Aroma business struggles to stay afloat
Septuagenarian Santosh Singh sits behinds small bottles of Indian perfumes (Ittar) and almond oil in a narrow dingy lane of the walled city of Amritsar. He is the third generation of his family to carry on the trade in perfumes and aromatic oils. The shop in which he sits was established by his great grandfather in 1908.
However, Santosh Singh is not sure if his future generations would be able to sustain themselves and their families with the family business. These days the perfumes business is not exactly looking up.
Few people in the city now buy Indian perfumes or other aromas. Today, the business of perfumes is not even 25 per cent of what it was before the Partition, he said.
Going over the old days, Santosh Singh gets nostalgic and a smile spreads over his wrinkled face. The narrow lanes near Harmandir Sahib were a wholesale market for Indian-made perfumes and aromas. The perfumes were not produced here; they were procured in bulk at Kanauj and Jaunpur areas of Uttar Pradesh.
The perfumes made from rose and other natural products as sandalwood used to be sold to retailers coming to the market from Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir. “Muslims were major customers of the Indian-made perfumes.
They were spendthrifts and used to spend most of their income on things of desire. Sandalwood perfumes were very popular among them. They were used to pay any price for good perfumes. The business in the city was so good that many British traders also used to throng the market to sell their products.”
The foreign traders would bring perfumes imported from Europe for sale in the market. Santosh Singh still has an old European painting hanging on the walls of his shop that was gifted to his family by a visiting English trader of perfume. However, after the Partition everything changed. The turmoil of Partition hit the perfume market in the city. Many traders shifted to Pakistan.
Today Amritsar has very few perfume traders in the wholesale market. Even their market was shrinking with the coming of brand products.
Unavailability of sandalwood has also hit the market as felling sandalwood was prohibited in the forests of south India. One can hardly find pure sandalwood perfume these days. “If things continue the same way, our future generation might have to do some other business, leaving the three-generation-old business of perfumes and aromas,” Santosh Singh laments.
I consider myself a complete Amritsari having been brought up and educated in this city. I was born in the remote Kakkar village in the then Layallpur district of Pakistan a few months before Independence but I have a fair recollection of the tranquil and green environment of the holy city.
The roads and streets of the city were not congested and were vigorously cleaned daily before dawn and water sprinkled during evening hours to give them a fresh lease feeling. The garbage was removed well in time early morning and transported by a coal-engine train railing outside walled city to the southern part for natural disposal. Everybody abided by the traffic laws. Even rickshaws and cycles had to light small lamps at night, otherwise they were challaned.
The so-called VIP culture was unheard of. Leaders visited the city and mixed up with people without any pomp and show. I remember having seen the then Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru waving to a crowd by climbing on a pole in the premises of the Golden Temple complex and young Indira Gandhi moving alone ahead of her legendary father. I have also memory of seeing the then Egyptian President Col Gamal Abdul Nasser inside the sanctum sanctorum of Golden Temple without any security check.
The city had fewer schools and collages but all were centers of imparting disciplined education to lead patriotic life and culture. My early education was in Government Middle School, Daim Ganj, in southern Amritsar. The small courtyard of the school prominently displayed big portraits of freedom fighters like Sardar Patel, Jawaharlal Nehru, Rajindra Prasad and Bhagat Singh.
In addition to imparting conventional education, teachers laid great stress upon discipline, patriotism and truthfulness. Those students who did not abide by the rules were harshly punished. I remember during one of the morning prayer meetings, I did not stand in attention for the respect of the National Anthem. My revered teacher Master Sat Pal ordered me to stand in front of the whole school of 700 children; made me realise my mistake and slapped me on the face seven times. I learnt the lesson and till date I don’t move when our National Anthem is being played.
Then in class ninth I joined Sant Singh Sukha Singh Higher Secondary School on the serene and green Mall Road. The school was a replica of Shanti Niketan. The students used to study under the shades of the trees. Under one big bamboo tree, there used to be two classes. I have fond memories of the then Principal Swarn Singh, a presidential award winner. He was a keen dedicated teacher, who could judge the inner potential of each student. I had taken medical subjects and had doubts about my chosen subjects. I gathered courage and went to his office with the request to change subjects to the non-medical group. Principal Swarn Singh angrily shouted at me, “How dare you waver, this is a weakness of mind. I know you have a potential to become a doctor and you will be one day” and asked me leave. Since then, I have never looked back.
Today when I wander in the city, I sometimes reminisce those moments and try to search where these have been lost on the sands of time.
Tarn Taran win border zone meet
Tarn Taran district won the overall trophy while ASI Gurinder Pal Singh was declared the best sportsman at the three-day 12th Border Zone (police) Sports and Athletics Meet held at Tarn Taran.
