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COMMUNITY NEWS BRIEFS: March

NED Alumni Banquet: Commitment to Giving Back
Balaji Temple Celebrates 7th Anniversary
IAMC Celebrates Republic Day
Tri-Valley Update
Asian Cultures Gala
Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant

NED Alumni Banquet: Commitment to Giving Back

(Left): Bangladesh-born singer Alamgir performing. (Right): Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed.

The NED Alumni Association of Silicon Valley held its annual banquet at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., Feb. 5.

With an emphasis on business promotion, the mission and goals of this organization currently include an online platform where NEDians can keep in touch with each other; a physical alumni center to be established in Karachi, Pakistan; and the establishment of a philanthropic organization to help those in need of assistance.

NED University is the oldest engineering college in Pakistan. The name given to the original Prince of Wales College established in 1921, was renamed to reflect the contributions of Parsee philanthropist Nadirshaw Edulji Dinshaw (NED College) from 1924 to 1977 till its conversion to its present form as NED University of Engineering and Technology.

The evening program started off with a dinner featuring nihari, a favorite of many old campus NED Alumni.

Keynote speaker Ashraf Habibullah addressed the gathering of close to 300 people via video with a “Blast from the Past.” Naeem Zafar, president of OPEN Silicon Valley, introduced the three winners of this year’s Business Acceleration Plan competition. The speakers included Dr. Zakiuddin Ahmed, president of Healthcare Paradigm.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Amjad Noorani who played the bansuri, followed by a powerful vocal performance by young Komail Ali who tried to get people up to dance. But last and not least, all in the audience were waiting for the one and only Alamgir, and they were not disappointed.

Alamgir Haq has performed at many venues around the world at South-Asian gatherings. He has recently been battling kidney failure. But in spite of his difficulties the entertainer gave a fine performance. Starting off with “Kabhi Tum Idhar Sey” and meandering through his old hits like “Yeh Shaam Aur Tera Naam,” Alamgir sure lit up the NED Alumni.

It was sad to hear about the death of NED Professor Mohammad Nauman, but the fact that NED Alumni generously supported the Koshish Foundation’s Nauman Social Responsibility Initiative and helped make it a fiscal reality is reflective of the ethos of this university and its alumni. One has to acknowledge the contribution of the Zoroastrian community to our lives here. Where would NED be today without the incredible philanthropic contribution of Mr. Nadirshaw Edulji Dinshaw and his family trust?

— Ras H. Siddiqui

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Balaji Temple Celebrates 7th Anniversary

Seen at the seventh anniversary celebrations of the Balaji Temple (r-l): Prabhu and Poonam Goel, Swamiji Narayananda, Mahesh Nihalani and Laskhmi V. Dasi releasing new temple brochure.

The Balaji Temple in Sunnyvale, Calif., celebrated the seventh anniversary of the arrival of murthies Feb. 10- Feb. 13, according to a press release from the temple. The temple was decorated for festivities with lights and rangoli, and devotees were welcomed for the four-day-long festivities.

The first day of Ratha Sapthami day started with Swamiji Narayananda welcoming all devotees and initiating the proceedings by performing Punya Vachanam and Kalasha Puja and sponsoring devotees sat with kalashas and puja samagri in front of them. Devotees carried the kalashas on their head and walked into the temple. The Punya Vachanam (invocation) ceremony concluded by tying the sacred thread of sankalpa to all devotees performing Puja.

On Ashtami day, Navagraha Puja and Maha Lakshmi Abhishekham were performed with chanting of Lalitha Sahasranama Stotram and Mahishasura Mardhini Song and Goddess Annapuraneshwari was worshipped. The Temple was packed to capacity for this worship which was followed by Mahaprasdam.

On Navami day, 108 Kalasha Abhishekham was performed to Sri Balaji Murthy. Swamiji Narayananda performed the Abhishekam assisted by priest Prabhuram, Parthasarathy and Ram Koteshwarao. It started with milk from each Kalasha of each participating devotee who worshipped that Kalasha for three days.

Lastly Abhishekham was done with nine Kalashas containing milk and Navadhanya from the Navagraha Puja which is believed to negate and protect from any ill effects or doshas of any Graha on any devotee.

