Monday, August 14, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Police intensifies patrolling after blast
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — It took a powerful bomb blast in the district and sessions court to shake the district police out of its inertia and swing into action. Surprisingly the Saturday’s blast here caught the police force napping despite the fact that intelligence agencies had sounded a warning about possible sabotage by subversive elements on the eve of Independence Day.

Right on the day when the blast occurred, a section of media had carried reports of possible sabotage by anti-national elements in the state. The media reports quoting a confidential letter from the Additional Director-General of Police (Intelligence) had revealed that a group of about 10 militants belonging to the Babbar Khalsa International had infiltrated into the state through Nepal for indulging in subversive activities.

Following the Saturday’s blast, security has been beefed up in all parts of the city. The police has set up special check posts at various vantage points in and around the city to ensure that no subversive forces enter the city. In fact, the police today took recourse to a show of strength by random checking at all vital installations and public places.

The police parties led by senior gazetted police officers had been stationed at all entry points in the city and a thorough search of all vehicles was being carried out. In the old city areas, a team of police led by DSP Sandeep Goel went and removed all encroachments and rehris from the GT Road near the Clock Tower and in the Gur Mandi area. Later, he went to at least two cinema halls and after the film show was stopped for a while, the viewers were quickly frisked and the entire place was thoroughly searched.

Police personnel were seen in all major markets in the city and check posts had been set up near all major hospitals and other vital installations. The police is also learnt to have beefed up the security of all the VIPs in the city. Several supporters of the Khalistan movement have also been rounded up by the police for questioning.

Meanwhile, reports reaching mediapersons here today also suggested that the police had already rounded up a former militant supposed to be involved in yesterday’s blast late last evening. However, no senior police officer in the district confirmed this.

Meanwhile, thousands of shoppers from the town and neighbouring villages who thronged the Chaura Bazar today were disappointed as they could not find their favourite foot-path shops selling readymade garments and other items of daily use. This was due to the security measures taken by the police in the wake of Saturday night's bomb blast in the district sessions court.

Policemen descended on the bazar early this morning and persuaded regular foot-path sellers to have a holiday.The bazar is usually humming on Sundays with shoppers from all walks of life coming to buy cheap readymade clothes, shoes and other items at bargain prices.

Police personnel were present in strength at Ghanta Ghar chowk leading to the bazar. However, a number of young boys could be seen selling battery cells, TV remote control guards etc. while on the move. Even some readymade garment shops near the old kotwali complex were open and doing brisk business.

Senior police officers were briefing cops about their assigned jobs of not allowing empty rickshaws and hand carts into the bazar. However, pedestrians were not being subjected to any frisking.


A night of cultural extravaganza
3 faces of city’s life
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — Ludhiana may have excelled in agriculture to become the heartland of Punjab's Green Revolution and its citizens may have become adept in the art of making money, but they have still not completely forgotten their cultural roots.

Three faces of Ludhiana — traditional, modern and religious — were much in evidence at three cultural mega events staged at different places here last night. It was a kind of cultural kaleidoscope with religion, tradition and modernity vying with each other to take Ludhianvis within its fold. And none of the three streams of thought were disappointed.

While hundreds of people constituting the elite of the city attended a show of the famous Marathi play, Ghasiram Kotwal, at the newly-built Guru Nanak Bhavan Auditorium, thousands others swung to the tunes of popular DJs who had descended on the city a little farther at the Sutlej Club lawns.

And still a few kilometers more down the highway to Ferozepore, thousands of hands were rising in faith and devotion to Mata Vaishno Devi with well-known singer Narinder Chanchal singing Mata's bhajans at a jagrata.

It was a mere coincidence that three separate programmes were scheduled for the same night in the city. And all of them received the kind of attention and appreciation they deserved.

People with artistic tastes thronged the auditorium to watch Ghasiram Kotwal by the famous playwright Vijay Tendulkar. It was an appreciative audience consisting among other of Deputy Commissioner S. K. Sandhu, Municipal Commissioner S.S.Sandhu, president of the Ludhiana Sanstrikit Samagam Sunil Kant Munjal which watched the play with rapt attention. For a change, theatre had come alive in Ludhiana otherwise known for its materialistic way of life.

It was a different scene at the Sutlej Club where a musical night was organised to celebrate Friendship Day. Huge speakers played remixed music from various popular Hindi, Punjabi and English numbers while thousands swayed rhythmically. Unmindful of the world outside, the people jumped on to the dance floor swinging and gyrating themselves to the tunes of Akbar Sami, Dhruv and Tinoo Senior.

