Smoking, drugs take toll on fertility
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

The effects of recreational drugs and smoking on male reproductive health were generally ignored, according to Dr S.S. Chawla, Director, Satjot Human Reproduction and Research Centre (SHRRC), Amritsar.

A study on 126 male infertile patients at the centre found that all 32 patients dependent on alcohol and other drugs suffered from reproductive dysfunction.

Users who have been drug dependent for more than four years had suffered an alarming decrease in the quality and quantity of sperms produced.

Drugs altered the hormonal profile of users, leading to a decline in sperm parameters.

The damage may be temporary or permanent. The impairment was proportional to the dose and time of drugs intake.

Dr Chawla said drug abuse was rampant in Punjab. According to the Punjab Health Department’s report in March more than 40 per cent youth between 15 to 25 years were addicted to drugs. Multiple drug abuse was common.

The focus of ill effects of smoking generally focused on the cardio-vascular system and lungs.

Smoking 20 cigarettes a day increased the risk of infertility by about 40 per cent.

According to a nation-wide average, one fourth to half of the adults above 15 years had fall prey to smoking.

Dr Chawla said smoking damaged the DNA of the sperm.

High intake of tea and coffee may be associated with delay in conception, he added.



Jains of holy city
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs, has also been flocked by Jain monks for generations. The city has been seen Jain missionary activities for more than three centuries. Jains are one of the smallest of world religions.

Jains have a significant population in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat. A considerable number of Jains are also present in Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Innumerable Jain shrines in Punjab speak of Tirthankars (religious preachers), who spread the message of peace, non-violence, love and enlightenment in the region. Many tourists and pilgrims visit Jain temples in Amritsar. There are occasional references to Jain saints in the Guru Granth Sahib and other Sikh texts.

There are a large number of Jains in Punjab, particularly in Ludhiana and Patiala. More than 400 families live in the holy city. Before the Partion, Amritsar was big centre of Jains. Many, however, migrated after 1947. They moved to Haryana, New Delhi and other industrial towns during militancy.

Jains count amongst Amritsar’s prominent industrialists and political leaders, dominating woollen textiles, jewellery and medicine. They have established many schools and asylums for diseased.

Landmarks and temples

Chance finding of two idols of Lord Mahavir from the ancient water tank of Gurdwara Wasava Singh, a border village near Khemkaran, has established beyond doubt that Buddhism and Jainism flourished in the region many centuries ago. One of the idols has been lost due to callous attitude of all concerned while the other has been kept under a tree outside the Gurdwara.

The essence of Jainism is palpable in the temples and numerous illustrated manuscripts, preserved in a local Jain temple near Harmandar Sahib.

The magnificent, Shri Parsvanath Digamber Jain Mandir, near the Golden Temple is devoted to the 23rd Tirthankar of Jains, Lord Parsvnath. According to Mr Dheeraj Jain, former secretary, Shvetamber Sthnakwasi Jain Sabha, the three-storied temple is 310 years old. It has a pink-coloured 1.5ft high idol of Lord Parsvanath, along with smaller idols of other Tirthankars.

The place was visited by Jain saints and scholars. The library of the mandir has about 50 scriptures, out of which five, about 150 years old are written with hand in Prakrit.

The 32 Aagms written by Lord Mahavira are also in Prakrit. It was the spoken language of the people and developed from Sanskrit.

The Shri Arnath Jain Shwetambra Mandir in Jamadar Di Haveli has the 315-year-old idol of Lord Sheetal Nath, the 10th Tiranthankar. It was installed by Shri Vijay Nand Suri Maharaj, also known as Shri Atma Ram. The temple also has 115-year-old idol of Lord Arnath.

Shri Pujya Acharya Sohan Lal Samark on GT road is built where Acharya’s mortal remains were kept by Lalu Shah and Nathu Shah’s family. He died in 1935. He had great knowledge of astrology and preached for 32 years in Amritsar. Mr Narinder Jain, president, Amritsar Printers and Processors Association, says Acharya Sohan Lal had predicted the Jallianwala Bagh tragedy and warned his community not to step out of their houses before the massacre. It was highlighted by the Discovery Channel also.


Oswals, whose forefathers settled in Amritsar, trace their origin to Rajasthan. The community had celebrated its foundation day from July 19 to 21, 2001, at Ossia, Jodhpur. It marked the completion of 2,457 years of existence of the community founded by Acharya Shri Ratna Prabh Sagar Maharaj, who was the sixth Pattadhar (descendent) of Tirthankar Lord Shri Parsvnath.



