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Haryana Diwas ki Badhai

1-7 November 2013

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

Vol. 3 No. 11  Pages 24  ` 7

What's The Khap All About? { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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he recent utterances by Khap Panchayats, and their alleged role in honour killings of couples who have married against the wishes of their families, clans and extended 'biradri', has led to sharp differences in the society about the relevance and need of these institutions. The Khaps do not have a written constitution, they are not mandated by law, and have no records of their meetings; but despite that, they exert a strong influence, particularly in the rural hinterlands of Haryana and Western UP. They have been set up on the concept of community or caste brotherhood. There is one school of thought, represented by NGOs like Shakti Vahini, which blames the Khaps for the increasing violence against 'wrong couples', in the name of honour. Khaps mostly take anti-women stands, and they anyway have no representation of women. This NGO had submitted a detailed study on the functioning of Khaps, which clearly held that these extra-constitutional bodies exert undue influence over the community and the administration, much to the detriment of individual freedom and right to life of many young couples. Due to the strong caste and patriarchal character of Khap Panchayats, there has been a strong demand that a law curtailing their influence (as also all those who instigate violence against individuals) should be enacted by the Union government.

ASHA PANDEY

Contd on p 6-7 

Contd on p 6-7 

ASHA PANDEY

Don't Leave Them Astray

{ Shilpy Arora/ FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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t is the time of year when people are busy shopping and exchanging Diwali gifts. They also offer prayers and ‘prasad’ is distributed in temples. It is also when the population of stray animals gets into action, even in the heart of the City –at Hanuman Mandir in front of Huda City Centre Metro Station. Along with a long queue of beggars, stray animals like dogs, cats and monkeys also line up for their turn – for 'prasad'. A monkey, while crossing the busy road, meets with an accident and dies on the spot. Traffic, however, keeps on going, ignoring the lifeless body lying in the middle of the road. This is not merely an unfortunate tale of a stray animal. It mirrors several aspects of life in the Millennium City. It reflects that in Gurgaon the relationship between humans and animals is complex as well as contradictory. On the one hand, the City boasts the highest population of dogs lovers in the country, while on the other it allows its animals to die mercilessly on the roads. In the last six months at least 800 stray

animals have been killed in the City. The plight of injured animals is even more tragic, as there is hardly any good hospital for their treatment and rehabilitation. Besides, the injured animals, especially dogs and pigs, become extremely violent and thus pose a threat to the lives of citizens. Moved by the condition of the unattended stray animals, a few people and organisations are working for the welfare of strays in the City. The Dua family in Sector 55 is one of them. The family founded a charitable organisation (NGO), We Love Dogs. The organisation has a team of volunteers who roam around the City and call up Friendicoes, an animal ambulance service, if they see any stray on the street. “It seems that a lack of awareness about animal welfare in the City is responsible for the mishaps, not their large population. Here people still use inhumane ways, such as poisoning, shooting and electrocution, to kill animals. But killing them is not going to work, because it does not address the root of the problem. There is a need to have animal shelter homes and an adoption centre in the City,” says Vasudha Dua, who came to Contd on p 7 


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1-7 November 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–11  1-7 Novermber 2013

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora

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C oming U p

Printed at Indian Express Ltd., Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

Vikalp Panwar

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib

The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd.

performers. The peppy musical beats will ensure you don't leave the dance floor.

Festival Sushant Lok Utsav 2013 @ Sushant Vyapaar Kendra Complex, Sushant Lok I Date: November 2

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njoy this festival of music, dance and art, which showcases folk dances from Rajasthan, Vrindavan and Avadh. They include Ghumar, Kalbalia, Dandia Raas, Deep Dance, Dance over Swords, Rajasthani Mor Dance & Ram Darbar and are followed by Nagada Troop Performances along with a Been.

struggling to negotiate the conflict that has been haunting him since the D-Day at Faizabad. Dead bodies, fights...do they have meaning at all? Suitable for 12 years and above

Art Zynna Spotlight Showcasing @ Zynna Art Gallery, S-56/20, DLF Phase-III Date: Up to November 16 Time: 11:30 am to 6:30 pm

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Nightlife Saturday Salsa Nights @ Coopers Grill & Bar, 33 DLF Star Tower, Block A, Sector 30 Date: November 2 Time: 9:00 pm

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njoy the foot tapping beats of Salsa and dance through the night. There will be a free Workshop with Sooraj, to kick start the night.

n Exhibition of the works of internationally acclaimed artist Bipasha Sen Gupta. The Exhibition showcases her creative brilliance through Murals-Wall Art and paintings, which reflect a Contemporary style.

Theatre Gung Ho! @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 8 Time: 7:00 pm

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Corporate Theatre Festival by iThink Training Pvt Ltd and Atelier Theatre, to help bring theatre and development training closer. This is a platform to share, discuss, learn and evolve. The Festival will showcase performances by celebrities, professionals and amateurs. 



Art Everlasting Impressions @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 8 to 10 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

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solo Art Exhibition by R.B Santosh Kumar.

Theatre Ghalib in New Delhi (Hindi) @ Epicentre, Apparel House, sector 44 Date: November 9 Time: 7:30 pm onwards

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Nightlife Tuesday Belly Nights @ Club Rhino, South Point Mall, DLF Phase 5, Golf Course Road Date: November 5 Time: 9:00 pm

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xperience the Arabian Belly Dance Live by some of NCR's best

Theatre Collaborators @ Epicentre, Apparel House, sector 44 Date: November 8 Time: 7:00 pm

D

irected by Kuljeet Singh, the Play, by Ramu Ramanathan, is about the protagonist Kranti, an outsider

irza Ghalib, the great Urdu poet, decides to visit his beloved Delhi, to witness his posthumous fame. The plot revolves around Ghalib braving a potent identity crisis. This forces him to stay with a Bihari boy, Jai Hind, in the servants quarter of Mrs. Chaddha, who recognises his worth only through the voice of Jagjit Singh and the screen portrayal of Naseeruddin Shah. In desperate need of recognition, Ghalib's attempts to popularise himself through a Press Conference and an advertising agency turn out to be a series of misadventures. The cast includes Dr. M. Sayeed Alam, Niti Sayeed, Hareesh Chhabra, Yashpal Malik, Ram N Diwakar and others. 
The Play is directed by Dr. Sayeed Alam.

Diwali Celebrations Tvisha @ 166, MG Road, Sultanpur Date: November 1 Time: 10:30 am onwards

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n event of unlimited fun, to make the festive season even more happening. Pick up your favourite dress, munch on organic food or shop for home decor items. 
Kids can enjoy various activities like music, Face Painting, Art, Puppet Show, Antakshari and more. The line-up of performances, karaoke sessions and the dance floor will keep you busy. Also know about your personality through a Face Reading session. Tickets: Rs. 100 and Rs. 300


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1-7 November 2013

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Tips

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART Entertainment Ravishing Wedding Awards 2013 @ Galaxy Hotel, NH8 Date: November 9 Time: 7:00 pm

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itness a spectacular evening with dance, drama, entertainment and infotainment. Have the time of your life with tantalizing talents and rocking performances. Enjoy the grand Finale of the Ravishing Awards

honouring the following segments: Bridal Trousseau, Groom Wear, Jewellery, Wedding Planners, Wedding Photographer, Wedding Catering Service, Bridal Makeup Artist and more.

Talk My Body Temple, Breast Cancer in Women @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 7 Time: 6:30 pm

Delhi's Artscape Group Show @ Open Palm Court Gallery, Lodhi Road Date: November 1 to 5 Time: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm

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rt On My Mind presents a Group Show of paintings by Dalip Chandolia, Swapan Das, Deepa Seth Bhando, Ram Onkar, Bhaskar Aditya, Sujatha Dev Raha and others.

Facebook Series @ Artspeaks India, Westend Marg, Near Garden of Five Senses, Saidulajab Date: Up to November 15 Time: 11:00 am to 8:00 pm



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Facebook Series by Artist Puja Kshatriya.

Own An Original @ Art And Aesthetic, First Floor, Old M.B. Road, Lado Sarai Date: Up to November 4 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm

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unique concept that aims at making Contemporary Art accessible to all Art enthusiasts. The Exhibits on display are available in a postcard format, redefining the boundaries of conventional painting formats. They include water colours, drawings and mixed media, and have been painted by a diverse group of artists – varying in style, form and expression.
The participating artists include Amitava Das, Anjum Khan, Hans Shinde, Jai Zharotia, Kanchan Chander, Manjunath Kamat, Mantu Das, Mitali Shah and others.

Paradise Regained @ Gallerie Ganesha, Plot No. E - 557, Greater Kailash 2 Date: Up to November 14 Time: 11:00 am to 6:00 pm

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by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments.

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n interactive Workshop that includes a film on Breast Cancer, Panel Discussions with experts, followed by a Q & A session.

solo Painting Exhibition of the works of Alok Uniyal. The Artist has recreated the beauty of Kashmir in a collection of 20 paintings – acrylics on canvas. Each depicts the natural beauty, culture and eternal romance of the land. 



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Q. Is there a home remedy to whiten my teeth? Dance Bharatnatyam @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: November 6 Time: 7:30 pm

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traditional Bharatnatyam recital by Kiranmayee, disciple of Hemamalini Arni.

Discussion TEDxSushantLok @ Radisson Suites, B Block, Sushant Lok Phase 1 Date: November 10 Time: 9:00 am

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njoy TEDTalks video and live speakers, who will combine to spark deep discussions and connections in a small group. For Registration, log onto: www. tedxsushantlok.com Call: 9818926580

You can try a natural remedy to whiten teeth. Take some bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and use it to rub on the teeth, like a tooth powder. However, yellowing of the teeth may be caused due to loss of tooth enamel and it is necessary to consult a dentist about it.

WINNER Pragati. S

Ask the beauty expert questions on skin, hair and beauty. The best question (picked by Shahnaz Husain) will receive a gift hamper from the Shahnaz Husain Group. Write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

Attention Kids!

Woth the advent of Children's Day, we would like your opinion on what you think is India's strength. All you have to do is complete the slogan below in not more than 30 words. The best slogans will be featured in the next issue. So put on your passionate caps and tell us:

India's strength is……………………………….. Remember, not more than 30 words and do mention your Name, School and Class. Mail your slogan to letters@fridaygurgaon.com Last date for receiving contributions is November 6, 2013.


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1-7 November 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS  An HDFC Bank executive’s body is found in his car; he had been shot.  A shopkeeper kills his wife and then himself.  A 31-year-old engineer, resident of Sector 57, commits suicide; he was recently diagnosed with cancer.  A youth’s body is found in an under-construction building near Genpact Chowk.  2 men are arrested for kidnapping and murdering a 7-year-old boy from Kadipur village, after demanding a ransom of Rs 1 lakh.  An ex-army man sets his wife ablaze – she survives.  The in-laws have been booked, after a period of 3 years, for the dowry death of their daughter-in- law.  A teen is drugged and gang-raped by 3, one of whom is known to her; all 3 are arrested.  A PG owner is held for the rape of his 23-year-old tenant (a bank executive) over 9 months, on the false pretext of marriage.  3 policemen are beaten up, and a rifle snatched, when they go to check violence in Tigra Village. 2 are injured in a ‘family’ shootout in Sector 29 Market.  An MD of a private consultancy firm misbehaves with a woman police officer, who was stopping him from travelling the wrong way on a one-way road.  Police conduct an intensive lane driving check on NH8, and challan 250 drivers.

 A private firm’s Vice President’s son fakes his kidnap, and is held. The 29-year-old is a resident of Vatika City, and had tried to extort Rs 50 lakhs from his father.  A power discom JE finally gets 3 years jail for seeking a

Haryanvi Made Easy Get a taste of the local lingo My brother has very high fever. Mera bhai ke ghanna tej bukhaar se He is not going to the doctor. Wo doctor dhorre nahin jaata He is scared of injections. Usne sui tey dar laage se Last time he had fever he got 4 injections. Pichli baar uske 4 sui laagi thi He got very scared after that. Uske paach se wo ghanna dar gaya It is difficult to convince him now to go to the doctor. Ib usne doctor dhorre le jaana mushkil se We will have to find a doctor who doesn't use injections. Ib dactor dhundna padega jo suwa na lagawe se

bribe of Rs 20,000.  A case is lodged against 2 Directors of a builder company, Brahma City Pvt Ltd, for alleged land fraud worth Rs 12 crores, for 35 plots of land in Sector 57.  Over a 100 agitated buyers of property at Cambrian Forest, Sector 95, protest against the builder, who is not available at his residence.  HUDA is planning to cancel the plots of defence personnel who were involved in a land scam.  A truck driver is attacked and his vehicle’s tyres are stolen. It is discovered that the Kadipur Community Centre, in the MCG area, is being illegally rented out; an MCG official is under scrutiny.

