Faith Factor
It’s sea of humanity at Sodal temple
Tribune News Service

Answering God’s call

— Tribune photos by Pawan Sharma

Jalandhar, September 25
Pilgrims in large numbers from across the region converged on the Sodal Temple here for celebrations of the Baba Sodal fair early this morning.

Long queues of devotees, mostly women carrying their infants, could be seen outside the temple. The followers came with offerings, including “parshad” in the form of milk, “phulian”, “boondi” and “matthis”. People were also seen offering sweets, cash and jewellery. Idols of the child deity were kept at different places within the temple where the priests offered prayers on behalf of the devotees.

Entry inside the temple premises was not easy because of the rush and sweltering heat of the afternoon. The problem amplified as vehicles were not allowed in that area to avoid congestion. The parking lots were set up at a great distance from the fair site. One had to go walking for almost a kilometre or more to reach the temple premises. Even the walking paths were jam-packed as there were stalls on either side and even on the dividers. At peak time, the residents of the area around the temple had to take diversions to reach their homes due to the immense crowd and traffic jams.

For entry inside the temple premises, one had to pass through a security check. Keeping in view a large number of women devotees coming to the temple, women police officials had been specially deployed. Iron railings too had been put up to regulate the devotees.

The atmosphere around the temple reverberated with sacred hymns played through the public address system. The road from the Devi Talab Temple to the Sodal Temple was decorated with buntings lending a festive mood. Elaborate security arrangements were made. “Langars” had been arranged by the local organisations outside the gates. There were stalls of henna, jewellery, glistening caps, games, eatables, swings, rides, circus shows, toys, decoration pieces and even kitchenware.

The fair of Baba Sodal is associated with Sodal, a small boy who came to be respected as a baby-god. The fair is held to commemorate his death anniversary at his “samadh” inside the Sodal Temple. The fair is held once a year in the month of Bhadon which roughly corresponds to mid-September.Sodal was born in a family of Chadha clan of Khatri caste in Jalandhar City. It is said that one day the mother of Baba Sodal went to a nearby pond to wash clothes. Despite her repeatedly asking him to go back home, he followed her. The mother lost temper and shouted at him, “Have you come here to die? Go and drown yourself in the pond.” It is said that Sodal asked her three times to repeat the words which she did. Sodal then plunged into the water never to appear again.



New Bio-diesel
Linseed oil to fuel CT vehicles
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
If all goes well all official vehicles owned by CT Institute of Engineering, Management and Technology, Shahpur, may soon run on the new bio-diesel fuel, made out of linseed oil, and developed by fifth-semester students of B.Tech (Mechanical Engineering).

Having devised the bio-diesel reactor and testing its efficiency on a modified jeep these students claim the fuel ensures minimum emissions and saves on non-renewable fuels like petrol and diesel.

The students have also decided to hold road shows to popularise the new fuel. They have painted the message on the backside of the now modified jeep and have been taking it all around the city for people to stop and watch the example of the new technology.

The team includes Varun Kumar Saini, Jaswant Saini, Sarabjeet Singh, Pankaj Kumar, Chandan and Sushant Negi. “The reactor has the capacity of two litres and we plan to come up with a bigger reactor with a capacity up to 50 to 100 litres so that even the buses of the campus could use the same fuel”.

The students say they have tested the discharged emissions and have found that it does not contain sulphurous gases which are most toxic.

They said the emissions instead have a small amount of oxygen. The boys showed that the only visible discharge is at the time of starting the jeep and there was no release of gases when the vehicle is in motion.

Dr S.K. Mahla, HoD and Arvind Birdi, senior lecturer, inform that another small engine, working on the new bio-diesel has also been fitted in the jeep. They said the jeep was using 50 per cent bio-diesel and 50 per cent diesel at any given point of time, thus cutting down the consumption of diesel to half while having no effect on the mileage and speed of the vehicle.

They say they began the experiment using just 25 per cent bio-diesel and have managed to take it safely up to 50 per cent.

Dr Mahla said the linseed oil or rice bran oil was now readily available in the market but the users could even prepare it at home by mixing methanol with caustic soda in a ‘trans-esterification reaction’. They said two layers would be formed in the container, one of bio-diesel and the other of glycerine.

Dr Birdi said the students had also forwarded the details of the project to the All India Council of Technical Education, (AICTE) and the Department of Science and Technology, (DST) for approval for funding and technological support. This would help them conduct more tests.



