Page 1

23-29 May 2014

Vol. 3 No. 40  Pages 24  ` 10

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014

Save the Wetlands!

PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

A

lthough plans for water harvesting have been made – and haphazardly executed - several times, the slow descent of the City towards desertification is continuing unabated. While expert agencies and NGOs have warned that Gurgaon could witness empty aquifers by 2030, the City has not even paused in its relentlessly march towards ‘urbanisation’. Presently barely half of the City’s water requirement is supplied by the govt. agencies; the rest is pumped out in privileged private builder colonies or by the ‘water mafia’ – which then supplies water in tankers, at exorbitant prices, to various ‘customers’, including those in the ‘unauthorised’ colonies.

It is estimated that there are more than 25,000 borewells in Gurgaon. A study by CSE says that if the current rate of population increase continues, groundwater could be scarce in many areas even by 2020. A micro level study by Dr. Gauhar Mehmood (an expert in Hydrology at Jamia Millia Islamia) has revealed that net availability of groundwater in Gurgaon is about 20,215.12 hectare metres, while the usage is 33,055.33 hectare metres. A major portion of this excess is being consumed ‘illegally’. To handle this crisis, and to ensure that Gurgaon does not become another Fatehpur Sikri, the experts suggest a threepronged strategy: recycling of water, rainwater harvesting and revival of traditional village ponds and water bodies. At present Gurgaon generates around

500 million litres of wastewater, but the current capacity for treating it is a mere 125 to 150 million litres; the rest therefore just goes (untreated) through various nullahs into the Najafgarh Drain. Rajesh Yadav, who has been working closely with many NGOs, says that this water could be sold to builders for construction, and also reused in gardening, washing of cars and other chores - which would also save precious potable water. He says that the government should make it compulsory that only recycled water can be used for such purposes. The uncontrolled construction and real estate expansion has also impinged on the natural drains in the City, and stormwater drains that were meant to carry the rainwater are now full of sewage. Chand Ram, who lives close to the Dhanwapur Sewage Treatment Plant, says that the Plant is barely functional as power cuts

are rampant, and the capacity is also limited. Sewage at this Plant is treated at a bare minimum level; it is then allowed to stay in the ponds for a day or two before being released. When random samples of the wastewater treated by the Plant were checked, it was found that it contained a heavy contamination of pollutants, beyond the municipal norms. Dr. Gauhar Mehmood, who developed a Rainwater Harvesting Master Plan for the City in collaboration with MCG, tells Friday Gurgaon that unless the government and civil society come together and work in one clear direction, the process of water depletion (and consequent desertification) cannot be stopped. "There is need to have a common strategy for all the colonies in Gurgaon – by HUDA, MCG, HSIIDC and the private developers. Contd on p 8-9 

Some change...and more of the same MCG and Dept. of Town & Country Planning (TCP) are finally sending notices and ultimatums to private builders for providing the required civic facilities, amenities and services in their areas. They are reportedly asking for video clips, as ‘proof’. The builders (as also HUDA/TCP) have already collected the funds for External and Internal Development years ago. This time it is the DC who is promising to co-ordinate and take action. He has reportedly given an ultimatum of June 30th for the repair and regular maintenance of all colony roads and parks. TCP Dept. has also been asked to release the security funds of these builders for this purpose, in case the builders do not themselves take action urgently. It would be appropriate for the DC to also give an ultimatum to HUDA for areas ‘developed’ by it, none of which have been handed over to the MCG to date. 80 citizens representing various RWAs in the City had recently met senior officials of MCG and HUDA. The DC has asked the various RWAs to attend a Grievance Redressal Committee meeting on May 29 - to be chaired by the

DC, with the Senior Town Planner in attendance. Is this another delaying tactic? Ab ki baar they better be serious…nahin to inke bure din aane waale hain. In a separate (normal) case of ‘high-handedness’, taking advantage of the Administration being ‘busy’ with the elections, rampant new construction has taken place in the restricted IAF Ammunition Depot area. Just what goes on in this City? The sheer audacity, the brazenness, is unbelievable! Do the orders of a High Court have no meaning – for both the citizens and the State? This Administration, and its State govt, is in contempt of multiple violations of High Court judgements – from construction in the Aravallis to extracting ground water for construction. It is now in violation of residents’ rights by allowing builders to continue to change the development plans of colonies and to retain charge of them at will…and for ever. Someone needs to now go to jail for such contempt!


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23-29 May 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–40  23-29 May 2014

Editor:

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Circulation Execs.:

Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Sr. Exec Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar

Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin:

Real Estate...

Dominant DLF Docked Realty major DLF suffered a major setback when the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) recently held that the Company was guilty of abusing its market dominance in the case of three residential complexes – viz. Belaire, Park Place and Magnolias. COMPAT upheld the Rs 630 crores penalty that had been levied by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), adding a 9 per cent interest. This is the first major CCI ruling that has been upheld by the Tribunal. While DLF said that it would appeal against the order in the Supreme Court, the buyers and their RWAs have warmly welcomed the decision. The COMPAT order said that the CCI order as well as its judgement would help ameliorate the conditions of all the buyers; and that if they, as customers, are being exploited, then the builder cannot expect any help from the State. COMPAT also said that, being the dominant player and market leader, DLF had a special responsibility to follow the law in letter

...P 18

Shiv Shankar Jha

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib

Bon Vivant... Acharya’s Cleopatra

Civic/Social... A whiff of change?

Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails:

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With State elections due in Haryana latest by October, and the Congress facing a debacle in the Lok Sabha, the State government finally seems to have realised the importance of the general public - as they, and not the ‘favourite’ builders, now hold their future on their fingertips. The State government has suddenly started allowed the cracking of the whip on erring builders, who till now were beyond the calling

Acharya (Guru and teacher) Sreedhara, the revered Dance Guru, trudged along the narrow path leading to the International Academy of Classical Dances in upscale Manhattan. He had been invited to New York by the Academy’s Indian-origin Director, Kesava Iyengar, to choreograph an Indian Classical Dance project, ‘The Mudras of Cleopatra’, based on Greek History. The disposition of his pencil-thin silhouette ...P 14 betrayed Acharya’s

Spritual... Being Ascetic

Wellness... The Rainbow Treatment

...P 07

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Since medieval times there have been many who fled from their careers and worldly pleasures into jungles, mountains and ashrams, thinking that spirituality was only to be found in these isolated places. Most soon discovered that they could not escape from their thoughts, since they carried their psychological baggage with them. Their past, which was supposedly forsaken, was constantly intruding upon their minds

Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd., Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar,

The increasing global burden of Chronic Diseases (also called NonCommunicable Diseases) merits urgent attention. According to the WHO Global Status 2010 Report, these diseases are the biggest cause of death worldwide responsible for nearly 40 million deaths annually. As many as one in four of these deaths are of people below 60 years – which also means that they are largely preventable.

...P 17

...P 15

NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

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C oming U p

23-29 May 2014

Delhi's

Ritu Gupta Featuring a collection of art works Visual Expressions... Date: May 21- June 5, 2014 Venue: Hotel Galaxy Shopping & Spa, NH8, Sector 15, Gurgaon

Art for Soul NIFA (National Institute of Fine Arts) presents its Annual Art Exhibition. Renu Khera, the Curator, has selected the works of 20 bright students of the Academy - including the works of under-privileged kids. Inauguration by: Katherine Sullivan A renowned artist from New York Date: 23rd May 2014 Time: 4:00 pm Exhibition Date: May 23 to 25 Time: 11 am to 8 pm Venue: NIFA, 1012, DLF Phase IV, near Galleria Market Yoga Sutra for Mom & Kids Date: May 23 Time: 10.30am to 11.45am Venue: Goodricke Teapot, South Point Mall, 2nd Floor, Golf Course Road Age Group for kids : 8 to 12 years  Registration Fee: Rs 750 (including high tea and snacks) The Session will be facilitated by Yoga & Wellness Coach Ms. Apoorva Jalan RSVP Mamta Dhingra 9818000668,  Medha Gupta 9899326576 Holistic Teachers making Learning Fun  Raga Ratnam focuses on giving kids a healthy and creative Summer Vacation. Smart parents know that too much of digital can alienate children from the real world and erode their sense of belongingness.  Observing and learning from nature and expressing through different mediums of Art and Dance, kids can gather beautiful experiences and make some new friends. Venue: Raga Ratnam, Sector 14 Events  Date: Food Meditation Workshop Season 2 - May 31 and June 1 Pottery Special Workshop Season 1- May 10 & 11 Raga Creative Dance Workshop  - May 12 to June 12 Art and Craft Special (focused on recycling - Nature special) - May 17 & 18   Grandparents Forum - June 6 & 13

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National Art Icons Exhibition “ART4 FORTUNE 2014” Date: May 27-29, 2014 A Rare Glimpse of Unique Creations by 100 Art Icons You are cordially invited to attend the inaugural ceremony Chief Guest: Padamshree Shri Ram V. Sutar, World Renowned Sculptor, President AIFACS Launching of “Art 4 Fortune Mission”& Distribution of Awards for Excellence AIFACS, 1- Rafi Marg, New Delhi at 2:15 pm, (Tuesday) May 27, 2014

Time Heals What Reason Cannot Sanjeev Verma Date: May 23- June 23, 2014 Venue: Gallery Five Art Consultants M-64, Old MB Road, Lado Sarai, New Delhi-30

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23-29 May 2014

H appenings PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he Gurgaon chapter of the IIM Ahmedabad Alumni, in collaboration with the Alumni Cell of the Institute, organised Synchrony 2014 in the Millennium City. More than a hundred and fifty students, mainly from the new (starting this year – the ‘tuchchas’) and one year old (interning after 1 year – the ‘fuchchas’) batches of the Institute attended this event. The objective of Synchrony is to ensure that the first year students from the Institute get an opportunity to meet and interact with Alumni. Salil Agarwal, an IIMA Alumni based in Gurgaon, and a key organiser of the event, said that the idea is that the present and past students are able to bond with each other, to network, and get to know about the latest in the industry from some of the top pro-

Fuchchas & Tuchchas & a few 'wiser' men

fessionals who have passed out from the Institute. “In my view, meeting people, particularly the 31,000 strong IIM community, is very important as it can help a student in getting guidance and even mentorship,” he added. The students and alumni had come from across the NCR to Vapour, Megacity Mall, MG Road – which was made exclusive for them. They bonded over music, drinks and food, and discussed their future. Tanzeel Ahmed, co-ordinator of the IIMA Alumni Cell, told Friday Gurgaon that their objective is to keep people involved with the Institute, and strengthen the bonds between students and alumni. This year the Synchrony meets are being organised across Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Kolkata, Pune, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and London. Tanzeel added that this time they have also invited the students who are planning to join IIMA in June 2014. Palak

Jain, an alumnus who works with DFID, said that she wanted to meet old friends and also interact with the new joinees. «These events help to relive your times at the Institute and are a great way to connect with people,» she said. A number of students also said that the alumni in Gurgaon were more connected, and interacted more often, as compared to other cities. Agarwal said that the alumni bond at IIMA is so strong that students who passed out in the seventies also find time to come to these events. Bharat Kumar, who is joining IIMA this year, said that he had come to know about the experiences of the former students, and of what to expect in the next two years. Ayush Sharma, another fresher, said that meeting the seniors is very inspirational, as many of them have become top leaders. «We have been told how the Institute shapes your personality, and we are waiting for the session to start,» he quipped.  While the

juniors were excited, the ‘elder’ alumni were also quite happy moving around in the crowd talking to the youngsters, and telling them about their experiences in life. Om Manchanda, CEO, Dr Lal Pathlabs, whose company also sponsored the event, said that such events provide an excellent opportunity to meet new students, and also spend time with old friends. As far as current crop of students is concerned, Manchanda said that they seemed very focused, and knew what they wanted to do. “While the students today are very career and status conscious, they need to spend some good time learning the ropes,” he added. Most of the seniors suggested that it is important to develop an ability to think, to get along with people, and to try to succeed without ‘compromising’. Geeta Jain, 1990 batch, said that stability is important, and job-hopping will not prove very useful always. “The IIMA brand gives you a jumpstart, but eventually every one needs to build a personal brand - with hard work and dedication. We need to prove ourselves in both our professional and personal lives,” she said. Agarwal said that apart from this yearly event, the IIM Gurgaon chapter organises a monthly get together, which was started for IIMA alumni in Dec 2008. The alumni have met on the first Friday of every month. Since Jan 2012 it has been opened to alumni of all IIMs. “About 700 alumni have attended this event once or more. Every month we have 30 to 70 alumni attend the event. It offers a great opportunity to meet likeminded people and to network,” he said. u


H appenings

23-29 May 2014

Managing the New Waste

P

LUSS Polymers, a material research and manufacturing company, in association with Advit Foundation, arranged an educational session on Electronic Waste (e-Waste) Management - to spread awareness about the impact of e-Waste on our health and environment and to emphasise the need for its safe disposal. This Session was held at the Kunskapsskolan School. After the Session, collection bins were installed on every floor of the School. 

05

Sankalp 2014

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eetesh Mishra performed along with 25 children from underprivileged families. Flute accompaniment, Pravar Tandon; Tabla accompaniment, Jaggannath Roy; Harmonium, Parthasarathi Pathak. Hindustani Classical Music performance at Epicentre

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23-29 May 2014

THE WEEK THAT WAS  A fine of Rs 630 crores imposed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) on DLF, in 2011, for ‘monopolistic’ practices, has been upheld by the Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) - with an added 9% interest. The amount is to be paid in 60 days. DLF has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court. The impacted residents, who had filed the case, say that justice may be delayed but will not be denied. They are planning to move for a separate compensation claim.  The Court of Highway Administration asks HUDA to remove an ‘unauthorised occupation’ on the Highway near the defunct toll plaza, adjoining Ambience Mall, within 7 days, on a complaint by Dr (Col) Subhash Chandra Talwar.  A Class 10 student hangs herself, in Ward 10; a man hangs himself, in Saraswati Vihar; a 21-year-old employee working at an auto major in Manesar hangs himself, in Rajendra Park.  A man strangles his wife to death, in Sushant Lok; he had been unemployed for a month.  A woman sets herself on fire near MDI Chowk.  4 people (1 woman) die at a construction site.  A 24-year-old DLF II resident (fashion designer) accuses her friend of rape; a 25-year-old is held for molesting an 8-yearold in an MG Road mall; a security guard in DLF II is arrested for raping his 12-yeear-old niece over a period of 3 years.  A person who raped gets a 5-year-old in Sector 56 in November 2013 is sentenced to a life term in prison; another person who raped a 14-year-old girl in 2007 gets a 7 year jail term.  A man is arrested for molesting a woman outside her home near Railway Road.  A man who is freed from jail threatens the same person again.

 3 youths are held for beating up 2 policemen with clubs, near Begumpur Khatola; they are arrested; 1 policeman is in a serious condition.  A person accused of supplying illegal arms across NCR is arrested in the City.  The Police Commissioner warns private security agencies to operate as per laid down rules and to ensure strict verification of guards and arms licences. Three has been a sudden increase in robberies lately.  7 people are arrested when IPL betting rackets are busted in Sec 40 and Palam Vihar.  An accountant of DHBVN commits a fraud of over Rs 1 crore by misappropriating the PF deposits of employees.  A Rs 60,000 ATM fraud case is reported; an MNC executive is duped of Rs 60,000 in an ATM fraud.  Three women rob and a man and take his gold chain; they warn him that they would file a molestation case against him if he reports.