 3 HUDA officials face chargesheets over poor functioning of the Chandu Budhera Water Treatment Plant.  CRPF celebrates its 74th anniversary.  A 24KV Solar Plant is installed at the Railway Station.  The first City Bus shelter comes up at Mahavir Chowk.  There are 7 planned in the first phase, out of a total 122.  Dundahera villagers hold up traffic on ‘Old’ Delhi Road, protesting the non-availability of water for 5 days.  MCG threatens to pull down all illegal hoardings.  Gary Player 9-hole golf course is inaugurated within the current DLF Golf Club area.  A private university’s students build a model shelter house for the calamity hit.  The City is contemplating an Iranian medicine for the treatment of dengue.  HUDA received 275 RTI applications and MCG 514, in 2012-13, from Gurgaon residents.

T PIC be the change you wish to see

OF THE WEEK Dear Readers,

Each week we will feature a question/topic to get your views/suggestions. Selected views will be published in the subsequent issue(s) of Friday Gurg. This week's Topic is:

What is your view on the Aam Aadmi Party? Write in to us at

letters@fridaygurgaon.com


H appenings

1-7 November 2013

05

Putting the Course

Virus Paul

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ne of the world’s legendary golfers and a most successful name in the sport, Gary Player, was in the City for the launch of DLF’s 9 hole Gary Player Championship Course. The Gary Player Design is renowned for its select and ecological approach to design. Speaking on the occasion, Aakash Ohri, Executive Director, Business Development, DLF, said, “The popularity of the game in India is increasing by leaps and bounds. India has tremendous potential for golf, and moving forward we intend to further boost the Indian golf industry by providing them with world-class golfing infrastructure.”

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V anchor Manish Paul was in the City to promote his debut film, . Manish spread the joy virus by interacting with his fans and even sold them tickets for his film.

Das Oktoberfest

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ullman Gurgaon Central Park celebrated the Oktoberfest with a DJ, a live Band, comprising Sheryl and Lorelie and of course, beer. The guests were in high October spirits as they sang and danced along.

Smart Button

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Workshop was held wherein over 40 RWAs came together to discuss issues of common interest, identify best practices and engage in discussions on meaningful solutions that can be adapted for use by others. As part of this Event, SMART Group, India’s first Managed Security Company, launched the ‘Panic’ Button, an application for Smart phones that allows you to send multiple messages, images, videos, sound bytes and current location status to your near and dear ones, automatically alerting them of an emergency situation.

Rosy Mela

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he residents of Rosewood City enjoyed the Diwali Mela held at the Condominium. On offer were a variety of items in stalls – food, household goods, games and more.

Shooting in the Wild

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orillas Travel Photography Club organized a first of its kind Wildlife Seminar. Hosted by Louis Kleynhas , an internationally acclaimed National Geographic photographer, the Seminar saw enthusiasts of all age groups. The Seminar aimed at giving insights about the art of shooting in the wild, with the wild.  Topics of discussion were the types of lighting and lenses to be used. Experiences were also shared to give a wider perspective to the photographers. Louis said, “I work around the world for Regional, National and International newspapers/ magazines. My shooting style is adventurous and dramatic, while capturing people and their stories.”

Smile Pinki

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mile Train, a US-based global Charity, devoted to the cause of helping poor children born with cleft lips and cleft palates in developing countries, screened the Oscar winning documentary, ‘Smile Pinki’ at Epicentre. The screening was attended by Satish Kalra, Chief Program Officer, Smile Train, members of Smile Train and other prominent personalities.


06  Contd from p 1 The role of local politicians, who prefer to support the Khaps because they help garner a large number of votes, has also been brought to the fore by various NGOs fighting for the cause of young boys and girls. However, the call for unilateral action and a ban of Khap Panchayats is strongly opposed by NGOs like Manushi, whose intervention in the Supreme Court ensured that these caste-based organisations could get a chance to plead their case in the Apex Court. Madhu Kishwar of Manushi opines that Khaps are age-old institutions that have served the society well, and there is a need to understand their relevance in a social and historical context. Kishwar categorically says that in recent years a hate campaign has been unleashed against the Khaps, projecting them as an unwanted hangover of India’s “barbaric” medieval past. Even those who had never heard of, or knew the meaning of, the word Khap, or had ever seen or met a person belonging to any Khap, joined the chorus, asking the government to ban Khaps. This hate campaign was ably fuelled by NGOs, most of whom are generously funded by international donor agencies to “reform” Indian society and polity. In her opinion, the petition filed by Shakti Vahini, seeking a law to ban Khaps on the plea that they support honour killings, is not even supported by their own data to the Supreme Court. Advocate Ravi Kant, President of Shakti Vahini, a community NGO, however told Friday Gurgaon that his organisation has never demanded a ban against the Khap Panchayats. They have only demanded action against caste-groupings that incite violence against individuals who marry against the wishes of their families. “We want a law against those who promote honour killings, who support this practice and also continue to promote various retrograde practices in society,” says Ravi Kant. The government sponsored study conducted by Shakti Vahini, on the prevalence of honour killings, had mentioned that these were most common in Khap dominated areas. The Report was submitted to the government, but nothing came of the findings, though both legislative and non-legislative measures were recommended. These included taking action against Khaps, sensitizing policemen and creating awareness among the people. Almost an year passed before the Supreme Court passed strictures against these castecourts, which are quasi-judicial in nature and have no legal basis. The Report also alleged that Khaps have considerable influence in areas that are dominated by Jats. The worst affected areas are Jhajjar, Jind, Fetehabad and Rohtak in Haryana, and Meerut, Baghpat and Muzzafarnagar in UP. The Report also demanded that there should be a change in IPC, to define 'honour killings', and the Special Marriage Act should also be amended to speed up the marriages process. A UGC-funded study, conducted by Sashi Sahay of Rajasthan University, stated that Khaps, which had lost social relevance, are again becoming relevant

1-7 November 2013

What's The Khap All About? not only in Jat-dominated areas of Rajasthan but also neighbouring Mewat, and their reach is increasing. Experts say that one reason for this is that democratic institutions, particularly the judiciary and police, have failed to provide a quick resolution to complaints and disputes in rural areas. While all these recommendations were oriented towards stopping the instigation of violence by Khaps, they somehow have formed a basis for negating their very existence, say their defenders. These Khaps are based on the concept of 'bhaichara', or common brotherhood, which has also been the basis of rural life for centuries, they argue. However, Dr. Suraj Bhan Bhardwaj, an eminent Professor teaching History at Moti Lal Nehru College, does not agree with these contentions, and says that Khaps are a very recent phenomenon. They do not find any mention in historical chronicles, writings by travellers, or in the recorded history of Rajasthan or Haryana. “In the early 20th century the history of Khaps was written by one Pt. Kanha Ram, who was requisitioned to do so by Ch. Qabul Singh. This history has no basis, and is purely anecdotal,” says Bhardwaj. In his opinion, Khaps just want to continue to impose their own customs and traditions on a fast-changing society. “The Khaps are also able to impose their will only on the weak and powerless, whereas the powerful escape scot free,” he says. He adds that it was the British who gave prominence to Khaps and Zails, as they wanted easy revenue collection. Powerful people who have political stakes in pursuing caste policies are ensuring that these caste panchayats remain

strong. These are not tribal times, so there is no need for continuing tribal associations, asserts the historian. However, not everyone is convinced, as Khaps are seen by them as traditional vanguards, protecting the rural way of life, culture, and social mores – which are increasingly being seen under threat. There are many who describe the strong move against the Khaps as a concerted drive to push 'westernisation' across rural India, and find that this institution is a major obstacle in pushing their agenda. Kishwar writes that when the case filed by Shakti Vahini in the Supreme Court was near its conclusion, the Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai indicated that they could not pass any order in the absence of the affected parties. Since Khap Panchayats were not listed as parties in the case, the Supreme Court could not invite them officially. However, the Apex Court let it be known that they were willing to hear anybody who had anything to say on the subject. I decided to argue in person because some of the eminent women lawyers, and even men, whom we approached, were unwilling to be associated with Khap Panchayats. In the petition filed before the Court,

Prof K.C Yadav says that the word 'gotra' has several meanings. In Haryana, it means an ‘extended family’ – ‘bhaichara’. The gotras are of two types: in one case we know the origin and history, whereas in the other both are not clearly known. (In the case of Jats, their ancestry is quite clear). We know the history of the founding of most of the villages, and their origin. (1) The four gotras (clans) of Jakhar, Kadian, Piru and Sangwan, settled in one locality in Rohtak, have sprung from four brothers born of one father – namely Lada (Jakhu), Kadi, Piru and Sanghu. Being blood-relations, there has never been any question of inter-marriage in their collectives. (2) Similarly, Dalal, Deswal, Man and Sihag clans, who sprang from four brothers—Dille, Desal, Man and Sahiya respectively—are brother-gotras. They would not marry with each other. (3) Ahlawat, Auhlan, Birmah, Marah and Joon clans had similar origins – from the five brothers Ahla, Aula, Birmah, Marah and Joon. Hence, no intermarriages. (4) And so was the case with Rathi, Rohal and Dhankar clans, who sprang from two brothers, Bhaga (Rathi) and Jogi – the former from Bhaga (Rathi) and the latter two from Jogi’s two sons, Rohal and Dhauna. Hence, there was no marriage among their off-springs. (5) Same is the case with other major Jat clans like Hooda, Malik (Gathwala), Dahiya, Sehrawat, Gulia and 137 minor ones. They forbid marriage within their own clans, i.e. 'sagotra' marriages, on the same count. Yadav opines that the feeling against same-gotra marriage is very strong in rural Haryana, and even some urban areas. The reason why marriages have assumed prominence in Khap discourse is because marriages have always been an important factor in maintaining 'biradris' and 'bhaichara', and they were seen as a means to ensure cohesion, identity and integrity, asserts the historian. Change will come, but it will be slow and steady, he assures.

C over S tory Manushi has submitted that it failed to understand the difference between “crime” and “culture”, and the need to deal with the two accordingly. Honour killing falls in the realm of crime, and those who have snuffed out young lives should be speedily booked under all those clauses in the Indian Penal Code that deal with pre-meditated murder. However, the insistence of certain communities, that intragotra and intra-village marriages be included in the list of prohibited marriages in the Hindu Marriage Act, falls in the realm of upholding one’s culture and traditions-which by itself is not a crime. Manushi has further contended that it was able to build a consensus against honour killings among the Khaps, and a resolution to this effect was also passed. The petitioner said that this demonstrates that the task of social reform is possible if we don’t act as imperious, attacking outsiders, with the arrogance and trappings of a new “civilizing mission”. Even our former colonial masters undertook far more serious studies of social customs and held extensive consultations with community leaders, before enacting laws against harmful social practices. Notwithstanding that they exist and function in a sovereign, democratic republic, many NGOs of today demonstrate no accountability to the communities they target for “reform”. It was also put before the Supreme Court that the real reason behind the increasing honour killings is the abject failure of the State to enforce law and protect the runaway couples. It is also a failure of the police that it treats the perpetrators of honour crimes with kid gloves. Clearly, the arguments for and against the Khaps reveal that there is no easy solution to this vexed problem, as it involves caste, community, politics, administration and the media – which makes it a boiling cauldron. The Haryana government, which has faced the heat on this issue, has also been supportive of the Khaps, though it has decried the violence being perpetrated in its name. Chief Minister Hooda, while stating that Khaps were traditional institutions, has reiterated that they cannot take law and order in their own hands. It was because of the paradoxical nature of this issue that the Haryana government was forced to submit two contradictory affidavits in the Supreme Court. Kishwar says that it was intentional that the Khaps were not made party to the Court case, and in fact many of their leaders were shocked to know that a case was being heard in the Apex Court, which had a bearing on their very existence. Eminent historian K.C Yadav, who has written a number of books on the history of Haryana, and has also studied the Khaps, says that the primary issue of same-gotra marriages, which the Khaps promote, needs to be understood. “The entire concept of Khaps, or extended brotherhood, has rural moorings and finds basis in a community that relies on traditional agricultural for sustenance,” says Yadav. With a large number of rural women going out in the fields and performing manual


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1-7 November 2013

tasks, it is important for the local society to ensure the concept of 'bhaichara' as it ensures that the women within the village, and even from neighbouring villages, are considered sisters and feel safe. None of the Khaps has ever ordered a killing, and a majority of the crimes being committed in the name of Khap Panchayats are committed by close family members, says Yadav. “The maximum a Panchayat could order was 'Hookah-Paani band' which was applied in the rural areas. There is no mention of murder or death warrants being signed,” he adds. Yadav further says that Haryana villages have always been what Sir George Campbell, an authority on the subject, aptly calls ‘tributory republics’, throughout their long history. Countless rulers came and went but hardly anyone tried to change their character. “Those in possession of village areas were allowed to manage their own affairs, subject only to the State's right

to receive its dues.” Yadav says that Sir Percival Spear called the village leaders as 'rustic philosophers', who took care of the common affairs of the villages. Much water has flown down the Yamuna since those times, says Prof. Bhardwaj, and it is time these associations absorb the changes that have taken place in society. Prof. Yadav contends that even the Mughals and British had based their civil and legal system, to a large extent, not on modern tenets or on the 'shastras' and 'sharia', but on people’s laws – customs, first codified as wajibul-urz (village customs) and later riwaj-i-aam (general, district level customs). “The Khaps have surivived for centuries and this is because of the democracy and diversity of these institutions. They had relevance and even now they are relevant. However, whatever is old and narrowminded needs to be got rid of,” says Yadav. It is thus quite clear that

Don't Leave Them Astray  Contd from p 1 the root of the problem. There is a need to have animal shelter homes and an adoption centre in the City,” says Vasudha Dua, who came to India from Melbourne some three years ago and formed the organisation. As of now the organisation sends stray animals to rehabilitation centres in the Capital. However, it plans to open a centre in the City soon. With a dedicated staff of 12 volunteers, including one veterinarian and two nurses, the NGO has helped to send more than 3,000 dogs to shelter homes and hospitals. The organisation also runs an education programme to reach the young population in the City. “The aim is to inculcate a feeling of compassion for animals. Anybody can join us, even a seven-year-old child. Moreover, you don’t need to be a full-time worker. Just call up our Helpline and we will take care of everything,” says Achint, a 15-year-old volunteer of We Love Dogs. He is in-charge of Sector 15 Part 1 area. He visits the area six times on a daily basis, after finishing his school.

