Wednesday, March 7, 2001,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Sant Samaj opposes changes in Guru Granth Sahib
Favours Bhai Ranjit Singh as Akal Takht Jathedar
K. S. Chawla

Ludhiana, March 6
The Gurmit Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj representing 150 Sikh sants has taken strong exception to the jap bodh samagam started by the Sikh high priests and has urged SGPC chief Jagdev Singh Talwandi to stop them from making any changes in Guru Granth Sahib and ensure the sanctity of the standardised Bir of Damdama Sahib.

Baba Sarbjot Singh Bedi, President of the Sant Samaj, told Ludhiana Tribune in an interview at his Mansuran dera, 15 km from here, today that a fresh controversy had been started by Prof Manjit Singh, Jathedar of Takht Kesgarh Sahib, and Bhai Kewal Singh, Jathedar of Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo, with a view to bringing corrections in Guru Ganth Sahib.

The two Sikh high priests have been holding camps in different parts of Punjab and making corrections in the Guru Granth Sahib printing in the context of grammatical mistakes.

Ludhiana Tribune has learnt that the Gurmit Sidhant Pracharak Sant Samaj has resented the activities of the two jathedars and lodged a strong protest with the SGPC President in this regard. Sant Mann Singh of Pehowa also met the Chief Minister and President of the Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, and sought immediate action against them. Mr Badal is reported to have spoken to Mr Talwandi and urged him to stop the two jathedars from their campaign.

Mr Talwandi held a meeting with the Sant Samaj at Rajgarh village in Ludhiana district on March 3 and assured the Sant Samaj that no changes would be allowed to be made in Guru Granth Sahib and the sanctity of the Damdama Sahib Bir would be maintained.

Baba Sarbjot Singh was of the view that Guru Granth Sahib contained the writings of the Gurus and the same had been compiled on the basis of the writings of Sikh Gurus. By suggesting changes in Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh priests had started a fresh controversy. Earlier, he said there was a controversy over the ragmala as the Akhand Kirtani Jatha had been saying that ragmala was not part of the Gurbani whereas the entire Sikh quam accepted it as part of the Gurbani.

Baba Sarbjot Singh said that in 1962, the Sikh sants and scholars had collected at Akal Takht and accepted the Damdama Sahib Bir as the standardised Bir. All Birs were printed after that on the basis of the Damdama Sahib Bir. Again Bhai Ranjit Singh, former Jathedar of Akal Takht, also set up a committee of Sikh scholars and sants to look into the missing links in the Guru Granth Sahib Bir after its printing. But this committee was abolished with the removal of Bhai Ranjit Singh as Jathedar of Akal Takht. Bhai Ranjit Singh had also stopped the printing of Guru Granth Sahib by a private agency and had asked the SGPC to print the same.

Baba Sarbjot Singh called upon Mr Talwandi to pass a formal resolution at the SGPC executive meeting tomorrow at Anandpur Sahib and implement his assurances to the Sant Samaj that no changes would be made in Guru Granth Sahib.

He said that during the meeting with the Sant Samaj, Mr Talwandi also assured that no changes would be made in the definition of the Sikh vote and if at all any change was made it would be on the basis of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee as passed by Parliament.

The Sant Samaj President, however, regretted that fresh controversies were being created in the Sikh Panth and it was the most unfortunate that these controversies were taking place when the Akali Dal was in power. These controversies were happening within the Sikh Panth so that they could not unite.

Baba Sarbjot Singh alleged that the Rashtriya Sikh Sangat had also infiltrated into Sikhism with the patronage of Mr Parkash Singh Badal. It was shameful that the RSS was teaching the Sikhs maryada.

He said that Panthic unity could be achieved only with the reinstatement of Bhai Ranjit Singh who made a big sacrifice for the Sikhs. He also criticised the Union Minister, Mr Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, for assailing Bhai Ranjit Singh.

Baba Sarbjot Singh asserted that the Sant Samaj stood by Bhai Ranjit Singh as per its resolution of February 2, 1999. Answering a question, Baba Sarbjot Singh said that there was no confrontation between the Sant Samaj, the SGPC and the Akali government. If the SGPC did not resolve the Panthic issues, ''We will think of drastic steps in the near future'', he said.

The Sant Samaj would not like to destabilise the Akali government.

