Profiling Anuradha Bhagwati: First south Asian woman US Marine Corps Officer

At 24, Anuradha Bhagwati, become the first south Asian woman officer in the history of the US Marine Corps. At the time, the Yale graduate, daughter of eminent economists Jagdish Bhagwati and Padma Desai was proud to join the elite military force.

Image result for anuradha bhagwati marine

Bhagwati’s famous parents pushed her hard to be a good Indian girl and conform to the desi diaspora’s norms, but she rebelled.

Image result for anuradha bhagwati marine

Anuradha recounts in Unbecoming: A Memoir of Disobedience,

Yet once training begins, Anuradha’s G.I. Jane fantasy is punctured. As a bisexual woman of color in the military, she faces underestimation at every stage, confronting misogyny, racism, and astonishing injustice perpetrated by those in power. Pushing herself beyond her limits, she also wrestles with what exactly drove her to pursue such punishment in the first place.

Once her service concludes in 2004, Anuradha courageously vows to take to task the very leaders and traditions that cast such a dark cloud over her time in the Marines. Her efforts result in historic change, including the lifting of the ban on women from pursuing combat roles in the military.

Bhagwati’s book has also received rave reviews from critics:

“While reading a book to review, it’s usually useful to fold over a page’s corner to make it easy to come back, to reflect on each noteworthy passage…But then you find yourself folding down the next page, and another, and another, until more than half the book is folded down, rendering the tactic useless as a reference but testimony to the story’s potency.”
Los Angeles Times Book Review

“Bhagwati’s book stands out most as a chronicle of overcoming psychological trauma…The book is at its most powerful when she writes about who she became in response to the violence the military trained her to commit.”
New York Times Book Review

Image credits and more about Bhagwati on the website

 

Advertisements

Ashish Alfred Named 2019 Maryland Chef of the Year at Awards Gala

Seen as inspiration by fellow cooks, Chef Alfred’s work ethic and three restaurants elevate the food industry’s standard of excellence.

 (Bethesda, MD)–The Restaurant Association of Maryland just named Ashish Alfred of the Alfred Restaurant Group Maryland’s 2019 Chef of the Year. The prestigious honor, voted on by the dining public, recognizes overall excellence in the foodservice industry and Chef Alfred’s commitment to the community. The Association awards Chef of the Year to “an executive chef who demonstrates consistent standards of excellence, serves as an inspiration to other foodservice professionals, displays dedication to the artistry of food and exhibits ongoing commitment to the community.”

See the source image

“It is a real honor for my team and I to be recognized for all the hard work we put in,” says Chef Alfred, 33. “I’m truly grateful for our team that shows up every day and works toward making my visions a reality and making our clients as happy as possible. It’s really a proud moment when all the hard work, the long hours, and teamwork by our staff is recognized by such an important organization.”

The award reflects an honor-filled season for Alfred, chef and owner of the Alfred Restaurant Group, as he continues to earn rave reviews at his three Maryland-Washington, D.C. area restaurants: Duck Duck Goose Bethesda, George’s Chophouse in Bethesda, and Duck Duck Goose Baltimore.

Duck Duck Goose in Bethesda was recently named one of the top ten “Favorite New Restaurants” by Bethesda Magazine and “Best Restaurant in Maryland” by Southern Living Magazine. In a glowing review, The Washington Post says about Duck Duck Goose, “the delights are in the details.” Alfred recently opened Duck Duck Goose in Baltimore, which Baltimore Magazine honors as one of Charm City’s Best Restaurants.

Chef Alfred has recently been profiled by NBC’s TODAY Show, The Washington Post and Baltimore Magazine. He also held a command performance at the prestigious James Beard House, where he prepared a multi-course dinner for a sold-out audience. Alfred was classically trained at the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan and honed his skills in some of Manhattan’s best kitchens. Grounded by his classical French discipline, he isn’t afraid to go beyond tradition, take risks and experiment with his offerings. He delivers contemporary dining concepts that are rooted in soulful cooking.

