BSF jawan commits suicide in Kashmir

first_imgA BSF soldier guarding a forward post along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district committed suicide by shooting himself with his service rifle.“A jawan deployed at a forward post along LoC in Poonch district shot himself with his rifle at midnight,” a senior BSF officer said.The jawan was shifted to hospital where he was declared dead.He was identified as Constable Pramodh Kumar, he said adding that post-mortem of the body is being conducted.Police has registered a case and started investigation into the suicide.last_img read more

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Two women injured in Pakistan firing

first_imgTwo women were injured in fresh ceasefire violations by Pakistani troops in Baramulla and Poonch on Friday. An official spokesman said Naseem Akhter, a resident of Dharati Balakote in Poonch, was injured when Pakistan resorted to firing and shelling, which was retaliated “in equal measure”.Another woman identified as Shakeela, 45, sustained splinter injuries at her residence in Baramulla’s Uri sector. “She was staying at Behak Dardkote. She has been referred to a Srinagar hospital for treatment,” said an official.Meanwhile, separatists held protests in the Valley against the U.S. move to designate Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin as a ‘global terrorist’. To contain the protests, security forces restricted the movement of people and vehicles in areas coming under five police stations in Srinagar. This affected daily life as many markets remained closed. No Friday prayers were allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid. Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, also Valley’s head priest, was placed under house arrest in Srinagar.Sporadic protests were reported from north and south Kashmir over the U.S. move against Salahuddin, who is also the United Jehad Council supremo. Separatist JKLF chief Yasin Malik said: “Clubbing Kashmir’s legitimate struggle with terrorism is unjustified and unacceptable.” Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani accused a few news channels of “representing fanatical forces and creating a state of intolerance.”last_img read more

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U.P. police file FIR against 1,000 BHU students

first_imgThe Uttar Pradesh police on Monday lodged an FIR against 1,000 unknown students of the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on charges of arson and rioting during the protest in the campus on Saturday night.A case was registered at the Lanka police station here under several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including 148 (rioting with armed weapon), 307 (attempt to murder), 353 (criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of duties), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 436 (destruction of immovable property).The police have also lodged a case against policemen on charges of assaulting and looting the journalists covering the protest on Saturday night. A delegation of the U.P. State accredited correspondents committee had apprised Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath of the incident, after which he instructed the Varanasi divisional commissioner to probe the case. The four injured journalists were identified as Alok Pandey, Kaushalendra, Amitesh Srivastava, and Arshad Khan.Meanwhile, the State also removed three additional city magistrates, Manoj Kumar Singh, Sushil Kumar Gaund, and Jagdamma Prasad Singh, and two policemen, in connection with the baton-charge on the protesters in which several students, including girls, suffered injuries. Station Officer of Lanka police station Rajiv Singh was transferred to the police lines, while the Circle Officer of Bhelupur, Nivesh Katiyar, has been replaced by Ayodhya Singh.The students were protesting against an alleged case of molestation and had demanded that the Vice-Chancellor come in person to the dharna site to assure them that action would be taken against the culprits.According to the police, some elements among the protesters engaged in arson, damaged public property, and threw stones at university officials and policemen.last_img read more

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An all-nighter avatar play in Maharashtra

first_imgDashavatar, a folk theatre form with provenance in Sindhudurg district of the South Konkan region of Maharashtra, is particularly popular in rural areas. Sharp wit and satire on public life, intertwined with tales of the 10 avatars of Vishnu as the core theme, characterise the dance drama.The play unfolds at dusk — most often, late at night — and if the artists catch the pulse of the audience, it usually carries on till daybreak. In this, it has resemblance to Yakshagana of coastal Karnataka. Even while relying on age-old stories from the Puranas, the actors may make sharp comments on contemporary society, politics or even civic issues. Such comments are a work of art — quicksilver tongue at its best. But there is a good chance that you could miss it entirely, because the Dashavatar story is still being told. Just suddenly, out of nowhere, the actor playing Bheema makes a sharp comment on one of his stage siblings and takes a swipe at the GST while at it. It is over in a flash, and the crowds erupt in laughter because it fits in well with the Dashavatar story. If they catch the satire, they laugh with it. And if they miss, they wait for the next. There is no script, and spontaneity is the key. And it is the skill in dialogue delivery that adds punch.The Dashavatar troupes are usually invited to perform on some occasion. They have been around for more than 500 years, and were a presence during Shivaji’s reign. A typical group consists of seven to 10 artists, all men who are behind the scenes and on the scene as well. They play Draupadi and Dushashana, both the oppressed and the oppressor. Dashavatar has a pivotal role in a State where theatre has always played a major role in shaping political thinking.last_img read more

