C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Land acquisition in UT villages banned
Tribune News Service


  • No more land acquisitions for housing or industry in UT villages.
  • This means no more houses for migrant labourers in villages.
  • Will protect the lands of Punjabi farmers.
  • Will control the threat of Punjabi's becoming a minority in the UT.
  • Admn will lay stress on hi-tech industry.

Chandigarh, February 16
No more land in the villages of Chandigarh will be acquired for housing or industrial requirements. This means no new residential colony or industrial area will come up in the 18 villages surrounding the city. However, the upcoming third phase of the industrial area in Raipur Kalan village will not be affected by this decision.

The UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), today asked the Adviser to ensure that no more land is acquired for residential or industrial purpose in the city. Land for residential purposes has already been acquired in the area where sectors are planned.

With this, one of the major grouses of Punjabi land owners will be removed. In the past, the Administration has been making houses for slum dwellers on land acquired from farmers. This led to a change in demographic profile as Punjabis were turning into a minority.

Sources in the Administration admitted that the biggest impact of today’s decision will be on the rehabilitation policy for slum dwellers. Already, the Administration has decided that it will soon come out with a policy on the development of the 18 villages. Probably, like the small urban pockets on the pattern followed in New Delhi.

In the villages, the focus on Administration should be to acquire land for forestry, greening and other eco-friendly ventures. The Administrator said a buffer forest was required to be created outside the sectors to maintain the green character of the city.

Chandigarh’s civic infrastructure is already under stress and the neighbouring cities are also putting pressure. The Administrator said it was imperative to ensure that the density of population did not rise.

Chandigarh has to maintain the character of the ‘Technology City of Future’ and ensure that even in the upcoming third industrial area only hi-tech industry is encouraged. This means that there will be no influx of population of migrant labourers.

Reviewing the progress of cycle tracks, Justice Verma felt that progress was not up to the mark because pre-assessment of hurdles coming in the way of cycle tracks was not properly done by the Engineering Department. He instructed the department that proper pre-assessment of hurdles coming in the way of cycle track should be done prior to starting the work on the remaining six tracks.


English language, Gurmukhi script — Mohali MC style
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 16
Here is a chance to learn English in the Gurmukhi script! Assuming that many of us have difficulty in deciphering the English alphabet but understand the language by default, the Municipal Corporation of Mohali has come up with this unique brain-twisting advertisement for contractors to tender its works where the text reads in English but the script is Gurmukhi.

The advertisement issued by the Municipal Engineer, Mohali appeared in The Tribune on February 8. The advertisement starts with an introductory paragraph which reads in Punjabi and is written in the Gurmukhi script. After this introduction, the advertisement lists a large number of works that are to be tendered in Mohali by the council. The details of these works are given in English but written in Gurmukhi. And for a person who does not understand English but can read Punjabi is left wondering what the advertisement means.

For example, work number 12 in the advertisement reads...

in various paakit of Phase 1 back side of Franco Hotel, Puda building in front of booth market adjoining to kothi number 69 ton 61 in one kanal paakit and various paakit of Phase I.

The sentence above reads in english but is written in the gurmukhi script. In this sentence the only two words that are in Punjabi are kothi and ton. (Used between number 69 and 61 for the English word to.) And if you have managed to understand this unique language, it will take you some time before you locate the place that this work refers to. Since there are no punctuation marks to divide this sentence, you do not know if there is a Puda building in front of the booth market or the booth market is adjoining to the kanal kothis!

Work number 31 reads...

Annual maintenance of roads, cleaning of kerb channel cutting of congress grass, dressing of berms, removal of temporary hut for chowkidar and sand.

...... all this in Gurmukhi.

Similarly another interesting work listed is work number 42. It reads: Providing unintereded (?) automatic traffic control signal light at junction of sector 64-65, Phase 10/11 shopping centre road.

Since a substantial amount of effort goes in reading the above sentence, one realises the extraordinary effort that a regular Punjabi writer must have put in writing English words in Gurmukhi. The spelling mistake is, hence, pardoned.