Stray adoption drive

Another organisation, Circle of Animal Lovers (CAL), recently conducted an adoption day for strays in the City. It received a good response, as more than 70 strays found homes. The objective was to encourage the adoption of

street animals rather than exotic foreign breeds, to create awareness about sterilisation of animals for their population control, and to ensure timely vaccination to prevent diseases. “Not only did people adopt dogs and cats, they came forward to take charge of donkeys and cows too. The City certainly boasts a large population of animallovers!” smiles Sanjay Gupta, Treasurer, CAL. He however expresses his inability to set up an effective check mechanism. No checks are conducted once the animals are handed over to the people. Ideally, volunteers should visit adopters and check if the animals are being taken care of properly. The organisation lacks the resources to do so.

Bandar ji

Lalit Vasudev, 61, has been called ‘Bandar Ji’ in his area, as he provides temporary shelter to injured and sick monkeys. A resident of Sadar Bazar, Lalit lives alone in a small single-room flat. "Initially I had to face a lot of criticism from my landlord and my neighbours for keeping monkeys inside the room. But soon everybody became sympathetic to them," he says. It was the sight of an emaciated monkey near his house, in 2008, that prompted him to care for monkeys. Since then he has been saving money to offer treatment to sick monkeys. “Monkeys generally get hurt in the busy lanes of Sadar Bazar. Some

though the Khaps have not been flexible enough, and often have made utterances that make them look irrelevant in the urban and modern context, their utility in the vast swathes of rural India still remains. In areas where modern institutions like the police and administration have failed to deliver the goods, and are more or less invisible, it is institutions like the Khaps that have played the role of binding the society. In a country where crores of cases remain pending with the judiciary, it is quite plausible that the populace will embrace local bodies like Khaps. What remains important is that we ensure that while these institutions serve the society, they should not become extra-constitutional authorities, which sign the death warrants of young men and women who choose to willingly digress from popular norms, customs and rituals.u

are working for dogs, cats and monkeys, there is hardly any organisation taking care of pigs. Open green spaces and empty plots have become the breeding of them die on the spot, as in ground for pigs. While people the absence of any government rightly associate pigs with filth hospital for animals, no treat- and dirt and they are seen as ment can be given to them. We carriers of many diseases, many have shelter homes for dogs and people don’t know that pigs can cows, but they refuse to admit prove to be a boon in a city like monkeys. Monkeys are messen- Gurgaon, where rural and urgers of God Hanuman. We can’t ban population almost co-exist. let them die on the roads. Some- Arpana Gupta, who is credbody had to take the pledge. I am ited with removal of pigs glad that God has chose me to in Delhi, helped many poor help these poor animals. I don't families supplement their mind people calling me ‘Bandar meagre daily income with the ji’," he says. Vasudev has many help of pigs. When the Capitimes called the Municipal tal was struggling to control Corporation to take monkeys the pig population in the 90s, to a rehabilitation cenArpana, with the help of tre, but no official Pets Animal Welfare has come forward Society (PAWS), conOne can to help him. “I ducted a drive in call a toll free only asked for which she transnumber – 1800transportation; I ported pigs from 200-1020 – for free made it clear that Delhi to the farms veterinary care I would take care of Punjab. Setting or removal of a of all the other up a piggery unit is carcass from expenses. But even not only profitable the road. after repeated calls, in terms of the huge nobody ever turned up,” demand for pork, but alleges Vasudev. He never lets also helps villages to clear a monkey stay in his apart- off their waste. “Pig-rearing ment for more than a month. hardly needs any investment. He also makes sure that they Initially we received help from don’t loiter around in the the government to build the area. A resident of Sadar Ba- pig shelters. We then educated zar, Kamini Devi, says, “A farmers about pig rearing as a couple of years ago at least 20 commercial venture,” informs monkeys could be seen mov- Arpita. The NGO is in talks ing around in the area at any with Municipal Corporation of time of the day. They used to Gurgaon (MCG) to start similar enter houses and attack peo- ventures, as it is pretty easy to ple. But now, as Bandar ji is transport pigs from urban artaking care of the monkeys, eas to the nearby villages. But they follow his instructions.” the major issue is that an NGO Once the monkeys regain needs approval from various health, Vasudev leaves them agencies, which include both in a nearby forest. private and government bodies.

No mercy for pigs

While various animal welfare groups and animal activists

How can you help?

Apart from welfare organisations, each one of us should act

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to help strays. We need to be a little sensitive towards the needs of the poor strays. One can call a toll free number – 1800-2001020 – for free veterinary care or removal of a carcass from the road.

Don’t feed strays

Feeding them not only poses a danger to the animals, but can also lead to accidents. It has been noticed that many owners of cows don’t feed them properly and so they roam in search of food. This leads to accidents and serious health ailments among the cattle. “Often cows that roam the streets are not strays. These are domesticated by local people, who don’t give them enough food. Whenever we catch a cow or a bull, some locals belonging to a powerful religious group raise questions. Our volunteers have even received life threats from these groups. I think it is a serious issue that needs to be addressed with the intervention of the police and local authorities,” says Sanjay.

Don’t hurt strays this Diwali

CAL has recently taken an initiative to educate children on how not to 'shock' stray animals while celebrating Diwali. Last week CAL volunteers visited three schools and told them about the ill-effects of bursting crackers on the animals. “These poor animals sometimes swallow crackers from the garbage, which leads to their death. Sometimes, shocked by the noise caused by crackers, these stray animals feel terrorised and run into fences and cars, and get hurt. I therefore request all the children in the City to take care if they do wish to burst crackers this Diwali,” informs Sanjay.u


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C ivic/S ocial

1-7 November 2013

Put City First { Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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he citizens across Gurgaon, preferably through their RWAs, will have to come together and demand more accountability and transparency from government agencies if the City has to achieve it's millennial potential. The role of MCG needs to be expanded and areas presently under the jurisdiction of HUDA should be handed over to the municipal agency. These views were expressed recently at an RWA Conclave, which dwelt on how to identify the common issues and bring about synergy in the working of citizen groups that are fighting for the cause of the home-buyers in the City. The aim of the Conclave, which was organized by Gurgaon First, was to bring RWAs together on a common platform, to discuss issues of common interest. Shubra Puri of Gurgaon First said that the goal is to identify best practices and engage in discussions on meaningful solutions that can be adapted across the board. The Conclave had three sessions: Session I was on “Discovering Common Issues, Best Practices and Synergies”; Session II was on “Innovative Solutions for the Common Good”; and Session III was on “Local Governance and RWAs”. Bhawani Shankar Tripathi, founder member of Mission

Gurgaon Development (MGD) said that to ensure a good quality of life in the City, the people must unite. The City has a multiplicity of authorities that have not been able to resolve even the core issues of 'sadak, bijli aur paani'. It was because of the pressure from citizens that the MCG was forced to set up the Bandhwari (Waste Treatment) Plant, and the same momentum needs to be created to ensure that authorities deliver the goods consistently, said Tripathi. The need for empowering the urban local bodies and the MCG was strongly felt, and it was stated that a movement to make this happen should be started by the RWAs. Shailesh Pathak, a former IAS officer who has switched to the private sector, opined that the City will remain an ATM for the State unless MCG is allowed to play it's real role. “This can happen only if an official of the rank of Chief Secretary is appointed as MCG Commissioner in Gurgaon; till this happens no one is going to take the MCG seriously”, asserted Pathak. He also opined that governance issues like these had no legal solution; they required a political resolution and only a visionary government would be able to make this happen. Ashok Arya, a panelist, opined that it was time for the City authorities to act, as a large number of MNCs based in Gurgaon were returning to Delhi, and also shifting to Noida, due to the

The Law & Beyond Noise Pollution { Vidya Raja }

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iwali, the festival of lights, is increasingly becoming a festival of noise and pollution. Every year the Pollution Control Boards of various states lay down guidelines that ought to be followed while celebrating Diwali. However, almost as a rule, every year, these guidelines are broken. Post Diwali checks of the pollution levels have been recording a considerable increase in the levels year on year; this, despite the general awareness about opting for a cracker-free Diwali being on the rise. Mohit Mehra, Cultural Secretary, Belvedere Park Condominium Association (BPCA), said, “We have never had any complaints of either noise or air pollution in the last nine years. Residents burst the crackers outside the periphery

poor infrastructure, traffic jams and lack of power. “The citizens and the RWA groups need to come together and create an environment where the authorities are forced to listen to the people”, he said. Advocate Sourabh Parkash said that there have been numerous violations of licences and laws, and extensions have been given indefinitely to builders, whereas the rights of residents have not been enforced. Parkash also asked why the Haryana government had imposed the rule that the lifts in towers need to be replaced after twenty years; this does not happen in any other place in the country! The RWAs reiterated their resolve to work together and come under a common platform like JAFRA, which has spearheaded the cause of Gurgaon citizens for many years. Col Rattan Singh of JAFRA, and his team, opined that it was imperative that people come out of their houses and start protesting on the streets, as officials and politicians only listen

of the building and so no resident is inconvenienced.” When asked if residents wind up the ‘cracker’ activity on time, he said, “That also has never been a concern. We have always seen that residents wind up cracker bursting by 10:30 p.m.” While BPCA relies on self restraint, many societies are laying down strict guidelines on the way the Festival is to be celebrated. Some societies like BPTP Freedom Park Life are actively urging their residents to celebrate a cracker-free Diwali. The Vashishts have always planned their annual holiday to coincide with Diwali, to also get away from the noise and pollution. Mrs. Vashisht said, “We have been doing this for over five years now. We pack our bags and leave the City, along with our kids and our dog. We get back only when the smog has all settled down. Getting away, we have found, is one of the most effective methods of escaping the chaos.” The smoke from firecrackers consists mainly of fine toxic dusts (Particulate Matter), which can

to those who make their presence felt in numbers and in volume. Col Singh was of the opinion that RWAs in Gurgaon must share resources, information and knowledge to form a strong force. “There is a need to use our large numbers and elect someone to the legislature, so that the voice of the people in the City reaches the government. Gurgaonites need to shun their laziness and participate in the political process, to become relevant for politicians as well as authorities”, asserted Singh. Unless this happens, at least half of the residents of Gurgaon will continue to suffer indifference at the hands of the government, he warned. Amit Jain from the Federation of Apartment Owners Association (FAOA) castigated the government for making Gurgaon the City of the builders, by the builders and for the builders. He called upon all residents to come together and fight against the injustice meted out to home- buyers. Concluding the RWA Conclave, Nisha Singh,

easily enter the lungs. This represents a real threat for people with asthma or other respiratory disorders. Smoke from the combustion may contain a mixture of sulphurcoal compounds, traces of heavy metals and other toxic chemicals or gases. Additionally, at a time when the issues of climate change and global warming are being seen with a sense of urgency, we need to be concerned about the greenhouse gases that fireworks produce. Firecrackers can also be loud and the shock-waves can travel far. Sound from some firecrackers can exceed 140 decibels; any noise over 85 decibels can seriously impair our hearing. While there are no clear regulations to control the decibel levels of firecrackers, there are legal limits to the amount of some noise, and its timing. The Supreme Court, in an order passed in 2005, came down heavily on noise pollution after an incident in 1998 involving a 13-year-old girl, which had left people stunned. She was a victim of rape and unfortunately her cry for help went un-

