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Renowned Ghazal singer Dhananjay mesmerizes Boston

By Deepak Arora

Renowned Hindustani classical Sufi vocalist Dhananjay KaulBOSTON, Aug 23: Renowned Hindustani classical Sufi vocalist Dhananjay Kaul mesmerized Boston audience at a concert here with his amazing repertoire ranging from ghazals, thumri and khayal. The concert was organized by Kashmiri Overseas Association. Though born in Kashmir, this has been Dhananjay's first concert ever where Kashmiri folk songs and music dominated the show.

The audience, which was largely Kashmiris settled in Boston area, was overwhelmed to hear songs of famous Kashmiri poets Dina Nath Nadim Sahib and Moti Lal Saqi.

To repeated applause, he sang "Bedard Dad Chahney", "Ne Gevni Az SuNagum Kanh", "Roz Roz Boz Mayan Zar Madno" etc

To the popular demand of the audience, Dhananjay also sang "Prem Jogan Ban Gayi" in Raag Soni by Bade Ghulam Ali; "Yeh Dil Pagal Hai" by Ghulam Ali, "Ranjishey hi Sahi" by Mehndi Hassan.

Dhananjay was accompanied on tabla by famous artist, Harshal Tole.

The audience was so mesmerized by his melodious voice, songs and music that the concert that was to end at half past eight went on till past 11 pm.

Dhananjay has been trained in Patiala Syham Chaurasi mould. His singing is full throated and bold, with a beautiful tapestry of Swaras.

Renowned Hindustani classical Sufi vocalist Dhananjay Kaul Renowned Hindustani classical Sufi vocalist Dhananjay Kaul

He has been invited to the USA by the Kashmiri Overseas Association (KOA). The Association promotes, preserves and protects the Kashmiri Pandit Ethnic and Socio-Cultural Heritage, according to Raj Kaul, Zonal Director of the KOA.

This is Dhananjay's first visit to the US and he has taken the country by storm. He has received rave reviews from all his performances so far.

Renowned Hindustani classical Sufi vocalist Dhananjay KaulDhananjay Kaul, who arrived in the US on July 4, gave a befitting performance also in Houston on July 31. In fact, Houston Mayor, Annise Parker, was so impressed by his performance that in her Proclamation she declared July 31 as Dhananjay Kaul day in Houston.

Kunal Vaishnavi, Student at Phillips Academy Andover, Massachusetts, introduced the artists.

Amongst dwindling pool of Kashmiri talent, Dhananjay showed that so long artists like him are alive; the world can continue to get solace in peace loving Kashmiri folk music.

Praising the audience, Dhananjay said Boston has been one of his best concerts and thanked the organizers for great turnout.

Commenting on the performance, Dr Sanjay Kaul said "Dhananjay has a complete new genre of Kashmiri singing putting his unique ghats in the songs and amazing compositions of folk with classical voice. This is a very new kind of experiment in Kashmiri singing."

Besides Raj Kaul and his wife Jyoti, the concert was made successful by Pran and Raj Tiku, Sharda and Sanjay Kaul and Pamma and Arun Kaul.

‘Entrepreneurs should be dreamers, and they should dream big’

NEW DELHI, Aug 17: Entrepreneurship is the buzzword now and Indians, unfortunately, have not made much impact on this front despite possessing sufficient knowledge and making huge strides in the IT sector across the world.

Gurram Srinivas Reddy, a first generation entrepreneur who formed Telugu Entrepreneurs’ Association (TEA) in the U.S. to promote entrepreneurs among Telugus, recently received Excellence Award at the North America Telugu Association (NATA), 2014 meet. A Hyderabadi by heart, he tells that its time engineering colleges provide platform to encourage entrepreneurs among students than just churning out degree holders.

How should engineering or management students go about developing entrepreneurship skills while in college?

First they should offer more courses in entrepreneurship and then conduct workshops by inviting industry experts in chosen fields. Invite first generation entrepreneurs as a motivational speakers and role models.

No, there has to be a paradigm shift in the approach of the educational institutions. An institution can create such environment just like Telugu Entrepreneurs’ Association (TEA) does by inviting open competition for students to prepare business plans, preparing best business practices, inviting bankers and venture capitalists to institutions as judges of those business plans. This will give an opportunity for students to interact with experts. TEA does all these activities as part of fostering entrepreneurship among Telugus around the world on a regular basis.

Entrepreneurs have to be a dreamers and when they dream, they have to dream big. There a big difference between businessmen and entrepreneurs. A businessman always thinks of profit. Most of them are not dreamers and there won’t be much of innovation in what they do. On the other hand, entrepreneurs always come up with new ideas and their approach always deals with improving peoples’ or end users’ lives.

