Zero line to light up on Bhagat Singh’s b’day
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
To pay tributes to Shaheed Bhagat Singh on his birth centenary, a maiden show of “Kuknoos (phoenix) Bhagat Singh (Son-et-Lumiere)”, a light-and-sound show, was presented to a packed audience of eminent personalities of the city at Punjab Naatshala by Punarjot - a centre for preservation and promotion of the heritage of Punjab, here on Tuesday.

The light-and-sound programme is an attempt to revive the pristine glory of ancient Narli village, the ancestral place of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, situated on the Indo-Pak border. The second show of “Kuknoos Bhagat Singh” would be arranged at Narli, near zero line, on September 29. The village was frequently visited by the martyr during his underground life.

This would be for the first time that a light-and-sound programme would be held near zero line and Pakistan. Phoenix (Kuknoos) is an imaginary bird which, according to ancient myth, burns itself into ashes every 500 years and is then born again.

The light-and-sound programme would depict the supreme sacrifices made by Shaheed Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru through “Kuknoos” (phoenix), the imaginary bird that reflects the hope that revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh never die.

Bhagat Singh, like a phoenix, has been restructured from the ashes of the revolution in the programme. Interestingly, the light-and-sound show would be held in the magnificent Haveli which was reportedly frequented by Bhagat Singh during his underground life.

The programme tells us about the history of Narli village where Raja Charmak, who challenged the Greeks, was born, and where Baghel Singh of Karora Singhia Misl, who furled the Sikh flag on Red Fort, was born. The forefathers of Shaheed Bhagat Singh were born at Narli.

Narli village where Sardar Sobha Singh and his generations left a historic mark in the field of education. This play reflects the dreams of Shaheed Bhagat Singh merging with the dreams of the elderly people of the village. The play has been scripted by playwright and director Kewal Dhaliwal under the guidance of Manveen Sandhu, principal of Spring Dale Senior School, and Dr Shivinder Singh Sandhu, trustee of the Spring Dale Education Society.

The couple have founded an organisation by the name of Punarjyot. This theatre production of Punarjyot aims at reviving interest in the ideals of a generation of freedom fighters. It is a dialogue-oriented play that integrates mixed media visuals using modern techniques of multimedia, film and traditional theatre.

It includes some beautiful poetry, including Bhagat Singh’s own writings. The interactive script skillfully weaves Narli and Bhagat Singh as an ideology and not as place and people. It will also be staged in Amritsar, Jalandhar, Khatkar Kalan, Dhodi Kalan (ancestral village of Lala Lajpat Rai), Hussainiwala in India and Lahore, Kasoor and Banga in Pakistan. 



Purchase by private agencies has farmers smiling
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Though the procurement of paddy will begin on September 26 instead of October 1 as announced by the Punjab government earlier, the Bhagtanwala grain market is already flooded with tonnes of paddy from adjoining villages.

The advance procurement process will begin simultaneously in Punjab, Rajasthan, Kerala and Haryana. Instructions have also been issued to the state agencies concerned.

Like the procurement patterns followed earlier this year the government agencies will take a backseat and the procurement will largely be made by private parties.

In March, the traders purchased wheat at up to Rs 947 per quintal against a minimum support price of Rs 750 and Rs 100 as bonus. The lowest price quoted at the grain market till March-end was Rs 815.

The prices for “Saraswati” rice has shot up to Rs 1,350 per quintal from Rs 750 last year. Though the government agencies are yet to play a key role in procurement, the farmers are not complaining.

Market committee officials have ruled out the possibility of distress sale as the quality of crop coming is good and the farmers are also keen on getting a better deal from private contractors, instead of going to the government agencies which cannot offer anything more than the MSP.



Fever Pitch
Hotels cash in on T-20 mania
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Amristar went berserk when the Indian cricket team lifted the ICC World Twenty20 cup. And the city hotels, bars and restaurants were not far behind to make most of it. They provided every opportunity to crazy fans to enthral each moment during the Indo-Pak final on Monday evening.

