SPECIAL COVERAGE
CHANDIGARH

LUDHIANA

DELHI


THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS

Every Wednesday and Friday

Phagwara’s killer roads
The blatant violation of traffic norms, coupled with the use of mobile phones while driving, has led to an increase in fatal accidents.
Anil Jerath reports
The vehicular density in Phagwara is costing the residents heavily in terms of loss of lives, as the city’s road accident rate is spiraling upwards. Statistics are a pointer towards this.

Exploring musicality
If you think melody would sidle up to you one fine morning and you can cut an album or two by fine- tuning music with glamour, you are in for a surprise. Music is about hard work and slog that wipe out the last vestiges of glamour, learns Minna Zutshi during a tête-à-tête with noted sarod player Ustad Danish Aslam
Artless humility and no-frills attitude may seem to be a throw-back to the good old days when glamorous trappings had not yet gobbled up simple, honest feelings.







EARLIER EDITIONS



Week Comment
Some things neither come nor go

Its all coming back— the Football World Cup to Italy after 24 years, election campaigns to Punjab after four years and the monsoon to Jalandhar after a year. And another Tuesday after a week.

Cricketer Harbhajan Singh takes time off to play badminton with children at Hansraj Stadium in Jalandhar
Catching them young: Cricketer Harbhajan Singh takes time off to play badminton with children at Hansraj Stadium in Jalandhar. — Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

‘People in blind pursuit of power and pelf’
A seminar on ‘Community understanding and the Sikh perspective in public forums’ was organised in Amritsar recently by the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), Washington, USA.

Basmati growers to go for crop diversification
Progressive farmers from the area, in association with the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters’ Association (PRMEA) and the experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), have decided to work in tandem to boost the cultivation of basmati paddy.

No takers for theatre in the city, rue artistes
The city being a media hub has chiseled many an artiste in various fields of art. But the saga of theatre remains tragic here. Jalandhar, one of the biggest cities of Punjab, has little room for this form of art. Many theatre artistes say the art can only flourish if people show interest in it. With the birth of popcorn entertainment, the residents, artistes say, find plays too heavy.

Demand for Palki Sahib, Sukh Aasan Sahibs on rise
People have their own way to express their faith in their religion. Some donate huge sums of money for the construction or the kar seva of a gurdwara, while some arrange langars and chabbils for the devotees depending on their financial capacity. But there are people who express their faith by donating Palki Sahib and Sukh Aasan Sahibs.

Traders find no merit in SAFTA agreement
Traders’ community have decried the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement. They claim that the pact will have no role in improving trade relations with Pakistan as it was apparently not willing to give any tariff concessions under SAFTA.

Helping poor children lead dignified life
Mother Teresa established 168 charitable homes across the country with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of poor and downtrodden. One of such homes, famous as Mother Teresa Children Home, is located in Amritsar on the Ajnala Road near Rajasansi International Airport.

Doctor selected for fellowship
Dr Manuj Wadhwa, Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Fortis Hospital here, has been selected for a three-month long joint reconstruction surgery fellowship of the Ranawat Orthopaedic Research Foundation at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York.

Educating underprivileged children for free
Dedicated to the martyrdom of four Sahibzadas and Mata Guzari, Sri Guru Harkrishan Charitable Public School promises free education on the CBSE pattern to children belonging to the poor strata of the society. The school is a brainchild of Ms Satinder Kaur Marwaha, its Principal.




Children from poor families study during a class at Sri Guru Harkrishan Charitable Public School in Amritsar. — A Tribune photo
Children from poor families study during a class at Sri Guru Harkrishan Charitable Public School in Amritsar

Summer camp teaches religious values
The Akal Purkh Ki Fauj (APKF) utilised the modern concept of summer camp to inculcate religious values among children in Amritsar. The Gurmat Summer Camp was dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Akal Takht.

Helping youths get into army 
Major-General Gurdip Singh Sohi retired from the army way back in 1992, but since then he continues to make an untiring effort by contributing towards the forces in his own way.

Young World
Apeejay space architects to leave for Texas today 

A team of 12 students from Apeejay School, Jalandhar, which is heading for the finals of international space settlement design competition being organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is feeling on the top of the world. Having been selected among the top eight teams around the globe, the team that will leave for NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas, on Wednesday is scheduled to take part in the competition to be held from July 14 to 17.
A team of students from Apeejay School, Jalandhar, all smiles on Monday before leaving for NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas Colleges in Jalandhar are abuzz with activity as the new academic session begins
A team of students from Apeejay School, Jalandhar, all smiles on Monday before leaving for NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas Colleges in Jalandhar are abuzz with activity as the new academic session begins. — Tribune photos by Pawan Sharma 

Rain brings relief from sweltering heat
It is finally here. The first downpour of the monsoon gave respite from sweltering heat that was made even more unbearable by recurring power cuts. Phagwara residents rejoiced.

