AAPI Holds Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness CME

“Lifestyle medicine is the simplest yet most powerful approach to true health and healing,” said Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) while setting the context for the Lifestyle Medicine & Wellness Webinar organized on November 19th, 2022. “We understand that well-being is more than the absence of disease. It’s our hope that by attending this very important webinar today, we all will experience the transformative power of using everyday choices and habits to achieve peak performance and well-being.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, AAPI’s CME Chair, while welcoming the nearly 200 AAPI members who attended the webinar, introduced Dr. Koushik Reddy, who is passionate and deeply committed to the idea of health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-related tools, and, Dr. Param Dedhia, a dedicated internal and integrative medicine practitioner, who is a board-certified Integrative Medicine Physician, Internal Medicine Doctor, Obesity Medicine Expert, and Sleep Medicine Specialist, who led the discussions today on Lifestyle Medicine and Wellness.

“I Have a Carrot and a Stent, You Pick!,” Dr. Koushik R. Reddy, director of interventional cardiology at the James A Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa, FL, challenged a record over 200 Physicians who had joined the webinar on weekend morning.  Dr. Kaushik Reddy emphasized the importance of a fundamental diet, physical activity, and other lifestyle approaches in the primordial and primary prevention of many NCDs that can easily be prevented through simple day-to-day choices.

Dr. Koushik Reddy argued that our healthcare system is really a disease management system, but we still have some agency. He shared with AAPI members several pillars he believes will help each of us have a happy, long healthy life. In his address, he said, he is deeply committed to the idea of health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-related tools. It is with this passion and commitment, he boldly challenges his patients with – “I have a carrot and a stent, you pick!”

Picture : TheUNN

Dr. Reddy said Lifestyle medicine-certified clinicians are trained to apply evidence-based, whole-person, prescriptive lifestyle change to treat and, when used intensively, often reverse such conditions. Applying the six pillars of lifestyle medicine—a whole-food, plant-predominant eating pattern, physical activity, restorative sleep, stress management, avoidance of risky substances, and positive social connections—also provides effective prevention for these conditions. Dr. Reddy discussed the flaws and opportunities inherent in our healthcare system as it relates to heart health. He spoke about the power of plant-based nutrition and lifestyle medicine, and how he incorporates those principles into his current practice.

Both the quality of life and the quantity of life, are inseparable components of a Good Lifestyle, he said. Pointing to how in 1920, the life expectancy was 42, and in 202o, it has nearly doubled to 78. While the quantity of life has increased tremendously, the quality of life has suffered greatly. “While we are living longer, we are also dying longer due to illnesses.”  Dr. Reddy pointed out that the United States is not among the healthy nations of the world because “We are failing the system.” In his efforts to spread the message, he said, “I am happy to work with AAPI and help spread the message of Lifestyle Medicine beyond AAPI and to back home in India.”

Dr. Reddy, after practicing interventional cardiology for ten years, changed his focus towards cardiovascular health promotion and disease prevention, using lifestyle and nutrition-based strategies. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology’s working group on nutrition and lifestyle and is board certified in Cardiology, Interventional Cardiology, and Lifestyle Medicine. He is closely involved with the department of Whole Health at the Tampa VA hospital. Working in partnership with the local Whole Health leadership, he established two preventive cardiology clinics. “HEAL – Healthy Eating and Living – Introductory Program. CALM – Comprehensive Approach to Lifestyle Medicine – 6 weeks of the multidisciplinary program.”

In his insightful address on “Sleep, The Master Lever Of Health,” Dr. Param Dedhia, who had his education at Johns Hopkins University and Canyon Ranch, which allowed him to bridge eastern and western philosophies, and connect traditional wisdom to modern science, is the Founder & Medical Director of Moveo Health, a personalized health program focused on longevity, shared at length some valuable lessons and words of wisdom on the importance of staying curious and honoring our health.

Referring to Sleep Medicine in the United States as only 40 years old, Dr. Dedhia stressed the importance of sleep in our daily lives and said, “Sleep is about restoring.” He said, “Sleep evolves through adulthood. So, we must evolve our lifestyles to promote sleep. According to him, “Most adults need 7-9 hours” of sleep daily. In his address, he pointed to the function & promise of sleep, which Restores, and Cools the brain and body. It helps regulate ion channels and optimizes physiological growth. Sleep is Anti-Inflammatory, as it helps reduce inflammatory markers. Sleep improves one’s mood, by soothing emotions & mental fatigue.
Sleep is “Actively cardio-protective and Enhances neuro-plasticity.” Another important function of Sleep is to help “Improve memory formation & consolidation.” Sleep “connects us physically, mentally & emotionally” and helps us “Replete energy stores.”

Dr. Dedhia, who continues to pursue his passion and be an advocate for people to live their best lives, quoting scientific studies and evidence-based research, Dr. Dedhia said, “Rx for optimal sleep & health are: (1) Quantity and (2) Quality, which are determined by ‘Daytime Lifestyle’ and ‘Nighttime Sleep,’ by creating ‘Night Time Rituals’ that last a lifetime.”

Dr. Sreeni Gangasani, AAPI CME Chair, said, with the rapidly worsening trends in Chronic Lifestyle Related Non-communicable diseases across the world stemming from modern food and diet practices, inadequate physical activity, poor sleep, worsening stress, poor social relationships, and risky substances abuse – healthcare systems across the world are now inundated with premature and preventable mortality and morbidity from these NCDs. In this context, “Today’s webinar is filled with inspiring and informative talks and presentations by two great speakers that shed the light on the importance of lifestyle interventions as the primary mode of prevention.

In his vote of thanks, Dr, Pankaj Vu, Director of Lifestyle Medicine at Kaiser Permanente, while expressing gratitude to the internationally renowned speakers for their inspiring discussions on Lifestyle Medicine and for AAPI members for being part of this important session said, said, “In support of physician well-being and self-care, such sessions are being offered to the AAPI members, families and friends.”

In his remarks, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, while referring to the importance of the Webinar, said, “It is well established that evidence-based clinical nutrition and lifestyle practices play a pivotal role in the prevention, treatment, and potential reversal of various common chronic diseases. However, this area of science is underappreciated at all levels of medical education and training. Most medical schools and residency programs do not offer any organized training in nutrition and lifestyle medicine. Given recent data on the rising cost and loss of quality of life secondary to preventable causes, there is an absolute need for a drastic reform of the US medical education system.” Fort more details on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

AAPI Condemns Violence Against Physicians In India AAPI Urges Government to prevent violence and bring to justice those harm Physicians

Chicago, IL: November 29, 2022:  “AAPI is very concerned by the recent and ongoing assaults on Doctors and Medical Professionals in India and joins American Kerala Medical Graduates Association (AKMG ) and Kerala Medical Post Graduates Association in condemning the recent physical assault on a female Doctor at Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College on  November 23rd that was caught on the CCTV,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of American Association of Physicians of India Origin (AAPI) said here today.

The leadership of AAPI, including Drs. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI, Dr. Vishweshwar Ranga, Chair, BOT of AAPI, Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair, AAPI BOT, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI, Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Alumni Committee of AAPI, Dr. Geetha Nair, President of AKMG,  Dr. Nigil Haroon, immediate past President of AKMG, and Dr. Subra Bhat,  past President of AKMG,  and the entire Executive Committee and Board Of Trustees of AAPI, stand in solidarity with our fellow physicians and medical professionals, who are on the front line, work very hard, day and night to serve and take care of patients diligently and dutifully, Dr. Kolli said in a statement issued here.

Quoting media reports last month that pointed to a very grim situation in the state of Punjab in India, Dr. Kolli said, it is shocking to learn of “Recent incidents of physical assaults and misconduct have once again instilled a sense of fear in the mind of on-duty medical staff. As per the data, compiled by the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) Association, over 400 incidents of violence against medical staff, including doctors, have been reported over the past two years.”

Picture : TheUNN

Recalling that from ancient times, physicians across the world have been revered for dedicating their lives for the noble mission of preventing people from getting and saving millions of lives of people from illnesses, Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI said. “We as a community of physicians and individual members of this fraternity have decided to go into the medical profession with the best of intentions. We as physicians want to help people, ease suffering and save lives. Physicians of Indian origin are well known around the world for their compassion, passion for patient care, medical skills, research, and leadership.”

“We strongly urge both the central and state governments to take decisive and drastic actions to curb these anti-social behaviors that endanger doctors serving patients,” Dr. Ranga, BOT Chair of AAPI said.  He agreed with the health experts who “want a multi-pronged approach to prevent such attacks, involving reducing the crowd by strengthening peripheral hospitals, increasing staff and providing better security.”

Dr, Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI said, “These incidents are unfortunate. We urge the federal and the state governments to provide adequate security at all hospitals and healthcare centers.” AAPI supports the petition calling for justice to the Doctor attacked in Thiruvananthapuram, which has gained support from the Kerala Medical Post Graduate Association, who stated that it is unsettling that such attacks occurred in medical campuses, which are supposed to be a secure location, he added.

“AAPI members share their angst as there is not enough support from the state and federal governments and the larger society as the attacks on Medical Professionals in India continue to rise, Dr. Meher Medavaram, Secretary of AAPI said.

Pointing to the trend of increasing violence against the Medical Professionals, and the actions against the perpetrators are disproportionately low, Dr. Sumul Raval, Treasurer of AAPI said, “Medical Professionals cannot provide the best possible health services to the people until there is a safe working environment. Potential fear of violence always looms, especially in the overcrowded Government Hospitals.”

Several aspiring Physicians have expressed concerns following the assault on the female doctor at Thiruvananthapuram Government Medical College last week. The attacked female Doctor is quoted to have told Dr. Sulphi N, the Indian Medical Association state president, that she was shocked and regretted her decision to pursue a career as a Doctor and even as a neurosurgeon.

“Despite the noble intentions to save lives and prevent pain and suffering among the patients, Doctors and Medical Professionals continue to put their own lives on the line in the course of their jobs, it is shocking that face such attacks from the very people they are trying to help,” Dr. Sujeeth Punnam, Chair, Alumni Committee of AAPI added.

Dr. Raghu Lolabhattu, Vice Chair, AAPI BOT said, “AAPI urges the Government of India and the State Governments across the country to bring to justice those behind the cruel attacks on the physicians who have dedicated lives for serving the sick, especially during the critical Covid pandemic, risking his own life and that of his dear ones.”

“We at AAPI, the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States urge the Government of India and every state in India to make all the efforts needed to prevent violence against medical professionals and enable them to continue to serve the country with dignity, pride and security. We are shocked by the lack of coherent action against such violence and protect members of this noble fraternity. And we want immediate action against the culprits, who have been carrying on these criminal acts.” For more information on AAPI, please visit: www.aapiusa.org

UK, France Support India, 3 Other Nations For UNSC Membership

India’s bid for a permanent seat in a reformed United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has received strong support from permanent members. After the United Kingdom, France reiterated its support to Brazil, Germany, India and Japan for the creation of new permanent seats, The Print reported.

Addressing the UN General Assembly plenary meeting on Friday, on the ‘Question of equitable representation on and increase in the membership of the Security Council and other matters related to the Security Council’, France’s Deputy Representative to the UN, Nathalie Broadhurst Estival said, “France endorses the candidacy of Brazil, Germany, India and Japan as permanent members for permanent seats.”

“We must indeed take into account the emergence of new powers that are willing and able to assume the responsibility of a permanent presence in the Security Council,” Broadhurst said.

“We also want greater representation from African countries including as permanent members of the council as many seats should be distributed to ensure geographical representation,” she added.

In the UNSC, Ambassador Estival stated that the issue of the veto is highly sensitive. She stressed that it is up to the States requesting a permanent seat to decide on the matter.

She further explained that the objective must remain twofold: to consolidate the Council’s legitimacy and to strengthen its capacity to fully assume its responsibilities in the maintenance of international peace and security.

It is in this spirit that France proposed that the five Permanent Council members voluntarily and collectively suspend the use of the veto in cases of mass atrocities. With regard to the Council’s working methods, she reaffirmed the organ’s competence to define them and to emphasize the commitment of the Council’s members to greater transparency, openness and efficiency.

Earlier, the UK also extended its support to India for permanent membership of the UNSC. UK Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward said, “We support the creation of new permanent seats for India, Germany, Japan and Brazil, as well as permanent African representation on the Council.”

Woodward stated that the UK also supports an expansion of the non-permanent category of membership, taking the Security Council’s total membership to somewhere in mid-20s.

Woodward said with these changes, the Council would be more representative of the world today. “And, coupled with a renewed commitment to the UN Charter, it would be better able to respond decisively to threats to international peace and security,” she said.

The General Assembly opened its annual debate with speakers renewing their appeals for enlarging the 15-member organ and updating its working methods to make it more transparent, inclusive, representative, accountable and effective in a world gripped by a cascade of interlocking crises.

Among the five permanent members of the 15-nation Council, the US, UK, France and Russia have supported a permanent seat for India in the UN body.

India’s current two-year term as a non-permanent member of the Security Council will end next month after it has presided over the 15-nation Council.

New Delhi and other G4 nations of Brazil, Germany and Japan have been at the forefront of efforts calling for urgent reform of the Security Council, which has remained deeply divisive in dealing with current challenges.

India has asserted that the Council, in its current form, does not reflect today’s geo-political realities and its credibility is at risk if nations such as developing powers like India do not have a permanent seat at the horse-shoe table.

When Could Student Loan Borrowers Know If They’re Actually Getting Relief?

Millions of student loan borrowers find themselves on tenterhooks, waiting to see if they will actually get the relief proposed by President Biden as challenges to his debt forgiveness plan work their way through the courts.

The Biden administration opened up student loan forgiveness applications last month and was planning to start applying the relief this month, but those actions came to a halt after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit temporarily blocked the measure.

Of the multiple court cases across the country, a challenge from six GOP-led states is the only one that has been successful so far in stopping the program, at least for now.

The administration is planning to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loans for borrowers making less than $125,000 annually and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. But the 8th Circuit issued an order two weeks ago to prevent relief from being distributed while it considers arguments over whether the states have standing to sue over the plan.

A federal district judge previously ruled that the six Republican attorneys general who sued do not have standing because they could not demonstrate that Biden’s program directly harmed their states.

The 8th Circuit ended up pausing the relief program to give time for both parties to submit their briefings before making a full ruling on if the forgiveness should be paused until the whole case is settled.

Abby Shafroth, director of National Consumer Law Center’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance Project, told The Hill borrowers will “have a decision” from the 8th Circuit soon since those briefings have been submitted.

Legal experts said the court’s determination on whether the states have standing could be key to whether the administration will be allowed to provide relief in the next couple weeks or months from now, if at all.

Michael Sant’Ambrogio, a law professor and senior associate dean for faculty and academic affairs at Michigan State University, said a ruling on the states’ motion for a preliminary injunction should happen soon, but litigation is “rarely quick” if the full case goes to trial.

“If they grant the preliminary injunction, I would say all bets are off,” he said.

Picture: Mqashable

Biden said in an interview with Nexstar’s Reshad Hudson last week that he expected relief to be disbursed within two weeks, but experts said that is only possible if the injunction is denied.

Sant’Ambrogio said the Supreme Court has increasingly cut back on the power of the executive branch to take action without clear direction from Congress, and the states’ challenge could succeed based on the argument that Congress never expressly approved broad forgiveness.

“This is a very bold move by the administration, and there are certainly some questions given how the Supreme Court has been interpreting the power of the executive and federal agencies,” Sant’Ambrogio said.

While Shafroth acknowledged court cases can go on for a long time, she doesn’t expect the challenges against student debt relief to last for too long or for the courts to halt the program while they decide.

She said it is “unusual for courts to order a party to do or not do something before they’ve decided a case.”

“Normally, a judge would have to find the government was breaking the law before ordering them to stop,” Shafroth said.

The six states that sued –– Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina –– pointed to multiple failed congressional attempts to cancel debt in recent years in their complaint as evidence of a lack of congressional authorization for the administration’s action.

If the appeals court decides the states have standing and grants the preliminary injunction, their briefs on the merits of the case would not be due until mid-December. The government would then have 30 days to respond, and the states would have 21 additional days to respond to that rebuttal, which would almost certainly cause the case to go into next year.

A COVID-19 pandemic-era pause on borrowers making payments on their loans is set to end on Dec. 31, but the Biden administration could seek to extend it again. The administration had been urging borrowers to request relief by mid-November to ensure they receive it in time for the pause to end.

“It’s hard for me to imagine this being wrapped up in less than at least a month. It could potentially be two or three months before the injunction is finally lifted,” said Thomas Bennett, an associate professor of law at the University of Missouri. “And of course, if appeals courts agreed with the states that they have standing, then it could be much longer.”

He said either side could appeal an eventual 8th Circuit ruling to the Supreme Court on an expedited basis, adding that the high court may be more likely to take it if the federal government loses at the appeals court level.

He said the Supreme Court may also be more likely to take up cases that challenge the program if multiple appeals courts issue different rulings on the constitutionality of the program.

Shafroth pointed out the Supreme Court has already rejected getting involved in one case regarding the debt relief program, Brown County Taxpayers Association v. Biden, and she didn’t expect them to get involved in Garrison v. Department of Education — a prediction that proved correct on Friday when Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied an emergency effort to block the forgiveness program in the Garrison case.

“It remains to be seen if any of the other cases will go up to the Supreme Court,” Shafroth said.

Bennett, in response to Biden’s prediction, said, “It’s not likely that there would be any actual loan forgiveness in the next two weeks.”

“But in the next four weeks, in the next six weeks, I think it just becomes increasingly plausible if they’re able to win,” he added, referring to the administration.

Although Shafroth said it is hard to put an exact timeline on when this could get solved in the courts, she said she does not expect a long timeframe for decisions.

“The parties are very clearly, on both sides, interested in resolving these cases quickly so they’re agreeing to fast briefing schedules. The courts are also recognizing the high importance of these cases and resolving them quickly,” she said.  “I think, hopefully, we should have everything resolved fairly soon,” Shafroth said. (https://thehill.com/regulation/court-battles/3720140-when-could-student-loan-borrowers-know-if-theyre-actually-getting-relief/)

Christian Monastery, Pre-Dating Islam Found In UAE

(AP) — An ancient Christian monastery possibly dating as far back as the years before Islam spread across the Arabian Peninsula has been discovered on an island off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, officials announced Thursday.

The monastery on Siniyah Island, part of the sand-dune sheikhdom of Umm al-Quwain, sheds new light on the history of early Christianity along the shores of the Persian Gulf. It marks the second such monastery found in the Emirates, dating back as many as 1,400 years — long before its desert expanses gave birth to a thriving oil industry that led to a unified nation home to the high-rise towers of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The two monasteries became lost to history in the sands of time as scholars believe Christians slowly converted to Islam as that faith grew more prevalent in the region.

Today, Christians remain a minority across the wider Middle East, though Pope Francis arrived in nearby Bahrain on Thursday to promote interfaith dialogue with Muslim leaders.

For Timothy Power, an associate professor of archaeology at the United Arab Emirates University who helped investigate the newly discovered monastery, the UAE today is a “melting pot of nations.”

“The fact that something similar was happening here a 1,000 years ago is really remarkable and this is a story that deserves to be told,” he said.

The monastery sits on Siniyah Island, which shields the Khor al-Beida marshlands in Umm al-Quwain, an emirate some 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of Dubai along the coast of the Persian Gulf. The island, whose name means “flashing lights” likely due to the effect of the white-hot sun overhead, has a series of sandbars coming off of it like crooked fingers. On one, to the island’s northeast, archaeologists discovered the monastery.

Picture: WIND

Carbon dating of samples found in the monastery’s foundation date between 534 and 656. Islam’s Prophet Muhammad was born around 570 and died in 632 after conquering Mecca in present-day Saudi Arabia.

Viewed from above, the monastery on Siniyah Island’s floor plan suggests early Christian worshippers prayed within a single-aisle church at the monastery. Rooms within appear to hold a baptismal font, as well as an oven for baking bread or wafers for communion rites. A nave also likely held an altar and an installation for communion wine.

Next to the monastery sits a second building with four rooms, likely around a courtyard — possibly the home of an abbot or even a bishop in the early church.

On Thursday, the site saw a visit from Noura bint Mohammed al-Kaabi, the country’s culture and youth minister, as well as Sheikh Majid bin Saud Al Mualla, the chairman of the Umm al-Quwain’s Tourism and Archaeology Department and a son of the emirate’s ruler.

The island remains part of the ruling family’s holdings, protecting the land for years to allow the historical sites to be found as much of the UAE has rapidly developed.

The UAE’s Culture Ministry has sponsored the dig in part, which continues at the site. Just hundreds of meters (yards) away from the church, a collection of buildings that archaeologists believe belongs to a pre-Islamic village sit.

Elsewhere on the island, piles of tossed-aside clams from pearl hunting make for massive, industrial-sized hills. Nearby also sits a village that the British blew up in 1820 before the region became part of what was known as the Trucial States, the precursor of the UAE. That village’s destructions brought about the creation of the modern-day settlement of Umm al-Quwain on the mainland.

Historians say early churches and monasteries spread along the Persian Gulf to the coasts of present-day Oman and all the way to India. Archaeologist have found other similar churches and monasteries in Bahrain, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

In the early 1990s, archaeologists discovered the first Christian monastery in the UAE, on Sir Bani Yas Island, today a nature preserve and site of luxury hotels off the coast of Abu Dhabi, near the Saudi border. It similarly dates back to the same period as the new find in Umm al-Quwain.

However, evidence of early life along the Khor al-Beida marshlands in Umm al-Quwain dates as far back as the Neolithic period — suggesting continuous human inhabitance in the area for at least 10,000 years, Power said.

Today, the area near the marshland is more known for the low-cost liquor store at the emirate’s Barracuda Beach Resort. In recent months, authorities have demolished a hulking, Soviet-era cargo plane linked to a Russian gunrunner known as the “Merchant of Death” as it builds a bridge to Siniyah Island for a $675 million real estate development.

Power said that development spurred the archaeological work that discovered the monastery. That site and others will be fenced off and protected, he said, though it remains unclear what other secrets of the past remain hidden just under a thin layer of sand on the island.

“It’s a really fascinating discovery because in some ways it’s hidden history — it’s not something that’s widely known,” Power said.

Morning Exercise Has No Benefits To Control Blood Sugar

Morning physical activity offers no advantages in reducing insulin resistance while afternoon or evening physical activity has now been associated with better blood sugar control to avoid diabetes risk in people, according to a significant research.

It has long been argued that the timing of physical activity throughout the day may be a factor in metabolic health. However, the timing of physical activity is a relatively unexplored field in human biology and the mechanisms underlying the potential benefits of timing of physical activity remain unclear.

A new study published in Diabetologia has now discovered that afternoon or evening physical activity is associated with better blood sugar control.

The study was led by Dr Jeroen van der Velde and colleagues at Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands.

“The results suggest that timing of physical activity throughout the day is relevant for the beneficial effects of physical activity on inulin sensitivity. Further studies should assess whether timing of physical activity is indeed important for the occurrence of type 2 diabetes,” they mentioned.

For the study, the researchers used data from the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study.

Participants underwent a physical examination during which blood samples were taken to measure fasting and after-meal blood glucose and insulin levels, while demographic, lifestyle and clinical information were obtained via questionnaire.

They were also screened for suitability for an MRI scan, and roughly 35 per cent of those able to undergo the procedure were randomly selected to have their liver fat content measured using this technique.

“There was no significant difference in insulin resistance between morning activity and activity spread evenly over the day,” the results showed.

Neither the amount of sedentary time nor the number of breaks in sedentary behaviour were found to have any favourable association with liver fat content or insulin resistance.

“It could be that in our study, the intensity of the activity during the breaks was too light to cause metabolic responses. Most daily activities are of light intensity and because we did not observe an association between LPA and insulin resistance, this may also explain the lack of an association between breaks and insulin resistance,” the researchers noted.

“Further studies should assess whether timing of physical activity is indeed important for the occurrence of type 2 diabetes,” they added. (IANS)

A Referendum On Sikhs Worldwide Asks If Punjab Should Be An Independent Nation

Despite severe opposition and pressure from the Indian government, organizers are preparing for the next round of voting in the Khalistan Referendum which seeks secession of Punjab from India. The secessionist referendum was held on November 6th in Mississauga, Ontario is the second in the series with first voting held on September 18th in Brampton, Ontario in which over 110,000 Canadian Sikhs participated to vote on the question: “Should India governed Punjab be an Independent Country?”

Voting in the global referendum started on October 31, 2021, in London, UK and so far in addition to more than a dozen cities around the UK, voting has also been held in Geneva, Switzerland and in eight locations across Italy. To date, an estimated 450,000 diaspora Sikhs have voted in the referendum. Sikhs living outside India makeup almost 25% of the total Sikh population around the world, giving unusual importance to the voice and opinion of diaspora in Sikh affairs.

Canada is one of the first to hold votes, and organizers claim it attracted over 100,000 people on the first day of balloting near Toronto last month. Gurpatwant Singh Pannun of Sikhs for Justice, the referendum’s organizer, states this referendum isn’t a call for secession, unlike the Khalistan referendum which calls for geographical and political secession from India.

Pannun likens this referendum to independence votes held in recent years in Scotland, Catalonia, Spain and elsewhere — non-binding but still a legitimate gauge of public opinion. However, supporters of the pro-Khalistan referendum have put this referendum in their focal points, thus causing rising tensions with the Indian government.

“This referendum is about showing support and solidarity for a separate country called Khalistan that would respect the rights and sovereignty of Sikhs and others living in Punjab” says Gurpatwant Singh Pannun, a human rights lawyer and General Counsel of Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) the NGO which launched the Referendum initiative.

The global voting in the Khalistan Referendum is being overseen and supervised by an independent panel of experts on democracy, secession and referendums called The Punjab Referendum Commission (PRC). PRC is comprised of five experts and is headed by M. Dane Waters, who heads the Initiative and Referendums Institute at the University of Southern California.

Key Issues:

In India, with 2% of the overall population, Sikhs are a religious minority, while in the region of Punjab under Indian control, Sikhs form the single largest community being 56% of the Punjab population. Since 1947, under Indian control, Sikhs have been persecuted and suppressed for their religious identity and political opinions. Most noted persecution of Sikhs under India’s rule since 1947 consists of:

  • Suppression of separate religious identity by labelling Sikhs as “Hindus” in Explanation II to Article 25 of the Constitution of India
  • Military attack, invasion, desecration, and massacre at the holiest Sikh shrine The Golden Temple in June 1984, killing more than 10,000 pilgrims including women and children
  • November 1984 anti-Sikh genocidal violence across India killing more than 30,000 Sikhs
  • Decade long extra judicial killing of Sikhs in 1980s and 1990s by Indian security forces in the name of counter insurgency to crush the movement for Khalistan
  • Unresolved economic issues such as plundering of river waters of Punjab and providing it to other States of India, without compensation to Punjab, thus forcing extreme economic hardship upon 80,000 Sikh farmers

The Indian Government has also banned Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for calling for the secessionist Khalistan Referendum. There has been detention, torture, and prosecution of several hundred Sikhs for merely possessing Khalistan Referendum material as well as filing sedition charges against them and attempting to extradite Mr. Pannun and other foreign based Khalistan activists. Dr. Bakhsish Singh Sandhu, President Council of Khalistan stated, “ever since Sikhs have been demanding the right of self-determination, the government of India has been criminalizing the political opinion of Sikhs and labelling the peaceful propagation of political opinion as crime, militancy, insurgency and terrorism”. (SOURCE: Sikhs for Justice)

Run with Mind not body!

Dwarka Xpress Runners the phenomenon that is rocking the Indian running community

DXR: “Naam to suna hi Hoga”

A few weeks ago at the Berlin marathon 2022 we saw history in the making, an inspiring performance by the greatest marathon runner of all time, Eliud Kipchoge finishing his marathon in record breaking time 2:01:09 shaving a full 30 seconds of his own marathon world record. Kipchoge, the 26.2 km goat , the marathon legend, gave a byte saying he had a feeling that he would do something momentous that day and “Oh boy “did he do it in style!.

Meanwhile approximately 5800 kms away from Berlin on the amicable streets of Dwarka, New Delhi, India , is a trailblazing group of elite runners resonating a similar spirit shown by Kipchoge in more ways than one. Each having an effortless smooth running form and not an ounce of wasted energy. Each believing that they would conquer the distance that they have set out to run on any given day.

Daily at 5am minimum 10 elite runners run with relaxed ease for two hrs as a part of the Vibrant running group DXR Dwarka Xpress runners (a 300 strong running group, 500+members including families).

Headlining this remarkable group is a duo of two legendary runners who need no introduction within the Indian running fraternity. At the helm the magical joint leadership of Sanjay Panghal (also know as the poet runner & Panghal Xpress)and the unstoppable endurance legend Ajeet Yadav. Both display daily that distance running is an easy and effortless feat and that anyone can run.

With ‘Run with the mind’ purpose these full-time Delhi Police cops initially started this small group in 2017 to keep themselves healthy and get their families and friends into a fun healthy lifestyle.

Even the Pandemic couldn’t stop the meticulous training runs of this strong group. During the period of Covid lockdowns they kept its members active by online sessions of physical activities. Some even few ran half marathons indoor. They were unstoppable as group.

Post covid they advised all runners to take any hint of illness, as a serious warning and encourage all to take regular health checkups. They made changes in training to include yoga and breathing exercises in it alongwith the Marathon training sessions.

Flanked on either side by other elite runners like Madan Godara(Haryana express)Dr Satish Sangwan(who has run every possible high altitude run in India) MP Jain, a Ladakh marathon veteran and Captain Satender Sangwan, who along with his unstoppable running and amazing wins at the national para games keep the group leadership vibrant. Supporting them in all their runs is also a brigade of elite young runners who eagerly participate and finish with record breaking timings as various marathon events across the country.