KK Continental general manager S.K. Handa said the customers were being given 20 per cent discount to celebrate India’s victory. To add to the atmosphere, the staff of the hotel was dressed in the official uniform of Team India. “Even on days, India won a match, we offered free cold drinks to the customers,” he said.

“During the one-day international World Cup too, we had given special discounts to customers but with India not making to even the super eight stage, the outcome left us disappointed. But this time, we enjoyed every bit of the match with our customers,” he added.

Many electronics showroom owners had put up large LCD screens in their parking lots. This live transmission of the match in Nehru Shopping Complex, Putli Ghar Chowk and Ranjit Avenue attracted a large number of viewers. Many bars and restaurants had also announced special discounts for customers.

The markets, which wore a nearly deserted look till the match was 
on, were full of revellers, riding around on bikes, screaming themselves hoarse.

Meanwhile, the city got into festive mood the moment Team India clinched the title. Celebrations broke out in different parts of the city and excited youngsters burst crackers and danced outside bars and 

Ace pacer Harvinder Singh said he was in Delhi on Monday evening with his friends. “We had a big-time celebration by opening bottles of champaign and bursting crackers in true Punjabi style,” he said.

Honorary secretary of the Amritsar Games Association Mohit Sharma said the aspiring cricketers had been given a holiday so that they could watch the match.

But many of them still turned up at the ground to join the members of the association to share the joy of watching an amazing contest with a nail-biting finish.

Congress councillor from Cheharta Raman Bakshi said he was a diehard cricket fan and had made preparations to celebrate India’s victory with fireworks ready to be burst the moment the result was declared.

In the Khandwala area, shopkeepers distributed sweets to passers-by on the main road to celebrate the outstanding performance of Dhoni’s men. 



Stemming The Tide
Snatchers beware! Crime stoppers are here
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Just the way one finds ready-to-help police control room (PCR) gypsys and bikes at almost every roundabout in Chandigarh, the Amritsar police has set up a team of “Crime Stoppers” to ensure round-the-clock surveillance in the city to provide greater sense of security to the general public.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh said more than 200 police personnel of different ranks had been deputed for the purpose after imparting them special training. “The objective behind setting up the cell is to prevent snatching, abduction, robbery, eve-teasing and other similar crimes. Equipped with latest technologies, the Crime Stoppers have been given specific beats to cover,” he said.

They worked in three shifts and could be seen on Gypsies and motorcycles at strategic points in the city. The initiative to launch the special surveillance under the name Crime Stoppers was taken following growing incidents of chain snatching and eve-teasing in the city. The Crime Stoppers also kept a watch on the smooth flow of traffic and make sure there was no violation.

Besides, telephone connectivity at all police stations had been restored and vacant posts under the Amritsar police district had been filled. Telephone lines, which were lying non-functional for long, had been reactivated for the benefit and easy accessibility to general public.

In addition, the functioning of the police control room had been streamlined to make it receptive, responsive and effective so that it ultimately became public-friendly.

“The introduction of mobile vans, motorcycles for round-the-clock surveillance has been made possible under the banner Crime Stoppers. Members of the team have been deployed at strategic points and sensitive locations. The graph of incidents of chain snatching and eve-teasing has shown a remarkable drop after the system has been put in place,” he said.

“In addition to all these efforts, public is free to call me up personally on my cell number in case of an emergency,” he said.

“All these efforts are aimed at bringing people closer to the police and they have started growing a feeling of confidence and it has led to social security at large. Free communication is a big boon to effective policing. The police in the service of public is the mantra of the Amritsar police,” he said. 



Govt apathy spells doom for industrial units
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
It is not just the small-scale industry here which has fallen on bad days but many public sector units have also closed down. Though the private premises have been converted into marriage palaces or guest houses, the buildings of many units which run with government aid are lying unused.