Now, birthday ‘band bajaas’ for kids
If you think that ‘band baaja’ is for ‘shaadi’ only, then think again. As now you wouldn’t have to wait till your child grows up to get a band playing. You can enjoy the music of a live band at your tot’s birthday celebration too!

 

 

 

 

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Phagwara’s killer roads
The blatant violation of traffic norms, coupled with the use of mobile phones while driving, has led to an increase in fatal accidents. Anil Jerath reports

The vehicular density in Phagwara is costing the residents heavily in terms of loss of lives, as the city’s road accident rate is spiraling upwards. Statistics are a pointer towards this. The total number of accidents in Phagwara in 2004 were 68. The number increased to 80 in 2005. Now this year till date, 32 accidents have occurred.

These figures, provided by the Phagwara Traffic Police, point towards a dangerous trend wherein road mishaps are increasing.

Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill, ASP, says, “There are more accidents in the periphery of the city, but fewer involving fatal injuries as compared to the accidents within the city.”

Attributing this to the mushrooming number of vehicles, Dr Gill says, “Another vulnerable area where mishaps occur is on highways where high and low speed vehicles zip past.”

Comparing the situation with other cities of Punjab, Traffic In Charge Sukhpal Singh feels that the traffic situation here is still better than that in other cities.

“Most of the time, it is the human error that is behind road mishaps. Overtaking, over speeding, rash driving and using a mobile phone while driving are a few known causes for the sharp rise in accidents,” he says.

Suggesting that when one drives, he or she should focus on driving, Mr Sukhpal Singh says, “The driver’s seat is not for people who drive under stress.”

So what measures is the traffic police taking to bring down the accident rate? ASP Gill informs, “We are advising people not to drive over-speed, follow traffic light points and not to use mobile while driving.”

Talking about key areas where maximum accidents happen, the ASP said highway connecting Kashi Nagar, Chackhakim and Chaheru are the most accident-prone areas.

He says that for traffic to run smoothly in the city, especially the periphery, professional approach is followed by the traffic police.

Time factor, too, plays a major role in accidents, as the peak time during which the maximum road accidents occur is 7 pm to 9 pm. Being the rush hour when people return to their homes, in the current year it has witnessed 22 accidents.

This is followed by the 9 pm to 10 pm slot. During this time, though the traffic presence on roads is less, vehicles travelling at high speed during the night lead to a number of accidents.

Though it may leave many in utter disbelief, but if the latest figures provided by Phagwara Traffic Police are any indication, then it’s the people past teenage who have the distinction of forming the largest chunk of accused in accident cases.

Sample this figure: The year 2004 had 68, 2005 had 80 and till date this year has had 32 cases registered against individuals whose age lies between 22 to 35 years. Moreover, the largest number of road mishap victims, too, fall in the same age group.

“Usually, the road accidents are attributed to teenagers. But on the contrary, it is the adults who have this unenviable distinction. It is a trend wherein the age profile of both victims and accused is similar,” says ASP.

Attributing it to the high stress that the people in this group face, Mr J.S. Bhatia, lecturer from the Department of Sociology of a local college, points out, “The age of settling down in life is increasing. During this age period, pressure and tension are at their peak. Earlier, by the age of 25, people used to settle down both in personal as well as in professional lives. But now handling family along with careers, leaves many people under stress. While driving, too, they are under stress and tension, which lead to accidents.”

Mr Bhatia adds that mobile culture, pressure to reach office or other places on time aggravate the situation further.

Believing that the driving seats are meant for “happy” people, Ravinder Sood, a student, says, “When one drives one should not think about household and office tensions. We, young people, drive in ‘masti’ and I feel everyone should enjoy driving. Instead of over speeding and driving in tension, it is better not to drive, as that may lead to accidents and land one in grave danger.”

