Sunday, November 10, 2002, Chandigarh, India

N C R   S T O R I E S


Death of youths dents cops’ image
Bijendra Ahlawat
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 9
The credibility of the police department here has hit a new low following the death of two youths, allegedly due to third-degree methods used by the police in custody, in the last two months in the district.

Although the office of the Director-General of Police (DGP), Haryana, had given the district police top rating in the recently concluded `Operation Agni’, which was launched to recover illegal arms, the success of such ‘operations’ has not been bereft of controversy.

The credibility of ‘Operation Agni’ itself took a beating with the death of a Muslim youth of Jarali village of Hathin sub-division in October. The 23-year-old youth was picked up after someone informed the police that he possessed an illegal weapon. The relatives of the deceased claim that the youth, identified as Hassan, had no weapon and that he was arrested due to some bitterness. They have further alleged that the police had tortured him in custody. Though Hassan was released on bail later, he reportedly developed some illness and was referred to local hospitals. It is alleged that he had suffered some internal injuries due to the ‘treatment’ meted out to him in custody, leading to complications later. He died about 25 days after he got bail.

The police, who had conducted a probe into circumstances leading to Hassan’s death under pressure, concluded that the post-mortem report didn’t show any signs of police beating and that he died of some other illness. But the kin of the victim and other villagers have contested the police version. They have demanded a high-level probe, either judicial or by the CBI. The matter was also taken up by some human rights organisations. The authorities have also failed to announce any relief for the relatives of the victim so far.

Another incident that has shocked the people here is the death of Hari Prem (30) of Vijaygarh village in Hodal sub-division. According to the relatives of the victim, Hari died following a thrashing by the CIA staff.

Hari succumbed to his injuries in a hospital in Agra on November 3. He had been arrested by the police on the charge of abducting and murdering a youth. Amazingly, the youth, Kanshi Ram, who it was claimed had been murdered, returned to his native village after a few days.

Residents of Vijaygarh and Hari Prem’s family members had voiced their protest by placing the body of the deceased outside the police station at Hodal for several hours. The SDM and DSP of Hodal had finally assured the villagers that action would be taken against the persons who had lodged a false complaint against Hari Prem and his brothers. However, the authorities were mum on the demand for taking action against cops who were allegedly responsible for the death of the youth.

While Kanshi Ram is back, the death of Hari Prem, who was implicated falsely, has brought the police force under the scanner. It is learnt that Kanshi Ram’s relatives had identified a body recovered from Agra canal as that of former and this had led to the arrest of Hari Prem, who had a dispute with Kanshi Ram over a piece of land. The Hodal ‘chaubise’ (24 villages) has decided to convene a mahapanchayat to decide the future course of action against.

The police are reportedly awaiting the report of the viscera examination from the PGIMS, Rohtak.



Is JNU the last outpost of the Left?
SFI-AISF combine sweeps poll
Sanjog Gupta

New Delhi, November 9
The incumbent SFI-AISF combine that covers itself with the fig leaf of ‘Left Unity’ continued its dominance in Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) in spite of a resurgent performance by its nearest rival, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

The Left combine performed an encore, sweeping all posts on the Central Panel, fending off a stiff challenge from the ABVP for the posts of general secretary and joint secretary.

JNU continued its affinity with Rohit (JNUSU vice president last year) by electing him as president. His nearest rival, Shiv Shakti Nath Bakshi (ABVP), fell by the side, giving Rohit a handsome victory by 481 votes. The run-up to the polls had suggested a keen tussle between the vice presidential candidates – Parimal Mayasudhakar (SFI) and Raj Moni Borah (ABVP) – but the eventual outcome favoured the SFI candidate by a substantial 373 votes.

The plum posts of general secretary and joint secretary also fell in the Left kitty with Ena Panda (SFI) notching 423 votes and Shamshad Ahmed Khan (AISF) managing to hold his fort against Vivekanand Upadhyay by a margin of 392 votes.

The candidates had been camping outside the School of International Studies (SIS), where the counting began at 11 p.m. last night. The Election Committee kept providing regular updates to the crowd, informing them of the status of candidates as it stood at last count. Hectic calculations to determine leads, announcements by cadre leaders, regular serving of eggs and bread by the makeshift canteen outside the SIS and discussions on the UN Security Council resolution on Iraq made up the atmospherics outside the SIS.

The day began with the announcement of results for school councillors, where SFI emerged in the lead despite turning in a relatively worse performance compared to last year when it had managed to win all posts. SFI bagged 14 councillor seats this year while ABVP wrested nine, mostly in the science schools where elected councillors prefer to be known as “supported by” rather than “affiliates”. NSUI and AISA both managed to win one seat each in the Center for Biotechnolgy and the School of Social Sciences, respectively.

A jubilant Rohit, dwelling on the priorities of the new union, said: “Our top priority is the institution of a system of financial assistance provided to backward students.’’

