SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI
JALANDHAR




THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

                 A M R I T S A R

Every Thursday

TOP STORIES

A Giani, a Gurmukh and a Musafir
Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir (1899-1976), a freedom fighter, a poet, a parliamentarian and a Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) winner, was a multi-dimensional personality. He is the only leader who had been a Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht, General Secretary of the SGPC, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, a member of the Congress Working Committee, Chief Minister of Punjab and a member of Parliament.

Brave in action

Private buildings mushroom near airport
The Rajasansi airport authorities have taken a serious note of the mushrooming of commercial and residential buildings in close proximity of the airport.

Dog bite cases on the rise
Highlighting the menace of stray dogs in the Holy City, six people had died of dog bites in the first two months of the year, the Amritsar Social Welfare Forum has claimed.


EARLIER EDITIONS

 

Entire road encroached
An entire road in the city lies encroached upon by the shopkeepers due to lackadaisical approach of the authorities concerned.

Snatching cases shoot up
Contrary to the claims of the district police, petty crimes cases, especially snatching of gold jewellery, wallets and mobile handsets, have shown an alarming increase.

Website for Punjabi NRIs
The Union Minister for Development of Villages and Small Scale Industries, Mr Mahavir Prasad, recently launched www.punjabnrihelpline.com, a website providing information about Punjab for NRIs.

Campaign against Sethusamudram
The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh has launched a signature campaign from the Holy City for a petition to be sent to the President of India against the demolition of the 30-km long Ram Setu that they claimed was constructed by Lord Ram 1.4 million years ago.

Old age home coming up
Mr Onkar Singh Sandhu, a writer and a philanthropist, conceived the idea of an old age home when he met a group of senior citizens, who gathered at a park everyday in the evening to share their experiences and wisdom.

A model of the building, now under construction

A model of the building, now under construction

Neera SharmaWeekly round-up
DAV Public School gets new Principal
Mrs Neera Sharma has taken over as the principal of the DAV Public School from the founder principal Ms V. Puri, who retired recently. Ms Sharma was earlier the principal of the DAV International School, which she founded 10 years back.


Top










 

A Giani, a Gurmukh and a Musafir
By Varinder Walia

Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir (1899-1976), a freedom fighter, a poet, a parliamentarian and a Padma Vibhushan (posthumously) winner, was a multi-dimensional personality.

He is the only leader who had been a Jathedar of Sri Akal Takht, General Secretary of the SGPC, President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, a member of the Congress Working Committee, Chief Minister of Punjab and a member of Parliament.

In his autobiography, Musafir says that he had seen almost all jails of the joint Punjab during the Akali morchas (agitations) and freedom struggle.

As the Jathedar of Akal Takht, he is remembered as a visionary high priest who took certain historic decisions and handled ticklish issues pertaining to Sikhism.

Apart from taking an active part in the Akali agitations, including the Guru Ka Bagh Morcha in 1922, he started evincing keen interest in the freedom struggle.

After Independence, he was actively involved in building Punjab as a model of growth. Musafir took over as the first Chief Minister after the re-organisation of Punjab in 1966.

He never hankered after power. It was Indira Gandhi, who directed I.K. Gujral (who later became Prime Minister) to prevail upon Musafir to accept the post of Chief Minister of Punjab.

At that time Giani Zail Singh was a hot contender for the post and enjoyed close proximity with Mrs Gandhi.

According to Gujral, Musafir reluctantly accepted the offer. He was genial, humble and utterly guileless.

This was the secret of his strength and success. His humanism and sense of humour cut across all barriers of opinion and made him a beloved of all, irrespective of their political commitments.

Musafir, who contested the assembly election in 1967 from Amritsar, was defeated by Satya Pal Dang, a CPI leader, by a margin of more than 10,000 votes. Stakes were high since Musafir contested the election as the Chief Minister.

Recalling the magnanimity of Musafir , Lokesh Kundra , his election in-charge, says that he (Musafir) showed utmost grace and congratulated Mr Dang by embracing him even before counting came to an end. Kundra describes Musafir as markedly handsome with a flowing white beard and a glowing face.

Dang describes Musafir as a great freedom fighter and a pious man. Dang says that his party (CPI) had sent emissaries to Musafir for not contesting from Amritsar, a stronghold of the Leftists who respected him a lot due to his secular approach and for his role in the World Peace Movement. Kundra says that Musafir never nurtured animosity against anybody and he was above malice.