As many as 400 sportspersons from the districts of Tarn Taran, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Majitha and Batala took part in the meet. Mr. R.L. Bhagat, DIG Border Zone, Amritsar, inaugurated the games. He also gave away the prizes to the winners on Thursday.
Hockey: Majitha 1, Tarn Taran 2, Batala 3.
Weightlifting: Batala 1, Tarn Taran 2, Gurdaspur 3.
Judo: Tarn Taran 1, Majitha 2, Gurdaspur 3.
Boxing: Tarn Taran 1, Majitha 2, Amritsar 3.
Basketball: Tarn Taran 1, Majitha 2, Gurdaspur 3.
Handball: Tarn Taran 1, Majitha 2, Gurdaspur 3.
Majitha won the volleyball and kabaddi titles while Tarn Taran finished runners-up. In athletics Tarn Taran, Batala and Majitha teams got first, second and third positions, respectively.
Mr L. K. Yadav, Mr S. Srivastava, Mr Paramraj Singh Umranangal, SSPs of Batala, Amritsar and Gurdaspur, respectively were also present on the prize distribution function. The other dignitaries present were Dr Karanjit Singh Civil Surgeon and Mr Tarsem Singh, IRS, Commissioner (Income Tax).
At the concluding ceremony Nihangs and students of the Government Secondary School, Tarn Taran, presented gatka items. A colourful cultural programme was also presented on the occasion.
Inter-zonal final youth festival opens
The Inter-Zonal Final Youth Festival of Guru Nanak Dev University was inaugurated by Punjabi folk singer Sarabjit Cheema on Friday.
More than 1,000 students from various affiliated colleges located in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Tarn Taran, Kapurthala and Nawanshahr are participating in the four-day youth fest.
Cheema, while addressing student, said they should work with zeal, zest and dedication to promote and develop their hidden talent. He said only through hard work they could achieve their goal. Such competitions not only inculcate a sense of discipline but also help for their personality development.
Earlier, Mr B.S. Sekhon, Director, Youth Welfare, while welcoming Cheema and the participating teams highlighted various achievements of the university in cultural field. He also gave detailed programme of the festival.
The festival opened with group song (Indian). The other highlights of the day included group shabad/bhajans, mime, fancy dress, histrionics, one-act play, rangoli, flower arrangement (fresh), flower arrangement (dry), phulkari, shabad/bhajan, geet/gazal, folk song and vaar singing.
On the second day, the competitions in gidha, mimicry, skit, one-act play, classical instrumental (percussion), classical instrumental (non-percussion), semi-classical vocal, painting (landscape), painting (still life), sketching, cartooning, poster making, collage, clay modeling and installation would be held.
Pak artistes happy to visit Holy City
Peace is the undying word of the soul. Music is a word that brings togetherness in a world full of hatred and chaos. The four-day Saanjh Amritsar-Lahore Festival 2006 started on this note here on Friday when 19 artistes came here from across the border to participate in the festival organised by Punarjyot and Rafi Peer Theatre workshop.
Usmaan Peerzada of the Rafi Peer Theatre group of Lahore said coming to Amritsar was like coming home as Holy City was no different from Lahore. He was thrilled to receive such warm welcome and was sure that this year too the people of this city would show the same love and affection. He added that the Indian artistes had received unprecedented response in Lahore the past few days and was hopeful that this kind of people-to-people contact on festivals would be further strengthened. He said about 109 artistes from India, including 60 from Punjab, had participated in the World Performing Arts held two weeks ago.
Peerzada said that it was important to have these cultural exchanges as these helped in people-to-people dialogue and they had better understanding of each other. He said besides a documentary film and a feature film, Sufiana singing, folksongs and a nautanki would be presented by the Pakistani artistes.
Sain Zahoor, whose musical and vocal abilities have earned him great acclaim both nationally and around the world, was born in Haveli Lakhan. As a folk singer, he finds his inspiration in spiritual dreams and had followed these dreams to become what he is today.
Zahoor said Saanjh 2004 had given him his first platform in India. To him Amritsar was like coming home and the love and affection he got from this city would always remain close to his heart. It was only after that visit that he had performed for the Prime Minister of India and Ms Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and had performances in Mumbai. He was thrilled and elated to be back in Holy City.
Allahditta Lonaywala is one of the outstanding folk artists of the region. The raags he sets and his compositions are common to many folksongs of Punjab. He sings in Punjabi and the local dialect of Sargodha and Jhangand is a popular radio artiste and a much-appreciated figure on television and stage shows.
Lonaywala was visiting Holy City for the first time and the excitement could be seen all around him. He would be performing traditional music in the Chiniot style.
Folk Singer Abaas Jat of famous Jat brothers belonged to the old tradition of folk story telling, singing and theatre. He follows the tradition of his teacher and is the last of the classic folklore travelling theatres from the plains of Punjab. The Jat Brothers fascinating rendition of the traditional folk of Punjab is truly awe-inspiring.
