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COMMUNITY | News in Brief:

BAYVP Inaugurates Shrimaya Krishna Dham | House Honors AAPI Soldiers during U.S. Civil War | Mrs. Pakistan | ‘Unforgettable’ Press Meet | Mega Prabhanjanam | Doctor Honored | Fundraiser for Obama | Erasing Borders | Pope Lauded

BAYVP Inaugurates Shrimaya Krishna Dham


At the opening ceremony of newly launched Shrimaya Krishna Dhaam, traditionally dressed young girls are preparing for Shobha Yatra or a procession with pots on their heads. (Shashi Desi/DreamSnaps photo)

The first Pushtimargiya Vaishnava tradition Hindu temple in the West Coast, the Northern California Shreemaya Krishnadham owned by the non-profit Bay Area Youth Vaishnava Parivar, recently opened the door for more than 1,700 devotees and family members.

This 30,000 sq ft temple in Milpitas, Calif., was the old site of the BAPS Swaminarayan temple, which is recently moved to a nearby bigger facility.

BAYVP bought this terra-cotta roofed building for $5.17 million with a down payment of $2.5 million through donations and membership fees.

BAYVP hosted a three-day inauguration ceremony attended by Vaishnava sects followers in particular from Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and various parts of Western India. More than 3,000 guests were present, some of whom had come from as far away as New Jersey, Houston. In California, people came from Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Modesto and Los Angeles.

The opening of Shreemaya Krishnadham new Vaishnava sect Hindu temple was officiated by the spiritual leaders Shri Indira Betiji, also known as Pujya Jiji, and Shri Dwarkeshlalji Maharajshri of Shri Kalyanraiji Haveli in Baroda, Gujarat.

The colorful Shobha Yatra or ceremonial procession was led by traditionally dressed young girls carrying pots on their heads. More than 600 devotees followed the horse-drawn carriage carrying life-size pictures of Krishna as Shrinathji and two flower-decorated open cars carrying Shri Mahaprabhuji and Shri Yamunamaharaniji.

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House Honors AAPI Soldiers during U.S. Civil War

(Right): Joseph L. Pierce and Edward Day Cohota

The U.S. House of Representatives July 30 passed a resolution honoring Asian American and Pacific Islander soldiers who fought in the U.S. Civil War, culminating a seven-year battle by Rep. Mike Honda , D-Calif., to help correct the historical record.

Historians have recently uncovered evidence that hundreds of soldiers of AAPI heritage fought on both the Union and Confederate sides, continuing a long tradition of significant AAPI contributions to the history of the United States since the colonial era. H. Res. 415 posthumously honors Edward Day Cohota and Joseph L. Pierce, both of Chinese ancestry, as examples of this overlooked group of men.

“The history of America would be totally different without the contributions of Asian Americans. From hard labor building the transcontinental railroad linking our coasts, to the academic contributions ranging from philosophy to medicine, Asian Americans have been an integral part of making our country great,” Honda said. “I am pleased that heroes such as Pierce and Cohota will finally take the place they deserve in our nation’s memory.”

The resolution, co-sponsored by more than 50 legislators from both parties, focuses on the actions of Cohota and Pierce, the two most widely documented AAPI Civil War soldiers. Cohota’s comrades gave testimony of the seven bullet holes in his coat during the battle of Drury Bluff. Pierce fought at the Battle of Gettysburg, volunteering for a dangerous assault on Bliss Farm, a bloody no-man’s land between the Union and Confederate armies. Both men were Union soldiers.

Despite the sacrifice of hundreds of men such as Pierce and Cohota, the bigoted laws of the day denied them the right to naturalize as U.S. Citizens. Honda said this resolution was the least that could be done to honor their memory.

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Mrs. Pakistan


Mrs. Pakistan World 2008 Saman Hasnain (3rd from l) with other contestants.

Pakistan saw the crowning of a new Mrs. Pakistan World 2008 Jan. 2. Saman Hasnain, a mother of two boys living in San Francisco was well aware that if she won, she would have to attend international beauty pageants.

Hasnain travelled to Russia to compete in the Mrs. World 2008 pageant in June 2008. Mrs. World is an international beauty pageant organized annually as a beauty contest for married women. It is originally based on the Mrs. America beauty pageant. Arranged on lines similar to other beauty pageants, it also lays stress on women's opinion on marriage. It has been organized since 1985. Staying two weeks in Russia, Hasnain performed well on the final night winning three titles for Pakistan: Best in National Costume 2008, Miss Congeniality Runner up and Evening Gown Costume Finalist 2008.

