Saturday, September 23, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Biggest farm event of the region ends in fiasco
From Surbhi Bhalla

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — The two-day Kisan Mela, which is billed as the biggest annual agricultural event of the region and is visited by thousands of farmers from all over the state, ended in a fiasco at PAU here today.

While the first day of the mela yesterday was marred by students’ protests, which forced the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, to beat a hasty retreat and cut short his stay on the PAU campus, it was the turn of the farmers to give vent to their ire and frustration on the second and concluding day of the mela today against what they said were infected and substandard seeds of a wheat variety supplied to them by PAU.

While the students burnt effigies of the Chief Minister in support of their demands and better employment opportunities for farm scientists, the agitated farmers staged a noisy protest against the alleged infected seeds of the wheat variety PBW 343, which was being sold to them by officials of the university. The farmers, who had come from every nook and corner of Punjab and neighbouring states of Haryana and Rajasthan, raised slogans and climbed onto the stage in the main pandal.

During the prize distribution function, which was organised in the open air theatre of the university, a large number of farmers staged a dharna and raised slogans against the treatment being meted out to them by the university authorities. Some of them emptied the gunny bags containing the infected seeds.

Mr Kulwant Singh of Himmatpura village, district Moga, complained that the seeds were infected by weevil. Mr Rajwant Singh of Sukhpura village (Barnala) alleged that the seeds were immature and broken.

Mr Gurmal Singh, Sarpanch of Jalur village, complained that the seeds appeared to be nearly three years old. He alleged, on the basis of his experience, that these seeds may not germinate in their field, as a consequence of which, they would suffer heavy losses.

Mr Kartar Singh and Ajaib Singh of Moga expressed disappointment over the fact that there were no new seeds available in the university. Farmers like Mr Harjinder Singh and Mr Sukhminder Singh were also concerned with the falling of linter of Kairon Kisan Ghar in PAU.

The Director Of Extension Education, Dr J.S. Kolar, tried to pacify the angry farmers. He assured them that the infected seeds would be taken back and in lieu, they would be given seeds of better quality. However, the farmers refused to relent. They complained that they would be doing injustice to the farmers who had been given the infected seeds the previous day.

Dr Kolar even went to the extent of saying that they would inform such farmers to return the infected seeds through an advertisement in the newspaper.

While talking to the farmers, Dr Kolar admitted that a lot of seeds which were received from Ropar, were infected and these had been sold through an oversight.

Before Dr Kolar intervened to pacify the agitated farmers, Dr K. K. Mahendra, Additional Director, Extension, who was conducting the stage, had a heated exchange of words with the farmers who ignored his repeated pleas to maintain calm and climbed onto the stage. Dr Mahendra then lost his cool and was heard shouting at the farmers that the PAU was neither subservient to the farmers in anyway nor was it under any obligation to them. A visibly angry Dr Kolar also shouted at the media persons and told them to clear out. He alleged that media persons were also “responsible for spoiling the mela”.

Earlier in the day, the farmers also raised slogans in front of the office of Director, Farms, where the sale of the seeds was in progress. On account of the noisy protest of the farmers the programme was badly disturbed. Most of the farmers did not seem interested in the mela any longer.

Later when this correspondent along with other media persons, talked to Dr K. S. Aulakh, Vice- Chancellor, PAU, he initially expressed ignorance about the farmers’ protest. But he took no time in calling all officials concerned, namely, Dr S.S. Gill, Director, Seeds, Dr. M.S. Bajwa, Director Research, Dr Gurkirpal Singh, Director Farms, to acquaint himself with the latest knowledge, while as Dr Kolar was busy controlling the agitated farmers.

Dr Bajwa also acknowledged the fact that some of the seeds sold to farmers were infected and these included seeds from Ropar. However, the Vice-Chancellor assured that he would order an inquiry into the whole thing and take action against the officials who were at fault.

Meanwhile, the students of the university continued their agitation for the fourth consecutive day. They took out a rally and ,raised slogans against the Punjab Government and the Chief Minister. They also burnt effigies of the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, at the site of the mela.