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Exploring musicality 
If you think melody would sidle up to you one fine morning and you can cut an album or two by fine-
tuning music with glamour, you are in for a surprise. Music is about hard work and slog that wipe out the last vestiges of glamour, learns Minna Zutshi during a tête-à-tête with noted sarod player Ustad Danish Aslam


Unequal music for fathers and sons

It was sarod that interested Ustad Aslam, though his father and forefathers were tabla exponents. Like most kids desirous of chalking out their own path, he wanted to try something different. And sarod was the musical instrument that fit the bill. Today, years after, Ustad Aslam’s ten-year-old son is following in his father’s footsteps. Well, almost. The boy also wants to try something different. The melodious notes of sarod don’t interest him much. He thinks that his father spends a ‘good deal of time tuning his sarod’. So, junior Ustad Aslam would prefer to revert to the ‘less complicated’ tabla! 

Ustad Aslam plays sarod
Tribune photo by Pawan Sharma

Artless humility and no-frills attitude may seem to be a throw-back to the good old days when glamorous trappings had not yet gobbled up simple, honest feelings. But for Ustad Danish Aslam, humility is something he just cannot do without. Not that he’s overtly conscious of this. In fact, he would rather not speak about it.

In his self-effacing style, he says, “I know only a fraction of what has to be learnt. Music is so vast a field that the more you learn, the more you realise that you know very little.” In a voice choked with emotion, he adds, “Music is the raison d’être of my life. I can give up my life, but I would never leave music.”

Blessed with a respectable lineage (Ajrara Gharana from the paternal side and Kirana Gharana from the mother’s family), Ustad Aslam was sure right during his childhood that the world of books was not for him. Music beckoned him and he was unwilling to ignore that call.

“I am not much educated. I studied till Class IX only. My interest lay in music and I told my father about it,” he explains, adding in his characteristic unassuming manner, “I would never say that it’s easier to be a doctor or an engineer. It’s simply the question of your choice, though when I was a kid my half-baked notions about music did not give me a fair idea of the hard grind involved in it.”

Referring to the “guru-shishya parampara”, he says that each individual from whom you learn something is your guru! “Even a child can be your teacher,” he adds.

Ustad Aslam was in Jalandhar on Tuesday in connection with a cultural programme at the Apeejay College of Fine Arts here. 

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Week Comment
Some things neither come nor go
Sourabh Gupta
Tribune News Service

Its all coming back— the Football World Cup to Italy after 24 years, election campaigns to Punjab after four years and the monsoon to Jalandhar after a year. And another Tuesday after a week.

But some things neither come nor go. Last Tuesday’s power crisis, the protests against it and the heat, remain. At the place where Gadari Baba Bhagat Singh Bilga lives, leaders who prefer to keep on the left, mostly during a left-hand drive, met in a “show of strength.” Four parties from hundreds of farmers and labourers said again that the parties on the right side had got it all wrong. They were right.

But there is not much poll prospect for them, experts confide. There was more euphoria, plastic buntings and media coverage for the party convention of a lady from UP.

Twentyfour hours later, (the cause going back several weeks), babus of the dairy department swooped down on caches of “adulterated” milk, paneer and ghee and got themselves four “adulterated” samples. The city, they said, was fed up. After being fed with impure milk, paneer and ghee. Just wait for the reports.

That evening when the sweltering skies waited for some clouds, cavalcade of a former Chief Minister (whose importance to the state like other VVIPs ranks Z plus) jumped, hopped over, broke a traffic signal.

After a day, a Non-Resident Indian woman from an erstwhile princely state stated to the police that her “minor” daughter had been abducted, by a man with three kids and a carpenter’s job. The police claimed it was a case of elopement.

Thursday was historic. In a shining example of the poverty of ideas, the party “with a difference” (sic) came down from the rath and started peddling a bicycle, all the way from Phillaur to Amritsar. Phew! The party workers couldn’t refuel the rath since fuel was too expensive. Wonder what the people who commute on cycles for miles everyday think? Will they vote or was it for the “car-class”?

And from Friday onwards, as the three final matches of the Football World were about to begin, people from the villages took to the roads (meant blocked it) against unscheduled power cuts. Though most were unaware of the talents of Zinedine Zidane or Michael Ballack, they were well aware of the power crisis. The blocked national highway created a traffic mess, adding more to the heat.

The next day it was revealed that the birds, of prey and those preyed upon, had been falling prey to the heat. They say birds bring the sign of things to come.

Dust clouds started building up, swelling and filling the air. The cars put on their headlights, the residents kept wiping the sweat.

The next afternoon, with a premonition, it rained, cats and dogs; the heavenly water filling up the drains and then the roads. Cars were stranded and kids were happy. On Monday, a French footballer head-butted an Italian footballer. The monsoon is back. 

