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Khalsa College: A beacon of light
The institution, established in 1892, played a key role in the freedom struggle. Today, it has carved a niche for itself in the educational scenario, reports Varinder Walia
Very few persons know that the first four principals of the 114-year-old Khalsa College, founded on March 5, 1892, by the then-Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Sir James Broadwood Lyall, were Englishmen!

A view of Khalsa College, Amritsar, that is among the premier educational institutions of the region
A view of Khalsa College, Amritsar, that is among the premier educational institutions of the region. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma





EARLIER EDITION

 

City ‘powerless’, life thrown out of gear
The erratic power supply in the city has raised questions about the absence of any concrete measures to generate additional supply and control the wastage of electricity.

Right to Information Act: Officers denying information to be penalised 
Officers who refuse to part with information asked under the Right to Information Act would be penalised, the State Chief Information Officer (SCIO), Mr Rajan Kashyap, has said.

Exchange of mails still a fascinating scene at Wagah
Notwithstanding the modern era of Internet when one can communicate with relatives and friends easily through email, the exchange of mail, parcels and newspapers between India and Pakistan is proving to be a strong bond to bring together the people on personal level. The primitive and traditional exchange of mails between the people from the neighbouring countries is still a fascinating scene. With the thaw in the Indo-Pak relations, the communication between the people of the two countries has incredibly increased.

An official of the Indian Postal Department makes entries for letters and packages, while his Pakistani counterpart scrutinises his entry register at the Wagah joint check post. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma 
An official of the Indian Postal Department makes entries for letters and packages, while his Pakistani counterpart scrutinises his entry register at the Wagah joint check post

Traffic policemen to wear protective masks?
The Pollution Control Committee, Amritsar, has written to Director General of Police that the department should provide protective masks to traffic policemen “so that they could be saved from the ill-effects of air pollution generated by vehicles, especially three-wheelers”.

More donations for constructing new building of Vidya Mandir
Teachers and students of the DAV Public School have donated about Rs 1 lakh for the construction of new building of Citizen’s Forum Vidya Mandir School located in the Maqboolpura area — infamous for drug peddling and addiction. Citizen’s Forum Vidya Mandir — a school for the children of drug victims was being run in the house of Master Ajit Singh, who founded this school along with Mr Brij Bedi, industrialist, social worker and president of the Citizens’ Forum, an NGO in 1999. Students of DAV Public School donate a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the students of Citizen’s Forum Vidya Mandir School at Maqboolpura in Amritsar
Students of DAV Public School donate a cheque of Rs 1 lakh to the students of Citizen’s Forum Vidya Mandir School at Maqboolpura in Amritsar. — Photo by Rajiv Sharma


NRI Congress honours city boy
The International Congress of NRIs honoured Amritsar boy Manish Mehra for his commendable performance and excellent work in one of the world’s largest MNC, Unilever, Dubai. Born and brought up here, Manish did his schooling from St. Francis School and graduated in Commerce from DAV College.



Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral honouring Manish Mehra with the Hind Rattan Award in New Delhi. 
Former Prime Minister I.K. Gujral honouring Manish Mehra with the Hind Rattan Award in New Delhi

LIC to have a new divisional office 
The Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), Mr A. K. Shukla, would inaugurate a divisional office at Ranjit Avenue here. The LIC’s Senior Divisional Manager, Mr Sachindra Sharma, said that the new office would provide efficient and better services to its stakeholders and policy holders in three border districts— Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore .

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Khalsa College: A beacon of light
The institution, established in 1892, played a key role in the freedom struggle. Today, it has carved a niche for itself in the educational scenario, reports Varinder Walia

A file photo of Maharaja Yadvinder Singh, great-grandfather of Captain Amarinder Singh, shows him reading the annual report of the college in 1939
A file photo of Maharaja Yadvinder Singh, great-grandfather of Captain Amarinder Singh, shows him reading the annual report of the college in 1939. Also seen in the picture is Principal Jodh Singh, who is presenting the report. 

Very few persons know that the first four principals of the 114-year-old Khalsa College, founded on March 5, 1892, by the then-Lieutenant-Governor of Punjab, Sir James Broadwood Lyall, were Englishmen!