Master Ajit Singh, founder-member of the Citizens Forum, has said the shutting down of industrial units has also led to mass lay-offs and many locals have been forced to move out of these areas to be able to fend for themselves.

The government should chalk out a policy to put the vacant buildings to better uses like for setting up orphanages or training centres for unemployed women from the area.

The indifference of the government towards the industry has led to the closure of a large number of fan manufacturing units here. According to an estimate, the city had more than 2,500 units and produced a large range of ceiling, table, exhaust and pedestal fans. Production has reached a point of no return with prices of raw materials shooting up during the past few years, sources add. 



US students visit Khalsa College

Amritsar, September 25
A delegation comprising 40 students from various US universities visited Khalsa College here recently. The delegation consisted of students from many disciplines, including archaeology, fine arts, music, foreign languages and history. They were accompanied by professor of archaeology Dr Stone.

While interacting with the college students and teachers, the delegates discussed the opportunities they could avail through exchange programmes at the international level. Welcoming the guests, principal Daljit Singh apprised the team of the various academic courses being run by the college. — OC



Master Stroke
Ustad Asad Ali Khan’s Rudra Veena bowls over audience
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 25
Ustad Asad Ali Khan, the last surviving exponent of the Khandanbani - one of the four schools (banis) of Drupad - enthralled the audience with his Rudra Veena performance at Spring Dale Senior School here. The programme was organised by Spic Macay, a society for promotion of Indian classical music and culture amongst youth.

Ustad Asad Ali represents Jaipur Beenkar gharana and was accompanied by Zakir Haider on Tanpura and Pandit Mohan Lal Sharma on the Pakhawaj. The exponent is noted for the purity of his style as well as the mood of profound contemplation evoked by his music. The Rudra Veena (also spelled Rudra Vina, and also called been or bin) is a large ancient string instrument used in Hindustani music. As Rudra is a name for the Hindu God Shiva, Rudra Veena literally means ‘the Veena dear to Shiva.’

Ustad Asad Ali displayed a refined and sublime spirit that he has developed through his unflinching devotion to music. He played “Raag Shudh Tori” which is also called “Mian Ki Tori” and “Raag Shudh Saarang”. The audience was completely mesmerised with the scintillating performance.

Talking to the Tribune, he said the classical music is something through which one can reach God. According to him, it’s very important to give a lecture demonstration to the youth while playing the instrument in order to make them understand the true worth of the classical music and different instruments. He also gave answers to the queries put forward by the students and others in the audience. Rajeev Sharma, vice principal, Spring Dale Senior School honored the great artiste. 



‘Common currency and visas for SAARC nations’
P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, September 25
The present moment is crucial in the history of both India and Pakistan, World Punjabi Congress president Dr Faqar Zaman said. He was here to participate in a one-day regional seminar on “Indo-Pak trade and cultural ties,” which was held at the BBK DAV College for Women.

Dr Zaman said Pakistan was making efforts to remember Shaheed Bhagat Singh by constructing a monument in his memory at Lahore. Emphasising the need to have a common currency and visas for SAARC nations, he said, “SAARC nations should follow the lines of European countries.” He asked the new generation to follow the path of peace for the welfare of both India and Pakistan.

Addressing the gathering, Punjabi Univesity’s head of economics department Dr Faqar Zaman appreciated the efforts of both India and Pakistan for opening Attari border for trade and economy. Stressing the need for economic dependence on each other, he said, “The trade would eliminate all the rivalries and hostility between the two nations.” He gave a clarion call to build a track which would pave the way for better future economic prospects of both the countries.

Punjab’s health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla was the chief guest on the occasion. Among others present on the occasion wereWorld Punjabi Congress vice-president Choudhary M. Ashraf, ex-federal minister Saeedullah Chaudhry and an eminent film artiste Begum Bahar from Pakistan, besides SGPC member Dr Kiranjot Kaur.



Vidya Mandir gets Bhagat Puran award

Amritsar, September 25
Citizens’ Forum Vidya Mandir, a school for children of drug addicts, has been conferred the Bhagat Puran Singh award.

