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Such schools as this one in rural India will benefit from the Tampa Ekal Vidyalaya fundraiser set June 28.

Approximately 350 people are anticipated to attend "Yadoon Ki Baraat," an Ekal Charity Musical Concert Saturday, June 28 at India Cultural Center (5511 Lynn Road) in Tampa. Ekal Vidyalaya looks to raise nearly $120,000 at the 6:30 p.m. event.

Providing entertainment will be the Pandya Group, which will sing ghazals, bhajans and old/new Bollywood hits. Tickets for the fundraiser are $25 each with dinner included.

For the year 2008, the organization aims to raise funds for 2,500 schools in India. A charitable trust, Ekal ( initiates, supports and runs non-formal one-teacher schools in India. The movement strives to create a network of non-formal schools and health education that will educate and empower children in rural and tribal India.

For more information, call Jawahar Taunk at (727) 789-9087, Chandresh Saraiya at (813) 309-0647 or Ram Jakhotia at (813) 962-4172.

Dignitaries at the 2006 WAVES conference in Houston.
Story provided by WAVES

More than 300 scholars, students, professors and other participants will meet June 27-29 at the University of Central Florida (Student Union Building) in Orlando to sort out clues from ancient Indian wisdom for the coming generations in the modern context of social, economic, environmental, and political upheavals throughout the world.

The gathering will be at the Seventh International Conference on Vedic Heritage for the Global Welfare of the Next Generation, organized by the non-profit World Association of Vedic Studies (WAVES).

Inaugural session speakers include Dr. Nagendra, vice chancellor of SVYASA University in Bangalore and Dr. Francis Clooney of Harvard University.

Dr. Nagendra has been conducting neuroscience research on yoga and meditation and has extensively published in this area, and is a leading authority on scientific basis of Indian traditional science, including Yoga and Ayurveda.

Dr. Clooney, the Parkman Professor at Harvard Divinity School has been researching and teaching topics on Hinduism, Upanishads, and Yog Sutras, and articulates the need of incorporating several Hindu values in the American society.

Numerous papers have been received for discussing and deriving values from Vedic traditions for modern societal ills, such as water and air pollution, breakdown of social structure, and educational stagnancy.

A Youth Plenary session is being organized where youth representatives from various groups - Hindu American Foundation, Hindu Student Council, Swaminaryan Mandir, ISKCON, etc. - are working to hold academic debate on the role of youth in promoting and developing Vedic ideas for current society.

Rajiv Malhotra, president of Infinity Foundation, will deliver the keynote at the banquet on "Indology and European Mythology -- Implications for India Today."

The Valedictory Speech at the Concluding Session June 29 will be given by Dr. Subramanian Swamy, the scholar politician, who has written two books - "Hindu Under Siege" and "Ram Setu" - quite relevant to the status of Vedic values and practices in modern India.

Other notable scholars attending the conference are Dr. TS Rukmani of Concordia University, Dr. Rama Pappu of Miami University, Dr. Rama Puligandla of University of Toledo, Dr. Oleg Perzashkevich of Belarusian State University, Dr. Lothar Schäfer of University of Arkansas, Dr. Indira Junghare of University of Minnesota, Dr. Haribansh Jha of Centre for Economic and Technical Studies (CETS), Nepal.

Florida coordinators of the conference are Dr. BVK Sastry and Abhinav Dwivedi, both of the International Vedic Hindu University. Conference Patron is Braham Agarwal of Orlando, who also is the founder of Hindu University of America.

For details, call Abhinav Dwivedi at (813) 992-0807, e-mail or visit



About 1,500 people are expected to participate in the annual Rath Yatra (The Festival of Chariots) Saturday, July 5 in Al Lopez Park (4900 N. Himes Ave.) in Tampa. The festival will be from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In India, the holy town of Puri, Orissa, home of the Lord of the Universe, Jagannath, celebrates this festival. The temple of Jagannath, also known as Krishna, in Puri is one of India's major pilgrimage sites. The Festival of Chariots signifies Lord Jagannath's journey from the forest into the hearts of people.

"July 5 is the same date as the original festival held in Puri, the origin of Jagannath Rath Yatra and also in Ahmedabad," said organizer Shyam Mohapatra. 'This year, we are holding the event in Al Lopez Park, which is a bigger and better venue. Also, there is a real collaboration between many organizations, including Rath Yatra Association, city of Tampa, Sanatan Mandir and Federation of Indian Associations of Tampa Bay."