The ABVP blamed the timing of the elections (near Diwali) for the debacle and the alleged connivance of the university machinery with the SFI/AISF combine.

The jubilant ‘Left Unity’ hailed the results as a victory of intellectual thought over inept fundamentalism. Rohit said: “The sins of their national party have come to haunt them, this fundamentalist jargon does not work on the JNU campus.” Left Ideology, perceived by some as `the Jurassic Park of extinct thought, might be in a recessionary mode in most parts of the world, including China, but in the JNU it walks tall.



A demolition drive that floored everyone
Vipin Sharma

Inder Singh
Inder Singh

G.C. Arora
G.C. Arora

J.S. Nandal
J.S. Nandal

Vijay Saini
Vijay Saini

Rohtak, November 9
The anti-encroachment drive spearheaded by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Yadav, has been acclaimed by almost all sections of the society. The drive is aimed at beautification of the town by widening the main roads and crossings, so as to solve the problem of traffic congestion.

Encroachments and illegal constructions on public land had assumed alarming proportions in the town in the past few years. Encouraged by the lethargy of officials, shopkeepers had encroached on footpaths and even roads in almost all markets. A majority of roads had turned into narrow lanes.

Several residents, to whom this correspondent spoke to, hailed the drive against encroachment. They said the welcome aspect of the drive was that even 50-year-old encroachments on government land were being removed by the district authorities, ignoring all types of pressures.

Moreover, it was pointed out, the district administration had devised a novel way to check encroachments permanently. The platforms constructed by the shopkeepers in front of their shops were demolished and small walls with grills were erected before the shops, so that the owners could not usurp public land. The residents said the roads had been widened from 20 feet to 60 feet at several places, thus easing the congestion.

Leaders of different organisations have also hailed the drive. Mr Luxmi Chand Gupta, president of the Haryana Beopar Mandal, said it was a blessing in disguise for the business community as it would ultimately give a fillip to their business. He suggested that the official machinery should take the businessmen into confidence, prior to carrying out the demolitions, so that the general impression of high-handedness is dispelled.

Mr Ashok Kaka, president of the Rohtak Traders’ Association, said that earlier he was apprehensive about the fall-out of the drive. But now, the traders were satisfied as their grievances had been redressed on the spot by the authorities. He also thanked the administration for making alternate arrangements for the affected traders.

Commander Inder Singh, president of the Haryana Ex-services League, said the drive was a boon. Extending his whole-hearted support for the good cause, he wished the drive would continue till all encroachments were removed.

Mr Joginder Singh Nandal, president of the District Bar Association, applauded the widening and beautification of the approach road from Sonepat bus stand to the district courts. He said earlier the lawyers and clients had to face much hardship due to traffic bottlenecks.

Dr A. K. Rajan, Registrar, Maharshi Dayanand University, said the widening of the roads would save students precious time. Earlier, the students were caught in traffic snarls en route to their academic institutions. He said the university administration had also launched a beautification drive on the campus. Mr Gian Chand Arora, president, Samaj Sudhar Samiti, said the drive was praiseworthy and appealed to the authorities to carry out the drive in the interior localities of the town also.

Mr Vijay Kumar Saini, president of the Rohtak-Delhi Daily Passengers’ Association, said the commuters had benefited as the area around the railway station had almost doubled after the drive.



Amarinder to chair Shaurya Divas
Our Correspondent

Rewari, November 9
With the Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, agreeing to be the chief guest on the occasion of the Rezangla Shaurya Divas Samaroh, to be held here on November 18, it is, to all intents and purposes, going to be a big event.

At a Press conference here, Col. Rambir Singh Yadav (Retd), President, and Mr Naresh Chauhan, General Secretary, Rezangla Shaurya Samiti, took pains to explain that they had invited Captain Amarinder Singh to the samaroh not because he was the chief minister of Punjab but because he had the rare distinction of personally visiting the site of the historic battle of Rezangla in 1997 where Ahir Jawans of the Charlie Company of the 13th Kumaon Regiment had created history with their unprecedented sacrifices and gallantry against the Chinese in November 1962.

Further, Captain Amarinder Singh had publicised this historic battle in his valuable book titled, “Lest we forget,” which covers the whole spectrum of the Kashmir War (1947-48), the Indo-China War(1962) and the Indo-Pak War (1965).

Besides Captain Amarinder Singh, prominent leaders of various political parties, functionaries of voluntary organisations, military and civil officials will also participate in the samaroh to pay homage to the heroes of the great battle of Rezangla. Mr Chauhan disclosed that the war widows of the Ahir region would also be honoured on this occasion.

It is noteworthy that a high-level team of the samiti, comprising Col. Ranbir Singh Yadav, Mr Naresh Chauhan, Capt. Balwant Singh Yadav, Capt. Niranjan Singh Yadav, Major Har Pal Singh Ahir and Capt. Chandgi Ram, recently undertook a whirlwind tour of Rewari, Gurgaon, Mahendragarh, Alwar and Delhi suburbs to mobilise people for the samaroh, which would be held in the Yadav Samaroh Sthal complex here on November 18.