If you take last 20 years, new innovations in Information Technology have helped in improving productivity and changing the loves of end users or customers. There is so much productivity growth in many industry sectors and all this was possible because of the entrepreneurs.

For example, Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, Micheal Dell of Dell computers, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook have several things in common, they all are young and they wanted to change the world using technology to help all the human beings. They also started their entrepreneurial activity at a very young age. They had some idea about their products and they worked on it day and night without giving up. Also, they never lost focus or hope and started developing their products from their garages and they did whatever it took. None of these people have rich background.

All the students must do internship in their chosen industry as part of their course. By doing this, students will have firsthand experience out there in the real world and they will know dos and don’ts of the entrepreneurship.

There is no instant success to anything that we do. One should have a complete belief and trust in himself no matter what they go through. They should just move on. One should have the tenacity, perseverance and stubbornness to make it happen.

The mistake is to not dream, to not have self confidence, discipline, self control, developing skills, and to not have proper role models as they do not read bios of some of these successful entrepreneurs.

Placing clean water at the heart of good governance in India

By Pallava Bagla

NEW DELHI, Aug 14: In water, there is life and without water, there is no life. Water is almost a producer of life. From thick jungles where diverse plants and animals throng to human settlements that naturally seek water and cluster around it forever; this is one natural resource that is at the core of life on Earth. Today more than ever the new Prime Minister Narendra Modi led government is placing clean water at the heart of good governance. So when Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave a clarion call on July 29 when speaking to agriculture specialists seeking `per drop, more crop’, it automatically touches a chord among Indians.

Fresh potable water is at a premium and may possibly become the rate-determining step in the future. India with over a 1.2 billion people makes up almost 17 percent of the world's population – the contrast is that the country possesses merely 4 percent of the world's fresh water resources with the renewable fresh water resources of India standing at 1869 billion cubic meters (BCM) per year. Currently every Indian has access to less than a fourth of what is the world average and disparities are only growing. Can this thirsty divide between the water-starved and the water-rich be bridged sound water management and by deploying best practices.

There is a huge renewed interest in cleaning the river Ganga with the new National Democratic Alliance government even renaming the central water ministry as the `Ministry for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation’. On July 7, 2014 a large inter-ministerial national consultation called `Ganga Manthan’ was organized in New Delhi where it was recommended that a honest effort will be made that in next five years a clean free flowing Ganga is given back to Indians. The new government is undoubtedly focusing heavily on providing clean water, towards that a massive effort to clean up India’s National river the Ganga has been allocated $ 340 million in the budget, the 2500 kilometer long northern Indian river whose basin houses some 400 million people, has been heavily polluted and Modi promises to clean it up by 2019. He made this promise while giving a victory speech on the banks of the Ganga from his own constituency in Varanasi.

According to estimates by the Ministry of Water `the per capita availability of water in the country is 1545 cubic meters as per the 2011 census. The per capita water availability in the country is reducing progressively due to increase in population. The average annual per capita availability of water in the country, taking into consideration the population of the country as per the 2001 census, was 1816 cubic meters which reduced to 1545 cubic meters as per the 2011 census.’

According to estimates put out by the National Water Development Agency (NWDA) to meet the irrigation potential of 160 million hectares by 2050 up from the current of about 100 million hectares, new strategies will have to be adopted especially since India’s population is likely to be anywhere between 1.4 to 1.5 billion up from the current 1.2 billion. To feed the people by then the country will have to produce some 450 million tons of food grains, almost doubling the output in less than four decades. Ensuing that the country gets more crop per drop will be the big game changer.

To make the long-range forecasts of the monsoon more accurate, India has launched a $ 75 million, 5-year research program called the `monsoon mission’ to decipher the mystery of the monsoon. The southwest monsoon is that life-giving phenomenon which showers on the Indian landmass 80% of the total annual of 105 cm rainfall that India receives. Every year between June-September, moisture-laden winds blowing in from the Indian Ocean rejuvenate the parched Indian countryside. The monsoon arrives without fail, but forecasting it months ahead is a nightmare. The drought of 2002 shrank India’s GDP by an estimated 5.8%. Calling the monsoon an `intriguing phenomenon’. Shailesh Nayak, a geologist and secretary for the Ministry of Earth Sciences says `understanding the monsoon is a major priority for the next five years’.

