Donald Trump celebrates Diwali at White House

Diwali news from around the world

 

A few days ago we ran a feature highlighting “Grand, Green Diwali around the world this year”

This year, Donald J. Trump, President of the United States of America hosted a few porminent Indian-Americans to greet the global community

Today, I was deeply honored to be joined by so many administration officials and leaders of the Indian-American community – to celebrate Diwali — the Hindu Festival of Lights.

As we do so, we especially remember the People of India, the home of the Hindu faith, who have built the world’s largest democracy. I greatly value my very strong relationship with Prime Minister Modi. Diwali is one of the most important celebrations in the Hindu religion. A time of peace and prosperity for the New Year, it is a tradition that is held dear by more than 1 billion Hindus worldwide and more than 2 million Hindus in the United States. It is also celebrated by millions of Buddhists, Sikhs, and Jains in America, India and around the world.

Our Indian-American neighbors and friends have made incredible contributions to our country – and to the world. You have made extraordinary contributions to art, science, medicine, business and education. America is especially thankful for its many Indian-American citizens who serve BRAVELY in our armed forces and as first responders in communities throughout our great land.

The Lighting of the Diya is typically celebrated by families in their homes. Today, we proudly celebrate this holiday in THE PEOPLE’S HOUSE. In so doing, we reaffirm that Indian-Americans and Hindu-Americans are truly cherished, treasured and beloved members of our great American FAMILY.

We wish all of America’s Hindus and everyone who celebrates Diwali a joyous holiday and blessings of light, goodness, and prosperity throughout the New Year. And now we will light the Diya.

However, despite Indian Supreme Court’s directive banning fireworks in the National capital, media is reporting that Delhi covered in toxic haze after night of Diwali fireworks – The Guardian 

Delhi’s Air Quality Status Report After Diwali is ‘Very Poor’: NDTV 

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NRI woman searching for father in Hyderabad finds decomposed body in flat

About an NRI woman coming to Hyderabad in search of her father who had been missing for over a month.

A couple of months ago, we blogged about “Techie reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton”“Techie reaches mother’s flat on return from US, finds her skeleton”

There is another similar yet bizarre story about an NRI woman coming to Hyderabad in search of her father who had been missing for over a month. The woman, and her mother were shocked to find his decomposed body at their flat in LB Nagar.

Image result for nri parent drawing
Image: lassiwithlavina.com

The NRI and her mother came to Hyderabad because P Lakshminarayana Murthy, a retired government employee, had not been responding to their calls for several days.  Murthy was a native of Rajamahendravaram in Andhra Pradesh. He had two daughters, both of whom were living in the USA. His wife, Lakshmi, had recently gone to America to visit their daughters.

Murthy gone to Hyderabad in August to attend a relative’s wedding and stayed at his daughter’s flat.  During the first few days in Hyderabad, he had been in touch with his wife, after which he had stopped responding to her calls. Worried, the daughters and his wife had alerted relatives in Hyderabad, but none of them had been able to give them any information.

Nearly 40 days later, Lakshmi and her younger daughter Soujanya flew to Hyderabad in search of Murthy.  Despite knocking repeatedly on the door, they received no response. They broke open the door with the help of a local carpenter and entered the flat. They were shocked that none of the residents in the apartment building had noticed a foul smell.

This is yet another morbid story that will send shivers down Non Resident Indians with elderly parents living alone in India.

Story first reported in Deccan Chronicle and thenewsminute.com

Also check out the blog post: The Dilemma of Looking After Aging Desi Parents

Picture of the day: Public Toilets for Transgenders #LGBT

India is a country of contradictions and diversity. The title of a Washington Post article sums it up best: India has outlawed homosexuality. But it’s better to be transgender there than in the U.S. (link)

Transgender_toilet_Bangalore
Picture of Toilet for Transgenders in a Public Bus stand in Bangalore

 

Can a US citizen apply for an Aadhaar card?

