Coast, PECC, USA

Phuman SinghPresident, East Coast, PECC, USA

Mohinder Singh GilzianChairman, East Coast, PECC, USA

Lavika Bhagat SinghGeneral Secretary, PECC, USA

Shudh Prakash SinghChief Coordinator PECC, USANational Vice PresidentIndian National Overseas Congress, USA

Capt. Amrinder SinghPresident of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee

Hon. Preneet KaurMinister of State for External Affairs, Govt. of India

Hon. Mohinder S. KaypeeMP, Jalandhar Constituency, Punjab

Hon. Arvind KhannaGeneral Secretary, PPCC

Inder Dev Singh MusafirChairman, NRI Cell, Punjab Pradesh Committee

Jaswinder Singh KhakhVP, East Coast, PECC, USA

Jasbir Singh NawanshaharVP, East Coast, PECC, USA

Sawran SinghPresident, Haryana Ch. INOC, USA

Lukhbir GillPresident, West Coast, PECC, USA

Hon. Balram JakharSenior Leader, AICC

Advertorial 36 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Dear NRI Brothers and Sisters,

The NRI Cell of the Punjab Pradesh Congress was formed with a Vision to connect the

NRI Diaspora of Punjab with the Secular Values of the Congress Party, and the

immediate Mission being that of working with the NRI's for the victory of the Congress

Party in the forthcoming Assembly Elections.

Today Punjab is poised at a very important juncture, the decision that we take on the

th

30 of this month, will determine the future of our homeland.

We can either let Punjab remain a debt ridden state, or restore the pride of Punjab by

bringing into power the Congress Party under the Dynamic Leadership of the One and

Only “Lion of Punjab” Captain Amarinder Singh.

With the launch of the “CHALO PUNJAB” campaign under the banner of NRI's for

Congress, I urge all of you to come to your homeland and make Congress your first

choice.

I look forward to welcoming you in joining me to usher in the Golden Future of a Green,

Prosperous and Corruption Free Punjab.

See you all in Punjab…

With kind regards,

Inder Dev Singh Musafir

Chairman - NRI Cell

Inder Dev Singh Musafir

Chairman - NRI Cell

Punjab Pradesh

Congress (PPC)

Dr. Rajesh Singh

Mr. Kanwal Sra

Dr. Kiranpreet S. Parmar

Mr. Jaswinder Johal & Mr. Deepak Bhardwaj

Bravo to Mr. Shudh Prakash Singh

for launching Chalo Punjab Campaign

48 West, 48th Street, Between 5th & 6th Avenue,

New York, 10036 | Tel. 212.221.7952www.indusexpress.com

: A-16, New Friends Colony, New Delhi - 110 065

: (+91) 9810026362 FAX: (+91)-11-26931616

: [email protected]

: http://www.idmusafir.com/

Correspondence Address

Mobile

Email

Website

Congratulations to Honorees

I have known and worked very close-

ly with Shudh Parkash Singh for many

years under the banner of The Indian

National Overseas Congress, USA. I

admire his leadership and dedication

in carrying forward his duties and

responsibilities regarding anything

and everything he ever takes on or is

delegated by our senior leaders.

Shudh Parkash Singh has been instru-

mental in starting and taking forward

multiple initiatives and this time he

has even undone himself. With “Chalo

Punjab” he has ignited in all of us Pun-

jabis a fire to gear up and work hard

with all our efforts and resources to bring the most progressive

party of India back in power in our home state, Punjab.

So I appeal to all of you, my fellow Punjabis, my friends and fam-

ily, let us make this endeavor a success! Together, let us “Chalo

Punjab!!”

Phuman SinghPresident, East Coast, PECC, USA

AdvertorialA

36

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Advertorial 38 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

JOIN CHALO PUNJAB

GROUP TO INDIA AND ENJOY FOLLOWING BENEFITS- Under Chalo Punjab Campaign you and a companion Pay ONLY $875* each on direct flight by Air India when you travel with CHALO PUNJAB GROUP

“India Program as Planned by NRI cell Punjab Pradesh Congress” - Honorable DR. Karan Singh Ji will flag off the cavalcade to Punjab from AICC headquarters IN DELHI. Many congress leaders will attend the flag off of the “NRI Kafila”- A group photo “parliament style” of all attendees will be organized with congress leaders. this will be presented to honorees as a framed memento. - Chalo Punjab group will be TAKEN TO PUNJAB IN LUXURY VOLVO BUSES as NRI Kafila. The Volvo Buses will be dressed up with banners of

“NRI’s for Congress”. - When the “NRI Kafila” reaches Karnal (Haryana) it will be received by the Haryana Chief Minister Shri Bhupinder Singh Hooda subject to his schedule. At the Venue some traditional folk entertainment will be organized along with snacks. - Once the “NRI Kafila” reaches Jalandhar (Punjab), all the participating NRI’s will be given a grand welcome with Bhangra / Gidda and garlands and received by prominent Congress leaders of Punjab.- NRI Kafila will attend Proposed NRI Sammelan at Jalandhar TO BE ATTENDED by Capt. Amarinder Singh ji and other leaders. - Enjoy the trip while serve your motherland and Punjab by supporting the best party .... The Congress Party!

*Subject to approval from Air India

Advertorial 39 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Greetings! On behalf of the

Punjab Election Committee,

it is a great pleasure for me to

introduce you to Chalo Punjab.

Chalo Punjab is geared towards

highlighting the potential and

achievement of Punjabi leaders

and to encourage them further.

Chalo Punjab is also designed

to garner NRIs’ support for

development and progress in

Punjab. The mission is to utilize

a myriad of resources to help

the state of Punjab prosper.

Though outside of Punjab, we

have aspired to encourage the

local Punjabi community to

connect with our Punjabi roots.

Mr. Shudh Parkash Singh, the

chief coordinator of the Punjab

Election Campaign Committee,

USA, has been instrumental

in managing several of our

efforts to support Congress

leaders in Punjab, India. It is his

leadership that has provided

direction and enabled us to

pursue all our campaigning

efforts. I am thankful for his

support and for having me on

his committee.

The Indian National Congress

has gained effectiveness and

influence under the leadership

of our Prime Minister, Dr.

Manmohan Singh and Mrs.

Sonia Gandhi, President of the

Indian National Congress Party.

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, who was

voted as the leader of the party

and was expected to take on

the Prime Minister position,

has been the backbone of the

Congress Party. She has lead

the electoral campaign of the

Congress Party in 2004 to get

much success. It is under her

vision and leadership that has

allowed the Punjab Election

Committee, here in the US,

to push for greater political

campaigning. Dr. Manmohan

Singh, who gracefully took on

the position of Prime Minister,

has demonstrated dynamic

leadership. His leadership has

taken India to greater heights

of national and international

success. Today, India is

undoubtedly referred to as a

potential land of opportunities

and a dynamic economy.

Lavika Bhagat SinghGeneral Secretary, PECC, USA

Advertorial 42 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

The Raj and Rajeshwari Founda-

tion was created in 2000 by Dr.

Rajesh K. Singh, who after his re-

tirement and with the support of

his wife of 56 years: Rajeshwari

Devi Singh, decided to devote

his life to improve the quality of

life of those in dire straits in and

around the village of his birth in

Uttar Pradesh, India.

The dream of Dr. Singh was

materialized in 2001 with the

establishment of the Raj and

Rajeshwari Foundation as a non-

governmental organization to

both provide medical assistance

and bear witness publicly to the

plight of the people it assists.

A private nonprofit association,

RRF is an organization seeking to

uplift the lives of the poor and

destitute in rural India, where

the benefits of globalization and

modernization have not yet ar-

rived.

Diagnosing and treating people

in need of medical care are the

Raj & Rajeshwari Foundation’s

primary activity. Dr. Rajesh Singh

along with experienced staff

coordinate the work, provide

support and training where nec-

essary, and ensure that there is

a sufficient supply of drugs and

medical materials. Additionally,

the foundation has set up special

programs to address particular

diseases when necessary, such as

Diarrhea, Dysentery, Tuberculosis,

Filaria, Cholera, Typhoid, Malaria,

HIV and Aids.

The Raj and Rajeshwari Foun-

dation is an independent inter-

national medical humanitarian

organization that delivers aid

to people affected by exclusion

from health care, by reason of

poverty and lack of infrastruc-

ture in an around Dist. Gonda in

Uttar Pradesh, India. Currently

the foundation is ably supported

by Dr. Singh’s sons - Harendra

Singh, Dr. Jitendra Singh and his

son in law - Dr. J.P. Singh.

RRF provides health care, rehabil-

itation and runs a 16 bed hospi-

tal, performs surgery, carries out

vaccination campaigns, operates

feeding centers for malnourished

people and offers mental health

care.

“It is a mammoth task and no

single organization or individual

can tackle these problems in

rural and poverty stricken areas

in the world. However, RRF has

made humble beginnings and

the hope is that others will fol-

low.”- Dr. R. Singh.

Medical Missions

The need and the opportunity

surrounding Medical Missions to

the Raj and Rajeshwari Hospital

are equal in intensity. While the

needs of the patients can never

be fully satisfied, the opportunity

that volunteering presents in

experience cannot be calculated.

On a daily basis Dr. Singh treat’s

patients for pathologies that are

no longer treated in the West-

ern Hemisphere on a normal

basis. Such patients suffer from

Typhoid, Malaria, and Leprosy

to name a few. For Doctors,

Nurses and the Press who wish

to volunteer time at the hospital,

all room and board are included

in the most hospitable of accom-

modations. In addition, the cost

of airfare is 100% Tax Deductable

thanks to the Raj and Rajesh-

wari Foundation being included

under section 501(c)(3) of the

Internal Revenue Code.

For more information, please

contact 516-470-1824 or visit the

foundation’s web page: www.

rajrajfoundation.org

Rajesh K. SinghM. D., FACS, FRCS (Canada)

HONOREES

Dr. Singh with his son Harendra Singh and his family.

Advertorial 43 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Kanwal Sra was born in Mumbai,

India. After his family moved to

the United States in the mid 70s,

he completed his education in

New York and graduated from

New York University in 1986 with

a Bachelors degree in Accounting.

He passed his Certified Public

Accountant exam soon after

graduation.

During his last year of college,

he worked for the New York

City Department of Finance

performing audits on a wide

variety of large, medium, and small

sized businesses for the City of

New York. After graduating, he

joined Manufacturer’s Hanover

Trust in the Management Training

Program for the Audit Department

where he performed audits of all

divisions of the bank.

Following this, he gained

extensive experience on Wall

Street and the Securities Industry

during the next six years, first by

working for Shearson Lehman’s

Audit and then for Spicer and

Oppenheim CPAs, a mid sized

CPA firm that provided auditing

accounting and tax services to

the small and midsized Broker

and Dealers of stocks and bonds,

Investment Partnerships and

High Net Worth Individuals. For

three years, he also worked as the

Controller of Prudential Global

Funding, a subsidiary of Prudential

Insurance Company. He then

joined Ernst & Young LLP CPAs

as a Senior Manager for two years

where he managed accounting,

auditing and management

consulting projects.

In 1995, he set up SRA &

Associates LLP to provide tax,

financial, management consulting,

accounting and auditing services

to a diverse group of companies

specializing in the construction

industry. In 2000, Kanwal started

System One Financial Services

LLC with the goal of assisting

clients in every aspect of their

financial lives including financial

planning, investment management,

retirement planning, Business

Succession /Continuation

Planning, Risk Management and

Employer-Sponsored Financial

Education Programs. He is the

Founder and Chief Executive

Officer of Taxosphere, a New York

Based company that provides tax

preparation services to Individuals

and businesses throughout the

United States. Taxosphere has over

60 branches in over twenty two

states.

In 2003, Kanwal traveled to India

and started OSI Info Solutions

India Pvt Ltd to provide back

office processing in accounting,

taxes, financial and medical

billing in Chandigarh for US based

clients. In 2005, he launched

Phoenix Buildcon Pvt Ltd in

Punjab as a township developer

builder and started one of the first

mega projects in Jalandhar during

Captain Amarinder Singh’s last

government in Punjab to build a

township in 100 acres for NRIs

from USA, Canada and England.

At present, he is a member of the

American Institute of Certified

Public Accountants, New York

State Society of Certified Public

Accountants, National Society

of Tax Professional, and

National Association of Tax

Practitioners.

While still attending NYU,

Kanwal also became

involved with community

services. He was the

treasurer of the Sikh

Cultural Society at the

Richmond Hill Gurudwara

and helped develop,

automate and implement

financial systems to ensure

transparent, efficient

and timely reporting of

the Gurudwara financial

statements. In addition, he

also helped in setting up

health camps in Queens.

Kanwal has also been the

Founder and Chairman of

the Board of the Punjab

& Sindh Federal Credit

Union, which provided

banking services to the

Indian community in the New

York area and was established by

him in 1995.

He also set up a non-profit,

Crystal Foundation with a

vision is to provide education

and healthcare to underserved

population in India through

collaboration in order to kindle

‘stronger minds and healthier

bodies’. In 2003, he started the

Crystal Foundation in India to

provide health and education

to the underserved community

with the establishment of the

first health clinic in Thada village

near Jalandhar. In 2010, Crystal

Foundation launched the ‘Adopt a

Village’ campaign and successfully

conducted health camps as part

of this campaign. In addition,

it supported the education on

more than 50 children from the

underserved slum community

near Delhi. Currently, he is

involved in setting up chapters of

Crystal Foundation in other states.

In additional to managing his

various businesses in US and

India, since 2011, Kanwal has

also been anchoring a TV show

‘Money Matters’ on the Jus

Punjabi Channel to help educate

and answer financial and tax

related questions for Punjabis all

over North America. In Jan 2012,

he launched the Money Matters

show on ITV Channel, which is

aired throughout the Tri State area.

Kanwal is married and has three

beautiful daughters.

Kanwal Sra CPA

KSRA CPA PCCERTIFIED PUBLIC ACCOUNTANTS & FINANCIAL PLANNERS

K. SRA CPA P.C. provides a broad range of consulting services to high net worth individuals, private practitioners, small businesses, corporations and other organizations requiring specialized professional expertise in the following major areas:

Profit planning, budgeting and operational planning Profit sharing and Pension Plans Business valuations General Accounting Services Tax Services Personal Financial Planning Management Advisory Services

NY-Richmond Hill

103-04 Lefferts Blvd. Richmond Hill. NY-11419 Tel: 718-805-6556 Fax: 516-871-1005 [email protected] www.ksracpaspc.com

NY-Hicksville

85 Broadway, Hicksville, NY 11801 Tel: 516-871-1001 Fax : 516-871-1005 [email protected]

NY-Elmhurst

85-18 Queens Blvd. Second Floor Elmhurst NY-11373 Tel: 718-533-1040 [email protected] www.ksracpaspc.com

NY-Westbury Training Center

25 Carle Road. Westbury. NY-11590 Tel: 516-871-1001 [email protected]

Kanwal Sra with his wife Avneet and daughters Sehar and Sahel.

HONOREES

Advertorial 44 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Dr. Kiranpreet S. Parmar is currently

an attending physician at Staten Island

University Hospital, New York City. He is

involved in setting up medical specialty

practices as well as surgical centers in New

York. Dr. Parmar was born in Chandigarh

and spent his first nine years there. He

arrived in America in 1974 and returned

to India for his medical education where

he developed a strong bond and love for

the country of India and its people. Dr.

Parmar returned to the United States to

complete his studies in the field of Internal

Medicine. In 1998 he was elected chief

resident at Staten Island University Hospital.

Upon completion of his internal medicine

program, he attended the University of

Texas to specialize in gastroenterology. He

became Chief Fellow of gastroenterology

as well as an interventional fellow in 2001.

Dr. Parmar also completed a subspecialty of

gastroenterology, in the field of endoscopic

ultrasound and was the only fellow chosen

to attend advance training in Paris, France.

Since his training, Dr. Parmar has returned

to his homeland on many occasions and

has set up an operating theater in his native

village of Baddon. He has also donated

land for the future construction of a grade

school in Punjab. In 2009, he became a

board member of the Crystal Foundation,

an organization that promotes primary

medical care in India. Dr. Parmar hopes to

develop more free medical clinics for the

under privileged in rural India. His ultimate

goal is to set up a state of the art medical

university, which would provide physicians

for clinics in rural India.

Dr. Kiranpreet S. ParmarPhysician

Congratulations to Dr. Kiranpreet S. Parmar

for being honored for his achievements

by Friends & Family

HONOREES

JASWINDER SINGH JOHAL and DESH DEEPAK BHARDWAJ, after emigrating from Punjab India, started working as helpers in a grocery store in Jackson Heights. With their hard work and honesty they now own 7 super markets under the brand name APNA BAZAR in the tri state area. They just opened America’s biggest Indian food Super Market in Hicksville.They contribute a lot towards charity and provide a lot of sponsorships to social and community events.Their friendship has become an exemplary story in our

community. For 30 years they have been working together cordially despite being from two different religions. Deepak is Hindu and Jaswinder is a Sikh.They have been given a very prominent award for their friendship from the highest religious body of Sikhs called “SGPC” in India.They have become and remain a symbol of unity for both religions.

Desh Deepak Bhardwaj & Jaswinder Singh JohalApna Bazar

Advertorial 46 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

HONOREES

We are proud to be associated with

Chalo Punjab Campaign

Mr. Shudh Prakash Singh

795 Newark Avenue,

Jersey City, NJ 07306, t. (201) 659 8700

1655-170 Oak Tree Road,

Edison, NJ 08820

t. (732) 947 3014, f. (732) 549 7978

http://www.mithaas.net/

Congratulations to

for his exemplary leadership in

launching Chalo Punjab Campaign

We are proud to host the historic launch of

Chalo Punjab Campaign

Mr. Shudh Prakash Singh

World Fair Marina Restaurant & Banquet,

Flushing, NY 11368

Tel. 718.898.1200

www.worldfairmarina.com

Congratulations to the Honorees

for making a difference and to

for his leadership in Chalo

Punjab Campaign

We congratulate the Honorees

Jaswinder Singh JohalDesh Deepak Bhardwaj

47

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

A yearful of memoriesWide Angle

By Ashok Vyas

Musing over time can be an inter-

esting and enriching exercise.

You look back at each year, and

it is always a mixed bag. When it ends

you feel a sense of relief and a sense of

achievement. We have very selective

memory. The fascinating aspect of human

mind is that it is capable of forgetting the

most significant events. Life is not con-

fined to any one ‘moment’ or ‘event’--

the movement of time and new configu-

ration of our possibilities or expectations

makes life a fascinating journey. While

we welcome a new year, we create new

dreams and aspirations. Some of us fol-

low the age old tradition of forming new

resolutions. Some of us have given up on

our ability to live up to our own resolve.

Looking back at the tumult of events

and happenings in India and the world at

large, I think that one man who deserves

to be given ‘Man of the Year’ award is

Anna Hazare. Is he a new Gandhi? Is he

not respecting democratic norms of

India? What is it that has entrusted in him

the power to mobilize millions of people.

Many Indians may have no clue about

the nitty-gritty of the system, they may

not understand how a strong Lokpal bill

would remove corruption, but they could

resonate with the spirit of Anna. While

some others of my brethren were cele-

brating ‘India Day’ Parade in New York, I

saw many others wearing caps proclaim-

ing ‘I am Anna’.

This complete identification with an

idea and enthusiasm to rally behind such

an idea has been visible in various parts

of the world in 2011. The distinct differ-

ence between those and the Anna move-

ment has been its ‘non-violent nature’

and the willingness of government of

India to engage in discussion with the

protestors. Indeed, it was historic that a

special session of Parliament was con-

vened to discuss the demands of ‘Team

Anna’.

As the year came to an end, seeds of

more dissatisfaction became visible. Yet,

2011 proved to be a landmark year in

bringing up the issue of corruption. Anna

on the one hand and multimillion scams

in the fields of technology, sports and

politics monopolized the headlines.

‘Moment of the year’ for many Indians

across the globe was the day India won

cricket World Cup final. Mahendra

Singh Dhoni led Indian ODI team to this

remarkable victory, the second World

Cup brought home after a gap of nearly

three decades. There were firecrackers,

excitement, joy filled slogans, tears and

prayers. When his teammates carried

Sachin Tendulkar on their shoulders in

the stadium was a moment charged with

emotions and patriotism. Many people

may or may not understand the fine

points of cricket but the power of cricket

to unify the nation in palpable. There

were impromptu victory celebrations in

USA also.

‘Movie of the Year’? Now, that is a dif-

ficult pick. Allowing space for subjectivi-

ty and disagreement, I would choose

‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ as the best

film of2011. The central theme was off-

beat, the treatment was fresh and some

philosophical questions about life found

respectable play in commercial cinema

with good acting, direction and wonder-

ful locations. I liked ‘Singham’ too for its

lyrical portrayal of fight scenes and

excellent acting of Ajay Dev-Gun as well

as the villain Prakash Raj. I am an

Amitabh fan, so ‘Buddha Hoga Tera

Baap’ was a treat, the director tried to

bring back the Big B of old with a multi-

layered character.

‘Announcement of the Year’

One evening, after dinner time, the

President of the United States of

America, Barack Obama announced that

the founder of Al-Qaeda, Osama Bin

Laden was killed. He gave some details

about Navy Seals operation and the fact

that Osama was killed in Pakistan. This

caused much embarrassment for Pakistan

and added to the challenges faced by

what is intrinsically a convoluted US-

Pakistan relationship.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar was in New York

for ‘I Meditate NY’ program earlier last

year. He shared the art of using breath

and sounds to create inner harmony. This

year, devotees had to face the loss of the

physical presence of Sathya Sai Baba.

He was considered a reincarnation of

Shirdi Sai Baba. Many people felt a sense

of special peace in his presence. Sachin

Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar have been

devotees of Sathya Sai Baba. Prashanthi

Nilayam, Baba’s abode in Andhra

Pradesh, is a pilgrimage place for devo-

tees from all parts of the world.

