MARCH 2011
Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


By NITISH S. RELE, [email protected]

Congressman Bilirakis presents a copy of the
Congressional Record to Dr. Rao Musunuru.


During the first session of the 112th Congress on Jan. 6, a tribute to Dr. Rao Musunuru by Congressman Gus Bilirakis was entered into the Congressional Record. Dr. Musunuru was recognized for his extensive community service and exemplary medical, scientific, humanitarian, educational and philanthropic contributions “The lives he has impacted are countless, and I applaud him for his resolve to use his talents to meet the growing needs of the community and the larger medical profession,” said Congressman Bilirakis.

A copy of the Congressional Record was presented to Dr. Musunuru by Congressman Bilirakis at the Feb. 5 CARES (Community Aging & Retirement Services Inc.) Annual Recognition Dinner honoring “Pioneers of Pasco.”




Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar


Swaradhana is holding an Indian classical vocal concert by Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar, senior disciple of Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj. The musical evening will be 6 to 9 p.m. at Carrollwood Cultural Center, 13345 Casey Road, Tampa.

Pandit Abhyankar will be accompanied by Rohit Mujumdar on tabla and Tanmay Deochake on harmonium.

Pandit Abhyankar, a maestro  from  the Mewati Gharana, is an  artist  of  international  acclaim   in  the  field  of  Hindustani  classical  music. An extremely popular artist, he is the inspiration for the young generation. With his magical singing, he has attracted the young generation towards the Indian Classical music.  In a career spanning more than 25 years, he has assumed the mantle of a role model of dedication, hard work, patience and perseverance.

For more information about Pandit Abhyankar, visit

To reserve your tickets for the April 16 concert, e-mail Avinash Deshpande at [email protected] Please include your name and the number of tickets you want to reserve. Early bird special is $20 per person (until April 13). Then it is $30 (April 14-16). Sponsorships of $100 or more (four tickets) are welcome. There will be reserved seating for sponsors.



Children’s Safety Village of Central Florida Inc. President Tino Patel holds the Sara Griffin Hughes Memorial Award presented by the United Safety Council at its 58th anniversary award banquet in Orlando recently. Also on hand to accept this prestigious honor was Juanita Black, executive director of the Children’s Safety Village, and Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings. The award is presented to organizations who have demonstrated extraordinary efforts and determination with the purpose of making changes to promote safety awareness in the community.

Children's Safety Village of Central Florida works to significantly reduce preventable accidents and fatalities in kids by providing unique and innovative programs, role-playing scenarios and hands-on exercises. It strives to be a leading authority in information and statistics pertaining to childhood preventable accidents.

For information, visit


Pandit Rajin Balgobind, left, with
Ram Jakhotia and Dr. Ram Ramcharran.

More than 1,500 attended the Jan. 25-29 Ramayana Katha by Pandit Rajin Balgobind of New Jersey at India Cultural Center (ICC) in Tampa. For the first time in Tampa Bay, several organizations, including the Hindu Temple of Florida, Vishnu Mandir, Jain Mandir, Sanatan Mandir, Ambaji Temple, ICC and Guajarati Samaj of Tampa Bay worked to make the event a success. Funding for the Katha was provided by community members.

As one of the organizers, Ram Jakhotia, said, “This is an opportunity to start 2011 in a very positive and spiritual enlightened manner.”

Dr. G.M. Ramappa, trustee, Hindu Temple of Florida, said “There never has been such marvelous Katha orator in the Tampa Bay before ... We must bring him next year again.”

“We knew how good this will be, that’s why we have tried to coordinate with all Tampa Bay temples and Hindu organizations ...” said Mado Jaimangal, president of Vishnu Mandir.

“Whether you are from North India, South India, Caribbean islands, Africa, Europe or any part of the world, he brings unity in Hindus...and everyone can understand him,” said Dr. Ram Ramcharran, trustee of Vishnu Mandir.

“This is not your usual, run of the mill Katha narrator. He is fluent in English with no accent, fluent in Hindi and a marvelous orator. It's an absolute pleasure to listen to him. Where has he been all these years?" pondered Nainan Desai, president Hindu Temple of Florida.

Mukunda Rao, an attendee, pointed out, “It was also commendable that the Hindu institutions came together to host this event. We wish and pray that this will lead to greater cooperation and unity among all the Hindus (irrespective of language, origin, tradition and other aspects) in Tampa Bay area.”


Sri Ayyappa Society of Tampa Inc. (SASTA) has acquired a 5.13-acre lot at 6829 Maple Lane, Tampa to establish a center and build an Ayyappa temple. The property has a small house, a large shed /garage and a small pond.

“With generous and timely contributions from various devotees, we were able to purchase the property in cash and with no mortgage. We thank all the donors and sponsors for their generous support in achieving this significant milestone. With the continued support of the devotees and blessings of Lord Ayyappa, we plan to construct a temple for worship and structures to support various activities and plans of SASTA,” says Dr. C.V. Radhakrishnan, president of SASTA.

Some of the main areas of focus, in addition to building the main Ayyappa Swami Sannidhi with sacred 18 steps, to instill keen interest in our community and spread SASTA awareness are to:

For more details, visit, call 1-813-909-7865 or email [email protected]

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