 SC Talwar petitions the Highway Administration (NHAI) over encroachment of the service lane near Ambience Mall.  Gurgaon police ask MCG to set up 18 new bus shelters and 32 road-signs.  Sector 9A residents object to the hazards caused by the nearby Dhanwapur Sewage treatment Plant and want it shifted.  2 unauthorised swimming pools, running in private schools, are sealed.  A HUDA demolition team with police escort is not allowed to demolish a cremation ground at Carterpuri Village.  20 contractors and masons, who were constructing at the restricted area near the Ammunition Depot, have been arrested.  Some identified filling stations and private establishments along the e-way have been accused by NHAI of encroachment.  DHBVN promises to put up ‘smart meters’ (for power) by year-end.  DLF City RWA completes a 3-tier security system for Phases 1 to 4 – including hundreds of guards, CCTVs and a Quick Response Team (QRT).  The prepaid auto booths are proving helpful in helping passengers trace their missing luggage.  Monkeys attack and bite a woman in Sector 23.  A leopard is spotted on the hills near Ghata Village.

 Many parts of the City go without power on Wednesday due to a fire at a 66KV sub-station.  Residents of 44 identified (unauthorized) colonies will now get civic services. New building plans for these areas will also now be allowed.  10 new substations for the Gurgaon II - the new sectors (58 Friday Gurgaon is also available at: to115) of Gurgaon - get the nod, Indian Oil Petrol Pump (Opp. Neelkanth Hospital, M.G. Road) with land being allocated by Paritosh Book Stall (Sikanderpur Metro Station) HUDA. The add-on capacity would C.S.P. - Kanchan (Opp. Vyapar Kendra - C Block Sushant Lok-1) be 1200MVA (versus 2000MVA C.S.P. - Swamy (Sector-14 Market, Near Mother Dairy) currently). A total of 37 substations Deepak Book Stand (Bus Stand) have been planned for Gurgaon Nagpal News Agency (Bus Stand) II – consisting of both 33KV and C.S.P. - Madan (New Railway Road) 220KV gas-insulated technology. Jain Book Stall (New Railway Road)  Plans for 3 underpasses have Rojgar Point Book Stall (New Railway Road) been cleared – at Rajiv Chowk, C.S.P. - Sector-14 Market (Near Mother Dairy) Signature Towers and IFFCO C.S.P. - Dharampal (Sohna Chowk) Chowk; they are expected to come Karan Book Stall (Railway Station) up by June 2016. Shashi (Fuwara Chowk) Raw (Sohna Chowk)

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23-29 May 2014

C ivic/S ocial

07

A whiff of change?

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

W

ith State elections due in Haryana latest by October, and the Congress facing a debacle in the Lok Sabha, the State government finally seems to have realised the importance of the general public - as they, and not the ‘favourite’ builders, now hold their future on their fingertips. The State government has suddenly started allowed the cracking of the whip on erring builders, who till now were beyond the calling of any official in the City. The Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner (DC) has formed a Grievance Redressal Committee at the District level, for alleviating the problems faced by residents in various colonies. The RWAs have been asked to attend the first Meeting on May 29. This decision comes in the wake of the High Court asking for a status report on the civic and social facilities and amenities in various colonies of the City, versus what the builders were to deliver as per sanctioned plans. DC Shekhar Vidyarthi, during a public meeting, has that he is acting on instructions from Chandigarh. Let alone the builders, even HUDA, MCG and TCP are not used to such scrutiny. A Committee, headed by the DC himself, with Senior Town Planner R K Singh as the member secretary, would look into the issues raised by the RWAs/ citizens. At the first meeting the problems, deficiencies and issues concerning Ardee City would be looked into. The RWAs have apprised the DC that most developers have got their building plans approved but have not got (or deliberately have not taken) the Occupation Certificate, because they have made zoning violations and built covered area beyond the specified limit. Also, huge govt dues are outstanding against various developers, resulting in heavy losses to the State exchequer. The Town & Country Planning (TCP) department allegedly accords approval of building plans/renewals even after the date of expiry of the licences. Builders, on their part, allegedly give possession of built-up units to buyers to reside in, without even obtaining ‘part completion’ certificates, for completing internal development works. The builders’ accounts are

never inspected by the Director, or any other officer authorised by him, under the provisions of Section 6 of Act 1975. In a nutshell, the RWAs alleged that the TCP department and the builders connive with each other and the builder is let off even after committing cognizable offences. Why is the provision of Section 10 of Act 1975 not invoked against the erring developers, they asked? They further raised the point that community buildings such as community centres, clubs, dispensaries, post offices, crèches, health centres and schools have not been constructed as per agreements, and as per provisions of Section 3(3)(a)(iv) of the Act of 1975. Both South City I & 2 have been deprived of community centres, and commercial clubs have been constructed in their place. Commander Dharamvir Yadav, Vice President, Jafra, said that the builders were required to provide adequate power infrastructure in their colonies, but their failure to do so has led to a situation where DHBVN has stopped releasing new connections to these colonies. The developers have caused immense agony and frustration among residents. "The developers have sold plots and dwelling units without ensuring adequate electrical infrastructure in their colonies and have failed to comply with provisions of the Electricity Act 2003, " asserted Yadav. The DC was told that this matter has reached the Punjab and Haryana High Court, which has issued notice to sixteen colonisers to reply to the DHBVN demand to either deposit Rs 1,465 crores or develop the required substations. The next date of hearing is July 21. The amount dues from various colonisers, in crores, is: Unitech Ltd (392.71), Sheetal International (Mayfield Gardens) (85.32), Ansal Buildwell (113.07), Vatika Ltd (68.13), Vipul Infrastructure (102.15), Ansal Properties (249.8), Sun City (98.39), Ardee City (71.89), JMD Ltd (19.00), Malibu Estate (22.93), Uppal Housing (20.70), Omaxe Ltd (17.51), Sarswati Kunj (90.21), Raheja Developers (19.79), BPTP (18.11) and Parvasnath Realtors (75.42). RS Rathee of the Gurgaon Citizens Council (GCC) told the DC that an entire list of deficiencies in the internal and external works has been prepared by the RWAs, and this should be looked into seriously. Rathee told the officials that works such as roads, power infrastructure, STP plants,

common areas and facilities and drainage systems were missing or partially constructed in many colonies. He also said that they have filed a case in the High Court pertaining to power and other infrastructure, but there were several related issues that could be resolved by the Administration. He asked the DC to call the operational officers of the builders, as many times only the liaison officers came to the meetings and knew little about the operational details. The RWAs also expressed apprehension that the builders will somehow manage to get the Completion Certificates without completing the works as mentioned in the Service Estimates for the colony - which would defeat the very purpose of their agitation. "We are apprehensive that, after taking the Completion Certificates (without completing the civic work), the builders will say that they are now handing over the colony to MCG," said Arvind Kumar, President Ardee city RWA. The meeting also witnessed heated exchanges between RWA representatives and TCP officials, particularly when questions were raised on the working of the Department. The DC had to intervene a number of times, and he told the RWA members to discuss the matter with him rather than them. The members accused the TCP department of acting in collusion with the builders, and alleged that they had never received any co-operation from the officials. Brij Mohan Mehta, President of the RWA for the plot holders of DLF Phase 4, said that the colonisers violate the provisions of the statutes and Acts, and the conditions of licences, with impunity - without any fear of prosecution. "We are facing problems because of possession delays, non-completion of internal development works, work commencing without a sanction of the project, increases of FARs mid-way and deviations of building plans. Part Completion and Occupation Certificates are not being taken, or issued," said Mehta. The coordination and co-operation among various law enforcing govt agencies is also poor, resulting in delays and many avoidable mistakes. The ‘big scam’ is that allegedly no coloniser has obtained a Completion Certificate for any of the colonies, even after

a lapse of about 30 years from the grant of licences! The DC asked the representatives to each list their ten most important grievances. He will seek a reply from the concerned builders. In the meeting on 29th May, both the RWAs and the builders would be called, along with the officers of the concerned Administration departments. After hearing all

the stakeholders, some decisions will taken on the spot and efforts will be made to provide relief to the residents. A report will be sent to the State government, the DC assured. During the meeting Vidyarthi also directed the STP R K Singh to get the road to Vyapar Kendra near Gold Souk in Sushant Lok constructed by the concerned builder. A shape of things to come?

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23-29 May 2014

C over S tory

Save the Wetlands!

 Contd from p 1 If they can save the rainwater effectively, they should be able to meet 30 per cent of the City's water needs; for the balance they need to look at other measures, such as wastewater recycling and augmentation of the canal water supply," he says. He suggests that the setting up of Sewage Treatment Plants in apartment complexes, sector and ward wise; this recycled water should be used for gardening, washing and construction. “Currently only 17 per cent is recycled; it can be taken to 90 per cent,” he says. He also observes that the canal that brings water to Gurgaon should be concretised, as otherwise a large amount of water is lost during transmission. The Centre for Science and Environment (with experts like Nitya Jacob) has recommended a micro-level plan that focuses on: the recycle

the City can meet 50 per cent of its water requirement and not have to resort to boring for groundwater. The regular treatment of the sewage flowing in the Badshahpur Drain would also help in reducing the spread of disease and the foul smell, due to a stagnant sewage today. The Badshahpur Jheel needs to be revived and rebuilt, and wetlands around it have to be development and maintained. This would help would improve ecological diversity. The pond in Khandsa Village also needs t o be revived. It is 3.5 km downstream from the Behrampur Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) and has an area of about 2,500 square metres. The objective is to intercept the sewage at Khandsa and clean the water through natural means. This pond needs to be deepened. The final step is to construct another wetland in Budhera Village, where the water would once again be treated biologically. The water body at Budhera needs to be revived and deepened, so that a

The MCG Commissioner Praveen Kumar has told Friday Gurgaon that they have embarked on a plan to boost rainwater harvesting, and have built more than 4,000 half-crescent structures in the MCG areas, forests and green belts, as suggested by an American expert. In additon, the MCG has tied up with expert agencies to revive the Sukhrali and Nathupur ponds. "The best thing that we have done is to build large check dams in the City, for saving water naturally. This is going to boost the water table. Kumar was however non-committal on the the high profile Rain Water Harvesting Master Plan that the MCG had commissioned.

and reuse of sewage from the Badshahpur Drain; largescale rainwater harvesting; creation of reserved areas for water conservation; and protection of the Ghata Jheel. Their proposal states that wastewater recycling can help the City save 55 million litres of water every day; the restoration of Ghata Jheel, spread over 12 hectares, can create a water storage potential of 12 billion litres if the catchment area is properly treated and encroachments are removed; the revival of village ponds could lead to a harvesting of 90 million litres. This way

wetland could be created around it. If these steps are taken, there would be less pressure on the treatment plants, with the quality of water going into them being of far better quality. Sushmita Sen Gupta, an expert with CSE, says that they have teamed up with MCG to identify the most important areas. "We have visited the Nathupur and Sukhrali ponds with the MCG officials, and would be working on reviving these water bodies," she says. The comprehensive plan developed by CSE seems to be on the back burner. Mehmood says that despite having developed

a rainwater harvesting master plan, no government agency or any other body has ever called him or his team for taking it forward. "There is no vision, no plan and no worthwhile strategy - except when interventions and bans come from the courts," he rues. Activists like Sharad Goel, who have been fighting for the revival of traditional village ponds, say that government authorities have failed to act in saving these structures. “There are 35 village ponds under MCG jurisdiction; while many have become defunct, some

The current status of rainwater harvesting is merely 25 per cent, and that too is not organised. The MCG, based on Mehmood's recommendation, has built 84 structures out of the 264 that were proposed. can still be revived. I have filed a petition in the High Court to save the Sukhrali Pond. This can happen if the rainwater drain from NH 8 is connected to it. Despite the Court’s directions, MCG is not ready to do this and it has taken refuge in a loophole,” he says. Goel adds that there are more than 100 ponds and water bodies that can be saved. The most prominent one is the Ghata Jheel, which can play an important role in the resurgence of the water table under the City. This Jheel, in Sector 58, is historic, and water from the Aravallis used to collect here. However, residential complexes in the area have cut off its feeder channels. Goel says that if this Jheel is revived it can act as a sponge, and thereby prevent waterlogging and flooding in the monsoon. Rainwater will not be wasted. However, ‘development’ is in full swing in these new sectors, as per the Master Plans. To save the Jheel, Anil Sehrawat, who has been watching it since childhood, says that the government should ban construction around it, deepen the water channels and the Jheel, and make a 10 feet green area around it. The nullah connecting to the Jheel can also be widened, so that excess water can be accommodated in it. There are also eight major ‘johads’ in Gurgaon - in Sikanderpur, Sukhrali, Samaspur and Kanhai. The Sikanderpur one has a large watershed area, and it should be deepened and cleaned, and its feeder channels should be revived. The sludge and weeds need to be removed and replaced with natural grass and plants, which will help clean the water naturally. The setting up of a mini-STP would further boost its quality of water. Trees and shrubs should be planted around it, to make it a simple bio-diversity zone. Parvesh, a resident of the area, says, “We need to convince the people of the benefits of saving the ponds,” he asserts.