They reiterated their resolve that they would continue their agitation until their demands were met. Students demanded that agriculture should be introduced as a separate stream and the subject should be included at the school level. The vacant posts of ADOs, HDOs and SCOs should be filled at the earliest. Ban on the post of Assistant Professors in the university should be lifted. License for the sale of pesticides and weedicides should be given to agriculture graduates and diploma holders only.


Doctors express concern over hospital issue 
By Ruchika Mohindra 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — The Satluj Hospital controversy today got murkier with the founder-director of the hospital alleging that the charge of attempt to rape being framed against him was fabricated at the behest of another director of the hospital, who was the son of a senior retired police officer.

Dr B.S. Sekhon, founder-director of the hospital, while refuting the charges levelled against him in the FIR said that at the given time of occurrence of the crime, he was not even in hospital. He said that after the firing incident, wherein a policeman was shot at, Dr Ravi Tah and Dr S.N. Mathur were booked on charges of attempt to murder.

“Being caught on the wrong foot themselves, they hatched this conspiracy to embroil me,” he said. “The person alleged to have misbehaved with Dr Jyoti Tah, Surinder Singh, was my patient. He was undergoing treatment in the hospital under me.”

He says that ever since the dispute amongst the directors, he was preparing separate case files for his own patients before admitting them in the hospital.” It was because of this that there was reportedly a verbal duel between him and Dr Jyoti. The supporters of other four directors beat him up and tied him. They fabricated the entire molestation story and called the police, ” he alleges.

Dr Sekhon also says that he had himself got all information about his patient being beaten up while he was on his way to Lodhi Club. “I rushed to the hospital but the gates were locked and it was then that the police party led by DSP Harminder Singh Gill reached the spot,” he maintains.

When asked if he had applied for bail, he denied, saying that since he was not guilty, he waited for the police inquiry to exonerate him of the charges. It is also learnt that Brig P.S. Toor, the main accused in the firing incident, has still not been arrested by the police.

Meanwhile, the medical community has expressed grave concern over the developments taking place in Satluj Hospital. Demanding that the district administration should intervene in the dispute, most of the doctors blamed the police for not handling the case with responsibility.

The Ludhiana district unit president of the Indian Medical Association, Dr Gurcharan Singh, said any action should be taken after verifying all facts. He pointed out that the dispute between the founding partners of the hospital had become too complex for a simple solution. He maintained that justice should be done.

Regretting the incidents that took place in the hospital on the night of September 19, the former state president of the All-India Integrated Medical Association, Dr Ravinder Vatsyayan, urged both disputing parties to maintain utmost restraint, expected of responsible people. He pointed out that it was a reputed institution and the reports emerging from there were too disappointing.

Two leading doctors of the city Dr Iqbal Ahuja and Dr Naresh Bassi have also expressed their concern over the situation in the hospital. They sought the intervention of the district administration for resolving the dispute before the situation takes any ugly turn. The doctors appealed to both groups to resolve the dispute through negotiations.


Gujral accused of misusing power
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — The UT Home Secretary, Mr R.S.Gujral, has been accused of misusing power and getting a case registered against Manpreet, her father, S.S. Oberoi and Vishal Aggarwal under harsh sections of the Indian Penal Code, even when these did not apply.

It is learnt that the two accused, who were arrested by the police on August 18, and were yesterday granted bail by the Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr B.K. Mehta, were released only after the police was pulled up for booking them under Section 420 of the IPC. The court had observed that Section 420 of the IPC did not apply, as no property was involved. The court also said that Section 417 of the IPC could have been used instead.

While talking to TNS at his residence here today, Vishal Aggarwal lashed out at Mr Gujral for implicating him in this case. “I admit that I was in close contact with Manpreet till about two years ago and shared a deep emotional relationship with her. But I have not been in contact with her now and have not even spoken to her.”

While reiterating that he did not know why he was being targeted, he said that his photographs with Manpreet on her daughter’s birthday party were no proof of their marriage nor was the fact that he had introduced her to the Bank Of America at Delhi. “She said she wanted to open a bank account there and since I already had an account, I gave her an introduction in the bank.”

When asked about Manpreet and her daughter, Mallika, using his surname, Vishal was evasive , but later said that he was not aware of this.

