IAGB h as yet again successfully hosted another event and won accolades and appreciation from all the event attendees. If you thought I was talking about the Republic Day gala, you were mistaken. IAGB in partnership with Dr. Anil Saigal held another college workshop for high school students and their parents at Acton Public Library on Feb 24th, The Hall was filled to capacity. Another highlight of this event was a student panel of three high school seniors who shared their first hand experiences of the college application process. The panel was moderated by another high school student. This successful event was organized after the highly visible annual mega event - Republic Day Gala on January 26th at Burlington High School. The daylong event started with many competitions ranging from Chess and Carom to Trivia Quiz and Storytelling. The late afternoon cultural program was intermixed with Antakshari Finale. With creed of No rest for the Weary - we are already in planning stages of organizing community service event in the month of May. The first ever IAGB organized 5K Walk/Run is planned for May 11th. The funds raised at this event will be donated to the MA Coalition for Homelessness organization.
In this edition you will see:
  • IAGB 5K Walk/Run Community Event - Vaishali Gade
  • Guest Column - Nilay Mukherjee
  • SPOTLIGHT - IAGB SPOTLIGHTS Mr. Upendra Mishra, Managing Partner - The MISHRA GROUP
  • From the Director's Corner - Mandy Deb Pant
  • Announcements
  • IAGB Upcoming Events
  • IAGB Recent Events
  • Community Calendar
  • Our Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners

Like always we invite you to submit guest columns on diverse topics for inclusion in the newsletter. Your feedback and suggestions and welcome!! Please contact via Email if you wish to make community event announcements through this newsletter.

Please visit our Website to sign up for annual family/single or life membership of IAGB. Contact Us if you are interested to volunteer at our upcoming events.

IAGB Salutes the Indian Armed Forces
Last few weeks have been extremely testing for everyone connected to the incidents in India. The tragic and gruesome terrorist attack at Pulwama added yet another dark chapter to our country's history. The Balakot attack by IAF and later the capture and release of an IAF pilot had not only the country at the edge but entire world was paying close attention. IAGB joins the world in hoping for a peaceful resolution of the root problems.

IAGB is with the KIWIS
IAGB mourns the brutal attack on Muslims in New Zealand. The youngest victim in that mass shooting was a three-year-old. IAGB applauds the PM and the people of New Zealand for taking bold and swift action in taking steps to avoid such future incidents.

IAGB 5K Walk/Run on May 11th, 2019
Homelessness affects all...people who are struggling to satisfy basic necessities and rest see the socioeconomic consequences.

Join IAGB 5k Walk/Run with your friends and family to benefit. Join hands with us to end homelessness in MA.
Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless
When: May 11th, 2019
Bruce Freeman Trail
Heart Pond, 50-72 Pond Street, Chelmsford, MA

About MA Coalition for the Homeless:
The mission of the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless is to eradicate homelessness from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and ensure that everyone has a place to call home.
Our work as a coalition to find common ground and to seek essential solutions has enabled us to fulfill our role as an organizer, coordinator and resource. At the same time, our organizational philosophy has compelled us to take action, rather than merely observe, react, or study. We seek to fulfill our mission as a voice with people experiencing homelessness in their struggle for decent housing, adequate income, and accessible services.

Find more about MA Coalition for the Homeless  http://www.mahomeless.org/

Click  here  to register. All community is welcome to join; online registration is $15/person for adults and children under 18 participate for free.
---Vaishali Gade

Air Strike in Balakot (Pakistan) - A viewpoint
- Nilay Mukherjee
I want to respond to the recent wave of euphoria that greeted the air strikes against terrorist camps in Pakistan. I believe that such “dancing over the dead bodies of our enemies” and “taunting them with songs like How’s the Josh?” is against the basic principles of our culture. 

Karma, or the principle of cause and effect determines outcome. If we must go to war after all other efforts have been exhausted: if we must fight hard, we will: if we must kill our enemies, we will but dispassionately and without losing our mental equilibrium. The Gita teaches us that. Rama observed a penance after killing Ravan. This is how our hero’s behaved. Bheem desecrated the body of Dushsshan and he was denied entry into heaven despite being noble in many other ways. This is what our past tells us. 