Private builders who have built condominiums around these villages also need to help revive such traditional water bodies in the City. Salahudin Saiphy, an expert with Gurgaonbased IRRAD, says that there is need to refocus on Rainwater Harvesting, and a dedicated cell should be set up in both HUDA and MCG. "Like Chennai and Indore, this City also needs to have dedicated information desks that would provide technical information, cost estimates and any other help related to Rainwater Harvesting. Right now neither the government nor the citizens know the actual status, or what is happening and what can be done," opines Saiphy. While the environmentalists are rooting for the revival of ponds and setting up of wetlands, urban experts like Bhawani Shanker Tripathy suggest that water management and supply should be given solely to MCG. “We need to have continuous water audits, to assess the need and usage by domestic, industrial and commercial (including developers) users. A comprehensive water security plan needs to be developed for the next 50 years, and revised every 5 years,” he adds. He also suggests that since mandatory water harvesting in individual homes is not serving its purpose, it should be replaced with communitybased water harvesting structures. The proponents of water harvesting agree that Gurgaon should adopt a sector wise approach. Right now tihs is driven by individual organisations like SURGE, which recently inaugurated its 125th. rainwater harvesting well in DLF Phase 3. Darshan Singh, who is the driving force behind this initiative, says that these have helped in reducing the waterlogging in DLF to a great extent, and also helped boost the water table. He wants these to be spread across Gurgaon. Experts and concerned citizens say that it is time that the residents of this City stop discussing the problems sitting in their drawing rooms air-conditioned by diesel generators, and watering their lawns using ground water. It’s time to not just be residents, but to feel and act as concerned citizens of this City. u


23-29 May 2014

C over S tory

09

PRAKHAR PANDEY


10 { Maj. Gen. R.K. Kaushal (Retd.) }

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fter a very long and contentious election campaign, the BJP-led NDA alliance has won a decisive victory. Despite the national priorities projected by various parties to allure the voters, there has been no informed debate on internal security and the national defence. Even in the postelection scenario no national channel has taken this up which speaks volumes of our strategic culture. The Modi government has to contend with internal insurgencies as well as conventional threats from the adversaries on our borders, on priority. Let us take the threat of terrorism first. After a brief ‘lull’ in terrorism from across the border there are reasons to believe that it will get intensified by the end of this year. Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, after the withdrawal of US Forces from Afghanistan will be reinforced by the battle-hardened Taliban. Jamaat-ud-Dawah Chief, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, has in January this year asserted in Islamabad that India will have to leave Kashmir, just like the United States has been compelled to pull out from Afghanistan - albeit with full support and connivance of ISI and Pakistan Army. The recent statement of the Pakistan Army Chief, calling Kashmir a ‘jugular vein’ of his country, is a loaded statement and portends the events to follow. We may come to a stage of ‘proxy war’ with Pakistan, which would like to re-kindle the Kashmir issue in the United Nations Security Council and also raise it as a ‘human rights violation’. If ever the new Government wishes to abrogate Article 370 and change the status quo, it will vitiate the environment in the entire Valley and even the mainstream parties will oppose this tooth and nail. The combination of a proxy war with Pakistan, the ‘activation’ of the Line of Control and internal strife will be a very challenging situation for the Armed forces. Undoubtedly Kashmir is a part and parcel of India, but the disaffected populace of the Valley needs to be better integrated. We need to root out the deep-seated corruption and give the highest priority to development. If the new Government has the will and sees this as a national priority, we would have won the battle and Article 370 will stand ‘neutralised’. On China, even though our countries agreed to maintain peace and tranquility along the border during the 17th round of talks between our Special Representatives on the Boundary question (in February this year),

P olitical

23-29 May 2014

India’s Strategic Security Challenges our triangular strategic partnership with Japan and the US is anathema to China. They have been registering their protest against the Malabar series of exercises being undertaken by our Navy along with Japan. We will have to keenly watch Beijing’s reaction to our joint Naval exercise with the Japanese Self-Defence Navy in the Pacific Ocean later this year. The People’s Liberation Army may reactively resort to an occupation of a larger tract of ‘disputed’ area in Arunachal or Ladakh. We must be prepared for these contingencies, but not be provocative in our actions. Learning from the past, we have to be very patient while dealing with China. The Maoist movement is another serious threat in almost nine eastern States of the country. It is not a mere law and order problem but a full-fledged war against the nation. More than 4,800 people, including about 2,850 civilians, have been killed nationwide since 2008, in what Manmohan Singh has called India’s biggest internal security threat (though he seems to have done little to tackle it). The Maoists are ideologically against the idea of a Democratic Indian State. They allegedly believe that Indians have yet to gain freedom from hunger and deprivation and from the exploitation of the poor by the rich classes of landlords, industrialists and traders who control the economy. However, rather than fighting for the rights of the locals, the Maoists have been exploiting the poor adivasis for their own ends and targeting the developmental programmes. The Maoists know well that if the Government were able to provide the locals the basic amenities, they would lose their relevance. Over the last decade the Maoists have gained ground and strength, as the Government has failed to introduce the much-needed systemic reforms in policing and has not been able to adopt a unified approach for tackling this problem. Our State police forces and Central paramilitary forces, in their present form, are not capable of effectively dealing with this threat (except maybe a force like the Greyhounds in Andhra Pradesh). If we have to win this ‘war’ against the Maoists, we have to ensure that our police and paramilitary Forces are well officered, trained, motivated and properly equipped.

The new Government will have act fast, before some outside forces start meddling in this affair. A silver lining has been the large-scale participation of the people in the Assembly and General elections, despite the boycott calls by the Maoists. This initiative on the part of the people must be followed up by the Government, which must initiate measures to solve this problem politically, with the help of the newly-elected representatives of the people. There is a need to open talks with the Maoist hierarchy. The Maoists need to be cajoled them into the democratic process. The large corporates that are working in these areas, especially for mining natural resources, should also contribute more for the de-

velopment of the local people and the region. Under ‘conventional’ threats, while India is faced by nuclear-armed adversaries, it has the capability to respond to any threat. However, in this (nuclear) backdrop, conventional war has an important relevance, and we have to be fully prepared for it. Unfortunately we are currently strategically vulnerable. The Army is deficient in critical munitions, has poor Air Defence systems and outdated artillery guns. The Special Forces and the premier fighting arm, the Infantry, are neither equipped with state-ofthe-art weapons nor good support equipment. The underwater arm of the Navy today stands crippled. The Air Force has an ageing fighter fleet and outdated helicopters. This state of the Armed Forces has come about due to the lackadaisical attitude of the UPA Government towards modernisation, our archaic procurement procedures and corruption at high places. The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has also

failed to create the indigenous technical base for conventional weapon systems. India requires a strong Defence industrial base with high-end skilled workers, for only then can the Armed Forces get sustained supplies of quality equipment. We need to involve private industry and allow FDI in the Defence sector. On a most important strategic front, the government has dithered for a decade on the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), and also on many other far-sighted recommendations of the Kargil Review Committee - ostensibly because of bureaucratic resistance and inter-Service rivalry. Under these circumstances we would need to review the oft-quoted Israeli strategy, of ‘hot pursuit’ and striking at the bases of militants, in a pragmatic manner. The doctrines of ‘Cold Start’ and ‘Two-front War’ would also need to be re-evaluated. Now that our own MP, Rao Inderjit Singh, who has been Union Minister of State for Defence Production, and former General VK Singh, are also (the ruling Party) BJP MPs, we hope there would be urgent and appropriate decisions taken on Defence matters. Our new Government will have to address the ground realities and exhort the citizens of India to tighten their belts and be alive to higher national imperatives. u

The Dharma of Retribution { Hari Dang }

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n 1962 I was teaching at The Doon School, Dehra Dun, and had recently returned from our almost-successful Everest summit attempt alongwith Captain M. S. Kohli, Sonam Gyatso and John Diaz of the 8th Garhwal Rifles (as Leader). It was in 1962 also that the politically neglected and ill-equipped ‘professional’ Indian Army, and our devoted, disciplined, patriotic   soldiers and officers were vanquished, massacred and humiliated in the North West and the North East, while  Congress‘ politicians played games with generals, policies on the front, ministers and lavish conferences at Bandung and Colombo. “Hold Dhola, defend Thag La and Namka Chhu as vital ground !” the sycophantic favourites ‘ordered’;  “save Se La, defend Bomdi La; rush the Awasthy Batallion [to be massacred] to Dirrang Dzong. The ‘favourites’ were flying around in helicopters and lying ill in Delhi or in special messes at Corps HQ or the foothills or Tezpur. We were playing the Forward Policy like Chinese Checkers; but soon the guns volley’d and thunder’d and the Indian Army lay shattered  by the hubris of its leaders – and the first Prime Minister shed tears at the loss of Assam. Cried he, “Our Hearts go out to the people of Assam !” And followed this by desperate ‘wellwritten’ letters, making   desperate calls to the Americans and ‘reviled’ West   to send fighter aircraft and ammunition to defend the Indians against the Chinese Army, the PLA and the PRC.

Fast forward to the last decade…and we see a different Himalayan capitulation – of a Prime Minister silently ‘allowing’ the national resources to be stolen. Sycophancy and nepotism (unearned power) have ruled. Indian ‘stock’ had reached so low that even foreign journals of ‘repute’ (alongwith our ever-present ‘brown sahibs’) thought nothing of advising the Indian people on whom to ‘reject’ as their Prime Minister! Hence, the Dharma of Ashwatthama’s Retribution! Ashwatthama merely symbolised the need for rectification of the blunders that have cost the Nation, through the use of the non-violent Ballot Box. Ashwatthama’s retribution here refers a Buddhist compassionate ‘retributive natural justice’; a cleansing, to make ourselves   stronger against the follies and weaknesses of others. Ashwatthama had been living for retribution. India needed to have a ‘closure’ – to rectify follies and redress grievous wrongs. Ok, call it by any other name, but we needed to ensure, with Ashwatthama to remind us every day, a grand political victory against the forces of nepotism and sycophancy. The General Election of 2014 have rectified over 60 years, especially the last 10 years, of error and folly through Retributive Dharma. u Formerly School Master at The Doon School, Dehra Dun; Principal, The Army Public School; Principal, The Air Force School; Rector, St. Paul’s School, Darjeeling.


P olitical

23-29 May 2014

{ Bhawani Shankar Tripathy }

Country over Constituency

‘You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time’ - Abraham Lincoln.

Election 2014 has been remarkable in so many ways, and it expresses the country’s mood in very clear terms. There are many lessons for politicians to learn. We must also note the many firsts of this Election: 1.  The maximum number of candidates: 8, 251 2.  The maximum voter turnout: 66.4% 3. The maximum number of parties registered: 1,563 (besides 6 National parties and 47 State parties) 4.  An absolute majority to a single party after 30 years: 282 seats (10 more than the half-way mark). The ‘reality’, that voters in India are always swayed by factors of caste, religion and freebies, has been been proven wrong. We must recognise that voters do think before they cast their votes, even though they may have many times thought only about themselves. This time their vote was for the country. How did Gurgaonites choose? There has already been enough debate in the media, by veteran journalists and political pundits, on the recent political results. But few have asked the ordinary voters about what they considered before voting? How did they make their choice? I spoke informally to a number of voters in Gurgaon – at market places, in the neighbourhood, in parks during morning walks or simply overheard conversations at various public places. Here is how I believe the middle-class urban voter chose whom to vote for: Congress: a magnanimous blunder According to the voters, the Congress blundered by ‘projecting’ Rahul Gandhi as a PM candidate. The voters questioned Rahul’s experience to lead a country of India’s magnitude, especially in comparison to Modi’s experience.

{ Col Tej Dalal (Retd) }

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he BJP claims to have won the Lok Sabha Elections 2014 with a thumping majority. Certain Regional Parties like AIADMK, BJD and TMC are also claiming to have won the elections in their own States. But, the real winner this time has been India and its people. Election 2014 has proved to be an awakening of the masses and has shattered many a myth and assumption about the illiterate and poor voters of the country. In the Fifties the elections were based on the sacrifices and hard work of the leaders who got us our Freedom. The early Sixties brought us face to face with some stark realities – the Chinese invasion, and saw the end of the Nehru era. The ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ slogan of Lal Bahadur Shastri gave new hope and a sense of security to the common man. But Shastri’s early death brought forth many aspirants for the Prime Minister’s job. The infighting for power within the Congress led to its virtual split. A new era began with the emergence of Indira Gandhi, in the Seventies. The 1971 victory of the Indian Armed Forces led to the creation of Bangladesh and the consolidation of Indira Gandhi as the undisputed leader. ‘Garibi Hatao’ became her credo to retain power. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and that led to the Emergency. The Janta Dal came to power because of the follies of the Congress. It lived short as its leaders were busy in witch-hunting and forgot about governance. The Eighties brought back the Congress due to a sympathy wave (after the assassination

The Congress should have known that its ‘saving grace’ for the last two terms was a person of the stature of Manmohan Singh. But with Manmohan Singh out and Pranab Mukherjee in the President’s seat, the Congress found it hard to identify any senior leader to project as a rightful PM candidate. Voters did not appreciate the Congress’ returning to its old game of playing the dynasty card. Therefore, no matter how hard Congress tried – despite voter ‘loyalties’ and despite Haryana currently being a Congress-ruled State – most voters found it extremely difficult to vote for a Congress with Rahul Gandhi as a potential PM. Aam Aadmi Party: Theatre of the absurd In Arvind Kejriwal – a self-claimed competitor for the throne of the PM – the voters found many deficiencies. Not only was the (AAP) Party absolutely new, with little national presence, the voters also saw in Kejriwal a man who was over-ambitious and displayed more a ‘self-projected’ righteousness. As Delhi’s Chief Minister, Kejriwal’s antics - of holding office on the street, being fussy on his residence, complaining that the Congress and BJP were not allowing him to function, and then resigning dramatically - were nothing but the theatre of the absurd. Even some of the Party’s sympathetic voters were not supportive of Kejriwal’s personal, grandiose actions: like his decision to contest against Modi in Varanasi, just because he had won against Sheila Dikshit in Delhi. He even reportedly accused the citizens of India of being ‘traitors if they voted for BJP or Congress’. The voters chose ‘capability-to-govern’ over ‘just honesty’. As a result, Yogendra Yadav, though an extremely amiable personality, failed to make a significant dent in the Constituency - despite 49,500 voters from Gurgaon City alone voting for him. The Gurgaon Assembly Constituency has nine legislative segments. Yogendra could garner a total of 79,500 votes (6% of the total 12.3 lakhs votes cast),

of Indira Gandhi). People saw hope in a young and smart leader, Rajiv Gandhi, but again bad governance (Bofors, scams, misadventure in Sri Lanka) and the misuse of power ended that rule. Very few Governments had worked efficiently, offered good governance or improved the lot of the common man. It was assumed that empty slogans full of promise were enough for getting votes. If that somehow failed, money, liquor, rigging or horse trading were resorted to. The Nineties witnessed the emergence of economy and governance, through Narasimha Rao and later Vajpayee. While the former opened the doors of our economy to the outside world, the latter established good governance and infrastructure - which is equally important in boosting the economy. The people had by now realised that national and local issues could be different, leading to the emergence of Regional Parties. This also led to an erosion of the base of National Parties, and the birth of coalition governments. This status threw up some insignificant leaders as Prime Ministers. For the first time, perhaps, it gave hope to every politician that he (not she yet) could become a Prime Minister, even with the direct support of under a 100 MPs. By the turn of the century many citizenns had got a taste of the good life and everyone wanted their lot to improve. The thinking was changing. Manmohan Singh as PM was a relief from the lethargic system and corrupt politicians, and there was a hope that he would clean the System. In

thus getting merely 30,000 votes from the remaining seven legislative assembly segments. AAP seems to have little standing beyond Gurgaon City (Badshahpur plus Gurgaon legislative segments).