It was more sober and pious at the jagrata at Vishal Towers on the Ferozepore road. Thousands swayed to the bhents of Narinder Chanchal sung in praise of Mata Vaishno Devi all through the night.


DJs set dance floor on fire
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — It was a colourful musical night, with DJs making Ludhianvis dance with a varied fare of Hindi, Punjabi and western songs, virtually setting the dance floor on fire for over four hours. The occasion was the annual Friendship Day celebrations organised by the Sutlej Club here last night.

The club management had invited Bhanu's Studio 69 and Pankaj Sharma's Rhythmics for their performances. Though there was no formal competition between the two groups, it turned to be fierce competition, with one group accusing the other of adopting unethical and unfair practices.

While Rhythmics hired the services of DJ Akbar Sami of Jalwa fame, Studio 69 brought in Dhruv and Tinoo Senior. A power failure initially caused some misunderstanding among the members of one musical group, but things were sorted out immediately.

Boys, girls and young couples danced and jived on the floor for the full length of the programme. Whether it was Rhythmics remix of popular Taal number Tal se tal mila or Studio 69 presentation of Aa dekhen zara kis mein kitna hai dam, the crowd enjoyed it.

Everybody made a beeline for the dance floor. The event was scheduled to begin at 8 pm, but it started at around 10 pm. The number of people began to swell in the lawns, with considerable overflow on to the dance floor. An entertaining mix of music set dancers rolling on the floor.

Bhanu's Studio 69 did not lag behind. A familiar face here, his numbers were equally appreciated by the public. It was his familiarity with the taste of the people for whom he performed that won him accolades.

Mr A.S. Chawla, Secretary of Sutlej Club, appreciated the performances of both groups. He said the club would organise more such events in the future and would provide more people the chance to perform.


Ghasiram Kotwal captivates Ludhianvis
From Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — ‘Marvellous! Brilliant! Stupendous! Magnificent! Mind blowing!’ were some of the adjectives used for the play Ghasiram Kotwal which was staged here last night in the newly-built Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium, a state-of-art theatre, under the aegis of the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam.

The play is penned by a well known Marathi playwright, Vijay Tendulkar and has been translated into Hindi by Vasant Dev. The play is in two acts.

Act I: The play opens with Ganesh Vandana. The sutradhar and the chorus dressed as Brahmins, sarcastically describe the degenerated society. They also describe the hypocritical conditions of society during the rule of Peshwa Chieften Nana Phandavis.

The Brahmins arrive at the kotha of Gulabi Bai, where Nana while dancing with Gulabi Bai sprains his foot. Gulabi Bai’s Kannauji Brahnim servant Ghasiram does not let him fall on the ground by keeping his foot on his palm. Nana is highly pleased and presents him a pearl necklace. However, Gulabi Bai and the gangsters of the kotha forcibly snatch away the necklace. Moreover, they conspire to declare Ghasiram a thief. He is publicly humiliated and bashed up by the police. A poor innocent wimp turns into an angry young man.

In his heart rages a fire of revenge. He uses his beautiful daughter, who is forced to submit to the lust of Nana, in order to secure the office of the Kotwal for himself. He finally becomes the kotwal, a terror personified. For Nana, it is nothing but a cold political move. Ghasiram will be a puppet in his hand.

Act II: As a kotwal, Ghasiram indulges in acts of vengeance. He spreads a reign of terror. He is a tyrant for his foes, the Brahmins of Poona. In the meantime, Lalita Gauri, who had been seduced by Nana, dies in tragic circumstances. Nana remarries for the 7th times and his new wife is only 12 years old. This shocks Ghasiram.

The desire to take revenge crosses all limits. Some Brahmins, who are alleged to have stolen some fruits, are imprisoned in a small room, where a few of them die of suffocation. Brahmins revolt against the kotwal. Nana also wants to get rid of Ghasiram. He orders that Ghasiram be paraded through the city and hanged. After the cold-blooded killing of Ghasiram, Nana delivers a highly charged speech thus remaining at the centre of the play.

The deft direction of Rajinder Nath has brought out the tell-tale traits and signs of a decadent society so forcefully that it brings the audience face-to-face with the realities of society.

The music by Shri Mohan Upreti was authentic.

A great play and a great performance by the 30 artistes and kudos to them for their excellent performance. There were 30 technicians involved in the play, as arrangers, musicians, lightmen, sound technicians etc.

Ludhiana was fortunate to have Prof Ram Gopal Bajaj, Director of the National School for Drama, amidst them. According to him, “Society without art and culture is like an animal. If we keep on watching plays and spend evenings enjoying music and drama, the national texture will change slowly. He was appreciative of the facilities at Guru Nanak Dev Auditorium and wished more plays could be staged there.” At one time, Prof Bajaj had played the role of Nana.