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Minor rape victim undergoes abortion in 19th week

first_imgIn a first-of-its-kind case in the medicolegal history of Madhya Pradesh, a 19-week pregnancy of a minor rape victim was successfully terminated by a team of doctors at Khandwa district hospital last week. The Jabalpur High Court on December 7 (Thursday) allowed an immediate abortion, if medical experts permit, in the interest of the young girl as the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act does not allow abortion after the 20th week.Sonography reportThe court had observed that a sonography test report suggested that the girl was 19 weeks and three days pregnant. “On December 7 evening, we received a copy of the High Court order from Khandwa Superintendent of Police Navneet Bhasin. We had only a few hours before us to decide as there is a restriction on conducting abortions after 20 weeks. A three-member team of expert doctors was deputed to abort the foetus,” said Dr. Ratan Khandelwal, Chief Medical Health Officer (CMHO) of Khandwa district.At 10 a.m. on December 8 (Friday), the patient reached the hospital. After conducting a series of tests on the patient, thedoctors decided to give her medication to abort the foetus, instead of surgery. “The first dose to abort the foetus was given at 4 p.m. and the process continued for almost 12 hours. Finally, at 4 a.m, the patient’s pregnancy was medically terminated,” said Dr. Khandelwal.‘Patient discharged’According to the CMHO, the patient had minor fever after the abortion and she was discharged from the hospital on Monday after getting a clearance from the team of expert doctors.last_img read more

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U.P. CM orders probe into alleged lobbying for Lalu

first_imgTaking note of news reports, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Thursday ordered a probe into allegations of government officials calling up a CBI special judge to seek favours for fodder scam convict and RJD chief Lalu Prasad.On the basis of media reports about lobbying in favour of the fodder scam convict, orders have been issued to the Commissioner Jhansi division to carry out a probe and submit a report at the earliest, a tweet issued on the official handle of the CM Office, GoUP @ CMOfficeUP, said.Reports in a section of the media have alleged that District Magistrate Mannan Akhtar and Sub-Divisional Magistrate Bhairpal Singh of Jalaun had called up CBI Special Judge Shivpal Singh to seek favours for the RJD chief in the fodder scam case.During the proceedings of the case in Ranchi on January 4, the CBI judge had also stated “Laluji, we are getting a lot of references and calls for you”, without naming the people who had called him up.Prasad was later awarded a sentence of three and a half years in jail and a fine of ₹5 lakh.However, DM Akhtar refuting the allegations, said, “I never spoke to CBI Special Judge Shivpal Singh over phone. I have been here (Jalaun) just for four months and he had come to meet us in November in connection with his land dispute in the district. Nothing else was discussed.”“How can someone level such serious allegations without any evidence? I belong to Assam and am working in Uttar Pradesh. I have no connection of any kind with Laluji,” he said.A 2011-batch IAS officer, Mr. Akhtar became Jalaun District Magistrate in September last year.last_img read more

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Whirlwind from border fans dust storm in Rajasthan

first_imgA massive whirlwind entered the western Rajasthan districts of Jaisalmer and Bikaner from the India-Pakistan border on Monday evening, causing a dust storm in the region’s towns, which disrupted traffic on the roads and led to the collapse of electricity poles and tin-sheds.No loss of life has been reported from the affected places.The low-intensity dust storm changed the weather conditions and led to a sudden drop in the temperature, which was earlier mostly above 40 degree Celsius all over the State. Thundershowers were reported in Sriganganagar and Bikaner.Poor visibilityThe whirlwind first entered the Khajuwala town, situated near the international border, and progressed towards Bikaner, turning into a storm. With the dust in the atmosphere reducing visibility at places like Nachna, Mohangarh, Lunkaransar, Mahajan and Chhatargarh, motorists turned their headlights on. The road traffic was disrupted at several places.Police were alerted in Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Sriganganagar districts and the administration issued warnings, asking the people to remain indoors. The Disaster Management Department also geared up with the equipment for extending relief.In its fresh weather warning, the Jaipur Met office said 26 of the 33 districts in the State were likely to get dust storms and rains during the next 24 hours. Dusty winds followed by thunderstorm are likely to occur in several parts of the State.High-speed dust storm had wreaked havoc in the eastern Rajasthan districts of Alwar, Bharatpur and Dholpur last week, killing 35 persons and causing destruction of power and water supply infrastructure.last_img read more

