Recording: Mon. Dec. 29th 8.45 a.m. Ch. 13 Bissonnet at Buffalo speedway
Air time (showing): 11.30 a.m. Sunday Jan. 4th 2009
We would like to invite you to join host Miya Shay on "VISIONS" to highlight the Indo-American civic community's work & accomplishments in 2008 & challenges and plans for 2009
Indo-American Communityís work and accomplishments in 2008
Houston has been a friendly cosmopolitan city for Indo-Americans. We are united and are able to leverage the combined energy of the entire group for major events such as assisting disaster victims. Indo-Americans take pride in working with main stream Americans who have been kind and gentle to them through the years. Even in 1969, I was able to work under socially conscious Indo-American organization in Clear lake city.
Each year Indiaís independence day is celebrated on August 15th and Republic Day is celebrated on January 26th. India got independence on August 15th 1947 and Indiaís secular constitution was ratified on January 26th 1952. About ten thousand people gather to celebrate these events every year.
There are about 80 active Indo-American organizations in Metro Houston. Members of Literary organizations based on each Indian language teach culture, language and traditions from India to Children, show movies and conduct cultural programs. Temples, mosques and churches in Houston area represent many faiths from India.
Indo-Americans represent immediately to assist victims of any natural or man made disasters. With in a week after hurricane IKE hit gulf coast, Indo-American Disaster Relief Council coordinate with major Indo-American organizations and provided free service for filling FEMA forms on line and provided basic medical service at India House on 8888 West Bellfort Ave, Houston off Beltway 8. Then we offered assistance to Galveston residents. Indo-American Charities Foundation, India Culture center, Chamber of Commerce, Political Action Committee collected funds and donated $10,000 each to UTMB graduate students and Galveston Recovery Fund on Dec. 2nd. Consul General of India Sanjiv Arora and Galveston Mayor Thomas were present during the check presentation.
Challenges and plans for 2009:
Plans for 2009 include continued prepardness to assist disaster victims almost immediately after the disaster. Large number of doctors, engineers, CPAs, Information Technology experts volunteer their time and ready to help. Challenge is unpredictability of the timing and size of future disasters.
A DAY WITH MUSIC DIRECTOR RAMANI BHARADWAJ
I knew Music Director Sri Ramani Bharadwaj for last three years through my long time friend from Houston David Palaniappan. During my recent trip to Chennai, Sri Bharadwaj drove the car himself on January 7th 2009 to take me for lunch to a Chinese Restaurant. After reading the presentation prepared by my son Ramakrishnan Kannappan on Water Management Strategies, he invited me to visit his village Ravanasamudram on January 17th. So I traveled by car from Nattarasankottai to Thenkasi . On the way to his house, I saw very elaborate stage preparations next to Kalayana Mantapam (wedding Hall) built by him for the benefit of the village. Inside the wedding hall food was served for about one thousand people at his expense. I start realizing the size of the function which is going to take place. I arrived at his house in Sannadhi Street in Achraharam around 1 p.m. His mother had cooked food for me at their ancestral home and she was surprised by the little amount of food I eat.
Sri Bharadwaj took me across the Sannadhi street to his sisterís house and asked me to take rest saying that that was their humble guest room in the village. I could feel the greatness of his heart. He did not show any sign of being one of the leading Music Directors of South Indian Movies. I could hear music from the loud speakers with thousands of people assembling before the stage. Then I was told Sri Bhardwaj helped to build one toilet for each home.
Ravanasamudram is about ten miles from Cutralam Falls. Sixty percent of the population is Muslim. The function was to thank the Panchayat Board President Mr. Hussian. The village has just received Nirmal Ghram Puraskar award from the President of India, as a Complete Health Village. In my speech, I congratulated the Village Officials for the outstanding achievement for converting the village from sewage running on the streets to one hundred percent healthy village. I leaned towards Sri Bharadwaj and congratulated him. In his usual humble way, he would not claim any credit. Crowd wanted Sri Bhardwaj to sing. He asked his mother what songs to sing and she recommended two songs. With local music group, Sri Bhardwaj ended up singing four songs well in to the night.
I could not sleep till 5 a.m. I woke up when Sri Bhardwaj asked me if I would like to go to Cutralam falls with him. We sat in the back seat of the car and talked about our childhood. He mentioned that he grew up in New Delhi and was very proud of his ancestral village, Ravanasamudram, where his mother currently lives. My story is not much different. I spent last forty years in Houston and Washington DC and is sentimentally attached to my village Nattarasankottai where my ninety two year old mother Kaliyammai Achi lives. By then we reached Sivasailam temple. Here the Nandi (Bull) is sculptured to the finest detail, that one feels that the bull is raising from the base and is jumping towards the visitor. A priest removed a cloth over the bullís back and showed us a scratch that was purposely made to make the bull less perfect. Then we went to a dam and could see Western Ghats at a distance with Trivandrum on the other side. We could also see Pothigai Hills where Saint Aakathiyar developed Tamil language grammar by praying to Lord Shiva. Then our remarkable journey took us to the Main Falls and Five Falls at Cutralam. We drove to Thenkasi where Sri Bhardwaj wanted me to have full lunch in days. I told him that I would like to have some fruits and water before I move on to Nattarasanakottai. With that, I said good bye to a Gentleman, a rare find in the Movie world.
GROUND BREAKING CEREMONY OF ASIA SOCIETY TEXAS CENTER
Ground breaking ceremony was held for the Asia Society Texas Centerís new headquarters in Houstonís museum district on May 15th 2008. Asia house Texas will be Houstonís place for all things Asian. The center will be open in 2010.
Japanese Architect Yoshio Taniguchi who designed the building modestly said that he was selected by luck. He is the recipient of the Praemium Imperial global arts award. John D. Rockefeller founded Asia Society in 1956 in New York to familiarize Americans about Asia. Current global President from New York, Vishakha N. Desai, said that rain drops on the occasion is auspicious.
Charles Foster, Chair, Asia Society, Texas and Martha Blackwelder, Executive Director, Asia Society, Texas welcomed the distinguished gathering. Guests included Houston Mayor Bill White, Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Rockets center Yao Ming, Ambassador Roy M. Huffington, Rice University Baker Instituteís Ambassador Edward P. Djerejian, Dr. Ninan T. Mathew and Mrs. Sushila Mathew, Glen Gondo, Consul General of China, Korea and Japan.
Seven million dollar donor Nancy C. Allen said that she had passion about the Asia house. Her son Edward R. Allen III serves as the Chairman for the Asia House. Among the guests were one five million dollar anonymous donor.
Picture from left: Advisory Board Member Sam Kannappan, Board member Glen Gondo and Vice- Chair Edward R. Allen III
Interview by Mr.Murugappan, Detroit, MI