Sadly, many have not adhered to these principles over the last few days. I hope that time will mellow this outburst and we can return to thinking about the real issues at hand, which I will try to enumerate next.

1) Kashmir has been disputed territory for a long time. Hari Singh, the king of Kashmir sided with India after much vacillation. Patel strong armed most of the princely states to go with India.

2) The mass killings of Kashmiri Pandits is deplorable and has changed the demographics of the state. Under these circumstances a call for a plebiscite makes it controversial. That has not stopped many to question if we value democracy, and to ask what we are doing in Kashmir. It has been presented to us as a troublesome moral issue on the world stage.

3) The terrorists are well funded, they are not even Pakistani for the most part but recruited all over the Middle East: however a large chunk of the Kashmiri population sympathizes and supports them and aids them. This too is a fact. Are they true Kashmiri martyrs or ungrateful Indians? Again.... no clear answer.

4) Shock and awe tactics and other aggressive foreign policy measures have not been shown to help in similar situations, such as in the Middle East and Palestinian crisis. If anything, it makes the affected population more hardlined. 

5) We need a multi pronged approach: military strikes are one small part of it. We need to cripple the funding- that’s probably a cyber effort, we need sanctions, international pressure, defensive measures, the whole deal. 

6) Even with every conceivable policy in place, this problem is expected not to go away in decades. This reduces the importance of the air strikes. It’s one unfortunate event in a whole chain of unfortunate events.

7) There is the issue of impending elections: and this could have a huge effect on the outcome. There is going to be a lot of effort to leverage this incident by special interest groups from all sides. 

8) A protracted war, such as the USA is fighting in Afghanistan is going to be economically crippling for India: the economy does not depend on making war machinery. 

9) Many in the majority population group (Hindus) are concerned about the rising influence of one minority population group (Muslims) and apprehensive of the minority appeasement policy of some political parties. It is easy to confound the Kashmir issue with this tension. This can cause further unnecessary trouble. 

10) Last but not least, The Indian armed forces deserve our respect. Being killed in the line of duty is sad: Salut! But please.... let’s not turn this into a vendetta game.

Given all these considerations, the air strikes are neither all that important nor significant in altering the course of history by themselves. However, their emotional impact can be considerable. 

The air strikes need to be treated as reasonably separate from other political problems in India and neither eulogized not reviled. It happened. It was probably necessary. Perhaps it was a long time coming. Now let’s move on with our lives. The last thing we need is to romanticize this out of proportion and equate that with patriotism. Let’s not fan any uber aggressive nationalism. 

Let’s think with our brains! 

The thoughts expressed in the Guest Column are solely of the author's.
Members interested in submitting a guest column (or comments) in our newsletter can send an email to iagb@iagb.org.

