Restoring eyesight his vision
Sanjay Bumbroo talks to Mr Anup Singh Jubbal, an NRI, who plans to open a charitable eye hospital to help the needy
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR: Mr Anup Singh Jubbal has been doing yeoman’s service to people suffering from cataract or other eye disorders by holding eye camps in the border districts of Amritsar and Tarn Taran for some time now.

Mr Jubbal, president, Canadian Eyesight International, a charitable organisation looking to provide eyesight to people in India, has been raising funds in Surrey, Canada, for setting up a state-of-the-art Sri Hargobind Sahib Mata Sulakhni Eye Hospital at Chabba in Tarn Taran.

He plans to build a hospital that would not only provide cataract surgeries free of cost and conduct eye clinics but also impart education and training to youths.

Lamenting on the lack of support from the government, Mr Jubbal, while talking with The Tribune, said he had so far not received any financial or other aid from the state or the Central governments. But if the government wanted to help them, he would welcome the move, as it would give a philip to the project.

He said a 24,000 sq ft building was recently donated by a local charitable organisation for the setting up of the project.

He was now planning to set up a permanent hospital and preventable blindness centre there.

Mr Jubbal, who has studied up to Class 12, had migrated to Canada in 1968.

In the beginning, he had to work very hard but the lady luck soon smiled at him and he set up a real estate business there.

He had to suffer losses in the business but that did not deter him from doing hard work again and getting back to his feet.

He said ups and downs in the life taught him that money could provide everything except peace of mind.

“This hospital is crucial and we need the support of the community,” said Mr Jubbal, who is also member of the Rotary Club Surrey-Guildford.

He said though eye surgery cost just Rs 1,750, it was beyond the reach of a majority of people in India, especially those living in villages.

He said blindness was 80 per cent preventable with good nutrition, sanitation, medicine or surgery.

Honoured by Prime Minister and Governor in the past for his services, Mr Jubbal said he was being well supported by his wife, Sarup Kaur Jubbal, in his cause.

He said the Project Eyesight India, under the auspices of Eyesight International in cooperation with local doctors, has been conducting eye clinics and cataract surgeries in India since 1989.

He said cataract was the result of darkening of the eye’s lens that could be caused by the rubella virus, trauma to the eye and ageing.

With surgery, impaired vision could be rectified by a lens implant, he added.

He said he had held several eye check-up camps in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Haryana with the support of rotary clubs of Canada and India.

So far they had restored the eyesight or performed surgery on around 43,000 persons and treated thousands more for avoidable blindness.

An eye camp was recently held in Gurdwara Parau at Fatehabad, near Goindwal Sahib, where surgeries were performed on people suffering from cataract and medicines distributed free of cost.

Mr Jubbal said people in Surrey could come to India and participate in eye clinics and get their families to attend these as well.

He said the organisation would spread the word in surrounding villages within a 10-mile radius and everyone, regardless of their age, ethnicity or religion, could attend these camps.

He added that they had also been holding free eye clinics in British Columbia. As eye examination was no longer free under the medical services plan there, people were now showing interest in getting their eyesight checked and even make donations to the hospital in order to help bring sight to countless individuals.



Learning about faiths
Church official visits Golden Temple
Tribune News Service

AMRITSAR: Rev Kathleen Stone, Chaplain, Church Centre for the United Nations, visited Golden Temple and met with Jathedar Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti. Reverend Stone, who was in the city on a special invitation from the United Sikhs, took keen interest in understanding the evolution of the religion, starting from the First Guru to the ordainment of Khalsa and initiation of new holy order with Guru Granth Sahib.

She was told about the supreme sacrifice of Sikh Gurus for the betterment of the human race and cause of the other communities.

She was explained about the openness of the Sikh ideology, which propagates equality irrespective of caste, creed and ethnicity.

She was explained about the teachings of being true to one’s religion as enshrined in Guru Granth Sahib.

She expressed happiness with the status of Sikhs women but was concerned about the growing rate of female foeticide.

She supported the issuance of holy edict against the evil.

She also discussed the problems being faced by the Sikh faith in the light of recent ban on religious symbols in some countries.

She assured the Sikh clergy of raising the matter on international forum and extend cooperation to the struggle of the Sikhs to get their symbols recognised the world over.

Honoured for bravery

The Chaplain also met with Nimrat Saroop Singh, who had saved the life of an old woman from robbers in spite of being grievously injured.

Nimrat Saroop Singh was later honoured by Jaswinder Singh Advocate and Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan with a siropa, sword and cash prize on behalf of the Sikh community.



Need to protect Sikh identity
Tribune News Service

Amritsar: A seminar was organised on “Role of religion and NGOs in 21st century - a Sikh perspective” at Golden Temple here.

Scholars discussed the impact and working of Sikh NGOs. They also discussed the identity, values, polity, participation in global fora and understanding about global affairs of the Sikhs.

They were of the view that the United Nations needed to work with NGOs, especially religion based.

