Sikh studies project begins anew
The project deals with determining the meaning of words in Guru Granth Sahib. The etymology of the individual word is determined and then properly defined.
Umesh Dewan
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
After more than three decades, work on “Nirukat Sri Guru Granth Sahib,” project, designed as an etymological dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib, has once again picked up momentum.

While five volumes of Nirukat have already been published, work on the sixth volume is on at Dr Balbir Singh Sahitya Kendra, a study centre of Punjabi University, Patiala. It has been 36 years since the first volume of Nirukat was published by the university Patiala in 1972.

“The work on the project was concieved by Dr Balbir Singh. After his death in 1974, the work came to a standstill,” said Dr Harbhajan Singh, a lecturer in Punjabi University and in charge of the project.

In 1995, Dr Balbir Singh’s daughter Mohinder Kaur formed a trust and gifted the Sahitya Kendra to Punjabi University. She is honorary director of the kendra. Work on the project was resumed in 2000 with SS Khaira taking over as project director. After retirement, Prof Ratan Singh Jaggi, a renowned scholar of Sikh studies, took over and since 2008, Dr Harbhajan Singh has beeb supervising project.

Dr Balbir Singh was younger brother of Bhai Veer Singh, a poet, scholar and an exegete; a prominent figure in the Sikh renaissance. For his pioneering work in several genres, he is acknowledged as the pioneer of the modern Punjabi literature.

In November 1899, he started a Punjabi weekly, the Khalsa Samachar. All editions of the Khalsa Samachar have been preserved in the Dr Balbir Singh Memorial Library here. Dr Balbir Singh assisted Bhai Veer Singh in the publication of the Tika Faridkot, text and commentary on Sri Guru Granth Sahib.

Dr Harbhajan Singh said following the kendra’s association with Punjabi University, the latter decided to carry forward the project and constituted a team of scholars for the purpose, who are working at Panchbati, where Dr Balbir Singh Sahitya Kendra is located. Five volumes of Nirukat are complete and work on the sixth volume is progressing fast.

Harbhajan Singh explained: “ Nirukat means articulation of words, explanation and analysis. The project deals with determining the meaning of words in Guru Granth Sahib.The etymology of the individual word is determined and then properly defined, along with its historical background and conceptual usage.”

According to the project director, there will be a total of 20 volumes of Nirukat. “It is expected that if all goes well, the project will be completed in the next 30 years,” said Dr Harbhajan Singh.

He informed that members of the Book Club, Punjabi University, Patiala, could get the volumes of Nirukat at half the market price.

Reconstituted as Punjabi University Dr Balbir Singh Sahitya Kendra, it now constitutes the nucleus of a developing Institute of Advanced Study for Research in Comparative Religion, Philosophy and Culture.

The kendra provides research facilities to university researchers and visiting scholars in comparative religion, Sikh studies and history and culture of Punjab.The Panchbati campus comprises Dr Balbir Singh Memorial Library and Art Gallery, an auditorium and a guest house.

Dr Balbir Singh Memorial Library has about 9,000 volumes, including rare books on Guru Granth Sahib and Sikh studies, history and culture of Punjab and religious traditions of India in English, Gurmukhi, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Hindi, Persian and Urdu.

The library has about 500 manuscripts, the earliest ones dating back to 1635 AD. These mostly comprise commentaries in Gurmukhi, Hindi, Sanskrit, Persian and Urdu.

Rare handwritten birs of Guru Granth Sahib are kept in the library as well as editions of the Khalsa Samachar.These are of much help to scholars of the Singh Sabha Movement and Punjabi journalis, said Dr Harbhajan Singh.

Dr Balbir Singh Memorial Library is a reference library. No books are issued. Scholars from all across the globe visit the library to study rare manuscripts.

The Art Gallery section has rare photographs of Bhai Vir Singh and Dr Balbir Singh's family, friends, associates and other contemporaries.

Original paintings of well-known artists AK Chughtai, Thakur Singh, Sobha Singh, Mehr Singh and Dehradun -based Divijen Ben form part of the gallery collection.

The life and letters of Dr Balbir Singh is Kendra’s special focus. Dr Balbir Singh's writings are being translated into Hindi and English and regularly published in the journal Panchbati Sandesh.

Inter-faith discussions, memorial functions in honour of Bhai Vir Singh and Dr Balbir Singh, talks by visiting scholars and the annual Dr Balbir Singh Memorial Seminar are some of Kendra's academic activities.