Councillor of Ward no 31, said that the time had come to end the multiplicity of authorities in Gurgaon and to ensure that MCG, which was a democratically elected authority, asserts its influence across the City. “Living in Gurgaon is confusing, as no one knows which agency is responsible for what – say roads, water, power etc. The answer to all questions is a vague 'It depends'”, said Nisha Singh. She also said that it was a mockery of democracy that a Municipal Commissioner in Haryana could in certain circumstances remove the Mayor of the City, who is elected by the people, and is their representative. How can a bureaucrat become so powerful? All participants reiterated that RWAs in Gurgaon should unite and become more assertive in securing the rights of the citizens, and work towards making MCG more influential in the City (while easing out HUDA and the DTCP, which are least accountable and just represent the might of the State). u

heard due to the blaring noise from a loudspeaker in the society. Unable to come to terms with the incident the girl set herself ablaze and died of 100% burn injuries. Chief Justice R.C. Lahoti and Justice Ashok Bhan passed a landmark order on July 18, 2005, regulating noise from all these sources and comparing noise standards in various other parts of the world with those in India. They also ordered that no loudspeakers would be permitted during night time hours - from 10 pm to 6 am. While there is growing awareness amongst the urban dwellers, of the potential harm that firecrackers can cause, there are a few who are of the opinion that Diwali without firecrackers is rather incomplete. A resident of M.G. Road, who wishes to remain unnamed, said, “It is a very important festival and we should be allowed to celebrate it without being restricted or lectured.” u The writer is a qualified legal professional who has practiced before the Madras and Karnataka High Courts


1-7 November 2013

C ivic/S ocial

Skilled Young { Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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eenakshi, aka Mona, has just opened a Salon in a Gurgaon village. It is the first salon started by a woman. Her staff is divided into three teams – hairdressers, spa therapists and make-up artists. All of them are well-trained in their area of expertise. Mona, who passed out from Shivpuri Government School last year, always wanted to be a part of the Grooming industry. Thanks to the skill-development training provided at her School, she has been able to decide her career option early in life. “In our Village, girls get married as soon as they pass out from school. They hardly get an opportunity to go to college and work on their career options,” says Mona. Not only was she provided training in grooming skills, she was also offered guidance on various financing options and taught customer-handling techniques. All this helped her in obtaining a business loan from Gramin Bank. The Skill-development Programmes that are being run by a few government schools in the City are definitely a welcome move. Education, combined with skill-development, aims at increasing the productivity and employability of the youth. Life-skills Development also plays an important role in deterring adolescents from succumbing to vices like alcoholism and drug abuse. Principal of Shivpuri Government School, Dr. Hari Yadav, agrees, “We were facing a big challenge in trying to lower the drop-out rate in our School. Children who come from economically poor backgrounds are generally expected to earn after the age of 13. Girls face a lot of pressure to get married soon. Many times such pressures and compulsions force the teenagers to take extreme steps, and some take to drugs abuse and alcoholism. To tackle this, we decided to introduce skill development training. It is an efficient way to keep teenagers engaged in productive activities.” Skilldevelopment training generally includes Carpentry,

Grooming, Stitching, Tailoring, Pottery, Handicrafts and Computer-Aided Designing, to name a few. The Government School in Basai and Saksham School in Sushant Lok also offer efficient Skilldevelopment programmes. Neha Bhandari, a volunteer at Saksham School, feels, “Skill-development training is very important for students of government schools, since it helps develop a talent in them. It not only helps them in gaining employment after completing school, but they can also earn while studying. As a volunteer with Saksham for more than six years, I have noticed a big change in the overall development of students, with the help of these Skill-development programmes. Students gain enough confidence at school itself, and they can easily start their business or work as trainees in parlours and carpentry firms as soon as they pass out from school.” While the School invites skilled carpenters, electricians and other technicians to impart training, students who are interested in the grooming industry and designing can visit parlours and boutiques after school hours. The Government School in Basai works on a temporary training model, wherein a group of students are trained on Life-skills through a series of workshops. These students later impart training to their peers. Interestingly, brainstorming sessions, role plays, educational games and simulations, case studies, storytelling, debates and sometimes audio-visual activities are used to impart Skill-development training to the students. “Children in government schools generally have better concentration levels.

They learn skills faster, as they are less distracted by external factors like the media. Moreover, they see their mothers doing tailoring or pottery. Their fathers and uncles work as electricians and carpenters, and so they generally don’t suffer any ‘inferiority complex’ or see a stigma attached to such professions. This makes it easier to train these children. There is just a need to make the training interesting. We incorporate plays and storytelling, and tell them about various success stories, to encourage them to learn such skills,” informs Aman Mehra, an instructor for Computer-Aided Designing at the Government School, Basai. Mini Chaudhary, a Mathematics teacher at Shivpuri Government School, feels that participation in Skill-development courses, especially Carpentry, also improves the mathematic skills of students. “For many students, Mathematics is a hard nut to crack. The challenge before us is to arouse the interest of students. It is hard to do so with just books. Unlike private schools, we can’t offer any audio-visual aid to the children. In this scenario, training in Carpentry makes geometrical concepts and calculation

skills quite clear to the children. The concepts are explained practically, which makes a huge difference.” Furthermore, various laws and government policies are part of a Skill-development training. All this is important to make a child an all-rounder and an entrepreneur. Children learn about land laws, policies relating to Human Resource Management and Accounting, and how Administration functions in their City. Such lessons help them in academics as well. The role of a school is not just to prepare children to gain entry into desirable careers, but to help in the personality development of children, so that they can deal with real life issues through negotiation skills, building rapport with people, creative thinking and the right human values. A Skilldevelopment Programme is designed to cater to the personality development needs of students. For instance, during Grooming classes, children are taught about the importance of hygiene. They are taught to sterilize needles and other equipment. Rajat, who is learning Carpentry, says, “Carpentry is not just about making furniture, it is about offering comfort to the customer through the

09

furniture they use. We are taught about the comfort level of customers. For example, a high table with multiple drawers may be a good choice for a customer who wants to buy a computer table for the home, while a simple workstation-like table with just two drawers is good enough for office use. The design should be in accordance with the needs and tastes of customers. We have been taught about all these aspects.” Presentation skills, customer-servicing and etiquette are also a part of Skilldevelopment training. “One doesn’t only need money and human resources to run a business; one needs to maintain a certain etiquette and standards, so that a onetime customer becomes a regular client,” feels Mona, who dropped out of school after the eighth standard and joined back just to learn Grooming skills. While studying, she also used to work in a parlour, to earn some money, so that her parents didn’t pull her out of school. By creating awareness about etiquette, gender sensitization, health and hygiene, laws, public services and the environment, Skill-development programmes have helped students become responsible citizens. Recounting an incident, Aman says, “Once I was working on my laptop and suddenly got a call from the Principal’s office. I left my laptop open and rushed there. When I came back a few students mentioned to me that my open laptop might have consumed enough electricity to light a bulb for five hours. I appreciated their feedback.” The objective of these programmes is to help children learn a skill, assist them to tap their full potential and develop a holistic approach to life. It is an important step towards making today’s youth our national assets. u


10 Aap Vote Karo { Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon. com

F

or the first time in Delhi, a new party, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), seems to have given a jolt to an age-old electoral contest between the Congress and the BJP. Undoubtedly, due credit must go to AAP for promising to usher in a new kind of governance. There is definitely a need to change the current corrupt and faulty system. Of course ‘traditional’ voters do seem sceptical about the ability of the AAP to win many seats, as most of the candidates are new to politics. However, they deserve more than a fair chance. What does AAP promise to deliver? How will they bring about change in an area? Friday Gurgaon talks to Veena Anand – a candidate from the Patel Nagar constituency – and her team to find out. Remarkably, Veena has stood out in the recent exit poll conducted by various agencies. She promises to change not only the way the system works, but also to truly work as per the spirit of the preamble – “for the people, by the people, of the people.” After spending more than 20 years in the area as a social activist, Veena Anand decided to join politics as soon as AAP was formed. “People have been struggling with water woes, irregular power supply, growing pollution and crimes against women. Last year, when AAP was formed, it emerged as a ray of hope. Being a social worker, I immediately decided to join it, to help bring change in the lives of over 3 lakh people living in the area,” she says. Veena is working on an exclusive manifesto for the Patel Nagar area, besides ensuring benefits as promised in the common AAP Manifesto. “Unlike other political parties, which generally put all their agenda under one allinclusive election manifesto, AAP is preparing 70 separate manifestos, so that we can work as per the specific requirement of each area. For this, our volunteers and candidates are going door to door to meet people and enquiring about specific problems in their areas,” she says. Interestingly, the AAP Team comprises a mix of software engineers, college students, shopkeepers and media professionals, who walk house to house, spend a

few minutes with each family and capture comments in a thick notebook. These issues are then considered for including in the local manifesto. Young and passionate Ankush, Conveyor of the Patel Nagar constituency, informs, “I have personally visited families in areas such as Baljeet Nagar, Anand Parbat, Prem Nagar, Prasad Nagar and West Patel Nagar. The area has a mix of upper-middle class, middle class and the economically weaker class. While the middle-class complains about lack of water, bad roads and cleanliness issues, those who live in ‘jhuggis’ in New Ranjeet Nagar demand permanent structures. We understand that problems vary in each ‘muhalla’.” After leaving his corporate job in January, Ankush joined AAP as a full-time volunteer. Born and brought up in the area, Ankush seems to understand the problems of the residents extremely well. Ankush says, “Thankfully, people in Patel Nagar have supported AAP in most of the exit polls. They understand that the issue is of ‘Aam Aadmi’ vs. ‘Neta’, not the politics of Congress vs. BJP.” Although the exclusive manifesto for the area will be launched on November 5, the Party envisages to address the following issues:

Bijli-Paani

AAP promises to resolve this age-old issue. “Residents of Anand Parbat have been struggling with water issues for decades. They have been fetching water from far-off places like South Patel Nagar, which is over eight kilometers away. I have seen many people taking water from dirty public toilets. The quality of water is a major issue even in posh areas such as East Patel Nagar. AAP promises to provide at least 700 litres of water to each household, everyday. The water can be utilized for drinking, washing, bathing and other purposes,” says Veena. While talking about the ‘faulty’ water meters, she says, “It has been noticed that people living in X, Y and Z block of Ranjeet Nagar are getting hefty water bills. Shockingly, the area that has small LIG apartments has been taken under the category of posh colonies. All this came to light when AAP conducted an investigation. We promise to address the issues relating to inflated power and water bills.” She

S ocial

1-7 November 2013

continuously complaining about the huge demands of villagers in the form of lease payments. AAP candidate Veena promises to make land lease rules more firm. “Conflicts arising out of land lease are very crucial in this area. We are going to mention it in our local manifesto too. We have to ensure that regular lease is paid to villagers. On the other hand, villagers should only ask for the amount specified by the government. Hefty monetary demands to make the land freehold won’t be entertained,” says Ankush.

Exclusive Commando Force for Women

also informs that water tanker suppliers are bribed by a few people, and they don’t allow everybody to have access to clean and drinkable water.

Cleanliness

Instead of clearing off slums, AAP promises to make ‘pakka’ houses for the poor. “We don’t make false promises. I would not make any promise to clear off ‘jhuggi-jhomprees’ or poor vendors from the roads. We rather need to look at the issue from a different perspective. These are poor people who have been forced to put up stalls on roads or form temporary shelters near posh colonies. They give nominal rents to the landlords and also have to bribe policemen. If you just clear the slums, they will settle down in other areas and form other slums. They need ‘pakka’ houses. However it is also important to make sure that these houses can’t be rented out further,” says Ankush. When asked about serious issues like the existence of illegal scrap markets in the residential area of Ranjeet Nagar, one of the team members says, “Relocation is an ideal way to deal with such an issue. These scrap dealers have been operating in the area for more than 30 years. It is true that such markets are illegal. They give rise to health issues. But they have been operating in the area due to the negligence of police and other authorities. If AAP comes to power, it will address the issue by relocating them to commercial areas.”

Land Lease rule to become firmer

Most of the residents in the area belong to ‘refugee’ families, who came from Pakistan after independence. Many people are still living on land that was given by the old villagers on lease. Residents have been

Since women’s security is a major issue raised by the AAP, the Party plans to recruit over 100 ‘commandos’, who will conduct surveillance, 24X7, in all the societies and markets in the Patel Nagar constituency. While male candidates will be deployed at night, females will be deployed only in the daytime. “We plan to have a force that will be present in plain clothes, to identify eve-teasers and protect women from sexual crimes. If any unfortunate incident does take place, these commandos will take the woman to the hospital. They will also help her file an FIR and assist her in filing a court case,” informs Veena.

