Agrawal Association of America; Founded May, 1997
Agrawal Samachar Patrika
A Quaterly Newsletter by the Agrawals and for the Agrawals
Volume 12 • Issue 1 • Spring 2009
The Agarwal Kumb Mela:
Spring Picnic 2009
By Pooja Agarwal
Our annual spring picnic was held on participation by all our members in all the
the 11th of April 2009 at First Colony activities. To top it all off the weather co-
Conference Center where we witnessed operated very well and we did not see
more than 250 Agrawals, enjoying a any rain as was forecasted. The picnic
beautiful day full of fun, games and was rounded up with the award giving
0DKDUDMD $JUDVHQ activities. The picnic started promptly at ceremony where all the ﬁrst and second
11am with mouth-watering chat along place winners were awarded trophies.
Editor in Chief with fresh sugarcane juice catered by It has been exactly 12 years since AAA
Bharat B. Aggarwal Udipi restaurant. A new inclusion this was formed. Thus it should be declared
year was the kulﬁ which seemed to as “Agarwal Kumb Mela”. The Agarwal
Board of Directors be enjoyed by all ages alike. There Party continues………
Anil & Mukta Aggarwal were several games organized which
Bharat & Uma Aggarwal included the all star game, the ever
Devi & Saroj Rungta popular balloon toss, three legged race,
Durga & Sushila Agrawal water melon eating competition. It was
Hari & Anjali Agrawal very delightful to see the overwhelming
Murari & Vidya Agrawal
Naresh & Madhu Mittal
Tarsem & Raj Aggarwal
Ved & Santosh Aggarwal
Akash & Mala Gupta
Dipak & Sweta Agarwalla
Gopal & Pooja Agarwal
Manish & Manju Rungta
Manoj & Veenu Agarwal
Rakesh & Shonali Agrawal
Did you know?
Important Dates to Remember By Bharat Aggarwal
1. Why do they hand-shake in the west? Response: In olden days when
Agrawal Family Response: To show that we have no everybody had to sit on the ﬂoor, a
weapons and we are here to be your single chair in the house was given
Camp 2009 friend. only to the head of the house-hold and
Camp Olympia thus was called “Chairman”.
2. Why do they say it will cost you “arm
September 25th - 27th and a leg”? 4. Where did the word “big wig” come
Response: In olden days when there
were no cameras, they will paint your Response: In olden days, women
will cover their head and men will
Diwali Mela 2009 picture mainly the face. If you want
your arms and legs to be included, it shave their head. For special function
India House will cost you extra. important will wear the wig and thus
November 7th were called “big wig”.
3. Where did the word “Chairman” come
History You need to Know!
We are all proud descendents of family to adopt trading as a profession minister in Punjab govt. decreed to
Maharaja Agrasen. Maharaj Agrasen hence to be seen as Vaishya despite cancel all the debts owed to Agarwals
was a Suryavanshi, Kshatriya king being a Kshatriya. Even when living in and seized all the assets of Agarwals.
deeply venerated by his subjects. His isolation in his own city of Agroha, the Thus, ruining them and forcing a
kingdom was an icon of prosperity enemies conspired and burnt the city of further migration. This was even worse
and his state a model of benevolence. Agroha. That is when the immigration than our fate under Mughals who at
He used to perform all Vedic rituals of Agarwals happened. Mahalakshmi, least recognized our talents. During
including Havans and Yagnas, paying the goddess of positivity exempliﬁed Mughal rule Lala Todarmal was made
his gratitude and obeisance to the in her preference of reward for labor the supervisor of the royal mint at
learned “Brahmins”. Offering animal (dhan) over laziness, for light over Agra. Raja Ranvir Singh was the royal
sacriﬁce was integral to completion of darkness, cleanliness over ﬁlth and treasurer of Akbar who awarded him
such Yagnas. Maharaja Agrasen was dedication over convenience, was with land in Western UP where Lala
a keen learner and patron of wisdom happy with the conduct of Agarwals Ranvir erected the city of Saharanpur.
expounding Rishis (Researchers). during their stay at Agroha, hence Lala Ratanchand was a diwan of
He was open to new ideas and blessed them to never abandon them. Mughals in 1712 and was given title
philosophies. As Aristotle has said, of a “Raja” but was executed by the
Maha Laxmi blessed us in all
“it is the mark of an educated mind new emperor in 1719. Lala Ramji Das
the eight Avtars . Ashta Lakshmi
to be able to entertain a thought Gurwala was a big donor to Bahadur
(Sanskrit: Astalakshmī, lit.
