Pravasi Bharat 

nri - pio section

Governor Jon Corzine declares Dushahra Day
IT’S D-DAY: Alka Agrawal, Mangal Gupta, Governor Jon Corzine, Seema Singh and Arvind Agrawal.
Indians in America are beginning to make an impact in the melting pot. On September 30, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine declared Dushahra Day in the Garden State in the presence of community leaders at a ceremony in Trenton. He congratulated the Indian American community for celebrating this unique festival.

Indians celebrated “Victory of Good over Evil” on a very large scale by burning the 25-feet effigy of the demon king Ravan. The celebrations included fireworks, Ram Leela by Bollywood film star Padma Khanna, cultural programmes, a food and crafts bazaar, rides for children and lots more. 
Present at the ceremony were governor Jon Corzine, rate payer advocate Seema Singh, founding chairman Mangal Gupta, and Alka and Arvind Agrawal, owner of EBC Radio, the only South Asian Radio in New Jersey.
My mother told me never to be a writer
Kiran Desai, who created history by becoming the youngest ever woman to win the Man Booker prize at 35, paid tributes to her Indian roots while accepting the prize at the awards dinner at the Guildhall. Kiran, who won the prize for her book The Inheritance of Loss, said: “I’m Indian and so I’m going to thank my parents.” 

Kiran’s writer mother, Anita Desai, was not at the awards dinner as she was in India. The award-winning book is dedicated to her. “My mother told me never to be a writer as it is such a difficult profession. It is so hard,” Kiran said. At another point in her acceptance speech, the US-resident author said: “Given what the political climate has been in the States, I feel more and more Indian in so many ways.”

Returning to her Indian origins time and again, Kiran said: “I didn’t expect to win. I don’t have a speech. My mother told me I must wear a sari, a family heirloom, but it’s completely transparent!” The novel, set in India, was written during trips to India. Kiran said: “I went back to write the Indian bits in India, so it wasn’t entirely from a distance.”

Rodney Troubridge of the booksellers Waterstone’s compared Desai’s novel to Booker-winning predecessors such as Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children. “This continues the fine tradition of Booker winners set in India,” he said.
Indian American named McArthur fellow
Harvard Medical School professor Atul Gawande has been named one of the twenty five 2006 MacArthur Fellows. Gawande, an assistant professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School/ Bringham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, is also an acclaimed staff writer for the New Yorker magazine. He won the $500,000 MacArthur Genius award.

Gawande is a surgeon and author, who applies a critical eye to modern surgical practice, articulating its realities, complexities, and challenges. His book, Complications (2002), illuminates the concerns and problems faced by the surgeon-in-training with insight and compassion. Gawande scrutinizes the culture, protocol, and technology of modern medical practice from the perspective of a dedicated and empathetic professional. Among his innovations are bar codes to prevent surgeons from inadvertently leaving sponges and instruments in patients and a simple score of one to ten indicating the likelihood of complications.
Parveen Chopra Hosts Reception for India and Pakistan Delegation in New York
Dr Parveen Chopra, founder and president of the Asian American Coalition USA—a conglomeration of 12 Asian countries in America—hosted a reception for a delegation of legislators from India and Pakistan. The delegates were in the US at the invitation of the Department of State in Washington DC.

Chopra indicated that all roads for India and Pakistan run through Kashmir and they have to find a way to get away from that. India and Pakistan can both benefit economically, technologically, politically and socially by moving on and the White House supports that position and would like India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to be partners with America in the fight against global terrorism. 

Honorable Andrew P. Raia, assemblyman, who also helped coordinate the visit said cooperation among these countries would succeed in controlling terrorism.

Official trade between India and Pakistan is $600 million but unofficial trade stands at $2.5 billion. India’s vast technological pool can benefit Pakistan as it is helping China, America and the rest of the world. India with the help of Pakistan can have road access to supply manufactured goods to Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and other countries. Also Pakistani goods will have a ready market for dry fruits, nuts, textiles and other artisan goods in India.

New Indian cookbook on Canadian bestsellers list
A new Indian cookbook by a popular Indo-Canadian chef has made it to the bestseller list. Launched two weeks ago, “Vij’s: Elegant and Inspired Indian Cuisine” by Vikram Vij, who runs the Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver, topped the non-fiction bestsellers list in Canada’s British Columbia province last week.
Co-authored by Vij’s wife Meeru Dhalwal, the book has set all of North America abuzz because of its beautiful, flavoured Indian dishes, according to a report in the Province newspaper.

Born in India in 1964, Vij grew up in Amritsar and Mumbai. His passion for food and cooking was there right from childhood. “Instead of playing cricket with the boys, I used to hang out in the kitchen with my mother,” Vij had said in an interview some years ago. 

In September 1994, he opened the original 14-seat Vij’s restaurant in Vancouver. The restaurant soon grew in popularity and within a year it was judged the best Asian restaurant by Vancouver magazine. 

“I don’t want to be categorised as an `ethnic’ restaurant,” Vij told the Toronto Star in another interview. According to the restaurant’s website, the philosophy behind Vij’s food has always been “to keep our spices and cooking techniques Indian while using meats, seafood and produce that are locally available”.
Kennedy Center to Honour Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta is among the five stalwarts from the arts and entertainment field who will be honoured by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts this year. Apart from Mehta, the others are musical theatre composer and producer Andrew Lloyd Webber, country singer and songwriter Dolly Parton, singer, songwriter and producer Smokey Robinson, and film director and producer Steven Spielberg.

Now a resident of Los Angeles, Mehta was born in Mumbai in 1936. He received his early education in music from his father Mehli Mehta, a violinist and co-founder of the Bombay Symphony Orchestra and later music director of the American Youth Symphony in Los Angeles.

Mehta initially intended to study medicine but eventually became a music student in Vienna at the age of 18, under the eminent instructor Hans Swarowsky. Since 1985, he has been revitalising opera as chief conductor of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour, his life has been documented in Terry Sanders’ film Portrait of Zubin Mehta and in a book by Martin Bookspan and Ross Yockey entitled Zubin: The Zubin Mehta Story.

This year saw the publication in Germany of Zubin Mehta’s autobiography, Die Partitur meines Leben: Erinnerungen (The Score of my Life: Memories).