These four principals were Dr Johan Campbell Oman (1898 to 1899), M.G.V. Cole (1900 to 1910), R.G.Wright (1910 to 1915) and G.A.Wathen (1915 to 1924). However, Colonel W.R.M. Holroyd was the Founder-President of the Governing Council of the college, while Dr William H. Ratigan succeeded him.

After the Englishmen, Rai Bahadur Manmohan, Principal of Government College, Gujarat, became the first Indian to be appointed the Principal of the college.

Sardar Bahadur Bishan Singh became the first Sikh Principal in 1928.

Bhai Jodh Singh took over in 1936. He will always be remembered for his professional commitment.

Mr Inder Singh (1952-1957), Dr Harbant Singh (1958-1961), Mr Balwant Singh Anand (1962-63), Mr Bishan Singh Samundri (1964-1969), Mr Sham Singh Kapur (1970-1971), Dr Harbans Singh (1971-1975), Mr Gurbax Singh Shergill (1975-1989), Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch (1989-1995) and Dr Mohinder Singh Dhillon (1996-2003) have left indelible imprints so far as the making of Khalsa College is concerned.

The basic aim of starting the college was to spread modern education among the Sikhs.

Today, the college, built in the typical Sikh architecture style, has carved a niche for itself in the educational map of the country.

Architectural marvel

The college building, a unique architectural monument, is tourists’ delight. Bhai Ram Singh, Vice-Principal of the Mayo School of Arts, Lahore, was the spirit behind the architectural marvel of the college.

The main building is a masterpiece of the Sikh architecture.

Bhai Ram Singh was entrusted the work of planning the college building, while Sardar Dharam Singh Gharjakhia, a reputed engineer, was specially transferred from Bannu to Amritsar to supervise the construction of the college.

Sir Sunder Singh Majithia, a renowned Sikh, was the man behind the foundation of the college.

He became the honorary secretary of the college in 1902. The present President of the Governing Council, Mr Satyajit Singh Majithia, is the grandson of Sir Sunder Singh Majithia.

Dr Daljeet Singh, the Principal of the college, said that Khalsa College owed its remarkable academic achievements to a galaxy of inspiring teachers.

Freedom saga

Khalsa College played a pivotal role in India’s freedom struggle. In 1921, the students and teachers of the college registered their protest against the British rule by boycotting the visit of the Prince of Wales to the college.

During his visit to Amritsar, the “Father of the Nation”, Mahatma Gandhi, did not forget to visit Khalsa College.

Mahatma Gandhi visited the college in 1920, a year after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Among those who played the key roles in the freedom struggle included Partap Singh Kairon, Teja Singh Samundri, Sohan Singh Josh, Niranjan Singh Talib, Giani Shankar Singh, Mr Achhar Singh Chhina and former Speaker of Lok Sabha, Dr Gurdial Singh Dhillon.

The Tribune connection

A brief history of Khalsa College authored by Dr K.S. Bajwa takes a note of the key role played by The Tribune in selecting Amritsar (instead of Lahore) as the location for Khalsa College. “Rai Bahadur Bhagat Narain Dass, MA, wrote a pamphlet, ‘Amritsar versus Lahore’ and distributed it among Sikhs. Hundreds of telegrams were sent to the Lieutenant Governor and the Khalsa College Establishment Committee (KCEC) which appeared in the columns of The Tribune. Anti-Lahore articles often appeared, particularly from the pen of Amolak Ram of Gujranwala. On April 5, 1891, before the setting up of Khalsa College , a huge petition, about 2000-foot long, containing 46698 signatures was placed before the KCEC to plead in favour of Amritsar.”

College campus

Khalsa College is a composite institution with four wings consisting of faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences, Commerce and Business Administration, Sciences, the College of Agriculture and the Institute of Computer Sciences.

Besides, the campus houses the Khalsa College for Women, Khalsa College Girls’ High School, Khalsa College Boys’ Senior Secondary School and Khalsa College Public School.

The college campus covers an area of over 300 acres. With the persistent efforts of the Khalsa College Establishment Committee (KCEC), about 101 acre of land was purchased for Rs 10,000 in the village of Kot Sayyad Mehmood (now called Kot Khalsa).

The college has 86 classrooms, 10 tutorial rooms, 28 laboratories, a double-storey central library, a spacious conference hall and a seminar room equipped with audio-visual facilities.