without accepting it”. Agrasen ji Shah Zafar in 1857 rebellion but was
“eight Lakshmis”) are a group of
was a paragon of an educated and executed by the British. Despite all
eight secondary manifestations of
enlightened mind. He was greatly the hardships, Agarwals have served
the goddess Lakshmi, who preside
inﬂuenced by the teachings of Sant the society and setup a large number
over eight sources of wealth and thus
Mahavir ji, hence over the time he of institutions and business. Late
represent the powers of Shri-Lakshmi.
ingratiated non –violence in his daily Lala Lajpat Rai, founder of Punjab
discourse, adopting vegetarianism , National Bank, the the Jains (Times
abolishing corporal punishments and 1) Ādi Lakshmī [The of India), are testimony to the same.
animal slaughter. He even saw the First manifestation of Lakshmi] Sir Gangaram, the founder of modern
core of non-violence as sprouting from Lahore and the hospital named
2) Dhānya Lakshmī
the non-violence in thoughts. This after him was even appreciated by
philosophy was at cross purposes with the British. Present generation of
the then prevalent practices of animal 3) Dhairya Lakshmī Agarwals continues to carry the
sacriﬁce, slavery and consumption [Wealth of courage] legacy. Lakshmi Mittal (Arcelor-Mittal
of animal products that could come 4) Gaja Lakshmī Steel), Subhash Goyal (Zee Group),
only after killing the animal. This was [Elephants, symbols of wealth] Sunil Mittal (Airtel), Naresh Goyal (Jet
seen as a potential threat by the then Airways), the Jindals (Steel Group),
5) Santāna Lakshmī
wheelers and dealers and the think Anil Agarwal (Vedanta Group), Rakesh
[Wealth of continuity, progeny]
tanks. They saw an opportunity in it as Jhunjhunwala (Stock guru), Dhoots
an instrument with which they could 6) Vijaya Lakshmī (Videocon group) and many others are
strip Maharaja Agrasen off his kingdom [Wealth of victory] examples of the same.
and riches. The Brahmins of the day 7) Vidyā Lakshmī
enticed him to perform a “Maha Yagna” [Wealth of knowledge and education] Nayan Agarwal
at completion of which they asked for
animal sacriﬁce. Agrasen Maharaja 8) Dhana Lakshmī Class 11th
did not agree to it, to which the rajguru Monetary wealth] DPS, RK Puram, New Delhi, India
retorted by saying, “Purna Ahuti &
(the ﬁnal offering) or Raj (kingdom)”. Dr. Brij B Agarwal
Maharaja Agrasen traveled all over
Maharaja lost no time and offered MBBS, MS(Gold Medal), Dip Yoga
India and married a “nag-kanya” and
to lay down his kingdom. The gurus (Gold Medal), FIMSA
had 18 children. The 1885 Bombay
were not satisﬁed even with that and
Presidency Gazetteer maintains Consultant Laparoscopic Surgeon,
threatened Maharaja with “Dana-pani
that he married 17 nag kanyas. With Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, New Delhi,
band” ( ex communication from the
the blessings of Ashta-Lakshmi, the India
Hindu society), forcing him to move out
Agarwals have prospered relentlessly
and establish the city of “Agroha”. The Email-- email@example.com
but their persecution never ended. 1911
jain gurus offered to adopt Maharaja www.endosurgeon.org
census of India put our population at
but, he was convinced of non violence
2,718,390. Agarwals were tested again
not being antagonistic to the ethos of
in 1936 when one, Sir Chotu Ram, a
Vedic philosophy. Maharaja drove his #
Page 2 • Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009
My Visit to Vaishno Devi: Jai Mata Di!
By Bharat Aggarwal
Our Shastra tell us we should take a Her husband. Shree Rama told Her that imprints, which remains intact till date.
pilgrimage at least once a year. Last during this Incarnation He had vowed to Vaishno Devi then took shelter in a cave
time, I went to Vaishno Devi was in be faithful to only Sita. However the Lord known as Garbh Joon near Adhkawari
1964 when I was a teenager with my assured Her that in Kaliyuga He would where she meditated for 9 months
two older brothers and a sister, all manifest as Kalki and would marry Her. attaining spiritual wisdom and powers.
