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Indian Indian Log on to February 12, 2010 Volume 1, No. 23 New Zealand’s
Indian Indian
Log on to
February 12, 2010
Volume 1, No. 23
New Zealand’s first Indian weekend magazine
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New Zealand

Community rallies around Hiren’s grieving family

dev NadkarNI

“No family must have to endure what we have gone through in the past ten days,” a stoic Falguni Mohini told Indian Weekender, just a week after the tragedy that struck her loving, close-knit family. “Nothing will bring Hiren back but the killer must be brought to justice so that no other life is lost. I appeal to the community for all help in identifying and apprehending those respon- sible.” Auckland’s Indian community, which has rallied around the family ever since news of the gruesome tragedy broke, is disappointed and angry at the senseless killing of a loving husband, doting father, devoted son and great friend and colleague to many. Hiren Mohini died of injuries inflicted on him by his killer passenger in the early hours of February 1. He was tearfully farewelled on last Thursday (February 4) at West Auckland’s Wai- kumete cemetery and crematorium by family members who were joined by hundreds of col- leagues, friends and neighbours. Dozens of taxis joined the funeral cortege from the Mohinis’ Mount Roskill residence en route to Waikumete. Among family who paid their respects were Falguni, daughters Yashvi, 5 and Hetvi, 2, his mother Vasantiben and relatives who had just arrived from India besides those already living in New Zealand. “I would estimate 300-400 taxis and more than 1200 people at the funeral. The chapel was so full that I could not get in, so I was in the other chapel watching the proceedings on close circuit TV,” said one time colleague Vinay Grover. Close relative Ashish Mohini told Indian Weekender that the response from neighbours, colleagues, friends and the community at large was overwhelming and reassuring at the time of

such sudden shock and grief. Thirty-nine-year-old Hiren had picked up a fare in downtown Auckland and the incident that claimed his life took place on View Road, off Do- minion Road in the Mount Eden area abut 1.20 am on February 1. His taxi crashed into a wall and a tree after his passenger savagely stabbed him in the neck and chest. The crash woke nearby residents who rushed to the scene to extricate Hiren from the wreck of his taxi.

His injuries were so severe that though pro- fessional medical help arrived within six or seven minutes of the crash, paramedics were not able to revive him while he was being transferred into the ambulance bound for the hospital: he suc- cumbed to his injuries at the scene. Police described the attack as vicious and one that would even shock criminals. Some of his colleagues rushed to the scene of the accident immediately on hearing of it on the company’s communication system as Mr Mohini had apparently pressed his taxi’s panic button in his final moments and also tried calling a friend on his mobile phone.

A man was reportedly seen running away

from the scene immediately after the incident and some time later a bloodied bag was found near the scene of the incident. Police also re-

leased stills from video footage of a man carrying a similar bag that was caught on city cameras on the night of Mr Mohini’s murder. Over 40 police officers have been drafted into the investigations and pictures of a cap found in the bag have also been released to the media.

As the Mohinis awaited the arrival of family

members from India, friends, neighbours and taxi company colleagues poured into the Davis

Funeral Home on Dominion Road throughout Tuesday and Wednesday by the hundreds to pay respects to the departed soul. Wife Falguni and mother Vasantiben visited the site of the crash, which over the next couple of days had already been turned into a shrine with dozens of floral tributes. They spent a few quite moments at the spot where Mr Mohini’s life had ebbed away. National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi who visited the driver’s family told Indian Week- ender he had apprised his parliamentary col- leagues and ministers about the developments and that Transport Minister Steven Joyce would soon call a meeting with all concerned to address the security problems faced by taxi drivers. Minister of Ethnic Affairs Pansy Wong and Labour MP for Mount Roskill Phil Goff also paid condolence visits to the bereaved family, as did leaders from the Global Organisation of Persons of Indian Origin (GOPIO). They have assured that the safety concerns of the taxi drivers would be addressed at the earliest opportunity. Mr Mohini had moved to New Zealand from Mumbai in 2003, his close friend and schoolmate from Goregaon, Mumbai, Sachin Jadhav, told Indian Weekender. He said he was driving his taxi for the past three to four years. Another colleague, Shane, said Mr Mohini was one of the quietest blokes he knew and that he was always courteous and respectful. “If money is what the attacker wanted, he could have simply asked – and Hiren would have handed it to him with no hesitation,” he said. Taxi driver Chittaranjan said this incident once again highlighted how risky driving taxis in Auckland could be. It strengthens the case for some sort of physical barrier between the driver

and the passengers as a deterrent as is seen in many of the world’s big cities, he said. Authorities had repeatedly stonewalled pre- vious appeals for such measures and wanted to raise the issue once again the drivers said. A meeting with Transport Minister Steven Joyce is in the offing.

with Transport Minister Steven Joyce is in the offing. the Yashvi Mohini and Hetvi Mohini trust

the Yashvi Mohini and Hetvi Mohini trust account has been set up by family and friends. auckland Co-op taxis is also collecting donations on its website. The details:

The Yashvi and Hetvi Mohini Trust Account: Direct credit donations to


or via Cash donations can be made at any National Bank. The Hiren Mohini Appeal Fund, set up by the NZ taxi federation: Direct credit donations to 03-0175-0228509-00.

NZ taxi federation: Direct credit donations to 03-0175-0228509-00. 2 Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010 |
NZ taxi federation: Direct credit donations to 03-0175-0228509-00. 2 Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010 |


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010



Murder inquiry appeals to Asian communities

Police investigating the January 31 murder of taxi driver Hiren Mohini are appealing to Asian communities for information about a man whose image is on CCTV footage [see pic], a distinc- tive bag with the “Dicon Aibi” logo on it [see pic] and, for the first time, a distinctive knitted dark cap with a large white logo outlined with three circles [see pic]. Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones says the cap has been undergoing forensic examina- tion because it was found in Mt Eden with the blood-stained tubular-shaped blue bag on private property, a day after the murder. “The bag and the cap are of great interest to our investigation and we want to know who owned, used or wore them,” Mr Jones said. “We’re appealing more strongly to the Asian communities in and around the Auckland CBD this week as, unfortunately, we’ve become aware that a lot of those we canvassed overnight on Saturday February the 6th and Sunday the 7th, weren’t aware of Hiren Mohini’s murder and our subsequent homicide investigation,” Mr Jones said. “Given that nearly 30 percent of the central Auckland’s population is Asian, it’s vital that

New Zealand


a first for Auckland City Police


of our voluntary Asian Safety Patrol Group handing out fliers and talking

vestigations, an inner-city billboard

appealing for information driver Hiren Mohini’s killer

about taxi

to some of the thousands of


is being

celebrating Chinese New Year at the

installed in Fort St late tonight or early tomorrow morning.

ASB Showgrounds on Saturday. “We’re hopeful that all these ap-

peals and the intensive work


The billboard [see attached], which measures 6m x 3m, appeals to passersby for information about

staff are doing on inquiries and

following up on information


received from the likes of the ESR,

the identity of a man Police want to

we’ll get that key piece

of informa-

speak with, the owner

or user of a

tion that will lead us shortly.”

to an arrest,

blue carry bag and the wearer of a distinctive knitted black cap.

In another

break from traditional


trying a range of methods to

publicity methods, Police have been

appeal to the public

for information.

given a set of DVDs which

make ap-

The billboard space was vacant and

peals to viewers for information


its location ties in nicely with the fact we’re appealing to Asian communi-

which will be distributed

to inner city

retail stores and supermarkets for broadcast on their in-house adver-

ties in the inner city

to help us solve

this mystery,” officer in charge of the homicide investigation, Detective Senior Sergeant Hywel Jones said.

tising screens.

Anyone with information about who

killed Hiren Mohini should

call 0800


Mohini’s murder investigation

444 014. Anonymous information


the feature story on Friday night’s

can go to Crimestoppers

on 0800

screening of Police 10/7 at 7.30 on

555 111.


A dedicated

Operation Edgewater

e-mail address has also been added


also have staff and members


also have staff and members - they know how important it is for us to
also have staff and members - they know how important it is for us to
they know how important it is for us to get any in- formation from them
they know how important it is for us to get any in-
formation from them that they might have about
Mr Mohini’s killer, who is still on the loose.”
Hiren Mohini was killed after a frenzied knife
attack in his taxi as he travelled from Federal St
in the city at about 1.12am on Sunday January 31,
to View Rd in Mt Eden where he was found by
residents after his car crashed at about 1.23am.
Anyone who thinks they know who the man
in the photo is, who knows who owned or used
the royal blue Dicon Aibi bag or the distinctive
knitted cap, should call Operation Edgewater on
0800 444 014.
anonymous callers can contact
Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

In wake of the recent Killing of Hiren Mohini, a meeting is being organised by NZICA to take stock of the current law and order situation. Please attend along with other concerned colleagues.

l date: 14th Feb


time: 3 p.m. l venue: Mahatma Gandhi Centre

Hosts: Auckland Indian Association General Secretary, New Zealand Central Indian Association

Indian Issue of the day What three things need to be done to make working conditions
Issue of the day
Issue of
the day

What three things need to be done to make working conditions safer for taxi drivers?

be done to make working conditions safer for taxi drivers? 1. Avoid cash transactions – payment

1. Avoid cash transactions – payment

should be made with eftpos and credit cards.

2. In-car surveillance cameras with GPS

tracking loggers which are inexpensive and easily available in the market.

3. Drivers can be equipped with radios to

communicate with in an emergency, like

the open “mike” switch.

Nilima kalambi – clinical administrator in community health and a student of health management in the university of auckland.with in an emergency, like the open “mike” switch. 1. Police need to be given more

1. Police need to be given more power to

deal with crime and their time should not be wasted with minor issues

2. Anyone carrying knives or any other

harmful weapons should be punished.

3. Taxi companies have to see if any

passenger carrying harmful weapons can be detected on entry and taxi drivers be more vigilant.

can be detected on entry and taxi drivers be more vigilant. – Chairman of board of

– Chairman of board of trustees of the auckland Indian association and accountant serving the community for over forty years.

1. Make the security screen around driver’s

seat mandatory in each taxi like they do in


2. Adopt zero tolerance approach and

hand down tougher punishments for each crime committed.

3. Utilise the police force to fight the crime

rather than writing traffic tickets.

to fight the crime rather than writing traffic tickets. - Indian born New Zealander and business

- Indian born New

Zealander and business owner who is very passionate about New Zealand

1. I strongly believe that education around

crime prevention for taxi drivers become a priority, an assessment method that may raise that first impression of doubt.

2. Installing monitored cameras should

be compulsory. Many dairy owners install camera. Recommend they spend some time going over the day’s customers.

3. Know your regular customers. Keep vigil

of those who may not be regular. Report any theft small or large. Remember, Police want to work closely with everyone.

large. Remember, Police want to work closely with everyone. - Indian born New Zealander and business

- Indian born New

Zealander and business

owner who is very passionate about New Zealand

New Zealand

Community, colleagues, friends speak out …

This death should be an eye opener to the so called policy makers, politicians, bureaucrats, and the concerned people to take the necessary steps to protect the taxi drivers and improve the safety measures by subsidizing the security camera’s and installation of the mesh around the driver seat. To give the taxi drivers additional safety when working during the late night and early morning hours, it should be made mandatory for every taxi to have a driver protection screen. As of now egardless of the govern- ment decision Auckland coop taxi company taking steps to ensure the safety of the fleet drivers. But govern- ment’s 50 per cent subsidy on the cost of the screen, camera will be more helpful and will speed up the process. Australian Government responded properly and giving 50 per cent subsidy to the taxi drivers since 2008.

Our focus at this time is on ensuring that Mr Mohini’s family has all the support it needs. This is a terrible tragedy for the Mohini family, and we want to ensure that the burden they bear can be reduced as much as possible into the future.

- Sitaram Salvaji, colleague

Hiren and myself were working together for Greenacres [before his taxi business]. Both of us had the lawn moving business and we were in touch with each other quite often. I was there till the end of the funeral until his family went home. I’ve run out of words for the respect and unity that people have shown. All the while I was just thinking about Hiren’s kids, Falguni and his mom. After everyone finished paying their tributes to this father, husband, brother and son, we got a chance to get his last glimpse, so all of us queued up to see him. That is when I saw his mom and Falguni. I could see the pain in their eyes, which was something that could never be

healed. I could feel as if they wanted to burst out in tears but were controlling it so well. I felt like hugging his mom and telling her that her younger son is still here but did not have the guts to do that. But I do promise that

I shall visit them in the next week and take up my responsibilities though I would not make it public.

- Vinay Grover, friend and former co-worker

Hiren was my regular customer since I started my business on caravan (Soul Curry) next to Yogiji’s. Being a very friendly and talkative person, wherever we met, we used to talk for a while. Always compassionate, he used to enquire about my newly started restaurant (Curry Mantra), give some suggestions, talk about Mumbai food. He would enjoy food with his family particularly wada-pav and misal. He used to say ‘because of your

food we don’t miss India now’. I remember after visiting India last year, he was missing ‘veg makhani’ and

asked my chef to make one for him. He had created that niche of goodwill that we never ever felt hesitant about his small demand and my chef made it happily just for him. When news about his sad demise flashed, it was

a mixed feeling of anger, disbelief and sorrow. Yes me, and my staff will miss Hiren, a very good person, a gentleman.

- Makarand Karkhanis, restaurant owner and friend





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Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010



New Zealand

Kiwi Indians urged to join unique veggie garden project

A unique Manukau City Council initiative to proactively address deepening health concerns in a large section of the population by promoting healthy eating is proving to be a great success, encouraging the council to expand the project. Over the past 18 months or so, the council’s Manukau Parks Growing for Health – Teach- ing Garden project has over 600 people now in- volved in its innovative programme. “It’s pretty simple,” says Varsha Belwalkar, Manukau City Council Parks Ranger, who manages one of the six sites scattered across the city. “We provide garden plots, seeds and mentors to teach how to plant, grow and manage vegetable and fruit gardens and encourage people to grow their own kitchen gardens in their homes. And it is free.” A staggering 74% of the local population is considered obese with 12,000 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and a further 12,000 considered undiagnosed, Ms Belwalkar says. And eating a healthy diet of mostly organi- cally grown vegetables can go a long way in providing the required balance to a diet other- wise deficient in fibre and other valuable nutri- ents that come from veggies. Considering the gravity of the situation to the population’s health and welfare, Manukau Parks committed to establishing eight teach- ing gardens in four wards of high deprivation over two years. The Manukau Parks Teaching Gardens project supports the Let’s Beat Dia- betes Gardening for Health and Sustainability initiative. The Manukau Parks model is one of expe- riential learning of basic horticultural hus- bandry techniques delivered by paid mentors. The mentors’ activities are coordinated and managed by Park Rangers like Ms Belwalkar who are assigned as site managers. Plots are allocated to an individual or a group

managers. Plots are allocated to an individual or a group tHe GardeN at MaNGere aNd (INset)

tHe GardeN at MaNGere aNd (INset) varsHa beLWaLkar

to grow vegetables for a season, and participants are taught a range of skills from seed germina- tion through to harvesting. The project is based on two 20-week courses aligned to the winter/ summer seasons. The 20-week course prepares participants to grow their own fruit and vegeta- bles at home. “Any interested group, family or individual over 18 can apply,” says Ms Belwalkar. So far some 100 25m x 2m plots have been allocated with 353 enrolled in the popular summer pro- gramme.

A new batch of people is allocated to the

individual plots for each season. And a new season will start in March. “We have a manager for every site and I manage the Mangere site,” Ms Belwalkar says. “I would like to invite the

Indian community to avail of this opportunity as it not only helps you learn the skills to grow fruit and veggies but also promotes outdoor ex- ercise and bonding with family members. More- over you can take the seeds home and grow your own veggies and fruit and look after them after learning the techniques here.” Several South Asian families have availed of previous opportunities. “We have had Indians from Fiji, India, people from Bangladesh, South East Asia and of course Pacific and Maori people. It has really been a great experience to be involved in this project,” she adds. Nearly two-dozen varieties of vegetables and fruits are grown at the gardens besides a colourful variety of flowers. While people take the produce home for personal use, many have

been donating excess produce to a range of food banks around the city. “This has benefited even the community at large,” says Ms Belwalkar. What about security concerns? That has been taken care of by the appointment of guard- ians at some of the sites. Also, the presence of student activity at most times during the day has resulted in almost no vandalism. Some neigh- bours as in the case of the Middlemore site in particular have virtually “adopted” the project.

Beginning with just four plots, the council

has added two more recently taking the number up to six. These are located in East Tamaki, Mangere Centre Park, Old School Reserve in Mangere, Middlemore Reserve, Stadium Reserve in Papatoetoe, and Walter Massey Park

in Mangere East.

According to Ms Belwalkar, the pro- gramme’s business plan targets 2000 house- holds to have established a home garden over 4 years. This would mean potentially reaching 7000 people if the uptake is 100%. Costs for

achieving this by all agencies would probably

be in region of $2 million.