By the time you reach the end of the page long advertisement, you begin to feel a little comfortable with this English language Gurmukhi script. And then you hit the ‘shartan’ (terms and conditions) column of the advertisement. Like the introductory paragraph, this column is in proper Punjabi, bringing the whole tedious deciphering exercise to a smooth end.

When asked about this advertisement from an MC official, pat came the reply, ‘‘The advertisement is in English because it had to appear in an English newspaper and the script is Gurmukhi as we have to work in Punjabi!!!’’


Stray dogs will be nabbed, sterilised
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
After dealing with the problem of stray cattle, the Chandigarh Administration and Municipal Corporation now have the problem of stray dogs on their hand. The population of stray dogs is rising fast.

To tackle the menace, the Administration is to outsource the process of sterilisation and seek help from neighbouring states. Soon, stray dogs will be nabbed and packed off in special trucks to veterinary care centres for sterilisation in adjoining states. Interestingly, the dogs will have to be brought back to the city as the Chandigarh Administration is bound by a Supreme Court ruling which says that the stray dogs, after sterilisation, have to be released in the same locality from where they were nabbed.

Though the expenses will be more when compared with the existing method of sterilisation, using the services of neighbouring states seems to be the only plausible solution to control the menace of stray dogs.

There are estimated to be about 5,400 stray dogs in the city and they are multiplying fast. Two non-governmental organisations are handling the sterilising scheme and are paid Rs 450 per dog. The problem is that it takes about seven days of post-operative care of the dog. The NGOs have limited space and can handle only a given number of cases on weekly or monthly basis.

In the past few months, the sterilisation rate is no more ten dogs per week. The multiplication rate is much faster. The procedure is complicated. He nabbed dogs have to be sterilised and then kept under observation for seven days. These details were brought out during a meeting of senior officers of the Administration and Municipal Corporation last week. The stray dogs cannot be culled (selectively killed) as animal rights activists have been protesting the killing but have agreed upon sterilisation to curtail the growth of stray dogs. In the long run this will automatically bring down the numbers.

Interestingly, dogs are targeted as it is easier to carry out sterilization in the male of the animal species and it requires less post operative care when compared to the females of the species.

Already the Municipal Commissioner, Mr M.P. Singh is exploring the possibility of involving veterinary colleges of Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana and Haryana Agricultural University, Hisar. The adjoining states have yet to give their consent on the same.


Escaped deer caught
Bipin Bhardwaj

Chhat Bir (Patiala), February 16
Efforts to capture the female swamp deer which escaped from its enclosure in the Mahendra Chaudhari Zoological Park on last morning yielded results as the antelope, after 36 hours, finally landed in the net here late this evening.

The antler kept the zoo authorities on their toes since its escape after jumping over the 10 feet high boundary wall of the enclosure.

Seven employees under the leadership of Mr Neeraj Gupta, Wildlife Warden, laid a trap to net the animal throughout the day. But the shy deer remained rambling in the woods in the swamp area surrounding the enclosure from which it escaped.

Talking to The Tribune, Mr Kuldeep Kumar, Director of the zoo, claimed that the antelope was caught manually at about 7 pm. After rambling in the swamp, the animal got tired. The zoo staffers finally spotted the deer in the zoo Fodder Farm and cordoned off the area.

‘‘A mild dose of a sedative was given to the deer with the help of a tranquilising gun which caused dizziness to her which helped the zoo staffers in netting her,’’ claimed Mr Kuldeep Kumar.

The animal was later shifted to a house of the deer enclosure and was released with its partner.

Meanwhile, the zoo authorities have decided to net the enclosure, where the pair has been kept, to avoid such incidents in future. The authorities have also decided to install a 4-5 feet wire mesh atop the boundary wall of the main enclosure where the pair would be displayed after a month.

The zoo Director claimed that the pair was quite healthy. The zoo keepers had been directed not to let anybody to come close to the house of the pair.

It may be recalled that a female swamp deer, brought to the Chhat Bir zoo from Kanpur zoo on February 5, had escaped from captivity after it jumped over a nine-and-a-half foot high wall of the house of the enclosure yesterday

The animal had escaped when two zoo employees had entered the enclosure to take some samples of the antelope. They were placed under suspension for mishandling this rare species of deer.


