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13-19 March 2015

Vol. 4 No. 30  Pages 16  ` 10

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319, Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017

Of The New School prakhar PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

A

child begins to learn from the moment she is born, and every sight and sound she sees or hears is a stimulus in this process. The environment around a child shapes her personality. In the days of yore the large joint families - grand parents, uncles and aunts, and cousins - would provide the support and learning for the growing child. However, in modern India, and especially a Millennium City like Gurgaon, where a majority of the families is nuclear and both parents are working, the role of the extended family has been taken over by Pre-Schools (also called Play Schools). They have mushroomed in every nook and corner of the City. A large majority of the working parents define these ‘schools’ as a boon - nay, a blessing - and say that they don’t mind paying high fees as long as the school is providing good quality care, food and transportation. However, there is no one regulating these Pre-Schools (definitely not the government). There is no one prescribing any rules, and there are no set standards. The Pre-Schools don’t require a licence. It seems that anyone with two rooms and a capacity to hire a few ‘teachers’ and some maids can start a Pre-School in Gurgaon. However, despite this lack of norms, rules or standards, the working parents are not complaining. They are happy that there is someone out there to take care of their kids while they work their way to the top of their corporate or social ladders. Sarika Panda Bhatt, a professional, has nothing but praise for the PreSchool where she sent her kids. She says that they spent quality time there and also learnt a lot of things. "I searched hard for the best Pre-

School for my child. I wanted to ensure that she spent quality time when we were not around. The top priorities were safety, the quality of food being served and good transport,” says Panda. She adds that a thorough search of Pre-Schools should be conducted, and instead of sending the child to a fancy ‘corporatised’ school, one should look for smaller places that dot the neighbourhood, because most of these are ‘family run’. One of the parents got a call from a big school in Palam Vihar, promising a special discount. "When I went there they said that the admission fee is only Rs 300. However, by the time they added the development fees, annual fees and several other heads, the total went up to Rs 70,000 - excluding the monthly fees and transport! The fees and transport comes to a further Rs. 6,000 monthly," says

How do the working under-privileged cope with their infants? Sarika Bhatt recalls how her maid used to pay Rs. 200 monthly to some older girls in her locality to look after her child. "However, the quality of care in a slum is poor. There is lack of hygiene, and the carer takes little responsibility," says Bhatt. She has plans to set up low cost PreSchools for the families of maids, drivers and other workers who need such facilities. The government anganwadis, which are a bureaucratic version of a Play School, have also failed to live up to the expectations of the people, and a majority of even poor parents avoid them. The municipal corporation in Gurgaon has also failed to set up such facilities for children. Neighbouring Delhi has a number of municipal schools that are serving the underprivileged.

the shocked parent. In fact the fees for a Pre-School toddler and someone seeking admission in Class 12 is almost the same. Another Pre-School that has its chains spread in almost all parts of the country - and in Gurgaon as well - calls up parents with promises of special discounts, and when they land up with the hope of getting a good deal they get a shocker. The parents, especially the ‘corporate ones’, are still not complaining. In fact they are happy that the mushrooming of Pre-Schools has helped bring down the age of enrolment to these nurseries to 1.5 years – from the earlier 3 years. A school owner says that the IT and corporate boom in Gurgaon has ensured that this business remains booming, and some parents are even pushing her to admit tenmonth-olds in her Pre-School. She even gets ‘seat booking’

calls from parents who are expecting a child! Even when told that the glossy Pre-Schools are nothing but crèches, parents are fine with paying through their nose. Sonia, whose niece goes to a Pre-School, says that even though they live in a joint family, they still send the child to a Pre-School and pay Rs. 15,000 monthly, because of the ‘prestige’ issue. "In Gurgaon you need to conform to the standard of the peer group. Living in a gated complex or condominium also means that parents have to follow certain standards while choosing a Pre-School… and various other things," she rues. Mamta Dhingra, who is a professional, says that people in Gurgaon are ready to pay if the quality is good and the school is providing good care. Parents will pay a lot to have peace of mind. "The Pre-Schools are being run by decent people in a clean and healthy environment. We earn well, so there is no harm in paying someone who does a good job for our children," she says. She recalls how the Pre-School to which she sent her kids used to send emails and SMSs to keep the parents in the loop. The problem, however, is that only the higher income families are able to send their children to Pre-Schools. Also, the majority of Pre-Schools are not ‘schools’, in the sense that they do not impart learning and skills to the impressionable young minds. Most act as day care facilities for children whose parents are working, or as refuges for bored housewives. Despite the ubiquity of Pre-Schools, questions are being raised about their need and importance to children and society. The need for such institutions, not only in India but even in US, which is the mecca of Pre-Schools and where 85 per cent of children go to these schools, is increasingly coming under the scanner. A radical, large study in the Contd. on p 4


02

13-19 March 2015

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017 Vol. 4 No. 30   13-19 March 2015

Editor:

THE WEEK THAT WAS

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

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 Punjab & Haryana Governor addresses the Haryana Vidhan Sabha at the start of the Budget Session and places the new govt.’s agenda before the House. The new govt. releases a White Paper on the State’s finances during the 10-year Congress rule - from 2004-05 to 2013-14. Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay are given 10-year jail sentences by the Delhi High Court. With effect from April, the attendance of teachers in govt. schools will be logged in and monitored online. Exams for classes 1 to 8 start in govt. schools. Mulayam Singh Yadav, who was admitted to Medanta apprehending Swine Flu, tests negative.