Your MLA, just a call away

The Party believes that the role of an MLA is to reach out to the people and not to just sit in

{ Sujata Goenka }

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the office and sign documents. “AAP doesn’t believe in giving VIP benefits to any MLA, be it me or any other candidate. I am going to represent the Party in this area. If I win, I promise to be in the field for most of the time. If anybody needs to get a ration card signed, they just have to give me a call. I will come personally visit and sign the documents. Your MLA will be a call away!” smiles Veena. She further says that she will formulate laws as per feedback from ‘muhalla sabhas’. This kind of law-making procedure is quite famous in the US, where people make laws in Town Hall meetings and Mayo Residents need to participate actively and tell us about the issues. Say, if a majority of people in an area says that the roads are in a bad shape, some amount from the budget will be invested in the construction of roads. But the amount will be paid to the contractor only after receiving a favourable feedback from the residents,” says Ankush. Promises are not new in Indian politics. The public often falls for the utopian dreams that political parties show them before every election. However, if residents seriously want to see a change, they need to look beyond the age-old politics played by the major parties. They need to understand that their issues can perhaps better be addressed by a party like AAP, which promises - with the active help of the public - to eradicate corruption and introduce a new style of governance. u

Diwali Diwala

iwali has arrived. Despite the inflation and the steep onion prices, the mood of our City is cheerful. All the buildings and houses have already put up their strings of lights. However, it is a small wonder that even as winter approaches we are still facing power outages. Diwali is a time for cleaning; and in these millennial times Cleaning Agencies are much in demand. Most residents do not have full-time domestic help and part-timers are constrained on time. Most women are also working. There are numerous Diwali Melas. Women are on buying sprees; salwar-kameezes, sarees, bed sheets and covers are the hot selling items. Gift items are also much in demand. Women in this City do not bargain and normally splurge at these places. With gold and silver prices skyrocketing, imitation jewellery is in. My friends even took a round of the bylanes of Sadar, looking for bargains. This place is a buzzing hive, with rickshaws, scooters and pedestrians jostling for space. In between, two cars, facing opposites directions, were stuck. Some helpful soul guided them, to clear the mini traffic jam. This is an oftwitnessed ritual. If you wish to buy bulk, this is the place to be. It is that time of the year - no matter what time you step out you will be stuck in a traffic jam. All the cars are on the road, as buying of gifts and shopping make it a necessity - despite the high petrol prices. Diwali is when you do not know where you spent the money wad you had just a week ago! u


S ocial

1-7 November 2013

Lead Kindly Light... { Anita Jaswal }

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iwali is a time for family, festivities and – intrinsic to Indian Festivals - food! In recent years, though, it has become an exercise in conspicuous consumption. The rituals traditionally associated with Diwali have taken a backseat, and have been replaced by expensive gifts and clothes, noisy card games accompanied by epicurean feasting and ostentatious fireworks that send huge amounts of money up in smoke. Air and noise pollution are the other offshoots of this version of Diwali. The spirit of the Festival is definitely missing. Here’s what some children plan to do, to bring back the purity and sanctity of Diwali.

Shaurya and Saumya Babbar, of Grade V and II at Shalom Hills International School, feel, “Diwali is popularly known as the Festival of Lights. It is one of the most important festivals for Hindus. The beautiful lighting up of diyas signifies the triumph of good over evil. People light these lamps to make Goddess Lakshmi feel welcome. Firecrackers are burst because it is believed that this helps drive away evil spirits. We both (siblings) have promised that we will not burn crackers that are loud and ‘smoky’. For us, this year there will be more of diyas, which will be painted by us... we will make our own rangolis ... there will be more family get-togethers and laughter...more of  helping and caring, giving to the needy and the less-privileged. There will be a promise to make this world a healthier place to live in.  Shaurya and Saumya Babbar Anandi Ray, a Grade VI student of Lotus Valley, strongly feels, “The lighting of earthen lamps signifies good over evil. Celebrating Diwali means bursting many crackers, but the children who make these crackers inhale a lot of gun powder… and some even die. So, if we reduce the bursting of crackers, we can perhaps save lives. Earlier the rangolis were made of food items, to feed the birds; so, instead of using artificial colours, make your rangoli with spices, rice powder or turmeric. For wrapping gifts, do not use paper; instead, wrap your gifts with painted newspaper, or make your own gift bags with newspaper or use pieces of cloth lying about in the house. You can even embroider or hand paint these. As for the gifts, instead of buying them, this year make them at home. You could, Make home-made sweets; Make candles of different shapes and colours; Paint a picture; Create an artwork by using pieces of bright coloured cloth on a canvas; Make a potted paper plant or a bouquet of paper flowers !


“Diwali is a joyful festival, which is celebrated with the lighting of diyas and burning of crackers. This year, instead of burning a hole in my pocket by buying crackers, which contribute to air and noise pollution, I plan to bring a smile to the faces of the poor people, by donating some clothes and gifts,” says Harshda Ghai, a Grade VI student of Suncity World School. Harshda Ghai

“I would like to celebrate this year’s Diwali in a different way. I will not burn crackers, since that causes pollution and affects our environment. With the help of my mother I would make chocolates for the elderly people living in old age homes; and also visit a school for orphans, to teach the children how to paint diyas and offer them sweets, new clothes and some crackers. This will be my small contribution to society and I wish many others will also do something to change some lives. I wish everybody a Happy Diwali and a Prosperous New Year,” says Malishka Kulchandra (Grade V, Suncity World School).

“As we see the twinkling of decorative lights and feel the cool breeze around us, we know that Diwali is approaching. Year after year the same sweet rituals of diyas , rangoli and sweets make us feel very festive. Our books have given us knowledge about how young children have been employed in the making of crackers and the adverse affects of crackers on our environment. So this time we would not indulge in bursting many crackers. However, this has not dampened our sprits in celebrating Diwali. We will enjoy the beautiful lights and diyas, and make our rangoli. We wish all our friends a very Happy and Safe Diwali!,” say Vrinda and Arya Sharma, of Grade IV and Prep. respectively, at DPS, Sushant Lok. Vrinda and Arya Sharma

7-year-old Simran Jain, a Grade II student of Amity International, feels, “This time I will make a rangoli topped with flower petals, and diyas of different colours. I have taken a pledge that I will educate my maid. I will worship Lord Ganesha and Goddess Lakshmiji’s idols and put them in my little temple. Oh! I almost forgot to tell you what I will do at night I will light up my house and try to spread light and happiness everywhere! Simran Jain Raushni Plaha of Grade V, Scottish High, says, “On this Diwali, instead of spending money on firecrackers and sweets, I would like to give gifts to the poor children - especially the girls. I would also share my books with the children of our domestic help. Diwali to me is not just about having fun. Putting a smile on the faces of the less-priveleged children, is money and time well spent. These gestures will last for a long time in our memories, and will give us long-lasting satisfaction. Raushni Plaha

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Tanisha Singh, a Grade V student of Scottish High, feels, “To celebrate Diwali differently, my sister Sharanya and me would like to gift clothes, sweets and a few crackers to the orphanage and old people’s home, as that would really make us happy; after all, Diwali is a Festival of Lights and of celebrating happiness. We would also like to help reduce the air pollution caused by crackers; we will not burn many crackers. We wish everyone a fun-filled Diwali.”

Tanisha and Sharanya Singh Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil. With the lights that illuminate our homes and hearts, this simple truth finds new reason and hope. At Diwali, lights illuminate every corner of India and the scent of incense sticks hangs in the air, mingled with the sounds of firecrackers, joy, togetherness and hope. Let us take the message from these young minds: amidst the family gatherings, glittering clay lamps, festive fireworks, strings of electric lights, bonfires, flowers, sharing of sweets and worship of Goddess Lakshmi, let’s make Diwali a true Festival of harmony and joy.
 Happy Diwali to all!u


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K id C orner

1-7 November 2013

Artistic Strokes

Kids Brainticklers

Rucha Pathak, IV B, Ryan International School

The Holidays are over... but your creativity isn’t. For children – write a poem, an article, a fictional story or even a real life experience. See it published in Friday Gurgaon – make your teachers and parents proud! For teachers/administrators/coordinators – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (300-350 words).

Paintings stories poems

For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon.com

Rambir, Class IX, Sucheta Memorial School

Yogita Yadav, Class IX-A, Swiss Cottage School

Apoorva, Class VII-B, Gurugram Public School


1-7 November 2013

K id C orner

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Manav Rachna International School, Sector 46

Model Visit

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tudents visited Maharishi Dayanand Model Primary School, and spent quality time with the students of this School for the underprivileged. The visitors narrated stories and got the hosts to participate in various craft activities. There was also a Tattoo painting session and a ‘Feely Bag’ activity. Various outdoor and indoor games, like Fire in the mountain and London statue, were also played.

Mhara Haryana

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tudents of Grade II Aravallis and Vindhyas conducted a Special Assembly to mark the beginning of Haryana Diwas (1st November) celebrations. The students showcased the urban and rural culture of their State and presented the Haryana luminaries from different fields. A foot-tapping dance on a Haryanvi song had everyone rocking to the beats of folk music. Drop-boxes had been placed at the School and students were asked to write and drop information about the State, and their duties towards it.

American Montessori Public School

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Nature Calling

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hildren of Classes MI, MII and MIII had a great time getting their hands dirty, while planting carrot and coriander seeds in the School patch. This hands-onactivity gave them an opportunity to connect with nature.

Hindi Recitation

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Hindi recitation activity was held for the children of Montessori III. The children narrated poems on topics such as Maa and Prakriti. They spoke with confidence and clarity. The attractive and colourful props added more charm to the activity.

Healthy Mela

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perfect Health Mela was organised by Health Care Foundation, in collaboration with Ryan Global School and the Health Department Government of Delhi, at the Constitution Club of India. The Mela included music, dance and debates on health. Nukkad Nataks and Cheer leading competitions were also held.

The How & Why Week Science Week was held at the School to celebrate the human spirit of enquiry. The Week was full of fun-filled activities which made the students observe the presence of science in everyday life, question its utility and debate upon its effects. Activities included lab visits, shadow and reflection sessions, secret writing decoding, pressure in the air, edutrip, debate, making of simple machines, making of working models, chromatography, dadi nani ke nuskhe (parent involvement activity ) and more. The Science Week culminated with hot air balloon making and a flying activity. Students made their own balloons and launched them in the air with multiple messages.


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1-7 November 2013

K id C orner

RYAN INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, SECTOR 40

Cheering For Health

Marching for the Environment

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he School bagged the 1st prize in a Cheer Leading Competition, held at the Health Mela, at the Constitution Club of India. A team of 11 students of Classes 2 and 3 performed to music, danced and recited Health Slogans. The winners of the Cheer Leading Competition performed to the theme - ‘Eat Green and Clean’.

RYAN INTL SCHOOL SOHNA RD

he Montessori students participated in a March to convey the message – ‘Say No To Crackers’. Students carried attractive, eyecatching posters of slogans which depicted the purpose of this March, this festive season. The adverse effects of crackers were discussed at length. The students interacted with the onlookers while demonstrating how Diwali could be celebrated without bursting crackers and the significance of the Festival. They also distributed bookmarks with the message ‘Refrain from using crackers’.

UN Day @ Ryan

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Grand Day

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he School celebrated Grand Parent’s Day by recognising the appreciable efforts of the grandparents in the nurturing of family values, tradition and unconditional love for their children. Ryanites from Montessori and Primary Sections welcomed the Grandparents in regional languages.

Exciting Reciting

The Grandparents got nostalgic with the presentations – ‘Back to Memory Lane’ (Montessori-I), ‘Childhood Masti’ (Montessori-II), ‘Grand Ma! O Grand Pa! We Love You’ (Montessori-III), ‘A Salute to your Love n Care’ (Class-I) and ‘A Story from Dadi Ma’s Treasure Pot’ (ClassII). School principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, encouraged the students to carry forward the legacy of values and virtues founded by the elders.

yan International School, Sector-40, celebrated UN Day to mark its 58th Anniversary. The students held a talk on the UN – its nature and formation. The Talk Show enlightened the younger Ryanites on the purpose and functions of the UN. The brainteasing Quiz, ‘Shot Gun’, was won by the WHO Team – Pratyush Pande, Sreenidhi Joisa, Siddheya Kothari and Ansh Srivastava. The ICJ (International Court of Justice) Team and CRY (Child Relief and You) Team were adjudged the runners-up. Esteemed guests Pallav Mareu (Head-Group Operations – Nokia Siemens) and Shivangi Gupta (Alumni of Ryan International School and Winner of Best Delegate Award at INMUN) were welcomed by the School Cabinet. The guests addressed the students and motivated them to become Ambassadors of peace, unity and harmony in their neighbourhood. School Head, Peeya Sharma, also addressed the Ryanites and motivated them to work towards becoming members in the various branches of the UN.