Travelling hundreds of miles for a toothy smile
NRIs and foreign patients visit Dehradun for quality dental treatment at no extra cost. The treatment is costly abroad as it is not covered under any insurance scheme.
Neena Sharma
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
While the state government plan to promote health tourism is yet to take off, a private initiative by Dr Ashwani Dobhal and his team has kickstarted dento tourism in Dehradun.

Overseas patients desirous of dental treatment fix appointments well in advance with the doctor through the Internet as soon as the holiday season begins around Christmas.

“It is an attractive proposition for NRIs and foreigners who come for a holiday in Uttarakhand and there are several ashrams in the state that teach meditation and yoga.

They join these courses and in between find time to come down to Dehradun to get their teeth fixed,” informed Dr Dobhal.

A visit to Uttarakhand makes sound business sense. The medical treatment offered here is cost-effective as world-class facilities come at a very low price.

“With the demise of controls and checks, we in the medical fraternity can now purchase world-class equipment for our clinics. So when the NRIs and foreign patients come here, they get quality treatment at no extra cost,” informed Dr Dhobal.

Dental treatment is very costly abroad as it is not covered under any insurance scheme. “Depending on the seriousness of the problem, patients arrange their visit to India during Christmas or annual holidays. The cost of a transplant is Rs 40,000, which is not heavy on their pocket,” says Dr Dobhal.

It may be mentioned that Dr Dobhal and his clinic has been at the forefront of this initiative since the nineties. His team at the clinic has been catering to foreign patients, mostly from Britain, American and Israel.

Besides, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s followers come for repose and solitude at meditation centres situated at Gajoli and Kunsi in Uttarkashi. “Invariably, they come down to Dehradun for their tooth problems. I have treated at least 150 patients associated with the centre,” said Dr Dobhal.

Rishikesh is another town visited by a large number of tourists for dental checkups.However, for the state to take a lead in health tourism serious efforts have to be made. “As a first step, multi-specialty care centres need to be built at hospitals,” says Dr Dobhal.



Another cat in clutch trap
With an increase in tiger population at Corbett, the leopards have shifted to peripheral areas. But with lesser prey species, they are forced to hunt dogs and humans living in the vicinity. That is why villagers are putting up clutch wire traps.
— Dr Hem Singh Gehlot, WWF Nature Studies
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
Another leopard rescued after getting trapped in clutch wire trap from Patkot village in Ramanagar forest division on Thursday.

The leopard got trapped from his belly in the morning and had to struggle hard as the rescue team could only come in the evening. The rescue operation completed at 10 in the night and the leopard was later freed in the other side of Ramangar forests.

There have been a sharp rise in the incidents where wild animals have got trapped in the clutch wire trap put up by villagers to check incursion of wild animals near their villages. These traps are even used for poaching purposes. While other animals manage to evade the clutches, leopards often get tapped in these mesh of thin wires, which prove deadly for the animal.

When asked for the reasons behind the rise in the incidents of man animal conflict, particular in the villages in the periphery of Corbett Tiger Reserve, World Wildlife Fund for Nature Studies, Dr Hem Singh Gehlot, said with increase in the density of tigers within Corbett Tiger Reserve, the leopards are also on the rise and are taking to territorial forest areas as both the predators have common prey species.

Wildlife experts said the population of tigers and leopards were inversely proportional. Increase in tiger population in an area would lead to subsequent shift of leopards to another area as both have common prey species. As per latest census report 2008, there are as many as 2343 leopards in Uttarkhand. Whereas there were 2105 leopards existed in 2005.

“After leaving Corbett Tiger Reserve, these leopards are now the habitants of the territorial forest area. But with lesser prey species here, these leopards have been forced to go for dogs and even humans living in the villages in close vicinity,” said Gehlot.

This is not the first such incident that happened in the Kumaon forest areas of Uttarakhand. On January 3, a leopard died after getting trapped in one such wire loop arrangement at Belparav area of Terai West division. Similarly, in another incident on Nov 22, last year, a leopard got trapped in the same forest division but was rescued later.

Putting such traps to keep wild animals away from the fields and other human habitations has become a common practice in state villages. Such incidents are very common in Garhwal region also. On November 12, a leopard died after getting tapped in one such wire trap in Makreti village on the foothills of Mussoorie.



Light up your living space
Fab India is doing booming business in lamps because
these are affordable, add a style statement to the
living space and are nature friendly. Fab India lamps
are priced between Rs 500 and Rs 4,000.
— Vandana, Fab India
Divya Semwal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
Attractive lamps have become an important piece in home decor. Unique lamps are drawing attention of people who want to light their house in a decorative manner. With beautiful furniture, upholstery and antiques, exquisite lamps add variety and brightness to the living area.

