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August - September 2006


Dispatches & Reports

Dispatches & Reports

Bravery Award for Submarine rescue

The highest bravery award given by the Order of St John was awarded to 29-year-old Surgeon Lieutenant Michael Henry Lindsay at a ceremony in London on Friday 30 June 2006.

Surgeon Lieutenant Lindsay, a member of HM Submarine Service and the Defence Medical Services, received the Life Saving Medal of the Order in Gold for his bravery and outstanding actions in 2004 when he saved the lives of Canadian sailors aboard HMCS Chicoutimi. The award is given in exceptional circumstances and has only been awarded four times in the last seven years.

In October 2004, the submarine HMCS Chicoutimi broke down in the Atlantic and suffered a serious fire that left it drifting for two days. The fire destroyed all of the medical supplies and nine crew members urgently needed the attention of a doctor.

Bad weather conditions, with winds of up to 50 knots and sea swell reaching heights of up to 25 feet, prevented a helicopter rescue at that time.

On 7 October, despite the danger to his own life, Surgeon Lieutenant Lindsay jumped from a Royal Naval vessel onto the outer hull of the stricken submarine. He gave medical support to six people and saved the life of one crew member who had stopped breathing by performing mouth to mouth resuscitation until he regained consciousness.

Surgeon Lieutenant Lindsay remained onboard the submarine overnight before personnel could be escorted to the safety of the Royal Navy's Primary Casualty Receiving Ship, RFA Argus.

Surgeon Lieutenant Lindsay received his medal at a ceremony on 30 June 2006 at the Priory Church, Clerkenwell. He was also invested as a member of the Order of St. John as a Serving Brother. This award has been approved by Her Majesty The Queen, Sovereign Head of the Order.

Dabur’s ‘Real’ Juice is not Real

Dabur Company, one of India’s largest FMCG companies has been forced to change name of “Real, Nature, Fresh Fruit Juice” by the government of India as the name is misleading. 

On a visit to India last year, Dr Rami Ranger, MBE FRSA purchased a carton of juice under the brand name of “Real”, which has been marketed and sold as a fresh juice.  On closer examination Dr Ranger discovered that the contents of Real juice didn’t contain juice, instead it contained water, sugar and flavourings.

Dr Ranger, shocked by this misrepresentation wrote to Mr Sharad Pawar, Minister of Consumer Affairs Food & Public Distribution and received and acknowledgement from Mr Pawar within weeks. Today, on Thursday June 22nd 2006, Dr Ranger received a copy of a letter which was sent to Dabur asking them to withdraw their misleading claims. 

The name has been found to be misleading to consumers as it leads them to believe that the product contains real fresh juice which is not the case as the product contains concentrates, sugar, water and additives. 

This is a victory for the Indian consumer and government of India.  The motto of the ministry is “An Awakened Consumer Protects Himself” Dr Ranger commented that he would like to add that “An Awakened Government Department Protects the Citizens of its Country”!. 

Dr Ranger would like to use the media to publicise that consumers should always read the small print on labels and products to avoid falling prey to unscrupulous traders. 

Dr Ranger expressed his concern for diabetic people who maybe at risk with this product, the misleading branding doesn’t indicate that this product contains sugar and is not real.  This concern prompted Dr Ranger to write to Mr Pawar.

Dr Ranger also expressed his pride at the way the Indian Government dealt so swiftly and efficiently with this matter.

Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies

Oxford University has granted the status of Recognised Independent Centre to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) – the world’s leading centre for the study of Hindu traditions.

OCHS is the younger of the first two institutions to be granted this status by Oxford University. It comes after just seven years of teaching, publishing and conducting research about all aspects of Hindu culture.

Oxford Recognition Opens New Window on Hindu Culture.

Prof Gavin Flood, Academic Director of the Centre, spoke of the significance of the Centre’s new status: "Recognised Independent Centre of Oxford University is a title we are proud to bear. It is an official recognition by Oxford University that we are its principal provider in the field of Hindu Studies, and thus a duly constituted member of the University’s community." He added: "This development is important because culture and religion are of fundamental public concern as we move into the twenty-first century. We see this concern particularly in questions of identity politics, the degree to which diverse communities share common values, and the ways in which ethical codes interact with secular law."

This new recognition is one of a growing number of creative partnerships between independent centres and universities. It is a response to the need for new resources and perspectives in the academic world.

The recognition also shows that the academic world is now acknowledging its need for help from centres that can link distinct communities and cultures with scholars, government and media in a critically sophisticated way.

This comes at a time when funding commitments to higher education are of national and international concern. By establishing this new status, Oxford University is continuing its commitment to innovation and co-operation in scholarship as well as affirming a support for greater diversity.