Future plans for the project include a pos- sible certificate from a recognised educational

institution for the participants in the programme after conmpletion of the teaching gardens course. There could also be a possibility of forming

a garden and food process club where par- ticipants and those interested could meet with experts and exchange notes, learn advanced techniques and share experiences as also swap seeds and plants. For more information about joining the project as a learner or a teacher, please contact Parks Booking Officer on 09 2637100 ext 8750

or email

Indian Weekender launches free business listings Rotorua Indian Association President dies in accident Let customers
Indian Weekender launches
free business listings
Rotorua Indian Association
President dies in accident
Let customers find you through their computers
and their mobiles – free!
You can now place your basic business listings
free on New Zealand’s most accessed and most
frequently updated Kiwi Indian news and fea-
tures website,,
which can also be accessed with the short and
sweet As you are probably
aware, the website is also accessible on smart
phones and our access rates through mobiles
have been growing at a tremendous pace as well.
Add your business listing to our new busi-
ness directory and get your business exposed
for free to thousands for no cost whatsoever. It’s
the best way to have your clients and potential
clients find you. And it’s free. We don’t believe
that basic listings in any directory, especially
those serving communities, should be paid for.
To get started all you have to do is visit
the Indian weekender website ( and click on the
Business directory link at the top or use
the link (http://www.indianweekender. to get there directly.
advantage of our low cost featured listing to
promote your business on the website home
page, business directory page and also our
fast growing weekly newsletter now re-
ceived by thousands of Kiwi Indians besides
readers in Fiji, Australia and India. With the
newsletter, you can very cost effectively popu-
larize your weekly and festival specials at a
nominal charge.
you want to further enhance your listing
Once on that page click on the button that says
‘Click here to submit your business details’. You
will find a form pop up where you need to enter
all your details. You will need to scroll down
below to finish it and submit it. Once submitted,
we will give it a once-over and post it online.
Value added features. A basic business
listing to the website is free but you can take
you can add a photo gallery of your products/
services, add attachments of your menu etc for
visitors to download and even a video to your
listing. Contact us to find out how you can
enhance and promote your business through
Indian Weekender’s new Business Directory.
Email your interest or query to info@indian-
Bay of Plenty (Rotorua) Indian Asso-
ciation Kishorbhai Morarji died in a car
accident on the evening of Saturday,
January 30.
Mr Morarji had driven to Morrins-
ville in Waikato for a daylong meeting
of the New Zealand Indian Central As-
sociation (NZICA). He was driving back
to Rotorua when he lost his life in the
car accident at about 8-30pm.
Such meetings are usually attended
by two people from the Association but
yesterday Mr Morarji went alone, an as-
sociate said.
Past President Hasmukhbhai
Chhagan said Mr Morarji had taken on
the role of the President only in 2009. He
ran an electronics business in Hillcrest,
Mr Chhagan said.
Mr Morarji, who was only 52, regu-
larly sent out a newsletter to the com-
munity detailing activities of the As-
sociation and many of these have been
covered in the Indian Weekender maga-
zine and website.
The departed businessman was origi-
nally from Navsari in Gujarat but was raised in Mumbai where his father was employed.
Mr Morarji migrated to New Zealand and later settled here with his family and siblings.
He leaves behind his wife and two sons. Mr Morarji’s elderly parents live in Christ-
church, Mr Chhagan said.
The wider Indian community and the New Zealand Indian Central Association have
condoled the passing of Mr Morarji.
“Kishorebhai had been a proactive social activist, with an outstanding track record of
managing community organizations and maximising their effectiveness. The community
shares the grief with the family, the NZICA said in a statement.”
- Indian Weekender news desk
- Indian Weekender news desk
Indian : NZ Trade Minister Tim Groser and former Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath during a
Indian : NZ Trade Minister Tim Groser and former Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath during a
: NZ Trade Minister Tim Groser and former Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath during a

:NZ Trade Minister Tim Groser and former Indian Commerce Minister Kamal Nath during a meeting last year.

broad objectives in these negotiations and the process for taking them forward as we look to negotiate a high quality Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement. Meanwhile, the Indian High Commissioner in his recent public meetings in Auckland and Wellington has expressed the desire to speed up efforts to uplift trade in the existing areas and explore potential in many new areas of trade and commerce. High Commission of India endeavours to fa- cilitate promotion of trade between India and New Zealand and assist the entrepreneurs by providing them with the required information and establishing their contact with the desired manufacturers, import- ers and exporters across the two countries. “The entrepreneurs managing medium and large businesses are welcome to come up with proposals in the areas of import from India, investment and joint venture, or any trade activity which they would like

to take up with Indian companies,” a statement from the High Commission in Wellington said. High Commission would provide the desired assistance to the business community in exploring new avenues of trade and commerce, “giving a much needed boost to trade activity between the two coun- tries, on our way to forging an India – New Zealand strategic trade partnership,” the statement further said. Indian Weekender will closely follow these de- velopments and report and comment on them in the paper and on the website regularly. Background in-

formation and access to the online submission form (submissions will be open until 15 March) are avail- able on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade web pages at:

tions/Trade-Agreements/India/index.php - Indian Weekender news desk

Decks finally cleared for NZ-India FTA negotiations

Trade Minister Tim Groser and Indian Commerce Minister, Sri Anand Sharma have announced the start of negotiations towards a free trade agreement between New Zealand and India. This announcement follows on from the ‘subject to formal approval’ announcement made last year by Trade Minister Tim Groser and his then Indian coun- terpart Minister Kamal Nath. Approval was delayed by Indian general elections mid last year following which it took some time for the Indian Trade and Economic Relations Committee to be reconstituted. This final step in the approval process clears the way for talks to begin within the next few months. Mr Groser, attending a meeting of WTO Trade Ministers in Davos, Switzerland alongside Mr Sharma, welcomed the Indian Government’s con- firmation that it will open negotiations with New Zealand. “A free trade agreement with India offers great promise for New Zealand businesses. India is already one of our fastest growing markets, with New Zealand exports having tripled over the last decade. “Our negotiators will target the currently high barriers facing New Zealand exporters to India so that trade can further flourish,” Mr Groser said. Mr Groser also emphasised the strategic impor- tance to New Zealand of the growing Indian economy – forecast to grow at almost 8 percent in 2010. “India has a population of over one billion people. By 2025, India will almost certainly be the third largest economy in the world.” The New Zealand Cabinet approved the start of negotiations in March last year and the relevant Indian Cabinet Committee last week approved the proposal. “I expect negotiations to start soon and am con- fident we can deliver a high quality agreement with significant benefits to New Zealand exporters,” Mr Groser said. Negotiations will commence with a first round of exploratory talks, likely to be held in Wellington in April. These initial discussions will focus on our

New Zealand

Opportunities to train as Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers

If you enjoy working with people, want to give something back to your local community and have a free half day a week, why not apply to train as a volunteer at your local Citizens Advice Bureau? Volunteering is a great way to meet new people, develop new skills, and learn more about the community you live in. The next training course begins on Tuesday, 16 February, 2010. Manukau’s Citizens Advice Bureau is seeking applicants to train as volunteers so they can continue to provide support to thousands of residents who rely on this free service every year. Last year the bureaux helped with over 65,000 enquiries ranging from practical neighbourhood information to advice about New Zealand laws, and assisting residents to apply for rates rebates. Full training is given and all volunteers receive ongoing support. The next training course begins in February, so contact one of the bureau below to find out more and register your interest:

Mangere CAB

275 6885

Manurewa CAB

266 5729

Otara CAB

274 6577

Papatoetoe CAB

278 5191


Bays Manukau

576 8331

CAB 278 5191 Pakuranga/Eastern Bays Manukau 576 8331 6 Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010 |


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010






PM Manmohan Singh backs IPCC on climate work


Mumbai dabbawallas in Harvard curriculum

New Delhi: A day after India’s outspoken en- vironment minister Jairam Ramesh slammed the UN climate change body IPCC for issuing warnings without scientific basis, Prime Minis- ter Manmohan Singh said the country has full confidence in the IPCC process. Addressing a summit on sustainable devel- opment Manmohan Singh said: “Let me reas- sert that India has full confidence in the IPCC process and its leadership and will support it in every way.” He said though some works of IPCC (Inter- governmental Panel of Climate Change) were put to question, the core projections of the body remains unchallenged. “… This debate does not challenge the core projections of the IPCC upon the impact of greenhouse gas accumulations on temperature, rainfall and sea level rise,” he said. Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh earlier said climate science and climate evange- lism are not same and hence India would have its own body to assess the impact of climate change on Himalayan glaciers after the goof-up by IPCC. Taking a dig at the wrong projections by the IPCC headed by India’s R K Pachauri on the Himalayan glaciers, Ramesh said the IPCC undoubtedly created a scare and panic by not basing its warnings on science. “There is a difference between climate science and climate evangelism,” he said, dubbing the IPCC predictions of Himalayan glacier meltdown by 2035 as misleading. “Health of glaciers are cause for concern. They are melting, retreating, threatening our water security and we have to be cautious. But we are now setting up a National Institute of Himalayan Glaciology in Dehra Dun for moni- toring, modelling and research,” he told Times Now. “A country like India cannot depend on only IPCC,” he said adding that the IPCC took pub- lished literature as basis of warnings and so made goof-ups on predictions about Himalayan glacier, Amazon and snow peaks. He said he nevertheless had respect for IPCC, a body of 2000 scientists, but India is setting up

something like Indian Network on Comprehen- sive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA). R K Pachauri, who

something like Indian Network on Comprehen- sive Climate Change Assessment (INCCA). R K Pachauri, who heads IPCC, is under fire from British media, Indian government and en- vironmentalists for wrong predictions on the Hi- malayan glacier meltdown and after it was found that many of the other IPCC warnings were based on magazine articles. British media alleged that Pachauri also benefits financially from the various positions he holds in various bodies. Pachauri has so far has refused take responsibility for the research reports that have led to the embarrassing disclo- sures and has rejected calls for him to resign.

Mumbai: The dabbawala of Mumbai is an integral part of the lives of Mumbai’s citizens.

Mumbai: The dabbawala of Mumbai is an integral part of the lives of Mumbai’s citizens. The dabbawallas comprising a band of about 5000 hardworking men mainly from the rural parts of the state of Maharash- tra, deliver approximately 200,000 lunch boxes daily to office goers in the metropolis. The most interesting part is that they never use any modern tech- nology, and yet they deliver without fail irrespective of weather, riots, floods or transport failure. Their system has an error coefficient of one in 16,000 boxes, making it more than the six sigma quality standard that most businesses strive to achieve. Though a subject of many case studies in business schools in Indian and abroad, they will now be


part of the curriculum in one of world’s best B-schools, the Harvard Business School. Professors from Harvard spent time with the dabbawallas, interacted with the employees and had

hands-on experience on how the system works. Manish Tripathi a spokesman for the dabbawallas said, “The school had prepared a comprehensive report and submitted it to us for review. The final draft is now ready. We’ll give the confirmation next week and the case study will be released in March in a big way.” The case study will also be sold to other business schools across the globe for academic purposes.


- Shobha Rao, India correspondent

Rahul Gandhi derails Sena protest

Mumbai: In a bid to send out a strong signal to the parochial parties like the Shiv Sena and the Ma- harashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), Rahul Gandhi arrived in Mumbai and travelled by the local train to reach a couple of venues for political functions. His journey from Vile Parle to Ghatkopar via Dadar, was spent in talking to the common man

the platforms, in the train as well as a local bank where he had stopped. In this one political mas- terstroke he had not only scuttled the Sena’s black flag demonstration but also won many a Mumbai citizen’s hearts. Local Congress leaders including the chief minister were totally unaware of Rahul’s plan but are upbeat after the incident. Said the chief minister “It’s good that the Sena has taken a beating. The enthusiastic response that he got showed the Sena-MNS brand of politics has no place in society.” The Sena leadership meanwhile branded Rahul’s train journey as a “drama typical of north Indians”.


Pt Ravi Shankar launches music label

Mumbai: Legendary sitarist Pandit Ravi Shankar has become the latest musician to float an inde- pendent music label, called East Meets West Music (EMWMusic). In the last couple of years, many prominent Indians musicians have commenced venturing into the music business on their own, mostly due to growing dissatisfaction with the way big music labels in the country function. In the recent months, musicians like A

Rahman (KM Music), Sivamani (KVKM

Records), Shubha Mudgal (Underscore Records), Vishal-Shekhar (VS Music) and Anup Jalota (Shabd and Sur) have ventured into the music label territory. The name of the New York headquartered label, East Meets West, points to the Shankar philosophy of exploration, experimentation and cross-pollination. The vast archive features per- formances and appearances by an extraordinarily eclectic cast of musicians from across the globe.

An official statement says, “With the creation of EMWMusic, Ravi Shankar bridges any divide between his recorded music and his audience.” Interestingly, through this music label, listen-

will be able to access rare archives featuring thousands of hours of live performance audio, film footage, interviews, and studio masters. Through the label, the legendary sitar player hopes to provide a glimpse into what has most

inspired and shaped him in his 70-plus years on stage. This new label is also aimed at providing plat- form for new artists, projects, and collaborations. “There is something beautiful about the stage. There is a performer and there is an audi- ence. Nothing is in the way. The sound remains pure and unburdened by things like marketing and distribution. My hope is for this label to be more like a stage and less like the music business


I have experienced it,” Shankar says. The label’s debut release, Nine Decades:

Volume One, is scheduled for Pt. Ravi Shankar’s 90th birthday on April 7, 2010. The Nine Decades series will feature rare live performances hand- picked by Ravi. The series will focus, decade by



hand- picked by Ravi. The series will focus, decade by ers R decade, on performances that

decade, on performances that are particularly meaningful to the artist himself. In the fall of 2010, EMWMusic will release the George Harri- son produced documentary on Pt. Ravi Shankar, called Raga. The soundtrack to the film will also be available. The label has also launched its new website, that features release updates and performance information about Pt. Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar. The website recently announced their plans to issue the movie “Raga,” a 1971 documentary about Ravi Shankar that features George Harrison, on both DVD and CD in October. The soundtrack was originally issued on Apple Records. Pt Ravi Shankar and daughter Anoushka are scheduled to play in Wellington next month. – Chirag Sutar

Ganga, Gai and Mandir for Varun Gandhi

New Delhi: While the whole country is battling with issues of price rise, terrorism and shortage of power and water the other Gandhi, Varun seems to think otherwise. While addressing a rally in Uttar Pradesh he said his party ie. the Bharatiya Janata Party should focus on the Ganga, safety of cows and care of temples. “Price rise is an issue alright, but we should not forget what our party was formed for. We should not compromise on our self-respect. If we don’t fight for our self-respect, the Ganga (river), Gau mata (cows), our temples and the youth, then everything else will fall apart,” he added. He said he has constructed around 200 temples in his parliamentary constituency of Pilibhit with his own money. Gandhi also spoke about issues of land acquisition and the plight of farmers.


Tamil Nadu to have Valentine Sri Krishna temple

Chennai: Come Valentine’s Day and one thinks of cards, gifts and candle light dinners, but couples in Tamil Nadu will soon have a Valentine Krishna Temple to visit on this day. The idea of marrying the Christian saint of love St.Valentine and the Hindu god of Romance Sri Krishna is the brain child of R.Jagannath, a former food and beverages manager with the hotel industry. Jaganaath says St Val- entine and Krishna make the perfect mix. “In Hindu mythology, Krishna is the only god who is synonymous with love. During various phases in his life, he was loved by mothers, girls, the Yadavas and virtually by every character in the Mahabharata even though he sided with the Pandavas,” he said. The temple being built at Sholingur, about 140 km from Chennai will be completed by April 2010. The temple will have a statue of Krishna and Radha with a cow and a calf beside the. The cow would be shown licking Krishna’s feet to reciprocate his love for animals. Another unique feature of this temple would be that devotees will be allowed to touch the deity, for according to Jagannath “what is love without touching?”



Japan to help upgrade Alang shipyard

Gandhinagar: The Gujarat government and Japan have joined to upgrade the existing Alang shipyard in Bhavnagar. The two countries have signed a memorandum of understanding which focuses on technology transfer and financial assistance from Japan to upgrade the yard at Alang to international standards. Alang located on the western coast of Gulf of Cambay, in the western part of India, is the largest ship-recycling yard in the world. Ever since its inception in 1982, Alang has emerged as one of the choicest ship-scrapping destinations for the ship owners around the world. Hundreds of ships from all over the world find their final resting place in Alang every year. The MoU includes construction and operation of a common hazardous waste removal pre-treat- ment facility, modernisation of recyclable goods market and development of human resources. The government plans to make Alang the largest International Maritime Organisation (IMO) complied ship recycling yard.

Plans to convince corporate India to shun neckties

Mumbai: Taking a cue from the government of Bangladesh that has ordered male government em- ployees to stop wearing suits, jackets and ties to save power in September last year, a group in Mumbai wants Indian corporations to follow suit. Wearing a tie could be a hindrance in a hot climate, say the campaign initiators. This would lessen the burden on office air conditioners during the summer months when many times, cities also suffer from long power outages. Air conditioning equipment is said to consume about a third of the power used by whole cities, reports say. The campaigners are trying to organise a “No Tie Day” on 3 May to increase awareness and say the reaction has been one of support especially those who are bound by a corporate dress code. Over the years, many organisations in India have rationalised their employees’ uniform designs – most of which were a British legacy. For instance bus conductors and drivers had to wear a manda- tory peaked cap and shoes while at work until about the 1980s when it was abandoned after protests from unions. The “no-tie” campaigners have tapped an unlikely quarter of support from environmentalists who are convinced that ties and jackets necessitate air conditioning to be turned up, consuming more power, which is a bad look for corporate environmental responsibility. As well as ordering employees not to wear ties and jackets, the Bangladesh government also ordered officials and ministers not to turn their air-conditioners below 24 degrees Celcius.