unmarried at the time. I happen to be on In the meantime Shree Rama asked Her meditation was cut short when
business in Thailand (The Royal Golden Trikuta to meditate in the cave found in Bhairav located her. Vaishno Devi was
Jubilee Ph.D. Program, The Thailand the Trikuta Range of Manik Mountains, then compelled to take the form of Maha
Research Fund, Jomtien Palm Beach situated in Northern India. Ma decided Kali when Bhairav tried to kill her. The
Resort, Pattaya, Chonburi, Thailand) to observe the ‘Navratra’ for the Victory manifestation of the Mother Goddess
and Kuala Lumper (Putrajaya); and of Shree Rama against Ravan. Hence took place at the mouth of the Holy cave
decided to spend few days visiting my one reads the Ramayana during the at Darbar. The Goddess then beheaded
family in Batala, a town 20 KM from the 9 days of Navratra, in remembrance Bhairav with such sheer force, that his
Pakistan border. After 45 years, same of the above connection. Shree Rama skull fell at a place known as Bhairav
two brothers and a sister offered to join promised that the whole world would Ghati, 2.5 km from the Holy Cave. The
with me to visit Vaishno Devi, as April is sing Ma Vaishno Devi’s praise. Trikuta severed head of Bhairon fell at a distant
the best time to be in Trikatu mountains, was to become famous as Vaishno Devi hilltop. In his dying moments, Bhairon
an eternal home of Vaishno Devi. and would become immortal forever. begged and received divine forgiveness
Story of Vaishno Devi: from the goddess. Today, it is believed
With the passage of time many more that the Yatra is not complete unless the
Vaishno Devi Mandir is one of the holiest stories about the Mother Goddess
Hindu temples dedicated to Shakti, pilgrim has been to Bhairon ka Mandir
emerged. One such story is about (2.6 km from the main sanctum) as well,
located in the hill of Vaishno Devi, Shree-Dhar.
Jammu and Kashmir, India. In Hinduism, after the darshan of Shri Mata Vaishno
Vaishno Devi, also known as Mata Rani Shree-Dhar was an ardent devotee of Devi.
and Vaishnavi, is a manifestation of the Ma Vaishno Devi. He resided in a village In his dying moments, Bhairav pleaded
Mother Goddess. called Hansali, 2 km away from the for forgiveness. The Goddess knew that
present Katra town. Once Ma appeared Bhairav’s main intention in attacking her
The temple is near the town of Katra, in to him in the form of a young bewitching
Udhampur district in the state of Jammu was to achieve salvation. She not only
girl. The young girl asked the humble granted Bhairav liberation from the cycle
and Kashmir,. It is one of the most Pandit to hold a ‘Bhandara’. (A feast to
revered places of worship in Northern of reincarnation, but also granted him a
feed the mendicants and devotees) The boon, whereby every devotee, in order
India. The shrine is at an altitude of 5200 Pandit set out to invite people from the
feet and a distance of approximately to ensure completion of the pilgrimage,
village and near-by places. He also invited had to visit Bhairav Nath’s temple near
12 kilometres (7.45 miles) from Katra. ‘Bhairav Nath’ a selﬁsh demon. Bhairav
Million of pilgrims visit the temple every the Holy cave after the darshan of the
Nath asked Shri-Dhar how he was Goddess. Meanwhile Vaishno Devi
year and is the second most visited planning to fulﬁll the requirements. He
religious shrine in India, after Tirumala assumed the shape of a rock with
reminded him of the bad consequences three pindis (heads) and immersed
Venkateswara Temple. The Shri Mata in case of failure. As Panditji was lost in
Vaishno Devi Shrine Board maintains herself into meditation forever.
worry, the Divine girl appeared and told
the shrine. A rail link from Udhampur to Him not to be despondent as everything Meanwhile Pandit Shree-Dhar became
Katra is being built to facilitate pilgrimage. had been arranged. She asked that over impatient. He started to march towards
According to Hindu epic, Maa Vaishno 360 devotees be seated in the small hut. Trikuta Mountain on the same path
Devi took birth in the South of India in True to Her word the Bhandara went that he had witnessed in a dream. He
the home of Ratnakar Sagar, Her worldly smoothly with food and place to spare. ultimately reached the cave mouth. He
parents had remained childless for a Bhairav Nath admitted that the girl had made a daily routine of worshiping the
long time. Ratnakar had promised, the supernatural powers and decided to test ‘Pindis’ in several ways. His worship
night before the birth of the Divine child, Her further. He followed the Divine girl pleased the Goddess. She appeared in
that he would not come in the way of to Trikuta Hills. For 9 months Bhairav front of him and blessed him. Since that
whatever his child desired. Ma Vaishno Nath was searching for the mystic girl in day, Shree-Dhar and his descendants
Devi was called Trikuta as a child. Later the mountains, whom he believed was have been worshiping the Goddess
She was called Vaishnavi because of an incarnation of the Mother Goddess. Mother Vaishno Devi.