Tough Going
Reality byte: Migrants and misery coexist
Dharmendra Joshi
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
Most of the Purvanchalis - migrant labourers from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh - have no option but to live in unhygienic conditions in rented accommodations in different parts of the city. Several Punjabis here usually construct 10 to 12 small rooms in a plot of around 10 marlas and give each room on rent to even four to eight Purvanchalis.

Raj Bihari Yadav, originally belongs to Sitabadiapur village in Bhojpur district of Bihar, tells The Tribune that he has been living with his four other companions in a small room in the Kailash Nagar locality in Jalandhar.

Working in a Brass metal factory near Kali Mata Mandir, Yadav says he has been paid only Rs 2,000 per month, as such he has no option but to live in such a condition as he has to take care of his family within this salary.

Actually his case is not an isolated one. Most of the Purvanchalis working in different pipe fitting, rubber, leather and other industries are not even paid the minimum wages of Rs 2,525 per month, alleges Lalji Bharadwaj, state general secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Kisan Panchayat. Hailing from Aajamgarh district of UP, Bharadwaj has been fighting for the rights of migrants, especially Purvanchali labourers in Punjab for the past several years.

Besides, several Purvanchalis are pulling rickshaws, working as labourers with masons and agriculture force in different parts of the state.

According to an estimate, over four lakh-strong Purvanchali population lives in different pockets of the city. Sixty per cent of them are from Bihar, whereas 40 per cent from UP. Interestingly, there are some pockets falling under Jalandhar which are known as mini-Purvanchals as they have their considerable population. The areas include localities around Kali Mata Mandir on Sodal Road, around Basti Bawa Khel and around Basti Danishmanda and Model House.

Bharadwaj says that while the Purvanchali workers are paid much less than the minimum wages, owners of these industries get their signatures against the amount much higher than the minimum wages. The industrialists deprive them of their rights under labour laws, he alleges. Bharadwaj says if employees speak against their exploitation, the industry owners sack them. He says that he has brought the matter to the notice of the labour department several times, but to no avail. Meanwhile, Bharadwaj demands that the Punjab government should construct at least one colony in the city for migrant labourers where they should be provided houses at cheaper rates.



For Bhagat & his bravado
Anuradha Shukla
Tribune News Service

Yash Momi Jalandhar, September 25
Since his growing up years in Garha village, Yash Momi could sketch a face in just 10 minutes. From here his passion soon graduated into doing things differently using his paint brush. To commemorate the birth centenary year of Shaheed Bhagat Singh, this young school teacher at BBD High School, Phillaur, has come up with Bhagat Singh’s sketches done on a rice grain, inside a lamp, picture of Jallianwala Bagh on an almond and also statues of the martyr made in wax and on an inch-long piece of chalk.

The painting inside the lamp has been done with his own blood, says Yash. For this he consulted a blood bank to ensure that the blood does not clot. But this he would never teach his students, he smiles. Most special out of his creations is the painting done on a one quarter anna coin belonging to 1907, the birth year of the great martyr. The coin belongs to a collection by his father Karam Chand Momi.

Many people do make such miniature things but surely, he says, no one pays tributes the way he has to the great freedom fighter. Converting burning issues into miniature art pieces has been his hobby. Earlier, he painted Taj Mahal inside a small zero watt bulb, weaved a half-inch cot using his hair. He has sent the cot to be registered in the Limca Book of Records and is awaiting a final approval. Next month he will go to Delhi to present a painting of the President Pratibha Patil to her.

His attempt is to stand out by putting meaning in his art. Art with a message is his calling, says Yash.



Helpline to warn youth against drugs

Jalandhar, September 25
Helpline, a social service organisation, has demanded a ban on drinking and smoking at wedding parties by the government. The organisation put forward this demand while launching its “beware of drugs” campaign to make youth aware against drugs.

As part of the campaign the first seminar was held at the DAV Centenary School in Phillaur yesterday.

Dr Ravi Sharma, state president of Helpline, Pankaj Sarpal, state president of the anti-corruption wing and project in charge, said, “We are a society caught up in many ills like drug-addiction in an age when the country is progressing on many fronts.”

Drugs were threatening the physical as well as mental health of the youth, who are adopting illegal ways to make money for drugs, they rued. Quoting a WHO report, Dr Sharma said 2.7 per cent of the world population comprising people aged between 15 and 64 years were affected due to addiction to drugs. — TNS



Theme for dream: Sisters pull a fashionable act
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
The key to the dress secrets of the Jalandhar-vasis, it seems, are the seasonal, non-seasonal, annual, fortnightly and weekly exhibitions that serve as the perfect feast for the eyes and wardrobe must-haves of the stylish auntyjis and fashion savvy teenagers who throng the showrooms done up with colourful posters that read 20% to 50% off. Be it the road-side rehri-markets or the show-rooms that flaunt haute couture, the city masses just love the ‘sale-word’.