According to the government `water quality data of various river stretches has revealed that organic pollution particularly Bio-chemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) has exceeded the desired water quality criteria in 150 river stretches covering 121 rivers. The major cause of rising organic pollution, particularly BOD in these rivers, is due to discharge of untreated and partially treated domestic effluents by various municipalities across the country. Pollution abatement in rivers is an ongoing and collective effort of the central and state governments. Ministry of Environment & Forests, Government of India is supplementing the efforts of the state governments in pollution abatement in various rivers through the centrally sponsored National River Conservation Plan (NRCP), which presently covers 40 rivers in 190 towns spread over 20 States. Pollution abatement schemes include interception, diversion and treatment of sewage; low cost sanitation works on riverbanks; gas fired, electric or at times improved wood crematoria are being used. Sewage treatment capacity of 4574 million liters per day has been created. Nobody can doubt that rivers in India are heavily polluted and giving them a quick scrub will certainly make India a healthier place.

The whole spirit of water is of tranquility and peace, praise and cleansing. Yet, there are wars, and it is predicted they have only just begun. The wars may be over the use of water, over its sharing, over who gets how much. This war plays out each day, all the time, in countless Indian cities, towns, and villages. Its many scenes are depicted in the long and tired queues of women with more pitchers than they can hold, in the growing frequency of water tankers that actually sell water in many parts of the country, and in the larger political dramas that unfold around the sharing of rivers between states and the damming of water.

But water endures, and also manages to push human endurance beyond limits. It befriends, pacifies, cajoles and makes its way into the lives of the unlikeliest of people. It draws humans, animals and plants alike. It can make or break ecosystems and economies. It entices industry and beckons even the atheist. Water is at what must truly be the center of the Universe for every Indian. Better governance of this vital resource will ensure a healthy and prosperous future for India.

-- Courtesy: Ministry of External Affairs, India

@ Pallava Bagla is Science Editor for New Delhi Television and a globally recognized science writer. Author of the forthcoming book `Reaching for the Stars’ to be published by Bloomsbury India. Views expressed are personal.

The Justice League: Times Square's superheroes fight back against bad press

NEW YORK, Aug 13: After a spate of arrests and bad publicity, the costumed characters who pose for tourist photographs in New York's Times Square in the hopes of a cash tip have formed an association to preserve a livelihood that has come under increasing scrutiny.

Dozens of people dressed as Spider-Man, Batman, Elmo, Mickey Mouse and other children's favorites, roam the crowded sidewalks and pedestrian plazas around Times Square each day, beckoning toward passing kids and their camera-toting parents.

But city officials from the mayor down have painted them as pests who harass the city's visitors. Police have arrested several performers in recent months, and began handing out flyers at the weekend telling tourists to call the 911 emergency number with any complaints about the characters.

The new association - a sort of cross between an informal union and The Justice League - wants to fight back against that image, according to Yamil Morales, one of the group's organizers.

"We're people who want to be treated as workers with dignity and not be treated as cartoon characters just because we wear a mask," Morales said in Spanish, speaking through an interpreter. A large number of the performers are immigrants from Latin America.

They are calling themselves the Association of Artists United for a Smile, a name chosen to reflect their claim that a tourist's happiness is no less important than any tip he or she might give.

Morales, a Colombian living in New York City who spends 40 minutes each day getting dressed up as the Penguin, says he came up with the idea along with a Batman.

More than 100 characters have since joined, he said, and dozens of them met early on Tuesday at the offices of La Fuente, an advocacy group for immigrant workers.

"One of the things that we want to see is that the cops trust us a little bit more," Morales said, explaining that a meeting with police officials was at the top of the characters' agenda. "We want to get the rules from them and get the idea of proper procedure."

The police department did not respond to a request for comment.

Alex Gomez, the communications director for La Fuente who interpreted for Morales, said the characters had been unfairly vilified in the wake of recent arrests, including a Spider-Man charged with punching a police officer who intervened in a tipping dispute last month.

"One or two bad apples have made the whole bunch look bad," he said.

Monkey owns copyright for selfie, Wikipedia tells photographer

NEW YORK, Aug 7: A selfie taken by a black macaque on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi three years back has become a tug of war between Wikipedia and the photographer who claims he is the owner of the selfie.

Wikipedia has refused to remove the famous selfie, saying the monkey — and not the photographer — owns the copyright because the animal took it.

"This file is in the public domain because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested," a message on Wikipedia site read.

The photographer David Slater was clicking photos of crested black macaques in 2011 when one of the endangered monkeys hijacked his camera and snapped hundreds of pictures.

Among those, there were some stunning images, including a selfie of the macaque that made headlines.

Slater is now planning to take legal action against Wikimedia that owns Wikipedia, after the company used the photo on its site without permission, media reports said.

"I own the photo but because the monkey pressed the trigger and took the photo, they are claiming the monkey owns the copyright," Slater was quoted as saying.

According to him, Wikimedia's decision to include his image in its database and making it free to download had resulted in a loss of earnings.

Slater could sue the company for statutory damages of up to $30,000, reports added.

Obama braces for daughter's college years

WORCESTER, July 30: Two years out, President Obama is bracing for the trauma that visits many parents: Sending their first child off to college.