Her taking birth from Lord Vishnu’s While running away from Bhairav, Devi My Journey: We took a Shatabdi
lineage. When Trikuta was 9 years old, shot an arrow into the Earth from which Express from Delhi at 7:00 AM which
She sought her father’s permission for water gushed out. The resultant river reached Amritsar at 1:00 PM and from
doing penance on the seashore. Trikuta is known as Baanganga. It is believed there drove to Batala. After resting
prayed to Lord Vishnu in the form of that by taking a bath in Baanganga overnight, we took a bus to Jammu which
Rama. During Shree Rama’s search for (Baan: Arrow), a believer of the Mother took about 4 hours (180 kilometers).
Sita, He reached the seashore along with Goddess can wash away all his sins. We reached Jammu around 2 PM, took
His army. His eyes fell on this Divine Girl The banks of the river, known as Charan our lunch at Chole-Bathura restaurant,
in deep meditation. Trikuta told Shree Paduka, are marked by Devi’s foot visited the famous Raghunath Ji temple
Rama that She had accepted Him as
Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009 • Page 3
and then continued our journey to Katra behind this very obvious and visual ﬂower was used sometimes. Nowadays
which is about 45 kilometers away, cultural tradition from India. it is a different story all together. Firstly
located at 2300 feet elevation and took bindi comes in every shape color and
Bindi came from the Sanskrit word
around 2 hours. We reached Katra at size, and it has all kinds of intricate
“Bindu” which could mean a “dot “or
around 6 PM, and checked into a hotel designs depending upon the occasion
“a drop” or a “small particle”. I think
Continental (Rs 2200/night). This hotel you want to put it for. And as you already
the meaning “a dot” seems more
was quite neat and clean and had a know, this is self adhesive bindi you can
appropriate here. Let us check out what
fairly good service. We rested that call it sticker bindi. Not many people
bindi is called in different languages:
evening, had our dinner and charged mess with various powder version of
our battery. Next day we took our bath, Tikli in Marathi it, but the ones you can put on and off
wore brand new unused clothes and got Pottu in Tamil and Malayalam quickly. After all, we are short of time
ready at around 7 AM for our Journey to in the modern world. Fancier sticker
see Vaishno Devi located on a mountain Tilak in Hindi bindi are decorated with sequins, glass
at around 6000 feet elevation. We took a Chandlo in Guajrati beads, or rhinestones. It is obvious by
helicopter from Katra (Pawan Helicopter; changing the tradition we have lost
Bottu or Tilakam in Telegu
Rs 2300 round trip) that took us about some of the beneﬁts, because some of
two hours to get on it (due to formality Bottu or Tilaka in Kannada the material used earlier were healing
and long lines) but only 2 minutes to Teep in Bengali herbs like Turmeric or sandalwood.
reach as close as possible to Vaishni
Sometimes the term sindoor, kumkum Now the next question is why the bindi
Devi (12 kilometers from Katra). From
or kasturi are used by reference to the is adorned between the eyebrows.
there, it was about 5 KM walk to the
material used to make the mark. Men Well, nothing is our tradition is done
door of Vaishno Devi and was provided
also put it on the forehead and when without a reason.
a special line for helicopter users. We
then ﬁnally had a chance to pay tribute to worn by men it is called ‘Tilak’ (mark). The area between the eyebrows is
Vaisno Devi represented by three pindis Men wear it on auspicious occasions the sixth chakra known as the ‘agna’
that includes Lakshmi-Kali-Sarswati. such as Puja (ritual worship), or meaning ‘command’ in the yogic
marriage, or Arati (waving of lights) on tradition It is the seat of concealed
From the temple, it was about 90 min festive occasions or while embarking wisdom. It is the centre point wherein
walk back to the helicopter pad mostly on, or upon return from a voyage or a all experience is gathered in total
uphill but was pleasant. We were now campaign. concentration. According to the tantric
supposed to visit Bhairv temple which
In addition to the bindi, in India, a tradition, when during meditation the
is further uphill, a couple of kilometers
vermilion mark (Sindoor) in the parting latent energy ‘kundalini’ rises from the
away but our gas ran out to continue.
of the hair just above the forehead is base of the spine towards the head,
Thus we took a helicopter, came back
worn by married women as a symbol this ‘agna’ is the probable outlet for
to Katra at around 1 PM, had our lunch
of their married status. During North this potent energy. The red ‘kumkum’
in the hotel, left at around 4 PM and
Indian marriage ceremonies, the between the eyebrows is said to retain
reached home in Batala at around 9 PM.
groom applies sindoor on the parting in energy in the human body and control
It was a great historical trip for all of us.
the bride’s hair, declaring to the world the various levels of concentration.