eNews edition shines SPOTLIGHT on Upendra Mishra - Managing Partner, The Mishra Group.  
IAGB : Welcome to IAGB SPOTLIGHT. Can you share with us your journey, tracing back all the way from your childhood? What were your foundation years like?
Upendra Mishra: I grew up in a very remote village – Purnachapar, in Uttar Pradesh. I have traveled around the world but this village remains my favorite place, as I have some very precious memories that I will cherish for all of my life. I lost my mother very early in my life, when I was about two years old. I was primarily raised by my grandfather, and later by my uncles and other relatives. In fact, as the saying goes – “It takes a village…” I was practically raised by my village. My elementary school education happened here, in a school with no tables and chairs (we carried our own mattress to sit on) and the medium of instruction was Bhojpuri. For the next couple of years after that, I moved around in other rural places until I started my 8 th grade in a town called Sitapur (close to Lucknow) when I moved in to live with my uncle. After my High School I went to Allahabad University to earn my BA degree in Political Science, Philosophy and English Literature. From here I made it to Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi. I joined the ranks of many others like me – a village kid who makes it to a large university in a big city, but not knowing anyone and with no financial resources. I was fortunate to run into an old friend on the very first day at JNU who helped me to get my foot in and settle down.   
At JNU while working on my M. Phil, I became active in student politics. I joined a student group called ‘Free Thinkers” and even led as its Convenor. During this time, I ran for the position of vice president of the Students Union. This was a high profile election and with it came notoriety – which can be both good and bad. My faculty mentor at that time was traveling in Latin America. After his return, he learned about my campaign and strongly disapproved of my foray into it. He took upon himself to get me a fellowship at a university in Mexico and made sure that I honor it. With just eight dollars in my pocket and a one-way ticket, I landed in Mexico. As part of my fellowship I was doing research on human rights in Latin America. Earlier, I had gained some journalistic experience by writing opinion pieces in The Hindustan Times when in JNU, so I thought I will continue to try my luck with writing for local media in Mexico. I started with a Mexico City daily ‘The News’, which primarily catered to American tourists’ needs. I wrote a weekly column for this daily that published every Saturday, and my writing mostly centered on Latin American Economy and Latin American Politics. A Professor from University of Southern California (USC) when visiting Mexico happened to read my columns and was very impressed. He hunted me down and suggested that I should pursue Master’s program in Journalism at USC. He helped me get a grant from Carnegie foundation. Towards my graduation from USC, I made a trip back to Mexico when I interviewed and got a job with United Press International (UPI) as a correspondent in Mexico City to cover Central America. So I started as a reporter, later became the Bureau Chief and then got promoted as their Chief Foreign Correspondent for UPI covering the entire Central America, Caribbean and Mexico region. In total, I spent almost nine years in Latin America.
IAGB : From a high-flying career in journalism, how did you make your move to Boston?
Upendra Mishra: Around this time, I got married. I met my wife through a mutual friend. Her roots are from Benares in India but she was then living in Boston at that time. We lived in Mexico for a year after our wedding but then, in 1992 we made a decision to move to Boston to raise our family. The move for me was significant for I did realize I was willingly moving away from a very lucrative career in Journalism and with it, I was leaving behind the power, the perks and the influence that came with it. My timing for moving to the US was not great, as we were at the peak of a recession around the time. I was fortunate to get a job with Boston Business Journal (BBJ) as their Associate Editor and Real Estate Editor.
IAGB : What’s the genesis of The Mishra Group? What businesses are under this umbrella?
Upendra Mishra: Right from beginning of my move to Boston, I nurtured the idea of eventually becoming an entrepreneur. After spending about two plus years with Boston Business Journal, I decided it was time to realize my dream and I left the Journal to start my own marketing and PR firm – The Mishra Group in 1997. There are three major divisions as part of The Mishra Group, and currently my work in Marketing & PR division takes up almost eighty percent of my time. Our brand is the gold standard in this field and we are very proud to say that today our clientele is the top notch from the business world from the Boston area including clients like Fidelity Capital, New Boston Fund and Seaport Hotel to name a few.
As it is commonly said – once a journalist – you remain journalist for life. So, in addition to my Marketing & PR work I was itching to get back into journalism. Some of my research reflected that there was no Indian American News publication here in the New England area on par with Dallas, the Bay area and New York even though there were few who did attempt to varying degrees of success but not everlasting. Since I was rich with experience in this field I knew I could make it work, and that is how the India New England (INE) News publication seed came to bear. That seed now is one of the widely read news publication in this part of the world. Following this I started IndUS Business Journal. Because of my work experience as real estate editor in BBJ I had gained significant domain knowledge in the commercial real estate business so the next venture was Boston Real Estate Times publication. Today, the subscriber list to this publication is 15,000 and counting. Just this year we started Hispanic Business Journal thus leveraging my Latin American connection. Yes, I am pretty fluent in Spanish language. So in a nutshell we have a very fast paced growing Publishing Division separate from the Marketing and PR work all under the umbrella of The Mishra Group.
