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Unique Cultural Program Set for 'Howdy, Modi!'

Close to 400 performers and 27 groups; 2 original songs

By Deepak Arora

HOUSTON, Sept 11: Attendees to “Howdy, Modi!” will be in for a once in a lifetime cultural program at the start of the event on Sunday, September 22 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. They will get to see “Woven: The Indian-American Story”, a 90 minute cultural program that is a celebration of Indian-Americans and their contributions to the cultural, intellectual, and social landscape of the United States.

The over 50,000 attendees and those watching at home will experience the vibrant expressions of a people empowered by their identity and driven to enrich the communities around them. The program will start at 10:00 am before Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to the stadium.

Presented by the Texas India Forum, Woven is a 90-minute music, dance, and multimedia show featuring close to 400 artists and community members from Texas and across the nation. There are 27 groups performing in a seamless live and multimedia experience that will showcase the diversity in the Indian-American community. 2 original songs have been written for the program, which will trace the journey of Indian-American youth learning their roots to understanding how to put that together with the contemporary world.

“A challenge that many second and third generation Indian-Americans go through is navigating the complexity of having a hyphenated identity as an Indian and an American. Woven showcases the multiplicity of Indian-American experience. Our hope is that each person sees themselves in at least one form of expression and recognizes that whatever mix of Indian and American they are, it is just right,” said Heena Patel, CEO of MELA Arts Connect and co-producer of the program.

The show will also shine a light on unsung heroes in the Indian-American community who have undertaken selfless acts benefiting the broader American community without any need of recognition. From the classical and folk traditions passed on in basements across America to the creative exchange between Eastern and Western arts and ideas, Woven illuminates the stories of generations of Indian-Americans and snapshots of home, and builds on the theme of “Shared Dreams, Bright Futures” that is the foundation of the event.

“We really look forward to presenting this unique and interesting cultural show at the event, which will tell the story of our community in a way that’s never really been done before. We want all the attendees and those watching from home to connect with a program that shows the Indian-American community and understand what drives our community to be part of the larger American experience,” said Gitesh Desai, spokesperson for the event.

Delhi, Mumbai fall in Liveability Index

NEW DELHI, Sept 4: Indian cities have not fared too well in the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Global Liveability Index for 2019, released Wednesday, with both Delhi and Mumbai sliding down ranks relative to last year.

The EIU’s index ranks cities by five headline criteria. Stability and culture & environment are the two most important categories, weighted equally at 25% of the total. Healthcare and infrastructure are also matched at 20%, with education coming in last with a 10% weighting.

New Delhi dropped six places to 118, from 112 last year, as there’s been an increase in petty crime cases over the past year, as well as recording some of the world’s worst air quality levels, the report says. Mumbai also fell in this year’s index, by two places to 119, from 117 last year, as a result of a downgrade in its culture category.

“Few cities in Asia have seen major changes to their score over the past year, with the exceptions of Colombo, which has seen its stability score fall following the Easter Sunday bombings in 2019, and New Delhi, which dropped six places in the ranking relative to last year. The Indian capital has seen an increase in petty crime cases over the past year, as well as recording some of the world’s worst air quality levels. The 2018 update to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Ambient Air Quality Database shows that New Delhi currently boasts the sixth highest annual mean concentration of fine particulate matter among cities around the world,” the report states.

Another Asian city Dhaka Dhaka remains the third lowest ranked city in the index, and the weakest performer in Asia. Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea (135th, 41) and Karachi in Pakistan (136th, 40.9) are the other two Asian cities that appear in the bottom ten cities in the ranking.

“Reflecting the diversity of Asia, these cities all have fairly different characteristics. Dhaka is relatively stable but has very poor health provision and outcomes, and very weak infrastructure. Karachi has very high crime rates and gang violence, but education is considered fairly strong and its infrastructure score is passable.” the report adds.

Among the toppers are Vienna and Melbourne who have been neck and neck in the EIU survey for years, but the Austrian capital also regularly tops a larger ranking of cities by quality of life compiled by consulting firm Mercer.



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