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Assam policeman found ‘awaiting death’ 15 years after disappearance

first_imgAn Assam police constable who went missing from duty 15 years ago has been found ‘awaiting death’ at a crematorium in Guwahati.Police officials said constable Gowresh Bhattacharjee went missing after he was transferred to Karbi Anglong district from the 1st Assam Police Battalion in eastern Assam’s Sivasagar district. He was found at the city’s Bhootnath crematorium on Friday.Officials of the Bharalumukh police station, said Mr. Bhattacharjee, found lying at the crematorium for “the god of death to take him away”, appeared to be mentally unstable.Police Commissioner Hiren Chandra Nath directed the police to take the constable to a care home. Officials of the police station concerned took him to a Missionaries of Charity centre in the locality. A police officer said Mr. Bhattacharjee denied being either an alcoholic or suffering from any psychiatric complication. “He seemed convinced he was dying,” the officer said.“He has had no connection with members of his family besides being absent from duty for more than 15 years,” Mr. Nath told reporters.He said the police would verify if the man was still a constable in the record books.last_img read more

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Immersion of Vajpayee ashes: BJP criticised for imposing ‘alien culture’ on Nagaland

first_imgThe Nagaland unit of the BJP, facing criticism for imposing an “alien” culture on a Christian-majority State, has decided to immerse the ashes of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Doyang river on Monday.The decision was taken at a party meeting on Saturday.“We are not following any rituals. We are just paying our respects to the departed leader,” Nagaland BJP president Temjen Imna A. Longkumer said.An insult, says CongressThe Nagaland Pradesh Congress Committee (NPCC) had, on Friday, said the immersion of Vajpayee’s ashes in a river in the State was an insult to “our way of life”, as well as to the memory of the former Prime Minister.In a statement, the NPCC said the BJP and its Nagaland unit had turned the immersion of ashes into a “circus” for petty political gains.Also Read Atal Bihari Vajpayee, an understanding friend of the Nagas  “Having consigned Vajpayee into political oblivion after the 2004 election defeat and rendering his political thoughts and actions irrelevant through divisive agenda and hate politics, the BJP’s sudden affection for the former PM after his demise is just a ploy to extract some cheap political mileage,” it said. “Nagaland BJP leaders displaying their eagerness to please their communal masters by following and observing rituals that are alien to our way of life is an insult to all right-thinking Nagas.”Reacting to this, Mr. Longkumer said, “The Congress is doing its job, we are doing our duty.”He had brought an urn containing Vajpayee’s ashes from New Delhi on Thursday.last_img read more

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Punjab govt. scared of being exposed by CBI probe: Badal

first_imgAfter the Punjab Assembly decided to withdraw the CBI investigations into the Bargari and other sacrilege cases and get the same probed by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Punjab Police, the Shiromani Akali Dal has hit out at the Congress government, saying the decision shows that the government was scared of being exposed by the Central agency. Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said by deciding to hand over the Bargari and other sacrilege cases and those related to the firing incidents of Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura to the State police, the Congress government has admitted about the “hollowness”’ of the Ranjit Singh Commission report.The Commission was set up by the Congress government in April last year to investigate the incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and other religious texts. The government had rejected the findings of the Zora Singh Commission set up by the Akali Dal government, saying its findings had been “inconclusive”.“The Ranjit Singh Commission report is a complete sham and the Congress government is scared of being exposed by the CBI. Hence the decision has been taken to withdraw the case from the CBI,” alleged Mr. Badal. Mr. Badal said the Akali Dal stood by its stand that an inquiry by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court would help in arriving at the truth. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had on Tuesday announced a SIT of the Punjab Police for a time-bound probe into the Bargari and other sacrilege cases as well as the firing incidents of Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura.The announcement was made in the State Assembly after the House passed a resolution, by voice vote to withdraw CBI investigations into the cases and get the same probed by a SIT.last_img read more