When contacted, Mr Talwandi said that he had already stopped the two Sikh high priests from meddling with Guru Granth Sahib and said that no changes would be allowed in the same.


Surgery on cervical bone through mouth performed
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 6
Surgery on cervical bone through mouth was performed by Dr Yashbir Dewan on March 2 on a 25-year-old girl at the CMC Hospital. Dr Yashbir and Dr Sharad Samson operated for two hours to correct cervical vertebra C2 as it was compressing the spinal cord in the vital region which has control over breathing and blood pressure.

Monika Handa had been complaining of neck pain for the last seven months and was being treated for cervical pain by some doctor at Khanna. After listening to her medical history, Dr Sharad Samson diagnosed it as the tuberculosis of the vertebra. The classical symptom of vertebral tuberculosis is pain during the night and inability to sleep. Her husband said, “She never could turn sides during the night and suffered a great pain. I had to change her sides in order to give her some relief.” This symptom provided a vital clue to Dr Samson and the next day Dr Yashbir Dewan decided to perform cranivertebral junction surgery through mouth with microneurosurgery technique.

The area where the spinal cord was being compressed is usually very difficult to reach as it lies behind the face and the lower jaw. The surgery was, therefore, done through the mouth using microscope. She was given general anaesthesia. The operation required very careful manipulation as the major vessels to the brain are located within 2cm of the site of the operation. The other advantage of this surgery was that the surgery would leave no visible scar.

After the surgery she was lying in the neurosurgical ward comfortably and strength had returned to her limbs, she was wearing a collar and was fed through a food pipe. But according to Dr Samson, she would be able to do all the work after two or three weeks. The food pipe would be removed in a few days. After a period of 3 to 6 months, she will not have to wear the collar but she will have to complete the nine months prescribed treatment for tuberculosis, or else the tuberculosis can strike again.


Consumer forum penalises trust
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 6
The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed the local Improvement Trust to refund Rs 3,250, which was paid for the allotment of a residential plot and to pay Rs 500 as the cost of litigation to Mr Jagat Ram. However, the forum refused to direct the trust to issue sale deed of the disputed plot and to receive the balance price of the plot.

Mr Jagat Ram, a resident of Railway colony, stated before the forum that the respondent through a letter on June 9, 1980, had informed him regarding the scheme for the allotment of plots to local displaced persons (LDP) and asked him to deposit Rs 500 on June 13, 1980. The complainant further stated before the forum that he was allotted house No. 134-A in Maharishi Balmik Nagar of 100 square yard at the rate of Rs 110 per square yard on May 5, 1990. He was to deposit 25 per cent of the total amount of Rs 11,000 within 15 days and deposited the amount on the same day.

The complainant alleged that the allotment made by the then chairman was stopped by the government and no further proceedings were taken. According to the complaint, the file was taken away by the Deputy Director, Local Bodies, Jalandhar, for inquiry and his attorney who is living in the house had made a correspondence with the opposite party but the respondent did not receive the remaining instalments.

The forum observed that the complainant had applied for a plot in the different scheme. The forum further stated that the then chairman of the trust had allotted the plot in illegal manner as the chairman could not allot a plot in a different scheme and as such the allotment was illegal. The forum said, “the trust is not bound by the illegal acts of the individual employee of the trust and even of the chairman if he acts beyond his power.” The forum held that the trust could not be directed to deliver the possession of the plot which was illegally allotted to the Mr Jagat Ram and to get the amount deposited.


220 students awarded degrees
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 6
Nearly 220 graduate and postgraduate students of GGN Khalsa College, Civil Lines, were awarded degrees at an annual convocation held here today.

In total, 120 students received degrees for B.Com, 70 students for BA, eight students for B.Sc, two students for BA (honours) and 22 students for MA. Besides, toppers of the previous batch in various streams were given away prizes. Gurpreet received a prize for securing the first position in B.Com and Rajvinder for standing first in BSc. Sonu Mittal, topper in BA, Baljit Singh, topper in MA, and Amanpreet, topper in evening batch of BA, were also given prizes.

Mr Harinder Singh, member, National Commission for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, was the chief guest. Mr S. P. Singh, President of the managing committee, and Mr Kuldip Singh, Principal, were also present on the occasion. 


LICHFL cuts interest rate
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
The LIC Housing Finance Limited has announced a significant reduction in interest rates for house loans with effect from March 3.

