L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Duty first: The men who make your Divali bright
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
As you celebrate the festival of lights on Tuesday, spare a thought for policemen, who ensure your safety, firemen, who ensure the day doesn't end in a tragedy or doctors, who are there round-the-clock to treat patients with burn injuries.

And it's not for the first time that they will be working on a holiday, but they have been doing it for the past many years on Divali's, selflessly.

While Divali is a time to celebrate, the fire brigade personnel of the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (MC) will have to remain vigilant and in the highest degree of preparedness on this day. These officials will miss out the festivities and will remain stationed at their respective fire stations throughout the night.

A driver with the fire brigade says when he joined the department, he knew that his job will require utmost devotion. “For residents, Divali means joy and festivities, but for us, it’s just another day on duty. In fact not only other day, but one of the busiest days for us because several fire incidents take place on Divali," he said.

Another fire department official said with several years of duty, his family has started realising that going on job is more important than celebrating the festival of lights at home. Not only the fire brigade officials, but the traffic police personnel will remain on toes during the festival. "We have to manage traffic, especially at night. Its not only traffic, but tipsy drivers are a big nuisance and we have to remain vigilant," said a traffic constable.

Inspector Beant Juneja, coordinator, PCR and traffic, said ever since the festival season has started, the policemen are on their toes. "Our personnel are performing duty till 11 pm daily and tomorrow being Divali, the staff will be on duty till late night," he added. 

Keep an eye on safety

  • Do not delay medical attention even for seemingly mild injuries. Mildly damaged areas can worsen and end in serious vision loss, even blindness
  • Stay calm, do not panic. Keep the child as calm as possible
  • Do not rub the eye. If any eye tissue is torn, rubbing might push out the eye's contents and cause more damage. Trying to rub the eye is an automatic response to pain, but pressure will only do more harm
  • Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing
  • Shield the eye from pressure. Tape or secure the bottom of a foam cup, milk carton or similar shield against the bones surrounding the eye: Brow, cheek and bridge of the nose
  • Avoid giving aspirin or ibuprofen (or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, called "N-SAIDS") to try to reduce the pain. It might increase bleeding. Acetaminophen is the over-the-counter drug of choice. Unfortunately, non-prescription painkillers will not be of much help. It is better to by-pass the drugstore or medicine cabinet and get to the emergency room right away
  • Do not apply ointment or any medication. It is probably not sterile. Also, ointments make the eye area slippery. This could slow the doctor's examination at a time when every second counts
  • Above all, do not let your child play with fireworks. Wear safety goggles (which may not prevent all injuries). Regular glasses will not prevent injury and may break or shatter if impacted by flying debris. Again, the best option is to attend a professional fireworks display

(Source: Punarjot Eye Bank Society)


Festivities fail to change fate of Clock Tower, Sidhwan Canal
Puneet Pal Singh Gill
Tribune News Service

Clocks have again stopped ticking on Clock Tower in Ludhiana.
Clocks have again stopped ticking on Clock Tower in Ludhiana. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 12
As the city is decked up for Divali, the festivities have failed to change the fate of more-than-a-century-old city landmark Clock Tower. It is again out of order and the clocks are not working. Besides, Sidhwan Canal, which passes through the city, remains choked with polythene bags and garbage.

The clocks of the 106-year-old Clock Tower have stopped ticking. Courtesy: Apathy and years of ignorance by the Ludhiana Municipal Corporation and the state tourism department. When The Tribune team visited Clock Tower at 4 pm, it was showing 2:45 pm.

A resident of the area rued that he still remembers how people used to set time of their watches looking at the clocks of the city’s oldest landmark. "But as the MC has turned a blind eye towards it, no person does it anymore because the clocks remain out of order most of the time," he added.

The fate of Sidhwan Canal is even poorer. Due to callous attitude of the departments concerned, canal is slowly going the Budha Nullah way. The canal, which could easily be developed into a tourist attraction or a place for evening walkers, is choked with polythene bags and garbage.

Presently, the flow of water in Sidhwan Canal has been closed for the construction of the Sidhwan Canal expressway (from Ferozepur Road till Doraha) and heaps of garbage, litter and polythene bags can be dumped in the canal.