It may be noted here that a local police party, led by SI Dharam Pal, had been sent to Delhi two days ago to substantiate the charges of marriage levelled against Manpreet and Vishal in the case. But the police party reportedly could not make much headway and is likely to return tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the local police today claimed to be heading for a major breakthrough in the case with the seizure of certain photographs and letters of Manpreet with her numerous ‘friends’.

According to the information available from police sources, it is learnt that the Police has managed to procure photographs of Manpreet with one of her ‘friends’ in Shimla in objectionable poses’. Other than this, ‘love letters’ written to the Home Secretary’s wife by an industrialist in Delhi, too, have been recovered.

When contacted, the Senior Superintendent of Police, Mr Kuldeep Singh, confirmed that the letters and photographs were with the police. He , however, conceded that these did not have any direct bearing on the case and were only proof of her intimate relationship with a number of people.


296 trees near railway station face axe 
From Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — After the cutting of 32 trees at Punjab Agricultural University and another 108 by the Municipal Corporation at the Shaheed Joginder Pal Pandey road, it is now the turn of the Railway authorities to make a dent on the already depleting green cover of the city.

Nearly 300 trees, including peepal, neem and banyan in the premises of the railway station here are going to face the axe. The process started yesterday when about 15 trees were axed. According to an official of the department, all formalities regarding the auctioning of the trees have been finalised. The explanation given for the move is that the trees are being cut on the directions of the engineers of the Ferozepore division of the railways, as the trees have grown old.

Once these trees are gone the city will lose important green cover, which had somewhat helped in slowing down the spread of pollution in this industrial city. More than 450 trees will vanish from the city scene is less than two months from now. Environmentalists feel, it going to take decades to cover the loss of such massive deforestation in the city.

Interestingly, the cutting down of trees at three places in a short

span of three months has put a question mark on the ‘Save Trees, Save Life’ slogans put up by the district administration and municipal corporation at various places in

the city. Some non-governmental organisations had recently observed Environment Week in the city

and educated the public about saving trees. Jathedar Keshgarh sahib, Bhai Manjit Singh, had also recently visited the city and encouraged people to plant more trees. But the opposite seems to be coming in the city.

While earlier, cutting down of trees was condemned only by environmentalists, this time the move of the Railways department has triggered a confrontation with unions of taxi drivers, rickshaw-pullers and coolies.

Taking up cudgels against the department’s move leaders of various unions yesterday forcibly stopped the chopping of a peepal tree. Mr Madan Lal and Mr Gulzar Singh, President and Vice-President respectively of the Northern Railways Taxi Operators Union, have threatened to launch an agitation over the issue.

Mr Krishan Lal, President Rickshaw-pullers union said they were seeking legal opinion on the issue.

The union leaders also refused to accept the argument of the railway authorities that the roots of the trees were damaging the buildings of the station and alleged that the move smacked of an ulterior motive. In fact, after seeing the trees, any one could tell that they were young and yet to grow fully.

The union leaders also said that most of the trees were located far from the station buildings and there was no chance of damage to any building. They said the trees were extremely helpful in cleaning the environment near the station, polluted due to heavy traffic not only of trains but of three-wheelers, cars and buses, which transport travellers to or from the station.

The unions said the trees apart from the purifying the environment, also provided a shade to them where they could sit and rest. Some old members of the union said they were aimed at the axing of the trees as they had themselves planted and nurtured some of the trees like their own children.


Farmers seek support price 
By Vimal Sumbly & Iqbal Singh 
Tribune News Service

KHANNA, Sept 22 — Despite government agencies having started the procurement process of paddy, farmers still continue to sell their product for a price far less than the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the government. Besides the government agencies have not been too forthcoming in purchasing the paddy from the farmers on the pretext that it contained more moisture and was more discoloured than the permissible limits.

Most of the farmers pointed out the fact that the government agencies were raising various objections regarding the presence of moisture and discolouration of the paddy. They alleged, this was only an excuse, as the private millers and commission agents were purchasing the same without any objections, but of course at a less price than the MSP.

