One sixth of 2021 is already over! As the rate of vaccinations pick up, so does our hopes of a better future. And while we wait for our turn, what better way to enjoy the New England cold than staying indoors? Mask up, maintain social distancing and it will be all worth it at the end.

IAGB wrapped up its month long Republic Day Celebrations with a bang on January 30th 2021. We hope you enjoyed all the events as much as we enjoyed putting them together. Thank you for your participation and viewership.

Some February Facts:
  • February is Black History Month, which is an annual celebration of achievements by African Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. history. Also known as African American History Month. Since 1976, every U.S. president has officially designated the month of February as Black History Month.
  • Of all the words you can misspell, February is one of the most misspelled words in the English language. Even the White House has misprinted the word February before in a press release!
  • February (and January) were the last months added to the Roman numeral calendar.

We are launching a new section in our monthly newsletter - "Bharat ek Khoj", with the goal of showcasing beautiful destinations and celebrations of India. Just like the guest column, we invite you to send your entries for this section. Take this opportunity to tell the world about your favorite region or festival of India.

In this issue, you will find:
  • Guest Column - "Break the silence on menstruation" by Annu Jain
  • Bharat ek Khoj - "Hidden jewel in the Himalayas" by Babita Sood
  • IAGB Spotlight
  • COVID-19 and Vaccines - Dr. Anasuya Gunturi
  • IAGB COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness Videos
  • Director's Corner - IAGB RD2021 competitions roundup
  • IAGB Youth Corner
  • Note from IAGB Youth Editor Nakul Ramesh
  • IAGB Youth of the month - Syam Buradagunta
  • IAGB Youth Art & Music Spotlight - Arth Joshi
  • IAGB Youth Research Column - Aarushi Pant
  • IAGB Youth Opportunities
  • Upcoming events
  • Recent Events
  • IAGB Community Partnerships
  • Our Sponsors
  • Our Media Partners


Mars, the fourth planet from the Sun, and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System has long been the subject of human interest. It is a dusty, cold, desert world with a very thin atmosphere. Mars is approximately half the diameter of Earth. Probes sent from Earth, beginning in the late 20th century, have yielded a large increase in knowledge about the Martian system, focused primarily on understanding its geology and habitability potential.
On February 18th 2021, almost after a year of dealing with the pandemic and the endless obstacles and challenges it brought, something good finally happened! NASA landed its most ambitious explorer on the surface of Mars. People had something positive to look up to, literally and figuratively! Perseverance.
Humans have been sending rovers to roam the alien landscape for a while now. Mars is one of the most explored bodies in our solar system.
These robotic explorers have found lots of evidence that Mars was much wetter and warmer, with a thicker atmosphere, billions of years ago.
Perseverance is one of three spacecraft that arrived at Mars in 2021. The Hope orbiter from the United Arab Emirates arrived on Feb. 9, 2021. China’s Tianwen-1 mission arrived on Feb. 10, 2021, and includes an orbiter, a lander, and a rover. Europa and India also have spacecraft studying Mars from orbit.
Perseverance aims to help future astronauts brave that barren landscape. The mission’s main goal is to seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith for possible return to Earth.
How did the rover get its name “Perseverance”? It was named by Alex Mather, who won a K-12 public naming contest with 28,000 entries. Named after the human characteristic, the mission follows the name-scheme of its predecessors: Curiosity, along with Spirit and Opportunity. The rover is carrying the names of 10.9 million people from NASA's "Send Your Name To Mars" campaign, 155 essays from students who made it to the finals of the space agency's rover-naming contest and a tribute to the healthcare workers who've been fighting the coronavirus pandemic here on Earth, aboard three thumbnail-sized silicon chips. Not only this, but Perseverance brought a friend named Ingenuity along, which is a small helicopter drone.
Now if only like a Bollywood movie, the protagonist can step out of the rover and walk on the planet... Maybe next time.

Please reach out to us at [email protected] if you need assistance of any sort in these difficult times.