The award was received by its founder-member Master Ajit Singh and his wife, Sat Pal Kaur, ar Faridkot on September 23.

The school was set up following a story published in The Tribune in 1999, which brought to the fore plight of Maqboolpura area residents.

Brij Bedi adopted 20 children along with Master Ajit Singh and started teaching them in his house.

The school has already received many awards, including Harmony award, Red and White Bravery award and Ambassador of Peace award. — TNS



Teachers take time-out to enhance performance
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
A two-day workshop on ‘performance enhancement’ in science and mathematics was held for the teachers of Class X and XII at DAV International School recently.

Inaugurating the workshop, J.P. Shoor, Director Public Schools Management Committee, expressed faith in the proficiency of teachers and exhorted them to derive maximum out of this workshop. More than 90 delegates from 20 schools participated in the workshop.

The expert resource persons from the Central Board of Secondary Education New Delhi, conducted the two-day workshop and updated the teachers with modern concepts to keep abreast with developments and innovations in different disciplines.

Manager and Regional Director, Amritsar Zone, Principal Dhani Ram, Course coordinator Rajni Bala DPPI New Delhi and LMC members were among those present on the occasion.



Cycle rally to mark Bhagat Singh birth centenary
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
A 25-member cycle rally led by H.K. Maini and organised by Markfed, Chandigarh, reached Jallianwala Bagh here today to celebrate the birth centenary of Shaheed Bhagat Singh.

Deputy commissioner Kahn Singh Pannu received the cyclists who reached here after covering a distance of around 240 km.

The rally was flagged off by cooperation minister Capt Kanwaljit Singh and managing director G.S. Grewal on September 20.

Maini said Markfed had been organising “sadbhavana” and “chetna” rallies, blood donations camps, besides holding cultural programmes at various places in the state to educate the youth about the drug menace and other social evils.

Maini said the participants included intellectual, sportspersons and persons honoured at the state and national levels. Most of the participants were between the age of 35 and 58 year.



Hero Worship
Thamburaj pays homage to Pulkanjri martyrs
Sanjay Bumbroo/Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Lieut-Gen Noble Thamburaj, General Officer Commanding, Vajra Corps, paid homage to the martyrs of the famous battle of Pulkanjri, a village near Indo-Pak border, in Amritsar district, here today.

General Thamburaj, who is also GOC-in-Chief-designate of the prestigious Southern Command, arrived at the border village to bid adieu to the local population, besides paying homage to the martyrs.

Addressing the media, General Thamburaj, said there existed a strong bond between the local population and the Army. He said the Army had always been in the forefront of fulfilling its social responsibility towards the nation, besides defending the territorial integrity of the country. He said Panther Division was regularly organising medial camps in border villages, besides adopting Dostpur, Ghanie Ki Bet, Dag Tut, Chima Kalan, Pandori and Durgi villages.

In the 1971 Indo-Pak war, Pulkanjri, where Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to stay for night during his travel from Lahore to Amritsar, had witnessed a fierce battle.

As the Pakistani forces had captured the post and the time was running out due to the unilateral ceasefire declared by Pakistan, an attack plan was formulated by two Sikh regiments to get the post cleared from the enemy. In the ensuing battle the regiment killed 25 Pakistani soldiers and injured nearly 100.

The Army had renovated the war memorial established in the memory of nine martyrs, including L/Nk Shingara Singh, and planted nine trees around the memorial after the state government had declared Pulkanjri as a heritage site.

General Thamburaj said welfare projects like adoption of girl children and uplifting of school infrastructure were already in hand. He said the Army was also providing assistance to ex-servicemen and helping Veer Naris of the border area through KVIC-initiated projects. Major-Gen K.M.S. Shergll, GOC, Panthers Division, along with other senior officers, was also present on the occasion.



Spring Dale’s special tribute to Bhagat
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Students of Spring Dale Senior School presented a musical melodrama “Mohe Rang De Basanti” to mark the birth centenary of Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh here.