In a press note issued here today, Mr B. R. Mehta, Area Manager, LIC Housing Finance Limited, Ludhiana, said,‘‘The revised rate of interest on a house loan upto Rs 50 lakh for 5 years term will be 10.75 per cent under Griha Prakash Scheme. For loans up to Rs 2 lakh for 10 year term, the new rate of interest will be 11.5 per cent and for term of 11 to 15 years it will be 11.75 per cent. For loan above 2 lakh and upto 50 lakh, the rate of interest will be 12.25 per cent for 6 to 10 years term and 12.5 per cent up to 11 to 15 years term.’’

He said from April 1, the income tax benefits on house loan interest under section 24(1) has also been enhanced from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh. The LIC HFL has also liberalised its scheme for purchase of plots with availability of maximum term of presently six years to 15 years. Loans will be available for purchase of residential plots from reputed and PUDA approved private builders. 


Id congregation denounces Ahmedias
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 6
It was the anti- Ahmedia sentiment that dominated during the Id congregation here with a strong crowd of about one lakh Muslim devotees denouncing the Ahmedia faith and raising slogans against the sect. It was not just the slogans, but also the tone and tenor of the speakers, which reflected the deep aversion and hatred among the Muslims against the sect, which challenges the basic Islamic tenets that Muhammad was the last prophet of Islam. Even the banners were put on the stage and around denouncing the Ahmedia faith and describing it as anti and non- Muslim.

Addressing the congregation the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman Sani Ludhianvi, demanded a ban on the Ahmedia sect and its activities. He alleged that the Ahmidyias were hatching a conspiracy to divide the country and soon facts would be made public.

One of the speakers alleged that some Ahmedyias were trying to convert the Muslims to the sect and had also tried to physically assault the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid Ludhiana, recently. He warned that it may take dangerous connotations and could also harm the peace in the state.

Speaking on the occasion the Punjab state president of the Indian Muslim Council, Maulana Atiq-ur-Rehman, criticised the statement of the RSS chief, Mr K C Sudershan about Indianisation of Islam.

He pointed out the Muslims had equal contribution in country’s freedom struggle and had always taken a lead in safeguarding the unity and intergrity of the nation. He said such statements by the RSS leaders could disturb the peace in the country.

The Maulana also expressed serious concern over the treatment meted out to Urdu in the state. He demanded that Urdu be introduced at least up to the middle level.

He reiterated the demand for an Idgah in Ludhiana. Ludhiana was having the highest population of Muslims in Punjab and yet there was not a place for Idgah.

The Minister for Technical Education, Mr Jagdish Garcha, assured the Muslims that space would be provided to them for Idgah. He announced that issue of teaching Urdu in schools would also be settled soon.

Among others who attended the Id celebrations were the Punjab Assembly Speaker, Mr Chirantjit Singh Atwal, the Deputy Speaker, Mr Satpal Gosain and the Deputy Commissioner, Mr S. K. Sandhu. 


IT colony needs improvement
D. B. Chopra

Ludhiana, March 6
The road from Preet Palace cinema to the bridge on the Gill canal and beyond is popularly known as Dugri Road, possibly because it leads to the nearby Dugri village.

The stretch that lies between the cinema hall and the bridge is flanked by posh residential colonies known, as the Model Town extensions, part one and two. Various blocks of the part two extension are situated on either side of the road.

But all basic amenities that are needed in a residential colony, planned by the Improvement Trust nearly a decade ago, do not exist. A visit to Block-C, also named as Shakti Enclave, and the dirty slum called Dhakka Colony, adjoining it leaves one wondering if the area could be part of a city which takes pride for being the number one city of the state.

To begin with, the strip along the colony, which is meant to be a green belt, has been encroached upon by constructing permanent structures which not only obliterate the view of the enclave to a great extent but imparts ugly look to the area as well.

There is a particular shop in a street which is frequented by shady characters including drug addicts, peddlers etc.

Broken roads and the total absence of street lights fade into insignificance when one sees filth around the block. An open plot adjoining the colony is being used by children and adults alike as a defecating place. For one, who is not accustomed to such dirty surroundings, to cross the way on foot to the adjoining slum, must be an experience of a lifetime. Perhaps hell can’t be worse than this.

There is an all-pervasive stench that is unbearable for the passerby. As one enters the Dhakka Colony, named as such because of the encroachment on the Improvement Trust land, one comes across a private slaughter house where pigs are butchered. A foul smell emanates from the place.

