Campus Culture
Soon: See life before Partition at GNDU
Varinder Walia
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
With the state government agreeing to fund Guru Nanak Dev University’s project to develop pre-partition village, the university has decided to revive its ambitious project of depicting composite Punjabi culture on its campus.

Sanctioning of Rs 20 crore for the project, chief secretary Ramesh Inder Singh said the fund would be released in two installments of Rs 10 crore each, to complete the project in phased manner.

A meeting for this was called by the chief secretary here recently and was attended by Darbara Singh Guru, principal secretary to Chief Minister, DC Kahan Singh Pannu, GNDU vice-chancellor Jai Rup Singh, GNDU registrar R.S. Bawa, a former director of the ‘Village Project’ Gurmit Singh, planning department’s Manjit Singh and academic affairs dean Raghbir Singh.

A brain-child of the then vice-chancellor S.P.Singh, the project was shelved by his successor Jai Rup Singh. The chief secretary had asked the vice-chancellor to send no-objection certificate to release requested funds at the earliest. Notably, the university authorities were not keen to develop the traditional village on its campus, yet the DC took the initiative to complete the project.

Likely to be re-created, the village would be carved on the land in the rear portion of the sprawling 500-acre university campus with an initial outlay of Rs 10 crore. The proposed village will also be of attraction for the visitors coming from West Punjab (Pakistan) as it will be on the Amritsar-Wagah bypass.

Besides, the proposed village would help to revive the old culture forgotten by most Punjabis, which includes art motifs, traditional wells and village ponds. The endeavour would be even a challenge for the university to re-create a typical Punjabi village which symbolises the erstwhile folk culture.

To be constructed on five acres of the university land, the project would be a treat for the tourists to view bullock-carts ploughing in fields, mud houses of ‘lohars’, ‘ghumiars’, ‘jolahas’ and other artisans like cobblers working with their traditional tools and handlooms. As per the original plan, the second segment of the village would be of the post-Green Revolution period, which had changed the geographical face of rural Punjab, with harvesting by tractors and harvesters. The visitors would also enjoy delicacies of Punjabi food at the ‘Punjabi dhaba’ where they would be served ‘chati di lassi’, ‘sarson da saag’, and ‘makki di roti’. The ‘gharats’ (traditional flour mills), which have virtually disappeared from the Punjab village scene, would also be re-created and fresh flour grinded for ‘rotis’ to be cooked on traditional ‘chullahs’.

The proposed village is likely to be a self-sustainable unit by charging a nominal entry fee and would give visitors a feeling of the countryside of the pre-partition era.



Bhindrawale’s Portrait
SGPC chief accused of ignoring radicals
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
SGPC executive members, Karnail Singh Panjoli and Gurvinder Singh Shampura, criticised the SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar for keeping the function for installing the portrait of Jarnail Singh Bhindrawale in the Sikh museum at the Golden Temple a low key affair. They registered their reservations at a press conference here today. The members said the SGPC ignored radical Sikh groups deliberately.

A proper function should have been held to install portrait, they said.

The portrait of Bhindrawale was installed in the SGPC’s Sikh Museum on November 29 at a quiet function held after sunset. Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, SGPC president and son of Bhindrawale were present at the function but the SGPC deliberately ignored the radical Sikh groups to avoid any controversy, they alleged. Dal Khalsa spokesman Kanwarpal Singh, who was also present at the press conference, demanded that the SGPC should set up a permanent panel to look into the contents of the books on religion. He said in view of the recent controversies over the alleged derogatory remarks in books dealing with the Sikh history, the SGPC should check for objectionable material before the release of such books.

Shampura said it was not possible to withdraw all printed copies as the SGPC prefers to take action only afterwards by constituting a committee when controversy ensues and issues orders for its withdrawal after the release of the book.

The SGPC executive members said these issues would be raised at the next executive meeting. The latest book to kick off a controversy was “Sikh History”, forcing the SGPC to order withdrawal of the book published by the DPC in 1999-2000. Senior SAD (A) leader Baldev Singh Sirsa has filed a petition with the Sikh Gurdwara Judicial Commission, under the Sikh Gurdwara Act, 1925. he has sought action against the SGPC president and secretary of the Dharam Prachar Committee (DPC), for bringing out the controversial book.

The petition holds Avtar Singh Makkar (SGPC president), Harbeant Singh (SGPC secretary), Warriyam Singh (secretary, DPC), Bibi Jagir Kaur (ex-president, SGPC), Gurbachan Singh Bachan (ex-secretary, SGPC), among others, responsible for the same.