Each member of the group at some point has been groomed to run better by one or more of these fantastic athletes. It is a kind of selfless mentoring not many groups can boast off. The DXR elite share their wealth of experience with its members in their signature DXR style of sense of humour and light with.

DXR is a family running group so they have runners from age of 5 years to 85 years. They all participate in various events and win trophies for the team. The groups key ideology to keep the whole family fit is evident in the family run events that are planned by the group every now and then. From celebrating festivals with group runs to just a potluck luck of everyones favourite dishes after the run, there are many main innovative run ideas and themes that they share to bring the whole community running together .Dhoti- kurta/saree Run on Valentine day. Gol gappe, chhole bhature etc runs without taking any fees. Churma run, Chai pe charcha run are some examples.

Even after 5 years it is still a humble self-supported group with humble aesthetics and the maximum turnout is seen by members during fun family events. It surely is a display of pomp and show or as they call it “Dhamaal”.

These talented runners have managed to in such a short span of just 5 years make this run family grow to more than 300 families(500+ members). What started as a basic fitness group has lately produced some legendary runners who are podiums finishers at almost every possible Indian marathon and many extreme high altitude challenging runs like the Khardungle 72 kms challenge.

Talking about excellence in the field of running it is worth a mention that more than 10 runners are in century club of Half Marathons(100x21kms till date), 24 hrs running, 12Hrs running challenge and of course Ultra running(42km+).They are loved and admired for making so many members believe that one can take on this high endurance sport to stay fit. They are also a hugely popular group and an overwhelming favourite icon at every race at Delhi- NCR.The mere presence of DXR at any Delhi NCR event is nothing short of a talented display of timeless performance.

Even if we look at individual performances , Group member Ajay Kumar took DXR literally to the highest peak in Russia on July 2021 as he trekked and conquered this highest peak of the caucecous mountains which stands at 5642 feet above sea level.

He proudly adorned the peak with the national Indian flag and the DXR team flag. Few special DXR members Manish Aggarwal and Monika Kadian lost weight and showed that one could get healthy by regular running and are proud of their new lean healthy lifestyle. They are now fitness icons of their own accord now and an inspiration to many in DXR. They showed that with consistency and discipline all can achieve goals.

A few passionate runners even have tried the impossible feat, like Sanjay Panghal and Shashi Kant Sahu have been keeping a non-stop running streak since the early days of the group formation, running every single day. The unique quality that makes the leadership and each member want to be the best version of themselves in every which way is a true hallmark of the value of this running group.

5 years of DXR only shows an upward graph which is also synonymous with various milestones and setting the bar high for the entire running community. Including winning trophies by group members at every event be it at low oxygen level terrain of Ladakh FM, ADHM, National level Stadium Runs, All incline high altitude challenge Abu Run, Ultra Shivalik run, The toughest Tuffman Mashobra marathon and annual participation by the group in Hundred days of running(HDOR) just to name a few.

Apart from its many achievements and accolades galore Sanjay Panghal has a vision not just for running community but for society as a whole to have as many people adopt at least an hour of running/exercises to be fit and save on medical expenses.

Additionally, Leading from the front with an acute sense of giving back , Sanjay and Ajeet also ensure regular group plogging runs.

All the runners take out time to plog the whole Dwarka running track and area and end the event with planting some tree saplings. Sanjay and Ajeet both feel its their mission to inspire as many people to get into fitness through running.They truly believe that through running DXR will help its member achieve what they are truly capable of.

As they celebrate their 5th year anniversary DXR is set to have a “Dhamaal” of a show on 23rd Oct 2022 at Dwarka New Delhi. On this momentous occasion Sanjay Panghal and Ajeet Yadav take on the role of Race Directors of the momentous event . They plan to organise a self-supported grand marathon event in New Delhi in characteristic DXR style at a very nominal cost for maximum participation. From goodies like iconic celebration tees , filled goodie bags, customised medals and trophies for all age category winners they aim to make running and winning accessible to all.

Running is an high endurance sport which helps us examine ourselves and the world around us. Why we seek out pain and try to break our pain barrier in the unending search for our stronger selves is a question that can be only answered by these courageous folks who run for sport. The passion and sometimes mad fervour that drive individuals especially seen in this running group DXR make us want to seek out the scared little individual inside each of us who have an immense ability to endure but just does not know it yet . One thing is for sure , this sport is definitely not for the faint hearted and those who have reached the other side seem to be enjoying a piece of paradise and seem to want to share that experience with everyone.

Lifting weights for stronger bones! Running to save my life!

It all started in April 2014! I had just taken up retirement from my most sought after job as a Television Producer job after a 17 year stint. Working hard and thriving in a work environment where women were groomed to taken on large responsibilities, I had grown leaps and bounds each year and had the good fortune to produce award winning documentaries and prime time shows. The core team I worked with comprised of some of finest individuals that the Indian Television industry could boast of. It would be safe to say that I was quite content with my busy professional shenanigans. However change is inevitable and there was a phase where I knew I wanted to go solo. Having taken stock of our family’s mortgage, we were seemingly comfortable when it came to savings. I too was quite content with my life’s trajectory, professionally, at this point in life. My life could easily be the envy of any middle class girl of my generation in India. Yes, I had powered through and achieved a lot and thrived in an environment of opportunity at life and at work. I knew now, I wanted nothing else other than pursue my passion, Sugarcraft, as a business. This soft retirement and the glamour of being my own boss in a new business propelled me toward every right step that needed to be taken to start my own business. This was also a time when my husband and myself were still navigating through the chaotic world that all new parents deal with, working couple with a toddler in tow.

As I spent the next few months finishing a Diploma in Cakes and Confectionary(my dream) I was all set to lead the life, once again, that many could have only can dream of, especially if you knew my peer group. An early retirement from the corporate work culture and pursuing a business which is one’s passion, Wedding cakes, I was on a roll with not much to complain about. I spent the subsequent months working on the promotion of my business and taking on small orders from friends and family. Also during this time, all my culinary stars seemed to align in my favour and somehow all my favourite and top notch Cake artists seemed to travelling through New Delhi teaching their Craft. Yes, stuff like this happens. Only if you wish it as much as I did. Considering myself the luckiest girl in the world I signed up for all of these international pastry and sugar craft certifications even while my small business continued to thrive side by side. I was finally working on handcrafted Sugar wedding cakes and (my forte) gravity defying show-stopping Chandelier cakes. My social media accounts were buzzing with queries and my peers in my cake decorating work were connecting with me for collaborations. This time was my “Say yes to everything” time and I managed to make a small niche for myself as an aspiring new cake decorator in New Delhi ready to work on showstopper cake orders

As time went I started taking on bigger and more challenging cake orders. Gravity defying beach cake, 100000 customer number cake, even a three tier chandelier cake as a promotion for my alumni culinary institute to name a few. It was during this time that for a 30kg 6 piece cake structure delivery I realised that maybe I had pushed myself too much physically. The mental and physical stress of the cake order and the logistics took its toll. I delivered the order and headed home know that this pain I felt was not just fatigue and that something was majorly amiss. Even while the client was msging me ecstatic about the spectacular cake and how much it was loved, I was fast heading to my orthopaedic specialist. I had a similar incident many years ago a years in 2006 after another such stressful day at work. The Delhi Chief Ministers interview after my 8 hour morning shift in the studio. I remember so clearly that day because of lack of resources my camera person and myself were left to our own accord to haul the lighting equipment for the shoot back and forth. That strain of incident had put me flat on my back for straight 2 weeks with acute L4 L5 pain and I was out of action for over a month. The last time it took every ounce of mental energy to get back to normal life and live a pain free work life. We as humans never learn I guess. This time the doctors visit showed that my previous condition had worsened with the birth of my child and I had transitioned into the early stages of osteoporosis called Oestpenia. This time again I was flat on my back for two weeks and was on calcium and haemoglobin supplements for 6 months. My workaholism, bad eating habits and lack of exercise had finally taken a toll on my now 42 year old body. A wakeup call that I can have high power job and big dreams but unless I have my health I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed, let alone accomplish anything in life. The doctor had suggested to me to take supplements to replenish my system and mildly suggested I get active. I used to think that being busy meant being active and fit, clearly a mistake on my part. Did I ever think life would be like this for me. Not even in my wildest dreams. It was supposed to be smooth sailing and follow the usual trajectory after all I studied well, worked hard , acquired assets and had a lovely family. Life of course doesn’t always sync with one’s plan, I guess , at least for most of us.

As I headed back home from the doctor that day I remember seeing a new board of a CULT workout centre coming soon right opposite our place of residence. My husband suggested we both join the next week and try it out, our two bits as a family to stay active and fit. I was very apprehensive initially and usually felt totally out of place at this workout centre during the sessions. In two weeks somehow the first few classes gave me much relief and I started regularly reaching for the 6am class. The endorphins release helped me stay regular.

The daily routine was a mix of strength exercises with stretching and mobility and occasional lifting weights. I was feeling healthier that ever before. The 6ams continued for 3 months and I was already 4 kgs lighter and pain free. I even had a small gang of likeminded people who would workout with me at the class at 6am daily. In the fourth month of my continuous workouts my health checkup showed my calcium and haemoglobin parameters as normal and soon I became medicine free. I had lost a good 6 kgs in 6 months and felt fit as a horse. This time also saw me taking on new work responsibility and I joined with a culinary institute as a Chef Trainer where I continued for almost a year. Mentally I was buzzing ideas and super alert.

Soon I joined a group of runners. This was a popular, self supported group of runners called Dwarka Xpress runners(DXR) with two amazing Delhi cops at the helm. My run journey soon turned out to be the most fun roller coaster ride of my life. Regular running and every Sunday participating in marathons of various distances. When one starts investing in ones fitness and health then invariably we also meet like minded people who steer us closer towards our goals. Its when I joined the group I realised that we all shared the same passion to workout for minimum 1 hour daily and maintain a disease free life. I continued running as it helped me build my endurance level even more then just strength exercises at Cult. What followed was a routine workout schedule which looked like this, I used to run with my group of runners Dwarka Xpress runners at 5am and then head for a group strength class at 6am at Cult and then be home at 7am to send my daughter to school and by 9am I used to be on the Delhi metro at 9am , heading towards work as a Chef Trainer at my culinary institute. By the end of year of running with group regularly I had lost 12 kgs and was the fittest I had been my entire life at age 42

Hindustan marathon 2020

From not knowing how to do two pushups I am now running longer distances in marathons every month across the nation. It is a stark realisation that If I don’t challenge myself I won’t get stronger! People seem to be perplexed why I run so much and why I am so particular about my workouts. They don’t know what I know now, that my next day of healthy living depends on it! Literally this routine has saved me life. Now I have added so much value to the life I am living as I have health on my side.

I never have looked back and I try and never miss more than two days of exercise unless there is an an emergency. This was a new lease on life that I had received at age 42 and its my super power now.. Knowing how to take care of my health. I haven’t in 3 years visited the kind doctor who asked me to get active that doctor for an illness related visit( though I did bake an awesome showstopper cake for his daughter later). I know I may not have a such smooth sailing in another 10 years when my medical condition does catch up with me but till then I know there is no reason to live my best life yet.

Yes, there will be many times our well meaning plans would be waylaid and our life trajectory gets a little out of place. I too experienced a turning point with an unprecedented change of city with the family just before the pandemic hit in March 2020. In a new city and on an unclear lockdown, we as family continued coping with each crisis as it came our way. For me it was very clear, I will continue the one thing that has always worked for me, my workouts and running. I signed up for many marathon virtual events to keep myself fit and consistent. I became my own motivation, a solo runner. As the situation settled down, I continued this streak and started seeking out likeminded individuals in my city and people passionate about being fit, come what may. The result of this pursuit was the formation of a new fitness group in my new city in our very own own community. A few of us have embraced the daily 5ams and finish our run workouts well before our day even starts. The whole group meets regularly every weekend for group runs and dance workout sessions. Sometimes it just might be a family visit run /walk to a nearby lake or a city landmark but the key ideology of the group is to be continuously on the move. Some members call me their “superstar mentor” and “guru maa” but I know as a fact that formation of the group too works in accordance with own my goal to keep my future fit and healthy. This new role of paying it forward is maybe my own indirect way of showing gratitude to the running group where I was groomed to embrace running regularly as a lifestyle.. Call it what you may, It is hugely gratifying and is a big tick on my life’s mission.

Yes I am wiser now in the sense that I can see clearly the things that are out of my control and yes I accept those but I still wanna continue living my life with this optimistic mantra that I can really create a life where I can thrive and grow stronger, that I still have something in my control , my health. ‘Health is wealth’ is no longer just a cliche for me. I am a living proof of it. I have changed my life’s trajectory from hospital visits to now running marathons by making the biggest investment of all, Investing in myself and my health. Trust me when I say this! The only important question you need to ask ourself as you get older is , How are you going to invest in yourself in this coming year.?

US And India Need To Collaborate On A Higher Scale: AIMA Chief Shrinivas Dempo

Shrinivas Dempo is not one to mince words. The president of the All India Management Association (AIMA) – the country’s apex non-profit, non-lobbying body for management professionals with over 38,000 members – is not optimistic about the current geopolitical and economic situation, even as he is hopeful about the future.

“These are extremely difficult times,” he told indica in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the 5th US-India Conference jointly hosted by AIMA and Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley, on October 11. “We are facing all sorts of crises – climate, energy, interest rates, foreign exchange. But when there are challenges there are also opportunities.”

The 1969-born Dempo, who hails from the state of Goa in western India, is the chairman of the Dempo Group of Companies – a diversified conglomerate with interests in industries such as calcined petroleum coke, shipbuilding, food processing, real estate and newspaper publishing. The company also owns a popular football club.

The theme for this year’s conference was ‘US-India Partnership: A New Paradigm in a Changed World’. In his speech, Dempo acknowledged the issues faced by the world and not just India. “We believe in the strength of people,” he said, “and together we (the US and India) can achieve.”

He told indica, “With so much uncertainty, thought leaders will have to come up more ideas for our economies to collaborate. India is one of the world’s most promising nations. Our demographic dividend, our younger population is our greatest strength.”

He added that the Russia-Ukraine conflict and the China-Taiwan geopolitical tensions give an opportunity for India and the US to collaborate on a higher scale. “India in the east and US in the west will play a major role in sorting out the issues.”

He said collaboration is better than competition, and for that to happen, he proposed a summit where industry and academia from the two countries can come together.

Dempo said the AIMA is not like other business associations, “nor are we an advocacy organization,” but added that AIMA talks about adapting better management practices. “AIMA not only addresses corporate leaders but we also manage students that are our future corporate leaders. The idea of hosting the summit is to collaborate with education institutes and work on a common theme.”

Apart from hosting the US-India Conference, the AIMA delegation visited Silicon Valley tech companies to see innovation first hand and perhaps take back some lessons for Indian industry.

The delegation has people from manufacturing, transportation and logistics sectors. “The dialog can evolve into specific business opportunities,” Dempo said. “When things are bad, it is the best time to get things at a good price.”

He said India’s current growth rate (7% annually) can sustain for at least 30 more years and “while we cannot compare with the US, we will probably make India the best destination for investment.”

He opined that the Indian government needs to pay greater attention to the tourism sector. “Tourism potential remains largely untapped, even though we have made great progress. The past need not be an indicator, but we need to focus on heritage tourism, nature tourism, ecological tourism, and much more. Infrastructure needs to be set up on a much larger scale… more hotels, better facilities.”

He said in his speech that India’s industrialization and digitization has improved leaps and bounds, but “we still have a long way to go. “Indian youth today have an unprecedented opportunity to be entrepreneurs. I know the US has traditionally done well in this area and so we need greater collaboration in this field. Prime Minister Modi is bullish on Make in India and Start-up India.”

Dempo has a personal connection with America. He is a graduate of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University and serves as a trustee at the university.

In 2011, he made a $3 million gift to endow a professorship at Tepper called the Vasantrao Dempo Reflective Chair, to support teaching and research on India-relevant issues. There are two simultaneous reflective chair professors – one in the US and the other in India. Prof Sudhir Kekre was appointed the first such professor in 2017.

HM Nerurkar, chairman of TRL Krosaki Refractories Limited has one-line advice for new-age entrepreneurs – Silicon Valley is where you get cutting-edge tech and this is where you can learn the most.

Nerurkar was a keynote speaker at the 5th US-India Conference jointly organized by the All India Management Association and the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley, on October 11. In an exclusive interview with indica, Nerurkar said that despite several agencies lowering India’s GDP growth forecast for 2023, “It is quite pessimistic and I believe it will be around 7 percent.”

He said this is possible because India is still not an export-led economy, and India cannot suffer thanks to its domestic consumption. “I think we will still manage to retain the 7 percent GDP growth target.”

Nerurkar, who has spent more than half his professional career with the Tata group, still serves on its board. He is also an advisor to several multi-billion-dollar conglomerates such as the Adani group.

The soft-spoken Nerurkar earned a bachelor’s degree in metallurgical engineering from the College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP). He joined Tata Steel in 1972 and rose to becoming its managing director in charge of India and South East Asia operations.

He commented on the Deloitte report that stated that India is a more challenging business destination compared to countries such as China and Vietnam. “There is some truth (in the report). Our rank is still not where it should be on ease of doing business. There are issues and the government is trying to address them.”

He added that India still lacks the infrastructure needed to become a fast-growing exporting nation. “If you improve the operational efficiency and improve the export infrastructure, we can become a bigger export house.”

He is an optimist, though. “I think India will not allow any opportunity to slip away at this juncture. For example, Adani group is trying to be number one. That kind of ambition and that kind of leadership was not something you have dreamt of 10 years back.” He said this is the right time for India to grab US investors, given the tension between China and the US.

In his short speech at the conference, Nerurkar spoke about his ideas on the metaverse. “All of us in business and in government have to ensure that the younger generation gets training or the skill development that is appropriate for the jobs that are coming up.” (IndicaNews)

GOPIO-CT Chapter Hosts Welcome Dinner for Univ. of Connecticut Students

Global Organization of People of Indian Origin Connecticut Chapter (GOPIO-CT) organized a program of welcoming new students from India at the Univ. of Connecticut, School of Business from its Stamford and Hartford campuses with a networking dinner on Friday, October 14th at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Stamford. While it was networking event for the students and the Indian American community, it also served as an interactive session with a high-profile panel of Indian American Corporate Achievers and entrepreneurs. 

The program, chaired GOPIO-CT Exec. VP Prasad Chintalapudi, started with a welcome by President Ashok Nichani, who spoke on the various services provided by the chapter and supporting various charities in Connecticut. Nichani told the students the Indian American community is their host family in America and that chapter will always help whenever they need any help.

Extending a warm welcome to the new students, most of them joining only in  early September, Dr. Abraham said, “America is the greatest country which provides opportunity to open up your mind and you can be whatever you want to become, whether a professional in a large corporation, or help to manage a hedge fund or as a scientist or professor or as an entrepreneur, so, go and grab the opportunities awaiting you.” Dr. Abrahm also added that although, he is a nanotechnologist, his passion was building community institutions since he came in 1973 as a student at Columbia University.

The high-profile panel included Entain CIO Joseph Simon, Eminent Software Services Managing Partner Srikanth Dasugari, Immigration Attorney David Nachman, 3Lines COO Nandu Kuppusamy, Maganti IT Resources President Prasad Maganti, eNcloud Services President Chandra Sekhar Nallam and Maganti IT Resources CTO Sushma Maganti.

Each of the panelists were asked to comment on sets of questions on their journey to where they reached today and how earlier career choices lead them to where they are now. The panelists provided personal experience to their success. The panelists also provided guidance and inputs on educational preparation, necessary prior experience, what skills are the most important and transferable skills to acquire so as to market oneself to the American job market. 

All the students at the event were introduced at the beginning of the panel discussion. A question/answer session followed.  “It was a highly successful program with a larger participation of the students this year,” said program chair Chintalapudi. GOPIO-CT Secretary Prachi Narayan served as the moderator.

The program was coordinated with UConn Business School program Directors Laurissa Berk and Lynsi Jennings. The event was sponsored by Visaserve, an Immigration Attorneys Group headed by David Nachman with office in New jersey, New York and Connecticut.

Over the last 16 years, GOPIO-CT, a chapter of GOPIO International has become an active and dynamic organization hosting interactive sessions with policy makers and academicians, community events, youth mentoring and networking workshops, and working with other area organizations to help create a better future. GOPIO-CT – Global Organization of People of Indian Origin – serves as a non-partisan, secular, civic and community service organization – promoting awareness of Indian culture, customs and contributions of PIOs through community programs, forums, events and youth activities. It seeks to strengthen partnerships and create an ongoing dialogue with local communities.

SGPC To Set Up International Advisory Board, Offices Overseas To Benefit Sikhs Worldwide

The Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the apex Sikh institution in India, plans to establish an ‘International Sikh Advisory Board’ and its own sub offices in different countries to protect the religious sentiments of Sikhs overseas. 

According to an official statement, the board comprising of Sikh representatives from different countries will work towards resolving issues and grievances of Sikhs abroad while helping the local Gurdwara management committees in activities of Dharam Prachar (preaching of Sikh faith).

This board will make efforts to resolve issues and grievances of Sikhs living in foreign countries and support local gurdwara management committees in preaching the Sikh faith.

This decision was taken in the SGPC’s executive committee meeting held here under the leadership of its president Harjinder Singh Dhami.

During this meeting, an approval was also given to establish sub-offices of the Sikh body in different countries.

After the meeting, Dhami said a number of Sikhs are living across the world and this trend is accelerating. In view of this, the SGPC will establish an international Sikh advisory board.

He said the SGPC will also establish its offices in different countries for direct and easy contact with community members.

He said in the past, the SGPC had started this process in Yuba City of the United States of America, which will be expedited and necessary action will be taken to establish sub-offices in other countries as well. PTI JMS SUN RDK RDK

Diwali At Times Square in New York 2022

The Iconic Times Square at the heart of New York City on Saturday, October 15th was witness to a grand Diwali celebration along with India’s 75th Independence Day with cultural extravaganza depicting the  rich heritage of India, electrified the gathering of hundreds of thousands of thousands of people.

Considered the Biggest Festival of Lights – Diwali, at the Brightest place of World – Times Square, the celebrations in New York offered a showcase of cultural performances, ethnic attractions, local shopping stalls, and mouth-watering Indian cuisine. This two-day celebration of the Hindu festival of lights is a Times Square tradition that began in 2013. It’s an epic event that brought together dance and musical performances, an array of Indian dishes and lightings of the diya—a traditional clay lamp that is meant to attract Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity. 

Diwali, the ancient festival of lights, has long been a unique celebration of new beginnings with diyas (clay lamps), fireworks, paper lanterns and bonfires. “Diwali at Times Square” is clearly one of the most spectacular Indian cultural events in Times Square, New York showcasing the vibrant Indian culture to metropolitan NYC. The event started off in 2013 and continues to grow stronger and better each year. 

This celebration was full of international musical showcases, Bollywood stars performing live, Indian bazaars and flea markets, delicious Indian food, and yes, how can we miss the colorful lights & fireworks. Various live events bring an otherworldly charm to Times Square that is hard to pass by and a great loss to miss!

The organizer of this grand event is a well-known event management company in the US called ASB communications. The producer of this event is Ms. Neeta Bhasin – a prominent public figure – has consistently arranged such gatherings and other events in the past and continues to do so successfully. The motto is to connect all the south Asians, create a strong bond, contribute to society, and retain our cultural identity in a foreign land. 

AR Helping Hands Foundation in association with Diwali at Times Square organization, EventGuru Inc. organized the 7th annual Diwali at Times Square this year. Diwali at Times Square is the New York City celebration of the holiday, bringing the vibrant Indian tradition to metropolitan New York. The day long festival is full of international musical showcases, Bollywood stars, delicious Indian food and of course, colorful lights.

Diwali festival is all about sharing happiness and showing your love and respect for your family and friends. Hence the main objective of Diwali at Times Square is to share this joy with the world and celebrate the diversity of India through art, culture, and food. This event is truly a harbinger of peace, harmony, and togetherness.

“Diwali at Times Square 2022 is overwhelmed with joy after such a grand celebration of Diwali. We are grateful for everyone who came to grace this event and make it even more meaningful. We hope you also enjoyed the celebration of Indian heritage with a twist of the modern urban culture of NYC.  Diwali at Times Square is more pumped than ever to come back next year!,” said Neet Bhasin, the main organizer of the vent.

Jayashree Ullal Heads List Of Richest Indian Professionals

The richest Indian professional-person of Indian origin is a woman, Jayashree Ullal of Arista Networks. Ullal, born in London and raised in India, heads the Arista Networks, US and is the richest professional with a wealth of Rs 16,600 crore, as per the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich List 2022.

India has proved itself to be the progenitor of some of the most brilliant professional managers in the world. Professional managers in the list consist of individuals who joined the business after it has been founded, helped it grow and these managers were given stock options from which they have created their wealth, said the statement.

Thomas Kurian (Rs 12,100 crore) of Oracle is in the second position and is followed by Nikesh Arora (Rs 8,500 crore) of Palo Alto Networks.

Barring two, the top 10 rich professional executives in the IIFL Wealth Hurun India Rich is populated with Indian-Americans.

The two exceptions are Ignatius Navil Noronha of Avenue Supermarts (wealth Rs 6,500 crore) and Aditya Puri of HDFC Bank (Rs 1,600 crore).

The others in the rich professionals list are: Ajaypal Singh Banga of Mastercard (Rs 6,500 crore), Satya Nadella of Microsoft (Rs 6,200 crore), Sundar Pichai of Google (Rs 5,300 crore), Indra K. Nooyi of Pepsico (Rs 4,000 crore), Pepsico and Shantanu Narayen of Adobe (Rs 3,800 crore). (IANS)

Tamil Film Soorarai Pottru Wins Big At 68th National Film Awards Bollywood

The winners of the 68th National Film Awards 2020 were announced last week by a jury of eminent film makers and film personalities from across the Indian cinema industry. Tamil Film Soorarai Pottru starring Suriya and Aparrna Balamurali in lead roles bagged the most awards including ones for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Feature Film, Best Screenplay and Best Music Direction. The film was based on a true story of a young man from a remote village who dreams of launching his own airline service.

The year 2020 changed the course of cinema owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. With theatres under lockdown, several filmmakers shifted gears and released their original theatrical releases on OTT. Despite the change in medium, there were some critically acclaimed releases that year. The year also put regional content in the spotlight, with Suriya’s Soorai Pottru and P Virumaandi’s directorial debut Ka Pae Ranasingham winning hearts across the country.

Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment: Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior

Best Actor: Suriya for Soorarai Pottru and Ajay Devgn for Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior

Best Actress: Aparrna Balamurali for Soorarai Pottru (Tamil)

Best Child Artist: Anish Mangesh Gosavi for Tak-Tak (Marathi) and Akanksha Pingle and Divyesh Indulkar for Sumi


Best Direction: Sachidanandan KR for AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum (Malayalam)

Best Original Screenplay: Soorarai Pottru (Tamil)

Best Dialogue Writing: Mandela (Tamil)

Best Cinematography: Avijatrik

Best Supporting Actress: Lakshmi Priya Chandramouli for Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum (Tamil)

Best Supporting Actor: Biju Menon for AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum (Malayalam)

Best Film on Social Issues: Funeral (Marathi)

Best Female Playback Singer: Nanchamma for AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum (Malayalam)

Best Male Playback Singer: Rahul Deshpande for Mi Vasantrao (Marathi)

Special Mention in Feature Film category:

Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director: Madonne Ashwin for Mandela (Tamil)

Best Children’s Film: Sumi (Marathi)

Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation: Taledanda (Kannada)

Best Hindi Film: Toolsidas Junior

Best Bengali Film: Avijatrik

Best Telugu Film: Colour Photo

Best Tamil Film: Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum

Best Assamese Film: Bridge

Best Malayalam Film: Thinkalazcha Nishchayam

Best Haryanvi Film: Dada Lakhmi

Best Dimasa Film: Semkhor

Best Tulu Film: Jeetige

Best Marathi Film: Goshta Eka Paithanichi

Best Kannada Film: Dollu

Best Action Direction Award: AK Ayyappanum Koshiyum

Best Choreography: Sandhya Raju for Natyam (Telugu)

Best Lyrics: Manoj Muntashir for Saina

Best Music Direction: Thamam S for Ala Vaikunthapurramuloo (Telugu)

Best Background Music: GV Prakash for Soorarai Pottru

Best Costume Designer: Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior

Best Makeup Artist: TV Rambabu for Natyam

Best Production Design: Kappela (Malayalam)

Best Editing: Sivaranjaniyum Innum Sila Pengallum


Best Audiography: Dollu (Kannada)

Best Sound Designer: Mi Vasantrao (Marathi)

Best Re-recordist and Final Track: Malik (Malayalam)

Feature Films Special Mentions: Aimee Baruah for Semkhor (Dimasa), director Kavya Prakash for Vaanku (Malayalam), actor Siddharth Menon for June (Marathi), Kishore Kadam for Avwanchhit and Godakaath (Marathi), child artist Varun Buddhadev for Toolsidas Junior.

India’s Sex Ratio At Birth Begins To Normalize

India’s artificially wide ratio of baby boys to baby girls – which arose in the 1970s from the use of prenatal diagnostic technology to facilitate sex-selective abortions – now appears to be narrowing, according to newly released data from the country’s National Family Health Survey (NFHS).

The new data suggests that Indian families are becoming less likely to use abortions to ensure the birth of sons rather than daughters. This follows years of government efforts to curb sex selection – including a ban on prenatal sex tests and a massive advertising campaign urging parents to “save the girl child” – and coincides with broader social changes such as rising education and wealth.

Among India’s major religions, the biggest reduction in sex selection seems to be among the groups that previously had the greatest gender imbalances, particularly Sikhs.1

Naturally, boys modestly outnumber girls at birth, at a ratio of approximately 105 male babies for every 100 female babies. That was the ratio in India in the 1950s and 1960s, before prenatal sex tests became available across the country.2

In the 1970s, prenatal gender tests, conducted using amniocentesis, were rare and expensive. Since the introduction of ultrasound technology in the 1980s, gender testing has become more widespread and affordable.