When contacted, Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria said: "The cleanliness drive is already on and we are chalking out a comprehensive plan to give Clock Tower a facelift. City residents should have faith in us and we will not let them down." 



Deck-up your house with candles, diyas
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

People buy diyas and candles at a market in Ludhiana on Monday.
People buy diyas and candles at a market in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 12
Everybody wants to redecorate the house on Divali. Besides, presenting a bright new outlook, bright diyas, candles and other decorating items also lent a joyful feel of the festival to the house.

“Diwali is an occasion when we want everything to be placed in order and I re-decorate my home with articles related to the festival. Lighting candles and diyas is what I enjoy most about the festival,” said Komal Sudana, a homemaker from South City.

Rupali Jain, a vastu expert, said the direction of the puja room should be the North-East corner of a house and avoid using black colours in the interiors of the sacred place. She advised to spray salty water in every corner of your home. “It is believed that salt absorbs all the negativity from air, purifies the environment and help you be happy and content. Don't forget to wash your hands after spraying the water,” she said.

A brief description of some of the most popular Divali decorative Items.

Torans or door hangings

Torans, bandhanwars or door hangings are the most important of all Divali decorative items. These are used to adorn the main entrance door and that of the worship room to welcome Goddess Lakshmi. Divali torans are handcrafted and come embellished with embroidery, bells, beads, mirror, shells, image of Lord Ganesha etc.

Divali Diyas

Diyas are an integral part of the festival. The traditional Divali diyas or lamps have witnessed a makeover in past few years. Wax filled diyas are the very much in demand as they are more convenient to use than the conventional oil ones.


Aromatic and designer candles are an important Diwali decorative item. Besides, illuminating the house they present a calm and soothing atmosphere. Just as diyas, candles too have undergone a major transformation in terms of looks. Today they come in artistic shapes and innovative designs.

Decorative lamps

Divali lanterns and Lamps come in variety of shapes and material ranging from clay and paper to glass, brass and marble. They are considered to be an important Divali decorations item as they turn a room bright in an artistic manner.

Wall hangings

Wall hangings adorned with the image of Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmi are a popular Divali decorative item. Wall hangings with ethnic touch are preferred over others.


As Lakshmi-Ganesh puja is an intrinsic part of the Divali, Lakshmi-Ganesh sculptures and idols are a very important. These come in interesting designs in various sizes to suit the varied requirements of people. 



Last-minute shopping makes the difference
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
Divali has arrived, and people are scurrying to get the last-minute shopping done before the festival tomorrow.

Gifts, home décor and personal items are being bought for different reasons. Gifts all kinds of things from sweets, cakes, gadgets, home décor items fashion accessories to friends, acquaintances and loved ones are being gifted. "I bought nice flower vases and bouquets for my friends," says Vidhi, who was shopping at Sarabha Nagar. Manjinder, a resident, bought a set of high-end pens to gift his colleagues in the office.

"We have given gifts to our friends. But many are still pending. Divali is the only time to catch with some friends and loved ones. I get to meet some of my friends only on Divali," says Rashmi, a resident of Sarabha Nagar.

"I always purchase a few designer candles on Divali. The best of the candles are available only during this time of the year," according to Harpreet, another resident.For people like Rohit, who are just giving final touches to their newly spruced up home just before Divali, he says, "We are purchasing flowers and new carpets for our home.

It is difficult to take time out for shopping as here is no holiday before Divali," he says."We are 
purchasing lights, candles and diyas for Divali," says Raghav, another resident, who was shopping at Ghumar Mandi. "I have bought a set of Divali danglers especially for the day," 
he says.



Go green this Diwali, save environment
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Paper and cloth lanterns on display.
Paper and cloth lanterns on display. Photos: Inderjeet Verma

Ludhiana, November 12
The festive spirit during Divali is unmatchable. Now, the festival which used to be celebrated with humble diyas and home-made sweets has changed to noisy crackers, splurging and decorating houses with electric illuminations which has further burdened the environment.