The musical melodrama attempting to weave historical facts with contemporary themes and characters, drew parallels between the life of Bhagat Singh and the modern Indian youth.

The show was the result of an intensive research of Bhagat Singh’s ideology and his roots by school principal Manveen Sandhu and her team at Punarjyot.

School founder Surinder Singh Sandhu and managing trustee S.S. Sandhu hail from Narli village, near Amritsar, which have the roots of ancestors of Bhagat Singh.

The history of Narli village is seeped with a number of martyrs and freedom fighters. The village was established by Raja Charmak who fought the Greeks (the army of Alexander).

The musical show spreads the message that every generation fights its own set of battles for the country. Facets of the freedom struggle, especially during Bhagat Singh’s time, are an important part of the script. The purpose is to sensitise the younger generation to great sacrifices that have been made to secure the country’s Independence.

The need today is for a radical change in the attitude of the younger generation by educating it about our history.

Huge lawns of the school were interspersed with scenes from Bhagat Singh’s life depicted by numerous “Chota Bhagats” who won the hearts of the guests with their fervour of patriotism.

Chief guest for the show Gurjeet Singh, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Law University, Patiala, guest of honour Arun Kapoor and Ajit Singh released the second edition of “Milestone - The Chronicler”, a newsletter of the school, which aims at creating awareness against the drug-addiction.



City college to ink MoU with US company
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, September 25
Swami Satyanand College of Management and Technology is entering into an agreement with Saber Corporation, USA, to help students achieve their professional goals.

Saber Corporation chief executive officer Col Anil Khanna (retd) would visit the college on Monday for signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Principal Suresh Seth said the aim of the MoU was to harness the resources of mind exchange under the “catch them young” programme to upgrade the courses at the institute.

He said the Saber Corporation would bring the latest technologies to ensure that the students got the requisite knowledge enabling them to be gainfully employed.

Seth said the programme would fulfil the deficiencies which had crept in between what the modern industries needed and the gaps left by the curriculum. “Every year a large number of students who were both intelligent and industrious churn out with degrees from different colleges but find the jobs difficult to come by for lack of soft skills and mannerism and communication skills to beat their contemporaries,” he added.



Remembering Baba Sri Chand
Satish K. Kapoor

The Udasi (Udasin) is the one who is indifferent to wordly affairs. Baba Sri Chand was the historical founder of the Udasi sect said to have begun with Muni Sanat Kumar. A son of Guru Nanak Dev and Mata Sulakhani Devi, Sri Chand was born on “Bhadrpada Shukla Navami” at Sultanpur Lodhi (Punjab). The infant had matted hair, three horizontal marks on his forehead, rings in his right ear and holy ash all over his body. His birth chart showed that he would be a man of deep learning, have extraordinary qualities and would remain a celibate.

When Sri Chand was about seven years, Guru Nanak Dev went on his first spiritual tour (Udasi). After two years he was invested with the sacred thread (yajnopavita) and formally initiated into the Vedic literature by Pandit Hardayal. At 11 he went to the “gurukul” of Acharya Purushottam Kaul in Srinagar for a comprehensive study of the holy texts and subsequently received initiation from Avinashi Muni.

Sri Chand loved the solitude of forests where he meditated for hours without any fear of carnivores. Miracles came naturally to him. At Sankheshvara (near Dvarika, Gujarat) he made a spring flow by just blowing his conch and burying it in the ground. While in Kashmir, he buried a burning piece of wood from his “dhuna” and materialised green leaves on it in the presence of representatives of Yakub Khan who had come to arrest him. The place, known as “Sri Chandra Chinar”, exists to this day and is in the occupation of Udasis.

At Chamba, on the banks of the Ravi, he made a large stone move like a boat to provide spiritual light to a boatman who had refused to ferry him across. Sri Chand went as far as Sindh, Baluchistan, Kabul and Kandhar delineating the principles of true dharma and spreading the message of love and peace. He also visited Kailash in Tibet, Mansarovar, Nepal and Bhutan, besides Assam (Kamarupa) and Puri in the east and Somnath in the west.