3 policemen killed in mishap
Our Correspondent

Ghaziabad, November 9
Three policemen, including two SOs, who were heading police stations in Jyotiba Phule Nagar district, were killed in an accident when their vehicle collided with a Tata-407 on the Delhi National Highway last night. Another five cops were also injured in the mishap, of whom constable Manoj Sharma is said to be serious. All the dead, as well as the injured policemen, were from Bachharayu and Said Nangli police stations in Jyotiba Phule

Nagar district. They were all travelling in a private matador (MR 10/D-1784) and were reportedly going to Faridabad in connection with a dacoity in a goldsmith’s house.

The matador’s driver and assistant are absconding.

The deceased SOs have been identified as Raju Vats and Ram Bahadur Sharma while the third cop, who died in the mishap, was constable Abdul Rehman.

Among the injured are Surjit Singh, Rajinder Singh (S.I), Manoj Kumar Sharma, Rajpal Singh, Phulwari Singh and Shishpal Singh, who have been admitted at the Sarvodya Hospital, Ghaziabad. According to injured SI R K Singh, most of the policemen in the vehicle were dozing at the time of the accident at about midnight. The matador had smashed into the stationary Tata-407, which had apparently broken down, the police said. The matador was a mangled mess at the accident site.



Family of five cheats held
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
The Economic Offences Wing of the Crime Branch has arrested five persons of a family, including three women, for their involvement in a number of cheating cases, including frauds in foreign exchange, credit cards, ATM cards and charge slips. One Hyundai Accent car, some jewellery and cash worth Rs 8,600 were recovered from their possession.

The police, acting on a complaint from director of Travel Planners Private Limited Vinod Saigal, who was cheated by the family to the tune of Rs 15.5 lakh in foreign currency, arrested Om Prakash Harjai (62), his wife Savi Harjai (60), their son Pawan Kumar (26), and daughters-in-law Alka Dhacholia (26) and Mansi Bhatia (27) from a hideout in West Delhi.

The accused would pose as travellers to foreign countries and collect foreign exchange for their purported trips. On the first four occasions, they paid Indian money through genuine cheques. Later, when they withdrew Rs 15.5 lakh in foreign currencies, the cheques given to the agency were dishonoured by the banks.



Nirankari Samagam begins 
Tribune News Service

Nirankari mission head Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, his wife and his mother at the opening of the Annual 55th Nirankari Sant Samagam
Nirankari mission head Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, his wife and his mother at the opening of the Annual 55th Nirankari Sant Samagam in the Capital on Saturday. — Tribune Photo Mukesh Aggarwal

New Delhi, November 9
The 55th Annual Nirankari Samagam opened here today with a resolve for peace. Inaugurating the Samagam, His Holiness Baba Hardev Singh Ji Maharaj, Head of the Sant Nirankari Mission said that there has been enough of hatred, jealousy, violence and misery in the world. Let us now work for love, peace and understanding. The world today needs peace and not pieces.

Welcoming the lakhs of participants to the Three-day Samagam, Hardev Singh Ji said that its objective was to tell the world that unity in diversity is very much achievable. And once the mankind is united, not only different nations, but the entire world will find strength and prosper. The earth will certainly become more beautiful place to live.

All our spiritual masters in the past endeavoured to preach the message of humanism. Today also the followers of the Mission are spreading this message of truth and love all over the world. He said, we must remove all the `manmade' barriers of language etc and work for human unity.

The inaugural function was marked by a floral welcome by the Mayor of Delhi Mrs Jayshree Panwar, on behalf of the citizens of Delhi. 



Nirankari devotees hurt in mishap

Sonepat: At least 60 devotees of the Sant Nirankari Mandal were injured, 15 of them seriously, when a Tata 709 ran into a divider and overturned on the G T Road near Bhigan village, 12 km from here, last evening. They were on their way from Ludhiana to attend the Nirankari Samagam in Delhi. According to a report, the injured were rushed to a private hospital at Murthal Chowk where 45 of them were discharged after being administered first aid.

The condition of the remaining 15 persons, mostly women and children, is stated to be serious. They include Sandeep, Ms Krishna, Ms Gurdeep Kaur, Mr Kartar Singh, Ms Raj Rani, Ms Richa, Mr Ram Kumar, Ms Vimla Devi, Ms Surjeet Kaur, Rajni (11), Sahil (12), Neha (10) and Priyanka. According to the highway police sources, the injured persons belonged to Ludhiana and were on their way to Delhi to attend the annual Nirankari Samagam. The police are still investigating the case and no arrest has so far been made.



Haryana rushes fodder to Ajmer
Our Correspondent

Sonepat, November 9
The Haryana Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Mr Rampal Majra, yesterday flagged off a fleet of 112 trucks carrying fodder to the drought-hit areas of Ajmer district in Rajasthan.