It was reported that Obama "is practically weepy" about the fact that daughter Malia will be starting college in the fall of 2016.

In a recent commencement address at a high school in Worcester, Mass., Obama said: "I've got to practice, because Malia is graduating in two years. So I'm trying to get used to not choking up and crying and embarrassing her. So this is sort of my trial run here."

First lady Michelle Obama has also cited the coming milestone, telling high school graduates in Topeka, Kan.: "Days like this make me think of my own daughters, so forgive me if I get a little teary."

The reports said that Malia, 16, has already started visiting prospective schools: "She has been seen touring the University of California at Berkeley and the Palo Alto, California, campus of Stanford, where another president's daughter, Chelsea Clinton, attended college.

"Malia goes into the 11th grade this fall at the private Sidwell Friends School in Washington. The Sidwell parent's guide to college counseling suggests that juniors take the PSAT test in October, visit colleges as time allows, take the SAT exam in March and set up a family meeting with a college counselor in late spring, among other steps."

Fond farewell to Canadian High Commissioner Stewart Beck

By Deepak Arora


The Indo Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) hosted a fond and warm farewell for the Canadian High Commissioner Stewart Beck, who was appointed to the post in September 2010 with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to the Kingdom of Bhutan.

Thanking the host, Rakesh Nangia, for a wonderful well-attended party, Stewart Beck said he was happy that his tenure saw huge growth in Indo-Canadian ties. He said the Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) has contributed hugely in promoting economic and bilateral relations between the two countries.

Many eminent persons of Delhi attended the farewell party. Present from the Canadian High Commission were Sidney Frank, Minister (Immigration); Rosaline Kwan, Senior Trade Commissioner (Northern India); Jens-Michael Schaal, Counsellor (Commercial-Ontario); and Ivy Lerner-Frank, First Secretary and Trade Commissioner, Education.

Some of the other eminent persons that attended the do included Mark Branov, Director, ILSC; Amir Singh Pasrich, leading legal consultant; Shivani Wazir Pasrich of Royal Commonwealth Society; Sanjay Lodha and Shefalika Lodha from and Sanjay Malhotra; Sushma Arora, Carpet designer and exporter; Vishal Bakshi, eminent journalist; and Mukesh Tyagi, eminent actor.

Lauding the glorious stint of High Commissioner Stewart Beck, Ms Nadira Hamid, Chief Operating Officer of ICBC, said this organization has contributed immensely to the ongoing increase of bilateral trade, its diversification and establishing fresh targets by exchange of trade and investment delegations, power launches, interactive sessions and creating tie-ups with bilateral chambers of India’s neighbouring countries like Nepal.

She said the ICBC has also been able to establish strong relationships with Bhutan and Sri Lanka. It acts as a bridge between Canada and these adjoining countries.

Recently ICBC signed an MOU with Canada-India Business Council (C-IBC), Toronto and launched the Canada-Nepal Business Executive Committee in collaboration with the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI). It also has a strong connect with the Chambers in Canada, namely ICCC and CIBC.

For us at ICBC, Ms Nadira Hamid said “globalization is the reality and Indo-Canadian interaction our primary focus. Given the warm and cordial relationship shared by the governments and people of the two countries, it makes eminent sense to seize the initiative and forge new links every day.”

ICBC has five operating councils in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Kolkata with prominent members from a cross-section of business and industry, in a variety of sectors. With its main focus being on sectors such as education and Advanced Skills Development, Agriculture and Food processing, Energy, infrastructure, Healthcare and Legal issues, it works through active committees in areas of Education, Aerospace, ICT, Legal, Media & Entertainment and Infrastructure. Other such committees in the pipeline are SME, Sustainable Energy and Healthcare.

The Chamber recently received the Governor General's Medallion for being a friend of Canada and for its efforts towards building strong relationships between the two countries With its pan India presence and fervent networking activities, ICBC’s contribution to the increase in Indo-Canadian has been enormous.

It proactively continues to assist governments of the two countries in formulating policies to facilitate trade.

High Commissioner Beck joined Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in 1982 as a Trade Commissioner.

Beck has served in the United States, Asia and Canada. Most recently, he was Consul General for San Francisco/Silicon Valley and prior to that he was Assistant Deputy Minister in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade where he was responsible for the Government of Canada’s Foreign Direct Investment, International Innovation and International Business Development operations.

As part of his mandate, Beck oversaw the development and execution of Canada’s Foreign Direct Investment Program; the focus of the strategy being the promotion of Canada’s knowledge-based industries and capabilities in key markets and sectors globally. He oversaw the Trade Commissioner Service, a network with over 140 offices around the world, pursuing global business opportunities for Canadian clients working or headquartered in Canada.



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