Saturday, October 18, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


ITI staff threaten to resume stir
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
The Industrial Training Institute Employees Union, Punjab, today threatened to resume its agitation against the privatisation of ITIs in the state.

In his statement, Mr Navjot Singh Dhoot, general secretary, said the members had earlier started an agitation against the government’s decision, which they termed “anti-employee” and “anti-student”.

He said at that time they had been given an assurance by the Punjab Minister for Technical Education, Mr Mohinder Singh Kaypee, during a meeting with the union leaders, of rolling back the decision.

However, Mr Dhoot alleged that even a month after the assurance, the government had done nothing.

In a state body meeting of the union, he condemned the “anti-employee” policy of state government and threatened that the agitation against privatisation would be intensified.

Mr Dhoot also appealed ITI employees to come out in support both at the district as well the state level.


Dances mark Divali function
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
The second day of Divali function saw students of local SDP College for Women, SDP Senior Secondary School, Basti Jodhewal, SDP Senior Secondary School, Kila Mohalla, present dances and skits. The function was presided over by Mr Balraj Bhasin, president of SDP Sabha. The Deputy Mayor, Ms Sushil Gupta, was the chief guest.

Ms Gupta went around the exhibition and appreciated candles, bouquets, invitation cards, etc. put on display by the students. The cultural programme included folk songs, classical dances, western dances, etc. The programme started with “Ram Vandana”. Students presented solo dances on popular songs.

Mr Balraj Bhasin awarded the prize winners. The best teacher award was won by Ms Gita Bhandari, while Mr Kuljit Singh Dhami and Mr Pappu won the prize for the best among non-teaching staff.

Vibha, Ritambra, Neha, Shilpa, Shelly, Jyoti, Nisha, Mehak, Jashanpreet and Saroj were awarded outstanding students. Mr Ved Prakash Gupta, Mr Lekhraj Arora, Mr Rajinder Aggarwal and Mr H.K. Chug, among others, attended the function.

Mr Balraj Bhasin, president of Mr Ram Lal Bhain Trust, announced a Rs 100 scholarship for 21 students from economically weaker section of the society.


New club formed in school
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, October 17
New Senior Secondary School, Sarabha Nagar, has been chosen by the Rotary International for the formation of Rotary Interact International Club to have a proper interaction for the all round development of students’ personality by adopting different projects, including environment, pollution, corruption, plantation, health and others.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the Rotary International with the school authorities in the Shaheed Sukhdev Singh Hall of the school here today. The function began with an interesting lecture on career counselling by Dr Inderjeet Singh Jaswal, Prof of Human Development, Punjab Agricultural University. He told the students to plan their career as soon as they finished their middle school education.

The following were selected as office bearers : Aman Sehgal as president, Avtar Singh as vice-president, Ashish Sood as secretary, Anubhav Jindal as treasurer, Simranjeet Kaur and Payal Gandhi as directors.


Mohan Singh: pride of Punjabi poetry

At least three persons, bearing Mohan Singh as name, are historically associated with Ludhiana, lending it a pride of place. Mohan Singh of Kila Hans became industrialist and philanthropist. Coca-Cola/Campa Cola introduced his business face. Devotion to Rara Sahib retains his profile of service. The other two are General Mohan Singh and Professor Mohan Singh. The former founded the Indian National Army (INA). The latter is the zenith of the 20th century Punjabi poetry.

General Mohan Singh chose Ludhiana as the place of re-settlement after the Partition. He developed Kanganwal as Garden Colony. Professor Mohan Singh was appointed Professor Emeritus, Punjab Agricultural University. He lived the last decade of his life (1968-78) here. During these years, he built associations with persons and institutions. He also, kept links with admirers and young writers.

Academy awardees, Kulwant Singh Virk, Gulzar Sandhu, Sant Singh Sekhon, besides noted authors, S.S. Narula, Ajaib Chittarkar and Krishan Adeeb enjoyed close literary links. Among friends, Mohan Singh sat as equal. But he always proved worthy of superior status. He seldom recited his poetry but enjoyed others’ works. He narrated anecdotes laced with witty quotes. He was a storehouse of Urdu and Persian poetry. He could quote gems from Tagore to Goethe. Mohan Singh was a keen listener. His trait being generosity clubbed with hospitality. Sohan Singh Misha, Shiv Kumar and Surjit Patar got his patronage and grew qualitatively. He visualised their poetic potential. He was an excellent connoisseur of fine arts.

As a man of the world, he was easiest with Jiwan Singh (Lahore Book Shop), recollecting Lahore-Amritsar of yore. He admired the wit and humour of Kartar Singh Shamsher, Suba Singh and Prof Hazara Singh. It was the wit and wisdom of Sardar Gopal Singh Khalsa he enjoyed the most

Even chance meetings and brief contacts with him conveyed the richness of his literary life. He admired the maturity and vision of Mewa Singh Gill, who socialised with discretion. Mohan Singh was generous and carefree. Both had ear for music and mind for poetry in common.

Jagdev Singh Jassowal often played host to Mohan Singh. Shamsher, Gopal Singh Khalsa and Jassowal made a durable trio. Mohan Singh made people feel and think — also think higher and feel deeper. He had a very complex personality. He was at once learned and scholarly, generous and innocent. A rare mixture of complexity and simplicity. A man bitten by rivals, devoid of rancour or revenge. After losing all material assets, he promised Giani Ajmer Singh (Lohgarh) to pay royalty. He did pay each pie as publisher. He ranks with Bhai Vir Singh and Gurbakhsh Singh Preet lari in popularising literature. Many learnt Gurmukhi script to read Nanak Singh and Mohan Singh.

Mohan Singh had great ties with Ludhiana. As schoolboy, he studied at Government High School. As general secretary, he guided the Punjabi Sahit Akademy and Punjabi Bhavan.

At his residence, he had kept three portraits — Lenin, Amrita Pritam and Mohan Singh. Friends would interchange the order. Once, Mohan Singh finally fixed the order Amrita, Lenin and Self. Thereafter, his last collection of poems, Boohe (doors), appeared. His poetic journey had started with the death of his wife Basant.

Mohan Singh as person is gone. Mohan Singh as poet will live on. He was born on October 20, 1905. October 20, 2003, is his 99th birthday. — M.S. Cheema

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