As a humanitarian gesture, the relief from Sonepat district is part of the State-level programme launched by the Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Om Parkash Chautala, who was moved by the plight of the people of Rajasthan and ordered the party workers to take immediate and effetive steps for the collection of fodder and sending it to Rajasthan to save the lives of milch animals and other heads of cattle.

Mr Majra said that more food articles would also be sent to Rajasthan, particularly the areas of Ajmer district, one of the worst affected areas.

The fodder despatched yesterday has been contributed by various agencies, social and voluntary organisations and the supporters of the ruling Indian National Lok Dal (INLD).

Mr Majra claimed that the people of drought-hit areas of Rajasthan have hailed the gesture shown by the people of Haryana in general and the chief minister in particular.

He also thanked the representatives of various agencies, social and voluntary organisations as well as the supporters of the ruling INLD for their gesture in feeding the hungry and urged them to contribute more and more fodder and other food articles for the drought-hit people of Rajasthan.

Mr Majra further stated that the state government would send relief from other districts of the state.

Dr Ram Kumar Saini, Mr Padam Singh Dahiya, Mr Ramesh Khatak, all INLD MLAs, Mr Ved Singh Malik, a former Haryana Minister, Mr Raj Singh Dahiya, Chairman of Sonepat Zila Parishad, and Ms Rajbala Gahlawat, President of the Mahila unit of the INLD were among those who were present on this occasion.



SGPC (Mann) leaders visit Dulina police post
Our Correspondent

Jhajjar, November 9
Two senior leaders of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (Mann) visited the Dulina police post today, where five Dalits were lynched by a violent mob on Dasehra evening. The leaders would submit their report to the party chief, Mr Simaranjit Singh Mann.

General secretary Jaskaran Singh and vice-president Swarn Singh termed the lynching as the murder of humanity and the law, while holding the district police responsible for the gruesome killings. They held that Mr Mann would raise the issue in Parliament during the next session.

Reiterating the earlier stand of the party on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link canal in a press conference here today, they maintained that directives of the apex court in this regard were not acceptable to them. They said that the decision seemed to be influenced by the political arguments, adding that the matter should be taken up before the River Water Tribunal, as the issue did not come under the court jurisdiction.

Mr Swarn Singh and Mr Jaskaran maintained that Haryana had already got its share of water and now Punjab would not release even a drop of water. They said that three Lals of Haryana - Devi Lal, Bansi Lal and Bhajan Lal - had been be-fooling and misleading the people of Haryana on the SYL issue to fulfil their political interests.



Chhat Puja finds a place in 
Capital’s festivity calendar 
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
The spirit of festivities transcends physical and mental divides. A perfect example of this being the Chhat Puja, a festival that marks the worship of the Sun God.

The roots of the festival can be traced to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where sun, the symbol of fertility and prosperity, is worshipped to grant goodwill and protection. The festival has come to the national Capital along with thousands of inhabitants of these two cities who have sought a habitat here.

Like most festivals, the Chhat Puja too has found a place in the ever-growing list of festivities and has long been accepted by the citizens of Delhi. Acknowledging the need for providing more amenities, even the Delhi Government has started making special arrangements during the festival to improve the condition of Yamuna ghats, where devotees offer their prayers.

These include providing the devotees basic amenities and tents and making arrangements for their stay and food. The police have been asked to ensure peace during the festivities, which span three days. The Deputy Commissioners of Police have been assigned special duties on the ghats on November 10 to maintain law and order.

Earlier, the Haryana Government released 100 cusecs of water in the Yamuna, so that the ghats could receive enough water. The festival is now being seen as a means of creating harmony and since it involves worshipping the sun, it can be used effectively to increase the reverence for nature.

Women perform the puja for the well-being of their whole family. They seek, through the celebration, the blessings of the sun, the giver of life force, to protect their families from diseases. The celebration lasts three days where purity and cleanliness is strictly maintained. The first day of the festival allows the eating of food made from ghee and rock salt. On the second day, the whole day one can eat ‘Gur ki Khir’, desert made with jaggery and chapattis prepared on firewood from a mango tree after fasting. On the third day, however, a fast is to be maintained for the whole day. In the evening and next morning, a dip in the river and offering prayers and water or milk to the setting and rising sun is followed.



Know the universe within!

Nearly 50,000 people from all over the country and abroad gather in the sprawling ashram to listen to the words of wisdom from their master. They listen intently. There is pin-drop silence. A majority of them have come from adjoining villages and from their dresses, one could discern that they are ordinary folk. There has not been any attempt to make known the day’s meet to the larger public by means of any publicity in the media or otherwise. But they have a normal channel to know about the discourses of this international guest speaker who travels extensively and makes disciples in all places of the earth. How long has he been preaching his message? Nearly 20 years.