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies is one of the world’s leading academic centres for the study of Hinduism. It attracts students from all over the world, including many practising Hindus. It marks the beginning of a vibrant association of scholars in Hindu studies. This may prove to be an important model for enabling emerging communities to face issues of modernity and globalisation – one of the great challenges of the twenty-first century – in an intelligent, constructive way.

It allows communities to contribute to their study rather than simply being subjects of study.

The Indian High Commissioner, His Excellency Kamlesh Sharma, said, "The rising profile of India and the remarkable success of the worldwide community of Indian origin has increased interest in the foundations of India’s culture and traditions. The affiliation with Oxford University advances the work of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in providing serious academic focus on Hindu culture and its depth of wisdom and creativity for a wide audience. It is a significant gain for Oxford."

The Chancellor of Oxford University, Lord Patten of Barnes, said, "This development in the field of Hindu Studies at Oxford is very exciting. It is an important addition to Oxford’s wealth of resources on India and Indian religious traditions. It fits in well with our goal to attract more Indian students to come and study at Oxford. The new official association provides a platform for the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Oxford University to move forward together in teaching, research and publishing."

A benefactor of the Centre, Alfred Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford, stated, "With greater mobility, accelerating development and an increasing emphasis on global trade, audiences both internationally and within India, need to be ever more clear about Hindu culture; its interpretation can and does affect a large and economically significant population. Indeed, international business and politics now demand a much richer, more multi-faceted view of India. By facilitating young intellectuals we will help to preserve and develop understandings of Indic culture between traditions."

Sir Mark Tully, writer and broadcaster said, "There has perhaps never been more confusion about religion – much of it dangerous confusion. Yet with globalisation and the spread of multifaith societies there has never been a greater need for understanding of the different world traditions. That is why I am delighted that Oxford University has granted this recognition to the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. This will encourage the spread of knowledge about a great culture which the West has found difficult to understand because of its unique diversity and philosophical breadth."

As India’s importance on the world stage grows, a rigorous, scholarly approach to Hindu Studies will allow it to preserve its cultures, take pride in its heritage, and understand how to accurately project its identity on the international stage.

The Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies marks a significant development in Indian Studies at Oxford. In the nineteenth century, Indian Studies were aimed at giving missionaries and administrators a background knowledge of India before their departure. These studies focused on Indian history and languages. The OCHS has added Hindu Theology and Philosophy to the field. In 1830, Colonel Joseph Boden of the East India Company endowed the Boden Chair in Sanskrit to further Christian missionary work in India. An interesting mark of how the relationship between Oxford and India has matured is that Prof Richard Gombrich, emeritus Boden professor in Sanskrit, has been a member of the OCHS Board of Governors since its inception.

Peer Asks Oxford Scholars to Give Hindu View

Lord Dholakia of Waltham Brooks, speaking in the House of Lords congratulated the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies (OCHS) – the world’s leading centre for the study of Hindu traditions – on being granted the status of Recognised Independent Centre by Oxford University.

Lord Dholakia spoke on the importance of making the public and politicians aware of what Hindu tradition has to say on matters of national and international concern. He said that Oxford University, noted globally for its high academic standards, is an excellent place to train younger generations in intelligently speaking for their communities.

This new recognition is one of a growing number of creative partnerships between independent centres and universities. It is a response to the need for new resources and perspectives in the academic world.

Panjab Radio Celebration a Success

On Sunday the 25th of June 2006, over a thousand loyal listeners attended Panjab Radio’s celebration of the inauguration of their new premises, along with the 400th martyrdom anniversary of the fifth Sikh Guru, Arjun Devji. The free event took place from 10am to 4pm, at the Panjab Radio studio on Springfield Road.

The Mayor of Hillingdon, Councillor David Routledge MBE arrived prompt on time, to show his support for Panjab Radio’s community event. The Mayor took part in the ongoing religious ceremony and interacted with staff and guests of Panjab Radio. Internationally acclaimed Panjabi singer, Malkit Singh sang a selection of hymns for the congregation, along with Panjabi star Mangi Mahal who flew from India especially for the event. The celebration was also attended by Kuldip Bhardwaj, Minister of Press and Information for the Indian High Commission.

Throughout the day, listeners met and took photos with their favourite presenters, and enjoyed Guru Ka Langar (free community food), which was served all day.

Panjab Radio is Europe’s first satellite Radio Channel in the Panjabi language, and has been broadcasting for 6 years, 24 hours a day. The station can be found on Digital Astra Satellite channel 0130 in the UK.

