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COMMUNITY | News in Brief:

Last Living Gadar Activist Dies at 102 | Ekal Vidyalaya Marathon: Get Healthy, Help Schools | Himachal Day | PanIIT Picnic | Indicorps Fellowship | Awards Banquet | 100th Arangetram | CAPAC Applauds

Last Living Gadar Activist Dies at 102

Bhagat Singh Bilga

A revolutionary chapter has come to end with the demise of Bhagat Singh Bilga, fondly called Baba Bilga, on May 22 in Birmingham, England. Bilga was the last link to the Gadar Movement.

The Gadar Party was formed in the U.S. in 1913, with the aim to fight for India's freedom with revolutionary means. Its cause was successfully propagated by its weekly revolutionary paper Gadar published in Urdu and Punjabi. Soon its branches were formed all over the world.

Baba Bilga who was born on April 1, 1907. His father died when he was a year old, and he went to various countries until he reached Argentina in search of a job. There he met exiled revolutionary Ajit Singh, who was an uncle of the great martyr Bhagat Singh.

Inspired by him, Baba Bilga joined the Gadar Party and became the president of Argentina branch.

Later he was sent to the Soviet Union to be trained in revolutionary theories. Back in India he helped in founding the Communist and Kirti Party.

He served time in jail. But his greatest legacy is the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall - a magnificent multi-million dollar monument in Jalandhar, Punjab, which preserves the history of revolutionary movements through its museum, library, conference halls and yearly Gadar melas, where about fifty thousand persons gather to deliver the message by debates, plays, songs and book-fair.

Tributes to Babaji poured from all over the world. Gadar Heritage Foundation along with other sister organizations salute Babaji — a great inspiration to all — young and old, men and women.

— Ved Prakash Vatuk


Ekal Vidyalaya Marathon: Get Healthy, Help Schools

Ekal volunteer Srinivas Saripalle with wife Rama and two kids at the 2008 Silicon Valley marathon. He and his wife were first-time marathoners in 2008.

Ekal Vidyalaya Marathon is a program which provides comprehensive endurance training for the participants and pays for the registration costs for the Silicon Valley Marathon scheduled Oct. 25, 2009. In exchange for the training and support, participants help raise funds for the Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation.

Ekal Vidyalaya is bringing non-formal education to the doorstep of a village, where children are offered five years of schooling free. The Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation is committed to the eradication of illiteracy from remote and tribal regions of India. Ekal Vidyalaya's cost structure is so efficient that it only takes $365 (a dollar a day) per year to operate one school.

Ekal Marathon is committed to:

- provide six months of comprehensive training, support and advise of any kind to ensure runners achieve their Marathon goal;

- professional advice, tips and techniques on injury prevention, nutrition and other related topics;

- support and encouragement through out fund-raising and training period.

- discount coupon for Runner's World magazine.

In exchange, it seeks the commitment from volunteers to:

- Come to the trail for training every Saturday (or Sunday depending on your location) on time and without fail;

- follow the training calendar diligently and complete the weekday mileages and cross training;

- the training program is a 6 months comprehensive program and requires your personal commitment of a minimum of 6-8 hours every week. It's for your own fitness anyway.

- marathon runners are expected to raise $1095 (3 schools), half marathon runners are expected to raise $730 (2 schools) and 5k/10k participants are expected to raise $365 (1 school).

Most of the funds raised will go towards Ekal Vidyalaya schools.

More information on the Ekal Marathon is available on the Web at www.ekalmarathon.org.
More information about Ekal Vidyalaya is available on the Web at www.ekal.org.


Himachal Day

“Himachal Pradesh, nestled in the heart of the western Himalayas in India , is renowned for its majestic snow-capped mountain ranges, glorious traditions, beautiful  people and colorful costumes and culture,” according to a press release from organizers of Himachal Month.

The India Community Center in Milpitas, Calif. will celebrate for the first time  Himachal Month in June. It will also celebrate June 14 as Himachal Day. This is part of a series, State month and State Day, that the ICC has been hosting  for various states of India with the goal of celebrating diverse cultures.