The third major component of our company is about organizing events. The Indian American people are aware of our major events like Woman of the Year (WOY), Health Expo, Wedding Expo, and New England Choice Awards (NECA), but in addition to these we do one event every month for the general population which we call them as “SUMMIT”. These are mostly structured as a panel discussion and we invite top leaders from different industry/sector to shine a light on the chosen topic.
IAGB : It is truly impressive about the breadth of business that you have initiated and handle. How do you manage so much of diversity within your work profile?
Upendra Mishra: I am a strong believer in the ‘Process’. I do nothing randomly; no action is taken impulsively or in reaction to something. Everything is done by a process. And that is how we are able to maintain the quality control of our product/services.
IAGB : How big is The Mishra Group in terms of the number of people working?
Upendra Mishra: At one time we had 28 people working for us. But over time most of our work has transitioned to digital world. Now we print India New England News and Boston Real Estate Times only once a month but we reach to thousands of our subscribers via digital means. Because of the technological shifts now we are able to do much more amount of work with just eight people. Of course we do use a lot of freelance writers and we subscribe to many syndicate news outlets who feed us the information, plus we also do in-house production. Our goal is to pick the best of the best.
IAGB : As an active community participant, especially in the Indian American community through the media and the mega events you host; how do you see yourself making an impact on this community?
Upendra Mishra: Deep down, I will always be the trained journalist that I am. And as a journalist, my primary task is to be objective and be a conduit in providing facts and information to the people. That has been my background and trade. India New England is the publication I started and run, but I do not think of it as ‘my publication’ but instead I treat it like it belongs to the community. My job is simply to provide a forum for the collation of all the news and happenings in our community so that people will have one portal to go to in order to learn and comprehend the information. There is no agenda, no judgement and no bias behind any of the published pieces. Just plain and simple facts. That is why I look at it as something that belongs to the community.  
My other major contribution to the community are the annual events that we host, and in particular the Woman of the Year (WOY). Our 17 th WOY event is coming up upon us in May. Now, why WOY? As I mentioned before, I lost my mother very early in life. So I was even more keen in observing and realizing all through my life that the presence and importance of a woman in one’s life is paramount to a person’s well-being. But on the other hand I also observed the hardship, discrimination and unique challenges that women face especially in parts of the world including India where patriarchal culture has been the norm for centuries. So when my daughter was born, I started to think how can I do my part in honoring the women. That is how the process started with the nomination of twenty women and the final winner for the year chosen on the event date. Over the years, this particular event has become a cultural phenomenon in the New England area. I think the main reason for that has been the transparency and fairness of the process. We have taken utmost pains to make it sure that no one can influence the process. We maintain complete secrecy of the judging panel to prevent any kind of lobbying. Finally, when people ask me about the success of WOY event – I always say that in my book, the true success will happen when there is no more need of this event. The need would stop when we have achieved ultimate gender equality in our society.
IAGB : Has the concept of such events spread outside of New England area?
Upendra Mishra: This is one aspect that I feel most proud about. We did a study – if WOY event has made any impact on the community. For comparison purposes we chose major metropolitan centers where significant Indian American population exists such as Bay area, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, NYC, New Jersey and Atlanta. The study was to see if there were any significant differences in the Indian American women profiles between Boston and other Metropolitan centers. To our great surprise we found that the Indian American women profiles were significantly high on many parameters when compared to the same population from other centers. One striking observation was - most of the Indian American organizations in New England area are led by women. This was observed across the board – in nonprofits, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, academia, and many more. The presence of Indian American women is there in other metropolitan cities too but more and more of them are in 2 nd , or 3 rd or below rungs of the ladder.
When we started the WOY event we used to have difficulty in finding the 20 nominees but over the period of time we started to observe that more and more Indian American women were asserting themselves in all fields and surging ahead. I strongly feel that this event has helped in a big way to energize the women to help, support and lead in the areas of passion they believe in. 
With WOY, our goal was also to break all the glass ceilings. In our nomination process we seek women in all age groups. One doesn’t need to wait a lifetime to get recognized and honored for their achievements. Additionally, we also seek diversity in the fields of work. The nominees come from all domains such as Arts, Business, Education, Entertainment, Fashion, Media, Science, Technology, Volunteerism and many more. We want to encourage everyone to follow their dream and pursue the same with utmost passion. The same affect is now being observed with the NECA awards. Now we have ideas to transport this model to other metropolitan cities.