BJP: Making the most of the Modi sentiment Gurgaon’s voters have said that they voted mainly for Modi, and thus for the BJP. The BJP as a political party has very little visibility in this City. Rarely would you read about BJP leaders taking up any issue concerning Gurgaon citizens. For Gurgaon voters it has mostly been either a Congress MLA/MP or someone from INLD; and even an Independent, as during the last Assembly elections. For the last three terms Rao Inderjit Singh has represented Gurgaon as a Congress MP. He has now won a fourth term, but this time on a BJP ticket, having made a timely strategic move. Nearly 49% of the votes were cast in his favour. That Gurgaonites had already decided not to vote for Congress is evident the largest local constituency, Badshahpur – which has more than 3 lakhs voters. They chose even AAP over the Congress. INLD: Banking on an anti-Congress wave In the past, Gurgaonites have always ‘shared’ their votes between the Congress and INLD. Many times INLD has contested elections in partnership with BJP. This time, Zakir Hussain, who was earlier with BSP, moved into INLD. INLD, along with its loyal jat voter base, also cashed in on the anti-BJP voters from the Mewat region (comprising some 4.5 lakhs votes). Barring a few thousand votes from this region going to the Congress and AAP, most voted for Zakir Hussain. INLD may have also presumed that the anti-Congress votes would benefit it (rather than the BJP). In ‘normal‘ circumstances this would have happened. However, the erstwhile Congress voters seem to have chosen BJP over INLD this time – placing, like many, the Country before the Constituency. u Bhawani Shankar Tripathy is a development professional, and the founding governing member of the NGO, ‘Mission Gurgaon Development’.

spite of his best intentions he could not achieve what he set out to do, mainly because of a ‘coalition’ in his own office (due to the dual power centre). It became a free-for-all scam time. The Ministers did not seem to be answerable to any one; the Babus were making hay; there was poor law and order; the ‘markets’ were dictated by the sellers; and above all there were the scamsters. Anna and Kejriwal were therefore big draws and changed the political scenario of Delhi when they set out against the corrupt system and politicians. People came out in their thousands to support their cause and this made news worldwide. Kejriwal got a surprisingly large mandate in the Delhi State Elections of 2013. The peoples’ power had been asserted. A one-man-Army had dethroned the mighty Sheila Dixit govt. in Delhi. The Indian Voter was emerging from a long slumber. He/she wanted good governance. Unfortunately, the man who gave this dream to the masses ‘fell’ for higher aspirations. He perhaps thought of doing a ‘Deva Gowda’ on the country and becoming the Prime Minister - or at least the King-maker. When the Country gave a thumping mandate to Narendra Modi, to form the govt. and lead the nation, it was not just a majority for the BJP. The youth of the nation came out of their complacency to assert their right to vote; the old came out in numbers too, maybe to apologise for the past; and the poor wanted to be equal to the wealthy and the rich, even if it was for just this one event.

India Wins

11

For the first time caste did not seem a factor, religion was not the motivating force and the pseudo threats of the country being destroyed or ruined did not matter. Voters were not impressed by family history or the past. The govt. and the ‘netas’ never bothered to see the ground realities and thought that they would fire their last salvo just before the elections. Therefore the hurry in passing bills and legislations, the tearing off of an Ordinance in front of the Press, the going for a meal (by helicopter) to the house of a poor person, and time and again reminding the nation about a riot that it wanted to forget. The nation was instead wanting to move ahead. The debate the nation wanted from the Congress was on national issues, and on what it had achieved in the last 10 years, but the Congress and its leaders only concentrated on Modi, caste and religion. Modi they could not match and the rest did not matter to the voter. The voters had seen how some ruling ‘netas’ had prospered over the years while they were still trying to ‘hatao’ their ‘garibi’ - all alone. The voters had matured, learnt from the past and had made up their minds. They voted for development, for good governance and for a man who had proved his worth. This wisdom is here to stay. Thus, the victory in the General Elections 2014 was of the common man, the Voter - and of course for India. Let no politician or political party take voters for granted hereafter. Now the onus is on Shri Narendra Bhai Modi to prove that the Nation was right. u


12

K id C orner

23-29 May 2014

To the one who gave me life, I can give nothing but love To the star so full of light, to the one sent from heaven above.

MRIS-Sector 46

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he children of Ryan International School, Sector-40 organised an array of activities to mark Mother’s Day - to show their deep respect and love for their mothers. Founder Dr. Augustine F. Pinto believes that the students should express gratitude for the wonderful families that God has blessed them with. The Tiny Tots of Montessori made vibrant cards with heart warming messages and also utility paper baskets. The Montessori wing also organised events like Mumma’s Recipe and a Fashion Show. Mothers also participated in contests. Classes I and II made glittering crowns for their ‘fairy mothers’. Students of Classes III to V composed loving poems. At the Special Assembly the students presented a talk show on the ‘Significance of Mother’s Day’ and a skit on ‘A Meticulous Mother’.

In Black & White

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oddlers of MRIS-46 celebrated White and Black Day to reinforce the colours white and black. They did hand-printing using black paint to make the bird, Black Oystercatcher.

Ryan International School, Sohna Road

The Rubikers

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n order to sharpen the mathematical skills of the students, a Competition was held on Rubik’s Cube for the students of Classes IX and X at Ryan International School, Sohna Road. 30 students took part and showcased their talent on a 3x3 cube. The First position was secured by Ankur Prakash of XE, Second position by Suhas Grover of XA and Third position by Leo Varghese of XE. Principal Dr. Mouna Gupta felicitated the winners and appreciated the efforts of the students.

Rabindra Tribute

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he Class XII students of Ryan international School, Sohna Road, paid rich tributes to the Nobel Laureate, Rabindra Nath Tagore, by participating in an Inter Class Poetry Recitation Competition. Through their poems the students eulogised the rich lyrical quality of Tagore’s poetry. The First position was bagged by Madhulika Tyagi, Second position by Samira Seth, and Third position by Sidharth Chopra. The winners were applauded and congratulated by the Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, on their brilliant presentations.

Youth Business Icon

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ongratulations to Emaad Muzaffar of MRIS-46 on being nominated for the 18th Global Student Entrepreneur Awards that were held at Dubai. He was a distinguished awardee. This Ceremony felicitates the top 1000 high school students globally, for their extraordinary contributions and excellent performances in various fields. This was yet another achievement for the School’s World Student Icon.


S ocial

23-29 May 2014

13

To Our Mothers { Shobha Lidder }

Toothful ‘Muskaan’

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tate Council for the Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) organised ‘Muskaan’ - a school dental health week, at the Govt Senior Secondary School, Chakkarpur. Muskaan Dentals, a chain of dental centres, is providing free service for dental awareness and check up in five different schools of the City. More than 80 % of the children were found with poor oral hygiene. Ch. Sher Singh Memorial Shanti Devi Charitable Trust was the chief sponsor of this programme.

Eu r outstanding !

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he students of Euro International School, Sec-45 have performanced excellently, with a 100% result in the ICSE Class X Board Examination 2014. Surbhi Badhwar secured the First position by scoring 90% marks, Prashant Goyal came Second with 89% & Harshit Budhalakoti came Third with 88%marks.  School Chairman Satya Vir Yadav (B.Tech, M.B.A, IIM Ahmedabad), Sarla Yadav & Principal Mrs. Reena Sharma congratulated all the students, their parents & the teachers on this grand success.

If you wish to be featured in ‘Kid Corner’ (for publishing your school’s activities and achievements), please mail us at fridaygurgaongallery@gmail.com

When your Mother is sixty-five Treat her like your youngest child With devotion and delight That is her right Her ‘Matriya Rinh’ It is not ‘Guru Dakshna’ Not a fee but a debt For making you the indomitable That you are Your blood, your bones, your sinew Your DNA brand The ‘ahankar & sanskara’ Are all the debts to a mother IOUs Without her you could not Have been what you are The magnificent magna opus tree Was but a seed in its mother’s womb You are the products of your Mother cell Think well! Your offspring will be an extension of

your power And so the seed, to sapling, a plant, a tree A mighty tree is the Universe ‘The Virat Purusha’ And you are branches Rooted to the branches of the Tree No one is free In this cosmic tapestry And so those who nurture the roots Of the parent branch Their branches bloom in abundance And prosperity There is wealth in integrity Those who don’t get cut off, stop The Tree of Life continues And then no cosmetic surgeries No sunshine, or wind or water Can bring to life the branch that Did not nourish, or sustain the main root Remained aloof Will learn the Cosmic Science That what we received, we decree That the osmosis The photosynthesis Is a very complex thing Don’t think Just do well by your Ancestors, your benefactors Clear your debts Increase your credits Bit by bit See the past histories The parable of the legends The greatest kings could buy kingdoms But not their mother’s worth Such is Mother Earth Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

Bechara Dil

{ Ashok Lal } This week also my subject is the poor heart the only organ of the body that is said to be ‘traded’ in love, or ‘blamed’ for our actions…. and on which our life is dependent. ‘Maine Dil tujhko diya......’ ‘Ya Allah, ya Allah, Dil le gayi....’ ‘Ek pardesi mera Dil le gaya.......’ ‘Dil lene walon Dil dena seekho ji...’ Pyaar mein koi kisi ko Dil deta hai Koi kisi ka dil leta hai Aisa sab ka kehna hai… Jhooth hai yeh! Aisa kuchh bhi nahin hota Dil to apni jagah hi rehta hai Uska kaam to bas dhadhakte rehna hai Ishq mein jab hota hai deedar-e- yaar Nazron se nazren mil jaati hain Aur Dil ki dhadhkan yun hi badh jaati hai Kaan sun lete hain koi geet naya Ya gunguna kar koi man meet gaya Dil dhak dhak karne lagta hai Dhadhkan uski badh jaati hai Galiyon mein, chaubaaron mein Traffic jam mein kaaron mein Ya lambee lagi kataaron mein Jab bhi tu-tu main-main ho jaati hai Gussa dimaag ko aata hai Dhadhkan dil ki badh jaati hai Thak kar din bhar ke kaamon se Ya jeevan ke hangaamon se Jab insaan ghar ko aata hai Chaadar taan ke bistar par Woh gehri neend so jaata hai Ang ang uske tan ka Besudh sa ho jaata hai Par yeh Dil bechara jaga hua Apni hi jagah par laga hua Chalta hi rehta hai bas chalta hi rehta hai ‘Dil nahin chaahta, Dil nahin lagata’ ‘Dil toot gaya, Dil rooth gaya’ ‘Dil hai ki maanata nahin’ ‘Dil ko chain nahin, Dil ko kahaan aaraam hai’ Is zindagi ki har kami ke liye Dil hi to badnaam hai Jhooth hai yeh Aisa kuch nahin hota Dil ka to paida hone se marne tak Bas dhadhakna hi kaam hai Jis din isne dhadhakna chhod diya Bas us din to satya Ram naam hai Dil ka to har lamha dhadhakna hi kaam hai. Mo: ablsl1971@yahoo.co.in


14 Acharya’s Cleopatra

{ Meenu Thakur Sankalp } Manasi vachasi kaaye punya peeyooshpoornaah Tribhuvana mupakaarashrye nibhih preenayantah Paragu naparamaa noonparvateekrutya nityam Nijahrudi vikasantah santi santah kiyantah 
 Full of pious nectar in mind, words and body
 Pleasing the Three Worlds by successive obligations
 Always making a mountain of smallest of others’ virtue
 By developing it in one’s own heart, how many good people of such kind are there?

A

charya (Guru and teacher) Sreedhara, the revered Dance Guru, trudged along the narrow path leading to the International Academy of Classical Dances in upscale Manhattan. He had been invited to New York by the Academy’s Indian-origin Director, Kesava Iyengar, to choreograph an Indian Classical Dance project, ‘The Mudras of Cleopatra’, based on Greek History. The disposition of his pencil-thin silhouette betrayed Acharya’s seventy eventful summers dedicated solely to Classical Dance. As he wiped off the beads of sweat from his wrinkled cheeks, the onlookers looked bemused as he entered through the Academy door. Clad in a crumpled ‘kurta’, a spotless white dhoti and oversized

chappals, with a black umbrella in hand, he could have been easily labelled as a poor Indian migrant. But as Iyengar knew, Acharya Sreedhara was the only Guru who could do justice to the Dance Drama. Guiding Acharya to the studio, where over a dozen girls - most of them Americans of Indian origin - were waiting, Iyengar assured him of no interference or budgetary constraints. As Acharya walked in he was greeted by inquisitive looks and girls perched on the stairs, with their legs pointed ‘disrespectfully’ towards him. For a moment Acharya was perplexed. He had always been revered by his pupils. Being confronted by this audacious nonchalance was an unwelcome experience for him. He regained his composure and explained his ideas in a

{ Krishan Kalra }

G

B on V ivant

23-29 May 2014

orging on delicious mooli (horse radish) liberally sprinkled with rock salt & doused in limejuice, on a sunny winter morning, is an unparalleled treat. The fact that you burp contentedly - and with an overpowering whiff – for hours thereafter is added bliss. Or so I thought, till my grandchildren caught me in the act and I saw their shocked faces and heard their collective embarrassed gasps. “Daaaa…du, how could you, we never thought you’d do that!” The wife, sons & daughter-in-law joined the chorus, along with sage advice. “You would become the butt of many jokes! Never do this in public; and if at all you can’t help it, apologise,” they said. Now, I always thought that burping was a very natural action – I still remember rubbing our kids’ backs after the feed and making them burp. I never thought one needs to

nutshell to the ‘disinterested’ girls. As he paused to demonstrate a ‘mudra’ (hand gesture), a missile - a piece of paper catapulted by a rubber band - hit him on his face. The offender, the gum-chewing Sandra, chuckled. Acharya shrugged his shoulders and continued. Over the next few days, Acharya demonstrated hand gestures, movements on stage, and play acting and dancing. The girls were awestruck by his knowledge. Sandra remained inattentive, as she was sure that she would be one of the ‘also-rans’ and would be confined to a corner of the stage. Acharya assigned different character roles to some girls, while he excluded Sandra and the remaining girls from any play-acting or dance for more than a week. On a cold and stormy night, Acharya walked into the studio and opened his jute bag. He placed the idol of Nataraja (The Hindu Lord of Dance) on a pedestal and explained to the girls that Dance was an expression of divinity. He announced to the class that the girls who had not been assigned any role in the project should step forward. Declaring aloud that he had written down each name on a different piece of paper, he said that he believed that God would choose the name of the girl who was destined to play the lead role of Cleopatra. As the girls waited with bated breath, Acharya bowed before the idol and murmured a quiet prayer. He then drew out one piece of paper from among the many. As he called out ‘Sandra’, there was stony silence… followed by a loud round of applause and cheers from the girls. Sandra slunk to the corner. She could not imagine that she had been being selected for the lead role. Acharya approached her and made a vermillion ‘tilak’ (long mark) on her forehead, as a mark of his blessings. In due course of time Sandra’s confidence grew, with the strict taskmaster helping make her perfect step by step. The Ballet was performed in the