Scriptures have said, ‘Whosoever is

born, is bound by death’. We lost some

significant artists in 2011. One was Dev

Anand who left his mortal frame in

London. This passionate actor and film-

maker made his mark as a positively

charged creative being. Evergreen Dev

Saheb didn’t believe in looking back.

This trait of looking forward and creating

a distinct dance style was what made

Shammi Kapoor a phenomenon in his

heyday. The yahoo! star (who preceded

the search engine by a half century) also

left us in 2011. Music lovers will never

have anybody to replace Jagjit Singh, the

inimitable Ghazal Samrat. We also lost

the soulful voice of Bhupen Hazarika.

As the New Year dawns, we need to

find a way to put our best foot forward on

this new space of time. We need hope,

enthusiasm, courage and collective will

to live with peace and harmony.

Ashok Vyasprefers todescribe him-self with threePs - Poet, Priestand Programdirector withITV, NY.

Man of the Year

Anna Hazare

Movie of the Year

Zindagi Na MilegiDobara’

Moment of the Year

Teammates carrying Tendulkar on shoulders after World Cup win.

Lost in the Year

Sathya Sai Baba, Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor,

Jagjit Singh,Bhupen Hazarika.

Announcement of the Year

Obama announcing Osama kill.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201248

The year of social activismFrom Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the notorious Reddy Brothers and Vijay Mallya, there were some people who stayed in the headlines - and in our collective consciousness - for rea-sons right or wrong. SATimes takes a look at 10 people/events that mattered the most in 2011.

Like before, the roller coaster Sino-Indian relations witnessed their share of highs and lows. India and China tried their best to overcome the South China Sea muddle and in a statesman like spir-it, PM Manmohan Singh reiterated in Bali that there was enough space for both India and China to flourish. Bilateral relationship was also strained by the postponement of talks between the two countries because the schedule clashed with the international Bud-dhist congregation addressed by the Dalai Lama. In the end, India’s firm responses to bilateral issues and China’s appreciation of the Indian position gave a positive momentum to their relations.

The year winds down on a dismal note for the prime minister with corruption and the economy continuing to be the millstones around his neck. Anna Hazare was breath-ing down his neck for a stronger anti-graft law and senior ministers like P. Chidam-baram were also alleged to be involved in corruption. The rupee slumped to reach 54 to the dollar and growth slowed down to 6.9 percent for Q2. Questions arose again on his ability to govern. With Congress president Sonia Gandhi unwell in the key weeks of the Anna agitation, he battled al-legations of being a non-performer.

The King of Good Times hit a bad patch as his Kingfisher Airlines was forced to close down its no-frills Kingfisher Red brand and owed big bucks to fuel suppli-ers and airport managements. The flam-boyant Vijay Mallya, a Rajya Sabha MP, was also in the news as owner of the F1 team Force India, a part stake of which he sold to Sahara India group.

During 2011, ISRO launched eight satel-lites using its own rocket PSLV and one communication satellite GSAT-8 through Ariane 5 from Kourou, French Guiana. India’s most successful rocket, the PSLV has successfully launched 52 satellites out of the 53 it carried over half a century and has been a major revenue earner for ISRO. For stock market inves-

tors in India, 2011 was the second worst in 14 years -- second only to the disastrous 2008. Investors’ wealth, as measured in terms of market capitalization of all the companies listed on the BSE, has been eroded by Rs 19,11,122 crore in 2011. Considering there are 19.7 million demat account holders in India, the aver-age loss per stock market investor was Rs 9.70 lakh.

Rollerocoaster Sino-India ties

Manmohan SinghBAd yeAR For

Investors

Indian space missions

The year belonged to the diminutive man who led an unparalleled movement against corruption with two hunger strikes that brought Lokpal into the lexicon and forced the government vir-tually to its knees. Bring-ing back a certain old age idealism, the 73-year-old Gandhian from Maharashtra was dismissed by some as anachronistic but realpolitik saw him and his team battle for their version of the Lok-pal bill, isolating the Con-gress as other parties rallied around to their cause. For his fight against graft and also for gaffes, like backing the slap attack on agricul-ture minister Sharad Pawar, Hazare stayed in the head-lines through the year. Thou-sands took to the streets in support, waving the tricolor and the now famous ‘I am Anna’ caps and T-shirts.

The once powerful Union communications minister

form the DMK party became a metaphor for corrup-tion in 2011, the first of 14 people to be arrested in the multi-crore 2G spectrum allocation scam. After his ar-rest Feb 2, DMK MP Kanimozhi as well as corporate honchos like Sanjay Chandra of Unitech and influen-tial officials like former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura found themselves in Tihar Jail in Delhi.

Anna Hazare

Vijay Mallya

The notoriously rich Brothers Reddy have manipulated Karnataka politics by proxy from their bastion in the iron ore-rich district of Bellary. G. Janardhana, G. Karunakara and G. Somashekara, two of whom were ministers, are now feeling sidelined by their former BJP patrons and are believed to be close to floating a new party. Janardhana is directing power games from Hyderabad jail where he is held since Sep 5 over the multi-crore illegal mining scam.

The chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir was in the news through the year for his stance on the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), his relentless tweeting on a range of issues from Anna Hazare to Dev Anand and also for being the rare politician to declare upfront that there was indeed trouble in his marriage but people should leave him alone.

Reddy Brothers

A. Raja

defense modernizationIndia’s quest to modernize its armed forc-es into a lean, mean fighting machine con-tinued in 2011, with a few critical dealsmaterializing and several others facing time over-runs. India finalized the purchase of some important military equipment, such as 10 Boeing C-17 Globe-master III heavylift cargo planes from the US and the upgrade of 51 Mirage-2000 combat planes initially by the French manufacturer and later in India.These apart, India got the delivery of six Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules medium-lift cargo planes from the US and entered into an agreement with Russia for licensed production of 42 more Sukhoi SU-30 MKI combat jets at the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility in India.

Omar Abdullah

Top 10 newsmakers - India

49

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Supreme Court spared neitherholy cows, nor corrupt

It was a year of judicial activism as the Supreme Court was in 2011 called on to adjudicateon a wide swathe of issues ranging from governance, to graft, to police high-handedness.

Transparent governance remained

centric to the decisions of the

Supreme Court, which quashed the

appointment of then central vigilance

commission P.J. Thomas as 'non-est',

meaning not existing in law.

Unhappy over the central government's

probe into black money, the apex court

June 4 set up a special investigation team

headed by former apex court judge B.P.

Jeevan Reddy to investigate the stashing

away of the ill-gotten money in tax heav-

ens abroad.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati

received a setback when the apex court

July 6 quashed the acquisition of land in

and around Greater Noida for constructing

residential complexes.

The Planning Commission sparked a

public outcry when in September it told

the apex court that the poverty line in

urban and rural areas was Rs.32 per capita

per day and Rs.26 per capita per day,

respectively.

Faced with public outcry over its obser-

vation in Australian missionary Graham

Staines' killing, the apex court Jan 25

recalled its judgment upholding the life

sentence of Dara Singh and his associate

and expunged a controversial portion of

the verdict related to alleged conversion of

tribals.

Apex court judges cautioned law

enforcement agencies against using exces-

sive force. It took suo motu cognizance

June 6 of Delhi Police action past mid-

night on June 4 for evicting yoga guru

Baba Ramdev and his followers from

Ramlila ground in Delhi.

Delhi Police evicted yoga guru BabaRamdev and his followers from Ramlila

Ground in Delhi.

A. Raja:

The former communications min-

ister was the first high profile arrest

of the year. Held for alleged

involvement in the 2G spectrum

scam Feb 2, the DMK MP is still in

Tihar Jail.

Suresh Kalmadi:

The Lok Sabha MP and former

Commonwealth Games (CWG)

Organizing Committee (OC) chief

was arrested April 25 in connection

with alleged irregularities in the

contracts awarded for the 2010

mega event.

Amar Singh:

The Rajya Sabha MP and former

Samajwadi Party leader was arrest-

ed for alleged involvement in the

2008 cash-for-votes

scandal.

Sukh Ram:

The former telecom minister was

awarded five years' imprisonment

by a Delhi court in a 1996 corrup-

tion case Nov 19. He was arrested

and taken to Tihar jail.

B.S. Yeddyurappa:

BJP's first chief minister in south-

ern India was arrested in two graft

and illegal land deal cases. He was

in jail for 21 days.

Mahipal Maderna:

The sacked Rajasthan water

resources minister was arrested by the

CBI for the disappearance of nurse

Bhanwari Devi, who allegedly fea-

tures in a CD showing Maderna in a

compromising position with her and

went missing.

Jailhouse rock for the high and mighty

Pt Bhimsen Joshi (1922-2011)

In what was described as the

sun setting on Indian classical

music, the iconic Hindustani

music vocalist passed away at

his hometown Pune on January

24 at the age of 88.

Dev Anand (1923-2011)

Bollywood's very own

Peter Pan finally said say-

onara on Dec 4 this year at

the age of 88, an actor who

epitomised the suave lover

romancing his way through

generations of heroines -- from Nalini Jaywant to

Zeenat Aman.

Mansur Ali Khan

Pataudi (1941-2011)

India's cricket legend

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi,

who personified style on

and off the cricket field,

died on September 22 when

he was just 70.

Shammi Kapoor (1930-

2011)

Hindi cinema's

"Junglee", "Professor" and

"Bluff Master" who jolted

audiences out of their

lethargy with his romantic

war cry of "Yahoo", which

is said to have inspired

even Yahoo! co-founder

Jerry Yang, died after a

long illness on Aug 14.

Jagjit Singh (1941-2011)

Indian ghazal king Jagjit

Singh's way of celebrating

his 70th year was unique -

he was aiming to com-

plete 70 concerts by the

end of the year.His con-

certs were a delight, espe-

cially when he broke into

pleasant Punjabi numbers

like "Saun da mahina".

Bhupen Hazarika (1926-2011)

A golden voice of Indian music

fell silent when legendary

singer-composer Bhupen

Hazarika died in Mumbai,

plunging millions of fans across

the country, especially those in

eastern India, into gloom.

M.F. Husain (1915-2011)

It was a virtual exile for the

country's best known artist, who

left home in 2006 after being

hounded and threatened by

rightwing activists for his paint-

ings of goddesses. He yearned to get back. Alas, that

was never to be.

Sathya Sai Baba (1926-2011)

He was widely revered as god and attracted a follow-

ing of millions of people, who flocked from across the

world to his home in Puttaparthi, Andhra Pradesh,

which went from obscurity to global fame.

Arjun Singh (1930-2011)

Arjun Singh was a wily politician who badly wanted

to be prime minister at one time, but who saw his

ambitions thwarted by the widow of Rajiv Gandhi, the

man to whom he remained loyal through his life.

People we'll missThey entertained, educated and enlivened our lives with their talent and sheer

brilliance. As another year draws to a close, it is time to remember theirmagic and say adieu once again to some of those who left us in 2011.

50

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

India's democracy is alive and well < Looking back, looking forward >

2011 was the worst year for the Congress-led UPA government in the last sevenyears that it has been in power. But it ended on a better note.

By Amulya Ganguli

There is reason to hope that

India will fare better in

2012. For one, much of the

political storms have blown over -

scams, Anna Hazare, et al. They

may not have dissipated complete-

ly, but their initial debilitating

impact has lessened.

For another, the country has been

fortunate that it hasn't faced any

major Pakistan-inspired terrorist

attack in the recent past. Perhaps,

Islamabad's own mounting prob-

lems have induced a rethink. What

is more, even the Maoist insur-

gency is far less threatening today

than in the time when scores of

security personnel were being

killed in ambushes. The edge

seems to have been taken off,

therefore, of two grave challenges

to the Indian state - one external

and the other internal.

There is little doubt that if the

economy can recover its earlier 8 to

9 % growth rate and there is not so

much dispiriting talk by business-

men of investing abroad, India will

be back on track. All that will

remain is for the country, and the

government, to mull over why the

situation went so badly wrong, for

2011 was undoubtedly the worse

year for the government in the last

seven years that the Congress-led

UPA has been in power.

Ironically, what went wrong were

the two factors which were earlier

hailed as the defining features of a

new era of politics. One was the

assumption that the country had

entered a period when coalitions

will be the order of the day. The

other was the belief that the neat

division of authority between

Manmohan Singh and Sonia

Gandhi with the prime minister

running the government and the

Congress president looking after

the party had finally solved the

crippling diarchy which other

prime ministers had faced.

It is strange that the negativism

of this previously acclaimed dual

authority complicated coalitional

politics because of the excessive

leeway given by the prime minister

to a cabinet colleague A. Raja pre-

sumably because the Congress

president did not want the DMK

withdrawing support, as the Left

did in 2008.

As Manmohan Singh explained

after Raja's incarceration under

orders from the Supreme Court, the

reason the government dilly-dallied

about bringing him to book was the

fear of another election at the

national level.

Yet, when the assembly elections

were finally held in Tamil Nadu,

both the Congress and the DMK

received a severe drubbing because

the electorate was not amused by

the patent compromise with

malfeasance.

Unfortunately, the same hesitan-

cy to act against a troublesome ally

was evident in the government's

retreat on allowing foreign invest-

ment in the retail sector following

opposition from Mamata Banerjee.

She has threatened to hold up sev-

eral other reforms as well, such as

the one on pension funds, because

she is aware of the special status

she has acquired in the political

field by triumphantly ending Left's

three-decade-old rule in West

Bengal. But, she may be undermin-

ing her own position by outdoing

the comrades in her quest to be the

heroine of socialism.

As in the cases of Raja and

Mamata, the government didn't

seem to know how to assert itself

when it came to dealing with Anna

Hazare till his "flop show" in

Mumbai signaled the fizzling out

of his anti-corruption campaign.

But the reason why the government

had been at its wits’ end earlier in

dealing with him - oscillating

between either inviting him to

jointly frame the Lokpal bill with

ministers, or arresting him, or hail-

ing him as a crusader after releas-

ing him - was that there was appar-

ently no one in the government or

the party with acute political

instincts or wide popular appeal

like Indira Gandhi before the

Emergency or Rajiv Gandhi before

the Bofors scandal.

Curiously, Manmohan Singh's

personal integrity could have

helped him counter Anna's simple-

minded, rabble-rousing tactics

much earlier. But the prime minis-

ter is seen as someone who is

remote-controlled by Sonia

Gandhi. This impression of Singh's

helplessness has been strengthened

by his failure to push through the

economic reforms.

But all is not lost. The Lokpal bill

has passed through the Lok Sabha,

though not in the form which the

Congress may have wanted. Other

important bills are on the anvil.

Rahul Gandhi's support for FDI in

retail suggests that reforms will be

back on track. There is reason for

the country, therefore, to look for-

ward to a better tomorrow.

A main reason for hope, howev-

er, was the manner in which parlia-

ment met till late at night to consid-

er the Lokpal bill while, at the

same time, the attempt by Anna's

supporters to pressurize the house

by organizing a rally in Mumbai

failed.

The contrast between an animat-

ed Lok Sabha and the emptiness of

the meeting site in Mumbai con-

firmed that for all its flaws, Indian

democracy remains alive and well.

Amulya Ganguli is a politicalanalyst.

Much of the political storms have blown over - scams, Anna Hazare, et al.

By Subhash Chopra

Cynics and Doubting

Thomases notwithstanding,

India is well set for a

vibrant future. Stargazing is

always a risky business, but it is

part of human nature to look

ahead for better or worse. I, for

one, bet on a more dynamic India

in the next few years.

My optimism is posited on four

pillars of better governance as

symbolized by the arrest and actual

imprisonment of corrupt politi-

cians of various parties, steady

growth of national economy

amidst global downturn, better

relations with neighboring coun-

tries, and most importantly the dis-

cernible decline in the rate of

population growth across the entire

country.

The nation’s resolve to root out

corruption by all stake holders

from the ruling coalition, which is

determined to get measures like

Lokpal (ombudsman) passed, to

opponents jumping on the Anna

Hazare bandwagon augurs well for

a sturdy future.

The fear of punishment for

crime, if not the fear of God, has

been put into the hearts of minis-

ters and politicians of all parties

for the first time since independ-

ence with exemplary jail terms

during 2011. Nobody is above the

law of the land. Earlier, the

deviants could flout the law with-

out shame or fear of punishment

and some of them, like Lalu Prasad

Yadav, could even rule a state

through a wife as proxy while

himself lodged luxuriously in jail.

No longer so. Thanks largely to the

Right to Information Act passed by

the much pilloried Congress gov-

ernment of Prime Minister

Manmohan Singh and party pres-

ident Sonia Gandhi.

The likes of Kalmadis, Rajas,

Kanimozhis, Reddys and

Yeddyurappas can no longer act

their follies without impunity.

They can’t go scot free any

longer on the pretext of waiting

for the judgement of the final

court of appeal, usually the

Supreme Court. Prima facie evi-

dence and the first few court hear-

ings are enough now for a place in

jail, as is the case with other com-

moners. No special treatment for

political animals. These precedents

have created a new climate which

promises better governance

through new institutional authori-

ties of a central Lokpal and state

Lok Ayuktas (ombudsmen).

The second pillar of optimism

undoubtedly is India’s steady rise

as an industrial power, whose

foundations were laid in the first

couple of decades of independence

when modern India’s new ‘tem-

ples’ like hydropower dams, steel

plants, national physical, chemical

and atomic energy laboratories and

centers were established by our

dedicated scientists and planners

in the socialist polity led by the

visionary first Prime Minister

Jawaharlal Nehru. Manmohan

Singh , despite private sector

votaries, has not scrapped the

socialist infrastructure bequeathed

to the nation. He has further built

upon it according to the require-

ments of the time. The command-

ing heights of the economy still

remain with the state in the origi-

nal matrix of mixed economy

which offers plenty of space to the

private sector.

Manmohan Singh rightly accel-

erated the opening up of the

Indian economy with his IMF-

style dose of liberalization, allow-

ing foreign competition which in

turn has made Indian private sector

more efficient and competitive. All

for the good. However, the IMF-

style did not take into account the

element of wealth distribution and

the needs of the ‘Aam Admi’.

Therein comes the role of Sonia

Gandhi with far reaching

schemes like National Rural

Employment Guarantee Scheme

(NREGS), later renamed after

Mahatma Gandhi.

The handling of the poverty

issue and the role the national

advisory council headed by the

Congress president strikes the

right balance between the govern-

ment and party’s new flagship

programs like the Food Security

Bill covering 75 percent rural pop-

ulation and 50 per cent urban pop-

ulation ensuring supply of basic

rice, wheat and coarse cereals at

Rs 3, 2 and 1 per Kg.

Continued on page 51

Kanimozhi, MP andKarunanidhi’s daughter accusedin the 2G scam, entering Tihar

jail in Delhi: The fear of punish-ment for corruption has been putinto the hearts of ministers and

politicians of all parties.

My optimism stems from four trends: combating corruption, steady growth of economy,better ties with neighboring countries and slowing population growth in UP-Bihar.

India positive in tough times

51

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Seasoned Diplomat who took Indiato new heights at UN

Ambassador Puri

Hardeep Singh Puri has been India’s Permanent Representative to the UN during its term as a non-permanent member of theSecurity Council and has built momentum for the nation to gain a long-deserved permanent seat. He spoke to SATimes on

India’s future in glowing terms and on taking a break next year from his long, distinguished diplomatic career.

By Ashok Ojha/SATimes

India’s Permanent Representative to the

United Nations, Ambassador Hardeep

Singh Puri is a seasoned diplomat

whose career spanned more than three

decades during which he served on various

international bodies, such as the GATT,

WTO and a handful of Indian missions

around the world. “After working for 38

years at various ‘hot spots’ around the

world without a break, I look forward to a

well deserved break next year”,

Ambassador Puri pointed out to SATimes

during a telephone interview he granted

within hours of landing in New York after a

long plane ride from New Delhi.

Displaying a high level of confidence for

achieving desired results, Ambassador Puri

painted an imposing picture of India five

years from now: “I see an India emerged as

the third largest power in the world, dedi-

cated to the principles of the Father of the

Nation [Mahatma Gandhi] and leading the

world towards peace and prosperity.”

Puri’s confidence and positive outlook on

India’s future stems from complicated tasks

he has been completing for the benefit of

member nations of various world bodies.

With extensive experience dealing with

various divisions in India’s Ministry of

External Affairs Puri proved to be the right

person at the right moments to represent

India as a non-permanent member of the

UN Security Council for a year long term

during which his priority has been to accel-

erate the process of negotiations with other

nations to achieve the cherished goal of

permanent membership for India.

“It has been a long process spanning more

than 16 years since the open ended working

group began its negotiations. It was not a

mean achievement in October 2011 when

India gained 187 votes in its favor in the

General Assembly leading to its non-per-

manent membership of the Security

Council for the year 2011-12.”

Puri is more than confident that India will

finish its term as a permanent member by

the end of the year 2012. “Today we are at a

crucial stage when the final rounds of nego-

tiations are due to begin in the fourth week

of January and expected to complete in

March.”

Puri also took over as the chair of

Counter-Terrorism Committee of the

Security Council on January 4, 2011.

Within one year of India’s election as the

Chair of the committee a zero tolerance

policy has been adopted with support of all

members. Puri is not only leading measures

against terrorist activities around the world,

he is also deeply engaged in protecting

interests of trading nations who fell victims

to sea pirates on trading routes in the Indian

Ocean. “The world body is engaged in tack-

ling issues on multiple fronts with a singu-

lar goal of making this world safer”, he

commented. Under his leadership the CTC

is tasked with monitoring the implementa-

tion of UN resolutions requesting States to

take measures intended to prevent and

counter terrorist activities at home and

around the world.

