Monday, September 3, 2001, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dancing girls ‘take over’ mela
Oldies resent the ‘hijacking’ of Chhapaar fair
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Chhapaar (Ludhiana), September 2
Notwithstanding the widespread criticism of cultural invasion at the very showcase of our heritage, that is the special melas, the dancing girls, a desi version of the MTV and Channel V programmes, have once again stolen the show over the tradition bolian walle, naklan walle as well as gidha and bhangra groups in the annual Chhapaar Mela organised in this village about 30 km from here.

Some old person recaling the old days at Chappar Mela.
An old man recalls the old days at Chappar Mela. — Photo Inderjeet Verma.

Even though old timers recall that a large number of visitors to the mela have, over the years, stopped coming any longer due to what they term as intolerable vulgar dances, the district administration is learnt to have succumbed to political pressure as well as pressure from the mela organisers to allow the organisation of dancing girls’ programmes.

Sources claimed that an influential Akali leader had called the shots this year and got a green signal for these controversial dances. The argument was simple, without dancing girls, there would not be any crowd and thus the political conference (SAD) as well as the entire organisation of the mela would suffer. No wonder that the number of dance shows in the mela almost doubled as the regular visitors claimed.

The leader was learnt to have en-cashed upon a dispute between two groups of the village. The dispute was threatening the very holding of the mela until the Akali leader stepped in and managed to convince the villagers to give him the right of arranging the contracts and he would make all of them happy. He kept his word as the high land rents enforced this year had broken all previous records.

Abduction bid foiled

The fear of onslaught of some rowdy elements on dancing girls came true on Saturday night when a group of men reportedly in an inebriated state barged on to one such stage and tried to abduct a dancing girl. The police had to resort to lathi charge in order to rescue her.

A number of other such incidents had also been reported in which the police had to resort to mild lathi charge. Sources said that the incidents of kidnapping the dancing girls had become so common that unless it was a glaring one no one took any notice of it.

‘Zinda dance’ was what the organisers called these dances. The word was a desi version of ‘live performance’ of what they see on TV.

A Tribune team viewed one such show. The crowd was a mixture of both young and old. There was a sizeable number of uniformed cops who should have been doing duty at their respective beats but instead were here inside the show with their relatives.

The girls arrived on the show and were welcomed with claps and enthusiastic appreciation, which degenerated into whistling, lewd comments and loose talk. They gyrated on English tunes but on public demand Punjabi ‘vulgar’ songs were introduced. The teenager girls were no dancers. They were just moving and shaking at the songs.

When this correspondent asked a person sitting next to him, was this enough, he told him to wait for the next round in which the song became fast and the clothes less.

Had it not been for an army of private muscleman of the dance organiser, the crowd could have gone berserk. Sources said during the night shows these dances crossed all limits. It was normal for the police to resort to lathi charge to disperse the thronging crowd.

Several of the organisers recalled the details a two year-old incident in which one of the scantily dressed dancing girls was kidnapped by a rowdy gang of youths and taken away. Her whereabouts still remained a mystery. ‘‘Nothing of this sort will happen again,’’ says Tholu Ram, owner of a Zinda Dance group. Thanking the district administration for elaborate arrangements, he said thousands of policemen had been deployed for security in the mela. Apart from this he said he had about 40 men of his own on security duty. The owner claimed to have earned thousands of rupees but the girls got only a handful, said sources. The rates were in the range of Rs 300 to Rs 800 for a day and a night.

While the ‘zinda dance’ owners were making hay while the sun shone for them, the traditional attractions of the mela, namely the bolian walle, gidha and bhangra groups struggled to attract a sizeable crowd as well as the organisers of an ‘akhara’. Mr Gurpreet Singh Mandiani and Mr Jagtar Singh of Mullanpur Dakha, visitors to the mela, said they had come to the mela to see the traditional artistes but they as went around the mela they could only see the dancing girls, the police and politicians. Evenfew traditional artistes were singing lewd songs instead of Heer Ranjha.