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Punjab to check lending of money to farmers

first_imgWith farmers in Punjab falling into debt traps, the State government has notified the establishment of divisional agriculture debt settlement forums in an attempt to streamline the process of moneylending to farmers.The forums, which will be headed by Divisional Commissioners, will implement The Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness (Amendment) Act, 2018, within the territorial jurisdiction of such divisions.‘Technical flaws’“The amended law addresses the infirmities and technical flaws in The Punjab Settlement of Agricultural Indebtedness Act, 2016. The old legislation was detrimental to the interests of the farmers, the new law is expected to go a long way in mitigating the hardships faced by farmers on account of money lending,” said an official statement.The Act has provisions to fix a limit on the advance on per acre of land, with the rate of interest also to be determined by the government“Divisional Commissioners have been appointed as chairmen. Two representatives, one each from the revenue and the agriculture departments, will be nominated as ex-officio members by way of notification in due course,” added the statement.last_img read more

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RSS, mother of BJP, wants to control all institutions in country: Rahul Gandhi

first_imgCongress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday charged that the RSS imprint was evident everywhere in the BJP-led NDA government and that the outfit wants to penetrate and control all institutions in the country. “You currently have one institution called the RSS, mother of the BJP, which believes it is the only institution in the country. They want to penetrate into all other institutions and control them,” he said. The mindset has led to chaos everywhere in the country, including areas of judiciary and education, he maintained.“We believe India should be run by its 1.2 billion people. One set of people, one ideology should not run the country,” he said during an interaction with intellectuals in Bhubaneswar. The Congress leader also said that his party has a view different from the ruling BJP when it comes to functioning of key institutions.“Our party has a different view on how key institutions should be supporting the country. It respects decentralisation, independence of institutions and constitutional advances,” he asserted. Mr. Gandhi also said “monopolisation and capture of the education and healthcare system in the country needs to be challenged.”“A middle-class person has to pay crores of rupees to get good quality education. The same is the case in the healthcare system. That needs to be challenged,” the Congress chief added.last_img read more

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Family, teachers seek justice in Pandit’s ‘custodial death’

first_imgThe family of deceased teacher Rizwan Asad Pandit, 28, who died in the police custody last week, has called for a judicial probe into the incident, as Valley two top teachers’ associations on Friday supported the family and also sought justice in the case.“My brother’s spine was broken as per the report of the Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital. The body has bruises and cuts all over. Even on the head and the face, the wounds were visible. His vitals were damaged. Are they signs of a man escaping from the police custody?” said the victim’s elder Mubashir Assad said.Pandit was a post-graduate in Physics and ran a coaching institute and also taught at a nearby school and a varsity. He was picked up by the police’s special counter-insurgency cell from Srinagar on Sunday and his body was handed over to the family on Tuesday. Pandit was also a member of now-banned Jamaat-e-Islami and was first detained in August last year and later released in January this year. The family termed the death as “a cold blooded custodial killing”. “We will take the legal route to get justice,” said the family.A spokesman of the Islamic University Faculty Association (IUFA), a body of teachers at Islamic University of Science and Technology, said the deceased “worked as a guest faculty in the varsity’s Polytechnic College in 2018.”“Pandit’s custodial killing is outrageous and a tremendous loss to education. We demanding immediate justice,” said the spokesman.The Association also expressed dismay over the delay in the dispensation of justice in the alleged custodial killing of another teacher, Shabir Ahmad Mango, a college lecturer who was allegedly killed in police custody on August 17, 2016. “Such gory cases of the alleged custodial killings of teachers have caused an immense damage to the intellectual capital of the education sector in the State,” the spokesman added.The Kashmir University Teachers’ Association (KUTA), an association of teachers from Kashmir University, said, in a statement, “Such treatment to the ‘nation builders’ on sustained basis does not augur well for the peace and stability in the State.”last_img read more