Sri Chand built a humble memorial to his father by salvaging the urn containing his ashes (from the fury of flood at Kartarpur) and burying it at a place which developed into a town known as Dera Baba Nanak. The successors of Guru Nanak Dev held him in deep reverence. Before his death he is said to have nominated Baba Gurditta, the eldest son of sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind as his successor, who, in turn, established four monastic orders (“dhunas”) under Phula Shah, Gonda and Balu Hasna. While the records of Bhattas (bards) say that Sri Chand died at Kiratpur, (January 13, 1629), the Udasis believe that he vanished into the forest of Chamba after giving his last sermon to Brahmaketu, his ardent disciple from Bhutan.

Sri Chand’s god was both “saguna” (with attributes) and “nirguna” (without attributes). He synthesised “jnana marg” (way of knowledge) and “bhakti marg”, the idea of one god and of His divine descent on the earth in various forms, and of “dev puja” and “guru puja”. He believed both in the ultimate oneness of everything and in one’s cherished and chosen deity (“ishta devata”). While, on one hand, he tried to bring about a rapprochement between Hindus and Muslims and stemmed the tide of converts to Islam, on the other, he popularised the “panchayatana puja” of the “smarta” brahminical tradition involving the simultaneous worship of the five deities - Ganesha, Surya, Vishnu, Shiva and Shakti - to dilute sectarian differences among the Hindus.

Sri Chand believed in the eternal principle of cause and effect (“karma siddhanta”), in the efficacy of the holy name for spiritual realisation, in “varnashrama dharma” and in transmigration. He loved Sanskrit and is said to have evolved a system of Sanskrit grammar (Chandra vyakarna) which is taught in Sanskrit mahavidyalayas of Udasis.

Sri Chand remained a celibate throughout his life. Among the works attributed to him are: “Arta” (in Sanskrit arti) Sri Guru Nanak Dev comprising 10 “padas” in honour of his father; “Guru Gayatri” meant for recitation; “Sahasranama” (lit. thousand names) in praise of the supreme being; “Panchadevashatakam” in praise of the five deities and “Matravani” comprising 39 “dvipadas” and is a succinct presentation of the Udasi philosophy. Sri Chand is also said to have written commentaries on the Vedas, the Upanishads and the Vedanta Sutras of Veda Vyasa.

A small shrine having the statue of Baba Sri Chand lies at Pakhoke Randhave, near an old “tahli” tree (“sheesham”), mythologically linked to the Udasi preceptor.

(Author is Principal of Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar City.)



Heart Care Camp
Concerns raised over rise in cases of obesity
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, September 25
The VLCC has organised a heart care camp on its premises to observe World Health Month.

Senior cardiologist Dr Rohit Kapoor said obesity in the developing world was the outcome of a series of changes in diet, physical activity, health and nutrition. He said the health, economic and psycho-social consequences of the increasing incidence of obesity were substantial.

“Obesity was associated with numerous health complications ranging from non-fatal conditions such as osteoarthritis, to life-threatening chronic diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes and certain forms of cancer. The psychological consequences of obesity ranges from lowered self-esteem to clinical depression,” Dr Kapoor said.

CEO Yogesh Sethi said obesity was growing at an alarming rate in India and was a serious health hazard.

He informed the VLCC was observing September as heart awareness month in which it would run an awareness campaign for its clients across all the centres with culmination on World Heart Day on September 30.



Market Buzz
New insurance scheme by Bajaj Allianz

Amritsar, September 25
Private insurance player Bajaj Allianz launched a regular insurance policy - unit gain plus gold, providing high flexibility protection.

Deputy area manager Gaurav Musalgaonkar said it offered high allocation, up to 85 per cent, besides guarantee for life cover with flexibility to choose insurance cover according to the changing needs. — OC



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