Situated amidst peripheral villages of South Delhi, Sant Yogashram is the headquarters of Divine United Organisation, a registered social and charitable organisation headed by a popular teacher who had sought to satisfy the spiritual hunger of millions in this land and abroad through his simple discourses. This ashram, in its rustic setting, is a picture of tranquillity and provides in its vast expanse all facilities for a time of quiet retreat for the urban dweller. Maharaji, as the teacher is known to the common folk, holds an annual discourse here usually in the month of November.

And the theme this time (on November 2) is man’s eternal thirst and the quenching of it. As he talks, he is only dealing with ordinary experiences everyone is capable of, such as feeling this thirst. They are simple and profound at the same time but the wonder is that his audience is taking in every word he utters. There is no philosophy or religious symbolism or invocation of any god or goddess and yet the people are satisfied. He does not project himself as a great spiritual teacher but promises to help them to find the key to the door of peace.

“Every person is searching for happiness and contentment,” he begins and then goes on in simple language to describe the numerous ways a man tries, in earthly terms, to make himself happy. He studies hard with the job market in mind, ambition goads him on and having succeeded in the rat race marries from a rich family and seeks to build a happy home and yet simple happenings such as a tyre-burst on the way upsets him

When you experience pain in the body, you can go to a doctor for relief. But what happens when you feel pain in the mind? What pill will help?

Testimonies come from great physicians of all ages that pills offer no relief from certain kinds of pain. “We need something more than a pill for the disease producing stresses of the man who has lost his life’s savings, of the tearful feminine soul who has been jilted, of the young father who has an inoperable cancer, of the woman whose husband is a philanderer, of the distraught teenager with a facial birthmark and of the schemer who lies awake at night trying to think of ways to get even with his neighbour,” writes Dr S. I. McMillen, in his well-known book, None of These Diseases.

But the master is not talking about stresses; neither about overcoming life’s problems nor about a formula for success. He is calling your attention to the universe within, waiting to be discovered by you. Many discover rather late in life that the weary business of trying by the Herculean efforts of the will to find peace in a world distracted between Vanity Fair and Armageddon is doomed because they begin at the wrong end of things.

This Hardwar-born Prem Pal Singh Rawat, who obtained his spiritual knowledge from his father, Hans Maharaj, and has taken upon himself the task of communicating that knowledge to the masses, is simply asking people to look within. “Know Thyself’,” Socretes, the Greek philosopher, told his disciples. Maharaji says that knowledge of the self begins with the self.

“How do you define self-knowledge, and how is it different from the other forms of introspection?” the master was once asked. “The self-knowledge I am speaking of is fundamental to one’s being. It is the core of who you are. It is not about changing behaviour. Rather, it is about feeling more centred within yourself.”

“Look, you have been given the gift of life. You have been given a treasure within you. Why don’t you address your own treasure? Why don’t you address your own innermost feeling?”

The teacher says every human being is so rich; yet pretends to be so poor. There is boundless joy in every fleeting breath. Every time it runs through the body, a precious gift is made available. “Do you understand that that one energy that keeps the universe flying comes to you in the form of the breath and touches you?”

“Each breath,” he says, “is important. When the last one comes, you would give the world for just one more. That is a great revelation, isn’t it? We are so blind to the preciousness of life itself.” So the quest, according to the master, is to conquer one’s own self, not the world. If you can conquer yourself, you’ve conquered the universe. If you can find happiness, you have all the riches you need. If you can find joy within you, you have all the fulfilment you can ever have, he adds.

M P K Kutty



Brajbhoomi: Where a legend lives
Tribune News Service

How to reach there

By air: The nearest airport is Kheria (Agra), 62 km away.

By Rail: Mathura is on the main lines of the Central and Western Railways and is connected with all the important cities of the state and country such as Delhi, Agra, Mumbai, Jaipur, Gwalior, Calcutta, Hyderabad, Chennai, Lucknow etc.

By road: Mathura is connected to all the major cities by National Highways. It is linked by the regular state bus services of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Chattri of Surajmal
Chattri of Surajmal

Chaurasi Khamba Temple
Chaurasi Khamba Temple

Brajbhoomi, the birthplace of Lord Krishna, has drawn people from across the world. The tiny hamlet is a prominent destination owing to the mysticism and the devotion that is associated with the place.

Lord Krishna is said to have spent his youth in the city of Mathura — the quiet town on the River Yamuna was transformed into an article of faith after Lord Krishna was born here. Vrindavan, a village once noted for its fragrant groves, is where he spent an eventful youth. The city of Mathura, in Uttar Pradesh, is located at a distance of 145 km, south- east of Delhi, and 58 km north-west of Agra.

Mathura has a number of picturesque ghats with arched gateways and temple spires all along the right bank of Yamuna. Mathura is today an important place of pilgrimage. A city of temples and shrines, it is thronged by devotees who want to visit the city of Lord Krishna.

