Winter line — a rare phenomenon
Anmol Jain
Tribune News Service

From mid-October till January, with the setting sun, the western horizon is replete with myriad shades of yellow, red, orange and mauve. This is known as the winter line. The phenomenon is unique to Mussoorie and a certain place in Switzerland only

Mussoorie, November 9
The ‘Queen of Hills’ is known for its picturesque landscape, waterfalls, gardens etc, however, a majority of tourists and even localites are oblivious to the fact that Mussoorie has another aspect to her beauty - “The winter line”.

From mid-October till January, with the setting sun, the western horizon becomes replete with myriad shades of yellow, red, orange, purple and mauve. The sun drops behind what is essentially a false horizon, a grey and mauve coloured strip, and there is a bright line of yellow and orange colours at the upper end of this strip. The colours are so spectacular that onlookers are left spellbound till the sun finally sets.

This gray and mauve line visible from Mussoorie is referred to as ‘The winter line’. According to sources at the Woodstock school, this phenomenon is unique to Mussoorie and a certain place in Switzerland only.

“This is one of the most beautiful sunsets that we have ever seen, its an artist’s delight,” said Ravinder Arora, a tourist from New Delhi.

Experts believe that the winter line occurs due to the refraction of sunlight at a particular angle. They opine that it is visible only from those mountain areas that have a long clear valley extending beyond them towards the west.

Anand Sharma, director of Uttarakhand meteorological department, says “settled weather conditions with less moisture and haze” is also an important precondition for the occurrence of winter line.

However, it is sad that adequate publicity has still not been given to the winter line by the tourism department. “It is a rare spectacle, we are lucky that the owner of a local book store told us about it, otherwise we would not have been able to see it,” said T.P. Singh, a tourist from Chandigarh. He added that the tourism department should take steps to ensure that visitors are properly informed about the winter line.

“More tourists could be attracted to Mussoorie if the winter line is promoted properly. This would also mean good business during the generally dull winters,” Shalabh Garg, a prominent businessman from here said.

Perhaps it is time the tourism department should cash in on this unique natural gift that has the potential to attract tourists.



Dare to dream big
Raju William
Tribune News Service

A brainchild of former Uttarakhand Governor Sudarshan Agarwal, Him Jyoti admits girls with 60 per cent marks in class V from government primary schools

Dehradun, November 9
Shalini comes from a poor background but she still dares to dream big and wants to become Governor of the state one day. Shalini is studying in Class IX at Him Jyoti School, a school for girls from underprivileged section of society. She shared her aspirations while interacting with the former President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam, who visited the school recently. Shalini’s father is a peon but she is determined that she will achieve her dream. She is one of the 120 girls hailing from different areas of the hill state and whose lives are taking a new shape as manifested by her confidence.

Started in 2005, with the aim of empowering girl child through education is a bold step to provide free of cost value based education.

A brainchild of former Uttarakhand Governor, Sudarshan Agarwal, Him Jyoti school is one of its kind that admits only girls with 60 per cent marks in class V from government primary schools of the state. As per the another condition, the income of the family should Rs 5000 or less per annum. Selection is made through a test which is held all over the state and the candidates are paid the transport allowance as well. It is proposed now that the school should be affiliated to CBSE board once it starts 10+2.

Being run by The Himalayan School Society, the school is spending about Rs.40,000 per annum on each girl. Besides education and food, they are provided every bit of their needs including study material, stationary, clothes and toiletries. The entire expenses are borne from the interest on corpus fund raised from voluntary contributions by compassionate individuals, trusts and corporate houses. This amount is to be further augment with support individuals and sensitive corporate house.

“As it is seen that the children from well off families go to private schools for quality education while the economically marginalized families have no option but to send their wards to the government schools. So we thought of picking bright girls from these schools to provide them an opportunity to rise in life with a hope that they would further act as catalysts of change and empowerment be it their own families, villages or society at large. I hope and pray this gets replicated in other parts of the country in the form of a movement,” Sudarshan Agarwal told The Tribune.