Abortion was legalized in the country in 1971. Once prenatal testing allowed Indian families to learn the sex of a fetus during pregnancy, sex selection took off. The sex ratio at birth widened rapidly from about 105 boys per 100 girls before 1970, to 108 boys per 100 girls in the early 1980s; it reached 110 in the 1990s and remained at that level for roughly 20 years.

What is India’s National Family Health Survey?

From a large imbalance of about 111 boys per 100 girls in India’s 2011 census, the sex ratio at birth appears to have normalized slightly over the last decade, narrowing to about 109 in the 2015-16 wave of the National Family Health Survey and to 108 boys in the latest wave of the NFHS, conducted from 2019-21.

Nonetheless, a Pew Research Center analysis of United Nations estimates reveals that during the two decades between 2000 and 2020, India on average had one of the world’s most skewed sex ratios at birth, after Azerbaijan, China, Armenia, Vietnam and Albania.3

Around the world, sex selection is often attributed to “son preference” (or “daughter aversion”), a form of gender bias in which families prioritize having sons over daughters for economic, historical or religious reasons. In India, son preference may be tied to cultural practices that make daughters more costly to raise than sons. In Indian tradition, only sons pass down the family name, thereby carrying on the family lineage, and Hindu sons are expected to perform last rites for deceased parents, including lighting the funeral pyre and scattering their ashes. Sons have also been a way for families to preserve ancestral property because males generally dominate inheritance lines (even though most Indian inheritance laws now prohibit gender discrimination).

Daughters, meanwhile, often take wealth away in the form of large dowries at the time of marriage, with payments sometimes continuing throughout a daughter’s life. And while sons continue to live in the parental home after marriage, with wives who often become the primary caregivers for aging in-laws, a daughter is expected to move away from her parents and into her husband’s family home. (See the “Laws, norms and traditions” sidebar for more details.)

Scholars have noted that these cultural and religious traditions are often tied to geographic norms; in Northern and Western India, for example, patriarchal and patrilineal family systems are more dominant than in other parts of India, particularly the South.4 (See Wealth, education and regional distribution tied to differences among religious groups for more details.)

Even though it has been illegal in India since 1996 for doctors and other medical practitioners to reveal the sex of a fetus to the prospective parents, at least 9.0 million (0.9 crore) female births went “missing” between 2000 and 2019 because of female-selective abortions, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from multiple waves of the NFHS and India’s census.

To put the recent decline in sex selection into perspective, the average annual number of baby girls “missing” in India fell from about 480,000 (4.8 lakh) in 2010 to 410,000 (4.1 lakh) in 2019, the Center’s analysis finds.

How did we count ‘missing’ girls?

In the past, some of India’s major religious groups varied widely in their sex ratios at birth, but today there are indications that these differences are shrinking. Sikhs, who in past decades had a particularly large imbalance of baby boys to girls, now seem gradually to be moving toward the natural level, as well as converging with other groups.

In the 2001 census, Sikhs had a sex ratio at birth of 130 males per 100 females, far exceeding that year’s national average of 110. By the 2011 census, the Sikh ratio had narrowed to 121 boys per 100 girls. It now hovers around 110, about the same as the ratio of males to females at birth among the country’s Hindu majority (109), according to the latest NFHS.

In recent decades, Christians also have stood out from India’s other religious groups, but in the opposite direction: India’s Christian minority has maintained a sex ratio at birth around the natural level of 105 boys per 100 girls, indicating a relatively low incidence of sex-selective abortion in the Christian community. Indian Muslims also now have a sex ratio at birth (106 boys per 100 girls) that is close to the natural norm seen in India prior to the introduction of prenatal testing.

Aborting females may have consequences that reverberate beyond the families making the choice. International research shows that societies with high rates of sex-selective abortions typically suffer within a couple of decades from a shortage of marriageable women and a surplus of men seeking brides. This “marriage squeeze” can trigger a variety of social problems, such as increases in sex-related violence and crimes and trafficking of women.7 Even if India’s sex ratio at birth continues to normalize, the large number of girls “missing” from its population could continue to have profound consequences on Indian society for decades to come.

Religious groups are already experiencing varying magnitudes of marriage squeeze, depending on their history of sex selection, as few Indians marry outside their religion. Sikhs, in particular, face an acute shortage of single women of marriageable age. Sikhs make up less than 2% of the Indian population but accounted for an estimated 5%, or approximately 440,000 (4.4 lakh), of the 9.0 million (0.9 crore) baby girls who went “missing” in India between 2000 and 2019.

The share of “missing” girls among Hindus is also above their respective population share. Hindus make up 80% of India’s population but accounted for an estimated 87%, or approximately 7.8 million (0.8 crore), of the females “missing” due to sex-selective abortions.

The share of female births “missing” among Muslims and Christians during this period is lower than each group’s share of the Indian population, meaning they were less likely than others to engage in sex-selective abortions. Muslims, who make up about 14% of India’s population, accounted for 7%, or approximately 590,000 (5.9 lakh), of the country’s “missing” girls. Christians, who make up 2.3% of the population, have had an estimated 0.6%, or about 53,000 (0.5 lakh), of the total number of sex-selective abortions.

Aside from religion, many demographic factors are tied to sex selection

Abortion laws and practices in India

Abortion is legal in India up to the 24th week of pregnancy under a range of criteria, including to save a woman’s life. Abortions are allowed after the 24th week if a medical board of at least three experts detects “substantial fetal abnormalities.”

However, the use of ultrasound devices and other technologies to determine the sex of fetuses is prohibited, and violators – including family members who seek this information and medical personnel who provide it – face fines and even imprisonment.

It is difficult to know exactly how many abortions take place in India each year, because the stigma surrounding abortions leads to serious underreporting. For example, while the most recent National Family Health Survey finds that around 3% of pregnancies in India end with an abortion in any given year, academic researchers often estimate the number to be much higher. A 2018 study published in The Lancet suggests that roughly half of pregnancies in India are unintended, and that there were 15.6 million (about 1.6 crore) induced abortions in 2015 alone – roughly one-third of all pregnancies that year. The 2018 study finds that most abortions in India take place using medications outside of health facilities. (Such medications are commonly purchased at pharmacies or from informal vendors.)

It is likely that sex-selective procedures account for only a small fraction of all abortions in India, given that about 9.0 million (0.9 crore) sex-selective abortions were performed between 2000 and 2019, according to Pew Research Center’s estimate.

A review of the academic literature indicates that this is the first published report to estimate the numbers of females “missing” at birth in India by religious group. However, the estimates are not meant to suggest that differences in childbearing choices are caused solely by religion.

In India and around the world, family choices – such as how many children to have and whom to share a home with – are also bound up with a myriad of other factors, such as educational attainment, wealth, urbanicity and regional culture. Sex ratios at birth, too, appear to be linked to many demographic factors. Some characteristics of religious groups have competing influences on sex ratios.

For example, NFHS data shows that women who are wealthier and more educated are less likely to favor having sons.8 At first glance, this might lead some to expect that wealthier women and women with more education would be less likely to abort girls. Families who live in cities also are less likely than their rural counterparts to favor having sons, according to the NFHS, which may be because they are wealthier and more educated. (For a closer look at gender attitudes in India, see Pew Research Center’s survey report “How Indians View Gender Roles in Families and Society.”)

On the other hand, education, wealth and urbanicity can make it easier for a woman to get access to (and pay for) an ultrasound test or other prenatal sex screening. In India, undergoing such a test during pregnancy is correlated with a higher probability of giving birth to a son.9

Caste is a social stratification rooted in Hindu tradition but shared by other religious groups in India. Upper-caste status in particular has complex associations with sex selection. Brahmins and other upper-caste families, who are generally wealthier and more educated, may not need to worry about the cost of having a daughter.10 At the same time, upper-caste Indians, especially those in Northern and Western India, traditionally may have been more likely to observe rigid gender norms.11

Fertility and birth order also play an important role in these choices. Families who are planning to have just one or two children may be more inclined to abort a female to ensure having at least one son. In China, for example, the government’s former one-child policy, introduced in 1980, likely contributed to a widening of China’s sex ratio at birth.

Religion, meanwhile, is tied to these demographic characteristics in numerous ways. Adherents of a particular religion may live near each other and therefore have similar educational opportunities, economic challenges and fertility patterns. Religious groups also may share certain cultural norms or historical or geographical backgrounds, or a particular status in society, that influence their life choices and the expectations they pass on to future generations. In other words, many of the factors that affect sex selection are connected to each other – and to religious affiliation – in ways that are difficult to untangle.

This report does not attempt to determine the exact causal connections between religion and family choices. Its main goals are to describe the childbearing patterns and attitudes revealed in Indian census data and in surveys, and to use statistical techniques to show how these patterns vary by religion.

The rest of this report takes a closer look at each of the dynamics that underlie sex selection – namely son preference, ultrasound use and fertility – including a detailed analysis of trends in each of the major religious groups and across India’s six administrative regions. An overview of sex ratios around the world can be found in the next section. Subsequent sections include a summary of Indian religious groups’ demographic characteristics, and brief explanations of some of the Indian traditions, norms and laws referenced in this report.

This report was produced by Pew Research Center as part of the Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project, which analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world. Funding for the Global Religious Futures project comes from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation.

Making India a developed nation by 2047: An agenda for the nation

The other pillars of democracy, the judiciary and media, must remain steadfastly independent and impartial guardians of the Constitution. The people still repose their greatest faith in them to protect their rights and uphold their aspirations

Achieving developed country status by 2047 is a commendable goal set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for India on this Independence Day. The big question now is to determine an effective path and encourage the whole of society, that includes all Indian residents, into contributing their might and mite to achieve that goal which is today a distant dream. In a secular, democratic society this will require the recognition and upholding of all the fundamental rights of Indian citizens and allowing them the freedom and means to achieve their best potential to contribute to the upliftment of the nation.

Since the Constitution guarantees individual freedom of religion, people should mutually respect the external marks of faith that any one may choose to wear and not discriminate in access to goods and services on the basis of faith. As the choice of faith is a fundamental right of an Indian, the question of changing faiths must be left to the individual conscience and not prevented or denied by social or legal means. We must feel Indian first and not make faith our primary identity.

Similarly, the question of forward or backwardness must have only an economic basis and not be based on social or community considerations. A new classification based on income level must replace our present system of reservations. BPL people must be fully supported to achieve a basic income level necessary for the nation to be considered developed. Religion should not be the basis of political ideology, nor should it influence the administration of the state, at Central or state/UT government level.

Informal economy

The objective of developed country can be achieved in such a short time only by releasing the animal spirits not merely of the formal economy but more importantly of the informal one which, despite demonetization, constitutes over 90 percent of the Indian GDP today. A significant share of the necessary annual growth rate of 11 percent or more must come from the knowledge economy and its innovative output.

To eliminate the digital divide in our nation demonstrated during the Covid pandemic, cybercafes with a minimum of two computers can be encouraged in every village. The Internet service backbone must be strengthened to an average speed of 100 mbps, which now prevails in developed countries, to enable quick output and service delivery.

Trade and business licenses should be given freely online, along with a PAN, and require all sales to be through banking channels by freely distributing POS machines through the customer’s bank. The process of registering a business must be streamlined so that it takes no more than a day. People should be free to start whatever business they want and the market will take care of excess supply. A humane bankruptcy process is necessary to restructure failed enterprises so that banks do not suffer increased NPAs from social sector lending.

Aggregators and marketers may be encouraged to collect output for sale through more outlets. Villages and panchayats may be encouraged to create self-help groups to add value to output and develop new products and uses. Business creation, operation and wind-up must be made far easier so that savers become investors.

Free enterprise

Inspections should be limited to fire, industrial safety, health and sanitation measures at the workplace and be at predictable intervals unless irregularities or non-compliance are noticed. There should be no pressure for employment in excess of requirement, nor should an enterprise be considered a cash cow by local or other elements for unrelated purposes.

The process of company formation, land acquisition, development and construction must be made as automated as possible while procurement above a minimum threshold must be by public e-tendering. Tender evaluation committees must be constituted at a level higher than of the tendering authority to ensure fair scrutiny and finalization.

Inflexible labour policies must be modified to that employers may optimize their work forces as required. To compensate an 18-month unemployment insurance scheme will be useful, during which the retrenched worker should undergo a six-month upskilling course.

Innovation and discovery is the key to growth. Literacy and numeracy must become universal. The consumption of knowledge and its use in creating effective solutions to widespread problems depends upon making education inquiry-based from the primary stage. Students should be encouraged to acquire to apply their learning in practical ways to invent things or new processes. Much more investment is required in R&D activities,


Ninety-nine percent of our population does not pay any direct taxes on income. It will be impossible for the nation to become developed until resources are increased by innovative means, by increasing labour productivity and skills, by bringing more people particularly women into the workforce, by encouraging and supporting MSME enterprise and opening new avenues of self-employment and community activity to add value to output, make products in frequent daily use and discourage imports of goods that can be adequately manufactured in India.

Unless we achieve a long-term trade surplus by increasing exports by diversifying both export baskets and importing countries, we will be increasingly hard-pressed to pay for essential imports such as fuel. Extracting investable surplus should be made primarily by market forces through issue of project-specific bonds or other instruments.

Small investment must be encouraged by offering inflation-linked floating interest rates, so that the value of investor funds does not depreciate. This will encourage the emergence of wealth hitherto hidden or locked up in households that are not liable to pay income tax. State level resources may be augmented by monetizing municipal and other services.

For example, those issued trade and professional or similar licenses may be charged an annual fee depending upon the nature and scale of business. If the investment made is in certain identified priority sectors, it may be useful not to question the source of funds, but to rather tax the earnings from such investment.

Small investors

This may reduce the hoarding of wealth in cash or other unproductive ways and put it to use in promoting national development. Overall small investors must be given confidence that their investments will be safe even in non-banking and market related investments and earn more than traditional alternative asset classes such as gold.

The formation of MSMEs and rural productive systems must be actively encouraged. Traditional artisans, weavers and craftsmen must be encouraged by well-established designers and other famous personalities and their output brought to market after giving them a fair price for their labour, through KVIC and other similar marketing organizations.

Vocational skill training must be increased and upgraded to internationally acceptable standards so that such qualified personnel may easily migrate to points of demand in India or abroad. Their remittances will not only improve the quality of their families’ lives but also support our continuing CAD.

Finally, administration must be streamlined and made as faceless as possible. NIC and other websites must be user-friendly and capable of handling high volumes without crashing. A civil administrator today is instructed by multiple authorities and personalities at Central and State levels. Local bodies should be empowered to undertake a list of tasks within the annually prescribed budget and report the results to the local civil administration.

Political parties

People who achieve salaried political positions in the State or Centre must thereafter be accountable for any wealth accumulated in excess of known legitimate sources of income. Salaries, dearness allowance and other perquisites are provided to give a modest but decent quality of life to the earners; so. they must not burden their voters with excess demands for services they are required to render to them.

Civil servants cannot be treated by the political class as subservient “Yes Men” but allowed to work autonomously within the law to implement the legitimate directives of their superiors in the hierarchy. Otherwise, the aspiration of good governance will suffer badly.

Political parties in a democracy present their programmes to the people for approval through manifestos and poll promises. Those who emerge victors should then fulfill those promises by breaking them down into tasks for the bureaucracy to implement within budgetary resources, ensuring that there is no undue expenditure or time lag in the process.

Those parties that fail to win popular approval should work to ensure that the approved agenda is properly implemented without corruption, delay, discrimination or the creation of creation of divisions within the social fabric of the nation. They must try to ensure that the people get a fair deal from the government they elected and enjoy their fundamental rights while fulfilling their defined obligations, including payment of due taxes on time, orderly behaviour and maintaining a clean, habitable and sustainable environment.

National outlook

Politics is today regarded largely as the refuge of the reprehensible. This attitude must be changed by the parties themselves agreeing upon a common set of objectives for the nation and using their organizations to devise possible alternative pathways to achieve those national objectives without their cadres physically fighting one another. Parties are made of of people with a particular set of opinions about a set of objectives.

If all parties debate over these rather than vying to control State and Central resources for their own ends, there will be less corruption, violence, delays and wastage of stretched national resources. They must think of the national rather than the community or personal good to keep our nation unified, strong and prosperous. We must set an example in probity integrity human values and scientific knowledge for all our neighbours and the world to look up in admiration rather than dismiss us in disdain.

The other pillars of democracy, the judiciary and media, must remain steadfastly independent and impartial guardians of the Constitution. The people still repose their greatest faith in them to protect their rights and uphold their aspirations.

Finally, the structure and systems of governance must concentrate on the four pillars of finance, territorial integrity and security, communications and foreign relations as well as the others included in the Central and Concurrent Lists of the Constitutions and leave the States to get on with their own listed activities without being denied their due share of revenues by the Centre.

Let the nation and its people be free to get on with the rest of the action required to raise the per capita income to developed country levels within 2047 without increasing the inequalities that already mar so badly our economic and social fabric.

(The author is a retired Indian ambassador. Views are personal)

Read more at: https://www.southasiamonitor.org/perspective/making-india-developed-nation-2047-agenda-nation

The Triangle set in between Bangalore, Karnataka, India, Larkana, the Sindh, Pakistan, and Chongqing, the People’s Republic of China

Hello everyone. Some general notes before this story begins. As some of you might have noticed, www.girar.world is facing a serious server issue. The site is temporary offline and I don’t know how long it will take until it is back up. In the meantime, please keep enjoying my content on Substack. I will let you know once the website is back up.

As for this story, it’s an extremely experimental one, deeply inspired by the fact that I am living in a relatively prosperous version of India, all the while in the northeast China is dealing with crippling drought and in the northwest Pakistan is submerged by flood. One cannot help but think of the climate disaster that we are witnessing all across the globe. I’m also wondering how many months or years I have until India too is affected.

Girar is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.


I hope you enjoy the story, and my apologies for the web inconveniences once more. If you are having any issue accessing your content, do let me know. I’m here to serve!

There is a version of Mother, right now, sitting in front of the television, lazing idly in a suburb of Bangalore. The suburb in question is Indira Nagar, an upper middle class area.  The roads look like they have been pounded by foot traffic and rain and overall negligence into a hodgepodge of shapes. The main roads outside of the suburb are clogged with cars, buses, and auto-rickshaws. Otherwise the lanes are long and leafy, the temperature is cool and agreeable, the area around the temple is clean and trash-less, and the gate into the suburb is green and purple, decorated with the murthis of Ganesha and Shiva and Kali and Saraswathi and Vishnu, each one painted to perfection.

All of this is outside of Mother’s two storey bungalow. The entire bungalow is just for herself and her family. She leaves her house only when she has to meet relatives or go the temple. Ninety percent of the time Mother sits inside her home and minds her business.

This is a version of Mother who lives a good life. This is a version of Mother who has lived well, seen nothing but economic growth and prosperity for her and her family, and wishes for nothing to change.

On the television are the floods.

On the other side of that camera is another version of Mother, who has lived very differently. In some ways this version and that version are similar. They have similar racial features, a similar tint of skin, and a similar well-offed-ness to them. To be wealthy in Pakistan and to be wealthy in India; both offer a lot of privileges that show in the fairness of the complexion, the lack of dust or wrinkles in the clothing, and a relative lack of awareness of the outside world.

That is, until what would normally be deemed a problem of the outside world, or a problem befitting of the lower classes, or a problem that need not be a concern for the privileged — until one of these said such problems becomes a problem, and then this version of Mother has to pay attention, because then it is very much her problem.

Larkana, the gateway of the Indus Valley, is almost completely submerged.

There was a version of Mother who lived so well in Larkana. She had a full wing of an apartment complex to herself, with each room decorated with lavish designs and furniture imported from various corners of the world. Flooding came into the Sindh here or there each and every year, and with this apartment being on the second floor of a complex overlooking the river, she was used to the water getting into the staircases, or making it difficult to get out during monsoon.

But this was not just monsoon. This was a flood of scale that Pakistan had never witnessed before.

With half of the building underwater as it was now, Mother and the other tenants only had the stairs between the upper floor and rooftop. They had brought whatever food or beddings they could have managed, they perched wherever they could, all the while trying to live life well, still, somehow, through their gossip, or their complaining, or the time shared through prayer, during namaz. In the meantime the rainwaters soaked all the roads of their city, inundating not only their little world, but everything around.

This was a version of Mother who only a few weeks ago was comfortably middle class. This was a version of Mother who once had everything going for her. This was a version of Mother who now had a home underwater, a husband stuck at the hospital, and relatives in other parts of the Sindh, their livelihoods completely upended by a flood of catastrophic proportions.

Time is passing, time is slipping, time is morphing the earth into something else, and nothing of what life was once like seems to be returning.

Except for on the television, where ten minutes pass, and another news clip is shown. It is the Yangtze River, completely parched.

This is where another version of Mother lives. This is near the outskirts of Chongqing, the base of the Three Rivers Gorge. If this were Guangzhou or Shenzhen, the news of another wave of lockdowns would have been the source of this Mother’s crippled morale. But at least when one was stuck at home one had access to food, so long as they weren’t relying on the government for their rations, so long as one was prepared.

But this is Chongqing and not Shenzhen, and outside of Mother’s apartment complex, there are people all around, outside, taking their children to school, going to work, living their lives, all the while the source of their sustenance has completely dried.

Mother is out on her walk. It had been so hot, and yet now it is cloudy. The temperature is moderate again. The weather report earlier today claimed that despite the month of heat the city was soon going to be witnessing torrential rains. The irony is in the back of Mother’s mind, but now that the temperature is in the mid twenties, Mother is pleased to be able to go out and exercise, without the fear of getting sunburned or darkened.

These walks, these evenings in the park practicing tai chi with the other neighbourhood girls; these are the little things which made life normal, despite the very obvious signs that life is changing all around.

On the riverside is a long winding road, with trees and a bike path and exercise equipment and a playground. It used to be so refreshing to see the Yangtze splash to itself on the side, the wide and gushing torrents of the river burping contentedly to itself.

Today the river is just empty silt, with little puddles of water in the process of drying out.

A tourist spot has come to be born out of the silt. Mother sees other Chinese people taking pictures with a set of three carvings that have been unearthed out of the river. An excavation has not unearthed them, but the actual drying up of the river. Remnants of a culture from six hundred years ago has returned to being a present part of their megalopolis.

Mother does not take a picture. Mother instead stares. She stares at the Buddha but also at the other side of the Buddha, something outside of its physical form. There were once many buildings, monuments, and religious objects that were concealed by the waters, made into dust by the deserts. Where there was dust could be river. And where there was once river could be dust. Humans inhabit desert, humans inhabit the riverside, humans inhabit the mountain, humans inhabit anywhere. But it takes time, decades, centuries, arguably millennia.

With the pace at which the land was changing, it would be impossible for humans to adapt to anything. By the time that they could consider relating to this river as it were desert, or this desert as it became river, the land would change again, and humans would have to spend days to months to years not understanding its form.

It is not just this version of Mother that is realising this. There is this version of Mother and that version and countless others, infinite as the shapes of the humans, or the shapes of the animals, or the shapes of the rocks, realising that life is no longer as it used to be.

There was a somewhere that they chose to inhabit. There was a somewhere that they chose with their husband, believing deeply that despite the problems in their village that this new home would be the place for their family to thrive. They chose that somewhere in the full belief that all that this would be the anointed place from which they would find that success, that happiness that contentment.

But at that moment that somewhere is becoming a nowhere. That somewhere was subject to change, subject to patterns of response to outside stimuli completely outside of their control.

Life was in flux, nature was in flux, and therefore that somewhere to reside, that somewhere to call home; such a place had become undependable once more.

Chongqing, Larkana, and Bangalore. To connect the lines of their three dots would create a triangle. At those three points there were these three versions of Mother, each of which had built an idea of life on the assumption that their comfort, their style of living, and their containment would be assured.All three versions of Mother live in this moment of time, but there will come a time at which none of them will exist. Such a time would come for all humans, all animals, all existences, even the very layers of the earth itself.

All life crumbles. All matter decays. All existence perishes. That is the one truth that unites the nature of the universe.

In between the point of beginning and the point of the end are an infinitude of others. Something passes on, but nothing is known and nothing is guaranteed between them.

There are multiple versions of Mother, but Mother no matter her background knows this and only this. She will not survive for long, whether it is because of the floods or the droughts or her ageing health.

But she is bound to this universe because she has been given love, and she has love to share.

And so Mother takes a second to make a promise to herself. The next time her son calls she will take the time to tell him that she loves him. She will do so not wishing for control over his life, not even wishing to talk much to him at all, but to pass on the only thing that remains eternal, despite all which is guaranteed to end, in front of her or not.

IAGB, Saheli, ISW and Other Asian Organizations Condemn Hate and Violence Against Indian Americans

A group of Indian American and Asian organizations such as India Association of Greater Boston and India Society of Worcester have condemned the rising hate and violence against Indian Americas in the United States.

In a statement titled Condemnation of Hate and Violence – From New England Asian American Organizations” and posted on ISW and IAGB websites, the representatives of these and other organizations said the following:

“We the representatives of Indian American organizations in New England and our allies, strongly condemn the recent act of anti-Asian violence in Plano, Texas. We are very disturbed by this and recently increased acts of violence and hate crimes against Indians, South Asians, and Asian Americans in general. We do commend the Plano Police department for responding to the incident with urgency and understanding.

Asian Americans, like all other immigrants, have made significant contributions to this great land despite facing ongoing prejudice based on accents, color, religion, or perceptions of leadership or other abilities.

We believe in the fair treatment of all human beings regardless of age, education level, race, ethnicity, gender expression and identity, nationality, national origin, creed, accent, physical and mental ability, political and religious stance, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, socioeconomic status, veteran status, profession, or any other human differences.

We unequivocally and unapologetically condemn the divisive forces of hate, inequity, and injustice. We stand united in love and peace and stand against racist, discriminatory, violent acts against any community.

Together, we say to those who are victims of such acts, “We see you; we hear you; we stand with you.”

President Biden dropped the f-word. He warned during a stump speech in Maryland that the country’s right-wing movement, which remains dominated by his predecessor, former president Donald Trump, has embraced “political violence” and no longer believes in democracy.

“What we’re seeing now is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” Biden said, referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the — I’m going to say something — it’s like semi-fascism.”

Biden was gesturing to various ongoing Republican initiatives to restrict voting access as well as a slate of Republican midterm candidates who, to this day, deny the legitimacy of the 2020 election. There’s also the tacit support of some Republicans for the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and the violent rhetoric that has emerged among some corners of the right in the wake of a publicized FBI investigation into classified documents Trump kept in his private Florida golf club residence.

The simple invocation of “fascism” elicited howls of outrage from Republicans and triggered a weekend of political chatter. A spokesman for the Republican National Committee described the president’s remarks as “despicable.” Gov. Chris Sununu (R-N.H.) said on CNN that it was “horribly inappropriate” to brand a segment of the U.S. population as “semi-fascist” and called on Biden to apologize.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) tweeted that “communists have always called their enemies ‘fascists.’” One historian of Latin America responded to Cruz, noting that, while communists had other names for their opponents before the rise of fascist parties in the 1920s, fascists have always used anti-communist hysteria to “stir violence” and “augment their power.” (Never mind the relative absurdity of casting a figure with as centrist a record as Biden as a “communist.”)

For his part, Trump posted Monday on his personal social media website another complaint about the 2020 election having been stolen from him and an unconstitutional demand that he be declared its victor, two years later. Over the weekend, leading Republican lawmakers warned of violence in the streets should the Justice Department move to prosecute as a number of investigations into his activities go forward.

Biden and his allies did not back down from the message. “You look at the definition of fascism and you think about what they’re doing in attacking our democracy, what they’re doing and taking away our freedoms, wanting to take away our rights, our voting rights ― I mean, that is what that is,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday. “It is very clear.”

There is no consensus in the U.S. political conversation on what “fascism” even is, let alone which set of political actors should earn its ignominious attribution. On the left, there’s a hardening belief that a Republican Party still captured by Trump is hostile to fair elections, bent on dismantling liberal democracy, and is taking its cues from more clear-cut would-be authoritarians like illiberal Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

On the right, there’s a parallel, if more histrionic, insistence that the Democrats and the liberal establishment comprise some sort of tyrannical front. That grievance has supercharged their long-running culture war and underlies recent moves by Republican state governments to ban certain books and censor what schools can teach about race, history and sexuality.

Numerous historians and political scientists have weighed in on the uses and misuses of forging analogies to the 1930s, when fascism took root in Europe. Experts in comparative politics have charted how the modern Republican Party has drifted toward the extremes of Western politics, even while the Democrats still occupy what can be broadly considered in Western democratic terms as the center.

Scholars of fascism see Trump’s political ideology and style not as a redux of the past, but a brand of far-right, pseudo-authoritarian for the present. Regular readers of Today’s WorldView for the past half decade will know that we have not been shy about invoking “fascism” in the American context as we parsed the tumult of the Trump yearsthe ultranationalism and nativism animating his supporters and his own conspiratorial demagoguery.

Biden’s decision to deploy the term may reflect a more aggressive stance ahead of a bruising midterm election cycle. That could be a tactic to gin up Democratic voters. “They have thought they weren’t seeing the strong fighter, the person they elected, and they attributed it to age and to weakness,” Celinda Lake, a longtime Democratic pollster, told my colleagues. “I hope we can anticipate more of this. People have been craving it.”

But the substantive claim Biden made is also important. The “semi-” in “semi-fascism” was doing a lot of rhetorical work for the U.S. president, who was not likening Trump and his movement to the genocidal monstrosity of the Third Reich. But his critics nevertheless seemed to suggest that was the subtext of his remarks, and dismissed the charge offhand.