On the fourth day, devotees assembled at the temple to complete the Puja by chanting Vishnu Sahasra Namavali (chanting 1,000 names of Lord Vishnu). As the grand finale of this day,, devotees enjoyed a picnic 50 miles away in Hollister, Calif.

Prabhu Goel released the new temple brochure and said that he is very pleased with Swamiji’s dedication.

Mahalakshmi V. Dasi

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Muslim Council Celebrates Republic Day

Ashok Kumar Sinha (l), consul for community affairs at the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, seen with Mohammed Nadeem.

Indian American Muslim Council (http://iamc.com), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India’s tolerant and pluralist ethos, held Republic Day celebrations across its various chapters in the United States, according to an IAMC press release.

“The emphasis of the Republic Day celebrations was to spread awareness within the Indian diaspora on how the Indian constitution brings to life the very idea of India as a vibrant and tolerant society whose pluralist ethos need to be cherished and preserved,” the release added.

While the San Francisco Bay Area chapter organized a video and essay contest to mark India’s Republic Day, the highlight of the IAMC Boston chapter was the stage performance of “Republic Day Sholay: Barkha Dutt goes To cover Republic Day in Ramgarh.” A children’s quiz on Republic Day was the highlight of the IAMC New Jersey chapter.

The IAMC video and essay contest got over 10,000 visits from 41 different countries. In the two-week span of the contest, over 5,600 votes were cast for the 32 video and 38 essay entries. The 1st and 2nd prize winners for the video contest took home an iPad and an iPod Touch respectively while the 1st and 2nd essay contest winners bagged a Sony HDTV and an Amazon Kindle eReader respectively. Consolation prizes in different categories were also given for both contests.

The Republic Day event organized by the IAMC Bay Area chapter was also the venue for the prize distribution of the IAMC video and essay contests. The event was held at in Santa Clara. There were over 200 guests in attendance, including Kumar Tuhin, deputy consul general at the San Francisco Indian Consulate; Rafiq Dossani, director of the Center for South Asia at Stanford University; Ash Kalra, San Jose, Calif., city council member; IAMC trustee board member Ahsan Syed; Ashok Kumar Sinha, consul for community affairs at the San Francisco Indian Consulate; and M. Nadeem, community activist.

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Tri-Valley Update

Following is the full text of an advisory from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement addressed to former Tri-Valley University students from India, forwarded by the Indian Consulate in San Francisco.

“If you were formerly enrolled as an F-1 student at TVU and have been terminated in SEVIS, please note the following.

SEVP terminated the records of all F-1 students enrolled at TVU as of January 18, 2011. You should call SEVP Response Center at 703-603-3400. This number will be staffed from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (EST), seven days a week. At other times you may leave a telephone number at which SEVP will return your call the next day.

Please be prepared to provide the follow information to the SEVP staff when you call:

·  First and last name
·  SEVIS ID#
·  Address
·  Telephone number where you can be reached
·  E-mail address
·  Dates of attendance at TVU
·  Level and Major of study at TVU

When you call, SEVP will provide you with your options including the option to depart from the United States without an otherwise possibly applicable bar to re-admission in the future.

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Asian Cultures Gala

Dr. Binod Shah being honored by Parveen Chopra with the AAC USA Hall of Fame Award while Usha Chopra offers flowers to Mrs. Shah.

Parveen Chopra, president of the Asian American Coalition, recently hosted the Fourth Conglomeration of Asian American Cultures and Hall of Fame Awards Ceremony. A galaxy of dignitaries present included Nassau County executive Edward P. Mangano; New York Supreme Court Justice Daniel Palmieri; New York State Comptroller Thomas Dinapoli; New York City Comptroller John Liu; Assemblywoman Grace Meng; state Sen. Frank Padavan; New York City councilman Peter Koo; Nassau County Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey and Consul General of Nepal Amrit Rai.