It was an ambition of Musafir to become the Headmaster of the school where he was a teacher. It was a satire by Master Tara Singh, the legendry Akali leader and the then Headmaster, that pushed Musafir into politics.

Musafir lived in a rented house near the famous Ganga building. This building could not be preserved by any heritage lover.

English writer Mulak Raj Anand, who also belonged to Amritsar, says that despite Musafir’s political commitments, his first love always remained writing Punjabi poetry and prose. He was a famous Punjabi story writer, a poet and a critic of his times.

His first job as a teacher earned him the epithet of Giani that remained attached to his name even after his death. His inspirational poetry for the jathas which moved from village to village earned him the surname of Musafir

According to the Encyclopedia of Sikhism, Musafir was born on January 15, 1899, at Adhval, in Campbellpore district, now in Pakistan. Mr Prem Singh Prem recalls Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir plunged into the freedom struggle at an early age, stirred by the anguish over the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.

He exhorted people to take action through his poems in Punjabi. The Nankana Sahib Saka happened a couple of years after the Jallianwala Bagh incident and it led Musafir to join the Gurdwara Reform Movement launched by the Akali Dal.

In his tribute to Musafir, renowned Punjabi writer Kartar Singh Duggal says that he was one of the most important figures who were instrumental in shaping the way Punjab is today.

He is an enduring symbol of creative energy and contributed to the revival of Punjabi poetry, bringing it closer to realism.

Gurmukh Singh Musafir invested Punjabi poetry with social consciousness. Rather than remaining preoccupied with ultimate problems of life and death, he reacted to the contemporary situation and talked about problems of the ordinary man.

He was arrested during the Akali agitations and the Civil Disobedience Movement launched by the Indian National Congress in 1930 as well. He was first arrested in 1921, being an active member of the Akali Dal, which was banned by the British government and he was handcuffed along with his friend, Darshan Singh Pheruman.

During his first arrest, Musafir’s wife garlanded him. During his stint as the Jathedar of Akal Takht from March 12, 1930, to March 5, 1931, he took certain historic decisions. He went to jail again during the Satyagrah (1939-41) and Quit India (1942-45) movements. He became President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee in 1949. He was also a member of the All-lndia Congress Working Committee. He was elected a member of the Sabha in 1952, 1957 and 1962 successively. He did not complete his last term in the Lok Sabha and resigned in 1966 to take over as the Chief Minister of the reorganised state of Punjab.

Musafir died in Delhi on January 18, 1976.

Top

 

Brave in action

“This is a moment consecrated by history. … my mind travels back to those fateful years when the Congress fought for India’s freedom. I think of those giants who made the Indian National Congress. Seldom has the world seen a nobler galaxy of patriots like Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir, so selfless in their devotion to the cause of freedom, so exalted in thought, so brave in action, so pure in spirit”

— Rajiv Gandhi, the then Congress President, at the Congress centenary session (December 27-29, 1985, Mumbai)

Votes for Hindi

Before the adoption of Hindi as the national language in India, there was a turmoil in Parliament and members crossed party lines to vote either for Hindi or against it. Southern states along with the eastern ones opposed tooth and nail this Bill and members were evenly divided on the issue. The Bill was passed by one vote margin in favour of Hindi and that vote was of Musafir. Maulana Azad, a Congress minister then, never forgave Musaffir for that.

As Jathedar Shamsher Singh Ashok, a renowned Sikh historian, has said that wearing “keski” was a precondition even for women before they were baptized. Any woman who was not prepared to wear Keski was not baptized. This practice continued even after the end of the gurdwara movement. A relaxation was made only when Giani Gurmukh Singh Musafir became the Jathedar of Akal Takht.

As a writer B.S. Rattan says that all along, Musafir remained at the centre of literary and cultural activity. He published nearly 24 volumes that include poetry, short stories and biographies. As a poet he keenly feels the pangs of the common man and wants to make the suffering man aware of the cause of his predicament.

His published works include nine collections of poems— Sabar De Ban, Prem Ban, Jivan Pandh, Musafarian, Tutte Khamb, Kav Sunehe, Sahaj Seti, Vakkhra Vakkra Katra Katra and Dur Nere; eight short stories—Vkkhri Duniya, Ahlane De Bot, Kandhan Bol Paian, Satai Janvari, Allah Vale, Gutar, Sabh Achcha and Sasta Tamasha; and four biographical works— Vekhia Sunia Gandhi, Vekhia Sunya Nehru, Baghi Jarnail and Vihin Sadi de Shahid. He represented Indian writers at international conferences at Stockholm in 1954 and at Tokyo in 1961. He was posthumously decorated with Padma Vibhushan.