 On Holi day, 6 people die and many are injured in road accidents; hundreds of traffic offenders are booked; 2 are held for molesting a NE woman near Jharsa Road.  A speeding water tanker hits a bike on ‘Old’ Delhi Road – the pillion, a 21-year-old woman, dies and the driver is critically injured.  A youth is knifed to death near a liquor vend on Khandsa Road.

 A notorious gangster with a Rs 50,000 reward on his head is caught on the Rajasthan border after a shootout.  A businessman’s family pays a ransom of Rs 10 lakhs for his release; the accused is allegedly his ‘friend’.  2 armed groups clash in Khandsa village – many people are seriously injured.  A truck on the e-way catches fire.  Residents of Kankrola village catch one of the thieves who were stealing tractors – 3 others flee.  The Patwari of Kadarpur village is caught taking Rs 30,000 bribe for a mutation.  A bag containing Rs 5 lakhs cash is stolen from a car parked in DLF III; a woman’s bag is stolen when she is enticed to alight from her car to pick up ‘her’ Rs 10 note from the ground.  A taxi driver is arrested for forging the signature on 2 cheques (which were part of a cheque book within in a stolen suitcase) and trying to withdraw Rs 6,50,000.  4 bookies that were supervising illegal betting are arrested from Krishna Colony.  A delivery boy is robbed at night on the road – 4 people are held.  SCERT Haryana website is hacked: IS (international

terrorist organisation) logo appears on it.  DC inaugurates a program for starting women-only taxi services, with the support of Maruti and ECO Rent a Car/ OLA cabs; he also endorses a safety mobile app. from Jarvis.  DC also gets nursing students from a local private medical college to enroll as Youth Volunteers at the maternity ward of the Civil Hospital.  Illegal structures (farmhouses) are razed and forest land cleared in Raisina village in the Aravallis.  Sunbreeze apartments buyers protest the inordinate delay in their project and meet the DC.  HUDA asks MCG to take over sanitation work in HUDA sectors (this is after ‘total’ transfer was recently suspended; some roads have been transferred).  MCG is to take over Saraswati Vihar, a Housing Board colony.  DC empowers Nirvana RWA, asking the developer to hand over certain services, which it has been deficient in providing for years, to the RWA.  Sunday evening witnesses a hailstorm over the City; many crops are damaged.  Chaitra Mela begins at Sheetla Mata Mandir.

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pur, Badshah bir ining Rao Nar est cont In adjo idate, stiff of - PM. BJP cand face a ltabad l to e deci the h, had esh DauParty rebe a brav sever been e the h to Jan- Sing nst Rak (BJP) mad It had t Sha a agai D and , who While of Ami Haryan when in the INL Sharma resting. sion the esh (HJC), budge e inte eck race the Muk ties withgress -to-n est quit sed to nd, cont hit Con r refu stand, cona neck hinterla whelmno 0 ’ over it was pur the latte its 50-5 BJP had dshah idate got many ‘new ‘stan Bad are from that t cand se, from which perpenden(of cour d BJP ort , sidering ncy. age inde supp colonies titue aver gress coul yana ing cons in these real the of Con ramgaon of this in Har ct, if he a in s been e Gur vote ing’ Sen Dha wen anc e ospe a part per cent cam form nies te still in retr the Shiv decision He en on ost 95 gaon colo ng him candida a, whod. FG } Alm givi the HJC a ‘cak take aft Gab Behl / s@fridaygurgao thir ’ Gur Singh ed bai, win, been bir MLA shek stay ‘new ant to Mum an or bir have h also { Abhito us at letter ng me was a distexpected stro to Nar to beco ‘elite’ corp s would Sha ‘tie-up’ with which mi write of the ce ’). was Aad on chan time. The many area gaon, walk from any repeat hisbank s. Gur of ‘Aam in yLok the y a vote riding vote long Har ew’ too vote the a awa n jabi 00 With ance in ns hub ing d did d alSohna , agai the crow an levvote the Pun ost 70,0 mutatio of INLD. ’ dur ed udi ande marginscandid perform& Vidh per s alm politicstions, and ur of Pata prov toric tion the by hug strong Chau at Lok ah have mega elec bina pundits All in favoendra Yaso ana, com i-Sh indeed Sabhaen bloc y won e not Bimla ber, a in the and political wrong te Yog t spit els, Mod are udi, In man mos candida saffron n, num Lok they , inthe ers. d In Pata a good ory to PM proved Gurgao a that gaon race AAP In thecandiby in e-chang Gur Lok yan were emb polls. won her vict mentor, gam of ‘new’ only ss Har that hant BJP dav, ly s not h, had , Sus lities, a the ascribed to her rjit Sin area acro seems – Sing while Assembpolls, also ing DLF g loca did not Inde but erjit and l. It s, clud again ly Rao large follo le SabhaRao Ind got vote adjoinin as wel once st a , ,780 and ber of peopparty can-. on MP Assemb date quite l belt. Sour 6,44 ir Hussaindidate BJP peoplefor an local num d over has rwa the polled Zak AAP can 79,452 large know the voted foradmitBJP – vote even the Ahi wave in l co for e tion still INLD's and av got polled rwal d with BJP ‘persona in consid-. even elec but s Prim , ,058 ngly the Aga te, y lmi 3,70 ra vote the e of even ra Yadhowever in area ngholdsd dida Umesh has whe nam Narend that swept awaee, a who le had even stro YogendYadav, votes from, and vote ng, Even e peop Akshay, won long in the r Rath s. stro e 00 has to be our e just Anad. iste for a vote e wer e. RS had per 27,0 mbly area ted that n the hav Min its. if AAP in minthe INLD ite a larg wav who ed castven inered people i. Eve ma almost n asse d that embly to Sabha- Modi t, pro , says for Mod and test he adm desp gao polls, Lok ising fi- den was Gur Gur the expecte the Ass e been tion sup- The Modi," workedsays that le prom the last thousan tried tic elec that wn that new , for ss it wasfought peop idate, theyBJP in ld havfor the le of Bhatia time s say arithme in this Congre the sho wou coup it for ber of r cand by the- lyst ect had the had Prem , sa s, it tender and larly num vote e numra, a tion tion. for thei d to BJP, cy. In rna- corr y Aro is rankledthe Con - polls particu t Lok elec vote preferre fact a larg have ng constituen vote beyond of Vija n, He Sushan beance y in Gura gao s, would proved a stro n con viable alte y of ter. nally Modi. In enhas rs, who gao a red larl , man - poror perform area ow been rgaon Gur at vote ine’, also to ticu side Party. due to ress d e of ever