Intractable diseases may be eradicated soon
A.S. Prashar
Tribune News Service

Thomas GallagherChandigarh, February 16
This is the golden age of biomedical sciences and many of the intractable diseases which have been the scourge of mankind for ages could be eliminated in none too distant future, says a top US doctor heading one of the premier institutes of the world engaged in medical research.

“Smallpox has been eliminated from the face of the earth. And polio is on the run. Already, there are people in different parts of the world who say that they don’t want to take the polio vaccine because there is no need”, points out Dr Thomas Gallagher, Director of the US-based National Institutes of Health Office of Community Liaison (OCL).

“We are now trying to treat the new emerging and re-emerging diseases. For the first time, we have a new understanding of the human bio system which offers us a chance to adopt innovative approaches to tackle diseases. Tools of enquiry are also new. There is a sense of immediacy and excitement in the medical community….That is why I call it the golden age of biomedical sciences”

Dr Gallagher who was in town on Monday to pay a visit to Fortis hospital at Mohali said in an interview with TNS that the field of biomedical research had become so vast and diverse that it was now possible to look for a possible treatment of the same disease from different angles. It was difficult to predict when a breakthrough would be achieved in the treatment of which disease.

“Overnight breakthroughs in medical sciences take place only in movies and TV series,” he says with a laugh. “In real life, breakthroughs come in incremental pieces. There are different doctors working on different aspects of the same disease. And when they meet, they share their experiences and research. They then know which approach to avoid because it will result in a dead-end and which approach to follow because it offers the best possibilities.

“Once I came across a medical researcher who had devoted a whole lifetime without achieving any breakthrough in any field. And when I asked him about it, he pointed out that he had carefully documented his research and future researchers would now know which routes to avoid and which to follow.”

Founded in 1887, the National Institutes of Health today is one of the world’s foremost medical research centres and the Federation focal point for medical research in the United States. The NIH, comprising 27 separate institutes and centres, is one of eight health agencies of the Public Health Service which, in turn, is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The main campus of the NIH is located in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Simply described, the goal of NIH research is to acquire new knowledge to help prevent, detect, diagnose, and treat disease and disability, from the rarest genetic disorder to the common cold. The NIH mission is to uncover new knowledge that will lead to better health for everyone. NIH works toward that mission by: conducting research in its own laboratories; supporting the research of non-federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helping in the training of research investigators; and fostering communication of medical and health sciences information.

“We have existed for nearly 100 years but till recently, we were a kind of sleepy institution. However, during the past five years, there has been a sea change in the situation. With its 18, 000 employees, the NIH is now a beehive of activity, exploring new frontiers of medical science. And there is a sense of immediacy and excitement…”


Indian pros respected in USA, says expert
Tribune News Service

Dr Thomas Gallagher, Director of National Institutes of Health Office of Community Liaison, plants a sapling at Fortis Healthcare, Mohali
Dr Thomas Gallagher, Director of National Institutes of Health Office of Community Liaison, plants a sapling at Fortis Healthcare, Mohali. Also seen in the picture is Mr Daljit Singh, chief executive operations, Fortis Healthcare. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, February 16
Dr Thomas Gallagher, Director of National Institutes of Health Office of Community Liaison, USA, said today that Indian doctors, engineers and IT professionals were highly respected in the USA.

Talking to mediapersons, Dr Gallagher said he was impressed by the state-of-the-art health facilities being offered by Fortis Healthcare through its multi-speciality hospital at Mohali. He was, however, of the view that in the absence of a health cover offered by insurance companies, it might not be possible for everyone to afford the expensive treatment.

Accompanied by Mr Daljit Singh, chief executive operations, Fortis Healthcare, and Dr Achintya Moulick, chairman, Cardiovascular Sciences Department, inspected various facilities being offered by it. He also planted a sapling in the hospital compound.



Amjad Ali leads concert to perfection
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Tonight's concert at Tagore Theatre was a wonderful exercise in poeticisation of ragas. Never before has one heard music of such extraordinary spiritual dimensions as was played in the sacred space of performance this evening, never before has one seen such perfect partnership in rhyme as was witnessed on this concluding day of Bhaskar Rao Sangeet Sammelan.

