R E G I O N A L   B R I E F S

Regional potpourri

  • Kissa kursi ka
  • Adieu Amitoj
  • Stamp duty

Dasehra Committee: The crisis over the election of president of Dasehra Committee for this year further deepened on Thursday as some of the office-bearers requested the branch manager of Allahabad Bank here to stop transactions in the savings bank account of the committee. A dispute had arisen on the manner in which a few persons managed to elect a person of their choice as president of the committee.

One held with fake passport: The immigration authority at Rajasansi International Airport on Saturday caught Gurinderjit Singh, a resident of Ropar, for travelling with a fake passport. The accused had returned from England. A case has been registered.

Fake receipt: On the complaint of Jai Inder Singh, a resident of Raipur Pirbaksh, the police has registered a case of cheating against Pardeep Kumar, a resident of Tanda. Jai Inder Singh has alleged that the accused had issued him a fake receipt at the local suvidha centre. He had paid Rs 800 to the accused for getting counter signatures on his documents.

Drug menace: Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, while presiding over a meeting of the representatives of NGOs and various government departments here on Thursday stressed on the need to chalk out an action plan to fight the drug menace. As many as 87 representatives from different NGOs participated in the meeting.

Ultrasound centres inspected: As many as 36 ultrasound scanning centres were registered and were instructed to submit their monthly report by the fifth of very month during an inspection conducted here. Machines of seven centres were seized and cases filed against three ultrasound centres which were found guilty of violation of the PNDT Act. Mr Krishan Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, said that teams of NGOs had been constituted at the block level to keep vigil on the ultrasound scan centres.

Bad condition of roads: The incomplete repair work of roads in the Railway Road market is causing inconvenience to shopkeepers there. According to the president of the Railway Road Shopkeeper Association, Mr J.K. Dutta, the streetlights on the road are not functioning properly. The toilets at Bhojan Bhandar chowk are in a deplorable condition and the garbage dump is proving to be a nuisance for the residents, he alleged. The association had made numerous requests to the Municipal Council but in vain. The association would resort to agitation if corrective steps were not taken within one month.

District chief appointed
: Mr Onkar Nath Sharma has been appointed president of the Gurdaspur district unit of the Shiv Sena (Hindustan). This was conveyed by Mr Sanjiv Ghanauli, president of state unit of the Sena.

Asha Purni fair: The annual fair of Mata Asha Purni will take place from September 10 to September 13 here at Ram Lila ground. Mr Vinod Khanna, MP from Gurdaspur, will be the chief guest.

Traffic challans: The traffic police has challaned 234 vehicles for various traffic irregularities and collected Rs 4, 19, 650 as fine in the month of August.


HONOURED: The Rotary District Governor of District 3080, Mr Ranbir Singh, visited the Rotary Club Kharar. Dr Chanderdeep Mehta, president of the club welcomed all Rotarians. Five residents of Kharar were honoured by the club on the occasion for their contribution to society. These included Mr Mahinpal Singh of Civil Hospital Kharar, Mr B.R. Gupta, Principal, Government Polytechnic College Khunimajra, Mr Ravish Kanodia and Navjot Kaur for their achievements and Mr Mohan Lal, a regular blood donor and social worker.


Life sentence
: Additional District Judge Surender Kumar on Saturday sentenced Brahmanand, a resident of Nigana Kalan, to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 2,000 for murdering his wife, Dhanpati.

Mobiles stolen: Burglars stole 16 mobile sets worth approx Rs 40,000 from a shop on Friday. Mr Bijender Singh, owner of the shop, has lodged a complaint.

Man kills son
: Karan Singh, a resident of Binjhol village, in an inebriated state, shot dead his son, Amit, on Friday. Amit had reportedly lied to his father about his examination result. A quarrel ensured during which the shooting took place. Karan Singh is, reportedly, at large. A case has been registered.


Sailing expedition: The Superintendent of Police, M. Chandershekhar, here on Friday congratulated cadets on the successful completion of their 12-day sailing expedition on the banks of Gobind Sagar at Luhnu Ghat. Led by Commanding Officer, Commander P.S. Chaudhary, these cadets covered 466 nautical miles in Gobind Sagar and passed by Rishikesh, Jeoripattan, Nakrana, Bhakra, Prohiyan, Raipur and Lathyani.

Debate on female foeticide
: A debate on the topic of female foeticide was organised at the Sarvodya Model School, Dehra, on Saturday. Priya Sharma, Kamna Sharma and Jagriti Dhadhwal got first, second and third positions, respectively. The District Employment Officer and the Principal of the school also spoke on the occasion.

Stay rejected
: The H.P. High Court on Friday refused to grant stay on the application filed by an ex-member of the Himachal Judicial Service, Mr P.D. Goel, wherein he had sought a stay on the operation of the notification issued by the High Court by which he was retired at the age of 58 years instead of 60. While rejecting the stay, Justice Deepak Gupta observed that it would be inappropriate for the court, at this stage, to enter into the merits of the controversy. Hence, the petitioner stands retired.