There is no need to soften the festival spirit, all one has to do is make sure to keep the celebrations safe, sound and eco-friendly.

“We should use traditional diyas and save energy instead of opting for candles or electrical lamps. This indirectly helps potters who are facing tough competition from electrical products. We light up our homes with these hand-made lamps and paper lamps, which make our home uniquely different and beautiful,” said Gagan, supporting the cause of “Green Divali”.

Enjoy eco-friendly Divali

Organic gifts

Go for organic gift items. Herbal products, scented candles, flowers and ethnic decorative items are a safe bet. The gifts are apt for the season and are also eco-friendly.

Designer candles a hot favourite with residents.
Designer candles a hot favourite with residents.

Natural rangoli

Avoid chemical-based rangoli colours. Use natural colours and dyes like rice flour, turmeric powder, kumkum, lime, petals, coal and leaves. Keep looking around for different flowers that can be used for bringing more colour to your design.

Light lamps and candles

Divali is traditionally a celebration associated with lights. Do not rely on electric decorative lighting. Use earthen lamps and candles. You can now get a wide variety of decorative lamps and scented candles. These lamps, lit with oils and cotton wicks are not only eco-friendly, but also help in sustaining the trade of local potters and artisans.

Choose crackers carefully

Since everyone will not be willing to say no to firecrackers, so buy crackers that rely more on display and less on noise to create an effect. Instead of traditional crackers, opt for eco-friendly products that are made from recycled papers and the noise produced is within the decibel limits set by the Central Pollution Control Board. To lessen the use of crackers, colony or housing societies can pool in money to buy them and gather at a common place for the firework display.

Clean up the litter

Have a good time, but also be a responsible citizen. Pick up papers and metal wastes after the celebrations, and dispose them of safely.



Dry fruits, chocolates in demand
Being preferred over sweets, owners of sweets shops a worried lot 
Jaswant Shetra

Jagraon, November 12
This Divali, there has been a considerable decline in the number of customers visiting sweets shops. Some attribute it to the reports of use of adulterated khoya and spurious milk in preparations, while other feel it is a changing trend with majority of customers looking for alternatives to distribute among their relatives and friends.

A majority of people, particularly the educated ones, now prefer dry fruits, chocolates, branded sweet products, cakes, fruits and other gift packs.

As a result, most of the sweets shops wore a deserted look on the eve of Divali. Insecurity due to economical losses was clearly visible on the faces of the owners of these shops.

According to the owners, there has been a considerable decline in the customers during this season. The shopkeepers admit that there has been about 20 to 30 percent decline in the customers.

"Earlier, around half of our products were sold on the eve of Divali. This time around, however, there has been a substantial decline in the sales of sweets. If the sweets prepared by us are not sold by tomorrow, we are bound to face heavy financial losses," said Mohan Das, a local sweet shop owner.

Owners of sweets shops said that due to the use of substandard material and adulterated khoya by some of them, the whole industry is being adversely affected.

On the other hand, huge rush of customers was witnessed at the shops selling dry fruits, chocolates, branded sweet products, cakes and fruits. Taking advantage of the changing trend, the owners of these shops have been making good earnings. 



Cakes a better option
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
The way Divali is celebrated has been changing over the years. While crackers and sweets were enough to complete the celebratrions a few years ago, residents have now started opting for cakes, chocolates over traditional sweets.

"Traditional sweets are not liked by youngsters in particular, says 19-year-old Shruti. "My friends and I find cakes a much better option for ourselves as well as for gifting it to others," she adds.

Some of the residents say that as people are becoming health conscious, they have started going for other items instead.

"We know what happens to the sweet boxes that are gifted. They are generally given away as "Divali" to maids. Sweets are replete with sugar, and because people in general are becoming more health-conscious, they opt for other things", said Tripat Kaur, who bought cakes.

"There was no market for cakes a few years ago. But now, cakes are in demand on every occasion. They are being sold on Divali as well," says a bakery owner.

Another baker said earlier cakes were restricted to birthday or wedding anniversary celebrations, but now, cakes can be made on any theme to suit all occasions. And Divali being the biggest festival, there has been a surge in demand for the Divali cakes over the years," said a worker from a bakery outlet.