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World o’ lakes

first_imgEat your heart out, Minnesota. Your license plates boast of 10,000 lakes, but even that’s only a small fraction of the world’s total of about 117 million. Using software to scan approximately 8500 cloud-free Landsat images captured between 1997 and 2003, researchers were able to reliably detect lakes big—such as North America’s Great Lakes, shown, which together contain about 18% of the world’s unfrozen fresh water—and small—down to those covering about 2000 square meters, an area almost the size of two Olympic swimming pools. Excluding Central Asia’s Caspian Sea, the world’s largest enclosed body of water, Earth’s lakes collectively cover about 5 million square kilometers—about 3.7% of the planet’s land area not currently smothered by the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, the researchers report online before print in Geophysical Research Letters. The new census, the first survey of satellite images to count lakes so small, will help scientists better estimate the amount of carbon stored in lake-bottom sediments, as well as the amounts of carbon dioxide and methane released into the atmosphere from lake waters each year, the researchers say.last_img read more

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Retouch Of Curry

first_imgA hundred years hence if American civilization had to be defined by what it left behind, would we be judged solely by the profusion of McDonalds wrappers, frozen diet dinner cartons and empty Starbucks cups? With the growing popularity of Indian food, surely there would be takeout containers of generic one-taste fits all palak paneer and tandoori chicken too! But what about “real” food – that authentic home cuisine, those heavenly delights which each Indian American family hands down, those wonderful pots of comfort food that taste like no other food in the world?What about Punjabi seera poori and Parsi dhansak and Sindhi besan kadhi? What about those flavorful South Indian rasams and simmering pots of Chettinad chicken? Rajasthani Gatta curry like your grandmother used to make? The layered, perfumed Hyderabadi biryani that has been made for generations in your family?Are all these an endangered species in the frenetic hustle bustle of America where time and attention spans are short and where for many cooking means simply pressing the microwave button? For the young, brought up on MTV and quickie meals and express lines, will spending hours and hours lovingly simmering a pot of degchi mutton be something futile and unimaginable? Will the cooking of authentic regional home food become a lost language?Civilizations have, of course, always thrived on change. Tastes change and as we get more knowledgeable often our cooking habits change too. Today’s Indian cuisine is certainly not exactly what it was thousands of years ago as invasions, migrations and travel have left their mark on the sub-continent. Indian traders have also been plying the seas since 1000 B.C. carrying the fragrance of Indian spices and this cross-pollination can be seen across the world even today. Jeeti Gandhi carries on the food tradition.Julie Sahni, noted cookbook writer and teacher, has been traveling across continents for the past eight years, documenting the spread of curry which has become a part of so many cultures from South America to Europe to the Middle East. She is also researching the food habits of the Indians who migrated to the Caribbean and those who settled in California a 100 years ago. She says, “It’s a fascinating subject because we can see how adventurous Indians are and how well they’ve adapted and yet held on to their own traditions and culture.”As she points out, change is inevitable – even within India. To her, something as prosaic as the South Indian idli or dumpling, which is fast catching on in America, is a metaphor for the change: “The idli itself has undergone revolutionary changes in the past hundred years.” Originally the idli was made with two parts lentils and one part rice, but later it was found to be too dense and the rice proportion was increased to make it easier to digest.Over the years, as idli became a restaurant food, it was found that it kept better longer and looked better – almost like puffy foam pillows – if the rice portion was further increased. So gradually, ordinary white rice instead of parboiled rice was used and now four parts of rice are used to only one of lentil. Great grand-amma certainly wouldn’t have approved!Now even within India this is the standard recipe for idli and in migration, the recipe often uses chopped cilantro and green chilies to make it more fragrant, especially in the frozen version. Says Sahni, “So it’s completely modifying a village food and the present version, as it has changed, is very light and fluffy. You can even freeze it for six months and in 30 seconds it’s as fresh as if you just took it out of the steamer. This is the simplest form of modifying traditional dishes to suit today’s needs.”While things change in India, those who left its shores three or four decades back are frozen in time. They remember the authentic foods of their childhood and want to preserve them behind glass, a snapshot of bygone times.Indeed, for immigrants, losing their food culture is almost like losing a piece of themselves. Having left beloved family homes and the wooden swings in the overrun, rambunctious gardens of their youth, they can only