San Francisco Bay Area residents from Himachal, lead by Asha Sharma, Mahesh Nihalani along with Avnish Katoch of My Himachal have come together to organize these festivities. My Himachal is a tax-exempt no profit organization made up of people from Himachal and friends of Himachal Pradesh worldwide. “Our mission is to preserve Himachal culture, promote, support and expand social and economic interests of Himachal Pradesh and its people worldwide and also help the poorer and deprived residents by assisting in rebuilding their material lives and/or improving their health, living and educational conditions without any distinction of race, religion, sex and opinion” said Avnish Katoch, president of My Himachal.(www.myhimachal.com)

“Himachal month/day will be a window to Himachal Pradesh for all the people of the Bay area. It will give them a chance to have a glimpse of the very unique and little known culture of Himachal, preserved for centuries in the shadow of our majestic and beautiful snow capped mountains,” added Asha Sharma.

More information at: http://himachalday.himachal.us/


PanIIT Picnic

The Southern California chapter of Pan-IIT  will hold its annual picnic in the Los Angeles area June 21, according to a press release from organization volunteer Arun Tripathi. Pan-IIT is an organization of alumni from all campuses of Indian Institutes of Technology, India.

The picnic will take  place 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm at the Cerritos Park East Shelter 2 at  13234 166th St in Cerritos, Calif.

Interested readers can register online by going to the following link on the Web:: http://tickets.indolink.com/php/buyTickets.php?event=2132

For more information, contact Pramod Kunju by email at kunju@gmail.com or by phone at (818) 209-0172 or Arun Tripathi: by email at atrip2000@yahoo.com  or by phone at (310) 497-2504.


Indicorps Fellowship

Indicorps has announced 35 fellows for its 10th fellowship class, beginning Aug. 15.  Individuals from Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, and the U.A.E. were selected through a rigorous application and interview process. 

Fellows come from impressive and varying backgrounds, including medicine, public health, finance, marketing, consulting, and non-profit management – all with exceptional records of consistent service.

“We are consistently amazed, that even with the number of options available to them, many young Indians continue to choose the intensity of Indicorps and its path of dedicated service to reconnect to their heritage.” says Roopal Shah, co-founder and executive director of Indicorps.  Indicorps received a record number of applications for a limited number of projects.

In the span of seven years, over 100 fellows have completed Indicorps’ one year of service in India and currently serve as doctors, lawyers, MBAs, teachers, filmmakers, published authors, PhD students, directors of neighborhood programs, and board members.  August 2009 fellows will tackle issues around clean water, public health, education, tribal development, social entrepreneurship, and urban infrastructure.  They will serve with NGOs from Kanpur to Pondicherry, Gujarat to Madhya Pradesh.

In 2009, Indicorps will place 2-4 fellows each with 12 community-based partner organizations.  Each fellowship team will be challenged harder than ever before, to accomplish more for the community by encouraging a supportive environment that consistently pushes each other to act upon their potential to affect change.

Indicorps was founded by siblings Sonal, Roopal, and Anand Shah in 2002.

More information at www.indicorps.org


Awards Banquet

Honorees and guests at the GOPIO Connecticut Awards Banquet (l-r): GOPIO international chairman Thomas Abraham, Ajay Kapur, Stamford, Conn., Mayor Dan Malloy, GOPIO-CT president Sangeeta Ahuja, Dr. Priya Natarajan, Indian consul Praveen Kumar and GOPIO-Awards Committee chairman Ravi S. Dhingra.

In a packed ballroom at the Italian Center in Stamford April 26, GOPIO Connecticut honored and celebrated a scientist, a musician and a mayor for their achievements and contributions to the community –  Dr. Priyamvada Natarajan, associate professor at Yale University; Dan Malloy, mayor of Stamford; and Dr. Ajay Kapur, director of music technology at California Institute for the Arts.

The event included a cocktail reception, dinner and dance performances and was attended by nearly 250 Indian-American community leaders, supporters and public officials – including. Praveen Kumar from the Indian Consulate in New York, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal and State Sen. Toni Boucher.