F & B Outlets apologise – like, say, when you sneeze. Don’t we deliberately gulp down a fizzy coke to induce burping? In fact I recall attending a nature-cure lecture where the instructor demonstrated how to slowly drink a glass of water and then - you’ve guessed it right - burping loudly. So, why the fuss? In fact there’s an old line that says, “Why fart & waste it when you can burp & taste it?” One of those small pleasures of life, I’d always thought. Till recently at least. Talking of farting, isn’t that too a natural release system for unwanted gas in the body? Rude as it might sound, the relief following it is sheer bliss. Remember the young Englishman who was visiting his ‘rawther snobbish’ mother-in-law-to-be for the first time? Poor guy had eaten some high protein Indian curry like ‘chhole-pathure’ and was ‘somewhat uncomfortable’. When he finally couldn’t

biggest theatres of the United States. The audience was appreciative of an Indian Classical Ballet based on a Greek theme, and Sandra was mobbed for autographs after each performance. Every time she glanced at Acharya for approval. He would just pull out a thread from his ‘kurta’, oblivious to the recognition and praise. Sandra soon became the lead performer in many ballets, but she could not forget the day when Acharya chose her as his lead dancer. One day she decided to go to India and meet him. Tracing his address to a small village, a few miles from Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, she knocked at the door of a dilapidated house, which was opened by a woman who introduced herself as Acharya’s widowed daughter. Sandra informed her that she was one of Acharya’s former pupils. The woman led Sandra to a room where a garlanded portrait of Acharya was hanging on a wall. He had passed away two years earlier. Telling Sandra that her father never spoke much about Dance or his students, despite his illustrious achievements in the field, she recollected an incident that he had mentioned to her a few days before he died. She said, “During his visit to the United States many years ago, my father had to choose, from pieces of paper, the name of the girl who was destined to perform as a lead dancer in a choreography project. It was perhaps the only instance when he had to lie in the presence of Lord Nataraja; and though he felt guilty, he had forgiven himself for it. Actually, there was nothing written on those pieces of paper. Tears filled Sandra’s eyes and she stood motionless. Her trademark expressions deserted her as Acharya’s daughter paused and said, “Acharya had already found his Cleopatra.”u The Writer is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer

help it, he twisted a little & let out a ‘muted one’. The artstrocratic lady just lifted one of her designer eyebrows and addressed her dog sternly. “Spot!” she said. Encouraged that the blame had shifted to the canine, the man let out another – a trifle louder – one. This time both the eyebrows went up & “Spot” was louder. Ecstatic at the thought of the pet obliging him this time too, the son-in-law-to-be released a big one – with all the sound & fury. “Spot, move before the idiot shits on you!” came the repartee, as the disgusted lady walked out of the room. The Bush story is a classic. Riding the royal buggy with Her Majesty in London, he heard this loud explosion (actually from one of the horses) and took it for the Queen’s doing. “Sorry, there are certain things that even a Queen can’t help,” the Royal said, trying to make light of the ‘gaffe’. “Neither can the President of the US of A,” retorted our man, as he lifted his right bum and gave out a thunderous one!u


23-29 May 2014

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

S

ince medieval times there have been many who fled from their careers and worldly pleasures into jungles, mountains and ashrams, thinking that spirituality was only to be found in these isolated places. Most soon discovered that they could not escape from their thoughts, since they carried their psychological baggage with them. Their past, which was supposedly forsaken, was constantly intruding upon their minds and chasing them even in this absolute aloofness. Although they had apparently renounced the ‘vibrant and throbbing’ world, they were unable to escape this world’s influence and its attractions. Little did they realise that it is the daily life experiences, problems and challenges that are the tools for developing the sagacious qualities of self-restraint, egoless behaviour and asceticism while living very much within this material world. The idea is not to find the answer in ‘escape’. Asceticism and monasticism are two religious disciplines designed to de-emphasise the pleasures of the world, so that the practitioners can concentrate on the spiritual life. Both have been adopted by worshipers of various faiths. In general, asceticism is the practice of strict self-denial, as a means to attain a higher spiritual plane. Monasticism is the state of being secluded from the world, in order to fulfill religious vows. While most monks are ascetic, ascetics do not have to be monks. Asceticism comes from the Greek word askesis, meaning exercise, training and practice. Ascetics renounce worldly pleasures that distract from spiritual growth and enlightenment and live a life of abstinence, austerity and extreme self-denial. Asceticism is common in Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Judaism and Islam. It is not to be confused with Stoicism. Stoics believe that holiness can reside only in the spiritual realm, and all physical matter is evil. Ascetics do not necessarily believe that the flesh is evil, but they do go to great lengths to deny the flesh, in order to transform the mind or free the spirit. Historically, Asceticism has involved fasting, exposing oneself to heat or cold, sleep deprivation, flagellation, and even self-mutilation. Asceticism is usually associated with monks, priests and yogis. In ancient times, as early as the late second century, in Egypt and Syria, more than a few people abandoned their civic responsibilities, relationships and personal crises in order to seek relief and commune solely with God. It was the beginning of a new and distinct social movement and came to be known from this preference for solitariness - as Monasticism. These early solitaries fled to the desert and took up residence in caves and near the oases of the Red Sea desert, discarding their worldly comforts and egos and seeking a goal of spiritual enlightenment. Some of them lived hermit-like, in strict separation. In similar manner, in the Indian context, there have been varied ascetic practices carried out by saints and hermits. There are several terms for ascetics in Hinduism. Some ‘sadhus’ are

Thus was Mahavira

Being Ascetic

Just as water does not adhere to a copper vessel, his course too was unobstructed. Like the firmament, he wanted no support; like the wind, he knew no obstacles; like the water in autumn, his heart was pure; like the leaf of a lotus, nothing could soil him; like in a tortoise, his senses were well protected; like the horn of a rhinoceros, he was single and alone; like a bird he was free and always awake. He was valorous like an elephant, strong like a bull, difficult to attack like a lion, deep like the ocean, mild like the moon, refulgent like the sun and pure like excellent gold. Like a wellkindled fire he shone in his splendour; like the earth he patiently bore everything. known to practise extreme forms of selfdenial or devotion to a deity or principle. Some vow never to use one leg or to hold an arm in the air for a period of months or years. The particular types of asceticism involved vary from one sect or holy man to another. Asceticism in one of its most intense forms can be found in Jainism, one of the oldest religions. Jainism encourages fasting, yoga practices, meditation in difficult postures and other austerities. According to Jains, one’s highest goal should be ‘nirvana’ (liberation from this worldly cycle of birth and rebirth). For this, a soul has to ‘live’ without attachment or selfindulgence. This can be achieved only by the monks and nuns who take great vows of non-violence, truth, no-stealing, chastity and non-attachment. Most of their austerities and ascetic practices can be traced to Mahavira, who wore clothes just for a year and a month and after that walked about naked and accepted alms in the hollow of his hand. For more than twelve years Mahavira neglected his body and abandoned any care of it. With equanimity he bore pleasure and suffering. He had cut off all earthly ties

and was not stained by any worldliness. Other austerities include meditation in a seated or standing posture near river banks in the cold wind, or atop hills and mountains, especially at noon when the sun is at its fiercest. Such austerities are undertaken according to the physical and mental limits of the individual ascetic. Jain ascetics are completely without possessions. Some Shvetambara monks and nuns own only unstitched white robes an upper and lower garments and a bowl - used for eating, and collecting alms. Male Digambara monks do not wear any clothes and carry nothing with them except a soft broom made of shed peacock feathers, and eat from their hands. They sleep on the floor without blankets and sit on special wooden platforms. Every day is spent either in study of the scriptures, meditation or in teaching lay people. They stand aloof from worldly matters. When death is imminent, or when they feel that they are unable to adhere to their vows due to advanced age or terminal disease, many Jain ascetics take a final vow of Santhara - a peaceful and detached death. Medicines, food and water are abandoned.

Some hold a contrary view on extreme ascetic practices. They believe that isolation in some wilderness can lead to severe psychological problems, and the rigorous life of constant fasting is an abuse of the physical body - which is a gift given to us for our maturing on earth. This abuse is seen as a transgression of the laws of God. They add that we do not have to do anything extraordinary to please God; all we need to do is to be sound mentally, physically and spiritually and have the volition to adhere to His laws. Asceticism can even retard a soul’s development. Not only will such individuals miss much of the necessary experiences that they need from the outside world, they also weaken their physical body, thus preventing the spirit from using it to the full. The spirit even severs itself much sooner from the maltreated body. It is reassuring in this context to find that the earliest and most influential of all Greek Monastic texts, the Life of Antony, adopts a markedly positive attitude towards the body. When Antony emerged after twenty years of enclosure within a fort, his friends were amazed to see that his body had maintained its former condition; he was neither fat from lack of exercise, nor emaciated from fasting and combat with demons. He was just as they had known him before his ‘withdrawal’. He was altogether balanced, as a person guided by reason and abiding in a natural state. Asceticism had not subverted Antony’s physicality; in fact it had maintained it in its ‘natural’ state, its true and proper condition as intended by God.  This natural state of the body continued till the end of Antony’s long life.  Although he lived to be more than a hundred, he continued to see clearly (his eyes were undimmed and quite sound); he lost none of his teeth (just the gums had worn down); and he remained strong in his hands and feet. According to the texts, Asceticism enhanced rather than impaired Antony’s bodily health.

S piritual

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Basically, Asceticism means the liberation of the human. It leads us to self-mastery and enables us to fulfill the purpose that we have set for ourselves. A certain measure of ascetic self-denial is thus a necessary element in all that we undertake - whether in athletics or in politics, in scholarly research or in prayer. Without this ascetic concentration of effort we are at the mercy of exterior forces, or of our own emotions and moods; we are then reacting rather than acting.  Only the ascetic is inwardly free. What basically distinguishes natural from unnatural Asceticism is its attitude towards the body.  Natural Asceticism  reduces material life to the utmost simplicity, restricting our physical needs to a minimum, but not maiming the body or otherwise deliberately causing it to suffer.  Unnatural Asceticism, on the other hand, seeks out special forms of mortification, which torment the body and gratuitously inflict pain upon it.  Thus, it is a form of natural Asceticism to wear cheap and plain clothing, whereas it is unnatural to wear fetters with iron spikes piercing the flesh; it is ‘natural’ to sleep on the ground, and unnatural to sleep on a bed of nails; ‘natural’ to live in a hut or a cave (instead of a well-appointed house), and unnatural to chain oneself to a rock or to stand permanently on top of a pillar    The same movement, of spiritual training and obedience to a life of faith, still exists today. Its core themes crop up in the growing popularity of meditation and prayer. There are many contemporary hermits, monks and nuns, some of them highly educated and accomplished, who have left/are leaving the civilized world in order to seek God in silence and prayer. The ascetical life is thriving. Do we still need to ‘leave’ the world, to become spiritually enlightened? Do we need to indulge in rigorous Asceticism in order to encounter God? It may be argued that many of us already lead solitary lives in our own modern city – within ‘cells’ of modern apartments in impersonal high-rise condo buildings and the closet caverns on mall avenues! While there has been an exodus from organised religions in recent decades, record numbers of spiritual seekers are meditating and praying in various retreats and centres. There is much value in simply taking time to be silent and still; there is tremendous power in setting ourselves aside and letting the likeness of God inside us shine through. Quieting the frenetic stimuli exploding from our modern multi-tasked lives not only brings about peace and calm, it may also be a revelation. There is really no need to renounce the world. We should treat our current space as our ‘karmbhoomi’, where we must do positive ‘karmas’, which can help take us to the doorstep of ‘nirvana’. In fact real Asceticism is an inner virtue of the mind, and need not be manifested at the physical level. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 25 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com


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23-29 May 2014

C omment

Forward March M EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

ay should be the start of a most positive phase for India – and not just because of Modi. The setting, politically, augurs well for India’s future and especially for our increasingly youthful electorate. It looks like a good 4-horse race now– with the BJP, Congress, AAP and Regional parties. Five years (to 2019) is not long – in fact it is a short time in the life of even a party, let alone a nation. Meanwhile, back to the present. It’s been a watershed election. Never before had the Congress been so defensive; never had a Prime Minister been such a liability; and never had a Cabinet been so ‘independent’ of the PM….and of each other. The Modi-BJP juggernaut captured the imagination of the electorate across India, through hundreds of clockwork rallies. The voters came in record numbers. Though their realities may continue to be different, the dreams of many Indians now seem congruous. Congress should accept the new reality and put up Rahul as the new Party President. Yes, you heard right. He has performed the best in a Party role and needs to get a free hand to set it up anew for 2019 – without Mamma even looking over his shoulder. Sonia Gandhi, who still effectively called all the shots this election, needs to take accountability for the defeat, as much as she was (deservedly) given the credit for the 2009 victory. Rahul should play a constructive role and start working towards making the Congress the preferred choice for the youth, women and minorities – but through actions, not words (or history). Rights & reservations should be seen by him as correctives for social anomalies, not answers for political arithmetic; they also provide a cover up for the poor implementation of policies and programs. Rahul should also be steadfast and clear on which partners Congress will choose, and definitely not bank on expediency - like this time in Bihar. If AAP can make a mark without any tie-ups, surely the Congress should have no problem in even walking alone. A great testing ground would be UP, including the family boroughs of Amethi and Rae Bareilly (and while on this, let Priyanka be – someone needs to also man Vadra, the ‘khaas aadmi’). The Congress can hopefully only move upwards. It’s time for Kejriwal to chill for a while. He’s suddenly feeling lonely. The media coverage has dried up…he has not made it to Parliament…he may not become a CM for some time now. He has to admit he is human. He did want power. He had felt, in those heady days, that he could be a kingmaker at the Centre – and so gave up being a prince in a State. He went a step further,

Isn’t it precious that the Congress says that Modi won by overspending? The poor Party! Where did all the scams’ money go? For many Muslims it was a choice of ‘crying wolf’ or ‘checking for a wolf in sheep’s clothing’. Their wolf did come and they also discovered the sheep-clothed wolf finally. The self-styled ‘elite’ live in a world of their own. While these ‘economic snobs’ ridicule businessmen as outsiders and crude, they scamper for their money and sponsorship. They proclaim the Left as being liberal and progressive! They now ‘accept’ AAP also – even with mufflers - because AAP is ‘secular’. They are great ‘reactionaries’ (to any sporadic social/cultural ‘happening’), but make no proactive moves; they of course have no reaction to civic issues (they are soo boring). The Congress is still their darling – for ‘spoiling’ them and giving them awards. They believe that the voters have made a mistake this time. Surprisingly they are still living in India....