Several farmers pointed out that according to the procurement norms set by the government, 18 per cent moisture and 3 per cent discolouration was permissible. But the government agencies engaged in procurement were refusing to purchase the paddy on the MSP, claiming that the moisture was around 22 per cent, while the discolouration was about 6 per cent.

On the second day of the official procurement, various government agencies procured only 500 quintal of paddy. Yesterday these agencies had procured 2000 quintal.

While 60,000 quintal of paddy arrived here in the mandi yesterday, today the arrivals were more at 75000 quintal. The low purchase of paddy by the government agencies has been disappointing for the farmers. Most of the paddy was sold between Rs 490 to Rs 502 in the mandi here.

Despite the entry of the government agencies for the procurement it is the private commission agents and millers who have been purchasing the paddy in bulk. While the government agencies purchased about 2500 quintal during two days, the private agencies purchased about 50,000 quintals for the same period.

As the quantity of paddy arriving is increasing day by day, with sales not commensurate to the quantity of arrivals, about 50,000 quintal are still lying in the mandi. Of this only about 20,000 quintal are in the covered shed, while the rest is lying in the open.

With the sky remaining cloudy for the last two days, the farmers have been feeling apprehensive about the rains.


Dr Khush to deliver lecture at PAU 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — Dr Gurdev Singh Khush, the man behind revolution in rice farming, has been invited by Punjab Agricultural University to deliver a lecture on the topic ‘future of agriculture in Punjab’.

He will deliver the lecture on September 27, at 2 p.m. in the Pal Auditorium. Giving this information, Dr J.S. Kolar, Director of Extension Education, said that Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Union Minister, would be the chief guest and Dr K.S. Aulakh, Vice-Chancellor would preside over the function.

The university will also honour him on this occasion. A book written on Dr Khush to commemorate his 65th birthday will also be released. Dr Khush is the Principal Scientist at the International Rice Research Institute, Phillipines, for the past 33 years. He is an alumnus of the College of Agriculture, Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.

Dr Khush has made significant contribution to theoretical research in plane genetics, evolution and breeding. He has developed about 300 varieties of rice, which were grown in more than 60 per cent area of the world.

One of his varieties, IR-36, has the distinction of being cultivated in 50 per cent area under rice cultivation in the world. As a result of the wide scale adoption of improved varieties developed under his leadership, the world rice production has doubled in a 25-year period from 257 mt in 1967 to 520 mt in 1990.

He has received four international awards this year. The latest was the Wolf Prize, the Israeli equivalent of the Nobel Prize, which was presented to him by the Israeli President on May 21 carrying a cash award for $1 lakh. Earlier this year, he was given the Padma Shri by the Government of India. Friendship Award by the Government of China and B.P. Paul Memorial Award by the Indian Science Association. Other awards include the World Food Prize, the International Agronomy Award by the American Society of Agronomy, Prize in Science and Technology by the Government of Japan and Rank Prize of England. Many universities have also bestowed on him honorary degrees.

Dr Khush was born in the Rurki village of Jalandhar district and graduated from the Government Agriculture College, Ludhiana, in 1955. Before retiring from active research work, he is planning to bring in another rice revolution to feed the growing world population, especially of Asia.

He has already developed a new plant type with a 20 per cent higher yield potential and a high yielding short stature basmati rice. Success of rice in Punjab is also due to the adoption of high yielding varieties of rice developed by him.

The most popular variety PR-106 was also developed at the IIR by him. Similarly short duration variety PR-103 owes its origin to him. Due to its short duration, Punjab farmers are able to take an additional crop of potato, toria, fodder etc. A number of rice varieties developed by Dr Khush, when released, would increase the rice production of the state by 25 per cent. Similarly the yield of basmati will double with the adoption of high yielding dwarf varieties developed by him. 


Claim by education trust member 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — Mr Gurbir Singh, son of late Punjab Chief Minister Justice Gurnam Singh, maintained today that he continued to be the president of the Guru Nanak Educational Trust, which manages Guru Nanak Girls College in Model Town, here.