Ambassador Puri believes that a lot has

been done in containing international ter-

rorism. “It is a continuous work for achiev-

ing world peace and security. A lot has to be

done in this area.” He remains a powerful

voice on behalf of India in the Security

Council when India decided to abstain from

voting on the resolution on Libya. “We

have been proved right”, he said, “We did

our part in Sudan, however, a lot of efforts

are needed to bring peace for the new

nation of South Sudan.”

A great supporter of South-South cooper-

ation, Puri envisions growing role for coun-

tries like India and China to increase coop-

eration with less developed nations. He

pointed out that trade among these nations

have grown manifold in recent past. South-

South flows registered an increase of 63

percent between 2006 and 2008.

He terms India’s achievement as the suc-

cess of the entire Indian diplomatic com-

munity, who are the driving force behind

India’s growing influence among the inter-

national community. A great supporter of

India’s national language, Puri advocates a

planned approach to introduce Hindi as an

operational language at the United Nations.

“Hindi has the potential and strength of

becoming one of the official languages of

the world body. It must be pushed aligned

with modalities.”

Where will Ambassador Puri be seen in

2013? “It all depends on my responsibilities

and nature of work I will be involved in”,

he smiles.

(Hardeep Puri profile picture by Jay Mandal)

Continued from page 50

Along with the Right to Education, such measures go a fair

way towards equitable distribution of national wealth to

counter the excesses of privatisation besetting the western

world. On foreign relations, improvement in ties with

neighboring countries has steadily become the cornerstone of

the country’s broader international relations. Relations with

Bangladesh and Bhutan are in pink condition and getting

steadily better with Nepal and Myanmar. The Look East pol-

icy is also on course.

The long and patient engagement with China is paying off

with two-way trade expanding virtually by leaps and

bounds. Efforts for a similar breakthrough with Pakistan

have remained a constant objective despite frequent derail-

ment, sabotage, wars and warlike happenings. Fortunately

all parties -- the Congress, the BJP, the Left and other major

parties in or out of power at the Centre or states are united

for better relations with Pakistan, with the sole condition of

tangible results for an end to terrorist violence from across

the border. The likely grant of MFN trade status to India by

Pakistan, a belated but symbolic gesture, and Pakistan soft-

ening its opposition to India’s presence at international con-

ferences on Afghanistan as made clear by foreign minister

Hina Rabbani Khar recently in Turkey are all pointers in the

right direction.

By far the best signal of India’s forward march comes on

the population score, the mother of all problems, including

corruption. Almost coinciding with the arrival of the sev-

enth billion baby in our crowded world, the 2011 report of

the Registrar General of India and Census Commission, C

Chandramauli, tells us that now is India’s best chance of

reducing population and sustaining that reduction.

Releasing the commission’s report recently, he pointed out

that current trends in population reduction were promising

and if sustained, they could prevent us from crossing China’s

population by 2030. “A revision of 2030 is very much possi-

ble provided we sustain our gains. For the first time in three

censuses, our most populated states showed a decline of 4%

in population growth rate in 2011. Decadal growth rate of

population also declined for the first time ever to 17.64%. It

had been otherwise rising. Uttar Pradesh, which had been

growing in excess of 25% in three censuses, grew at 20% in

2011. This was true of other populous states. If we sustain

these levels, we can surprise ourselves.”

Census 2011 trends showed that the population growth in

UP dropped from 26 to 20% between two decades; in Bihar

from 29 to 25%; in MP from 24 to 20% and in Rajasthan

from 28 to 21%.

Most southern states have already steadied their population

growth to replacement levels and the news that UP , Bihar,

Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are perceptibly moving in

that direction is indeed a reason to celebrate since popula-

tion explosion –- a near four-fold rise since independence –

has been our biggest bane which has been eating away,

almost nullifying, the stupendous economic and social

progress made by the country.

Forget the doubters. Now is the time to vote for India.

The author is a senior journalist who divides his time

between Delhi and London.

Ambassador Puri was The South Asian Times Man of the Year last year.

52

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Will Obama be re-elected President?Obama may look vulnerable now, but if the economy does show improvement

in the coming months, his chances to win a second term will brighten.

By Lalit K. Jha

Ahead of the start of the cru-

cial primaries season

beginning January 3 from

Iowa, former Massachusetts

Governor Mitt Romney appears to

be the frontrunner among the

seven Republican presidential

aspirants, the others being Newt

Gingrich, Ron Paul, Michele

Bachmann, Rick Santorum, Rick

Perry and Jon Huntsman.

Yet, as he seeks Republican

presidential nomination for the

second time, it is going to be a

tough fight for Romney, going by

the opinion polls, news reports and

opinion pieces in mainstream

American media.

For weeks, Romney faced a spir-

ited challenge from Newt

Gingrich, the former Speaker of

the US House of Representatives.

But ahead of the Iowa Caucus,

Gingrich is fast losing the momen-

tum. Latest opinion polls showed

Romney neck-in-neck with the

Texas Rep. Ron Paul, with former

Pennsylvania Senator Rick

Santorum also surging.

The Texas Governor, Rick Perry,

supported by Bobby Jindal, the

Indian American Governor of

Louisiana, is trailing yet consid-

ered to be a dark horse. Not to for-

get Minnesota Rep Michele

Bachmann, who till a few months

ago was considered to be posing a

challenge to Romney being the

inevitable GOP nominee.

Jon Huntsman, the former Utah

Governor, who served two years as

the US Ambassador to China

under the Obama Administration,

is fighting hard to stay in the race

but keeps appearing at the bottom

of opinion polls. Huntsman, who

has an adopted daughter from

India, has not given up hope

though, and awaits lady luck to

improve his chances in the New

Year.

And that brings us back to

Romney, 64, who has a habit of

sloughing off challenges. When

Herman Cain was being talked

about as the chief rival to Romney,

sex scandal hit and the former

Godfather’s Pizza chief had to

withdraw his candidature. When

Gingrich came up from behind,

Romney received a boost to his

Continued on page 54

By Ashok Ojha/SATimes

As the year 2011 came to an

end and the sun rose over

the skies of 2012,

President Barack Obama got busy

preparing for the fierce battle

ahead with the Republicans and

whosoever emerges their presiden-

tial nominee for the November

election. His main challenge is to

regain the support of middle class

Americans who voted for him in

2008 n but have moved away as a

result of uncertain economic tides

adversely affecting the country.

The middle class has been truly

struggling for survival in an econ-

omy that Obama couldn’t revive in

the first three years of his tenure.

To win a second term in office, he

has to quickly devise strategies to

regain confidence of middle

America and of Independent vot-

ers. Obama’s White House has to

strive to maintain a balance of

power with his opponents on

Capitol Hill, ruled by the

Republicans since 2010.

Obama entered the Oval Office

at a time when America was

already facing the worst recession

in over two decades. The country

was on verge of collapse when he

decided to infuse three trillion dol-

lars in big industries, such as auto

and insurance, a decision that was

vehemently opposed by

Republicans. Obama persisted on

his path to make financial market

change its ways. He waged war

against big bonuses for Wall Street

executives but couldn’t block the

tax credit policies initiated during

the Bush Administration. Obama

agreed to extend the expiring Bush

era tax cuts for the rich for another

two years. This step was seen as

an outright surrender by his sup-

porters. For Obama’s advisors,

however, this compromise was

necessary to win over his oppo-

nents who could be pressed to

favor the extension of unemploy-

ment aid and extending the pay

roll tax cut.

Obama got involved in a perni-

cious struggle in 2011 with the

Republicans in US Congress fol-

lowing GOP taking control of the

House of Representatives after a

surprise win in the mid-term elec-

tion of 2010. The President made

so many compromises last year

that his Democrat supporters

began to worry if he was the same

man who posed a defiant image

during his 2008 presidential cam-

paign. His opponents were bent

upon flexing their muscles to push

into a corner the man they have

loved to hate. Obama’s influence

was considerably curtailed and so

was his prospect to win the White

House in 2012.

But by the year-end, Obama put

checks on his propensity to com-

promise – finally shelving his

promise to be a bipartisan presi-

dent. Standing for the common

man facing economic hardships,

he challenged the Congress to vote

for extending the pay roll tax cut

bill to help 160 million workers

and several million jobless

Americans. The bill was passed by

the Senate a week before the

Christmas holidays, but the House

Republicans decided to block it. In

no mood to compromise this time,

Obama asked the lawmakers not to

go on Christmas vacation without

voting to pass the bill. The

Republicans realized that blocking

the bill meant unpopularity for

them and a much needed victory

for President Obama. Succumbing

to pressure of public opinion,

Republicans approved the bill that

Obama signed a day before the

Christmas weekend. He won a tac-

tical victory to end the year. Under

the deal, the employee’s share of

the Social Security payroll tax will

stay at 4.2 percent of wages till

February 29, 2012. The unemploy-

ment insurance benefits will also

continue until February. In addi-

tion, Medicare payment rate to

doctors will not change.

The latest victory of Obama’s

tax cut bill reflects his clarity of

policy, that the economy has to be

sustainable enough to create jobs,

enabling people to spend and

employers to hire. The lesson of

2011 is that the President can res-

urrect his likeable personality if he

stood for his ideals undeterred

against the forces out to destroy

him.

Democrats are now celebrating

the rare victory that has come

Obama’s way. His approval rating

has improved as have his

prospects of winning the 2012

presidential race, helped along by

the fact that the Republicans have

not yet coalesced around one can-

didate.ed. On November 6, 2012

people across the country will cast

their votes for the next president.

Analysts believe that the incum-

bent president has to find a re-

election narrative just like he did

in his first presidential campaign.

His slogan for health care reform

was universally liked by the voters

then. He fulfilled that promise

when he persuaded the Congress

to pass the bill that is set to come

in effect in 2014. This time, how-

ever, Obama lacks a story line to

project his strength as contrasted

with whoever emerges as the

Republican nominee.

During 2011 when Obama’s

approval ratings were in freefall,

political pundits projected 2012 as

the year of Republican triumph.

His Affordable Health Care Act to

benefit 40 million Americans who

lived without health insurance,

withdrawing US forces from Iraq

as he’d promised, and eliminating

Osama bin Laden were high

points, but the Republicans played

all tricks to discredit him. The

healthcare bill has been challenged

in courts. Rumors questioning his

citizenship were floated again and

Obama’s family name remained a

topic of debate for months. Many

conservatives termed him as a rad-

ical socialist who was undermin-

ing American security.

Fact is, Obama took huge risks

for protecting US interests. Those

risks paid dividends. He approved

the assault on Osama bin Laden’s

compound in Pakistan that was a

spectacular success. He was able

to convince NATO to take a lead

in overthrowing Muammar

Qaddafi thus keeping US forces

away from another theater of war.

Fittingly, the President received

compliments for these tactical

moves.

So what fate awaits Obama in

2012? Who will be his rival in the

November election? Will it be

Rick Perry, a conservative true

believer, or Mitt Romney who

implemented a healthcare bill in

Massachusetts identical to

Obama’s bill? What about Newt

Gingrich who saw a surprising

upsurge in his popularity in recent

weeks? Can we say for sure that

any of these candidates will prove

to be a better president than

Obama? How will Obama prove

that he is better than a Romney or

a Gingrich? He was opposed to the

policies of George W. Bush. The

Republicans are opposed to

Obama’s economic policies. His

intervention to lift the economy

made him unpopular with many

who saw it as increasing the size

of government instead of decreas-

ing it. Health of the economy may

play a decisive role. If the econo-

my does show improvement in

coming months, Obama’s chances

will brighten.

The still uncertain state of the

economy might have made Obama

a vulnerable incumbent, but no

one can dispute that he withstood

difficult times while demonstrat-

ing strong determination to lead

America.

President Obama will have to come up with a new narrative to winback confidence of middle America.

The nomination is still wide open. But all aspirants for the GOP presidential ticket have pilloriedthe incumbent Obama and whoever emerges the candidate is bound to give him a tough fight.

Romney leads the Republican field - for now

Into the heart of US Affairs

Mitt Romney was front runnerdays before the crucial Iowacaucuses, but Rick Perry or

Newt Gingrich can still pip himto the post.

By Ashok Ojha/SATimes

Nikki Haley, the Indian American

Governor of South Carolina, has

drawn the applause of conserva-

tives for her achievements. Even though

her ethnicity was raked up as an issue in

the run up to her election as first woman

Governor, Haley was elected in 2010

with the strong backing of the Tea Party

and support from Sarah Palin. She was

backed by Mitt Romney in her cam-

paign. Recently Haley endorsed Mitt

Romney for nomination as the GOP

presidential candidate for 2012 primary.

A strong critic of President Obama’s

policies, Haley is determined to become

the darling of Republicans. She hailed

Romney as the right person to get

America back on track.

During her one-year tenure, Haley

made a number of landmark decisions

that reflect her stand against undocu-

mented immigrants. South Carolina is

one of five states that passed laws

requiring some form of ID to be shown

by voters at polling stations. The law

makes it a crime in South Carolina to

not carry official identification, like a

driver’s license or immigration docu-

ments. Businesses in South Carolina are

required to check the citizenship status

of employees and job applicants using

the federal E-verify database.

The Justice Department blocked the

implementation of South Carolina’s

voter ID law, the first voter ID law to be

rejected by the federal government in

nearly 20 years. Democrats contended

that such laws were actually designed to

cut minority votes which traditionally go

to Democrat candidates. Department of

Justice and civil rights groups looked at

these anti-immigrant bills as violations

to the supremacy clause because the fed-

eral government holds the constitutional

right to create and enforce immigration

laws.

The questions being asked in the

Indian community is, whether Nikki

Haley has forgotten her roots as an

immigrant? Liberal politicians and com-

mon folk are surprised that Haley, the

daughter of Indian immigrants, took a

hard-line stand on immigration issues.

During her poll campaign she praised

Arizona’s immigration policies and later

became an architect of an Illegal

Immigration Enforcement Unit with

harsh provisions to be enforced by the

police.

Originally named Nimrata Randhawa,

whose parents emigrated from India,

Haley indicated that her heritage helped

her get beyond race. Married to a White

American, Nikki Haley is a Republican

who has been attacked by Democrats in

the past for listing her race as ‘White’ on

her voter registration form, which

though was not a deterrent for her Indian

American donors and supporters. The

Indian American community, whose

allegiance is widely divided between the

Democrats and Republicans, has consid-

ered it a matter of great pride for a com-

munity to see one of its own rise to the

level of Governor. She has been the sec-

ond, after Bobby Jindal did the unthink-

able and became Governor in Louisiana

in 2008 and was a shoo-in for his second

term. The fact that more and more

Indian Americans are leaning towards

the Republican Party was also obvious

when a cross-section of influential com-

munity folks attended a fund raising

event for Nikki Haley in New Jersey.

The population of Indian Americans in

USA exceeds 2.5 million. As increasing

number of second generation Indians vie

for political positions, their presence in

both Democratic and Republican parties

augurs well for the community.

Prominent members of the Indian

community around the country felt

proud when Haley was sworn as

Governor in South Carolina. She is con-

sidered as an inspiration for the younger

generation to join the political main-

stream in the country. She is the new

face of the conservative Republican

Party supported by a cross section of the

Indian community which is growing in

influence.

“You don't wear your race or ethnicity

on your sleeve, but you haven't shied

away from it either”, she once said

reminding her audience that one always

speaks of his or her immigrant roots and

the hard work parents put in including

the values they inculcated. Converting to

Christianity was, however, one of her

acts that she doesn’t like to talk much

about.

Haley was declared ‘Person of the

Year 2010’ by India Abroad at an event

in New year where hundreds of Indian

Americans celebrated her journey to the

corridors of power. She has acknowl-

edged that Indians in USA have worked

hard enough to be in a position to give

back to society. The community is most

educated and prosperous, a fact she feels

proud of. On their part, influential

Indian Americans never shy away from

supporting powerful politicians, irre-

spective of their roots or origin or party

affiliation. Nikki Haley has to be seen as

not opposing the immigrants’ cause in a

country made great by waves of immi-

grants.

Nikki Haley of South Carolina, first female Indian American governor.

54

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

How proud are Indian Americans of Nikki Haley?Into the heart of US Affairs

Otherwise proud of her ascendancy in politics, Indian Americans -- not unlike liberal politicians -- are surprised that Haley, the daughter of Indian

immigrants, took a hard-line stand on immigration issues.

Continued from page 52campaign with the South Carolina

Governor, Indian American Nikki

Haley endorsing him. Even former

President George H.W. Bush came

out in his support. Haley, a rising

star of the Republican Party, has a

wide nationwide appeal especially

among the Tea Party activists.

Romney received another shot in

the arm when his prime rival

Gingrich failed to appear on the

Virginia ballot of March 6, for want

of sufficient signatures. Perry too

has missed the bus in Virginia.

According to the latest Gallup

Poll, Romney was leading Gingrich

nationwide by four points, and

CNN / Opinion Research saw the

two running neck and neck. A few

days ahead of the crucial Iowa

Caucus, an NBC News-Marxist

poll showed Romney and Ron Paul

in the lead, Gingrich’s number slid-

ing and Santorum and Perry surg-

ing.

Only time would tell who among

these seven candidates finally

clinches the Republican nomina-

tion, but Romney campaign,

encouraged by the latest opinion

polls, has already started attacking

the Democratic incumbent Barack

Obama, who created history when

he was sworn in as the first non-

White President of the United

States. Riding on his mesmerizing

slogan of “Yes We Can” and an

anti-Bush wave, he notched a land-

slide victory against the

Republican nominee, Senator John

McCain.

Obama does not seem to be as

comfortably placed as he was when

he assumed office in January 200.

High unemployment rate and

implacable economic crisis even

after three years of his rule have

dented his popularity and image.

But opinion polls still suggest that

he has an edge over the leading

Republican presidential aspirants.

“Americans have slightly more

confidence in President Obama and

the Democrats in Congress (41 per-

cent) than in the Republicans in

Congress (34 percent) when it

comes to the looming debate on

what the government should do

about a more permanent extension

of payroll tax cuts and unemploy-

ment benefits,” Gallup said.

Romney, sensing victory at the

end of the rigorous primaries sea-

son, has this week released a new

TV advertisement attacking the US

President.

“We still believe in an America

that brings out the best in all of us –

that challenges each of us to be bet-

ter and bigger than ourselves,”

Romney said. “It’s time for this

pessimistic president to step aside

and let American optimism that

built this greatest nation on Earth

build a greater future for our chil-

dren,” Romney said in his cam-

paign advertisement.

Finding Obama vulnerable, other

Republican aspirants too have been

attacking him. That includes

Gingrich who incidentally blamed

the negative campaign against him

by his Republican rivals for a drop

in his popularity ratings.

“When President Obama prom-

ised 'change,' most that voted for

him did not realize that the change

he was promising was European

style socialism. We have seen the

results of his indulgence. The dam-

age wrought in just three short

years has set us on a path to perma-

nent economic malaise,”

Gingrich’s campaign manager

Michael Krull said on the New

Year eve.

Gail Gitcho, Romney communi-

cations director, said in the same

vein, “Exactly four years ago in

Iowa, Barack Obama promised he

would change Washington, end the

gridlock, and repair the country.

Today, in the midst of a jobs crisis

and an economy that is failing mil-

lions of Americans, it is clear that

the President has not kept that

promise. We agree with Candidate

Obama – we simply can’t afford

four more years of the same argu-

ments with the same lack of

results.”

Like her rivals, Bachmann went

on a 10-day Iowa tour and had this

to say. "I've met thousands of

Iowans across this great state, and

each stop confirmed why I am in

this race – to stand up for

Americans who are tired of

President Obama's liberal policies,

who are tired of Washington rheto-

ric and who want real change not

promises for their families,"

Bachmann said. "I understand

their concerns and I will bring their

voices to the White House," she

promised.

So, whoever emerges the GOP

challenge to Obama is certain to

give him a tough fight.

55

Top 50 Coolest Desis of 2011

By Hiral Dholakia-Dave

What a year, what a year! A

struggling economy, Osama's

killing, Madoff and

Rajaratnam's arrests, loss of the iconic

Steve Jobs, a crumbling Eurozone - as if

hurricane Irene wasn't enough to make

the world around us go topsy-turvy!

Yet the quest for all that is better never

stops. From cleaning the corrupt system

to charting unknown territories there are

those who are setting a precedent and

raising the bar. Year after year we have

presented the list of the best and the

brightest Desis who went on to rock the

mainstream. Old habits die hard and here

we are at it again!!

To our pleasant surprise, the highlight

of our list this year turns out to be a

record number of women aboard from a

variety of fields, and, the 74 year young

Anna Hazare... representing the two so-

called weaker sections of society who

have emerged as big time achievers. A

lady commander of a US warship, a DJ

who had the White House rock to

bhangra beats, a face of a global cosmet-

ic house, a former Marine Corps veteran,

a beauty goddess, a key Obama fundrais-

er, a business school dean - this is how

diverse and impactful it became.

Read on and get inspired!1. Anna Hazare

Location: India

Who is He: Social Activist

Why is He Cool: He

is the face of India's

fight against corrup-

tion. This 74 years

young man had the

guts to take on the sys-

tem.

He led a hunger strike

in April this year for implementation of

the Jan Lokpal bill, the anti-corruption

bill drfted by his team of crusaders that

demands establishment of a stronger

ombudsman than envisioned by the gov-

ernment.

The mass movement he created is

rumored to have partly inspired the

Occupy Wall Street protests.

What's Next: He is now fighting for

the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the par-

liament before the end of the Winter

Session.

Cool Fun Fact: Apart from being an

activist most of his life, this social do-

gooder was conferred the Padma

Bhushan by the government of India for

his efforts to turn around a once impov-

erished, drought prone village of Ralegan

Siddhi, in Ahmednagar district of

Maharashtra into a model village of

development. We wish Anna the best in

the coming years and hope his efforts do

not go in vain. Let us all follow his lead.

