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REGIONAL POTPOURRI


PUNJAB

Phagwara
Wireless operator held
: A wireless operator, Kuldip Chand of Birampur village, working in the police control room at Nawanshahar was arrested on the charges of preparing fake passports on Saturday. Cash worth Rs 75,000, duplicate stamps and a few other fake documents were seized from him. According to a DSP, the accused had struck a deal of Rs 2 lakh for preparing a fake passport of Nirmal Singh of Kang Dharni in the name of Harwinder Singh of the Nawanshahar road, Phillaur. A case has been registered in this regard.

Phillaur
Abandoned infant found: A five days old female infant was found hanging from a tree near katarian village on Saturday. The infant was wrapped in a towel. According to SHO of Behram police station, Ranjit Singh, a villager, saw this and immediately sent the infant to Banga civil hospital where she was being treated.

Bathinda
Boy sodomised:
Dharam Singh, a youth, was arrested on Sunday for allegedly sodomising a teenager for months together. A case was registered against Dharam Singh on the complaint lodged by the victim’s father. The medical examination of the victim was conducted at the local civil hospital.

Ludhiana
Wing opened
: A new gynaecology and maternity wing was inaugurated by Niranjan Kaur Cheema at Dr D.N. Kotnis Acupuncture Hospital here on Sunday. On this occasion, a free medical check-up camp was also organised in the hospital with the help of the Rotary Club, Ludhiana. Dr Inderjit Singh, medical superintendent of the hospital, said to facilitate transportation of critically ill patients, the Cheema family had donated an ambulance to the hospital.

Samrala
Tributes paid: Tributes were paid to the deceased Jaswant Rai (85) by local MLA, Jagjiwan Singh Kheernian, former MLA Amrik Singh Dhillon, DPI Schools, Jagtar Singh Khatra and the DEO Bechittar Singh Barn in gurdwara Vishavkarma Jihere, here, today. Jaswant Rai was father of Chaman Lal Verma, principal and Pardeep Verma, vice-president of the All India Swarankar Sangh of Tehsil, Samrala unit. All the speakers high-lighted the services rendered by Jaswant Rai towards education and social services for the poor.

Cremated: Gurkirat Singh (63) brother of Ranbir Singh and Manjeet Singh of Punjab State Warehousing, was cremated today. He died last night. A few prominent persons of the area, many officers and officials of the Punjab State Warehousing, intellectuals, politicians, non-politicians and trade unionists participated in the cremation.


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HARYANA

Jind
Hotels razed
: The district town-planning department on Sunday demolished six hotels and two liquor vends on the Jind-Patiala road at Narwana. Department officials said as per the High Court’s order no such dhabas would be allowed to run on the highway.

Newly-wed dead: A newly-married woman died under mysterious circumstances at her in-laws' house in the railway colony here on Sunday. According to sources, the deceased has been identified as 22-year-old Geeta, a resident of Rohtak. She got married to Lalit about six months ago. Her father-in-law and a few other members of Lalit’s family have reportedly been taken into custody.

Karnal
Surgical camp: About 52 jail inmates were examined at a free surgical camp organised at a jail here on Sunday. Minor surgeries were performed on 12 patients who were suffering from piles and fistula, said Pankaj Gupta. Medical officer of the jail Vishal Garg was present on the occasion.
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HIMACHAL PRADESH

MANDI
Home Guards’ convention: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has said the government has enhanced the daily wages of home guards by Rs 55 in two instalments in a year. He was speaking at a state-level convention of the Home Guards here on Saturday. He said the government would also consider their other demands. Earlier, Tek Chand Thakur, state president of the Home Guards Association welcomed the Chief Minister and thanked him for increasing their daily wages.

DALHOUSIE
Yog shivir ends: Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri peeth has appealed to the people of the world to work for global peace. He was speaking at the concluding function of three-day ‘yog sadhana and rashtra raksha shivir’ organised by the All-India Peeth Parishad at Mata Jagdamba temple at Khajjiar here on Sunday. The camp was held from April 20 to 22. People from Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhattisgarh and Orissa attended the camp.


REGIONAL POTPOURRI

Armful of resilience

Pritam Chand Narang
Pritam Chand Narang

It has been very well said that God never closes all doors without opening a window. This holds especially true for Rohtak-based bank official Pritam Chand Narang, who has been physically challenged since birth. The affliction notwithstanding, Narang went on to get a higher education, and later a decent bank job.

As of now, he possesses a master’s degree in economics and is serving as a Special Assistant with Indian Bank. He is happily married to Raj, whom he describes as the ‘ideal and the most caring companion.’

A recipient of a national award for his performance as the “most efficient physically challenged employee” from the President of India, Narang’s journey has been an arduous one.

Despite not being able to use his arms, he went to school.

Till matriculation, Narang used to write with his left foot. The going was comparatively smooth as all students sat on the floor and he had the full cooperation of his teachers. But when he entered college, where the students sat on benches, it became tougher.

However, his firm resolve kept him going and Narang began writing by holding the pen with both his arms. Gradually, he mastered this art and successfully completed his B.Comand postgraduation. Soon after, he got the bank job.

Narang gives full credit for his achievements to the Almighty, his parents and especially his elder brother G.D.Narang. “While I always had the full support of my parents, it was my brother who guided me on to the path of success,” he maintains.

Totally self-reliant, Narang drives his car and discharges his official duties as well as family responsibilities with amazing efficiency. He even plans to set up an organisation to help physically challenged persons.

Narang feels that society should not sympathise with the physically challenged persons, but encourage and motivate them to be self-dependant. At the same time, he advises others like him to always remember that God helps those who help themselves.

Mama Mia

Brij Lal VermaThe people of Patiala seem to have long forgotten his real name. ‘Mamaji’ is what Brij Lal Verma is fondly called, by the young and old alike.

A 77-year-old jeweller of Patiala, he has earned this sobriquet not because of his many nephews and nieces but for the special bond he has formed and nurtured with hundreds of girls over the past 60 years.

For, Verma performs the traditional role of a ‘mama’ at the marriages of those girls who do not have a maternal uncle. This includes the performance of all the rituals that are the responsibility of a ‘mama’, like presenting the “choora” to the bride.

It goes without saying that Verma pays from his own pocket for all the expenses.

His journey as the “mamaji” began almost three decades ago, when Verma’s domestic help was ruing the lack of a maternal uncle to present the “choora” at her sister’s wedding.

Verma went ahead and played the poor girl’s “mama.” Thereafter, he pledged to be a “mama” to every girl who did not have one.

The bond formed with all his “nieces” is a life-long one, cherished by both the sides. 

So far, Verma has acted as the “mama” to more than 400 girls in Patiala and other places, irrespective of the caste or creed of the brides-to-be.

When alive, his wife Kamla Devi, also used to participate in the marriage ceremonies.

Originally from Rajiara, a village in Faridkot district, Verma came to Patiala at the age of 11 with his sister, who was married to a local jeweller.

Since the children of his sister called him “mamaji”, almost all children of the locality starting addressing him as such.

Later too, the title of “mamaji” stuck to him, so much so that even the ministers and high-profile politicians of the state know him by that name. He has even named his business as “Mamaji Jewellers.”

His other activities include service at congregations and helping the oppressed.

He has been the general chief commandant of the All-India Sewa Samiti and an office-bearer of several social welfare organisations.

He has been honoured as an outstanding social worker of Patiala and has received numerous awards from various governments.

Contributed by Sunit Dhawan and Charu Chhibber
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