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hile the State of Haryana cies have and its civic not been infrastru able to provide agencture, including like water, adequate power, sanitatio basic isting Gurgaon n and roads amenities city and the previous to the residents governm , the decision expendentl ent to y (of the by NCR Board)relentlessly and Master Planning inde(2021, 2025, push ahead with residents of 2031) has its The Master even the new sectors most now left the Plans that ing more were prepared vulnerable. than Real apart from Estate allocatio were noththe shortage gaon is of natural ns. As a result, now resource will probablybeing envelope s, Gurd in a smoky remain unending so for decades), haze (and construc cupancy tion activity thanks being low to the - despite The most and there pressing being few current octer table new buyers. under the issue, however, is that which could City indeed haveis getting dangerou the wasly disastrou s conseque low, nces,

II

warn experts. While the ciety are authoriti discussin es in (current) g ways to tackle and civil sobusy buildingGurgaon, the this situation more castles Real Estate industry apartmen ts and commerc in the air. is up in the Thousan ds of new Gurgaon ial complexe tened GII s are coming sectors lines are by FG), while water, (58 to 115 – yet to be power and chrisever, have set up. sewage Several already builders, are now ‘complet giving howed’ their gross violation possession projects, to apartmen and of the rules, the authoriti t buyers, with the in es. They ground collusion are still water for deviously of is that the all their extractin projects. g will now water from these And be same illegal the irony water tankerssold to the hapless tubewell s (as residents the official dream)! supply remainsthrough It was only a pipea chance plaza that visit to through brought this illegal the Kherki Doula tankers toll by construc use and sale of water tion compani es, to the Prakhar

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04

13-19 March 2015

Of The New School

 Contd from p 1 US indicates that children who attended Pre-School, and those who did not, had zero difference as far as their learning, knowledge and skills were concerned. This study compared elementary school children who attended the Federal government's Pre-School program, Head Start, to children who didn't. In India, however, there is no such research or monitoring, and the free market is just being allowed to satisfy these neo-urban demands. Neru Kumar, an educationist who has headed large schools in Delhi and Gurgaon and runs a Pre-School that caters to both the middle and lower middle class in the heart of Palam Vihar, says that Pre-Schools play an important role for the impressionable young minds, as they have taken the place of the large joint families. "With most parents working, the Pre-Schools, which also add up as day care centres, are a boon here. Parents should choose the school carefully, keeping in mind that more than the large buildings and glossy infrastructure, it is the people running the show that matter," says Kumar. Her school follows a structured method for teaching the young kids. When they enter the school they are slowly trained to handle their peer group; the kids also need to be able to handle the withdrawal from their family. "We help in improving the motor skills, oral skills, speech and language of the children," she says. When asked about the high cost, Kumar says that a lot of money has to be spent in retaining good teachers, hiring maids and creating learning systems for the kids. "The big schools are constantly on the lookout for good teachers, the maids leave for their villages, and hiring honest drivers is another big headache," she says. However, she admits that the fees in some of the schools have indeed become irrational. Sunita Bhardwaj, Principal of Spring Blossom, says that preschooling is very important because this experience helps

C over S tory

Pre-School Learning Systems Montessori method

A typical Montessori classroom has one trained teacher and one aide. This mixed-age-group class allows children to socialise with each other (as most learning is social). It is a developmental programme that considers the nature of the child and tailors the activities to her needs. Activities stress the independence of the child, allowing her to experiment with any material that catches her fancy. There are no grades, rewards, or punishments - the goal is improvements in behaviour, the level of work and the child’s sense of contentedness.