The campus also houses a gurdwara, a gymnasium, a health centre and a dispensary, a dairy farm, a 220-acre students’ farm, besides a Botanical Garden, a swimming pool, a nursery, a fruit farm, a cricket stadium and well-maintained playgrounds and a well-equipped library.

Eminent alumni

The college has produced many prominent educationists, players, bureaucrats and defence personnel. Dr Bhai Jodh Singh, Dr Kirpal Singh Narang, Dr Bishan Singh Samundari, Dr Amrik Singh, Dr. Karam Singh Gill, Dr R.C. Paul, Dr B.S. Negi, Dr Surjit Singh Bal have been either the students or the teachers of the college. Novelist Mulak Raj Anand, Prof V.N. Datta, Principal Teja Singh, Bhisham Sahni, Prof Gurbachan Singh Talib, Sardar Pritam Singh Safir, former Director of the PGI, Chandigarh, Dr Pathak, a reputed ophthalmologist, Dr Daljit Singh, a famous eye specialist, Dr K.S. Chugh (PGI), Dr P.S. Gill, Director, CSIR, famous journalist Rai Bhadur, Mr G.R. Sethi, an eminent scholar and critic, Dr Manohar Singh Gill, former Chief Election Commissioner, all belonged to this institution. The college has produced many generals, including Air Marshall Arjan Singh, General Rajinder Singh Sparrow, General Mohinder Singh Sandhu, General Mohinder Singh Bal, General Prem Singh Giani, General Satnam Singh, General Mohinder Singh Chopra and Major Baljit Singh Randhawa, the first martyr of Kargil conflict.

In hockey, Colonel Gurmeet Singh, Shahzada Khuram, Latif, Balbir Singh, Dharam Singh, Bakhshish Singh, Harbinder Singh, Ram Sarup Passi and Inder Singh have been the shining stars.

The college has enjoyed the reputation of being the nursery of top-ranking athletes of national and international repute. Cricket celebrity Bishan Singh Bedi, badminton prodigy Davinder Ahuja, and Pritpal and Parmdeep, players of basketball, have been the illustrious products of Khalsa College. 

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City ‘powerless’, life thrown out of gear
Rashmi Talwar

The erratic power supply in the city has raised questions about the absence of any concrete measures to generate additional supply and control the wastage of electricity.

The city is facing nearly four to six hours of unscheduled power cuts that are throwing life out of gear.

The entire population of the city has been badly affected. Adding to the woes, the power cuts have led to an acute water scarcity.

Even the House of the Municipal Corporation recently faced an onslaught of complaints regarding the inadequate water supply.

Following the long power cuts, commercial establishments in the city have been forced to use generators that has lead to an increase in noise and air pollution.

Poor cable network, low capacity transformers, an incapacitated system of checking power loads, power theft, and corruption have led to the present situation in the district.

Mr Sanjay Gupta, a cyber cafe owner, said they had to undergo huge losses on account of the electricity failure.

“If the situation is so pathetic in winters when power consumption is low, the situation in summers can be well imagined,” he said.

Tripping and fluctuations have added to the worry of residents. “Many electrical gadgets conk off and we suffer financial losses,” said a resident.

About one lakh connections in the city consume nearly 3.5 crore units per month. And in the summers, the monthly consumption shoots up by two-and-a-half times.

The industrial units are also bearing the brunt of the poor power supply, as they are unable to meet their commitments on time.

The twice-a-week industrial power shut-down, along with high electricity tariffs and unscheduled power cuts, have discouraged industrialists to invest in the city.

Poor power supply is proving a hindrance in maintaining the existing infrastructure for storing goods.

Meanwhile, the situation is no better in the hundreds of villages in the district.

The Sanjha Kisan Manch, headed by Mr Kawalpreet Singh Pannu, complained that the Electricity Department had been apathetic to the problems of the farmers.

He alleged that transformers remained under disrepair for months.

It was causing huge losses to farmers and increasing the cost of farm produce due to the use of diesel, he added.

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Right to Information Act: Officers denying
information to be penalised 

Ashok Sethi

Officers who refuse to part with information asked under the Right to Information Act would be penalised, the State Chief Information Officer (SCIO), Mr Rajan Kashyap, has said.