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‘People in blind pursuit of power and pelf’
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

A seminar on ‘Community understanding and the Sikh perspective in public forums’ was organised in Amritsar recently by the Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE), Washington, USA.

Speaking on the occasion, Baba Sewa Singh of Kar Sewa Wale, said that there was a need for the setting up of a secretariat where retired persons of the community from Indian Administrative Services, Indian Police Service and the educational field could give their valuable advice to the community on various issues. He said this would help in giving proper education and direction to the youths who were disillusioned with the present day conflicts going on in the community.

He said the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee could take up this gigantic task as it had vast financial resources. He said if the SGPC set up a secretariat, it would do a great service to the community.

He further said that Sikhs living in various Western countries wanted to serve the people of Punjab, but they were hesitant to do so as they did not know to whom they could transfer their hard earned money.

Dr Inderjeet Kaur, president of Pingalwara Society, said that there was a race for attaining the power and materialistic supremacy in the country. She said the philosophy of simple life was not being followed as directed by the gurus. She said people want to accumulate money, which was responsible for the corruption in the society.

Dr Rajwant Singh, Chairman SCORE, and a resident of Washington (USA), said that the recent pandemonium at Harmandir Sahib was unfortunate.

He said it had dented the image of Sikhs who were already facing the biggest challenge of identity crises in America and would leave bad impact on the minds of the younger generation of the community.

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Basmati growers to go for crop diversification
Ashok Sethi

Progressive farmers from the area, in association with the Punjab Rice Millers and Exporters’ Association (PRMEA) and the experts from Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), have decided to work in tandem to boost the cultivation of basmati paddy.

The consensus was arrived during a workshop, which covered various aspects of basmati organised by the PRMEA in Amritsar recently, which was attended by more than 60 farmers from the region.

Addressing the workshop, the agricultural university expert Dr Sukhwant Singh Bhinder said the university would offer all possible technical expertise to the farmers to improve the yield and the quality of the basmati crop.

He said that the university had offered quality seeds of various varieties to the farmers and gave them the first hand information about the various problems being faced by the farmers during sowing and cultivation of the crop.

Dr Bhinder also released a folder with complete information about the weather conditions, crop pattern, plantation technique and about the use of fertilizers and pesticides.

The president of the PRMEA, Mr Rajeev Setia, assured the farmers that the exporters would give them remunerative prices of the crop and said that Indian basmati have a huge market abroad which required quality produce.

Mr Setia said that farmers should go in for major diversification into basmati, which would not only save precious water resource, but would fetch foreign exchange through exports.

He strongly advocated for the setting up a formalised think-tank to devise long-term and short-term planning to give thrust to the crop production.

The leading exporter, Mr K. R. S. Sobti, urged the government to come up with minimum support price for basmati paddy, which would give incentive to farmers to grow more basmati in this area.

Earlier, Niranjan Singh, a farmer from Rayya, said that efforts should be made to educate the farmers about the cultivation of various varieties of basmati, conducive to the climatic and soil condition of this area.

He said that the exporters, in collaboration with agricultural experts, should organise more such workshops in the rural belts to develop the bond of trust between the stakeholders.

According to Mr Harminder Singh, Deputy Director, Department of Agriculture, during the current fiscal year, 40 per cent more area had been brought under the basmati cultivation.

Besides, with good rainfall this season, the production of paddy this year was expected to be higher than last year, Mr Harminder Singh said. 

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No takers for theatre in the city, rue artistes
Shaina Chawla

The city being a media hub has chiseled many an artiste in various fields of art. But the saga of theatre remains tragic here. Jalandhar, one of the biggest cities of Punjab, has little room for this form of art. Many theatre artistes say the art can only flourish if people show interest in it. With the birth of popcorn entertainment, the residents, artistes say, find plays too heavy.

But those who follow theatre complain that they yearn to see good plays but these never come to the city. “When Madiha Gauhar from a Pakistani theatre group Ajoka brought the musical ‘Bulla’ to the city two years back, over 2,000 people converged to see it,” Shikha, a theatre lover, said.

“When a private foundation in collaboration with a telecom company brought a series of plays by Naseerudin Shah, Rajat Kapur and Lillete Dubey, getting the passes was a struggle,” she added.

“The only plays we get to see are at the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall or the university youth festivals,” Shikha said.

Amritsar has Natshala. Ludhiana has the “Mohan Singh Yadgari Mela”. And Chandigarh has Tagore Theatre and Panjab University’s vibrant theatre department.

In Jalandhar, quality theatre is still missing. Except for some initiatives taken by the Desh Bhagat Yadgar Hall members and some private directors. But the face of the audience remains the same.