Alfred is a popular guest with the media, whether he’s sharing a cooking demo and insights on local TV, or battling it out as a contender on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and Chopped.

Kumail Nanjiani’s Little America Apple series to look at immigrant life

During Apple’s livestreamed event on Monday, the company revealed a series of new services and products, including the TV Plus streaming service, which will present a slate of new shows including The Big Sick actor Kumail Nanjiani‘s new series Little America.

At the Apple event, Nanjiani revealed that he and his wife Emily V. Gordon are writing and executive producing the new show about immigrants in America. Little America will have episodes based on true stories featured in Epic Magazine, which are described on the site as “a small, collective portrait of America’s immigrants — and thereby a portrait of America itself,” according to Deadline. More about Apple’s announcement on cNet

 

Kumail Nanjiani is a Pakistani-American stand-up comedian, actor, podcast host, and writer best known for being a main cast member on HBO’s Emmy Award-nominated series Silicon Valley, as well as for providing the voice of Prismo on the Emmy Award-winning animated series Adventure Time. He starred on the TNT series Franklin & Bash and the Adult Swim series Newsreaders. Nanjiani also co-hosted the Comedy Central show The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail. In addition to his television and film work, he hosted two podcasts: The Indoor Kids and The X-Files Files. In 2018, Time named him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Google Doodle – Sake Dean Mahomed – The most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World

Google today features a doodle on  Sake Dean Mahomed

doodlesakedeanmahomed

Turns out “Sake Dean Mahomed was an Anglo-Indian traveller, surgeon and entrepreneur who was one of the most notable early non-European immigrants to the Western World. He introduced Indian cuisine and shampoo baths to Europe, where he offered therapeutic massage. He was also the first Indian to publish a book in English!” (Wikipedia)

Sake Dean Mahomed.jpg

BBC – Beyond the Broadcastran an interesting feature “Brighton, or Brighthelmstone as it was then known, was a developing resort in the 1770s and ’80s when an Indian, Sake Dean Mahomed, arrived to open Mahomed’s Indian Vapour Baths on the seafront, on the site of what is now the Queen’s Hotel. These were Turkish baths in which clients were put in a flannel tent and massaged by someone who poked their arms through slits in the flannel walls. Mahomed was known as a ‘shampooing surgeon’ – shampooing referred not, in the modern sense, to washing the hair, but to massaging the body during a vapour bath”

Professional golfer arrested for poaching at an Indian tiger reserve; Opportunity for hunting Tours to the USA?

Professional golfer arrested for poaching at an Indian tiger reserve; Opportunity for hunting Tours to the USA?

The Indian media is abuzz with the arrest of professional golfer Jyoti Randhawa, who was arrested for allegedly poaching in the Motipur range, an area that is protected at the Dudhwa Tiger reserve. Mr. Randhawa was apparently caught with skin of endangered animals and riffles and hunting gear in his possession, all of which are illegal in India.

This is not the first incident of the rich and famous being arrested for poaching. According to Washington Post, Earlier this year, the popular Bollywood star Salman Khan was sentenced to 5 years in prison for poaching antelope. After a legal battle that lasted nearly 20 years, a prominent Bollywood actor once seen by many as above the law was convicted of poaching two endangered blackbuck antelopes and sentenced to five years in prison.

Jyoti Rhandawa, golfer.JPG

Poaching in Indian forests is a major game of cat-and-mouse with a small band of underpaid and overworked forest department officials trying hard to guard dwindling parcels of forest land. They occasionally catch a few bad apples while many get away. Landing the rich and famous in the net makes for sensational news, but this doesn’t seem to deter a percentage of folks like Mr. Jyoti Randhawa who think they can get away with it.

Opportunity for American ‘Hunting Tours’ to fill the void by attracting rich Indians?

Setting aside the moral and ethical dilemma of hunting wildlife, one can perhaps look to the West, especially America. The United States, with large tracts of land and rather liberal gun laws has turned legal-hunting into a major industry in some American states.