Mr Kashyap said the officers delaying the information would have to pay from their own pockets. Addressing a seminar recently organised jointly by Khalsa College and the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists, Mr Kashyap said a website was being created so that maximum number of persons could have direct access to the information sought under the Act. He said reports of the Commission (Right to Information Act) would be directly placed in the state Assembly, bypassing the government.

He said that the Public Information Officers (PIOs) would be responsible for providing facts to the person seeking the required information.

Appreciating the efforts of college and the journalists’ union, Mr Kashyap said the state government should create an awareness campaign under the Act.

The State Chief Information Officer said it was the duty of the state to ensure the implementation of the Act in toto. The SDMs could be deputed as nodal officers to regulate the traffic of information, Mr Kashyap added. He, however, said that there were apprehensions about the misuse of the Act if people started seeking irrelevant information.

Prof Shashi Sharma from Panjab University’s Law Department, Mr Navjeet Johal, a reader in Punjabi University, and Dr Daljit Singh, Principal, Khalsa College, touched upon various issues pertaining to the Right to Information Act. Mr Jasbir Singh Patti, District President of the Chandigarh-Punjab Union of Journalists, said similar seminars would be organised at the sub-divisional level. Prof Darbari Lal, Deputy Speaker, Punjab Vidhan Sabha, was the chief guest.

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Exchange of mails still a
fascinating scene at Wagah

Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Notwithstanding the modern era of Internet when one can communicate with relatives and friends easily through email, the exchange of mail, parcels and newspapers between India and Pakistan is proving to be a strong bond to bring together the people on personal level.

The primitive and traditional exchange of mails between the people from the neighbouring countries is still a fascinating scene. With the thaw in the Indo-Pak relations, the communication between the people of the two countries has incredibly increased.

At Wagah joint check post, the delivery vans of the postal departments of the two countries arrive daily.

The exchange of letters follows a strict regimen, including scanning by the officials of the intelligence bureau and the BSF, before it is cleared by customs authorities for the final destination across the Radcliff Line.

The vans carry not only the letters of various ministries, ordinary citizens and the business community of the two countries, but also those of the prisoners who are held captive by the two countries as “Prisoners of War,” and of those who are charged with sneaking into the other country.

Village Email and Village Internet are the two new programmes that promote development through information access, use and exchange. But the people still prefer the old way of communicating through “letters by post.”

The majority of the letters and parcels are from the Muslim community residing in New Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Mumbai, whose relatives are living in Pakistan.

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Traffic policemen to wear protective masks?
Pawan Kumar

The Pollution Control Committee, Amritsar, has written to Director General of Police that the department should provide protective masks to traffic policemen “so that they could be saved from the ill-effects of air pollution generated by vehicles, especially three-wheelers”.

The committee’s general secretary, Mr P. D. S. Randhawa, pointed out that due to the use of mixed fuel, specifically kerosene mixed with petrol, by the auto-rickshaw drivers and other vehicle owners, dangerous air pollutants were emitted.

Mr Randhawa also cited an analytical study conducted by the Department of Human Genetics, Guru Nanak Dev University, under the guidance of Dr Vasudha Sambyl, a senior lecturer, on “Increased Chromosomal Aberrations in Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes of Traffic Policemen of Amritsar”.

He said the study had shown increased chromosomal aberrations due to occupational exposure to polluted air having increased concentration of automobile exhausts.

These aberrations increased with excessive exposure, Mr Randhawa added.

According to another study by a medical officer, Mr Swarnjit Dhawan, over 40 per cent of the traffic policemen battle stress and 20 per cent suffer from hypertension, the general secretary said.

“The study said that erratic and long working hours and pressure from seniors were the main reasons for hypertensions.”

“The continued exposure of traffic policemen to air pollution by three-wheelers at various crossings in the city has led to the deterioration of their health,” he added.

He said it was a serious concern, and prompt action needed to be taken to keep the police force in good health.

He added that besides providing protective masks, the traffic police should be made aware of all these facts.

“Automobiles in the Holy City should run on CNG as in Delhi. The police authorities should take up the matter with the authorities concerned,” he said.

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More donations for constructing
new building of Vidya Mandir

Pawan Kumar

  • Students, teachers of DAV Public School donate Rs 1 lakh.

