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COMMUNITY | News in Brief: September 2010

Jain Center Marks 10th Anniversary of Jain Bhawan
USA National Women's Cricket Tournament
Tennis Tourney
PNG Jewelers: Second Anniversary
TechCU: Backpack Drive
India Empire NRI Awards
United Way Expands to Chennai
Shah Rukh in NY

Jain Center Marks 10th Anniversary of Jain Bhawan  

Procession marking 10th anniversary of Jain Bhawan Pratistha in Milpitas, Calif.

The 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Jain Bhawan concluded Aug. 11 in Milpitas, Calif.  The five-day-long celebrations, hosted by the Jain Center of Northern California,  brought together Jain religious leaders, scholars, followers and dignitaries who participated in events focusing on non-violence, peace and harmony. More than 20 speakers addressed an audience of approximately 3,000 people.

Events included Jain prayer ceremonies led by Jain monks and scholars visiting from India, including Shri Bhattarakji Charukeerthi, Muni Roop Chandraji Maharaj, Samaniji Akshay Pragyaji, Samaniji Vinay Pragyaji, Shri Manoj Haran and Dr. (Pandit) Kumud Chand Jain.

Over the last two days, 10 sessions covered issues like community service, creatively leveraging the internet to help others, “World Peace Diet,” animal rights, interfaith understanding and conflict resolution.

Eclectic speakers included Dipak Jain, former dean of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University; Dr Will Tuttle, an American author, speaker, educator, pianist and composer; Nipun Mehta, founder of CharityFocus.org.; and Dr. Gary Francione, a legal scholar.

Cultural events included a Raas-Garba led by Soli Kapadia group from Mumbai and an international multi-cultural program with performances of JCNC Navrang Garba, JCNC Taal, Japanese Taiko, Xpressions, Filipino Kaisahan, and Chinese Yao Yong. 

There was also an exhibition on Jainism as well as the history of the Jain Center of Northern California from its modest beginnings in the early 1970s.

Prem Jain, chairman of the 10th Anniversary Programs Committee, said that while the 10th Anniversary events were joyous and memorable, the next 10 years will be challenging. “One of the major concerns for the next 10 years and beyond is maintaining the Jain heritage within the younger generations,” he said.

For more information on the Jain Center of Northern California, visit www.jcnc.org .


USA National Women's Cricket Tournament

Tournament MVP Indomatie Goordial-John

The 2010 USA National Women's Cricket Tournament took place June 4-6 at the Cupertino Library ground in California.  Five teams from around the country contested for the National Championship: Atlantic, New York, North East, Western Chargers, Western Firebirds They represented many walks of life and in age, they ranged from high schoolers to grandmothers.

Each team played two matches over the three days.  The North East team took the top honors.  But the other four teams played well too and it came down to net run rate for determining the Runners-Up.  This went to the local team, Western Firebirds, as they held off the New York team for just enough overs to pass them in the ratings.

"This was a fantastic tournament for the USA Cricket Association as we hosted some great players who showed us their best.  From this pool of women, we are selecting the players who will represent the USA in Canada next month during the ICC Americas World Cup Qualifier Tournament" said Raj Padhi who is the USACA director for the western region. 

Out of the 60 plus players, Indomatie Goordial-John of the North East team stood out with her heavy hitting, especially in the first match.  Racking up 95 runs as well as taking one wicket during that match against the Western Chargers, her effort was the base for a 281 score in their 40 overs which the Chargers could not overcome.

Doris Francis of the New York team was one of the outstanding bowlers who gave only 10 runs in 8 overs while taking 3 wickets in the match against the Western Firebirds.  During the match with the Western Chargers, Gul Imran from the Atlantic team also showed great ability by not only grabbing 2 wickets in 8 overs with only 10 runs given but also taking catches to get three  batters out.  In fielding, Erica Rendler of the Western Firebirds showed off her softball background, moving fast on the outfield, collecting the balls cleanly and throwing them back in a flash.

Top players will travel to Canada for that ICC Qualifier tournament which starts July 12. 


Tennis Tourney

Victoria Azarenka with the 2010 Bank of the West Classic singles trophy.

Eighth-seeded wildcard Victoria Azarenka registered a convincing 6-4, 6-1 win over fifth-seeded Maria Sharapova to capture the singles title at the 2010 Bank of the West Classic.

Azarenka claimed her fourth career singles title — all on hard court — while becoming the fifth different Bank of the West Classic singles champion in the last five years. With the win, she improves to 4-6 in 10 career finals. Azarenka is projected to rise to No. 12 in the new Sony Ericsson WTA Tour singles rankings after winning the title.