Top

 

Private buildings mushroom near airport
by Ashok Sethi

The Rajasansi airport authorities have taken a serious note of the mushrooming of commercial and residential buildings in close proximity of the airport.

The Director of the airport said installation of some latest landing systems had been obstructed by the wanton construction around the airport.

The authorities had requested to district administration to refer all the construction works to them for prior clearance and had asked that no construction should take place within a 20 kilometres radius of the airport.

The Deputy Commissioner, Mr Kirandeep Singh Bhullar, said that he had not received any instructions for curtailing building activities from the airport authority.

He, however, added that the administration would immediately intervene in case the building activities were causing operational hazards in the functioning of the airport.

He said the district administration had recently issued ban orders on construction within 1,000 metres of the Rajasansi Airport.

Sending out strict warning to the building activities, Mr Mulekar said the Airport Authority would immediately refer the cases of violation to the district administration seeking their intervention.

According to estimates, more than a dozen PUDA-approved and other colonies had sprung up on the Ajnala Road, which has given a spiraling effect to the land crisis in the entire area.

Recently, a group of Delhi-based builders had announced an ambitious plan to construct a multiplex just a stones throw away from the international airport. Some hotel projects are also in the pipeline to meet the growing rush of tourists, reached its peak last year.

According to statistics provided by the Airport Authority, Rajasansi has seen a growth of more than 88 per cent in passenger traffic. The authorities expect that if the present trend continues, the annual growth may touch 20 per cent.

Aviation short of manpower

The boom in the aviation industry has spurred demand for trained manpower, with more than 25,000 skilled youth in the field required all over the country in the near future.

Disclosing this during the inauguration of the 60th centre of the Frankfinn Institutes of Airhostess Training here, Mr K. S. Kohli, the institute’s chairman, said the aviation industry was growing at the rate of 25-30 per cent annually and the requirement of ground and cabin crew was also growing at the same rate.

He said a number of airlines, both domestic and international, were outsourcing manpower from India.

He said Gulf Air, Royal Jordanian, Yemen airways and Air Arabia, besides domestic operators, including SpiceJet, Kingfisher Airlines and others were expanding in a big way while Frankfinn had been short-listed as the official recruiting institute by these airlines.

Mr Kohli said Frankfinn was opening six more centers abroad including Dubai, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Bahrain.

He added that the institute had been rated the world’s number one institute in basic cabin crew training and it offers a national certificate in aviation, hospitality and travel management by the Ed-excel Institute of England and its qualification was recognised in over 110 countries.

Top

 

Dog bite cases on the rise

Highlighting the menace of stray dogs in the Holy City, six people had died of dog bites in the first two months of the year, the Amritsar Social Welfare Forum has claimed.

Mr Ravinder Kumar, president of the forum and a businessman, said all the cases were reported at the local Guru Nanak Dev Hospital.

He has also filed a PIL in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on March 3. The next hearing is on April 27.

He claimed that He felt that a concrete mechanism was urgently required to rein in the grave problem.

The forum, in its survey, had found that 75 to 100 patients of dog bite report at the Civil Hospital daily, Mr Ravinder Kumar claimed. Apart from this, the survey also claimed that 450 cases of dog bite have been reported from the outdoor of the government hospital here between January 1 and March 27 this year.

Mr Ravinder Kumar said that the condition in villages had reached an alarming proportion. He said that last week a farmer got critically injured following an attack by dogs in Dhote village near Khadoor Sahib when he had gone to open tube well for supplying water to his fields at night.

He claimed that such incidents kept recurring and the economically weak people were the worst affected.

According to the local anti-rabies department of the government-run Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, about 1,890 cases of dog bites were reported last year. The actual figure certainly be much more than this as all the incidents of dog bites were not reported at the hospital, he added.

Hearing the PIL of Mr Ravinder Kumar, the High Court had issued notice of motion for April 27 to the Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, to direct the authorities to check the menace of stray dogs and to take effective steps to prevent instances of dog bites.