He has alleged that the book contains defamatory language and the persons entrusted with the job of propagating Sikhism were themselves publishing literature bringing a bad name to the religion as a whole. A compensation of Rs 10 crore has been sought from the respondents for publishing the book.

Dr Pritam Singh, president of the American Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee has also welcomed the decision to put up the portrait but the SGPC should have held an elaborate function to mark the occasion, he rued.



Chemist booked for selling intoxicants
Our Correspondent

Amritsar, November 30
The Amritsar rural police booked Arun Kumar, a chemist shop owner for selling intoxicants without proper prescription. The police have seized thousands of intoxicant capsules and 88 bottles of Corex from his shop.

Iqbal Singh, district police chief in a press release issued here said Arun Kumar ran a medical store by the name of Malli Medical Store, situated on Maqbool Shah Road, Ajnala. He said a police constable was sent to the shop in civil dress to purchase Corex, on a tip off.

The accused gave the bottle without any prescription from a doctor. A case under section 188 of IPC has been registered against him for violating the orders of the deputy commissioner.

Meanwhile, the police have arrested Satinder Singh of Adliwal village and seized an illegal distillery besides more than 150 kilogram Lahan from him. Similarly, Jasbir Singh of Fattuwal was also booked for possessing illicit liquor.

A case has been registered against both the accused.



Mandi shift order leaves traders fretting
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
The October 26 Supreme Court orders to shift the entire Vallah Mandi have put the vegetable and fruit merchants in dire straits. Searching for alternatives, they have urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to take initiative with the Union defence minister A.K. Anthony for not shifting the market. Fruit and Vegetable Merchants Union general secretary Harish Taneja talking to the Tribune said if the government feels its inability to take up the issue with the defence minister then it should take them into confidence before shifting the Vallah mandi which was earlier set up in 2000 by the state government by removing them from the old subzi mandi.

The general secretary said the state government was responsible for this muddle as they had the knowledge at the time of allotment of the site in Vallah that the area falls in the periphery zone and no building could be constructed as it was within the 1,000 meter of the ammunition dumping area of the Army.

He said the government should set up the new mandi which was on the bypass road connecting the GT Road Jalandhar and Kashmir Road as most of the trucks entering the city came from these routes.

It is pertinent to mention here that the old subzi mandi was catering to the needs of the city for so many years until government's plan to shift it to Vallah, 10 km on the Mehta road.

About 40 cites in the mandi were allotted in the year 2000, 34 shops had been allotted in 2003.Amrit Lal Mannan, spokesperson of Amritsar Vikas Manch, lashed out at the state government for harassing the merchants and said instead of shifting of the vallah mandi, the government should urge the defence ministry for shifting the ammunition dump as it was now almost covered with the residential areas.

He said it has become necessary to shift the dump from the area in view of the threat perception as hundreds of lives would be lost in case of a blast in the area or the dump catches fire.

Taneja said the Punjab State Mandi Board and Secretary Market Committee Amritsar had filed a special leave petition in the Apex court seeking clarification about the shifting of the 34 shops which the Apex Court had ordered in February 2007.

He further said on October 26 the court issued orders 
for the removing of entire Vallah mandi.

He said the fruit and vegetable merchants were now being forced for the 2nd displacement in the view of Apex Court’s order.



Rain Drained
Harrowing time for commuters
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
The late-night showers that lashed the city on Thursday resulted in water logging in different parts of the city and highlighted the faulty drainage system. The worst affected was the busy Batala Road and commuters had a tough time negotiating potholes while wading through water on long stretches which needed urgent repair.

The shopkeepers of the area complained that the change of government had brought no respite for them as no effort had been made to improve the condition of the road. “It is not an easy job to drive on the road, which is used by a sizeable population,” said Rajat Bhalla, who runs an electronics shop.

Though even posh areas like Lawrence Road and Madan Mohan Malviya road, Court Road, Tej Nagar Chowk, McLeod Road and Puti Bai Chowk are filled with water during the monsoons, Batala road is one place which gets water logged even after a brief shower. Numerous representations to the district administration have fallen on deaf ears, said Rajinder Singh, a property dealer in the area.

An official of the municipal corporation said it was the responsibility of the councillors concerned to provide a list of affected areas to the municipal corporation authorities for repair of the drainage system. He said the corporation had already launched several projects of road cementing and widening in various parts of the city.

The situation was no better in the Pratap Bazar near Chheharta, where water overflows from the drains every time it rains. There are times when shopkeepers have to engage labour to take out water from inside their shops during rains. The shopkeepers say the problem is aggravated with the absence of drainage system in the market, as the drains on both sides of the road get completely choked.

The rain also intensified the chill of winters in the city. 