India sings again with launch of ‘Phir Mile Sur’

New Delhi: The Iconic national song was recreated for Young India on Republic Day, January 26 Circa Aug 15th 1988, “Mile Sure Mera Tumhara” – The iconic song was premiered on Doordarshan and instantly became India’s beloved melody. It featured many national icons of the time, including, Amitabh Bachchan, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Kamal Hassan, Balamu- ralikrishna, Lata Mangeshkar, Prakash Padukone, just to a name a few. “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” showcased the diversity of India to establish its message of unity. The song captivated and enthralled every Indian and an entire generation vividly recalls the iconic opening lines sung by Bharat Ratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi. “Mile Sur Mera Tumhara” was conceptualised by the late Suresh Mullick of O & M Advertising. Bollywood infotainment channel Zoom conceived and produced the Phir Mile Sur project, which is an initiative of The Times of India Group and Vodafone Essar. Arti and Kailash Surendranath have once again recreated their magic with Phir Mile Sur. Other as- sociates involved with this project include Kingfisher Airlines, Radio City 91.1 FM and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. “Phir Mile Sur” was appropriately launched on the eve of Republic Day, at a grand event at the Taj Land’s End, Mumbai. The film was released in the presence of various stars, ce- lebrities and dignitaries. More than 68 of India’s icons have lent their support to this initiative that has taken almost a year to create. It took more than 60 days of on-location shoot, across 15 cities of India, 30 days of post production, 22 of India’s biggest superstars, 18 of India’s best musi- cians, 13 of India’s best singers and dancers, 15 of India’s most renowned sports person to create this magnum opus. Each artist speaks of a cause and the video is shot at places that have historical value and significance. The song is like an alternative anthem and a rediscovery for today’s younger demo- graphic. An important lesson in harmony and unity using popular culture, in a trying time. Phir Mile Sur has a freshness that reflects the enthusiasm of modern India, a tune and lyrics that every Indian today can relate to and which would further ignite the passion for India and its diversity. The languages are many, however Phir Mile Sur speaks a common and universal language - that of love for the motherland and its people. Commenting on the initiative, initiator Kailash Surendranath said, “It has been an in- credible journey creating ‘Mile Sur Mera Tumhara’ which was a mosaic of so many differ- ent personalities from various walks of life and regions in India. Today, we feel the same emotions gushing, after a span of two decades. So many things have changed in India - growth, prosperity, the economic scenario, however, as citizens of this wonderfully diverse country, our feelings for India have only grown stronger and we hope that Phir Mile Sur will further strengthen this bond. ”

we hope that Phir Mile Sur will further strengthen this bond. ” 8 Indian Weekender |


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010






Fiji’s Sugar Swami


Imperious Fiji win NZI Sevens

PadMINI GauNder


Wellington: Fiji have clinched the 2010 NZI Sevens title after winning a stunning final of breathless intensity 19-14 against South Sea Island rivals Samoa. Iliesa Tanivula’s side was the out- standing outfit in the tournament, ending England’s title defence at the semi final stage and then going on to clinch a first Wellington crown since 2006. In doing so, they also cut New Zea- land’s lead in the 2009/10 IRB Sevens World Series to just four points. Samoa move up to third in the table, England are in fourth and Australia’s second successive Plate victory moves them up to fifth. Fiji and Samoa laid on a stunning showpiece final for the packed Westpac Stadium crowd, at the end of which the Fijians emerged as 19-14 winners. Jiuta Lutumailagi and Mikaele Pesa- mino swapped converted tries in the first 10-minute half to make it 7-7 at the break. Emosi Vucago raced over to edge the Fijians seven ahead shortly after the break and Osea Kolinisau’s score put them 19-7 up with two and half minutes to go, but still the Samoans hit back. Pesamino grabbed a second try with a minute to play and only desperate Fijian defence held the Samoans out in the dying seconds. Earlier, Gordon Tietjens’ New Zealand side came up against a superb Samoan display of power and trickery in the first Cup semi final, Uale Mai inspiring the is- landers to a convincing 24-14 win.

The Samoans first fought from behind to beat Kenya and then raced out to a commanding lead against the kiwis, Mai scoring two tries in the space of two minutes in the second half to turn the screw. Fiji then produced a clinical display against injury-hit England to win the second Cup semi 28-19. Youngsters Dan Caprice and Mat Turner produced mature performances for England but Ben Ryan’s side turned over too much ball and the Fijians took advantage to come back from an early deficit to build a lead they never relinquished. Earlier, New Zealand beat trans-Tas- man rivals Australia to reach the Cup semis. In the other half of the draw England had to wait six minutes to register their first score against surprise package Canada, but went on to win 31-0 against the young Cannucks.


“One of the greatest paradoxes of the Fiji sugar industry is that the one man who has been on the central stage for longer than any other person, who has done more to enhance the income of the Fiji cane farmers, is not a high-powered politi- cian, nor an intellectual idealist, but a steely eyed, saffron robed Hindu monk”, wrote author, novelist and media activist Daryl Tarte in 1977, who knew Swami Rudrananda well. Swami Rudrananda had come to Fiji from India in 1939 to serve the Sangam, the south Indian association, which had asked for help from the Ramakrishna Mission in India. Swami Rudrananda, in the true Ramakrishna Mission tradition, had a universal outlook and he would not be narrowed down by any sectarianism. Thus although he came to serve the Sangam, he made sure that the Sangam schools that he had helped establish were open to all sections of the com-

munity, in spite of the fact that there was a law at the time that said if a school was established for one race the other races should not be admitted. Mr. Ramakrishnan,

helped Patel to win support from the grassroots people when he stood for elections to the then Legislative Council. Swamiji’s fight for the sugarcane farmers cul- minated in the Denning Commission in 1969. Patel, as the leading lawyer arguing the farmers’ case, was able to convince Lord Denning of the unfairness of the profit sharing formula used by the CSR. Unfortunately, Patel died just before Denning made his award. According to the award, the growers were to get 70 per cent and

the miller 30 per cent of the profit. Until then it used to be 70 per cent for the millers and 30 per cent for the farmers. Lord Denning, in his award, vindicated the fearless and steadfast stand taken


Swamiji in opposing the might of the CSR. When the history-making award was an-

nounced, CSR said they could not run the indus- try under those conditions. That was not the first time they had threatened to withdraw. The colo- nial government used to give in to their demands and persuade them to stay. But in 1969 Fiji had an elected government,

the Head Teacher of Nadi Sangam School, was taken to court for admitting a Fijian student! From the begin- ning, Swamiji began to work for the uplift of the Indian community in Fiji, which at that time consisted mainly of cane farmers. Many

which at that time consisted mainly of cane farmers. Many with a Fijian chief, Ratu Mara,

with a Fijian chief, Ratu Mara, as the Chief Min- ister, who was agreeable to a takeover of the in- dustry and the Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) was born. The prosperity the farmers enjoyed after in- dependence was mainly due to the hard work of Swamiji and Patel (till his death) and the support

farmers enjoyed after in- dependence was mainly due to the hard work of Swamiji and Patel

of the South Indians wanted Swamiji to concentrate only on their community and the Sangam and some of the diehard South Indians saw Swamiji’s involvement in matters other than the affairs of the Sangam as a weak- ness in him. In 1953, when finally he estab- lished a branch of the Ramakrishna Mission in Fiji, it gave Swamiji more freedom to prac- tice his universalism. Swamiji still re- mained in control of the Sangam but he concentrated his ener- gies more and more on putting an end to the exploitation of the farmers. Sangam people became more and more critical of him and finally he re- linquished control of the Sangam in 1976.

of Ratu Mara from the time Fiji became self- governing. Swamiji was satisfied with the sound work being done by the FSC. He pointed out that in the CSR days Fiji produced only 140,000 tonnes of sugar but in 1983 the production was approaching 500,000 tonnes. So not only the farmers but also the country benefited from the sugar industry after independence. Since Swamiji was kept so busy with solving the problems of the sug- arcane farmers, when he received invitations to visit foreign centres, he would often send Swami Damodarananda instead. In about 1978 a Vedanta group of Kiwi Indians discovered that the Ramakrishna Mission had a centre in

that the Ramakrishna Mission had a centre in     The sugar farmers lived in relative

The sugar farmers lived in relative poverty in spite of their hard work because the CSR enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Within a short time after his arrival, Swamiji fell headlong into the struggle for a better deal for the cane farmers.


Sangam still flourishes because of the strong foundation laid by Swamiji. Fiji was under British colonial administration when Swamiji arrived, “but it was the CSR (Co- lonial Sugar Refining Company) that was ruling”, he had said. The majority of Indo-Fijians were sugarcane farmers who worked very hard in the fields, supplying cane to the mills. But some- times they did not get any money at all because the company would say their cane had no sugar content and could only be converted into molas- ses. The farmers lived in relative poverty in spite of their hard work because the CSR enjoyed the fruits of their labour. Within a short time after his

arrival, Swamiji fell headlong into the struggle

Nadi and wrote to invite one of the swamis to visit Auckland. Swami Rudrananda generously asked Swami Damoda-

rananda to go there and attend to their needs, so he went and conducted a spiritual retreat for a week on the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. This visit gave Swami Damodarananda a chance to meet a number of Indian and other devotees and friends. Thereafter he visited also began to extend his yearly Auckland trips to Wel- lington, Christchurch and Dunedin, as well as cities in Australia. Later, other senior monks like Rev. Swami Bhuteshananda, Rev. Swami Ranganathananda and Swami Sridharananda also began to regular-

ly visit Australia and New Zealand. As a result,


for a better deal for the cane farmers. While taking up the cause of the poor farmers, Swamiji had persuaded A. D. Patel, a leading lawyer, to involve himself in the efforts to put a halt to the exploitation of farmers. The close as- sociation between Swamiji and Patel continued for three decades until Patel’s death in 1969. It was a mutually beneficial association. While Patel’s brilliance as a lawyer helped Swamiji to get a better deal for the sugarcane farmers, it

a centre of Vedanta under the Ramakrishna

Mission was inaugurated in 2008 in Auckland. Swamiji resigned from the Sugar Board in 1984 owing to failing health, which deteriorated sharply after his 84th birthday celebration that was organised on a grand scale by his devotees. The following year, on June 30, 1985, he passed away. The sugarcane farmers of Fiji had lost their selfless and dedicated leader.


Brussels between the two parties in 2007. In an exclusive interview with PACNEWS, the First Counsellor at the EU Pacific Delegation office in Suva, Robert De Raeve said any release of the fund would be subject to meeting the commitments towards the return to democratic rule. Also on hold is Fiji’s allocation of between 30-40 million Euros from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) for national country programmes. “The idea would now be to see if we can re-engage with the government before a decision on the 28 million will be taken. Fiji was earmarked


of the Cotonou Agreement.


Fiji was earmarked 96 of the Cotonou Agreement. 96 2009. As you know, the decision was

2009. As you know, the decision was extended to March this year. “We have to have dialogue with government with the aim to get back to a democratically

elected government as soon as possible. The aim of the dialogue is to see that our principles of rule of law, democratic processes, and human rights are respected. In a very brief comment to PACNEWS, Fiji’s leader Commodore Frank

Bainimarama said, ‘I have not been informed

of the latest intentions of

the European Union.’ “If that is what the EU is saying, then it’s their prerogative, said Commodore Bainimarama. However, the EU remains hopeful that consultations with the Fijian government will happen soon to figure out

what needs to be done to make use of the 28 million allocated for 2010. “Dialogue is not limited by the March deadline but if there is

a delay in dialogue, we

run the risk of losing the 28 million, which will be unfortunate. “We need to have formal negotiations on Article 96 of the Cotonou

Partnership Agreement, to come to an agreement on a new Council Decision in the course of this year. “The last one was in April 2007 in Brussels. There is not yet a concrete date to start. Before that, we hope to see some progress on the ground such as the lifting the Public Emergency Regulation (PER) and starting the national dialogue forum, said Mr De Raeve. This week, the Fiji Government announced a 30 day extension to the restrictive PER decree but promised that it will be lifted soon, when the Media Decree comes into place. At the same time, it’s looking for a suitable candidate to chair the national dialogue forum, which it hopes will bring together all stakeholders to gather their views on how the People’s Charter for Change can move Fiji forward. “The purpose of the forum is to facilitate discussions that are expected to be wide ranging and inclusive, the permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’ office, Colonel Pio Tikoduadua had told a local radio station - Pacnews

Country loses euro32 million in sugar money

Suva: As the March 31 deadline looms for Fiji , the European Union (EU) has revealed that Fiji has lost out the 32 million Euros (US$44.4 million) allocated for the reforms of the sugar industry for 2008 and 2009. And the future of the 28 million Euros

(US$38.9 million) allocated for 2010 is likely to suffer the same fate if the Fijian administration does not meet the demands set out in the commitments made in

does not meet the demands set out in the commitments made in Also on hold is

Also on hold is Fiji’s allocation of between 30-40 million Euros from the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) for national country programmes.

Development Fund (EDF) for national country programmes. 60 million Euros for the period 2008-2010. Of that

60 million Euros for the period 2008-2010. Of that amount, 8 million Euros was for 2008, 24 million in 2009 and 28 million for the current year. The EU subsidy was to help Fiji become globally competitive after the removal of

preferential-based quota system, which paid a higher price than the world market for its sugar exports. “Now the 8 million is lost. We were quite advance in preparing what we call a Financing Agreement but that had to be signed before the end of last year, said De Raeve. The military coup of 2006 breached Article

“The 24 million for 2009 is facing the same fate because it was linked to having a

democratically elected government, which has not happened. Since we didn’t renegotiate Article

EU Council Decision, the commitments that

we both agreed in 2007 are the ones still legally in place. “In that decision, it says that a democratically elected government should be in place by March


9 Asians arrested by police to be deported

Suva: Fiji police in joint operation with officers from the Fiji Immigration department arrested nine Asians in four separate house raids conducted in Suva recently. Assistant police spokesperson Sergeant Suliano Tevita said the nine, comprising of seven Chinese females and two Chinese males will be deported today. Tevita said the seven Chinese females had breached conditions of their work permits, which did not allow for prostitution activities they were alleged to be engaged in. Under the new Crimes Decree passed last week, Police now have the powers to raid and arrest person(s) they suspect of engaging in prostitution related activities, illegal in Fiji. The two Chinese men, according to police were illegal immigrants because their visas had expired in 2004 and February 2008 respectively. The Asians are being held at the Central Police Station in Suva.

- Pacnews

Fiji reduces coup penalties

Suva: A new decree has been gazetted in Fiji which reduces the penalty for coups and treason. An act of treason once attracted a life sentence, but under the new ruling it’s been reduced to 15 years. Fiji has been ruled by its latest coup-installed government since December 2006 under the leadership of Commmodore Frank Bainimarama. Dorsami Naidu, President of the Fiji Law

Society, has told Radio Australia Pacific Beat, the decree is an unfortunate measure. “I mean when this regime came into power, one of their reasons was to wipe away the coup

culture, but by giving leaner sentences, it seems there’s more of an encouragement and we will never get away from this coup culture,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate.”

- Pacnews

Australian Government signs $1.6m Pacific cricket deal

Canberra: Australia has signed up to a $1.6 million cricket partnership program to build stronger communities in the Pacific.

The partnership, signed between the government, Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council, is to run over four years and will focus on communities in Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, Samoa and the Solomon Islands. The program is part of the government’s Australian Sports Outreach Program, which works with local authorities and communities to deliver sporting programs.

“Sport is widely recognised as a vital tool in building stronger communities, not least through providing opportunities for youth leadership and achievement,” Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in a statement. Mr Rudd signed the first partnership - which was based on football - at the Pacific Islands forum last year. Agreements with netball, rugby league and rugby union are expected to be completed early this year.

- Pacnews

netball, rugby league and rugby union are expected to be completed early this year. -
For all your legal needs Aaron Kashyap BA, LLB Barrister and solicitor Level 1, 351

For all your legal needs

Aaron Kashyap

BA, LLB Barrister and solicitor Level 1, 351 Manukau Road, PO Box 26-596, DXCP 32513, Epsom, Auckland Mobile: 0274 857 302 Phone: (09) 6238277 Fax: (09)6235177 Email:


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010


Indian scientists to understand better the feeding, nesting and migratory behaviours of these cultural icons. WWF
scientists to understand better the feeding, nesting and migratory behaviours of these cultural icons. WWF

scientists to understand better the feeding, nesting and migratory behaviours of these cultural icons. WWF marine species co-ordinator Penina Solomona said with the turtle’s traversing nature between wide oceans, regional co-operation ensured that establishing the management and protection of turtle population must go beyond the national level to the cross-border level. “By working with communities, governments, scientists and other partners, WWF aims to save these ancient mariners for the benefit of future generations,” he said. “Strong partnerships are, and will continue to be essential to achieving shared goals,” Ms Solomona said. - Pacnews

15 Methodist Church ministers charged in fresh PER crackdown

Suva: Fiji police have arrested and charged 15 ministers of the Methodist Church with allegedly breaching the Public Emergency Regulations (PER). Assistant police spokesman Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said the 15 men were questioned yesterday and released on bail by police. He told FijiLive the group will appear in court in March. “They are alleged to have been found in breach of the condition of the permit that was granted for the church’s standing committee meeting last year,” Sokomuri said. Three other Methodist Church ministers are expected to be questioned later. Eight other Methodist figures including church president, Reverend Ame Tugaue, general secretary Reverend Tuikilakila Waqairatu and former president Reverend Manasa Lasaro have appeared in court in a separate case on the same charges.

Migratory cultural icons

Suva, Fiji: Fiji has been identified as an important foraging ground for turtles in the South Pacific. The revelation was made at a workshop on satellite tagging of turtles in Nadi last week. Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) marine species officer Lui Bell said the finding was based on the results of a flipper and satellite tagging. Government representatives from Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tonga, Vanuatu and Fiji gathered to discuss ways to build national capacities to enable the satellite tagging of turtles and learn more about their behaviours. The workshop was also supported by the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and the Marine Conservation Action Fund. Mr Bell said green turtle nesters mounted with satellite tags on Rose Island, American Samoa migrated to Fiji afterwards. “Similarly, a hawksbill nester mounted with a satellite tag in Samoa, migrated to the EEZs of seven Pacific island countries and territories and ended up in the Fiji waters. Another green nester tagged in Cook Islands also found its way to Fiji waters,” he said. Monitoring has revealed dramatic declines in marine turtle populations over the last 20 years across much of South East Asia and the Pacific. Tagging has allowed


Australian High Commission to introduce label-free visas in Fiji

Suva: In what is a first for the Pacific, the Australian High Commission’s Immigration section is pleased to announce that it will be introducing, from 8 March 2010, label-free visas for the majority of visa applicants from Fiji, making Fiji one of the first South Pacific nations to have access to label-free. Label-free will allow fast processing of visa applications and longer visa validity. The new label-free visas will bring Fiji in line with many other countries where the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has introduced other label-free visa systems such as the electronic travel authority (ETA) and eVisa. Although most applicants will no longer have visa labels placed in their passports, details of the type of visa approved and the period for which the visa is valid will be recorded in the DIAC computer systems as currently occurs. These computerised records are available to airline staff at airports for verification when passengers check in to board a flight to Australia. The Immigration Section at the High Commission in Suva is in discussions with relevant stakeholders including airlines and travel agents to ensure their preparedness of this

change. Visa types covered by the new system will include, among a number of others, those for tourists, business short stay and permanent migration. A list of all visa types currently covered by the change is available at www.fiji. The list will be expanded in the coming months. Fiji citizens wishing to apply for a visa to travel to Australia will continue to lodge their applications at the Australian High Commission in Suva either in person or through a courier. Where visa applicants lodge applications through a third party, such as a travel agent, applicants should ensure they receive a copy of their payment receipt as evidence that their application has been lodged. If the visa application is refused, applicants will receive a formal decision letter from the High Commission’s Immigration Section. After arriving in Australia, people with label- free visas can always update themselves on the terms of their visas by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) system. - Pacnews

Airlines review aircraft fleet in Fiji

Suva: A study of Air Pacific and Pacific Sun’s fleets has started. Air Pacific chief executive officer John Campbell, has confirmed that the fleet of both airlines would be reviewed for possible replacement. It is understood that Pacific Sun wants to replace its Twin Otter and at least one Britten Norman Islander which were bought when the airline took over the operations of Sun Air. Mr Campbell did not confirm whether the assessment included plans to buy aircraft operating in Vanuatu. But airline industry sources said Pacific Sun had investigated the airworthiness of several smaller aircraft operated by Air Vanuatu, including Twin Otters. The Otter and Islander aircraft are internationally recognised as suitable for

rough airstrips similar to those serviced by Pacific Sun, including Kadavu, Lakeba and Vanuabalavu. On the Air Pacific fleet assessment, Mr Campbell said the study would determine whether additional interim aircraft would be leased as they awaited the delivery of Boeing 787 Dreamliners, which were due in 2012. The airline operates two Boeing 747s leased from Singapore Airlines on its major trunk routes and its own Boeing 767 and 737 on shorter hauls. One option open to the airline is to return the Boeing 747s and lease the newer Boeing 777 aircraft before the delivery of the Dreamliners. Airline sources said the leased B747s needed a major refit.