Pigs roam around men playing cards in dirty surroundings. The wide plot that was meant to be a park for the colony residents has been converted into a stinking pond with sewerage water from the slum flowing into it. The pond is a haven for the pigs where they can cool off themselves.

Street lights have been stolen or broken by residents of the Dhakka Colony as they prefer darkness at night to carry out their nocturnal activities which include petty crimes such as peddling of drugs, prostitution and operation of matka or satta. One of the C-block residents has installed an electric bulb in the street on his own in order to illuminate the area near his house.

Residents have been demanding the pond to be filled and levelled so that they could develop a suitable park there. They also demand that the pig butchery be shifted to some other place.

Moreover, they feel that they are insecure in view of the rising number of thefts and other crimes in the city, in general, and in their vicinity in particular. There is no police patrolling of the area.

Having failed to get their grievances redressed so far, the residents have formed the Shakti Enclave Welfare Association to take up the issue with the authorities concerned with the hope that they would do something to mitigate their sufferings.



Ludhiana is fast assuming a cosmopolitan character, with people from almost all parts of the country settling here. Outsiders have contributed a lot in the development of Ludhiana. They include, Rajasthanis, Biharis, Gujaratis, Tamils, Keralalites, Bengalis and Kashmiris. Most Muslim migrants are artisans or hosiery workers. At every Id, thousands of them gather in Jama Masjid here to offer prayers, symbolising unity in diversity. The participation of Hindus and Sikhs in Id adds more charm to the festivities. Long live this spirit.

Holi Brij style

Holi means gulal, pichkaris and getting thrown into troughs of coloured water. Some people use grease in place of colours, which is bad for the skin and hard to wash off. Holi will be celebrated in the Brij style at a resort here. Couples will play Holi with flower petals and not colours. Thandai — a typical Indian Holi drink will also be served, besides the usual liquor.

Theatre culture

Jaya Bachchan stopped in the middle of a recent performance of the play, Ma Retire Hoti Hai, here as constant talks on the mobile phones in the front row was distracting her. In anger, she said, “I will not perform if you behave like this.” Ringing of moblie phones had also made Kadar Khan interrupt the performance of Taash Ke Patte here. Members of the audience did not bother to switch off their mobile phones even after requests from producers before the play began. It shows that there is a lack of theatre culture here.

There were many who strolled into the theatre much after the performance had begun. Ramesh Talwar, director of the play, Ma Retire Hoti Hai, and Jaya Bachchan said, the stage here lacked depth, due to which, the curtain could not be drawn. One hopes that Ludhianvis will be better behaved during the next performance.

Godman’s gifts

Business houses and politicians offer gifts to journalists to seek favourable coverage and some journalists oblige them as well. A Godman with lakhs of followers who is also seen on television, also tried to do this here recently. He sent wrist watches along with packets of religious books to journalists of almost all newspapers here.

As selling of God to people has become a big business, too, Godman, must have thought of investing in good relations with the Press for expanding his business.

Budget blues

The Budget presented by Mr Yashwant Sinha created confusion among industrialists here. This time, they were not sure whether to criticise the Budget or praise it. When approached for his reactions on the Budget, a leading manufacturer of bicycle parts here, said, “I do not know whether to criticise it or appreciate it. Wait for a day while I consult some journalist friends in Chandigarh. They will tell me whether the Budget is in my favour or not.”

Jingle bells

Decorative bells are in vogue and most of the gift shops in the city are selling these. Doorbells are available in a variety of colours, shapes and material. There are carved Buddhas on some, while some others have little hearts on top to lure youngsters. Earlier, people used to import these bells from Singapore and Thailand, but not anymore. There are musical bells with tunes ranging from Jingle Bells to nursery rhymes to even latest Hindi songs.

Doctor’s gesture

The Holi celebrations should be simple this year as mark of mourning for those who have lost their lives in the Gujarat earthquake. Ludhianvis are observing restraint on their own. Dr Naresh Trehan, a surgeon who was here to deliver a lecture, donated Rs 50,000 that were presented to him by the organisers, for the Gujarat relief fund. Ankur Bansal, a Class VI student of Panchkula whose father is serving here, collected over Rs 500 from friends and relatives for the Gujarat relief fund.

— Sentinel

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