While few expected the lesser-known Azarenka to defeat crowd favorite Sharapova, the results indicated otherwise. During her five-match tournament run, Azarenka dropped just one set overall (losing the first in a three-set win over defending champion and fourth-seeded Marion Bartoli) while surrendering five games or less combined in four of her five matches.

Sharapova was bidding to become the first player in 2010 to win three singles titles, having already claimed titles at Memphis and Strasbourg. Making her second straight appearance in the Bank of the West Classic, Sharapova had little trouble in her first two matches before patiently grinding out three-set victories over No. 2 Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals and No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.

The Bank of the West Classic is the longest-running women-only professional tennis tournament in the world and is the first stop of the Olympus US Open Series. A Sony Ericsson WTA Tour Premier event, the Bank of the West Classic features a 30-player singles draw and a 16-team doubles draw with total prize money of $700,000.


PNG Jewelers: Second Anniversary

Consul General of India in San Francisco Susmita G.Thomas with Rajendra Soni, CEO of PNG Jewelers at the Sunnyvale showroom, Aug. 28. [Photo:SEEMA GUPTA | SILICONEER]

PNG Jewelers celebrated its 2nd anniversary in style with the launch of a new Royal Collection, Aug. 28 in Sunnyvale, Calif.

The event was attended by Consul General of India in San Francisco, Susmita G. Thomas and many other community leaders from the Indian American community here in the Bay Area.

PNG’s ability to blend age old conventional designs and modern sensibilities is what makes their jewelry collections so popular.

Rajendra Soni, CEO of PNG Jewelers Sunnyvale said “with Diwali and Navratri around the corner we thought it’s an ideal time to launch the Royal Collection on the eve of our second anniversary in USA as people would be looking for more traditional jewelry to match the festive season.”

PNG Adorn which is an iPhone app for PNG jewelers was also launched.

Surabh Gadgil, president PNG said “we want to reach out to our customers in every possible way, and this is a step towards it.”

The PNG jewelers Inc showroom is the largest and first of its kind in bay area. Stocked with exquisite gold jewelry collections, colored gemstones and fine diamond pieces, this large showroom is a part of company’s first venture in the United States.

PNG jewelers has been in the business of making jewelry for over 175 years.

More information is available at  www.pngjewelers.com.


TechCU: Backpack Drive

Technology Credit Union joined dozens of businesses throughout the Bay Area to support a back-to-school backpack drive for children in need of basic school supplies. The drive ran Aug. 2- 13. Individuals could donate new school supplies and backpacks at any of Tech CU's nine financial centers located throughout the Bay Area. During the month of August, Tech CU also helped to rebuild the library at Trace Elementary School, which was significantly burned by an arsonist on July 5.

Trace Elementary is a bilingual visual and performing arts school in the San Jose Unified School District. It is the largest elementary school in the city, and administrators worked hard to get the campus ready so that its 1,000 K-5 students could start school Aug. 16. Tech CU, along with the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and many other local companies and community organizations, helped the school by donating new or gently used books (K-5 reading level).

Proceeds went to Trace Elementary to support additional teachers' needs, including classroom supplies, while helping to meet the school's $100,000 insurance deductible.

For parents who want to get their high school and college age kids started on managing their own finances, Tech CU hosted its Back-to-School Days' event Aug. 13 and Aug. 14.

Parents could bring their children to a Tech CU financial center and open up a Plug In Click Checking account. The Plug In student package included: Click Checking, Connect Credit Line, a VISA credit card, student loans, auto loans, online banking and bill pay.

Founded in 1960 by the employees of Fairchild Camera and Instrument Semiconductor Division, Technology Credit Union has served the high tech workforce in Silicon Valley for 50 years.


India Empire NRI Awards

Nominations have been invited for the 2nd India Empire NRI Awards to be held at Hotel Ramada Plaza in New Delhi, India on Jan. 10. The nominations can be filed online at www.indiaempire.com. The awards are open to overseas Indians anywhere in the world, including PIOs and NRIs.

The First NRI Awards were held at the same venue Jan. 10, 2010. At the first awards function, attended by overseas Indians from across the world, 16 persons from 11 countries received awards. Four award winners Jan. 10 had also previously received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award from the president of India.

At the first award function awards were handed over by Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit also attended the event.

There are several award categories including community service, business, youth and special segments.

