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Aiyah! and Aiyoh! have made their way to the Oxford Dictionary

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The Oxford English Dictionary

The Oxford English Dictionary

SANTA CLARA (Diya TV) — Aiyah! Now, who knew this could happen!? So here’s what it is, how many times does the word ‘Aiyah’ or a variant of that pop up in your head and you’ve stopped yourself from using it? I guess a lot of times. This expression is so commonly used among the South Asians that now the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) has included “Aiyoh” and “Aiyah” in the latest edition this September.

Ummm…really? Have these words really been included to the OED? I always wondered if that was correct english to speak, says an eight year old Visisht Kakkirala. We are always conscious about this language in the corporate world and especially staying in the United States, we need to watch our language more often.

Like many other Indian words, these words also have many contextual meanings depending on the tone of its usage. It can sound surprise, pity, irritation, pain, disappointment, disgust, dismay and etc. And with slight variation, sounding tensed- it could go like “Ai-yi-yoh… I am late in submitting this article”.

“I’m appalled at the inclusion of this word!” says Shailaja Vishwanath, former English teacher and currently freelance writer-editor.

These expressions are not restricted to the South Indians alone, but also many other South Asian countries like Sri Lanka, China, Singapore and Malaysia use it too. In fact, in the dictionary it is referred that ‘Aiyoh’ is credited to have its origins in Mandarin while ‘Aiyah’ is said to have come from Cantonese.

Rani Mukherjee from the movie Aiyyaa

Rani Mukherjee from the movie Aiyyaa

The Oxford English Dictionary is over 150 years old and has the legacy of over 600,000 entries and its publisher- the Oxford University Press calls it the “Bible of correct English”. And most writers students believe that if the word does not exist in the OED then it isn’t English.  Author and veteran journalist Gita Aravamudan, however, dismisses this inclusion as “just hype”. “I think we have a vibrant language of our own in India drawn from different parts of the country and we don’t need an endorsement from others for our language. The OED is quite irrelevant now.” 

I guess the word is so commonly used that there is also a movie in Bollywood, “Aiyyaa” starring Rani Mukherjee and Prithviraj.

So if it’s in Bollywood, it must be a word worth including, na?

What do you think? Share your comments with me and let me know if you’d like to see me write about any other such interesting topics.

 

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OPINION: The TWO INDIAS controversy: Why should you care?

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Vir Das at Kennedy Center

NEW YORK — (Diya TV) On a brisk mid-November evening, Indian-born comedian Vir Das, walked into the historic Kennedy Center in New York. Standing in front of a full house, he began his monologue. He talked about the contrast and touched on many social issues in India, including womens rights, farmer rights, nationalism and poverty.  During his performance he was fully cognizant of the stage he stood on, the gravity and the scale of this stage was with him as he defined himself as an Indian, as he took ownership of ‘his two Indias’. 

Vir Das’ TWO INDIAS monologue at the Kennedy Center in New York

“I represent a great thing, that is turning into a memory,” Das said as he was wrapping up the perfomance.

While the twittersphere reacted with equal amounts of duality, the controversy however is beyond just social media. Some Indian citizens living in India reacted with police complaints. 

Many lauded Das for his courage to speak about these issues, while others reacted in complete contrast questioning why Das would “insult India” in front of a white audience. After the backlash, Das tweeted a clarification.

But there is another response, that mainstream non-ethnic media glazes over, one that paints a different picture. A response by Sanil Gosavi, a Mumbai based entertainer, one with only 300 Twitter followers, nearly 5000 Insta followers, which pails in comparision to Vir Das’s storied career and his 7.8M Twitter & 1M Insta followers.

Gosavi’s twitter bio reads “My tweets might contain facts & opinions that will be offensive to wokes.”

Depending on where you align politically you may disagree with one these gentlemen, but the imporant distinction here is, Gosavi was born and raised in India and still resides there.

Das on the other hand was born in Dehradun, India but was raised in Nigeria, which much like India was colonized by the same crown and finally became a free nation in 1960, thirteen years after India gained its independence. Das went on to then attend Delhi Public school and later graduated from Knox College in Illinois and spent at year at Harvard University. After graduating from Knox, Das was accepted into the Stanislavsky Program of the Moscow Arts Theatre. And until most recently lived in New York till he decided to sell his house and travel.

Sanil Gosavi’s response to Vir Das’ Two Indias

So what it comes down to is, whose Indian duality do you agree with and why you should care. I care because I see a change. A change in the way the next generation of Indian citizens now refuse take insults lying down. A change where being Indian doesn’t always have to begin with first apologizing for your country’s shortcomings and only then daring to even touch upon its greatness. A change where Indian citizens demand the same dignity afforded to other world citizens, despite their imperfections. 

So, while Das maybe spending more time in America or travelling the world, the unapologetic Gosavi is ironically more American in his spirit. 

 

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HC4A Founder, Harish Kotecha receives Lifetime Achievement award from NAEHCY

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AUSTIN (Diya TV) — Harish Kotecha, founder and president of Hindu Charities for America (HC4A) received the Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) at the 32nd Annual Conference.

He is the first Indian American to receive this national recognition.
Sandra Neese Lifetime Achievement Award is presented annually to honor individuals who have tirelessly worked to ensure that all children may have what most take for granted: safety, shelter, and a future; and that young people without shelter may find the promise of tomorrow.

NAEHCY’s Board of Directors were impressed with “your [Kotecha’s] ability to transform a singular movement into a replicable program that now is established in 4 major cities.”