Grab stencil to make a perfect rangoli
Manav Mander
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
Want to make a rangoli pattern this Divali, but do not know the art? Don’t worry for all those who want to welcome guests with a rangoli at the doorsteps have a solution. All you have to do is buy a rangoli stencil from a nearby shop and the art of making rangoli is simplified. All you have to do is fill in the colours in the gap to get a beautiful and intricate rangoli design.

“Rangoli stencils are selling like hot cakes n the markets. It is the first time that such an item has arrived in the market and now all those who do not know the art of making rangoli can also try their hand at it,” said Subhash, a stationery shop owner, who has also kept rangoli stencils for the festival.

The bigger stencil is priced between Rs 70-75 while the smaller version is available at Rs 40-45. “It is such a great idea. I just have to fill the colours in the spaces given and my rangoli will be ready to welcome the guests. It is a rocking idea. I always wanted to make rangoli on Divali, but since I am not very good at art I cannot make one but this will be different,” said Rupam, who has bought four rangoli stencils.

Many people are coming to buy stencils.



Fruit prices head north on Divali eve
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
Vegetables prices stabilised after Eid celebrations, but on the Divali eve, prices of fruits are heading north, as people exchange fruits along with sweets during the festival.

“During the festival season the price of every commodity is high, and now that Divali is here, fruits are becoming expensive though prices of vegetables have stabilised. I hope the prices are normalised once the festivas season gets over,” said Apeksha, a homemaker from Rajguru Nagar.

“Since the demand for fruits has gone up, the prices have instantly risen. Once the festivities get over, the prices will once again become normal,” said Mianji, a fruit shop owner at Aggar Nagar.



Colourful programmes herald Divali at city schools
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
Divali was celebrated by students of Sri Guru Harkrishan Public School. Students from Nursery to Class II participated in the function. A colourful cultural programme was presented by the students. An inter-house dance competition was also held between the three houses -- Beas, Ravi and Sutlej. The students of different houses presented solo dance as well as group dance. Students of Classes I and II staged Ramlila. Purvi Mehta gave tips on how to celebrate a safe Divali and the precautions to be taken while bursting crackers. Principal Manjushaw Vinayak wished everyone a happy and safe Divali.

Apple Tree Preschool

Divali and Children’s Day were celebrated at Apple Tree Preschool, BRS Nagar, on Monday. The school was decorated with diyas and colourful buntings. The kids made rangolis and performed “Ganesha and Lakshmi Pooja”. The teachers enacted stories on Lord Rama and Jawahar Lal Nehru. The parents were told to use eco-friendly earthen lamps instead of decorative lights. Sweets and gifts were also distributed amongst children.

Bhartiya Vidiya Mandir

Students of Bhartiya Vidiya Mandir, Kitchlu Nagar, took part in various activities on the occasion of Children’s Day and Divali celebrations. For exploring the artistic and creative skills of the children many competitions were organised -- Diya and candle decoration for Class I, gift wrapping and poem recitation for Class II, paper reading on eco-friendly Divali and Chacha Nehru for Classes III to V and rangoli making for Classes VI and VII. Classes VIII to X participated in lantern making.

Ryan School

Sparkling diyas, dazzling lights and luminous candles heralded the festival of Divali at Ryan School. Students of Classes I and II showed their creative talents as they participated in a spectrum of activities. Diya making, clay designing, pot decoration, and rangoli making were the activities enjoyed by the students. Their art work was praised by 
the teachers.

Tagore Public School

Divali, the festival of lights, was celebrated with great pomp and show by the Kindergarten students at Tagore Public School, Aggar Nagar. Principal Suman Arora also joined the festivities and appreciated the students for their efforts. The school was decorated with diyas and candles. Display boards were decorated with material related to the festival. Students of LKG and UKG presented a bhajan. Students also presented dance items, recited rhymes and delivered speeches. All students pledged to celebrate an eco-friendly and noiseless Divali.

