L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Dashanan’s effigy takes a ‘spin’
99-foot revolving Ravana at Daresi ground to be the star attraction at Dasehra
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Standing as high as a nine-storeyed building, 99 foot revolving Ravana’s effigy at Dugri will be the star attraction during this year’s Dasehra.

The effigy of Ravana at Daresi ground will be the tallest in the city. Usually the Ravana’s effigy stands at 40-50 foot height and at Jamalpur it will be 60 foot, at Upkar Nagar and Dugri it will stand tall at 55 foot and at Kitchlu Nagar it will be 40 foot.

The effigy of Ravana will be rotating at an angle of 360 degrees so that everyone present can see the face properly.

The revolutions will be made with the help of a round barring, fixed at the bottom of the effigy for it to spin. Revolving Ravana’s effigy costs Rs 50,000.

At the city's famous Daresi ground, people will witness an unusual Ravana’s effigy where nine heads of Ravana’s effigy will pop out of the main head. This effigy of Ravana costs Rs 1 lakh.

These innovative effigies have been made by artists, who are called every year by Ramlila committees.

Gulzar Mohd, an artist from Muzafar Nagar, comes every year to Daresi to make the effigy. Before him, his father and grandfather used to come every year.

"Ludhiana is a second home to me, as I visit here every festival season," said Gulzar. It has been more than a month that he, along with his group members, arrived in the city.

"In Muzzafarnagar we mould hukkas, but Ludhiana is a more lucrative option for us, as we can earn some quick bucks within a short time,” added Gulzar.

At Dugri, a team of seven artists from Dhuri, are busy giving final touches to the specially designed revolving demon king.

"We are into this business from the past 25 years. Every year we come to the city on Dasehra. The idea of revolving Ravana is appreciated by the city residents," added a 52-year-old Mangu, leader of the group. A group of 20 persons are working round-the-clock at Daresi as the final moment is just two days away.

Colourful papers and pulp of various trees is being put to use for dressing up the effigies.


A robbery that never was
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
This was a robbery that never was. The claims of an iron trader that he was robbed of Rs 11.5 lakh on October 7 have been found to be concocted by the police, as the man did not want to return the money that he had borrowed from his three friends.

Naval Kishore had claimed that he was robbed at pistol-point near the Union Bank of India, Dugri. But he had actually stage-managed the robbery, as he wanted to pocket the amount.

Addressing the media here today, ADCP Sushil Kumar said Kishore had borrowed money from his four businessmen friends in Ludhiana, who got it deposited in his Union Bank account through Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). He promised to return it the next day. When he withdrew the money, he, however, decided to hoodwink his friends.

The ADCP said his claims were found to be false during the investigations. Kishore was not able to convince the police, as he was changing statements every now and then. Finally, the police succeeded in extracting information from him that the entire show was stage-managed.

The ADCP said that his robbery story was hard to believe. Kishore had told the police that he was stopped by two robbers at gun-point, riding a scooter, when he was gong on a scooter after withdrawing the money from the bank.

Kishore further misled the police by saying that a “robber” caught hold of his scooter, while another rode pillion on him. The "robbers" first drove him towards the Atam Nagar police chowki and then came back near same bank. In one of the streets, the "robbers" snatched the bag in which the cash was lying, said Kishore to the police.

‘‘We could not buy his story. From the first day itself, we got suspicious. Still, we went with him to the spot several times, asking him to recreate the incident in front of us. He failed to do so and repeatedly changed his statements. This did him in, ’’ said the ADCP.



Illegal colonies sans basic amenities for decades
Finally, hope dawns for residents
Shivani Bhakoo
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Municipal corporation commissioner AK Sinha’s announcement at Thursday’s general house meeting that unapproved colonies would be soon included within the city’s municipal limits has come as a big relief for the thousands of people living there. At the same time the residents hope the MC will actually implement the decision as many similar promises had been made earlier, especially during election time.

A survey of some of the unauthorised colonies by The Tribune reveals though many of them came into existence over 30 years ago their residents have failed to get civic amenities like water and sewerage connections till date. The streets, both main as well as connecting ones, are in a pathetic condition.

What is shocking is that hundreds of residents in these areas were regularly paying "house tax" to MC inspectors even though the colonies lacked basic amenities.

Sukhdev Singh Khangura, president of the New BRS Nagar House Welfare Society, said the colony, located near the Lodhi Club crossing, was established in 1984. The land belonged to land owners in Sunet village, who sold it by cutting plots of various sizes.

"It has been more than 30 years, we have not been able to get water and sewerage connections till date. About 15 days back, MC started laying sewerage lines in certain parts. Still many parts are ignored. But we are seeing a ray of hope. We expect that MC will come to our rescue one day", said Khangura.

