Spl musical extravaganza to spread peace message
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 26
More than 300 artistes and peace activists from across the sub-continent are participating in the 4th Amritsar-Lahore Festival, “Saanjh 2007”, which began here on Friday.

The two-day event will see “Ek Shaam Aman Ke Naam”, a special musical extravaganza dedicated to peace, on October 27.

Giving details of the first-ever international peace conclave to be held in the holy city, Manveen Sandhu, director of Punarjyot, the NGO which is organising the event, said Pakistani and Indian artistes, including Surraiya Khanum, Arif Lohar, Arieb Azhar and Lakhwinder Wadli, would bring to life a shared cultural past with sufi rendition, ghazals, classical and folk music.

She said a seminar on "New South Asia - a vision of hope and possibilities" would also be held in which eminent speakers like LC Jain, an economist, who served as the first Indian High Commissioner to South Africa and Magsaysay award winner, Kamal Mitra Chenoy, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Arjimand Hussain Talib of Action Aid's work in Kashmir, Hindu Singh Sodha, lawyer and president, Pak Vishthapit Sangh, were like to participate. Zakia Jowhar of ActionAid and part of the organising team said, “The ‘New South Asia’ is a unique initiative launched earlier this year to give voice to people's aspiration for freedom - from violence, poverty and injustice. The year 2007 is significant as it also marks 60 years of freedom from colonial rule and 150 years of what is deemed as the first war of Independence.” Sharing the message of unity, she added, "Culture has always been a unifying force, a powerful language to reach out people with a message of peace. Sometimes what words can't, music can.”

Introducing Arif Lohar, son of exponential Punjabi folk singer late Alam Lohar of Pakistan, Sadhu said the former would be performing for the first time in India along with Lakhwinder Wadali, Surriya Khanum and Arieb Azhar at ‘Saanjh 2007’ at Spring Dale Senior School. Earlier, the delegates visited the Jallianwala Bagh and after paid rich tributes to the martyrs of the 1919 massacre.



He loves going green
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 26
While the state government is seeking funds from the Central government to boost green cover in the state, Baba Harcharanjit Singh has taken this task single handedly by developing a 12-acre farm near Gandiwind village to produce and distribute saplings of various varieties free of cost to various religious organisations and individuals in the state.

Baba Harcharanjit while talking to the Tribune said initially people considered him a maniac when he first started plating saplings and distributed the first lot of 40,000 saplings free of cost to various religious and other organisations but with the passage of time they started feeling the importance of trees to save the environment around them.

Harcharanjit, who is also popularly known Baba Harji, said initially he brought saplings from the market at a very high cost. He said some of them even cost him Rs 50 per sapling and even brought them from Ranchi University. But later he thought of producing them on his own as he did not think it viable due to the higher cost.

A postgraduate in Punjabi Baba Harji, who is also having various brick-kilns, is living a saintly life and is bachelor. He said he has dedicated his life to save the environment by planting trees from whatever he earns from his business. He said he was fortunate enough that nobody from his family interferes or asked about the money he earns. He said even a single tree out of the one lakh saplings distributed grows it would be his major achievement.

Harji said he distributes 50,000 saplings of various varieties each in the month of March and August to various religious organisations and individuals who are interested in planting them in their houses. He said the saplings which he grows at his farm include rose, fruit trees and other ornamental trees of various varieties and was trying to procure new varieties. He said even children of the village and students come to the farm and enjoy cherishing the fruits like guava, orange, mango, jamun and bananas. He said he also grows vegetables which are being used to organise langars in the gurdwara in the farm.

He said the people of about 10 villages come to the farm to know about his mission and ask him to give saplings so that they could also contribute little bit save the environment.

Talking about himself Harji said earlier he was comrade minded and did not believe in supernatural powers. But after an incident the whole life changed. He said a saint had planted a peepal tree in his village but the cows would come and eat up the offshoots of the tree. 



Dream Theatre
Stage set to fight child labour
P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, October 26
Hansa’s father constructed houses for others as a labourer but he had a similar dream to construct an open air theatre for artistes to stage plays against child labour. He spent his entire life’s earnings to make this dream come true.

Resident of a small town in Beas, Hansa Singh’s own life is an awe inspiring story of sacrifice and dedication. Elated at seeing the theatre standing tall, Hansa has no qualms that he does not have his own house to live in. He lives in a Public Works Department quarter at Beas. He has spent around Rs 18 lakh for construction of the theatre.

His inspiration has been his father who used to lend background voice in Ram-Leela. He began very young and formed a team called Bal Sabha Baba Bakala by the time he completed his matriculation and staged plays in various localities and schools.

The boys brought bed sheets and clothes from their houses to be used as curtains and costumes for the plays, he says.