The Company Bagh Welfare Association has also written to the concerned authorities to take appropriate steps to control the rising population of dogs.

Mr Kundan Lal, Chairman of the Association, said the morning walkers, a large number of them included old people, had to face the menace of stray dogs almost regularly. He pointed out that they had to reach the park after dodging dogs, who stalk their way in groups. — TNS

Top

 

Entire road encroached
by Neeraj Bagga

Heavy vehicles parked on both sides of the road behind Gol Bagh.
Heavy vehicles parked on both sides of the road behind Gol Bagh. — A Tribune photo

An entire road in the city lies encroached upon by the shopkeepers due to lackadaisical approach of the authorities concerned.

The road falls behind the Gol Bagh and joins outside the Hathi Gate Road to the Bhandari Bridge.

Majority of shops on the road repair heavy vehicles, including trucks and buses. They park vehicles on either side of the road turning it unworthy for commuting.

Mr Naresh Johar, a resident of the area, said the road was full of potholes and gave the impression that it has not been repaired for a long time.

“It seems that the authorities have deliberately overlooked its upkeep in order to give free hand to the shopkeepers,” he added.

The road could prove beneficial in decongesting the traffic from the Pink Plaza-Hall Gate-Bhandari Bridge route.

The bridge serves as a lifeline to the city, as it connects the old city with the new. It connects five different roads including the one which leads to the Golden Temple via the Hall Gate.

The road witnesses a rush of devotees besides VIPs movement. It results in traffic bottlenecks and long traffic jams. The situation becomes grave with in the summer heat.

Meanwhile, this road could be a viable solution for easing off the traffic.

Commuters coming from Lohgarh Gate, inside the Hathi Gate and heading for the Bhandari Bridge, could be routed via this road. It would also reduce the distance, as it is a diagonal road between the two points.

When contacted, Mr Kulwant Singh, Additional Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, also said that the road could prove an effective alternative to ease off the traffic.

He added that as the idea had been put forward, it would be taken up at the appropriate level, followed by suitable action.

Top

 

Snatching cases shoot up

Contrary to the claims of the district police, petty crimes cases, especially snatching of gold jewellery, wallets and mobile handsets, have shown an alarming increase.

However, majority of the cases got unreported in police records, as the victims are usually reluctant to lodge complaints.

Residents of the Holy City say they feel insecure, as these incidents have become a routine, especially in posh areas like Mall road, Green Avenue, Lawrence Road, Ranjit Avenue and several solitary lanes.

In a recent incident, two unidentified youths virtually strangulated one Usha Rani of Shivala Bhaian area when she was going to attend a marriage function in the Lawrence Road area.

She was accompanied by her daughter-in-law, Monika Arora, who was carrying a one-year old child. The accused even tried to snatch the baby boy, which led to scuffle between them.

The youths fled away with gold jewellery from the victims.

The purse of one Sudarshna Sharma with Rs 4,000, near railway workshop when she, a resident of Guru Arjun Dev Nagar near Putlighar area, was snatched away while she was on a rickshaw.

Two unidentified persons threw her from the rickshaw in this daring attempt. The incident also left her seriously injured.

In February, a couple of traders were shot at and seriously injured by snatchers who took away lakhs of rupees from them.

These snatchers, usually young, use motorcycles to flee within no time after committing the crime.

Police officials said majority of these accused were drug addicts and belonged to well to do families. “They have become habitual criminals, as they do not find the law hard enough,” a police officer said. — FOC

Top

 

Website for Punjabi NRIs

The Union Minister for Development of Villages and Small Scale Industries, Mr Mahavir Prasad, recently launched www.punjabnrihelpline.com, a website providing information about Punjab for NRIs.

Mr Ashwani Mahajan, managing partner of the website, said their main aim was to strengthen ethnic, cultural and economic ties of the NRIs with modern Punjab. He said the site would also focus on Punjabi rituals, folklores, festivals, fashion trends, tourist and religious places to give a firsthand feel of Punjabi culture to second generation of Punjabis living abroad.

He added that it would help narrow down further the distance by providing online services to NRIs in the field of education, tour and travel, property-related matters and new investment opportunities emerging in the state.

Mr Mahajan said the site could also be used by NRIs for sending gifts for their near and dear ones in Punjab and for getting ethnic products, which were only available in Punjab.

He added that initially the site would start its operation from Amritsar, and gradually expand to cover all the main towns of the state.