Complete list of 2010 awardees: Nishma Gosrani from the U.K. (Most Promising Overseas Indian Female), Jean Regis Ramsamy from Reunion Islands (Most Promising Overseas Indian Male), Logie Naidoo from South Africa (Community Service in African Region), Mahyendrah Utchanah from Mauritius (Community Service from Africa and Indian Ocean Region), Judge Ajit Swaran Singh from New Zealand (Community Services in Asia Pacific Region), Krishnamurthy Kumar from the U.A.E. (Community Services in the GCC), Harmohan Walia from Australia (Community Service) Joseph Adaikalam from Malaysia (Business Leadership in South Asia and Far East Region), Rami Ranger from the U.K. (Business Leadership in U.K. and Europe), Mookhesswur Choonee from Mauritius (Cultural Leadership), Pundit Maniedeo Persad from Trinidad and Tobago (Excellence in Diplomacy Leela Gujadhur Sarup from Mauritius (Academic Leadership), Samir Shah from U.S. (Excellence in Software and IT), Mani Bhaumik from U.S. (Excellence in Sciences), Ruby Dhalla from Canada (Political Leadership), Lenny Saith from Trinidad and Tobago (Lifetime Achievement).


United Way Expands to Chennai

United Way Worldwide recently announced it has established United Way of Chennai in the Tamil Nadu capital. Since the launch of the United Way India Initiative three years ago, the local United Way footprint has now reached six locations, including the cities of Baroda, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi, Hubli-Dharwad and Mumbai. A national body of United Way of India has also been created to provide support and expand the local United Way network. 

The founding board of United Way of Chennai comprises senior executives from Murugappa Group, Caterpillar, CEEBROS Hotels, Cognizant Technology Solutions, Nokia, R.R. Donnelley, Shoetek, Quintel Solutions, and IITM Alumni.   

The United Way India Initiative was launched in 2007 with an initial investment of $250,000 from Barry Griswell, past Chairman and CEO of Principal Financial Group, and his wife Michele.

United Way Worldwide is increasing awareness amongst non-resident Indians and businesses in North America with an interest in India, to support communities across India.   The United Way India Fund at United Way Worldwide invites and encourages multinational corporations and non-resident Indians to invest in strengthening local communities and improving the lives of the citizens of India.

“United Way will play a significant role in shaping the local philanthropic landscape across India by leveraging United Way reputation, network of relationships and expertise to empower the voluntary sector and build civil society that delivers impact,” said Sheela Murthy, chairperson of the United Way Leadership Council for India.  

Roma Kapoor, director of the United Way India Initiative, said, “United Ways in India will bring together all sectors of local communities to address local problems.  They will ensure consistent brand experience in accountability to donors, volunteer leadership and promotion of giving and volunteering.”


Shah Rukh in NY

The wax statue of Shah Rukh Khan at Madame Tussauds in Times Square, New York City.

As a troupe of colorfully clad Bollywood Axion dancers performed to the soundtrack from My Name Is Khan, Bollywood film star Shah Rukh Khan was immortalized in wax Aug. 12 at Madame Tussauds New York in Manhattan.

Just in time to celebrate the DVD release of My Name Is Khan, Khan’s figure was unveiled with the background score of the film playing in the background of the Times Square wax attraction. Standing in front of a replica of the Taj Mahal, the star’s wax figure will be dressed in a black suit and white button down shirt.  The actor is the latest addition to Madame Tussauds brightly-colored, fully-interactive “Bollywood Zone,” which allows guests to feel as though they are on a Bollywood film set.

A highly celebrated Bollywood actor, producer and television host, Khan has starred in more than 50 films throughout his career.  The star was also named one of Newsweek’s “50 Most Powerful People in the World” in 2008 and has a fan following numbering in the billions.




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Ground Zero:
An All-Faith Center?

Human rights activist Partha Banerjee writes that peace activists should consider a campaign for an all-faith, peace center near Ground Zero in New York.

Peace Caravan:
Aman Ke Badhte Qadam

A 10-member India-Pakistan peace caravan went from Mumbai to Lahore, writes Sandeep Pandey, who was part of the team.

Bangladesh: The Promise
And the Challenge

Bangladesh faces many challenges, but if it also has potential to change for the better, writes Zareef Anam, a high school student in Dhaka.

EDITORIAL: Ground Zero Dilemma
INDO-U.S. TIES: Clean Energy Research
SUBCONTINENT: India’s I-Day Celebration
COMMUNITY: Indian Americans Mark India's Independence Day in U.S.: Dil Hai Hindustani
SUBCONTINENT: Blackberry Brouhaha
TRAVEL: Las Vegas Hotels: A Kid's Eyeview
AUTO REVIEW: 2011 Toyota Sienna
RECIPE: Bhindi Jaipuri
BOLLYWOOD Review: Peepli Live
CINEMA: Hollywood Beckons: Chat with Fagun Thakrar
TAMIL FILM: Kadhal Solla Vandhen
COMMUNITY: Sunnyvale Hasya Kavi Sammelan
COMMUNITY: News Briefs
HOROSCOPE: September

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