Among places to see are a splendid temple at the Katra Keshav Dev, which is believed to be Shri Krishna’s birth spot, and the Gita Mandir, located on the Mathura -Vrindavan Road, which has an image of Shri Krishna in its sanctum. Incidentally, the whole Bhagwad Gita is inscribed on its walls.

The most popular shrine at Mathura is the Dwarikadhish Temple dedicated to Shri Krishna. There are about 25 ghats in Mathura today, of which the most important is the Vishram Ghat where, according to legend, Shri Krishna took his rest after killing Kansa. It is at Vishram Ghat that the traditional parikrama starts and ends. The Vishram Ghat is lined with elegant temples and some of Mathura’s most important shrines are found here.

Evening prayers at the ghat are a spectacle. Hundreds of tiny oil lamps flickering on the bed of water are a delight to watch. Then, there are the kunds. Of the 159 ancient kunds only four have survived. There is the elegant Shiv Tal, the more famous Potara Kund associated closely with Lord Krishna besides the Balbhadra and Saraswati kunds.

The town has a number of Shaivite temples as well. Other places of interest are the Kans Qila, now mostly in ruins. An observatory was built here at a later date by Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh (1699-1743) of Amer. Sati Burj, is a 17 mt high tower built in 1570 to commemorate the death of the Rani of Raja Bihari Mal of Amer who committed sati. The Jama Masjid, with its four lofty minarets and bright mosaic, built in 1661 AD, is also a must see.

The town comes alive with colourful festivals throughout the year. The Rang Gulal Mahotsav, held annually, celebrates Holi in an exuberant fashion.

Janmashtami, the birthday of Shri Krishna, is celebrated with great pomp and splendour throughout Braj. The Raaslilas are performed and the ceremonies in the temples at midnight include the bathing of the image of infant Krishna that is then placed in a silver cradle.

Braj Parikrama

The month of Bhadon (monsoons), when the Lord was born, is a time of colourful celebrations. The famous Braj Parikrama - a pilgrimage to all the places in Braj that are associated with Shri Krishna, is undertaken. The yatra extends to Kotban to the north of Mathura, to Nandgaon, Barsana and the Govardhan Hill to the west and South-west of the city and to the banks of the Yamuna to the east, where the Baldeo Temple is located.


The most celebrated of Shri Krishna’s abode, Gokul, lies to the west of Sadabad, 1.6 km from Mahavan and 15 km south-east of Mathura, on the Mathura - Etah road. It was here that Yashoda brought up Lord Krishna in secrecy, in the pastoral beauty of this village on the banks of the Yamuna. Important sites worth visiting in Gokul include the Gokulnath Temple, Raja Thakur Temple, Gopal Lalji Temple and the Morwala Temple.


Around 18 km from Mathura, on the left bank of the Yamuna, is the large shrine of Mathuranath. It is famed for its Chaurasi Khambha (84 pillars).


Baldeo is 20 km south-east of Mathura and 8.5 km south-east of Mahavan on the road to Sadabad. It derives its name from the famous temple dedicated to Balram, the elder brother of Lord Krishna.


Govardhan is situated 26 km west of Mathura on the state highway to Deeg. The young Lord Krishna is said to have held Giriraj up on the tip of a finger for 7 days and nights to shield the people of Braj from the deluge of rain sent down by Lord Indra.


Barsana, 50 km to the north-west of Mathura and 19 km north-west of Govardhan, is situated at the foot of a hill that is named after Brahma. Barsana was once the home of Radha-Rani, Krishna’s beloved and consort. Temples dedicated to the divine couple ornament the four elevations of the hill. The main among them is the Radha-Rani Temple, more fondly referred to as the Ladliji Temple. Some of the ancient tanks that have survived the ravages of time can be seen — the Prem Sarovar, Roop Sagar, Jal Mahal and the Bhanokhar Tank.


Just 5 km north of Govardhan and 26 km west of Mathura, Radhakund is a large lake, where Shri Krishna is said to have killed Arista - the bull demon.


Temple Vrindavan
Temple Vrindavan

Vrindavan, just 15 km from Mathura, is another major place of pilgrimage. It is noted for its numerous temples - both old and modern. The name Vrindavan evokes the playfulness and lovable characteristics of Shri Krishna. Here lies the wood where he frolicked with the gopis and wooed Radha.

Other places of interest include the Sriji Temple, Jugal Kishore Temple, Kesi Ghat, Lal Babu Temple, Raj Ghat, Meera Bai Temple, Imli Tal, Kaliya Ghat, Raman Reti, Varah Ghat and Chir Ghat.

The Seva Kunj is where Lord Krishna once performed the raaslila with Radha Rani and the Gopis. Nidhi Van is where the divine couple rested. The samadhi of Swami Haridasji is situated here.


Nadgaon lies 8.5 km north of Barsana. According to tradition, it was the home of Shri Krishna’s foster father, Nand. On the top of the hill is the spacious temple of Nand Rai, built by the Jat ruler Roop Singh. A little beyond is the Pan Sarovar, a large lake with masonry ghats along its sides. Legend has it that this was the place where Shri Krishna used to take his cows for water. 