At the awards gala the AAC representing 14 Asian countries inducted the following leaders of their respective communities to the Hall of Fame: Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano; New York State Supreme Court Justice Daniel Palmieri; Dr. Panchapakesa Jayaraman, founder of the Bharatiya Vidha Bhavan, Imam Shamsi Ali of Indonesia, imam of the largest mosque in New York; John T. Ma, of Taiwan, president of U.S.-China Cultural and Economic Council; as well as Dr. Binod P. Shah of Nepal, president of the America-Nepal Friendship Society; and Dr. Ping-Heng Chen of Taiwan, executive director of the Taiwan Center Chorus.

Former New York State Gov. David A. Paterson said, “Since its founding, the coalition also has been committed to increasing the visibility of Asian American communities across this state and nation by fostering the positive development of Asian culture and identity, and strengthening relations with other communities and countries. In providing a voice for the entire Asian population, you cultivate greater understanding and appreciation of your shared heritage.”

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “I commend AACUSA for ensuring that hard-working people of many different backgrounds have the opportunity to pursue their dreams here in the United States.” U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “Since its founding the AAC has dedicated itself to promoting the social, cultural, and entrepreneurial endeavors of the Asian-American community in New York and around the country.”

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Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant

Ami Ahuja

Wife, mother of three kids, and head of her own business — www.grandperfumes.com —Milwaukee native Ami Ahuja is the first Indian-American to be a contestant in the Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant to be held March 19. If she wins, she gets to compete for Mrs. America in Las Vegas.

“Wow! I can’t believe this, but I considered it an honor and a privilege to be the first Indian-American person to be representing my people in this pageant,” said Ahuja, who hosts a monthly “meet-up” group called “A Woman’s Journey” through which she helps her community.

According to Ahuja, the Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant is an organization that believes married women should be recognized for their ability to integrate intellect and beauty. “This kind of thing interests me, and so it wasn’t too difficult enlisting the support of my husband, family and friends who have encouraged me to join the other contestants in competing for the prestigious Mrs. Wisconsin crown,” said Ahuja, who is celebrating her success as a married woman.

Described by her town folk as “gorgeous, confident, intelligent, dedicated, and beautiful,” Ahuja, an award-winning dancer, plans to take the challenge all the way to the national title of Mrs. U.S.A.

She has been in the retail business for 14 years, loves to cook Indian, Mexican and Chinese food. She is also a Deputy in Taekwondo.

These days she is busy training hard with fitness trainer Shannon Carney and her personal image consultant who’s helped transform many in the country, Kimberly Gomez, of Milwaukee.

Ahuja currently has 4,900 facebook friends, 1,500 facebook fans and 54,000 twitter followers cheering her on. “It’s an honor and a privilege for me to be a part of Mrs. Wisconsin Pageant. I am truly excited and happy, and I owe it all to my family and friends,” said Ami.

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Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

COVER STORY
Corruption At Large:
India Calls for Action
2010 would have gone down in the history of modern India as the year of scams, but 2011 appears not too different either. It is time for the ball to roll towards wiping out corruption, writes Priyanka Bhardwaj.


SOCIETY
Urban Challenge:
Berkeley in India
UC Berkeley Faculty will be in New Delhi for a symposium on the 21st-century Indian city, writes Ashok Bardhan.


RESEARCH
Mumbai Lessons:
Harvard Case Study
Twelve employees were killed inside the Taj Hotel during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The Harvard Business School is studying the staff’s selfless service, writes Siddharth Srivastava.


OTHER STORIES
EDITORIAL: Battling Corruption
NEWS DIARY: February
U.S.-INDIA TRADE: Gary Locke Visits India
CULTURE: Maximum India: Kennedy Center Fest
SUBCONTINENT: Top Guns Tussle
SYMPOSIUM: Remembering Agyeya
PHILANTHROPY: Mijwan Fashion Show
TOURISM: Destination Goa
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Subaru Forester
RECIPE: Vegetable Rogan Josh
BOLLYWOOD: Review: Patiala House
BOLLYWOOD: Guftugu
TAMIL CINEMA: Review: Nadunisi Naaygal
BOLLYWOOD: Interview: Akshay Kumar
COMMUNITY: News in Brief
INFOTECH INDIA: Briefs
HOROSCOPE: March

ENTERTAINMENT
IIFA Awards 2010: SRI LANKA: JUNE 2010



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