SILVER MEDAL PRESENTED IN MEMORY OF A GREAT SANSKRIT SCHOLAR - PANDIT SHYAMAJI KRISHNAVARMA

Following the magnificent launch of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma Silver Medal in presence of many French Indologist, professors, philosophers and distinguished guests on 7th June 2006 at College de France Surbonne University, Paris, Hindu Swatantryavir Smruti Sansthanam has succeeded in establishing the Silver Medal at Oxford Centre of Hindu Studies, the world’s leading centre for Hindu Studies, recognised by Oxford University.

The existence of the master project of Indian Studies in form of Indian Institute established in 1883 at Oxford University by Professor Monier-Williams, the mentor of Pandit Shyamaji, came to the end after the independence of India 1947. The treasures of Indian scriptures, precious and rare books, manuscript and other collections were dispersed later and Indian Institute was merged to newly created Oriental Institute. After fifty years, the legacy of Monier-William’s Indian Institute was independently revived in the reformed institution named Oxford Centre Of Hindu Studies known as OCHS in short, under the patronage of Mr Alfred Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, who established the world famous FORD  AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRIES in USA and around the world.  OCHS is established with the wider aim of the studies of Hindu culture, religion, language, literature, scriptures, philosophy, history, arts and Hindu Traditions maintaining the highest and the purest standard of integrity, originality and par-excellence. Over the years, OCHS has proved itself and achieved the status of recognition from Oxford University. It would be a great satisfaction and pleasure to the departed souls of Sir MONIER-WILLIAMS and his assistant Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma seeing the Indian Institute revived in the new form of OCHS at Oxford University. 

Well ahead of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma’s 151st Birth Anniversary Celebration next year, Hindu Swatantryavir Smruti Sansthanam has achieved its goal with generous support of The Board of Governors and Shri Shaunakarishi Dasji, the director of OCHS to establish Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma Silver Medal at Oxford. The OCHS has done a great honour to Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma, the first Indian lecturer of Sanskrit at Oxford university, by accepting the proposal of establishing Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma Silver Medal.

Shri Shaunak Rishi Dasji, the director of OCHS delivered introductory speech on life, work and contribution of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma and introduced the recipient of the award, Shri (Dr) Kiyokazu Okita and he announced him to be the winner of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma Silver Medal for academic year 1905-1906. Shri Hemantkumar Gajanan Padhya, the founder of Hindu Swatantrya vir Smruti Sansthanam, traditionally honoured Shri Kiyokazu with Kutchi Shawl from Pandit Shyamaji’s native Mandavi and presented him the precious 100gms Sterling Silver Medal carved with Pandit shyamaji and Goddess Saraswati portraits with inscription in Sanskrit. Shri (Dr) Kiyokazu Okita is a Doctoral student from Osaka, Japan. Shri (Dr) Kiyokazu Okita has advanced in his scholarship, particularly in the study of the Sanskrit and he was recommended for the award by the committee. The presentation was held at the Annual Board Of Governors Dinner in the Oxford Town Hall on 23rd June 2006. The event was attended by many prominent Indologist, the governors of OCHS, Academic staff and doctoral students of Oxford University, His excellency Kamalesh Sharma, The High Commissioner Of India, and many distinguished personalities. Shrimati (Dr) Sharmila Bhattachary - Ford, the wife of the benefactor of OCHS Mr Alfred Ford and a governor of OCHS, specially flew from Australia to attend the event and she was presented with a beautiful portrait of Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarmas by Shri Hemantkumar Padhya on behalf of Hindu Swatantryavir Smruti Sansthanam.

Pandit Shyamaji Krishnavarma, the disciple of Swami Dayanand Saraswati, had a long memoir and affinity with Oxford University where he made his name, fame and career. He worked there as an assistant to Sir Monier Monier-Williams, Boden Professor Of Sanskrit and founder of Indian Institute at Oxford University. Pandit Shyamaji was also appointed as a lecturer of Sanskrit and oriental languages at Oxford University for training Indian Civil Servant Candidates. He was the first Asian to acquire M A from Oxford University. Pandit Shyamaji, barely at the young age of twenty four, was selected by Secretary of State of India to represent the learning of his country at Berlin Congress of Orientalists in 1881, where he read his papers on the subject of “Sanskrit as Living Language of India”. He was also elected as honorary members of the prestigious “Empire Club” in 1882. Later Pandit Shyamaji established “Herbert Spencer Lectureship” in memory of a great British philosopher and thinker by donating £1000 in 1904. 