This is a question that frequently appears in online forums. Here is the response from our editor, Mohan:

Firstly, check out the detailed official FAQ on Adhaar (link). A couple of relevant questions

Image result for adhaar faq

Can NRIs also get Aadhaar?

As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, only a resident who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.

What is the process if NRI / OCI holder needs to apply for Aadhaar? And if they don’t have their own residential address in India now?

As per the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, only a resident who has resided in India for a period or periods amounting in all to 182 or more in the 12 months immediately preceding the date of application for enrolment.

Keep in mind, Adhaar is not a proof of citizenship. Therefore, people (including US citizen, OCI) legally residing in India are eligible to apply for an Aadhaar card.


Also, check out an earlier blog post on the topic: Income Tax and Adhaar updates for Non Resident Indians (NRIs)

Book Review: ‘Hit Refresh’ by Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella

This is not yet another CEO’s ghost written tome

It is almost customary of tech CEO’s to write a book to to clarify their viewpoints, and also to solidify their personal legacies. The new book by Indian born CEO of tech giant Microsoft, Satya Nadella, does just this.

Indians, Indian-Americans and NRIs have been closely watching the ascend of Indian born technologists like Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai to top of multinational tech companies. There are several nuggets of wisdom that readers are sure to glean from Satya Nadella’s new book.

Amazon book review by our editor,

Not yet another CEO’s ghost written tome ! 

It is a time-honed tradition among tech CEO’s and executives to pen down a biography. The intent is generally multifold – to use it as a vehicle to clarify their viewpoints, and also to solidify their personal legacies. Nadella’s book follows the pattern of his mentor Bill Gates’ bestseller “Business @ the Speed of Thought” that tried to make sense of the seismic changes during the earlier dot.com era. This book takes us through Microsoft’s transformation through the digital-cloud era.

Hit Refresh, as the title suggests, is Nadella’s attempt to take us through his company’s ongoing transformation to ‘refresh’ the strategy, and his quest to “Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul.” A soul that essentially encompasses everything from the culture to competitive landscape and industry partnerships. Of course, corporate watchers and researchers are bound to wonder if a company really has a “soul.”

As a blogger who continually pursues South Asian ‘success stories,’ I have been following Nadella’s journey and his ascend to the top of American multinational is an inspiration to a generation of Indian Americans. In the book, Nadella takes us through the journey in his own words: from his childhood in India to the CEO of a Tech giant, that makes for an interesting read.

The book concludes with Nadella’s vision for the coming wave of digitization and explores its potential impact on society. Techies and students of business strategy are sure to find nuggets of insights in the book.


Bottomline: Nadella gives writer Greg Shaw full credit as a co-author – and the tone and themes in the chapters certainly reflect that of Microsoft’s leader.

According to the blurb, this is an attempt by Microsoft’s CEO to take us through

“the inside story of the company’s continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era. As much a humanist as engineer and executive, Nadella concludes with his vision for the coming wave of intelligent technologies and a distinct call to action for leaders everywhere. Hit Refresh is about individual change, about the transformation happening inside of Microsoft and the technology that will soon impact all of our lives–the arrival of the most exciting and disruptive wave of technology humankind has experienced: artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and quantum computing.It’s about how people, organizations, and societies can and must transform “hit refresh” in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, and continued relevance and renewal. At its core, it’s about us humans and how our one unique quality–empathy–will become ever more valuable in a world where technological advancement will disrupt the status quo as never before. Satya Nadella explores a fascinating childhood before immigrating to the US and how he learned to lead along the way.”


Book Review “I Do What I Do” – Does a green card make you less Indian?

Does a green card make you less Indian?

Names like Raghuram Rajan, Arvind Pangariya et al. are role models for the global Indian diaspora. They also happen to be globalized intellectuals with impeccable credentials, stellar education backed by real world experience.