In command was none other than sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, whose evolution as a performing artiste seemed complete on stage today, as he moved a bit away from the traditional route to make musical offerings with folk bearings. Preceded in concert by his two sons and disciples Amaan and Ayaan Ali Bangash, who represent the seventh generation of the Senia Bangash gharana, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan undoubtedly ruled the raga, adorning it with his exceptional skills. His presentation of the eternally melodic Rabindra Nath Tagore's Ekla Chalo was indeed the high point of tonight's concert.

Taking off on his sarod after extending to Chandigarh a promise of conducting a week long workshop, the maestro struck notes of a folk tune in Khamaj, which is a raag for thumri compositions. Recalling the melodious Ekla chalo on his instrument, he then performed another folk tune in raag Bihu, reminiscent of the nostalgic ambience of Assam, where his wife Subalakshmi belongs.

It was Ustad Amjad Ali Khan's power of vocal expression through the instrument that kept the audience enraptured throughout his solo session. As if the beauty of Khamaj was less, Rabindra sangeet further enriched the surroundings, forcing all profanity into oblivion.

The delight of tonight's presentation also lay in the manner in which every instrument acquired a distinct character on the stage. Facilitated by the maestro in presence, the affair of rhythm reached its zenith, as every instrumentalist brought forth his best skill to present the raag in its most beautiful form. The young masters indulged playful musical duels with their father and guru, so did the two exceptionally talented tabla players Tanmay Bose and Sandip Das, who spilled magic with their tabla. Together the five musicians played raag Kirvani, a South Indian raag, that has a universally appealing sound.

From Amaan and Ayaan's opening musical presentation in raag Shri to the absorbing concluding sequence in raag Kirvani — what played at Tagore Theatre was pure, pristine music, shorn of pretensions of techniques. The recital was thus less about heavy-duty classical musical presentations and more about jointly conducted playful improvisations that resulted in a thoroughly delightful partnerships in rhyme, which will long be remembered for its sweetness.


Sarod maestro passes baton to young masters
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan shares his space as well as musical influences with sons and disciples Amaan and Ayaan Ali during his visit to Chandigarh
ALL IN THE FAMILY — Ustad Amjad Ali Khan shares his space as well as musical influences with sons and disciples Amaan and Ayaan Ali during his visit to Chandigarh on Monday. — Tribune photo by Manoj Mahajan

Chandigarh, February 16
The best thing about legends is that they sound novel every time you listen to them. So it was this afternoon when Ustad Amjad Ali Khan hailed music as the soul of creation, capable of translating dissonance into sweet harmonies that then bind the world in the string of seven notes.

Introducing music beautifully, the sarod maestro, who was in Chandigarh with sons and disciples Amaan and Ayaan, said, “Music is a subject only for emperors and beggars. Both have nothing at stake and can hence serve music selflessly, justifying its spiritual foundation. Reverence for the guru is also a must, so is respect for the mother, who is a greater guru. Amaan and Ayaan are Subhalakshmi and Amjad Ali’s sons. Subhalaksmi’s share in their success is undisputable.”

Spelling humility in abundance, the guardian of Senia Bangash gharana that traces its roots to Mian Tansen talked about his musical life, which had its share of crests and troughs before settling on an even ground. “Preserving the purity of raga was challenging indeed. So was saving my sons from distractions, so typical of this neoteric age. I left them to explore the world. They even had offers to star in films, but they came back to serve music, which demands complete surrender.”

As a performer, guru and father, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has more than performed his duty. He has played with artistes like Igor Frolov, has composed for lyricists like Gulzar and has taken sarod to halls as prestigious as St James Palace. Now he is happy to have handed down a priceless musical heritage to Amaan and Ayaan, who are safeguarding the pristine glory of sarod, while fighting distractions to secure concentration.

Maestros in the making make no mistakes in their utterances, as they say, “We are proud to remain under his shadow. We never claim to be evolving a style of our own. Our guru is so celebrated that we might as well appear like extensions of his personality than anything else. He allows us to play around possibilities. We are now making music for Roger Christian’s (of Star Wars fame) film “American Daylight.”