But times are a changing now, at least so it seems, if we go by the recent example of the exhibition put up at the Radisson Windsor Hotel by sisters Reeti Singh and Niku Sehegal.

Held in association with ‘Jagriti’, a cancer support group, the exhibition was a total extravaganza for the city elite and a great place to go window-shopping for the ‘sales-serve-my-purpose’ crowd, it was one of it’s kind and a complete success.

Be it clothes, accsessories, jewellery or home décor, the stuff available was very different from what we generally look at in the regular city showrooms. Aptly titled - ‘theme for a dream’, the exhibition showcased the works of many designers from Jalandhar, Chandigarh and Delhi. Riti and Niku, both of whom are housewives, came up with the idea of starting an exhibition to showcase the talents and creativity of housewives and other lesser known designers, who, despite being talented, never get the chance to make it big.

The sisters have been holding the exhbition (bi-annually) since 2005.

“Designers like Megha, Sagar and Ashniki have even gone international, after they initially worked on the local level with us,” quips an enthusiastic Riti. “I do not do all this just to earn money, it’s satisfying and makes me feel proud as a woman.”



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.)



Young World
Engineering students find cure to wart virus
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, September 25
Two students from the Lovely Institute of Technology - Ankush and Kapil - have found a cure to wart virus, commonly leading to skin inflammations and injuries to gardeners and farmers.

The duo has invented a wart zapper circuit that eliminates the virus from the body of the victim in less than five minutes. The treatment of the malaise otherwise employs extensive use of nitrogen and other chemicals.

The whole process was not only lengthy but also tedious. But the two students have come forward with a circuit, which costs only Rs 69 and can be replicated in just three hours. With an electric shock of frequency of 21.41 hz, applied to the infected part of the body, the warts are removed within five minutes.

Both students are from the second-year batch of electrical and electronics engineering at the Lovely Institute of Technology.

Ankush said he had read about the virus in plus two and always wanted to find a solution to the malaise. He started with a project to find a lasting treatment for the physical disorder, in which he was guided by his mentor Vinit Sharma.

He explained that the low-frequency electric shock ruptures the nucleotide bonds of the circular DNA of the affected part of the body. This shatters the cell wall and the DNA becomes linear. This further leads to the discharge of unwanted material from the cell and hence the wart is treated.

Ashok Mittal, president, Lovely Institute, has congratulated the students on their feat and has assured that the management of the LIT would be generous with facilities to all students who dare to think out of box.

Fancy dress

The primary wing of BSF Senior Secondary School, Jalandhar Cantonment, organised a fancy dress competition on Friday. As many as 100 students came wearing impressive costumes conveying relevant message.

Scientist award

Dr Arun Dev Sharma, head, department of biotechnology, Lyallpur Khalsa College, has been awarded young scientist award at an international conference held at Cracow, Poland, from September 19 to 23.

Dr Sharma was selected for the award on the basis of his research presentation. The scientist had presented his paper based on his study on the role of enzymes under drought stress and found that folding enzymes played a major role in protecting crops against water stress.



CBSE Cluster Kho-kho
Police DAV Public School shines

Kapurthala, September 25
Police DAV Public School, Jalandhar, bagged first position in both boys and girls categories in the three-day CBSE XVI cluster kho-kho tournament concluded at MGN Public School, Kapurthala, on Tuesday. In boys category, the second position was secured by Kulwant Rai Jain DAV Public School, Kapurthala, whereas the third position went to Police DAV School, Amritsar. Similarly, in girls category, the second position was secured by Sutlej Public Senior Secondary School, Ludhiana, whereas the third position went to MGN Public School, Jalandhar.

The best kho-kho player award in the boys category went to Davinder Singh of Police DAV Public School, Jalandhar, and in the girls category Jotbir Kaur of the same school. Chief guest on the occasion tehsildar Gurpreet Singh gave away the prizes to the winners.

Earlier the principal of the host school Ravinder Guru highlighted the importance of CBSE sports programmes which, besides inculcating true sportsman spirit, also fostered unity in diversity and gave exposure to the sportspersons about composite culture of the country. After the match, a band display was presented by MGN School which was applauded by all the dignitaries. — TNS



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