Playway method:

Early months spent by a child in a Playway school are meant for bonding with her friends and teachers. The child moves around the class freely, choosing what she wants to do and making friends. An important developmental goal is confidence and participation. Other goals include independence, patience and cooperation. The entire curriculum is based on little experiments and activities that focus on introducing a new concept. Poster making, doodling with crayons, pottery, lawn walks and simple games using balls and plastic bats are typical school activities.

Waldorf method

It recommends limiting a child’s exposure to electronic media and television, to prevent curbing her natural imagination. It is more teacher-oriented and encourages children to make their own toys from given materials like paper and clay, and to think for themselves. A child’s work is imagination, they say. A lot of emphasis is placed on fantasy and creativity; it encourages pictorial representations. The method does not use traditional testing or examinations. Free play within classrooms, which resemble homes, is common, as is outdoor play. To expose children to nature and seasonal changes, the curriculum strives to be emotionally supportive.

Reggio Emilia approach

The teacher collaborates with the parents and guides the children in their activities. She is seen as a co-learner or co-researcher. Parents are an integral part of the system, and are expected to interact regularly with the teacher and provide their input and feedback. The environment is considered the third teacher - after the teacher and the community.  Drawing, sculpting, dramatic theatre and long term projects are the pillars of this method. 

in developing a strong and healthy brain architecture, as a child's brain grows to 90 per cent of the adult size by the age of five. She says that children from her school have turned out to be good students, score well in both academics and co-curricular activities. "PreSchools also prepare the child for schooling, and improve her literacy skills as well as her social and emotional development. The children get to know how to care, share and communicate. Some important soft skills, which are now becoming a prerequisite for success in life, are learnt early here," asserts Kumar of Kids Habitat. She however warns the parents to look for schools that are run by experienced educationists, which have less focus on making money and more on developing children. She is an experienced speech therapist as well. Kumar recalls that when she was a teacher, the Pre-School where she sent her child would ‘sedate’ the kids to keep them silent. The parents need to be very careful in choosing a school. Sandeep Kumar, a parent who lives in Palam Vihar Extension, says that the Pre-School charges exorbitant fees, but they have little choice as there are no play grounds, parks and recreational facilities in their area. "Where will the kids go? We do not want

prakhar PANDEY

them to keep on watching television and movies. And the women of the house are not skilled enough to teach them," says Kumar. Education experts agree that the toddlers these days are difficult to handle, as they have better grasping power and knowledge and a lot more exposure. "They have too much energy, which needs to be well-channelised," adds Kumar. Some people are of the view that the government must step in regulate the Pre-Schools, as many have just become money minting machines. While a number of Pre-Schools offer ‘world-class’ education, most of their promises turn out hollow. An expert view is that we first need to analyse whether kids need to go to Pre-schools at all. If required, then these ‘schools’ should be regulated and monitored with help of subject experts. There should be uniformity in the syllabus, and a clear agreement on what skill sets should be imparted to children at this tender age. The standardisation will also help parents make simpler and less expensive choices. Of course there is also a bigger message here. Everything in this City cannot be ‘Make for the Top 20 per cent’ - while the rest scrounge for the bare necessities of life – including basic schooling, healthcare and housing. u

The differences between the elected representatives and the officialdom in Gurgaon are sharp, and that they are difficult to bridge became visible during the House meeting of the MCG held on Wednesday. In the process, municipal work and services in the City are virtually at a standstill. The councillors allege that the bureaucracy is not undertaking the required civic development in their wards. The officials cite shortage of staff, government rules and bureaucratic delays in Chandigarh for the slow progress of development works in the City. It was in this context that Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh was invited to chair the House meeting of the MCG. The new BJP government has encouragingly agreed to empower the Mayor and elected councillors across Haryana, including Gurgaon. Rao Inderjit also recommended that the MCG Commissioner should tour one ward each week to assess the problems of the people, and take stock of the ground situation.