“As girls were not allowed to work in theatre at that time and boys used to played their parts and I played the role of Bebe Ram Bhajani in my first play,” he says. Hansa Singh got admission in National College Sathiala for his graduation but had to leave his higher education in the middle due to poor financial condition of his family. He won the best actor, best folk dancer and best singer awards in his college days.

He did plays for famous theatre personality, Gursharan Singh, from 1975 to 1977. He then established his own theatre group Natak Kala Kendra, Baba Bakala whose name was changed to “Nav Chintan Kala Manch, Beas” in 1987, says Hansa.

Hansa and his group did not deter from doing theatre and plays during militancy. They had a close shave with death when 19 persons, including several communists from the audience were killed by militants. The incident is called the ‘Seeve wala saka’ in the dark history of Punjab. He said the theatre group was also staging a play ‘Anne Nishanchee’ (blind shooters) based on terrorism. His two sons, Krantipal Singh and Vikramjit Singh, are also associated with Nav Chintan Kala Manch to help their father in his mission. Both are carving a name for them in theatre and have won six national gold medals besides many best actor awards.

Hansa’s “Bachpan Bachao Andolan” is a crusade against child labour. He is the state convener of the organisation and after his retirement he has been conducting plays to create awareness about child labour and other social evils like female foeticide, illiteracy etc.

He is providing education free of cost to about 20 poor children. He said the Manch also provides free higher education to students who perform in various plays and provides expenditure for their books and admission. Consecutive governments have failed to implement rules to provide education to girls and children belonging to poor families, he rues. Education was only on papers, he added. Television has a negative impact on the young minds, says Hansa.



Govt Accepts Their Demands
PCMS specialist docs have reason to cheer
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 26
The state government has agreed to accept the demands of the PCMS specialist doctors, including setting up of enforcement cells for implementing various acts such as the PNDT, MTP, Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, Drugs and Cosmetics Act and NDPS Act.

Members of the senate of the PCMS Specialist Doctors’ Association, Punjab, led by its state president Dr Sham Lal Mahajan, senior vice-president Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal, general secretary Dr Jatinder Nath Mehta and media secretary Dr S.P. Bhagat, held a meeting with minister for health and family welfare Laxmi Kanta Chawla to discuss long-pending demands of the PCMS doctors.

Principal secretary, health and family welfare, Vijay Kein, secretary, health, T.R. Sarangal and director, health services, Punjab, Dr S.P.S. Sohal were present during the meeting. The minister assured the senators that the government had already initiated steps to implement some of the demands of the association.

The deputation apprised the minister of the disparity in the calculation of the non-practising allowance (NPA) admissible to PCMS doctors vis-a vis central health services doctors. While the union government had come out with clear-cut guidelines on the issue, the state government had conveniently overlooked the instructions issued by the central government, resulting in substantial financial loss to PCMS doctors.

Each and every PCMS doctor had been caused a loss of Rs 2,500 to Rs 4,500 every month. The minister agreed to make a recommendation to the finance department in this regard to rectify the error. The deputation also informed the minister that the NPA admissible to PCMS doctors had been systematically reduced from 50 per cent of the basic pay to 25 per cent now.

It demanded that the NPA be restored to 50 per cent of the basic pay. It also demanded that the NPA of senior PCMS officers of the rank of deputy director and above be restored immediately. In order to end the repeated confusion about the grant of the NPA, its nomenclature be changed to special medical pay. The minister agreed to frame a transparent transfer and postings policy for PCMS doctors and requested the association to come out with a formal proposal in this regard.

Other demands put up by the deputation during the meeting included the creation of separate specialist cadre and parity in matters of pay scale and allowances with CHS doctors, immediate filling of all vacant posts of specialist doctors, recruitment of general duty doctors for manning round-the-clock emergency services at health institutions, enhancement of academic allowance to Rs 3,000 per month and renaming it as professional development allowance, immediate filling up of promotion posts of SMOs and above, enhancement of rural area allowance to 15 per cent and provision of staff vehicles for doctors in the ratio of 3:1.



At school-level it’s important: Rao
Prefer science, students told
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, October 26
Prof C.N.R. Rao, chairman of the science advisory committee to Prime Minister, today exhorted students of various schools to opt for science subjects while studying at the school level during a learning science programme being organised by Guru Nanak Dev University as a part of the JNC frontier lectures programme here.

More than 350 schoolchildren of eighth to 12th class drawn from 20 schools of Amritsar participated in the programme. Addressing the students, he said science never remained static and a large number of scientific words had become a common man’s language.

Prof Rao showed how the scientists in their young age made the mind-boggling discoveries in basic sciences - chemistry, physics and biology - which had controlled their lives. His talk inspired the young students to learn and enjoy science.

