Lohri Lahorian di
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

This Sunday, as the month of Magh will set in, it will be time for hundreds of members of ‘Lahorian biradari’ to get together, rejoice and hold traditional ceremonies at a temple here in a unique fashion.

Not just the local devotees, but Khannas, Malhotras, Seths and Kapurs from all parts of Punjab, Mumbai and abroad, who had migrated from Lahore, will pay obeisance at the temple of Baba Laloo Yash Rai at Mandir Lahorian, situated in the narrow lanes of the Mitha Bazaar near the Phagwara Gate here.

Two-century-old temple, which hardly has any visitors during the rest of the year, will now witness long queues. The celebrations will begin on Saturday night with Lohri pujan. A havan will be performed in the evening by members of the temple managing committee, headed by Mr Inder Mohan Khanna.

The community members follow all traditions of the Hindu religion. They, however, have a unique tradition of getting the “choti” (tuft of hair from the middle of the skull) removed and offering it to Babaji at the temple premises. The devotees bring the boys of five years and above (only of odd years), whose “choti” is to be removed with a band.

Mr Gopal Das Seth, a member of the committee, elaborated: “Our community believes that boys have to get their ‘choti’ removed for religious purification of actions or else they cannot get married. All functions are held from Saturdays to Mondays of the month and this year these will be held on January 20 and 27, and February 3 and 10.”

He said this year too, the booking had to be done much in advance. The boys’ name along with his father and grandfather is registered in the office of the temple and the list is forwarded to the head priest. He said the bookings would go on till this Friday. Since, the devotees come from far to perform the rituals, an arrangement to provide them free food from the kitchen is made for them.

“The boy enters the temple and after getting the choti removed, he comes out with his head and face covered as he is not supposed to show his face to his parents. The next night, on Sunday, a halva is prepared from semolina, milk and pure ghee is offered to Babaji and only then the boy is allowed to see his parents. The ‘mundan’ ceremony is held on Monday night and the ‘janeu’ (sacred thread) wearing ceremony is held on Tuesday morning. The boy then bows before a date tree. Since we do not have such trees here, a branch of the tree is brought from elsewhere to complete the rituals.”

Most Lahorias had migrated here before the Partition. They built the temple as they needed their own place to worship, said Mr Seth, who perhaps is also one of the oldest members of the biradari.

“Our original temple was situated at Dipalpur in Okara district (now in Pakistan). In order to get ‘dharmik shudhi’ (religious purification) of the boys, they had to be taken to Dipalpur. But, before proceeding to Dipalpur, we used to visit the Lahorian Mandir for seeking the blessings of the deities for their safe return as modes of travelling were difficult in those days and it used to take very long to reach the destination,” recalled Mr Seth.

After the Partition, devotees of the Baba visited Dipalpur to get a brick, was placed in a corner of the temple and it was considered regular abode of Babaji. Regular functions were thus restarted here, he added.

‘Puja’ is considered very auspicious and important occasion and most parents arrange for getting photographs and video tapes recorded. He pointed out that the belief in the ritual had not died out in modern times but has become even more firm among the younger generation, adding that they come from abroad with their parents especially for the purpose. “You can see it for yourself on January 20”, were his parting words. 



27 booths sensitive
Tribune News Service

AS many as 27 polling booths in Phagwara have been identified as sensitive, including 15 in rural areas. The ASP said one polling booth was identified as hypersensitive in the constituency.

A meeting of government officials of the Phagwara constituency was held here yesterday. It was presided over by the ADC, Mr B.S. Multani. The SDM, Mr Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal, the ASP, Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill, among others, attended the meeting.



Young World
Police DAV students for NASA competition
Tribune News Service

While it was Apeejay School last year, this time it is the students of Police DAV Public School who have been selected for the Asian Regional Space Settlement Design competition organised by NASA.

The 12-member team of the school is one of the eight semifinalists in Asia who have been selected from among a total of 54 teams. The school had sent its project “Advitia”, in which they had explained how 11,500 people would colonise themselves on an asteroid “Ceres”.