Wish all of you “Jai Mata Di”. she is under his protection from now It is also the central point of the base
onwards. of the creation itself, symbolizing
auspiciousness and good fortune. It
What is that Red dot? That brings us to the next point. What is is also suppose to protect against
By Uma Aggarwal bindi made of traditionally, and how it is demons and bad luck. Scientiﬁcally,
supposed to be applied? the pineal gland is also at the same
If you have lived in USA for a while or Traditional bindi is red or maroon in spot. The pineal gland has an eye like
are born here and of Indian decent, color. A pinch of vermilion powder structure and it functions as a light
I am sure someone has asked you applied skillfully with practiced ﬁngertip receptor. It appears to play major role
that question some time in your life. make the perfect red dot or you can use in, metabolism sleep patterns etc. The
May be because that red dot, which small circular discs or hollow pie coin pineal gland secretes melanin during
is called “bindi” in India, is the most as aid. If you want to put it just like they times of relaxation and visualization
visually fascinating of all forms of body used to in olden days, than ﬁrst apply a and reacts to electromagnetic energy.
decorations. I was asked that many sticky wax paste on the empty space in When activated, the pineal gland
times also, and usually I would reply the disc than cover it with kumkum or becomes the line of communication
like many of us would say “Oh! It is a vermilion and then remove the disc to with the higher planes. Putting a bindi is
symbol of marriage in India, but now get a perfect round bindi. Mainly the like decorating the pineal gland in style,
a days it is a fashion statement, and material used to put traditional bindi is besides stimulating it in the positive
you don’t have to be married to put turmeric, even though turmeric is rich way.
that anymore.” This is not an incorrect yellow color, but when it is mixed with
statement, but there is lot more to that So next time someone asks you, “What
lime it turns into beautiful deep red. is that red dot?” You can give them a
red dot than meets the eye. I found out Other traditional material used were
about it when I decided to dive deep good lesson on one of our ancient and
‘Sandal’, ‘aguru’, ‘kasturi’, and ‘sindoor’ meaningful traditions!
into the subject. Let us explore what (made of zinc oxide and dye). Even
are the hidden reasons, and meaning #
Saffron ground together with ‘kusumba’
Page 4 • Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009
INDIA HOUSE / O.P.JINDAL CENTRE ACTIVITIES UPDATE- JAN/FEB 2009
India House, located at 8888 West to an Indo American Community Well Woman’s Clinic will start in
Bellfort, Houston, TX 77031 and phone Event in Houston. Gov. Perry lauded March and detailed check up will
# 713-929-1900 is pleased to inform the the impressive contributions of Indo be available by experienced and
public on various events and programs Americans to the state. India’s Consul seasoned Gynecologists from the
held in Jan/Feb 2009. General Sanjiv Arora commended Medical Staff of Women’s Hospital of
the efforts of India House ofﬁcials Texas. Testing Services for infectious
to offer various facilities to the diseases and sexually transmitted
1. VISHWA HINDI DIVAS was
community. Harris County Judge diseases will be available on a
celebrated on Jan 3 in recognition of
Ed Emmett praised the efforts that limited basis shortly.
Hindi’s emergence on world stage.
India House and other organizations 2. YOGA CLASSES: Runs every
All Indo-American organizations got
have made to serve the community, Thursday and Saturday between 11-
together and almost all participants
especially during the aftermath of 12 noon.
spoke with pride in Hindi. India’s
Consul General Sanjiv Arora was Meditation, relaxation, channeling
the keynote speaker and visiting 5. AL GREEN FORUM was held on and stretching exercises are taught
Indian parliament member Najma Feb 8. U.S Rep Al Green (D-9TH Dist by 3 renowned Yoga Instructors of
Heptulla was the chief guest. of Texas) met with a group of Indo Houston. The program is currently
Americans in preparation of his visit offered FREE.
