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From a blog post by Om Malik, founder of Gigaom and SAJA co-founder: Amrit Kakaria, veteran journalist and member of SAJA Hall of Fame and a dear friend passed away. I learned a lot from him and will remember him fondly for helping me in my early years. R.I.P. http://omis.me/2010/09/27/amrit-kakaria-r-i-p/
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A note from Manoj John: Condolences to the bereaved family. Let his soul rest in peace. Regards Manoj
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A note from Shashi Tharoor, Indian Member of Parliament and former Under Secretary General, United Nations: I am so sorry to see this. Amrit was one of my earliest friends in the New York media when I moved there in 1989 and I greatly valued his insights, his ideas and his experience -- all conveyed in that amiable, relaxed and bantering style that put you instantly at ease. He has a frequent guest at my home and we enjoyed many a restaurant lunch together but as each of our careers took a different turn, we lost the habit of regular contact with each other. I was unaware of his illness and am distressed that such a fine human being, one who gave so generously of himself, has been snatched from our midst. My profound condolences to Bettina and all SAJA members on their loss. Dr Shashi Tharoor Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Thiruvananthapuram
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A note from T.P. Sreenivasan, retired Indian ambassador: We are deeply shocked to hear about the sudden demise of Amrit, who was a mentor to our son, Sree, and a close friend to us. Our hearts go out to Bettina at this moment of her grievous loss. Amrit was a lively and friendly person on and off the golf course. We spent several hours at their lovely home and enjoyed their company when they visited us in Vienna. He had invited us over on the last few occasions when we were in New York, but sadly, we were not able to see them. Amrit was a Life Member and active supporter of the Kerala International Centre and often joined our debate on international issues. We will sorely miss him. Please convey our sympathy to Bettina and wish her strength.
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A note from S. Mitra Kalita of the Wall Street Journal, and a former president of SAJA: I cannot remember a time in my professional career of not knowing Amrit. He has been a luminary, almost legendary figure to South Asians in journalism: affable but outspoken, his signature smile and humor a necessary tool in his bluntness. I got to know Amrit best in the spring of 2002 as SAJA was about to launch its first scholarships. I asked him to be a judge and he agreed--but with one caveat. He didn't want to receive dozens of attachments on email and needed me to print out (and deliver to his home on Long Island) the entries. I was admittedly annoyed but I obliged because of who he was and what his involvement meant to our organization. The "dropoff" turned into a delightful hourlong visit with Amrit and his wife, Bettina, about life, journalism, India, the role and future of SAJA. Over the next few years, we were officially bonded and Amrit always sent me a nice congratulatory note if I was changing jobs or cities. In 2004, the day after I married my Punjabi husband, Amrit showed up at the hotel where we'd had the reception. I was a little shocked to see him (and embarrassed because he'd been on the 'maybe' list to invite). Turns out he was the 'mama' of Nitin's cousin's husband. For the next few years and until his death, Amrit's presence in my life shifted from professional to personal. For the years we lived in New Delhi, every time he was in town for a party or function, he'd be sure to let us know our presence was also needed. Eventually, I started calling him "Amrit Mama," too. He's leaving a big void in many families.
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Comments from Facebook & Twitter: Geeta wrote: "gives me some comfort to know some US based Indian American actors are no longer starving artists.." Comments from Facebook & Twitter: GL wrote: gives me some comfort to know some US based Indian American actors are no longer starving artists.. SD wrote: You know MV has proposed a drinking game, right? It would be great if it was on one of those SAJA live chat channels. ;-) SDG wrote: ‎*groan* whose idiotic idea was this? TG wrote: Good to see so many South Asian characters on primetime TV and that too in a plum spot after The Office. Just wish the accents were not so fake. I really liked the movie :) RP wrote: I liked the movie as well. Reserving judgement on the TV series! HB wrote: south asian actors in prime time... YES LG: I liked the movie but was dissappointed with the tv show. I agree its good to see so many south asians on prime time. Just wish they would not be so stereotyped. MC wrote: @L: On the other hand, with a show like this, how could anyone writing the script *avoid* even a little stereotyping? You might not like it, but what happens when those stereotypes have real live analogues doing precisely what they do in the real world? There are some stereotypes of journalists, for example, that are right on the money... :) IWatchHDTV 1:19am via Flipboard I liked the movie and loved the premiere tonight. anantha 9:50pm via TweetDeck @sajahq RT @gauravsabnis promos were accurate. Not a single genuine Indian accent in #Outsourced. All 2nd gen Indians doing Apu. krupali 9:36pm via Web Why am I NOT surprised @sreenet RT @ HeenaPRGal not super impressed by the first 5 mins of @OutsourcedNBC, but lets see if it improves! krupali 9:27pm via Web @sreenet it looks lame. i mean how many 'you have funny culture/food/dress' can you get?
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COMMENT BELOW FROM OMAR ALI: It is indeed brave of Tahir Ul Qadri to take such a public position against Islamist terrorism. There are, of course, some liberal and left-wing objections to this exercise like: 1. It further encourages the whole notion of "fatwa", which is a retrograde notion and will bite its backers when the next 500 fatwas are issued about topics like women's dress and marriage laws. 2. British govt figures are getting involved in the fatwa business, which was to be expected given the strength of Islamism in Britian, but which they may find themselves regretting at some point (see point 1 above). 3. Tahir ul Qadri has been videotaped for years and loves to hear his own voice. Too much embarrassing stuff is going to come out on Youtube after this fatwa.. 4. Humanity has made some fitful progress in the area of legislation since the golden age of the fatwa. Since one assumes that the Guardian and the Labor party are not eager to go back to the 12th century, one has to assume that there is a tinge of racism in this publicity for Tahir Ul Qadri ("we are smart enough to have parliaments and revolutions and, god forbid, postmodernism, but the little brown people need their fatwas"). Still, its probably a good idea overall. In the long run, its better to have the argument about fatwas in public and let things take their course. There will be a few embarrassing moments as the full implications of dabbling in fatwas and other arcania come to the fore, but the pot will be stirred, which is always good for the truth. Let the churning continue.. COMMENT ABOVE FROM OMAR ALI
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[forwarding a note...] Speaking of videos of Rajasthan, look at a documentary about Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women's College on YouTube in four parts under the name Mrs. Helena Kaushik Women's College and pass on the link to all. It is also on http://www.helenakaushik.org under Videos on the web site. Thanks. Surendra Kaushik
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RECEIVED VIA E-MAIL: Hey Sree, what you ought to have mentioned is that he has Hindi versions of some of his songs including his last big hit "Ride it" which is actually a pretty good song - I prefer the English version however. Here's a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2i5KnNghGc
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FORWARDING COMMENTS RECEIVED VIA E-MAIL. It's really sad that we lost a veteran journalist. May GOD give peace to the departed soul and strength to his family to bear this great loss. I think it's a loss to journalist community too bcoz under his leadership Gujarat Times has done wonderful work in the field of journalism. Regds, Bijay Singh sr journalist Jamshedpur o o o o o o Our deepest and heart felt condolences. Ranjit Singh Mg Editor, Better India Topical Reports
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