Apart from New BRS Nagar, Amardass Nagar and many areas near Karnail Singh Nagar have still not been declared within MC limits. Thousands of residents have been living here for the past several decades.

Jeewan Singh, a senior citizen residing in Ram Dass Nagar, said: "Otherwise this is one of the most peaceful, green area of city where there is no industry or commercial establishments. When there is no rainfall we live under a blanket of dust and in the rainy season mud and potholes make life miserable. We are being given regular assurances by area councillors and politicians but they are never fulfilled”.

Many of these residents are regularly paying "house-tax" to MC inspectors. Whenever new construction takes place in area, "inspectors" come and ask anything between Rs 4,000-10,000 for giving "clearance-certificates". Residents have no choice but to bow to their pressure tactics. "We keep on complaining that MC does not provide basic facilities, why should we pay the taxes? But all our pleas go unheard", rued Singh.



When visual impairment is not seen as a setback
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Accepting their visual impairment as a challenge to carve a niche for themselves in life, Khushdev Singh (36) and Ashok Kumar (37) from Patiala and Moga districts, respectively, are on a learning spree at Vocational Rehabilitation Training Centre (VRTC), Ludhiana.

Guided by their white canes, the duo travels from their native villages to the VRTC to attend their computer classes.

Fondly referred to as "lassi wala bhayia" by the children at the VRTC, Khushdev Singh travels 100 km from Saholi village every day to take his lessons in computers. " I worked in Jharwana Sahib Gurdwara on the Patiala road for seven years and then got to know about the VRTC from a former student of the centre. That rekindled my desire to take up a job in government department, which I nurtured as a child," said Singh.

A look at the neatly tied turban of Khushdev Singh speaks about his expertise in the art of "turban tying", which he proudly pronounces as his forte that won him two awards in 2009.

Ashok Kumar is another example of "strong resolve". Despite having lost his eyesight followed by desertion by his wife seven years ago, he has come a long way.

"Joining the VRTC and meeting the director Sara Johnson gave me hope and learning Braille language, and doing a course of telephone operator made me confident to put up a brave front against all odds," remarked Ashok Kumar.

Having appeared for interviews for the clerical post in department of health and family welfare, department of social welfare, Kumar is confident of finding a soul mate as he adds, "There must be someone for me and I will find her very soon as I want to live every moment of my life."

Compassion comes easy to the duo, as Ashok is a seven-time blood donor and Khushdev has joined a Jee Daya Sewa Mission to help the needy and underprivileged.


World White Cane Day

Invented by Dr Richard E Hoover, the white cane has become a symbol of independence and safety for the visually impaired. The cane is divided in crook, grip, shaft and tip (which is sensitive to the exterior touch and sends vibrations to the fingers enabling the blind person to identify the surface). The students at the VRTC are imparted training to use white cane by a special instructor, Ajay, who assists them with grip, wrist movement, arm position, arc and rhythms.



Durga Ashtami celebrated with fervour
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 15
Staying away from home did not deter the spirits of Bengalis living in the city, as they performed Maha Ashtami puja here today.

The beat of drums, clash of cymbals, ringing of bells, dances before the idol of Durga, incense wafting in the air, all form an integral part of Durga Puja. Bangiya Samsad, an organisation formed by the Bengalis in the city, celebrated Ashtami at the Institution of Engineers, Dugri road.

Durga Puja is a festival with a series of rituals followed on each day of the puja. Starting from the day of the Mahalaya, the days of Sashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Dashami or Bijoya Dashami every day has its unique rituals to follow.

Ashtami is the day when Durga killed Mahishasura. Devotees recited the mantras and offered flowers to Goddess Durga (pushpanjali) and prayed for her blessings.

After the pushpanjali ceremony prasad was served to everyone present and they ended their fast. In the morning, the prasad of fruits was served, while in the afternoon the traditionally prepared khichdi and sabzi was distributed as parsad.

"Throughout the year we wait for Durga Puja. It is the time when people of entire community get together and celebrate with fervour," said Aloke Kr Bhadury, president of the Bangiya Samsad.

Meanwhile, Ashtami was celebrated today throughout the city. Heavy rush was witnessed in city temples, as people came in large numbers to pay obeisance to Goddess Durga.

Most people today ended their fast while a few would be ending their fast tomorrow on Ram Navmi.

"We will stay safe, if we live in harmony with nature. This is the essence of Navratras,” said head priest of Durga Mata Mandir.

Young girls had a feast time, as they were worshipped and “prasad” was served to them.

Navratras, meaning nine nights, are the auspicious days of Goddess Durga. Each day is dedicated to one of her nine forms or incarnations. The preparations for incoming winters are made by praying and fasting.