The Akashwani Kendra used to stage plays on the occasion of the “World Theatre Day” three years back. But it was discontinued later.

Daljinder Basran, a theatre, radio and TV artiste says, “Most of the time, the audience is blamed for this ‘so-called’ failure of theatre, but the artistes are equally responsible. Artistes run towards TV and radio for money and fame.”

The artistes have to be dedicated for theatre to flourish,” he added.

Neeraj Kaushik, a drama director and an advocate by profession said financial constraint was the biggest problem for theatre persons. “Here a person has to do all the work— from writing scripts to directing, from printing invitations cards to sending press notes. The play becomes more of a burden and the satisfaction level decreases,” he rued.

He said government departments like Bhasha Vibhag demand that a play be staged hundreds of times. “Also, they a play on the topic of their own choice. It somehow kills the independence of the artist,” Kaushik added.

“Six years back, Mr P.K. Srivastva, the former Jalandhar Commissioner proposed a theatre auditorium near Namdev Chowk. But the proposal is lying dormant,” he said.

Theatre artiste Jassi says he and his friends want to do good theatre, but finds lesser scope for it in the city. “All we get are youth festivals.”

But these young artistes say they have a hope in their heart that one day the situation will change.

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Demand for Palki Sahib, Sukh Aasan Sahibs on rise
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

People have their own way to express their faith in their religion. Some donate huge sums of money for the construction or the kar seva of a gurdwara, while some arrange langars and chabbils for the devotees depending on their financial capacity. But there are people who express their faith by donating Palki Sahib and Sukh Aasan Sahibs.

The Palki Sahib and Sukh Aasan Sahibs are not only donated to the gurdwaras, but also the people from across the world get them prepared for keeping them in their houses.

Due to the over busy schedule of the people, who don’t have time to visit gurdwaras to pay obeisance, they prefer to keep the one in their houses so that they could pray both in the morning and the evening.

Various types of Palki Sahibs are being manufactured as per the demand, which include golden, steel, teak ply with polish and with sunmica.

Mr Pritpal Singh of a Furniture House near Golden Temple, says basically the cost of the Palki Sahib depends on the labour put in. Generally, it takes five to six days for making a Palki Sahib of teak ply or in sunmica, but if the people demand Palki Sahib with woodcarving then it takes about a month, he adds.

He says devotees order for Sukh Aasan Sahib, along with Palki Sahib, for keeping the Guru Granth Sahib.

Sukh Aasan Sahib is also used for keeping Rumalas and Gutkas, he added.

The Palki Sahibs, along with Sukh Aasan Sahib, which are donated to gurdwaras by the people, cost Rs 6,000 to 15,000 and Rs 10,000 to 30,000, respectively.

And the smaller ones, which are prepared for keeping in the houses, cost Rs 2,000 to 5,000 and Rs 5,000 to 10,000, respectively.

He further adds that they also charge up to Rs 1,000 for the home delivery depending on the distance.

Mr Pritpal Singh says that people not only from Punjab, but also from far off places and metropolitan cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata order for it.

He said they also provide the facility of home delivery in India only.

He said these Palki Sahibs and Sukh Aasan Sahibs are even exported to countries like the USA, Hong Kong and Thailand, where there is a good demand for them. He added that these are packed in cardboard boxes and later, assembled there.

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Traders find no merit in SAFTA agreement
Our Correspondent

Traders’ community have decried the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement. They claim that the pact will have no role in improving trade relations with Pakistan as it was apparently not willing to give any tariff concessions under SAFTA.

The General Secretary of the Amritsar Exporter’s Chamber of Commerce, Mr Mukesh Sidhwani, said though there was no official comment on the issue of concessions from Pakistan, but according to business sources, the country would continue to trade with India on select items.

An exporter of perishable and livestock, Mr Rajdeep Uppal, said Pakistan was not likely to provide the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and would only allow trade in 742 items.

He said the SAFTA agreement would have no meaning for the SAARC nations, “as they could not lift all the barriers”.

The Chairman of the Indo-Pak Traders’ Association, Mr Om Parkash Latti, said it was lean period as few items were being exported to Pakistan. “The real season will start from the middle of August.”

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Helping poor children lead dignified life
Namarta Anand

Mother Teresa established 168 charitable homes across the country with a view to ameliorating the sufferings of poor and downtrodden. One of such homes, famous as Mother Teresa Children Home, is located in Amritsar on the Ajnala Road near Rajasansi International Airport.