2. Shahid KhanLocation: Urbana, IL

Who is He: Businessman and sports

buff

Why is He Cool: He's buying NFL's

Jacksonville Jaguars

reportedly for $760

million! Our guess is

he's the first Desi to

own an NFL team.

Isn't that cool enough?

What's Next: We

hope to see Mr. Khan

in the owner's box watch-

ing his Jaguars in action.

Cool Fun Fact: Khan, 60, a native of

Pakistan, is owner of auto parts maker

Flex-N-Gate. Incorporated in 1956 to

produce stock racks for pick-up trucks it

today makes bumpers, pedals, grills,

hinges and other auto parts for Chrysler,

Ford, Honda, BMW and other carmak-

ers. It employs more than 10,000 associ-

ates in 48 states, with annual sales of $3

billion. Way to go Pakistani-American

businessman, talk about the American

dream!

3. Preet Bharara Location: New York

Who is He: US Attorney for Southern

District of New York,

an office that is con-

sidered perhaps the

most prestigious feder-

al prosecutor's post

outside Washington.

Why is He Cool: As

the chief federal prose-

cutor in Manhattan,

Bharara led a widespread crackdown

against Raj Rajaratnam and Co. in the

largest insider trading case on Wall Street

and the prosecution of Bernard L.

Madoff for his multibillion-dollar Ponzi

scheme.

What's Next: Big Daddy is on the

prowl bad guys. You've been warned!

Cool Fun Fact: He is also known as

"The Sheriff of Wall Street" for his

crackdown on white collar crimes. His

budget is $50 million but the office has

been able to generate a return of $800

million for the U.S. Treasury. This guy

should've been heading the Super

Committee!

4. Freida Pinto Location: Los Angeles

Who is She: Actress

Why is She Cool: She gave us two box

office hits this year.

Rise of the Planet of

the Apes opposite

James Franco and

Immortals in which

she played the oracle

priestess Phaedra.

Quite an achievement

for someone who started

just three years back.

What's Next: In December, her one

more movie is set to release titled Black

Gold, which is directed by Jean-Jacques

Annaud. She plays Princess Lallah and

stars Tahar Rahim, Mark Strong and

Antonio Banderas.

Cool Fun Fact: She just moved into a

$1.5 million rental home in Santa

Monica with boyfriend Dev Patel. They

met on the sets of academy winner

Slumdog Millionaire in 2008 - remember

that movie?

5. Salman Khan Location: California

Who is He: Founder, Khan Academy, a

not-for-profit org which

provides world-class

education online for

free.

Why is He Cool: In

2004, Salman, a

Harvard and MIT

alumni and a hedge

fund analyst, began post-

ing math tutorials on YouTube. Since, he

has posted more than 2700 video tutori-

als, which are viewed nearly 100,000

times around the world each day. It is the

most-used educational video repository

on the Internet with over 86,568,911 mil-

lion lessons delivered to-date.

What's Next: Khan academy has

received generous support from people

such as Reed Hastings, founder, Netflix,

Scott Cook, co-founder, Intuit, Google,

Bill Gates and the most recent influx of

cash came as a $5 million donation from

the O'Sullivan Foundation. The fund will

be diverted in hiring more teachers and

expanding the subjects it teaches, on

"crowdsourcing," or collecting teaching

ideas from people all over the world and

on testing other ways of teaching, mean-

ing offline, in a classroom

Cool Fun Fact: Bill Gates claims to

use the Khan Academy Exercise

Software to teach his own children.

6. Amir Khan Location: Bolton, UK

Who is He: A Boxer

Why is He Cool: Amir Khan won

British Boxing Board of

Control's "Britain

Boxer of the Year"

award for his 2011

successes over Paul

McCloskey and high-

profile American Zab

Judah.

What's Next: He's already on his quest

to be rated the world's leading boxer at

any weight. Many of boxing's most influ-

ential figures believe the 25-year-old

from Bolton has the talent and charisma

to be viewed by Americans in the same

bracket as Floyd Mayweather and

Manny Pacquiao.

Cool Fun Fact: And who do you think

has the ability to crack up this 2004

Silver Medal Olympian? Our very own

Russell Peters! Amir enjoys Russell's

DVDs and watches them when not into

his rigorous training.

7. Mindy KalingLocation: Los Angeles

Who is She: Actress, comedian, writer

and producer

Why is She Cool: Mindy signed a

seven figure deal with

NBC on being promot-

ed as Executive

Producer of hit sitcom

"The Office." And

she's out with her new

book 'Is Everyone

Hanging Out Without

Me? (And Other Concerns).' Big deal, it

sure is.

What's Next: We heard that much as

she wants to have her own TV show and

get married, Mindy aspires to have a

fashion line and a network of her own

and be like a combination of Oprah and

Gwen Stefani. We say Amen!

Cool Fun Fact: Mindy started out on

The Office as a producer and was pro-

moted to a co-executive producer in

2008. During that time, she was respon-

sible for penning some of the show's

most memorable episodes, most notably

Jim and Pam's Emmy nominated wed-

ding ep "Niagara" (co-written by fellow

EP Greg Daniels).

8. Aziz Ansari Location: New York

Who is He: Comedian

Why is He Cool: His brand of comedy

got one more major

thumbs up when he

was dubbed "The

Funniest Man Under

30" and featured on

the back cover of the

September issue of

Rolling Stone maga-

zine. He was called "leader of comedy's

new wave" and we couldn't agree more.

He also starred in the film "30 Minutes

or Less."

What's Next: He is featuring in the

next "Ice Age" film lending voice to a

prehistoric rabbit, which is part of a

pirate gang. I'm laughing already!

Cool Fun Fact: He's appeared in

"Funny People," "Get Him to the Greek"

and stars in "Parks and Recreation" on

NBC. Way to go brown guy!

9.Tarsem Singh Dhandwar Location: London &

Los Angeles

Who is He: Director

Why is He Cool:

His visually-stunning

epic 3D adventure

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

DesiClub.com is a portal showcasing South Asian content and providing services to the South Asiandemographic in North America. Its annual Top 50 Coolest Desis list puts a light on the top movers

and shakers from the community in the US, the subcontinent or elsewhere.

"Immortals" opened to a record estimat-

ed haul of $32.2 million in 3,112 loca-

tions in North America and $38 million

internationally in 35 countries.

What's Next: The first official trailer

of his upcoming enchanted, reimagining

of the classic Snow White fairy tale

MIRROR MIRROR, starring Oscar win-

ner Julia Roberts, Lily Collins (The

Blind Side), Armie Hammer (The Social

Network), Sean Bean (Game of Thrones,

The Lord of the Rings) and Nathan Lane

(The Lion King, The Birdcage), has pre-

miered in theaters nationwide. It releases

in theaters across North America this

coming spring on March 16, 2012.

Cool Fun Fact: Tarsem attended Hans

Raj College, Delhi and is a graduate of

the Art Center College of Design,

California.

10. Shah Rukh KhanLocation: Mumbai

Who is He: Actor, producer, marketing

maestro

Why is He Cool: India's first most

expensive sci fi movie

Ra.One didn't exactly

set the box-office on

fire on the first day but

much as we say that

hats off to the super-

star for pulling off the

most ubiquitous, over-

the-top promotional campaign in the his-

tory of Indian cinema. The marketing

blitzkrieg that he unleashed with tie-ins

worth millions is bound to see the movie

rake in profits in the long run despite a

weak storyline.

What's Next: He's the King Khan.

Wonder what else can get any bigger for

him than this? Surprise us Mr. Khan.

Cool Fun Fact: Within 24 hours of

being launched, the Ra.One social online

game was the most downloaded game in

India. It was also the most downloaded

game in Sri Lanka, Pakistan and

Malaysia.

11. Subhash Chandra Location: Mumbai

Who is He: Media baron, ZEE TV

Founder

Why is He Cool: He

has been honored with

2011 International

Emmy Directorate

award for his contribu-

tion to India's televi-

sion industry. He is the

first Indian recipient of the award.

What's Next: The award puts India's

media industry on the map and raises the

profile of India with regards to its media

and content. And Zee sure leads the

bunch. The bar has been raised!

Cool Fun Fact: Chandra's Essel group

launched India's first satellite television

channel, Zee, in the early 90s, a develop-

ment that sparked a revolution in India's

television industry.

12. Vinod Khosla Location: California

Who is He: A venture capitalist and

do-gooder

Why is He Cool: He

pledged half of his for-

tune to charity either

during his lifetime or

after death. As per

Forbes, Khosla's net

worth was USD 1.4 bil-

lion in March this year.

What's Next: Khosla is keenly inter-

ested in funding technologies that can be

widely adopted in fast-growing India and

China, what he regularly refers to as the

"Chindia test." Entrepreneurs, are you

listening?

Cool Fun Fact: 56-year-old Khosla is

Silicon Valley's most prominent "green"

venture capitalist and a dominant person-

ality in the cleantech community. A co-

founder of Sun Microsystems, Khosla

was a general partner at VC firm Kleiner

Perkins Caufield & Byers before striking

out on his own with Khosla Ventures in

2004.

13. Salil MehtaLocation: New York

Who is He: COO and CFO of

NBCUniversal's Entertainment & Digital

Why is He Cool: He was appointed

Chief Operating Officer

and Chief Financial

Officer of

N B C U n i v e r s a l ' s

Entertainment &

Digital Networks and

Integrated Media divi-

sion in April 2011.

What's Next: In this role, Mehta is

responsible for leading NBCU's global

business strategy and corporate develop-

ment activities, including identifying

industry trends and investment opportu-

nities and continuing to shift the compa-

ny's portfolio toward high-growth areas.

He also has executive responsibility for

the company's Digital Media team.

Cool Fun Fact: His promotion comes

as evidence that the exec, who joined

NBCU from ESPN in 2008, is a rising

star who is held in regard by the top

brass at Comcast Corp. He also serves on

the Board of the Make-A-Wish

Foundation of America.

14. Vikram Pandit Location: New York

Who is He: Citigroup CEO

Why is He Cool: He

came aboard in 2007

when the financial cri-

sis began, chose a $1

pay packet in 2010 and

turned around the for-

tunes of the bank

which was on its brink

despite two government bailouts.

What's Next: Given the state of eco-

nomic affairs, Pandit still has a long way

ahead. We wish him good luck.

Cool Fun Fact: At Citi, Pandit has

made Responsible Finance a priority.

From innovative foreclosure prevention

programs that have kept more than

1,000,000 Americans in their homes to a

new, disciplined approach to risk man-

agement, Responsible Finance is being

engrained throughout Citi's practices and

culture.

15. Siddhartha MukherjeeLocation: New York

Who is He: Oncologist and award win-

ning science writer

Why is He Cool: His book 'The

Emperor of All

Maladies: A Biography

of Cancer' won the

prestigious 2011

Pulitzer prize in the

general non-fiction

category.

What's Next:

Another book. Medical backdrop.

Another bestseller, we hope.

Cool Fun Fact: The book has been

listed 75th among Time magazine's "All-

Time 100 Best Nonfiction Books."

16. Bela Bajaria Location: Los Angeles

Who is She: Executive Vice President,

Universal Television

Why is She Cool: She is one of only a

few female executives

of Indian descent

working in

Hollywood. In August,

she took her new posi-

tion at Universal

Television, NBC's sis-

ter studio. She's ranked

42nd in The Hollywood Reporter's 2011

Women in Entertainment Power 100 list.

What's Next: Since taking over,

Bajaria has assembled a team, rebranded

the studio and sold shows at all of the

broadcast networks.

Cool Fun Fact: She's a super mom

too. The mother of three spends whatever

downtime she has away from work with

her writer husband and family: doing

math with her 10-year-old daughter,

Rami; playing soccer with 8-year-old

Sofia; immersing herself in the world of

superheroes with her 4-year-old son,

Enzo; and assisting her mother, who runs

a nonprofit domestic violence shelter in

Los Angeles.

17. Jay DabhiLocation: New York

Who is He: Deejay

Why is He Cool:

Along with deejaying

around the world, run-

ning a dance music

label and producing

some awesome music,

he's grabbed a main-

stream 92.3 NowFM

radio slot.

What's Next: We can expect only the

best from someone dubbed as "America's

#1 South Asian DJ"!

Cool Fun Fact: Queens native Jay

Dabhi (a.k.a. Lil' Jay) began deejaying at

the age of 14 and acquired his nickname

from the days when he stood atop milk

crates to reach the turntables.

18. Melanie Kannokada Location: Los Angeles

Who is She: A self confessed engi-

neering geek turned

actress, model, veejay,

do-gooder and former

Miss India America

Why is She Cool:

Melanie is the chosen

face of international

brands such as Bare

Escentuals, NesCafe, Herbal Essences,

Crocs, Verizon, LG and Glamour

Magazine. And you definitely spotted

her in the Bud Light commercial aired

during the NFL season.

What's Next: Within weeks of her

move to LA she grabbed some noticeable

guest roles on TV, her debut film

'Bicycle Bride' won the best feature film

award at the South Appalachian Film

Festival and she was nominated Best

Actress, her second film Love Lies and

Seeta is set for a summer release and she

hosts Sony's international TV series In

the Qube aired in over 60 countries! Do

we need to say anything more? This desi

lass is all set for a long haul, we bet!

Cool Fun Fact: She's a registered bone

marrow donor and along with few col-

lege colleagues is involved in building a

hospital to serve over 100,000 villagers

in rural Jharkhand, India. Melanie also

graced the cover of our 2008 swimsuit

calendar.

19. Sohail MohammedLocation: New Jersey

Who is He: Superior Court Judge,

New Jersey

Why is He Cool: He

is the first Indian-

American and the sec-

ond Muslim to

become a state

Superior Court judge

in New Jersey.

What's Next: Even more prominent

appointments and headlines, hopefully.

Cool Fun Fact: Trained as an engineer

he served as a jury foreman and stuck

around after the trial for a long talk with

Judge Robert J. Passero. That conversa-

tion led him to pursue a career in law and

to obtain a degree at Seton Hall

University and go on to a career as an

immigration lawyer. Talk about a career

change!

20. Anshu JainLocation: London

Who is He: The

head of Deutsche

Bank's investment

banking division

Why is He Cool: In

56

Top 50 Coolest Desis of 2011

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

May 2012 he will assume duties as the

Co-CEO of the bank. Deutsche Bank is

the fourth largest investment bank in the

world and Germany's largest.

What's Next: In all probability he may

be the only one leading it at some point

in the future. Now how better can it get?

Cool Fun Fact: The investment bank-

ing business suffered heavy losses tied to

subprime mortgages, pushing Deutsche

Bank into the red in 2008. Jain revamped

the division, returning it to profits the

very next year. This led to his induction

into the expanded management board.

He was made sole head in 2010 of the

corporate and investment bank, business-

es that account for most of Deutsche

Bank's revenues and profits.

21. Shefali Razdan Duggal Location: San Francisco

Who is She: Political Activist

Why is She Cool: She's among the top

fundraisers for

President Obama's re-

election campaign.

Shefali has raised

between $50,000 -

$100,000.

What's Next: A

White House appoint-

ment after the 2012 re-election of the

Prez, we hope.

Cool Fun Fact: She was actively

involved in Kamala Harris's campaign,

previously worked with Senator Hillary

Clinton's Presidential campaign and was

also Executive Director of Indus Women

Leaders, a national South Asian women's

organization.

22. Anu BhagwatiLocation: New York

Who is She: Executive Director,

Service Women's Action Network

(SWAN)

Why is She Cool: Through SWAN, a

human rights watchdog,

she joined in support

of a lawsuit filed

against Secretary of

Defense Robert Gates

and former Secretary

of Defense Donald

Rumsfeld, for failure

to make measurable

progress and marked improvement to the

Pentagon's record of tolerating sexual

abuse and rape. She's fighting for the

cause of challenges faced by women in

the military, including Military Sexual

Trauma, equal opportunity violations, the

changing roles of women in combat, the

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and the

VA health care and benefits system.

What's Next: Expect more ground-

breaking work from this daughter of

illustrious parents - Dr. Jagdish and

Padma Bhagwati.

Cool Fun Fact: Anu is a Marine Corps

veteran who left the service at the rank of

Captain in 2004. She was the second

woman to complete the Marine Corps

Martial Arts Program instructor trainer

school, earning a black belt in close com-

bat techniques. Look out!

23. DJ Rekha Location: New York

Who is She: Musician, Disc Jockey,

Producer, Curator and Activist

Why is She Cool: For having the

White House rock to

Bhangra beats. In

April, she was on the

celebrity guest list at

the White House

Easter Eggroll event.

Later in the year she

rocked the East Room

party to celebrate Asian

American Pacific Islander Heritage

month. The invitation is seen as recogni-

tion of years of hard work during which

Rekha has helped popularize "bhangra"

and Indian culture in the United States.

What's Next: On 11.11.2011 she

launched her record label Beat Bazaar

Music with Bobby Friction, Geko Jones,

Eddie Stats, Raje Shwari, Ami Dang, and

Zuzuka Poderosa - all performing. Here's

wishing a smashing success to Rekha for

2012!

Cool Fun Fact: This is what the Prez

had to say about our desi girl, "I want to

thank DJ Rekha who's been spinning a

little East Room Bhangra for everybody

mixing a hip-hop beat with the sounds of

her heritage; making a uniquely

American sound that may not have been

heard in the White House before." That's

for sure! This isn't Rekha's first time on

this list and we're pretty sure it won't be

the last.

24. Floyd Cardoz Location: New York

Who is He: Chef

Why is He Cool: He defeated the likes

of Traci Des Jardins

and Mary Sue

Milliken for first

place in the third sea-

son of Top Chef

Masters, won the

$100,000 prize with a

simple upma dish!

Also, the Mumbai

born Master Chef

donated his winnings

to the Young Scientists

Cancer Research Fund at New York's

Mount Sinai School of Medicine in

memory of his father who died of cancer.

What's Next: Cardoz will head anoth-

er Danny Meyer production, North End

American Grill in Battery Park City,

New York.

Cool Fun Fact: By winning, Cardoz

joined the ranks of better-known chefs

Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill in

Chicago and Marcus Samuelsson of Red

Rooster and formerly Aquavit, both in

New York, who won second and third

seasons respectively.

25. Sunidhi Chauhan Location: Mumbai

Who is She: Playback singer

Why is She Cool: She was part of an

international album

titled Euphoria where

she crooned a love

duet titled 'Heartbeat'

with none other than

Latino pop star

Enrique Iglesias for

the album.

What's Next: She has

sung more than 2000 songs! Been nomi-

nated for 14 Filmfare Awards, won 3 of

them, won two Star Screen Awards, two

IIFA Awards and one Zee Cine Award.

And now with this international collabo-

ration there is no stopping this

Bollywood singer known for her seduc-

tive voice.

Cool Fun Fact: She was the first

choice for the song for her versatility and

oomph factor.

26. Poorna Jagannathan Location: Mumbai

Who is She: Actress

27. RDB Location: Canada & UK

Who are They: RDB (an acronym for

Rhythm, Dhol, Bass) are a Punjabi DJ

production team consisting of three indi-

viduals, Kuly, Manj and Surj.

28. Mannie Sadhra aka Kalikwest Location: Northern California

Who is He: Entrepreneur, Social

Media King, KaliKwest Media Group

(CEO)

29. Vikas Khanna Location: New York & Mumbai

Who is He: Michelin-star Chef and

Restaurateur

30. Bikram Singh Location: New York

Who is He: Punjabi hip hop star

31. Prabal Gurung Location: New York

Who is He: Fashion designer

32. Jai KhannaLocation: Los Angeles

Who is He: Talent manager at

Brillstein Entertainment Partners (BEP).

33. Commander Shanti Sethi Location: Silicon Valley

Who is She: US Navy officer

34. Sri Srinivasan Location: Washington DC

Who is He: Principal Deputy Solicitor

General

35. Pratima Dharm Location: Washington DC

Who is She: Captain in the US Army

and chaplain on the medical staff at

Walter Reed Army Medical Centre

36. Eboo Patel Location: Chicago

Who is He: Founder, Interfaith Youth

Core

37. Rakhi Mehra Location: New Delhi

Who is She: Social entrepreneur

38. Shalini Vadhera Location: California

Who is She: Beauty expert

39. Naeem Khan Location: New York

Who is He: Fashion designer

40. Vini Nathan Location: Alabama

Who is She: Dean, College of

Architecture, Design and Construction at

Auburn University

41. Upinder Singh Randhawa Location: Birmingham

Who is He: Radio and TV presenter

42. Ammar Malik Location: Virginia & New York

Who is He: Songwriter, Singer

43. Neeli Bendapudi Location: Lawrence, Kansas

Who is She: A scholar of business

practices and professor of marketing

44. Arun Majumdar Location: Washington DC

Who is He: The "green czar", materi-

als scientist, engineer

45. Isha H Jain Location: New York

Who is She: Senior at Harvard

University

46. Ameya Pawar Location: Chicago

Who is He: Alderman of 47th ward

47. Lt. Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan Location: Vancouver

Who is He: Commanding Officer,

British Columbia Regiment

48. Sai "Psychuck" Manapragada Location: San Francisco

Who is He: Music Composer,

Keyboardist and Singer

49. Charanams Location: Queens, New York

Who is He: Carnatic Jazz music band

50. Sukanya Roy Location: Pennsylvania

Who is She: An 8th grader at Abington

Heights Middle School won the 2011

Scripps National Spelling Bee

This feature is courtesy DesiClub.

(For detailed list visit www.DesiClub.com )

57

Top 50 Coolest Desis of 2011

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

58

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

The good, the bad and the criminalTop 10 Community Stories

Former Pakistan envoy to US Husain

Haqqani was sacked for allegedly

authoring a memo seeking Washington's

help to prevent a coup in May. The scandal

came to light in October when Pakistani-

American businessman Mansoor Ijaz

claimed that he had delivered the memo to

then US chiefs of staff Admiral Mike

Mullen at Haqqani's behest. The memo

also sought the American help to reign in

the country's powerful military establish-

ment. Ijaz also claimed that Haqqani had

authored the memo on President Asif Ali

orders. Zardari and Haqqani both denied

their involvement. Pakistan's Supreme

Court recently constituted a three-member

judicial commission to probe the matter

that threatens to implicate Zardari.