So what may be a useful lens through which to see Biden’s invocation of fascism? Writer Jonathan Katz put forward a thorough analysis over the weekend, citing the work of Robert Paxton, a respected historian of Vichy France and author of the 2004 book, “The Anatomy of Fascism.”

Katz quoted Paxton at length: “Fascism in power is a compound, a powerful amalgam of different but marriageable conservative, national socialist, and radical right ingredients, bonded together by common enemies and common passions for a regenerated, energized and purified nation, whatever the cost to free institutions and the rule of law.”

All of that scans quite neatly onto the rhetoric and atmospherics of modern-day Republicanism, as Katz himself lays out in his essay.

“The danger is not that American fascism will necessarily or even probably turn out like Italian Fascism — or German, Syrian, Argentinian, or any other. We are not going to live a shot-for-shot remake of the Holocaust or the Second World War,” Katz wrote. Rather, he continued, “the danger would be in the triumph of an exclusionary, violent, anti-democratic cult of personality, which by definition will not be dislodged through elections, politics, or civil debate.”

American democracy sits at a crucial crossroads, argues Darrell West, vice president of Governance Studies at Brookings and author of the new Brookings Press book, “Power Politics: Trump and the Assault on American Democracy.” The rise of extremism and a decline of confidence in trusted institutions have created the perfect storm for illiberalism and authoritarianism to take root. While it is easy to blame Donald Trump for the sad state of our democracy, Trumpism is almost certainly likely to outlast Trump himself. Donald Trump’s presidency merely exposed existing cracks in our democracy that are built into the foundations of elections, political institutions, and information ecosystem. ”Power Politics” is filled with a clear delineation of the problems and possible remedies for the threats drawn from West’s extensive experience in the D.C. policy world. West urges us to act now to protect our democracy—and provides a roadmap for how to strengthen our political system and civil society.

On September 1, Brookings will host a virtual launch event for “Power Politics” where author Darrell West will engage in a fireside chat with USA Today’s Susan Page to discuss the current threats to American democracy and the solutions to help mitigate them.

Colorado’s secretary of state, Jena Griswold, has said the fate of free and fair elections in the United States hangs in the balance in this November’s midterm contests.

In many of the most competitive races for offices with authority over US elections, Republicans nominated candidates who have embraced or echoed Donald Trump’s myth of a stolen election in 2020.

Griswold, who chairs the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State (Dass) and is running for re-election, is urging Americans to pay attention to the once-sleepy down-ballot contests for secretary of state – lest they lose their democracy.

“What we can expect from the extreme Republicans running across this country is to undermine free and fair elections for the American people, strip Americans of the right to vote, refuse to address security breaches and, unfortunately, be more beholden to Mar-a-Lago than the American people,” Griswold, 37, said in an interview with the Guardian.

She added: “For us, we are trying to save democracy.”

Having failed to overturn the 2020 vote, Trump and his loyalists are now strategically targeting positions that will play a critical role in supervising the next presidential election, turning many of the 27 secretary of state contests this year into expensive, partisan showdowns.

“In 2020, you and 81 million Americans voted to save our democracy,” he reminded the crowd. “That’s why Donald Trump isn’t just a former president. He is a defeated former president.” As for the midterms, Biden declared, “Your right to choose is on the ballot this year. The Social Security you paid for from the time you had a job is on the ballot. The safety of your kids from gun violence is on the ballot, and it’s not hyperbole, the very survival of our planet is on the ballot.” He added, “Your right to vote is on the ballot. Even the democracy. Are you ready to fight for these things now?”


Digital Rape – is a new terminology for me, and somehow my subconscious mind led me to a misunderstanding. It has nothing to do with modern digital technology, except some correlation with the fingers that you use to text on your smartphones.

The term ‘Digital rape’ does not relate to any sexual offense committed digitally, like defaming someone’s identity on the Digital platforms. It refers to the act of forcibly inserting fingers or toes inside the other person’s private parts without their consent. The word digital rape is derived from the word ‘digit’, which also means a ‘finger including the thumb or toe’; hence digital rape is meaningful now.

Similarly, there is a term “Digital Rape” that people often misinterpret-able and wonder how someone can rape digitally.Not knowing the actual term, they often consider it digital abuse. Sometimes it is confused with defacing someone’s identity on the digital platform. People think sharing naked pictures, or video’s on a digital platform without the owner’s consent is called Digital Rape.

Digital Rape is a term used to classify cases of rape. In the case of digital rape, the perpetrator used his finger or fingers to violate and force the sexual act upon the victim. Simply, a person is accused of Digital rape when the perpetrator used his/her finger or fingers to penetrate the vagina of the victim without her consent.

In India, until 2012, these types of offenses were not considered under the purviews of rape.In June 2022, there was a case in Noida, India, where a five-year-old girl was subjected to digital rape by her father.

In order to understand the sensitivity of this subject, three cases clear out the real meaning of the term ‘digital rape’.

Case 1: 2 year old digitally raped in Mumbai

In Mumbai, a 2-year-old girl was brought bleeding to the hospital. On examination, doctors found that her vagina was raptured, though there weren’t any sign of sexual assault or rape.

Case 2: 60 year old digitally raped in Delhi

In another incident which was occurred in Delhi, a 60 years old woman was sexually assaulted by an auto rickshaw driver, who used an iron rod to penetrate the 60 years old passenger who was visiting her relative’s wedding. Again, the driver was arrested but wasn’t convicted under Section 376 of the IPC.

Case 3: Conductor sentenced to 20 years in prison for digitally raping four-year-old girl onboard school bus

On December 12, 2018, Times now news published a report that explained a digital rape case. Here, a school-going girl was digitally raped by the conductor.

It all comes down to the point that the dignity of a female can be violated even without being raped. And how digital rape can have the same effect as rape.

But knowing that there are other ways that a man can use to violate a woman or child’s dignity; Supreme Court had to make some changes to its definition of rape. Keeping all the above cases and heinous instances of crime, the purpose of rape was extended in 2013.

According to this new definition, rape is considered an act of forcefully penetrating a woman’s vagina, mouth, anus, or urethra by a penis, any foreign object, or any other part of the body.

In many reports, it has been made clear that most of the time, the  offenders who disrespects  the modesty of a woman or violated the dignity of a child, is someone they knew personally. Usually, these crimes are committed by people close to the victim. Cousins, close friends, uncles (other relatives), neighbors, and sometimes their own father came out to be accused.

Luckily, most of the cases now do justice to the victim. And the offender has to spend a minimum of 5 years in jail. In some cases, the offender has to serve a lifetime prison sentence of 10 years, which can also be extended later.

Thankfully, the term digital rape has joined the definition of rape, and now there are strict laws for criminals who think digital rape is not raping. Better be aware of this terminology, and it’s consequences too!

Repel the Recession with These 5 Tips

It doesn’t hurt your bottom line to take a step back and self-evaluate. Learn how you’ll be able to repel the recession with these 5 tips.

While the professional pundits debate when or if an economic recession is imminent, it may be a good idea to ensure you’re prepared, nonetheless. It doesn’t hurt your bottom line to take a step back and self-evaluate. Learn how you’ll be able to repel the recession with these 5 tips.

Live Your Life Within Your Means

Many of you may already live your everyday lives with this money-management strategy and if you do, then you’re ahead of the curve. But let’s be honest, we all know people who do not live within their means. Saying ‘no’ when deciding on an unneeded purchase is a skill that sometimes needs to be learned.

It’s important to carefully weigh all decisions about money, especially if a recession is looming. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking the recession may not last long. The more conscious you are about spending habits, the more you can avoid going into debt with credit cards and loans. It’s better to save now and put off making big purchases, then to build up your debt and struggle to get out from under it later in life. Speaking of saving…

Look For Ways to Save

It’s always a good idea to audit your own finances. Most people are aware of their paycheck, but they are often fuzzy about the money that leaves their account. Re-evaluate your monthly subscriptions. Do you need every single streaming service? How often do you make coffee runs to your local café? It might be time to brew a cup from home.

Divide your monthly expenses into wants and needs. Make sure you’re not overpaying for those wants. Cut down on the trips to the restaurants. If you had any planned vacations or renovations, it might be in your best interest to postpone. Perhaps we learned all those money-saving tricks during the 2020 quarantine for a reason. It might be time to revisit those lessons.

Have an Emergency Fund

You may call it a rainy-day fund. If so, the skies are getting cloudy. If you haven’t already put money aside in a secured FDIC account for emergencies, it may be time to start. In the event of a lost job or your forced to take a pay cut, you want the flexibility to cover expenses while you engage in a plan of action. This fund is designed for necessary expenses. Be diligent with how you use the money. Again, you don’t know how long a potential recession could last.

Obtain Additional Income

A smart tactic — and one that’s been popularized in recent years — is finding other streams of revenue outside of your job. We live in a gig economy and the skills you’ve honed at your current employer may prove valuable in a consulting capacity. You could replace any lost income from a job loss or salary reduction by uncovering potential freelancing opportunities in your specialty. It doesn’t hurt to add more skills to your resume. The more you know how to do, the more attractive you become to your current or future employer.

Anticipate the Worst

No one expects to lose their job, but don’t be unprepared if it happens. It would be appropriate for you to consider your options in the event of the unthinkable. Update your resume. Update your LinkedIn profile. All those professional relationships you developed, both online and in-person, could become leads to new positions. Prepare for the worst, expect the best.

(Courtesy: https://barnumfinancialgroup.com/repel-the-recession-with-these-5-tips/)

‘Rise in live-in relationships is due to use & throw culture’

The Kerala High Court has observed that matrimonial relationships appear to have been influenced by consumer culture of “use and throw”, which is evident from rise in live-in relationships in the state and the prevailing trend to opt for divorce on flimsy or selfish grounds.

The case: The HC dismissed a divorce plea of a man who abandoned his wife and three daughters after nine years of marriage subsequent to an alleged affair with another woman and said “courts cannot come to the aid of an erring person to legalise his activities, which are per se illegal”.

Law & religion: “Law and religion consider marriage as an institution by itself and parties to the marriage are not permitted to walk away from that relationship unilaterally, unless and until they satisfy the legal requirements to dissolve their marriage through a court of law or in accordance with the personal law which governs them,” the high court said.

‘Consumer culture’: The younger generation apparently views marriage as an evil to be avoided for enjoying a free life without any liabilities or obligations. “They would expand the word ‘WIFE’ as ‘Worry Invited For Ever’ substituting the old concept of “Wise Investment For Ever”

Mere quarrels, ordinary wear and tear of matrimonial relationships or casual outburst of some emotional feelings cannot be treated as cruelties warranting a divorce, the HC said.

The younger generation thinks marriage is an evil to be avoi ..

Administration announces proposal to streamline Medicaid, CHIP applications

USA Today (8/31, Lee) reports HHS “aims to make enrolling in government health care programs easier for low-income kids,” people with disabilities, “and older adults by cutting red tape, according to a proposal announced Wednesday.” This proposed rule “takes steps to reduce the paperwork burden often associated with health care by streamlining applications and standardizing policies and requirements across states for Medicaid, Basic Health Programs and the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP.” If implemented, “2.81 million more people are projected to enroll in Medicaid over the next five years,” according to the agency.

Modern Healthcare (8/31, Goldman, Subscription Publication) reports among the policies included are “limiting eligibility checks to once every 12 months, requiring renewal forms to be pre-populated with certain information and establishing consistent processes across states,” as well as “measures to help qualified beneficiaries remain on the programs from year to year.”

FDA authorizes updated bivalent COVID-19 vaccine boosters

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech (22UAy.DE) and Moderna that target the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, as the government prepares for a broad fall vaccination campaign that could begin within days.

The new vaccines also include the original version of the virus targeted by all the previous COVID shots.

The Washington Post (8/31, McGinley) reports, “New Omicron-targeting coronavirus booster shots are poised for rollout after being authorized Wednesday by the Food and Drug Administration – a move designed to improve protection against severe illness and death during a potential rise in COVID-19 cases this fall and winter.” These bivalent “boosters, reformulated to take aim at the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants dominant in the United States, are scheduled to be reviewed by advisers to the” CDC and if approved, “some boosters may be available starting this weekend, with more showing up in pharmacies, [physicians’] offices and clinics after Labor Day.”

The AP (8/31, Neergaard) reports, “The updated boosters are only for people who have already had their primary vaccinations, using the original vaccines.” The shots “made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech are for anyone 12 and older while Moderna’s updated shots are for adults – if it has been at least two months since their last primary vaccination or their latest booster.”

Reuters (8/31, Erman, Steenhuysen) reports the U.S. “has secured more than 170 million doses of the two shots” for the rollout.

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Aug 31 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday authorized updated COVID-19 booster shots from Pfizer (PFE.N)/BioNTech (22UAy.DE) and Moderna that target the dominant BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, as the government prepares for a broad fall vaccination campaign that could begin within days.

The new vaccines also include the original version of the virus targeted by all the previous COVID shots.

The FDA authorized the shots for everyone ages 12 and older who has had a primary vaccination series and is at least two months out from a previous booster shot, shorter than prior recommended intervals.

Dr. Peter Marks, a senior FDA official overseeing vaccines, said he hopes the shots will restore the very good protection against symptomatic disease that the original vaccines offered when launched in late 2020 and early 2021.

Biden’s new midterm message: protect democracy

President Biden issued a midterm-minded message on Thursday that America’s democratic values are at risk and that former President Trump and his most ardent backers are the chief reason why as his party seeks to continue momentum ahead of the November elections.

Biden, speaking in prime-time from the perch of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, namechecked his 2020 general election opponent frequently as he sought to up the stakes for voters heading into the stretch run of the political season. During the 24-minute address, the president said that Trump “represents an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our Republic.”

“But there’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated, driven and intimidated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” said Biden, who was flanked on stage by Marine guards. “And that is a threat to this country.”

According to The Hill’s Brett Samuels and Morgan Chalfant, White House officials insisted Thursday night’s speech would not be political in nature. However, that idea evaporated quickly as Biden levied multiple criticisms of his predecessor and Republicans, while rounding out the address by touting policy victories on issues such as on police funding and the pandemic.

The address came at a key time for Biden and Democrats. The party in power is on the upswing after a number of key wins over the past month — including two special election victories that have helped buoy the spirits of Democrats after spending much of the past year struggling to counter GOP messages on the economy and inflation.

Notably, the president has also grown more combative amid the Democratic resurgence. In recent weeks, he has called out “MAGA Republicans” on a number of occasions. The rhetoric hit a crescendo last week at a political rally in Maryland where he described the movement as akin to “semi-fascism” (The New York Times).

That remark has drawn rebukes from across the GOP spectrum. The latest came in a prebuttal speech on Thursday by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said that the first line of Biden’s speech should have been an apology “for slandering tens of millions of Americans as fascists” (The Hill).

President Joe Biden charged in a prime-time address that the “extreme ideology” of Donald Trump and his adherents “threatens the very foundation of our republic,” as he summoned Americans of all stripes to help counter what he sketched as dark forces within the Republican Party trying to subvert democracy.

In his speech Thursday at Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, Biden unleashed the trappings of the presidency in an unusually strong and sweeping indictment of Trump and what he said has become the dominant strain of the opposition party. His broadside came barely two months before Americans head to the polls in bitterly contested midterm elections that Biden calls a crossroads for the nation.

“Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal,” he said before an audience of hundreds, raising his voice over pro-Trump hecklers outside the building where the nation’s founding was debated. He said he wasn’t condemning the 74 million people who voted for Trump in 2020, but added, “There’s no question that the Republican Party today is dominated by Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans,” using the acronym for Trump’s “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan.

The explicit effort by Biden to marginalize Trump and his followers marks a sharp recent turn for the president, who preached his desire to bring about national unity in his Inaugural address.

Biden, who largely avoided even referring to “the former guy” by name during his first year in office, has grown increasingly vocal in calling out Trump personally. Now, emboldened by his party’s summertime legislative wins and wary of Trump’s return to the headlines, he has sharpened his attacks, last week likening the “MAGA philosophy” to “semi-fascism.”

Wading into risky political terrain, Biden strained to balance his criticism with an appeal to more traditional Republicans to make their voices heard. Meanwhile, GOP leaders swiftly accused him of only furthering political divisions.

Delivering a preemptive rebuttal from Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Biden was born, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said it is the Democratic president, not Republicans, trying to divide Americans.

It’s Not India’s Decade, It’s India’s Century: McKinsey’s Sternfels

McKinsey plans a ‘disproportionate commitment’ to India and that’s why its global board will be coming to the country in December

McKinsey & Co CEO Bob Sternfels has said that India would be the world’s future expertise manufacturing unit as it should have 20 per cent of the globe’s working inhabitants by 2047.

Sternfels said it will not just be India’s decade, but India’s century, with all key components in place – a big working inhabitants, multinational corporations reimagining world provide chains, and a rustic leapfrogging at digital scale-to obtain one thing particular not only for the Indian financial system, however probably for the world.

“Many individuals have stated that it is India’s decade. I truly assume it is India’s century once we have a look at a few of the uncooked components right here. India is the longer term expertise manufacturing unit for the world. By 2047, India would have 20 per cent of the world’s working inhabitants,” Sternfels said in an interview with Economic Times.

“India has leapfrogged on the digital scale. All these are the uncooked supplies to do one thing particular for not solely the Indian financial system however probably for the world,” he added.

McKinsey plans a “disproportionate commitment” to India and that’s why its global board will be coming to the country in December.

The firm has 5,000 people in India, a number he wants to double to 10,000.

Sternfels also spoke about the current scandals which have hit McKinsey, the state of the worldwide financial system, inflation woes and deglobalisation.

Reacting to a question regarding what the CEOs are telling concerning the state of their corporations, Sternfels said, “One of many issues that I did over the previous 12 months was get out and speak to purchasers, and I’ve talked to over 500 of our CEOs within the final 12 months.

“CEOs now wish to play offence and protection on the similar time. So defensive measures… shore up the steadiness sheet, enhance effectivity, and make sure the firm can face up to shocks. They’re additionally saying, my steadiness sheet is more healthy than it was in both of these downturns. And I wish to truly take two or three large strategic bets in order that I can come out on prime,” he added.

Twitter Finally Gives Users Edit Button, But It’s Not For Everyone, Yet

A picture of an ‘Edit Button’ was shared by Twitter Blue, which is a paid subscription service from Twitter

“Well well well, look what we’ve been testing,” The long-awaited edit button is finally coming to the microblogging platform Twitter, even though it would be for select users only.

“If you see an edited Tweet it’s because we’re testing the edit button, this is happening and you’ll be okay,” Twitter confirmed the arrival of the feature through its official account.

Twitter users will finally be able to edit the tweets they post on the platform. However, as per reports, only paid users will have the access to the feature and it remains to be seen if the feature will be available for all 237 million users.

“We’re hoping that with the availability of Edit Tweet, tweeting will feel more approachable and less stressful,” Twitter said in a statement. “You should be able to participate in the conversation in a way that makes sense to you.”

The edit button initially is available for Twitter employees for internal testing, and then to Twitter Blue users. The company eventually plans to give everyone the option to alter their tweets.

A picture of an ‘Edit Button’ was shared by Twitter Blue, which is a paid subscription service from Twitter.

How does the feature works?

The edit button will allow users to edit their tweet even if it has been posted. Twitter users did not have the option so far so they either had to delete the tweet or post another one in case any mistake happened.

However, Twitter users will get only 30 minutes to edit their tweets which are long and has some mistakes. To signify a tweet is edited, the tweet will bear a label to show it has been modified. Clicking the label will let viewers see the history of the edits.

Major Changes in Twitter

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has hardly undergone many changes. However, in 2017, Twitter increased the character limit for messages to 280 characters from 140.

In 2020, Twitter rolled out Fleets, a feature similar to Instagram reels that deleted users’ posts after 24 hours. But Twitter soon removed the feature.

Last month, Twitter introduced Circles, a feature that lets people share posts with a smaller number of followers.

Elon Musk and the Edit button

Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk wanted to bring the edit button to the social media platform after taking a passive stake in the company.

“Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months,” Musk had tweeted in April.

It is worth noting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been demanding the edit button from Twitter for a long time.

Later, Musk announced that he was withdrawing from a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter alleging multiple breaches of the agreement.

Musk said he had backed out because Twitter failed to provide enough information on the number of spam and fake accounts.

Twitter and Musk became embroiled in a legal battle following that as Twitter filed suit, alleging he had breached his contract while disrupting the site’s operations and dragging down its stock.

Liz Truss to be UK’s next prime minister

Liz Truss will be the next prime minister of the United Kingdom after winning the race on Monday to lead the United Kingdom’s Conservative Party.

Truss will take over the role from Boris Johnson, who announced his resignation in July as his relationship with Conservative lawmakers soured over his handling of a number of issues. Truss served as foreign secretary under Johnson.

“I am honoured to be elected Leader of the Conservative Party,” Truss said after the announcement.

“Thank you for putting your trust in me to lead and deliver for our great country,” she continued. “I will take bold action to get all of us through these tough times, grow our economy and unleash the United Kingdom’s potential.”

Truss, who promised to increase defense spending and cut taxes during the campaign, will assume the prime minister role as the country faces skyrocketing energy prices and high inflation.

She received 57.4 percent of the vote, beating out rival Rishi Sunak, Britain’s former finance minister, who received 42.6 percent of the vote.

Truss was largely viewed as the frontrunner during the campaign. Roughly 172,000 dues-paying Conservative Party members cast ballots in the election after the party’s lawmakers nominated eight candidates and narrowed the ballot list to Truss and Sunak.

Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to formally appoint Truss as Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday during a ceremony at her Balmoral estate in Scotland.

In remarks directly following the announcement, Truss doubled down on her plan to grow Britain’s economy by cutting taxes, also emphasizing her belief in “personal responsibility.”

“During this leadership campaign, I campaigned as a conservative, and I will govern as a conservative,” she said.

Truss also vowed to take action on the country’s mounting energy issues, characterizing it as a “crisis.”

Annual energy bills for the average U.K. household have already risen by 54 percent this year, and consumers will see another hike in October that brings the gain to roughly 80 percent.

Global oil and gas prices jumped as demand surged from countries recovering from the coronavirus pandemic. Supply strains resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have furthered the imbalance of energy supplies and demand, contributing to price gains and fueling fears of a recession.

Britain’s annual inflation rate hit 10.1 percent in July, a 40-year high that outpaces the U.S. and other places in Europe.

“I will deliver on the energy crisis, dealing with people’s energy bills, but also dealing with the long-term issues we have on energy supply,” Truss said on Monday.

The Conservative Party has maintained a healthy majority since the country’s 2019 elections. Johnson has served atop the party since that year but came under increasing pressure to step aside in recent months over a variety of issues, eventually leading to his resignation announcement in July.

The prime minister attended gatherings in his office and other government buildings in 2020 and 2021 when the country imposed pandemic restrictions on parties, leading Johnson to become the first sitting prime minister to receive fines.

Some in his party later called for Johnson’s resignation over his handling of sexual misconduct allegations against Johnson’s deputy chief whip.

Sunak, Truss’s most formidable opponent in the race, resigned last year amid the scandals, days before Johnson announced he would leave 10 Downing Street.

Truss remained in Johnson’s cabinet and on Monday called him a “friend.”

“Boris — you got Brexit done, you crushed Jeremy Corbyn, you rolled out the vaccine and you stood up to Vladimir Putin,” she said. “You are admired from Kyiv to Carlisle.”

Keir Starmer, the leader of U.K.’s Labour Party, congratulated Truss on her victory.

“But after 12 years of the Tories all we have to show for it is low wages, high prices and a Tory cost of living crisis,” Starmer tweeted. “Only Labour can deliver the fresh start our country needs.”

Liz Truss has been elected as the Conservative Party’s new leader, the party announced Monday, and she thus will become Britain’s new prime minister as the country faces an acute cost-of-living crisis.

The 47-year-old Truss, who is currently foreign secretary, beat former Treasury chief Rishi Sunak after a leadership contest in which only about 170,000 dues-paying members of the Conservative Party were allowed to vote. Truss received 81,326 votes, compared with Sunak’s 60,399.

She faces immediate pressure to deliver on her promises to tackle a cost-of-living crisis walloping the U.K. and an economy heading into a potentially lengthy recession.

Queen Elizabeth II is scheduled to formally appoint Truss as Britain’s prime minister on Tuesday. The ceremony will take place at the queen’s Balmoral estate in Scotland, where the monarch is spending her summer, rather than Buckingham Palace in London.

RAJMAAI Holds Annual Convention in New Jersey

The annual 2022 convention of RAJMAAI was held in Hackensack, NJ from August 19th to 22nd, which was a celebration of the culture, traditions, education and professional achievements of physicians of Indian Origin. Organized by the current RAJMAAI leadership led by Dr. Uday Chaddha, President, Dr. Bharat Gupta, Vice President, Dr. Anand Kanjolia, Secretary, Dr. Harish Chandana, Treasurer, and Dr. Vinod Sancheti, Convention Convener, the highly successful convention was a treat to the hears and souls of the hundreds of participants who had come to participate and enjoy the fellowship, networking and education.

A top-notch CME program was organized by Dr. Brahma Sharma and Dr. Vijaypal Arya,  and an excellent panel of speakers presented a CME topic on Physician Wellness. Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of national AAPI greeted the RAJMAAI members for the highly successful convention.

Dr. Uday Chaddha, said, “RAJMAAI represents more than 600 physicians practicing in the USA who have graduated from various medical colleges of Rajasthan. We are proud of their Indian heritage in general and Rajasthan in particular. We meet every year and plan strategies to help communities locally as well as back home.”

Gourmet Rajasthani cuisine was served with live musical and cultural programs, bringing back memories of college days during the convention. RAJMAAI also celebrated India’s Independence Day paying tributes to India.

Rajasthan Medical Alumni Association (RAJMAAI), established in 1987, is a body of medical professionals all over the country who have graduated from any of the medical institutions in Rajasthan (or of Rajasthani Heritage) and have an interest in its culture and activities. RAJMAAI establishes fraternities and exchanges social and cultural activities locally, nationally, and internationally. RAAJMAI members meet regularly every year for continuing medical education and also bring along their families to socialize and enjoy each other’s company.

India Day Parade In New York City Led By Iconic Allu Arjun Creates 2 Guinness Records

Allu Arjun, the popular Southern Indian Star was the Grand Marshal at the  India Day parade held on Sunday, August 21st, 2022 in New York City, commemorating the completion of 75 years of Indian Independence, earmarked as ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ the celebration of eternal freedom.

Organized by the Federation of Indian Associations (FIA-NY/NJ/CT), the annual parade returned to New York City after two years, when Covid Pandemic restricted public gatherings. The colorful celebrations at the heart of New York City was a salute to Mother India by the Indian American community.

Accompanied by his wife Allu Sneha and director Harish Sankar, the Pushpa star was greeted by more than 150,000 people and fans, who turned out to see him along the route on Madison Avenue in New York City. Eric Adams, New York’s Mayor, Randhir Jaiswal, a career diplomat and the Consul General of India in New York were among others who led the parade that filled Madison Avenue from 38th Street to 21st Street as dozens of floats showcasing the rich cultural heritage of India marched through the parade route, and greeted by enthusiastic Indian Americans, as they waved the tricolor, honoring India.

Known as the world’s biggest Indian event outside of the country, the India Day Parade gave FIA to create two Guinness Book of World Records. As per the FIA, the two events at the parade entered the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of flags flown simultaneously at an event and the largest ensemble of Damru, an ancient musical instrument associated with Hinduism and Buddhism, being played at a time in any given event.

The Federation of Indian Associations which represents New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New England in the U.S.

Kenny Desai, president of FIA and a seasoned veteran community leader expressed his gratitude to the community and board for trusting him with leading the organizational efforts. He said, FIA had in its own way tried to honor India by attempting the records and “making our motherland shine in our homeland.” Desai said FIA has made India proud and this achievement is a tribute to the unknown and unsung heroes of the freedom struggle.

FIA chairman Ankur Vaidya said that these records are dedicated to the global community. He thanked the community for their support without which the feat would not have been possible. The flags display, in keeping with the theme this year of honoring the Tiranga, the Indian flag, made a show of India’s universality by also including the flags of nations around the world.

Allu Arjun shared a story of having fun at the Times Square and participating in the New York India Parade on his Instagram account. “It was a pleasure meeting the Mayor of New York City. Very Sportive Gentleman. Thank You for the Honours Mr. Eric Adams. Thaggede Le,” Allu Arjun wrote and shared pictures of him with the Mayor sporting the ‘Thaggede Le’ signature mannerism which has become popular all over the world. Superstar Allu Arjun is one of the much-loved actors in the industry. His film Pushpa: The Rise – Part 1 was a box officer superhit, and earned Rs 300 crore worldwide.

More than 1,500 volunteers who had registered for the record on FIA website turned up early in the morning, the release said. In an atmosphere of patriotic fervor lead conductor Kailash Kher sang ‘Hindustan Meri Jaan Tu’ (India you are my life) with the whole gathering of thousands joining him.

The annual cultural events on India Day in the City were held through several streets on Madison Avenue in the heart of Manhattan, featuring tableaux by various Indian-American organizations, marching bands, police contingents and cultural performances by young Indian-American children.

FIA secretary Pravin Bansal, who served as event chair for the attempts said that the endeavor required massive efforts and the whole team of FIA volunteers had been working day and night for the past few months especially since the logistics were a big challenge in itself.

Previously, actors Arjun Rampal, Abhishek Bachchan, and Baahubali actors Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah Bhatia, as well as Sunny Deol and Raveena Tandon have attended the parade.

In other events, as a part of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the FIA NY-NJ-CT-NE organized a wide range of unique events to commemorate India’s 75th anniversary of independence. A fly-past by a 220 ft-long majestic Indian tricolor, made of Khadi, over the iconic Hudson river and the display of a giant billboard at the Times Square are among the highlights of the grand celebrations

Why FBI Searched Trump’s Home?

Former President Trump could be facing mounting legal troubles as new details emerge about the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation that prompted an FBI search of his Mar-a-Lago estate.