City offers large variety in brass and metal stands with colorful shades. “We have got table lamps, corner lamps in brass and metal. Brass lamps are more durable and are easy to maintain. Table lamps come in different sizes from eight inches to 24 whereas corner lamps varies between 50 to 65 inches,” said Pramod Gupta owner of gift point.

“We have matching shades but people like to mix and match as per their requirement. The designs are hand crafted and the handcrafted are more in demand,” said Pramod Gupta.

Fab India has lot to offer to those who want style with brands. “We have table lamps, floor lamps and corner lamps with attractive hanging lamps, which are used to create a soothing ambience.

Response in the market from past 3 years have been excellent and are floor lamps are a huge hit in the city and most importantly are products are nature friendly,” said Vandana, merchandiser home Fab India.

“With clothes and other accessories, Fab India is doing a booming business in lamps because they are affordable and at the same time adds a style statement to the living space. Fab India lamps starts from Rs 500 and goes up to Rs 4,000,” said Vandana.

Rosebys a furnishing store has a beautiful range in upholstery has also some fine pieces of lamps. Lamps in shades of rose, cream and whites are delicate and class apart. “We have stands in mango wood, stone, brass and the range varies from Rs 2,000 to 4,000,” said Anupriya of Rosebys.



Now, plenary database on forests
A team of scientists used remote sensing techniques for the exercise that took four long years
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
Braving Bihar floods, northeast insurgency and naxals’ onslaught, the Forest Survey of India (FSI) officials have completed the arduous task of mapping the forest types in the country.

A team of FSI scientists, under the guidance of their director-general Devendra Pandey, took four long years and pressed into service GPS, GIS and other remote sensing techniques to come up with the first-ever, most comprehensive, database of forest types.

With mapping almost done, FSI officials have sent the maps to respective state governments and are now awaiting feedback before making it public. The maps have been sent to different states for validation, which has to be competed by January end.

Significantly, Champion and Seth, who divided country’s forests into six major groups based on moisture conditions, did the last forest type mapping in 1968.

They had divided these groups into 16 sub-groups and finally ended it with 200 forest types in the country based on location-specific climate factors and vegetation formation.

“There is no denying the fact that ‘Champion and Seth’ classification of forest types continues to be a benchmark, but the new forest mapping is more comprehensive, which will be of immense benefit for all stakeholders, including state governments,” said RK Bajpayee, FSI deputy director and a member of the team.

“Forest density, types and their pictures will now be available at the click of a mouse. The data will also help in biodiversity studies, including forest and wildlife management, land evaluation and forest productivity studies,” said Prof NP Todaria from the department of forestry.

Increase and decrease in the number of forest types in a particular zone has been revealed in the new mapping, confirmed some forestry experts. A zone that earlier had 15 types now has 17 types. Similarly, there are even reductions in certain zones but a total of 200 forest types have been identified in the country.

Director-general, Forest Survey of India, Dr D Pandey, under whose guidance the massive exercise was undertaken, said the mapping would be concluded soon and would form a most effective database.



Encroachments threaten forests: Minister
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
Uttarakhand Forest minister Bansidhar Bhagat said encroachments on forests were biggest challenge before the Forest Department and asked the forest officials to be more vigilant on such cases.

The Minister was addressing the forest officials at the State Forestry Day awards presentation at State Forest Headquarters in Dehradun recently. Bhagat said encroachments were posing great danger to the state’s forest wealth even as forest authorities are finding themselves helpless to put a check on such matters.

He also expressed concern over rising incidents of man animal conflict in the state. The Minister apart from presenting the awards also released first edition of Van Vani, a newsletter of Uttarakhand Forest Department.

Forest secretary, Anup Wadhawan said the forest department faced enormous challenge fighting conservation efforts on one hand while also facing rising pressure of development on the other.

Earlier, principal chief conservator of forests Uttarakhand, RBS Rawat said good governance, eco-tourism, social forestry and promotion of aromatic plants were some of the thrust areas of the department while rise in incidents of man animal conflict were posing another big challenge.

Conservator Yamuna circle, BP Gupta while coordinating the proceedings while Dr Rakesh Shah chief conservator of forests work plan accorded the vote of thanks.