Please write to us if you would like to contribute to the Guest or Bharat ek Khoj columns.


Break the silence on menstruation

--Annu Jain

I bleed each month to help make humankind a possibility, my womb is the source of life for human species” - Rupi Kaur

And yet we desis are so afraid of even saying the name menstruation or period publicly as if it’s the evil Lord Voldemort himself. I invite you to break this silence and start having mainstream conversations around period, instead of shaming our girls for “that time of the month”.

I was 13 when I had my first period, and I was convinced I had somehow acquired some deadly disease and will bleed to death...


 Hidden Jewel in the Himalayas: Rampur Bushahr

--Babita Sood
For sheer geographical diversity, few places in the world are as richly endowed as Himachal Pradesh. Low rolling hills just a couple of hundred meters above sea level, climb on to touch the core of the Himalaya Mountains. Here lie peaks that are several thousand meters high and never lose their perennial snows. Then, past these forbidding heights lie a visually stunning cold desert of the Trans Himalaya. This variety of nature opens immense possibilities for a wide range of adventure and tourism.

Amid this unique geographical region, there is the hidden jewel in the Himalayas, my home town Rampur Bushahr...


eNews edition shines SPOTLIGHT on an individual (or a team) who has (have) a positive and significant impact on the lives of New England residents and on community organizations.
Yogita Miharia of IAGB met with Pratima Penumarthy, Founder and Director of Arya Math Academy to talk about her involvement with various non-profits organizations and her work.

Yogita: Thank you Pratima for talking to IAGB. Please tell us about your volunteer work.

Pratima: I am an educator and a volunteer. I am associated with many charitable organizations that I feel passionately about. I started doing volunteer work over 10 years ago. I believe that by immersing myself in community service, I learn so much about how the world works...

COVID-19 and Vaccines

--Dr. Anasuya Gunturi
Sadly, we have reached a new milestone. More than 500,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. thus far. But there is new hope. On Dec 11, 2020, The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for the Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19, and exactly a week later, on Dec 18, 2020, FDA issued an EUA for the Moderna vaccine. EUA is given during a public health emergency, when the scientific evidence available shows that the product may be effective...

IAGB COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness Videos

COVID-19 Vaccine

What is it? How effective is it? How will it be administered? Any side effects? These and many other questions answered in 10+ Indian languages in short videos (links below) by renowned Doctors/Medical Professionals, from New England area hospitals.

Check out these videos in language of your choice and help us create COVID-19 vaccine awareness to control and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Trust science when it's your turn to get vaccinated!

  1. Bengali – Dr. Anindita Deb – Neurologist – UMass Memorial Medical Center https://youtu.be/Uvk4YsTRmIo
  2. English – Dr. Anasuya Gunturi – Medical Oncologist – Lowell General Hospital https://youtu.be/IeHLXFi7Rq4
  3. Telugu – Dr. Anasuya Gunturi – Medical Oncologist – Lowell General Hospital https://youtu.be/ouYEt3fTrPU
  4. Gujarati – Dr. Tushar Patel – Primary Care Physician/Internist – Lowell General Hospital https://youtu.be/mrH8A4OdSNE
  5. Hindi – Dr. Nitin Aggarwal – Gastroenterologist – Digestive Health Specialists https://youtu.be/ikyWmSnVVSM
  6. Kannada – Dr. Priya Janardhana – Ophthalmologist– UMass Memorial Medical Center https://youtu.be/EcXyp3ciesI
  7. Malayalam – Dr. Lija Joseph – Pathologist – Lowell General Hospital https://youtu.be/iRerQjTIy2I
  8. Marathi – Dr. Sushrut Jangi - Gastroenterologist – Tufts Medical Center https://youtu.be/Rmh7Wmq2bjY
  9. Punjabi – Dr. Raagini Jawa – Infectious Disease Specialist – Boston Medical Center https://youtu.be/IHCFleeH8Ek
  10. Tamil – Dr. Vishnu Kannabiran – ENT Surgeon – Mass ENT and Dr. Suma Kannabiran – Radiologist – UMass Memorial Medical Center https://youtu.be/ErTPgVR2pVc
  11. Urdu – Dr. Shamim Dahod – Internist – Lowell General Hospital https://youtu.be/XQAbiqd7zZU
Essential Workers

Republic Day 2021 competitions roundup
IAGB hosted an action packed Republic Day 2021 with a variety of competitions and events to cater to all age groups and interests.