My City
Will to move things
Charnjit Singh Gumtala

While in the USA and Canada, we read plenty about Amritsar, once known for its gardens, parks and open spaces, as a fast developing city but non-resident Indians, both young and the not-so-young, have a different perception of the Mecca of the Sikhs.

Every time I go abroad, I am rather upset when Sikh children there refuse to visit the city of Golden Temple; their arguments- total lack of sanitation and civic sense, besides packs of stray dogs and cattle on already encroached road space.

The elderly, when overcome by nostalgia, rush home periodically although they too can’t help blaming the local government for ruining the very roots of Punjabi heritage and culture and for the mushrooming of illegal colonies and ghettos around the city.

It is hard to contest the view that Amritsar is an international spot (because of the Golden Temple).

But then there is hardly anything ‘international’ here. No where in the civilised modern international world would you find such broken roads, rickety buses and three-wheelers belching out black and toxic exhaust with impunity least bothered about traffic laws or road rules.

Where else would you witness with miraculous inaction, such long and unscheduled power cuts, as shopkeepers resort to the omniscient phut-phut of gensets and the noon-hour pollution?

The city is unique in many ways and demands special care and planning.

The heritage site Ram Bagh, once the summer capital of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the last Sikh ruler of Punjab, can be given an international face by removing illegal occupations and better landscaping.

One fails to understand why the green spots like Skattri Bagh and others which have huge old ‘maulsaries’ can’t be reclaimed from beggars, gamblers and anti-social elements.

The food culture of Amritsar is hard to duplicate. That’s why Amritsaris come back at the earliest possible opportunity. Our political masters and the people at the helm of affairs, who have had a close look at European or American local government, should try to emulate some elements.

I think it is not difficult. Perhaps it is time to wake up to the challenge of a global economy, besides a minimum level of orderliness and sanitation and streamlined traffic.

Rajasansi Airport, after its upgradation is making waves on the international aviation profile.

After a lot of hiccups it has gained popularity and many airlines are thinking of rerouting their flights through the city.

This will be a lifeline but vested interests are trying to sabotage it as they come out with unpractical and illegal plan of an alternate airport at Halwara.

This plan should be nipped in the bud because according to the Civil Aviation Act 1934, airports must be at least 150 miles apart in view of safety of operations.



Boutique in village
Neeraj Bagga

Jyoti Sandhu shows her craf items at her boutique-cum-workshop at Sarhali village.
Jyoti Sandhu shows her craf items at her boutique-cum-workshop at Sarhali village. — Photo by Kamal Sharma

Jyoti Sandhu, 40, with her entrepreneurial and painting skills has turned Sarhali village into a place where pieces of cloth are embroidered and painted.

The village ,located about 45 km away from Amritsar, with a population of over 14,000 has secured a place in the fashion industry of the north. She receives customers from Delhi and Nagpur while sitting in her boutique-cum-workshop housed in her home which also has a farm house. She has provided employment to 125 village women without displacing them.

She began with a couple of cloth pieces a decade ago. Following her success about 10 more houses have sprung up in the village.

A former student of Fine Arts from APJ College of Fine Arts, Jalandhar, Jyoti has prudently used her education.

On an average these rural women earn about Rs 1000 per month as they tend their households. Some girls have left their jobs as they found working with Jyoti profitable, while remaining at home. Even women from surrounding villages take work from her. After returning from Assam in 1991 following rise in militancy there, husband Parminder Singh Sandhu left his job in a tea estate to manage 100-acre farm in his ancestral village.

The idea of painting and embroidering cloth dawned when she gifted a couple of painted linens to her relatives and friends and the response was good.

They asked for more and were ready to pay. It was enough to encourage her to start a boutique in the house with a room which now occupies total four rooms. Her husband immediately laughed away the idea of having a boutique in village. “I was proved wrong. Customers come to our place from as far as Chandigarh, Patiala, Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Faridkot”, he says with glint in his eyes.

She highlights her own painted floral designs by getting needle work done with sippi (shells) and beads giving glossy and vibrant look to her creations.

Another specialty of her boutique lies in knot stitching. As a suit and dupatta or a sari takes a month to prepare.

Her mix and match design is another significant feature. She mixes floral design, shadow work and knot -stitching to make her work unique.



Short cut to humour
Tribune News Service

SMS has, no doubt, a popular way of communication. In fact, humour and jokes have had a new lease of life with the Short Service Message. It facilitates communication, but at times it proves to be a nuisance. Some ‘humour’ leaves a bad taste in mouth.