In a signed statement issued here today, Mr Gurbir Singh said that the correct legal position was that he had been granted interim injuction vide order dated 28.7.1994 by the trial court to discharge the duties of the office of the president of the trust. The same was upheld by the High Court in civil revision vide order dated 18.4.1995. The SLP filed by Mr Maheshinder Singh, MLA, and his brother, Dr Gurinder Singh Grewal, was dismissed by the Supreme Court vide order dated 24.10.1996.

In the order dated 18.4.1995, the High Court had observed that it was mandatory to remove the president of the trust before a new president could be appointed and further laid down a procedure for the same . Till today, Mr Gurbir Singh had not been removed as president by any trust resolution or court order and continued in office. No court order had held that Mr Gurinder Singh was the president of the trust.

The FIR registered against Mr Gurbir Singh and others was at the “behest of Mr Maheshinder Singh acting in collusion with a senior official in the Punjab Government indicted by the CBI on serious corruption charges”. The FIR was registered in violation and contempt of court order. Legal action was being taken against the police officials responsible for the same. Mr Gurbir Singh said he had also instructed his counsel to issue legal notices to the Chief Secretary to the Punjab Government and other officials concerned not to interfere in the affairs of the said trust and college in violation of the court orders.

Mr Gurbir Singh said the press statement by Dr Gurinder Singh Grewal, who was posing as president of Guru Nanak Education Trust, was “false, baseless and in contempt of court”. The statement was at the behest of his brother, Mr Maheshinder Singh, who had “repeatedly tried to take control of the institution illegally with the help of the police. Consequently, he is facing serious charges in criminal cases”.


Misuse of government machinery alleged 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — The nine-party Sanjha Morcha leaders today expressed confidence that its candidate for the Sunam Assembly constituency, Prof Prem Singh Chandumajra, will emerge victorious in the byelection slated later this month.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Harish Khanna, convener, Janata Dal (S), Punjab, Mr Subhash Beri, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Punjab, Mr Surjan Singh Thekedar, working president, Sarb Hind Shiromani Akali Dal, and Mr Jagjit Singh Lyalpuri, general secretary, MCPI, alleged that the Chief Minister and his associates had begun to adopt unfair means and tactics to muster support for the SAD (B) candidate, Mr Parminder Singh Dhindsa. They claimed that the ruling party had thrown all rules to the winds and were paying no heed to the model code of conduct. They were also openly using muscle and money power to influence the electorate, they added.

They appealed to the Election Commission to strictly enforce the model code of conduct in Sunam and now all state government to take undue advantage of its own administration. Security arrangements around the polling booths should also be handed over to the CRPF as they feared rigging in the polls.

They emphasised that the Sanjha Morcha would continue to be functional even after the byelection. It would contest all 117 Assembly constituencies whenever the election is held and if voted to power, would set up a commission of inquiry to look into the acts of omission and commission on the part of the Badal government.

They also complained that corruption, unemployment, rising prices had made life miserable for the average citizen of Punjab. The leaders also accused the government of failing on fronts, including inclusion of Udham Singh Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas in Punjab.


Mixed reactions on STD tariff reduction 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — The announcement reducing tariff on STD service has been welcomed by the general public. But the PCO owners were divided in their opinion about the effect on their business.

Mrs Priya Narayan, newly married said, ‘‘because of reduction of costs of STD calls, I will be able to call at my parents’ place more frequently keeping the total expenses the same.’’

Mr Taranpreet, recently engaged to a girl in Delhi, said that the news brought a sigh of relief for him, as he said that he was upset with the monthly bill that he recently received from the PCO owner. Next month, he expects less expenditure due to telephone calls.

Mr Jagjit Singh Baghrian, a PCO owner, however, was not happy with the news as he said that it would hit his business. Explaining the reason, he said, ‘‘less revenue would mean less commission. With the reduction of costs of making calls, most of the people would indulge in making longer calls, thus making the lines even more busy.’’

Mr Ranvir Sharma, another PCO owner, lamented, ‘‘we are already hit by the Ludhiana-Jalandhar local line 92 service, because we lost our service charge. But for the general public, it is certainly good as with the lowering of tarrif, communication will become cheaper for them.’’

However some PCO owners have welcomed the new decision of the government as they believed that people would make longer calls, thus bringing in more revenue.