Team IAGB would like to once again congratulate all the winners and participants!

Here is a roundup of the various competitions, in the words of IAGB Directors.

--Yogita Miharia

--Sushil Motwani

--Jeyanthi Ghatraju

--Noorain Buxamusa

--Sushil Motwani

--Harsha Seshanna

--Guruprasad Samaga

--Sanjay Kudrimoti

--Tanu Basu

--Cynthia Rajeshkanna

--Lata Rao

A note from IAGB Youth Editor

February 13th, 2021
On Saturday, February 13th, former president Donald Trump was acquitted in his second impeachment trial. The focus of this trial was to determine whether or not he was guilty of inciting an insurrection at the Capitol on January 6th, when participants of a rally stormed the US capital. Speaking out for one's beliefs is a central part of democracy, but any activity beyond that may be interpreted as taking it too far. If an election is fair, then everyone should accept the outcome. If we allow our election process to fall, then we should not consider ourselves a democracy. The proceedings of the trial made history in multiple ways: it was the fourth time a presidential impeachment occurred, the first time that the same president was impeached twice, and the first time a president has been tried for impeachment while out of office. The five-day trial ended when the Senate voted 57-43 to find the former President Trump not guilty. During the trial, seven Republican senators voted for impeachment, which was a brave move as most of them will be running for reelection at the end of their terms. Nonetheless, they spoke out for what they believed. While the tragedy at the Capitol has left a mark on our country's history, the Senate must now move forward and focus on the current challenges of the pandemic.

~ IAGB Youth Editorial Member, Nakul Ramesh

IAGB Youth of the Month
Syam Buradagunta
February 17, 2021

This month’s youth spotlight is Massachusetts gymnast Syam Buradagunta, an 18-year-old freshman at the United States Naval Academy in Maryland. As a part of the Navy Men’s Gymnastics team, he has already been named the Eastern College Athletic Conference’s Rookie of The Week twice this year. During his high school years, he trained at the New England Academy of Gymnastics and the Massachusetts Elite Gymnastics Academy, and he qualified for the Junior Olympic (JO) Nationals each year from 2014 to 2020. At JO Nationals, some of his major accomplishments have included first place in Pommel Horse in 2015, third place in All-Around for 2019, and second place in Floor Exercise in 2019. He has also won state-level championships, and for over five consecutive years, he has ranked among the top three in Massachusetts. A high achieving student, he was a USA Gymnastics Academic All-American in 2017, 2018, and 2019, and he has qualified for his school’s Commandant's List. He says, “As a freshman gymnast, I have already come to appreciate the stellar team environment that comes with college gymnastics… I’ve learned the value of hard work, discipline, and time management in my academics and athletics.” IAGB congratulates Syam Buradagunta on being the February 2021 Youth of the Month.

~ IAGB Youth Editorial Director, Aarushi Pant
IAGB Youth Art & Music Spotlight

Arth Joshi
February 17, 2021

A sophomore from Lexington High School, Arth Joshi is a passionate filmmaker who has received national and international recognition for his short films. At the age of eight, he began to teach himself filmmaking and film editing, and he later took training at the New York Film Academy. Arth has conceptualized, written, edited, directed, and composed music for seven short films with three more projects underway. Three of Arth's creations made in 2020 were selected in eight prestigious film festivals globally, including the Youki international Film Festival, where out of 2652 submissions from 111 countries, only 80 works of young filmmakers were selected.
In addition to being a finalist at one of these festivals, Arth also has a youtube channel with over 4,000 subscribers. Currently, he is working with a team of animators and co-actors from around the world on an independent project as a vocalist, animated background design artist, and voice actor for one of the main characters of a Scott Pilgrim animation project. He hopes to grow up to tell compelling stories in his own way and have a positive impact on the world around him.