Undoubtedly, SMS has also brought the nation together. We stood for Jessica Lal and all forwarded messages expressing our rage against quota reservation. But sometimes it crosses the line and insensitively makes fun of others’ patience or negligence.

The Prince episode grabbed headlines in all forms of media. Now it has become the butt of jokes. “Do you want to make your future safe, want to be lakhpati or want to become famous…. then….start looking out for 60 ft bore!”

“Great Indian Offer – Find a ditch, dump your kid and get amazing media coverage, free education, millions in cash and be a big mega star, great India, great media, great Prince…Moral of the story: foolish Indian system.” These were just a few examples.

In other cases humour coupled with lewd remarks actually becomes unpleasant.

“Such messages are bad in taste and leave a negative impact. I just take these SMS with a pinch of salt and delete them. People should think before sending messages,” says Hariharan Mitra, final year student of Computer Science, Lovely Institute, Jalandhar.

For Amit Joshi, his classmate, it wasn’t too bad in case of Prince. According to him they are just trying to make the media realise that it didn’t require that much hype. “I know it gets abominable but then I don’t forward messages blindly, I prefer deleting such messages rather than forwarding them to make fun of such a sensitive issue,” he shrugs.



Doctor’s century
Ashok Sethi

Orthopedic surgeon Dr Avtar Singh, the chief replacement specialist of Amandeep Hospital here, was honoured by the BJP MP, Mr Navjot Singh Sidhu, at a function recently.

Lauding the achievement of the surgeon using ortho-pilot equipment, Mr Sidhu said that Dr Avtar Singh had brought glory in the field of joint replacement surgery to the holy city, which had the honour of producing a galaxy of eminent orthopedic surgeons in the country.

Mr Sidhu complemented Dr Avtar Singh and his staff for offering attending to poor and needy patients in his hospital.

He said Dr Avtar Singh had become the youngest surgeon in the country to do 100 knee operations with navigational systems in one year.

The Director of the German company B Braun India, Mr Eserman presented an approval to the Amandeep Hospital for the first referral and training centre of ortho-pilot in India.



Munis for peace

A revered Jain saint, Pravartak Shri Suman Muni Ji Maharaj is in Amritsar for ‘chaturmas’ (period of four months).

On ‘pad yatra’ he has traveled on foot from Tamil Nadu through Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.

A master of Prakrit, he says Amritsar has been frequently visited by Jain monks. The Jain saint had visited Sikh shrines, including Gurdwara Sultanpur Lodhi, during his childhood.

Earlier during militancy in Punjab Jain Acharya Sushil Muni made efforts to find a solution to the problem.

He met Prof Darshan Singh, the then Jathedar the Akal Takht and visited Amritsar on a Peace Mission at the behest of Rajiv Gandhi.

Mr Justice D.K. Jain, former Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and now in the Supreme Court of India was born at Jandiala Guru.

More than 100 Jain families still live in Jandiala Guru.

Davinder Kumar Jain was born on 19th February, 1943, in a business family.



Encroachments at Hukam Singh Road
Neeraj Bagga

Residents of the Hukam Singh road are concerned over the pitiable condition of roads and footpaths, besides encroachments on public places by unscrupulous elements.

People have flouted civic rules with impunity, says Mr Brij Bedi, President, Citizen’s Forum, who is also a resident of the locality. Shopkeepers have encroached upon footpaths to display their wares while many residents had constructed houses in clear violations of construction bylaws.

Some have maintained lawns outside their houses, reducing the width of the road while others have constructed huge ramps outside by encroaching upon the road. The extensions did not allow rainwater to drain out. The recent spell of rain has turned innumerable pits on the road into puddles. Commuters and residents are forced to bear with the conditions.

Dr Harbhajan Singh Soch, former Vice-Chancellor, Guru Nanak Dev University, who is a resident of Hukam Singh road, street No 5, said his pot-holed lane had turned into slush after the rains.

The fifth street is used by people to go to Shivala Bagh Bhaiyan as it is a shorter route.

When contacted, Councilor of the ward, Mr Rajinder Bhalla, said suitable action would be initiated against the encroachers.

He informed that estimates to lay a new road had already been passed and tenders would be floated shortly.



DAV students win debate
Manish Kumar Singal

Tribune News Service

Student of DAV Public School swept the prestigious Cicero Running Trophy for the first time at the Inter-Public School Open English Debate. They had also finished second in a state-level, science competition organised recently.