Former Governor of the Indian Reserve bank, Raghuram Rajan (wikipedia) has decided to speak out his legacy of 3 years in India with the launch of his recent book “I Do What I Do.”  One aspect that continues to resurface in the media is the question of his “Indianness,” which is attributable to the fact that he has spent much of his working life abroad.

Questions on his “Indianness,” sometimes puts the an otherwise articulate intellectual, Mr. Rajan on the defensive. This continues to be a part of the rhetoric despite his impeccable educational credentials that include a bachelors degree from the prestigious IIT Delhi and an MBA from IIM Ahmedabad. Having a global background like these also means they are unencumbered by trivialities like visas and immigration restriction that may apply to rest of the junta.

The book has received a lot of media hype in India though the global Amazon.com website has a couple of reviews. Extract of the Amazon Review from our editor:

Former Governor of the Indian Reserve bank, Raghuram Rajan has decided to speak out about his legacy of 3 years in India with the launch of his recent book “I Do What I Do.”  

After browsing through the book, I am left wondering about the media hype the book launch received in India. The book is a compilation of his public speeches with a preface and notes added to clarify and explain his thinking during the period. Mr. Ranaj received a superstar welcome on his recent homecoming for the book-launch and has received sufficient media airtime that he has leveraged craftily.

You should consider buying a copy of the book only if you need a handy reference to Mr Rajan’s speeches; else you are better off referencing these speeches from the public domain on the web.

Other book reviews and media references:

 

Neha Banerjee from India secures 6th position at Mrs. Universe World Event 2017

Neha Banerjee with other contestants (14)

She is brave, bold, and beautiful. She is India! Guess who made India proud? Neha Banerjee shines the tiara of bravery & beauty when she was crowned Mrs. Bravery & Mrs. Beautiful Eyes at 40th Mrs. Universe at Durban’s Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre tapping into the theme, Empowering women. Creating change. For the first time in 40 years, India has glorified the national flag on International soil at Mrs. Universe pageant celebrates married women between the age group of 25 and 45 who are doing phenomenal work to uplift and enhance their local communities through CSI initiatives, business development and global trade opportunities. “It was a great honor to represent India on global level with other 184 countries worldwide. The aim of Mrs. Universe is to unite and celebrate women from across the globe. Seeing the country in a different light through the eyes of strangers was a great experience. I got to meet people from all over the world and they were all so inspirational. They were all there with a purpose and not just to win the competition‚ but spread their message” said Neha.

Neha Banerjee (4)
It has been very rightly said that women are the true architect of the society and it aptly applies to Neha Banerjee who represented India among 184 countries worldwide is already involved in important work to uplift and improve her local communities through charity work, business development and global trade opportunities “I am an active philanthropist in India. It was a feeling of pride to serve another country. We were involved in many philanthropic gestures. Unlike other pageants Mrs. Universe is purpose-driven, highlighting real concerns and areas for positive change. This pageant pools together women from all backgrounds, all of whom have overcome challenges to bring about positive changes in their respective communities”

Neha ,who is a strong willed and an optimistic person whose life motto is to infuse positivity, gravitas, happiness and success in one’s life by boosting their morale and helping them discover their inner strengths and self -esteem wore a traditional Rajastjani colorful poshak depicting an Indian woman’s belief, convictions & values. Her costume was awe-inspiring to awesome, dazzling to daring , expansive and exhilarating to bold.

Contestants engaged in various CSI initiatives to raise funds for Verulam-based LIV Village for orphaned and vulnerable children, facilities that support abused women and the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA). Contestants also visited schools in and around Durban to engage with young women and girls about the importance of education and self-development.

Contestants were also involved in a week of activities prior to the pageant, including visits to KZN cultural attractions and Durban’s tourist hot spots, stepping out in their swimsuits for East Coast Radio’s First Swim of Spring, and putting their heads together at a business strategy workshop at increasing inbound trade and tourism to South Africa.