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write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon rchery is second nature to most Amitians. Little wonder then that the Amity University campus has thrown up many champion archers in recent years. Priyanka Thakran, Akriti Gupta, Prachi Bhardwaj, Anu Thakran…the list is long. The biggest of them all has been young Priyanka. All of eighteen years, this final year student simply eases into her bow. Such is her talent that her arrows rarely miss their target. The Haryana lass did the State proud this year when she bagged the fifth spot at the India Camp trials organised by the Archery Association of India. Priyanka, according to her Korean coach Lim, has great potential. She can aspire to be in the league of top Indian archers, like Deepika Kumari or Dola Banerjee.    At the Camp, Lim and ten other (Indian) coaches are preparing the students to be part of an international contingent.  Even though Archery is her passion and she has dreams of performing for India at some of the world’s biggest archery competitions, Priyanka is a good student as well and would like to complete her studies alongside. “I am so proud of my school. It is here that I  got this opportunity and now I definitely want to be a top Archer and represent India at the Olympics. That is my big dream,” says Priyanka . Fortunately for girls like Priyanka, her school Amity is playing a major role in

A

Take a Bow, Lady Priyanka won the Gold medunearthing such global-potenal at the 47th Haryana State tial talent. “The Millennium School Archery ChampionCity is also playing its part in ship held at Sirsa. She soon folproviding great opportunity to lowed it up with another Gold the budding talent here,” adds at the 5th   District Archery Priyanka. Priyanka’s passion Championship at Gurgaon. In for the bow and arrow started November the same year she at the tender age of eleven. participated at the 4th  Nation“From just being interested, al Archery Championship in I have now developed a huge Bangalore. However, she was love for Archery. My parents probably overawed at having too have encouraged me and made it so far so fast, supported my interest and could not manage with all their might,” Priyanka Thakran to get any medal. Not she says. Her School to be deterred by that coach, Kapil Kaushik, is also has a keen lapse, Priyanka was a very proud man. “She interest in singing back at her best at the is just like my daughand dancing. She 32 nd.  Haryana State ter and I am extremely says that she is a Archery Championship pleased to coach her.’” fun-loving girl. at Sonipat, shooting he says. "The School has herself to the top spot. always been co-operative The year 2013 was even and my coach has been always there to help enhance my talent. better for this young Haryanvi Archer. In future, if possible, I would love to train Apart from making it to Team India, havsome unprivileged children who have ing won the 16th  position at the Junior shown an interest in Archery,“ says Pri- nationals held in Assam, Priyanka reyanka. As of now her full attention is on tained pole position at the 48th Haryana excelling in her studies and becoming a State School Archery Championship top Archer. She is little stressed with her besides bagging the Gold at the 6th  District Archery competition in the State. Board exam. Priyanka’s list of achievements is She once again came away with the top long. Since 2012 she has bagged innu- honours at the 33rd State Championship, merable laurels for her School as well as while managing a couple of Silver medals her State in Recurve (form of Archery). at different State level competitions.  “I Recognised first at the Sub-junior level, think it’s only a matter of time…she will

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

I

f you go to the consumer complaints site of the Indian Consumer Complaints Forum, chances are that you will come across hordes of ‘dog menace’ complaints from Gurgaon residents. “I recently narrowly escaped an attack by a pack of stray dogs near the water tank in B-Block of Sushant Lok. The dogs are getting aggressive by the day and attacking the passersby. Apparently there have been no cases of dog bite yet, but the situation is extremely threatening when alone. Kindly look into the matter and relocate the dogs,” writes one complainant. “Stray dogs are increasing in numbers, perhaps higher than human beings themselves,” writes another, vexed with the authorities. “DLF Phase IV is no better,” says yet another. According to the same resident, there are at least 20-30 dogs at any point of time roaming the road starting at Mothers Pride School going up to Vakil Market. These dogs often snarl

at passersby. Another complainant tries to be ‘reasonable’. “This is not their fault, of course. Animals instinctively try to protect themselves and their territories. No point blaming them really. My question is, what are the authorities doing about this problem?” What is undisputed is that the population of stray dogs is growing and, if left unchecked, it would not only become an issue of managing them, but could give rise to several health and safety hazards for the residents of Gurgaon. Apart from biting humans, these dogs could become severely diseased, and end up spreading several types of ailments among the people. Dogs are surely lovable animals and are often referred to as ‘man’s best friend’, but their proximity can unsuspectingly transmit various conditions and diseases to humans. Some of the more common ones are Ringworms, Roundworms and the dreaded Rabies. Though the dog menace has been there for some time, the residents have only recently started feeling discon-

win even bigger laurels at the all-India level competitions,” says her coach. In 2014, Priyanka entered the medal list at the National School Games for the first time, when she picked up the Bronze medal at the 59th National School Games at Nashik. Her record at the 37th  Junior National Archery Camp was commendable; she came fourth. She had been pitted against some of the brightest talents from across India. Her performance won her a place at the NRAT (National Ranking Archery Tournament) selections. In her own State, Priyanka continues to remain the top Archer. She won Gold at the 34th Haryana State Archery Camp – making her the first in the State to win three consecutive Gold medals. She has continued to flourish at all State level championships - both at the Under-17 as well as Under-20 levels. Competing for the first time at the Senior level at Delhi, Priyanka was placed at the 33rd  position. “This was not a bad performance, considering the large numbers of fine archers who were participating,” says her coach Kapil Kaushik. “The government needs to play a more supportive role, especially for sportswomen. There is immense talent in Haryana, but it is often lost to poverty or to orthodox mentalities. It is refreshing to see someone like Priyanka stepping out boldly into the sports arena, encouraged by her family and school. She has made the State proud, and hopefully will soon make India proud too,“ states Kaushik. u