Most important for the new PM would be to believe that the current economic situation and the high expectations of citizens are a wonderful opportunity. It is time to re-excite the economy; to revive investment and make it thrive. While ‘reformist’ solutions will be proffered, to get GDP to quickly move up to 7/8% in 2 years, as important would be to ensure that enough citizens get impacted fast. This may require some innovative initiatives. Here is food for thought on one of them. Public Private Partnership (PPP) should undergo a paradigm shift. A hundred organisations (private, public) across the country should each be offered an opportunity to adopt a block (in a tehsil/taluka) of their choice anywhere in the country, for partnering the State in the delivery of civic and social facilities, amenities and services – for a period of 2 years to start with. This can also be offered as an option to a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) spend. There are enough private organisations (and even individuals) that can and would want to do this, provided they are given a fairly free hand. In return, a benefit of some ‘social branding’ would surely not be grudged by either the State or the residents. The change at ground level, for the millions of households across the 100 blocks in the country, would be very visible – on education, health, water, power, garbage, sewage, streetlights, transport…jobs. and directly challenged the future king. Gosh, it was heady! In the process the Party suffered more. He now faces their music. He’s so lonely and confused and frustrated that he is now willing to behave just like the Congress and BJP. He’s in too much of a hurry. He should learn from Yogendra Yadav, who summed up the half-full (and incrementally filling up) status of AAP very effectively. As per Yadav: ‘A Party that is making a debut cannot be judged by the number of seats alone. Even then, AAP has won 4 seats, while BSP won 3 on its debut in 1989. AAP has registered its presence throughout the country, securing 1.2 crores votes, through the hard work of over 1 lakh volunteers. In Delhi, while not winning a seat, AAP has increased its vote share (from the time of the Assembly elections). Kejriwal’s contesting from Varanasi also gave AAP an important opposition space. AAP’s role in the coming 5 years will be to provide meaningful and substantive opposition - even outside Parliament’. As against this, Kejriwal seems to be seeing the glass half empty (and draining fast). What explains this ‘madness’ to somehow try and get back as CM of Delhi? What kind of leadership is it that abandons all it stood for when things do not go the way it (over-ambitiously) wants? Is this ‘adversity’ already bringing out the worst in Kejriwal? Isn’t it surprising that, despite winning a higher vote share this time, he seems scared to go for another Assembly poll? He was super confident just till a few days ago! Chill, Mr Kejriwal…go back to the people with your MLA funds and conduct your Mohalla Sabhas…show them a trailer of what you will do when elected (what you should have anyway concentrated on the first time)… and then push for elections. AAP should buckle down for 2019. It can and should work to position itself, independently, as the Third Front BJP needs to work to defend its turf now. To start with, the Delhi BJP needs to get out of its complacency. Modi will not have the time, not the firepower, for the Assembly elections. With AAP deciding to get going with their Mohalla Sabhas, will they catch BJP flat-footed? What have the BJP MLAs been doing in the past few months with their funds? They don’t want to have to start copying AAP’s street politics all over again. As for Modi, watch this space….u


23-29 May 2014

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

T

he increasing global burden of Chronic Diseases (also called NonCommunicable Diseases) merits urgent attention. According to the WHO Global Status 2010 Report, these diseases are the biggest cause of death worldwide - responsible for nearly 40 million deaths annually. As many as one in four of these deaths are of people below 60 years – which also means that they are largely preventable. The vulnerable sections of society are hit even harder; on an average the mortality rate is 3 to 4 times higher in low-income countries. The main culprits are Cardio-vascular Diseases (48%), Cancers (21%), Chronic Respiratory Diseases (12%) and Diabetes (3%). This increased mortality, as well as the crippling cost for lifelong medication, can be mitigated by wiser food-choices as well as by increasing the awareness on the impact of ‘lifestyles’. It is estimated that diet accounts for up to 35% of the cancers that are caused by lifestyle and environment. It is time we hark the advice of ancient healers like Hippocrates – ‘Let food be thy medicine’, or listen to Ayurveda - ‘When diet is correct, medicine is of no need’. The first step is to identify and focus on controlling the common underlying Risk factors for mortality: raised Blood Pressure - BP (responsible for 13% of deaths globally); tobacco use (9%); raised blood glucose (6%); physical inactivity (6%); overweight and obesity (5%). The good news is that the list of natural tools that can help bring blood pressure down continues to grow. According to JAMA Internal Medicine, ‘Plant foods are low in blood pressure-raising sodium and high in blood pressure-lowering potassium’. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stopping Hypertension) study has confirmed these recommendations: ‘eat a healthy primarily plant-based diet, control salt intake and be physically active - to lower blood pressure. Many chronic diseases have been at least partially attributed to chronic inflammation and damage caused by free oxygen radicals. Similarly, the direct link be-

The Rainbow Treatment tween food-choice and activity lifestyle is resulting in ‘silent’ killers like hypertension (elevated blood pressure), impaired blood sugar control (Diabetes) and obesity. New research is focusing on the link between certain foods and the root-caus-

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: VIBGYOR Plant-based Foods A wide range of commonly available foods can play an important role in building immunity as well as inhibiting inflammation and abnormal angiogenesis (blood vessel growth), and affecting aberrant DNA methylation - thus helping prevent formation of tumour cells and protecting cell DNA. These Plant-based VIBGYOR foods are abundantly endowed with healthboosting phytochemicals (anthocyanins, allicin, bioflavonoids, indoles, lignins, cinnamaldehyde, isothiocyanates, lutein, lycopene, resveratrol and phenolics):

Violet

Onion, Scallion, Olive

Indigo

Blueberry, Jamun, Falsa

Blue

Berry

Green

Collard, Cruciferous vegetables, Pepper Parsley, Lentil, Green tea, Green peas

Yellow/ Gold /Brown

Pear, Carrot, Lentil, Cantaloupe, Apricot, Soya, Papaya, Squashes, Sweet potato, Sunflower, Turmeric, Flax seed, Whole grains, Nuts & Seeds, Wheat germ, Nutmeg, Watercress

Orange

Citrus fruit, Pumpkin, Saffron

Red

Berry, Tomato, Apple, Red Wine, Beetroot, Red Pepper

White

Turnip, Garlic, Mushroom, Lima Beans

Flower Power { Alka Gurha }

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he lovely red blooms of Hibiscus (‘Shoe Flower’) are common in India. Hibiscus belongs to the family Malvaceae and there are about a hundred different species that are native to the tropical regions of South East Asia. The flowers come in a range of colorus – white, red, yellow and pink. Flowers on the Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) come in single or double forms and can be 4 to 8 inches wide. Hibiscus is the national flower of Malaysia and the Republic of Haiti. In-

es that directly impact the health of DNA cells and blood vessels. Like a pivot, these can either trigger the beneficial effect of food - making wholesome nutrients available at the right time and right place in the body, or its exact opposite - when the

terestingly, the Hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Hawaiian girls as a symbol of their relationship status. In India the red Hibiscus is the flower of the Hindu goddess Kali; it is used as an offering to Kali and Lord Ganesha. Hibiscus extracts have been used for ages – as part of Ayurveda - to cure many ailments. It is also considered to have a number of medical uses in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). If you have a Hibiscus plant in your house, you can easily make Hibiscus tea from the flowers. You can also get Hibiscus

extracts from organic stores. Hibiscus Tea is made from Hibiscus sabdariffa - a sub-tropical and topical flowering plant. Its flowers are used for medicinal purposes, making of edible products and for flavouring herbal beverages. Consuming Hibiscus may help stimulate weight loss, strengthen the immune system (by providing Vitamin C and antioxidants), reduce the intensity of hot flushes and ameliorate dandruff and acne problems. Hibiscus Tea is rich in antioxidants and thus it helps to fight certain ailments and ageing. However, be careful if you are taking medication for blood pressure; in general, consult your doctor regarding the impact on any pre-existing health condition you may have. Hibiscus Oil has many beauty benefits. Hibiscus flower extracts are basically used to promote hair growth and preserve the hair’s natural col-

W ellness

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body gets caught in a domino-like effect in response to negative substances (e.g. stress-related Homocysteine or Glucocorticoids, which impact immunity levels). According to the Angiogenesis Foundation in Cambridge, Mass., abnormalities in blood vessel growth - called Angiogenesis - could explain upto 70% of all chronic diseases. The body has an intricate system of enzymes, hormones, proteins and genes that regulate bloodvessel growth; but when the system malfunctions, several chronic diseases can occur - in particular all forms of cancer, which rely on the aberrant production of new blood vessels. Scientists have also identified several genes that are associated with an increased risk of developing Cardio-vascular Diseases. Genetic variants of the same gene (chromosome 9p21) are also associated with Breast, Bladder, and Pancreatic Cancers. Choosing our foods well (e.g. imbibing catechins in green tea or iso-thiocyanates in green vegetables) can help access bioactive compounds, which may deter the development of cancer by affecting DNA methylation.

Tip of the Week

Antioxidants from natural foods, eaten raw or minimally cooked, can effectively take on free radicals, which otherwise fan the flames of inflammation and damage cellular form and function while altering DNA integrity as well. Avoid foods that are high salt, high sugar, high saturated or trans-fat, canned,  overly processed, fast-foods, lunch meats, saltbased seasonings, caffeine, gluten etc. Be wary of long-lists in the 'ingredients’ of overly processed foods. Select foods that have less than 5% of the ‘Daily Value’ (DV) of sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon) of salt each day - or even lower, as guided by the doctor. Use non-salt seasonings such as  herbs, spices, lemon juice and garlic  during food preparation. Drinking beet juice can also help reduce BP - the crimson root veggie is rich in nitrates, which relax blood vessels.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition). For education purposes only; always

our. In China a hair dye made from ‘Shoe Flower’ is commonly used. In Japan the flower has gained popularity as a remedy for hair fall. The petals can also be used as a natural hair dye and for making the hair become shiny and smooth. The Hibiscus mucilage - a slippery plant extract - detangles hair and soothes skin irritations. In Ayurveda, Hibiscus has been used for skin & hair care formulations for decades. Being natural emollients, Hibiscus flowers have a high percentage of Vitamin C. According to some skin specialists, Hibiscus contains a firming agent, which has a calming effect on the skin. In addition, that also helps smoothe out fine lines and wrinkles, resulting in youthful skin. Hibiscus is a natural astringent and its moisturising properties are good for all types of skin and hair.u


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23-29 May 2014 PRAKHAR PANDEY

Dominant DLF Docked { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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ealty major DLF suffered a major setback when the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) recently held that the Company was guilty of abusing its market dominance in the case of three residential complexes – viz. Belaire, Park Place and Magnolias. COMPAT upheld the Rs 630 crores penalty that had been levied by the Competition Commission of India (CCI), adding a 9 per cent interest. This is the first major CCI ruling that has been upheld by the Tribunal. While DLF said that it would appeal against the order in the Supreme Court, the buyers and their RWAs have warmly welcomed the decision. The COMPAT order said that the CCI order as well as its judgement would help ameliorate the conditions of all the buyers; and that if they, as customers, are being exploited, then the builder cannot expect any help from the State. COMPAT also said that, being the dominant player and market leader, DLF had a special responsibility to follow the law in letter and spirit. The apartment owners, led by their associations, say that this is a very positive development not only for them but also for buyers across the country. They have decided that they will fight the case in the Supreme Court and take it to its logical conclusion. They will also file a compensa-

tion claim with the CCI, for the loss of their rights due to the wrongful practices adopted by the Company. Sanjay Bhasin, President of the Belaire Owners’ Association, tells Friday Gurgaon that this judgement (and penalty thereof) would ensure that builders like DLF do not take buyers for granted, and rules and regulations cannot be subverted at will. “The builder added additional floors without any permission from the authorities, and with no consent from the owners. The projects were delayed and DLF did not share any building plans, or other information about the projects,” says Bhasin. The Apartment Buyers’ Associations of Belaire, Park Place and Magnolias are also hoping that the land on which these projects were promised to be developed would now be delivered to them, along with the common areas and facilities, which must be commensurate with the increase in the number of apartments.  The penalty, upheld by COMPAT, was levied by the CCI in August 2011, on DLF, for abusing its dominant position in the ‘high-end residential apartments’ category. It had also asked DLF to ‘cease and desist’ in another case. The CCI took into the account the ‘one-sided’ buyer agreement, which gave sole discretion to the builder with respect to any change in zoning plans, carpet areas, usage or changes in structure. The penalty was ordered after the two flat buyers’ associations

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of Belaire and Park Place complained to the CCI regarding the abuse of dominance in the sale of apartments, and the subsequent delay in construction, change of plans and ‘unauthorised’ construction – which was not approved by any authority. DLF had asserted that the CCI had no jurisdiction in the case, that the relevant market and geography had not been correctly calculated, and that the sale of apartment could not be considered either as a product or a service. However, all the arguments put forth by the builder and its illustrious team of lawyers could not stand good in the CCI, which upheld the Rs 630 crores penalty. While the CCI order even called for changes in the builder-buyer agreement, COMPAT has perhaps tried to do a balancing act, stating that while the CCI could suggest changes in the Agreement, it was beyond the purview of the Commission to suggest point by point changes - as these were voluntary and had not been signed under duress. Sanjay Sharma, MD, Qubrex, who had submitted a report on behalf of the buyers’ associa-

n the case between DLF Limited and Competition Commission of India (CCI), the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has come down heavily on the institutions of the State government, particularly the DTCP (Director Town & Country Planning) Haryana. DTCP has allowed builders to revise their building plans without issuing any notice or providing any information to the allottees. “We are surprised and shocked that, at least in case of Magnolia, the DTCP Haryana allowed the increase in height and the addition of floors, without a public notice – or without even providing a notice to the allottees individually,” said the Commission. It further said that the abuse of dominance does not stop here, as the inordinate increase in the number of apartments has created issues related to ‘Super Area’ – which includes the proportionate ‘share’ of the residents in the common areas. The Commission added that it was on record and established that the construction of all the three residential housing schemes, particularly the construction of the additional floors, was going on in full swing without any approval of a plan or a revised plan by the relevant authorities. “We are surprised that no actions were taken against the builder, and the civic authorities remained blissfully ignorant about the on-going unauthorised constructions. We did not expect a responsible leading and number one real-estate company in the world (in their own words) to flout various provisions of DTCP, Haryana and relevant statutes in this regard. Indeed there cannot be any justification in constructing anything in the proportion as the builder did, without the proper approvals or finalisation of the sanctions of the revised plans. We are simply shocked to read all this and then to find that a certificate of validity has been given from the DTCP Haryana as well as the State of Haryana. Since the increase of the height of the building was complained of by the allottees, who were clamouring for the finalised plans, we have touched upon this subject. Therefore, one thing is certain – that, till the final approval came somewhere in the year 2009, any construction beyond the 19th floor (in case of Park Place by two floors and in case of Belaire by 10 floors) was wholly illegal or at any rate unauthorised. It is very significant that in the whole written submission by the State of Haryana, there is no reference to the density norms. Under the circumstances we feel that the government authorities ignored and misinterpreted the various provisions, particularly in respect of the requirement of the necessary approvals by the DTCP Haryana, while constructing the additional floors,” the Commission asserted in its Order. 