The local Orphanage was started in 1988 and is managed by six nuns. The orphanage provides succour to orphans, children brought from railway stations, bus stands and even hospitals.

Incharge of the Children Home is sister Odile. She said it was financed by ‘Mission of Charity’ with its headquarters in Kolkata and even received help from generous people from the city. She said young collegiate girls often visit the home and brought eatables for the children. They (young girls) even donate their pocket money.

The home has about 25 children from the age group of 0-17. Some of the inmates are blind and handicap. Little children are paid proper care, to look after them there are five trained maids. It also has a dispensary to offer immediate medical assistance if need arose children are also taken to Paarvati Devi Hospital, which gives treatment at concession.

As far as their education is concerned, the inmates study at St. Mary School up to class fifth. For pursuing higher education, they are admitted to St. Patric School. She said arrangement for special tuition classes had also been made in the orphanage. Besides, stress on sports is also given. Arrangement for games like football, badminton, carom and others have been made in the orphanage.

Another Sister Placid, Incharge medicine section, says that out of the orphanage, medicines worth about Rs 10,000 are distributed monthly among the needy villagers through mobile medical clinic.

Mother, as Mother Teresa was fondly called, began her mission of charity with few nuns and some other workers in 1991. She was the force behind the mission. She not only tirelessly worked for the needy and sufferers, but also felt their pain. Owing to her epical work, she is respected and acknowledged all around the globe.

She once said that the aim of these Homes was to lend a helping hand to those who have nowhere to go. 

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Doctor selected for fellowship
Neeraj Bagga

Dr Manuj Wadhwa, Senior Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Fortis Hospital here, has been selected for a three-month long joint reconstruction surgery fellowship of the Ranawat Orthopaedic Research Foundation at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York.

Dr Wadhwa said that he would participate in the research projects with Dr C.S. Ranawat, who operated upon former Prime Minister Mr A.B. Vajpayee, during his fellowship. He would be trained in state-of-the-art techniques in total joint replacement surgery. He would leave for the USA on July 11. He said that the hospital was a premier institute in state-of-the-art-techniques in hip and knee joint replacements surgery.

Dr Manuj felt that the stint with world famous medical practitioner would enrich him not only in experience, but also expose to new developments. Dr Manuj did his Masters (MCh Orthopaedics) from the University of Dundee, UK, and got trained in several countries. 

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Educating underprivileged children for free
P. K. Jaiswar

Dedicated to the martyrdom of four Sahibzadas and Mata Guzari, Sri Guru Harkrishan Charitable Public School promises free education on the CBSE pattern to children belonging to the poor strata of the society. The school is a brainchild of Ms Satinder Kaur Marwaha, its Principal.

The school is currently running from a rented building in Golden Avenue in Amritsar. The students and the staff also help run the school.

Ms Marwaha said it took her several years to set up the school. “I pursued the Chief Khalsa Diwan (one of the oldest Sikh educational institutions). It was the guidance of the Chief Khalsa Diwan that this charitable school became a reality,” she said.

Earlier, there were nearly 70 students with 35 each in UKG and nursery. The school provides books, stationary and cloths to the students for free.

The principal said the school had appointed two qualified teachers. Before admitting a student, the school examined status of his or her family, Ms Marwaha said. The teachers hold regular meetings with parents of the wards.

Ms Marwaha claimed that more were approaching the school for admissions.

The school has now started more classes. Its also providing computer education.

The Principal said that the grasping power of the under-privileged students was high. “These students perform better than the other students who usually have all the facilities.”

She said the school would start free computer courses for students from the poorer sections this month.

Ms Marwaha said the SGPC President Mr Avtar Singh Makkar had assured her of providing a land adjoining to Harkishan Public School for the school. 

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Summer camp teaches religious values
Neeraj Bagga

The Akal Purkh Ki Fauj (APKF) utilised the modern concept of summer camp to inculcate religious values among children in Amritsar. The Gurmat Summer Camp was dedicated to the 400th anniversary of the foundation of the Akal Takht.

The Akal Purkh Ki Fauj organised 27 such camps at various places in Amritsar from June 16 to 30. The camp concluded with a ‘Happy Family Healthy Family’ programme that took place on July 1.

Chief of the APKF and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabhandhak Committee member Jaswinder Singh Advocate said over 2,000 children learnt basics of Sikh philosophy.

He added that some students were also given prizes for exhibiting wondorful performance in various fields.

He said that one of the students, Mehakpreet Kaur (4) could recite the Japuji Sahib orally.

