UPDATED: Have you seen Ambika Subramanyam?

She has been found, alive (thanks for the good news, Sandhya and Rajagopal):

Miller said Subramanyam, of Montgomery, contacted her parents early today, and the parents called police. No other details were immediately available.
“She will be talking with our detectives later today,” Miller said.


Have you seen Ambika.jpg Ambika Subramanyam is 18 years old and 5’6.

She went to the University Book Store in New Brunswick, NJ, on Friday afternoon to return some textbooks and hasn’t been seen since.

She is wearing a grey polo t-shirt and blue jeans. We are looking for anyone who may have had contact with Ambika or seen her.
She is a Rutgers Student.

Please study her picture, look at the website that her worried family has set up and forward a link to it to everyone you know in or near New Jersey.

If you have seen her, contact Mr. Martinez with the New Brunswick, NJ Police at 732-745-5200.

On Friday afternoon, Ambika called her father at about 3:15 to ask him about parking; he cautioned her about feeding the meter and that was the last time anyone spoke to her. When he didn’t hear from her in a few hours, he went to the parking lot and found her car, unlocked. Her purse, cell phone and keys were still on the passenger side seat. Continue reading

Sri Lanka: Time to Open the IDP Camps? (Updated)

A lot has been happening in Sri Lanka since mid-May, when the 25 year conflict between the government and the Tamil rebels effectively came to an end.

sri lanka concentration camp.jpg
AFP Photo

Last week, Amnesty International posted a call for the government of Sri Lanka to start opening the camps, so people in them can either return to their villages, or, if those homes are destroyed, be relocated to new permanent housing. Earlier, the government justified keeping these camps open on the grounds that it needed to ensure that militants that are mixed in with the civilian population in the camps should be discovered and extracted. It’s now been four months, which should be enough time. The government originally said people would be resettled in 180 days — six months. But as of now (four months in), there is no progress at all on that front, leading one to think that the promise is unlikely to be met. Update/Correction: A commenter links to a report that re-settlement is in fact well underway: TheHindu. The minister in charge of resettlement is named Rishad Bathiudeen; there is more about him, and government reports on resettlement progress here.

The detailed Amnesty Briefing paper can be found here, for people who are interested.

I am curious to hear what readers think about this. How long will this go on? Are there any indications from Rajapaksa or others in the Sri Lankan government on a timeline for closing the camps? Might the government have other considerations or unspoken reasons for keeping these camps open for an indefinite period of time?

I looked at Groundviews to see their thoughts on the Amnesty call, but I haven’t found much specific coverage of the issue there. Continue reading

Not Her Antonio


Fans of trashy TV and those with erstwhile crushes on General Hospital’s Jagger may be interested to know that former soap opera star and underwear model Antonio Sabato, Jr., 37, is seeking love and the spotlight on My Antonio, VH1′s so-called reality TV show set in Hawaii. Two of the 13 women vying for his heart and screentime are desis — Anju and Tania. I caught the first episode of this series online and noticed that Anju was probably the most outspoken cast member. Continue reading

Posted in TV

Daily Show on Shah Rukh Khan: Aasif Mandvi’s “Wheelhouse”

Aasif Mandvi on The Daily Show last night:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Shah Rukh Khan Detained at Newark
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealthcare Protests

The little Hindi joke at the end was fun; that is why it makes a difference to have people from different ethnic backgrounds on the roster. (Did they bleep it live too?) Continue reading

Raja making his move in Illinois

In the murky, corrupt and disillusioning world of Illinois politics, the comptroller’s office is, surprisingly, a rare bright spot in the dark sea of state government. Though there is a now notorious former comptroller of the state, the current one, Dan Hynes, is almost universally regarded as a competent and good public servant, and now an Indian with an impressive record is running for the position in the 2010 election (as long as Hynes does not run for reelection). 225px-Raja_Krishnamoorthi.jpg Raja Krishnamoorthi is a young politician with a sizable resume:

As Deputy Treasurer, Raja was responsible for overseeing programs in the Illinois Treasurer’s Office involving the custody and administration of billions of dollars in state funds. Raja managed those programs without a hint of scandal or favoritism. Prior to his appointment as Deputy Treasurer, Raja served on the board of the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA), becoming chair of its Audit Committee. During his service, IHDA helped provide thousands of low- and moderate-income families across Illinois with affordable housing. Later, Raja was appointed as a Special Assistant Attorney General to help start the public corruption unit in the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.

Not only that, but Raja, 36 years old, grew up in local Peoria, was valedictorian at Richwoods High School, went to Princeton and Harvard Law School, and has a wife and two young sons. He is representative of the “post-doctor” Indian generation, having spent a few years in management consulting and a few years in private law practice. He’s a “longtime friend” of President Obama’s who has worked on all of his campaigns, which should help him out quite a bit here in Illinois. As people are still not sure of Hynes’ intentions and it is still a while before the 2010 election, there has not been a great deal of press coverage yet, but the Chicago Sun-Times had this nice profile of Raja a few months ago: Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized

Why yes, SM will be live-blogging Top Chef Tonight.