Mr Sunil Kant Munjal, a well-known industrialist and president of the Ludhiana Sanskritik Samagam, said that he was happy to bring before Ludhianvis a spectrum of performing arts, thus exposing the residents to the varying aspects of culture.


Chanchal mesmerises thousands
with devotional songs
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — There is something pious in Narinder Chanchal’s voice that attracts thousands to listen to his devotional songs. And he was at his devotional best last night at a jagrata organised at Vishal Towers on the Ferozepore Road.

Driven by faith and devotion, people from all over Ludhiana thronged the place before Chanchal had arrived. People had started coming at around 8 in the evening. It was at around half past 12 that Chanchal arrived on the stage.

He was received with the shouts of Jai Mata Di, with hundreds of devotees rushing to the stage to touch his feet.

Young, old and even children waited for about four hours to listen to Chanchal’s invocations to the Goddess Vaishno Mata. As he was singing, thousands of hands rose in obeisance with Jai Mata Di shouts renting the air.

Chanchal sang for entire night till early morning today. And people stayed there unmoved. An otherwise desolate place came alive in the night. It was not just the illumination along the 2 km-long stretch, but also the melodious music invoking the Mata to shower her blessings on her devotees.

The already moonlit sky looked brighter with the light of electric bulbs and the sound of the music that rocked the air through the megawatt speakers.

Reacting to the faith and devotion of the people, Chanchal said, he felt elated. He, however, added that he was not surprised as he understood and knew the faith and devotion of people here towards Mata Vaishnodevi.

He said that although he belonged to Amritsar, Ludhiana looked like a home to him. He loved to perform in Ludhiana and never gave a second thought to any opportunity to come here. “People of Ludhiana have given me a lot of love and respect”, he acknowledged while reacting to the rush of the people that thronged the stage to touch his feet.


Man found murdered in rented room
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — The body of a man was found in a house in the Santosh Nagar locality, around two days after he was murdered.

According to information, Mr Manminder Singh had rented a room to a couple on July 30. He had not made inquiries about the names or addresses of his tenants.

It is learnt that on August 8, another man came to visit the family and started staying with them. On August 10, the landlord found that the room was locked and he presumed that the tenants had gone away for a few days.

On August 12, when the foul smell started emanating from the quarter, the landlord peeped through the window and saw the body inside.

The police was summoned and it was found that the body had several injuries caused by sharp-edged weapons. A case under Section 302 of the IPC has been registered at the Salem Tabri police station.


'Freedom did not bring any cheer'
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — Faiz Ahmad Faiz's couplet — yeh dag dag ujala, yeh shab guzeda sehar, jiska intizar tha hamei, yeh woh sehar to nahin — probably best reflects the plight of people like Mr Rajinder Pal Sayal. It was a contradiction of sorts for people like him. He was a Congressman and believed in Mahatma Gandhi's ideology of secularism. He never considered himself a Hindu but an Indian. Independence made him a compulsive Hindu.

Mr Rajinder Pal Sayal belongs to a family of freedom fighters. His father Sant Ram Sayal and his brothers Mohinder Pal and Yoginder Pal were active members of the Congress. They were living in Mandi Bahaudin in Gujrat district, now in Pakistan. It was a Hindu dominated town.

"Freedom did not bring any cheer," says Mr Rajinder Pal, recalling the turbulent days of August 14 and 15. "We thought whether we should celebrate or mourn the day," he says. Young men like him never believed that the country would be divided on religious lines.

"More tragic for us was the idea of leaving our ancestral land, which we had inhabited for generations," recalls Mr Sayal. Migrating was not a simple affair. The rioting crowds had already attacked Mandi Bahaudin. Some people had been killed. Their family was targeted for their being associated with the Congress. A military officer came to the rescue and brought the family safely to India.

Mr Sayal could not accompany his family to India. He was detained by the Pakistani police for his alleged involvement in a bomb blast, though he was not subjected to torture. He came to India in April 1948 in exchange of prisoners between the two countries.

Mr Sayal says, "There is not much to feel proud of." There is so much to feel ashamed of, feels the elderly Congressman. He believes that the leadership has not come up to the expectations of freedom fighters. "It is not the India that our great leaders had dreamt of. It is an India still in need of great and honest men who can guide it to another freedom," he exclaims.


YC activists protest against ISI role
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — Hundreds of the Youth Congress workers led by PPCC member Parminder Mehta took out a protest march against the ISI of Pakistan, in Salem Tabri here today.