IAGB : As the saying goes – with power comes responsibility. With your power through the media megaphone you can make or break opportunities for individuals in the community depending upon your reportage. Even fair reporting can sometimes make an unintended negative impact on people/careers as most readers are not equipped to understand and analyze the context in every case and may rush to form opinions. How do you handle such situations?
Upendra Mishra: In the world of journalism one has to be careful to do your best to remain unbiased, focus on facts, and accept mistakes if and when done, and finally be cognizant of the fact that people may have their own biases. If any controversy crops up – I always focus in keeping the bigger picture in view – will this be for a greater good. And then I give every opportunity to people with varied opinions and perspectives to write their pieces which we publish so that the readers are aware of both sides of an argument or controversy.
IAGB : Would you ever consider running for a political office?
Upendra Mishra: Certainly not now. Not in the near future.
IAGB : You have had opportunity to interview many personalities over the many years. Any particular personality stands out for you through this particular interaction?
Upendra Mishra: In this regard my philosophy is – every life has an interesting story. So when I interview I do not get overwhelmed by any of the larger than life personas and at the same time I do not underestimate the individuals who may not be celebrities but happen to have a niche in their own unique way. My role is to simply present the individual and tap into their persona in order to showcase them. I enjoy interviewing everyone because I learning from everyone and I keep everyone on the same footing.
IAGB : What do you want to be your legacy?
Upendra Mishra: I don’t think about legacy. I simply think how can I do my job better every day. My biggest competition is with myself. I am sure a time will come when I will want to reflect back on my life like I am watching a movie of myself – and at that time I want to feel contended about the protagonist that will be me. I am aware that today I am the writer, the director, the actor in that movie and today I can edit it the way I want. Years later, I do not want to be in remorse then that I could have done more and better. I strive hard every day to be the best I can.
IAGB : What are your near term like five to ten year goals?
Upendra Mishra: I have few new but related projects in the works. INE is one of the largest media outlet in terms of readership. We want to launch Indian American Daily which will cover the length and breadth of US covering Indian American News stories. The other thing is we want to take some of the highly successful events such as WOY, NECA and Health Expo national. These have become brands in their own merit and we want to leverage them by spreading the concept of honor and recognition to wider segments of population. Finally, we see many interesting challenges coming up the pipeline with technology shifting the paradigm in many areas such as video streaming service for example and we want to be ready to understand and implement the latest mediums that can have impact of the field of media and journalism.
IAGB : What is your observation of how Indian Americans have transformed over the period that you have lived here?
Upendra Mishra: I cannot use a single brush to answer the question. In fields like Business, Academia, Arts, Entertainment and STEM related areas Indian Americans have done extremely well. They have earned reputation and respect for the Indian Americans in the larger American society. Even in the fields of charity and philanthropy we are performing pretty well. As of now we are lagging in the field of sports but there is lot of promise in the near to far future.
The one area where we are definitely lagging behind by a mile is in the area of civic engagement and involvement in the political scene. The reason for that I am afraid is that even today we bring the baggage from India in terms of region such as Bengalis, Gujaratis, Tamil and so on and live in silos separated from one another. We do not easily unite on single idea and spend energies in endless debates without moving the ball forward. Now the hope is on the upcoming generation will forge ahead in this area too. The other concern is lot of effort is invested by many well-meaning to make life better in India. While that is very noble, the Indian American community needs to start focusing on the problems in the local communities too like homelessness and the opioid crisis and help deal with these issues too.             
IAGB : What are your core values? What inspires you to do all the work that you do?
Upendra Mishra: My core is in my ‘patience’, belief in ‘consistency’, trust in the ‘process’ and in the mantra of ‘Truth is your best friend’. I am an avid reader of Upanishads. I read and live by the teachings of Upanishads. There are about 120 Upanishads out of which about ten are most important. It has taught me that I am in control of my life, I am in control of my destiny. The root for this is understanding thyself. Most of the times people focus on their strengths but then ignore the most important aspect about themselves which is one’s own weakness. Understanding and transforming one’s weakness into strength is the most powerful thing one can do to help themselves.
IAGB : Introduce to us a little bit about your family.
Upendra Mishra: Me and my wife have three children. My oldest daughter works at the Harvard library, my son has graduated from college and presently is helping me out in my business but he has plans to venture out on his own soon. My youngest one is still in school.  
IAGB : Your social media has many mentions of Gardening. What can you share with us about it?
Upendra Mishra: I do few things with high regularity every day. I am a big believer in routine. My days start with exercise, yoga, and meditation. Gardening is my passion. Once I put my hands in the dirt, I can forget the world. I can literally talk to my plants and I believe they listen to me. I believe in immersion. I am not a big believer in multi-tasking. Even if it is only five minutes I want to give my 100% devotion to the task at hand. I love planting Roses in particular and have a healthy vegetable garden. I am looking forward to spring and summer exactly for this reason.   