‘Unite and give a body blow to terrorism’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
Spiritual Leader Satpal Maharaj has appealed to the people of the nation to stand united and give a body blow to the disharmony, violence and international terrorism.

Addressing a vast gathering in the Ram Lila Ground here today on the second day of the Manav Dharam Sammelan, organised by the Manav Uttan Sewa Samiti, Satpal Maharaj said that the spiritual power of India had the solution to all kinds of violence and unrest spread in the world. Many invaders came and looted the physical wealth of India, but the real treasure of our motherland was still safe, hidden in the hearts of great sages of India. “Let us go to the great saints and get this spiritual wealth. This is the key to establish peace and prosperity in every family, village, town, city, country and the whole universe,” he said. Comparing the country to a huge garland, Satpal Maharaj said that all people of India related to different religions. Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Hindus were like flowers of different colours interconnected with the same thread of immortal soul. “The spiritual reality of human existence keeps us away from all types of differences. People of different castes and creeds live in India and they have a national harmony in their relations.

“Let us make our thoughts as high as Himalayas and as pious as the Ganga. The Ganga does not ask caste and creed but gives her holy water to everybody. In the same way, we have to stand above all trifles and all differences to make our country united and prosperous so that we may be strong enough to convey the message of world peace throughout the whole universe.” 



Karnataka festival on November 11
Tribune News Service

Faridabad, November 9
The Faridabad Karnataka Sangh (FKS) and the information department of the Karnataka Government will organise a Karnataka Utsav here at MCF Auditorium on November 11.

According to Mr A. Gopal, president of the FKS, the programme would include a cultural function and special food stalls offering traditional recipes of the state. He said the programme held annually was aimed to propagate the lifestyle and culture of Karnataka and to promote tourism. He said that while over 200 Kannada families had been living in Faridabad, the programme would include a puppet show and a special `Belle Dance’ named as `Swagatha-Suswagatha’ by a 40-member troupe from Karnataka. He said that food specialities from the state would also be offered.

Mr E. Jay Chandra, special representative of the Karnataka Government, will inaugurate the function and the Deputy Commissioner will be the guest of honour. The entry to the programme is free, according to organisers.

Youth shot at

Sonepat: A youth, Somveer, was shot at and wounded by two youths at Pehladpur village, about 20 km from here, on Friday. According to a report, the police have registered a case of murderous assault against two youths - Mahavir and Narinder of the same village - and launched a hunt to apprehend them. The injured youth was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger. A dispute over the loud sound from a music system is stated to be the main cause of the incident.

According to another report, a Muslim youth, Kabeela, was seriously injured when a tyre of a tractor burst on the Sarang road here on Friday evening. The injured was immediately hospitalised.

At least five persons were injured in a clash between two groups at Garhi Haqiqat village, about 15 km from here, on Friday. The injured persons were identified as Rohtas, Satbir, Ramesh, Subhash and Ravinder and all of them were admitted to the local civil hospital where they are stated to be out of danger.

The police have registered a case and further investigations are in progressNo arrest has been made in this connection.

In another incident, a youth, Manoj, sustained knife injuries when he was allegedly attacked by another youth, Minto, at Kabirpur village, 3 km from here, on Friday evening. The injured youth was immediately hospitalised and he is stated to be out of danger.

According to another report, at least eight persons including two women were injured in clashes, which took place in Sector 14, Mamoon Bhanja Chowk and Kalupur areas of the city and at Nathupur village on Friday. All the injured persons were admitted to the local civil hospital for treatment. The police have registered cases against the alleged assailants who are still at large. A hunt is on to apprehend them.

Janta Darbar

Mr Anil Sharma, City Magistrate, received as many as 18 complaints at a Janata Darbar held on the premises of the Panchayat Bhawan here on Friday. According to a report, Mr Sharma directed the authorities concerned to dispose of these complaints on a priority basis.

Gaon Chalo Abhiyan

Rewari: The Haryana unit of the BJP will formally launch its ‘Gaon Chalo Abhiyan’ (march to villages campaign) in Rewari district tomorrow. The party will cover villages throughout the state by December 31.

This information was given at a zonal meeting of party activists from Rewari, Mahendragarh and Bhiwani districts here today. Elucidating the main objectives of the campaign, Mr Lalit Kishore Chaturvadi, national organisation expert of the BJP, said that the activists would propagate the achievements of the Vajpayee government among the rural people and on the other, they would gather information about their specific problems. Besides, they would also ensure the entry of new members from those villages into the party fold.