For puja, sponsorship and more information, call Subhra Mohapatra at (813) 909-1636, Chandrakant Patel at (813) 340-5505 or e-mail

Vinod Vasudeva

It wasn't too long after Orlando-based "Manoranjan" hit the radio waves 17 years ago that we visited the studio as a guest of the host Vinod Vasudeva. Who would have thought that the popular show, which began on a weekly basis, can now be heard daily by listeners all over world (thank you, Internet!)? The show is simulcast on 1440 AM or visit from 7:05 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6:05 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

"The community of the heritage of India in Central Florida needs a venue where each of its various ethnicities can propagate their activities for the populace to participate," says Vasudeva. "With the passage of the years, we are becoming increasingly segregated instead of integrated. The idea of expansion is to involve more individuals from diverse backgrounds."

And that he has done quite well. For example, Aditi Carman, Craig Carman and Kammy Vasudeva play the requests of the nation on Mondays with "Aap Ki Pasand." To make a request, e-mail or

Craig Carman

On Tuesdays, Shobana Daniel hosts "Sanskar - The Radio Show," an extension to the Sanskar magazine. "This show invites a vast range of age groups and multiple professionals to talk about their views/professions," says Vasudeva.

"Haal-e-Dil" on Wednesdays is co-hosted by Dr. P. Jamnadas chief of Cardiology of Florida Hospital South. On Thursdays, Bhavin Vaishnav presents a mix of Hindi and Gujarati nostalgic tunes. On Fridays, the lineup is for "Ghaza-au-ghazalaat," which includes melodious ghazals, invigorating qawwalis and poetry of renowned authors.

And Saturday ... the saga continues, says Vasudeva. "Furthermore, we welcome anyone who would like to try their hands at 'hosting' a show (or shows). Students can earn certificates as interns/hosts from Manoranjan, which should help them with their resumes in time to come. This venue was and is a platform for the people."

The fascination with and love for music goes back to Vasudeva's days at Delhi University in the early 1960s. Then, he and a friend would sing qawwalis and ghazals as part of a group on stage. Vasudeva also had done some programs on All India Radio, hosted several 'jam sessions' for soft drink manufacturers, and fashion shows for boutiques and designers. "Entertainment was my forte and I enjoyed it," he recalls.

A native of Bombay, Vasudeva immigrated to the United States for a clothing/handicrafts import business. He worked in New York till 1983 before moving to Florida.

Aditi Carman
In 1992, a radio station offered to let the India Association of Greater Orlando announce the winners of its essay competition on air and also allow a half-hour to play some Indian songs. "That was the beginning of 'Manoranjan,' the radio show that I thought would give the people of Indian heritage a venue of culture. So getting into the 'Manoranjan' act was a path that I willingly chose."

It's apparent after all these years that Vasudeva made the right choice, which has benefited listeners of his show for nearly two decades now.

MANORANJAN (Simulcast on 1440 AM in Central Florida or worldwide)

Manoranjan or

On-Air request/comment line: (407) 841-8255 (during show times only).

Phone lines: (407) 260-0567 or 1-800-DIL-LAGI (345-5244)

Fax: (407) 332-7549


Dr. Ram Ramcharran

Dr. Ram Ramcharran of Palm Harbor has been picked as chairman of the INDO-US Chamber of Commerce ( in Tampa. The entrepreneur looks to create a greater awareness of the influence of Asian American businesses and business owners and the community acknowledges the contribution that they have made to the Tampa Bay area.

"We have heard about the Hispanic influence in Tampa Bay," he says. "I believe Asian Americans have made just as significant contributions to this area in the short time we have been in the Tampa Bay area. I also want to create a partnership with other local business organizations to help enhance more business networking outside our own community."

Ramcharran, who previously has been president of INDO-US, began his career in the Army as a Military Police Officer. He then worked in the finance and brokerage industry before joining up with his wife Dr. Sadhana Shah in the business of medicine to create and run American PrimaryCare, an Independent Practice Association (IPA) in Palm Harbor in the last three years.

"Most recently, along with a longtime business partner, we invested in a university which we eventually moved it to online and virtual University called Georgetown Wesleyan University of the Americas. We have operations in four countries and currently are looking to expand to India and Asia."

The next INDO-US Chamber meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 11 at Valencia Gardens (811 W. Kennedy Blvd.) in Tampa. Ramcharran can be reached at


Ravi Sankar

Ravi Sankar, son of Shan and Girija Sankar of Oviedo, has been named a United States Presidential Scholar. The Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, "by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. He was nominated by his school for academic excellence and community service - for tutoring high school students in mathematics since he was 12 years old. He has volunteered at the Casselberry Chinmaya Mission's tutoring classes as well.