Indumati Rao, wife of Prof Rao, gave a multimedia presentation of various aspects of science and mysteries of nature which have been solved by the development of science. She presented how various forms of energies were made by the humans and animals and other creations to hear, feel and transplant.

Vice-chancellor Prof Jai Rup Singh, who presided over the programme, said science today was getting a great importance in India. The developed countries were investing huge money in science for the progress of their nations, he added.

He said developed countries had made advancements in various sectors, especially in science and technology, due to the immigrants. He exhorted the young schoolchildren to adopt science stream to make their own country developed. The vice-chancellor said the university was establishing a science and technology museum on its campus. He asked school students to come and play with scientific equipment being installed in the museum. It would become functional very shortly. The vice-chancellor honoured Prof Rao and Indumati Rao by presenting them mementos and shawls.



‘Pingalwara’ makes a cut at Sikh film fest
P.K. Jaiswar

Amritsar, October 26
Two films, “Pingalwara - Home for the Homeless” and “Jaswant Singh Khalra: A Martyr of Human Rights”, made by young Sikh youths all over the globe and presented in the second annual Sikhnet Youth online film festival bagged the second and third places in the senior and intermediate divisions, respectively.

“Pingalwara - Home for the Homeless” was the creation of the Pingalwara sangat and “Jaswant Singh Khalra: A Martyr of Human Rights” by Raj Singh from Texas (USA). Ashish Bhatia from Mumbai won the first place in the senior division category for his film “Teen Puncture” while Jasmeet and Baljeet Singh Bansal from Easton, Pennsylvania, USA, won the first place for their film “Gurmukh Singh” in the intermediate division. Angad Singh (13) from Roswell, GA, USA, secured the first place for “One Light” in the junior division category.

Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, patron of the Amritsar Vikas Manch and spokesman for the Sikhnet, claimed that the online festival was a huge success for the second year in a row. He said tapping into the creativity of Sikh youth worldwide was one of Sikhnet's primary goals and while initiating the online film festival over a year ago, they had not envisioned what beautiful films they would receive. Nor could we have imagined the groundswell of support from the Sikh community worldwide, he added.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges, including Ish Amitoj Kaur, producer of “Kambdi Kalaai”, Harpreet Kaur, director of “The Widow Colony”, Roma Kaur, editor-in-chief of KAURS magazine, Ash Singh who is currently working on the Asian adaptation of hit reality television show “The Contender”, Tej Singh Hazra, film researcher for the Toronto Spinning Wheel Film Festival, and Roop Singh, famous storyteller.



Making sculptures his mission
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, October 26
An exhibition of beautifully crafted wooden sculptures is being organised in Art Gallery by Narinder Singh which was inaugurated by famous sculptor and Indian Fine Art president Avtar Singh.

Narinder Singh, a teacher by profession, has displayed 25 wooden works and one is awed to see the finesse of his hands while working on his new work.

Singh said he had the desire to make sculptures and this became his daily routine. He said he daily got up at 4 am and after his teaching assignment at a school in Tarn Taran returned home after 6 pm. He said after refreshing himself for an hour, he starts work on his next project and added that he works hard to make his dream come true.

He said he also liked stone carving and for completing his projects his wife Gurpreet Kaur, daughter Inderpreet Kaur and son Tejbir Singh cooperated with him in his mission. He said that he had put in more than seven years to achieve expertise in this trade.



SSSCC to honour four

Amritsar, October 26
Sufi Samvad Sanstha and Cultural Club (SSSCC), will hold its second annual congregation “Ek Sham Sufian De Naam” at Punjab Natshala on October 31. Four prominent personalities will be honoured for their contributions in various fields, said Sanstha president, Harkanwal Korpal and patron sufi saint mata Gurbaksh Kaur Chak Vandal. He stated that Dr Harjinder Singh Dhillon, noted scholar would be honoured with Baba Sheikh Farid Award-2007 for his research on sufi literature.

Editor, Punjabi Tribune, Dr S. J. S. Sidhu Damdami, will be honoured with ‘Baba Bulle Shah for media-2007’ award for his achievements in the field of Punjabi print and electronic media while senior Hindi journalist, Shammi Sareen of Dainik Bhaskar will be conferred with ‘Peer Budhu Shah award’ for progressive journalism- 2007’. Korpal informed sufi singer, Saida Begum, belonging to the famous Patiala gharana will be honoured with ‘Sai Mian Mir Award-2007’. — OC



Petrol pump looted

Tarn Taran, October 26
A petrol pump, Gill Filling station, near Noordi village was looted by four unidentified persons on Thursday night

Pump official Sukhwinder Singh told police that he was sleeping in the office when teh accused came in a white colour Innova and broke the glass doors with a wooden stick and hit him on his head before fleeing with the cash. — OC



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