Dreams have already started taking shapes with the daughters of peons, daily wagers, book binders, widows, domestic maids are indeed showing signs of big achievers in life. As Jyoti Arya of Class IX hailing from Bageshwar shyly said she never missed opportunity to educate her siblings about their personal hygiene when she is at home during vacation. Even as these girls shed their rusticity and unkempt appearance after joining the school, care is taken not to disconnect them from their roots. They are responsible for cleanliness of their dormitories and bathrooms among other things in the hostel. “We also want our girls to imbibe values of honesty, humility, caring, sharing and passion for excellence,” said headmistress, Tanu Nayal

Not losing sight of the need to build their careers for economic self-dependence after passing out, the Foundation has planned to pay for the professional courses which they want to pursue in future. At present, 100 such scholarships are being given to the boys and girls of the state. Each beneficiary gets Rs.25,000 annually for the full duration of the course. “These girls will also be eligible for these scholarships on preferential basis considering their economic background and academic performance,” added Agarwal.



I studied for 14 hours, says PCS topper
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 9
A mini-celebrity by now, her telephone never stops ringing. So is the never-ending stream of visitors and friends who keep dropping into the house of Saadia Aftab Alam - the topper of 2004 state provincial civil services examination (PCS), the results of which were announced yesterday.

From the local grocery store owner who gladly escorts you down to her house to the helpful STD booth owner, everybody has bits of information about Saadia and her hardwork that has yielded rich results.

“I studied for 14 hours a day and took breaks for only eating food and relaxing. The study was undertaken in a planned manner, as the competition is tough and needs in-depth preparation,” says Saadia.

A science graduate and an LLB, she made a detour especially for the examinations by opting for public administration and history as her subjects for the mains. “It was a deliberate decision taken after consultations with teachers at the Prayag Coaching Centre and a local guide Gyan Shukla,” says Saadia. She started her preparations from 2003 onwards and the road to success was fraught with problems. “My father, after remaining ill for 17 years, passed away, but not without inspiring me and my other siblings. We have seen hard times; battling illness in the family drains you both emotionally and financially. But thanks to the pleasant disposition of my father and the values that he instilled in me right from childhood, I was sure that the only path for me was a career in the civil services. I am happy that I have achieved what I set out for in the first place,” adds Saadia. Hailing from a Muslim family, she is aware that her feat will be an inspiration for others in her community. “Education is the key to success, I tell everyone that the country offers a fair chance, provided you are hard-working and determined,” opines Saadia.

Her role models are Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa. “Gandhijis teachings are still relevant today; he was a ‘pragmatic idealist’. So was Nelson Mandela, but Mother Teresa brought hope to the downtrodden and underprivileged. These personalities continue to inspire in their own special way,” says Saadia.

Her mother is elated at Saadia’s performance. “The determination and dedication that she displayed throughout her academic life made me confident that she was meant for bigger things. Today she has come good,” says her mother Saadiya Alam.In her spare time, Saadia finds time to pursue her hobby - poetry-writing. “It is my first love, to date I have written a total of 500 poems. Whenever I have felt down and out, I have taken recourse to writing poetry,” says Saadia.



Everyone’s a winner here
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 9
The Uttarakhand branch of Special Olympics for mentally challenged, organised its final day of sports meet in Welhams girls school yesterday. The two-day sports meet which started yesterday showcased an atmosphere of togetherness and an opportunity for mentally challenged children to perform, learn and enjoy this event.

Around 175 students participated from different parts of the state. The events for the morning session were cycling, race and relay after which another set of events started at 3:30 and ended with a speech by the chief guest, Rakesh Sharma secretary for sports and youth, government of Uttarakhand. Schools like Raphael, Cheshire home, Mangaldeep jyoti, Golden ki Asha, Robin Dahiya School etc participated in the meet. Special attention was paid to lower ability group (intelligent quotient below 20-30) who participated in games like tennis ball throw, soft ball throw and wheel chair race. The age group of the students varied from 12 to 29.