Trump has called for the release of more information tied to the search, an effort that corresponds with bashing the agency for what he claims is a politically motivated attack.

Meanwhile, the DOJ has fought to limit how much information will come out about an ongoing investigation with Trump as its target.

Here’s what we’ve learned this week.  Trump eyed for “willful” violations of the Espionage Act

Although the most highly sensitive materials underlying the Mar-a-Lago search warrant remained under seal this week, the judge presiding over the case did make one court record newly available to the public. That document, known as a criminal cover sheet, provided additional insight into the nature of the crime under investigation, according to some legal experts.

It was already known that investigators believed the materials housed at Trump’s residence were linked to a likely violation of the Espionage Act, a WWI-era statute designed to help safeguard the country’s vital national security secrets. What the criminal cover sheet revealed, after it was unsealed Thursday, is that law enforcement had probable cause to think a “willful retention of national defense information” occurred.

That new detail appeared to lend further support to the theory — one that was already widely assumed — that Trump himself is the target of the investigation.

“This aligns with what we know so far from public media reporting, as well as the minimal information we have derived from the unsealed court filings,” Bradley Moss, a national security lawyer and partner in the law office of Mark S. Zaid, told The Hill in an email.

“All indications are that the government’s argument will amount to three things: (1) Trump took the properly marked classified records with him to Florida; (2) he left them in boxes in the basement; (3) when confronted about it, he willfully held onto records despite demands from NARA and later the FBI to return them,” he added, referring to the National Archives and Records Administration, which takes custody of White House records when a president leaves office.

DOJ appears to be investigating Trump’s claims around a “standing order”

In a sign the Department of Justice is not content to have simply secured the return of classified materials, its investigators appear to be contacting former Trump-era officials about his claims of having declassified the contents removed from his Florida home.

According to reporting from Rolling Stone, the FBI has thus far been conducting voluntary interviews with those who could have knowledge of such an order, including former staff on the National Security Council.

Shortly after the warrant was executed, Trump claimed the documents removed from his home were “all declassified.” He later elaborated in a statement to Fox News that he had “a standing order” to declassify any documents.

“If the DOJ was really focused on recovering the classified material and was not criminally investigating the former president, they would not be calling in former NSC officials to question them about Trump’s supposed “standing order” declassifying documents,” Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, wrote on Twitter.

National security law experts who previously spoke with The Hill noted that while Trump would have broad powers as president to declassify documents, such a practice is usually done on a  case-by-case basis, and also triggers notification to other agencies that hold classified information, so that they can reclassify them appropriately in their own system.

“Realistically, no one actually believes that Trump had such an order.  It was not written down anywhere, doesn’t make a lot of sense (as some of his own appointees have pointed out), and was never raised by Trump’s lawyers during their communications with DOJ,” Mariotti continued.

Even if Trump did declassify documents, that isn’t a defense for the Espionage Act, one of the three statutes cited in the warrant. That law only requires mishandling national defense information to trigger a violation.

Trump wants it all released

Former President Trump and his allies have responded to the government’s desire for redactions with calls for the release of the full document.

“Pres. Trump has made his view clear that the American people should be permitted to see the unredacted affidavit related to the raid and break-in of his home. Today, magistrate Judge Reinhard rejected the DOJ’s cynical attempt to hide the whole affidavit from Americans,” Taylor Budowich, a spokesperson for the former president, said Thursday.

Trump separately posted on Truth Social, his social media platform, calling for the “immediate release” of the unredacted affidavit, citing the need for transparency. He also called for Reinhart to recuse himself from the case without giving a clear reason.

The former president and his allies have attacked the credibility of the FBI and DOJ ever since the search was executed earlier this month, pointing to the handling of the Russia investigation to allege it is the latest politically biased attack on Trump.

By calling for the unredacted affidavit to be released when the government opposes such a move, Trump will likely further fuel distrust in the Department of Justice among his supporters.

DOJ is working through redactions

The Department of Justice, however, does not want its affidavit for the warrant fully released.

The department argued that the affidavit should remain under seal in its entirety, saying the information it contained laid out a “roadmap” to its ongoing investigation, “highly sensitive information about witnesses,” and “specific investigative techniques.”

But a federal magistrate judge on Thursday dismissed efforts by the DOJ to maintain the affidavit entirely under seal.

“I find that on the present record the Government has not met its burden of showing that the entire affidavit should remain sealed,” Judge Bruce Reinhart said in a brief order.

According to The New York Times, Reinhart said there were parts of the affidavit that “could be presumptively unsealed.”

The DOJ has until noon Thursday to submit their proposed redactions, after which Reinhart, who approved the initial warrant, will review them — meaning a redacted version of the affidavit could be released as early as next week.

What it means for Trump and 2024

Casting a cloud over the entire proceeding is the fact that Trump is likely to announce a 2024 White House bid in the coming months, though he may wait until after the midterm elections.

Trump denied in an interview last month with New York Magazine that any presidential run would be a way to insulate himself from criminal consequences as he faces investigations over election interference in Georgia, business dealings in New York, the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riots and now his handling of classified information.

And while some experts believe it’s unlikely Trump will ultimately be indicted over the documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago, the political consequences could still loom large over his desire to return to the White House.

A Reuters-Ipsos poll conducted this week found that 54 percent of Republicans believe the FBI behaved irresponsibly following the Mar-a-Lago search, compared to 23 percent who said the agencies behaved responsibly.

Comparatively, 71 percent of Democrats felt law enforcement had acted responsibly, as did 50 percent of independent voters. It is the latter category that bears watching in determining how the search could swing Trump’s political fortunes.

Former President Trump has shifted his defenses for taking classified documents to his Mar-a-Lago residence in the wake of the FBI search of the estate last week, when agents seized 33 items including nearly a dozen sets of classified items.

Trump has ripped the FBI and Department of Justice while giving varying explanations for why he did nothing wrong.

On Monday, in an interview with Fox News he said the “temperature has to be brought down” but then added that his supporters would not “stand for another scam,” repeating his criticisms. Those statements came amid worries that law enforcement could come under attack given the fierce criticism of the FBI coming from some voices on the right.

An unsealed warrant shows the FBI executed the warrant while investigating whether the Espionage Act had been violated. Agents seized 11 sets of classified documents from the estate. The warrant was approved by a federal judge.

Here’s what Trump has said about the FBI’s actions and his shifting explanations about the documents. Trump told the world that the FBI had executed a search warrant at his Mar-a-Lago home, calling it “not necessary or appropriate.”

He said at the time he had been “working and cooperating with the relevant government agencies” and described his home as “under siege” by FBI agents.

Investigators had provided Trump’s attorneys with their own copy of the search warrant and a receipt that would have itemized the materials seized during the search, which follows standard practice.

Trump at the time also decried the search as “political persecution” and included a link for donations to his political action committee in his statement. The investigation comes amid growing speculation over how soon the former president might announce he’s running again in 2024.

Trump and his supporters also in the days that followed floated a conspiracy theory that the FBI had planted evidence at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump’s initial reaction led to a flurry of finger-pointing from his supporters, including Republican lawmakers who blamed President Biden and claimed the president had used the FBI and Department of Justice (DOJ) to go after his political opponent.

Attorney General Merrick Garland made his first public appearance since the search to say he personally made the decision to seek a warrant and that it was not done “lightly.” He announced at the time that the DOJ would move to unseal the warrant authorizing the search.

The Trump camp put out a statement later, saying “everyone ends up having to bring home their work from time to time” and that Trump would take documents, including classified documents, to his residence to “prepare for work the next day.”

“He had a standing order that documents removed from the Oval Office and taken to the residence were deemed to be declassified the moment he removed them,” the statement said.

The 33 items that were seized from the property included the executive order of clemency for longtime Trump ally Roger Stone, information regarding the “President of France,” binders of photographs, and a handwritten note. The FBI reportedly sought documents containing information about nuclear weapons in the search, but it’s unclear if such records were seized.

Voices From The Non Resident Indian

Thousands of miles away from India, our hearts long for India, our motherland. A land with rich traditions, history and culture. A land that gave to the world so much and welcomed everyone with open arms. The generosity and spirit of warmth that we all inherited for centuries from generation to generation, with its unparalleled glorius past makes us all stand tall.

Today, after centuries of enslavement, plundering, destruction and marginalization, India has begun to raise its head, seeking and finding its rightful seat among the nations of the world. We are an young nation, full of energy and power; talent, skills and education; future-oriented and willing and able to accomplish our goals.

India Today gives us hope. The vibrant and the largest democracy makes us all proud even though it has its own limitations, with certain groups trying to abuse power and threaten the very foundation of democracy and equality. In India, transfer of power happens peacefully through ballots at local, state and federal levels. And, not by force and intimidation.

The people of India are rising. They have made a name for themselves across the globe, wherever they went, and wherever they made their homes. They are appreciated for what they are and what they bring to their adopted lands. They are much sought after for their integrity and caliber.

The President of the United States, Joe Biden on the occasion of India’s 75th anniversary of India’s Independence Day hailed India as an “indispensable partner” He said, “The United States joins the people of India to honor its democratic journey, guided by Mahatma Gandhi’s enduring message of truth and non-violence.” Biden expressed his commitment to further strengthen the U.S.-India Strategic Partnership that is formed on the ideals of law and democracy and most importantly on their people-to-people ties.

Here are some reflections from some eminent Indian Americans on India and what they perceive India to be “Today – Tomorrow:”

Reflecting On How The Great Accomplishments Of India Are Impacting The Rest Of The World

“As the first elected AAPI Legislator in Middlesex County, representation has always been important to me. It reflects achievements made here in America as well as in India. On the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence Day, we celebrate how far we have come as a community and a nation. It is our job to look back and reflect on all of the great accomplishments India has made to impact the rest of the world and remember we are always moving forward.”

Assemblyman Sterley Stanley

New Jersey General Assembly

18th Legislative District, New Jersey

India – Past – Present – Future

India is an exceptional nation with a civilizational history of 5,000 years old, with a rich tapestry of cultures, religions, and peoples, and a strong economy that was unparalleled by all means. India’s glorious past and profound diversity make it unique. India had a robust economy, having almost one third of the total world’s GDP. India was advanced in almost all fields of science, Medicine, Engineering, Architecture, Literature and Public Administration. Wikipedia notes that the engineering skills of the people were “remarkable”, with great achievements in measurement accuracy and craftsmanship. The subcontinent boasts the longest history of jewelry making in the world, stemming back 5,000 years.

However, with the invasion and rule by the Islamic and British rulers, in the past 1,000 years, India’s wealth was plundered. People were killed. Temples were destroyed. The freedom and the lifestyle along with the remarkable advancement in science and technology were stalled.

India became the 1st nation in the world to attain freedom with a peaceful means, Satyagraha, from the British rulers. While India made moderate progress in the past few decades, the pace of progress accelerated under the dynamic leadership of Shri Narendra Modi, India is today stronger than ever, well respected among the nations of the world. India’s economy is growing faster than ever, and the many programs are benefiting the people of India evermore. India has earned its rightful place in the world. We are proud of India and what India has accomplished, its contributions to the world and I look forward to a brighter and stronger India.

By Dr. Vinod K Shah

Founder, Medstar Shah Medical Group

Past President of AAPI

The Ancient Indian Values Of Respect For Diversity, Peaceful Coexistence, And Respect For Nature Are Needed More Urgently Than Ever

On the 75th anniversary of India, so many Indian American organizations and the Consulate General of India in New York, organized a series of programs showcasing India’s cultural diversity, antiquity, and contemporary relevance. Participants in New York or online anywhere in the world, are able to enjoy music concerts, literary gatherings and dance performances throughout the year as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

Seventy-Five years ago, when India became an independent country after centuries of colonial rule, all eyes were on India. As a new society, the Gandhian message of Ahinsa, freedom through to non-violence, and its ancient message of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, that the world is one family became the new Mantra.

Today, in our world of polarization, increasing tribalism, new conflict and extreme environmental degradation, the ancient Indian values of respect for diversity, peaceful coexistence, and respect for Nature are needed more urgently than ever.

These activities aim at bringing the Indo-American bonds closer, with cultural exchanges.

Please participate in the programs like the parade along with family and friends and experience the wondrous imagination and inspiring dynamism of the Indian arts to the fullest. Please join us in wishing India a joyous 75th birthday and a bright future ahead. Jai Hind

Anil BansalPresident of First National Realty Management; Founder of Bansal Charitable Foundation; BOD Member of IAAC; Past President of FIA NY/NJ/CT

India Today and Tomorrow

As we celebrate this year [email protected], Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, India as a multi cultural, diverse nation has emerged as a significant respected player on the world stage. With its highly successful vaccination program, more than 2 billion doses of vaccines have been administered in the last 18 months. India is the third largest energy consuming country in the world and also ranks third as the world’s largest renewable energy producer. It hopes to meet fifty percent of its electricity requirements by 2070 from renewable energy. Like any other country, the pandemic has taken a severe toll on the economy along with rising inflation and unemployment crisis. But there is a silver lining and according to the projections by the economists at Morgan Stanley, India’s GDP growth is expected to be at 8%-8.5% for 2022-2023 making it as Asia’s strongest economy. However, unless there is gender parity, there can be no sustained economic growth. and India has one of the worlds’ lowest female workforce participation.

Fast forward to India 2040 and beyond we will see it as one of the world’s largest working age population with growing urbananization.  Some of the crucial challenges will be to address gender inequities, sustain the momentum of its economic development and trade, accelerate expansion of higher education and build smart cities with digital technologies. I dream of India that resonates with Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of   Truth and Non Violence— where there is peace, harmony and justice for all. Happy 75th anniversary India.

Dr. Renee Mehrra, Eminent Journalist, TV Anchor, Community Leader

A Dream For the Medical Fraternity

Enhancing national unity and democracy are amongst the great achievements of the people of India. To augment medical education, patient care and research the Government of India should take services of the willing US doctors of Indian origin, who are over 100,000 practicing US Physicians are of Indian origin.

I have lobbied fa or such program for many years. Hope the Health Ministry will initiate and funds for such a project. It will help all parts of india, as these US Doctors hail from all parts of India and they want to effectively serve their motherland, India.

Navin shah  MD
Founder and former President, AAPI

My Small Hope For India

Independence Day is a reminder of the sacrifices for valiant freedom fighters. We have come a long way in the last 75 years. However, to fulfill the dreams of our founding fathers and see a prosperous India, we will need to work hard and contribute towards most successful and vibrant India.

Vishweshwar Ranga MD

Chairman, BOT, AAPI

US FDA Likely To Approve Over-The-Counter Birth Control Pill

Amid the US Supreme Court’s decision to ban abortion in the country, the Food and Drug Administration is considering to approve the first-ever over the counter (OTC) birth control pill.

Two companies — French drugmaker HRA Pharma and US-based Cadence Health — have approached the FDA to authorise their pill for OTC-sales in the US.

HRA Pharma has applied for an Rx-to-OTC switch for Opill, a progestin – only daily birth control pill (also referred to as a mini pill or non-estrogen pill).

The pill has already been approved for use in the US since 1973, but only with a prescription. If approved, this would be the first daily birth control pill available OTC without a prescription in the US, the company said in a statement.

“This historic application marks a groundbreaking moment in contraceptive access and reproductive equity in the US,” said Frederique Welgryn, Chief Strategic Operations and Innovation Officer at HRA Pharma, in the statement.

“More than 60 years ago, prescription birth control pills in the US empowered women to plan if and when they want to get pregnant. Moving a safe and effective prescription birth control pill to OTC will help even more women and people access contraception without facing unnecessary barriers,” Welgryn added.

Cadence, whose pill is a combination of progestin and oestrogen plans to submit an application in the coming year, The New York Times reported.

While both companies have been in discussions with the FDA for years, the timing of the HRA Pharma application is “a really sad coincidence,” Welgryntold The Times. “Birth control is not a solution for abortion access,” she stressed.

The FDA is expected to take around 10 months to make a decision on HRA Pharma’s application, media reports said.

Meanwhile, major medical organisations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Medical Association, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, have expressed support for moving birth control pills OTC.

Earlier this year, the US House of Democrats also signed a letter to FDA Commissioner Robert Califf requesting a “timely review” of applications to make birth control pills available OTC, and more than 100 Democrats have signed on to a bill to make health insurance companies cover the cost of OTC birth control, The Times reported. (IANS)

AAPI’s New Leadership Under Dr. Ravi Kolli Commits To Strengthen AAPI’s Mission

“I will work towards strengthening the goals and mission of AAPI and help make AAPI a healthcare thought leader in the US and globally and work in the best interests of our Physicians and our community here in the US and serve our motherland, India,” Dr. Ravi Kolli, President of AAPI declared in his inaugural address immediately after being sworn in as the President of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) in San Antonio, TX.

Dr. Ravi Kolli has a dynamic and diverse team comprising of Dr. Anjana Samaddar, President-Elect, Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President; Dr. Meherbala Medavaram, Secretary; Dr. Sumul N. Raval, Treasurer; Dr. V. Ranga, Chair, Board of Trustees; Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala, President of Young Physicians Section; and, Dr. Ammu Susheela, President of Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section. Dr. Anupama Gotimukula will continue to guide AAPI as the Immediate Past President of AAPI.

Dr. Kolli, President of AAPI is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with additional qualifications in Addiction, Geriatric and Forensic Psychiatry, and serves as Psychiatric Medical Director of Southwestern Pennsylvania Human Services. A former Clinical Asst. Professor of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University, Dr. Kolli had served as the Vice President of AAPI 2020-21, Secretary of AAPI 2019-20, Regional Director of AAPI 2017-18, Past President of Pittsburgh Chapter of AAPI (TAPI), Past President of Rangaraya Medical College Alumni of North America and as the Past President of Association of Telugu Medical Graduates in USA

“In my role as the President of AAPI, I will be working closely with my entire leadership team to make AAPI a more dynamic and vibrant organization playing a meaningful and relevant part in advocating health policies and practices that best serve the interests of all patients and promoting the physician’s role as the leaders of the team-based health care delivery,” Dr. Kolli says.

While leading the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, Dr. Kolli wants to “focus on battling the stigma of mental illness and access to quality mental health care broadly. I will be forming liaison with mental health professionals in India and globally and bring awareness of various biopsychosocial therapeutic options to promote wellness and recovery from mental illness and substance use disorders.  We will also actively promote physician wellness and self-care to address the challenges of physician burnout and suicide.”

Dr. Vishweshwar R. Ranga, Chairman of Board of Trustees of AAPI is a practicing Internal Medicine Specialist from Las Vegas affiliated with multiple local area hospitals and has had more than 35 years of experience in the medical field. Dr. Ranga has been associated with AAPI since his early days as a Resident in New York. “Since moving to the United States to pursue my career as a physician I have been closely following the entire spectrum of health care in the world’s largest economy,” recalls Dr. Ranga.

A team player and dedicated to the growth of AAPI, Dr. Ranga says, he wants “continue to work with the team and ensure that AAPI’s voice is heard wherever relevant decisions are made that impact the physician community.”  Dr. Ranga, who has worked hard towards the growth of this organization under the leadership of various presidents, is a medical degree holder from the Medical Academy of Sofia, Bulgaria. He has worked on several AAPI Committees including: AAPI Bylaws Committee, Membership Committee, Awards Committee, and Publications Committee.

Dr. Ranga says, “AAPI is very close to my heart and I want to see it as more of an inclusive outfit, making a clarion call to physicians of Indian origin serving in some of the remote areas of the country to be part of this great organization and be driving forces of change. My goal in the coming year is to formalize and create AAPI leadership academy working with executives from American College of Physicians for the development of leadership roles for all AAPI members. I want to work hard to engage young physicians and attract them to AAPI. They are the future of AAPI.” the newly elected Chair of AAPI BOT

Dr. Anjana Samadder, President-Elect of AAPI, says, “In my role as the President-Elect, I would like not only to carry on the good work initiated and started by prior presidents, but also like to address health care practice issues facing our members both in private practice and in academia. I would like to get AAPI represented in the US National Health care committee by organizing strong lobbying efforts. I will also address physician burnout and establish a networking platform for young physicians. I will be open to suggestions from members in order to make our organization one of the strongest ethnic organizations in USA.”

Dr. Samadder has shown great leadership qualities which she proved during her tenure as local chapter President (Central Ohio), Regional Director (Ohio and Michigan) and as AAPI National Treasurer. She has also served diligently in different capacities within AAPI including being National Coordinator for AAPI Annual Convention, 2018 in Columbus.  Dr. Smaddar served as the Chair, AAPI Women’s Forum and has organized first live conference of this year in Tampa, Florida (March 19 to 21,2021) with great success. Her vision for AAPI is “to help build an ethically strong, morally straight and fiscally responsible organization. It is also vitally important to bring much-needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving.”

According to Dr. Samadder, “My journey with AAPI in the past 20 years taught me lots of lessons, skills and molded me to take more responsibility in the organization. I will bring to the organization the level of commitment, hard work, experience and skill set needed to accomplish the various goals for AAPI and its members.”  Her vision for AAPI is “to help build an ethically strong, morally straight and fiscally responsible organization. It is also vitally important to bring much needed diversity to keep AAPI thriving. We, at AAPI, are a large extended family. I look forward to creasing the existing issues, besides bringing about reforms to further enhance the prestige that the AAPI commands.”

Dr. Satheesh Kathula, Vice President of AAPI assures that, “I will sincerely work for the betterment of our beloved organization, AAPI.” A board certified hematologist and oncologist from Dayton, Ohio, practicing Medicine for nearly two decades, Dr. Kathula is a clinical professor of medicine at Wright State University- Boonshoft school of medicine, Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Siddhartha Medical College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, India in 1992. He has been actively involved in community service locally, nationally and internationally for the last two decades. He has been awarded with the “Man of the year-2018, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

At AAPI, Dr. Kathula has served in numerous capacities, before being elected as the Treasurer of AAPI-2020-21. He had served as the Chair, IT Committee- 2019-20; Editor, Enewsletter-2019-20; a member of AAPI’s Board of Trustees- 2014-17; and Regional Director- 2012-14, in addition t several roles at the local and regional level.  He has served as the President and founding member of Association of Indian Physicians from Ohio; President, Miami Valley Association of Physicians of Indian Origin; President, ATMGUSA; and has worked with Ohio State Medical Association on various issues.

A recipient of several Community Service/Awards, Dr. Kathula wants to “Make AAPI a mainstream organization and work on issues affecting physicians including physician shortage, burnout, and credentialing, while leveraging the strength of 100,000 doctors at legislative level.” Another area, he wants to work is to “Encourage and engage next generation/young physicians in AAPI activities. While working closely with other physician organizations such as AMA.” Dr. Satheesh Kathula says, “I will work with the entire AAPI leadership to the greatest of my abilities to reach our goals, addressing the challenges, and advance the issues important to our members. We will work together to promote our values of professionalism, collegiality, and excellence in patient care and enhance AAPI’s reputation as a premier professional organization offering educational programs and advocacy.”

The Secretary of AAPI, Dr. Meher Medavaram is a Board Certified in Family Medicine and is a Fellow of Academy of American Physicians. A graduate of Osmania Medical College, she is serving as the Assistant Director at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Family Medicine Residency Program. Dr. Medavaram is the Medical Director of Mount Sinai Hospital, FAQH Center, and a Staff Physician Advocate at Good Samaritan  Hospital as well as a Clinical Preceptor at UIC College of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine CMU School of Medicine and is the President of Naperbrook Medical Center.

In her role as the Secretary of AAPI, Dr. Medavaram wants to “unify and revitalize the AAPI, ensuring and advocating for physician rights and interests.” While recognizing the mission of AAPI, she wants to work towards making AAPI a purely professional organization, while forming a bridge between AAPI Senior Leadership and Young Physicians.” Committed to AAPI and dedicated to its continued progress, Dr. Medavaram wants to work towards “strengthening AAPI financially by securing a robust endowment fund and supporting and upholding AAPI’s vision of promoting professional solidarity in the pursuit of excellence in patient care, teaching and research.”

At AAPI, Dr. Medavaram has served in many capacities. She was the Chair of Women’s Forum GHS AAPI- 2022 and had served as the Convention Chair of the 38th AAPI Convention of Chicago 2019-2020. Being an active member of AAPI for several years, Dr. Medavaram has served as the Regional Director AAPI, Region 5 (IL, WI, IN) 2020-2022 and was elected President of the Indian Medical Association of Chicago 2020-2021. She served as a Board of Trustee member of OGKTMA from 2018 and was the National ATA from 2016 onwards.

Dr. Sumul N. Raval, Treasurer of AAPI is a board-certified neurologist and world authority on brain tumors, and is among the very few neuro-oncologists in private practice in the USs. The founder and director of the David S. Zocchi Brain Tumor Center at Monmouth Medical Center – New Jersey’s first and most comprehensive facility specializing in brain tumors, Dr. Raval completed his neuro-oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Dr. Raval is a humanitarian. “I believe, quality of life is just as important as battling the disease,” he says.

Describing his vision as a treasurer AAPI 2022-2023, Dr. Raval says, “My goal is to manage and maintain organized and consistent AAPI financial records. I will collaborate with the Executive team and our partners to ensure that our mission, vision, and values are being met from a financial standpoint. In addition to recruiting new members, in service to communities nationwide and remembering our collective tie to India, I will act as a trustworthy and effective advocate for all AAPI members. Through unity and transparency, my ultimate goal is to engage and empower all Indian-American physicians in local, state and national legislatures.”

Dr. Raval listens to patients with compassion and inspires them to think positively. Dr. Raval was presented with the GBM Heroes Award (Glioblastoma Multiforme) during the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the Society for Neuro-Oncology held in Scottsdale, Arizona organized by CURE® magazine. During his long association with AAPI, Dr. Rawal has served as the Regional Director of AAPI and as Vice President and President of MOCAAPI (a subchapter of AAPI) as well and as a newly elected Treasurer for the Medical Society of New Jersey (MSNJ) this year.

Giving representation and strengthening the voice of young physicians of Indian origin, Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala will serve as the President of AAPI Young Physicians Section (YPS) and Dr. Ammu Susheela as the President of AAPI- Medical Student/Residents & Fellows Section (MSRF).

Dr. Pooja Kinkhabwala is a board certified Endocrinologist, currently practicing in Indiana. She graduated from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine in Erie, Pennsylvania, and has completed her Internal Medicine Residency from Hackensack Meridian Health Palisades in North Bergen, New Jersey and her Endocrinology Fellowship from Larkin Community Hospital in Miami, Florida. She uses a holistic approach with her patients and focuses on preventative medicine.

An active member of AAPI since 2016, Dr. Kinkhabwala was the President of the MSRF Section from 2017-2018 and 2019-2020, and has worked on growing membership via grassroots efforts in Medical Schools and Residency Programs. She has served as the Chair of Obesity Awareness Subcommittee of AAPI and was the Alternate Delegate for AAPI to the AMA.  Dr. Kinkhabwala was the AAPI Representative of a Resident Well Being Task Force which included the ACP and ACGME and is also a part of the Physician Well Being Task Force of the American Osteopathic Association and is a co-author of the paper on Addressing Burnout through the Physician Life Cycle.

Dr. Kinkhabwala says, “This past year YPS has expanded our reach by holding virtual mentoring sessions, virtual wellness sessions, and a virtual career fair. Over the next year I plan on continuing with these virtual sessions and growing our mentoring and career development programming. I also plan on providing more networking and CME opportunities for our YPS members throughout the year. This year will mark the 10th anniversary of WMC and I am so excited to plan this amazing event. This year we plan on bringing WMC back to Las Vegas, Nevada.”

Dr. Ammu Thampi Susheela, President of the Medical Students, Residents and Fellows section of AAPI, is an incoming third-year Resident in Internal Medicine at Loyola-MacNeal Hospital, Chicago, IL. She completed a post doctoral research fellowship at Harvard Medical School-Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA. She co-founded a wearable Medtech company for patients with dementia. She is experienced in serving lead roles as vice chair of Harvard Medical Postdoc Association, task force member of Massachusetts Medical Society, national delegate of American Medical Association, and vice-chair of MSRF of Illinois State Medical Society. She is currently serving as a team lead for a reference committee section of the residents and fellows section to the house of delegates in the American Medical Association. She is dedicated to research, innovation, advocacy, and policy making. Over the years, she cultivated passion and enthusiasm to bring about policies and changes for the welfare of the medical students, residents, and fellows section.

 “As a platform that serves over 40,000 medical students, residents, and fellows of Indian Origin, my vision for AAPI is to build a welcoming and accommodating community of young physicians to help and support each other in their particular stage of their career,” says Dr. Ammu Thampi Susheela.  “I would also like to advocate for outreach of AAPI in the medical students, residents, and fellows communities throughout the USA and in India. I would like to promote research, innovation, and community outreach during my time as the president and intend to enhance mentoring in the AAPI MSRF community.”

Dr. Gotimukula, the Immediate Past President of AAPI said, “Since its inception in 1982, AAPI has been in the forefront, representing a conglomeration of more than 100,000 practicing physicians in the United States, seeking to be the united voice for the physicians of Indian origin. I hope and wish that the new Team under Dr. Ravi Kolli will continue the noble mission and strengthen our efforts to make AAPI reach greater heights.”

The growing influence of physicians of Indian heritage is evident, as increasingly physicians of Indian origin hold critical positions in the healthcare, academic, research, and administrative positions across the nation. We the physicians of Indian origin are proud of our great achievements and contributions to our motherland, India, our adopted land, the US, and in a very significant way to the transformation of Indo-US relations.  Serving 1 in every 7 patients in the US, AAPI members care for millions of patients every day, while several of them have risen to hold high-flying jobs, shaping the policies and programs, and inventions that shape the landscape of healthcare in the US and around the world. For more details, please visit: www.appiusa,org

Aishwarya Rai’s Cannes Designer Says, ‘Petal’ Dress Represents Hope, Birth, And Beauty

For her second walk on the red carpet on the second day of the 75th Cannes Film Festival in Paris, Bollywood icon Aishwarya Rai Bachchan chose a shell pink and silver Gaurav Gupta couture gown.