Manuscripts highlight Punjab history
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
An exhibition of books, rare manuscripts and photographs relating to Sikhism, Sikh Gurus, history and freedom fighters of Punjab and other martyrs including publications on Shaheed Bhagat Singh arranged by Bhai Gurdas Library of the Guru Nanak Dev University, on the third International conference on "Sharing wisdom : In case of love and forgiveness", would remain open till December 6.

Singh Sahib Giani Joginder Singh Vedanti, Jathedar, Sri Akal Takhat Sahib and Tarlochan Singh, member parliament and former chairman of minority commission of India were the chief guests on the eve of inaugural day. While going through the exhibition, they evinced keen interest in the rare books section and the photographs relating to various achievements of the university and said photographs and books on Sikh History, Buddhism, Islam, on display gave valuable information and a good source of motivation for the youth. A catalogue of manuscripts in five volumes in print form and on CDs and DVDs have also been prepared and placed there.

In this exhibition, manuscripts including Panchwani (Samat 1732 Bikrami), Janamsakhi Guru Nanak Shah Ji Ki (Samat 1834 Bikrami) and Jahangir Nama in Persian were also displayed. Apart from these rare manuscripts, books and photographs relating to Kamagata maru, Jallianwala Bagh, Akali Morchas, freedom fighters of Punjab and other martyrs including publications on Shaheed Bhagat Singh were also included in the exhibition. Some selected books on Sikhism, Sikh Gurus, translations and dictionaries of Sri Guru Granth Sahib along with publications on Amritsar and Sri Darbar Sahib were the focus of attraction of the visitors and scholars. Beside the photograph of the present vice-chancellor, the photographs of all the former vice-chancellors of the university and other activities being performed in the university were also on display.

Dr. H.S. Chopra, head of the library feels that this exhibition will motivate the scholars and researchers to know about various sources on different topics of research available in the library. The exhibition remains on display till December 6. 



ISKCON temple to spruce up facilities
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
The International ISKCON Temple in Lakshmansar Chowk in the walled city is being reconstructed to provide modern facilities to its devotees coming from various parts of the country and abroad.

The two temples to be constructed, at a cost of around Rs 4 to 5 crore and having an area of around 2,000 square yards, would include an administrative office cum Iskcon guest house. A dormitory would be established on the second floor of the complex for facilitating the stay of the devotees coming from outside the city. The whole complex, which has been designed by a Delhi-based firm Ishwar Chand Mahajan and Associates, would be air-conditioned.

Giving the details of the temple complex, the in charge of the temple Swami Inderanuj said dormitory would have 15 rooms with attached wash rooms. He said the complex would also have a conference hall where religious discourses would be delivered to the students. The life members of the Iskcon society would be provided rooms free of cost to facilitate their stay in the city for three days, he added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) was initially raised as a spiritual society in New York to propagate the message of the Bhagwad Gita by Swami Prabhupada, who is the founder acharya of the Hare Krishna movement. In India there are about 40 ISKCON temples. Keeping alive the traditions of the ancient Vaishnava tradition, its philosophy and practice, these spiritual temples have left a mark on all mankind.

Swami Inderanuj said the complex would also have a special hall where a boat festival would be celebrated and the devotees would be able to seek the blessings of Radha and Krishna, enjoying a ride in a boat. “The hall would be filled with water and the devotees would enjoy the scene on a raised platform around the pond,” he said.

The temple in charge said a community kitchen would also be a part of the complex where round the clock langar would be served to the devotees visiting the temple. He said the complex would also have a library where religious books of all faiths would be arranged for the devotees visiting the shrine. He said public toilets would also be constructed in one corner of the complex besides having parking space of its own as the devotees coming to the temple were facing difficulty in parking their vehicles near the shrine.“A new building around the Shivala temple which was more than 350 years old would be constructed with its dome resembling with the temples of Mysore. Chintpurni temple would also be renovated. The deities of Lord Jagannath, Bhalbhadra and Subhadra would be installed in the new complex besides setting up Ram Darbar,” he added.



She swears by her shawls
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
Even when the sun turns cruel, Aditi Desai’s obsession for shawls does not melt away. Her vast collection boasts of shawls from Kashmir and different parts of Europe.

An exhibition of her kani (jamawar), paisley and new Kashmiri and Najibabadi embroidered shawls has been put up at a shopping complex in Ranjit Avenue in collaboration with FabIndia.

Desai has the privilege of exhibiting her collection at private exhibitions, Cosmopolitan Club and at the Museum of Asian Art in San Francisco.

“Since early childhood, I was fascinated with shawls and spent hours with vendors who came to our house. I bought some with money borrowed from my mother. When we were living in Switzerland, I came across some with antique dealers and collectors and was inspired to collect them and take them back to India,” she says.