The Tribune team met three old persons, who had been frequenting the mela for the past several years. They were disgusted at the manner in which the mela was degenerating. These old men said the mela was just a platform of political conferences, vulgar dances and a market to sell modern things which had nothing to do with our tradition, they added.


Mini-bus operators seek relief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 2
Thousands of mini-bus operators of the state are up in arms against the state government for not accepting their demands. They have urged the state government to announce some relief to them as they have been passing through a difficult period due to increase in input costs and illegal plying of auto-rickshaws in the state. The Ludhiana Mini-Bus Operators Association, in a meeting held here, has urged the state government to provide relief to keep them in business.

Mr Charanjit Singh Gill, general secretary of the Punjab Mini-Bus Operators Association, said that a delegation had recently met with the state Finance Minister, Capt Kanwaljit Singh, at Patiala to convince him about their demands. The meeting was arranged by Mr Jagjeewan Pal Singh Gill and Mr Gurmeet Singh Lapran. The Finance Minister had assured them that he would talk to the Chief Minister about their demands.

He said,‘‘The state government should accept our demands of reducing the passenger taxes at the earliest as the input costs, including diesel and spare parts, have increased manifold over the past few years.’’

The illegal plying of auto-rickshaws were also affecting their business. The DTOs had failed to take any action against them. The association urged the Chief Minister to announce the implementation of their demands that he had already accepted in May.

The association had also held a rally at Chandigarh on August 25 to press for their demands. The mini-bus operators felt that the government was dilly-dallying in implementing their genuine demands due to unjustified objections raised by the big bus operators, who were mostly patronised by the political leaders of the ruling and Opposition parties.


Educate public on ayurvedic virtues: expert
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 2
To create health awareness among the general public, the health education cell of the Dayanand Medical College and Hospital organised the 27th public health lecture here in the Dumra auditorium.

The lecture was delivered by Dr Madan Gulati, MD in Ayurveda and Assistant Director Ayurveda, Directorate of Indian System of Medicines and Homoeopathy, Chandigarh on the topic ‘Ayurveda — an alternative system of Medicine’.

Dr Gulati said it was unfortunate that ayurveda which originated in India was getting a secondary status in the country. Many people had failed to recognise its worth. He appreciated the efforts of the DMCH for promoting the concept of ayurveda by organising a public awareness lecture.

Dr Gulati said ayurveda had three sutras and eight branches which dealt with all psychological and physical aspects of body. Talking about the principles of ayurveda, he said it basically worked on the theory of element and three basic energies ‘vak’ — the kinetic energy dealing with zeal and efforts our body makes all the time to run bodily functions, ‘Pitt’ — thermal energy dealing with visual perception complexion, blood formation and ‘Kaaf’ — potential energy dealing with pressures working in human body, lubrication and blood formation. “The health of an individual depends upon the balance among these three forces. The second principle of ayurveda is based on six rasas of food. The rasas are — sweet, sour, salty, pungent, astringent etc”.

These days the cause of most of the diseases was the wrong kind of food we take. He also gave some tips for good health as prescribed by yoga. He said ayurveda did not encourage the use of curd as it had toxic qualities, and especially during night it should never be taken. However, in combination with water it was good for health. Harad can work wonders for health. Re-heated and food cooked in oil, junk and stale food act like poison for the body. He said that people who do a lot of mental labour should take desi ghee in small quantity everyday.

He also suggested a perfect combination of Ahaar, Nidra and Bramhacharya. For a healthy routine he suggested that one should get up 45 minutes before the sunrise, and before emptying the stomach three to four glasses of water should be taken and morning walk was must. Water taken before meals reduced weight, and if taken in between, it kept the weight in moderation. If taken after meal, it increased weight. Drinking two-three glasses of warm water before going to sleep kept a man away from many diseases like asthma, arthritis, kidney stone and bladder cleaning.