Inspired by the birth of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love, the gown celebrates pure artistic couture and creates an unforgettable fashion moment on the red carpet. Keeping the hair and make up minimal, the Bollywood actress choose to wear her tresses to one side and kept her look natural.

Gaurav Gupta, who designed Aishwarya’s dress, which featured a mermaid-style silhouette and a shell-shaped structure on its back, has now revealed the thought process and the hard work that went into designing the unique dress.

He said that he wanted to create something special for Aishwarya, as Cannes 2022 marked her 20th year at the festival. The designer said that with Aishwarya’s gown, he wanted to share a message of hope, birth, and beauty after the tough times the world has faced in recent years.

Gaurav told PTI, “We wanted something which denotes hope, birth and beauty.

After all the world has gone through in the past few years, we wanted to celebrate life and art.” The designer also noted that the gown was his interpretation of Italian also Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting Birth of Venus, with the shell like structure behind the shoulder symbolising Venus’s rise from the scalloped shell.

He said, “Aishwarya is a complete woman and a beautiful person. As I got to know her through the process, I discovered a wonderful, spiritual person who is really connected to her soul and is elegant. That purity in the absolute sense of beauty inspired me to think of the concept of the Birth of Venus.”

The designer reported that it took 20 days and over 100 craftspeople to create the outfit as they made sure not to disappoint ‘one of the most beautiful women in the world.’ He added that Aishwarya herself was involved in the creative process right from the beginning.

Talking about Aishwarya’s stardom at the festival, Gaurav said, “The frenzy, the love, that Aishwarya receives here, it’s almost madness. People couldn’t stop screaming her name out loud and the fanfare was insane. So just to see that frenzy, it fills you with joy… She is a phenomenon in Cannes. It’s like a real-life film in itself.”

After attending the Cannes Film Festival, Aishwarya returned to Mumbai with her husband Abhishek Bachchan and daughter Aaradhya Bachchan on Saturday night. She will next be seen in Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan.

Recently, musical sensation Cardi B. also choose to wear the Indian designer’s creation in her latest music video and single release.

Taking A Break From The Digital World Is Healthy

Technology has connected us in ways we never anticipated and made our lives more convenient. While technology definitely comes with numerous positive benefits, there are negative sides to it as well that can lead to physical and psychological issues. A 2017 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people within the age group of 19-32 who had higher usage of social media were more likely to feel isolated than those who didnt use social media so often.

Innovative technologies and smart gadgets have made us slaves of the digital era, and there’s an imperative need to get some respite from this dependency and disruption. That’s where yoga and meditation can make a difference. These ancient practices have been part of our civilisation for years and are used to align the body, mind and spirit and bring mental clarity.

Why a Break from the Digital World is Necessary

We are constantly tethered to technology through our smartphones, tablets, computers, and even watches, and companies are pushing our psychological buttons to make us return for more. Constant distractions are ruining our cognitive functions and leaving many prone to anxiety and memory lapses. Overuse of digital media can also have detrimental effects on physical health. Too much smartphone usage can put a lot of pressure on the shoulders, neck, and spine. Technology overuse can also lead to strained injuries of the thumbs, fingers, and wrists. Overexposure to the blue light emitted by smartphones and computers can also interrupt the circadian clock, causing sleep issues.

How Yoga can help

In people who practice yoga on a daily basis, changes occur in the brain structure and new connections are developed. Also, it results in improved cognitive skills like memory and learning. Here are some easy yoga poses to get you started:

Tadasana (Mountain Pose): How to do:

*Stand with the feet together keeping the arms by the side.

* Straighten the legs and tuck the tailbone in while engaging the thigh muscles.

* While inhaling, elongate through the torso and raise the arms.

* Exhale and release the shoulder blades away from the head.

* Take slow breaths and maintain this position for 30 seconds.

Benefits: This pose engages all the major muscle groups and improves concentration and focus.

AdhoMukhaSvanasana: How to do:

* Come onto your hands and knees with the palms just past the shoulder.

* The knees must be kept under the hips.

* Lift the hips and press back to form a V-shape with the body.

* Keep the feet hip-width apart.

* Spread the fingers and move the chest towards your legs.

* Maintain this position for 30 second and gently release.

Benefits: This pose stretches the lower body, improves posture and balances the body and mind.

Balasana (Child’s Pose): How to do:

* Kneel on your mat with the toes tucked under.

* Lower the hips towards the feet and extend your arms forward.

* The stomach should be resting on the thighs and forehead touching the mat

* Maintain this position for 1 minute and release.

Benefits: Apart from releasing tensions in the chest, this pose relaxes the spine and back as well as promotes good sleep.

Savasana: How to do:

* Lie on the back with the arms alongside the body.

* The palms should be facing upwards and the body must be kept completely relaxed including the face.

* Continue with gentle breathing and keep your attention on your breath.

* Stay in this pose for a few minutes and release.

Benefits: This pose calms the nervous system reducing stress and anxiety. It also aids the immune and digestive system.

Achieve Balance with Meditation

Meditation has been a useful tool for ages to maintain control of the mind and transform thoughts. People who incorporate meditation into their daily lives remain more composed during times of adversity and clear-minded. In fact, new studies have revealed that consistent practise of meditation increases GABA levels, which promotes emotional well-being and helps one feel happy.

When combined with yoga and pranayama, meditation can do wonders for our body and mind gradually, and one can see the reflection of the same in their daily lifestyle.


The rapid advancement of technology has certainly led to increased stress and emotional distress driven by rapid reward cycles, exposure to too much information, and simultaneous engagement in different tasks. Meditation and yoga can help us release inner tensions, quiet the mind, and stay focused. Only a few minutes of practise every day can bring a whole world of change, making us happy, healthy, and resilient to stress and burnout. Technology is here to stay and even get more advanced. It rests on us as to how we can adopt these practises as part of our lifestyle to bring a positive change and stay healthy.

India Actively Undercutting US’ Efforts To Isolate Russia: Report

India’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and efforts to protect trade mean one of Washington’s most valued strategic partners is actively undercutting its efforts to isolate Moscow, Axios reported.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has become a stress test for America’s global partnerships. America’s treaty allies are all onside, including those outside NATO such as Japan and South Korea. India, for reasons of history and geopolitical pragmatism, is very much not, the report said.

India abstained on a series of UN votes condemning the invasion.

One such resolution was backed by 141 countries, though a Russian diplomat contended that with China and India both abstaining, the critics represented less than half of the global population.

While the US and EU have led a global push to isolate Russia economically, India has been buying up more Russian energy at a discount, Axios reported.

As per the Financial Times, India’s central bank is discussing a rupee-ruble trade plan with Moscow to ensure it can continue to buy Russian goods, potentially weakening the effects of Western sanctions, the report said.

US officials say they understand India’s delicate position vis-a-vis Russia, though White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called on India’s leaders to “think about where you want to stand when history books are written”.

The British Trade Secretary said Thursday that the UK is “very disappointed” by India’s position and hopes it will change. That’s not looking likely, Axios reported.

Unisex Public Schools In Chicago

Paris, often referred to as the ‘City of Light’ (La Ville Lumière), has always fascinated me for its clean roads and fashion shops. Surprisingly, a few years back, while in the international airport, I was in a Uni-sex toilette with no astonishment of passengers of either sex running up and down in it. Earlier, I felt as if I had done some sinning entering a Ladies’ restroom.

However, after a few hours, while sitting on my flight to New Delhi, my senses became diluted when I used the same bathroom both genders were using. So there is absolutely nothing special about Unisex public toilets (also referred to as gender-inclusive, gender-neutral, mixed-sex or all-gender, or without any prefix at all) are public toilets that are not separated by gender or sex.

Thinking about Gender equity, of course, the problem may be that genders are different and not equal. Somehow the custom and cultural ideologies kept them separate- at least for using the restrooms, and nothing wrong in that practice for many reasons.

But the latest news in the USA that Chicago expels sex-specific restrooms from public schools is a whistleblower for a provocative issue indeed.So far, boys and girls were using their specific restrooms in their own privacy and had no fear of peer pressure from the other gender. However, public school bathrooms will now be “gender-neutral,” a reform that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) boasts of as a “big step forward for gender equity.”

This reformative initiative requires the schools to display language outside of restrooms, informing students, whether male or female, that they may use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity. CPS prompted others, “We require all schools to adopt new signage to make our restrooms more inclusive. This is a big step forward for gender equity for our students and staff.” Is it going to influence the schooling practices themselves, or will it just be ignored?

This initiative not only impacts school children but also the school staff initially. As per CPS, the signage will “make it clear that all restrooms are open for use by anyone who feels comfortable.” It is also stated that the move is to “increase gender equity for all.”

One example of signage that will be displayed at schools reads: “This is a gender-neutral restroom with multiple stalls. It is open to users of any gender identity or expression.”

Is the School system meticulously worried about the health and safety of all students?. If so, Schools need to rip out the existing restrooms and replace them with single-user toilets. It will take up more space, but everyone’s privacy will be protected with no fear of peeping toms!

This is not what they are implementing in Chicago, and it is not a private restroom; it is the standard multi-stall bathrooms. We are really worried about the teens with all confused inhibitions and early sexual emotions.

We agree that all children need to be safe in the bathroom. Lack of safety and lack of comfort may be the two different concerns, which need to be clarified by the school administrators. Across our country, many students avoid using bathrooms fearing that another student might mistreat or harm them emotionally or physically.

Most of them will try to hold it till they reach home because, as we are talking about pre-teens and teens. Middle & high school students are very sensitive and insecure and shameful about their changing bodies and the opposite sex. So, a young girl getting her period for the first time or any girl needing to take care similar situation might have real embarrassment if there is a boy in the next stall; that is the reality. The consequences of these fears can be severe, impacting a child’s health, well-being, and ability to concentrate on learning.

If the real issue is on how to protect and respect individuals with a different gender than one assigned at birth, we need to recognize them. The emotionally disturbed trans may be less than 1%. Why do we change everything for the 1%? – that is what the average parent does not understand. Maybe, rather than designating all bathrooms gender-neutral, they should have at least one set for girls or boys only as well.se

“While the binary male/female gender paradigm is no longer sufficient for understanding gender identity and gender expression, this perspective is new to many people. Therefore, school leaders can reduce misunderstanding and conflict by raising awareness and educating constituencies about gender diversity, including transgender status.” (NAIS- Fox News).

We are apprehensive about the ever-increasing sexual assaults going on in many schools. Having gender-specific toilets will not necessarily stop teenage sexual assaults in school. Instead, how many of those implementing this reforming program would be comfortable in a restroom with someone of the opposite gender in the next stall?. Apart from that, usually, girls spend as much as twice as long in the bathroom as men, and that’s because they have physiological changes, and they have more layers of clothes to remove before using the toilette. Boys waiting outside usually show their impatience, ending up with angry words or shoutings. Needless to affirm that this setup is ripe for bullying, which is already out of control.

Why are so many throwing away gender norms for everyone else, making the majority uncomfortable so the one or two students in question can feel comfortable?.

Neither schools nor parents can assume that every child knows appropriate behavior with unisex concepts. When a school conveys what behaviors are and are not acceptable, the issues related to bathrooms move from assumptions and misperceptions about an individual’s intent and instead focus-on their observable act. Question remains – Is this a “big step forward,” and gender-neutral bathrooms in schools are of the utmost importance now?

Curtain Raiser to Diwali at Times Square Held At Indian Consulate

Samman for All and advisory board members of ‘ShopRite Diwali at Times Square in association with Samman for all’ held a curtain raiser and press conference at the Consulate of India NY to commemorate the beginning of the Diwali at Times Square on October 30th at Times Square.

The event was attended by Media Houses, Performers and the Sponsors of Diwali at Times Square. The program started with Ganesh Pooja followed by Diya Lighting Ceremony and Presentation by Neeta Bhasin, Founder of Diwali at Times Square where she shared the details of the upcoming festival. Sponsors like Shoprite and American Airlines spoke of the significance and importance of cultural event as big as Diwali at Times Square and its impact on the community.

“Our objective this year is to bring the light of positivity in the lives of people especially since the dark gloom of the pandemic has engulfed us. Through this event, we want to uplift the spirit of the community and share the message of love, togetherness, inclusion, and diversity,” Bhasin said.

“ShopRite Diwali at Times Square” in association with the non-profit “Samman for All” is showcasing the rich ‘Colors of India’ via its art and culture right in the heart of Times Square on October 30, 2021, starting at 1:00pm EST.

According to the founder of Diwali at Times Square, Neeta Bhasin, “Understanding different cultures makes us realize that the basic tenets of all cultures are the same. However, the difference in expression is what enriches the tapestry of our lives.” The celebration continues throughout the day into the evening with the traditional Diwali custom of ‘Diya (Lamp) Lighting’ ceremony on stage which will also be projected on the tallest billboard in Times Square followed by a rousing musical extravaganza – ‘The Light Up Times Square’ concert with international singer Jay Sean and other performers will be entertaining people with their superhit songs.

Due to its resounding success in the past years, the festival has also garnered praise and recognition by various media outlets as well as the US Government as being one of the largest Indian festivals outside of India.

This year, Diwali at Times Square has an association with ‘Samman for all’ not-for-profit organization. Director of ‘Samman for All’ said’ Our goal is to help people achieve a dignified living – a life that they can call their own. We wish this Diwali brighten the lives of people”.

”Diwali is an integral part of our cultural heritage. It represents our values, traditions, diversity and thought. Diwali at Times Square brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the festival of Diwali. We would like to congratulate the Producer, Mrs. Neeta Bhasin, for meaningfully promoting Indian culture and our universal ideas in the US.” Said Mr. Randhir Jaiswal, Consul General of India NY,

The ShopRite stated ‘South Asian community is a very important part of our community, and we want everyone to taste the Diwali Celebration with Shoprite. We look forward to celebrating the festival of Delight at Times Square this year!!

Harry Singh Bolla, President & C.E.O, Bolla Oil Corp “I know how Diwali is a cheerful and nostalgic festival! It reminds me of happy times from my childhood. “Let’s come together and celebrate Diwali At Times Square on a October 30 and cherish all the good times”

Bhasin thanked the “Title Sponsor ShopRite, Airline Partner American Airline, Diya (Lamp) Lighting with the countdown partner Bolla Market and our sponsors Northwell Health, Northlandz, State bank of India and Nazranaa.”

Samman for All. mission is to facilitate people from the lower-economic strata to achieve their dreams by providing them with tools for sustainable living.  Event Guru WorldWide is a premier full-service event company specializing in festivals, concerts, tradeshows, gala dinners and press conferences. We conceptualize and implement events of all sizes and statures.

Post Afghanistan, US-Pakistan Relations Stand On The Edge Of A Precipice

With the Taliban back in power in Afghanistan, Pakistan may have come closer to achieving its long-sought “strategic depth” with respect to its western neighbor, with a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. But the Taliban’s victory is also seriously testing Pakistan’s long fraught bilateral relationship with America. For the last 20 years, U.S.-Pakistan relations have been defined by the needs of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. With that war having ended with an outcome as ignominious as a Taliban takeover, the relationship is at a clear crossroads. The outlook isn’t positive. Here’s where things stand.

The Mood In Washington

In Washington, where policymakers have been grappling with the fallout from the sudden Taliban takeover of Kabul in August and the scrambled evacuation that followed, the focus has shifted to identifying the mistakes made in the war in Afghanistan. Washington is taking a hard look at where things went wrong — and Pakistan, given its long history with the Taliban, is part of that equation.

In congressional hearings a couple of weeks ago on Afghanistan, U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley said that “we need to fully examine the role of Pakistan sanctuary” in understanding how the Taliban prevailed. In September, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken similarly said during his congressional hearing that “This is one of the things we’re going to be looking at in the days, and weeks ahead — the role that Pakistan has played over the last 20 years.” He added that the U.S. government would also be looking at “the role we would want to see [Pakistan] play in the coming years and what it will take for it to do that,” signifying that a review of how to engage Islamabad in the future was ongoing.

In the Senate, 22 Republican lawmakers have proposed a bill calling for Afghanistan’s new Taliban government to be sanctioned, along with governments that have supported the Taliban. The bill also calls for a report that will include “an assessment of support by state and non-state actors, including the government of Pakistan, for the Taliban between 2001 and 2020,” that also looks at the provision of “sanctuary space, financial support, intelligence support, logistics and medical support, training, equipping, and tactical, operation or strategic direction.”

What Pakistan Is Saying

Pakistan’s Senate in turn displayed “alarm” over the bill moved in the U.S. Senate, which Pakistan’s media termed an “anti-Pakistan” bill. Pakistan argues that it is being scapegoated for U.S. military and Afghan leadership failures — while ignoring its own support of the Taliban. It has not officially recognized the new Taliban regime, but it has been concertedly pitching engagement with it, with government officials making the case in speeches, op-eds, and interviews.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan went beyond calls many have made for humanitarian relief and financial liquidity to avoid economic collapse in Afghanistan, to saying that “we must strengthen and stabilize the current government, for the sake of the people of Afghanistan.” (Pakistan also points out that instability and violence in Afghanistan will spill over into Pakistan.)

But Pakistan faces a credibility issue, and its call for the world to engage with the Taliban may have found more takers if it had not given the Taliban sanctuary or support over the last 20 years. As it is, these calls only highlight Pakistan’s long-standing ties with the Taliban. And Pakistan’s stance seems to argue for international support before the Taliban fulfill promises they have made regarding girls’ education and human rights.

What America Wants From Pakistan

America wants to ensure that Pakistan doesn’t formally recognize the Taliban government, and that it exercises its leverage over the Taliban to get the group to make concessions on women’s rights and girls’ education, and to form an inclusive government. (So far, the Taliban’s interim cabinet is all male, and beyond some diversity of ethnicity, entirely non-inclusive.)

Going ahead, America also wants to continue to cooperate with Pakistan on certain counterterrorism matters — especially now that it is limited to “over the horizon” operations in Afghanistan. General Frank McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, alluded to that in his congressional testimony: “Over the last 20 years we’ve been able to use what we call the air boulevard to go in over western Pakistan and that’s become something that’s vital to us, as well as certain landlines of communication. And we’ll be working with the Pakistanis in the days and weeks ahead to look at what that relationship is going to look like in the future.” The general was referring to air lines of communication (ALOCs) and ground lines of communication (GLOCs) that Pakistan provided to the U.S. over the last 20 years.

Recent Engagement From The Biden Administration With Pakistan

The Biden administration’s engagement with Pakistan to date — pre- and post-withdrawal — has focused almost exclusively on Afghanistan. Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns visited Pakistan in September, ostensibly to discuss counterterrorism cooperation as well as other matters. Blinken and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had their first in-person meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, and the focus was on Afghanistan.

The readout of the meeting from the State Department was unmistakably bare bones and focused singularly on Afghanistan, but Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ longer readout also noted Pakistan’s “desire for a balanced relationship with the United States that was anchored in trade, investment, energy and regional connectivity.” This imbalance revealed a disconnect in their views of the relationship.

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited Pakistan last week. In an interview in India just before the visit, she said: “It’s for a very specific and narrow purpose, we don’t see ourselves building a broad relationship with Pakistan. And we have no interest in returning to the days of hyphenated India, Pakistan.” While in Pakistan, where she met Qureshi; Pakistan’s chief of army staff, Qamar Javed Bajwa; and the Pakistani national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf, Sherman was more diplomatic.

She noted that “Afghanistan was at the top of our agenda, but we also discussed our cooperation in other areas, including the climate crisis, geoeconomics and regional connectivity, and ending the COVID-19 pandemic” and added that “the United States believes that a strong, prosperous, democratic Pakistan is vitally important for the region and indeed for the wider world.”

Hanging over these meetings is the fact that Biden has not yet called Khan since he took office in January. The glaring lack of a phone call is a topic of considerable discussion in Pakistan.

Warning Signs

Many in Pakistan watching this phase of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship are evoking the end of the Soviet-Afghan war, when the U.S., after having allied with Pakistan to fund and arm the mujahideen that Pakistan trained to fight the Soviets, looked away from the region. America eventually sanctioned Pakistan for its nuclear weapons program.

Over the last 20 years, Washington’s needs in Afghanistan defined the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, even if that meant Washington sometimes had to turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s sanctuary for the Taliban. Now, after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Washington has little incentive to gloss over what it has long seen as Pakistan’s double game or to broaden ties. Washington’s attention is now east of Pakistan: on its relationships with India and other countries to counter China.

In this environment, U.S.-Pakistan relations face a reckoning.

The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan might have been a moment of opportunity to rethink a bilateral relationship that has been defined for much of the last 40 years by Pakistan’s western neighbor. But in early August, I wrote that the relationship between America and Pakistan stood in an uneasy limbo as the U.S. was withdrawing from Afghanistan; and that there would be “little to no appetite in Washington to engage with Pakistan on other matters going ahead if Afghanistan was embroiled in violence or in Taliban hands.”

The latter outcome has come to pass. Warning signs are flashing red for the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, and it’s safe to say that the scope for cooperation has narrowed. Sherman may not have been engaging in diplo-speak on Pakistan while in India, but she may have given away where the Biden administration is leaning for now on Pakistan: limited engagement on Afghanistan, and little else.

(Madiha Afzal is a Fellow – Foreign PolicyCenter for Middle East PolicyCenter for Security, Strategy, and Technology)

Indian Students Are A Strong Bridge Between India And USA

In a new initiative to connect the nearly 200,00 Indian students with the Indian American community and the Indian missions, GOPIO-Manhattan and the Indian Consulate in New York hosts Meet & Greet Event Welcome Event in New York.

“Indian Students continue to be a strong bridge between India and USA,” Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu told students from India who had come together at Meet and Greet welcome event organized by the GOPIO-Manhattan (NYC) in cooperation with Consulate General of India in New York for the Students from India studying in the Northeast region in the United States. Organized with the objective of connecting the students to the community and providing mentoring opportunities as well as to raise awareness of Consular services to students from the Indian Consulate, the event held at the Indian Consulate in New York on Friday, September 17th was attended by students from 21 universities, mostly from the Northeast participated in person or virtually.

The Indian Ambassador addressed the students via a video message. He told them: “Delighted to welcome the students virtually!  The education and knowledge partnership are an area that holds great potential in our bilateral relations. During my visits across US, I’ve always made it a point to visit universities and visit faculty and students there.” He further added “We have an active student hub and a dedicated student wing at the Embassy. You can count on them for any assistance.” The chief guest/host for the evening Ambassador Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, commented, “Welcome to all the students from India with open heart as you pursue your future studies here in the North-East region and help in the growth of economy here in USA and back home in India.”

Ambassador Jaiswal further highlighted the goal to expand this program to include more students, from the pool of 200,000 students that come to the USA for further studies, to attend in person more interactive sessions and gain exposure to various services offered by the Consulate for the benefit of the students from registration at the Consular Portal, to cultural events to mental health support initiatives. The program started with a welcome by GOPIO International Chairman Dr. Thomas Abraham, who also serves as an advisor to GOPIO-Manhattan. Dr. Abraham encouraged the speakers to mentor, motivate and guide the students. Dr. Abraham said, “In the 1960s and ‘70s when a foreign student joined a university, he/she was given host family, now with connected world and social media, the host family concept went away and the 4.5 million Indian Americans could serve as the host family to the new students.”

GOPIO-Manhattan Executive Vice President Professor Rajasekhar Vangapaty moderated the first panel on mentoring students in the current market environment and added his learnings to the students using his unique perspective as a Registrar of Fashion Institute of Technology, the MIT of Fashion. There were four panelists in this session who are asked to comment on several questions. Abha Kumar, Business transformation leader/Board member Notify.io Advisory Board Shopelier, Former CIO- Corporate & International Vanguard, shared her experiences with the students and said, “The way we worked in the past will not be relevant post-COVID…we now will look for employees who have the ability to have a wide perspective and connect the dots.”

Kumar further added that students should master the technology component; the companies also look for certain emotional intelligence when they hire. Lastly, in corporate America, your work doesn’t speak for you, you need to speak for yourself. Prasan Kumar, Senior VP & Strategy Director at Publicis Group & Lecturer at Glasgow Caledonian New York College added “When you’re in a classroom, experiment as much as you can.” He elaborated, “bringing more than a text book education is significantly important, get your perspective as per your interest, helps you being a problem solver and think long-term for career choice reflecting from his personal experience of moving 4 careers in 2 decades from IT to advertising now.”

Neil Datta, Head of Due Diligence at Forbes Family Trust & Co-Founder Meritas provided insights in the current market context and said, “You’re either a fintech company or you don’t know it yet.” He further added, “The ability to be a problem solver is a crucial skill that helps you in whatever you choose to work in.” Joe Simon, CIO at Entain which is involved in Sports Betting, echoed the thoughts of the speakers and added, “Cultural sensitivity is crucial.” He further added that in order to succeed, one needs to be fairly convinced about what one is trying to do and that the two most underrated skills in corporate America are patience and persistence.”

The second panel on F1 to H1B via OPT was moderated by Aseem Trivedi, Manager of Data Analytics at Ernst and Young. He shared his unique path to Green Card as an experience for the students. He reminded the students “One should start thinking now what after H1B?” Akshat Singh, a recent economics graduate of Columbia University brought his experience with Students and shared the idea “Get started on OTP process asap and do not wait for 6-months or so.” Ankit Chaudhari, Associate Vice President at JP Morgan Chase commented about his personal journey from F1 to OPT to H1-B to Green Card and suggested students “ask your employer whether they will sponsor your visa or not, but you give your best services.”

Apeksha Tewari, Master of Laws from Penn State Law and Lawyer, shared her personal views to the students as part of the panel said, “Now that you are here, outside of your studies, you need to network with your professors, peers, everyone & communication is the key, ask for things.” Siddharth Jain, GOPIO Manhattan Board Member & Program Coordinator; conducted the questions & answers session and concluded with vote of thanks to Chief Guest/Host Ambassador Shri Randhir Kumar Jaiswal, Dy. Consul Shri Varun Jeph, Consul for Political, Education and Culture Shri Vipul Dev, Consul for Community Affairs Shri A. K. Vijayakrishnan and the consulate staff. Other GOPIO-Manhattan officials present at the meeting included Vice President Vimal Goyle, and Co-Secretaries Dr. Lisa George and Bhavya Gupta.

“The students had an excellent time networking with students from different universities as well as with speakers and the Consulate and GOPIO officials and we plan to do a much bigger event next year hopefully after the Covid restrictions are over,” Dr. Thomas Abraham added.

Politics With STEM In Virginia Public Schools

My second son Stephen Palathingal  graduated from the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Science, a couple of days ago. He has accepted a job offer with Capital One in their software engineering department, where he did his internship last year. His elder brother Xavier Palathingal graduated from the same program six years ago, and currently works for Google.

Our family of four, all engineers and STEM graduates, coming from very middle-class backgrounds, made our lives possible on advanced math and technology, that too ALL in public schools and universities. The advanced math classes starting from 8th grade at Fairfax County Public Schools played the most important role in producing my two computer engineer children. I am immensely proud to watch them work with world-class technology experts from India and China, at companies like Amazon, Google, and now Capital One.

Lack of technical talent in America is a well-established fact. It is time for America to up its game in STEM education, not watering it down. If these advanced math courses are not there in public schools, the rich will go to private schools and get them, while the children of common folks like me will be left with mediocre public education. As a result, we will NOT be able to break the barriers due to our humble beginnings in this country. And, America will continue to remain dependent on foreign talent.

It is painful to watch the current liberal-socialist government in Virginia trying to remove advanced level math courses from its public schools. I remain fully committed to fighting this utter stupidity in the name of “equity” and “feel good for all”, for political benefits and vested business interests.

Quality public schools are what made me, my wife Asha Palathingal, and our kids, and 100s and 1000s of other immigrants, break the barriers, and realize the American dream. That is exactly what I am planning to continue to advocate for, just like I did in 2019 when I ran for Fairfax County School Board.

The mainstream fake media and the Virginia government are backpedaling on their laughable proposal now since they fear an Asian American backlash in the November election. That means the pressure that we are putting on is working.

Vote them out on November 2nd, and “Save Math” for Virginia and America!  And, believe me, “Math is not a racist word”! 😊https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1309725846096295&id=100011766761465


Harish Thakkar Re-Elected President Of Association Of Indians In America-NY

The Associations of Indians In America (AIA) NY, the oldest and association of Indians living in this country, unanimously re-elected its current President, Harish Thakkar for a second term. It also elected a new board for the year 2021-2022.

For the year 2021-2022, President-elect Harish Thakkar will spearhead the team which includes Executive Vice Presidents Dr. Satish Anand, Dr. Bal Gilja, Dr. Jagdish Gupta, Usha Kapoor, Secretary Beena Kothari and Treasurer Dr. Pushpa Shah, as well as Members-at-Large Dipika Modi, Divya Shah, Gitanjali Anand, Nishant Garg, Beenu Sabharwal, Rene Mehra, Joyti Gupta, Vimal Goyal, Govind Bhatija, Swati Vaishnav and Sunny Thakkar

Advisors named include Dr. Shahi Shah, Asmita Bhatia, Rohit Vyas and
Sushma Kotahwala. The AIA held a number of events/projects last year including the
February 2020 Family Bowling event; COVID-19 community help projects, as well as distributing groceries to needy families.

At ASEI’s 2021 AI Summit, AI For Social Good, Data & Ethics Highlighted

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) convened an AI Summit with a number of researchers, authors, speakers and experts covering Artificial Intelligence  from multiple perspectives: Augmented Intelligence with Data, AI/ML Solutions for social benefit and Artificial Intelligence Applications for the enterprise & AI Ethics on April 24th, 2021.