Taking over from sons, the Ustad said, “People say I promote my sons. But they are no products that need promotion. They are human beings who deserve their space in the realm of music. As sons they have been born with privileges, but as disciples they are like others and they are responsible to safeguard tradition, which is in jeopardy.”

For their part, Amaan and Ayaan admitted, “We took time to realise that we were born for music. One disastrous performance in London placed us on the musical path. “Abba” fell sick after that concert and we realised what music meant to him. That was the beginning of our devotion to music.” Happy to be overtaken by disciples, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan attributes his success to music itself.

“The joy of music is tremendous. It begets tolerance. Had it not been for music, I would not have taken the controversy involving Ustad Bismillah Khan in my stride. I tried my best to hold the situation, but ugliness crept in because our hearts could not match.”


Exit poll credibility low, admits psephologist Yadav
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Psephologist Yogendra Yadav is a popular face on television around election time. Predicting performances of political parties and participating in analytical discussions, Yadav’s acumen in judging results makes him a sought-after person in the election season.

However, with exit and opinion poll taking a drubbing in the recent election in the country, he admits: “Its credibility is at an all-time low, especially after the recent elections in Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. That is because, over the years, predicting results has become more of a business for agencies. There is neither methodology nor accountability.”

In the city for a seminar on “Alternative politics and political alternatives” at Panjab University, here yesterday, Mr Yadav blames political parties and their media managers for the aberrations in results.

“Predicting the percentage of votes that are likely to fall in the kitty of any political party is certainly better than forecasting the number of seats each party gets. Opting for the latter, alters the results significantly and goes to the disadvantage of the agency when the final result is out. I believe that the quality of exit poll was better in the 1980s compared to the outcomes now,” he states.

“Also, there is no country in the world where the number of seats each party gets is declared two months in advance. Under pressure from the media wanting to ‘declare winners’, most agencies are forced to give forecasts based on seats rather than the percentage of votes,” he said.

Dismissing the demand for banning of the opinion poll, he opines: “It is similar to wrong reporting. The solution lies not in banning them but in having greater accountability and open discussions. In Britain, a wrong prediction in the 1992 election resulted in a high-level inquiry following which a code of conduct was formulated. Such a code the needed in India as well.”

Commenting on the “India Shining” campaign launched by the NDA government, Mr Yadav said such advertisements ought to be banned as soon as the Lok Sahba is dissolved.”The public can see through any publicity stunt and such campaigns affect the voters only marginally,” he maintains.

On the much-publicised “feel-good” factor of the government at the Centre, Mr Yadav held that the impact was waning. “It has given them a psychological advantage only and the hype has came a bit too early for them, given the fact that elections are still a long time off,” he held.

A Fellow at the Centre for Social and Developmental Studies (CSDS), New Delhi, he says his Centre only predicts the percentage of votes and does not dabble in making declarations about the number of seats, lending them greater credibility.


Individualism causing collapse of family: sociologist
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
Family units in the middle urban class are falling a prey to professions of the younger generation. Baroda-based Prof A.M. Shah, an eminent sociologist specialising in family systems, believes that the consequent ideology of individualism in the middle class is affecting the family ties.

“In traditional families where all members lived under one roof, the individual was under the control of the elders in the family. With the joint families breaking up and giving way to nuclear families, each individual is aspiring to chalk out his own plans, unmindful of the requirements of the others and the elders,” rues Professor Shah, formerly teaching at Delhi University.

In the city for the national seminar on “Family in contemporary India: changes and challenges” being held at Panjab University, Professor Shah regretted that the immediate challenge to the families in the middle class was from the economic forces.

“The fact that children pursued their family professions kept the family intact in the traditional set up. In modern life, children go into other professions. These are taking the younger generations away from home and inevitably leading to a collapse of the family, completely eroding the concept of togetherness,” he maintains.

The “disintegrated” family units are not only posing problems for the older generation, devoid of support when it is needed most, but for the younger generation as well.