~ IAGB Youth Editorial Director, Aarushi Pant
IAGB Youth Research Column

February 17, 2021

As a result of its harmful and addictive effects on youth today, the Surgeon General has declared vaping an epidemic. Originally advertised as a method for quitting smoking, vaping is now introducing millions of teenagers around the country to tobacco products. This past summer, I was part of a team of high school and undergraduates who completed surveys to gather current data on the problem. Although the results demonstrated that students were generally aware of the extremely harmful and addictive effects, they confirmed that a) widespread vaping exists among youth and b) vaping is far more common in youth than in adults. In addition to the potential carcinogenic effects of vaping and the serious outbreak of EVALI cases early in 2020, studies completed last year have also demonstrated that users of e-cigarettes are most likely at higher risk for COVID-19. A study led by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine showed that “those who vaped were five to seven times more likely to be infected than those who did not use e-cigarettes.” This could be due to lower immunity, increased touching of faces, or sharing of e-cigarettes. It has also been shown that “vapers” actually have an increased amount of a protein receptor called ACE2, which acts as a gateway for the virus. Additionally, weakened lungs leave e-cigarette users at higher risk for more serious infections. Looking forward, it is essential that a strong and concerted effort centered around legal regulations and societal changes is used to combat this issue.

~ IAGB Youth Editorial Director, Aarushi Pant
IAGB Youth Opportunities

Onora’s Social Impact Entrepreneur Fellowship
For high schoolers

Want to help change the world?
The Fellowship brings together bright minds from around the country to help mobilize climate action around the world. We meet weekly over the course of one month, and students will learn about, brainstorm, and test ways to help people take climate action and systematically influence a better future in the process.
Upon completing the Fellowship, students are invited to join Onora’s growing Student Advisory Committee. Here, you’ll get to continue weighing in on the future of Onora and how we advance our mission of making climate conscious education and planet healing action easily accessible to everyone.
More details and sign ups for the Fellowship can be found here www.onoraglobal.com/fellowship.

TYE Workshop in partnership with IAGB
For 6th - 12th graders
Want to learn how you can mobilize and engage community members to create lasting impact? Join us on March 20th at 5 PM to gain tangible tools and tactics to support your incredible ideas through the Community Engagement Workshop. This workshop will be offered via zoom, and you can use the link below to register.

We hope you enjoyed the IAGB Republic Day 2021 Digital Magazine!

IAGB Upcoming Events
Stay informed of all future events at:

Republic Day 2021 Virtual - Month long series of competitions and Grand Finale

In accordance with its by-laws, IAGB recently held a General Body Meeting of its members. All active members were invited to attend. The topics included:

·       Introduction of IAGB EC
·       Overview of accomplishments thus far
·       Overview of financials and membership
·       Upcoming Events
·       Amendments to bylaws - Discussions, and Voting
·       Community feedback and discussion

Certain amendments to the bylaws that were previously communicated to the members were approved unanimously by the members present at the General Body Meeting. The approved amendments are reflected in the by-laws attached to this email. A copy can also be found on the IAGB website.

If you have any questions, please reach out to us at [email protected].
A Talk on Climate Change presented by IAGB Youth Team

IAGB YOUTH TALK podcast presents "Climate Change- an explanation on a very important yet controversial topic".
Youth directors Shourya Gupta, Nipun Goel and Sarina Chand discussed this important topic with Onoro Global Founder - Adam Fishman.

Watch the recording to hear what Gen-Z thinks about Climate change.

If you want to become a sponsor, sign up at https://iagb.org/sponsorship
Editors: Yogita Miharia & Sanjay Kudrimoti

IAGB Communications