Don Bosco Global School

Don Bosco Global School celebrated Divali and Children’s Day on its premises on Monday. The celebrations started with “Lakshmi Pooja” in which the whole school took part. This was followed by speeches in Hindi and English highlighting the significance of the festival. Inter-house rangoli, card making and “thali” decoration competitions were also held. A DJ Party was also organised in which the students tapped their feet to different songs. The principal of the school, Vinay Sharma, motivated the students to celebrate a green Divali and say no to crackers.



Delay in paddy procurement dampens celebrations
Farmers stand guard to protect produce from crackers
Our Correspondent

Mandi Ahmedgarh, November 12
Divali celebrations have been dampened for the farmers who are waiting for the procurement of their produce in grain markets. They are upset that sweets prepared for their relatives and friends living in cities and towns on the occasion of Divali remained undelivered this year.

Commission agents and workers associated with cleaning and packing of paddy bags are no exception to the trend. They all had to remain on guard to protect their produce from sparks of crackers.

Baldev Singh of Lohgarh village said it was for the first time in the last two decades that he could not visit his sisters to present specially prepared sweets to their families. Sikandar Singh of Jartoli village said he had to purchase sweets from market, as his brother could not manage to send sweets and khoya prepared from the pure milk available at his native village. His brother had been waiting for the procurement of paddy at the local grain market.

Jasbir Singh and Kulwant Singh, residents of Chhapar and Barundi villages respectively, are among those who had to remain alert for protecting their produce from sparks emanating from bursting crackers and uncontrolled rockets. They even had a scuffle with a few youths who were adamant on bursting crackers near the heaps of paddy lying in open at the grain market on the Divali eve.

Avtar Krishan Sharma, a commission agent, said his staff, including accountants and workers handling the cleaning and packing of the paddy, was no exception to the trend. Delay in lifting of the procured commodity was cited as one of the major reasons behind the delay in the process.



from colleges
Students distribute gifts to needy

Ludhiana: The students, staff and heads of Gujranwala Guru Nanak Institute of Management & Technology (GGNIMT) celebrated Divali by distributing woolens, stationery items, sweets and other goodies to the underprivileged at Sikli Ghar and Bhai Baaj Singh Public School, Tajpur Road. Director Prof Kuldip Singh and principal Dr PS Khattra congratulated the staff and students for donating for a noble cause.

Eco-friendly Divali

Doraha: National Service Scheme department of Doraha Institute of Management & Technology pasted posters to sensitize college and school students about celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali. The other methods used to spread the message were social networking websites, SMSes and e-mails. In one of the messages on Facebook, a house sparrow can be seen appealing to the mankind to avoid using crackers. In another message on Facebook, the NSS department spread awareness about consumer rights. The message stated, "Pay for weight of sweets you buy, not for the weight of the cardboard box at the same price.” — TNS



martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha’s Birth Anniversary
Villagers protest against ‘vulgar’ programme
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
A protest rally was organised against the programme being organised on the birth anniversary of Martyr Kartar Singh Sarabha, a freedom fighter, on November 16. Protesters alleged that a vulgar programme was being organised to mark the day. Different social organizations gathered at Bhai Bala Chowk and burnt an effigy of “vulgarity". They said that the planned programme was an insult to the martyrs.

"Panchayat of Sarabha village has invited a singer who is known for singing vulgar songs. This would not be tolerated," a protester said. Representatives of various organisations including AK Maleri from Bhagat Singh Vichar Manch and Arun Kumar from Punjab Students’ Union said that Sarabha and other martyrs laid their lives for the independence, and the "vulgar programme" was an insult to the sacrifice they made.

Vulgar songs should be banned and strict action should be taken against the people singing such songs, another protestor said. They appealed to the administration to stop the programme from being organised. 



Raising a toast to kindness, too
Gurvinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, November 12
As India celebrates Divali, the world will be celebrating World Kindness Day. As the two coincide, some of the people in the city have chosen to celebrate the festival by celebrating the spirit of giving and donating.

Kamaljeet Kaur, warden at Bal Bhavan, said some people come and give gifts to children every Divali. "We are expecting them to come in the morning tomorrow," she said.

For Sarabjit, a resident of Dugri, a better way to celebrate Divali will be to help those in need. "Rather than throwing money on firecrackers, it will be better to gift it to the underprivileged," he says.