Advocacy meet for Delhi Police personnel
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
The Delhi State AIDS Control Society (DSACS) on Saturday hosted a daylong Advocacy Meet for Delhi Police personnel. Delivering the inaugural address of the programme, Health Minister A . K. Walia told the police the number of HIV positive persons had increased manifold. An estimated 22 thousand individuals are infected with the virus in the NCT of Delhi. Others who spoke on the occasion included National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) Project Director Meenakshi Datta Ghosh, Project Director of DSACS N. C. Ray and Principal of Police Training Centre Taj Hasan.

Beautification drive at Yamuna: A beautification drive to give a facelift to the ghats along the Yamuna in the Capital is being undertaken at a cost of Rs 5 crore with a view to attracting tourists and facilitate worshippers, Minister of State in the PMO Vijay Goel said today.

Mr Goel, who represents Chandni Chowk Lok Sabha constituency, told mediapersons that steps were being taken to develop Yamuna ghats and Qudesia ghats on the lines of the religious ghats at Hardwar.

While state-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation will draw the architectural plans and carry out survey for this purpose, the DDA would function as the nodal agency. A meeting of all agencies concerned would be held next week to co-ordinate efforts on a war footing, Mr Goel said adding that he would give Rs 75 lakh from his Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund for this purpose.

He said temples along the river would also be given a facelift while a large park and a beautiful garden would be developed at Ajmeri Gate and Red Fort respectively.

Janak Puri RWA poll: The following have been elected unanimously as office-bearers of the Residents’ Welfare Association of Janak Puri in its general body meeting: Mr N. N. Puri – president; Mr S. P. Rastogi – vice-president; Mr Vipin Madan – secretary; Mr Vijay Hazari – joint secretary; Mr S. P. Mitra - finance secretary; Mr C. B. Joneja, Mr P. N. Sareen, Mr Gian chand Verma, Mr R. K. Mehta - executive members; and Mr T. S. Pathania - auditor.



Call girl racket with travel office as front
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, November 9
The Crime Branch has busted a prostitution racket run in the posh East of Kailash area and arrested six persons, including four call girls. The accused were running the illegal trade from an office, which had a fake name, Muskan Tours and Travels.

The office had three cabins for entertaining customers, besides giving space to the known clients to stay with their girl friends. They were also running a full-fledged massage parlour in the office.

The police had sent a decoy customer, struck a deal on the mobile phone and made the payment. Four girls openly solicited the decoy customer for spending sometime. The girls - Jyoti, alias, Surekha (27), Ritu (20), Priya (18) and Rekha (18) - were arrested with Rahul, resident of Malviya Nagar, who was running the agency. Vishal, who used to take care of the customers by supplying drinks and snacks to them, was also arrested.

Two snatchers nabbed: With the arrest of two youths - Jitender Singh alias Vicky (20) and Parikshit alias Lucky (20), both residents of Tagore Garden, the West district police today claimed to have solved more than three cases of snatching in the district. The police also claimed to have recovered stolen bags, purses, Indira Vikas Patra worth Rs 2.55 lakh and cash worth Rs 4,000 from their possession.

The accused, both graduates, used a red motorcycle and mainly targeted women to make easy money to meet expenses to lead their lavish lifestyle and girlfriends.

Pirated software seized: The Economic Offences Wing raided a few premises in Nehru Place and arrested four persons, who were involved in software piracy. The police recovered a large quantity of pirated software, worth Rs 5 crore, of reputed brands like Coral-10, MS project 2000, Tally 6.3, Windows 2000 server, Encarta, Hacks and Cracks and Norton Anti Virus.

The accused - Ravi Kumar, resident of Faridabad, Hansraj Sharma, resident of Tigri, Rattan Kumar Mishra, resident of Badarpur, and Vikas Kumar, resident of Shahdara, were nabbed and booked under the Copy Right Act.



Indo-Finnish joint panel to meet on Nov 11

New Delhi, November 9
To encourage investment and give a high level of security to investors in both the countries, the 13th meeting of the Finnish-Indian Joint Commission will be held here on Monday.

The Finland industry can play a big role in the Indian economy in sectors like wireless mobile communications, energy and power generation, environmental technology, biotechnology and healthcare. According to industry representatives, there is a tremendous potential for further increase in bilateral trade between the two countries, which witnessed a significant improvement in trade figures especially during the 1990s. In 2001, the total trade was $ 271 million of which Finnish exports were $ 194 million.

The Indian industry can also reap benefits by setting up a base in Finland, as it is one of the best performing economies in the European Union, pointed out

Dr Amit Mitra, secretary general, FICCI, in a recently held India-Finland Business Forum.

With a view to encouraging bilateral trade and investment co-operation, FICCI also entered into institutional arrangements with the Finnish Fund for Industrial Co-operation (FINNFUND) and with the Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland last month.

Today, around 30 Finnish companies are operating in India and more than 70 Finnish companies are represented and exporting to India by utilising services of their appointed local agents, representatives or importers. Nokia, Wartsila, Kone Elevators, Storaenso and Fiskars, Thermo Projects etc are a few of the active Finnish companies here. TNS


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