Hasnain’s main focus and aim is to gear the younger generation of Pakistan towards education. She is also involved with many charities that promote progress of women and education in Pakistan. She has helped build a school in a small village in Pakistan for 1000 children, and shown consistent support for the nonprofit Development in Literacy, while volunteering at her children’s school in San Francisco.

She plans to use her new title to increase her work and broaden her scope throughout the world. She will be visiting Lahore, Pakistan to explore more charitable organizations and help build bridges between the West and Pakistan to do more projects together in the future.

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'Unforgettable' Press Meet


FREMONT, Calif. — Seen at the Unforgettable Tour post-event press meet are (l-r): Riteish Deshmukh, Amitabh Bachchan, Abhishek Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, and music director Shekhar of Vishal-Shekhar duo. The press meet was held on July 28 at the Fremont Marriott. (Varinder Ubhi/Sargam TV)

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Mega Prabhanjanam


Chiranjeevi

An event titled Mega Prabhanjanam was organized to welcome film star Chiranjeevi’s entry into politics at the Royal Albert's Palace, Fords, N.J. July 13.

More than 2,500 people attended the event over the five-hour-long duration of the event. New Jersey assembly Deputy Speaker Upendra Chivukula and Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee was on hand besides hundreds of Telugu-speaking software engineers, doctors, entrepreneurs and scores of fans from all across America and Canada.

The event was organized by Vasudeva Reddy Chinna and Chiranjeevi fans from America and Canada – Arun Kumar Layam, Ravi Krishna Golagani, Bhanu Prakash K, Vijay Vegi, Harinath Kandulapati, Venkat Addanki.

Thousands of fans started shouting slogans, holding placards that said “Politics with Human Face — Chiru our ONLY Solace.” Classical singer Gangadhar and Arun Kumar Layam anchored the event.

Ravi Krishna Golagani, a Chiranjeevi fan, Anand Paluri, Dr. Prem Nandiwada and Ramana Murthy were among the key people behind the event.

The idea behind Mega Prabhanjanam is to acknowledge, endorse and declare unequivocal support to the aspirations of these millions of Telugus at this time, organizers said.

A specially made 10-minute short film on Chiranjeevi chronicling his career, achievements, his charisma, his service through his charitable foundation was screened.

Chivukula said: “I love to see an India where all the downtrodden are taken care of, where the inequality in the society is eradicated. I wholeheartedly welcome the entry of people with social service background into politics, to create a society that'll render social justice.’’

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Doctor Honored


Dr. Sachin Chopra (3rd from l) seen with (l-r) Dr. Gary Rachlin, director of medical education; Dr. David Gentile, medical program director; and Dr. Daniel Savarino (resident).

Dr. Sachin Chopra was recently awarded the “Resident of the Year” Award at Long Island Jewish/ North Shore Health System at Plainview from Dr. Gary Rachlin, director of medical education. The LIJ/North Shore Health System is ranked as one of the best academic medical centers in the United States by U.S. News and World Report.

Chopra is the senior resident of this acute care community hospital that treats patients with a wide range of medical, surgical, pediatric, obstetric and gynecological conditions. The residents of the hospital are actively involved in medically stabilizing patients for the same-day surgery program, and working long hours in an extremely busy emergency department, which features a chest pain emergency room. The latter is a separate area where patients with cardiac complaints are immediately assessed.

Plainview Hospital is also the site of one of the Don Monti Cancer Centers. When dealing with acute and chronic illnesses, residents are taught to incorporate the needs of the surrounding community in order to deliver holistic treatment to patients in addition to the allopathic treatments. This is especially important in regards to the Indian community as Hicksville, Long Island, contains a large Indian population, and the hospital is located across the street from the Guru Gobind Singh Sikh Center.

Chopra's thanked his family and colleagues, and said he was honored to be a part of the medical team that is dedicated to patient care. He said he was eager to bring about change, and encouraged those around him to improve the North Shore Health care system in the years to come.

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Fundraiser for Obama


U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.

Asian American groups recently hosted a fundraiser sponsored for presumptive Democratic presidential nominee where Obama pronounced himself an “honorary AAPI,” or Asian American and Pacific Islander.

Rep. Mike Honda, D-Calif., introduced Obama at the fundraiser, held in a ballroom of Mayflower Hotel, noting that Obama's family includes Asian Americans and that he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia.