Opening the summit, Divya Ashok, who serves as VP of Innovation and Strategy at Salesforce, introduced the AI Summit Chair Piyush Malik who has been working in the Data & AI domain for over 25 years, currently as the Senior Vice President at SpringML, a Google partner startup in Silicon Valley. Piyush gave a bird’s eye view of the AI landscape, the real life and enterprise application opportunities as well as set the stage for the plenary segment where the theme was AI for Society. He recognized  the  contributions of AI pioneer technologists and Turing awardees over the past 7 decades including Prof  Raj Reddy, the first Asian and the only Indian origin person to have won the Nobel prize of computing (i.e. Turing Award for AI) in 1994 long before the current euphoria over AI was commonplace.

  Vilas Dhar,  President and Trustee of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF), gave a message of support from PJMF to ASEI as we work towards our shared vision for AI – powered yet human-centric ethical endeavor for the benefit of society as we  explore the future of meaningful work through youth empowerment. PJMF is a 21st century philanthropy advancing artificial intelligence (AI) and data solutions to create a thriving, equitable, and sustainable future for all. Vilas, a biomedical engineer by initial training is an entrepreneur, technologist, and human rights advocate with a lifelong commitment to creating more robust, human-centered social institutions. His message of support for AI for social benefit  and data philanthropy fostered through interactions with ASEI leadership was complemented by the next speaker Dr Sundar Sundareshwaran, AI Fellow at the World Economic Forum (WEF) where PJMF is a supporter.

At WEF, Dr Sundar is co-creating a governance framework with a multi-stakeholder community for the use of Chatbots in healthcare amongst other initiatives which he talked about in detail having an impact in the COVID era.  Sundar  represents Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corporation in his role at WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He  is a seasoned technologist with research, development, P&L and executive leadership experience. With a Master’s degree in Natural Language Understanding and a PhD in Computer Vision, Sundar has made numerous research contributions in robotics, neural networks, human computer interaction, virtual/augmented reality and autonomous vehicles. His plenary talk at the AI summit gave a broader view of the Policy impact AI is having at the World stage and he welcomed the opportunity for ASEI members to join hands in making the world a better place through fair use of AI rather than fearing from it. On behalf of ASEI, Piyush portrayed the excitement of being able to work with evangelists, policymakers, data and AI professionals and social changemakers at the WEF and PJMF.

In the next section of the summit three  authors spoke about their respective work and the impact each of them are having in the field of AI.  Anyone who has tried to learn GCP or machine learning with Google technologies would have seen Dr Valiappa (Lak) Lakshmanan  in action via his Coursera lessons and courses. Lak as he is popularly known, serves as the Director for Data Analytics and AI Solutions at  Google Cloud. Previously as a Director at the Climate Corporation, he led a team of data scientists building probabilistic estimates of past, current and future weather. Currently with his team he  builds software solutions for business problems using Google Cloud’s data analytics and machine learning products but he is very passionate about AI for Social good on which he spoke at length. Real world proof points and examples in the field of flood control, agriculture, healthcare etc were shared with the summit audience which resulted in a lot of interactive chats and Q&A.

ASEI Michigan chapter president Muthu Sivanantham introduced and facilitated discussion with the next two speakers.  Dr Raj Ramesh, a TEDx speaker who happens to have a doctorate in AI was the next author to speak. He has broad experience with digital transformation and helps  organizations bring together complementary strengths of machines and humans to effect grand change.  His talk featuring interesting doodles and interactive audience participation surveys was patterned on his recent book, “AI & You” and he advised how to co-exist with machines by sharing  how to think, thrive, and transform in an AI driven future.

“AI will present a lot of opportunities in the future.  Sure, some jobs will be replaced, but each of us can leverage our knowledge, passion, and experience to position ourselves at the forefront of this cognitive revolution” – Dr Raj Ramesh at the ASEI AI Summit

The next speaker Ashish Bansal with his cool demeanour brought to light an example of how rubber meets the road in AI though Models in Natural Language Processing. NLP is a topic of increasing attention given the recent popularity of Open AI’s GPT3 model and discussions of “AI creating AI”. Ashish has previously worked in AI/ML  & Recommendation systems  for Twitter and Capital One and currently is a Director at  Twitch. His recent book Natural Language Processing with Tensorflow was discussed in brief as well.

Final section of the AI Summit was the “Women in Data & AI” segment facilitated  by Vatsala Upadhya and featured a lively and colorful “Ethics in AI” discussion between  Dr Sindhu Joseph, CEO of Cognicor with 6 Patents in AI, and Bala Sahejpal, SVP at DataRobot with Piyanka Jain, President and CEO of Aryng moderating

Issues of bias, reproducibility , transparency and equity and inclusion in  data and AI from people of color perspective was discussed as well as importance of governance and building checks and balances in the development and testing of AI systems was deliberated

Bala is an accomplished leader with over 25 years of experience and a proven ability in leading cross functional global teams for building Data and Analytics solutions delivering enterprise success while securing multimillion-dollar savings for diverse business functions. She shared what made her interested in AI infused  automation and drove her towards joining DataRobot after stints at Cisco/Appdynamics, Juniper and Netapp.

Piyanka has two Master’s degrees, with her thesis involving applied mathematics and statistics. Before founding Aryng, she was the Head of Business Analytics at PayPal-North America.She happens to be a bestselling author of “Behind every Good Decision”  and a regular contributor to Forbes, HBR, InsideHR, TDWI, Experian, Modern Workplace, Predictive Analytics World, etc. Her efforts over the years have driven $1b+ in business impact for her clients. Injecting her 20+ years of Data & Analytics experience during the panel discussion, she said “As AI becomes more prevalent, AI literacy for leaders and AI governance are two ‘must-haves’ to truly capitalize on the power of AI to drive significant business value while staying clear of AI fiasco like Tay”

Recounting the challenges that are faced in the adoption of ethical AI, Dr. Sindhu Joseph, founder, and CEO of CogniCor, which provides a digital assistant platform for financial services, said – “AI is not just scaling solutions, but amplifying the historic biases embedded in our society. Given that the most popular branch of AI namely ML/DL learns its models from historic observations, our inherent biases make their way into the data sets, making a small, select, and often homogeneous group of developers, organizations as guardians of fairness.”

 This session underscored the need for diversity in organizations and in startups developing AI algorithms and attention and investment in branches of AI that have the potential to bring about fairness.

The interactive Q&A sessions and chat texts continued to buzz throughout the nearly 4 hour conference with an engaged audience. The most interesting audience questions and some early bird participants won 10 books courtesy the three  authors and publishers. Proposing the vote of thanks, Raju Sreewastava, CEO of Big Data Trunk announced the list of winners.

The AI Summit showed the attendees the depth of AI/ML experience and thought leadership amongst Indian diaspora & ASEI members and gave a glimpse of the richness of  its collaborations with national and international professional bodies.

As is evident from recent events and newsletters, ASEI has had a fantastic 2021 so far with a large number of activities and new programmes such as MentorConnect, UniversityConnect and YouthPrograms to serve its members’ interests and build the next generation of engineers and technologists.

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is a not-for-profitorganization that provides a platform for networking, career advancement,community service, mentoring and technology exchange for professionals,students and businesses in the United States and abroad. Members are guidedby several objectives, including the creation of an open, inclusive, andtransparent organization; providing positive role models, awarding scholarships,and remaining socially responsible. ASEI was founded in 1983 in Detroit,Michigan by a handful of visionaries. Today, the organization  has active chaptersin Michigan, Southern California, Silicon Valley, San Diego, and Washington, DC with more in the pipeline.

Gujarati Seniors of Chicago Honor Dr. Mehboob Kapadia for Covid-19 Vaccination Camps

Gujarati Seniors of Chicago was established in 2019 under the Presidentship of Praful Shah. Due to the recent Pandemic, it had curtailed its activities. They have approximately 250 members. On Saturday, May 01, 2021, from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM, Gujarati Seniors of Chicago had organized an entertainment cum social program to recognize Dr. Kapadia’s community service to help seniors during the Covid-19 pandemic. The event was held at Swaminarayan Temple, 1020 Bapa Road, Streamwood, IL.

In the beginning all attending members were given lunch tokens. Membership renewals as well as New Members were enrolled.

Bharat Thakkar, addressing the audience, informed Members to celebrate Gujarat Day along with Ram Navmi and Mother’s Day. To commemorate Mother’s Day all mothers present were given flowers. Birthday cards were given to all those who had their Birthday this month. He also outlined ensuing programs.

Mahen Patel introduced Dr. Mehboob Kapadia who was felicítated for arranging Vaccinations camps at many places and serving the community.  A plaque encasing the Recognition and Appreciation letter from the Governor of Illinois was presented to Dr. Kapadia as token of love from Gujarati Seniors of Chicago.

The Appreciation letter from the Governor concluded: “On behalf of the people of the State of Illinois, it is my pleasure to thank you for your ongoing work of Vaccination. Your dedication and leadership have created a lasting impact in your community and you have been an asset to all of Illinois in our collaboration to overcome the Pandemic. “J.B. Pritzker, Hon. Governor of Illinois.

Dr. Kapadia in his reciprocal speech deliberated various facets of Covid- 19, its variants, in depth comparison of various vaccines, their importance and dangers, inter relationship of each type, highlighted dangers and their effects.  Due to efforts of his team, they have already vaccinated more than 100,000 people and target to administer at least 1 million shots at the earliest possible. He warned not to take it lightly till all the variants come under control.

Dr Kapadia and his wife Seema Kapadia thanked each member of the team including Gujarati Seniors of Chicago team who made the vaccination camp a huge success. Dr Kapadia mentioned how his wife Seema Kapadia and his sons have been a driving force behind all these campaigns to ensure smooth execution. He added that Ms. Seema Kapadia has been present at many vaccination camps from the beginning till the end to ensure a safe, timely and equitable administration of the vaccine.

Sumptuous Gujarati Lunch prepared by Swaminarayan Temple was enjoyed along with enjoyable music. Shaila Khedkar and Abdul Gafoor of Sursangam performed at Gujarati Seniors Day celebration. Shaila Khedkar is a versatile singer and well-known for her melodious singing of all types of songs like bhajans, Garba and Bollywood songs. She has been performing in Chicago and other cities for various functions. Her Latajis songs are very much appreciated by the audience!

She and Mr. Gafoor started with bhajans- payoji and Sukh ke Sab, and then rendered old and new songs. Some of her solos included Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Tumhi Mere, Ruk Ja Raat, Tu Kitni Acchi hai, Ankhiyo Ke, E dil Muze, and Ashaji’s dance Medley. After a few old movie songs by Gafoor ji (Rafi and Kumar Sanu hits) they sang few old and new duets including. ye Raat, Ude Jab, Sagar Kinare, itna na, Tuze Dekha, Shyam Teri, humko Hamise. They delighted the audience with their melodious singing.

Politics of Pandemic in India

Current Covid-19 (Corona) situation in India is quite grave. There is no denying that the mistakes were made on multiple fronts which resulted into Corona taking awful tolls across the country. The central government’s errors were compounded by the State governments (govt). During the first corona-wave when the central-govt took over all the precautionary elements into its own hand, the State-govts cried out loud labeling it as ‘authoritarian’ or ‘dictatorial’. The central-govt ultimately gave in to their demands in the last quarter of 2020 and provided them instead, enough funds to fight this beastly virus. The money was supposed to be used for PPT kits, essential medicines, setting up bed-facilities and to procure Oxygen-equipment but nothing of that sort happened. The States showed complete laxity to take any proactive step, the moment they felt that Corona was receding. No one knows what the States did with their money. Maharashtra Govt in particular, which had 1/3 of cases and 1/4 of deaths started shutting down the bed facilities. When India was basking in the praise of the western world as the ‘role model’ for the containment of Corona, the Central and the State govts should have collectively started preparations for the impending second wave of the pandemic. This did not happen. Although in democracy, the elections are inevitable come what may, there should have been complete clamp down on rallies, however unrealistic this may sound. The central-govt should not have permitted any religious gatherings (including ‘Kumbh-Mela’ – April 2021), processions to take place, although Corona had started taking enormous tolls weeks before (February-March 2021) such gatherings. The collective lapses sent wrong signals to the public. Nevertheless, the fatal expansion of Corona squarely rests with ‘the public at large’. People not only disregarded the severity of Corona by not following mandated safety precautions, but also, started all their routine activities and celebrations, as if it did not exist. This had deadly consequences.

Covid-19 is a global phenomenon but in India it is being tossed around like a political football whose ultimate goal is, not only to project how the country is on the brink of ‘Armageddon’, but also, to emphasize how inept and insensitive the current administration is. The major players in this game are the opposition political parties and their surrogates. Scores of leading opposition political leaders who are now clamoring for vaccines, had earlier not only mocked the idea of vaccination, but also, had floated vigorous anti-vaccine campaign. The current shortage of ‘oxygen’ has everything to do with the lethargy of the State-govts. The Central-govt had sectioned 162 oxygen generating PSA plants for strategic areas across India but the States collectively set only 33 plants and blamed the Central-govt for their own ineptitude. Make no mistake, in this game, some national and international Medias are also involved. Instead of reporting positive inspiring stories, they mass-marketed unflattering, exaggerated or sometimes even fake stories. The international Media has converged on India’s plight as if it is the biggest calamity the world has ever witnessed. When China, the birthplace of Covid-19 and the global capital of misinformation, recently planted a mischievous tweet on the social-media, it was summarily condemned by a major news organization in U.S. We all know how a leading New York tabloid, couple of weeks back, used a picture of a roadside dead body from some gas leakage somewhere, to support their claim, ‘how the people in India are dying on the streets’. This is not an isolated incidence. Scandal-sniffing notorious British press isn’t less offensive either. The international media-cartel has never publicized the complicity of their own govts in the current crisis. As per WHO, 87% of vaccines have been cornered by high-income countries and only 0.2% of vaccines have gone to poor countries. The Indian ‘netizens’ who also now include numerous private TV channels, have proved themselves equal to so-called ‘yellow journalism’ by exposing all the falsification and putting it against rock-solid proofs. When, opposition parties are harping on the sorry conditions in the country, it is worth noting that none of their cadre or party-workers are seen anywhere helping out the masses. In their stark absence, the people have taken things into their own hands. At this moment, lot of caregiving is being done by numerous social or religious local organizations. All these organizations are collectively providing hundreds of thousands of meals to the needy people; setting up thousands of beds and acquiring necessary equipment & medications, where possible. Spearheading these efforts, nationwide, are RSS, VHP volunteers.

It is true that the healthcare system in India is simply overwhelmed at this moment by Corona cases. At the same time, it is very essential to analyze whether the current tragic phase is as ‘cataclysmic’ as the Media, think-tanks, and the govt-bashing pseudo-secular activists have made it out to be. When the western media is so eager to call the situation in India as ‘genocide’ or ‘criminal act’ without any regards to journalistic decency, where were they with the same verbalism when 3,500-4,000 people were dying each day in U.S. amid hundreds of thousands of covid cases? Let’s take a break and have comparative study with hard numbers. As of now, populations of India, USA, U.K. and ‘European Union (EU)’ are respectively 1,391 Million, 332.60 Million, 68.18 Million and 447 Million. As of May 1,2021, the Corona cases they have are 19.60 Million, 32.80 Million, 4.4 Million and 30.29 Million. The death tolls are respectively 216,000, 576,700, 151,200 and 679,000. In short, statistically, although U.S. population is less than 1/4 of India, it had 11 TIMES more deaths and 7 TIMES more corona cases. In U.K., although the population is measly 4.77% of India, it had 14.32 TIMES more deaths and 4.54 TIMES more Corona cases and though ‘EU’ population is less than 1/3 of India, it has 9.68 TIMES more deaths and 4.77 TIMES more Corona cases. Although the pandemic numbers of the highly developed countries look shocking in comparison to India, they are in no way comforting to what is unfolding in India, now. Each life is precious. The whole objective of this numerical exercise is only to put Indian pandemic in global perspective. It’s not just India, even developed nations like Canada, England and so many European countries are currently struggling with the acute shortage of vaccines and medical facilities. (My nephew is ER-Chief in a Toronto Hospital and one of my closest friends is overseeing a Hospital in London). Needless to say, the question that pops up in one’s mind is – ‘why then, the western world is finding Indian pandemic so monstrous when they themselves have fared so badly’ in reality? The reason being – India’s formidable stature as a rising world power under the leadership of PM N. Modi. This is their way of pointing out India’s vulnerability. Dr. Gautam Sen of ‘London School of Economics’ says, (as per the report that is available) – ”a professional international campaign has been launched in the context of Covid crisis in India in the hope of delegitimizing the Modi Govt and weaken it fatally … the goal is to instigate rejection of BJP in the forthcoming elections.”

India produces 70% of the world’s vaccine and a major chunk of generic drugs that U.S. needs. Even before under Trump administration, United States (U.S.) relations with China had started deteriorating, the American consumer-giants had already started eyeing India as the alternative manufacturing hub for their goods. By this time India had established itself as one of the biggest consumer markets in the world. When the new U.S. President Joe Biden bought 600 million dosages to play vaccine-diplomacy, his administration wasn’t fully aware of how much U.S. depended on India. During Trump administration, when U.S. badly needed millions of ‘Hydroxychloroquine’ dosages, it was India who had come to U.S. rescue.  When President Biden prematurely arrested raw material supply for Vaccine production in India, it took his administration some time to realize what a blunder he had made. As numerous countries started coming to India’s aid, it not only reflected badly on U.S. as a selfish, isolationist country, but also, presented a Public-Relation nightmare for the U.S. giants doing business with India. There is no doubt that PM Modi and his team charmed the new President and smoothen out diplomatic wrinkles but that wasn’t the only reason why Biden administration reversed its earlier decision. The tripping point that delivered the goods in India’s favor came in the third week of April. during an emergency meeting of U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken with 135 CEOs of major U.S. conglomerates. The CEOs reportedly convinced the new Administration that if the U.S. didn’t reciprocate India’s earlier goodwill gesture, it would have disastrous economic repercussions, especially when nationalistic fervor running so high in India. Moreover, lately PM Modi’s new motto of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant, self-sufficient, with self-esteem – India) had become worrisome to them. Nevertheless, the pandemic situation in India is definitely a matter of great concern which needs global efforts. Afterall one-fifth of the humanity and the world’s largest consumer clientele is at stake. In U.S., Indian diaspora is raising lot of funds through various organizations to fight Corona in India. Organizations, like ‘Sewa International’, ‘VHP of America’, ‘BAPS’, ‘Ekal V. Foundation’, ‘Share & Care’, ‘AAPI’ have collectively raised millions of dollars. Various American groups and organizations are also busy raising quite bit of money for India. It is very comforting to know that the people around the world are motivated to help India. One World! One Humanity! One Objective!

Ayurveda For Modern Day Beauty

The world’s oldest documented body of medical knowledge for physical, spiritual and psychological wellbeing, Ayurveda, expounds a way-of-life. Focusing on the balance between the governing forces of all Life, or the Doshas (mind, body and soul) this science is codified in the text, ‘Charaka Sa?hita’.

Empowering us with a framework to understand the natural shifts in our bodies, with day-to-day guidance to maintain the balance of doshas, Ayurveda enables the maintenance of good health — the key to the highest state of beauty.

As the world rediscovers the potency of natural healing today, the ancient science is emerging as a system of choice for many. Where true beauty comes from within, Ayurveda speaks highly of skincare rituals, using natural ingredients to maintain and improve health of the skin, hair and body.

Using rich, natural ingredients, beauty brand Kama Ayurveda curates ranges of authentic Ayurvedic treatments, as modern skincare solutions. With the promise to provide unmatched purity, the brand researches each product, to give consumers the truest time-tested Ayurvedic formulations, containing unadulterated ingredients selected for their efficacy.

Bringing Ayurvedic products suitable for different hair and skin types to the front, the brands Ayurvedic treatments are gentle, yet highly effective. The quality and authenticity of ingredients such as handpicked Saffron from Kashmir, Bhringraj from Western Ghats, Roses from Kannauj and Jasmine from Madurai, strengthen the efficacy of each formulation.

Following the principles of Ayurveda, the brand believes that your skin and hair are a reflection of your overall health. To help consumers understand and better use their products, it has a wide network of ayurvedic doctors present at their stores and website.

In a bid to quantify the efficacy of their Ayurvedic beauty solutions, the brand has been conducting clinical trials via an internationally recognised third party. Some of their findings include the Kumkumadi Serum proven to brighten by 2.5 times, reduce pigmentation by 20 per cent in 4 weeks; the Rejuvenating and Brightening Night Cream brightening skin by 2.5 times, reduces dark spots and blemishes by 20 per cent; the Kumkumadi Brightening Ayurvedic Face Scrub proven to smoothen skin by 34 per cent and reduce pores and firm skin by 24 per cent.

As a brand deep rooted in the learnings of Ayurvedic beauty, Kama Ayurveda continues to conduct trials on an increased portfolio of products, thereby strengthening and affirming the modern day beauty buyer of the power of natural beauty.

Socialite Mira Rajput Kapoor, a patron, has chosen to share her experience stating, ”A few months after delivering my second child, my skin started losing its luminosity. It looked dull and I started getting dark spots. This is a common concern as our bodies change. Around this time, I discovered and started using Kama Ayurveda’s Rejuvenating Night Cream. Every night after cleansing and toning, I started to apply this luxurious cream on my face and neck. After a few weeks, my skin was glowing, and dark spots had visibly reduced. My skin also felt super supple.” (IANS)

NASA’s Mars Helicopter Completes First Flight on Another Planet

The Ingenuity helicopter has successfully completed its historic flight on Mars and safely landed back on the surface, according to NASA.

The first powered, controlled flight on another planet took place at 3:34 a.m. ET.

Unlike when the helicopter’s fellow traveler, the Perseverance rover, landed on Mars on February 18, there was a bit of wait to know how the helicopter fared in its attempt.

The helicopter team was in mission control at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, early Monday morning to receive and analyze the first data from Ingenuity’s flight attempt.

Confirmation of the flight’s success came at 6:46 a.m.

The flight was originally scheduled for April 11, but plans shifted after a command-sequence issue was discovered when the helicopter went through a system of preflight checks with its software. The Ingenuity team received data on April 16 showing that the helicopter successfully completed its rapid spin test after they had made a tweak to the command sequence.

The chopper autonomously flew through the thin Martian atmosphere, with no help from its teams on Earth.

“We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet,” said MiMi Aung, Ingenuity project manager at JPL. “We’ve been talking about our Wright brothers moment on another planet for so long. And now, here it is.”

Images, in addition to the data, also helped the team confirm that the flight was successful.

A lower-resolution black-and-white image from the helicopter’s navigation camera appeared first. The Perseverance rover has already returned several images it captured of the helicopter.

The rover will continue to send back more images and video from several of its cameras. The team has already shared the full video of Ingenuity’s flight, which was captured by Perseverance.

“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk in a statement. “The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky — at least on Mars — may not be the limit.”

First flight

Ingenuity, which is a technology demonstration, flew for about 40 seconds total on Monday. The 4-pound helicopter spun up its two 4-foot blades, rose up 10 feet (3 meters) in the air, hovered, made a turn, took a photo, and touched back down on Mars.

“Mars is hard not only when you land, but when you try to take off from it and fly around, too,” Aung said. “It has significantly less gravity, but less than 1% the pressure of our atmosphere at its surface. Put those things together, and you have a vehicle that demands every input be right.”

The Perseverance rover helps the helicopter and its mission team on Earth communicate with each other. It received the flight instructions from JPL and sent those plans on to the helicopter. Perseverance is parked at an overlook 215 feet (65 meters) away from the helicopter so it could safely watch the flight and capture images and videos.

During the helicopter’s hover, it captured images 30 times per second to feed into the navigation computer. This made sure Ingenuity remained level and in the middle of its 33-by-33-feet (10-by-10-meter) air field.

Ingenuity used a second higher-resolution camera pointing toward the horizon to capture images while the helicopter was aloft.

Once the helicopter landed on Mars, it sent back data through the rover to Earth.  Håvard Grip, NASA’s chief pilot for the Ingenuity helicopter, said this morning’s helicopter flight was perfect.

“It was a flawless flight,” he said. “It stuck the landing right in the place where it was supposed to go.”

That first black-and-white image from the helicopter’s navigation camera is key because “that will help us localize where the helicopter landed,” said Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead at JPL.

“The primary purpose of this project is to get that detailed engineering data that we can see the performance of the vehicle, and then that data can be used by future projects to make even bigger and better helicopters,” Canham said.

The rover captured this view of the helicopter from Mastcam-Z, a pair of zoomable cameras, afer it safely touched back down on the Martian surface postflight. The airfield now bears a new name fitting for this historic event.

“Now, 117 years after the Wright brothers succeeded in making the first flight on our planet, NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter has succeeded in performing this amazing feat on another world,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, in a statement.

“While these two iconic moments in aviation history may be separated by time and 173 million miles of space, they now will forever be linked. As an homage to the two innovative bicycle makers from Dayton, this first of many airfields on other worlds will now be known as Wright Brothers Field, in recognition of the ingenuity and innovation that continue to propel exploration.” It’s fitting that the mission carried a piece of history as well.

A postage stamp-size piece of muslin fabric that covered one of the wings from the Wright brothers’ Flyer 1 is attached to a cable beneath the helicopter’s solar panel.

The first powered, controlled flight on Earth took place aboard the Flyer near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when Orville and Wilbur Wright flew 120 feet for 12 seconds in December 1903. History was made when the Wright brothers conducted four separate flights on Dec. 17, 1903, and each one was a little longer than the previous one.

Future flights

“The Mars Helicopter project has gone from ‘blue sky’ feasibility study to workable engineering concept to achieving the first flight on another world in a little over six years,” said Michael Watkins, director of JPL, in a statement.

After the first flight, Ingenuity will get a “rest day” to charge up using its solar panel. The team will use data sent back by the helicopter this week to plan its next flight, now scheduled for no earlier than April 22.

“Ingenuity itself is extremely healthy at this point,” said Bob Balaram, the Mars helicopter chief engineer at JPL. “In fact, she’s even healthier than she was before this flight. She shook off some of her dust that had been covering a solar panel and is in fact producing even more solar energy than before.”

Balaram said the batteries, communication system, landing gear, computers and motors are also in great shape.

“We have been thinking for so long about having our Wright brothers moment on Mars, and here it is,” Aung said. “We will take a moment to celebrate our success and then take a cue from Orville and Wilbur regarding what to do next. History shows they got back to work — to learn as much as they could about their new aircraft — and so will we.”

The helicopter has two weeks of its experiment justify, and the team is planning four flights that will push the helicopter to fly higher and longer to test the limits of what it can do.

Meanwhile, the rover will remain at the overlook and may switch on its microphones to capture sounds of the future flights. The rover is currently investigating some intriguing rocks near the overlook.

The cadence between flights will get progressively shorter. Ingenuity could fly four days after the first flight, then three days after the second flight and so on. The latter flights could see the helicopter rising as high as 16 feet (5 meters) and performing lateral movements up to 50 feet (15 meters) out and back.

“Once we get to the fourth and fifth flights, we’ll have fun,” Aung said. “We really want to push the limits. It’s not every day that you get to test a rotorcraft on Mars. So we want to be very adventurous.”

A Healthy Indian Ocean Feeds, Protects, and Connects all South Asians

(IPS) – It is the oceans that engendered life. The lives of humans remain connected to the seas, making the good health of the seas and the efficient management of sea-based activity essential elements for the wellbeing of people and nations. The Indian Ocean offers tremendous opportunities and some challenges for the island, coastal, and inland nations of South Asia and beyond.

Regional cooperation is an excellent platform for leveraging opportunities and transforming challenges to promote the health of, and harmony in, this ocean space of common heritage, for common good.

Take the problem of plastic waste. Up to 15 million tons of plastic makes its way into the Indian Ocean each year, contaminating it with a trillion pieces of plastic and making it the world’s second most polluted ocean after the North Pacific.South Asian countries have developed isolated projects to manage the ocean’s plastic waste. Fishermen in India’s southern state of Kerala were paid to recycle the plastic bags, straws, flip-flops, and other plastic detritus caught in their nets.

Once shredded, the plastic was sold to construction companies that used it to strengthen asphalt roads. With regional cooperation, lessons learned by the Kerala fishermen could benefit other countries.The formal basis for such cooperation is being laid. All eight nations of South Asia are now coming together through a new regional project, supported by the World Bank and its partners to fund innovative ways to prevent, collect, and upcycle plastic waste into global supply chains.

The project also supports research and innovation grants to find and support alternatives to plastic. The Plastic-free Rivers and Seas for South Asia project aims to help build a circular economy for plastic that will stop plastic waste from leaking into the environment.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association, whose two dozen member states stretch from Australia to South Africa and north to Iran and the United Arab Emirates, are watching the project and may expand it across the Indian Ocean.
Some of the busiest sea lanes in the world cross the Indian Ocean and its rich marine life. Under its surface lie state-of-the-art global communications technology.
As the world’s economic growth engine pivots toward the Indo-Pacific, activity in the Indian Ocean increases. This growth must be managed in harmony with nature and in tranquility, to ensure optimum and shared benefits, and prosperity for all.

For this purpose, it is essential for South Asian nations to work toward evolving a system where all communities that use the Indian Ocean pursue their aspirations and competing claims in accordance with international law, regional conventions, and age-old traditions.
A system with greater cooperation among states, and with differential treatment for resource and technical capacity asymmetries is needed for tackling natural disasters, promoting maritime security, and keeping sea lanes open and safe.

This system should also enhance economic connectivity within South Asia and facilitate access to markets in the region and beyond, delivering goods and services at faster speeds, greater volumes, and lower costs.
Without doubt, the Indian Ocean needs better overall management which, among other measures, requires:
• Protecting the marine environment and pollution control;
• Managing illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing;
• Protecting fish and other resources in exclusive economic zones claimed by governments in coastal waters;
• Combating trafficking of humans, drugs, and arms;
• Combating piracy and marine terrorism;
• Safeguarding energy supply chains at maritime choke points;
• Managing port security and ensuring secure cargo loading;
• Promoting ocean-based tourism and leisure activities with a connected regulatory framework for safety in territorial waters and the high seas;
• Ensuring that Indian Ocean sea lanes, which carry much of the world’s cargo, including petroleum, are safe and secure; and
• Ensuring the safety of fiber optic cables on the ocean floor that transmit internet traffic, including financial transactions, e-mail, and phone calls.