Pak American businessmanwho triggered

Memogate

Eminent NY based attorney Ravi

Batra was named to New York

State’s ethics committee. The committee

acts as an independent corruption moni-

tor. Batra is the only Indian-American to

be appointed to the powerful 14-member

Joint Commission on Public Ethics

(JCOP). He also represented NY Consul

General Prabhu Dayal when his maid

filed allegations against him and defend-

ed 18-year-old daughter of Indian diplo-

mat Debashish Biswas’s Kritikka who

was charged of "cyber bullying" and

wrongfully accused of sending obscene

and anti-Semitic e-mails to her teacher.

Most recently The Law Firm of Ravi

Batra, P.C., represented In Touch

Concepts in the nationwide Verizon mas-

ter-agent class action lawsuit

Ravi Batraappointed to

ethics committee

Kashmiri separatist leader

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai,

accused of being an ISI agent

and trying to influence

American policy on Kashmir

pleaded guilty on federal

charges of spying for the

Pakistani spy agency. Fai also

acknowledged receiving at

least $3.5 million from the

Pakistani spy agency through

clandestine routes and causing

revenue losses of between

$200,000 to 400,000 to the US

government.

He conceded receiving talk-

ing points from ISI regarding

what to say and write. He

agreed that he received direc-

tions from ISI with regard to

which specific individuals to

invite for KAC conferences

Ghulam Nabi Fai pled guiltyto charges of spying for ISI

Indian-American bil-

lionaire Amar Bose,

founder of the iconic

Bose Corporation,

gave his Alma mater

MIT a majority of the stock of his audio

equipment maker company, a gift that

fulfilled his "long-held desire" to sup-

port education at the prestigious insti-

tute. Massachusetts-based Bose Corp

will continue to remain a private and

independent company and MIT cannot

sell its Bose shares. "Dr.Amar Bose has

given to MIT (where he also taught) the

majority of the stock of Bose

Corporation in the form of non-voting

shares," the Massachusetts Institute of

Technology said in a statement.

Amar Bose gave majority

of company stock to

Alma mater MITThe famed John F Kennedy Center for the

Performing Arts transformed into a veri-

table showcase of Indian culture with The

maximum India festival, from March 1-20

and had nearly 70 performances, exhibitions

and other events, featuring some 500 artistes.

It included a number of dance, music and

theater performances, art and traditional

crafts exhibitions, panel discussions on litera-

ture and cinema, and a feast of exquisite

Indian cuisine. The Indian Council for

Cultural Relations flew eight troupes from

different parts of India, and the Embassy of

India in Washington were co-sponsors of the

festival. One of the highlights of maximum

India was the world premiere of an orchestral

composition by Zakir Hussain, paying tribute

to India. Other the notable performers includ-

ed many of the revered figures in Indian clas-

sical music and dance, such as vocalists

Rajan and Sajan Mishra, violin maestro L.

Subramaniam, mandolin great U. Srinivas,

renowned dancers Madhavi Mudgal, Alarmel

Valli and Shantala Shivalingappa. The festi-

val, which cost $7 million, had been in the

works for three years

Maximum India Festival celebrates Indian

art, culture in Washington

Indian-American Biochemist

Har Gobind Khorana, who

received the Nobel Prize for

research he conducted while at

the University of Wisconsin-

Madison, died Nov. 9 in

Concord, Mass. at age 89. The

work that he did in Wisconsin

from 1960 to 1970 continues to

propel new scientific discoveries

and major advances.

Nobel winner

biochemist

Har Gobind

Khorana passed

awayManhattan Boro Pres declared May 7th

as "Tagore Day in Manhattan” on the

occasion of Nobel Laureate Gurudev

Rabindranath Tagore's 150th birthday. The

event held at Time Square – Broadway

between 43rd and 44th streets had actress

and filmmaker Aparna Sen to receive the

key to Manhattan by Boro Pres Stringer.

The event also featured world premiere of

American singers singing Tagore songs in

English, followed by Bengali chorus with a

dance rendition simultaneously.

Tagore’s 150thbirthdaycelebrated

at Times Square

Hundreds of Indian Americans from New York

to Los Angeles to Seattle kept up the tempo

in support of Indian social activist Anna Hazare's

crusade against corruption in India with fasts,

silent marches and candlelight vigils. NRIs and

Indian expatriates converged at New York's iconic

Times Square , other groups held meetings in Los

Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle. It was a silent

solidarity expressed for Anna under the tag of

"NYC 4 Anna" at the New York rally organized by

a team of volunteers who didn't know each other

till the last day via Twitter, Facebook and other

social media tools. The groups collected signa-

tures for a petition to be submitted to the Indian

government and United Progressive Alliance

chairperson Sonia Gandhi

Indians in US backed Hazare with fasts, candlelight vigils

US federal authorities filed a lawsuit against a

marine services company based in Alabama for

alleged demeaning treatment of 500 Indian employees,

who were forced to live in "substandard" accommoda-

tions and given "unwholesome" food. The lawsuit filed

by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

(EEOC) against Signal International said that these

Indian workers, brought into the country by a separate

entity which is not part of the case, were forced to live

in substandard, unsanitary accommodations. For this,

they were charged an inordinate amount, given

unwholesome food, demeaned by being referred to by

numbers instead of their names, and at least two of them

were retaliated against for complaining about the sub-

standard conditions and discrimination, the EEOC said

US files suit againstAlabama company for

'abusing' Indian workers

Raj Rajaratnam, former

head of the Galleon hedge

fund group was sentenced in

October to 11 years in prison,

ordered to forfeit $53.8 mil-

lion in illegal gains and fined

$10 million. The fines and

monetary sanctions imposed

on him in the criminal and

civil cases total almost $157

million. After getting the

longest prison sentence ever

for insider trading, the hedge

fund tycoon was ordered to

pay a record $92.8 million

penalty in a related civil case.

The fine imposed was the

largest the Securities and

Exchange Commission has

ever assessed against an indi-

vidual

Raj Rajaratnam sentenced toprison for insider trading

South Asians hogged the limelight for lots of reasons, right or wrong --from gettingbehind the bars for frauds, impacting on events back home in India and Pakistan, and

celebrating our own culture and helping an alma mater.

60

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Violence, deaths and some hopefor South Asia

From Osama's killing to NATO attack on Pakistan post that resulted in a new low in India, from SriLankan 'war crimes' to Hillary Clinton in Myanmar, South Asia was abuzz with news. Here is a look:

Relations between Pakistan

and the US, key allies in the

decade-old war on terror,

teetered from one crisis to the next

almost since the beginning of the

year, prompting Prime Minister

Yousuf Raza Gilani to order the

framing of new "terms of engage-

ment" for the US and NATO forces

in Afghanistan.

The biggest international story of

the year was the killing of Osama

Bin Laden in his hideout in

Abbottabad in Pakistan on May 2.

From here began the era of a new

low in US-Pakistan ties.

Coming close on the heels of a

serious diplomatic row between the

US and Pakistan over the issue of

Raymond Davis, an alleged CIA

operative, killing three men in the

busy streets of Pakistan's second

biggest city Lahore in late January,

Pakistan brought frequent - and

hugely unwelcome - spotlight to

the South Asian region during the

year.

In a spat that could spell serious

trouble for the fragile democracy of

the nation, President Asif Ali

Zardari is alleged to have sought

US assistance to quell a possible

military coup in the aftermath of

Osama's killing.

Called the 'Memogate Scandal',

for the unsigned memo - allegedly

crafted by former ambassador to

the US Hussain Haqqani - that was

used to convey the Pakistani

request to the US administration,

the matter has taken the scalp of

Haqqani and dragged both Zardari

and chiefs of military and

Pakistan's secret service agency

Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to

nation's supreme court.

Any hope that the US military

would temper its aggressive

approach towards Pakistan as a

matter of courtesy or tactical need

in Afghanistan was again laid to

rest this week when the Pentagon

insisted that it respected all "rules

of engagement" and "international

law of conflict" during the border

spat in which NATO forces killed

24 Pakistani soldiers on November

26. Washington came close to cast-

ing the incident an act of war. "You

misbehaved and provoked us and

we shot you. If you do that again,

the response will be the same"

might well be the summation of the

US investigation report into the

incident. Pakistan blasted off the

probe report.

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal

grappled with the aftermath of

armed conflicts of recent history.

A tribunal, headed by Nizamul

Haque Nasim and known as

'International Crimes Tribunal', was

formed in March 2010. The tribu-

nal began its first trial in October

this year when it charged Delwar

Hossain Sayedee, a top authority of

Jamaat-e-Islami and allegedly one

of the leaders of a pro-Pakistan

mercenary group, with involvement

in the killing of more than 50 peo-

ple, torching villages and forcibly

converting Hindus to Islam.

In another case involving war in

the SAARC region, the Lessons

Learnt and Reconciliation

Commission (LLRC) of Sri Lanka

submitted its final report to the gov-

ernment on November 20.

Established by President

Mahinda Rajapaksa to look into

alleged war crimes committed dur-

ing the final days of the 26-year-old

civil war in Sri Lanka that ended

with the defeat of the rebel

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

(LTTE) in May 2009, the LLRC -

expectedly - exonerated the Sri

Lankan government of any wrong-

doings between 21 February 2002

to 19 May 2009.

The commission is not recog-

nized by most of the international

rights groups because of its failure

to satisfy the fairness and trans-

parency criteria. But the Sri Lankan

government said the LLRC report

is impartial and objective, and

would be presented verbatim at the

next session of the United Nations

Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

in March 2012.

Up north in the Himalayas, the

erstwhile monarchy and the

presently constitution-less fledgling

democracy of Nepal struggled, for

another year, to draft a new consti-

tution and pave the way for a stable

democracy.

On November 28, members of

parliament extended the Nepalese

parliament's term for a fourth and

final time to allow the drafting of a

new constitution that adheres to a

peace accord brokered between

political parties and the Maoist

rebels, after the civil war ended in

2006.

Despite commanding widespread

respect for his financial acumen

and clean image, Nepal's newly-

elected Maoist Prime Minister

Baburam Bhattarai is facing daunt-

ing challenges as he assumed office

this year after being sworn in by

President Ram Baran Yadav. India

unveiled a $250 million line of

credit for Kathmandu and signed a

crucial investment pact when he

visited New Delhi.

Pak soldiers march among the rows of coffins during a funeral forthe 24 servicemen killed in NATO attack.

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)of Sri Lanka to solve war crime cases is in controversy.

Pak soldiers march among the rows of coffins during a funeral forthe 24 servicemen killed in NATO attack.

Osama bin Laden watches self on TV at his Abbottabad house.

Pakistan Ambassador to the USHusain Haqqani resigned after

the Memogate scandal.

"Trust, but verify." Prime

Minister Manmohan

Singh's watchword on re-

engaging Pakistan found trac-

tion in 2011 and saw the trou-

bled post-26/11 ties turning a

corner, with the leaders of both

countries resolving to write "a

new chapter" in bilateral rela-

tions.

Pakistan's decision to grant

Most Favoured Nation (MFN)

status to India also bodes well

for the relationship and has

opened a new way to deepen

peace stakes through greater

mutual trade and investment. A

team from Pakistan is expected

to visit India soon to record

statements of judicial officials

connected to the Mumbai terror

attack.

India-Pak ties: A year ofbuilding trust

The emerging civil society

in Myanmar (earlier

Burma), confirmed by

the freeing of Nobel Laureate

Aung San Suu Kyi and later by

a visit by US Secretary of State

Hillary Clinton this year, is one

of the positive news stories of

2011.

Aside from encouraging

Myanmar's political reforms,

Clinton's mission was driven by

the desire to patch up with a

country that has long been a

missing link in its broader

engagement in East and

Southeast Asia, where the U.S.

has actively sought to counter

China's rise.

Hillary Clinton in Myanmar

US Secretary of State HillaryClinton with Aung San Suu Kyi.

In Libya, Egypt and Tunisia a war concluded as fast as the revolution spread overpower-

ing the despotic regimes more effectively in just a few months than the bloody military adventure that lasted nearly a decade. From Zuccotti Park in Wall Street to Melbourne 99 percenters are disenchanted by economic in-equality, unemployment and greed. In India, aam admi (citizen) became disillusioned by the government’s manoeuvring of the Lokpal (anti-corruption) Bill.

A unifying force is present in all the above uprisings and the protests and that is the penetration of social media. The year 2011 saw political paroxysms afflicting numerous pockets of the world wielded majorly by so-cial networking. The year 2011 also saw pow-er returning back to people from tyrant gov-ernments. In countries like Morocco, social media has even become the fifth estate since traditional media has failed to play its role.

So is this a new phenomenon? Well social media has been around since a decade but what changed in 2011 is that it has moved in being an agent of social change, by empower-ing its users to becoming social mobilizer and most importantly communicating freely.

The role of social networking tools in po-litical uprising spurned many debates espe-cially in the wake of Egypt’s unrest. Political commentators were amazed to see how sim-ple web 2.0 tools could gather critical masses that eventually topple the governments.

The trigger for the massive uprising was the YouTube video of a Tunisian vegetable seller who burned himself to death in Decem-ber 2010 in protest at his treatment by police. Within seconds the shaky video went viral with pro democracy rebellions venting out anger on social networking sites.

The uprising in Tunisia swiftly spread to Egypt where Hosni Mubarak’s three decade rule came to an end unceremoniously after an 18 day unrest, again triggered by the social media. Libya was not far behind. The pro-democracy fever pitched to highest levels in this country ending the 40 year rule of Muammar Gaddafi.

A recent study at communications department at the University of Washington concluded that Arab spring was really a social media revolu-tion. The researchers mentioned that social me-dia carried a cascade of messages about free-dom and democracy across North Africa and the Middle East and helped raise expectations for the success of political uprising. People with pro-democracy views built extensive social net-works and organized political actions.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201261

The rise of the fifth estateSocial media emerged as the unifying force that led to downfall of dictators

and mass movement against corruption in 2011

Social Media

The web space where people could practice free speech was a unique advan-tage over the traditional me-dia which was controlled by the despotic government.

According to the study, videos featuring protest and political commentary went viral with the top 23 receiving nearly five and a half million views.

Analysts even suggest that government efforts to crack down on social me-dia may have incited more public activism, especially in Egypt.

The social movement in North Africa and Middle

East was in lot many ways different than the Indian protest that started in April 2011. Firstly the movement in Middle East had no one leader to drive the cause like in India- the anti-corruption move-ment was led by Hazare and his team. Secondly the protest in India was not to topple the government but work with the state to bring anti-corruption law.

However there were similarities be-tween the two protests and one of them and perhaps the most important similar-ity was the use of social networking tools to empower and mobilize.

A diminutive septuagenarian Gandhian, a former soldier with a seventh grade edu-cation, a mere community organizer virtu-ally unknown to many Indians before early 2011, Anna Hazare is today the face of the anti-graft fight in India. In what seemed as a one man fight against the system, took its shape into being a new age ‘uprising.’ Social media has played a major role in making Hazare the phenomenon that he has become.

By day two of his fast unto death in April 2011, political commentators wasted no time in drawing fierce parallels with Tahrir Square, and other pro-democracy revolutions in the Middle- East. Television channels began to play up the protests and the following morn-ing saw social media platforms abuzz with chatter. The 74 year old crusader amassed tremendous support for his campaign against corruption on popular networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, You-Tube, and many micro blogging websites.

Within hours, citizens donned the hats of cyber activists created over a 100 fan-pages on Facebook and tagged profile badges on their walls in support of the campaign. Protesters on ground zero- Jan-tar Mantar in Delhi even posted amateur videos of the protest that soon became viral on other social networking sites. Twitter too kept trending the hashtags #annahazare in support of the cause. Pe-titions, cause applications, missed call campaigns, were just a few other plat-forms for support. With growing televi-sion fatigue, this medium soon became a source of information for many- posting photos of themselves at rallies, sharing news articles with friends; circulating petitions became a common activity. The usage was such that Facebook’s recent report released showed Anna Hazare and the Janlokpal bill were mentioned the most in status updates in 2011 in India. A simple auto search on Anna Hazare on Google reveals 61,700,000 results.

So, was social media the driving force in bringing the entire nation on streets? It could well be the classic case of which came first chicken or the egg. Many so-cial media analysts admit that tweet-ing and updating status may have not themselves forced change but they have become one of the most potent tools around to gather support and push the armchair activists out on the ground.

There are many who believe this new medium has delivered a whole new genera-tion of politically conscious, opinionated youngsters. Political opinions traditionally have made for a showdown with the gen-eration Y however it is not the case in 2011 as politically engaged users are not shy of airing their views and sharing news online. These sites have not just empowered the aam admi (common man) but also set a platform for flattened communication pro-cess with everyone having an almost equal opportunity to be heard in the online world. The use of social media in the year 2011 was not limited to Hazare’s anti-graft move-ment. Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar slapgate scandal going viral on youtube and facebook and #idiotkapilsibal

(in response to the government’s efforts to tighten the reins on social networking sites) proclaimed in-numerable updates, tweets and retweets too. Netizens in India accused Indian gov-ernment in trying to force internet com-panies to pre-screen content because of the online leverage that the anti-corrup-tion movement lead by Anna Hazare gar-nered. And even as the anti-corruption campaign enters its

third and the most decisive phase; online support has not plummeted even a bit.

Whether or not social media could bring serious changes in the authoritative Chi-nese regime is yet to be seen however the proliferation of new media has definitely shaken the state undermining its traditional information monopoly. Even though the Chinese netizens did not overtly challenge the state’s legitimacy as in the case of Egypt and to some extent even India but held the government more accountable especially in the case of the high speed rail crash. It became a sensation in the Chinese microb-logging world. An outpour of criticisms at government’s handling of the incident and the larger issue of crony capitalism forced the Chinese state to undertake a compre-hensive safety evaluation and even sack the rail minister. The tyrant government even pledged more transparency.

Despite the overwhelming capacity to con-trol the system, the instantaneity and reach of social media has definitely made life very difficult for governments not accustomed to responding to the demands of the people.

This could be the prime reason why censorship has suddenly become a new ‘Like’ with many of the world leaders be it pro democratic or anti. Egyptian, Chi-nese and now Indian government’s move to shutdown or least screen the content on internet has given some credence to the fact that social media has made its way as a powerful tool to empower, educate and organize the netizens for social causes.

By Jinal Shah/SATimes

Protests against the reign of Hosni Mubarak

The Arab Spring

People took to streets in Libya leading to downfall of Muammar Gaddafi

India’s fight against corruption led by Anna Hazare

It feels like just yesterday when seeming-ly the entire world was abuzz with what

was then considered “rapid” advancements in computer and internet technology. Just 14 years ago, free-trial offers of the newest versions of America Online, for example, would find their way to millions of mailboxes en route to reaping the potential of an ever-growing and ripe market. Six or seven steps would assist the entire dial-up process and clog the phone line while that one online ses-sion would be so awe-inspiring to render it all worthwhile. This would slowly become the leading way that people get their news and search any topic of interest.

Today, the internet is not only available everywhere and landlines not sacrificed—but millions of people are connected through it. From friends interacting with one another to reading actual thoughts and words of a world-famous celebrity or politician and being able to respond to it, this is the wide array of pos-sibility known as social media. Social media is everywhere, here to stay and has revolu-tionized the world as we know it.

Let’s consider just the tip of the iceberg. In one situation, friends attend a party together and memorable pictures are taken. Within sec-onds, those pictures can be uploaded on Fa-cebook by the same cellphone that took them and other friends can begin discussing them, sparking conversation among people no matter who they are and how far apart they are.

A whole new aspect of social media is being thrust into the limelight, now

getting even more personal. The com-pany behind this innovative approach is Bubbleblog, also known as Bubbly, the voice-blogging service that claims “it’s like Twitter with a voice.”

Users, known as bubblers, can not only follow their favorite celebrities as on Twitter, but can have those updates and messages read to them—in their own authentic voices on their mobile phones.

The service was introduced in India in 2010 and has expanded to Indonesia, Ja-pan and the Philippines. More than 100 million bubblers have exchanged over a billion voice-messages. The creative part about the service is that, while one-to-one voice messages are common, one-to-many voice messages are not.

That is Bubbly’s take on the market, which has taken off well since its intro-duction.

While one of the aspects holding Bub-bly back from expanding as quickly as Twitter did is that users cannot filter through unwanted content through a re-cording as readily as they can in written forms, it is still gaining about 100,000 new users each week.

The number one bubbler in India is Amitabh Bachchan, followed in the top five by Lara Dutta, John Abraham, Ra-mayana and Neetu Chandra.

Bubbly subscribers pay a monthly fee to hear their favorite stars and celebri-ties and ultimately develop even more of a personal connection to them.

This may be the next big wave in so-cial media, which is becoming more and more revolutionary everyday.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201262

Social Media

In another situation, a man witnesses a random dance by a group of trained profes-sionals in Times Square and records it. He uploads the video on YouTube and it instant-ly becomes a viral hit. People in different towns and countries now have access to it and also can discuss how they feel about it.

In yet another situation, imagine a politi-cian in a political debate saying something out of line. It becomes blown up by the media but the politician takes to Twitter to address the issue himself and clarify what he means. These are true words, unfiltered and available to all, again no matter where they are online.

In a final example, consider a rallying group of individuals protesting against a certain cause. Because they want their voic-es heard, they choose to express their views on Blogspot, a blogging website. Instantly, they garner supporters or attract dissenters to their blog, but bottom line is that they have been able to interact with others about a certain cause.