Mr Balraj, vice-president, managing society, presented a memento to the chief guest. In his address, Mr Prem Nath Gupta, secretary managing society, said that the DMC would soon start an ayurveda clinic. It would also provide the facility of yoga by appointing a yoga expert. He also emphasised the prevention of disease by adopting a satvik lifestyle.


IMA wants crackdown on ‘unethical’ advts
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 2
The state unit of the Indian Medical Association has demanded a stern action against doctors and genetic counselling centers offering “by choice son” through various advertisements, under the PNDT Act and the Medical Council of India Act —violation of code of medical ethics.

In a letter to the Director Family Welfare, Punjab, and Parivar Kalyan Bhavan, Chandigarh, Dr O.P.S. Kande, president of the IMA, Punjab, said the “unethical” advertisements being given by genetic counselling centers and doctors be taken seriously. He added that doctors should be advised to avoid advertisements offering “by choice son”. He said necessary action should be taken against doctors who gave such advertisements.

Dr Kande said the State Advisory Committee on the PNDT Act had recommended that all the bodies and hospitals having ultrasound machines should get themselves registered even if the machine was being used for any other purpose than genetic counselling and pre-natal diagnostic techniques, barring the machine kept by an ophthalmologist. He said necessary action must be taken against unregistered clinics and hospitals.

The state president said it was the responsibility of the authorities concerned to adhere to the norms, which would prevent the determination of sex (pre pregnancy/post pregnancy) and fight female foeticide with complete dedication.


INA veteran dies unnoticed
Tribune News Service

Bhaini Arora (Ludhiana) September 2
About 102-year-old Gulzar Singh, an INA veteran, after living an unrecognised life all these years died unsung and unnoticed, this morning in his ancestral village here. His allegations of callous attitude towards the freedom fighters in the state came true when not a single official of the district administration or the state government attended his cremation ceremony.

Villagers, however, gave him a befitting farewell. A large number of persons from local and surrounding villages attended the cremation. There was a visible anger among the relatives of the deceased and villagers at the cold-shouldered treatment given to their war hero. Dr Devinder Ashok of Pakhowal said he could not find words to express his anguish. He said it was unfortunate that the government and the politicians had forgotten a war hero who contributed his bit to free the country from British rule.

The mourners were more pained at the government’s attitude towards the hero as he was struggling to get due recognition and well-deserved pension from the state government. He could not even get old-age pension from the SAD-BJP government.

Remembering his glorious yet painful past in a recent interview with Ludhiana Tribune, the Gulzar Singh, then a bedridden old man, had complained that he was awaiting the pension under the Indian Government’s policy. Gulzar Singh had not received any such benefit so far. He became nostalgic recalling his days when he was with Subhash Chandar Bose, INA supremo, at Malaya in Singapore.

Though bitter at the treatment given to him and despite his physical disability he was in high spirits.


316 police trainees pass out
Our Correspondent

Phillaur, September 2
The passing-out parade of the Punjab Police Academy, Phillaur, was held today Mr Sarwan Singh Phillaur, Social Welfare Minister, took the salute from 316 trainees of upper intermediate, lower school, buglar, drill instructor and reorientation courses from the Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Andaman-Nikobar and Chandigarh police forces.

The minister gave away the prizes to the winners of various courses.

The minister appreciated the working of the academy in developing various infrastructural facilities and activities of the university cell for improving the academic qualifications of police officials.

Academy Director D.R. Bhatti gave details of the modern traffic training park and the computer training centre established in the academy.


Pensioners for hike in medical perk
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 2
The Punjab Pensioners' Association, in a memorandum to the Punjab Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal, has urged him to raise the fixed medical allowance from Rs 250 to Rs 300.