By N. S. Tasneem
The essence of existence

MIRZA Ghalib said a century and a half ago - “I want to live at a place where nobody resides”. I too want to say the same thing at this point of my life. I need solitude to ponder over the secrets of life. Still more I yearn to put in writing the vicissitudes of my own life. I have a desire to make a clean breast of what has not happened to me. What else can an uneventful life project to others? It is not the gains but the losses that invite my attention. The reason being — “The cup has been dealt to me in another measure.” It does not, however, matter whether others, in the words of Shelly, call life pleasure or not.

Sometimes ago I went to a hill-station for a year to enjoy the beauties of nature and, at the same time, to take stock of things that had been occupying my mind for about half a century. Aloneness was my choice, but loneliness I could not stand. I wanted to shut the sounds and voices out of the door of my room. But I did not want to banish them altogether. I desired to be fully conscious of the hum of life, hardly a step away from my door.

It was unbearable for me to be shut in a dome where my own voice reverberated. Too much silence disturbed me and I could not concentrate on my work. The twittering of a sparrow or the humming of a bee was needed to enable me to think deeply and for long. In fact my need was an island of calmness in the turbulent sea of rising waves and howling winds.

Charles Lamb has said, “Nor the man in action but the man in contemplation is the real man”. He means to say that in action a person is transformed into a different individual. He reacts to a situation in an impulsive manner. On the second thought, he may like to undo what he has done in haste. In excitement he is not his trueself, but a stranger to himself.

Moreover, as a social being man behaves in the manner he is expected to behave. He has no choice, but to exhibit his gregarious instinct. His persona takes many forms in public but in a contemplative mood he is face to face with his true self. In that situation, he discovers what has remained hidden from him all the time. In a crowd his identity is lost. Paradoxically he recedes into his inner self as he is jostled by the multitude.

Just as ‘a moment is a window on all times’, a person lives at many stages of his life at the same time. A child, a boy, a youth and a middle-aged person exist in the spaces of the mind, not huddled together, but in the chronological order. In a particular situation, a man behaves like a child even though he is advanced in age. A familiar smell or a distinct fragrance may transport him to the realm of his youth. Like the undulating waves, he is tossed to and fro in a playful manner. He may go far into the mists of time but, before long, he comes to his own self with a sense of relief. This exercise is exuberating to such an extent that he feels rejuvenated in the end.

In advanced years, a person can act like an old man, but cannot live as such. He reminds himself time and again that he should behave like a responsible person. He then strikes the pose of a person who has called the pearls of wisdom from many sources. The moment he reminds himself of this, he assumes the role of the legendry wise man, king Solomon. That is the time when he becomes the person he never was. He considers himself the person as others view him to be. Very few individuals can make fun of themselves even when others regard them as icons. W.B. Yeats, on his visit to a school as Inspector, imagined himself as the butt of the children’s jocular instinct. To them, he thought, he was like an ‘old scarecrow’ or ‘a coat on the hanger’.

In different situations, at different places and with different persons one behaves differently. Even when one is in the company of a middle-aged woman, one may behave like a youngster. The climate of one’s mind at a particular time determines one’s behaviour. Myriads of impressions are formed in the mind, but there is seldom any total impact. Everything is in a state of fluidity, assuming various shapes, but in the long run merging into each other. The feeling is that of a stream flowing calmly, though deep underneath there is some urgency. Hurriedly one brushes aside many thoughts and sensations with a gesture of finality. But in a contemplative mood, all of them come back endearingly.

At this time of my life, as I said earlier, I look back and try to recede into the dome of my inner self. I seek solitude to prepare myself to be at the place where action is. In the long-drawn-out battle one has to face the problems of life in all their dimensions. This is perhaps the essence of existence.


Farid: storehouse of divine wisdom

SHEIKH Farid (1173-1265 AD) was one of the distinguished Sufi saints who adapted Sufism to the socio-religious culture of this region. The concept of Farid’s Sufism emanated from three basic tenets — love of God, purity of mind, and detachment from wealth and worldly pursuits.

A mystic poet and philosopher, Farid was a scholar who widened the horizons of Sufi thought through his verses in Hindiwi, a mix of Urdu and Multani Punjabi. Whereas the ulemas and high officials conducted their work in Persian, Farid communicated with the people in a medium which they understood and felt at home with.