warm themselves before the remembered tastes of home: The burnished carrot halwa and the succulent sabzi of sweet Simla peas eaten with hot rotis fresh from the charcoal oven on winter evenings in Delhi or perhaps the unmatchable taste of a Wazwan wedding feast in Kashmir.Are these tastes in danger of vanishing with the passing breeze? Sheela Katara’s (left) recipes have been passed down three generations to grand-daughter Manisha (right).Immigrants, when they leave home, pack their icons, their beliefs and often a bottle of homemade masala into their suitcases. The recipes sent back and forth from mother to daughter are almost like a love poem, as remembered tastes are recreated in a foreign land.Yes, immigrants have to give up so much – loved ones, friends, familiar surroundings – don’t ask them to give up their food too! Little wonder then that when immigrants leave home, they carry practically the entire kitchen and the kitchen sink with them! There are jars of the salted lime pickles that aunt makes so well, the fried snacks and the pista barfi that are grandmother’s specialty.And yes, the family cook stays up all night to make up mountains of parathas. These keep really well on cross-continental flights and although they will not last forever, they are a taste of home and can be relished a piece at a time, from the freezer in America.Immigrants have been known to tuck in a wooden chakla-velan, the rolling pin and board, or a metal tawa or griddle for making homemade chapattis, into their luggage. Yes, these contraptions are all available now at the Indian stores, but the well-used ones that your mother packs into your suitcase work like a magic talisman, or so you – and she – believe.For an immigrant at the airport, the worst nightmare is having a cherished carton of Alphonso mangoes, carried like precious jewels across borders, discovered by customs officials, confiscated and destroyed. Don’t the hard-hearted customs officials realize that these are so much more than mere fruits, fragrant reminders of a lost homeland?The immigrants who came in the 60’s, fueled by the American Dream, had to really work hard to get their Indian food. Sheela Katara, now 75, first landed in Seattle with her businessman husband Shiv and children. Having a retinue of servants in Bombay, she had never had to cook and in fact had never even made a chapatti. Now, not only did she have to create full Indian meal,s but had to create them out of nothing, since there were no Indian spices or groceries. Gradually she remembered the dishes of her youth and managed to make them for her family, substituting items. They had to use supermarket flour to make chapattis and for months they ate bread or American rice, coupled with chicken and meats cooked the Indian way, using the precious few spices she had brought along. A seasoned cook today, her Sindhi specialties like Sindhi curry, sail thevan, vadi bhajji, saibhaji and sail mani have avid fans.Today the recipes have been passed on to her daughters Kavita Lund and Neelam Katara, and to her granddaughter Manisha. At that time Kavita was a college student and she picked up Indian cuisine only after marriage. “To tell the truth, I didn’t even know how to cook rice! It was all by trial and error and after I came to New York I used to call mom up all the time in Seattle. Between tips from her and my friends, I survived. And you get better and better with age, after all, you have to feed your family.” She recalls the big parties they used to have 20 years ago where everything had to be cooked from scratch as there were no catering services or Indian restaurants.Now the third generation, Manisha, often asks her grandmother to show her some of the authentic recipes. A graduate of Stern School of Business, Manisha has been in international marketing in the music industry and says: “Eventually when I’m married, I’m going to want to be able to cook, even though maybe I’ll have a maid! I love Indian food and I’m trying to learn the traditional dishes. There is nothing like your mom’s home cooking and I basically want to hold on to that.”If there is an abundance of Indian products in America today, the credit has to go largely to the Gujarati community, which has brought their food and spices with them, and also woven it into a multimillion dollar business. Most of them being vegetarians, they created the market for these foods and also supplied them to their fellow Indians.Today, of course, there are literally hundreds of Indian grocery stores and mithai shops across America and UPS service takes care of even out-of-the-way small towns. Indian restaurants are booming as are catering places, take-out joints and even traveling chefs who can come to your home and cook up a regional feast.How do kids growing up in America relate to this home food? Where do parathas and puris fit into school lunches? “Each generation goes through its resistance to holding on to the food and the culture of the parents,” says Sahni. “They have this dilemma as they figure out how to be an American and how far they should go to assimilate.”Prithvi Gandhi’s repertoire includes methi paneer, rogan josh and kali mahe ke daal. She points out that all kids go through this and if the parents don’t give up, the children, as they mature, do come back to their roots: “The roots meaning something that is in their souls – something which the parents have been feeding them since the beginning. Although the younger generation may