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CHANDIGARH

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Regional potpourri
For him, the tabla is child’s play
English teacher who is a Hindi writer
A fair deal for Renuka Lake


HIMACHAL PRADESH

NURPUR
Two killed in mishaps
: Six-year-old Kanika died on the spot when she was run over by a private bus (HP-54-3845) while crossing the road at Sinhu under Shahpur police jurisdiction on Saturday. The bus was coming from Kangra. The police has arrested bus driver Harbans Lal under Sections 279 and 304 of the IPC. In another mishap cyclist Neem Bahadur (27), a Nepali youth, fell into a 250-foot-deep gorge and died on the spot at Malkwal, near here, on Friday evening.

Best filling stations: Himachal Filling Station at Jassur and Chamunda Filling Station at Yol have been adjudged as the best service performers in Himachal Pradesh. Mr V.J. Chibber, General Manager of the IOC, awarded the prizes to the owners of the filling stations at the annual meet of the dealers from Himachal, Punjab and Chandigarh at Badog.

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REGIONAL POTPOURRI

For him, the tabla is child’s play

Harman Singh
Harman Singh

It’s all a play of nimble fingers. For eight-year-old Harman Singh, playing the tabla comes as naturally as, say, watching cartoons on television. “I like the sound of the tabla,” he says, his eyes lighting up at the very mention of the instrument.

He was barely three when he started showing an inclination for music. Whenever his parents took him to a ‘kirtan’, he would want to play the tabla.

“Most of his tantrums were tabla-centric. When he showed such persistent interest in the tabla, we bought him one. And he has never been happier,” says his father, Harbhajan Singh, a businessman.

Already, this little musician has performed at Hemant Utsav (organised by the Shree Baba Harballabh Sangeet Sammellan Samiti) and a host of other programmes, including those aired on Doordarshan.

He can play the tabla for a good 45 minutes at a stretch. And, he has never experienced any stage fright, he says, a huge smile crinkling his eyes.

Perhaps, he’s too engrossed in playing the tabla to get overawed by his audience.

His ideal is his guru, Pandit Ramakant Sharma. “My dream is to be like my guruji,” avers this child, a resolute look on his face.

English teacher who is a Hindi writer

Honoured recently with the prestigious Bal Mukund Gupta Award of Rs 50,000 by the Haryana Sahitya Akademi for his contribution to Hindi literature, Prof Amrit Lal Madaan of Kaithal is a well-known writer.

Though he has been a teacher of English throughout his career, Hindi, he says, is “the language of my mind, heart and soul”.

Madaan (65), who has to his credit 16 titles, began his literary journey with ‘Sant Mahatma’, an epic on Guru Nanak, awarded and published by Punjabi University, Patiala, in 1970-71. He has not looked back since and his versatile pen has been churning out drama, fiction, poetry and prose.

Five of his books and three short stories have been awarded prizes by the state Sahitya Akademi. Two of his radio plays have been adjudged the best in the All-India Radio drama writing competition.

Two years ago, he was honoured with the Udai Bhanu Hans award at Hisar and the Mahamurkh Sammelan prize at Karnal.

Besides, he has been awarded by the Language Departments of Haryana and Punjab and the Public Relations Department of Himachal Pradesh for his one-act plays, staged in several cities of North India.

He has also co-translated into English an abridged version of Prem Chand’s famous Hindi novel ‘ Godan’.

His other recent achievements include being honoured by the Hindi Sangathan at Mauritius and reciting a poem at the national symposium of poets held at Santiniketan (West Bengal) on the eve of Republic Day.

Having retired from regular service in 2001, Madaan is still teaching at the RKSD Evening College, Kaithal.

The words “SAAR, SHABD KUNJ” etched outside his residence bear testimony to his long literary career, the best of which, he says, is yet to come.

A fair deal for Renuka Lake

The newly installed fountain in front of the Lord Parshurama Temple at Renuka, near Nahan
The newly installed fountain in front of the Lord Parshurama Temple at Renuka, near Nahan. — Photo by the writer

Located about 37 km from Nahan are temples dedicated to Lord Parshurama and his mother, Goddess Renuka. A big fair is held every year on the banks of the Renuka Lake, the largest natural lake in Himachal Pradesh. Thousands of devotees take part in the fair.

Keeping in view the sanctity of the area, the district administration has spent more than Rs 10 lakh to beautify it and provide basic amenities for the devotees. Special ‘ghats’ have been provided to enable the devotees to take a holy dip in the lake. The area has been landscaped with seasonal flowers and a fountain has been set up. Benches have also been installed so that tourists can enjoy the picturesque beauty of the wooded slopes. Two gates have been erected at the entrance of the Lord Parshurama Temple in addition to wood carvings on the doors of the temple.

This year, the fair will commence on November 1. It is believed that Lord Parshurama visits his mother on Kartik Ekadashi, the day on which the week-long fair begins. The main attraction of the fair is a shobha yatra in which an idol of Lord Parshurama is brought from Jamu village in a palanquin. Idols of other deities from the surrounding villages are also brought to the temple. All deities remain in this shrine till the conclusion of the fair

Meanwhile, there is some resentment among devotees over the charging of exorbitant parking fees by the Renuka Development Board. The fee for four-wheelers varies from Rs 20 to Rs 50.

(Contributed by Minna Zutshi, Satish Seth and Vishal Gulati)

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