defy odds to tell stories of success
at work places and prejudice on the home front may be
common complaints but successful women have a different
story to tell. Take risks, evaluate oneself, do not
hesitate to brag about yourself, have courage and hope and
be ambitious to succeed are some of the helpful hints that
women gave each other at a Women's Conference organized by
the Confederation of Indian Industry yesterday to mark
International Women's Day (Mar 8).
Speakers, including 18-year-old tennis star Sania Mirza,
spoke of their determination and hard work but what
touched a hallful of about 300 women was Dr Kalpana
Kharade. A senior lecturer at K J Somaya College,
Kharade said, "I have traveled a journey of tears
when my vision was taken away at a young age. But my
father Ranganathan Kharade gave me wings to dream and
always said, "Dare to dream." "Forget about
glass ceiling, we are still struggling to open a door. A
disabled woman has lesser opportunities compared to a
disabled man for even he prefers an able woman as a
Nanavaty, General Secretary Sewa, chose to work with
the poorest of the poor rather than use her credentials as
an Indian Administrative Service officer and take up the
collector's powerful job.“My inspiration comes from the
780,000 women workers, artisans, vendors, hawkers, garbage
collectors, manual workers in agriculture land, salt pan
and construction industry who organised themselves and now
have an annual turnover of Rs. 150 million (US$ 3.5m).”
Working with them in Patan and Banaskantha, she talked of
her first exposure to poverty and yet “they were full of
hope and always waiting to take over new challenges.”
is no less a champion of women's rights. “The corporate
world must come forward to financially support talented
young kids playing all kinds of sports,” she said. “I
was lucky since industrialist G.V.K. Reddy sponsored me
when I was just 13 and a non-entity. Many are now coming
forward because they are getting mileage out of it.”.
Another woman who has been successful in an unusual field
is Jaya Row who spoke about how she gave up her
career in microbiology to give talks on Vedanta
Mahatma Gandhi's Dandi march re-enacted on 75th
anniversary. The famous 1930 "salt march" by
Mahatma Gandhi to defy British colonial rule is being
re-enacted on its 75th anniversary. The march of several
hundred is led by Gandhi's great-grandson Tushar Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi undertook the 24-day walk from Ahmedabad to
the coastal village of Dandi to manufacture salt. It
sparked India's civil disobedience movement as thousands
joined him on the beach to pick up salt, the production of
which was under government control.
The Italian-born president of India's governing Congress
Party, Sonia Gandhi, launched the march in a
ceremony at Sabarmati Ashram, once Mahatma Gandhi's
commune in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The
ceremony was solemn, almost subdued, and was interspersed
with the independence leader's favorite prayers. Mrs.
Gandhi (no relative) urged those carrying out the 380km
(240 miles) to take forward Mahatma Gandhi's message of
"peace and non-violence". Mahatma Gandhi's aim
at the end of the Dandi walk was to manufacture salt and
defy the monopoly on salt production by the British
unique, non-violent protest forced the British to take
note of the growing civil disobedience movement in the
country. Mahatma's great grandson Tushar and several
hundred fellow marchers will follow the same route and
take a similar length of time to walk it. But there the
similarities with the 1930 march end, says our
correspondent. The values that Mahatma Gandhi lived and
died for - such as non-violence, religious tolerance and
honesty in public life - are as alien to today's India as
the days of the Raj, says our correspondent. Gandhi was
known for his simple ways, but the sequel march was
something of an extravaganza. The March 12 march was
attended by nearly half of the Indian cabinet, many of
whom walked for a few kilometers before returning to their
Tushar Gandhi acknowledged there was little to compare his
march to his great-grandfather's, although he said they
carried the same message of religious harmony, brotherhood
and peace. "The comparison is that all the Dandi
walkers who have come from all over the world are
volunteers. They came... because they identified with this
battle and I think that is the spirit."