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he Montessori Wing organised an Inter-Play School Recitation Competition. The tiny tots came dressed up in colourful attire and recited poems. All participants were given a token for their efforts. The participating Schools were Tiny Tots, Maruti Kunj; Good Shepherd, New Colony; and Wonder Kids, Shivaji Nagar.

Season’s Decorations

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yan International School, Sohna Road, celebrated Diwali season in a unique way. Mothers of Montessori students participated in Rangoli making, Toran making, Thali Decoration and Diya Decoration competitions to express and exhibit their artistic skills. The participants created a beautiful vista depicting Diwali, and their beautiful artwork impressed the judges. Dr. Mouna Gupta, Principal, congratulated and felicitated the winners.


S piritual

1-7 November 2013

Why Delude Yourself ?

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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The Face of God

ather than humbly standing an honest assessment of the self before a mirror, many prefer to look into ‘carnival’ mirrors. These mirrors, which are all around us, help distort the true image. In our moments of pride and self-delusion, we often make fallacious and distorted assessments of ourselves. One of my friends has been ascribing to a faith and going to the sect gatherings along with her family every Sunday for the last twenty years. She had always believed that her spiritual teacher was very enlightened and could even perform magic. Of late she has been in shock. When she finally gained access to her teacher’s inner circle, she overheard his poor views on family as also a lot of loose, frivolous talk. She has now stopped attending the gatherings. She feels that she was living in a delusion, and in a way was spiritually abused. She terms delusion as a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with facts. When we are deceived and misled, we are not consciously aware of the delusion. My friend believes that this happened to her because, instead of learning to handle difficult situations on her own, she wrongly tried to avoid any afflictions or anything that brought pain and sorrow. The reality is that we all have faced, and will face, tragedies in our lives. Unfortunately, many people buy into these false ideologies of enlightenment, through which the ‘carnival mirrors’ of such spiritual consciousness distort our vision. This delusion comes about when we are in a state of conscious denial; it is a distorted perception of reality. This conscious denial is needed, to convince others that everything is fine and also to fix blame away from us or the system.  When it finally succeeds in convincing us, we ether a state

of delusion; it is a form of learned powerlessness. More serious than denial, different than repression, it is a warp in the thinking process, which constantly filters out information coming from the outside.  It keeps the victim trapped within the abusive system. If we look closely at any spiritual, religious or philosophical tradition, we will find shocking moments of hypocrisy. We will find gurus who swindle money and philosophers who take advantage of their students. Why do so many so many ‘enlightened’ teachers engage in such spectacular acts of hypocrisy? Karl Marx offered one answer, by stating that “religion is the opiate of the masses”; and ‘”they know not what they do, but they are doing it.” In Marxist theory, ‘false consciousness’ means a false perception of the reality of social or economic relations. - a state of ideological delusion. The big idea is that, without careful examination, our beliefs about who we are can easily slide into delusion.  Our ideology can mask reality. We believe we can reach an elevated state of spiritual consciousness and enlightenment.    This ideology conceals all those shadowy parts of ourselves, which we like to keep at the periphery. My guess is that this is what leads so many ‘spiritual masters’ down the path of dishonesty and corruption.  They become the ambassadors, and then the priests, of the ideology of enlightenment. They begin believing that they exist at a higher spiritual plane.  Soon they lose sight of their imperfections and essential human shortcomings. At some

level, all of us have the potential to slip into this trap. The more we think we have achieved some sort of exalted religious state, the more we open ourselves to such delusions. It also appears that a high proportion of persons with psychotic disorders consider spiritual faith to be an important coping mechanism. Religious beliefs and activities are associated with better outcomes for their illnesses. To delude ourselves is to take on, willingly accept and fervently indulge in a belief to the point of being totally convinced of it being a fact. This condition is most common in spiritual believers, who proclaim their beliefs to be the truth - carefully and cleverly avoiding using the word ‘fact’. Their belief, masquerading as truth, is held in higher esteem than fact; it is shown as magically endowed with some divine omnipresence and omnipotence. Given that delusion is a symptom of mental illness, the active cultivation of delusion, as in spiritual and meditation practices, leads directly to the ‘institutionalized insanity of religion’. In the case of self-declared gods, the altered state of consciousness, commonly known as ‘enlightenment’, is a classic delusion of grandeur. It is the grossest exaggeration of one’s personality, to consider oneself to be at one with God - or even God himself/ herself. In the current age, with spiritual belief being fashionable, this delusion is coveted and held in high esteem. The glamour and glitz of having others worship you as a God is a mighty seductive lure for a merely mortal self. The greatest delusion is the transition from self to Self - from mundane mortality to divine immortality. ‘Believers’ like my friend need a renewal of the mind.  In a very real sense they have been spiritually brainwashed; inner dishonesty is spiritually crippling.  To live a double life is soul destroying. You learn to lie to even yourself, and develop an imaginary relationship with God. My friend struggled greatly when the truth

If God ever had a Facebook account God’s profile name would have been…God (what else?) There would have been more than trillions of friend requests And His Inbox would have been inundated with messages God’s profile picture would have been the Sun…or maybe the Moon Under the ‘About Me’ section God would have described Himself as – Allah, Ishwar and Jesus God’s religion would have been ‘Service to Mankind is service to God’ God’s profession would have been ‘I am here to help’ There would have been many followers on His list There would have been pithy status updates. And God said ‘Feed the hungry and love the disabled Help those who are experiencing pain Don’t kill the animals or cut the trees Preserve my love for you – the gift of Nature Say no to war and yes to peace I created men not to kill one another

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got too close or too real, because it directly conflicted with the delusion she was living under. She would feel doubt, confusion, a struggle – even conflict. The starting point in dealing with delusion is to begin to open up, seek and see the truth. The truth has to be allowed to break through, to show us how we have been deceived. We need to tear down the lies and replace them with faith in nature’s goodness. In spiritual fantasies we dream of achieving true enlightenment, that far off state of consciousness in which we become perfect human beings - always satisfied, never battered by emotions and capable of knowing and doing the right thing at all times. These selflimiting thoughts distract us from what we can achieve otherwise. We are imperfect people constantly striving to seek perfect enlightenment in an imperfect world. While spiritual delusions lure us into thinking that enlightenment brings about the elimination of all suffering, spiritual realism helps us love the world as it is and make peace with the difficult feelings we all face. Spiritual realism is just the simple act of living deep and fully in the moment. It is a state that arises when mental and emotional blockages dissolve and we experience the pure awareness of just being here - now.  Try and experience the reality of this moment. We need to link our personal experiences with spiritual wisdom, in order to find a reliable path toward a more realistic spirituality. We need not resist or deny our natural anxieties. Uncertainties can offer opportunities for profound peace and a forgiving heart, returning us to the steady spiritual silence that exists beneath the normal struggles of our everyday lives. Simple meditation can help us experience a calm within us not only when our eyes are closed, but also when they are open. 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

Let the love grow beyond borders Stop this terrorism in the name of religion All humans are of common blood…of the same colour, red So why this racial discrimination?’ There have been countless prayers on God’s Wall Prayers to fight medical ailments Prayers to seek happiness in life Prayers to be a parent or someone’s proud spouse God would have answered such prayers: ‘Happiness lies in being content with life I gave you the mental strength to fight I gifted you willpower to make your destiny I blessed you with determination to see beyond misery’. It would have been so cool If God also had a Facebook account. Archana Kapoor Nagpal Internationally published author of ‘14 Pearls of Inspiration’ and the ‘12 Facets of a Crystal’


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1-7 November 2013

C omment

Let's Get Down To Business A key question. In the recent FIR drama against a top industrialist, under ‘Coalgate’, would the govt. and the Congress have been so pro-industry and industrialist, had the PM not been involved and the accused had been some other industrialist/ businessman (than a top Birla scion)? Does it not also eminently showcase our perennial hypocrisy – at least our public face? Therein lies the rub – which will always make it more difficult for us to be an economic heavyweight led by industrialists and businessmen ably supported by the State.

EDITORIAL

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Atul Sobti

How does a nation prosper and take its citizens along? Is it possible without industry and industrialists? Who will provide jobs? Who will invest? Who will pay big taxes to fund public infrastructure? Who will bring in the dollars? The govt cannot do it alone, or even well enough. They have proven that they can only scam better. How do we, as a country, expect to be a manufacturing and industrial powerhouse if we are inherently suspicious or negative towards business and businessmen? In our eyes, businessmen are supposed to be ‘shady’, linked to middlemen. Also, most of the national decision makers, the top bureaucrats and politicians, seem to have the strongest aversion to private business and businessmen. In fact the bureaucrats seem to suspect businessmen more – maybe due to their past dealings and having seen enough. The politicians only initiate or approve. They are less averse to the rich – in private at least. We better wake up and smell the globalization coffee. Even Russia and China, the socialists and the communists, have embraced private business wholeheartedly. At a time when we have strategized and are now implementing a mid-term National Manufacturing Policy (with Manufacturing Zones, like the Economic Zones), hoping to invest heavily and aiming to

I have been a reader of Friday Gurgaon for some time. I was aware that there is an e-version available, but never felt the need to look it up. Graphic description on Page 11 of the last issue, 2531 October 2013, motivated me to explore it. The most striking factor about that Page 11 of Friday Gurgaon is its ability to guide even a neo-soft-version reader through the entire Weekly with the help of well-placed buttons. All the clues are self-sufficient and these achieve what they are meant to do. Beginning from Home page to G-scape, each one delivers the desired result. I was pleasantly surprised with the experience

provide employment to millions of youth, we need to be wholeheartedly embracing private initiative and enterprise. The Congress is so taken up with the magic poll formula of ‘inclusiveness’ (and so Baba and his visits to homes of the poor) that it almost believes that rich is a dirty word, and hobnobbing with or supporting industrialists – at least in public - is anathema for it. They believe the resources just fall in their lap. BJP is likewise taken up with the Hindu vote (and so Modi refuses to wear a Muslim skull-cap). Why did Baba and Modi not react on the Birla affair? Was it because it was a case of an industrialist (not a farmer) and an urban leader (not a rural votebank)? Did both not want to be seen to be supporting a rich person publicly? What would have happened with a lesser-known businessman? What if Birla had been accused without the PM being a party? Even a top Birla scion may have been left to fend for himself – especially in these lead-up times to the national elections. This is only the start. Industrialists will need the support of the govt when they aggressively move out of the country in search of big business opportunities. Some already have. They will need very active and positive govt support – something that industrialists of other countries take for granted. Check out Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, China...apart from even the big developed nations. In fact these are the times when Private, Wealth and Profit should have had the most positive connotations - and respect. The youth understand that better than anyone else. They will hopefully lead the way to a new understanding of richness. Today rich is clearly not a dirty word and aspiring to be rich is kosher. u

of visiting the site, ‘Old Issues’, where all the issues are easily downloadable. Another outstanding feature is ‘Check out the entire Paper – 24 pages’. It beats the most organised library’s catalogue; it is quick and painless. In the era of ‘online publications’ this option is rarely seen. That Page 11 (Issue 25-31 Oct 2013) is not only a user-friendly initiative but eco-friendly as well. The effort of the Editorial team is commendable. Prabha Prabhakar Bhardwaj


W ellness

1-7 November 2013

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

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n many large cities the cooling of temperatures in late autumn and early winter triggers the onset of smog. Significantly reduced visibility disrupts day-today life, with media reports showing stalled air-traffic or schools being shut down. A large number of people suffer from breathing problems, or prolonged bouts of throat and chest congestion. Worse still is the rampant spread of asthma attacks. Bronchial attack is a complex disorder, and must not be treated lightly. We should try and identify and prevent the causative factors, predisposing conditions and environmental triggers. Most throat and chest congestion and breathing-related problems are brought on by exposure to electromagnetic fields, from the food we eat and the environment we live in. In building our immune system, the ‘ACE’ vitamins and some minerals are important. Since approximately 5-10% of patients with severe asthma fail to respond to con-

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

BreatheEasy Herbs ventional treatment, herbal medicines are gaining popularity due to their efficacy and much lower side effects. This has led the International Regulatory Cooperation for Herbal Medicines to support the creation of a database and network for sharing information and expertise. Broad-spectrum nutritional plant enzymes help relieve stress on the digestive organs. Efficacious digestion and nutritional absorption of the foods that we eat helps modulate the production of harmful cytokines. Among all classes of natural products, anti-allergic activity of flavonoids is well documented. Some of the best sources for bioflavonoids and beta-carotene are natural, seasonal, organic colorful fruits

{ Yuriko Wahl-Immel/ Cologne /DPA }

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ohannes is 76 and suffering from an advanced stage of dementia. But he’s always in a good mood when he heads to his dancing classes. Although he has lost almost all his memory, he can still remember old dance steps. Astonishingly, he can also recite the lyrics of a 1970s German pop song, “Schmidtchen Schleicher,” and other pop song hits from back then. When the Stallnig-Nierhaus Dance School in Cologne has its programme, “Let’s dance again dancing for people with and without dementia,” Johannes is always there, accompanied by a volunteer female escort. Up to 50 others between the ages of 60 and 97, are out on the dance floor, some suffering dementia, the others being relatives or orderlies from nursing homes. Despite the disabilities and impairments, the mood is good and everyone is beaming and having a good time. It’s an initiative that is unique in all of Germany, one now being watched by other cities and even by other countries. The idea was that of Stefan Kleinstueck, of Cologne’s Center for Dementia Services. “Many of our dementia sufferers used to attend dance school many years ago,” he notes. “When we turn on the music and go through the first steps and make inviting gestures, they immediately join in.” Kleinstueck adds: “Sometimes you notice when something seems to just ‘click. Even their dance partners are astonished.” Hans-Georg Stallnig opened his dance school a few years ago, on the

and vegetables (e.g. citrus, carrots, apples and leafy greens). When natural sources of Glutathione, CoQ10, vitamins and minerals are not adequate, supplementation can also be considered.