Among those awarded with various trophies included divisional forest officer Mussoorie, AK Bannerji, deputy divisional forest officer Terai West Ramnagar, Prakash Chand Arya, forest circle officer, Terai East Forest Division, Dhurv Singh Martoliya, forest circle officer, Haridwar Division KP Verma, forester Haridwar division, Mahesh Prasad Semwal, forestor Haridwar forest division Sheespal Singh, Sarpanch Van Panchayat, Bhupal Singh and Sarpanch Pan Singh Thuwal.

There were fewer Forestry award winners this year. The principal chief conservator of forests, RBS Rawat pointed out that they have come up with stricter criterion this time to chose awardees. Forest Minister also took the opportunity to honour forest sportsmen who had excelled in the recently concluded Forestry Games, held at Chandigarh.



Novel mechanism to fight forest fires
A master control room at Malsi is linked to 12 master
crew stations followed by another 26 sub-crew stations.
All these stations are connected through the wireless
and phones. The monitoring helps in anticipating fires
and taking action to prevent these.
Jotirmay Thapliyal
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
The Mussoorie Forest Division has come up with one of most effective fire-fighting mechanism that involves a network of fire crew stations and an equally efficient, well-equipped and dedicated fire-fighting team.

Struggling hard to protect its forest wealth, lost in forest fires every summers, the initiative taken by Uttarakhand Mussoorie Forest Division could be emulated in other forest divisions of the state to protect its forests.

Master control room has been established at Malsi, which is subsequently linked to 12 master crew stations followed by another 26 sub-crew stations. All these crew stations are connected through wire less and telephones.

This master control room has installed an Digital Hygrometer, which continues to monitor relative humidity, temperature and rainfall.

The monitoring leads to prediction of Fire Danger Index for next 24 hours, which is subsequently followed by issuing daily bulletins, helping foresters to go for pre-emptive measures and also facilitate action in case of fire.

Mussoorie Division that encompasses 52,000 hectares of reserved forests, the new mechanism has already started delivering encouraging results.

“With the help of the new mechanism the incidents of forest fires have been reduced by 50 per cent by last year,” said divisional forest officer (DFO) Mussoorie, AK Bannerji. Bannerji is the brain behind the initiative.

A ten-member fire fighting team equipped with modern fire fighting equipment mans the master control room and a vehicle at its disposal. It is put on alert mode and renders adequate back up in case of spotting fire.

In recognition of his contribution in developing an efficient forest fighting mechanism apart from number of pro-conservation, DFO Mussoorie, AK Bannerji has been awarded with the prestigious individual category award under Uttarakhand Foundation Day Trophy 2008.

Significantly, Uttarakhand Forest Department is now trying to emulate the success in other forest divisions of the state. The Mussoorie Division also conducted training programmes for all the forest divisions falling within Garhwal.



Doon’s own Lagaan team
The DLCC team does not hold a collective practice session and the players practice on their own whenever they find time. For a match, the players put aside their assignments despite the fact that they earn their living on a daily basis.
Vishal Thakur

Dehradun, January 24
Just like the Indian cricket team which beat the Britishers at their own game in Hindi film ‘Lagaan’, the Danda Lakhond Cricket Club (DLCC) is Dehradun’s very own ‘Lagaan’ team.

It comprises players from various walks of life for whom playing cricket could just be a privilege. The team has a carpenter, a hoarding painter, vegetable seller, building material supplier and so on. The average age of players in the team is well over 30 years.

The DLCC team has been participating in the District Cricket League organised by the Cricket Association of Uttarakhand here for the past many years.

Most players have continued playing cricket despite their busy schedule. Even at times when they were forced to part with the sport, they always looked for the latest opportunity to resume their cricketing activities.

On the day of a match, the players put aside their assignments, despite the fact that most of them earn their living on a day-to-day basis.

Interestingly, the team does not hold a collective practice session and its players practice individually whenever they find time.

Forty-one-year-old Vinod Rawat has a vegetable shop at Sahastradhara. His love for cricket began in 1986 when he started playing for the local Shamrock Club.

Thereafter, he played for the YMCA Club in 1988. He had a 10-year-long association with Dehradun’s famous Rao Cricket Club from 1992.

“I have played with international players like Vijay Yadav (wicketkeeper for India team), Atul Wassan and Bhupendar Singh in my younger days.”

The day Vinod has a cricket match, he tries to finish as much work as possible by 10.30 am so that he does miss the match. “At this age, I just want to promote cricket and wish to see more youngsters taking it up.”