R eal E state tions, says that DLF has been rightly determined as a dominant player in the high-end apartments category. «This order will pave the way for more builders to be brought to CCI, as market dominance can be established in the case of different market and product categories. It needs thorough professional analysis to establish whether a builder is dominant or not,» says Sharma.  Harsh Sehgal, President of Park Place Flat Owners’ Association, says that the stand taken by the buyers has been vindicated in both CCI and COMPAT. He says that this order will bring sanity to the Real Estate market and ensure that builders do not take customers and the rule of law for a ride. “DLF had no permission to build when the project was launched, and the construction started late - by when 35% of the total payment due had already been made,” asserts Sehgal. It is also being expected that if DLF were forced to change its buyers’ agreement, it would impact the entire industry, as a majority of builders follow the Company. Col BK Dhawan, President Emeritus of the Silver Oaks Apartment Association, says that the order is correct in letter and spirit, but the apartment buyers should not rest, as the builders are very slippery customers and they use all their resources to somehow wriggle out of this situation. Dhawan and his Association have been stung badly in the Silver Oaks’ case where, much to the surprise of the buyers, the Supreme Court had recently ruled in favour of DLF in the case involving the definition of an apartment and the ownership of common areas. Dhawan alleges that there is complicity between the builder and the State authorities, which ensures that the correct information is not made available to the courts. This puts the buyers in a weak position - often causing failure. “We have submitted a review petition in the Supreme Court and also filed a criminal case, as we believe that false information was furnished to the Court,” says Dhawan. In his opinion, this COMPAT decision could prove seminal for the Real Estate industry, provided the builder is not allowed to get away on some technical point.  Dhawan adds that the key issue is that DLF has used its dominance to dictate the Apartment Buyers’ Agreement (ABA) and imposed unilateral clauses. He points out that while the ‘time is essence’ clause is applicable to the buyers, it is not enforceable in equal measure against the builder; the


R eal E state

23-29 May 2014

penalty to be paid by a buyer, in case of delay in payment, is calculated at 18 per cent, while the builder needs to pay only 5 per cent in case of a project delay. The CCI was told that DLF had excluded itself from any obligations and liabilities, while the buyers were forced to sign on the dotted line. The CCI, on the basis of these complaint, framed four major issues that needed to be considered while deciding the case: the applicability of the Competition Act to this case, the definition of ‘relevant market’, whether DLF was a ‘dominant’ player, and whether it has ‘abused’ it’s dominant position in the ‘relevant market’. Real Estate and legal experts say that the reason that the CCI order has been upheld by COMPAT is that all these issues was studied deeply by CCI and all aspects of the law and Real Estate regulations were taken into account. Dhawan says that DLF is buying time and, barring a technical point, the Company now cannot escape punishment.  To assess whether a sale of apartment was to be considered as a service, the CCI took into account the decisions of MRTP and Supreme Court judgements, and concluded that housing was to be defined as a ‘service’. CCI held that ‘it is clear that the meaning of ‘service’ as envisaged under the Act is of a very wide magnitude and is

not exhaustive in application, thereby including the activities undertaken by DLF within its ambit’. It also considered whether that this Act could be applied retrospectively (to earlier agreements). The Commission held that even though the agreements (in question) were signed before the Act came into operation, since these were operational after the said date, they could be examined under the Act. It also held that industry practice couldn’t be used as a defence, as the case was of DLF being the market leader and dominant player in the said categories. To determine what was the relevant market, the CCI referred to a DG report, which was based on CMIE data. It held that ‘highend’ is not a function of just size, but a complex mix of size, reputation of location, quality, actual buyers and capacity to pay. It also held that Gurgaon is a relevant market, as a decision to buy a flat here cannot be substituted (by buying) in any other geographical location. The CCI went through reports by JLL, Genesis and Qubrex before taking its decision. Sanjay Sharma of Qubrex says that the concept of ‘active stock’ put forth by the builder was rejected, as it was clear that Company had almost 45 per cent market share and was having a big land bank in the City. It was also an early mover, an industry leader, and

had financial strength much beyond the competitors. As a result of all this data and information, CCI concluded that DLF was ‘dominant’. Finally, the decision whether DLF had ‘abused’ the market, was based on the ‘unfair’ buyer’s agreement - which left little options to the buyer, as it was totally one-sided (in favour of the builder). The Commission held that unilateral changes in the (terms of the) agreement by the builder, without any right to the allottees, were evidence of an unequal bargaining power between the parties. DLF’s ‘right’ to change the layout plan, without taking consent from the allottees, and the discretion of DLF to quite simply change an area for a different use (residential or commercial), without even informing the allottees, were considered further instances of inequality. There were instances when allottees paid Preferential Location Charges up-front (as demanded), but when they were not allotted the desired location, they only received the refund/ adjustment of amount at the time of the last installment - that too without any interest. The proportion of land on which an apartment was situated, and on which allottees would have ownership rights, was decided by DLF at its sole discretion. DLF continues to enjoy full rights on the community buildings/

sites/ recreational and sporting activities - including their maintenance. The allottees have no rights in this regard. CCI used all these clauses as evidence of unequal bargaining power between the parties. The other ‘abusive’ clauses included: DLF has sole discretion to link one project to another, with its consequent impact on ambience and the quality of living, with the allottees having no right to object; allottees are liable to pay External Development Charges, without an amount being disclosed in advance and even enhanced later; allottees have no exit option except when DLF fails to deliver possession within the agreed time (and even then the allottee gets a refund of only monies paid, without interest, and only after the sale of the said apartment by DLF to someone else!). There also was arbitrary forfeiture of amounts paid by allottees in many situations. DLF’s ‘exit clause’ gives them full discretion, including that of abandoning the project, without being liable for any penalty. DLF has the sole authority to make additions/alterations in the buildings, with all the benefits flowing to DLF. Third party rights can be created without the allottees’ consent, to the detriment of their interests. The CCI was clear that DLF had ‘abused’ it’s ‘dominant’ position in the ‘relevant market’. It also recommended

Busting Strokes C

olumbia Asia Hospital’s emergency team has saved a 34-year-old man (flight steward) from getting permanently disabled. Atul (name changed) had been getting ready for office, but only an hour later he was lying in the Hospital’s Emergency Room, unable to move the right side of his body and finding it difficult to speak. These are symptoms of Ischaemic Stroke. Such strokes are more commonly caused due to a clot in the arteries of the brain. After thorough investigation by the Emergency and Neurology Teams, he was administered a clot-busting medicine, which normalised his condition. Atul had first felt nauseated and dizzy, but was not able to shout for help. His wife thankfully noticed the problem and the panic-stricken family members brought him to the Hospital. In the Emergency Room the doctors assessed his situation to be a case of ‘Cerebral Stroke’. Knowing that every second was important and delay could mean

prolonged disability, the Neurology team was alerted and immediately an MRI of the brain was conducted - which revealed an ‘Ischaemic Stroke’. Just minutes after receiving the medicine, Atul was able to move his limbs. He did face some difficulty in speaking and swallowing, but this became betterby evening. For his family members it was no less than a miracle. They had been terrified that he had suffered a paralytic attack. Atul was discharged after two days. He was back to work in just a week. u

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that the Central Government and various State Governments should come out with Real Estate regulations that would ensure overall consumer welfare and discourage the unfair trade practices prevalent in the sector. While COMPAT has upheld the penalty against DLF, it has also been circumspect in ordering changes in the builder-buyer agreement, despite the abuse by the builder being established. Experts opine that while this order might send a strong message to builders, it is unlikely to form a legal precedent for now, as DLF is going to challenge this order in the Supreme Court. Legal experts say that in case the Supreme Court directs all the builders to modify their buyer’s agreements, or agrees to suggestions made by CCI, it could impact the industry in a big way. They however suggest that CCI cannot be expected to correct all the ills plaguing this industry. It would also be difficult and onerous to try and separately pin various (even big) builders as being ‘dominant’, and to establish ‘relevant’ products and geographic markets. An empowered Real Estate Regulator is the need of the hour. It’s time for the sham and scam builders to vanish; it’s now time for developers and development. u

About Clot-busting Medicines (Thrombolysis) in a Stroke: Not all patients who have had a stroke can be given clot-busting (thrombolytic) medicines It is only indicated in Ischaemic Stroke (i.e one that is caused most commonly by a clot in the blood vessel) It can be administered only if the patient reaches the hospital within 4 hours of the onset of symptoms Not all patients may have a similar recovery (however, observations from many cases reveal that a significant number of people recover completely within 3 months, and anyway those who receive the clot-busting treatment have better neurological outcomes - than those who do not). There is a chance of side effects like bleeding, especially in the brain, which needs close monitoring. That’s where the expertise of the doctors becomes critical. 


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An Art in its own right { Matthias Roeder/ Vienna/ DPA }

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Matthias Roeder

23-29 May 2014

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{ Ernesto Ramirez/ San Jose/ DPA }

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Costa Rican artist has been chopping up weapons and instruments of death and transforming them into works of Art.
He says that by including metal shards from guns in a painting, he is not glorifying war; in fact he believes that he is promoting peace. Mixed into the paint are chunks of AK-47 assault rifles, homemade guns and pieces from other ‘instruments of death’. Juan Carlos Chavarria calls the idea ‘Transformation in Violent Times’. He is urging his people to stop the violence and crime that afflicts the Central Ameri-

Brigitte Humpelstetter, who is copying the original ‘The Hunters in the Snow’ (centre), painted in 1565 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Humpelstetter’s copy in progress is on the easel on the right.

You-Yong, a Beijing artist, copies ‘The Painting Lesson’ by Jan Vermeer, at the KHM. tian Woman’ by Durer,” she smiles. She has often been the only ‘copyist’ in the magnificent building; but things have changed ever since 13 Chinese artists settled in to develop their painting skills. “It is as if Vermeer were driving a car in front of me. I follow him and try to understand why he has taken that route,” explains portrait specialist You-Yong. The 26-year-old from Beijing is awed at being face-to-face with the original Vermeer. He’s only been here for two days, but in the eyes of many of the visitors he has already captured the painting by the Dutch master perfectly. Why Vermeer? “Velazquez was already full,” he says. His Chinese compatriots love the Spaniard (Velazquez), whose work plays an important role in the teaching of Calligraphy. Also at work in the Gallery is Danqing Chen,

probably the most prominent of the visiting Chinese artists. The 61-year-old’s paintings of Tibet are well known. He has lived in New York for the past 18 years and his paintings are highly prized at home (China).
 Twice so far he has copied the ‘Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress’ by Velazquez – but both times working from reproductions.
 “Seeing the original shows me how clumsy I was,” he says. His work, which he expects to complete inside a week, is not intended for sale. “This is for my own pleasure and that of students in China,” he says.
 That isn’t always the case. Most copyists sell their work and can charge 10,000 euros (14,000 dollars) or more for a good reproduction. “We don’t ask what happens to the copies,” says Christine Surtmann, assistant to the Director. Thousands of paintings have been copied since the foundation of KHM, 120 years ago. Every

Danqing Chen, 61, probably the most prominent of the visiting Chinese artists, copies the ‘Infanta Margarita Teresa in a Blue Dress’ by Diego Velazquez. The KHM, an Art Gallery in Vienna, Austria, welcomes copyists and registers their work. Danqing Chen says he has twice copied the painting from reproductions. “Seeing the original shows me how clumsy I was,” he says.

Using Weapon-Art to promote Peace can country. The Project began in October last year and lasted until February – by which time he had created 21 paintings, 15 of them in oil.
 The metal elements are pieces of arms that were destroyed by the Costa Rican Public Security Ministry armaments unit. “(This project) is unique because it is the first time that pieces of weapons are being used to realise pictorial works,” Chavarria tells dpa. Chavarria’s first work was exhibited in 2012 at the Cuzco Art Biennale in Peru.
 What pushed Chavarria was his deep concern at the

ease with which guns can be obtained in Costa Rica. He says that it was keeping him from sleeping, especially since Costa Rica claims to be a pacifist society.
 The ‘last straw’ for him was when, three years ago, a secondary-level pupil used her father’s pistol to shoot and kill her headmistress, after an argument. “Things like these cannot be allowed to keep on happening in Costa Rica, a country where the army was abolished 60 years ago,” he says.
 Chavarria plans on having his Collection shown at museums

Juan Carlos Chavarria

aking an ‘Old Master’ is not a crime...in the Austrian capital Vienna it’s a legitimate way to reproduce great Art, and is conducted with the full knowledge of the City’s celebrated KHM Art Gallery.
 A delegation of top Chinese painters was in town the other day, honing their Western brushwork technique while standing at easels set up in front of paintings by Velazquez, Vermeer and Bruegel. They were painstakingly copying.
 So do many students, pensioners and professional artists.
 Brigitte Humpelstetter, 77, a self-taught Austrian artist, has been copying an original Bruegel painting in painstaking detail. She has been at it almost every day for the past six months. “I have plenty of time,” the pensioner laughs. She is reproducing – for the second time - ‘The Hunters in the Snow’, painted originally in 1565 by Pieter Bruegel the Elder.
 The hounds, hunters and skaters have been first sketched with a fine pen; the blazing fire has yet to be added. However, the landscape already seems as freezing cold as in the original. Although Brigitte has been coming to the KHM Gallery for 20 years, she has not grown tired of the almost 1,000 ‘Old Masters’. “My husband likes beautiful women. For him I painted ‘Portrait of a Young Vene-

Weapons are cut apart to be transformed into Art, by Costa Rican artist Juan Carlos Chavarria The 21 paintings that make up the ‘Transformation in Violent Times’ show by Costa Rican artist Juan Carlos Chavarria.

copy made has been meticulously recorded in a register. The records show that copyists have become rarer since the 1960s. The income is probably not worth the long hours at the easel, Surtmann says.
 Also, copying the ‘Old Masters’ doesn’t play much of a role in Art education these days. “Today that is unfortunately ignored,” says Marcela Chiriac, a Moldavian. For three weeks this 21-year-old has been copying ‘Cupid Making His Bow’, a painting made by Italy’s Parmigianino around 500 years ago. “To capture the luminosity is particularly difficult,” says the young woman, who for the past two years has been funding her studies by copying paintings at the KHM. In a couple of weeks Cupid’s curly locks and shining skin should look just like the original. Chiriac explains this Art. “Copying is an Art in its own right. One mustn’t just copy just what one sees; the understanding must go much deeper.”
 u in different towns of Costa Rica. The San Jose National Museum is one site: it was once the main Costa Rican Army headquarters. Chavarria also hopes the show will travel to other countries. “I will seek artists with similar ideas to bring them into this Project, to help transform negatives into positives,” he says.
 Chavarria adds that illegal arms trafficking is a bane causing major problems throughout the world. In Costa Rica alone, 21,000 weapons confiscated by authorities are waiting to be destroyed.
 “Sometimes it is easier to find a pistol in the black market than it is to buy a banana,” he says. The paintings by Chavarria are filled with symbolism, seeking to transmit messages of solidarity, loyalty, harmony and tolerance. “Long live peace, long live Art,” Chavarria has said, on the day he gave the last brushstroke to one of his favourite paintings in the series.
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Rocking Red

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Sid Astbury

23-29 May 2014

{ Sid Astbury/Yulara, Australia/ DPA }

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t is as though that monster rock in the middle of Australia were a nugget of gold. “You just can’t keep your eyes off it,” says American tourist Keith Coleman, of Uluru. “We’ve been here three days and we’ve been looking at it the whole time.” Coleman, honeymooning with Findy (both from Philadelphia) is testifying to the pull of the sandstone monolith (Uluru) that used to be called Ayers Rock. Harold Jorg, who with wife Greta got up early enough to watch the sun rise over the Big Red Rock, has visited Australia many times, but got a particular thrill one early autumn morning in April. “It was the best experience,” the visitor from Hamburg gushed. “There were two rainbows over the Rock!” About 300,000 people a year come to see Uluru up close. It is at least a 3 hour flight from any of the big cities to the settlement at Yulara. The only hotel here is expensive. For some, Uluru can be just a tick on a wish list of things to see and do around the world. Thomas Brooks, who lives in Panama and is visiting as part of a world tour, is glad he came - but is eager to get on to the next place. “It’s off to Borneo now,” he says. “Don’t ask me. I don’t know where or what we’ll see. I just follow the ‘daily schedule’.” In contrast, Joann Larssen, on the same whirlwind, top-drawer tour, is overjoyed at the two days she spent with her husband within sight of the 347-metres-high sandstone boulder. “It was all just magical,” she coos. “There were just the two us for dinner under the stars. An astronomer told us about the night sky, a man played a didgeridoo, and all around there were flashes of lightning and bangs of thunder.” The activities are all about seeing the Rock under different ‘lights’. It is about getting up before dawn for a bush breakfast as the light comes up; before dinner, getting out to see the sunset from one of the lookouts; and having dinner looking out

Tim Eade, who helps run the Aboriginal cultural programme at Yulara. He says that culture must be a living thing. Ned Thompson, a guide at Uluru, who is often asked whether the Rock, with its iron oxide, will rust away to nothing. “Not in millions of years,” is his reply.