The 12- member team who designed this project is: Saumya Vij, Navdeep Kaur, Pawan Gambhir, Puneet Kumar, Sargam Badyal, Harneet Kaur, Shray Jain, Bhavneet Sharma, Bhawandeep Singh, Sagar Bhardwaj, Devshuni Chauhan and Milan Singh Solanki. The team has been guided by Mr Navdeep Sharma and Karminder Singh.

Milan Singh, Plus One student, said the team members had done elaborate research using Internet and various other sources to cull information for the project. Navdeep Kaur of Class IX said they were now preparing for the final round of selection to be held at Gurgaon between January 25 and 29. She explained out of the eight teams, only five would be selected for the final round to be held at NASA.


A workshop on progressive thinking and interpersonal skills was organised for the staff of Delhi Public School. Mr B. Banerjee, Principal, welcomed the resource person, Mr Sarabjit Singh Kwatra, who laid stress on the fundamentals of teachings as required in the fast changing world. He also emphasised upon the role of self-enhancement and creative learning. In the four-hour interactive session, the participants held various group activities and discussions.


To bring awareness about female foeticide, Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1 will organise “Save girl child rally” on Friday. Mr G.S. Gill, Principal, said the students would hold placards and distribute leaflets on the issue. He said the rally would be taken out within the cantonment area starting from school to Hardayal Road to Sadar Bazar, Bhim Road and back.

NSS units

The Central Board of Secondary Eductaion (CBSE) has directed its affiliated schools to establish NSS units in their premises to encourage community development around the area with participation from the students and staff. As per the directions, the students of Classes IX and XI would be eligible to join and would be awarded A and B certificates, respectively, after completion of the course. Hailing the decision of the board, Prof Anoop Kumar, general secretary of Citizens’ Welfare and Protection Council, an NGO, has said this would help a large number of students work for the community and bring about a change in their own personality development. 



Just a thought 
Crossover traumas
R. Jaikrishan
Tribune News Service

IN the love legend of Sohni and Mahiwal Sohni risks her life to cross the river on a pitcher to be with her lover in the dead of the night. Green with jealousy, Sohni’s sister-in-law substitutes the pitcher with an unbaked one.

But now the sister–in–law would not burn her blood with jealousy. Instead she would look out for a lover. She would have fun with a passionate youth while her husband works hard in foreign shores. This trend has caught on in the state as crimes of passion have shown an upward swing.

Unlike Sohni of the yore, Punjabi lass armed with a professional degree would go for a swim, with or without Mahiwa, in all seasons. She would not mind to expose her midriff or the belly button, on Valentine Day or in high blast parties. The meeting will have to be brief and not on the sly because the duo will have to prepare well to clear exams to reach the western shores.

In Jalandhar bazaars every second shop is of a travel agent or of money change agency .Reason being that the youth of the region wants to follow their peers in the US, Canada, Australia, Europe and West Asia.

The third generation Punjabis settled abroad come to Punjab for building Wadi Kothis. One can see these massive constructions from Nawanshahr to Kapurthala, even amid fields.

These houses have caretakers ,mostly unskilled laborers from UP and Bihar who speak their dialects with a smattering of Punjabi.

Present day Sohnis and Mahiwals move around in Bum Cum and Diesel jeans in Havelis and Baristas. They care two hoots for cops on traffic lights and drive away in their Wadi Gaddis without waiting for the red light to turn amber or green.

The end of the story can now also be tragic, if Mahiwal chooses to go as a stowaway and joins the victims of Malta boat tragedy on the ocean bed.

After marrying Sohni Mahiwal leaves for foreign land and forgets to send a ticket for her. Or leaves Sohni behind with a promise of marriage. After waiting for years, she gets married to a man of her parents’ choice.

On a river bank Sohni weds Mahiwal

With pomp, show paid up by bank loan

For tractor and seeds.

On the auspicious hour

Potter’s wheel breaks down,

and boats bound to her parents’ village

turn into ashes.