Tip of the Week

It is always good to actively prepare the body to get well. This starts with the lowering of the allergic/toxic load, followed by the healing of the gut through probiotics, natural foods and herbal tonics. Common foods that trigger asthma are mucous producing milk products, bananas and sugar - and in general any food item that takes more than 2 hours to digest. Plenty of liquids should be con-

sumed. Other helpful tips are to eat just fruit, without combining with any other type of food (for at least an hour). Protein foods can be combined with any vegetables except the starchy ones such as potato, yam and corn. It is best to avoid following a protein meal with any kind of sugar dessert, including fruit, as it impacts the overall quality of digestion. Nature’s Wonder Foods of the Week: Ayurvedic herbs for respiratory health To help build immunity and prevent the onset of respiratory/asthma problems, several Ayurvedic herbs are helpful. A creeping plant known as somalataa (Ephedra vulgaris), which grows in the western Himalayas and Central Asia has been found to be highly

Dance Down Dementia

An elderly lady suffering from Dementia is twirled through a dance by dancing master Hans-Georg Stallnig (right)

A male retiree suffering from Dementia shows his delight to his partner at the Stallnig-Nierhaus Dance School

occasion of World Alzheimers Day. “We play a lot of hit songs, the evergreens. But we also dance to hip-hop,” the dancing instructor says. “It is fantastic to see where music can still reach, though the mind is

gone.” Music speaks to the emotions and can sometimes trigger longforgotten memories. Dance steps and movements from ages ago can emerge from the long-term memory areas of the brain. Kleinstueck notes that, "while attempts are made in nursing homes or in community centres to motivate dementia sufferers with music and movement, you really do need professionals. It’s not enough to simply put on some records or grind out a tune on a piano. He insists that people trained in leading and motivation are necessary. And they should have a trained eye for knowing what is achievable, despite physical and mental impairments, and how to give the elderly a sense of safety and trust. “I always need somebody to hold onto,” a grey-haired woman whispers to him on the dance floor. Kleinstueck replies:

Stefan Kleinstueck, a social worker, hugs a retiree suffering from Dementia, in a close dance.

efficacious in relieving asthma, and goes into making the drug ephedrine. Some other examples are: members of the ginger family, such as Krachia dam or black ginger (Kaempferia parviflora); Zingiber cassumunar, which is a relative of galangal it is called plai in Thailand; pippalee (Piper longum); Solanum surattense (chote kateri); Adhatoda vasica (adoosaa); rhizome of turmeric; stem of Tinospora cordifolia etc. Ayurvedic practitioners often Trikatu’, which is a mix of equal parts of dried ginger, long pepper and black pepper. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical

“That’s what I’m here for.” Then the couple heads to the dance floor. Some participants take only some tentative careful steps, while others temperamentally get into the swing of things; yet others simply enjoy standing in a group, holding hands and rocking to the music. A lot of thought is given to the selection of the music.Stallnig performs the dance movements, for a cha-cha-cha, on simply stamps his feet. The mood immediately brightens. Professor Gereon Fink, Director of Cologne University’s Neurology Clinic, says that dancing and music makes “a great deal of sense”, as it stimulates physical and mental activity while at the same time achieving a positive emotional effect. For relatives, the dances bring some relief, as also contact with others facing the same situation. In Germany more than 1 million people suffer from age-related dementia, the most frequent form of which is Alzheimer’s disease. By the year 2050 the numbers are projected to rise to almost 3 million. With an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s a person can now be given medications that can slow the deterioration process. But there is no cure. The Cologne dance school initiative is gaining attention. “We have talked at congresses and go to other dance schools and provide training. And there have been queries from abroad,” Kleinstueck said. The first partners have been found in other cities. “I have a vision that one day a dancing school will offer this in every city and region, within a network that has experience in dealing with dementia sufferers.” The aim is community, closeness and joy of living. u


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1-7 November 2013

S piritual

Theatrically Yours { Christopher Daruwalla }

I

love working creatively with people. It is such a wonderful process, because you never know what will be waiting for you at the end - or if there is even an end where you expect it to be! You can create the settings and let circumstances play themselves out; then change the settings to see how they influence what happens next. Or you can keep the settings constant and mix up the characters - creating different energies, interplays, outcomes….and stories. Where else can you do that but the theatre? Right? Maybe not so right… for we could do some of these things in our work place, in our schools and in our homes. However, keep in mind that though creativity is fun, it is also hard work, because we are working and exploring and experiencing constantly using each experience of the process to move on. The fun part is that we don’t know the direction of the next step, nor do we know how significant that step will be. A lot of what happens when we are creative, happens instinctively – of course based on our knowledge and values. When we perform our work, we take our fellow actors and the audience on a journey; we entice them into our make-believe world, and play with their

imagination and intellect. We even force them to suspend belief and logic and accept our crazy interpretation of things, our created situations and the choice of characters that play out their parts. We question their attitudes and prejudices. In this process, where there are many forces at work - external and internal we create something new and unique for others to see, share and experience. We generously share our experience with strangers, the people who have decided to give us time to see what we have to offer and who then react to the work we present them. They become witnesses to our play, trusting that we will take them to a place where they will have the space to understand, discuss, wonder and criticize the journey they

A Blooming Indian { Krishan Kalra }

I

t was my first visit to Europe. My wife and son had gone earlier on to USA and we were to meet in London. My first encounter as a ‘country hick come to town’ took place right at Heathrow (Airport). With nothing better to do, and while waiting for my family’s transatlantic flight, I ambled over to the BOAC (now BA) counter and asked for reconfirmation of our seats for the return flight to Delhi. The young lady was polite and efficient; she ‘appreciated’ my desire to ensure confirmation even before the other two had arrived. Four days later we were back at the Airport − for our flight to Frankfurt − and I thought that there was no harm in reconfirming the Delhi flight once again. The girl at the counter looked at her monitor, and with unconcealed annoyance asked me why I needed a ‘second reconfirmation’ within four days! I was aghast; instead of the expected ‘second appreciation’, she was upset, thinking that I didn’t trust ‘them’. The next bloomer came when I asked someone at the Geneva railway station if the 0833 train to Renens was running ‘on time’. Of course Sir, Swiss trains are never late, was his polite rebuff. Almost the same thing happened when I phoned Swissair for a flight change and enquired if I should visit them to get my ticket endorsed. “Whatever for, Sir?

It’s already on my computer”, was the cold response. As we proceeded through Europe, better things were in store. As house-guests of a German couple in Wurzburg, we were taken by them to the house of another German family, for dinner. Every one arrived within five minutes of the appointed time and the welcome champagne and orange juice was drained within the next ten. We were then escorted to the buffet table and the hostess came round asking everyone for their drinks ‘order’. ‘Whisky−Water’ said I, without batting an eyelid. Her discomfort was apparent; she tapped her forehead for a moment, snapped her fingers and said ‘yes, I am sure we have some in the store’. She came back after several minutes with a big smile on her face and an old half-bottle of Black Label in hand. ‘I told you I would find it’ was her triumphant declaration. It was only then that yours truly realized that everyone else was drinking wine - red-white, drysweet, German-Californian. The piece-de-resistance came on our last night in Wurzburg. Our hosts − both dentists − decided to take us out for the evening. We were to first see their brand new surgery theatre, then go for dinner and finally visit a beer parlour. After we had admired the gleaming new theatre, the good doc opened a cupboard, took out glasses and a bottle of schnapps, poured for everyone and bid us to drink. Being my first time with schnapps I copied my host − down the hatch in one gulp! The next room was his wife’s theatre, and we

are sharing with us. We don’t know when it will reach it’s end - final or temporary - before it starts to dance again in our imagination and demand our attention. When the creation is good, we also feel entertained with our own work. While the audience may sometimes come out of such an experience disappointed, cheated and confused, that does not stop them from plunging headlong into another experience - allowing the author(s) of the new play to take them on another remarkable journey. It is this universality that bonds people and cultures when they experience a work of creation - be it in a small village in Africa or in a theatre at a prestigious festival of the Arts. It is in the meeting of minds and imaginations of the playwrights or authors, with their audiences or readers, that Drama truly unfolds and an unseen bond emerges…if even for a brief moment sometimes.u The Author is Founder and Creative Director of Actors World – an actor, writer and director, he has trained from the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art [LAMDA]. He is the Representative North India for LAMDA - Graded exams in communication and performance. www. actorsworldindia.com repeated the toast. By now I was feeling ‘rather good’. Dinner included some wine and I began to feel ‘even better’. The beer parlour was an old rambling house with half a dozen interconnected barns - some big, some small. We found an empty table in the biggest barn and settled down in the midst of some 100 beer guzzling Germans in assorted groups − all engrossed on their own and oblivious of the others. And soon came the big tankards of foaming draft beer. By now I was at a nice high and the tankard was quickly emptied with bravado − only to find it refilled again…and again. It was then that I noticed, in the table, a lovely paper bag containing some cheese straws. I don’t know what came over me; I emptied the bag, blew it up like a balloon and burst it - just like we used to do as kids. The silence was deafening, the atmosphere became tense and over 200 eyes were focused on our table. Suddenly my host caught my hand, helped me stand on my chair and said something rapidly with a big smile on his face. Immediately the pin-drop silence turned into an uproar. Everyone was shouting and laughing, many came up and shook my hand and some women even hugged and kissed me. I was told that they were greeting me on my birthday! Someone broke into a song and almost everyone joined in. I was dumbfounded and just kept stupidly smiling and saying ‘danke-shun’. It was much later, in the car, that I sought and got an explanation. The loud report of the burst bag had sounded like a gunshot, and the locals had panicked. Anything could have happened next, if my host hadn’t come up with this brilliant ’birthday’ idea.u

Our Gods God I never met… But I materialize Him in The vision of my human eye In my patent style I shape Him And size Him Colour Him Design Him Define Him… My way I pray to Him With devotion With rites & rituals My own style God I never met Never may meet I treat With reverence, certain diffidence Deep conviction I trust Him Sometimes to distraction I think my thoughts Shape God in myriad ways… My way And then I meet a friend And cannot understand Why his God is not The same as mine. Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

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1-7 November 2013

R eal E state

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1-7 November 2013

The Disco Soup Project

{ Lisa Maria Hagen/New York / DPA }

Lisa Hagen

T

he chopping sound of the knives echoes through Pier 57 on the Hudson River. Apples, small and shrivelled-looking, are rolling across plastic tables. The skins of the tomatoes are blistered; around 40 men and women are chopping them up for a tomato stew. The scene is “Disco Soup,” a project that has come to New York City from Germany. Organized by Englishman Tristram Stuart, Founder of the Campaign, “Feeding the 5000,” its aim is to awaken people to how much food simply goes waste, and to do something to try to stop it. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), onethird of food produced by mankind is lost or ends up in garbage bins - at the same time that 1 billion people are constantly under-nourished. “I’m not saying we should be shipping our leftovers to Africa,” Stuart says. “But if we buy more than we need or throw it away on the farms, then we are wasting resources that we could be putting into something more valuable than a garbage can.” A few days before the “Disco Soup” action, Rachael Mamane drove across the Hudson into neighbouring New Jersey in a truck. She picked up one ton of fruit and vegetables from farms along the way - in a single day.These weren’t generous donations, but rather “garbage” - meaning that because the apple was too small, the cucumber too crooked or the tomato had burst, they were simply left to rot. One farmer had a field full of watermelons unharvested,