prakhar PANDEY

Man’s Best Friend? { Barnali Dutta/FG }

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certed. The stray dog nuisance has spread to several areas within the City, with reports of them chasing both young and old people and biting them, on the rise. A resident of Bheem Nagar says, “Dogs running after people or even biting them is now a common sight. There have been several incidences wherein people have been injured. Our children are scared and cannot play outside. It is extremely unsafe to step out early morning or late evening, as they just start barking and snarling, and sometimes come aggressively after you. We are not feeling safe over here. Our request to the authori-

ties to take stern action and help us live in a safe environment seems to be falling on deaf ears.” Amit Chaudhury, a member of PFA, an organisation that fights for the rights of animals, says, “As an NGO, our job to ensure that these animals are treated properly, so that they do not develop any kind of animosity towards human beings. Yes, the numbers of stray dogs have grown. The municipal authorities should help to keep these stray animals away from people, while also treating the dogs humanely. The fact remains that MCG is responsible for this pathetic condition.” Hope seems to

have emerged with the appointment of the new MCG Commissioner. PFA, which had earlier helped MCG catch and sterilise dogs, has started to engage with the municipality afresh. “For the past year and a half there was complete inaction in the City,’ says Chaudhury. He states that the former MCG Commissioner showed no interest in finding a solution to the problem of stray dogs. “It is not possible for anyone to check, let alone stop, this menace immediately. But there is no denying the fact that work must start on a war footing, to ensure the safety of residents. We are most willing to restart the sterilisation drive, but MCG should also pay us our dues on time,“ he adds. There seem to be some other sides to this story too. Some people believe that there is a flourishing ‘dog meat racket, which has allegedly been ‘blessed’ by the City Administration. And in some villages the residents are just having the ‘dangerous’ dogs killed, ignoring the fact that this is a crime, for which they can be punished. Rashmi Chauhan, residing near Sector 14, says, "I have heard about this ‘dog meat’ racket, though I have no clue about how this is happening and


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who are the culprits. I am a dog lover, and am very upset about the alleged inhuman slaughter of these poor animals.” Rashmi does admit to the presence of quite a few ‘mad dogs’ in some localities, but squarely blames MCG for this. “Why do they show such apathy? They know about these problems… yet they look the other way,” she says. The municipality officers are not too forthcoming on this issue. However, they claim that they are very much aware of the problem and are taking

adequate actions - such as immunising as well as sterilising the animals in the area. "We are working on street dogs along with Friendicoes (an NGO). After sterilisation the dogs are put back on the streets. In the last 5 years we have worked on 35,000 dogs. I won't deny that in the last 2 years the work had slowed down. But now we have started working on it again, so hopefully we will control the situation," says Sanitary Officer Mr. Singh. The Civil Hospital receives

First Step to Nirvana write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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he Nirvana Country RWA is the first residents’ association in the City that is profusely thanking the new government and the administration for helping them take over some of the important services of their Colony. They have been demanding this for the last five years. Nirvana Country has 1,180 plots, and about 800 families have already made it their home. The Colony has been ‘developed’ by Unitech. In a landmark order, the Deputy Commissioner, Gurgaon, TL Satyaprakash last week ordered the transfer of non-mandatory services to the Nirvana RWA. As a result the residents have now taken over the important areas of security and power back up systems of the Colony. These had become endemic problems while being managed by the builder. Sanu Kapila, President of the RWA, says that they wanted control of the maintenance services because the quality being offered by the builder was quite poor. "There was no service level agreement offered, let alone signed, by the builder. There was no measure of the quantity and quality of services on offer. Security was in

Anjali Birla of Tata Teleservices has been selected for the International Antarctic Expedition 2015 for Climate Change and Sustainability. On 'Mission 2041', Anjali Birla along with 80 other participants - including world leaders, environmental experts and other youth ambassadors from 28 nationalities - will have the opportunity to explore Antarctica's ecology.

matter,” says Kapila. This committee looked into the issue within the context of the Haryana Apartment Owners Act 1983 and gave a quick decision in favour of the residents. Almost 300 delighted residents participated in the takeover process, which took place without any hitch. Kapila says that the Association will now look to prakhar PANDEY take control of common areas such as clubs, which have been turned into commercial properties by the developer. "The club was built by our money and was meant for the residents, but now anyone in the City can come and book it as a marriage hall. We face so much trouble because people from outside come and create problems – they even drink in the open," he says. Ashok Bhaskar, Treasurer of the RWA, says that developers have realised that maintenance is a rich source of income, and would therefore like to keep control nance for years, they finally decided of their colonies forever. They have to to take up the matter at the monthly be challenged and stopped. "The demeeting of the Grievance Cell convelopers do not take the Occupation ducted by the DC. Fortunately, this Certificate and are thus able to contime the Meeting was chaired by tinue their rein forever - as was hapthe State Agriculture Minister OP pening in Nirvana Country," he adds. Dhankhar, who was most supportKapila and Bhaskar are very appreive. "We were heard and the Minister ciative of the speedy justice delivered asked for a committee, comprising seby the new govt., especially Minister nior officials from the Administration Dhankhar. Another upcoming strugand Department of Town & Country gle by the RWA is going to be for the Planning, to be formed to look into the poor shape, and the power back up cost per unit had become exorbitant," he states. The RWA has hired an external security agency and is working with a power company for the management of the gensets. Kapila says that, frustrated by the lack of response to their repeated demands for the transfer of mainte-

