Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida

Florida News


Ami Dwivedi has opened a Marathi library at her residence in Tampa. The library, “Rasikaamrut,” has about 450 books, 250 Diwali Amks and nearly 100 monthlies.

“I would like to share my books with like-minded people who love reading Marathi,” says Dwivedi. “I am also constantly adding to my library - I have just ordered about 300 books from Pune, which I expect to arrive around July.”

The library hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call (813) 600-3630 or e-mail rasikaamrut@gmail.com

JaxRaaga performers from a 2011 event.


Story provided by Krish Seetharaman

Music advocacy group Jax Raaga will celebrate its 10th-year anniversary with performances for Saint Thyagaraja Aradhana on Feb. 18 and Feb. 19, beginning at 9 a.m. both days. The venue is the Student Union Auditorium at the University of North Florida, on the second level of the West Building. The event is free; food will be available for nominal donations.

The experience mirrors the concerts from “back home” in India, where crowds gather to hear the stars of the Carnatic world perform pieces and display mastery of styles that date back centuries. Songs can last from one minute to longer than 20 minutes.

About Jax Raaga Inc.
The non-profit group began in 2002 to create awareness and promote interest of the classical South Indian Carnatic music style. It is a complex but structured music style, which requires strict discipline to follow in its pure form. Founding members of the organization are residents of Jacksonville, Ponte Vedra Beach and St. Augustine. For details, visit www.JaxRaaga.org  

For more information, call (904) 608-8289 or e-mail jaxraaga@yahoo.com

Pandit Balgobind, from left, with Drs. Sadhana and Ram Ramcharran, and Ram Jakhotia.


More than 1,800 people attended the weeklong Bhagwat Katha in January presented by Pandit Balgobind in Tampa. It was the second year that the city hosted the community katha for which the Hindu Temple of Florida, Vishnu Mandir, Ambaji Temple, Sanatan Mandir, Jain Temple, Gujarati Samaj of Tampa Bay, Chinmaya Mission, Hanuman Temple, Saraswati Mandir, India Cultural Center, Ayyappa Temple and others came together. Leading the way were Ram and Rashmi Jakhotia, Drs. Ram and Sadhana Ramcharran, Drs. Gogi and Renuka Ramappa and numerous dedicated volunteers and sponsors.

This year, attendees were treated to a musical journey with audience dancing and singing as Pandit Balgobind presented stories of Lord Krishna. The repeated lesson during the seven nights was tolerance, patients, and community support for the Indian community in Tampa and all around.

Pandit Balgobind stressed that people should be focusing on finding ways to properly involve children with the Hindu religion. We owe it to them to pass on our culture and traditions for future generations.

Dr. Jay Mulaney


Dr. Jay Mulaney was elected chairman of the board of directors of Volunteers in Service to the Elderly (VISTE) at its meeting in Lakeland. VISTE’s mission is to provide services which enable elder Americans to continue living independently in their own home, safely, comfortably, and in better health.

Dr. Mulaney of Lakeland was nominated by NewsChannel 8 anchor Jennifer Leigh, who is chairman of VISTE's Nominating Committee. At the same meeting, Steve Madden was elected vice-president, and Jack Stephens, chairman of the advisory board.

President of Central Florida Eye Associates, Dr. Mulaney has practiced ophthalmology in the Tampa Bay area for more than 21 years. He also serves on the board of directors of Lakeland Regional Medical Center and Central Florida Physicians Alliance.



Kannan Srinivasan


Central Florida's Asian American Chamber of Commerce elected Kannan Srinivasan – president of Global KTech, as one of the directors for 2012-2014. He will be only and the first Indian American on the board.

Kannan is CEO of Global KTech, an Orlando-based technology firm specializing in mobile applications development and IT staffing. For more information, visit www.GlobalKTech.com





DR. Rao Musunuru Elected President of Pasco County Medical Society

Dr. Rao Musunuru

Cardiologist Rao Musunuru has been elected 2012 President of the Pasco County Medical Society. Dr. Musunuru has been serving residents of Pasco and Hernando counties since 1981. Additionally, he has held numerous leadership positions in the medical community, including Chief of Medicine, Chief of Staff, Chairman of Continuing Medical Education and Chairman of Board of Trustees at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point.

Dr. Musunuru received the Florida Board of Medicine Chairman’s Recognition award in 2006. He also received the 2010 Outstanding Physician Award presented by president of Florida Medical Association in recognition of exemplary medical, scientific, humanitarian, advocacy, educational and philanthropic contributions at local, state and national levels for three decades.

He also served on national leadership committees for American Heart Association and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at NIH (National Institutes of Health). He is the recipient of National Physician of the Year recognition from American Heart Association in 2005.

About Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point
Regional Medical Center Bayonet has been serving the community since 1981. The 290-bed acute care hospital in Hudson is home of the nationally acclaimed Heart Institute. It has more than 350 physicians, 900 employees and 500 volunteers.