Working in partnership with countries and sharing information, expertise, and best practices is essential as no single country can meet these maritime challenges on its own.

Disputes must be settled within a rules-based system that follows international norms and transparent practices.
South Asian nations can work together, with other major maritime nations beyond the region, and with multilateral institutions to promote health and harmony in the Indian Ocean. The results will benefit South Asia now and the generations to come.
(Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam has also served as his country’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and New York and was a member of UN panels on migrant workers and disarmament. He has been a relentless advocate of championing the cause of regional integration and cooperation in South Asia.)

Yale Professor Says, New Covid Variants Infiltrating Indian Population, More Lethal & Infectious

New Delhi– India’s record breaking number of Covid cases this month is very concerning, as the new Covid variants have infiltrated the population, and some of these variants are known to be more infectious and lethal, said Manisha Juthani, Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Yale School of Medicine and Yale Medicine infectious diseases specialist.

She added that long-lasting symptoms after Covid will be a worldwide problem and nearly 30 per cent people are likely to suffer from long Covid.

Excerpts from the interview

Q: India is amid the second wave of coronavirus. The rise in cases is too steep, sharper than the first wave. Is it consistent with the pattern seen in other virus pandemics?

A: This steep incline in cases in India is very concerning for new Covid variants infiltrating the population. Some of these variants are known to be more infectious and lethal. The highest concentration of cases is in Maharashtra with Mumbai being a travel hub. This suggests that travellers have brought in variants which are rapidly spreading in the population.

Q: Usually, experts say human behaviour is considered a major factor linked with a spike in coronavirus cases. But some experts also point at a probability of a new strain, possibly behind the second wave, which maybe infectious, not fatal, leading to a surge in cases in many places in India?

A: New variants from around the world have been identified in India. There is the concern of the ‘double mutant’ in India that has also now been identified in San Francisco. Anecdotally, I know of several people in India that have tested negative for Covid, but who have all the clinical features suggestive of Covid. Sometimes, one member of the family tests positive but the others test negative, all with the same symptoms. It is possible that a variant is spreading with a mutation that results in false negative tests. This is particularly concerning because other family members can get exposed if they believe the index patient does not have Covid. When the first wave was receding in India, it seemed that variants may not have yet reached. With the current explosion in cases, variants seem to at least be playing a part.

Q: Long Covid is emerging as a major problem in the UK. Do you think, globally it could be a major issue too?

A: Long Covid will be a worldwide problem. Up to 30 per cent of infected individuals worldwide may end up suffering from long term symptoms. Some promising news is that vaccination seems to ease these symptoms in some people.

Q: Experts say that seasonal change has no effect on coronavirus. There were some locations, for example Delhi (at the onset of winter season), which saw a high number of coronavirus infections early on, followed by a decline (December-January), is facing a “second wave” of increased cases, at the beginning of summer season in March.

A: We have been learning about Covid for over a year now. The anticipated seasonal variation that occurs with other respiratory viruses has not consistently proven to be the case. The common thread for spread appears to be close contact, particularly in indoor settings. In the winter season, indoor gatherings seem to be a source of spread because people remain indoors for warmth. In hot locations in the summer, indoor gatherings also seem to be sources of spread, likely because it is too hot to remain outdoors, and people gather indoors. Heating and air conditioning might even contribute to the spread of viral particles.

Q: Is there a possibility that a second wave may not lead to increase in fatality or increase in Covid patient’s admission to Intensive Care Unit (ICU), however the viral infection may have a long-lasting health impact in patients, for example, kidney, live or lungs damage?

A: Given that hospitals already appear to be filling up in many parts of India, it seems likely that hospitals will continue to feel the burden of caring for Covid patients. In addition, we know that appropriately 30 per cent of Covid patients can go on to have chronic symptoms such as shortness of breath or fatigue. End organ damage can happen with Covid as well, particularly after long hospitalizations. I anticipate that India will have a surge in hospitalized patients in addition to those that suffer long term consequences of Covid.

Q: Experts say young people may be behind the increase in cases. Is it possible that young people, who have contracted the new strains of coronavirus, are spreading it to more than one person, leading to a spike in cases?

A: Vaccinations have begun in India, but many young people are not vaccinated yet. Adults in their 20s and 30s remain the most social thereby transmitting the virus from one another. This age group may also be travelling more. The US is seeing a surge of cases among young adults primarily because of congregating behaviours and because the youngest adults have not been eligible for the vaccine until now. In India, older adults are still getting infected, either because they haven’t received the vaccine yet, only received one dose, or are exposed to other people. It is unclear if the current spike is because of young people, but young adults have always been the most likely to engage in social behaviours and get infected.

Q: The US and Europe have already faced the second wave of coronavirus, is there any learning for India from the western countries?

A: Throughout the world, when public health measures (masking and physical distancing) have been put in place, cases have been controlled. Lockdowns have been necessary and effective in various regions of the world. With a very steep rise in cases, in order to maintain hospital capacity, more restrictions will be necessary.(IANS)

Rajnikanth To Receive The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019


Megastar Rajinikanth has been chosen to be conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award, for excellence in cinematic achievement, is the highest honor in the film world and is awarded by the government.

Megastar Rajinikanth will be conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019, the Government of India announced last week. The Dadasaheb Phalke, awarded for excellence in cinematic achievement, is the highest honor in the film world and is awarded by the government. The recipient of the 2018 award was Amitabh Bachchan, Rajinikanth’s co-star from ‘Hum’.

The 70-year-old star has featured in Bollywood as well as South Indian films and has a humongous fan following. The ‘2.0’ star had made his debut in 1975 with K Balachander’s ‘Apoorva Ragangal’ and has completed more than 45 years in the Tamil film industry.

Superstar Rajinikanth will be honored with the 51st Dadasaheb Phalke Award, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar announced. Calling Rajinikanth “one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema”, he said that the actor was being awarded for his contribution in the field of acting, production and screenwriting for Indian cinema.

Posting a picture of the actor, Javadekar wrote: “Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2020 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajnikant ji His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic I thank Jury @ashabhosle @SubhashGhai1 @Mohanlal @Shankar_Live #BiswajeetChatterjee.”

Rajinikanth has extended ‘deepest gratitude’ for all the love, greetings, and wishes he received after the announcement. The award will be given to the star for his stupendous contribution to the world of Indian cinema. The ‘Robot’ actor took to Twitter and extended his deepest gratitude to all those who took out time to wish him. “For all the love, greetings & wishes I’ve received from eminent political leaders, my film fraternity friends & colleagues, well-wishers, media, every person who took the time to wish me & my beloved fans from across India & all over the world .. my deepest gratitude and thanks,” tweeted Rajinikanth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Rajinikanth with a tweet, “Congratulations Talaivar”. Soon Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu too, tweeted.

“Hearty congratulations to Shri @rajinikanth on being conferred the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award. Over the past many years, the versatile actor has been enthralling people by portraying a vast array of roles depicting myriad hues of human experience and emotions.#Rajinikanth,” said Naidu and added: “My best wishes for the renowned thespian’s future endeavours! #Rajinikanth.”

Calling Rajinikanth “one of the greatest actors in the history of Indian cinema”, the I&B minister said that the actor was being awarded for his contribution in the field of acting, production and screenwriting for Indian cinema. Actor-turned-politician, Kamal Haasan also congratulated Rajinikanth.

Several B-town celebs had also taken to their social media handles to congratulate Rajinikanth. Neena Gupta, Hrithik Roshan, Akshay Kumar, Anil Kapoor, Karan Johar, Shilpa Shetty Kundra, Sidharth Malhotra, Boney Kapoor, among others, wished him on Twitter. The Dadasaheb Phalke Award for 2019 should have been announced last year but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, as were the National Film Awards for 2019.

He has delivered hit films such as ‘Billu’, ‘Muthu’, ‘Baashha’, ‘Sivaji’, and ‘Enthiran’. Rajinikanth was last seen in AR Murugadoss’s ‘Darbar’. Currently, he is shooting for his upcoming film ‘Annaatthe.’ Among his numerous hits are films like “Baashha”, “Sivaji” and “Enthiran”. He is known as Thalaivar or leader by his fans.

Widely regarded as one of the most popular cinematic icons in India, Rajinikanth has also been honored with the Padma Bhushan in 2000 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2016 by the Government of India.

The Dada Saheb Phalke award jury consists of Malayalam super star Mohanlal and Tamil music composer and singer, Shankar Mahadevan, besides veteran singer Asha Bhosle, and moviemaker Subhash Ghai.

Tamil Nadu villages and cities bursted with joy on the announcement of Rajini’s feat. People took to streets and hundreds reached Poes Garden residence. At Salem people celebrated Rajini’s Phalke win by distributing sweets and lighting crackers. Congratulatory messages are pouring in from political leaders, actors, directors and social workers, besides people from all walks of life.

IAICC South Carolina Chapter Launched To Foster Economic Development Of US, India, Rest Of The World

The Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster declared March 24 as the “IAICC-South Carolina Chapter Day,” in a proclamation, at the inauguration of the IAICC South Carolina Chapter on March 24 at the Governor’s Mansion in Columbia, South Carolina.

Governor McMaster presented the proclamation to KV Kumar, President & CEO of IAICC at the inauguration and appreciated the work of IAICC. While speaking at the event, Governor McMaster welcomed IAICC to South Carolina and said his administration will work with IAICC and support its initiatives in the State.

He also said that South Carolina and India enjoy great relations, and the State has been playing a significant role in promoting India-US trade relations for so many years now. He added that relations between these two countries have continued to flourish even during the pandemic, and announced that South Carolina was the first State in the SE Region to establish an Office of the Trade Representative in New Delhi.

Welcoming the gathering, KV Kumar appreciated Governor McMaster’s efforts in the State and thanked him and the First Lady Peggy McMaster for graciously hosting the IAICC inauguration and the reception at the Governor’s Mansion. He also thanked the Indian Ambassador to the US, Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and the Consul General of India in Atlanta, Dr. Swati Kulkarni for their continued support to IAICC. Kumar said he missed the Ambassador at the event, and congratulated him for bringing several key initiatives to strengthen India-US relations. During her address,

Dr. Kulkarni praised Governor McMaster and Mr. Kumar for their work in India-US Relations. She commended IAICC’s role in enhancing the trade partnership between US and India, and said IAICC will play as a catalyst in bringing more business opportunities to South Carolina. She also presented a communique on the present status of India to Governor McMaster.

At the inauguration, Secretary of Commerce, Mr. Robert Hitt III, and IAICC officials signed an MoU. One of the objectives in the MoU stated that the signatories will establish and promote a new era of South Carolina – India Relations.

IAICC SE Regional Chairman, Dr. Narasimhulu Neelagaru also thanked Governor McMaster for his support and said he looked forward to working him and the State of South Carolina. At the event, Mr. Kumar introduced Ms. Bhavna Vasudeva, President of IAICC-SC Chapter.

Ms. Vasudeva delivered the vote and thanks and thanked Governor McMaster for hosting the event and other guests for their valued presence. IAICC Executive Committee members and officials Mr. Appen Menon, Mr. Achyut Allady, Dr. Anu Bhat, Mr. Kinesh Doshi, and Dr. Subrahmanya Bhat were also present and participated in the event.

Members of the Governor’s Cabinet, Ms. Jeanette Prenger, Chair of The Latino Coalition, Ms. Cici Rojas, President of The Latino Coalition, and other local business leaders also attended the event.

Rahul Gandhi Describes How Assassination Of His Father Changed Him

As a leader, Rahul Gandhi has always been the strongest proponent of politics of purpose. Over the years, he has lent his voice to a number of issues but has always remained focused on propagating non-violence, equality and justice.


Through his life, Rahul Gandhi has always been the strongest proponent of politics of purpose. Over the years, he has lent his voice to a number of issues but has always remained focused on propagating non-violence, equality and justice. He has imbibed these virtues through a lifelong tryst with Indian politics and history and has developed a keen understanding of the Indian social fabric. Having experienced the pain of losing both his father and grandmother to acts of violence and hatred, Rahul Gandhi has always been a champion of Gandhian philosophies of ahimsa and truth.

Rahul Gandhi has said that the assassination of his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 changed him. Also noting that he had always been accustomed to an “environment” of public service, he said that he was brought up with the idea that you cannot tolerate injustice.

Rahul Gandhi made the remarks during an online interaction with Nicholas Burns, the Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a former US Under Secretary of State.

To a question by Burns about his family’s engagement in public service and if he had always assumed, when young, that some form of public service would be his life’s work, Rahul Gandhi, a Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad, said: “First of all, families are unique in a way. So, I guess I don’t see it (my family) as a unique family, I just see it as a family that just happens to go through certain things.” He said that he grew up in the environment of public service.

“When I was small, there was this underlined thing of a sense of trying to understand India, what is going on, what are the forces it plays and some of these things on how it works. In this sense I was embedded in it and I saw it from the beginning,” he said.

Discussing the assassination of his father in Tamil Nadu in the run-up to the 1991 general elections, he said: “Of course, there were certain events that sort of pushed me… in a way, my father’s assassination was one of them that developed that sense that I felt that my father was fighting some particular forces and he was wronged. And so as a son, that of course, had an effect.”

“And also I was brought up when I was small and young with the idea that you cannot tolerate injustice. And that’s something what I have been trained from beginning. If I see this up, it rattles me up and I get agitated and it doesn’t matter to whom the injustice is being done. And if that injustice is going with somebody whom I am not very fond of, that gets me going. So those are the type of things,” he said.

In interviews and speeches, Rahul Gandhi has often spoken of his traumatic childhood during which he saw his father and grandmother assassinated. These statements are often dismissed as ploys to gain sympathy. Yet he makes the point so often and so forcefully, it may be useful to consider the possibility that his grief is genuine, and that it has defined his politics in ways that makes it impractical for him to lead the Congress party.

Rahul’s personal agony is reflected in his ambivalence towards politics, his distrust of the system in which he must operate, and his fleeting attempts at redefining the idea of power and its pursuit. His psychological makeup seems to explain why he is out of sync with his party, unable to become an inspiration to it.

Rahul won his first election with an overwhelming margin of 2,90,853 votes — a testament to the faith placed by the people of his constituency in him. From the beginning, it was apparent that Rahul believed that our nation’s future lies with her people. Through the ebbs and flows of a decade-long political career, Rahul has held true to the very principles that won him the hearts of the people in his very first election.

In 2013, Rahul Gandhi was elected as the Vice-President of the Congress Party. Within the Congress party, Rahul Gandhi played the key role of channeling the party along the lines of Congress’ core principles. He tirelessly worked to democratise the student wing and youth wing of the Congress party and ensured a breath of fresh air entered the grand old party by encouraging young leaders to take up leadership positions. His pivotal role in shaping the party along Congress’ core values over his political career earned him the post of President of the Congress Party in 2017. Under Rahul Gandhi’s guidance, the Congress Party has once again emerged as the voice of the nation.

While he was President of the Opposition party, Rahul Gandhi played a key role in raising the demands of various stakeholders of the country. He championed the rights of the poor & the marginalised. He led the battle against the ruling government on poorly implemented policies such as Demonetisation, Aadhar, GST and more.

The vision of Rahul Gandhi and his strategy to fight the democratic battle with love and unity is what makes the Congress Party the true representative of a united India. Going forward, he aims to put these principles into action by creating systems that provide India’s citizens with the tools and opportunities they need to reach their full potential.

In his current role as a Member of Parliament in the 17th Lok Sabha, he represents the constituency of Wayanad in Kerala. After leaving his position as President of the Congress party, he has put all his focus & energy in representing the people of Wayanad & taking on the government on a number of issues, like the undemocratic abrogation of Article 370 & the violation of human rights by the government in Kashmir. He remains steadfast in his quest for truth, peace & harmony for the people of India.

India Joins Quad Leaders, Committing To Free, Open, Secure And Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region

Quad Leaders from Australia, India, Japan and the US “a group of democratic nations dedicated to delivering results through practical cooperation”  coordinated rapid humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people in need.

“To strengthen our quest for a region that is open and free, we have agreed to partner to address the challenges presented by new technologies and collaborate to set the norms and standards that govern the innovations of the future,” the leaders of the four-nation Quad said in a statement here on Friday, March 12th. The Quad leaders in the summit on Friday vowed to strive for a “free, open and inclusive” region unconstrained by “coercion”.

In an opinion piece in The Washington Post after holding the first Leaders’ Summit of Quadrilateral alliance, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Joe Biden, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga asserted that all countries should be able to make their own political choices, free from coercion.

Australia, India, Japan and the US “a group of democratic nations dedicated to delivering results through practical cooperation”  coordinated rapid humanitarian assistance and disaster relief to people in need, they wrote. “Now, in this new age of interconnection and opportunity throughout the Indo-Pacific, we are again summoned to act together in support of a region in need,” they said.

Reaffirming that they are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible, dynamic and governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and free from coercion, sending a clear message to China which is flexing its muscles in the region and beyond. They said the governments of India, Japan, US and Australia have worked closely for years, and now for the first time in “Quad” history, they convened as leaders to advance meaningful cooperation at the highest level.

The virtual Quad summit took place as China and India are involved in a military standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh since May last year. China is also engaged in hotly contested territorial disputes in both the South China Sea and the East China Sea. In the East China Sea, Japan has maritime disputes with China.

The leaders of the 4 nations said the cooperation, known as “the Quad,” was born in crisis. It became a diplomatic dialogue in 2007 and was reborn in 2017. “In December 2004, the continental shelf off the coast of Indonesia shifted two meters, creating one of the largest tidal waves in modern history and a nearly unprecedented humanitarian crisis around the Indian Ocean. With millions displaced and hundreds of thousands killed, the Indo-Pacific region sounded a clarion call for help. Together, our four countries answered it,” they wrote.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that the quadrilateral grouping of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia has “come of age” as he attended the first Quad leaders’ summit virtually. The grouping is being seen as a united front to counter China’s imperialistic aggression and expansion through trade and military occupation. Modi started his speech by declaring, “It is good to be among friends.” The four countries, he said, “are united by our democratic values and our commitment to a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.”

The agenda of the summit — covering areas like vaccines, climate change and emerging technologies — makes the Quad a force for global good, he said. Describing Quad as a positive vision, the prime minister said that it is an extension of India’s ancient philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam,’which regards the world as one family. “We will work together closer than ever before for advancing our shared values and promoting a secure, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Modi said.

Quad, he added, “is an important pillar of stability in the region.” Modi’s statement was welcomed by a lot of India watchers in the U.S. Former U.S. diplomat and Harvard academic Nicholas Burns praised the move, tweeting, “Today’s first-ever Quad leaders meeting – of the US, India, Japan and Australia – is a big deal. Led by the President of the United States Joe Biden, these four can lead on vaccine distribution, strengthen democracies in the region and limit China’s assertiveness.”

There are reports that India will produce Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine shot as part of the first Quad initiative. The project will be financed by Japan and the U.S., while Australia will use its logistics capability to ship the vaccines to Southeast Asia and Pacific countries.

“Against this backdrop, we are recommitting to a shared vision for an Indo-Pacific region that is free, open, resilient and inclusive. We are striving to ensure that the Indo-Pacific is accessible and dynamic, governed by international law and bedrock principles such as freedom of navigation and peaceful resolution of disputes, and that all countries are able to make their own political choices, free from coercion,” they wrote.

The Anti-Swastik Bill Will Not Move Forward: NY Democratic Party Chair Assures Indian-Americans

New York State Democratic Party Chair Jay Jacobs announced during a March 10, 2021, Zoom meeting with members of the Indian-American community, that the NY Senate Bill 2727, which designates the Hindu, Buddhist and Jain religious symbols as representing hate, “Will not move forward, it will not be advanced in the Senate or the Assembly, it is not going anywhere”.

The Zoom meeting was organized by the Nassau County Democratic Committee and the newly formed United Front of Indian Americans in North America (UFIANA).

“The meeting was the result of intense efforts by Kamlesh Mehta, who has taken a frontline seat in the ‘save Swastik’ campaign,” the press release from the United Front said.

Besides Mehta, others leading the initiative include Dr Raj Bhayani, Vibhuti Jha and Mukesh Modi, all of whom formed the host committee for the high profile meeting attended by at least 60 people.

Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America. Photo courtesy United Front of Indian Americans in North America

Mehta introduced Jacobs as well as others attending the meeting — the Consul General of India in New York Randhir Jaiswal, Dr. Uma Mysorekar, president of the Hindu Temple Society of North America.

All those attending unanimous said that the Bill S2727 should be rescinded, or the language relating to Swastik be removed from the text because the bill was intended to ban Nazi Hakenkreuz as a symbol of hate.

“I am familiar with Swastik as a positive symbol of peace, prosperity and good tidings among people of many cultures and nationalities. So, when Kamlesh Mehta brought to my attention the difficulty with this bill I understood the importance to the Indian community,” Jacobs is quoted saying during the meeting, in the press release.

“When I spoke to members of the Senate and others concerned, I said, we in this country have a culture of respecting each other. What makes America great is we are an amalgamation of people from all over and part of the lure of America is that you lead your life as good citizens with kindness towards each other and still have the ability to hold on to your own culture. This bill would have been an affront to that basic premise of American democracy. The Indian American community is essential to the success moving forward of this country,” Jacobs continued.

Kamlesh Mehta, one of the leaders of the ‘save Swastik’ initiative. Photo courtesy United Front of Indian Americans in North America

He thanked New York State Senator Kevin Thomas, the first Indian American to be elected to the upper house, noting, “He understood the need that the hate bill does not move forward.”

Dr Mysorekar emphasized that the Swastik has been a sacred symbol in the Vedic tradition for many millennia.

“Symbolizing well-being, auspiciousness and good luck charm, it is part of our festivals, temple rituals, and is displayed at homes, weddings and even below the deity as a yantra,” she said.

“Its negative connotation in the western world especially in the U.S. is because of Hitler. But today, misrepresenting and teaching Swastik as a symbol of hate will cause confusion in the minds of young people, who utilize it in their daily religious practice, and can lead to bullying and biases against them. It can also perpetuate misinformation,” Mysorekar warned.

She added that she has been receiving many calls from people worried about the hate bill, but after Jacobs’s assurance, “now we can all sleep peacefully.”

Ambassador Jaiswal shared some of his personal history with attendees. He said though he is a Hindu, and Swastik is personal (it is even displayed outside his father’s house in Hazipur in Bihar), he also carries the responsibility of Buddhist and Jain traditions because of their links with the place of his birth, Vaishali.

India’s Consul General in New York Randhir Jaiswal. Photo courtesy United Front of Indian Americans in North America

“Swastik has given a wealth of hope, happiness and philosophy to the modern world at large. So, juxtaposing something ancient and sacred with something as recent as early 20th century when it was twisted, would have amounted to doing injustice to the inner meaning of Swastik and the emotions of people attached to it,” Consul General Jaiswal said.

Mehta appreciated the prompt response and instant action by Chairman Jacobs. He emphasized the sanctity of Swastik, saying all taking part in the meeting follow different faiths, yet Swastik is the common auspicious symbol among them, uniting 1.8 billion people all over the world.

Jha, who has been active in promoting U.S.-India relations, also thanked Jacobs. “In the annals of India-US relationship, your name will last forever,” he told Jacobs.

Noting that the two symbols, Om and Swastik, are basic to Hindu religion, Jha said that Jacobs’ assurance will delight over a billion people, and it has prevented a fissure between India and the United States.

Mukesh Modi, who the press release said, was unofficially called the mayor of the Indian American community on Long Island, thanked Jacobs for respecting the constitutional and religious rights of everyone.

“You are going to get 1.8 billion blessings, which will give you more power and strength to protect our constitutional and religious rights,” Modi said.

Dr Raj Bhayani, an eminent leader in healthcare whose heart beats for India, said that the holocaust and difficulties faced by the Jewish community must be recognized, but that two wrongs do not make a right. Hakenkreuz is not Swastik, he stressed.

Dr Bhayani acknowledged the leadership of Kamlesh Mehta, founder of The South Asian Times, India Day Parade, Rotary Club of Hicksville South, RANA and the new organization which hosted the Zoom meeting.

Pradeep Tandon, in his power point presentation, showed how the ancient Swastik was a positive symbol and was freely used in U.S. society and culture before World War II. There is even a town named Swastik in Clinton County in New York.

Krish Rudra recalled working with Jacobs some years ago and requested him to see that Swastik identified as a hate symbol is also removed from New York Penal Code 240.31.

Bina Sabapathy expressed the hope that the issue does not arise again.

Many community leaders including Dr. Jay Sarkar, Narinder Kapoor, Dr. Rakesh Sharma, Dr. Ravindra Goyal, Dr. Raj Modi, Harish Thakkar and Fal Pandya also spoke and thanked Chairman Jacobs for his assurance to the Indian American communities in New York.

Jacobs noted that what needed to be done was educate people on differentiating Swastik from the Nazi symbol.

Humans Versus Earth: The Quest To Define The Anthropocene

Crawford Lake is so small it takes just 10 minutes to stroll all the way around its shore. But beneath its surface, this pond in southern Ontario in Canada hides something special that is attracting attention from scientists around the globe. They are in search of a distinctive marker buried deep in the mud — a signal designating the moment when humans achieved such power that they started irreversibly transforming the planet. The mud layers in this lake could be ground zero for the Anthropocene — a potential new epoch of geological time.


This lake is unusually deep for its size so its waters never fully mix, which leaves its bottom undisturbed by burrowing worms or currents. Layers of sediment accumulate like tree rings, creating an archive reaching back nearly 1,000 years. In high fidelity, it has captured evidence of the Iroquois people, who cultivated maize (corn) along the lake’s banks at least 750 years ago, and then of the European settlers, who began farming and chopping down trees more than five centuries later. Now, scientists are looking for much more recent, and significant, signs of upheaval tied to humans.


Core samples taken from the lake bottom “should translate into a razor-sharp signal”, says Francine McCarthy, a micropalaeontologist at nearby Brock University in St Catherines, Ontario, “and not one blurred by clams mushing it about.” McCarthy has been studying the lake since the 1980s, but she is looking at it now from a radical new perspective.


Crawford Lake is one of ten sites around the globe that researchers are studying as potential markers for the start of the Anthropocene, an as-yet-unofficial designation that is being considered for inclusion in the geological time scale. The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG), a committee of 34 researchers formed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) in 2009, is leading the work, with the aim of crafting a proposal to formally recognize the Anthropocene. This new epoch would mark a clear departure from the Holocene, which started with the close of the last ice age. To define a new epoch, the researchers need to find a representative marker in the rock record that identifies the point at which human activity exploded to such a massive scale that it left an indelible signature on the globe.


Given how much people have done to the planet, there are many potential markers. “Scientifically, in terms of evidence, we’re spoiled for choice, but we have to pin it down,” says Jan Zalasiewicz, a palaeobiologist at the University of Leicester, UK, and chair of the AWG.


The committee’s current plan is to look to the legacy of the atomic age, when radioactive debris from mid-twentieth-century nuclear bomb blasts left a fingerprint of radioisotopes in the atmosphere, rocks, trees and even humans. “There’s a big bomb spike somewhere between 1952 and 1954 that is quite distinct and unmistakable,” says Zalasiewicz.

Once they pick their representative marker, researchers working with the AWG need to gather enough evidence from around the world to convince the governing bodies of geoscience that they have found a truly reliable signal for the start of the Anthropocene.


But some scientists argue that human activity has been shaping the planet for thousands of years, and that the working group has settled too quickly on the 1950s for the start of the proposed epoch. Erle Ellis, a geographer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and an AWG member, has criticized the committee’s plans for designating the start of the Anthropocene. “The AWG decided the timing of the boundary before deciding on the marker, not the other way around,” says Ellis.

Hard evidence


In the end, it will be the rocks that have the final say. The decision on whether to officially designate the Anthropocene will come down to stratigraphic evidence preserved in the geological record — that is, whether humans have left a distinctive set of marks preserved in rock, seafloor mud or glacial ice that indicates a fundamental change in the planet.


After a decade of investigating this question, the AWG decided in May that humans had, in fact, left an indelible geological mark. In a binding vote in May, 29 of the 34 members opted to move forward with developing a proposal supporting the designation of the Anthropocene.

The AWG’s next task is to put forward a formal proposal identifying a global boundary stratotype section and point (GSSP), or ‘golden spike’ (see C. N. Waters et al. Earth Sci. Rev. 178, 379–429; 2018). A GSSP is a primary geological marker at one location that can be correlated with sites around the globe in diverse environments. The Anthropocene’s golden spike needs to demonstrate that there was a globally synchronous moment when physical, chemical and biological processes amounted to the irreversible crossing of a geological threshold from the Holocene to something altogether different.

In its recent vote, the AWG members decided overwhelmingly to pursue a GSSP in the mid-twentieth century. This time marks the start of the ‘Great Acceleration’, a vast transformation after the Second World War when the growing population began consuming resources and creating completely new materials at an exponential rate, eclipsing even the Industrial Revolution. All that activity poured unprecedented amounts of persistent organic pollutants into the environment, ramped up the rate of animal extinctions and created geological features that had never before existed.


These include 4-kilometre-deep gold mines and landfills more than 70 metres high, such as Teufelsberg in Berlin, where rubble from the Second World War was piled into an artificial hill. Although the AWG is still exploring several potential golden spikes, the radioactive record from the nuclear age has emerged as the front runner. “Radionuclides still look like the sharpest signal,” says Zalasiewicz. The AWG summed up its current work in The Anthropocene as a Geological Time Unit, published in February by Cambridge University Press.

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