Teachers marvel at his all-round accomplishments. Mary Donahue notes, "Very few students can match the lofty (goals) of astounding academic aptitude, admirable moral character and genuine compassion that is uniquely Ravi Sankar." His debate team coach says, "Ravi is an intellectual powerhouse."

This is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon a high school student. Sankar is a high school senior at Trinity Preparatory School, Winter Park, and looks forward to his graduation in June. In fall, he will head to Stanford University in California to study computer engineering.


Amita Patel

Amita Patel of Vulcal Boutique in Orlando will hold an exhibition-cum-sale June 22 at the Clarion Hotel in Tampa. The sale will be from 1 to 6 p.m. at the hotel, 2701 E. Fowler Ave. Patel is known for her designer saris, blouses, salwar-kameezes, ghagra-cholis and traditional shararas in cotton, silk and polyester. "New designs constantly come to my mind because I am an artist. I tell my customers to trust me and let me do my job," she told us once. "I like to take up a challenge." For information, call (813) 971-4710 or Vulcal at (407) 718-4737 or visit on


DOSA President Dr. Aravind speaks during the health fair as Glad Kurian, left, Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, HSCF President Mahendra Kapadia and HSCF Chair Suresh Gupta look on.
Story provided by Dr. Aravind Pillai

More than 600 people dropped in May 4 at the Hindu Society of Central Florida hall in the Casselberry/Orlando area. Several physicians and nurses from the community provided their services.

Lending financial support was Florida Hospital, Fish Memorial. The following stations were available for free to patients during the fair: bone marrow registration and blood drive (Florida's blood centers), cholesterol and blood sugar check (Central Florida Regional Hospital), physical therapy advice (Praveen Joshi), sleep apnea advise and pulse oxygen check (Dr. Gowani & Associates), EKG & Echo tests (Drs. Bajaj and Reddy), hemoglobin tests (Orlando Kidney Center), and vision & glaucoma tests (Florida Eye Clinic, Dr. Vrinda Hershberger). There also was a free one-on-one consultation with doctors specializing in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Cardiology, Nephrology, Urology, Gynecology, Neurology, Ophthalmology, Oncology/Hematology, Pulmonary disease & Sleep Disorders.

Dr. Ravi Jahagirdar, Dr. Vrij Panara, Dr. Santaram Nallamshetty, Dr. Adimurthy Nallamshetty, Dr. Rajesh Patel, Dr. Ram Reddy, Dr. Santosh Nair, Dr. Padma Raju, Dr. Vasu Iyengar, Dr. Nikita Shah, Dr. Vrinda Hershberger and Dr. Amish Parikh helped with consults. In addition, there were display booths by Glad Kurian with citi/smith barney group and Bill Rego from Bankers healthcare group and Gentiva home health care.

Physicians Mehul Dixit and Dr. Buchi Reddy moderated several well-attended lectures, which included Dr. Madhusudan Banda on diabetes, Dr. Karan Reddy on heart diseases, Dr. Sanjiv Kapil on rheumatoid arthritis, Dr. Udita Jahagirdar on women's health, Marnie Shanbhag on stress reduction, Dr. Nikita Shah on breast cancer awareness, Dr. Gowani on sleep apnea and heart, Dr. Rahul Shah on back pain, Dr. Kalyani Gaddipati on colon cancer, Dr. Vrinda Hershberger on glaucoma and retinal diseases, Dr. Uday Desai on kidney transplant, Dr. Rakesh Patel on prostate cancer, Dr. Sachin Shenoy on stroke and migraine and Dr. Aravind Pillai on obesity.

Thank you to all of the volunteer doctors and nurses for providing excellent service and education. Also, credit goes to the Hindu Temple of Central Florida for providing a delicious lunch for all the health fair volunteers. Our sincere gratitude goes to Glad Kurian, Srinivas Jarugula, Shobana Daniel and Madhu Cherukuri for helping with publicity and setup of the fair.

This is the first Community Outreach program that DOSA has embarked upon, with many more to be unveiled in due time.