“With no help available at home and no role models to look up to, these youngsters are not in a position to identify their place within the family. They have no clue about behaviour in the new role whether it is that of the head of the family, the father, the wife or the mother. The individualistic approach is wrecking havoc with our system,” he opined.

However, this rot in family systems has not set in as far as the affluent and the very poor are concerned. Among the poor, family is of great help.”Pooling of income is important to survival. This is keeping the family unit together. For the rich, money is no problem. Staying together is also no hassle. The problem of staying together in the middle class is most acute,” adds Prof Shah, with two books on households and family systems to his credit.

While Professor Shah developed interest in family systems nearly three decades ago while carrying out field work in a village in Gujarat, he opines that the biggest challenge for today’s sociologists comes from studying the content of family life.

“From forms of family to its content, sociology has to move on with changing times. Sociologists need to dwell on the sentiments, emotions and tensions experienced within families. Though this content of family life is not easy to study with the public not appreciative of any peek into their lives, yet these studies need to be undertaken for every section of society to arrive at authentic results. The growing tension within the households of the middle class would be of greatest interest in the coming days,” Professor Shah contends.


Veteran soldier struggles for survival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
After facing enemy bullets, a 72-year-old battle casualty of the 1948 operations against Pakistan is now struggling for survival. Denial of disability pension by the powers have further rendered him ineligible to even avail treatment entitled to an ex-serviceman.

Kulwant Singh, a resident of Mohali, had served with the Royal Indian Artillery as a technical assistant from October, 1947, to December, 1949. While posted with the 2nd SP Field Regiment, he took active part in Indo-Pak operations in the Chhamb sector.

He received bullet injuries in his left shoulder and both legs and was evacuated by air from the battlefield to the Army Hospital in Delhi in a serious condition. He spent six months in hospital. Subsequently, he was placed in medical category ‘E’ and discharged from Royal Indian Artillery Depot and Records, Mathura, by a Release Medical Board.

Later, Kulwant Singh kept on taking up his case for disability pension with the records center in Mathura through the District Sainik Welfare Board, Delhi, as well as through other means, but to no avail. Now suffering from high blood pressure and finding it difficult to walk due to earlier injuries, he is also finding it difficult to meet daily expenses.

“Since he never received pension, he is not covered under the armed forces health schemes. Under revised regulations, released armed forces personnel must be drawing pension to be termed as ex-servicemen,” Lieut-Col S.S. Sohi (retd), president of the Ex-servicemen’s Grievances Cell, said while giving details about the case.

The cell has now taken up the matter with the Adjutant General at Army Headquarters as well as with the pension authorities and the Artillery records office so that the old veteran’s pension may be released and he is able to live his remaining days with dignity.


Retired gallantry awardees to hold convention
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 16
The War Decorated India (WDI), an association of retired gallantry awardees, will be holding its national convention here on March 13 and 14. The convention, held once in three years, elects the office bearers of the association and also raises issues for the benefit and welfare of gallantry awardees.

The convention will be inaugurated by the Punjab Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. The association’s president, Brig Sant Singh (retd), said that about 300 gallantry awardees, war widows or their next of kin from all over the country were expected to attend the convention.

The inaugural session will be held at Chandimandir, where senior Army officers are also expected to be present.

About 1550 armed forces personnel have been decorated for gallantry in wars after independence, though only about 700 out of them are alive. A large number of awards were also given posthumously.

The WDI comprises only winners of Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra. It does not include those decorated for gallantry in operations other than war, which include winners of the Ashok Chakra series of award. The government has also not permitted serving officers to become members of the association.


Fauji Beat
Discipline is bedrock of uniformed forces

WHEN the uniformed forces become indisciplined, the country faces more danger from within. This is exactly the situation in India today, as far as the police is concerned, thanks to politicians who have left no stone unturned to politicise this force. Add to this the timidness of seniors in this force to punish their subordinates because of their own weaknesses.

If this trend continues, then the Army, which is deployed for internal peace at the drop of a hat today, will have to replace the police in another few years. And that will be the time when the Army will also become indisciplined. The Kargil war proved beyond doubt that the Indian Army is still a good fighting force.

In a recent incident at Jalandhar two gunmen of a Punjab minister, accompanying him, got drunk at a taxi-stand and “decided” to leave one assault rifle behind.