Mr Mahajan said that Mr Raj Kumar Verka, Parliamentary Secretary, Punjab, is the patron of the website promoted by Vishwas Infotech, Amritsar. — TNS

Top

 

Campaign against Sethusamudram

The Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) has launched a signature campaign from the Holy City for a petition to be sent to the President of India against the demolition of the 30-km long Ram Setu that they claimed was constructed by Lord Ram 1.4 million years ago.

Mr Krishan Arora, an RSS leader from the city, said the campaign was launched to pledge their support to the Ram Karambhoomi Movement in southern states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu against Sethusamudram, a project by the Central government.

He said Ram Setu, which connects Rameshwaram with islands of Mannar in Sri Lanka, would be damaged as the Sethusamudram canal project involved digging of a 83-km-long deep-water channel, which would have far-reaching ecological consequences as well as detrimental effects to Ram Setu, Rameshwaram Dam and Dhanushkon.

Mr Arora said the bridge, the existence of which was proven by NASA, was submerged in water due to a rise in the sea level by 10 to 20 metres. — TNS

Top

 

Old age home coming up

Mr Onkar Singh Sandhu, a writer and a philanthropist, conceived the idea of an old age home when he met a group of senior citizens, who gathered at a park everyday in the evening to share their experiences and wisdom.

He said he was distressed to learn that the son of one of these men met his father in the park only. The atmosphere at home was not conducive for such an interaction, he added.

The bitter reality, he said, gave him the idea of an old age home. Thus was formed the Vishvkarma Welfare Trust whose Managing Trustee is Mr Sandhu.

The trust runs the Guru Ram Dass Old Age Home, on a piece of land measuring 1150 square yards, and located at the Akash Avenue, Canal Link Road in Sultanwind.

Besides boarding and lodging the inmates, the home would provide medical assistance, library, recreational activities, meditation.

The old age home has been designed to provide accommodation to 44 persons in 22 rooms, with attached baths and independent approach to their respective rooms.

Each room is equipped with air coolers and is suitably furnished. Apart from this, four independent suites to accommodate four couples have been constructed. These suites comprise of a bedroom with an attached bath and a drawing room. — FOC

Top

 

Weekly round-up
DAV Public School gets new Principal

Mrs Neera Sharma has taken over as the principal of the DAV Public School from the founder principal Ms V. Puri, who retired recently. Ms Sharma was earlier the principal of the DAV International School, which she founded 10 years back. With more than 25 years of experience in teaching and administration, Ms Sharma would bring with her vast repertoire in education fields to create a niche for herself in the field of quality education.

New building

In a bid to provide congenial atmosphere and customer-friendly infrastructure, the Minister of Cooperatives, Mr Jasjit Singh Randhawa, recently inaugurated the building of the Amritsar Primary Cooperative Development Bank here. Lauding the efforts of the cooperative movement, Mr Randhawa said that it had managed to salvage the rural segments from the clutches of moneylenders. It had also helped to economically uplift the farming community.

Procurement

Punjab Agro Food Corporation here has procured 1,200 quintals of Hyola from the farmers in the district. The corporation’s district manager, Mr G. S. Ghuman, said that in a major drive for agricultural diversification, the corporation had managed to persuade farmers to cultivate Hyola in 4,000 acres and had entered into a contract to purchase the entire crop at Rs 1,715 per quintal.

Exam centre

Manipal University has set up a competitive entrance examination centre here for the students of the region. In a press note released here, the spokesman of the university said that with the innovative teaching methodology in high-quality coarse, this was a comprehensive tutoring solution to help students excel in all major entrance test like IIT, JEE, AIEEE and CBSE.

Workshop

The Lok Kalyan Samiti organised a workshop on solid waste management at the Baba Kuma Singh Engineering College here. The keynote address at the workshop was delivered by Dr Adarsh Pal Vig, Reader at the Guru Nanak Dev University. Others who spoke on the occasion were Mr J. S. Kalra, District Development Officer, NABARD, and Mr Jagmohan Singh, Chairman, Lok Kalyan Samiti. The function was presided over by the Principal of the college, Mr Bhajan Singh.

Tresses saloon

Tresses partner saloon Schwarzkopf launched its Igora colour collection here recently. Famous models who had participated in the Lakme India Fashion Week along with Gladrags winners walked the ramp with latest hair colour and styling done by Tresses. — FOC

Top

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |