Tuesday, August 8, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Long wait for son amidst mourning for grandson
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana Aug 7 — Myriad human emotions can sometimes be a problem. And certainly so, if you are mourning and rejoicing at the same time.

Ask Bakhtawar Kaur, 50-year-old widow, who is mourning the death of her 8-month grandson in the carnage that rocked Pahalgam on the night of August 1 and at the same time feeling relieved that her son and daughter-in-law have been brought back from the clutches of death.

Bakhtawar Kaur's 25-years-old son Gajjan Singh, his wife Jagdish Kaur (19) and their son Makhan Singh had gone to Khanabal near Nanatang in the last week of June on a business-cum-pleasure trip. The family had deliberately stayed back to visit the Amarnath shrine and were in Pahalgam on the fateful day. Gajjan Singh is a dealer in cosmetics and artificial jewellery.

It is learnt that Gajjan Singh was standing holding his baby, while Jagdish Kaur was inside a shop when the assailment came there and began gunning down innocent pilgrims.

Informs Bakhtawar Kaur, "My nephew Suba Singh had also gone for the Amarnath yatra. At the time the militants struck, Suba Singh was also there and he saw the militants killing my grandson down and three bullets being fired at my son. Later, he, too, ran away."

The grieving grandmother says, "I received a telephone call from a relative in Hoshiarpur, whose nephew had also gone for the yatra, informing me about my grandson's killing and my son being seriously injured. Since then, I have been on the tenterhooks, swinging between hope and despair."

She informed that Gajjan Singh was shifted to the Military Hospital in New Delhi yesterday and had gained his consciousness. She is, however, still unaware about the whereabouts of her daughter-in-law.

Incidentally, after Bakhtawar Kaur got the news from Pahalgam, a few neighbours led by Mohinder Singh Mindi collected money and sent Tarlochan Singh, Mann Singh and Uttam Singh (younger brother of Gajjan Singh) to Srinagar. The three men have stayed back with Gajjan Singh to look after him, after cremating Makhan Singh there itself.

Meanwhile, a neighbour of Bakhtawar Kaur, Gurmukh Singh, also a dealer in cosmetics and artificial jewellery, who had accompanied Gajjan Singh's family to Khanabal in June while talking to TNS today, felt sorry that he had not forced Gajjan Singh to come back to Ludhiana and let them stay there. "I know of the dangers prevailing in the valley but still let them have their own way. I am their elder and should have ordered them to come back," he regretted. 


Fake degree racket busted
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana Aug 7 — The police claims to have busted a fake degree racket with the arrest of Paramjit Singh and recovered three fake certificates of class XII, two fake certificates of matric and a few blank certificates.

In a press release, the senior superintendent of police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, said that the accused was running an academy in the name of ''City College'' at Jawahar Nagar Camp and SHO Salem Tabri and SI Jaswinder Singh had received information about the accused carrying these fake degrees.

It is informed that SI Jaswinder Singh had laid a naka near the Jalandhar bypass chowk and the accused was arrested from there. It is learnt that the accused had allegedly connived with a few persons in the Punjab School Education Board and was getting the certificates from there. He was allegedly selling these certificates for Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000.

The SSP informed that the accused had been arrested and booked under sections 467, 468, 471 and 420 of the IPC.



She struggled to build CMC
From Jupinderjit Singh

LUDHIANA Aug 7 — Way back in 1893, Dr (Miss) Edith Brown, founder of the Christian Medical College and Hospital gave four annas from her pocket to her first student, an old Indian dayee ( mid-wife ) as incentive to visit her regularly for getting training as a nurse. Today, people pay a lot of money to get medical education and treatment at the same institution. The change of fortune itself hints at the humble beginning made by Kaiser-i-Hind Dame Brown, who worked all her life, nurturing and developing the institution.

While Christian missionaries are under attack these days, it is time we remember the contribution of missionaries like Dr Brown who worked so hard for us. Her service not only enabled innumerable sick persons to get medical attention at the CMC, but also provided employment to many doctors and allied professionals.

Much before industry brought this city on the world map, it was the CMC, the only private medical institution of its kind in North India at that time, that made the city famous.

Dr Brown took upon herself, the task of teaching Indians, especially women, in the most trying circumstances. Apart from the poverty and illiteracy rampant in late 19th century and even the early 20th century, Dr Brown had to wage a war against social taboos like purdah prevailing in society. "Their ignorant and insanitary customs cause untold sufferings — We must get them into the classes," goes one of her quotations available at the archives of the CMC.

Born in 1864, in a not-so-rich family in England, Miss Brown became the first woman to graduate in medicine and surgery in England. According to a recent book by Charles Reynolds, a former Director of the Ludhiana Christian Medical College office in New York, she left a possibly lucrative practice and went to India as a pioneering physician for women. The book specifically mentions the first operation performed by the surgeon, news of which spread far and wide. As more patients began coming to her, she found the courage to give shape to her dream of educating Indian women.

According to Dr David Longfellow of the CMC, Dr Brown was appalled at the lack of care of Indian women in the feudal Muslim culture of those times. When she opened the school she said, "We must have an army of trained Indian nurses, mid-wives and dispensers. We must get them to villages, where they are needed the most."

Encouraged by her success, in December 1893, representatives of 14 Christian missionaries of the country came together and held a three-day conference on her dream to open a medical institution. They agreed to her proposal and a year later, 'The North India School of Medicine for Women' came into being in an unused 10-room school.

Gradually, the institution grew. Quite a few helping hands came forward. New medical units were added and the existing ones modernised. The CMC went on to become one of the most prestigious health institutions of the country.

While the contribution of Dr Brown has been acknowledged by the CMC and the Ludhianvis, research reveals that she did not lead a peaceful life before death. Though some historians say that she had gone to Kashmir to carry on her dream of providing medical facilities in that remote part of India, others say that she parted ways with the management of the CMC of those times and was sidelined.

Nevertheless, her work has not been in vain. A long road leading to the CMC has been fittingly named Miss Brown Road. Her life-sized portrait can be seen near the reception hall of the emergency wing of the hospital. A memorial, marking the celebration of 100 years of the CMC's founding and hailing the contribution of Dr Brown also reminds one of her.

In the basement of the archives section of the CMC, a museum exhibiting wood-carved furniture and a piano belonging to Dr Brown has been maintained. One can also view old photographs of the woman engaged in some service to the hospital. Appreciating the efforts made at preserving her belongings and exhibiting them, one feels concerned about the termite-infested parts of the museum.


Two killed as car hits tree
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana Aug 7 — Two persons were killed and two injured when a Maruti Esteem car in which they were travelling got out of control and hit a tree near Kadiyan Mor on the GT Road around 11 last night.

It is learnt that while Tulsi Ram, a resident of Bara Pind, near Goraya, and Kulwant Rai, a resident of Gana village, near Phillaur, died on the spot.

Two others, who were sitting on the rear seat, were injured and have been admitted to the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital for treatment.


Fires in two factories
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — Two fires occurred yesterday in different industrial units in the city, according to fire brigade sources.

A fire was reported from Gulshan Shawl Factory near Hanuman Mandir at 11.15 a.m. which was controlled by firemen after a struggle of three hours. The damage was extensive, but the exact loss to property has not been ascertained.

Another fire was reported from a factory in Ghora Colony near Cheema Chowk which was doused after about two hours of fire-fighting.

However, there was no loss of life, the sources added.


Dr K.S. Aulakh is PAU V-C
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — The Board of Management of Punjab Agricultural University has appointed Dr K.S. Aulakh as Vice-Chancellor of the university with effect from August 1.

Dr G.S. Kalkat, Vice-Chancellor, has proceeded on leave from August 1 to October 9.

Dr Aulakh has assumed the charge of his post.


Bhagwat warns against nuclearisation
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — Adm Vishnu Bhagwat, former Chief of the Naval Staff, has said that nuclear weaponisation can not guarantee peace. Addressing a meeting organised by the Ludhiana Chapter of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development to pay homage to the victims of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on August 6 and 9, 1945, he said that nuclear weapons could lead to mass destruction, besides economic losses as a huge amount of money was involved in their production and delivery.

He said the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bore no logic as Japan had virtually surrendered. But the USA wanted to prove its military superiority and threaten the whole world at the expense of two lakh people. A huge amount spent on nuclear weaponisation if diverted for the development purpose could bring relief from misery to millions of people the world-over.

Admiral Bhagwat pointed out that the strength of any nation lay in guaranteeing food, employment, health services, education and safe drinking water to all. ''Our country ironically had fallen in the trap of this race,'' he said.

Although, he said, India had conducted Pokhran-II without any thought, now it should not sign the CTBT. He elaborated how the CTBT was discriminatory as the nuclear weapon states wanted to continue computer simulation tests as well as experiments for maintenance of the existing weapons without any time-bound programme for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

He disapproved of the policies which favoured multinational corporations in contravention to the sovereign national interests and were making impact heavily against the self-reliant indigenous growth of the country's agriculture, dairy farming, medium and small-scale industry which would further pave the way for pauperisation of marginal farmers and other toiling sections of society. He urged the professionals and other strata of society to unite together to oppose any kind of such retrograde steps.

The meeting was presided over by Dr L.S. Chawla, President, IDPD and former Vice-Chancellor, Baba Farid Medical University, Punjab. He expressed his dismay and anguish over the continuance of an arms race and that too after the cold war had ended. The nuclear weaponisation was on the rise, whereas it had been proved beyond doubt that this would not make anybody victorious, but could prove to be a disaster for all. Nevertheless it was good sign in South Asia that initial euphoria created after the Pokhran explosion was receding.

Kargil being a significant indicator that the arms race did not save you from damages of wars, mini conflicts or large confrontations.

Earlier, Dr Arun Mitra introduced the theme of the meeting and the chief guest. He said that the first atomic bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki could be called as toy bombs in comparison to the present-day weapons. Dr Mitra said that scientists throughout the world had been telling that these stockpiles could ruin the earth for more than 13 times. This was well understood by the nuclear powers as well but still there had been continuous stockpiling in the name of deterrence. This logic, he said, was pushing the planet into a situation which could lead to a catastrophe even by accident.

Dr S.C. Ahuja, Principal, Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, said that the doctors had a very significant role to play in society in spreading awareness on this issue. He lauded various initiatives being taken up by the IDPF on the issues concerning humanity.

Dr Bharti Uppal presented vote of thanks and expressed the deep commitment of the IDPD to carry forward its agenda of peace and development.


RSS dharna to seek release of activists
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) organised a dharna in front of the mini- secretariat here today to impress upon the government for securing the release of the four RSS functionaries who were allegedly kidnapped in August last year by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

Addressing the RSS activists on this occasion, the district Vice- President, Mr Satya Parkash, said many steps were taken by sangh functionaries to press for the release of kidnapped persons without any results so far.

He alleged that the NLFT was supported by the Baptist and Presbytarian churches and financed by foreign missionaries and was running a parallel government in Tripura. The Hindus, a minority community in the state, were targets of attack for militants who resorted to kidnapping, indiscriminate firing, closure of schools run by Hindus and attacks on places of worship as a matter of routine.

Mr Satya Parkash, a former city mayor, further said the government intelligence network had so far failed to locate the place where the kidnapped sangh functionaries were being held captive by the militants, while unofficial reports indicated that they were somewhere in Bangladesh where the headquarters of the NLFT were located.

The RSS activists later submitted a memorandum to the district administration, demanding effective steps to secure the release of workers, stern measures to curb the activities of militants in Tripura and restoration of the rule of law in the state so that the Hindus could live in peace and enjoy religious freedom.

BJP district President Harbans Lal Sethi and BJP legislator Sat Pal Gosain also addressed the dharna.


JD(S) plans agitation
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — The Janata Dal (Secular) has expressed its serious concern over the deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab. It has asked the state government to immediately remedy the situation and restore sense of security and confidence among the people, failing which the party would launch a statewide agitation.

The state unit convener of the party, Mr Harish Khanna, has said that there has been a spurt in the incidents of looting, kidnapping, rape, murder, police excess, atrocities against women and dalits and human right violations all over the state in general and in this city in particular. A large number of youths, particularly those living in villages, were getting addicted to drugs and other intoxicants which had further led to massive smuggling of these items.

Blaming the Punjab chief minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, who also holds the home portfolio, for this mess, he said the Akali Dal-BJP government in the state had not only failed to check the unlawful activities of the criminal gangs, but these elements were getting political and police protection. Rather than taking action against the law breakers, the police was busy in implicating innocent persons in false cases.


PAU Gate No. 2 mishap-prone area
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA Aug 7 — What a precious gift life is? Sometimes parents have to wait for years, go to mazars, do penance to get a child. If that very child dies in a senseless accident on the road, how would the parents face such a calamity?

This is what happens in front of PAU’s gate No 2 on the Ferozepore road almost every other day.

The life ebbs away in front of people who have materialised from nowhere when the accident takes place. The victim dies helplessly before he can get any medical aid. The Ferozepore road, in front of Le Baron, one just opposite gate No 2 of PAU is notorious for the number of accidents that take place there.

One of the causes could be the absence of traffic lights in front of the gate. The second could be the fact that the road is centrally divided and not lit up. The third one is that truck drivers at night speed up and, thus, they hit scooterists. When hit by the truck behind, or in front, the scooterists suffer head injuries in spite of helmets and go into a coma or die or suffer multiple fracture.

The records maintained by the traffic police reveal that in the past seven months seven people have lost their lives, whereas only five were injured. Seven FIRs were filed under Section 304 of IPC, which deals with deaths, whereas under Sections 279, 337 and 338 -12, IPC FIRs for injured were filed. The court cases will run for years. What about the lives that were snuffed out much before the time. Even if the victim’s parents were given compensation would it be enough substitute for them?

According to SHO B.S. Rekhon of Sarabha Nagar police station, the accidents are the result of rash and negligent driving. Nine out of 10 accidents take place due to wrong judgement of human beings. Only one accident is due to mechanical fault. According to him, the accidents of the vehicles take place due to rash driving of youngsters who throw caution to the winds.

The SSP (Traffic), Mr S.S. Bhatti, told Ludhiana Tribune that they were going to take some positive steps to stop the accidents. The accidents had been comparatively reduced due to the patrolling of traffic police. Mr Bhatti informed that during the peak hours at Gill Chowk, Samrala Chowk, Session Chowk, Bharat Nagar Chowk, Sabzi Mandi Chowk and Campa Cola Chowk, the cassettes would be giving traffic instructions during the peak hours. Mr Bhatti was optimistic that playing of the cassettes would have a positive effect and felt that if people listened to them carefully, there would be much less accidents.

Mr Shyam Sunder Juneja, missionary of road safety, has advised people to follow the flickering signals that are on at night. Flickering red light cautions the people to become dead slow, look on both sides, then only cross the intersection slowly and carefully.

Mr Bhatti urged the people not to park their vehicles on either side of the road in front of PAU gate No 2 when they go for walks in the morning.

According to a High Court ruling, parking on either side of a road is a serious offence. So in front of the marriage palaces, the cars should be parked in proper places to ensure a smooth flowing traffic.

Under the aegis of the Red Cross, Mr Arun Goyal, a former DC, had given the city services of six ambulances which are stationed at Samrala Chowk, Zahr Bali Tower, Ferozepore Road, Ladhowal Chowk, Sahnewal police station, Gill Engineering College and Kuhada Chowk.

The police and the administration are doing their best to stop the accidents. It depends on the car, scooter, truck drivers and cyclists to follow the traffic rules very seriously and drive carefully for it is a common saying “haste makes waste”.


by M.S. Cheema

The city owes them a lot

Ludhiana owes its early architecture to the Thapars of Kabul, banking to the Soods of Sirhind, the craft of weaving to the Kashmiris, its western system of medicines to the Christian missionaries, the princely palace (Bhadaur House) to the ruling house of Bhadaur and many more landmarks or institutions to outsiders.