In welcoming the guests, Sangeeta Ahuja, President of GOPIO-CT said, “We salute the 2009 awardees. They have enriched our lives and the community we live in with their dedication, contributions and the passion for what they do and have accomplished.” She urged members of the community to become involved by volunteering and creating an ongoing dialogue with the local communities.

Ravi S. Dhingra, who chaired the 2009 awards committee, said: “In addition to recognizing the best and the brightest, the awards banquet, which is now in its third year, has become a premier event — it brings the community together, inspires others and creates a lot of positive energy.”

Along with the awards, each of the awardees was presented with an official certificate of recognition from Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell.

Blumenthal congratulated the awardees and praised “GOPIO-CT and the Indian-American community for your contributions in all fields.”


100th Arangetram

Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose marked the achievement of a major milestone May 23 with the hosting of their 100th arangetram.  The arangetram is the first step in the transition from an amateur to a professional dancer and to reach this occasion in the career of a dancer requires years of intense and rigorous training.

The free performance featuring Abhinaya student Gayatri Venkatesan took place  at the CET Sobrato Center.

Musicians providing live music for the concert included Asha Ramesh, N. Narayanan, Shanthi Narayanan, Mythili Kumar, and Malavika Kumar, all who have been working with Abhinaya arangetrams since 1990.

Additionally Abhinaya May 24 presented their spring recital entitled “Visions of the Goddess” featuring intermediate students to senior in a portrayal of the myriad powers of the mother goddess.

In 1983 Abhinaya hosted its first arangetram by Gayatri Jeyarasasingam. This was the first time that local Bay Area musicians came together to form the orchestra with Mythili Kumar conducting with the cymbals.

“Bringing a classical dance such as Bharatanatyam to the performing platform without compromising its standards and technique is not easy either for the teacher or the student,” said Mythili Kumar, founder and artistic director of Abhinaya. “The accomplishment of every student who presented their Arangetram represents their perseverance over the years in the painstaking work of learning this art.”

Mythili Kumar founded the Abhinaya Dance Company of San Jose in 1980 to present innovative and professional-quality performances of South Indian classical dance. 


CAPAC Applauds

The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has applauded President Barack Obama’s nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to be the next Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Her confirmation would make her the first Hispanic and only the third woman to serve on the nation’s highest court. Celebrating this historic nomination, U.S. Rep. Michael Honda, chair of CAPAC, issued the following statement:

“I applaud President Obama’s decision to choose Judge Sonia Sotomayor as the next Supreme Court nominee. A brilliant legal mind, Judge Sotomayor has already served our country with great distinction. Over the course of her distinguished career, Judge Sotomayor has been a fearless guardian of the rule of law and demonstrated integrity of the highest class, earning her the respect of the legal community. She would bring to the Supreme Court her experience in nearly every level of our judicial system—as a prosecutor, litigator, trial court and appellate judge—offering a depth and breadth of experience that will inform her work on our nation’s highest court.

“Judge Sotomayor’s experiences epitomize the American dream. Born in housing projects in the South Bronx, she went on to become the valedictorian of her high school, the top undergraduate student in her class at Princeton, and an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Her legal career has been as dazzling as her life story, and she is unquestionably qualified to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. We look forward to working with her and the White House to ensure a fair and smooth confirmation process.”

CAPAC has been working with the Obama Administration to recommend diverse and talented individuals for administration positions, including judicial nominations.



Click here to read the Current Issue in Pdf Format

It’s Not Cricket!
From Sporting Art to Commodity

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Trip to the Fair:
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Ved Prakash Vatuk writes of a childhood visit to a fair, the realization of an impossible dream due to the desperately poor circumstances of his childhood.

EDITORIAL: Cricket and Lust for Lucre
TRIBUTE: Farewell, Iqbal Bano
SUBCONTINENT: NRI Grooms Out of Favor
THEATRE: From Dusk Until Dawn
BUSINESS: Real Estate Goes Green
SUBCONTINENT: Congress Rules
TRAVEL: Smoky Mountain National Park
BOLLYWOOD: Film Review: 99
RECIPE: Kadhai Paneer
COUTURE: Fashion for the Recessionista
CULTURE: Ramayana by Chhandam

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