Burning of Stubble
Farmers seek alternative means to clear fields 
Mahesh Sharma

Mandi Ahmedgarh, October 15
Aware of harmful effects of burning of rice straw, farmers of the region have urged the state government to provide them alternative means to clear fields so that the next crop might be sowed without any delay.

Though machines have been fabricated for straw collection and straw incorporation in the field, a majority of small farmers are not in a position to purchase the same. Straw baler and straw harvester-cum-loader are required for collecting straw from the combine-harvested fields and cleaning the field for subsequent sowing by zero-till drill or traditional drill.

Farmers led by Zamhoori Kissan Sabha president Mohinder Singh Seelon said the machines should be available at the agricultural cooperative societies and members should be provided the facility free of cost. A non-member farmer should be allowed to use the equipment at a nominal rent, they said.

Baldev Singh Latala and Sikandar Singh Jartoli, office-bearers of the Punjab Kissan Sabha, said the government should encourage farmers to purchase the equipment on subsidised rates. Entrepreneurs should also be persuaded to develop low-cost machines, they added.



Youth fest ends at Cordia College
Our Correspondent

Khamano, October 15
A three-day Punjabi University Zonal Youth Festival concluded at Cordia College, Sanghol, today. Dr Gurmohan Singh Walia, directorate education, SGPC, was the chief guest.

He said only college education provides such opportunities that help in building self-confidence, art of presentation, art of interview, personality and over all growth of body, mind and soul.

One the final day of the fest, students participated in events like mime, skit and bhangra. Audience was overjoyed during the bhangra performances.

A number of famous artists of Punjab like Kaka Lishkarewala, Ranbir Rana, Veenu Dhillon and Jelly were present.

Results of the youth festival

Gidha: 1st Cordia College, Sanghol; bhangra: 1st Cordia College, Sanghol; mime: 1st Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib, skit: 1st BZSFS Khalse Girls College, Morinda; mimicry: 1st Desh Bhagat Institute of Management and Computer Science, Mandi Gobindgarh; one-act play: 1st Baba Zorawar Singh, Fateh Singh, Khalsa Girls College, Morinda; collage-making: 1st Guru Hargobind Sahib Khalsa College for Women, Hansali Khera; poster-making: 1st Patel Memorial National College Rajpura; cartooning: 1st Chandigarh College of Education, Landran; group shabad/bhajan Ist Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib; classical vocal Ist Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib; classical instrumental: Ist Patel Memorial College Rajpuira; classical instrumental (non-percussion): Ist Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib; classical dance: Ist Patel Memorial College Rajpura; on-the-spot painting: Ist Desh Bhagat College of Education, Mandi Gobindgarh; clay modelling: Ist Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib; rangoli: Ist Government College, Dera Bassi; overall winners: Ist Mata Gujri College, Fatehgarh Sahib; IInd Patel Memorial National College, Rajpura; IIIrd Baba Zoravar Singh Fateh Singh Khalsa Girls College, Morinda.



Karate master gives demo to students
Anshu Seth
Tribune News Service

Karate instructor Allen Woodman gives tips to a school student in Ludhiana on Friday.
Karate instructor Allen Woodman gives tips to a school student in Ludhiana on Friday. A Tribune photograph

Ludhiana, October 15
Allen Woodman, the 5th degree black belt in karate and often referred to as a “hero in reel and real life”, become an instant hit with students of Sacred Heart Convent School as he demonstrated rare yet authentic moves of the martial art developed in Japan.

Woodman was in the city to give a demonstration to school students during an event organised by the Indian Martial Arts Association whose national headquarters are located in Ludhiana.

The world acclaimed karate instructor stated martial arts instilled confidence, self-awareness, a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude and had gained popularity among women all over the world for being the best form of self defense.

Talking to The Tribune, Woodman, who said karate was his “lifeline”, stated: "Having learnt karate at the age of four from Walter Todd, I’ve devoted 40 years of my life to the art and every assignment was an action unlimited for me."

Having acted in 30 Hollywood movies, Woodman fondly remembers working with Jackie Chan and Arnold Swarzenegger. "The most memorable was ‘Rumble in the Bronx’ with Jackie Chan as we shared the passion for martial arts," he remarked.

Teaching hand-to-hand combat to US army soldiers for four years was exhilarating, he added.

“It’s good to see Indian students are getting training in martial arts in their schools, which is just the right approach as it is said that ‘if you want perfection catch them young’”, he said.

Committed to the cause of karate, Woodman has completed writing a book, ‘My Karate’, and is simultaneously working on two more books on the subject of martial arts.



Ignited Minds’ club for students

Doraha, October 15
In order to celebrate the 79th birth anniversary of the eminent scientist and former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, staff and students of Green Grove Public School (GGPS) inaugurated science club “Ignited Minds” on the school campus.

