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Movie Star Turned Politico, Jayalalithaa’s 68th birthday celebrated by party & constituents alike

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CHENNAI, (DIYA TV) Tamil movie star turned politician, Jayalalithaa is as popular as ever. Nick-named “Amma,” meaning “mother,” this administrator has seen incredible success in both the political arena, and the silver screen.

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Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandra acted as a mentor for Jayalalitha until his passing. Soon after his passing, the party appointed her as Chief Minister in 1987. Since then, her political career has taken full flight. Five electoral wins later, Jayalalitha continues to serve as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

Things were not always rosy for the film star turned politician. In 2014, she found herself in legal hot water for owning disproportionate assets based on her income as a public servant. Even though she defended her assets as acquired during her stint as a movie star, she was convicted and served a one year prison term.  However that did not impede the success of the popular politico — not surprising given that some movie stars are idolized and worshipped akin to Gods in Southern India.

Now 68, the party, the community & even the prime minister of India are joining in the celebrations.

Her age served as the theme for the birthday celebrations — a 68 Kg Cake, 68 couples took vows to marry, 68 medical camps conducted and a stunning 6.8 million saplings planted across all the temples in Tamil Nadu.

The party leaders organized cake-cutting, along with offering prayers and distributing free food to the needy. Over 1,000 party guests were marked with “Amma” tattoos. In the streets, one could see larger than life cardboard cutouts of the lady minister with Tamil songs from her movies, in the background.

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14th Annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival kicks off tonight!

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — The 14th annual San Francisco International South Asian Film Festival will be held by 3rd i Nov. 10-13, Cupertino will play sister-city to the hosting on Nov. 19. Diya TV is a Grand Sponsor of the event.

Screenings will take place at San Francisco’s New People and Castro Theaters Nov. 10-13, the festival’s South Bay addition unfolds a week later on November 19th, at the BlueLight Cinema in Cupertino. Fifteen screenings will take place of narrative and documentary features and shorts by independent filmmakers from South Asia and the South Asian Diaspora, including stories from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, and the USA.

What once began as a three-day event back in 2003 now runs over five days in two separate editions. The audiences of the festival’s has grown, and diversified, over the years — not only does the festival receive a large amount of support from its desi audience, but it also has supporters from the diverse communities that make up the Bay Area tapestry. The festival’s focus this year on Diaspora seeks to present an expansive view on the immigrant experience.

 

Indie Narratives take brave risks and explore issues from madness to modernity, sex to social justice; 3rd i’s commitment to the celluloid celebration of Women’s Stories and Queer Voices continues as strong as ever; and Bay Area Filmmakers, shorts and documentaries are on the docket as always.

While all of the festival’s films are in the waiting, some of the screenings taking placed have been highly anticipated.

The World of Goopi and Bagha, one of the Castro Theater centerpiece films, will become the first animated film the festival has ever screened. The film, dedicated as part of the festival’s Focus on Women’s Stories series, is a remake of a Bengali children’s story. Shilpa Ranade, the filmmaker of the project, will attend the screening in person.

Khoya, which will screen at the Castro Theater on Nov. 12, is a drama by Sami Khan and is part of the festival’s Diaspora focus. The story tracks the journey of Rog, who travels back to India from Canada in search of his birthparents. Rupak Ginn, the lead actor in the film, and Khan will both attend the screening.

Ticket prices to the festival range between $10-$13, more information regarding purchase and festival details can be found here.

Diya TV is a sponsor to the event.

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British Armed forces celebrate Raksha Bandhan symbolizing bonds of protection

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The young girls tying Rakhi to the Officials. PC: www.asiansunday.co.uk
Armed forces celebrate Raksha Bandhan at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in London. PC: www.swaminarayangadi.com

Armed forces celebrate Raksha Bandhan at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir in London. PC: Swaminarayan Mandir

SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) —  Brothers and sisters share a bond of friendship, love and family. “Raksha Bandhan” an Indian festival is one of two days in a year when sisters pray for the well being of their brothers and the brothers in turn vow to protect their sisters. Although in modern society the festival may seem dated, its a tradition that brings families together and is a festive excuse to spend time with your siblings reminiscing your childhood and instilling these age old traditions in the next generation.