"It is sad that people waste so much money on fire-crackers, which in fact only harms the environment and raises noise pollution," said Abhishek, another resident. "It is always better to help those in need," he said.

"It is great that World Kindness Day and Divali are being celebrated on the same day, and we will celebrate the two together," said another resident.

Residents swear by the hospitality and kindness of the people here. "If Mumbai has been termed as one of the rudest cities, then Ludhiana will be one of the kindest cities in the country. People here don't refrain from extending help to those who need it," says Rajinder, a resident.



Ludhiana scan
Divali celebrations

Designer candles on sale in markets on the eve of Divali in Ludhiana.
Designer candles on sale in markets on the eve of Divali in Ludhiana. Photo: Inderjeet Verma

Divali was celebrated Gadri Baba Bhan Singh Memorial Park, Sunet (BRS Nagar) by Punarjot Eye Bank Society in association with Maha Sabha, Ludhiana. The function, "Laat Baldi Rave", was dedicated to Shaheed Kartar Singh Sarabha and other martyrs. On this occasion Mayor Harcharan Singh Gohalwaria appealed to the public to celebrate a "crackerless" Divali. The Mayor also appealed to them to plant two saplings.

Sweets distributed

Ludhiana branch of Asian Club celebrated Divali with mentally challenged children at Ekjot Viklang Bachyan Da School at BRS Nagar on Monday. Stationery, biscuits, pastries, sparklers, sweets and fruits were distributed among 80 students and other needy children. The club managing director Sukhminder Singh extended a warm welcome to the guests and members.

Call for green Divali

Punjab PWD Minister Sharanjit Singh Dhillon has offered Divali greetings to all the people in the state and Punjabis settled elsewhere in the country and abroad. Giving a call to the people to celebrate the festival of lights in a pollution-free way, he commented that this festival was common for all the religions. "Let us all celebrate this festival with love, mutual brotherhood and strengthen the bonds of communal amity," he said.

Vishwakarma Day

Vishwakarma Day will be celebrated at a state-level function at the Grain Market on Gill Road on Wednesday. According to Resham Singh Saggu, general secretary, Baba Vishwakarma International Foundation, 14 persons who had excelled in their respective fields, will be presented "Vishwakarma Rattan Award" at the function.

Book release

A book titled "Success Through Spirituality" was released during the 64th Sarab Hind Vidiak Conference on Monday. The book has been authored by Surinder Jeet Singh Pal. According to him, the book is about the laws of success on the basis of the religious texts of India. — TNS



Man held with 100-gm smack
Our Correspondent

Khanna, November 12
The Khanna police claims to have arrested the main supplier of smack in Smarala and Khanna and recovered 100 grams of contraband from his possession.

The accused has been identified as Sandeep Singh Seepa (24), alias Naepali, a resident of Shamgarh village near Samrala.

Talking to mediapersons, SSP, Khanna, Jatinder Singh Aulakh said a police party of Samrala spotted a youth at Dhilwan village. On suspicion, the police chased him and nabbed him with 100 gm of smack. The police has registered a case under the relevant sections of the NDPS Act.

The SSP revealed that during preliminary investigation, they came to know that he was the main supplier of smack in the periphery and the police was trying to establish his links in the area and also about his sources from where he obtained the contraband. The SSP said the market value of the recovered smack was about Rs 10 lakh.

Police nabs proclaimed offender

Dehlon: The local police has arrested two persons including a proclaimed offender and a drug peddler. 18.5 kg of poppy husk and a motorcycle used in the crime was seized from the possession of the peddler.

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Gill, Gurpreet Singh Sikand informed that a police party supervised by SHO, Dehlon, Amandeep Singh Brar had nabbed Klutter Singh of Narangwal Kalan village who had been declared a proclaimed offender in connection with an FIR registered against him on February 8 in 2007.

In another case, Navi Deen alias Ravi of Tibba village was arrested at a check post near Khanpur under supervision of SI Harjit Singh. A plastic bag containing 18.5 kg of poppy husk and a motorcycle were seized.



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