Another die-hard lover of the game is Maniram, who is a hoarding painter and is 36 years old. He too has been associated with cricket since 1980. To make a living, he makes banners, hoardings and school charts.

“I come to play whenever I am free. In my college days, I had played at the university-level from DBS College,” said Maniram.

“I I began by playing in small tournaments. Later, I joined the Rao Cricket Academy. Playing helps me keep fit,” said Amarnath who is carpenter by profession.

Ashish Chaturvedi is an insurance agent and has been associated with the game for a long time. He is not an active player and works as the DLCC team manager helping the team meet their financial and other needs.

The DLCC team is doing well at the 57th District Cricket League and the players are hopeful of reaching the Super-Six stage.



Umpire Bansal: Cricket bodies need to unite
“Until and unless this tussle between the associations
comes to an end, it would be a tedious job for
the state to receive affiliation.”
Vishal Thakur

Dehradun, January 24
Former international umpire, SK Bansal, has asked various cricket associations of Uttarakhand to come on a single platform to get early BCCI affiliation.

Bansal, who is in Dehradun to attend a cricket tournament at a school as an observer, had a word of advice for the warring cricket associations of the state.

He said various cricket associations here should come together if they are sincere about seeking BCCI affiliation. “Until and unless this tussle between the associations comes to an end, it would be a tedious job for the state to receive affiliation,” he said.

Various associations in the state have claimed to be the legitimate association which is in control of cricket in the state. The BCCI has given affiliation to none of them and the case is pending.

“Having all cricketing facilities is just not enough to earn affiliation. The BCCI will see the ground work of the associations. The associations don’t require to show facilities like stadiums. They should concentrate on organising cricket at the ground level,” said Bansal.

The state has an abundance of talent and the geographical condition is ideal for producing good players, said Bansal adding, “All that the associations need is to put up camps regularly to spot talented players here. The companies here are not willing to invest money at the ground level to find a genuine players.”

Bansal has been coming here for the past three years at the All-India u-13 tournament at India Public School. He started umpiring during a match between India and Sri Lanka in 1990 at Nagpur.

He has umpired in six Tests and 32 ODIs.“Umpiring, according to me, has become easy with so many cameras in place. The chance of making an error is very less. This is the result of commercialisation that has made its way into cricket.”

He added that the BCCI was now carrying out a programme to improve umpiring standards in the country through video analysis techniques.

He was hopeful that more Indian umpires will make it to the elite ICC panel in the coming years. Bansal will hold a four-day umpiring class here.



Dam damaging Ganga: Expert
The NTPC is causing irreversible damage to the
Bhagirathi by building a dam at Loharinag.
— MC Mehta, Magsaysay Award winner
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
Noted environment lawyer and Magsaysay Award winner, MC Mehta, has criticised the Central government’s indifferent attitude towards renowned environmentalist Dr GD Agarwal’s demand to immediately halt all construction activities on the 600 MW Loharinag-Pala Hydropower Project in Uttarakhand.

Mehta met Dr Agarwal yesterday at Akhil Bhartiya Mahasabha Bhawan, Delhi, where he has been on an indefinite fast since January 14.

Mehta said the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) was causing irreversible damage to the Bhagirathi by building a dam at Loharinag while completely ignoring the Government of India’s decision to declare the Ganga as a national river.

“Waterman of India” Rajendra Singh also expressed his support to the demands raised by Dr Agarwal and warned that if the Centre failed to give any concrete response to the demands before January 28, the activists would be forced to launch an agitation on the issue.

He added that the descendents of erstwhile princely estates which had entered into an agreement in 1916 with the then British government to not allow any construction activity on the Ganga upstream of Haridwar, would also participate in the agitation.

He said the Ganga was a symbol of India’s faith and culture and it was a support system for the residents of the northern plains.

Among others who met Dr Agarwal yesterday included Swami Shivananda of Matra Sadan, Haridwar.



Kishore elected member of psychiatric body
Tribune News Service

Dehradun, January 24
Renowned psychiatrist Dr (Maj) Nand Kishore has been elected direct member of Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) for three years.

The election to the National Executive Council of IPS took place during the 61st Annual National Conference held at the Institute of Mental Health and Hospital in Agra recently.

Dr Kishore said the election was held at Agra in January in which around 2,000 psychiatrists participated.

Dr Kishore has been associated with many medical, psychiatric and socio-
cultural organisations.

He has also been a president and honorary secretary of the Dehradun branch of Indian Medical Association (IMA) and Association of Physicians of India.



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