DOSA is a not-for-profit professional physician organization, dedicated to serving the needs of Orange, Osceola, Volusia, Seminole, Lake, Brevard and Marion counties. Membership in DOSA is open to all licensed physicians and dentists in good professional standing. Dr. Aravind Pillai is president of DOSA and can be reached at



EDITOR'S NOTE: He's back! The Scribbler. We have been urging him, though it may sound like begging, to write another column since the last time he contributed for us was in August 2007. Do e-mail us your opinion about the column at

* Guess congratulations are in order to Tata Motors. India's largest and oldest conglomerate is now the proud owner of Jaguar and Land Rover, luxury brands for which Ford Motor Co. paid $5.2 billion. The price for Tata? A mere $1.7 billion. Great bargain, sure, but can Tata revive the nearly-dying Jaguar and Land Rover names? Going back to the company's century-old history, we would count on it!

* First it was Aamir Khan and now you can add the great Bachchan to the list of bloggers. Big B, whose disdain for the media isn't anything new, has had it! The blog, says Mr. Bachchan, is "a beautiful vehicle to communicate with your fans." Fans can log in at Happy reading!

* Poor Shah Rukh Khan! The superstar spent millions on his Calcutta team to compete in the Indian Premier League only to lose badly to a Rajasthan team that had cost its owner only $67 million. What all didn't the man not do for the team? He rooted for them, roped in his Bollywood friends to dance (its called entertainment), and for that matter even hung around the dressing room of his team players till he was shown the door!

* While on cricket, June 25, 2008 marks the silver jubilee of the World Cup that underdogs India won at Lord's against the then-mighty West Indies. Ha, we still remember quite vividly the sight of that great player Kapil Dev running a stretch to take a catch to get rid of Vivian Richards. Memories, they linger on.

* Who says money, name or fame for that matter can buy anything, like say a helipad? Not the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, which has fined Reliance chairman Mukesh Ambani about $6,000 for proceeding with a helipad construction atop his residence without proper permits. The ball, as they say, is in the Ambanis' court. And so is the dough (and there's plenty of that as we know), for that matter!

* Only in India does a convicted criminal stand for election and win! We hear that Bollywood star Sanjay Dutt (out on bail for illegal weapon possession pending appeal) will be standing on a Congress ticket in the forthcoming general election. Goodbye "Khal Nayak" and welcome "Munnabhai MP," should we say?



Opening a new store or restaurant? Expanding or relocating? Has your business won an award or a mention in your local newspaper? We want to hear from you to meet the rising needs of businesses and our readers. Call Nitish S. Rele at (813) 758-1786 or e-mail us at

TAMPA TUN-DU-REE RESTAURANT HONORED Hats off to Pat Bhava of Tampa who recently was picked Entrepreneur of the Month by Web site, a premium online community in which professional Indians in the United States can share advice, job tips, insights and news.

Tun-Du-Ree has two locations in Tampa: at South MacDill Avenue and Interbay Boulevard; and the other is at 4004 W. Neptune St. Bhava prides on the fact that all his entrees are priced at $6.99, which include yogurt, cucumber raita, veggies and either tandoori rice or a naan.

For information, call Bhava at (727) 678-1262 or visit


Bombay Masala restaurant in Fort Walton Beach recently was reviewed by the Northwest Florida Daily News. “This family-owned business makes it fun for everyone to try some of India’s favorite food,” wrote reviewer Wendy Victoria. At 326 Eglin Parkway N.E., the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday, 5 to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.

For information, call (850) 862-0978.

And while on Bombay Masala, don’t forget the eatery by the same name in Tampa. Bombay Masala has been a part of the Tampa tradition for about 16 years now. Vijay Keni opened the 2,500-square-foot and 80-seater restaurant and since then there’s been no looking back for this Bombay native. “We offer mouth-watering, delicious and authentic Indian food,” he says with pride.

Bombay Masala is at 4023 W. Waters Ave. For information, call (813) 880-7511.


Raga Asian Indian Restaurant in Clearwater recently was reviewed by the St. Petersburg Times. “The restaurant has a spice corner in which they grind their own garam masala,” wrote reviewer Laura Reiley about the eatery owned by Madhu and Naresh Sharma, previous owners of Mahal Indian Cuisine.

“At lunch during the week, it’s a Northern Indian buffet, but on Sunday a grand buffet showcases the lesser-known vegetarian delights from Southern India. And at night it’s a la carte, with an interesting smattering of Chinese-inspired dishes. Raga boasts a full bar, a rarity in Indian restaurants.”

Raga is at 16080 U.S. 19 N., just north of East Bay Drive. It is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch buffet and 5 to 9:30 p.m. weekdays and until 10 p.m. on weekends. For information, call (727) 531-6400 or visit

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