2. COMMUNITY LUNCHEON was
to India. The meeting was organized
held to bring together agencies to 3. GITA CLASSES: Runs every
by the Indo-American Political Action
identify future community needs in Thursday for women between 12-
Committee to appraise Green of
the SouthWest Houston area. This 1pm. This is offered FREE.
the concerns and hopes of Indian
luncheon was hosted by Brays Oak
Americans in light of the recent 4. BANGLA LANGUAGE CLASSES:
Management District on Jan 30.
terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India. Runs every Sunday between 10-
3. MAHATMA GANDHI MEMORIAL 1pm. The program is FREE and
6. INTERFAITH EVENING OF PEACE
day was held on Jan 31. The event currently has 25 students on a
was held on Feb 13. This event was
was organized by Mahatma Gandhi regular basis.
hosted by Shirdi Sai Jalaram Temple
Library in collaboration with India
and had representatives from many 5. BOLLYWOOD DANCE CLASSES:
CultureCentre, India House, Unity
faiths under one roof. Jolanda Jones, Runs on Thursdays from 7-8pm and
Peacemakers, Gujarati Sahitya
City Council for At-Large Position Sundays from 10.30-1.30 pm. The
Sarita and other organizations.
5 spoke of what human life can be classes are offered for various age
Consul General of India was the through peace and education. The groups of Kids, juniors and Adults.
chief guest and he said that Gandhi’s keynote speaker was Dr.Santosh
teachings of Ahimsa or non-violence Tandon of Universal Brotherhood 6. CRICKET: Taped Ball Cricket is
had inﬂuenced great people around from California. played every Sunday at India House
the world. grounds.
PROGRAMS AT INDIA HOUSE:
4. GOV. PERRY RECEPTION was PARTIES AND FUNCTIONS:
1. CHARITY MEDICAL CLINIC: India House banquet halls were the
held on Feb 5. The event was hosted
Open every Saturday from 9am- venue for various private parties and
by India House and was the ﬁrst
1pm for non-emergency care. A functions throughout Jan and Feb 2009.
time a Texas Governor has come
Living with Cancer: Eight Things You Need to Know
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Kris Carr, who was diagnosed with a devastating blow, one that takes time want to heal, you have to take initiative,
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Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009 • Page 5
* Focus on lifestyle changes: “The * How often will I have to undergo Paperbacks, 1990), offer info and tools
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healing process. No. 1 rule: do not be * May I contact you or a nurse if time Tour de France winner and cancer
cowed by your doctor. Ask him or her I have questions or more symptoms? survivor Lance Armstrong.
to explain anything and everything you (If the * www.ulmanfund.org: Provides
don’t understand. Prepare questions answer is “no,” ﬁnd another support programs and resources
in advance of appointments (to reduce doctor.) for patients and their families. Also
stress and the odds of forgetting helpful: a downloadable book penned
3. Your Odds of Beating Cancer
any)—and bring a notebook to jot by founders Doug and Diana Ulman.
down answers and other important Success in the battle against cancer is
often measured in terms of the “ﬁve- * www.thechinastudy.com: The China
info. Below are some questions you Study, by T. Colin Campbell, probes the
should ask: year relative survival rate.” That rate
is the number of patients who are still relationship between diet and cancer
* What causes this type of cancer? and other diseases.
alive ﬁve years after being diagnosed,
* What are the risk factors? If it’s relative to the number who would be * www.cancer.gov: This site of
genetic, are other family members at expected to survive if they had not the National Cancer Institute is a
risk? come down with the disease. Five comprehensive source of state-of-
* What lifestyle changes (diet, years might not seem like a lot, but it the-art treatments and clinical trials
exercise, rest) do you recommend? is, considering that 67 is the median (including a database of open trials).
* What are my treatment options? age for diagnosis. * www.imtooyoungforthis.org: An
* Are there activities that should be 4. Getting Support: Tips, Tools and invaluable source of support and
avoided because they might trigger or Tenderness research for survivors in their 20s and
exacerbate symptoms? You’ve just been diagnosed with 30s and their families.
* What happens if new symptoms cancer. Now what? First and foremost, * www.cancersurvivorsunite.org:
crop up or existing ones worsen? do not try to handle this on your own. Camps and support programs for
* What medical tests or procedures Allow family and friends to help, and young adults with cancer.
are necessary? How often? ﬁnd others in your situation to lean on. * www.youngcancerspouses.org:
* What stage is my cancer? What Online resources: A site designed to connect couples
does that mean? * www.crazysexycancer.com: dealing with the ups and downs of
* What is my overall prognosis or Carr’s Web site. Have questions? cancer.
chance of recovery? Want to dish? You can visit her online * www.cancerconsultants.com:
* What are the average survival and community, www.crazysexylife.com. Contains detailed, consumer-friendly
cure rates? * http://berniesiegelmd.com and information on the latest treatment
www.ecap-online.org: These sites developments.