FACEBO OK

{ Abhishek Behl FG }

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70 to 90 dog bite patients per day! A patient waiting for her turn to be treated was quite vociferous about the neglect on the part of the State authorities. “MCG does nothing. Why there are so many stray dogs roaming around the streets?” she asks. The street cousins of man’s best friend were never as popular with humans; the feeling seems more than reciprocal now. The municipality needs to act very urgently, for the sake of both.u

recovery of the cumulative maintenance security deposit of the residents from the builder. "The Interest Free Maintenance Security, running into crores, needs to be urgently returned to the RWA. We need funds for maintenance in many areas," he says. The residents of Nirvana Country, including those in condominiums, are also planning to unite under a single Association/Federation, which would work on the sharing of facilities across the Colony as well as deal with the builder in a more united manner.u

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They Came, They Drove & They Conquered

{ Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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omen in Gurgaon came together this week to fight one of the most prevailing gender stereotypes against them– that they are bad drivers. And they did it in style, by participating in a car rally organised by the NGO, WESS (Women’s Empowerment Safety Security)  Foundation and Maruti Suzuki, to mark the occasion of International Women’s Day. “During this programme, we encouraged women to show that they are more responsible and sincere drivers than men,”  said  Bharti Patwal, one of the members of WESS. “We follow rules strictly, and take special care of children.” It was, literally, a women’s day out on the roads of Gurgaon. The Car Rally started from Super Mart 1 in DLF Phase IV and concluded at Epicenter. The men acted as cheerleaders and, when the rally ended, posed for selfies with their wives and girlfriends. The organisers specified that it wasn’t a race, and that it was more about participation than winning. The

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Rally was flagged off by Bharti Arora (IPS), Joint Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon. “It's great that women are coming together for the cause of road safety. I am happy to see women of all ages participating  in the Rally,” she said. The Event symbolised the taking over of more public spaces by women - one of the key strategies in fighting discrimination. Women believe that learning to drive is significantly empowering. As per Maruti Suzuki, more than 45% of the learners at 330 Maruti driving schools across the country are women, and the Company is hiring an increasing number of women instructors. The  participants, some of whom are already  big names in their own spheres of activity,  took great pride in being part of a social statement. “The message we want to give is that Indian women have a much big-

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Women are rare Because they have The willingness to listen The patience to understand The strength to support And the heart to care Empower women And the world will be A better place to live in ger role to play. Join us and the government in helping to sensitise all sections of society. Every day should also be a woman’s day,” said Dr. Manisha, a gynecologist at the civil hospi-

Kid Corner Check out what Gurgaon kids are up to

tal. Despite emerging evidence that women make safer and more sensible drivers, the male-centred society likes to perpetuate the myth that women are terrible behind the wheel. Many of those gathered talked about how male drivers consider it an affront if a woman overtakes them; worse, they even believe that every woman on the road has to be intimidated with aggressive driving.  “Male drivers think they own the roads. We want to be recognised as equal drivers and treated as such,” was a sentiment echoed by many of the participants. Seema Rajput, an entrepreneur and social activist who teaches unprivileged students, took part in the Rally. “I came to Gurgaon 15 years ago and I was shocked to see how women were treated. Of course it is bad in many parts of the country, but this is supposed to be the (new) Millennium

City. We want to tell society that since men and women are equal under the law, they should thus be treated equally in society.” It must have been a heartwarming sight for the organisers and the women drivers to see the large turnout of men, who were sportily encouraging the participants - even while there was a World Cup Cricket match going on. It was a fun and meaningful way to spend a  Sunday  morning. WESS, an NGO registered under the Haryana Society Act, organised the Rally as part of its social crusade for the upliftment of women. The NGO’s faith is that every woman has a right to respectful living, and it is important for women to claim their space in society. WESS members helped the participants with the routes and other instructions and, after the Rally was over, organised workshops and events. “The message was also for society – to drive safely, follow rules and respect women," said Bharti Patwal. Helping women feel more free and fearless outside the house, like behind the wheel, is a wonderful way of empowering and respecting them.u