In the United States, regulation of hunting is primarily performed by state law; additional regulations are imposed through Federal environmental law regarding migratory birds (such as ducks and geese) and endangered species. A map of total hunting licenses purchased in the United States in 2017. Like many licenses, a hunting license is considered a privilege granted by the government, rather than a constitutional right under the Second Amendment. (Wikipedia)

Even a cursory googling of “hunting tours America” brings up hundreds of entrepreneurs and companies providing guided and un-guided Hunting trips. For example, Montana Guided Big Game Hunting claims “We offer:  mule and whitetail deer hunts, archery elk hunts, archery whitetail hunts, wilderness elk hunts, wilderness multi-weapon hunts, wilderness combination big game hunts, spring and fall black bear, horseback hunts, lodge hunts, mountain lion hunts, moose hunts and goat hunts.” 

Superstars like Salman Khan and sportsmen like Jyoti Randhawa and thousands of rich closet-hunters from India are ideal clientele for hunting tour operators. They are interested in hunting and can surely afford a plane ride to the US.

Any entrepreneurs out there tapping this market?


 

 

References

  • Jyotinder Singh Randhawa (born 4 May 1972), also known as Jyoti Randhawa, is an Indian professional golfer who was ranked in the top 100 of the Official World Golf Ranking several times between 2004 and 2009
  • Golfer Jyoti Randhawa held for poaching in Dudhwa tiger reserve – Times of India
  • Professional golfer and his caddie arrested for poaching at a tiger reserve – Golf Digest
  • 5W1H: Golfer Jyoti Randhawa arrested for alleged poaching at UP – ZeeNews

Is Sunny Leone – the unlikely role-model benefiting from #MeToo ?

The Me Too movement (#MeToo ) in India has grown out of the international social-media campaign against sexual harassment of  women in workplace. In the past few weeks, a slew of actors, ministers, government officials and other influential super-stars have been at the receiving end of accusations of sexual harassment.

The Indian #MeToo movement has brought the topic of sex into the foreground. And it is perhaps a sign of our times that modern India has accepted an icon of sex, the former porn-star as a Bollywood icon. Karenjit Kaur Vohra, the Canadian-born Indian-American actress and model better known by her stage name Sunny Leone is active in Indian film industry.

Sunny has played roles in independent mainstream events, films and television shows. Her first mainstream appearance was in 2005, when she worked as a red carpet reporter for the MTV Video Music Awards on MTV India. In 2011, she participated in the Indian reality television series Bigg Boss. She also has hosted the Indian reality show Splitsvilla.

4.-Sunny-Leone-2[1]

Ms Leone’s transformation from porn-star to mainstream Bollywood has not been universally accepted in India, where modern continues to co-exist with traditional and parochial value systems.  News accounts last week described possible threats to a recent concert in the tech-city of Bengaluru where Ms Leone was staring. According to Times of India

“The pro-Kannada outfit had threatened to disrupt the event. Around 200 policemen in civil dress were deployed at the venue. The KRVYS, an offshoot of pro-Kannada organisation Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, has been opposing the event for two reasons: first, the event would spoil the culture of Bengaluru and second, Sunny Leone was playing the lead role in a multi-lingual movie Veera Mahadevi, a period drama portraying a warrior.”

Even with a few threats and protests, her concerts and public appearances seem to have a strong fan following. After a recent appearance in Bengaluru, media accounts quoted several women techies

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Chitra P, a business analyst with a leading MNC, was quoted saying: “Sunny is fabulous. She is a powerful women’s voice we have today.”

Preethi, a content writer and a fan of Sunny’s dance skills said: “The protests were uncalled for and it was not in the right taste. People must get past her previous career and see her as an artiste.”

Her fan following has also led to several endorsement deals for products ranging from condoms to Desi Ghee (link). It is a sign of our times that a generation of Indians have embraced Ms Leone’s unlikely transformation into Bollywood.