The processionists later burnt an effigy of the dreaded outfit in New Sabzi Mandi Chowk.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Mehta said the leaders of the Hizbul Mujahideen and other terrorist bodies who were settled in J and K should be arrested under the National Security Act immediately.

Welcoming the government’s decision of not sending the Indian cricket team to Pakistan, he demanded that the Samjhauta Express and the Delhi-Lahore bus should also be suspended. He said that directions by the USA to its citizens to cancel their Pakistan trips showed that Pakistan was encouraging anti-India elements.

He also called upon the Punjab Government to take strong steps to crush terrorist elements in the state.

At another protest rally held by the INTUC Mazdoor Council at Cheema Chowk, under the presidentship of Mr Joginder Singh Sarali, tributes were paid to the Amarnath pilgrims who had been killed by terrorist in J and K.


AISSF (Badal) forms 51-member panel
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — Mr Tejinder Singh Sandhu, president of the All India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) (Badal), announced the formation of a 51-member committee at a press conference here today.

The committee, according to Mr Sandhu, will act as a flying squad all over the state to solve the problems of school and college students. He said the committee would coordinate with all colleges in the state to listen to their grievances.

Addressing a gathering of federation workers, he called upon them to get organised and work for the SAD so that Mr Parkash Singh Badal was returned to power. Referring to the increasing drug abuse among the youth, he said the federation would organise de-addiction camps in schools and colleges.

The federation would celebrate its 56th anniversary which would be attended by Punjab Cabinet ministers and workers of the federation, he added.


Self-reliance courses for girls
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — The Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir Sabha, Subhani Building Chowk, is holding courses for girls on cooking, stitching, embroidery and beauty therapy at the mandir.

Nearly 70 girls are taking three-month stitching course in which the students are being trained to cut and stitch frocks, cloth bags, salwar kameez, kurta pyjama for men and soft toys.

A 15-day beautician course is also being conducted in which more than 85 girls have been registered. Ms Sarika Malhotra, a graduate, and Mrs Veena is conducting these classes. The girls are being taught mehndi application, facial, threading, make-up, hair styles, saree tying and other beauty ailments.

Cooking classes have been held earlier in which the girls were taught preparation of squash, chutnies, and Chinese recipes by Ms Dilpreet.

Mr Jagdish Bajaj, chairman, Shri Gyan Sthal Mandir, said that these courses were being offered with an aim to make the girls self-reliant and confident.


Rural parents are more harsh, says study
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — Parents in rural areas have been found to be more punishing towards their children as compared to those living in the urban areas. Also the people belonging to the affluent classes are more tolerant towards their children than those belonging to the economically weaker sections.

These and other observations have been made by Dr I J S Jaiswal, head, Department of Human Development in the College of Home Science, Punjab Agricultural University, here. However, the interference in a child’s exploration was more in urban areas as compared to the rural areas.

Dr Jaiswal says in his paper that the children were physically punished more in rural areas. Gradual increase in restriction and punishment was observed with increase in age. No significant difference was found in avoidance of restriction and punishment towards male or female children.

He observed that the rural mother was found to spank her children as and when they caused annoyance to her. He has found that the upper class children received less punishment as compared to others , but they were more restricted.

On the impact of the home atmosphere on the development of a child, Dr Jaiswal says whatever a child receives from home, is what he can offer society. Home environment, according to the paper, greatly influences one’s destiny. From the developmental perspective, a child since birth is seen as an active information processing organism who selectively perceives and conceptualises his physical and social environment at home differently at different developmental levels while performing different functions.

Dr Jaiswal suggests certain aspects that constitute an ideal home environment. According to him, all individuals need love and affection throughout their lives but the ways of satisfying these needs are different at different stages. All family members add to the emotional environment of the home, but it is the parents who have the greatest effect.Back


Medical officers given certificates
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Aug 13 — The valedictory session of the national programme on the orientation of 25 medical officers working in the primary health centres in disability management was held at the Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre for Blind and Disabiled today. The programme had been organised in collaboration with the Rehabilitation Council, Government of India.

The 52nd batch of trainees in the six-month vocational course of telephone operation-cum-reception, public relations and office management were awarded certificates.

Mr S.S.Kohli, Chairman and Managing Director, Punjab National Bank, was the chief guest on the occasion. While congratulating the medical officers, he told them to work to their maximum capacity for the welfare of the disabled. He also encouraged the trainees of the vocational course to always remain confident and strive to be self-reliant.

Also present on the occasion were Dr E.M. Johnson, director and course coordinator at the centre, and Mr P.N. Khurana, Zonal Manager of the bank.

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