* Could my disease go into
remission? of physician Bernie Siegel, author of * www.americancancersociety.com:
Love, Medicine & Miracles and Peace, This American Cancer Society site
* What is the recommended
Love & Healing (both from Harper provides basic information, alternative
Page 6 • Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009
therapies, ways to manage the disease, http://cancerguide.org/disability.html and adoption. Despite what you’ve
and support programs . www.thedisabilityexpert.com heard, it is possible to adopt if you’ve
* www.oncolink.com: This University www.ssa.gov/applyfordisability had cancer. The key: pick an agency
of Pennsylvania site offers key cancer and country that are open to working
info and pointers. 7. How to Stay Healthy with cancer survivors.
* www.cancerguide.org: A how-to on Patients undergoing treatment can For more, check out:
researching your disease, searching shore up their physical (and emotional)
* www.fertilehope.org: This site
for clinical trials, and ﬁnding out about reserves by eating well, exercising
provides unvarnished facts about fertility
the latest traditional and alternative and cutting stress (which impairs
risks associated with cancer treatment
therapies. the immune system). The American
as well as fertility-preservation and
Institute for Cancer Research, which
* www.cancer.net: American Society parenthood alternatives before,
funds studies on the role of food and
of Clinical Oncology site provides during and after treatment. It outlines
exercise in cancer prevention and
oncologist-approved information to the success rates, costs and time
treatment, recommends a diet that’s at
help patients make informed decisions requirements for a variety of fertility
least two-thirds vegetables, fruit, whole
about their health care. procedures and also addresses other
grains and beans. Below is a roundup
* www.gildasclub.org: Named for possibilities, including egg and sperm
of research related to staying healthy:
Saturday Night Live comedian Gilda donation, surrogacy and adoption.
* A study of 22,000 healthy Greeks
Radner, who died of ovarian cancer, * www.pregnantwithcancer.org: This
showed their “Mediterranean diet,”
this site provides a support network for Web site links newly pregnant cancer
rich in vegetables, whole grains, olive
patients and their families. patients with others with a similar
oil, fruit and ﬁsh, reduced their risk
* www.thewellnesscommunity.org: cancer who have already been there,
of dying from cancer by at least 25
The Wellness Community provides done that.
percent. Other studies have found
support and education for cancer that nutrients in dark, leafy greens
patients and caretakers—and hooks may inhibit the growth of tumor cells in Cancer Facts
them up with others going through breast, skin, lung and stomach cancers • Bernardino Ramazzini (Italian
the same thing. It provides info on and that green tea may thwart cancer Physician) noted in 1700 that breast
local wellness communities and even development in colon, liver, breast cancer was more prevalent in nuns;
offersa virtual wellness community in and prostate cells. (A leading theory: do you know why?
Spanish. ﬂavonoids in tea and carotenoids in • Almost 80% of total calories in
5. Medical Resources leafy greens, which act as antioxidants, developing countries come from
Finding a doctor who specializes in may protect against cancer by rooting cereals and grains (complex
cancer care and choosing a treatment out free radicals.) carbohydrates) but in developed
facility are essential steps in any * A pair of 2006 studies showed that countries from fats derived from
patient’s recovery program. One good regular exercise reduced by up to 61 meat and vegetable oil; and sugar.
place to start is with the 63 cancer percent the odds of death in colorectal • Why Eskimos, who derive 60% of
centers that the National Cancer cancer patients. The ﬁndings held even their calories from fat, have very
Institute recognizes for “scientiﬁc in patients who did not start exercising low incidence of cancer (especially
excellence and the capability to until after diagnosis. breast) and heart attack?
integrate a diversity of research * A 2005 study showed that 92 • Did you know American spend $200
approaches” (http://cancercenters. percent of nearly 3,000 women with billions every year on cancer care?
cancer.gov/cancer_centers). breast cancer who walked or did other • The median age for diagnosis of
You can also check whether the exercise three to ﬁve hours weekly cancer in Americans is 67 and ﬁve-
American College of Surgeons’ were still alive 10 years after their year survival for prostate cancer is
Commission on Cancer (www.facs. diagnosis, compared with 86 percent 99%.
org/–cancerprogram) approves of a of those who exercised less than an
given program. Some of the things hour a week.
to look for in a cancer center include * A 30-year review of the scientiﬁc Thanks to our Sponsors
a low mortality index, a high ratio of literature, published in 2004, suggested
nurses to patients and opportunities to that cancer patients who feel helpless at the Holi Picnic 2009
participate in clinical trials. For more or who suppress negative emotions
tips, see www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/ may be at greater risk of having their
factsheet/Therapy/doctor-facility. cancer spread than those who play a
role in their healing.