Daniel Buxton, who switched from the building industry to operate camels at Uluru (Ayers Rock). “You have to have a connection with animals when you ride them,” he says. Tourists tramp around Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia’s central landmark in the UluruKata-Tjuta National Park. The rock has a circumference of 9,000 metres. Tourists are no longer allowed to climb it. The Aboriginal owners requested that climbing on the Rock be stopped. over the Rock as the night closes in. Uluru is Australia’s third most photographed subject (after Sydney’s Opera House and Harbour Bridge). It does not disappoint – displaying many different shades of

red, helped by the monolith’s iron oxide coating. “You can’t live here unless you work here,” says guide Ned Thompson. People have come from all over Australia – and abroad. The land is owned by the local Ananu people, transferred back to them in 1985. But they are hard to find. Their Findy and Keith Coleman, honeymooners from the United States, who could not stop looking at Uluru (Ayers Rock).

Tourists enjoy an open-air sunset dinner at Uluru-Kata-Tjuta National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. The view of Uluru (earlier Ayers Rock) is captivating.

village, near the Rock, is sealed off. “You wouldn’t want people coming to your place and looking in your windows, and taking pictures. They want their privacy,” Thompson says. You can fly over the Rock by helicopter, drive around it, or walk the 10-kilometres trail at the base. Climbing the Rock is still possible, but is officially discouraged. The path is now closed most of the year. There are bicycles for hire - and even camels (though the dromedaries are not allowed in the National Park that Uluru stands in). Daniel Buxton, 30, gave up his job as a Quantity Surveyor in England to look after the camels. “You get to a point in your life when you wonder what you’re doing,” he says. “And then you just do it. We just booked an airplane ticket and came here.” The motivation was different for Tim Eade, brought up in an Aboriginal family in the country town of Brewarrina, a 10-hour drive north-west from Sydney. He tells stories, teaches dancing and puts on cultural performances for the visitors. “We live our culture here,” he says. “We love it. I got the chance to learn about Aboriginal culture in another place and I took it. These are all my brothers.”
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23-29 May 2014

Zen for Design { Lars Nicolaysen/Tokyo/ DPA }

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apanese women wearing silk kimonos sink gracefully to their knees in a room with clay-coloured bare walls and tatami mats made of rice straw. They have gathered for a Tea Ceremony in a room decorated with simple, yet exquisite, objects. For outsiders, Japanese art and culture often sparks images of these spartan and elegant aesthetics of ‘old Japan’. The common idea of the Tea Ceremony, where a bonsai in an alcove and a scroll picture painted in ink provide the only room decoration, seems to contrast starkly with the glitzy, brash-coloured Japanese consumer electronics that are exported worldwide. But the old and new have much in common in Japan. Frugality and functionality are integral even in the lifestyle of the

trendiest young Japanese. They are just expressed in a different manner - whether in architecture, furniture or fashion. This aesthetic direction is now finding new followers - in the West. One prominent example is the Japanese fashion store chain, Uniqlo, which has just opened its first outlet in Berlin. Uniqlo is an acronym that stands for ‘unique clothing’. It’s been a success for years in Japan and has established itself in several other countries as a leading outlet for low-priced fashion. Its minimalist and functional design competes with European budget brands like H&M, Mango and Zara. “Because our clothing is so simple, absolutely anyone can decide how they want to wear it,” Uniqlo’s design chief, Naoki Takzawa had said. Unnecessary adornments are left out. “Anything that’s

frugal is beautiful,” he had added. Maybe not apparent, but Takizawa is expressing a link with the traditional aesthetics of his country. The Japanese lifestyle store Muji already has several outlets abroad. It stocks a diverse range of goods - including household items, furniture, clothing, office equipment, cosmetics and food. Once again, everything sold in Muji is minimalist in design. “Muji’s design is a continuation of Japanese culture,” the company’s chief executive, Tadamitsu Matsui, had said. “Although the products are modern, their design is very, very simple and functional”, he had added. He saw parallels with Japan’s history and culture. “It has something in common with Zen Buddhism and Sado (Japan’s traditional Tea Ceremony),” he had expressed. u

Now, Water Sommeliers! { Matthias Jung/Riegelsberg, Germany/ DPA }

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onventional wisdom has it that the best beverages to accompany a steak meal are beer or wine. But a new trend in dining in Germany shows that a fine glass of bottled water can make a steak taste even better! You might even find Armin Schoenenberger whispering advice in your ear. Schoenenberger has one of the world’s rarest job titles. He is a Water Sommelier in Riegelsberg, a town in south-western Germany. “I recommend a glass of mineral water with a minimum of 1,000 milligrams of minerals per litre,” says Schoenenberger. “It would be even better if the water had its magnesium and calcium in the ideal balance,” he adds. Sommeliers are professional tasters who counsel people on beverages, usually wine. There are 60 certified Water Sommeliers in Germany, a country that takes its bottled mineral waters very seriously. “Water has become a trendy drink. People have been enjoying soft drinks, coffee and beer for a long time. Water is now experiencing a renaissance, due to greater health awareness,” intones Schoenenberger. Today, Germans drink 10 times more mineral water than they did in 1970. Although tap water is safe, many Germans find it tasteless. Sommeliers such as Schoenenberger are profiting as water bottlers project their brands as lifestyle products that only the

discriminating truly appreciate. Just like their colleagues in the wine business, Water Sommeliers can be summoned to advise patrons in fine-dining establishments. Some of the top restaurants in Germany stock up to 50 different types of mineral water, bottled at governmentcertified springs. They list their complete chemical analyses on their labels. To go with a hearty meal, Schoenenberger recommends choosing a mineral water with a high sodium content. For a lighter meal of, say, fish with steamed vegetables, he advises drinking low mineral content water. Water with a high level of salty-tasting sodium is also good for drinking after a strenous exercise. Still Water, having almost no minerals, is suitable for drinking with a full-bodied wine or coffee. “Coffee’s strong taste should not be masked by a water high in minerals,” says Schoenenberger. In contrast to most sommeliers,

Schoenenberger does not work at a restaurant. He gives his professional advice to restaurant owners and to the drinks trade. However, he is not enamoured by some very expensive mineral waters. One of those is Bling H2O from the United States; it costs about 140 dollars a bottle. Other ‘posh’ waters on sale in Germany include Norwegian glacier water and rainwater from Tasmania. “I can’t get excited by waters like that,” sniffs Schoenenberger. The Sommelier says that while Bling H2O comes in an attractive bottle, the quality of the contents is nothing special. He gets enthusiastic when it comes to regionally produced mineral water products. “Germany has the best quality and variety of mineral water in Europe,” he says. Many Germans are locovores, who favour food and drink produced locally – though they draw the line at drinking the municipal tap water. u

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Love at first sight…not the only route to true romance { Antonia Lange/Stuttgart, Germany/ DPA }

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hat do the Chinese see as romantic? How is life in an arranged marriage? What happens when a Buddhist falls in love? These and similar questions are answered by a young Russian-German author who spent five months collecting love stories in nine countries on five continents. “Love exists everywhere, of course,” said Wlada Kolosowa, 27, of the findings in her book, ‘Lovetrotter’; “the differences lie in the way it’s handled.” Excerpts of her book - published Inken Rauch / Random House in German - ran on the website of the German news magazine Der Spiegel. Born in St Petersburg, Kolosowa moved to Germany with her mother at age 12, earned a Journalism degree from Berlin’s Free University, and in September 2012 began a Master’s programme in Creative Writing at New York University. So she has a trinocular perspective on romantic relationships! Unlike in Germany, people in other countries don’t feel impelled to chat up someone who gives them “butterflies in the stomach,” Kolosowa said. “Yes, people the world over feel entranced by a special smile,” she remarked, “but not in every country does this mean you’ve got to succumb Wlada Kolosowa, the to it.” A woman in China told her Russian-born German that love was a kind of teamwork. author of Lovetrotter, “I’ve also met happy people in a book that looks at arranged marriages. And plenty experiences of romantic people don’t expect butterflies in love in nine diverse nations. the stomach from love.” Romance can very well exist in these sorts of relationship too - but perhaps of a different kind than people in the West imagine. “A woman once told me that she had married a man who had offered her an umbrella at a bus stop when it was raining,” Kolosowa said. “I don’t see why that gesture is worth less than a bouquet of red roses,” she had said. In Egypt, Cambodia, Brazil, Turkey or Iran - wherever Kolosowa went, she encountered people willing to tell her their personal love stories. It helped that she sometimes visited acquaintances or relatives, or quickly came into contact with people via ‘couch surfing’ - pre-arranged stays at the home of a host. People’s openness varied across countries. “I really got exasperated in China,” said Kolosowa,. “They don’t like to talk about (love) there…and even less with strangers.” However, she is experienced in coaxing personal stories out of couples. She had couples tell her when they had fallen in love. That magic moment is not joyful for everyone everywhere, though. A Buddhist monk in Cambodia, whom Kolosowa had portrayed in her book, struggled with his love for a young woman. It even made him feel ill. “Yes, even the wisest people aren’t immune to the Western virus of infatuation,” she noted; “a contented monk had become a lovesick teenager!” (The two did get together in the end, though). The author had an easier time of it in the countries she is best familiar with. In Russia she discussed love with her grandmother and a cousin; in Germany she used her relationship with her boyfriend as an example; and in the United States she drew on experiences from her circle of friends and acquaintances. Book sales were not the point of her travels, Kolosowa said. “The interviews for the love stories were simply a structure for me,” she explained. “I wanted to motivate myself to come into contact with the locals.” And what, in a nutshell, are the lessons from ‘global love’? “A little constancy, I think,” Kolosowa said. “Not thinking that only your preconceptions about a romantic relationship are the really valid ones; telling yourself you’ve now got your partner and won’t keep looking around for a better one – basically, having the courage to make a commitment.” u


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23-29 May 2014

23

Computer Addiction: scourge or media hype? Sebastian Kahnert

{ Christina Sticht/ Hanover, Germany/ DPA }

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arvin’s mornings, days and nights used to consist of ‘real-time’ strategy games and online adventures. Now he’s trying to cut the cord, literally, and explore alternatives like jogging and exercise. “You really get into it and lose yourself; and it can be a lot of fun,” says the 31-year-old, of his Computer Gaming experience. He is at an Addiction clinic at the Hanover Medical School. But just because he was having fun, it doesn’t mean he was happy with his behaviour. This dilemma is today writ large across modern society. Advocates of Gaming want it to be taken seriously as an Art form, but the medical community is pushing back, warning about the dangers of Computer Addiction. Marvin seems convinced he has a problem. “I always had an extremely troubled conscience. I would delete all my games…only to reinstall them a little bit later. Once I even sold my PC,” he says. His studies suffered. He was hopeless with women. At some point it hit him: “You behave a lot like someone who has a drug problem,” he told himself. This realisation led him to the Clinic, where he has been trying to sever ties with his computer. Exercise helps, especially when he has depressive episodes. But

German youth psychiatrist Christoph Moeller, who says young people are drawn to computer games because ‘”they can find success, relationships and recognition online - things that they lack in real life.” Moeller heads the Child Psychiatry section of the Auf der Bult Clinic in Hanover, Germany.

A boy, 16, plays Grand Theft Auto V by Rockstar Games on a Microsoft Xbox 360. he says he still has a long way to go. “Whenever I experience something positive in the real world I get mad, because I feel I could have experienced it so much earlier (if I had not been immersed in Gaming),” he says. There is no unanimity on Computer Addiction. Even its existence is up for debate. World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines do not recognize it. US professionals have begun laying out the guidelines for diagnosing the problem, but say it has yet to be recognised as a disease. A 2013 German study suggested that 1 per cent of the population between ages 14 and 64 suffers from Computer Addiction; and that figure rises to 2.4 per cent for those aged between 14 and 24,

A 7-year-old boy uses a Microsoft Xbox 360 console. and 4 per cent for ages 14 to 16. However, even the US attempts note that a diagnosis can’t merely focus on the duration of time spent at the computer. There have to be other symptoms like withdrawal and a loss of control. “Computer Games do not make people sick and are not a danger,” insists Martin Lorber, a youth media expert with games manufacturer Electronic Arts. He points to a long tradition of new forms of media being

demonised as they emerged. Novels were once considered a bad influence on women; both radio and television were maligned when they first appeared. However, as against this, the talented games writer who created the Flappy Bird game app decided in February to pull out his best-selling game because of its potential for addicting people. The game may come back, says its maker, but with a clear warning to players to take breaks. The patients at the Hanover Clinic are generally boys, aged 15 to 17. “They are able to find suc-

cess, relationships and recognition online - things that they lack in real life,” says youth psychiatrist Christoph Moeller. Those enrolled have to give up their mobiles, computers and gaming consoles. Even TV viewing is limited. Therapy focuses on cooking, exercise, finding them work and bringing order to their academic life. Moeller says families need to focus on prevention. Pre-schoolers and elementary schoolers have no business being hooked to computers, he says. Children shouldn’t have any kind of monitor in their rooms, he adds. One problem, says Andreas Gohlke, who heads a German professional association focused on Media Addiction, is that so much attention centres just on the young. “This is definitely not a youth phenomenon only,” he says, noting that the average age of players is drifting upwards. He also clarifies that even an obsession with a digital card game is addiction. Computer advocates retort that we cannot even think of removing machines from society. “The answer probably lies in our keenly observing the children while they are using computers and machines,” says Benjamin Rostalksi, of Germany’s Foundation for Digital Gaming Culture. “And yes, digital games can’t be used as a substitute for babysitters!”

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IMF World Economic Outlook { Washington/ DPA }

4K Displays show promise

The International Monetary Fund’s revised projections for 2014-15 economic growth: 2013-14/2014-15

{ Hanover/ DPA }

World output

A

2.2/2.3 Advanced economies United States 2.8/3.0 Canada 2.3/2.4 Eurozone 1.2/1.5 Germany 1.7/1.6 France 1.0/1.5 Italy 0.6/1.1 Spain 0.9/1.0 Britain 2.9/2.5 Japan 1.4/1.0

nyone who’s ever sat in front of a 4K monitor – one with a resolution of 3,840 X 2,160 pixels – will never want to go back to a lower-resolution monitor, according to German computer magazine c’t. These screens score even better than fullHD monitors, according to the Magazine. However, the technology is still work in progress : to date no monitor and graphics card combination works without glitches. Also, a lot of today’s software isn’t up to the standards of the technology – though it is perfectly adequate for Office functions or web surfing. u

Emerging & developing economies Emerging & developing Europe

3.6/3.9

4.9/5.3 2.4/2.9

Russia 1.3/2.3 Emerging & developing Asia 6.7/6.8 China 7.5/7.3 India 5.4/6.4 Middle East 3.2/4.4 South Africa 2.3/2.7 Latin America & the Caribbean 2.5/3.0 Mexico 3.0/3.5 Brazil 1.8/2.7


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23-29 May 2014

G -Scape Asha PANDEY

Frdiay gurgaon 23 29 may, 2014  

..be the change you want to see

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