The school is also celebrating a science week, starting from today. The day began with a floral welcome to the school president JPS Jolly by the members of the club.

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam’s poster was also unveiled on the occasion. A special PowerPoint presentation, depicting Dr Abdul Kalam’s scientific journey, was presented by Jaspreet Singh Nagi, Sukhpal Singh Bajwa, Sukhpreet Singh and Sachin Verma of Class XII. Also, a slide show on stars and solar system was presented. — OC



From Schools

To celebrate the birthday of former President of India, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, BCM Senior Secondary School, Sector 32, Chandigarh road, organised a quiz contest “An Enlightened Vision”.

Kuldeep Singh, additional commissioner, Municipal Corporation, was the chief guest.

School principal DP Guleria said Dr Kalam was a genius, true patriot, who looks upon children, as harbingers of a new revolution.

A total of 11 teams participated and four were selected for the final round on the basis of a written test.

BCM Arya Model, Shastri Nagar, got the first prize, whereas BCM Senior Secondary School, Sector 32, Chandigarh road, and DAV Public School, BRS Nagar, got second and third prizes, respectively.

The winning team was given a running trophy, along with a cash prize of Rs 3,000 and first and second runners-up were given a cash prize of Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,500, respectively.

All participants were given certificates. The chief guest congratulated the winners and also gave tips to the students to avoid road accidents.

Dasehra celebrations

The festival of Dasehra was celebrated on the campus of GMT Public School today with fervour.

A function was held in which speeches were delivered on the importance of Navratri and Dasehra. A fancy dress contest was also held in which kids came dressed as Lord Rama, Lakshmana, Sita, Hanuman and Ravana.

A short act was also staged depicting the killing of Ravana. The best-attired student was given a prize by principal Amarjit Dhaliwal and wished students on the occasion and greeted them for Diwali.

Navratra celebrations

Lord's Divine Public School, Grewal Colony, Noorwala road, held a function to celebrate Navratra and Dasehra.

School headmistress Ritu Soni presided over. About 300 students took part in the function. A fancy dress competition of pre-primary classes was held in which students came dressed as various characters of Ramayana.

Meanwhile, Navratra celebrations and dandiya dance function was held at Everest Public Senior Secondary School, Moti Nagar.

Tiny tots dressed in beautiful dresses presented a charming show. All kids prayed to Lord Rama. Later, they enjoyed dandiya dance. Rajinder Sharma, president, Association of the Affiliated Schools, Punjab, encouraged the children and told them about the ancient Indian culture. He 
said: "We must celebrate Navratras with a spirit to save girl child, as we worship girls during the celebrations."

Principal Asha Sharma distributed sweets and fruits among students. She motivated them to participate in cultural activities.

Further, dandiya dance and garba were performed by the students.

Handwashing Day

Activity Club of St GDS Convent School organised Handwashing Day on the school premises today.

Teachers delivered speeches on the importance of the day in the morning assembly. Students were told about the advantages of handwashing.

They were told that they could prevent themselves from getting infected by a number of dangerous ailments.

Students were told that they should wash their hands after using the washroom at home or at any public place; before as well as after eating food; after touching pets, before touching young infants and children, before and after touching injured areas and changing the dressing of a wounded person, after collecting and throwing out garbage, after sneezing, coughing and blowing their nose.

Students took a pledge that they would wash their hands properly and also teach their family members to wash hands before and after some work so that they could lead a healthy life with a healthy family.

Director of the school, Manmohan Singh, and principal, Manisha Talwar, appreciated the initiative taken by the activity club to help students lead a healthy and hygienic life.

Shabad gayan

Gujranwala Guru Nanak Public School organised an inter-school shabad gayan competition here today in the memory of founder-president Giana Raghbir Singh, Gujranwala Khalsa Educational Council, Ludhiana.

A total of 15 teams of different schools participated. They recited shabads and created a divine atmosphere.

Dr Savita Uppal was the chief guest. She motivated the students to participate in such competitions in future also. President of Gujranwala Khalsa Educational Council and former Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, Prof Prithipal Singh Kapoor; general secretary Harmohinder Singh, vice-president Prithipal Singh Lumba, director GGN Institution Kuldeep Singh, Hardeep Singh, Kulwant Singh Dukhia, Gunwant Singh Dua were also present.

Harminder Kaur of Ramgarhia Girls' College, Reema Sharma of Khalsa College for Women, were the judges. First prize was bagged by a team from Guru Nanak International Public School, second prize went to a team of Baba Isher Singh Public School, while the third prize was bagged by a team of Guru Nanak Public School.

Guru Gobins Singh Public School won the consolation prize. Simramjit Singh of BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School was adjudged the best tabla player. Overall trophy went to the team of Guru Nanak International Public School.— TNS



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