Most of the shawls in the collection have been purchased in England, France and the USA. I also visited private and museum collections around the world and got engaged in the study of the Kashmir shawl.

“So much so that all my earnings were immersed in this passion and over the past 18 years, I have succeeded in locating and buying a wide variety of Kashmir kani and paisley shawls and creating a major collection.

“The European versions are also called Kashmiri or paisley as they are inspired by their Kashmiri counterparts, except that they are woven on more sophisticated looms. The Indian Kashmiri shawls are woven by hand on a basic frame loom using the ‘kani’ or twill-tapestry weaving technique.

“The production of a single-patterned shawl requires tremendous division of labour between 13 or more female and male specialists and took up to a year or more to weave. Different grades of pashmina wool are used depending on the period and clientele. The shawl designers select motifs from nature and the colours are derived from natural dye-yielding substances like flowers, bark, stones, mud, leaves, grasses, herbs and spices. As they are woven by hand, they can have any number of colours and some are reputed to have as many as 180,” says Desai.

“For me, collecting shawls was just the beginning of a long affair. I soon realised that the survival of these rare and exquisite pieces of art depended on restoration and that required immense time, effort and investment. I located families (fast disappearing) in India, who for centuries have done this work and employed them to help me in this task. I have streamlined my collection by retaining one of each type in terms of design and period and remodelling others into scarves, stoles and shawls so that they can be appreciated, worn and enjoyed on a continuing basis.

“A beautiful shawl would also been a cherished item in the wardrobe of an elegant woman,” she smiles.

Nidhi of FabIndia adds that the prices of the shawls are reasonable and much below the market price as there are no middlemen involved and Desai has been working directly with weavers, rafugars and embroiderers. The old shawls have been reconfigured, washed, rafooed and made into shawls, stoles and scarves.



‘Disability due to arthritis on rise’
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
Arthritis is emerging as one of the biggest causes of disability among the aged and more than seven crore people in India are suffering from the ailment. With the increasing life span the problem is likely to become more prevalent in people above 70 years.

This was pointed out at the free camp, on arthritis and joint pain, organised at the Fortis hospital. During the camp doctors examined more than 115 patients from across the city and adjoining villages. Dr Gaurav Thakur, SMO, Fortis hospital, said patients were provided free X-ray, bone densitometry test and blood sugar test. Besides, medicines were also distributed.

Disclosing about the other reasons of disability related to fractures and back pain, the doctors said osteoporosis was another reason and was quite common among females.

The doctors recommended females to take calcium regularly and visit a doctor after menopause. They also insisted on the need to improve life style.



AI to set up engineering base at airport
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
Air India has decided to set up an engineering base here in view of delays in flights due to foggy conditions. This will save time taken in seeking clearance from the airline’s Delhi office before flying long-distance flights in low-visibility conditions.

According to sources, the Air India authorities have already asked the Airport Authority of India to provide land for setting up the engineering base. The modalities of the proposal are being worked out.

Air India’s station manager, Ashwani Arora, said the airline’s DGM (engineering), G.S.Shastri, was in Amritsar this week to take a round of Rajasansi Airport in connection with the proposal.

Long-distance flights taking off from Amritsar are already getting delayed due to foggy conditions during dusk and dawn.

The airport authority of India has also decided to upgrade the instrument landing system to facilitate pilots in low-visibility conditions. The approach lights of the runway would have to be correspondingly replaced with a superior version. The passenger traffic at Amritsar has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years, from 12,000 passengers in 2000-01 to 1, 12,000 in 2001-02.



Nine of two families booked for dowry torture
Our Correspondent

Tarn Taran, November 30
Nine members of two different families have been booked for dowry torture by the Bhikhiwind police. According to police sources, on the statement of Rajwinder Kaur, daughter of Kashmir Singh of Lakhna Tapa village, a dowry case was registered against her husband Kanwaljit, resident of Sursingh village and in-laws. The other four accused have been identified as Kashmir Singh, Jasbir Kaur, Balbir Singh and his wife Baljit Kaur.

Rajwinder was married to Kanwaljit in November 2001.All the accused are absconding. Interestingly, the accused Balbir Singh is the village sarpanch and has been booked in two separate cases.



Seminar on AIDS
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, November 30
To spread awareness about the rights of AIDS patients, a seminar will be organised at Khalsa College (girls) on December 1 at 11.30 am.

Sunita Kumari, secretary, District Level Services Authority, said disseminating information about different aspects of the disease was as crucial as its treatment and prevention. She made an appeal to social organisations to pitch in to help patients and their families fight the deadly virus.



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