Abaas said the artistes had a major role to play in spreading love, peace and brotherhood all around the world. He said there was no difference between the cultures of the two nations.
Workshop held on AIDS
A one-day district-level workshop on AIDS/HIV was organised under the School Adolescence Education Programme at Government Secondary School, Tarn Taran, jointly by the Punjab State AIDS Control Society (PSACS), Education Department and the State Council of Education and Research Training (SCERT). As many as 50 heads of different schools of the district attended the workshop.
Besides social worker Dr Raghbir Singh Bains, Ms Rekha Beri, Assistant Director SCERT, Mr Piara Singh Talwar, District Education Officer (S) and Mr Gursharanjit Singh Mann, DEO (EE), attended the workshop.
New technique for safe blood transfusion
Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute has introduced a new technique, Autologous Blood Transfusion, for blood transfusion in Amritsar to mark World AIDS Day.
With the help of this technique the patient can use their own safe blood for their personal surgeries, eliminating the chances of any infection which could be caused by another donor.
According to estimates, in India nine million units of blood are required annually but only five million blood units are donated and nearly half of these come from paid (professional) donors or “replacement donors” or relatives/friends of patients.
Lieut-Gen (retd) M.L. Chawla, Executive Director, and Dr Gautam Wankhede, in-charge, Department of Transfusion Medicine of the institute, said the method had proved to be relatively safe from infections.
“Besides the problem of shortage, there is the issue of transmission of infection with blood transfusions. In India, three persons per thousand infected with HIV get the infection through blood transfusion. Similarly, six per thousand persons get hepatitis-C infection. As many as 1.5 per cent persons get infected by hepatitis-B infections through blood transfusion.
The new technique is not only cost effective, but it also rules out the possibility of dangerous infections like HIV. It minimises expenses on costly tests for infections, can be stocked, besides it eliminates disease transmission, prevents reduced immunity associated with blood transfusion, viral infections, caused by outside blood and is most useful in case of rare blood groups.”
Dr Gautam said through the technique about two units of blood could be collected from a patient within a gap of 35 to 40 days prior to surgery. The patient can be given iron supplements during this period to increase blood production.
Thus, this method is in contrast to regular blood donations that needs at least three months’ gap before the next donation. The “self” blood donation can be used in a number of planned surgeries such as orthopedic surgery, plastic surgery, obstetric and gynecological operations, kidney transplant, ENT, thyroid surgery, abdominal surgeries of gall bladder, spleen etc.
He said the patient should have a hemoglobin level of 11, while there is no bar on upper age limit.
However, patients suffering from angina, heart valve problem, high BP, active infection or heart patient, pregnant women or suffering brain disorders cannot pre-deposit blood.
You are the sun I’m the moon, you are the wordsI’m the tune, play me.
— Neil Diamond
If you have learnt a smattering of Latin in school you will know forty per cent of modern European languages including English, the same way children who learnt Sanskrit in school can understand forty percent of most Indian languages.
Today we look at words, which have originated in other languages but are used in English frequently.
Even though we call Latin and Sanskrit dead languages they live on in many expressions. English retains much of its legal, medical and scientific terminology from Latin. The following list includes words that every well-read person should be able use easily.
1. Ad hoc — for a particular or exclusive purposee.g. an ad hoc appointment
2. Agenda — a list of things to do, to consider
3. Aurora borealis — northern occurrence of light
4. Bona fide — genuine, sincere
5. De facto — in fact, whether by right or not
6. De jure — rightfully, by right
7. Erratum — an error in writing or printing
8. Finis — the end of anything
9. Habeas corpus — writ in court wherein the detaining authority is asked to produce a person in bodily form; literally“Produce – the – body”
10. Ibid — in the same book or same place
11. Interi — the intervening time
12. Mea culpa — admitting ones fault or error
13. Modus operandi — particular way in which a person performs a task or action
14. Non sequitur — conclusion that does not flow logically
15. Per se — by itself, in itself
16. Quasi — seemingly or apparently
17. Quid pro quid — thing given as compensation return, made for a favour
18. Rigor mortis — stiffening of the body after death
19. Sanctum — holy place/sacred place
20. Status quo — existing state of affair
Some more words of Latin origin:- angel, martyr, disciple, shrine
Exercise for the readers, ten words starting with D (in English) to describe men:-
Answers next week.
Source: The Concise Oxford Dictionary
Protest over liquor shop
Holding protest against a liquor shop near the ‘Pir Baba Hazrat’ at Hall Gate, activists of Karn Sena held a rally and blocked the traffic at Hall Gate here yesterday. The activists said that they had asked the district administration to close down the liquor shop immediately from there but nothing was done. They said if the administration did not listen to their demands, they would further hold more rallies in the city. They said liquor shops near temples, gurdwaras and dargahs was not fair and it gave a wrong impression to people.