develop a taste for fusion flavors, but the love for the original food just comes right back.”It has also helped that America’s adventurous new palate for spices has made Indian food the flavor of the moment and the mainstream media is replete with articles about everything from paan to idli steamers. So the second generation is much more comfortable with their own foods now and once they start settling down and having families of their own, they try to recreate the foods they grew up on.It is here that the immigrant’s role as keeper of the past becomes vital in passing the culinary culture to the next generation. Cookbooks are almost a written history of the foods we are eating at any given time, and Indian cuisine has extensively researched books by culinary experts like Madhur Jaffrey and Julie Sahni.Go into the cooking section of any Barnes and Noble, and you will see the vast array of Indian cookbooks, many by people who simply love to cook and are passing on their own regional or home specialties. It is history through food by people who want to document the special tastes of home.Indian Flavors: Curry Leaves, Cumin Seeds and the Spice of Healthy Cooking is a book of home recipes by Jeeti Gandhi, who just turned 70 and has lived in many countries. Her family fled from Lahore to the newly created India in 1947, so she’s been hrefugee, citizen, and expatriate as her husband’s work took her to South Africa for several years. Now she’s part immigrant too, as she spends several months in the United States with her two sons who have emigrated and made a life here. Her younger son Prithvi Gandhi, an investment banker in New York, cooks perfectly the dishes he grew up on.Jeeti Gandhi, who is a dietician and a lecturer at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in Mumbai, has presented a series on low-fat, low cholesterol cuisine on Indian television. Last year her book won the Gourmand Cookbook Award 2002 in France in the Asian cuisine category.An avid home cook, her experience has spanned the entire spectrum from joint families and ovens fired by coal in Lahore to the pulsating, fast beats of New York City. Her grandmother used to make special masalas by hand at home and Jeeti has passed on these recipes to Prithvi, who never uses commercial masalas.“Masalas are what give taste to the food,” she says. “So although the dishes are more or less the same when they come from the same region, every family has their own mixtures of spices; that is what makes the difference. I make my food very low on fat and the spices are just so you can taste the food.”Prithvi’s repertoire includes such elaborate dishes as methi paneer, rogan josh and seekh kebabs and also comfort foods like kali mahe ke daal. He’s quite famous as a chef with all his American friends because his cooking is light on creams and oils, unlike many restaurants. He says, “I don’t like eating out all the time so it’s either you do it yourself or eat out all the time. Once I moved here, I used to call mom and ask her how to make a particular sabzi or meat and she’d walk me through it on the phone and I’d try it out.”Ask Prithvi if the high-powered young professionals like him, who are in their 30’s, are cooking or eating out, and he says it’s a mixed bag: “In my experience there’s definitely an interest to cook. My cousins didn’t have a clue before they got married and now they cook really nice meals. It’s hard, of course, because our lifestyles are so busy and Indian food requires a lot of preparation and chopping.” The solution, he says, is to find shortcuts, such as blending and freezing, making large quantities of chopped and fried onion, ginger and garlic to have on hand.He adds: “Some things I completely cheat on, like desserts. I’m not going to sit there for four hours and cook kheer! I just go out and buy it. I think what goes away in this American life in these big cities is the dishes that take forever to cook – people just aren’t going to do it. I don’t have Ramu, the cook’s helper, at home to do the stuff for me, so I’m not going to do it!”Yasmin Ghadiali, a busy dentist in Baldwin, Long Island, would agree with that. She migrated from Bombay in 1978 and she and her husband have reared a daughter here, who is now 23. Ghadiali belongs to the Parsi community, which is fast dwindling in India, and so it’s a special challenge to keep the religion, culture and food alive for the next generation. Julie Sahni: “It may take 10 or 15 years, but I believe Indian food will become the major flavor, the eloquent food of America.”In the Zoroastrian faith, there are many special days and often these are linked to special foods. On days of celebration there are foods such as dhansak, patrani macchi, sali murghi and meat pullao, which have been handed down since generations.Ghadiali, who grew up on Lamington Road, a Parsi stronghold, laughs: “My mother had a philosophy that you can’t be a woman – even if you’re a professional person –until you know how to cook!” So learn to cook she did and can whip up a Parsi feast for 100 people when the occasion demands it, such as the celebration to mark the first time her daughter wore a saree, an important occasion for Parsis.But don’t ask her to cook that way every day. Although she grew up eating only Parsi food, America has changed the way she cooks: “Now I’ve become more health conscious and there are time constraints. Forty percent of the time it’s Parsi meals, but we now go more for grilled meats and fish, so that’s the norm now.” However, weekends are always Parsi meals and once a month she and her husband Jamshed meet with Parsi friends for a potluck dinner where everyone brings Parsi food.Ghadiali doesn’t think her daughter will cook Parsi food: “She likes it, but she says its too complicated to cook and you finish eating it in ten minutes, so why bother if you can get it readymade from somewhere? The younger ones go for something that can easily be prepared and they don’t want to go through all this time and effort. But I’m sure if someone else does it, they’d love to eat it!”