Mahiwal leaves Sohni with his seed

And a promise to join her

On the Thames bank .

Back in the land of choices

He pulls all the stops

To spin thewheel of fortune.

On a cold evening

Walking home

After a tough day,

Mahiwal warms up to a white lass.

She brushes him off

For his rough manner.

He casts away the turban, cuts his hair;

Writes race abuses on the hairy chest.

Cops search for his abusers;

community leaders appeal for calm.

Soon they learn it to be a crossover bid

Done under the influence of

a drink one too many.

Sohni would be among the lucky few if she escapes the wrath of her in-laws on giving birth to a girl child or bringing dowry less than their expectation. Bonhomie marks reunion



Canadian minister in ancestral village
R. Jaikrishan
Tribune News Service

Most residents of Shankar village, 25 km from Jalandhar, learnt a few days ago that Mr Harinder Jeet Singh Takhar, has made it big in Canada. Mr Takhar is a minister in Canada’s Ontario province.

Surinder Kaur, on a visit to her parental home here on Thursday was as excited as other villagers about the visit. She along with village elders organised a befitting reception for the famous son’s visit.

Mr Takhar was equally keen to visit his ancestral village. His parents lived here before moving to Mailiana in Nawanshahr district. Mr Amarjit Singh Samra, Minister of Cooperation, and Rana Gurjit Singh, MP from Jalandhar, reached minutes after the elders welcomed Mr Takhar at Purewal Palace with garlands.

Harinder went to Canada in 1976 and studied finance for six years there. Having worked in the Punjab and Sind Bank before moving came in handy while setting up business in Canada. With his efforts and cooperation, other emigrants from Shankar also did well. The desire to help his community drove him into the political arena.

Wherever he went in Canada, he was identified as the boy from Shankar. In 2003, he romped home as a Liberal member of Ontario Parliament. Before getting the present charge of small business and entrepreneurship, he was the Minister of Transport.

Back in his home state, he had a broken and bumpy ride beyond Jandiala despite driving to Shankar in a high-comfort car from Jalandhar. He kept his observation on the road or unsafe driving to himself and visited the crumbling ancestral house which, according to Surinder Kaur, used to be like the Bathinda fort around the time of the Partition.

He exchanged ideas about Indo–Canadian collaboration in the field of education and business with the elders who expect him to organise funds for developing the bus stand in the village so that they get a matching grant from the Central Government.

Among those who welcomed Mr Thakar was Mrs Satwant Kaur Boparai, the daughter of the first Foreign Minister, Sardar Swaran Singh. 



Festival of Warmth 
Anil Jerath
Tribune News Service

WE celebrate change with passion, the change of season, harvest time or the changing phases of the moon. It has been incorporated in our culture, lending colour and gaiety to the social fabric. Traditions associated with the celebrations, however, change with time. Every festival has evolved and Lohri is no different. Jalandhar Plus chats with a cross-section of people to find out how the celebrations of this winter festival have changed with time.

Once, the advent of Lohri was marked with unrestrained excitement and joy. “I remember those days,” says Shimla Devi (60), with a wistful look. The woman, who hails from Meerut, has come to Phagwara to celebrate the festival with her sister.

“I miss those days when we used to stay on the terrace all day. Even meals were delivered to us there. We would go door-to-door asking for Lohri, dressed in new clothes. Now, people are a bit indifferent. I wonder what has happened to tradition,” she says.

It has been a festival of bonding, with family and friends coming home to sit by the fire and enjoy the night. Now, with the emergence of nuclear families, the festival seems to be losing its innate warmth. “People used to dance to the beat of the ‘dhol’ around a bonfire. Now, the ‘dhol’ has been replaced by DJs,”" says Pritam Kaur, a teacher. She also misses the traditional Punjabi cuisine that used to be served in every household on the occasion. Almost tearfully she remembers how the women used to make ‘makki di roti’ and ‘sarson da saag’, ‘ganne ke ras ki kheer’ on Lohri night.