‘Disco Soup’ Volunteers help to prepare food that would otherwise have ended up in the garbage. The Campaign meets at Pier 57 on the Hudson River in New York City.

because a merchant cancelled his order at the last minute. A root cause of food waste is that often, peoples’ eyes are bigger than their stomachs, Mamane says. “Forty per cent of the food produced in the United States does not land on the table but rather in the bin - whether it’s at the farm, the factory, the merchant or the customer.” Another cause can be labelling, which Mamane says is “very confusing for consumers.” A result is that yoghurts, cartons of milk and meat are thrown out without people first sampling the products. In the US there are no uniform standards regarding sell-by or use-by dates. A label saying “sell by” is no measure of the freshness of a product. The result is that nine out of 10 Americans needlessly throw food items away because they misunderstand the labels. In Germany, one of every eight food items

bought by consumers lands up in the garbage. This adds up to 82 kilograms of food per capita per year, according to a study by the German Food Ministry. A negative after-effect of this is the heavy burden on the environment posed by food waste. “The problem with meat is that our range of products is not geared to using the entire animal,” Mamane says. With most animals, only the best meat is taken, and the rest thrown away. The butcher shop “Fleisher’s”, in Brooklyn, has recognized the problem. Not only are the “best” pieces put on the counter, but also innards, tongues and hearts. Animal fats are converted into soap and the bones are made into starch. Back at Pier 57, a pot of aubergine stew is boiling away, and an autumn breeze carries the aroma outside. Rebecca Weller is closely watching to see that her

two children are slicing only the aubergines and not their fingers. “I think it is important to do something about a problem in which all of us are guilty,” she says. Passers-by stop to sample a pizza bread and a ginger apple salad. The recipes were provided by Anthony Fassio, head of New York’s slow-food movement. He and his pupils have stopped by on a Friday evening to help out. “We try not to produce any waste while cooking, and use the entire plant - including leaves and roots,” Fassio says. Tristram Stuart comments that “food waste is one of the biggest environmental problems of our time - and the easiest to solve.” So how can the normal consumer help out? “A good start is to go shopping at a farmers’ market and put into your basket only as much as you know you are really going to eat,” Rachael Mamane advises. “And if it still turns out to be too much, then you can always freeze it or cook it.” u

G lobal


G lobal

1-7 November 2013

21

Britain’s Waterways Under Threat T

ravelling into Britain’s canals is like stepping into a living museum of the country’s history. A wonderful example is the 220-kilometre-long Grand Union Canal, which starts in London and ends in Birmingham, after passing 166 locks. However, it passes through not only verdant countryside, but also through some of the most polluted places. Mostly built at the height of the Industrial Revolution, to ferry goods and raw materials, around 2,500 kilometres of historic waterways crisscross the country. Being home to thousands of boat-dwelling people, they also boast 2,700 structures under legal preservation orders. The Paddington arm of the Canal, which runs just north of central London to the Limehouse Basin and the River Thames, passes Camden Market, where London’s creative bohemians mix with throngs of tourists. Not surprisingly, the water is foul along this stretch. “We are always making jokes like, you’ll grow another arm if you fall into the Canal,” laughs Sophia, who works in a cafe located at Camden Lock. With the advent of motorways, Britain’s waterways lost their economic importance but, according to figures for 2010/2011, the canals and associated river routes still cost an estimated 120 million pounds (194 million dollars) annually, to maintain. Until July 2012, British Waterways was the public corporation that cared for the network of canals and rivers in England, Scotland and Wales. In Scotland the management of canals remains with British Waterways, but the government transferred inland waterways in England and Wales to a new charitable body, the Canal & River Trust. Critics say the move was simply a cost-saving measure. “The government’s financial interests have definitely played a role,” says Professor Jenny Harrow, from the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness, at the City University, London. However, there is also a commonly held view in Great Britain that non-profit organizations are able to take over and run facilities more efficiently than the State. Management of the canals is made all the more difficult because the waterways also serve as a home to so many people. Estimates vary widely, but it is thought that people permanently live on between 6,500

and 15,000 boats. Kellie and Tony are newcomers to this way of life and currently reside on ‘Zest’, one of the many narrow boats that travel along Britain’s canals. At the moment the Boat is moored at Cow Roast, located on the Grand Union Canal, 60 kilometres north of London, where the couple live with their six-month-old daughter Niamh. “I wanted to give Niamh a chance to grow up on the Canal and show her a better way of life,” says Kellie. To ensure Niamh won’t fall into the water, a wooden fence blocks the entrance to the orange-coloured Zest. Inside, the television is turned on, while a mother and child magazine lies open on a coffee table. The Boat is equipped with a kitchen and small, tiled bathroom. Niamh sleeps in a cot beside her parents’ bed. Due to space restrictions, both Kellie and Tony share the same wardrobe, but the couple are very happy

Camden Lock, on the Regent’s Canal in London.

Anne-Sophie Lang

{ Anne-Sophie Lang/ London/ DPA }

The Grand Union Canal near Cow Roast in Hertfordshire, about 60 kilometres North of London.

in their quayside home. “I would never want to live in a normal house again,” says Kellie. Shaun has tied his boat up beside the young family’s home. The 45-yearold’s light blue vessel is called ‘Emohrou’, which is “our home” spelled backwards. When he was young, the canals were in a worse condition than they are now, remembers Shaun, who credits the improvement to British Waterways. “The Canal & River Trust is stricter than British Waterways,” says Shaun. The Charity carries out strict inspections to ensure that no boat remains moored at the same location for longer than 14 days, without permission. Shaun says that he pays nearly 1,000 pounds a year just for his boat licence,

A narrow boat moored in the Regent’s Canal near Camden Lock in London. On the right is a poster for the Towpath Rangers, a volunteer group organized by the Canal & Rivers. Trust.

Shaun, 45, in the galley of his narrow boat moored in the Grand Union Canal near Cow Roast in Hertfordshire. He has lived for 17 years on the boat, Emohruo.

but if he decides to remain at the same spot in order to save fuel costs, then he has to pay increased fees. Licences and fees are one income source for the Canal & River Trusts, but do not go anywhere near to covering the charity’s outgoings. British Waterways recently recorded a two-

year loss of approximately 10 million pounds, which is one argument in favour of the creation of a nonprofit institution. “In recent years more services for leisure facilities belonging to local authorities have been handed over to foundations,” says Professor Harrow. One example is municipal swimming pools. The Canal & River Trust will still receive public funding for the next 15 years, but Allan Richards, an online columnist who writes about canal politics and has travelled England’s waterways for over 50 years, remains sceptical about whether this support will be sufficient. “The problem is that there will be underfunding over the next 15 years,

followed by a lack of security about any future financing,” he explains. Fund-raising has not even sustained its own cost. Donations amounted to 900,000 pounds (1.45 million dollars) in 2012/2013, but the charity spent 1.8 million pounds to generate that level of donating. “I am certain that the waterways will survive me, but I have to wonder about what kind of legacy I will be leaving my children,” he says. Shaun will not contribute any more towards the maintenance of the Grand Union Canal, even if he believes that the canals could be in a better condition in certain areas where, for example, they are too shallow for his boat to pass and need to be dredged. “I feel that I already give enough through the licence fee that I have to pay for.” u


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1-7 November 2013

SG Teaching

Pedalling Till You Drop

Customers of SoulCycle work themselves into a sweat at the training studio at the Upper West Side of New York. Normally the room is dark, with only a candle for light. Practitionsers believe the special motivation effect of “spinning” - “riding” together in the dark - has profound psychological benefits.

{ Lisa Maria Hagen/New York / DPA }

Lisa Hagen

T

he air is warm and humid like a hot towel. A candle flickers and the bass of the music booms through the room. Sixty bodies are swaying synchronously in the room in the darkness. “Work your butts off,” screams a woman trainer. “In here you are only responsible for yourself and to give all you have!” Cycling on a machine indoors - also known as spinning - has existed for decades. Combined with a special motivation effect, it’s meant to be good for the soul - at least that’s what’s has made it a new fitness trend in New York. Hollywood stars such as Katie Holmes, Hugh Jackman and Brooke Shields have been doing it for a long time. My life has been changed forever,” wrote one fan on Twitter after a first hour of training. Another tweeted: “Found my soul and rocked my body. Officially obsessed.” The leader of the trend is the fitness chain SoulCycle, founded about six years ago by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler. Shortly after they moved to New York, they went looking for an endurance training program to “fall in love with”, but were unsuccessful. “There are enough ways to burn calories, but none that make your heart want to sing,” said Rice. The two rented space in a former funeral parlour in northwestern Manhattan, together with their former spinning coach, Ruth Zukermanm, - who later went into competition

Aquacycling Trainer Emma Galland (foreground) sets the rhythm for arm movements for five women mounted on stationary bicycles, which they must pedal under the water at Aqua, a New York pool.

against them, setting up another chain, FlyWheel. They set up 33 cycles, parked a rickshaw with their logo in front of the entrance and waited for business to come. SoulCycle has grown to about 20 studios in New York and Los Angeles, and numerous more are planned. The training hours are not just seen as pure fitness sessions but as “experiences”, as New York Magazine described it recently: “Part dance party, part therapy, part communal high.” The rules are displayed in black on white in the training studio in the Upper West Side in New York - mobile phones and chatting are strictly forbidden during the spinning session. The door swings open, the

music echoes out and the participants head to their lockers, sporting bright red faces. Little puddles of sweat have gathered underneath them. Danielle Curis’ blonde hair is sticking to her forehead and has turned dark brown. “I have never really liked working out, but now I’m addicted to SoulCycle,” says the housewife, who comes to the Studio nine times a week. It’s not cheap. Curis pays 13,670 dollars (about 10,000 euros) per year in dues. Trainer Janet Fitzgerald says an hour of special spinning gives a person “courage, selfesteem and passion.” “It makes the people remember who they really are, what their goals and

dreams are and it helps them to follow them,” says Fitzgerald. She has had participants who started relationships through the course, and others who successfully fought off cancer. In her next training class she calls a small delicate girl with a ballerina bun to the platform. She has lost 30 kilograms and will soon be a trainer herself. Fitzgerald calls her an “inspiration”. The group cheers - and pedals even harder. A couple of blocks further South, there is a place practicing a different but similar trend - wellness spinning in water. “Close your eyes and feel how your movements make waves,” says Trainer Emma Galand.

G lobal Pop music ripples, the water foams and dances around the legs of six women, who are sitting on bikes placed on the floor of a swimming pool filled with water. Erienne Gale is here for a second time. The tennis trainer has a damaged knee. “This is the only chance for me to ride a bike, because the water takes the weight off from the joint,” says Gale. The underwater cycling studio Aqua has existed in New York since April, founded by the Frenchwoman Ester Gauthier. “We concentrate more on wellness than fitness,” said Gauthier. The people of New York want a break from the City and its hectic pace. Gauthier is sure of that. “In other spinning studios they stuff 60 people in a room whereas it should actually be a moment for you - without work, everyday life or family,” says Gauthier.u

Alpine birds airborne for 200 days non-stop

{ London/ DPA }

B

ird researchers in Switzerland have gathered what they say is the first unequivocal evidence of birds flying non-stop for as long as 200 days. They feed on “aerial plankton” airborne insects - and even sleep during flight. The research team, from the Swiss Ornithological Institute and Bern University of Applied Sciences, captured six Alpine swifts (Tachymarptis melba) in 2011 and fitted them with tiny electronic monitoring devices, before they migrated more than 3,000 kilometres to their wintering grounds in Africa. The devices tracked the birds’ location and measured changes in body position and movement every four minutes. When the birds returned in the spring to their breeding grounds in Switzerland, the team recaptured three of them and downloaded the data from the devices. The data indicated that the birds had been in the air continuously for nearly seven months, either flapping their wings or gliding - although the researchers said they may have landed briefly in gaps between measurements. They greatly increased their gliding at night and were apparently on the wing the entire time they were wintering south of the Sahara, too. Writing in the British online journal Nature

Communications, the authors of the study, led by Felix Liechti of the Swiss Ornithological Institute’s Bird Migration Department, said the findings were not wholly surprising, because ornithologists had claimed for decades that some swifts might stay airborne for almost their whole lifetime. Most birds rest on land or water after hunting or a long migration, since flying requires a considerable amount of energy for locomotive control. The birds must constantly adapt their position to airflow. Up to now, only marine animals such as dolphins had been known to be capable of such long-term locomotion (they sleep by resting one half of their brain at a time). “Our data imply that all vital physiological processes, including sleep, can be perpetuated during flight,” the researchers wrote.u


1-7 November 2013

S pecial

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prakhar PANDEY


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1-7 November 2013

G -scape

Friday gurgaon 1 7 nov, 2013  

...be the change you want to see

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