“The son of an immigrant, raised among AAPI's in Hawaii, Barack Obama understands the struggles of immigrants searching for an identity in America,” he said.

The candidate's entrance was greeted by an extended ovation. His 20-minute speech dwelled heavily on immigration and Asian-American issues, as well as his own background. Born in Hawaii, raised for a time in Indonesia, Obama said his first college roommates were Pakistani and Indian. “Most importantly,” he said, “I have a sister who is half Indonesian, who is married to a Chinese Canadian. I don't know what that makes my niece.”

“Being here is especially meaningful to me because I consider myself to be an honorary AAPI member, and I think I've got some pretty good credentials,” he said.

The event was jointly sponsored by the Asian American Finance Committee and the Democratic National Committee's AAPI Leadership Council, South Asian American Leadership Council and Indo-American Leadership Council. Event chairmen contributed or raised $33,100.

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Erasing Borders

The Indo-American Arts Council has announced the schedule for its first annual Erasing Borders Festival of Indian Dance from Aug. 18-21 in New York. This year’s IAAC Dance Festival kicks off with two outdoor day-time performances as part of Battery Dance Company’s Downtown Dance Festival Aug. 18-19. Other festival highlights include evening performances Aug. 20-21 as well as panels, lectures and workshops on a variety of topics such as “Art of Expression & Narratives in Indian Dance,” “Erasing Borders: Issues of Identity, Immigration & Change in Indian Dance” and “Reinterpretation of Traditional Movement.” The festival performances will be held at the Chase Plaza and the Ailey Citigroup Theater. The complete dance festival schedule and programming is on the IAAC Web site at www.iaac.us

 “It is an honor to be associated with Battery Dance Company’s Downtown Dance Festival in our first year. We are excited to showcase the range and artistic diversity of dance in the Indian diaspora and present it to the New York city community,” says Prachi Dalal, dance festival director, IAAC. The IAAC received more than 80 submissions and has selected 15 performers for this year’s festival. The IAAC Dance Festival is a tribute to the abundance of compelling new voices and creative spirit in the various traditional and modern Indian dance forms.

For more information, visit www.iaac.us

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Pope Lauded

Hindu leader Rajan Zed has applauded Pope's remarks at World Youth Day in Sydney where he called to build a new age free from greed.

In a statement issued in Reno, Nev., Zed, who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, said, “Greed is a form of pollution and is a transgression of spiritual and moral law. Disappointment is certain if some act is done merely out of greed. Excessive greed blinds the mind. Do not be disillusioned by wants.”

Zed quoted the Bhagavad-Gita, which says: “There are three gates to self-destructive hell — greed, anger, and desire. Abandon these three. A person freed from these three gates of darkness, seeks what is best and attains life's highest goal.”

Zed also agreed with Pope Benedict’s remarks on the occasion where the pope said that “with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading.”

The pope heads the Roman Catholic Church, which is the largest of the Christian denominations. Hinduism, the oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about one billion followers.

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Current Issue in PDF Format:
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INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECIAL
The Parrot’s Beak: A Sikh American Passage
In this month of India’s Independence, we salute an Indian American heroine. We present an autobiographical sketch by Kartar Dhillon.


NUCLEAR POLICY
False Premise: Indo-U.S. Nuclear Deal
The U.S.-India nuclear accord is actually testament to the large-scale failure of the Indian Department of Atomic Energy, writes M.V. Ramana.


TECHNOLOGY
Infotech Nepal: Berkeley Meet
The Computer Association of Nepal-USA organized a two-day conference at the UC Berkeley, writes Bineet Sharma.



ENTERTAINMENT
IIFA Awards 2008
A Siliconeer Exclusive Photo Essay


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: A Sikh American in California
NEWS DIARY: July
SUBCONTINENT: Cell Phones: India Worried
ETHICS: Dow and IIT Bombay
SOCIAL WORK: Goodbye, Polio
ACHIEVEMENT: Eagle Court of Honor
SPORTS: Sania Mirza in Bay Area
TRAVEL: Alamos, Mexico
CULTURE: Srikanto Acharya Concert
AUTO REVIEW: 2008 Nissan Altima Hybrid
RECIPE: Khasta Kachori
FILM REVIEW: Brick Lane
TAMIL CINEMA: Subramanyapuram
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
COMMUNITY: News in Brief
BUSINESS: News Briefs
INFOTECH INDIA: Round-up
HOROSCOPE: August


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