The arrival of the printing press in the first half of the 19th century from England via Calcutta reads more like a fiction than a fact. The proper laying out and 'dressing' of the parade ground became the better known 'Daresi ground.'

The wisely chosen broad and wide campus of the prestigious Government College is the concept as well as projection and realisation of one non-Ludhianvi, Principal A.C.C. Hervey, I.E.S., whose contribution to the education to the state of Punjab in general and to Ludhiana in particular is historic and a model. Similarly, Miss S. Sen nursed the Government College for Women. This woman from Bengal got her education in Lahore and Oxford. She served the city even after her retirement. She put the Khalsa College for Women on the road to modernity.

The Punjab Agriculture University was the brainchild of Mr Partap Singh Kairon. Mr P.N. Thapar raised and put it on a sound footing through proper selection of staff and provision of infrastructure. Dr M.S. Randhawa provided the climate for culture and gave the city its Rose Garden.

It may be interesting to recall that the hub of cultural activities, Punjabi Bhavan, is where the Punjabi Sahit Akademi is housed. The academy was conceived by Dr Sher Singh and jointly realised by Bhai Sahib, Dr Jodh Singh and a team of devotees headed by Dr Sher Singh, Dr Piar Singh, Dr V.B. Arun and many more non-Ludhianvis contributed to the making of this great institution of Ludhiana. Miss Brown Hospital and Christian Medical College (and Hospital), commonly known as American Hospital, carries signatures of the pioneers in medicines and surgery. Most of them were non-Ludhianvis.

The loss of West Punjab resulted in the gain of East Punjab. Migrants from Pakistan rebuilt Ludhiana industrially and thereby economically. Such industrial names as Hero Group, Avon group, Ralson India etc are the dreams realised of refugees, migrants and re-settled ones. They love Ludhiana but they carry memories of Kamalia, Sialkot and Gujranwala.

The labour composition is revealing. Youth from Nepal, U.P. and M.P. is crowding Ludhiana. Sherpur is an extension of Gonda. Biharis provide manpower to nearly all factories. Oriyas are looking after the sanitary and plumbing work.

Where, then, are the Ludhianvis?

Migrating to the USA, the UK, Canada, Norway, etc!


Widow Pension Distribution Day
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha, Subhani Building Chowk, celebrated the 36th Widow Pension Distribution Day here yesterday. For the past three years the sabha is engaged in monthly distribution of ration items to the hapless widows of the city.

The sabha initiated this welfare service in September, 1997, when it selected 51 widows who required some monetary help. But the number has now risen to 251 who are given 16 ration items, including rice, wheat flour, pulses, cooking oil, vegetables and toiletries. On September 3, 50 more widows will be selected under this scheme.

Mr Jagdish Bajaj, president of the sabha, said that several programmes run by the sabha were possible only with the help of visitors to the temple who have donated generously in the form of cash as well as kind.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Jagdish Tangri, President, Shiv Sena, said that lending a helpful hand to the poor gives similar rewards as received at the time of going on a pilgrimage.

Mr Jagmohan Sharma, president, Pradesh Vypar Mandal, has donated Rs 11,000 as a president of Electric Dealers Association. He said: “I have spent all my life in solving business problems but now after coming in contact with the sabha, I have found that the real happiness lies in helping the destitute and the poor”

Mr Rakesh Pandey, MLA, said that the state had several donors and social helpers who at various times have offered help to the needy.

The sabha also offers free stitching, embroidery, painting and cooking courses to the local girls so that they become self-reliant. It helps in making the trousseau at the time of marriage of girls from poor families. In addition, free ambulance service and free homoeopathic consultancy is made available by the sabha.


PAU approves new variety of gram
From Our Correspondent

Ludhiana Aug 7 — The Research Evaluation Committee of Punjab Agricultural University has approved new gram variety FG-703 (PDG-4) for presenting to the Punjab State Seed Committee for its release in the State. 

The variety is suitable for normal sown limited moisture conditions in Punjab except sub-mountainous zone. This variety has recorded an average yield of 1820 kg/ha in adaptive trials conducted in the farmers' fields. It has bold seed and is resistant to wilt, foot rot and root rot diseases.


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