Like an alliance between a homely, fair, slender, God-fearing maiden and a Doctor, it’s ON!

TONIGHT, at 9pm EST we’ll start the live-blogging party (like we did for the Slumdog-sweepin’ Oscars) for the newest season of Top Chef.

Like last season, there is a brown girl in the ring– San Francisco’s Preeti Mistry. She’s 33, a graduate of the Cordon Bleu, a locavore and the executive Chef at God’s own empire, I mean, teh Google. More: Continue reading

BJP Leader Reassesses Jinnah, Gets the Boot

The prominent BJP leader Jaswant Singh recently published a book on the founding father of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, in which he praised Jinnah, and largely criticized Nehru and the Congress party for causing the Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947. The book, which has not been released outside of India yet, is called Jinnah: India, Partition, Independence (interesting that Singh puts “India” rather than “Pakistan” in the title).

Praising Jinnah is heresy for BJP leaders, so this week, Jaswant Singh, who has been with the party for many years and served in several Cabinet posts under Vajpayee, was formally expelled from the party.

Update: There is a long interview (PDF) with Jaswant Singh and Karan Thapar from CNN-IBN, with a transcript up at The Hindu. I would highly recommended it, if you have the time. (Thanks Al Beruni)

Below are some excerpts from an article in Dawn [with quotes from the CNN-IBN interview] indicating the general outlines of Jaswant Singh’s perspective on Jinnah. Though Congress does come off badly in his account, which seems logical for a BJP leader, Jaswant Singh appears sincere in his desire to correct what he sees as a distortion in the popular perception of Jinnah in India. Surprisingly, he also seemingly bears no animus towards the idea of a two nations theory, or Jinnah’s use of religious loyalty for political ends: Continue reading

No Love Marriage for These Puppies

Coming off a week where the Philadelphia Eagles signed Michael Vick, the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback convicted for running a dogfighting operation, I found the following New York Times article particularly timely.

In matrimony-mad India, where marriage is the central event of a lifetime, these posters could easily be for lovelorn, small-town bachelors, pasted up by anxious parents seeking a bride. But the suitable girl these single fellows seek is of the furry, four-footed variety. Finding one, though, is not easy. “I have been searching for months, but no luck,” said Kunal Shingla, who is looking for a mate for Foster, his 2-year-old basset hound.


Great, I knew matrimonials were going to the dogs. Continue reading

Rajan Zed and Aseem Shukla, Queried

Let’s start with the funny. Prem Panicker, on his blog, gives a list of public statements from Rajan Zed, the “acclaimed Hindu American spokesman,” during the month of August (go to Prem’s blog for links to the original news stories):

Rajan Zed fears a Julia Roberts-starrer will depict Hinduism in bad light. [A reference to "Eat, Pray, Love"]

Rajan Zed says that ‘namaste’ is a greeting that symbolizes love and respect.

Rajan Zed asks that the makers of the Cities of Love series [New York, I Love You, etc.] include Mumbai in the list because it is home to the largest movie industry.

Rajan Zed wants prominent Australian entertainers to respond to AR Rahman’s gesture and hold concerts in major Indian cities.

Rajan Zed urges celebrities to explore the spiritual side of yoga.

Rajan Zed believes AR Rahman opening a studio in LA will help further popularize Indian music.

Rajan Zed argues that the Oscars will gain added credibility by introducing a Best Bollywood Movie award [the gent clearly hasn't heard of Marathi, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Orissa, Bengali and other vibrant language movie industries] where Hindi movies can compete among themselves. (link)

Looked at one way, Rajan Zed sure seems awfully preoccupied with Hollywood, movies, and entertainment, much more than one would expect of an “acclaimed Hindu American spokesman.” Of course, Zed isn’t the author of these articles; he’s getting called by reporters for a brief comment, and he can’t help it if reporters want a quote about Julia Roberts rather than the Rg Veda.

That said, remember that though he does have one great achievement to his credit (the invocation in the U.S. Senate), Rajan Zed is not exactly Swami Vivekananda. (You can see a little bit of his CV on Wikipedia, and decide for yourself whether “acclaimed” is the right adjective.) Continue reading

Images from the India Day…Protest

Blogger Roopa Singh has posted some pictures and a brief account from the India Day Parade in New York. The pictures seem to capture the spirit of those protesting the refusal of the parade organizers to allow gay and lesbian members of the community from a visible role in the procession.

Members of SALGA (the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association) and allies met at Starbucks before today’s India Day Parade to create signs amplifying the discrimination that excluded a visible contingent of Desi gays and lesbians from the march. But good times were had by all, in the heat, in the shimmer of so many cultures right at our feet. We are all Indian, including the gays. We are all New Yorkers, all night and all day. [Link]

Credit: www.politicalpoet.wordpress.com

Her full Flickr album can be viewed here. If any of you were there please share your experiences in the comments section.

Continue reading