Congratulating the students,, the Principal, Ms Neera Sharma, said the hard work and sustained efforts brought laurels to the school.

The 16th Open debate Competition for the running trophy named after Marcus Tullius Cicero - the great Latin orator, political theorist, statesman and Philosopher of ancient Rome was organised by Delhi Public School, Ghaziabad.

The debate raged ‘for’ and ‘against’ ‘Generation Next - The pride of India’. Shivankit Sharma cornered his opponent with the rejoinder about growing incidents of cricket players taking to ‘modeling-for-millions’ to secure the top honour. Team-mate Esha Kinra also fared well getting them vital points to win the overall trophy amongst 21 schools and 42 participants from all over the country.

Teams from Delhi, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Secunderabad, Pilani, Rajasthan participated in the competition.

Ravi Sharma, a Class X student of DAV School, won the second prize in the coveted State Council of Education research and Training, Punjab (SCERT) state-level science competition in Mohali recently.

The competition had 19 participants, each a topper in district, on the theme ‘Conservation of Bio-Diversity-Prospects and Concerns’. Ravi presented his paper on endangered tigers and vultures and vital steps on local, national and global level to conserve these from extinction using audio-visual aids

The Director-General, School Education, Punjab, Ms Seema Jain presented prizes to the winners.



Pull of Darbar Sahib
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Four Oxford University students had visualised the Golden Temple nestling in tranquil surroundings.

They were disappointed to see the holy place amidst congested and highly polluted area of the city.

However, the plan to lay an elevated road to decongest the traffic was of little solace to them.

The students: Mr David Whiteside, Aiman Leung, Ms Annie Mcdermott and Ms Miranda Jones were here with students and teachers of Khalsa College for thee weeks to get a feel of life here.

Ms Annie Mcdermott said she had expressed her wish to visit the Golden Temple to Mr Inderjit Singh and Ms Ramanpreet Kaur Baath, two Sikh British graduates. And they accompanied her under the United Sikhs Oxford University Travel Air English Language Teaching Programme.

Though the heavy rush and wayward traffic around Darbar Sahib was forboding, but the warmth of people made up for it.

Ms Aiman Leung was found students here more disciplined and respectful to teachers.

She said the students were more keen on studying in universities of the Uk.

They also visited Dharamshala, Dalhousie, Anandpur Sahib and Chandigarh.

They found Chandigarh like a European city free from pollution and heavy rush. 



Baba Seechewal on education mission
Dharmendra Joshi

Tribune News Service

Baba Balbir Singh Seechewal, the Chairman of the Ek Onkar Charitable Trust, has been in news for cleansing the sacred Kali Bein.

This is not the only social cause for which Baba Seechewal has worked; the others have gone unnoticed by the media. Baba Seechewal has been providing free education to children from economically weaker and downtrodden sections of society in Sultanpur Lodhi in Kapurthala district since January.

As many as 170 children most of them residing in jhuggis near the Talwandi Bypass bridge are being taught in the open.

Most of them are children of migrant labourers from Bihar. They are unable to afford education for their children. Baba Seechewal, who has been in Sultanpur Lodhi for more than six years, made arrangements for their studies early this year.

The students aged 3 to 12 years are taught in five classes from first to fifth. Baba Seechewal has named the school Nawan Nankana Open School. He told The Tribune that arrangements would be made for the children studying in fifth class to appear in the board examination like private candidates.

He took the services of four educated migrants to teach them.

One of the four, Mr Alok Nath Tiwari is a priest at Sanathan Dharam Sabha Mandir. Baba Seechewal was pays each teacher Rs 2000, he revealed. Other teachers Mr Bhushan Paswan, Mr Balak Paswan and Mr Brahm Dass also praised Baba Seechewal for undertaking the cause.

Baba Seechewal said the school would be upgraded every year as had been done at Sant Avtar Singh Yadgaari School at Seechewal village in Jalandhar district.

The school was started for providing quality education to the needy children of Seechewal and adjacent villages several years ago.

The school at Seechewal was started from first class, upgraded by a class every year. The Trust had to open Sant Avtar Singh Yadgaari College to accommodate the students.



Evening college on good track
Neeraj Bagga

The only evening college in the city, Trai-Shatabdi Guru Gobind Singh Khalsa College, has shown commendable results. The school is run from the 68-year-old Sri Guru Ram Das Khalsa Senior Secondary School building.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) established the college in 1999 to celebrate 300 years of the Khalsa. It is the first degree college started by the SGPC in the city. Starting with 70 students, it has 600 students on rolls now.