“We are blending into the American way and the American dress code and the American eating habits so much,” says Ghadiali and points out that it is to win back the second generation to the home foods that many first generationers are writing cookbooks that are easy to follow and are innovative, substituting easily available American ingredients. An Adventure In Exotic Parsi Indian Cooking by Nergish Karanjia and Nergis Unwalla, both based in Pennsylvania, makes complicated foods easy to prepare for neophytes.Young adults are turning back to the cuisine of their parents and Sahni has seen that in her cooking classes. “I have these young students who can barely speak Indian words – some of them have never been to India – and these are young Indian couples, born and brought up here. They want to learn how to make biryani, pasandas and kadhi, they want to learn not restaurant food, but the kind of food their grandmother would have cooked.”Of course, some change is good and Indians do become more adventurous here, and also more aware about healthy, fat-free cooking. Those emigrating from India now are even more open to new techniques and new cuisines than earlier immigrants, because the food scene in India is also very exciting and evolving.“Young Indians are getting not only their own revival in this country with what their parents fed them,” says Sahni, “but also all the new foods with the visits of aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends who come and cook these dishes for them here. These classic dishes are here to stay.”So what will the sixth generation of Indians be eating?The Indians who settled in Guyana or Trinidad 150 years ago do have a very different cuisine today, but the basics are there: the rotis, the curries and the spices. Most of them had little or no contact with the home country, but in today’s new, open world of jet travel, Internet and email, no man can be an island anymore. In this exciting new world everyone is borrowing from everyone else’s culture, but you can also keep totally current with your own culture.The truth is that Indian cuisine is not static, it’s been evolving wonderfully over thousands of years, absorbing the influences of migrants, invaders and travelers and getting all the more enriched. Sahni says desis are experimenting with Indian spices and western ingredients. You can cook angel hair pasta in the upma style or make halwa out of Japanese udon noodles or try making kichri out of buckwheat noodles.In fact, though she teaches very classical dishes in her classes, she says, “I also tell my students where they can go with these dishes, how far they can go because the sky’s the limit. I tell them ultimately it’s not a food thesis that you are writing, it’s for your home and for the pleasure of your family and friends. So you serve your food the way you like it.”So a 100 years from now will the face of Indian food in America be quite different? Indian cuisine already has an incredible amount of variety in its rice, bread, legumes and vegetables, a virtual cornucopia, which America is just beginning to discover. With the ever-burgeoning Indian restaurants, we are sure to keep our traditional treasures, especially as restaurateurs get savvier and present the real regional cuisine to American diners. So just as Chinese restaurants still serve hundred year old dishes like dimsum and roast duck, some Indian restaurants too will specialize in traditional, regional cuisine.The new breed of immigrants has the best of both worlds: they leave home and they go back again and again. As Indians traverse the globe, they are redefining their own cuisine, with Indian cooking at different levels across the Diaspora, absorbing local influences. Indian Americans are incorporating non-Indian vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, artichokes and Brussels sprouts into their own cuisine and are already combining Indian spices with Mediterranean herbs or Latin American vegetables, among other innovations.As in the old days, travelers are taking back these influences to the home country. It is indeed a time of creativity and change.“Whatever tastes good has to be good,” says Sahni. “There are no hard and fast rules, somebody didn’t just fall out of the sky and decide that this is how Indian food is going to be. The Indians here are a savvy lot and I think we are going to take Indian cuisine to a new level. It may take 10 or 15 years but I believe Indian food will become the major flavor, the eloquent food of America.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

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first_imgThe social networking site Facebook has opened an ad sales and developer support office in Hyderabad. The company, which boasts 400 million users, has 8 million users in India.  Related Itemslast_img

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