When the rifle was noticed next morning and the police was informed, the latter returned the rifle to the person concerned without any action. When the investigating officer, a DSP, was contacted by a newsman, the former said, “It was a minor issue and shouldn’t be blown out of proportion.”

In the Army, the loss of a weapon, even temporarily, is a very serious offence and the defaulter gets a severe punishment.

No wonder then that the Army is deployed for internal peace when all other forces fail, and they often fail, in this duty.

It is time custodians of the country, that is the politicians and bureaucrats opened their eyes to this lurking danger and took remedial measures.

Border area farmers unhappy

Three border districts of Punjab, Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Ferozepore, have suffered maximum loss in every war. The large-scale deployment of the Army at the border for Operation Prakram, when the border area was strewn with mines, struck a crushing financial blow to farmers at the border.

Now think of the 1965 war when the population of Punjab, apart from boosting the morale of the Army, turned into the second line of defence.

Never will old soldiers, who enjoyed the hospitality of the farmers of the Amritsar district during the 1965 war, forget the war for this reason. Today, the farmers feel totally disgusted over the attitude of the Central and state governments and say, “We faced wars in 1947, 1965, 1971, Kargil and Operation Prakram and are living as refugees in our own houses”.

What they demand is more time for work on land across the fence, insurance of crops and residents besides subsidy on loans. Since these farmers are an important part of our war effort, they should not be ignored.

Bagpipe’s history and role

Old traditions of Army regiments may seem meaningless to some, but the regiments take pride in maintaining them. For instance, even a musical instrument, bagpipe, has a history dating back to 1000 BC. It reached Britain long time after it was used by the Roman Army. The Highland Pipe or Scottish Pipe, which is with the Indian Army, has been used in a war for several centuries. Pipers are known to have played their role in the battle of Waterloo and during both the World Wars.

The pipers not only add colour to the mess functions but have also come to stay as a traditional adjunct to them.

Formal functions, like regimental dinner nights, are not complete without them. They play “The red coated soldier, a retreat air and a march” half-an-hour before dinner. The dinner is announced by them by playing “Bannocks ’barely meal”.

Then after the toast, the pipers play the “Cabar feidh”. This continues into a set consisting of “Strathspey and reel”.

It is then the turn of pipe major, who plays “Piobaireached” while going around the table clockwise. After this, he stands behind the Commanding Officer, plays “Crunluath-a-match” and leaves the room while paying “Retreat march”.

Lastly, the pipe major re-enters the dining room without the pipers, takes a regimental toast (a tot of rum) and leaves the room.

— Pritam Bhullar


Sood Mela organised
Our Correspondent

Panchkula, February 16
The 42nd annual Sood Mela was organised by the Chandigarh Sood Sabha, with over 1,000 families of the sabha taking part in the celebrations, at Sood Bhavan in Sector 10, here yesterday.

Various cultural events like Sood prince and princesses, best couple of the year, oldest couple, fancy dress competition, tambola, painting competition, races and other sports were organised to mark the day.

A special matrimonial counter had been set up for members of the community. Besides, over 100 members of the sabha were given prizes for their participation in different activities.

Mr Surinder Sood, general secretary of the sabha, highlighted the last year’s achievements of the sabha.

According to Mr Raj Kumar Maria, public relations officer of the sabha, Mr Amar Chand Sood, former advocate, was honoured with the “Sood Rattan” award by Mr Hardyal Deoger, who was the chief guest.

Yogacharya Roshan Lal Sood was the guest of honour.


DC lauds Brahma Kumaris

Mohali, February 16
“Today when there is degradation in moral and human values throughout the world, transformation is possible only through spirituality”.

These views were expressed by Ms Seema Jain, Ropar Deputy Commissioner, at a function organised in connection with Shivratri by the Prajapita Brahma Kumaris Ishwariya Vishwa Vidyalaya here yesterday. She praised the services being rendered by the organisation.

Mr B.K. Amir Chand, national vice-chairman of the social service wing, said only knowledge about the god was not enough. One had to become strong interbally to face the eventualities in life. OC

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