It is a festival which celebrates the bond of support and affection between brothers and sisters. It is a day when siblings pray for each other’s well being and wish for each other’s’ happiness and good will.

In a first, the British armed forces came together at various locations within the Queen’s land to celebrate this auspicious day remembering the idea of bravery, courage and support behind this ancient practice in Hinduism.

“The tying of Rakhi to symbolize bonds of mutual protection is a potent symbol for all here today and one that resonates beyond the Hindu religion to all servicemen and women, whatever their beliefs”, said Earl Howe, MOD Minister Of State in the House of Lords.

The young girls tying Rakhi to the Officials. PC: www.asiansunday.co.uk

The young girls tying Rakhi to the Officials. PC: Asia S.

 

The event at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir witnessed about twenty Hindu and Non-Hindu armed forces personnel where the holy decorative string bracelet was tied on the wrists of the Army Officers by young members of Hindu Community symbolizing the bond of protection and love.

“Our Armed Forces are at the vanguard of protecting us and we should never take them for granted. Our global spiritual leader, Acharya Swamishree Maharaj often visits military installations in India to remind us of the selfless and valiant job that these courageous servicemen and women do. It is for that reason that we are hugely honored to host the Armed Forces Hindu Network’s flagship Raksha Bandhan event here today”, said Mandir Trustee, Dr. Mahesh Varsani.

Rear Admiral Graeme Mackay while addressing the crowd mentioned that, “ There are currently around 2,500 Hindus serving the armed forces and they continue the proud tradition of their predecessors in serving the country, upholding the values that we all hold dear. They are as much part of the future of the armed forces, if not more so, as they are of our past”.

The event also included some cultural activities such as dance performances by the children who were attending the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Academy of Performing Arts.

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Indian-American museum opens in New Jersey

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A case containing artifacts related to the success of Raju Sethi, founder and president of AVS TV. PHOTO BY HILDI BORKWOSKI

A case containing artifacts related to the success of Raju Sethi, founder and president of AVS TV. PHOTO BY HILDI BORKWOSKI

MAHWAH, N.J. (Diya TV) — A new museum saluting and celebrating the experiences of Indian-Americans in the U.S. has opened at the Hindu Samaj Temple of Mahwah in New Jersey. The temple celebrated its grand opening of the new 13,800-square-foot cultural center on June 5.

Built eight years ago beneath the temple, the space previously served as a multipurpose room for church activities, but will now be utilized to document the stories and experiences of Indian immigrants. It will highlight their achievements and struggles in a variety of fields, said Kalidas Kale, a temple spokesperson.

“This is our home,” he said of the U.S., “but we still want to maintain our heritage.”

Above the entrance hangs the image of the flag of India with a human fingerprint superimposed over it, meant to signify the sense of Indian identity. The room includes a stage with large bronze statues on both sides, and includes a state-of-the-art sound system with ample lighting for musical programs.

The area will also be used to serve local seniors and has classrooms for children’s language, arts and crafts, enrichment classes, space for dance practice and recitals, and even a yoga facility.

Decorated on the walls are collages of the four Indian-American honorees who spoke at the center’s commencement: Vipp Jaswal, head of International Affairs at Fox News; Rashmee Sharma, founder of Roshni Media; Raju Sethi, founder, CEO and president of AVS; and Dr. Sudhir Parikh, a physician and CEO of Parikh Worldwide Media. All four were chosen for their contributions in news media.

Additionally, members of the temple have held discussions about the possibility of dedicating a space to preserve the experience of the Indian diaspora across the nation. The talks have recently become amplified to keep pace with the successes of Indian-Americans in society, Kale said. The Indian-American community is one of the most highly-educated groups in the country — 71 percent of the country’s 3.1 million residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, according to 2010 census numbers.

“In all aspects we are trying to do our best and contribute to society,” Kale said.

The temple was founded in 1996, and has a membership of approximately 2,500 families. It provides religious, cultural and social services in New Jersey and the surrounding areas.

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