Farid’s poetry is concerns of themes of suffering and pain, pride and humility, longing and nostalgia, and mortality and transience. His verses are replete with sincerity, immediacy and nostalgia.

Farid’s major contribution to Sufi thought is his spiritual quest in the idiom of the masses, which makes his verses immensely popular. Add to this the singing of qawwalis and the rhythmic dancing on various occasions, and they combine to create ultimate ecstasy which knits together the murshid, the murid and every other participant.

The concept of Sufism has received a new dimension at the hands of Seikh Farid, which has been enthusiastically welcomed by a majority of Indians. The secular and universal appeal of his verses impelled Shri Guru Arjan Dev to incorporate them in the Adi Granth. The Granth has 112 slokas and four shabads of Sheikh Farid. This indicates not only the universality of the mystical outpourings of this Muslim saint but also reveals that the language, similes and metaphors used by him are akin to the rest of the compositions in the Granth.

Sufism reaches its zenith when Farid says: ‘o crow, you have searched my skeleton, and eaten all my flesh; But touch not these two eyes, as I hope to behold my Beloved”.

The theme of quest in Sufism is remarkably rendered by Farid in unique terms when he says:

‘Farid, there is mud in the streets;

The house of the Beloved is far away;

But I am in immense love with Him.

If I go out in the rain,

My cloak shall get wet; but

If, instead, I stay back,

I shall surely ruin my love’.

Then, to combat grief and suffering Farid advises practice of asceticism. All mansions and empires, says Farid, will turn into ruins sooner than we imagine. He therefore suggests:

‘Farid, attach not thy heart to houses,

mansions and lofty palaces;

When unweighable earth falleth on thee,

Thou shalt have no friend’.

Farid’s humility and meekness is proverbial. It reigns supreme in his thought. These proverbial virtues are embalmed in this sloka:

‘Farid, should any man smite thee,

Return not blow for blow,

Nay, kiss his feet that smiteth thee,

And go home calmly’.

In the context of humility, Farid advises:

‘Farid, revile not dust;

There is nothing like it;

When we are alive

It is beneath our feet,

When we are dead,

It is above us’.

Sufism, as interpreted by Farid, is universal humanitarianism which stands for unison with God by meditation adherence to moral values, and negation of the self. He says:

‘Farid, love of God and greed can’t go together;

If thou be possessed of true wisdom,

Blacken not the record of your life,

And peep into your heart;

Friends, eat thy hard crust of bread,

Take simple water,

Envy not the delicacies another is enjoying’.

The following is the concluding sloka of Farid in the Adi Granth which represents his humanistic creed:

‘All men’s hearts are jewels,

To distress them is by no means good;

If thou desire the Beloved,

Distress no one’s heart’.

It has been said that Sheikh Farid laid emphasis on the conventional ways of worship such as visiting the mosque five times a day, but a deeper study of his thought reveals that his concept of God is not orthodox. He says ‘God dwells neither in the seventh heaven nor in the forests, away from humanity. He is enthroned in the heart of Man.’ These lines of Farid are relevant in this context:

‘Farid, Why wanderest thou over wild places,

Trampling throns under thy feet?

God abides in the heart;

Seek Him not in lonely wastes’.

In Farid’s Sufism nature gets prime importance. For instance, Farid says:

‘The swan hath alighted in the field of chaft;

People scare it away;

The ignorant multitude not knowing,

The swan pecks not at chaft’


‘Farid, at midnight is scattered fragrant musk;

Those asleep share not this blessing;

What union for those with eyes slumber-oppressed?

Farid was the harbinger of a new Sufi thought. He was also a craftsman par excellence. Transforming Punjabi from a mere dialect into an instrument of literary expression of high merit was his outstanding contribution. Punjabi poetry acquired a new shape, vigour and vitality hitherto unknown. Farid kept intact the flavour of music in his verses, and that is why his slokas are without any type of rhythmic error.