The evening College offers postgraduate diplomas in computer application, business management, graduate degrees in information technology, computer application, economics, computer science commerce, besides M.Sc (Computer Science) and M.Com.

Mr Kulwinder Singh, Principal, said the thrust was on professional courses. B.Sc (non-medical) and B.Sc (computer maintenance) would be introduced from the next session.

The college has three labs with 100 computers and the latest multimedia projector. It also has sophisticated electronics, physics and accountancy labs.

Mr Kulwinder Singh was awarded the Vijay Rattan prize by the India International Friendship Society, Delhi last year.

The Principal said competitions in tying of turbans, Sikh dress, debate and quiz were organized regularly.

The College has an annual bilingual (Punjabi and English) magazine ‘Adi Jugadi’.



Rain makes farmers powerless
Manish Singhal
Tribune News Service

A farm labourer tries to salvage the crop from a rainwater-logged field at a border village of Amritsar.
A farm labourer tries to salvage the crop from a rainwater-logged field at a border village of Amritsar. — Tribune photo

The two–day incessant rain in Amritsar and surrounding areas has flattened more than 50 per cent of Sharbati and other varieties of paddy.

Senior agriculture officers of Amritsar and Tarn Taran were making a rough estimate of the losses.

The Chief Agriculture officer, Mr Yadwinder Singh Chhina, found it hard to hazard a guess about the loss. According to Chief Agricultural Officer of Tarn Taran district ,Mr. Jawand Singh ,said the loss was not more 10 per cent .The farmers might suffer huge losses incase rain goes on.

The Chairman of Improvement Trust of Tarn-Taran, Prof. Gurminder Singh Mamanke, said that the loss to the standing crop was roughly to the extent of 30 per cent in the district. He said that a delegation of the affected-farmers would meet the Chief Minister.

According to reports from the border areas, including Ajnala and Chogwan the farmers’ unions have sought immediate intervention of the state government to immediately initiate Girdawari .

Several sarpanches of the Ajnala belt have reported that the crop in the low line areas have suffered the maximum damage. According to an agriculture expert ,Dr. Satnam Singh, paddy has been sown in 1.77 lakh hectares. Of which the crop on 45,000 acres was ready for harvest.

Meanwhile, the two-day rainwater has logged around the office of Municipal Corporation.

According to the flood control room office here, the discharge from river Ravi was reported to be around 28,000 cusecs while the river Bees reported the discharge of around 16,000 Cusecs. The district revenue officer ,Mr. S.P. Gag , said the administration was fully geared up to meet any eventuality.

The major roads, including Lawrence Road, Maqboor Road, Batala Road and lanes and by-lanes were flooded ,dislocating traffic.



Two lecturers present papers
Our Correspondent

Ms Harmeen Kaur Soch and Dr Jaspal Singh, faculty members of the Department of Commerce and Business Management, Guru Nanak Dev University, presented their papers at international conferences.

Ms Harmeen, a senior lecturer, presented a research paper at the 2006 Summer Educator’s Conference of the American Marketing Association (AMA). The four-day conference held in Chicago last month.

She co-authored the paper along with another Professor of her department, Dr H.S Sandhu.

The paper titled “Customer Relationship Management Consciousness in Indian Companies and its Impact on their Financial Performance” gave an idea about the working of companies here.

Earlier this year, she presented her research work in an international conference held jointly by Zyman Institute of Brand Science (ZIBS), Emory University, Atlanta and Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA).

She along with a Professor of Marketing at IOWA State University (USA) has been working on the effect of role of technology, customer-centricity and Strategic Alignment on business performances of companies. Their joint work is under review at a top-tier journal in the USA.

Dr Jaspal Singh presented a paper on “Ethics in Advertisement in India – A Paradigm Shift” at the fifth Global Conference on Business and Economics held at Cambridge University, London.



Beopar mandal hails decision on octroi
Tribune News Service

The Punjab Pradesh Beopar Mandal (PPBM) president, Mr Amrit Lal Jain, has welcomed the decision of the Punjab Government to abolish the octroi in the state.

He has asked traders to pass on the benefits to consumers.

Mr Jain said the Congress-led government had dragged its feet for almost four years and a half on the issue.

The abolition would help in the growth of trade and industry in Punjab.

There would be free movement of goods, saving time and fuel as goods carriers had to wait for hours at octroi posts.

Mr Jain urged the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, to appeal to the Ministry of Defence to abolish octroi in Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ferozepore cantonments.



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