Dr Ravi Gupta, a keynote speaker at this occasion and one of Oxford University’s youngest D.Phil graduates, delivered the speech titled “Who speaks for us?” questing the issue relevant to all minority faith communities. The other highlights of the event were tasteful vegetarian dinner and humorous jokes delivered by Shri Shaunak Rishi Dasji.

Cobra Beer Secures Investment For Growth

Raises a total of £27.5 million

Investment focuses on UK and India

Pre-money valuation of £80 million

Award-winning Cobra Beer Ltd, one of the fastest growing beer companies in the UK, announces that it has successfully raised a total of £27.5 million to fund the next phase of the company’s development.

Cobra’s strategy for the next few years focuses on accelerating business growth in the UK and India, as well as continuing to develop the company’s South African and export activities.

Out of the total raised, £13 million has been used by the company to redeem all its convertible cumulative redeemable preference shares, which were due to be redeemed in 2007.

The remaining funds, after £1.5 million costs, will largely be used to finance Cobra’s expansion plans in the UK and India, to raise financing for marketing and distribution in both countries, as well as working capital and to expand draught beer capacity in the UK. Additional funding will go to international markets, including South Africa and exports. Cobra Beer’s lawyers throughout the process have been Clyde & Co.

Founder and Chief Executive, Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, said:

"Our mission since day one has always been to brew the finest ever Indian beer and make it a global beer brand. In the most competitive beer market in the world, Britain, our passion and entrepreneurial spirit have driven us to achieve against-all-odds. Now we have the funds we need for our medium-term development and have ambitious plans to build on the current success of Cobra Beer to reach our goal."

The amount raised comprises £25 million of unsecured loan notes (through a flexible PIK instrument) issued by OZ Sculptor Finance Ireland investment funds managed by Och-Ziff Management Europe Limited (collectively, "Och-Ziff") and £2.5 million raised via a placing of new ordinary shares to private and institutional investors at a pre-money equity value of £80 million

COO & Finance Director, Dynshaw Italia, comments:

"Since Karan Bilimoria started Cobra Beer in 1989 with £20,000 of student debt, Cobra Beer has always strived to raise capital through a number of innovative ways. As the largest sum of money that Cobra Beer has raised to date, these funds will help strengthen the Cobra Beer brand within the UK and enable the company to establish a strong foothold in India and export markets.

Product development has created significant sales opportunities for Cobra over the next few years. New products, launched during 2005, were Cobra 0.0% an alcohol-free beer; Cobra Lower Cal, a lower calorie beer with half the calories of a regular Cobra; and King Cobra, the world’s first double-fermented strong lager (8% ABV) sold in Champagne-style bottles.

Following the success of these launches in the UK, the company plans to roll-out these products in all sectors of the market internationally.

In the UK, Cobra beer is currently stocked in 90% of the 6,000 Indian restaurants licensed to sell alcohol. The company plans to increase its share of this market by expanding sales of draught beer, particularly in the North of England.

Since launching its award-winning embossed bottle in 2003, Cobra beer’s presence in the mainstream on-trade has grown from virtually nothing to being available to over 6,000 outlets, including 570 JD Wetherspoon outlets and in Living Ventures, Punch Taverns and De Vere Hotels. With draught beer sales dominating the on-trade market, Cobra Beer is investing significantly in this area, recently launching a new ‘twisted’ draught beer font, which showcases low-cost point of sale marketing with a visually-stunning design. Cobra Beer is currently available on draught in the Mitchell & Butlers estate.

At the same time, the company believes it can achieve further penetration of the supermarket sector, where Cobra Beer has succeeded in maintaining its premium position relative to other premium lagers, through the introduction of multi-packs and new products. Cobra is available in over 5,000 outlets of major supermarkets and off-licenses and sells to all the major supermarket groups, including Tesco, Sainsbury, Waitrose, Somerfield, Morrisons and ASDA.

The company anticipates substantial growth in India’s beer market over the next 10 years. Cobra Beer is brewed for the local market under licence by Mount Shivalik, a large independent brewer operating principally in Rajasthan in the North West of India, and has plans for establishing further brewing capacity in the North, East and South regions.

In South Africa and export markets, the company plans to grow sales of its Cobra Beer. Cobra Beer has been exported to 40 countries and will continue to export beer to the USA under the Krait brand. In the US, Krait Free (equivalent of Cobra 0.0%) and Krait Lite (equivalent of Cobra Lower Cal) are also currently available.

In June 2006, Cobra Beer struck gold winning no fewer than 12 Gold medals for its beers at the prestigious Monde Selection, Brussels 2006 – World Selection of Quality. For the second year running, Cobra was awarded more Gold medals for beer than any other company in the world, including a highly-coveted Grand Gold medal for its Indian-brewed beer.

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