In a classic display of the power of so-cial media, now-retired famous basketball star Shaquille O’Neal made a bold offer to his fans during the last week of December. On the set of his “Inside the NBA” show, he told viewers that he would give $1000 to anyone who got a particular tattoo. As proof, he told viewers to “tweet me the pics,” which meant posting the pictures of the tattoos on his Twitter page. This was a great way to reach out to his fans and a gesture that certainly would not have been possible with such ease years ago.

These are just some of the ways that social media have been able to connect the world. We now linked virtually in so many ways with so much available at our very fingertips.

The world of social media goes far beyond the most popular ones, such as Facebook and Twitter. It includes and is most certainly not limited to community discussions, videos, blogging, games, applications and file-shar-ing. This has become a lifestyle and everyday more and more people are becoming connect-ed by different aspects of social media.

Let’s take a look at two recent newswor-thy examples of the impact of social media in today’s society.

The Occupy World Street movement in New York’s financial district on Wall

Street began in September of the past year. These were protests rooted against wealth inequality, greed, corruption, high unem-ployment, as well as other social-finan-cial related problems. The movement was spearheaded by the use of social media and put into physical effect using peace-ful protesting methods such as march-ing, picketing and civil disobedience.

In a July blog, the Canadian-based group Adbusters proposed and advocat-ed the reasons for OWS, which stands as the origin for the group assembly. As the protests went into effect two months lat-er, a Facebook page was created posting links of demonstration videos on You-Tube. Just five days after demonstra-tions began, 125 OWS-related Facebook

were created and Twitter was abuzz with OWS tags in its users’ postings.

A major reason OWS protesters targeted Wall Street was because they believe it played a central role in the 2008 economic crisis which essentially began the Great Re-cession. Their slogan, “we are the 99%” is in reference to the unequal distribution of wealth for the wealthy 1%, whose income has more than doubled in the last 30 years. The richest 1% of the country’s wealthiest ac-count for 34.6% of the entire nation’s wealth.

When the protests first commenced, most of the members of the movement were young adults because social net-works were the predominant method used to spread word of purpose. As it can be seen, social media has been the driving force behind this huge move-ment that was a huge story of 2011.

By Vikas Girdhar

A market revolutionizes social life and

world we live in

Occupy Wall Street movement takes world by storm

Voice microblogging — next social media trend?

25 million hits on YouTube. More than one million shares on Facebook.

Trending on Twitter in India all the time. All this within a span of weeks! Who could imag-ine a simple Tamil-English song shot in a stu-dio with four people can become viral over-night? The instant global hit and ‘best song of 2011’ by CNN - ‘Why this Kolaveri di’ has finally exposed us to the power unleashed of the social media in Bollywood.

From the reigning 69- year-old superstar Am-itabh Bachchan to the latest youngest four-year-old singer Neevan Nigam (singer Sonu Nigam’s son), social media has become a platform for Bollywood to freely engage with their audiences.

While the Big B expressed his emotions so beautifully about the latest addition in his fam-ily (Aishwarya-Abhishek’s daughter) through his famous blog bigb.bigadda.com, Sonu Nigam’s son Neevan has already been termed as the ‘new Gen’ singing superstar with his

Leaders are those people in the world who tend to make others follow by helping

them with their charismatic, technocratic, or business skills. Thought leadership -- now in business lexicon-- enables other people to get enlightened by the help of innovative and radically different approach toward do-ing business. This approach is different from traditional top-down leadership for making a cutting edge breakthrough. Thought lead-ership can be directed upwards as well as downwards or sideways, but has nothing to do with position or managing people.

Thought leadership has a variety of styles and changes from person to person. These leaders have proven skills and portfolio to speak about their business and best practices in business.

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201263

Social Media

By Neeru Saluja

By Namit Narain

When Bollywood Tweets and Kolaveri di goes viral

Social enabled Thought Leadership

milk version of the kolaveri song.The growth of Bollywood and social

media is phenomenal. Most of the film industry is on Twitter engaging passion-ately with their fans.

Facebook has numerous fan pages dedi-cated to Bollywood movies and actors. Not only do the filmmakers and actors chat, tweet and share pictures but also use it as it as marketing tool. Social networking has become an attractive publicity platform for the tinsel town and it costs hardly anything. Renowned directors have resorted to the latest medium to take suggestions for ti-tles, posters, cast and even funds for their upcoming films. After all, they are meant for people to let them express their opin-ion, finally resorting to the basic rule of marketing – engage with the consumer for customer satisfaction.

Social media has become the most ef-fective and instant communication rage. Who needs to check their favourite Indian newspaper online to read a review of the latest film, just log in to your Facebook account and one of your friends would have definitely reviewed the film. The recent news of the demise of evergreen

Today Social Media is enabling Thought Leadership to get into a different paradigm where these leaders get a totally new and vibrant platform to speak about something which they are expert at. TED, a global platform of conference, is a good exam-ple of this kind of a leadership. TED has made a tremendous effort in spreading the content by the help of social media chan-nels such as YouTube. It is a simple tool to build reputation as a leading expert in a particular field. There are blogs and Twit-ter channels for such individual thought leaders to spread their values and make their own reputation.

Most of the companies have their own blogs where they keep on engaging the audience to tell them about their expertise in the field of their services and products.

romantic actor Dev Anand spread like wild fire on Facebook with all pay-ing their condolences and sharing their memories of the black and white era. A platform for the elder generation to express their thoughts, and the younger generation to gasp what a legend he was. No doubt the globe has shrunk into a tiny world with FaceYouTwit (shorter version of Facebook, You Tube and Twitter).

Thought leadership cannot be monop-olized. It has nothing to do with hier-archy. It changes how people think and take actions. Implementation is a sepa-rate phase, which is dealt by skilled managers. To be a thought leader, one need to immerse oneself in a profes-sional domain and search for new things to say that add value to an organization, community, or society. After giving a lot of thought and talking to plenty of industry thought leaders, the following to my mind are some of the character-istics in being a thought leader.

Shining conversation and interest:

Thought leadership means literally leading thoughts. Your content should amuse, entertain, excite, and generate curiosity among your audience.

Utilizing available resources:

Thought leadership is again about be-ing smart. How clever you are to use the existing channels and how creative you are to use them. Always think of a way to utilize the programs, partners, products, services, supporters, customers, busi-nesses, co-workers, and friends that you already have or can easily access.

Being willing to take the risks:

Social media evolves every day and ev-ery second of life. A practice that works one day may not work the next day. It is important for marketers to continue try-ing new and innovative things. As a mar-keter you may fall short of your expecta-tions and ideas once in a while, but your chances of stumbling upon something remarkable are that much greater.

And Bollywood is no far behind in lap-ping up the latest craze. It’s a revolution-ary process, if you hit the potluck, you can become an overnight sensation. In a ‘star mania’ nation like India, social me-dia is there to stay. Year 2011 will be the year of social media making ‘Kolaveri di’ a national anthem. So don’t forget to run the race in 2012 if you want to become a part of the latest rage.

Promoting active engagement:

Social media is not about lectures, preaching, publicity stunt, or just broad-casting. Your audience will listen if you listen to them and take a keen interest in what your followers say. You should keep your eye and ears open and then respond. Voice your opinions, but be interested in opinions of your audience as well.

Think outside the box:

If your campaigns are the same as ev-eryone else’s, previous ones, or of your competitors, audiences have no reason to engage. To get the credibility, do something different to involve your audience. Partici-pating in strategy sessions, brainstorming, and researching are great ways to help you create unique and effective marketing strat-egies and to impact your audience.

Integration:

Integrate your products and services with thought leadership by setting up good examples.

So how do you position your company as a thought leader in this new world of media options? Well, the answer is sim-ple: first be a thought leader and have sufficient expertise to speak about your field of play. You cannot spread the word out just by pretending that social media doesn’t apply to your industry. That day is gone. Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter may not yet matter to your customers, but I assure you, some form of social does, for example YouTube, podcasting, or blog-ging. As an industry expert, one needs to find out which forms of social are being used. Then develop a plan to own those spaces, or at least actively participate in them by engaging your audience.

South Indian actor Dhanush’s song ‘Kolaveri di’ became a social media sensation overnight

Social media evolves every day and every second of life. A practice that works one day may not work the next day. It is important for marketers to continue trying new and innovative things.

64

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

A tumultous economic year Year of steep losses, volatility for Indian equities

Business Top 10 by Vikas Girdhar

Indian equity markets, a favourite among

foreign investors just a year ago, present-

ed one of the worst performances among

emerging economies during 2011, resulting

in a key index shedding a fourth of its valu-

ation when the year drew to a close.

The 30-share sensitive index (Sensex) of

the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), which

stood at 20,389.07 points as on Dec 30 last

year, lost a whopping 4,934.15 points dur-

ing the year to close at 15,454.92, with a

loss of 24.20 percent.

At the National Stock Exchange (NSE)

the story was similar with the S&P CNX

Nifty ending the year 2011 at 4,624.30

points, against 6,134.50 points at the close

of 2010, with a loss of 1,510.20 points, or

24.1 percent.At the BSE, the Sensex had

gained 17.43 percent in 2010 and 81.03

percent in 2009, in what was its best per-

formance since 1999, after losing 52.45

percent the year before, when it logged the

third worst performances among indices in

emerging markets.

Value of the rupee decreased by a

total of 18.79 per cent in 2011,

bringing the overall rate to 53.10/11

against the U.S. dollar. The last bit of

activity to close out the calendar year

was a loss of 3 paise.

Forex dealers declared that the reason

the rupee did not fall further than it did

was the sluggish standing the dollar held

overseas at the end of 2011. Much of the

reason for the rupee’s fall was attributed

to the euro debt crisis. Others included

investors’ preference for the dollar, espe-

cially because it is a safer bet, put con-

siderable pressure on the rupee.

This is the first annual loss for the

rupee since 2008. The decline is expect-

ed to continue through at least mid-2012

because the debt crisis in Europe is

unlikely to end any time before that.

The rupee also fell against the pound

sterling, euro and Japanese yen

Rupee falls

against dollar

Food price index through December

17 rose 0.42 per cent, which is the

slowest rise since April 2006.

For the ninth straight week, food infla-

tion rates in India showed a promising

decrease thanks to improved supplies

and the arrivals of new crops. The prices

of vegetables, potatoes and onions fell

by up to 11 per cent.

Latest rates fell to 14.37 per cent,

down from 15.24 per cent the previous

week. The Reserve Bank of India

expects food inflation rates to drop to

around 7 per cent by March, a vast

improvement from the 9.11 per cent

showing this past November.

There is widespread belief that the

decrease in inflation will allow the RBI

to soften its stance of high interest rates.

At last review earlier in December, rates

had been kept constant.

Rates are expected to actually decrease

anywhere between the months of April

through June. Analysts predict that the

RBI will cut rates by 25 basis points by

then.

Latest food inflationrates in India lowest

in six years

In September, a survey

showed that the U.S. had

fallen to fifth place on a list

ranking the world’s most com-

petitive economies.

The World Economic Forum

announced the results of the

survey, which can be attributed

to U.S. deficits and majorly

decreasing public faith in gov-

ernment. This spells bad news

for an Obama administration

already struggling to boost the

economy and lower the unem-

ployment rate of over 9 per

cent. The U.S. was one spot

better last year, at number four,

which was two years removed

from being at the top spot of

the list in 2008. While the

Forum did praise the U.S. for

productivity, state-of-the-art

universities and companies,

and a flexible labor market, it

did harp on the most obvious

flaws in the U.S. economy.

U.S. falls to fifth inglobal competitiveness

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee

announced in early December that

the government in India has decided

to suspend foreign direct investment

in retail. At an all-party meeting, the

government proposed to put on hold

the Cabinet decision to allow 51 per

cent FDI in multi-brand retail and got

the approval of the opposition.

The suspension of that Cabinet

decision figures to stay in effect until

an agreement is reached among the

various stakeholders.

Disappointed industry bodies and

political experts see the move as

regressive because it would have

made way for international supermar-

kets and department stores.

While it is uncertain how long the

suspension will last, there is wide-

spread belief that it may continue for

several months.

FDI in retail on hold as Indian

government gives in On December 19,

AT&T decided to ter-

minate its bid for the $39

billion takeover of T-Mobile USA, citing that

it was unable to combat the opposition of the

Obama administration to form the biggest

cellphone service provider of the nation. The

end of this deal means that AT&T will now

have to go back to the drawing board for

other solutions on growth for the national

operator. T-Mobile, on the other hand, faces

quite an uncertain future, as it is currently the

weakest of the four major cellphone service

providers and must recover from the broken

deal’s effects. In the end, the consumers seem

to have benefitted the most from the deal that

never happened. If the acquisition had actual-

ly gone through, they would have faced

steeper prices and less improvement in over-

all service and market-changing assets. The

takeover would have created a duopoly of

AT&T and Verizon because they would be

the service-providers of three-quarters of the

market between them.

On December 27, Sears Holdings

announced that it will shut up to 120

locations after disappointing results this holi-

day season. The retailer, which operates Sears

and Kmart, expects earnings to fall by more

than 50 per cent in the fourth quarter, a figure

much worse than expected. The sharp drop in

sales this season has attributed to an equal

reflection for its shares. Since Sears’ peak in

2007, shares fell from $192 to just $46 this

December. On Tuesday, the stock closed at

$33.28 after falling 27 per cent.

While competitors

such as Macy’s, Target

and Home Depot have

all enjoyed profitable

revenues, Sears has

fallen not only in the standings of department

stores but also from the minds of many con-

sumers. Since most of Sears’ consumer-base is

the working class, experts point to the reces-

sion and unemployment rate as the main rea-

son why many are simply not investing in

major appliances at this time.

Sears & Kmart to shut 120 stores

In May,

I n t e r n a t i o n a l

Monetary Fund

Chief Dominique

S t r a u s s - K h a n

resigned from his

post following a sex

scandal. Allegations

were made against

Strauss-Khan that claimed he

sexually assaulted and raped a

hotel maid. He was released on

$1 million bail in New York.

Immediately following his

bail posting, he was to remain

confined in a New York

apartment under guard.

However, as the case

began to take more

shape, it became clear

that the maid’s testimo-

ny was inconsistent and

her credibility was in

question, especially in

light of such serious claims.

Strauss-Khan was dismissed

of all charges just two months

after facing decades of prison

time for the felony alleged

against him.

IMF Chief steps down after scandal

Analysts are

p r e d i c t i n g

that the price of oil

per barrel will

remain at $100 to

$120 through

2012. A major factor in the

determination of this prediction

is Iran’s vow to close the Strait

of Hormuz, which would

essentially cut off about a fifth

of the world’s oil supply. Iran

remains firm on its threat if

Western powers interfere

with its exportation of

petroleum.

The overall average

price of gasoline per gal-

lon in the U.S. has been

lowered to $3.24 for regular

unleaded. Much of this can be

attributed to more of the popu-

lation buying fuel-efficient cars

and driving less, which essen-

tially means people buying less

gas and weakening demand.

Oil prices predicted to stay

relatively same through next year

The debit cr is is in

Europe worsened

through 2011. The crisis,

which surfaced f irst in

Greece in October of 2009,

is said to have started

because the country took

advantage of a strong euro

and very low interest rates.

In the Spring of 2010, the

European Union and

International Monetary

Fund devised a bailout plan

that gave Greece $163 bil-

lion but that did very little

to help the debt in its cur-

rent state. The crisis contin-

ued very well into 2011,

also claiming Ireland and

Portugal in its path. As a

result, the three countries

fell into recession and had

their governments collapse,

while Spain’s unemploy-

ment rate rose over

20 per cent.

European debt crisis worsens in 2011

AT&T ends bid for T-Mobile takeover

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

January 7-13, 201266

A great year for Indian sports2011 was a standout year for Indian sports, and not just because of the cricket World

Cup triumph. Let’s look back at the year that was for the Indian sport lovers.

India entered the big league of boxing with Transtadia tak-ing up a franchise in World Series of Boxing. Thirteen Indi-ans including Akhil Kumar are part of Mumbai outfit, that is named Mumbai Fighters. The team also has four overseas recruit in Patrick Gallagher, Marko Calic, Paul Gene Koo-nand Trent Rawlings. Haryana boxer Vikas Krishan secured India`s second medal in the World Championships when he won a bronze in the 69 kg category at the 2011 edition in Baku, Azerbaijan. Vijender Singh is the first Indian to win a medal at the world meet. He won abronze in 2009.

India`s badminton star Saina Nehwal had a mixed year but she ended it on a high by becoming the first Indian play-er to reach the singles final of the BWF World Superseries Finals. The Hydera-badi shuttler finished runners-up toWorld Champion Wang Yihan at the tournament in Liuzhou, China after beating the likes of Denmark`s Tine Baun and and former World No.1 Wang Xin in earlier rounds.

After a rewarding 2010, athletics slumped to a low this year, turning out to be the country’s dirtiest sport with seven top athletes, including three Com-monwealth and Asian Games goldmedalists, getting involved in one of India’s biggest doping scandals. Asian Games doublegold-medalist Ashwini Akkunji and her 4x400m relay teammates Sini Jose and Man-deep Kaur were among the dope offenders, after be-ing caught for using banned steroids in May and June.

Kochi Tuskers Kerala wasterminated from the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). This decision was taken at the BCCI Annual General Meeting who suspended the team due to non-payment of dues.

The continuous rise in theperformance of archers has given India hope of an Olym-pic medal inLondon. One of the biggest achievement for Indian archery came this year when the recurve trio of Deepika Kumari, Chekrovolu Swuroand Laishram Bombayala Devi finished runners-up in the WorldChampionships in Turin, Italy. Kumari went on to win her secondindi-vidual gold in World Youth Archery.

Tennis player Ro-hana Bopanna might have made his mind to team up with vet-eran Mahesh Bhu-pathi for 2012 but he, along with with long time Pakistani doubles partner Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi, did enough to add another feather in their caps. The erst-while Indo-Pak Ex-press won their maiden ATP Masters by win-ning the Paris event in November. They split soon after winning three titles in the year.

It wasn’t just cricket mak-ing news this year. India also placed its name on the Formula One calendar by having its first ever F1 race on October 30. The event was a grand success, nearly 1,00,000 people turning up at the spectacular Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida to cheer the home team and also to look at the racing gods of the world.

First Formula One event held in India

In the great league of boxing

Mixed bag for Saina Nehwal

GOOd year For

Bopanna

Kochi Tuskers Kerala suspended

Team India wrapped the year by a fantastic 4-1 win over West Indies. With young batsman Manoj Ti-wary scoring an astonish-ing century, an almost sec-ond string India registered a 34-run victory in the fi-nal one-day international in Chennai.

After a humiliating defeat against England this summer, India showed no mercy and whitewashed the English team when they toured India. The re-venge of the cleansweep administered in England little more than a month ago was achieved in the sti-fling heat of Kolkata when India won the series 5-0.

India beat West

Indies 4-1

doping scandal

hits athletes

archery in limelight again

Injury hit Team India’s shameful defeat during the India Tour of England 2011 was primarily be-cause key players like Yuvraj Singh, Virender Se-hwag, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir were not available for the entire series. India experienced a whitewash in both the Test and the ODI series in England losing the top Test spot to the hosts.

and then, the lows…

India’s revenge against england

India’s bril-liant limited overs team brought home the cricket World Cup after 28 years. Led-by Ma-hendra Singh Dhoni, India won the World Cup for the firsttime since 1983 with a six-wicket victory over Sri Lanka in Mumbai.

India won the ICC Cricket

World Cup 2011

Roh

ana

Bop

anna

67

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

The bold, the beautiful andthe tough reign

Bollywood Flashback

By Jinal Shah/SATimes

The year 2011 was a year of the

bold and the beautiful, year of

many dirty pictures, and of power-

packed action films. But, above all, it was

the year of numerous box office hits.

While quite a few big budget films con-

tinued to disappoint, small budget films

with fresh faces and new concepts made

it big. Here is a snapshot of the year in

the life of the second biggest movie

industry in the world that raked in Rs

2,600 crore from films, music and TV

rights in 2011.

It was the return of the

time-tested ‘dhishum

dhishum’ formula from

the 70’s and the 80’s on big

screen and it was instantly

clicked with the audiences.

With their power packed

punches and aerial fights in

Bodyguard, Singham, Ready

and Force, Bollywood hunks

wooed the movie buffs.

Dubbed the most successful

star in 2011, Salman Khan

gave back to back block-

busters in Bodyguard and

Ready.

Action coupled with song and

dance and even comedy

worked flawlessly as crowd

puller in Bodyguard. Ready

grossed Rs 100 crore in less

than a fortnight.

Another movie that crossed

the 100 crore mark was Ajay

Devgan starrer Singham.

With a spectacular display

of his daredevil stunts and

over the top action sequences,

Ajay Devgan returned to his

roots after having fun with

comedies.

The year ended with a bang

when Shah Rukh Khan starrer

Don 2 collected a cool Rs 54

crore in its opening weekend.

It has been released in Telugu

and Tamil versions also

besides Hindi and did well

overseas also.

Thoda action, thoda Jackson

This was the year of

remakes too and there

were many Southern

imports including one of the

highest grossers, Salman Khan

and Asin starrer ‘Ready’. The

Hindi remake of the Telugu film

of the same The southern con-

nection name became a sleeper

hit with Salman’s fans. Even

Singham, that gave reason for

Ajay’s fans to cheer their

favorite action hero after eight

long years, was a south import

for script and the leading lady.

The remake was based on the

superhit film Suriya.

John Abraham and Genelia D’

Souza starrer Force, an action

thriller, was a remake of

Gautham Menon’s successful

2003 Tamil film Kaakha

Kaakha. The film based on a

dutiful cop who chases a dread-

ed gangster did moderately on

box office.