IAGB interviewing team:  Sanjay Kudrimoti


Navigating through the college application mesh.
Mandy Deb Pant
Today, there are over 4.5 million (according to the 2017    American Community Survey  data ) first generation Indian-Americans, a label attributed to people who were born in India and who subsequently immigrated to the US. A large fraction of this population has spent their formative years in India doing K-12, undergraduate, perhaps even graduate studies. Through fellow Americans and their children's school system in the US, the first generation Indian Americans get to learn and become familiar with the ins and outs of education system in the US. A large number of us in the IAGB community belong to this group of first generation Indian Americans.
According to an article in the Washington Post, there are some 5,300 colleges and universities in the United States, everything from community colleges to Harvard, referred to collectively as the American higher-education system. The American higher-education system remains the envy of the world and many of us often find ourselves, along with our children, at the threshold of a rather daunting process of American college selections and applications, daunting because we are yet to get familiar with what this truly entails, challenged by the complexity and uncertainty of the process. Questions plaguing us range from how colleges evaluate applications, to narrowing options and selecting the right balanced college list, to planning an ideal high school academic program, to gathering suggestions for avoiding common application pitfalls.
IAGB, due to popular demand once again organized a college application process workshop to provide a community platform for its members interested in learning more about the process. The first part of this workshop, which was attended by a full house of about 60 people (parents + high school children), covered an overview of the process with a presentation by Dr. Anil Saigal. This was followed by a one-hour panel comprising of student panelists, all high school Seniors, Varun Lingadal, Rianna Mukherjee and Avik Sarkar who have recently gone through the application process and are getting ready to attend college in Fall. The panel was moderated by a high schooler, Nishka Pant. Hearing about the challenges of the application process through the lens of our second generation Indian American children provided a fresh new and unique perspective to the audience. The panel reinforced the importance of the precious channel of communication that should remain wide open between parents and their children as they, in unison, navigate through the daunting college application process with different perspectives. IAGB hopes to provide more such opportunities of sharing perspectives across generations as we all learn and benefit from one another.

 - Mandy Deb Pant

Calling all community exhibitors and vendors for booth opportunities at IAGB India Day 2019!! Join us to celebrate Indian pride at the Boston City Hall Plaza. Early bird specials through June 30th.
All booths include covered tents, table and chairs
$200 - booth
$250 – Booth + quarter page ad in eBrochure and pre-event 
Visit us at  www.iagb.org  to reserve or contact us at iagb@iagb.org
IAGB is grateful to  #Jobiak  Inc for being a Gold Sponsor for  #RepublicDay Mela 2019. Jobiak is a startup and its mission is to fuse machine learning technology together with practical approaches and long proven marketing funnel strategies to transform recruitment process.
Heartfelt thanks to Herb Chambers  BMW of Sudbury (and General Manager -  Pranav Gill ) for being a Gold Sponsor of Republic Day Mela 2019. BMW of Sudbury, a state-of-the-art facility in Sudbury, focuses on time, energy and resources on the mission of finding the perfect car for you and your lifestyle. If you desire a shopping experience commensurate with the high-quality vehicle you want to drive, plan a in-person visit, contact online or via phone @(877) 203-5102. BMW of Sudbury caters to your every need.
Thank you  Pranav Gill  for your continued support for IAGB.
Thanks to  Harvard Pilgrim Health Care  (HPHC) and  Brenda Cole  for being our Platinum Corporate Sponsor for  #RepublicDay  Mela 2019. Harvard Pilgrim and its family of companies provide health benefit plans, programs and services to more than 3 million customers in New England and beyond. Thank you  Brenda Cole  for your continued support and love for IAGB and the community for many years!
Republic Day 2019 Celebrations and Antakshari Finals

Editors: Sanjay Kudrimoti & Nagendra Rao
IAGB Communications