At least 10 per cent aid should be channelled through righteous people like Baba Balbir Singh Seecehewal to work at grass roots level, they observed.

Sikh identity needed to be protected as the Sikhs supported the global agenda for elimination of poverty through their ideal of selfless service, they opined.

The common view was that the Sikhs had a unique identity and were law abiding, democratic and peace-loving community. Sikh shrines were not merely places of worship.

They were of the view that sustainable development, elimination of poverty, environmental problems needed to be carried forward along with religious agenda and that it had been recognised that religions could play an important role in ushering in peace and development.

The seminar was attended by secretary, International Affairs SGPC Joginder Singh, former secretary SGPC Dr Gurbachan Singh Bachan, Dr Kashmir Singh from Department of Legal Studies, GND University, Dr Balwant Sigh Dhillon, Dr Jogeshwar Singh and Dr Harmeet Singh from Department of Religious Studies GND University, Sikh Missionary College Principal Dr Suba Singh, Associate Professor, Government Medical College, Amritsar, Dr Baljeet Singh Dhillon, Dr Anantdeep S. Dhillon and Dr Paramjit Singh.



My City
City’s literary journey

The Holy City, founded by Guru Ram Dass, is steeped in history with its rich religious and cultural heritage. While Golden Temple adorns the city like a crown, the Jallianwala Bagh stands as an epitaph to the freedom struggle.

The city is known for its temples and gurdwaras. It is dotted with mosque and tombs of great saints. A proud symbol of the Sikh community, the city is also rich in Punjabi culture. It is lined with examples of rich architectural heritage and cultural variety.

Besides its historic importance, the city has remained the nerve centre of Sikh politics.

Its literary heritage has been well documented. The modern-day Punjabi poetry is incomplete without the mention of Bhai Veer Singh. Another famous name is Lala Dhani Ram Chatrik, who was instrumental in laying the foundation of Punjabi press.

Other names linked to the city include Urdu legend Sadat Hasan Manto, Principal Sant Singh Sakhon, Prof Mohan Singh and Faiz Anmed Faiz, to name a few.

When Guru Nanak Dev University came into existence, it reinvigorated the already rich cultural and literary renaissance.

The literary world of Amritsar never fainted due to its long association with theatre. Though the Open Air Theatre does not exist any more, Punjab Natshala and Manch Rangmanch are donning the flame these days.

This city has also been home to literary legends like Principal Sahib Singh, novelist Nanak Singh, Gurbax Singh Preetlari, Principal Sujjan Singh and Bawa Balwant.

It has also been immortalised by the echoes of soulful lyrics of Shiv Kumar Batalvi.

Poets like Vidhata Singh Teer and Kartar Singh Balagan also belong to the city. Punjabi literary magazine “Kavita” was the first its kind to be published in Amritsar.

Keeping in line with the rich literary heritage of the city came another torch-bearer, Amrik Singh Aman. A managing director of an industrial unit, Aman’s love for poetry began with a monthly magazine “Lo”, which he brought out in 1978. He came in contact with numerous contemporary literary figures through the magazine.

Within a year of his magazine becoming successful, many famous poets and literary figures joined him in his endeavour. Scholars started sending their works for publishing in “Lo”. Amrita Pritam also visited the city along with Imroz at the invitation of “Lo”. I was assistant to Navtej Singh in Preetlari. I had worked as Editor of “Lo” from 1979-89. I got the chance to meet Aman when he visited Preet Nagar along with Faiz Ahmed Faiz.

We related with one another right away because of our common interest in literature.

Aman was instrumental in keeping the flame of Punjabi literature burning in the city through his magazine.

Dr Sutinder Singh Noor recently remembered Aman’s contribution to the Punjabi literature and culture at a function organised in his memory.

Keeping alive the legacy of Aman, his nephew, Kanwaljeet Singh, has now taken over from where Aman had left.



DAV tiny tots have a ball
P.K. Jaiswar

The tiny-tots of DAV Public School organised their school’s annual day with performances on five elements of the universe. An exhibition-cum-fete was also organised. Attired in colourful dresses, the students of nursery classes brought forth the unusual theme in a dance and song sequence.

They performed “Gagan taley dharti paley, kesa hai yeh nazara” to the theme of “sky”.

On the element of “earth” was a number, “Gol gol yeh dharti ghumey”.

Students danced to the beats of “Sar sar chali hawa” on the theme of “air”.

“Water” was depicted through classical dance “Tak dhina din ta tha thaiya”, while “fire” was represented through graceful movements on song “Aag aag bani aag”,

“Water” was also depicted through aquarian life, boats and zodiac signs on cushion covers, bags, wall hangings and models.

Similarly, “air” section had dancing butterflies, flowers, birds along with modern extravaganza of helicopters and aeroplanes.

The “earth” corner saw animal life, human life, flora and fauna, while “space” had a planetarium showing stars, moon, planets and zodiac signs.



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