The southern

connection

Ajay Devgan in Singham

This was also the year of

item boys – whether it is

the ace actor and perfec-

tionist Aamir Khan shaking his

booty and perfecting the Mithun-

da pelvic thrust in Delhi Belly or

Ranbir Kapoor joining the band-

wagon with feisty kids in Tai tai

phis number for Chillar Party.

More and more male actors with

their chiseled body and incredible

dancing skills are slowly con-

quering the item songs turf and if

rumors are to be believed,

Randeep Hooda is also trying his

luck as the next IT boy. Item boys

are surely here to stay for the

female gaze.

Bootylicious boys

It was the voluptuous Vidya

Balan who was a surprise

package in The Dirty Picture.

A low budget film, inspired by the

life and death of a racy 1980’s B

movie star (Silk Smitha, a sui-

cide), it had an extraordinary run

at the box office. Balan’s sensu-

ous look, deep cleavage, red sari,

double entendres, and simply put

her bold antics made her the

queen of tinsel town. Shedding

inhibitions, she has traveled a

long way from being ‘sati savitri’

in Parineeta to ‘I am too sexy for

you’ in The Dirty Picture, perhaps

representing the transformation of

women in Indian society.

Restricted strictly to the vamps

in Indian films earlier, the ‘sexy’

and ‘bold’ titles are slowly drift-

ing to the ‘ideal’ heroines too.

Mouthing expletives, savoring

desi liquor, smoking pot, showing

off middle finger - till now avoid-

ed by filmmakers or underplayed

on screen - are becoming accepted

ways of expression and

Bollywood beauties are coming

out of the closet and doing just

that.

Be it Rani Mukerji’s flamboyant

use of expletives in No one killed

Jessica or Nargis Fakhri gulping

the illicit liquor in Rockstar or

Sonam Kapoor flashing the mid-

dle finger in Players, girls are

surely coming of age.

This year Bollywood grew

bigger and bolder. Not just

action, there was sex and

some taboo topics that got a thumbs

up from audiences who showed

their whole new appetite for this

genre. Aamir Khan’s production,

Delhi Belly was one of them. An

experimental movie replete with

cuss words, raunchy scenes, witty

dialogues, it was shot primarily in

English to appeal to urban audi-

ences who hailed this free will adult

comedy as they identified with the

un-kempt, debt ridden characters of

Imran Khan, Kunal Roy Kapoor

and Vir Das in the movie.Shaitan

and No One Killed Jessica, freely

dabbled in taboo topics from sex to

drug abuse to murder. These didn’t

do well on box office, but were

liked by critics.

Vidya Balan in The Dirty Picture was a surprise package

The bold and the beautiful

Psst! Dirty pictures

Heroes now do item numbers too: Ranbir Kapoor in Chillar Party.

Big budget films continued

to flounder at the box

office despite the backing

of Bollywood biggies. Small and

medium budget films kept the

cash registrars moving with smart

publicity on social media and

with fresh faces and story lines.

Big ticket movies like Ra.One

were a letdown despite the mar-

keting blitzkrieg.

The Shah Rukh Khan film did-

n’t live up to expectations, mak-

ing around 1.2 billion rupees in

net box office collections, just a

notch higher than its official

budget. At the same time, movies

like Pyar Ka Punchnama was a

surprise hit with the audiences.

Movies like Chalo Dilli, Chillar

Party and Bheja Fry 2 were not

just critically acclaimed, these

films also made an impact.

However, there were exceptions

like the big budget Zindagi Na

Milegi Dobara with Bollywood A

listers ensemble cast that met suc-

cess at the box office.

Big ticket, small wonders

Small budget films like Chalo Dilli made an impact

68

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Top 5 trends on and off screen

Bollywood Flashback

Rajnikanth doesn’t wear a watch, he

decides what time it is. Rajnikanth

knows Victoria’s secret or When

Rajnikanth logs on to Facebook, the site

updates its status message! And if that’s not

enough, dare to chase Rajni on Google. It

won’t be wrong to say that Rajnikanth jokes

evolved a whole new pop culture phenome-

non. After the release of his film Robot last

year, the frenzy of his fans across the globe

soared to such levels of insanity that his

jokes are now auto-suggested on Google

search. There are whole websites dedicated

to his jokes. His jokes were all you would

hear and share on Facebook, Twitter, SMS

inboxes and at dinner table conversations.

Rajnikanth jokes

It was baby boom in the tinsel town

this year. With gorgeous

Aishwarya Rai giving birth to a

baby girl – referred to as ‘Beti B’ -

news of other Bollywood beauties

expecting their first child trickled in.

Known for her perfect body, Lara

Dutta is basking in the glow of her

pregnancy and so is Shilpa Shetty.

Married to businessman Raj Kundra

in 2009, Shetty, in her second week of

pregnancy, shared her joy on Twitter.

Earlier this year she suffered a miscar-

riage and hence did not reveal the

news until everything was stable.

Recently married Celina Jaitley is also

said to be pregnant with her first

child.Konkona Sen, the dusky actress

who posed for a magazine cover earli-

er this year showing off her nude baby

bump in a green top, gave birth to a

baby boy. There were some quiet

arrivals too - Aamir Khan and Kiran

Rao’s baby boy was born through IVF

surrogacy.

Haute Mommy

Konkona Sen proudly showed her baby bumpon a magazine cover.

69

January 7-13, 2012

TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Bollywood Flashback

The glitz and glamour of

Bollywood pulled

Hollywood biggies to visit

India. The year 2011 saw a parade

of stars from the West including

singer Akon, who crooned the

popular Chamak Chalo number in

Ra.One, and Kylie Minogue, the

chiggy wiggy girl in Blue.

Growing awareness of Bollywood

in the global pop culture has led to

more and more partnerships

between entertainment businesses

across the oceans. Pop sensation

Lady Gaga visited India for the

first time for the inaugural F1

event. She recently twitted “!@#$

Hollywood, it’s all about

Bollywood.” Also, the Waka

Waka girl Shakira rocked the Lake

City of Udaipur with her perform-

ance at the 80th birthday bash of

real estate tycoon K.P. Singh. This

was her second visit to India. Both

singing superstars expressed their

willingness to work in Bollywood.

The year past also saw quite a

few desi actors showcasing their

talents in Hollywood: Anil

Kapoor in the much anticipated

Tom Cruise starrer Mission

Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol;

Freida Pinto of the Slumdog

Millionaire fame reached a new

high for Indian stars in Hollywood

in the spectacular 3-D action

adventure Immortals directed by

Indian origin director Tarsem

Singh.

West meets East, and thefavor is returned

Akon sang Chamak Chalo in SRK-Kareena starrer Ra.One

The year that was saw two distinct

trends in Bollywood fashion on

screen. One, of sizzling red sari with

plunging blouse and Kareena Kapoor (Bebo)

and Nargis Fakhri look in Bodyguard and

Rockstar respectively of straight lined kurta

teamed with salwars and patialas. The other

was just casual jeans and Tees carried well

by Katrina Kaif, Bebo again in Mere Brother

Ki Dulhan and Golmal 3 respectively. Off-

screen, Bollywood’s fashionistas stuck to

saris and floor length Anarkalis at film pro-

motions and even parties! Ahead in the game

were the sensuous Vidya Balan and

Bachchan Bahu Aishwarya Rai.

Newcomer Nargis Fakhri in Rockstarteamed kurtas with salwars and patialas

Of plunging necklinesand floor length

Anarkalis

Twitting is trending

Even as Hollywood stars are quitting

tweeting, our desi pin-ups are in no

mood to surrender. The year 2011

saw almost all celebs trending on social

networking sites like Facebook and

Twitter. Thanks to the use of a combina-

tion of social media tools, audiences get a

sneak peak at the movies as well as the

lives of actors well before the movie hits

the theaters. It is almost a mouthpiece of

the actor.

Not long ago, television broke the news

about film stars. Now it is the stars break-

ing news to television. Junior AB’s tweet

of the new arrival in the Bachchan family

and gone viral Kolavari Di with 20 mil-

lion hits are just a few examples how

social media is an integral part of the

growing pop culture.

As New Year’s resolutions go, Brenda

had a very strange one indeed.

Unlike many of her friends, she did-

n’t need to lose weight, not even a few

pounds. She didn’t need to floss her teeth

more often or read more self-help books or

make a greater effort to stay awake in

church. She didn’t have any serious addic-

tions she needed to quit: she didn’t smoke,

didn’t drink, didn’t manage a farm on

Facebook. But she did want to quit some-

thing –- and that’s what her resolution was

all about. She wanted to quit calling her hus-

band a moron.

Brenda and Ron had been married for 20

years, and Brenda couldn’t remember a time

when Ron hadn’t given her a reason to call

him a moron –- or at least think he was one.

She loved him, of course –- loved him as

much as she loved Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.

But that didn’t change the fact that she often

wondered if his mother had dropped him on

his head when he was a baby.

Poor Ron had actually gotten used to it -–

being called a moron. It started on their wed-

ding night –- at least that’s what he thought

when he heard her screaming, “More Ron!

More Ron!” He immediately stopped what

he was doing and tried something else: turn-

ing on the TV. And soon they were in a state

of bliss, watching an episode of

“Baywatch.”

Two weeks later, Brenda called him a

moron for real. It was one of those nights

when she returned home late from her job at

the pharmacy. He had offered to make din-

ner for her, but had left the frozen pizza in

the oven for too long. “Sorry, I was distract-

ed by the football game,” he said. “It’s a

good thing the plastic wrapping didn’t melt.”

Brenda didn’t want to call him a moron,

but as she stared at the plastic stuck to the

melted cheese, she couldn’t think of a more

appropriate term. And she soon found her-

self using it with regularity. There was the

time that Ron took her bottle of Pantene Pro-

V from the bathroom and used it to shampoo

the living room carpet. There was the time

he brought the wrong baby home from the

daycare and wondered why it kept asking for

“Mami” and “Papi.” And there was the time

he put laundry detergent in the automatic

dishwasher, just so he could throw in a few

dishcloths.

Ron was so used to being called a moron

that it hardly even bothered him anymore.

She might as well have been saying “honey”

or “sweetheart.” It had almost become a spe-

cial thing between them. No one else could

call him a moron and get away with it.

But Brenda often felt guilty about it. After

all, he wasn’t really a moron. That’s what

Brenda’s mom said. “He’s not a moron,” she

said. “He’s just a man. Men don’t always use

their brains. They use it for football and fix-

ing the car but then they shut it off. They

give it a break. That’s why they need

women.”

It was true: Ron did need Brenda. And she

certainly needed him. That’s why their mar-

riage had lasted so long. Sure, Ron didn’t

always use his brain but he was a good hus-

band in all the important ways. He didn’t

cheat on her or hit her or even raise his voice

at her –- unless she walked in front of the

TV during the football game.

Brenda was determined not to call him a

moron anymore. It was her only New Year’s

resolution and it lasted all the way until 9

a.m. on New Year’s Day. Brenda awoke to

find Ron making breakfast for her. He had

already made the eggs, hash browns and

sausages, and was working on the pancakes.

There he was, standing in front of the

stove, wearing an apron, whistling happily

as he tried to flip the pancakes with the fly

swatter.

“You’re such a moron,” Brenda said.

“How much did you drink last night, any-

way?”

Then, realizing all the trouble he had gone

through, she put her arm around him and

added, “Did I call you a moron? I was using

the acronym MORON. It stands for ‘Man of

Remarkably Outstanding Nature.’”

Melvin Durai is a Winnipeg-based writerand humorist. Born in India and raised inZambia, he has lived in North America since1982. Through the Internet, his column isread by thousands of people in more than 90countries.

70 Humor

The New Year's Resolution

Humor with Melvin Durai

January 7-13, 2012 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Happy New Year!With best wishes from

"Life insurance is an assurance to your loved ones of living thesame life they lived with you".

� Agent of the Year award, 2011

� Agency Growth Award, 2011

� Among Nation's Top 10 Insurance Agents in 2010

Proud Recipient of

Contact Andy at: 917.578.1508

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

for

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72 Humor

Best of Mahendra Shah

January 7-13, 2012 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

Laughter is the Best Medicine

If The Royal Wedding was performed with Hindu

tradition this is how the couple would look like!

MahendraShah is anarchitect

by education,entrepre-

neur by profession, artistand humorist, cartoonistand writer by hobby. Hehas been recording theplight of the immigrant

Indians for the past manyyears in his cartoons.Hailing from Gujarat, he lives in Pittsburgh,

Pennsylvania.

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874; Delhi, India: +91-11- 26449898, 2648 9899; [email protected]; www.premastrologer.com

Stars Foretell: January 7-13, 2012

January 07

Influenced by number 7 and the planet Neptune, you are hon-

est, affectionate, creative, sensitive and a very emotional per-

son. You are a wonderful host and you love to entertain others,

but you need to control your tendency to behave stubborn and

extravagant at times. There would be opportunities for mis-

communication with your employer this year. Be sure to check

your work before you give it to your seniors. It would not be

an easy period as many things would not be in your favor, but

support and help from friends and family members would in-

duce new energy into you and make things much comfortable

than they actually might be. Gains from property transaction,

investments and gifts cannot be ruled out. The months of Jan-

uary, August and October will remain significant. Every act

that you play on the stage teaches an unforgettable and inspi-

rational lesson to the viewers. Besides being a loyal and artis-

tic soul you need to curb your obdurate and prodigal behavior.

You need to be very careful regarding your calculation in your

task as slight mistake may bring down your performance and

being impeached. You might be in a locked up situation in re-

ordering the scattered matters which are the matter of concern

for you but the much celebrated victory over them is because

of the galvanization induces by loved ones. Surprises in the

form of cash and goodies are high on your cards. January, Au-

gust and October will be celebration time for you. The quali-

ties like calmness, sensitive and compassionate are provided

by number 7 and planet Neptune.

January 08

Influenced by number 8 and the planet Saturn, you are practi-

cal, disciplined, systematic, original, and authoritative person.

You never run away from challenges. You are bold, strong and

always ready to face difficult situations and find creative so-

lutions, but you need to control your tendency to behave

moody, stubborn and jealous at times. This year your work

would offer you great opportunities to express your skills.

However, certain changes would be essential. Take extra care

of the important documents that you carry while travelling.

Few losses due to theft and hasty decisions seem likely. Busi-

nessmen should see their new plans and ventures getting im-

plemented. You would be emotionally interested in someone

whom you do not get to see so often. Romantic entanglement

would disturb your concentration and decision making ability.

Property investment would be beneand morale would reach

new height as you establish important contacts. The months of

February, July and December will be highly significant. You

are a organized, firsthand, dominating, checked and pragmat-

ic soul. You never swing from hard line to soft line whatever

be the situation might be. With the difficulty level of the prob-

lem your stubbornness and excitement for the same also in-

creases. But hold back your sullen, adamant and green eyed

traits. Alternative proposals are high on your fate agenda list

to check your activeness and hunger for growth. Some alter-

ation might be there, accept them. Preserve the testimonies

carefully as they collectively provides sigh of relief to you.

Watchman is needed to guard your legacy. In spite of taking

small leaps be ready for the hard work which starts now for gi-

ant one. It is good time to look at the insights of the plans that

you are trying to start for so long. Someone from distant place

might get come closer than anybody in this world. Pleasure of

love might create pains at the work. Potential gains in trading

of land will boost you up and also helps you to make ever-last-

ing relation with top honchos. February, July and December

will be good for you.

January 09

Ruled by number 9 and the planet Mars. You are intelligent,

energetic, confident, enthusiastic and courageous person. You

possess a sharp memory and amazing technical skills, but you

need to check your tendency to behave short tempered and vin-

dictive at times. This year professional advancement would

depend on your ability to handle important responsibilities.

Your significant other would be a real asset to you. This per-

son would make your daily life comforting and enjoyable. Dis-

tant pilgrimage is certain later in the year. Be extra careful

while lending money and take extra care of your jewelry, pre-

cious gifts and items. The months of February, April, Septem-

ber and November will be important. Besides controlling your

life, number 9 and planet Mars will make you more sound in

knowledge, store house of energy, surefooted, keen and bold

soul. You are versatile to take many forms with the help of

your honed mind and professional attitude but should restrict

your impulsive and vengeful attribute. You need to be as clever

as your policies are so as to show your positive and right atti-

tude. A lover of you will probably reduce all your worries and

provide comfort throughout your life. Broad proposals to go

for quest are at your anvil. Blow your whistle by guarding your

hard earned money and deter yourself from any money trans-

action activity. February, April, September and November will

be vital for you.

January 10

Ruled by number one and the Sun. You are independent, fight-

er, confident, intelligent and highly enthusiastic person. You

have an attitude, which always look to the positive side of any

situation, but you need to check your tendencies to behave ex-

travagant and reckless at times. This year your employer

would have high expectations from you, which would add

tremendous pressure on your mind. Financial gains are certain.

Your spouse would look after you well. The two of you would

enjoy living and travelling together. Your strong relationship

would strengthen throughout the year. Legal problems if any

would get sorted out. Do not share your business plans with

people who have little to do with you. Avoid partnerships as

much as possible. The months of March, May, August and De-

cember will prove to be highly significant. Revised by number

1 and the Sun, you are sovereign, positive, smart and ex-

tremely passionate lad. A highly optimistic person who always

tries to give his best even in the odd situation but you should

crack your spendthrift and foolhardy behavior. You need to

significantly enhance your skills to cover up all the demands

of your bosses but at the same time need to slow down your

profligate and heady traits. Increment in bank balance is pre-

dictable. A caring and well supported better half will provide

you soothing effect throughout your life. Smooth plus joyful

life for both of you. The relation with the passage of time will

be more potent than ever before. Disputes regarding law and

order will be settled down. Avoid bonding with strangers for

any business deals. Keep yourself away from any associations.

March, May, August and December will be result oriented.

January 11

Ruled by number 2 and the Moon, you are imaginative, warm-

hearted, friendly and hard working person. You are fond of ac-

cepting challenges and always set difficult goals for yourself,

but you find it hard to achieve them because of your shy and

introvert behavior at times. This year unexpected gains and

losses foreseen therefore invest wisely. Work pressure would

see you behave erratic and highly unpredictable. Spouse would

be caring and provide you with love and affection. Those who

are in artistic fields or advertising and media profession would

see a remarkable growth in their career. Pilgrimage towards

the yearend provides you with comfort and solace. Take care

of your health. The month of March, August, November and

would prove to be very significant. Number 2 and the Moon

will privileged you with many new features like speculative,

coziness, amiable and diligence. You are always willing to

stand correct and weave the clauses coming your way of get-

ting success and attaining your targets. Beware of impedi-

ments like diffident and invaginate. Restrain yourself from

making any money transaction as you will experience mixed

feeling of stucking and releasing money. Do not let the target

based job will muzzle you as this is the right time to show your

establishment. Always connected with you and in the mood of

wishing good for you is none other than your better half. High-

ly complacent and resounding time for the people engaged in

advertising, theatres and films. A verbal discourse will lead

you to the path of finding your deity at his native place. March,

August, November will take care of your health.

January 12

Ruled by number 3, and the planet Jupiter, you are ambitious,

dignified, philosophical, methodical and systematic person.

You are very straightforward in your speech and actions. You

can be trusted to tell the complete truth, but you need to check

your tendency to behave extravagant and moody at times. This

year you would be in a strong position at your place of work,

and would assume even more authority. Family members and

colleagues would be supportive. Your total earnings for the

year would be excellent, but your expenses would be high as

well. Continue to save and invest for the future. New contacts

would develop through social activities. Relationship with

your spouse would be healthy and highly cordial. Some ten-

sion and anxiety due to health of your parents might bring mo-

ments of stress and anxiety. The months of February, May, Oc-

tober & December would be highly significant. Number 3 and

planet Jupiter will provide you required robustness. You are as-

pirational, self respected, motivational, taxonomical and char-

acterized by order and planning. Your circumscribed vision is

clearly depicting by your way of performing and behaving in

hard situations. You express and propagate the right thing

without any hesitation but simultaneously need to arrest your

spendthrift and sour attitude. You will embrace and inherit

more accountable state with zombie powers this time. A coop-

erative environment created by well wishers. You are se-

questered with big guns to make big money but on the other

hand check your imperious spending too. Insecurity for future

leads to some life insurance policies. New entrant in your life

through some social gathering. Smooth personal relation.

Some disgusting feeling might trap you and the root cause is

the health issues of some elders in family. February, May, Oc-

tober and December will be entailing for you.

January 13

Influenced by number 4 and the planet Uranus, you are trust-

worthy, energetic, systematic, reliable and noble person. You

are physically very active, and enjoy participating in sports

and social get-togethers, but you need to control your tenden-

cy to behave stubborn and jealous at times. This year you

would accept some interesting responsibilities and learn many

new techniques and skills. Even if you were dissatisfied with

your job, you would continue with it because of your good re-

lations in the organization. Your earnings will be variable, but

overall, quite good. Matrimonial alliance for some towards the

end of the year, while others would find romance to keep them

going. Pending legal matters would end satisfactorily, giving

you mental relief. Chronic patients would need to take extra

care of their health. The months of March, July & November

will prove highly significant. Number 4 and planet Uranus will

remove all your hurdles. You are honest, gumptious, taxo-

nomical, creditworthy and benevolent soul. You are strongly

thick to physical activities and loves partying and societal

gathering and all. But you must low-down your obdurate, fick-

le minded and envious skills. Variations in the capabilities in

your profession and occasional alteration should be accepted

by unfurling the hand. Despite having asphyxiate feeling in the

new environment you stick to the profession and understand

its intricacies before taking some idiotic step of quitting. Mon-

etary gains will be omnipotent and omnipresent. For some

class of people a love affair and for some wedding bells are

foreseeable. Deep knowledge of law and order helps you to get

out of the mess if any. Continuing illness ought to be handle

with care. March, July and November will be free of

impediments.

Taurus: This week you need to be highly

cautious while doing business.

Watch out for individuals who

might think that you could be

easily tricked. This week is

definitely not good for taking

any risky chances, especially with

money. Your charisma will no doubt attract

lot of attention. Time spent with old friends

will leave you with happy memories.