"The sports meet could not have been so successful without constant support of the school staff and these young girls of Welhams," said Sashi Rana, a coach at Mangal Deep, Jyoti School Rishikesh. Welham girls were seen volunteering at various stations. "I am thrilled to be a part of this event I am helping these children to have water or going to the washroom", said Sharanya Ajnani, student, class 7th student from Welhams. Teachers of the intellectually challenged children were also no less in helping teams and bucking their confidence for various events. "I love these children and working for them gives me true happiness", said Sashi Rana.

Star attraction of the meet were Kuldip Singh Negi from Jyoti School, Rishikesh and Rakshita Pant from Mangal Deep Vidya Mandir of Almora. They were the role models for the participants as both had won their medals in the Special Olmpics last year.

Aerobic performance by Welham girls was thoroughly enjoyed by the crowd however, the main event which moved everyone was the folk dance performed by Asha Deep and Mangaldeep School.

Special Olympics is a non-profit event and its main aim is to engage intellectually disabled in sports activities so that the level of confidence is increased and awareness is generated for their wellbeing. "We want all our kids to participate and so we encourage and support them to come into mainstream sports", said S.K. Malhotra, sports director of Uttarakhand.



Fading sounds
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 9
Falling prey to diminishing interest and changing times, several traditional musical instruments played by Kumaouni and Garhwali musicians may soon turn silent in the days to come and could be seen in museums only.

There are seven traditional instruments that were extensively used by musicians and formed part of Garhwali and Kumaouni song and dance performance but are now on the verge of extinction. These include, Jauiya Murli (twin flute), Binai (an elongated instrument made of iron, played mostly by women) Ektara, Urdavmukhi (also played by nath panthi sadhus it is made of Deer horns), Kasari not seen since the last 50 years. Bhonkar played in temples and Nagphani (both the instruments are made of copper and there are very craftsmen left).

In Dehradun to present traditional instruments in front of the audience, a team led by Jugal Kishore Pethshali, is trying to bring alive the ancient, long forgotten instruments. The Culture Department of state is hosting the performers.

Seized by an idea of art, Jugal Kishore Pethshali is an expert with three instruments. He said, “I don’t come from a professional musical background. I am from a business family but my mother and my aunts used to play these instrument and that is how I developed the interest. Jugal Kishore Pethshali has also established Uttaranchal Lok Kala Evam Sahitya Sanrakshan. Born in Chitai village in Kumaon Uttar Pradesh, Pethshali is a writer also. he has won Hindi Academy award in 1992 for his book ‘Rajula Malu Sahi’ a book on 15th century folk ballad.

Accompanying him is 90 years old Lal Singh Rawat, hailing from Reetha gadh, Almora. It is a pleasure to see this maestro playing the instrument made of Lantana and is probably the last one to play such a timeless instrument. Together with his team, Pethshali has an arduous task of preserving and popularising traditional instruments. “If sound goes from our life, everything would end, I don’t perform to get honours and acclaims but to spread the message about our ancient instruments that is on the verge of extinction and devalued,” he said.



Jessore company excels
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, November 9
Jessore company of Indian Military Academy (IMA) lifted the inter-company championship trophy in Obstacle Training competition held at IMA yesterday. A total of 15 companies participated and Jessore company clocked the least time in covering all the obstacles and stood first. Gentlemen cadet R.S. Obed cleared all obstacles in just 2.36 minutes and stood first among approximately 900 gentlemen cadets.

The obstacles include jumping, crawling, climbing and balancing. Its aim is to test the endurance of the participants and helps develop the spirit of cooperation and coordination among the cadets.



Highlighting public problems

I would like to congratulate The Tribune for launching the Uttarakhand edition and the four-page Dehradun Plus supplement.

The news and feature items carried in the paper are not only interesting, but also very informative. Some of the articles have highlighted problems faced by the residents of Dehradun. The write up on the growing traffic menace in the city would certainly have given the authorities a wake up call. The menace of plastic bags in Mussorrie was also well displayed in another article.

Uttarakhand as a state has immense potential for tourism and adventure sports. A few articles have highlighted these aspects as well. In addition, the artilces on budding sportsmen from the state are also very inspirational. I wish The Tribune all the best wishes for the times to come.

— Suresh Kumar, Dehradun

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words at [email protected] or write in at: Letters, Dehradun Plus, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030



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