Airline sources said the leased B747s needed a major refit. Do you think you know who

Do you think you know who this man is?

Do you know who owned or used the bag in the picture?
Do you know who
owned or used the bag
in the picture?
Do you know who owned or wore this cap?
Do you know
who owned or wore
this cap?
in the picture? Do you know who owned or wore this cap? Police are looking for

Police are looking for a killer and need to know the answers to these questions. If you have information, please call:

0800 EDGEWATER (0800 444 014) or CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111

EDGEWATER (0800 444 014) or CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111 Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010

Melbourne clinch soccer glory

vICtorY: (Top) The jubilant Melbourne side which recently won the veterans soccer tournament in Auckland;

vICtorY: (Top) The jubilant Melbourne side which recently won the veterans soccer tournament in Auckland; The men behind the success of the tournament: Ay- aaz Khan, left, and Satyawan Singh of the Fiji-NZ Veterans Soccer Association.

Soccer Inc had come on board with their teams as they did not have enough teams to hold the tourna- ment on their own. Khan said the end result was a bigger and better tournament enjoyed by all. A total 33 teams took part in the tournament, with a total 71 games played over six days. Before the main final, all participants observed a minute’s silence to remember the veterans who were no longer with us, namely: Simon Peters (Labasa), Solo Junior (Tavua), Nikka Dean (Lautoka) and Leone Rakoroi (Suva).

- Arvind Kumar

Understanding personal tax summaries, tax returns, Working with Family tax credits, Ki- wiSaver.

Water Safe in Auckland Saturday 27th February 2010, 9.00am – 3.00pm Learn how to be water safe this summer from Auckland Regional Council’s Park Rangers at Muriwai Beach.

For the Fiji Festival, the original “Bobby Darling” is expected to be one of the main highlights. Dancer Bijuria, a walking on nail stunt, and a Faag competition are among the other key attractions. Traditional Fijian food such as lovo, palusami and palau will also be sold among the numerous food stalls. For the India Festival, classical items, Bollywood dances, traditional Indian food, and live band perfor- mances in the evening will be the crowd pullers. “It will be a showcase of cultures from various parts of India, backed by solid variety of entertainment and not to mention the food.” Entry is free and so is parking, says Khan. The events are backed by Radio Tarana, Diners Club, Tourism Fiji, Air Pacific and World Travel Centre. * February 20-21, Fiji and India Festivals, Telstra- Clear Pacific Events Centre, Manukau, 12 noon-9pm. Entry free, lots of parking.


More time for Short Film entries

You now have more time to submit your entries for the Short Film Contest being held in New Zealand, Australia and India. The organisers of the contest, which is part of the International Film Festival 2010 – being held in New Zealand for the first time, have extended the deadline to February 28 for intending partici- pants from New Zealand. It was originally scheduled to close Decem- ber 24, and was later extended to January 30. The deadline extension follows the resched- uling of the Indian Film Festival from February / March to March / April 2010. So, if you consider yourself a filmmaker, get cracking and submit your entries before the end of this month. You could be in to win a trip to India and a chance to work on a life changing experience of doing a Bollywood filmmaking internship. Enter your short film for exhibition alongside some of the most promising new filmmaking talent from Australia, New Zealand and India. IFF2010 has life-changing prizes to offer the winner of its short film and video competition.

Prizes include:


A trip to India.


An internship on a major Bollywood film production.


See your film played to viewership of 300 million+ on World Movies India television channel.


Television exposure. Watch your film play on your own TV on World Movies Aus tralia.


Walk the red carpet alongside high profile members of the Australian, New \ Zealand and Indian film industries.


Have your film screened in cinemas in

Melbourne, Sydney, Perth & Auckland. Entry Requirements: Your film or video needs to have SOMETHING to do with India, whether it is the location, a key Indian crew member, or a reference to India or Indian culture in the content. Films should not be more than 10 mins, and can be shot on any format, although shortlisted films will need to meet certain quality standards for cinema exhibition. Visit for further details.

How to enter:

Simply download our entry form and upload your film or video on YouTube. Submitted films must be less than 10min and have some link to India. Full details of how to submit, deadlines and criteria can be found at All queries regarding the competition can be directed to The IFF Short Film Competition is an exceptional chance to have your film work widely seen alongside the best productions from the sub-continent. Winning entries will also feature at the Indian Film Festival to be held in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and Auckland in March and April.

A ‘short + sweet’ experience for Mrs Maniben R Patel

Auckland hosted its first edition of ‘Short + Sweet’ a

10 minute theatre festival which originated in Aus-

tralia. Alex Broun, the director of Short and Sweet festival was upbeat about the event in Auckland as it has taken Australia by storm and is now a permanent annual fixture in the theatre scene across Australia. This festival is slowing expanding its horizon and is now reaching the shores of Malaysia, Singapore, US and UK. The first edition of ‘S+S’ had tremendous re- sponse to entries in all categories. From this there were 20 plays chosen in the ‘Festival category’ and

20 plays were chosen in the ‘Wildcards’ category.

Among these 20 in the ‘Widlcards’ was an Indian production by MigHT-I theatre – Mrs Maniben Patel. The idea for Mrs Maniben was mooted in the discussion after MigHT-I theatre was selected to present an entry in the ‘Wildcards’ as an Indepen- dent theatre company (ITC). Kaustubh Pethe, came up with this idea of a funny story that he had heard, which became the focal point for the play! Devdutt Paranjape, Bipin Chavan, Sushma Thakur added a few thoughts which became the basis of the play. Prashant Belwalkar, then had the onerous task of writing a script based on the ideas, which he was able to do just in time given that the time limit of the play was only 10 minutes. The play had eight characters in it, Mrs Maniben (Sushma Thakur), Dr Shah (Kaustubh Pethe), Jignesh Patel (youngest son, Bipin Chavan), Mandy Patel (Jignesh’s wife, Andrada Neagu), Hansa Lee (Mrs Maniben’s daughter, elder to Jignesh, Mrunal Niphadkar), Chang Lee (Hansa’s husband, Devdutt Paranjape), Karsanbhai Patel (Eldest son, Prashant Belwalkar) and Kokila Patel (Karsan’s wife, Jayas- hree Sonar). The casting reflected the mix bag of characters and the idiosyncrasies’ they brought to the role. The play was very well received by the largely Kiwi audience and despite the differences in culture and accent, they applauded at all the right punches and had a hearty laugh. Kaustubh Pethe, as Dr Shah, was his usual best and was the focal character, who had some important news to give to the children. Bipin Chavan, as Jiggy the youngest son, proved his mettle with a wily performance which as matched by Andrada as his wife. This young Roma-

which as matched by Andrada as his wife. This young Roma- nian added not only jest

nian added not only jest but a bit of glamour to the role. Mrunal Niphadkar as Hansa was very convinc- ing as a daughter and Devdutt Paranjape as Chang was a revelation. Many found it hard to believe that he was not an Asian! Jayshree Sonar excelled in her role as Kokila and Prashant Belwalkar was his usual self in de- picting the eldest son Karsanbhai. This pair had the most laughs from the audience! And finally Sushma Thakur, as Mrs Maniben was a portrait of a stoic but strong matriarch of the family, who despite her age was in control of everything around her! A not to be missed performance and a tremen- dous achievement for this group. Though they failed to qualify for the finals, the play left a lasting impres- sion on the audience! Let’s hope for some more plays from this group.

audience! Let’s hope for some more plays from this group. Former Navua rep Patrick Wise slotted

Former Navua rep Patrick Wise slotted in a 10th minute sizzler to give Melbourne a 1-0 victory against Sydney Nadi in an all-Aussie final of the vet- erans’ soccer tournament at Bill McKinley Park in Auckland on Monday. The win helped Melbourne collect a $3000 prize cheque and also the SM Singh Memorial Trophy in the New Zealand Fiji Veterans Soccer Association tournament’s over-35s competition played under mostly fine weather conditions. They were also awarded gold medals, and the runners-up collected a $1000 cheque and silver medals. The over-40s competition for the Billy Singh Me- morial Cup was won by Hamilton Nadroga 5-3 fol- lowing a penalty shootout against Sydney Nadi. Sydney Nadi’s Avinesh Prasad (Mircha), who scored nine goals in the tournament, was awarded the Most Valuable Player trophy. The tournament, which attracted more than 2000 for the final, brought out some of the biggest stars of the yesteryears, including players such as Hendry Dyer, Arjun Pillay, Lorima Batiregega, Jope Lomu, Afroz Ali, Esala Masi and Shailendra Lal. Melbourne bundled out defending champions and favourites Sydney Ba 1-0 in the quarters before gunning down Jet Set 3-1 in the semis (shootout) on their way to the final. Sydney Nadi downed Sydney Combined in the other semi. The success of the tournament left one of its key organizers, Ayaaz Khan of the NZ Fiji Veterans Soccer Association, beaming at the end. “It was the biggest and the best tournament or- ganised so far and we are pleased with the way things have turned out,” Khan told the Indian Weekender. Although the tournament was organized the NZ Fiji Veterans Soccer Association, the rival NZ-Fiji

Community Calendar

Workshops at Auckland Regional Migrant Services:

Home Ownership Saturday 13th February 2010, 9.30am – 4.00pm Learn about how to buy your first home in New Zealand, including mortgage, building and main- taining your home.

Personal Tax Seminar and Redundancy Tax Credits Saturday 20th February 2010, 9.30am – 12.30pm

Fiji, India festivals next week

Manukau will be a hive of activity next week when the city hosts a weekend of festivals at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre. The Fiji Festival will be held on Saturday, February 20, while the Indian Festival will be held the following day at the same venue. And the man behind the festivals, Radio Tarana managing director Robert Khan, says he expects at least 5000 people per day to grace the gathering. “It is a summer event for the whole family,” Khan told the Indian Weekender. Khan said they decided to hold the festivals sepa- rately over two days so that people could experience the different flavours of the regions. “Fiji Festival is a Pacific based festival with Indians, Fijians, Rotumans, Chinese and others while India Festival is one with Indians only,” Khan said. “The content of both events are different and we feel that people need to experience two different days with different flavours.”


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010




Pandit Vikash and Prabhash Maharaj regale NZ audiences

The father-son duo Pandit Vikash Maharaj and his son Prabash Maharaj belong to the famous ‘Maharaj’ clan of Benaras and are the 14th

and 15th generation of musicians from this ancient city. They are the torch bearers of the oldest living musical family going back 500 years. Migrant Heritage Charitable Trust Inc (MigHT-i) hosted the talented artistes in New Zealand. Panditji started off his musical journey as

a Tabla player under the tutelage of his father the late Pandit Nanku Maharaj, aptly known as ‘Bengal Tiger’. However, it was Panditji’s mother who diverted the attention of young Vikash to sarod who excelled in this instru- ment under the guidance of his Guru, the late Shri Rajesh Chandra Moetra of the Maihar Senia gharana. The blessing of both gharanas can be seen in Panditji’s compositions. Ac- companying him was his equally talented son,

a young musical prodigy who started playing

tabla at the young age of two. Prabhash, won

his first gold medal by the age of twelve at the Centre of Cultural Resources and Training, followed this up by winning six more such medals. The duo are a part of the ‘Holiwater Project’ and were in New Zealand on the eve of New Year to perform in Tauranga. The tour of New Zealand aptly titled “Sangam” , with MigHT-I, started off with

a performance in Auckland, where the audi-

ences were left spellbound with the rendition

of raag Malhaar. The gentle plucking of the

strings of Sarod created an ambience of peace and tranquillity in the auditorium. This was a precursor for the second half to come. It was

a surprise item presented by Panditji and Tom

Bailey. Along with Pinker they played some exquisite fusion numbers based on classical Indian music themes. This was a wonderful item and for the first time, fusion sounded so soothing and calming to the ears. The audi- ence were left with a soul cleansing effect at the end of the show and many wanted it to go on forever! Pandijti and Vikashji then hosted some

MigHT-I has been striving since its incep- tion to bring some classical Indian Music, Art
MigHT-I has been striving since its incep-
tion to bring some classical Indian Music, Art
and Heritage to New Zealand. Sangam has
been a part of that journey. Whilst the shows
have been well attended, it will take some
time before they can match with the crowds
that come to the “Bollywood” musical shows.
However, Varsha Belwalkar – Secretary of
MigHT-I is confident that very soon they
will be able to attract a large section of New
Zealand audiences towards this classical form
of music. A special mention must be made
of Bharat Jamnadas, Satish Sharma, Meena
Patke, Suresh Bhana and Bhagavan who have
worked tirelessly and continue to support the
cause of MigHT-I and retain the flavour of
Indian classical music. Watch this space for
the next event by MIGHT-I.
PaNdIt vIkasH MaHaraj & soN
PrabHasH MaHaraj
workshops in the Radhakrishna Mandir, Mt
Eden where the students were taught the finer
nuances of some of the ragas and the way some
ragas are treated in the Benaras Gharana Style.
The workshop at Papatoetoe was co-hosted by
Manjit Singh where his students of the Patiala
gharana were exchanging notes with Vikash,
who highlighted the salient features of both
the Gharanas as well as the key differences.
Panditji meanwhile rendered some wonderful
coaching on singing and ragas.
The finale of the Sangam tour was at Wel-
lington. This event was co-hosted by New
Zealand Indian Fine Arts Society, Wellington.
A knowledgeable crowd in Wellington were
treated for some wonderful ragas as well as
semi-classical forms like Thumri, Kajri by
Panditji. Despite the long weekend holidays
and the heavy rains which accompanied the
show, the audiences felt enthralled at the music
and were eager for more such shows.
enthralled at the music and were eager for more such shows. Ye ZaMeeN Ga raHI HaI:

Ye ZaMeeN Ga raHI HaI: (left) Gopal Bhatia, well known local singer and radio pre- senter, is the man behind the Amit Kumar show titled “Yeh Zameen Ga Rahi Hai”.along with Amit Kumar (right) Amit Kumar will be performing in Auckland in May.

because there are many songs which are his favou- rite. How many New Zealand shows are planned? This is going to be the one and only show. What are your views of Amit Kumar as a singer? Are you singing with him as well? Well, besides directing the entire concert, singing with Amit Kumar will be a great honour and privilege as he is the son of my all time favou- rite idol Kishore da. What are your views of Kishore Kumar and RD Burman? Kishore da and Pancham da were the greatest musicians of all time. They have left memories of an immortal musical journey. This show is to keep

their music alive for years to come. At what age did Amit Kumar start singing, do you know? Amit Kumar made his debut in singing and as

a child actor at the age of 11 in his father’s movie Door Ka Rahi. He recorded a song Main Panchi Matwaala Re as child singer artist. This song was removed from the film later by Kishore Kumar. Why is the show labelled Yeh Zameen Gaa

Rahee Hai

This is the title of the show because it is sung

by Amit Kumar himself and composed by RD Burman. This is the theme of our show.


- Arvind Kumar

Amit Kumar to sing in city

Remember the hit 80s movie Teri Kasam? Remem- ber heart-throb Kumar Gaurav giving life to the lilting lyrics of Yeh Zameen Ga Rahi Hain on the misty hills in Teri Kasam? Now, you will soon get to see live the man who actually voiced those unforgettable numbers which are as much a hit today as they were 20 years ago. Amit Kumar will perform live in Auckland in May in a one-off performance which is already gen- erating huge interest among music lovers. Amitji, son of the legendary Kishore Kumar, will be singing many popular numbers from his own and his super star father’s collection. Also singing with Amitji will be well known

local artiste Gopal Bhatia, the man behind the Yeh Zameen Ga Rahi Hai – Amit Kumar show coming

to Auckland.

Gopal, also a presenter on Radio Tarana, talks to Indian Weekender’s Arvind Kumar about Amit Kumar’s visit.

When is the Amit Kumar show? Date, tickets

prices, availability, venue, etc

urday, May 1, at Logan Campbell Centre Green- lane, Auckland, Tickets prices are VIP $35 (re-

served ) $30 (general ), $5 discount if bought before March 31, tickets are available at all Indian outlets and can also be booked by calling 09 624 6330. Why did you choose to bring Amit Kumar? Amit is talented singer just like his father, leg- endary Kishore da. Most Auckland music lovers know that I am a great fan of Kishore da and have been doing many shows and giving musical tributes

to him. This time, I have an opportunity to have his

? Show is on Sat-

own son Amit Kumar to give him a musical tribute along with legendary musicians who have been working with Kishore Kumar and R.D.Burman from the music industry. This is also Amit Kumar’s first time in New Zealand. Is Amitji keen to come to New Zealand, this

in New Zealand. Is Amitji keen to come to New Zealand, this being his first visit?

being his first visit? Yes, for sure, when I spoke to him and proposed him for the NZ concert he was very keen to come

perform and share musical memories of his legend- ary father, Kishore Kumar, as well as singing his own hit numbers. Is he accompanied by an orchestra? As I have mentioned,the musicians coming from Bollywood were involved in making the original music for legendary music director R D Burman and performed with Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and many more. What popular numbers will he be singing (his own) and those of his legendary father Kishore Kumar? Well, many of his popular songs like Bade Achhe Lagte Hain from Balika Badhu and of course Yeh Zameen Ga Rahi Hai (please note the name of

the show is Yeh Zameen Ga Rahi Hai ) and also his

father’s hit numbers like Roop Tera Mastana and many more. Will he be singing Main Ekh Panchi Matwala


? Who is the original singer? The song is composed by his father and sung by

himself, he would love to sing it What’s Amitji’s favourite song? He found this question difficult to answer

Indian Indian

From the Editor


National torn between pragmatism and realpolitik

Though you can’t get everyone to agree on any set prescription to fix it, everyone would readily concur that New Zealand’s tax system is badly broken. In fact it is like an ailing

patient in intensive care with multiple serious disorders. Strong medicine to treat one set of them could produce side effects disastrous enough to cause other ailments to deterio- rate and threaten the patient’s survival.



delicate balance, therefore, is called for, comprising a host of mild medicines along

with a scalpel or two and, of course, a fearless medicine man unafraid to take the risks.