Travel will be on your mind, but you need

to be extra careful of your belongings.

Aries: Take advantage of your stars and seek

favours from important people.

Efficiency will be the key to suc-

cess, so finish pending corre-

spondence on priority basis. In a

business environment, your cre-

ative ability will flourish, and you

will be able to convey your new ideas in a sim-

ple way. Those planning a trip abroad will have

a pleasant and a memorable journey. Pleasant

news towards the weekend uplifts the spirit of

the entire family. Spiritual gains for some pro-

vide mental peace and comfort.

Sagittarius: Your accomplishments will

exceed your expectation if you

concentrate on your jobs.

Special honor and recognition

will come your way if you help

your colleagues and coworkers.

This is also a very good period for

matters relating to the heart, as a casual part-

nership will turn into more serious commit-

ment. Meddling in the affairs of others should

be avoided. Legal problems will cause a state

of nervousness and tension.

Capricorn: Put your creative ideas to good

use. Taking immediate decisions

will be crucial for your career

and your goals, therefore do

not waste your time. Financial

front looks bright as gains from

speculation are also foreseen.

Romantic pleasures are assured as spouse or

beloved will be in a loving and caring mood.

Cultural activities will be entertaining.

Journey would yield returns. Some good

news expected during the end of the week.

Aquarius: This week simplicity will be one of

your greatest strengths and your

determination will become your

greatest asset. A close friend or

colleague will help you complete

pending jobs on time. Opportunity

to meet new lovers will evolve through your

involvement in functions and ceremonies. It

would be wise to do a safety check on water

taps, door and electrical equipment, before

going on a vacation. Unexpected guest makes

surprise, but pleasant visit later in the week.

Pisces: This week you will gain approval

from seniors if you present your

ideas well. Refrain from argu-

ments and avoid being too out-

spoken and critical about oth-

ers. Property related investment

will be highly beneficial. Lectures

and seminars that you attend will be highly

interesting and educating. Financial losses

are likely if you get involved in new ventures

or risky investments. Get involved in cre-

ative hobbies in order to relax.

Cancer: You need to stop other activities and

finish off pending correspon-

dence that you have neglected

recently. Investment connected

with arts and antiques will be

profitable. A visit to a spiritual

person or a holy shrine later in the

week will bring mental peace and happiness.

Your health will show remarkable improve-

ment, but there would be little activity on the

professional front. Avoid people who like to

pry into your affairs.

Gemini: Opportunities to make financial

gains will develop through con-

nections that you have recently

made. You will get inspiration

from your large circle of friends

and acquaintances.

Important message from a distant

place, later in the week, will boost your moral

and spirits.

Your financial position will improve from

unexpected gains, but your health however

will need extra care, therefore take preventive

medicines if necessary.

Leo: This week you will spend much more

than required on your home and

entertainment. You'll have a

chance to earn extra money

through the strength of your

personality and wonderful con-

tacts. You will feel that destiny is

playing a favorable role in your life and

things are moving according to your plans.

Travelling will be beneficial and educating.

Children may bring in some thrilling news

towards the weekend.

Virgo: You should disassociate with col-

leagues who are fond of gossip

and spreading rumours. Work

should be on your top priority.

Your accomplishment will bring

you good results in the long run.

Dealing with land and property mat-

ters will ensure gains. Time spent at home will

improve your understanding about the family

needs and bring you enormous love and affec-

tion. Your income will definitely improve but

there will be a rise in expenses as well.

Libra: This week you will have tremendous

mental pressure trying to cope

up with your professional as

well as personal responsibili-

ties. Refrain from any actions

or statements that will make

you regret later in life. Your finan-

cial status seems to get better with new

opportunities and ventures in the offing.

Sportsmen and athletes can look forward to

some benefits and fame. Spiritually you will

be gaining a lot.

Scorpio: Positive thinking will have a good

impact upon you, as you integrate

more practical methods into

your work and decisions. You

will be more skillful in han-

dling your clients and negotia-

tions will work to your benefit, but

you need to keep your secrets to your self and

avoid overspending. Sports and physical fit-

ness programs will be highly beneficial.

Those connected with arts will finally be

rewarded for their efforts.

Astrology 73

TheSouthAsianTimes.info January 7-13, 2012

Annual Predictions: For those born in this week

74 Astrology

January 7-13, 2012 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874; Delhi, India: +91-11- 26449898, 2648 9899; [email protected]; www.premastrologer.com

The Year 2012 is significant as it rings in change for everyone, either on the physical plane or in mental attitudes. Dr. Prem Kumar

Sharma, our celebrated resident astrologer, tells what this may mean to you in terms of health, profession, family and romance

AriesTraveling is

natural exten-

sion of pursuit

of GYANA and

you will travel

for pleasure.

You give your-

self the freedom

to travel into

unknown terri-

tory and to explore new opportunities and

possibilities. You will pick trip options

from unknown to the known in precise

manner throughout the year and this

might help you enhance your health too.

Long lasting illness might come to an end

with some miraculous phenomenon dur-

ing this year. The financial conditions

throughout the span will be in ups and

down to sum up as a normal. But, the

niceties in family relations are to keep

you tension free all the time. Initiatives to

undertake family responsibilities will be

highly appreciated and lots of great

results might be followed by this. There

will be multi-task to balance a variety of

needs and goals. You will achieve much a

gain and lots of respect. There will be

demanding need to contribute energy for

get going romantic life to the next step.

This is a period with great gains in prop-

erty business. Especially the investment

might fetch and waiting for the better

odds of wealth creation. This alone might

be suffice to complete aim to generate

great fortune. Overall it’s a great time of

realizations into the direction of wealth

and peacemaking in life.

TaurusThe theme of

the time is –

knowledge is

the key to

knocking down

obstacles. You

will be able to

apply this

thought success-

fully. There

might arise a need to work hard to share a

genuine rapport in your life of romance

and it is likely to be frustrating for some-

time because it’s with full of questions

and contrary opinions. It’s not a great time

to travel but some trips will be arranged

and you might get moving in a slow pace

on wheels. Put your ideas to work; be

bold and take the initiative. Your financial

operations will be shown up as a speed-up

activity. Physical appearance might get

attention from the workouts and a daz-

zling trend sets in – beautifully and spon-

taneously. A mixed feelings spell at office

where you might get unexpected appreci-

ations and envy together. The mixed

results may not allow getting the extreme

peak but you are robust and progress will

be smooth with ease. Sincere efforts are

now called for to deal with professional

matters. They might demand all your

skills as well as concentration. Your

thoughts could well turn to the higher

plane, in a mood of profound thankful-

ness. The great thing for this time is that,

you learn to strike a balance between

efforts and joy.

GeminiA doze of suc-

cess is bound to

set in, so think

about your

plans for the

next. A happy

influence from

every direction

of life makes

you more ener-

getic and gives you determination. Your

desire is to have a free and unlimited life

and you will make all kinds of efforts to

make it possible. SUCCESS is your

mantra for this year and your financial

horizons will be expanded to make you

feel powerful and much sought after.

Luck is in favor of you, but you need to

recognize your being to keep yourself

away from negative thoughts. You will

feel deeply connected to the people

around you and people will be attracted

towards you. Family and beloved ones

will feature prominent in your life. There

is a bit of worry factor for health and you

might need to concentrate some attention

on that line to make everything in-line

and balanced. Possibilities of promotion

and increments are highly waiting at job.

Your dream to buy settlements or land

may come true and frequent trips to far

places may occur. You quest yields con-

crete dividends and leads to your

advancement in material terms. There will

be a balance as a whole and good life will

resume for this year too.

CancerIt is absolutely

certain that

some great

responsibilities

will be placed

upon you. You

must need to

learn how to

market your

c o n s i d e r a b l e

skills. Health safeguards are the key to

happiness and try not to overdo. Take

some rest to protect your better health.

Work affairs of yours may help you to

grow in confidence. Relationships with

boss, co-workers will spurge a great deal

and that will make you happy. Serious

proposals for buying and selling proper-

ties are on the way to increase your for-

tune into the better side. Responsibilities

and duties keep you engaged. A little extra

effort and care in personal relationships is

highly suggested. Your long awaited wish

to spend great sum of time with family

members, especially with kids will be ful-

filled and vacation trips to silent places

with family is plus mark for this year.

Ceremonies and journeys are confidently

foretold and for your hard work, matching

rewards are likely to take place. You need

to be loyal and appreciative and true to

your love. Amidst busy life and surround-

ing activities, you will sense and feel

inner peace and there will be a sense of

getting blessed. Your quest for the inner

self will proceed to the next step. You will

be blessed with motivate abundance.

LeoYour explo-

rations to extend

the range of

your finance,

profession and

family get you

to the charming

life for this year.

Enormous cre-

ativity, both professionally and personal-

ly, leads to an enormous amount of pro-

ductivity. Everyone at office seems to

appreciate your work efforts and you

sense smooth going with colleagues.

Superiors will be pleased with your work

and rest of the people you need to deal

will help you at your workplace. You will

earn really good money to make all your

activities entertaining and easy. You do

your work with great zest and good health

will remain intact throughout the year.

Mind will get uplifted to the higher

knowledge and the wisdom. There will be

a desire for further study and research in

your field. You will have to cope with the

demands that your personal life asks for.

There will be a realistic approach inside

self for the personal love affairs but, the

time is slow enough to give positive

results. The family issues coming to the

happy ending with the lucrative solutions

inspired by the life itself. The expenses

will continue like piano-la and your

dream plans to invest into property might

remain as a halt mode. Joyful environ-

ment at home will inspire your life to live

up to the fullest.

VirgoThe higher

self is what you

strive to uplift

or attain. The

possibilities of

improvement at

office widen to

create good cre-

dentials for the

next level.

Materialistic concerns make your vision

of future little obscure and you will have

to put yourself dearly at the very material-

istic world of finance now itself to over-

come any financial burden in the future.

Though it seems to you the great time to

make investments but, it’s better that you

hold strong on your assets. There are good

factors together summing up for your

property evaluations in positive side. You

might get faded with the pressure from

family members and it is required to hold

on your temper, considering the time as

the best solution among all. The conflicts

may probably be related to the money

matter, but otherwise you will have a

greater accord. You are making clever

changes to comply with the time and new

directions seem important to you.

Marriage kind of big occasions might

occur and you may succeed to convert

your love affair into marriage during this

year. You will be riding many horses

together and avoiding health, so need to

put some care on health to get even better

results. The year brings you cheer

moments for which you are waiting since

long.

LibraGood start for

every initiative

is inevitable. All

your concerns

and areas of

connectivity are

energized with

super flow of

intentions. Your

better odds will

be coming true in dealing with money-

related issues, home/property from real

estate view and perks, promotions, incre-

ments, bonus etc. The career path will

remain inclined towards the success dur-

ing full year. You will be strongly com-

mitted and involved in home and family

commitments and responsibilities. You

are polite and respect elder ones from

heart. Your wish to achieve in terms of

income and lifestyle will motivate you

strongly and fill you with confidence that

you can achieve the targets you have set

for yourself. Your plans for prosperous

future are well starting with right motion.

Your belief in your confidence brings you

huge gains from every side of life. You

are ready to fetch your personal relation-

ships to a new height and conditions will

support you. People are very important in

your life and you will rightly channelize

the energy from them to create better and

lively relationships. If you plan to travel,

make it real as it is going to benefit you in

greater. Be simple and respect the uni-

verse as all success results in zero when

ego appears in human being.

ScorpioA year with

long awaited

wishes to

accomplish and

to secure life

from within and

externals - You

will find your-

self personable

and attractive.

You need to be flexible in the face

of a changing situation and rest of all goes

Continued on page 76

Yearly Forecast 2012

By Dr Prem Kumar Sharma Chandigarh, India: +91-172- 256 2832, 257 2874; Delhi, India: +91-11- 26449898, 2648 9899; [email protected]; www.premastrologer.com

Continued from page 74

smooth and beyond your imaginations.

The romantic life shakes a bit but you are

a generous being to tackle the situation in

correct side. Your ambitions have a good

chance for success, so put all your energy

behind your efforts and you will feel the

difference. You will be consistent in

improving the quality of your life and that

of your family and beloved ones. Pending

payments, taxes, insurance, deposits, will

be lessening. You will make clever choic-

es on the way to put off the challenges

and hurdles.

There will be some root changes that

you may become witness as you will shift

from your ages old opinions and stance.

Your efforts start a fresh life which will

fill your life with new energy and you

will head towards the better prospects.

Travelling will be important and smooth

in your span. Your generous nature will

serve you better in the relationships. You

will feel as reality that you stand too high

materially and emotionally.

SagittariusA lapse in

judgment can

take you down

but new ideas

will beckon you

to take over any

worries. Family

and personal

life seems dull

and you will get

in touch with some old friends and new

emotional bonds might be re-established.

It is a time to serve loved one without any

self greed. While adapting to unyielding,

erratic or rigid positions, you might need

to find a graceful way to satisfy relation-

ship needs. Complex situations may arise

about financial resources but you will be

able to maintain calm at job or business

and nothing unexpected will happen. You

will outline a reasonable agenda to pro-

tect your assets and travel plans may

come positive. Faith and feelings of for-

giveness stemming out from within self

and you will become kind of more spiri-

tual person. Professional matters may

cause minor troubles but, background

support returns security and stability.

Your initiatives to save health will be

great plus and you will own good health

throughout the year. If you can continue

workout on your initiatives of health, a

great balance will be established. You can

resolve court matters with your intellectu-

al mind and there will be a good feeling

at the end. You are enjoying the way

everything happens with you.

CapricornThe sparkle

of inspiration

appears to put

you on the right

track. Your

friends will

influence a lot

on you and lots

of support to be

found for your

goals and wishes. Practical decisions may

lead to positive changes. You are likely to

shine and others will regard you in a

favorable light making you move ahead.

You can put all your efforts into business

and career as advancement is on the

cards. You will find yourself busy in

financial matters and you are keen to

make your work more profitable. You

will increase you personal income in the

form of fixed assets. You are motivated to

maintain your fitness and you will put

hard efforts to do that in a right way. This

will be the interactive year with lots of

new happenings and changes. Beneficial

meetings will win applause for your

prowess in work. You did hard efforts to

consolidate your position and now you

feel more confident about it. Be cautious

about taking risk as it may affect your

smooth ongoing life. Keep your bags as

you may have trips on this year. You

might find courage to propose your

sweetheart. A balanced year to catapult

for energetic life put you in a more com-

fortable position.

AquariusDemand of

the year is to

become opti-

mistic by all the

means. A seri-

ous proposal is

on the way and

important work

must be fin-

ished on time

but, it may not be such easy to do. Try not

to be dictatorial otherwise, you may undo

your good things. And this should not be

happen. You might get to travel often and

your travel card for the year is strongest.

Try to use it up to fullest to benefit other

projections. Many challenges lie ahead

for you to face and you will require a

great energy level to pass on.

The need of time is to be a great warrior

to stand against the flow of happenings

around you and sometimes you might feel

alone to accomplish your tasks. Health

might not support you all the time and

that from the family might not be such

inspiring. You tend to become spiritual

person and want to go away from diffi-

culties of life in order to seek bless from

higher order. Job or business will pass on

without much movement.

You have growing realization from

within self that what you want from life is

more than mere materialistic gains. The

flip side is mounting expenses and other

worries. The real time to have a chance to

look inside self is on, now.

Pisces

The year is with many pleasant sensa-

tions and state

of mind

remains cool.

There will be a

clear demarca-

tion into two

different type

of progress and

yet you will

find everything

as linked. Your financial profile will

become surged and stronger. You will

earn social reputation with your sane log-

ics into public appearances. The world of

glamour no longer seems attractive for

you and you will have a wish to have

more family time for self satisfaction.

Property related issues need to handle

with smooth dexterity as it may spoil or

build your entire prospects and portfolio.

Far distance travelling plans must avoid

in order keeping yourself risk free and

home will provide you all necessary ener-

gy galore.

Relationships with people, family, and

friends may blossom. Personal relation

seems to poise into new heights and

makes you stronger about making thor-

ough decisions for future plans. There is a

need of time to control over anger and

you will definitely get what you trying to

achieve. More concentration required on

health lines, your confidence climbs and

results of hard efforts will be visible.

Sharing of ideas, emotions and resources

will be your best part for this year. You

will feel glorified as abundant possibili-

ties opened up in front of you to select for

great life.

Yearly Forecast 2012

76 Astrology

January 7-13, 2012 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

New Year: Celebrating the vast diversity of IndiaBy Prakash Bhandari

For years now, the New Year Eve has

become a new source of freshness for

every Indian.

The New Year is celebrated in great spirit

with partygoers hitting the hot party spots

right before midnight to bid farewell to the

old year and ring in the new year in style.

Despite some sporadic unruly scenes on

the streets on the New Year eve in the past, it

is now the most awaited festive occasion

across the length and breadth of the country.

The New Year Carnival in India is one

occasion that unfurls the real allure of the

country where tradition and culture blend

with convention and rituals.

Once a craze among the metropolitan

crowd, the New Year celebrations are now

part and parcel of Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities

where grand parties, celebrity shows and

concerts are being held right from Christmas

till New Year eve.

Owing to the vast cultural and ethnic diver-

sity of India, New Year's Day is celebrated in

different times of the year at different places.

In Tamil Nadu, January 14 is celebrated as

the New Year. However, Tamils in Sri Lanka

and in other diaspora communities world-

wide continue to observe the New Year in

mid-April.

Yugadi or Ugadi is the New Year's Day for

the people of the Deccan region of India. It

falls on a different day every year because

the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar.

The Saka calendar begins with the month of

Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the

first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first

month in Panchanga, the Indian calendar.

While the people of Karnataka and Andhra

Pradesh use the term Yugadi/Ugadi for this

festival, Maharashtrians term the same festi-

val, observed on the same day, as Gudi

Padwa,

Sindhis celebrate the same day as their

New Year day Cheti Chand. The New Year's

Day in the Sikh Nanakshahi calendar is

March 14.

Manipuris also celebrate their New Year

(Sajibu Cheiraoba) on the same day. It is

observed as Baisakhi in Punjab and

Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. However, it is not

celebrated on the same day as Yugadi in

Tamil Nadu because the Tamils follow a

solar calendar.

Vishu in Kerala is similar to the New Year

festivals observed elsewhere in India. The

Kutchi people of Gujarat celebrate Kutchi

New Year on Ashadi Beej -- that is 2nd day

of Shukla paksha of Aashaadha month of

Hindu calendar.

The Marwari New Year is celebrated on

the day of Diwali, which is the last day

Krishna Paksha of Ashvin month and also

the last day of the Ashvin month of Hindu

calendar.

The Gujarati New Year is celebrated the

day after the festival of Diwali (which occurs

in mid-fall – either October or November,

depending on the Lunar calendar).

In a nutshell, New Year in India is not just

the parties, dance shows and celebrity shows

limited to the eve of December 31 but

describes the vast cultural and ethnic diversi-

ty of our country.

* Punjabi/Sikh New Year is celebrated

on April 14.

* Nepali New Year is celebrated on April

12–15.

* Assamese New Year is celebrated on

April 14-15.

* Bengali New Year is celebrated on the

April 14-15.

* Oriya New Year is celebrated on April

14.

* Manipuri New Year is celebrated on

April 14.

Dates toremember

78 Spiritual Awareness

January 7-13, 2012 TheSouthAsianTimes.info

The holiday season is a festive time of year in which we celebrate the joy and

warmth of Christmas, Chanukah, and Kwanzaa with our loved ones. We put

aside the stresses of life to enjoy family, friendship, and fun. During this sea-

son, we also express gratitude to God for all the gifts we have received. While out-

wardly, we may share in gift giving with others, we also acknowledge the spiritual

gifts we receive from the Lord.

This time of gratitude renews us. Whereas most of the year we are distressed about

not having everything we want, at this holiday season we realize how much we have

been given by God. For those on the spiritual path, we can also reflect on the tremen-

dous grace bestowed on by our spiritual Masters. Even though we may have passed

through some difficult times, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or financially,

we realize that through the grace that the Masters showered on us, we have survived

these times, and at the level of the soul, we are filled with Light, love, and happiness.

Like a candy may have a sweet, soft filling inside an outer crust, the soul within lives

in a state of sweetness no matter how hard our outer life may be. Through meditation

and receptivity to the Master's grace, we can taste the delicious nectar of the Light and Sound of God within. Just as a parent gives a crying child a

candy to distract his or her attention from pain, so does the inner Light and Sound give us something soothing and enjoyable to keep our attention

from the outer pains of life.

As we enjoy the outer desserts and the gift giving of the holiday season, let us also enjoy the inner desserts and spiritual gifts that the Lord has so

elegantly wrapped up for us and placed within the depths of our soul. v/.-

We are also celebrating the New Year. The gratitude we experience during the holidays culminates in the New Year, a time of resolution. Having

reflected on what we received from God and our spiritual Masters, we can now think about what we can do to put these gifts into action to make a

brighter year ahead. Can we convert those gifts into something to make our lives and the lives of others better? We can reflect on what steps we can

take to improve ourselves so that we can make greater strides in our mundane and our spiritual lives. Among the resolutions we make, we can con-

sider whether we can put in more time for our meditation.

Can we be more diligent in our introspection to improve our ethical life? Just as we received love and help from God and our spiritual Master, can

we also have those gifts flow out from us to help those around us through selfless service? Let us take some time to consider how to take steps that

will bring us closer to our spiritual goal of oneness with God.

I pray that this holiday season and the New Year shower you with an abundance of spiritual gifts. May each of you enjoy the delicious sweet nec-

tar of the Light and Sound within. During this holiday season and in the New Year ahead, may you all be blessed with divine love and the bliss of

joyous union with the Lord.

Yours affectionately,

January 1, 2012