All said and done, change is inevitable, but what remain is the enthusiasm, the good cheer and the camaraderie that is a characteristic feature of the festival.

Even though responsibilities may not allow some to come back home for Lohri, their thoughts still wander home and the sound of ‘Sunder munderiye’ reverberates in their hearts. Happy Lohri!

Keep it pollution free

Frost and fog surround you. Mercury has dipped to make even the over-clothed shiver, but festival spreads warmth all around. A package of ‘gachak’, ‘rewris’ and peanuts in front of the bonfire work magically. But in the merriment, we seldom pause to think about the environmental hazards-polluting emissions. Well, this caution should not dampen the festive fervour, as there are some eco-friendly academicians who celebrate as well as try their best to prevent pollution.

“In a club, we all get together and celebrate Lohri. Though the festival just cannot be thought of without a bonfire, using electric gadgets like a heater can serve as an alternative,” says Prof Joginder Singh.

For some, food and family interaction is a good treat for the festival. “The idea is of bonhomie. The festival is associated with particular food items. So, if one is cosy enough with the family, burning of fuel can be avoided,” informs Ravinder Sharma, a stage actor. According to him, painted wood would emit more toxic particles than plywood.

“Also burning leaves and cardboard add to pollution. We buy wood from Mauli village.”

Burning small twigs rather than huge logs is a safe way to curb smog. “The students, of course, ask for Lohri, but all the faculty members of the respective departments celebrate by sitting around the fireplace and chatting. I try not to burn leaves or huge logs that burn for long. The idea is to have a ‘shagun’, which even an ‘'angithi’ can provide,” adds a councillor of Phagwara Nagar Council. 



Bonhomie marks reunion
Vishal Gulati
Tribune News Service

It was celebration time at the CRPF Complex in Jalandhar on Wednesday and Thursday. Serving and former officers of the 1971 batch of the Direct Appointed Gazetted Officers, along with their families, were in the city for a reunion.

Amidst an atmosphere of bonhomie and camaraderie, past met the present as experiences were shared and old memories brought alive.

The reunion was held here after 2001. For the first time, wives and family members of the officers also participated. Six IGs and 19 DIGs from all over the country participated.

Earlier, a wreath-laying ceremony was organised at the Martyrs’ Memorial on Wednesday, where tributes were paid to those killed while performing their duty. A ceremonial guard reversed arms, while buglers sounded the Last Post. A band also played select tunes to complement the proceedings.

Later, Mr R.K. Dua, DIG, Jammu, shared professional and personal experiences of each officer of the batch, both serving and former, at the Men’s Club.

Mr S.C. Sharma, IG, North-West Sector, was appreciated for his efforts for organising the reunion. He was the first IG in the North-East Sector and had introduced computerisation of the biodata of criminals while serving in the Uttar Pradesh police.

Mr M.S. Rawat, DIG, Doda, who was given the Police Medal for Gallantry – 1976, and Mr R.P. Singh, DIG, who introduced technical course in the force, were also present.

Mr G.S. Masthana was bestowed with the Utkal Jyoti – 2005 award by the Governor of Orissa. Though he is Punjabi, he has spent most of his time outside Punjab. His father was in the CRPF. Now his two brothers are also serving the paramilitary force.

Mr R.K. Saxena was given the title of “ironman” by the batch mates. He is known among the batch mates for his “mysterious” smiles.

Mr Thomas Kurien, who was earlier with the CRPF, was also present. At present, he is the Deputy General Manager (Security), ONGC, Dehra Dun. In 1992, he was in the elite Special Protection Group and in 1997 he was the DIG (Security), Assam Police. In the afternoon on Wednesday, the officers and their families visited the Golden Temple and the Wagah border.

On the concluding day, the officers thanked the Dhillions, Mr T.S. Dhillon, DIG, CRPF, Jalandhar Range, and Dr Sukhprem Kaur, Chief Medical Officer, CRPF, Jalandhar, for hosting the reunion.



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