Chitcharan Preet Kaur (9) could recite 22 banis of Guru Granth Sahib, he added. 

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Helping youths get into army 
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Major-General Gurdip Singh Sohi
Major-General Gurdip Singh Sohi 

Major-General Gurdip Singh Sohi retired from the army way back in 1992, but since then he continues to make an untiring effort by contributing towards the forces in his own way.

He gets into touch with young boys and girls, inspires them to join the army and helps them get through a rigorous testing session for their selection by imparting them training at a coaching centre set up at his residence. Many boys trained by him are now Surya Chakra or Veer Chakra awardees.

Every year, nearly 60 candidates from Jalandhar, Jammu, Agra, Jhansi, Meerut, Indore and other far off places taking training from him make it to the army. In the last six months, five boys have made it to the National Defence Academy, three girls have gone through women commission, four via technical entry, three by university entry, two through NCC and two on seats reserved for law qualified students.

Most amazingly, the boys and girls are ready to appear for a screening test in a matter of just 10 days. During this short duration, the trainees undergo an assessment. Thereafter, they are finished for their shortcomings, which could be in anything ranging from psycho-analysis, group testing, physical involvement or an interview.

A retired chairman-cum-president of Service Selection Board, Bhopal, Major General Sohi said that he started imparted private coaching almost 13 years back. “I spent a huge sum for the purpose from my pension and gratuity initially, but was quite disheartened as it did not yield much of a response. But as the first batch appeared for interview, most of the candidates got selected and it helped me realise that I was on the right track,” he recalled.

“Then there was no looking back. The strength of the trainees in the subsequent batches kept on multiplying as the success of previous candidates spread through word of mouth,” the retired fauji said.

The trainees, of course, have to shell out a few thousand rupees for taking coaching from him. He explains the reason, “I want these boys and girls to be serious about their aim and not just take it leisurely. Those who take training from me keep on coming to me even later to take counselling, but then they do not have to pay again.”

Major General Sohi said that the training just did not help the youths in joining army, but also para-military and police forces, government jobs, private companies and even entrance tests to various courses. “Recently, a girl who took training from me for five days got selected in UTI Bank where 1300 people had applied. She later also managed to get an appointment with Honda Motors and topped among the top six short-listed candidates,” he boasted, as he added that his younger son, too, followed his guidelines and was now a Lieutenant Colonel posted at Mathura. 

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Young World
Apeejay space architects to leave for Texas today 
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

A team of 12 students from Apeejay School, Jalandhar, which is heading for the finals of international space settlement design competition being organised by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics is feeling on the top of the world. Having been selected among the top eight teams around the globe, the team that will leave for NASA’s Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas, on Wednesday is scheduled to take part in the competition to be held from July 14 to 17.

The members of the team, Harleen Kaur Ahuja, Saurabh Chopra, Hardeep Singh, Ankur Mahajan, Rohan Sardana, Anroop Singh Ahluwalia, Kanika Puri, Arvinder Singh, Ankit Singhal, Mohit Thukral, Aseem Handa, Varun Ahuja and Sandeep Aggarwal, expressed their anxiety, as they interacted with the mediapersons on the campus on Tuesday.

Mr Emmanuel Ratnaraj, physics lecturer, and Mr Neeraj Kohli, an ex-student from the same school, who is now in BE final year from Jaypee University of Information Technology, Solan, would be accompanying the students to Texas as advisors of the team.

The team of Apeejay School students will be paired up with another 12-member team from Whitney School, California, to represent an assumed company, Dougeldyne Astro Systems and Flechtel Constructors.

They will be given a fresh proposal on July 15 and asked to design a community on the planet Mars as per new specific requirements. They will be given 42 hours to prepare this presentation.

Tree plantation

A tree plantation drive was organised at BSF Senior Secondary School that concluded last Friday. The students planted 100 saplings of mango, jamun and eucalyptus trees in the campus and hostel area.

An on-the-spot painting competition was also organised during which Alok Tandon from Plus Two won the first prize among the senior students. In junior group, Bharat Droch of Class VIII was declared first, while Deepankar and Laxman of Class VIII were declared second.

In an essay writing contest for middle section, Gaganpreet Singh of Class VIII and Rekha Rawat of Class VII were declared first and second, respectively.

In senior group, Vinodini and Sakshi Sharma, both Class X students were declared winners. Mr S.S. Khokhar, principal, and Ms Harmeet Kaur, incharge of eco club and NSS, were present on the occasion.

Van Mahotsav

Van Mahotsav Day was observed at Army Public School, Jalandhar Cantonment, on Friday.