Spicey World of USA
6. The 411 on Health Insurance
Worried that your health insurance 8. Looking Ahead: Start a Family? for the Candies
won’t cover your treatment? Wondering Does a cancer diagnosis spell the end
if you’re entitled to disability beneﬁts? of your dreams to have a family? In and
These Web sites may help: a word—no. Note to readers: check
your options before undertaking
treatments that may cause infertility.
Dr. Durga Agrawal
www.patient.cancerconsultants.com In the event that you cannot become for the Trophies
pregnant, there is always surrogacy
Agrawal Samachar Patrika • Spring 2009 • Page 7
Agrawal Association of America
Houston, Texas 77005
United States of America
visit our website at
Do Cholesterol Drugs Do Any Good?
Cover Story January 17, 2008, 10:00AM EST
Research suggests that, except among of trials with statins and not liking what it are the ticket to an early grave and must
high-risk heart patients, the beneﬁts of found. Yes, Wright saw, the drugs can be be brought down. Statins, the message
statins such as Lipitor are overstated by life-saving in patients who already have continues, are the most potent weapons
John Carey suffered heart attacks, somewhat reducing in that struggle. The drugs are thought
Martin Winn’s cholesterol level was the chances of a recurrence that could to be so essential that, according to the
inching up. Cycling up hills, he felt chest lead to an early death. But Wright had a ofﬁcial government guidelines from the
pain that might have been angina. So he surprise when he looked at the data for the National Cholesterol Education Program
and his doctor decided he should be on majority of patients, like Winn, who don’t (NCEP), 40 million Americans should
a cholesterol-lowering medication called have heart disease. He found no beneﬁt be taking them. Some researchers have
a statin. He was in good company. Such in people over the age of 65, no matter even suggested—half-jokingly—that the
drugs are the best-selling medicines in how much their cholesterol declines, and medications should be put in the water
history, used by more than 13 million no beneﬁt in women of any age. He did supply, like ﬂuoride for teeth. Statins are
Americans and an additional 12 million see a small reduction in the number of sold by Merck (Mevacor and Zocor),
patients around the world, producing heart attacks for middle-aged men taking AstraZeneca (Crestor), and Bristol-
$27.8 billion in sales in 2006. Half of that statins in clinical trials. But even for these Myers Squibb (Pravachol) in addition to
went to Pﬁzer for its leading statin, Lipitor. men, there was no overall reduction Pﬁzer. And it’s almost impossible to avoid
Statins certainly performed as they should in total deaths or illnesses requiring reminders from the industry that the drugs
for Winn, dropping his cholesterol level hospitalization—despite big reductions in are vital. A current TV and newspaper
by 20%. “I assumed I’d get a longer life,” “bad” cholesterol. “Most people are taking campaign by Pﬁzer, for instance, stars
says the retired machinist in Vancouver, something with no chance of beneﬁt and artiﬁcial heart inventor and Lipitor user Dr.
B.C., now 71. But here the story takes a a risk of harm,” says Wright. Based on the Robert Jarvik. The printed ad proclaims
twist. Winn’s doctor, James M. Wright, is evidence, and the fact that Winn didn’t that “Lipitor reduces the risk of heart
no ordinary family physician. A professor actually have angina, Wright changed his attack by 36%...in patients with multiple
at the University of British Columbia, he mind about treating him with statins—and risk factors for heart disease.”
is also director of the government-funded Winn, too, was persuaded. “Because So how can anyone question the beneﬁts
Therapeutics Initiative, whose purpose is there’s no apparent beneﬁt,” he says, “I of such a drug?
to pore over the data on particular drugs don’t take them anymore.” Wait a minute. http://www.businessweek.
and ﬁgure out how well they work. Just as Americans are bombarded with the com/magazine/content/08_
Winn started on his treatment, Wright’s message from doctors, companies, and the 04/b4068052092994.htm
team was analyzing evidence from years media that high levels of bad cholesterol
“...Dharmo Rakshati Rakshitah ...” (Protect your Dharma and It will protect you)