That role has fallen on the twin shoulders of Prime Minister John Key and his deputy and Finance Minister Bill English.


this week’s speech by the Prime Minister seemed tame and lackluster, it is because

of the delicate situation of the ailing tax system. The consequences of any strong medi- cine would be dire especially given the state of affairs of both the New Zealand and global economies as they emerge out of the past two years’ great recession. Then, of course, there is the very practical issue of realpolitik. What the Prime Minister has essentially indicated is a reordering of the tax pie not

increasing its size, making it look like the softest of options. The proposed hike in GST to 15 per cent is to be offset by lower tax rates and therefore, in the surmise of his govern- ment’s scheme of things – will not affect low wage earning families. That, to say the least, is debatable and the proof of the pudding can only be verified in the eating. He has left the controversial issue of taxing property investors, speculators and land- lords to bring a better measure of equitability for another day, making his approach look gutless and without teeth. Taxing this sector is an obvious option given the manner in which skews the country’s tax system and would be a logical one for anyone with the kind of financial savvy that Mr Key is renowned to have. But it is here that realpolitik has kicked in and Key the politician has won over Key the financial wizard. For it is obvious that it is this segment that largely comprises Nation- al’s vote bank and there is no way any politician worth his or her salt would antagonise


a vote bank in such an obvious manner. But what is truly confounding is why he has left out the issue of reducing company tax

– an obvious vehicle of investment and therefore an engine of growth. This was in many

ways a no brainer and would have had a please all effect – if not for anything else, for

its feel good factor. Or, for that matter, announcing some sort of attempt to index taxes to inflation.


is obvious that Mr Key has a few trump cards he has not revealed and is saving the

best for budget time, three months from now. With his speech this week he has revealed enough to generate debate and provide plenty of cud to the opposition to chew on. In the meantime, between now and the budget, his team can gauge reaction and fine tune the final policies based on feedback. By the time the budget is out this year, National would be well into the middle of its term and proceeding toward the next elections. It will be interesting to see the choices Mr Key and Mr English will make between financial pragmatism to pull the country’s taxa- tion system and its economy out of the morass and the hard boiled reality of realpolitik.

Power of the community

There is little doubt that the manner in which the community rallied around the tragic killing of Indian taxi man Hiren Mohini played a part in the scale of the investigation that has been mounted and the alacrity with which the government has acted in engaging with stake holders. Fifty police investigators, a billboard campaign and the readiness of the government to consider a number of safety measures are all encouraging developments. We deeply mourn the passing of Hiren and while praying for his departed soul also sincerely hope that his sacrifice will not have been in vain and that the government will take the necessary deterrent steps urgently, not only in terms of physical barriers in taxis but also stronger laws to deal with offenders. As shown in the present instance, a united community can go a long way in helping achieve such outcomes.

can go a long way in helping achieve such outcomes. Indian Weekender volume 1 No 23

Indian Weekender volume 1 No 23 Publisher: Kiwi Media Group Limited Group editor-in-chief: Dev Nadkarni online editor: Arvind Kumar India Correspondent: Shobha Rao Chief technical officer: Rohan Desouza rohan@ design: Tanmay Desai / advertising: Giri Gupta - Ph: 520 0922, Mob: 021 221 1131. Email - Please email original editorial contributions, community notices and pictures to Views expressed in the publication are not necessarily of the publisher and the publisher is not responsible for advertisers’ claims as appearingv in the publication

Indian Weekender is published by Kiwi Media Group, 98 Great South Road, New Market and printed at APN Print, Ellerslie, Auckland Copyright 2009. Kiwi Media Group. All Rights Reserved.


2009. Kiwi Media Group. All Rights Reserved. Letters We Need Self Esteem and not Unrewarding Politics!

We Need Self Esteem and not Unrewarding Politics! NZICA condemns this misinformation by some about it belonging to any forum. Even a poster was published without NZICA consent – this is wrong and unethical. Representing Indians in New Zealand since 1926; NZICA is composed of 17 organisations (all democratic and spread across NZ) and it does not accept self-styled individuals; trusts or religious groups to repre- sent it. Rather than playing into unrewarding politics and only focus on dignitaries; our func- tions need to infuse self-esteem.

- Veer Khar, General Secretary, NZICA

Why Gandhi was a Mahatma Very well written article. There is no dougbt about Gandhiji’s greatness. I would like to add another Greatness in Gandhiji that no man may ever equal: his path of non-violance: “Amhinsa Parmo Dharma.” In a world where even a brother willingly resorts to weapons against his own brother, Gandhiji stood against the British might virtually bare handed – or only with his lathi. Those who differ on Gandhiji’s achievements need to re-read his autobiography

- Satendra Kumar

Hiren Mohini

My heart goes out to Hiren and his family this was a very tragic and sad thing to occur. I wish all the best to his family and hope they can find the support they need to tide this difficult time.

Christmas in the Big Apple

I spent a month in NYC back in 04 but it’s still fresh in my head. Esp. nights @Times Square

the buzz is so thick, you can cut it with a knife. Let’s just say its one big apple with bite. Nice

one, Rashmi. Took me right back.

- Amar Trivedi

When a black cat crosses your path

I think it is time we all woke up and embraced positive thinking and attracted some positive

energy than be bogged down with superstitious beliefs that somehow instills fear and is slightly

veiled with bad energy. This is a good article.

- Rashmi

veiled with bad energy. This is a good article. - Rashmi Top 10 stories on

Top 10 stories on

is a good article. - Rashmi Top 10 stories on 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.











Indian Taxi driver dies after incident on the job

Man in footage sought by homicide team

Rotorua Indian Association President dies in accident

When a black cat crosses your path

Hundreds farewell slain taximan Hiren Mohini

Indian RDay diamond jubilee celebrated in Auckland and Manukau

$15 minimum wage is suicidal say Indian business leaders

Christmas in the Big Apple

Mumbai dabbawallas in Harvard curriculum

Attacks on Indians “fabricated”

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Please send us your name, street address and phone number along with a cheque for $30 payable to Kiwi Media Group and mail it to Unit O, 8 Bishop Lenihan Place, East Tamaki, Manukau 2013. The amount would cover the costs of mailing and handling 26 issues.


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010




Our complacency on animal cruelty must be shunned

rasHMI sHeNoY

The media covers heart-rending instances of cruelty to animals from time to time, which is enough to churn stomachs and bring tears to the eyes of anyone with even an iota of compassion in them. The latest among these sordid stories was the shooting of the 33 dogs and puppies near Auckland. How does a man barely able to manage himself come to care for 33 dogs? Why are the perpetrators that torture these defenseless animals inflicting excruciating pain and fear? What good does this do them? And then there are people who abandon animals; who do not provide them with suf- ficient food or water; and the list goes on. How can anyone doing this have a clear con- science? One dog owner tried to strangle his dog using a chain and when the dog was still alive 30 minutes later, he poured petrol down its throat; put a pillowcase in its mouth and finally hit it with a spade. For this all he got was a year in jail. And they say a dog is a man’s best friend. The question is if a man can ever be a dog’s best friend? Can a man ever be half as loyal to the dog as the dog is to its master? The good news, however, is that Tau- ranga MP Simon Bridges’ private member’s bill has been accepted by the government. It is only hoped that it just doesn’t increase the maximum penalty for willful abuse of animals from three years in jail to five. It is further hoped this bill provides for annual government subsidies; grants to animal welfare organizations and makes available

the services of Crown prosecutors. Currently SPCA depends on charity of the legal profession to prosecute such cases of torture. The sen- tence should always

reflect the intensity of pain inflicted on the animal and the sadism involved. If the gov- ernment can provide a grant to saving foolish people who put their own lives at risk then these animals deserve

it too. After all, this is

a country that depends

so heavily on animals. “It’s time to get tough on really serious animal cruelty. The public’s attitude has hardened on this and so should court sen-

tences,” says Bridges. “The bill is now in the very capable hands of Hon. David Carter, Minister of Agriculture. I have offered to assist him in any way to progress the bill.” So what can you and I do to stop this torture and help this case? Here’s what:

1. Go to http://www.theanimalrescuesite. com/ click on the purple box ‘fund food for animals for free’. This doesn’t cost you a

food for animals for free’. This doesn’t cost you a “It’s time to get tough on

“It’s time to get tough on really serious animal cruelty. The public’s attitude has hardened on this

and so should court sentences,”

has hardened on this and so should court sentences,” thing. Their corpo- rate sponsors/adver- tisers use

thing. Their corpo- rate sponsors/adver- tisers use the number of daily visits to donate food to aban- d o n e d / n e g l e c t e d animals in exchange for advertising. This is an American site but hey animals are animals where ever they are. 2. Adopt a pet, don’t buy. Adopting a shelter dog, puppy, cat, kitten, rabbit, or whatever always helps. Thousands of animals that are not adopted get eutha- nized. While there are shelter animals being euthanized, pet shops are breed- ing and feeding cute puppies and kittens

into this world with only profits in mind. You can gift or adopt a pet at www.petson-,

tion/adoption.htm or http://huha.alteredego.

3. You can volunteer to donate money or your

time – whatever works for you.

4. Donate items such as blankets, food, news-

paper, chew toys and treats. These can be

placed into the marked bins at the SPCA.

5. If you don’t have the time or interest to go

to the SPCA then check out super markets near you that have food bins for pets. At least once a month buy any pet food on special and drop it in these bins.

6. All those singers, dancers or sports men

out there, conduct a game or show off your talents and raise funds for this cause at least once a year.

7. From time to time check the wishlist on

SPCA’s site -

list/info.htm you may be able to help in some way.

8. De-clutter at home. You may find some-

thing that you can donate.

9. If you are a retailer please set up a collec-

tion box. Donate it to an organisation of your

choice. 10. Send this to all your friends and even if you don’t, someone you know may do some-

thing for these animals. Pass on your passion,

it is infectious.

There are many more issues like battery hen farming, factory farm pigs, whaling, seal slaughtering and much more. New Zealanders are very generous people. Let us all get together and make this world

a better place to live in, not only for these animals but for ourselves too. Support the animals in whatever way you can. - Rashmi Shenoy works with Hewlett Packard full time as a services account manager and writes for IWK in her spare time and can be contacted via Indian Weekender.

What makes a Fiji Indian subHasH aPPaNa
What makes a Fiji Indian
subHasH aPPaNa

At a recent gathering of social organiSation Settlin In, I was asked by a group of lovely Fiji women to talk briefly about being a Fiji Indian and what it really meant. This was an unexpected request that had to be met impromptu, but I did manage to ramble around the topic for about 10 minutes. My input however, did not satisfy me, so I thought of writing this article for the wider audience. There is little arguing that there are distinct differences between the Fiji Indian and the Indian Indian. Of course one is bidesi and the other desi. That aside, the Fiji Indian’s social experiences have Fijianised him to varying degrees. I can clearly tell from afar who is a Fiji Indian from the posture and general style of the person. The gestures, mannerisms, way of dress- ing and talking, manner of eating and drinking, walking style, etc. are all very Fijian Indian. There is an aggressive male style bias even among Fiji Indian females. This is because that is what is accepted and respected by the wider community in Fiji. Anything less than that is considered wimpish. The Fiji Indian’s diet has a heavy meat bias and a vegetarian is often seen as a “lesser” being. There is even an elevated social status attached to eating meat. Luckily this has begun to change. Likewise, one who doesn’t drink is considered odd while out-drinking others is seen as manly. This is not necessarily the case with the real Indian even though they also have their carni- vores and bottle duelers. These characteristics aside, the Fiji Indian’s history is unique. It is this history that has made the Indo-Fiji and provides insights and pointers on the whats and whys of this unique category of the wider Indian diaspora. History of the Fiji Indian The background of the majority of Fiji Indians is that of indentured laborer – a modern day slave brought over from India between 1879 and 1916 to meet the desperate manpower needs of white

plantations. At that time the primary focus of the colonial administration fell on ensuring the vi- ability of the economy though Indian input in the sugar industry. That labour-capital relationship was fraught with oppression, exploi- tation and atrocities that are well documented by Totaram Sanadhya (1991), Ken Gillion (1962) and Tinker (1974). Later works by Ahmed Ali (1979), Vijay Naidu (1980) and Brij Lal (2004) also highlight the

unfairness, violence and brutality that indenture entailed. Little is made of the fact that the girmitiya could not read, let alone understand, the agree- ment that he signed to sell his life into servitude. The word girmit itself is an agonised version of the word “agreement” that they were forced to sign before they could access the land of oppor- tunity that they were promised. Many thought Fiji was just a day’s journey away! The girmitiya’s odyssey was one infested with vermin, disease, starvation, cramped space and indignity. Sanitary facilities were inadequate at best and the living deck became a suffocat- ing cesspool of misery after only a few days. The journey lasted at least 10wks on sail ships! Records show that 412 perished in the drudgery before reaching Fiji. Caste demarcations also died during that shared voyage as all became simple jahajis. The main difference between slavery, which was abolished by the British, and girmit, which was introduced to replace it, was that girmit had a fixed time period of bondage. In the case of Fiji,

had a fixed time period of bondage. In the case of Fiji, The background of the

The background of the majority of Fiji Indians is that of indentured laborer – a modern day slave brought over from India between 1879 and 1916 to meet the desperate manpower needs of white plantations.

to meet the desperate manpower needs of white plantations. it was 5 years, but this did

it was 5 years, but this did not guarantee freedom as the girmitiya had to pay his own passage back after 5 years or get a free ticket after 10 years. The choice was virtually non- existent. Life in the plantations was one of hardship, op- pression and continuous harassment. My great- grandfather, whom I knew, had difficulty resting on his bed after 4am as he was expected to be up by 3am during girmit which he’d left behind 50 years ago. Pay

was one shilling a day for men and 9 pence for women. This was eroded through ingenuous means for 28yrs until the one shilling was finally paid unadulterated in 1908. Struggle for Recognition The girmitiya realized early that he had to understand the sahib’s language, especially that contained in legal documents, to minimize the exploitation and cheating that he was being sub- jected to. That became an obsession that spawned Fiji’s Indian lawyers who almost naturally became politicians. The girmitiya also realized the importance of political representation in a hostile environ- ment that was totally stacked against him. Thus they struggled for political rights to regain their izzat (respect) that had been compromised when they signed the girmit and lost when they lived through the narakh (hell) of girmit in Fiji. The focus of the girmitiya who stayed behind after 1920 was on hard work, frugality and edu- cation for their children as the only means to rise above the poverty and squalor in order to secure their future. Each of these objectives was glori-

fied through religious doctrine that naturally played a central role in life at the time. This focus continued among the descendents who built schools, temples, mosques and other places of worship through sheer hard work and mutual charity. Schools popped up in remote

farming enclaves as the search for education led

to the establishment of ever bigger and better

schools in central locations. Fiji’s more promi- nent schools now are Indian because of the fore- sight and sacrifice of these pioneers. Another subtle development that was only re- alized much later and erroneously seen as a sign

of Indian dishonesty, was the pride the Indian

placed in building/improving his own house. This was not only a status symbol, but it was an

attempt to display one’s success – a success that was sweeter because it was achieved amid con- tinued adversity. The girmitiya had finally overcome narakh

to educate his children and carve out a niche for

himself in Fiji. He was there to stay because, after all, his soul, toil, tears and tax had helped make the country what it was in 1970 – a model

of peace, progress and prosperity. The girmiti-

ya’s role in building Fiji can only be discredited

by the devious and dishonest. My next article will focus on the plight of the

Fiji Indian after Fiji’s first coup in May 1987. It

is interesting that the search for meaningful ac-

ceptance continues as the girmitiya is repeatedly

rebuked, castigated and reviled by a country that he still loves. PS. The Government by Greed series will continue after that.

- Subhash Appana is an academic and political commentator. The opinions contained in this article are entirely his and not neces- sarily shared by any organizations he may be associated with both in Fiji and abroad. Email



Vivek turns ‘chaiwala’ on Dance India Dance

Vivek turns ‘chaiwala’ on Dance India Dance It’s celebrities galore on Zee TV’s reality show ‘Dance

It’s celebrities galore on Zee TV’s reality show ‘Dance India Dance’! After Salman Khan and the Big B made their presence felt, this week it was the very spirited Vivek Oberoi who took off full throttle. Right from reminiscing the memories of his struggling days with Geeta Kapur to his choicest memories with each of the mentors - Vivek clearly stole the hearts of one and all. The enthusiasm with which he entered the stage and got himself involved in the show clearly showed that Dance India Dance was unquestionably one of his favourite shows. He was totally enthralled by Shakti and Kunwar’s contemporary urban hip-hop act on ‘ bheegi bheegi si hai raatein bheegi bheegi’ and Binny and Kishore’s ‘Saathiya act’… Its known to very few that Remo D’souza is responsible for giving Vivek one of his biggest hit songs of his career – ‘ Ae ganpat chal daaru la ’ But this time, Ganpat ne daaru nahi chai pilaayi (made people drink tea instead of liquor)…Vivek was clearly on a trip down the memory lane. He went on to narrate how during his struggling days, when he was a dancer in Farah khan’s troop, Geeta Kapur was the only girl who had given him some ‘bhaw’ (impor- tance). “Guys you won’t believe, Farah had entrusted me with the duty of serving tea to everyone. So I was this official chaiwala (teamaker)in Farah’s troop. I used to serve tea to all the unit members. Nobody used to agree to dance with me. One day Geetu took pity on me and made me her partner…I was totally overjoyed! She was one of the best dancers in the troop. And undeniably the most beautiful and sexiest one! And let me confess to the entire world… I had one of my biggest crushes on Geeta Kapoor…” said an ecstatic Vivek who could not stop appreciating the show. To Mithun Chakraborty, he said, “Dada, you are an idol for people like us who aspire to become somebody from nobody. I must have seen your ‘julie Julie’ song some 2000 times! I’m totally crazy about this song”. To keep his request, an enthusiastic Mithun da put the stage on fire as he danced on ‘Julie Julie…’ with all the contestants!


danced on ‘Julie Julie…’ with all the contestants! - IBNS 16 Indian Weekender | February 12,


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010






Big B opened champagne on Abhi’s birth!


Preview: ‘Hide and Seek’ to release Feb 19

As Abhishek Bachchan turned 34 last week, his sister Shweta Nanda recalled how excited ‘Paa’ Amitabh was the day he was born. To celebrate her joy on Abhi’s birthday, Shweta has writtern a piece for a film trade magazine-Box Office India Weekly. On Thursday night Big B up- loaded the edit note on his blog. “On the eve of Abhishek’s birthday as we prepare to welcome the 5th I can only share the joy with my extended family by putting out what Shweta wrote for a magazine on her brother,” Big B wrote in his blog late Thursday night. Shweta, in her edit piece, said Feb 5, 1976 was a day of celebration for the entire Bachchan family. “As my mother explains it, she chose the name Abhishek, for her second born, and only son, because it means the anointing of a king or God- in her context it was Amitabh Abhishek- the crowning glory of her husband. “At the hospital that day, there was an atmo- sphere of celebration- my father opened bottles of champagne, though it was strictly forbidden, and ev- eryone, including the reluctant nurses imbibed and partook in the revelry. So, Abhishek brought with him euphoria and merriment; the air was thick with bubbles and the pop of corks and before the new born could even utter his first independent cry, his destiny was thrust on him – he was to the manor born… and Abhishek would not disappoint.” All praises for her brother, Shweta said she admires Abhishek’s ability to carry such an awesome mantle with such grace, yet never losing his innate affability. “Seldom, in these many years have I come across anyone who is impervious to his charm and effervescence. Yet very few could grasp what it would feel like to be in his shoes, while he himself has much bigger shoes to fill. He makes it look ef- fortless,” she said. Shweta further said Abhi wanted to take up acting ever since he was a child. “Ever since he was a boy, he wanted to act. He enjoyed going on the sets and struck up friendships with the entire unit, they indulged him and I remem- ber him making a boy’s game out of serious props like swords and hand pistols. The sets were truly his playground. “At home he enacted action sequences with all his vigour, me and my hapless dolls and teddy bears bearing the brunt of his melodramatic fury. I correct myself, he didn’t want to grow up to be an actor- he wanted to grow up and be Amitabh Bachchan! “Today when I see him on screen, larger than life, it feels surreal, glimmers of his make believe world of dangerous villains and man eating mon- ster’s flash through my mind.” Shweta further said AB Junior is a man with tre- mendous grit. “Many a time people get taken in by the boyish pranks and fail to see the man inside- who has tre- mendous grit, it may take him time to get to where he wants but get there he will…have no doubt about it. He is capable of such maturity and intensity in his performances it belies his years.” “I have to admit I have watched all his movies behind a veil of tears, tears of joy and pride that he is realizing his dream and my mother’s – Amitabh Abhishek- Amitabh’s crowning glory!” she added.

and pride that he is realizing his dream and my mother’s – Amitabh Abhishek- Amitabh’s crowning
and pride that he is realizing his dream and my mother’s – Amitabh Abhishek- Amitabh’s crowning

Moser Baer Entertainment Ltd’s latest thriller ‘Hide and Seek’ is set to release on Feb 19. The film stars Purab Kohli, Mrinalini Sharma, Samir Kochhar, Ayaz Khan, Arjan Bajwa and Amruta Patki. ‘Hide and Seek’ is a suspense film produced by Apoorva Lakhia and Laxmi Singh. The story is of 6 friends who start playing a game of Hide and Seek on a cold Christmas night. But little do they expect that night and that game would change Om, Abhi, Jaideep, Imran, Gunita and Jyotika’s lives forever. Twelve years later, while some still wrestled with memories of that fateful night and others left it buried deep within them, it was a past that came back to haunt them again. This time it all starts with a mysterious message – a catchphrase from their past – which results in Om, just out of asylum, getting a sur- prise visit from childhood sweetheart Jyotika!

While the same message distracts Abhi, Om’s estranged brother and business tycoon, in a cor- porate boardroom, it disturbs Gunita, the damsel in financial distress, sends chills down the spine of Imran, the fat kid grown up into a muscular movie star, and intrigues Jaideep, the bully who’s graduated into a political hooligan. Twelve years later, someone was bringing them all together to play that game all over again but this time it will cost them their lives! Haunted by the past, trapped in a shopping mall - six best friends turn into worst enemies as they play ‘Hide and Seek’. The film “Hide and Seek” is a debut film of director Shawn Arranha who started out his career with first box office film “Saathiya” as an Assistant Director. The music of the film is given by Gourav Das- gupta and Chirantan Bhatt.


My Name Is Khan review


MaNIsHa aNjaLI

In what is arguably Karan Johar’s most anticipated film yet, a simple man with Asperger’s Syndrome becomes an international media hero and does extraordinary things on his way to meet the American president, all in the name of love. Set in the unsteady political cli- mate of the 9/11 attacks in America, the spritely Rizvan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) soon realizes that this is the worst time to be a Muslim.

Audiences still treasure the Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol romance in Johar’s first film Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (1998) and will be pleased to see all three being

in awe, instinctively applauding Khan’s stuttering one-liners. Kajol, playing his Hindu love interest Mandira, exuded raw maternal passion convincingly, which contrasted well with Rizvan’s textbook emotions.

Everything about the film is of epic pro- portions. Grandiose helicopter camera angles matched the intricate, multi-fac- eted plot. New characters, situations and sub-plots continually surfaced in the troubled multicultural hub that is America. From the hue-drained hurricane sequences in small-town Georgia to the vivid red-white-and-blue president’s rallies in DC, no stone is


pushed to their professional limits over a decade later in My Name is Khan.


left unturned in the two hours and forty minutes of My Name is Khan.


I dedicate the year to you (fans), tweets Abhishek


My Name is Khan is a little less love story, a little more insight into the unconventional mind of an intelligent man afflicted with a peculiar social condition. Rizvan’s trembling awkward demeanour, attention to meticulous detail, unruly honesty and childlike fear of the colour yellow makes him all the more charming. Watch how a man with autism copes with heartbreak, death and discrimination. Oh, let’s not forget

Johar successfully fuses Bollywood cinematic extravagance with arthouse minimalism in My Name is Khan. The art direction and epic cinematography made for spectacular visual moments. Scenes showing Rizvan hitching a ride at the back of a white ute full of ripe, orange pumpkins or Mandira releas- ing multicoloured balloons in a field of green are as much for visual pleasure as they are symbolic.

The Bachchan boy turned 34 today (Friday); and dedicated the year to his fans.

“Thank you all so much for all your wishes. You are the most special to me! I dedicate this year to all of you. You who make me who I am,” tweeted Abhishek Bachchan, as his Twitter account got flooded with wishes from fans. “I hope the lord gives me the opportu- nity to repay all of you for your love and

Abhishek said he will be working harder this year. “I will work even harder this year to prove that I am worthy of all your love and expectations.” In his usual witty self, Abhi tweeted about his niece (Shweta Nanda’s daughter). “In the words of my niece- “mamu,

blessings.I love you very much. Thank you all for all your wonderful wishes. They are the best presents for me. Your love and support towards me is invaluable for me. “Thank you for making me feel so special. I am forever indebted. I promise I will try and reply to as many of you as I can. Big love!!!” read AB Junior’s tweets.

you’re 34 today? Oh that’s not much older than me” love it. Forever young!” In reply to filmmaker Pritish Nandy’s tweet on his birthday party, Abhishek scribbled: “Party is a dangerous word now a days!!! having the biggest party of all. SHOOTING!!”

imprisonment and state-approved torture.

Khan’s portrayal of the disability was nothing short of genuine. He was socially anxious and unaware, yet play- ful, alluring, and oblivious to the racial hatred and talk of terrorism surround- ing him. Spectators in the theatre were

Bollywood produced films often fall victim to over-stylisation, but letting go of this fact makes for a more enjoyable view. Yes, the film is cheesy. Yes, it is very much over the top and unrealis- tic. Yet it is another Khan-Kajol-Johar partnership that fans will love.


Reel life imitates telly art in ‘Idiot Box’

Indian Reel life imitates telly art in ‘Idiot Box’ jYotI Gauba as aNekta kaPoor aNd (INset)

jYotI Gauba as aNekta kaPoor aNd (INset) tHe reaL ekta kaPoor

Prolific model-cum-actress Jyoti Gauba who plays “Anekta Kapoor – the big boss of Lalaji Telefilms”,

a remixed version of telly baroness Ekta Kapoor in an upcoming comic maverick movie ‘Idiot Box’

directed by Sunanda Mitra, is hardly apprehensive about a backlash from the Balaji camp. “Why should I be nervous? There are so many movies which are direct or indirect tributes to legendary personalities. At such a young age, Ekta-ji is already an iconic figure worthy enough to be emulated and idolised. In fact I consider it my good fortune that I was the first and final choice to play the Anekta screen-character with the trade-mark red tikka on her forehead,” saus Jyoti. She is shown as a hyper-impulsive, ambitious, calculating, yet perfectionist character worship- ping Lord Ganesha daily in ‘Idiot Box’, which has a feel-good comedy undercurrent with its satirical punches. You may call it telly world-reality cinema-meets-hilarious treatment. “Although there are established senior actors in the cast like Sushant Singh, Hrishitaa Bhatt, Milind Gunaji, Upasnaa Singh and Surendra Pal, I have an author-backed central role,” shrugs Jyoti, who has never met Madame Ekta personally but “only seen her photographs in newspapers”. For the glib Jyoti, this riveting role was a blessing in disguise, because for a change in ‘Idiot Box’

I am playing an unmarried smart lady. Otherwise I have mostly played mother’s screen characters or even a widow’s role like in this ongoing Colors TV serial ‘Maath Pitah Ke Charnon Mein Swarg’. Meanwhile director Mitra too has no qualms about taking pungent digs at the idiosyncrasies of the TV world and projecting his version of Ekta. “No, it’s a satirical tribute to the crazy comical functioning of the TV soap-manufacturing factory, I mean, industry. But I have not at all touched on Ekta’s personal life, neither have I ridiculed her. Basically ‘Idiot Box’ funnily exposes how some home-viewers get so addicted to telly-soap characters while on the flip side there are those who hate watching TV serials. In fact I am keen on inviting Madam Ekta for one of the sneak-previews, to know her reactions,” he insists.

- Chaitanya Padukone


‘Women look best in two-piece bikini’

Sharman Joshi is fun; perhaps he believes a Bollywood actor need not be politically correct…always. Sreya Basu gets into a rapid fire Q&A on fashion with the actor before a he showstops a Chivas Studio fashion show in Kolkata

What’s style for you? Style for me is being myself; being at peace with yourself; being comfortable in what you wear.

and fashion? Pretty much in the same lines.

one word that describes your ramp walk at Chivas studio?


What’s your daily wear?

I don’t follow any trends in that sense.

Jeans, a T-shirt is generally what I wear. That’s my favourite outfit. But then, I re- spect the occasion and the people associ- ated with it, and dress accordingly. If it’s a formal occasion, I don’t try to be outlandish and then make a style statement…I don’t like to do that. If it’s someone’s wedding reception, I would like to dress up appropri- ately. I think that’s very stylish to dress up outlandish at a wedding reception. Going to a wedding in a pair of toned jeans and ‘ganji’ is not style.

do you like accessories?

I am not an accessory chap. Watches,

chains…I think that’s not my scene.

What are the 5 must-haves in your ward-

robe? Hanger, a drawer, jeans, T-shirts, under-


What does a man look best in?

I can’t look at a man like that! (Smiles) You have to tell me what do you think a man looks best in…

tell us about women then… Women (sighs)! …in a two-piece bikini.

Who are your favourite designers?

I wear clothes of Arjun Bhasin; so he is one

of my favourites among Indian designers. I like Armani and DKNY among foreign ones.

What was the first fashionable thing that you bought with your first pay cheque?

I don’t remember that.

What is your most expensive buy so far? Has to a suit from Armani…that’s the most expensive thing I have bought till date.

Where do you generally shop at? Generally I shop whenever I am travelling abroad, with a film, or on a holiday. That’s the time I generally go out shopping.

are you brand conscious? Yeah! I like to dress up in brands; not for any stupid reason, but because I see certain standards and quality maintained in branded products.

Who is the best dressed man in bolly- wood?

I don’t care. I don’t look at them like that.

wood? I don’t care. I don’t look at them like that. and what about the best-dressed

and what about the best-dressed woman in bollywood? Would be (pauses)…Katrina Kaif.

What does your wife (Prerna) look best dressed in? Everything…I want to score points on this one, yaar. I can’t say one particular thing … everything she wears, she looks fabulous.

Photos: Avishek Mitra An India Blooms feature


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010






Garam-Dharam’s ‘dosti 4ever’ with ‘Sholay’ co-star Amitabh B


bollywood briefs

Emraan can’t believe his fatherhood!

Emraan can’t believe his fatherhood!

“We always try to figure out the true potential of our students and train them to make mark in the industry. The five years were recognized on stage for their long-standing dedication towards the acting school. Many of the successful people from film industry visit our schools and train the students to become versatile actors and achieve their dreams and aspirations,” said Anupam Kher. The school currently offers a three-month long intensive, full-time professional-level course in acting. After the opening of the acting school in Mumbai, this followed the league in various cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and in London.

in various cities like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and in London. ‘Actor Prepares’ has introduced many of the

‘Actor Prepares’ has introduced many of the finest actors in the film industry, including - Deepika Padukone.

Way back in 1975,when the all-time classic Hindi blockbuster ‘Sholay’ was released, it also projected

Way back in 1975,when the all-time classic Hindi blockbuster ‘Sholay’ was released, it also projected

He can come to terms with his on-screen kisses quite easily. But when it comes to fatherhood, it seems, the mickey gets out of Emraan Hashmi. Emraan’s wife Praveen Hashmi gave birth to a healthy baby boy (Ayaan) at a Private Hospital in Mumbai Feb 3. Needless to say, ‘proud dad’ Emraan is ex- tremely happy with the beginning of a new inning in his life “I’m feeling pretty spaced and it’ll take a while to come to terms with the fact that I have actually turned dad. I am very happy and so is my wife,” said Emraan. “Fatherhood is a boon and Feb 3 is the finest day of my life so far,” the actor added. Emraan is currently shooting for Milan Lu- thria’s ‘Once Upon a Time’ in Mumbai and is looking to take a little break for the cute little new entry in his home.

the ‘iconic’ bonding between two buddy partners-in-crime on screen Veeru (Dharmendra) and Jai ( Amitabh Bachchan). Which is supposedly the ‘golden graffiti’ on the walls of Bollywood history, as an ultimate projec- tion of loyal on-screen ‘true friendship’. But to this day, the ‘off-screen’ bonding between both the legendary actors Dharam and Amit is as mutually close as it was during the making of ‘Sholay’. This was evident at the recent spectacular 16th Annual Lions ‘Gold’ Awards event convened by business entrepreneur Raju Manwani in Mumbai for select invitees and a glittering galaxy of film and TV luminaries. Incidentally, while Dharmendra got his Lions Gold Lifetime Achievement trophy from Amitabh, it was film-maker Yash Chopra who conferred the ‘Best Actor’ honour-award on Amitabh for his awesome performance as the progeria-afflicted teenager in ‘Paa’ . In his humbling acceptance speech, Dharmendra jokingly wondered whether he ‘deserved’ such an award and acknowledged the “overwhelming love of his loyal fans from all over the world which is biggest reward”. Hugging buddy co-actor Amitabh, the emotionally-charged Dharam hummed the popular ‘Sholay’ song refrain ‘yeh dosti hum (kabhi) nahin todenge’, to a thundering ovation from the audience. Although the Amitabh-Dharmendra super-jodi emerged the hallmark of the event, it was the dainty, dignified saree-clad awardee Vidya (‘Paa’) Balan who proved to be among the scene-stealer besides actors Govinda and Vindoo Dara Singh (‘Bigg Boss’ TV reality show winner).

- Chaitanya Padukone Photo: Kaushal Punatar


Madhur ‘proud’ to endorse Indian films in USA

Brothers to score music for Hema Malini’s movie

Indian filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar (Fashion, Chandni Bar) was recently honoured by the Na- tional Council of Asian Indian Association at Washington D.C. in USA. “I am very glad at this felicitation and felt ab- solutely great to meet our community in USA. It is absolutely great feeling and what is more im- portant that the love & regards for my work that people had showed me there was no less than the praise from people I get here,” said Madhur. “Everyone wanted to know lots and lots about our Indian Cinema and I proudly shared my ex- perience with them. I am proud to be endorsing the Indian Cinema,” the filmmaker added. Later, Madhur addressed a gathering of about 1000 people, with regards to Indian culture and

After giving a new life to lavani and tamasha music in the Atul Kulkarni starrer Marathi film Natrang, the National Award winning composer duo Ajay-Atul will now be experimenting with grand orchestral music. According to sources, the talented musicians will next be composing for a untitled Bollywood project produced by veteran actor Hema Malini. Confirming the news, Atul says, “We are doing a film produced by Hema Malini - the music will be heavy with string arrangements and ballads,” he told Ajay Atul had started their journey as com- posers with the Tusshar Kapoor starrer Gayab (2004). Besides Bollywood, the duo has also worked for Telugu film Shock.

contribution of Film Industry to the same. He shared his thoughts on the contemporary Indian

contribution of Film Industry to the same. He shared his thoughts on the contemporary Indian cinema and how it has enriched the Indian Culture.


Kajol lampoons Sena; praises Rahul

The latest celeb to comment on the hullabaloo among Shiv Sena, Rahul Gandhi and Shah Rukh Khan, is none other than Bollywood actor Kajol. In her tweet last week she has described the Sena as ‘Bandar Sena’ (monkey soldiers). At the same time, she praised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi for having a day out in Mumbai, thereby stumping the Shiv Sena who had geared up to show him black flags and disrupt his pro- grammes for his “Mumbai for all Indians” remark. “will be back to Mumbai!!! Hope the Bandar Sena wont stop us ;) thumbs up for Rahul!!! Bravo!!!” tweeted Kajol, who was in London for the promotion of her upcoming film ‘My Name is Khan’. “because of some dirty politics, india is trail- ing behind the world, lets be together and show them power of democracy … ” Kajol wrote in a post. Earlier, Shiv Sena had said the party would not allow ‘My Name is Khan’ to be released in Mumbai unless Shah Rukh Khan apologises for his comments on Pakistani cricketers. “all mumbaikers , don’t worry people, even chengez khan can’t stp MNIK release, relax and let all ur positive energy flow here,” tweeted Kajol . ‘My Name is Khan’ is one of the first Bol- lywood films to be distributed by Fox Search- light Pictures in the US and premieres worldwide today (February 12).

Biddu’s autobiography hits the stands


Veteran musician Biddu released his autobiography ‘Made in India–Adven- tures of a Lifetime’ at the Reliance TimeOut store in Bangalore on Thursday. The book has been published by Harper Collins Publishers (HC-P).

The launch was followed by a book reading by the author, book signing and a interaction with the public at the venue. Biddu regaled the audience by sharing some of the interesting instances in his life with them and later on with the three songs that he sang live– ‘Aap Jaisa Koi’ from the film ‘Qur- bani’; Elvis’s ‘I can’t help falling in love with you’, and ‘Smile’.

On being questioned about the likelihood of his returning to music, Biddu

responded with a tongue-in-cheek answer, ‘Maybe when I am ninety’ and that at present, he wanted to concentrate on his writing.


Anupam’s ‘Actor Prepares’ turns five

The 65 year old music maestro has a three book deal with HC-P. “The first one is my autobiography. My second novel, serious fiction, is set in Dar- jeeling and Kolkata and has a blend of romance, mysticism, bigotry and adventure, and should be out sometime in September or October this year. The third book is also fiction and is set in Mumbai and will be funny and sad,” said Biddu.

- Tarachand Wanvari

Anupam Kher’s acting school – Actor Prepares – recently completed its journey of five years. The school was inaugurated five years back in Mumbai by Amitabh Bachchan, Yash Chopra, Subhash Ghai, Aamir Khan and Mahesh Bhatt amidst many other celebrities. Over 400 students have passed out of the institute so far; and most of them have found careers in the entertainment business, claimed the institute.

Indian Indian Amruta Patki


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010




‘Scripts are not written for Amitabh Bachchan’

Even at 68, Amitabh Bachchan is bagging ‘Best Actor Awards’, playing son to heroines half his age. Perhaps that’s the magic of being the ‘Shahenshah of Bollywood’. The living legend in conversation with SREyA BASu in Kolkata

You are playing a media person in rann. do you think it is really possible to balance ethics and trP (television rating points) in media business? This is what the film is all about. It is believed that media is the conscience of the country. And media is a business as well. Do media compromise with its conscience for the sake of business? Or do media compromise with business so that it can maintain its conscience? This is the war shown in Rann.

You have shown the dark side of the media in this film… (Interrupts) No, we haven’t. We have shown the very bright side of media actually. We are trying to say that in every story there is a beginning, middle and an end. You have to build a story. If you don’t show a villain there is no point in making a movie. There is a boy and a girl and a father in-between; and the father doesn’t allow the girl to meet the boy; something like that. We are showing that there are all aspects to it and how difficult it is to be in media, what are the problems they go through; what all are the issues that come into existence.

okay. so you don’t think it’s the dark side of the media (like taking money and mak- ing news) that has been highlighted in the film? We have shown all aspects of it. There is the good, the bad…everything is there. How these elements are used by some other elements…there is a bit of politics in that also… and also politicians; and how the story is woven around all these aspects is what Rann is all about.

You are all set to share screen space with ben kingsley in teen Patti this February. How do you feel? It has been a great experience. He’s a wonderful human being.

While all your contemporaries have taken a backseat, you are still bagging ‘best ac- tor’ awards… Yeah, I don’t know what to say about that (laughs). I am just fortunate that there are people who still like what I do. I am fortunate to get these awards.

You recently got ‘best jodi’ award along with abhishek at a recent awards function. How did aishwarya react to it? She knows it very well that it’s she and Abhishek who are the best couple in real life.

You have played almost all characters an actor can portray in a lifetime…coolie, poet, genie, teacher, 13-year-old child…and now a newsman. What’s next on your list that you want to experiment with?

I don’t know what there is…but I do hope there is something…I hope there are people who can write something different for me and give me an opportunity to work.

but today scripts are written for amitabh bachchan … No (laughs aloud). Scripts are not written for Amitabh Bachchan. Instead, Amitabh Bachchan tries to fit into the characters.

You are making random appearances both on big and small screen these days. even for endorsements, 5 out of 10 ads feature you. so what’s the mantra of being big b? Arree, if I would have known that, I won’t be standing here to answer your question. I my- self don’t know what is there in me. I just hope people keep blessing me this way.

You are an icon to all. Who’s your inspiration?

I think if there is work to do and if there are people who offer me a job, then it’s my duty to do it to my best.

– Trans World Features (TWF)

my duty to do it to my best. – Trans World Features (TWF) Community Trust appeals


Trust appeals for funds for Community Hall

Papakura based Sri Ganesh Temple Trust has announced the beginning of construction works for its community hall has commenced. The Hall will serve as wedding mandap with cooking facilities, as well as for community gatherings, for religious and social activi- ties, as well for meditation, music and yoga classes.

“The approximate cost is around $500,000.00,” says Trustee Ray Annamalai. “We are now appealing to all devotees and friends for financial support.”

The trust is proposing $20.00 per month for an initial 12 month period or for a longer period if anyone is happy to continue for such period. All $20.00 donors will have their name displayed for the entire period of 12 months or longer in the Temple premises or in the new Hall.

Large one-off donations are welcome as well and those who wish will have their name displayed in another board in the new hall. Donations of $2,000 or more will have their names displayed permanently. Names of donors will only be displayed after receiving the respective donors consent to do so otherwise the donation will be anonymous.

All $20.00 donations must be made through automatic payments duly authorised and signed by the donor to our Temple account effective from March 2010. “We kindly urge all devotees and friends to come forward and give your support for a Hall that will be an asset to the Temple and to have better and more comfortable facilities at our site,” Mr Annamalai said.

Automatic deduction forms are available at the temple and the trustees.



Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010




The Lord’s darshan and Idli Sambar in Pittsburgh

After last fortnight’s piece on the Big Apple, RASHMI SHENOy catalogues her trip to one of America’s most livable city – and what’s more, it has its own temple and udipi restaurant too!

Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, USA, is the second largest city in the state. It was my first time to Pittsburgh and we got picked up by my uncle who told me Pittsburgh is known as “The City of Bridges”. “What about ‘The Steel City’?” I asked. “Yes they call it that too and that steel is used to make these bridges” he said. Historically the city has been known for its steel industry but today its economy is mostly based on healthcare, education, technology , ro- botics, and of course financial services. In the mid 80’s Pittsburgh suffered economic troubles and the steel industry declined and the modern, economically strong Pittsburgh emerged. Today the housing market is relatively stable despite the subprime crisis. In 2007, The Forbes magazine named Pitts- burgh the 10th cleanest city and the following year the same magazine rated this as the 13th best city for young professionals to live. Last year The Economist named Pittsburgh as the most livable city in the US and the 29th most livable city in the world. We were in Pittsburgh only for a day due to our tight schedule so my uncle turned out to be my source of information and guide. He took us to Mt Washington Point and as we looked down to the downtown area he pointed down to the rivers known as the Golden Triangle. “This is the Triveni Sangam – the convergence” he said. The site at the actual convergence is occupied by “The Point” which is a state park. The city itself is on the Allegheny Plateau, where the Al- legheny River from the northeast and Monon- gahela River from the southeast come together to form the Ohio River. Everything around the river was covered in snow and the day we were in Pittsburgh, the 21st of Dec 09, was their shortest day. For all I know the rivers could have been frozen too but we got the snow flurries and so we had to keep moving. We briefly saw the city courts which was ad- jacent to the central jail. That is good planning so your convicts don’t go at large en route to the prison, I thought. My uncle was taking us to Sri Venkateshwara temple at Penn Hills, the eastern suburbs. I couldn’t go all the way to Pittsburgh and miss this temple now could I? This is one of the earliest Hindu Temples built in the US. This organisation was established in Aug 1975 and they received assistance from Tirupathi Devast- hanam (TTD) in India for construction of the temple. The construction itself was completed within a year (1976) and daily worship is per- formed ever since. The temple has a small and a large auditorium which is rented for various ceremonies including weddings. Their dining hall can be rented along with the auditoriums or by itself. They also have a lot of cultural educa- tion happening such as various dance classes, yoga, Sanskrit classes, Vedanta, summer activi- ties and youth camp. They have an up-to-date website so if you are interested, peek into www. for more information. We offered our prayers and then we went to the Udipi Restaurant next door to the temple. Finding this restaurant brought me immense joy and nostalgic memories of Udipi. I have spent some good summer holidays with my grand- parents in Udipi and finding a restaurant so far away from New Zealand and India was some- thing that I had never imagined or expected. Finding anything associated with this name was soul satisfying to me. We were heading home when we hit the traffic jam – not like the ones we find in Auck- land on a regular day. This one seemed like the jams we find on state highways over our long weekends. I was told that people in Pittsburgh had “tunnel syndrome”. People driving in full speed slow down to almost a grinding halt before going through these tunnels. I found that most of the tunnels came into being as the bridges were built. Pittsburgh is the world record holder for bridges with piers and stands

contained entirely within city limits, beating out Venice in Italy by only 3 bridges. Pittsburgh has 446 bridges in total. There’s lot more to see and do in Pittsburgh. To name a few, there’s the national aviary across the Allegheny River which has over 600 of the world’s most incredible birds. At the warehouse district, on The Strip on Saturdays you can stroll through farmers markets and street fairs where you can find shops and exotic grocery stores that offer every- thing from kitchen- ware to costumes

that offer every- thing from kitchen- ware to costumes and Steelers merchandise to fresh flowers and

and Steelers merchandise to fresh flowers and fish. You can visit the Carnegie museums of art and natural history. This is a combination of 2 world renowned museums in one unforgettable visit. Home to University of Pittsburgh and Carn- egie Mellon University, Pittsburgh is a major employer in the education sector. The largest employer in the city is the University of Pitts- burgh Medical Center (48,000 employees) and the University of Pittsburgh (10,700 employees). 8 of the fortune 500 companies also have their head quarters in Pittsburgh. The home welcomed us to a large banquet

that included some of my favorite dishes that my aunt put up. After catching up with the family and an overnight stay the following morning we flew out from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIA) which has been a major operator for US Airways since its inception in the 1940’s. Ap- proximately 6 kms south east of Pittsburgh is the Allegheny county airport located in West Mifflin. There are 3 other smaller airports around the city used by corporate jets and private aircrafts. That is all I can tell you about my adven- tures. I will be back soon for sure. Until next time, be safe and enjoy the summer.



Love Aajkal: India has celebrated love for millennia raM LINGaM
Love Aajkal: India has celebrated love for millennia

India has always had a deity of love: ‘Kaamdev’. Poets and playwrights have for centuries captured the power of love. Love was in the air in ancient India and the whole subcontinent was ablaze with the love and its different shades. Love in India has been made immortal through her poems, plays, characters and ancient monuments. Then came the Taj and now Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day celebration is a recent trend in India and has caught the fancy of people, especially the younger generation. Even the orthodox have now started to note 14th Febru- ary in their little personal diaries. Thanks to media and consumerism, we find Valentine’s Day slowly getting mainstreamed in India. One popular Indian dating website says February is the most popular month for new registrations to their website. But even before the import of this day from the West, Indians have always had a deep sentiment of love and don’t turn away any occasion to express love. It’s not surprising that our Indian cinema is overflowing with love and its sentiments in its stories, music and lyrics. Former Bol- lywood superstars like Rajesh Khanna were heartthrobs of millions just riding on the love emotion. A movie like ‘Ek Duje ke liye’ was such a hit that many passionate young lovers who were not successful in getting married due to society’s norms emulated the tragic ending of the movie even to the extent of em- bracing death. Every Indian regional language has a classic love story based movie or book. There are numerous folk tales of legendary lovers who kissed death with a promise to meet in heaven. Heer Ranjha, Mirza Sahiba, Sassi Punnun and Sohni Mahiwal are some popular tragic romances from the Punjabi lore. These fables have fuelled our imagination, engage our emotions, sense and sensibility, and above all, entertain us. There is an amazing variety of fabled love stories in Sanskrit literature, which is undoubtedly one of the richest stockpile of stirring love legends. Robert A. Johnson a world-renowned Jungian analyst, lecturer, and author of the bestsellers remarks in one of his books ‘The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden’ that “Sanskrit has ninety-six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one. The power of love has been captured for millennia in the Indian subcontinent by poets. India has always had its share of some fan- tastic love stories and poems in Sanskrit are a testimony to that. Tales like Nala Dama- yanti, Satyavan-Savriti which are part of the Mahabharata epic and plays by poet Kālidas (340 BCE), among many others are truly love based. Kālidas bases the entire plot of his dramas title ‘Shakuntala, ‘Abhignanshakun- tala’ around the shades of remembering and forgetting the most loved ones. So is his love

and forgetting the most loved ones. So is his love Robert A. Johnson a world-renowned Jungian

Robert A. Johnson a world-renowned Jungian analyst, lecturer, and author of the bestsellers remarks in one of his books ‘The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden’ that “Sanskrit has ninety- six words for love; ancient Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one.

Persian has eighty, Greek three, and English only one. kHajuraHo teMPLes poem ‘Meghdhutam’ where the
kHajuraHo teMPLes
kHajuraHo teMPLes

poem ‘Meghdhutam’ where the antithetical modes of love-in-separation (Vipralamba) and love-in-union (Sambhoga) are painted in some sublime Sanskrit language. Though every country has a history of lovers and lit- erature on love, India has some really endur-

ing and captivating examples of love poetry celebrating the joys and sorrows of love in all its forms and fashions. There are all sorts of love experiences, in these poems, as in separation and in union, before and after marriage, in chastity and be-

trayal. Love poetry has been a staple of litera- ture on the subcontinent. Obviously love was in the air in India and the whole sub-continent was ablaze with the love and the pangs of passion. The story of Indian Cupid Kāmadev was known to many as it was taught through the early Puranas. Since ancient times, rishis in India have believed that it was love, which came first and then fol- lowed the world. Even during the Indian traditional mar- riage ceremony itself, the bride’s feet are often painted with pictures of Suka, the parrot vāhana of Kāmadev. Astrologers even pre- scribe the Kāmadev mantra to fulfill desires of getting into a relationship and marriage. Given all that information about Kāmadev, ancient Indians also knew about the lessons in love making as in Sage Vatsyayana’s Kāma Sutra. Love and love-making have also been graphically sculpted in Khajuraho and Konarak temples (pictured). Cave paintings, archaeological findings and a mass of litera- ture belonging to the Vedic and Buddhist eras to give a complete portrayal of love. In the introduction to his book ‘Love in Ancient India’, M. L. Varadpande an eminent scholar and theatre historian in India claims that the first love story of the world was found in the Rig Veda and the first comprehensive work on love was written in India with Ka- masutra becoming one of its offshoots. There are different shades of love talked about in the Indian sub-continent starting from carnal love as in the Kama Sutra to the sublime tran- scendental love as in sage Nārada’s ‘Nārada Bhakti Sutras‘ which are aphorisms on love supreme. Even contemporary gurus like Swami Chinmayananda have said, “Love is the heart of all religions; the theme of all classical works of art and literature; the song of all devotees. Scientists know only what love does, not what love is. Love is to human hearts what the sun is to flowers. We like someone “because of”, but we love someone “in spite of…” Love poetry was a known subject to the educated people of India. Only if our kids and youth were educated about India’s heri- tage of love and being love-rich, they would be rooted in their own emotional wellness and yet be secular in celebrating Valentine’s day openly in a typical Indian acceptance of all world cultures.

day openly in a typical Indian acceptance of all world cultures. 24 Indian Weekender | February


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010




Should the Government remove tax advantages enjoyed by Property Investors?

Should the Government remove tax advantages enjoyed by Property Investors?

ravI MeHta

Over the last few days, after tax working group’s recommendations have been made public, I have received some calls from my clients who are Property Investors and are asking for my opinion if they should sell their investment properties. There is growing fear that the government will try to raise more revenue out of property inves- tors by disallowing tax incentives. There are many possible ways, like imposing land tax, imposing capital gains tax, reducing or eliminating allowance of depreciation de- duction on buildings, charging tax on house equity assuming notional income calculated at risk free rate. But in Tuesday’s speech in Parliament, the prime minister clarified that many of these measures would not be imple- mented. According to estimates there are over $200 billion invested in residential rental properties in New Zealand. These properties generated tax losses of around $500 million in 2008 and as a result there was revenue loss of $200 million to the government. It looks that the primary aim of property investors is not to earn rent but to generate tax losses and save tax. It makes sense to tax these people. Most commentators have welcomed the working group’s recommendations related to taxing property investors. But there are few points to consider and I have contrary views. It is estimated that after taking into con- sideration the Working for Families pay- ments, 76% of tax is paid by top 10% of

According to estimates there are over $200 billion invested in residential rental properties in New Zealand. These properties generated tax losses of around $500 million in 2008 and as a result there was revenue loss of $200 million to the government.

taxpayers. So by investing in residential investment properties, most of tax is saved by those who are the major contributors to revenue. There should not be an outcry against those who are the major taxpayers even after claiming tax losses on investment properties. Second, if tax incentives for property in- vestors are removed, it will adversely affect demand for properties. The construction ac- tivity may go down resulting in shortage of houses in future. Drop in construction activ-

ity will adversely impact economic recovery as well. Third, if the tax incentives are removed, it will put pressure on house prices, as many investors will turn sellers and thus it will adversely affect economic recovery. If the house prices go down, the consumer senti- ment may weaken. The major cause of the current recession is falling house prices in US and some other countries. It caused financial crisis as well, world has still not come out of the same. Can we afford to allow

our house prices to go down at this stage? Fourth, what is the justification in axing depreciation allowance on buildings? The deprecation rates are calculated according to economic life of an asset. The buildings also have got some life, so it is wrong to say that buildings do not depreciate in value. Fifth, if tax incentives for property inves- tors are removed, it may put upward pres- sure on house rents as the property owners will try to make good their loss by raising rents. It will not only effect low income fam- ilies, but will also increase WINZ payments on account of accommodation supplement. Part of the increased revenue raised may be lost for that reason. In my opinion, the government should consider the alternate options of raising tax revenues rather than taking away ben- efits enjoyed by property investors. There are many other ways suggested by different experts like charging Estate duty and charg- ing financial transaction tax, government should explore those. Whatever is decided will be implemented in forthcoming budget due in May. There would be wide spread public discussion. I am sure our government will take a decision that will not derail economic recovery and at the same time move towards a more efficient tax system.

Ravi Mehta is an Auckland based Finan- cial Advisor and can be contacted on ravi.

cial Advisor and can be contacted on ravi. Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010 |


Indian we’ll work to unlock that potential by reducing red tape. We’ll drive a second phase
Indian we’ll work to unlock that potential by reducing red tape. We’ll drive a second phase

we’ll work to unlock that potential by reducing red tape. We’ll drive a second phase of resource management reforms, investigate extending mining on Crown-owned land, remove regu- latory roadblocks to irrigation, and reform aquaculture regulations. We’ll also promote investment in capital markets while strengthening protection for investors, and look at developing New Zealand as a regional hub for financial services. And we’ll start new State Highway projects and lay the first fibre in our ultra-fast broadband initiative. National’s other major priority is significant social sector reforms. We’ll lift achievement in our schools through National Standards. We’ll work to make neighbourhoods safer by introducing ‘three-strikes’ legis- lation for the worst violent offenders. And we’ll continue to provide better, faster, more convenient healthcare across our public health service. We will also deliver on our election promise to reform the benefit system. We want to help people back into work. We’ll adjust the benefit abate- ment regime to encourage beneficia- ries to take up jobs and make sure welfare spending gets to the people who really need it. 2010 will be a busy year. With a re- lentless focus on lifting our economic performance and improving public services, National is working hard to secure a brighter future for all New Zealanders.

A step change in economic performance

PrIMe MINIster HoN joHN keY

This week, I opened Parliament by outlining the Government’s pro- gramme for the coming year. In 2010, we’re focusing on growing our economy, creating new jobs, and improving public services to better equip New Zealanders – and particu- larly young people – for the economic challenges they face. National seeks a step change in economic performance. We agree with the Tax Working Group that our tax system has major problems with integrity, fairness, and incentives. In Budget 2010 we will start reforming our tax system. We want taxes that create incen- tives to work hard, save, and get ahead. We also want taxes that are fair. The government is carefully con- sidering a modest increase in the rate of GST, to no more than 15 percent. We are committed to reducing per- sonal taxes and changing the way property is taxed. In the process, we’ll maintain Working For Families, and compensate low to middle income earners for any increase in GST. Our economic future relies on new ideas. This year we will help business- es grow by connecting them with our best scientists. We’ll invest in more science and business research, drive research into agricultural greenhouse emissions, fund open access food development facilities, and reform Crown Research Institutes. New Zealand’s natural resources have huge potential to boost econom- ic growth and create jobs. In 2010,

to boost econom- ic growth and create jobs. In 2010, Column Three strikes and the violent


to boost econom- ic growth and create jobs. In 2010, Column Three strikes and the violent

Three strikes and the violent criminals are out

HoN PaNsY WoNG, MINIster For etHNIC aFFaIrs

The National-led Government is delivering on our promise to get tough on violent crime

– with stronger laws and more police and re-

sources put in place to keep our streets and

communities safe.

As part of our coalition agreement with

ACT we are committed to putting in place

a new sentencing regime in our Sentencing

and Parole Reform Bill – which will include a “three-strikes” policy – targeting violent of- fenders who continue to show disregard for the law.

Under the new sentencing regime, people will receive the standard sentencing and a warning when appearing before the courts on their first offence.

The second offence will bring a jail sen- tence with, in most cases, no possibility of parole and a further warning.

If the offender appears on a third offence then they will be given the maximum sen- tence in jail for the crime, with no possibility of parole.

This new regime will help keep the worst repeat offenders behind bars for longer and will also deter recidivist criminals from com- mitting further crime by escalating the sever- ity of their sentences.

Violent offenders who continue to flout our laws will be kept off the streets for the maximum amount of time possible.

The National-led Government is deter- mined to make our communities safer for Kiwi families and to get tough on law and order. We are determined to reduce the number of crime victims and we are determined to make life tougher for violent criminals.

These are areas that were raised to us by the Indian community as being of importance

before the election. We have listened and re- sponded by introducing a number of initia- tives and tough new laws to ensure that our streets and our homes are safe.

We are continuing to boost our nation’s police force by an additional 600 officers by the end of next year – including more than 160 additional officers who have been assigned to communities throughout Counties-Manukau.

Our goal is to have 140 more officers join the force before the end of this year, making up a total of 300 additional officers in the region.

I am pleased to note that Police Minister Judith Collins recently announced that this boost in officers, combined with new crime- fighting strategies, have contributed to a sig- nificant drop in crime within the Counties- Manukau district over the last three months of last year.

Provisional statistics show that crime in the district dropped by around 9 per cent in the last three months of 2009, which has bucked a dangerous trend of rising crime within the region.

In the last five years, before the National- led Government tackled the issue, Counties- Manukau had recorded a 16.7 percent in- crease in total crime – compared to a national average of 0.7 percent.

These are outstanding results and show what can be achieved when Police have the mandate and the resources to respond deci- sively to crime and work with communities to prevent crime happening.

The new “three strikes” sentencing regime will further ensure that crime is kept out of our communities and that violent criminals are kept behind bars where they belong.

What you need to know…

What you need to know…

oLIver PereIra

You have had the forethought to take out life insurance and hence feel secure that your family and loved ones will be compensated financially in the event of an unexpected tragedy that may result in an untimely death… But after you are gone how sure are you that your Life insurance claim will be paid out? Again you may be feeling secure that in an unexpected event of a critical illness like a heart attack or cancer you have your Trauma cover…. which is designed to pay out a claim when you need it most, espe- cially when a critical illness restricts your ability to work for a lengthy period of time and the bills are mounting… But what happens if the insurance company declines your claim? This quick guide helps to explain why you are asked questions about your health and lifestyle when you apply for insurance cover, and how you can help make the whole process run as smoothly as possible especially at claim time.

1 Always tell the truth

Insurance relies on good faith. You are insured on the basis of what you tell the insurer. It’s your duty to provide truthful

and complete information about your health and medical history.

2 Answer questions as fully as you can

You should provide information relating to all and any conditions you currently have, or have had in the past. If you don’t disclose something that might affect your premium, the terms of your cover or an insurer’s de- cision to provide you with cover, this can lead to delays. At worst, your claim may be refused or your insurance cancelled.

3 Know what you’re are consenting to

By signing the declaration on your appli- cation or claim form, you are saying that you have answered all the questions truthfully and to the best of your knowledge, and have provided any other information that may in- fluence a decision to offer you insurance. It is important that, if you are uncertain about anything, you ask for clarity before signing the declaration.

4 If in doubt, don’t leave it out

If you are unsure of the relevance of any information, its best to include it on your ap- plication form, just to be safe.

5 If you don’t know something, say so.

Your insurer will then need to obtain the information from somewhere else. You must be asked for consent before further informa- tion is sought.

6 Know what is in your medical notes

Sometimes your insurer will require additional information about your health. In these cases, they might seek informa- tion from you, your doctor or dentist, your employer, or ACC or other government de- partments. Under the Privacy Act 1993, the insurer must have your permission to contact someone about your medical history. In ad- dition, any request must be relevant to the decision about whether or not to insure you.

7 Keep the insurer up to date.

Your application to disclose everything you know about your health does not end until your policy has been issued. Therefore, if your circumstances change during the period between making an application and receiving your policy documents, be sure to let your insurer know.

8 Understanding non - disclosure

The non-disclosure of information can become an issue at claim time. This is because, when you make a claim, your medical history may be investigated more closely. Even if the information you failed to provide is unrelated to your claim, but would have altered the original offer of in- surance to you, the insurer is legally entitled to decline your claim or even cancel your policy. It is never too late to get in touch with your insurer and provide them with informa- tion that you may have forgotten or thought was not necessary at the time of completing your insurance applications.

The above information has been provid- ed to serve only as a guideline to assist in evaluating your insurance needs. You are encouraged to do your own research before arriving at any decisions.

For further information, please contact:

Oliver Pereira – OPM Insurance Ser- vices Ltd. Ph. 0800 66 77 92, Faxmail. 021 551 669, Mobile. 021 66 77 92 Email.


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010






Muslims on social networks are sinners, says cleric

Campaigner dog has 3670 friends on Facebook

Cairo, Egypt: Terming the use of network- ing sites such as ‘Facebook’ as anti-Islam- ic, a top Egyptian cleric has issued a fatwa against it saying Muslims using such cyber platforms must be considered “sinners”.

And the cleric went to extent of blaming such sites for growing incidents of marital discords in the country.

Noted Sunni scholar Sheikh Abdel Hamid al-Atras, former head of the fatwa com- mission at prestigious Al-Azhar University here, issued the fatwa saying such sites have resulted in rise of the marital infidelity.

“It’s an instrument that destroys the family because it encourages spouses to have relations with other people, who break

Islamic Sharia law,” he said in the fatwa.

“While one or other of the spouses is at work, the other is chatting online with someone else, wasting their time and flout- ing the Sharia. This endangers the Muslim family,” said al-Atrash.

The fatwa came after a study earlier this week claimed that one in every five cases of divorces in Egypt had been caused after one of the partners started using social networking sites such as Facebook.

Last month, Grand Mufti of Egypt Ali Jumah condemned the practice of using Quranic verses as the mobile ringtones terming it as “improper” as it compromises the sacredness of the religious scriptures.

verses as the mobile ringtones terming it as “improper” as it compromises the sacredness of the

UNESCO to find ways to bolster global tolerance

New York: The head of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Orga- nization (UNESCO) has set up an expert group to find ways to increase tolerance around the world, as part of her commit- ment to promoting a “new humanism” to pursue a rapprochement of cultures.

The new panel will meet for the first time on February 18 in Paris. The gathering will also mark the launch of the International Year for the Rapprochement of Cultures, which will kick off with a round-table discussion on the theme, “The Dialogue of Cultures: New Avenues for Peace.”

The world, Director-General Irina Bokova said, is marked by a growing interdepen- dence, but mistrust has also arisen in recent years.

“I am convinced that UNESCO has all the strengths needed to provide a humanist response to globalization and crisis,” she said. “In response to the sense of vulner- ability which permeates all levels, there is indeed a need to invent new forms of action to safeguard social cohesion and preserve peace.”

“The objective of this International Year is to help dissipate any confusion stemming from ignorance, prejudice and exclusion that create tension, insecurity, violence and conflict,” Bokova emphasized.

The task, she said, will be to promote mutual knowledge and to generate respect for other cultures. “Exchange and dialogue between cultures are the best tools for building peace.”

Kolkata: You’ve surely heard the saying that a dog is a man’s best friend. But in the case of Sputnik Sylvells Mickeys Mustard, it is hu- mans who want to be friends with this 10-year old Chihuahua. As of February 3, 2010, Sputnik has

3670 friends on social networking website Facebook.

Shoots, Save the Whales, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society New Zealand, Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC), Meatmean- zmurder and Campaign to stop Harrods selling real fur, besides several others.

But what makes Sputnik so unique? Aren’t there profiles of


“My idea of launching Sputnik on Facebook was for networking on the animal and environmental is- sues in an inclusive manner,” says Kolkata-based animal rights activ- ist Debasis Chakrabarti. Sputnik is his pet.

And the campaign has been im- mensely successful. Communi- cating through the profile of his cute pet, Debasis has befriended people all over the

other animals on social networking websites?

– And now, Skype to be embedded in TVs

Singapore: Skype has announced its voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology

– And now, Skype to be embedded in TVs Singapore: Skype has announced its voice over

“There are dog, cat and other pet profiles on several networking sites, but none of them campaign in the first person and none of them have such a large number of online friends,” Debasis says.

“Many of Sputnik’s online friends put his campaigns on their pro-

will be embedded into Internet-enabled LG and Panasonic television sets and shipped worldwide by the first half of this year.


globe and made them aware of several important issues.

files in other networking sites like

The partnership with the two Asian con- sumer electronics giants marks the first time the Skype service will be available on TVs. A spokesperson from the company’s Singapore office told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail: “With this announcement, we are enabling users to enjoy these free, high- quality video calls not only on their PCs but also on Internet-enabled TVs that they may eventually have at home.”

The spokesperson added that the transi- tion of the Skype service to TVs was a

“As more and more consumer electronic devices are becoming more powerful and [have] Internet connectivity, Skype is a logical application to be embedded into these devices,” she noted.

To facilitate the VoIP calls, both manufac - turers will sell an add-on camera acces- sory that has a microphone integrated with the imaging device. Skype said it recom- mends a 1Mbps (megabit per second) “symmetric broadband connection”.

Sputnik has been part of several online campaigns on animal and environmental issues.

Some of the groups on Facebook this cute dog is a part of are: Say “NO” to the slaughter of horses in Australia, Stop Veterinary schools from performing deadly opera- tions on live animals, Save The Panda, All Groups Unite To Stop Animal Cruelty, Stop the Live Pigeon

Orkut, thus creating a snowball- ing effect,” he adds.

And his friends are so impressed by the cute little dog that some even send him messages, poems and jokes.

Sputnik joined Facebook on September 20, 2009 and made his 1000th friend as quickly as on October 21. He now has over

“logical” development, but did not say if the company was working to add other TV manufacturers to the list.


Arnab Nandy



Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010



iPhone application on ‘Ganesha’

Mumbai: Balaji Telefilms, which had re- cently announced its entry into the digital space, has launched its first iPhone appli- cation named ‘Ganesha Stories’ under its New Media initiative.

With the launch of the application, Balaji Telefilms is expanding its presence in the internet and mobile space to cover the growing segment.

The Ganesha iPhone application allows consumers to have access to the Elephant God on the move. Aartis and stories revolv- ing around Lord Ganesha will be available at the click of a button with this application.

Says Balaji Telefilms joint MD Ekta Kapoor, “Mobile entertainment is a growth area for us. We are focusing on creating content for mobile phones. Delivering quality mobile enter- tainment is becoming possible with improved phones like iPhone and better networks.”

Balaji Telefilms’ New Media division was set up to expand and capitalise on its creative and production facilities to cover the mobile and internet space. In the mobile space, the team has started creating original content in audio and video format, deploying and mar- keting the same across all major mobile networks.

“Over the last year Balaji Telefilms has evolved from being a leader in the television and film production to creating a strong footprint in the online and mobile VAS space,” said Balaji Telefilms group CEO Puneet Kinra.

“The mobile entertainment space has assumed great significance today and we plan to focus extensively on the same to address the current consumers as well as the evolving market of 3G content both in India and internationally.”

market of 3G content both in India and internationally.” variety Hindu gods on US postage stamps
market of 3G content both in India and internationally.” variety Hindu gods on US postage stamps


Hindu gods on US postage stamps

An Atlanta, US based company headed by an Indian American has launching a series of legally valid custom-made postage stamps featuring the pictures of Hindu gods and icons.

The first of these 44 cent stamps featuring Sri Krishna, Shiva-Parvati, Lakshmi, Lord Venkateshwara, Murugan, Vinayaka and Sai Baba have been issued by last month.

The company made use of a six-year-old US Postal Service (USPS) rule that permits issue of customised postages to launch the series. The facility has been used by a number of people to make individualised stamps.

“Customised postage sheets are ideal for giving as gift items. Indian community living in the US can order online as a gift item,” company vice president Ennar Chilakapati told the media.

company vice president Ennar Chilakapati told the media. “These postages have not been issued by the

“These postages have not been issued by the US Postal Service, but these are as good as stamps and are legally valid. We do not call them stamps. We call them postages. But these can be used as any other normal stamp,” a USPS spokesman said.

The Hindu gods follow the tradition of ‘Sunny Funnies’, a series of stamps featuring popular cartoon characters such as Calvin and Hobbes and Archie conceptualised by the USPS.

as Calvin and Hobbes and Archie conceptualised by the USPS. WeekeNd CUISINE MASALA CHANA recipe by
as Calvin and Hobbes and Archie conceptualised by the USPS. WeekeNd CUISINE MASALA CHANA recipe by
as Calvin and Hobbes and Archie conceptualised by the USPS. WeekeNd CUISINE MASALA CHANA recipe by


MASALA CHANA recipe by ruby dhillon Ingredients: • 2- Potatoes (small) • 1cup- Chana (Chick


recipe by ruby dhillon


2- Potatoes (small)

1cup- Chana (Chick peas soaked over

night with water)

4- Green chillis

1tsp- Ginger paste

1tsp- Garlic paste

1tsp- Jeera whole(Cumin)

1tsp- Red chilli powder

1tsp- Garam masala

1tbs- Anardana powder

1tbs- Dhania powder (Coriander)

1tbs- Cumin powder

2- Tomatoes (big and chopped)

Salt according to taste

1/2cup- Chopped coriander

1- Lemon

2tbs- Oil

• 1/2cup- Chopped coriander • 1- Lemon • 2tbs- Oil M e t h o d



potatoes, peel and cut them into

halved and keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok add ginger, garlic paste


when it is brown then add slited green

chillis, coriander powder, cumin powder,


chilli powder, Salt and add chopped

tomatoes, stir fry them until the masala is cooked.


the pre soaked Chana(Chick peas) to


masala, cover and cook with two cups

of water for 20minutes or until they are cooked.

In the other pan heat oil add jeera whole


allow the jeera to reeden then add

Anardana powder and Potatoes. Fry the

Potatoes until they are brown in colour.


potatoes with Chana masala.

Serve hot with a dash of lemon on it and chopped Coriander.


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010


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PO Box 1941 - Wellington, New Zealand
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Phone: 021 383 859
Gen Secretary: Veer Khar
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(Advert Sponsored By Basra Family Trust)
(Advert Sponsored By Basra Family Trust) 32 Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010 |


Indian Weekender | February 12, 2010