Over 70 students took part in the drive. Mr Harish Rawal, principal, and Brigadier A.K. Pandey, chairman, also planted a tree each.

Classical show

A classical programme organised in the Apeejay College of Fine Arts with an eloquent performance in Raga Madhuwanti by renowned Sarod player, Ustad Danish Aslam. Six times national winner, Sugandha Mishra, a student of the college, wove magic with a vocal recital in Raga Lalita followed by tarana.

Gurpinder Kaur, also a student, enthralled the audience as she performed a composition in Raga Kirvani on santoor. Dr Sucharita, principal, said that the programme was held to coincide with guru purnima.

HMV toppers

Students of HMV College have secured top five ranks in Diploma in Cosmetology examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University this year. Richa Gupta has obtained 425 marks out of 450. Rajwinder Kaur stands second with 422 marks, Navdeep Kaur and Micky Sagoo are third with 418 marks, Pallavi Jain is fourth with 412 marks while Pooja Sud secured fifth rank with 407 marks.

Students from the college have also got top rank in MA-I (Hindi) examination conducted by Guru Nanak Dev University this year. Tajinder Kaur has obtained 300 marks out of 400, while Rajwant Maya stands second with 294 marks.

Sumalika Chaudhary, a student of Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, Guru Nanak Dev University Regional Campus, Ladhewali, has topped in B.Tech (computer science and engineering) final year examination in the university this year by obtaining 4995 marks out of 6100. Dilveer Kaur, a student of the college and resident of Barn village in Phagwara, has stood second with 4920 marks.

DAVIET grant

The DAV Institute of Engineering and Technology has received a grant of Rs 1 lakh from Mr Avtar Henry, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, Punjab, for the education of economically backward students as well as development of infrastructure of the institute.

An announcement regarding the aid was made by the minister during his recent visit to the college during a symposium. 

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Rain brings relief from sweltering heat
Tribune News Service

It is finally here. The first downpour of the monsoon gave respite from sweltering heat that was made even more unbearable by recurring power cuts. Phagwara residents rejoiced.

The rainfall has also pleased farmers in the periphery. The ones in Goraya, Banga and Phillaur are excited about the perfect timing of the first rain.

The recent downpour has made them believe that the season ahead will be supportive of their crop. The farmers have begun with the sowing of sugarcane, paddy, green fodder and maize crops. “The rain has arrived at a perfect time for our crop, as it would irrigate our land. We normally end up ignoring this aspect because of our focus on the sowing of the paddy crop,”says Devinder Pal Singh from Mehtan village.

Farmers from the Doaba area of the district revealed that good rains would provide them with solution for the non-availability of water and electricity for irrigation. “With the apparent trend of rains and their timing, one can expect a bumper paddy crop this season,” says Jagir Singh from Goraya.

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Now, birthday ‘band bajaas’ for kids
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

If you think that ‘band baaja’ is for ‘shaadi’ only, then think again. As now you wouldn’t have to wait till your child grows up to get a band playing. You can enjoy the music of a live band at your tot’s birthday celebration too!

Gone are the days of throwing a party with passing the parcel and dancing on recorded music. Parents are engaging live bands to play at kiddie parties. Says Malwinder Singh, who has one such band called Kiddiebeats, “It’s not just entertainment, but edutainment. We have a musical play, in which characters give information without making kids realize that they are being taught something. The mantra is not learning is fun, but fun is learning.”

These parties largely have a theme and everything is decided much in advance depending on the theme or the concept, right from the invites that are sent to the party itself and also the return gifts for the attendees.

Like Sunil Bhardwaj, the organiser of the parties for the last two years, had a theme of a Hawaiin party recently and the kids were given straw hats, garlands etc and the band played Hawaiin music to which the children danced. He says, “We get live musical instruments and kids often come up on stage to sing themselves. For the more grown-up kids we have karaoke of both English and Hindi songs.”

This trend is fast catching on with parents and kids. As Malwinder says, “If we go to one party, we get orders for three more parties.”

Parent Preety Bajwa, who saw a band performing at a party, plans to have them at her four-year-old daughter Jasleen’s birthday party. “I think these musical bands are interactive and a lot of fun. Not only my daughter, but even I enjoyed the performance,” she smiles.

If all this sounds like something only for the rich, that’s not the case. As Bhardwaj says, “One can do this in a smaller budget too. Such parties are possible in a flat as much as a five-star hotel.” Some bands have even cut albums, which are used as return gifts. Music to the ears?  

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