  • A businessman has offered to bear the cost of the roofing of the school.
  • Prize money of Rs 1 lakh received from Dalai Lama on behalf of the “Organisation of Understanding and Fraternity”.
  • Prize money of the Red and White Bravery Award. 

Teachers and students of the DAV Public School have donated about Rs 1 lakh for the construction of new building of Citizen’s Forum Vidya Mandir School located in the Maqboolpura area — infamous for drug peddling and addiction.

Citizen’s Forum Vidya Mandir — a school for the children of drug victims was being run in the house of Master Ajit Singh, who founded this school along with Mr Brij Bedi, industrialist, social worker and president of the Citizens’ Forum, an NGO in 1999. A separate portion of an old building near the school was also taken on rent for this purpose. The school was established in 1999 with only 20 children. The school now imparts education to over 350 students.

Mr Bedi, who is also the patron of the school, laid the foundation stone of the new building of the school recently. The 200 square yards plot was purchased from the money pooled from various awards and the contribution made by Ms Satdeva Kaur from Germany, said Mr Bedi.

Meanwhile, Mr Vipin Khanna, a businessman, has also offered to bear the cost of roofing of the school.

He was donating money in memory of his sister, Ms Renu Khanna, from Ms Renu Khanna Charitable Trust.

Mr Bedi says the new building will house six rooms. Vocational courses will also be offered in the school to make students self reliant in life, he adds.

Mr Bedi and Master Ajit Singh had also donated prize money of Rs 1 lakh they had received from Dalai Lama on behalf of the “Organisation of Understanding and Fraternity.” They also donated Rs 10,000 they had received as prize money from the Red and White Bravery Award. Ms Satdeva Kaur is based in Germany and sends the charity for the school here.

Mr Bedi said many NGOs and the business community, besides Miri-Piri Academy, had come forward to help them.

So far, the school is being run in a ramshackle building in which senior students teach their juniors on meagre remunerations that help them to pursue their own studies.

Maqboolpura situated on the outskirts of the city is infamous as the locality of widows where at least 150 breadwinners have died due to drug addiction in the past five years. 

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NRI Congress honours city boy
Ashok Sethi

The International Congress of NRIs honoured Amritsar boy Manish Mehra for his commendable performance and excellent work in one of the world’s largest MNC, Unilever, Dubai.

Born and brought up here, Manish did his schooling from St. Francis School and graduated in Commerce from DAV College. Later, he joined Guru Nanak Dev University to complete his MBA, with specialisation in marketing.

Armed with basic management skills especially in marketing and procurement, he earned laurels after joining Unilever in 1992 for its Middle East operations.

Talking to this correspondent from Dubai over phone, Mr Mehra expressed happiness for having been honoured with the Hind Rattan Award by the former Prime Minister, Mr Inder Kumar Gujral. The award-giving ceremony held recently on the eve of the Republic Day at New Delhi.

Mr Mehra started his career by joining the business of his father, Mr Harsh Mehra, in 1989. However, later he got an offer from OCM, a leading manufacturer of woollen fabrics.

Though earlier reluctant to go in for a job, he eventually joined the company as the Sales Planning Executive at the port city of Jeddah in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The company is responsible for managing operations in eight Gulf countries.

Major thrust in his career came in 1995, when he was made responsible for sourcing and buying of raw materials for Arabia from across the globe. He took over the responsibility of the Head of Company Logistics and was made responsible for all logistic activities of various companies in Unilever Arabia.

He is a keen sportsman, too. He captained the Guru Nanak Dev University Tennis Team during his stay there.

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LIC to have a new divisional office 
Ashok Sethi

The Chairman of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), Mr A. K. Shukla, would inaugurate a divisional office at Ranjit Avenue here. The LIC’s Senior Divisional Manager, Mr Sachindra Sharma, said that the new office would provide efficient and better services to its stakeholders and policy holders in three border districts— Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore .

He said 75 per cent of the business of the office came from the rural segment through branch networks. The LIC, he added, would soon offer funds for the infrastructure development in the city. Presently, the LIC offers funds to the Punjab State Electricity Board. The LIC also plans to set up a satellite office and extension counters in Jalalabad.

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