In her award letter to Kotecha, Jimiyu Evans, President, NAEHCY wrote that, “We are glad to have an advocate like you in the field to meet the needs of children and youth experiencing homelessness – supporting and encouraging academic success – while implementing program
coordination and community collaboration.”

Kotecha, while beaming at the live video presentation at the virtual conference, mentioned that, “This award recognizes the impact of HC4A, all the volunteers, donors, sponsors and well-wishers of HC4A!”
Kotecha’s family was ousted from Uganda by its brutal dictator in 1971.

When he sought refuge in the US, there was not much by means of finances and housing. However, having a good education and determination to succeed, turned his life around. He turned all setbacks into a successful career in technology. Gratitude came full circle in his life when he resolved to serve the underprivileged through education.

He took an early retirement from IBM in 2001 and ever since has unwaveringly worked towards supporting children and youth of homeless families in their educational journey.

HC4A was founded by him in 2010 with the mission to ‘Bridge Income Disparities through Education.’ Ever since, the nonreligious and nonpolitical nonprofit has raised over $1 million to provide school supplies for elementary school children and vocational scholarships to nontraditional students. In response to the pandemic, HC4A also helped homeless students get internet connectivity for a year.

“He identified a huge social problem to solve that many assumed it to be government agencies’ or administration’s work. He and his volunteers have consistently delivered on the promises made to multiple school district administrations. More importantly, he has developed broader communities in his organization efforts,” says Alok Singh, Director, Global Strategy &; Transformation at Dell Technologies.

In addition to liaising with partner nonprofits to reach out to those in need, HC4A also brings the Indian American community together to volunteer and donate towards their cause with the motto of ‘Serve Where you Live.’ It now has chapters in four major cities: Austin, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

Rosie Coleman, Coordinator &; District Homeless/Foster Care Liaison, Austin ISD said, “This is so great! No one deserves this more than Harish and Hindu Charities. Thank you for everything you do for our Austin ISD students!”

Coming in an especially hard year, this award sends a wave of joy in the HC4A community. Kotecha has woven an intricate fabric of community members—from high net worth donors who have achieved their American Dream to below poverty line students who have often doubled their incomes soon after being able to complete their education. They now prepare for the next big event: a virtual gala in November to raise funds for vocational scholarships for low-income youth and adults. 

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Dive into the IFFLA’s virtual fest as you celebrate the 4th

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IFFLA Over the Years

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — In the digital age of streaming services where you can play every movie ever made, festivals too are changing. While in person festivals are going to be a while away, Virtual Film Festivals are booming.  IFFLA Over the Years is the festival’s response to the ongoing uncertainty in the film festival world. To that end, the previously announced 2020 lineup will be moved to 2021 so that filmmakers and audiences can join together and share the festival experience in person.

This year’s showcase is a special one, IFFLA Over The Years: 17 days celebrating 17 years of Indian cinema, is way of looking back all of those that have passed through the hallowed grounds. IFFLA brings you the best of yesteryear, with gems like Anurag Kashyap’s legendary godfather-esque Gangs of Wasseypur, the late Irrfan Khans shakespearean classic Maqbool, Lena Khan’s fresh immigrant tale The Tiger Hunter. The bulking roster ranges from narrative features, documentaries, to short films like Neha RT’s hilarious satire The Shailas, the oscar-nominated KUSH, the infuriating Bebaak.  With 17 days to fly through the virtual festival will span form June 19th to July 5th leaving you just enough time to experience every joy, ache, bellowing laugh, and uncle-inducing cringe.

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A Female Lens features films made by and/or centering on women such as Karishma Dev Dube’s Devi (Goddess), starring Priyanka Bose (Lion); “This Is Not Fiction presents  award-winning documentaries including Faiza Ahmad Khan‘s hilarious Supermen of MalegaonStories of Youth” highlights children and adolescence in films such as Rima Das’ festival favorite Village Rockstars, which was India’s Oscar entry for 2019, and Shubhashish Bhutiani‘s Oscar-shortlisted short film Kush. “Diaspora Windows” shares stories of Indian characters living outside of India with highlights including Lena Khan’s The Tiger Hunter and Ruthy Pribar’s The Caregiver.

Over 70 short films are included in “Keeping it Short” with Neha RT‘s uproarious satire The Shaila(s) and Jennifer Rosen‘s piercing Laksh, making their online premiere with this virtual showcase.

Finally, Richie Mehta‘s India In A Day, Shonali Bose‘s Amu, Devashish Makhija‘s Taandav, Tanuj Chopra’s Pia, and Shirley Abraham and Amit Madheshiya’s The Hour of Lynching are new additions to IFFLA’s programming by alumni.

Legedary fests such as Sundance and Cannes, set the trend for the virtual streaming fest and now we are seeing many Indian film festivals follow suit, IFFLA, NYSAFF & DYWSAFF.

Beat edging towards insanity by filling your days with more stories of hardship, of bliss, more tales of life just beyond the door, of lives just next door, and if they can get through it, so can you.

With 2020 being such an unprecedented year it’s easy to get caught up in the turbulence and feel overwhelmed. But we’ll get through this like we always have.  We’ve been through worse, our ancestors used to huddle together in the dark over bonfires in a fang and spear infested world speaking the first stories ever told. Wondrous adventures filled with heroes, villians, grim horrors, stunning beauty and everything in-between. These stories that brought us together, to feel safe around one another, these stories around the bonfire have transformed to become the projector and screens of today. A good story is what gets us through, inspiring us, enchanting us with dreams for tomorrow. So, feeling cooped up edging towards cabin fever?

We’re all right there with you so cancel your next Netflix binge there’s a long weekend of new movies ahead.

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