The hospital has been approved by the Florida Department of Health, Office of Trauma, as a Provisional Level 2 Trauma Center, which means critically injured patients may have access to treatment in the “golden hour.” This is the first hour after a serious injury in which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical attention will prevent death.

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point is at 14000 Fivay Road, Hudson. For information, visit www.rmchealth.com or www.heartoftampa.com



World-renowned kirtan artist Krishna Das will be touring Florida this month and in March. On Tuesday, Feb. 21, he will present “Chanting with Krishna Das” at 8 p.m. at Littman Theater, 17011 N.E. 19th Ave., North Miami Beach. Tickets are $30 in advance online or $35 cash at the door.

Then from March 2-4, he will hold a “Heart of Devotion” weekend city retreat in Orlando. A retreat with Krishna Das can be a vehicle for profound personal transformation. In the workshop segment, he will share his experiences of being on “the Path” and stories of his guru Neem Karoli Baba. Das has recorded bestselling CDs “Pilgrim Heart” and “Heart as Wide as the World” and is author of “Chants of a Lifetime.”

The workshop format provides for question and answers, and includes yoga classes and Hanuman Chalisa chants. The cost for the weekend retreat at Hindu Temple of Central Florida, 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry, is $150 per person in advance online or $175 cash at the door.  

To book a seat for both Miami and Orlando events, visit www.krishnadas.com or call Jackie at (321) 439-8353 or e-mail chant@kirtanorlando.org For other information, visit www.hindutempleorlando.org

$10 Million Gift to Help orlando’s UCF Open India Studies Center

Anil Deshpand

Four years after launching an India studies program, the University of Central Florida in the Orlando area will establish a center devoted to the country’s politics, economy, technology, culture and more.

In response to the overwhelming popularity of and support for The India Program, the center has been made possible by a major gift, an annual fund and an endowment totaling $10 million, provided by The India Group, an alliance of prominent business and professional leaders organized by Anil Deshpande, president of Deshpande Inc. He and his wife Chitra have long supported global initiatives at UCF, including the original India endeavor.

A wide variety of activities is envisioned for The India Center, including public presentations and other community outreach, an annual India forum, and scholarly and research activities. Anticipated activities also include exchanges of scholars and students with institutions in India, new courses and fellowships for UCF students, a sister-university relationship in India and an expanded permanent India collection at the UCF Library.

President John C. Hitt described the project as an ambitious undertaking that aims to enhance partnerships with the India community in Central Florida, the nation and throughout the world. “Such connections are of key importance in light of India’s rise to global prominence and its position at the forefront of growth in many fields,” he said.

Tony Waldrop, provost and executive vice president, said, “The India Center will enhance the academic experience for our students by providing greater opportunities to develop a global cultural awareness.”

John C. Bersia, special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives, led the effort to secure the major gift and develop the center concept, and he will serve with Political Science Professor Roger Handberg as interim co-chairs of the center.
“We have already demonstrated that we take India studies very seriously at UCF,” Bersia said. “The enthusiasm for our efforts is clear in the thousands of people – students, faculty, staff and community members – who have participated in our India-related programs. Now, we are ready to take on a larger role, that of helping to shape and define the field.”

Handberg added that The India Center is a multidisciplinary undertaking that will “equip students to deal with issues in national security, foreign policy, economics and culture at all levels of education – undergraduate, graduate and the community.”

The center’s areas of emphasis will include politics, economics and business, technology and communication, culture and health care.
P.N. “Vaidy” Vaidyanathan, an assistant vice president for Research and Commercialization and a member of the advisory board for the new center, called it “a welcome expansion of efforts at UCF to educate students and the general public about the multifaceted cultural, educational and technological developments that are available through ties with India.”

Deshpande said the center will bring immense benefits to the UCF and Central Florida communities. “We have worked hard to help build a strong foundation for India studies at UCF, and it is time to reach in new directions,” he said.

For more information, visit ucfglobalperspectives.org


Academy of Odissi Dance will debut its student dancers with “Nrityanjali” on Saturday, Feb. 25, in Tampa.

The senior dancers, who have been with the academy for 10 years, have gone through a rigorous training process in the classical dance form from director Gopa Rautray as well as from established dancers from Rudrakshya , India.

The academy will present an evening of Nrityanjali an offering of classical dance during the first half. In the second half, the audience will be treated to a spellbinding performance of Krishna-Leela in Bollywood style.

The dance show will be at 6 p.m. at Gaither High School, 16200 N. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa. Tickets are $20 adults, $10 children/student; complimentary dinner. For more information, call Gopa Rautray at (813) 992-5234 or Koruna Pathak at (727) 742-1412. 


The Hindu Society of Central Florida (HSCF) will hold its Festival of India Saturday, March 31, on the temple grounds at 1994 Lake Drive, Casselberry. Daylong activities include food, music and dance. For booth information, vendors can call Promod Dubey at (407) 221-5616, HSCF at (407) 699-5277 or visit www.hindutempleorlando.org

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