Regional potpourri

Kissa kursi ka

GLASS APART: The glass cabin where former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his then Chinese counterpart Chou-en-Lai had discussed the doctrine of Panchsheel in front of Sutlej Sadan at Nanga
GLASS APART: The glass cabin where former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his then Chinese counterpart Chou-en-Lai had discussed the doctrine of Panchsheel in front of Sutlej Sadan at Nangal. — Photo by the writer

THE picturesque spot where former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his then Chinese counterpart Chou-en-Lai had sat in front of Sutlej Sadan at Nangal in Ropar district and discussed the doctrine of Panchsheel is now a glass cabin.

From there, one gets a panoramic view of the reservoir of the Nangal Dam, which is a part of the gigantic Bhakra Nangal project. Nehru was so much involved in the project that he visited the site as many as 10 times.

Sutlej Sadan, where Nehru used to stay, is now a guesthouse. It has many artifacts of the period, besides a row of photographs depicting the various stages of the project, from its inception to inauguration.

But for engineers associated with the project, the most precious is a photograph, which shows Nehru serving tea to Harvey Slocum, the American dam expert, who was hired to build the dam. Lest the significance of the photograph be lost on a visitor, an engineer is quick to point out, “Look at the picture. Nehru knew the value of a technocrat”.

The cups in which Nehru served tea are preserved in the guesthouse. But where are the chairs (kursis) that Nehru and the Chinese Premier sat on to discuss Panchsheel in April 1954?

“They are in that glass cabin,” one is informed. The kursis are upholstered and wear a new look. It is difficult to believe that they are half-a-century old.

The engineer has an explanation for their changed appearance: “The chairs had become old. So, we got them replaced with new ones.” Imagine, Mahatma Gandhi’s pocket watch kept in the Gandhi museum in New Delhi being replaced by the latest model of Omega or Rolex!

Or compare this to the artifacts kept in the room in which the Allied leaders discussed post-war Europe in Potsdam, Germany. The room has been preserved in all its originality. The chairs have not been upholstered nor does the table have a sunmica top!

Adieu Amitoj


The seventh day of September was a time for both looking back and forward for the literati in Jalandhar as the bhog of one of the most talented Punjabi poets Amitoj was held at his home in Doordarshan enclave. It was followed by the staging of the play ‘Mitti Na Hove Matreyi’, an adaptation of Brecht’s ‘Caucasian Chalk Circle’ by Amitoj, in the open ground near the house. This play had some very poignant songs by the late poet who died after a prolonged illness on August 27.

Among the most talented bunch of poets who came on the Punjabi literary scene in the late sixties, Amitoj was a friend and contemporary of poets like Surjit Patar, Avtar Paash and Manjit Tiwana. Sensitivity marked his poetry that was seeped in the sensibility of his times. Existentialism and alienation were to be found in his verses as well the irony of the human bondage. His language was rich and his craft impeccable. Death was often the subject of his poetry and he yearned for freedom through poetry, drinking and flings and these were later to become his prison. Yet he leaves behind a fine legacy of poems and one wishes that one had kissed the fingers that had written:

Assee koi kach de gilaas taan nahin

Ki hathon digiye, te karhach deni tutt jaayiye

Akhir aseen dost haan mere yaar!

Pahilan aapan ik dooje dian nazran chon girange

Te pher hauli hauli tutt jaavange

(We are after all no tumblers made of glass

That we should slip from the hand and break at once

We are friends and dear ones at that

First we will fall in each other’s eyes

And then we will break bit by bit…)

It takes rare talent to thus portray the human dilemma and the bitter-sweet truths about relationships and Amitoj had it in him. Nearly a midnight’s child, for he was born on June 3, 1947, Amitoj was an enigma in his lifetime.

He had many admirers of his poetry and his personality. While there is a feeling of void at losing someone who wrote so well — his poems have been put together in an anthology called ‘Khali Tarkash’— yet there is the consolation that he is free at last and his poems will live after him.

Contributed by A.J. Philip, Nirupama Dutt and Shveta Pathak

Stamp duty

BEARING THE STAMP OF DEDICATION: Ludhiana-based Yashpal Bangia is committed to promoting philately, especially among schoolchildren
BEARING THE STAMP OF DEDICATION: Ludhiana-based Yashpal Bangia is committed to promoting philately, especially among schoolchildren.
— Photo by Sayeed Ahmed

Yashpal Bangia is one of those people who manage to combine their profession with their passion. In fact, it was his profession that gifted him with what was to become his passion — philately.

A former post office employee, Bangia had set up the Ludhiana Philatelic Club way back in 1973, and the Philatelic Congress of Punjab in 2000. Today, even after retirement, he is actively promoting his hobby. He has even authored five books on philately.

Bangia comes out strongly against those who think stamps are merely bits of paper. “Stamps are like ambassadors that can promote various causes, give an insight into history and promote cultural ties,” he feels.

In an endeavour to build upon their role in promoting cultural relations between people, he is planning to hold an exhibition in Pakistan. “We plan to exhibit stamps showing undivided India,” says Bangia.

The club has a vast collection, divided into 20 different categories, ranging from stamps on wildlife and environment to history, religion and even agriculture. It has over 200 active members and an almost equal number of floating members. The club also has its own philatelic library, the only one of its kind in the region, claims the man behind it.

Bangia is actively promoting philately among schoolchildren, who, he feels, are quite receptive and the right target group. “For, apart from passion, which a hobby requires, children enjoy learning at leisure,” he says. Besides regular meetings, the club conducts seminars, workshops and holds exhibitions to promote this hobby.


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