Shahrukh, Rani bag Filmfare
Khan and Rani Mukherjee bagged the best actor and best
actress award for their role in Swades and Hum Tum
respectively in the 50th Filmfare awards presented in
Mumbai on Feb 26.Rani also bagged the best actress in a
supporting role for the film Veer Zara. Veer Zara, the
film exploring the theme of love across borders, was
adjudged the best film of the year while Kunal Kohli was
conferred the best director award for Hum Tum.
Ramesh Sippy's blockbuster of 70s Sholay was adjudged as
best film in 50 years. Veteran poet and lyricist Javed
Akhtar created a distinction of sorts by being nominated
for five films in the best lyricist category. However, it
was his lines Tere Liye from the film Veer Zara that
clinched the coveted gold trophy.
Evergreen Star Dev Anand won the viewers award for being
best actor in five decades while Rekha was adjudged the
most beautiful and talented actress in the past 50 years
through an opinion poll.
Saif Ali Khan walked away with the award for best actor in
a comic role for Hum Tum but the nail-biting finish in the
best actor in the supporting role kept audience
spellbound. Abhishek Bachchan beat his superstar father
Amitabh in this category to bag the award for his role in
highlight of the occasion was the legendary trio of Dilip
Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and Naushad (recipient of the first
Filmfare award) were honored at the golden jubilee
celebration by Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao
Akshay Desai Appointed to Florida Board of Governors
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Florida Governor Jeb Bush
appointed Dr. Akshay M. Desai, a physician based in St.
Petersburg, to the Florida Board of Governors last week.
Dr. Desai is one of six appointed to the apex body that
sets policy and oversees the management of Florida state
universities. Prominent among the other appointees are J.
Stanley Marshall, well-known Florida educationist, and
Bill McCollum, former Congressman and co-chair of the
Congressional Caucus on India and Indian Americans.
"Governor Bush has acknowledged the importance of the
Indian American community if Florida by appointing such a
highly qualified individual as Dr. Akshay Desai,"
said Indian American Republican Council Chairman R.
have known Akshay personally now for quite sometime and I
know he will as a great Ambassador for the community in
his new capacity.”
appointed members of the Board, who will have to be
confirmed by the state Senate, will serve for staggered
terms of 7 years, during which they will “operate,
regulate, control and be fully responsible for the
management of the whole university system” that includes
10 universities with a combined budget of $4.2 billion.
Dr. Desai’s appointment is another manifestation of the
influence of Indian Americans under the Republican
governor of Florida. Dr. Desai, an active member of the
Florida Republican Party and a formidable fund-raiser, was
an alternate delegate to the party’s 2004 national
convention. He was an elected delegate to the party's 2000
convention. He currently serves on the influential
'Committee of 100' of the state GOP.
year, in recognition of his abilities, both professional
and political, President George W. Bush appointed Dr.
Desai to the President's Advisory Commission on Asian
Americans and Pacific Islanders, thus giving him the rare
distinction of being appointed to distinguished positions
by both the Bush brothers. For Dr. Desai, the appointment
to the Board of Governors is a logical step up after
having served as chairman of the Council for Education
Policy, Research and Improvement for the state of Florida
and as member of the state's Postsecondary Education
Planning Commission - both gubernatorial appointments.
As with most Indian Americans, education is a field that
has a particular resonance for Dr. Desai. As a self-made
man who owes his success to education and hard work, Dr.
Desai feels only a good education can help non-privileged
Americans, particularly minorities like the African
Americans and Hispanics, realize their American Dream. A
strong advocate of Republican beliefs, he feels only a
good education can help minorities overcome the “bigotry
of low expectations” of those who see a ‘welfare’
state as a salvation.
Dr. Desai earned his medical degree in India and acquired
a master’s degree in administrative medicine from George
Washington University in Washington, D.C. He is the
founder, president and CEO of Universal Health Care Inc.
and has been president of American Family & Geriatric
Care for over 15 years.
“I wish Akshay the very best in his new service to the
residents of Florida on this very important Commission,”
said Dr. Vijayanagar.Dr.
Desai lives in St. Petersburg with his wife Seema, and
their three children, Priyanka, Parth and Crystal.