Farid’s verses are an ocean of divine wisdom, which can be easily approached by all seekers of truth, righteousness, and morality. Even after eight centuries Farid’s Sufism is relevant today. What basically is impressive about it is its freshness of outlook, catholicity of temper, and above all, universal humanitarianism. — J. S. Bedi



IN the early mornings and late evenings, there is a nip in the air, although the days are hot due to high relative humidity. Woes of residents here never seem to end.. If one gets normal supply of electricity, then the water supply gets erratic.

Rupee has sunk to historic low. This has cast a shadow of gloom on economic front. Hike in oil prices is imminent, for the prices of crude oil and petroleum products have risen all over the world. Since the oil prices are likely to rise in India, the cost of the things will spiral. The spiralling costs will be a burden on the middle-class man.

The market which had been dull on account of monsoons and shradhs is expecting a spurt in sales during the navratras. Consumers are looking forward to purchasing expensive household goods, property etc. People will begin to make preparations for the forthcoming weddings.

A few days ago there was excellent performance by the legendary santoor player Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma, who performed in Patiala, Ludhiana and Amritsar within two days. He undertook this hectic schedule to promote awareness of culture and art among the youth under the aegis of SPIC MACAY. Similarly, Langas and Mangniyras, Raja, and Radha Reddy, Gurmeet Bawa had a hectic schedule. The artists’ aim was to make people cherish our rich classical music, dance. One thing that was common in all these artists was their humility, their modesty and willingness to share their knowledge with the children.

Panjab University Senate elections passed off peacefully. Most of the principals of various institutions were elected. Mr Satish Sharma of the Arya College for Boys was the only professor who polled more than 250 votes. The situation in Guru Nanak Public School, Sarabha Nagar, which was turbulent last week, has finally settled down. The court has returned the old management and the principal of the school.

Movie buffs have to make do with old movies only as no new Hindi movie has been released this week. If you are a fan of James Bond then you are lucky, for Tomorrow Never Dies is being screened at one of the cinema halls.

Wonderful, offers are being given by the companies to the customers for the coming festive season. They are being offered a number of free gifts like holidays, a kilogram of gold, a car, Internet time etc.

If winning of a bronze medal in Sydney Olympics can make Indians happy, imagine the consequences if someone had won a gold medal. In a population of more than a billion, we can produce only one medalist. Is it something to be proud of? Something serious needs to be done to revamp the policies of sports and games. — AA



Auctioned post-offices ‘almost’ saved 
Tribune News Service

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — Postal employees in the city can heave a sigh of relief as the Ministry of Defence has almost agreed to bail out three post offices here, whose auction was announced by a district court in order to pay compensation to farmers of Daba village near here, whose land was acquired by the Defence Ministry.

The district court had earlier attached the property of the Head Post Office, Central Post Office, Bhadaur House and of one near the old courts in the same case. However, as the Defence Ministry did not pay the dues to the 22 applicant farmers, the court directed an auction of post-office buildings, as they too belonged to the Union Government.

This had led to anxiety among the postal employees. According to sources, the postal authorities in Delhi had received a communication from the Defence Ministry about their willingness to pay the dues. It is expected that the payment would be done before the auction date.


Gill’s victory hailed 
From Our Correspondent

DORAHA, Sept 22 — The managing committee, staff and students of Guru Nanak National College of Doraha have hailed the election of Mr Jaswant Singh Gill to the Panjab University Senate.

Nine principals of 81 colleges of the university contested for eight seats. All four candidates of Ludhiana — Ms Harmeet Kaur of Ramgarhia College, Mr B.D. Budhiraja of SD Kamla Lohtia College, Mr Tarsem Bahia of A.S. College at Khanna and Mr Jaswant Singh Gill of Guru Nanak National College at Doraha — have won.

Dr Ishwar Singh, President of the Management Federation of Non-Government Affiliated Colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh, has also congratulated the principals who have been elected to the PU Senate. He hoped that the new Senators would help the federation improve the standards of education in the university.



CFTRI golden jubilee 
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 22 — The regional centre of the Central Food Technology Research Institute (CFTRI) here will celebrate its golden jubilee on September 26. On the same day, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) will celebrate its foundation day. A function organised on this occasion will be open to all school children, so that they can learn about advancements in food preservation and processing.

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