Mr Yash Paul Ghai, general secretary of the association, has complained that the fixed medical allowance of Rs 250 per month that was being paid to Punjab employees and pensioners since January 1998 was inadequate to meet the ever-increasing cost of medicare. He said the medicare cost had registered a rise of more than 30 per cent during the period as per medicare cost data. Keeping in view the fact, the medical allowance should be raised to at least Rs 300. The association said more than 5 lakh Punjab Government employees and pensioners expected a fair deal from the Badal regime.


Women cell in-charge accused of misbehaviour
Our Correspondent

Jagraon, September 2
Baljinder Kaur of Burj Hari Singh village has accused the in charge of Women Cell, Moga, Ms Kashmir Kaur, with treating her badly. She alleged that SSP, Moga, had referred the case filed by her against her husband, Joginder Singh, to the Women Cell. She was called there three times. On her third visit to the cell, the in charge slapped her in the presence of her husband and daughter, and forced her to file a divorce petition. Ms Kashmir Kaur also threatened to implicate her in false cases.

Talking to Ludhiana Tribune, Ms Baljinder Kaur divulged that she was married to Joginder Singh about 16 years ago, and had two daughters. But her husband had started harassing her eight years ago. He had also tried to strangulate her once, and used to beat their daughters often. So, she was forced to go back to her parents’ home.


Morcha to hold scooter rallies
Our Correspondent

Amloh, September 2
The Bahujan Samaj Morcha will organise scooter rallies in every assembly constituency of Sirhind, Amloh, Khanna and Samrala, to protest against the anti-Dalit policies of the state government and to press upon the government to accept their demands, said Mr Rajwinder Singh Bhalmajra, district general secretary, Fatehgarh Sahib, after party meeting here today.

The meeting was presided over by state president of the party, Mr Satnam Singh Kainth, former MP, others who attended the meeting were Mr Avtar Singh Lataur, general secretary, Mr Raghbir Singh Badala, district president, Mr Piara Singh, Mr Gurbachan Singh Dhiman, Mr Harchand Singh Jakhwali, tehsil president Sirhind, Mr Sarinder Singh Fraur, tehsil president, Khamano, Mr Pakher Singh, tehsil president Amloh and Mr Gurcharan Singh Chani, tehsil president, Khanna, attended the meeting.

The meeting passed a resolution demanding low-interest rate loans to unemployed landless youth to start some business, increase in minimum wages, to clear the backlog of Scheduled Castes in services, to provide free education up to graduation, to simplify the procedure of welfare schemes and old-age pensions, to allot one-third of common land lying in the villages for dalits, to stop contractor system in the FCI and to regularise the services of workers.


Society to expose fake tantriks
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, September 2
The Taraksheel Society has been trying to expose fake tantriks ,babas, sadhus, and astrologers as such people play with the sentiments of gullible people and swindle them. The society wants the administration to round up such people under the Drugs and Magic Remedies Act, 1954.

In this connection the society is planning another meeting with the Deputy Commissioner.


2-year-old child dies as parents attempt suicide
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 2
In a shocking case, a two-year-old boy died and his poverty-stricken parents, hailing from Kerala, fell seriously ill after all of them in an attempted suicide consumed some poisonous substance in their one-room apartment in Haqiqat Nagar here late last night.

The couple was rushed to a private hospital by neighbours and were later shifted to the CMC Hospital.

The doctors, however, could not save the child.

The Haibowal police said it was investigating the matter but could not say anything at this juncture as the couple was not fit to give statements.

The police said it suspects the couple attempted to commit suicide due to poverty.


Illegal detention alleged
Our Correspondent

Khamano, September 2
Harjit Kaur and her husband, Jawala Singh, of Dialpura village have appealed to the district administration to take the necessary action to set their son, Harpal Singh Pali, free from illegal custody.

Harjit Kaur alleged that the SHO of Samrala had been keeping her son in illegal custody since September 1, and pressurising him to accept his involvement in a looting incident. She alleged that the SHO misbehaved with her and her husband.

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