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Students adopt ‘Clean Gurgaon’ { Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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s Narendra Modi’s Swachh Abhiyaan really making headway in the Millennium City, or is it some suave local politicking by the ruling Party? Whatever the motivation, the residents of the City may well benefit. The ‘Know your People better and Know your City better’ programme is the brainchild of local BJP MLA Umesh Agarwal. He has garnered the support of some school administrations and students to implement a comprehensive campaign for making Gurgaon a better place to live in. Says Indu Jain, Principal of Women’s Government College in Sector 14, “We are following the path of Narendra Modi. As part of Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan we want our Gurgaon to also be ‘swachh’…and more. 35 students from our College are working on this project. They are going door to door and asking the residents about their problems and the basic issues that bother them." These would then be taken up with the City administration for possible remedies. The students, on their part, are very enthusiastic and happy to undertake this socially responsible project. One student says, “We are focusing on nearby Patel Nagar and putting in a few hours three days a week.” The budding social workers from three government colleges of Gurgaon are quite enthusiastic about this project. Manisha, another volunteer of Sector 14 government college, adds," We are conducting a survey of a number of dwelling units in our area and documenting the different complaints. Many of the grievances are linked to electricity issues and the issuance of BPL cards to deserving families.” Quite a few respondents have complained

about the dangerously hanging electrical wires, which are not properly mounted on poles or securely attached to other ‘props’ – thus potentially threatening lives. In fact one family has already lost a child, who was electrocuted after coming in contact with an unprotected live wire. The volunteers have also picked up issues that are lying unresolved for years. “We have discovered that many families in Gurgaon still do not possess any kind of identity document (let alone Aadhaar Cards), even though they have lived here for nearly twenty years. This situation must be resolved without any further delay’,” a volunteer says. “Government officials do not seem to be sensitive to the basic issues and the ground level problems. They are perhaps concerned more with pleasing their political bosses and securing their own futures,” says a student volunteer in another area. He has been regularly meeting the residents and noting down the different issues that they are facing in their daily lives. He says that most problems pertain to electricity, drinking water, construction of roads, sanitation and public health. The Principal of Dronacharya College says that he appreciates the steps being taken by MLA Agarwal. He hopes that this will motivate the students and make them more responsible socially. He says that about twenty-five students from his college have opted to become volunteers for the project. “There is another side to this initiative as well,” says the Principal. “Our students will not only learn from College

Colony allotted

Dronacharya College

Bhimgarh Kheri Ashok Vihar 1 & 2

Sector 9 College

Jyoti Park

Women’s College

Patel Nagar

Gurgaon MLA Umesh Agarwal says, “This is not just another swachhta program. We are trying to ascertain and confirm the residents’ basic problems, and we will then work to resolve their issues. I personally will ensure that this gets done. We have initially identified a few locations/colonies to work in. We have involved students because they are the future of this nation and we want them to be socially aware and active.” books, but their social involvement will enable them to have a clearer perception of the problems of our society. Interaction with people and social workers in the area are sure to open their eyes to the different vexed issues in our society and they will also learn to empathise with the sufferings of the common man. We can consider this program as an advanced form of NSS (National Service Scheme).” Natasha, Project in-charge at the Dronacharya College, says, “We are very interested in taking up this initiative. However, we are yet to get started as we are embroiled in some internal issues in our college. Besides, our zone of action is Bhimgarh Kheri, which is quite far from our college.” The hurdles notwithstanding, everyone connected with the Project is upbeat about its intent. Ashok Diwakar, former Principal of the government college at Sector 14 and someone who is closely associated with the project, says, ”The motto of this project is to motivate the students and give them the opportunity to understand their social responsibilities.” On a pragmatic note, Diwakar concedes that no project can succeed without the overt and

Chaitra Mela

covert support of the authorities. “That is one of the reasons why our MLA Umesh Agarwal has come forward to lend his active support. He found the student involvement very encouraging and hoped that with some support from the government, many of the people’s problems can be resolved,” says Diwakar. “The need of the hour is a more proactive approach by the civic bodies. We need to also involve the general public, through well-crafted public awareness campaigns. This could create a more congenial environment for the problems to be heard and solved,” he adds. Sushma Chowdhury of the Sector 9 Government College says that a team of thirty student volunteers will work in the area around Jyoti Park. The project is being monitored by Dr. R.K. Sharma and D.R. Ahuja. Ms. Chowdhury thanks Umesh Agarwal for his encouragement to the project. “His involvement has also spurred sections of the government and civic body officials, who are coming forward to support this huge initiative,” she says. Diwakar says that the government colleges in Gurgaon have been very active from the time Prime Minister Modi announced his Swachh Bharat dream. He appreciates the huge growth in social awareness among the student community, and their enthusiasm in being a part of the solution. “It’s very pleasing to see that ‘Young India’ is very concerned about making the country clean and coming out in support of the poor and illiterate. The ruling party is clearly trying to engage with and win over a critical voter segment - the student community - in Gurgaon. Hopefully, through such initiatives, the day in the life of a Gurgaon resident, especially an underprivileged person, will soon be better.u prakhar PANDEY


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Ryan International School, Sector 40

Smile!

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yan International School, Sector 40 organised a dental checkup with the help of Clove Dental
Clinic.

Math Olympians

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50 students from Classes II to VII of Ryan International School, Sector 40 had participated in the 8th SOF International Mathematics Olympiad. The School has been awarded 21 medals, including Medals of Excellence for achieving State Rank (which is awarded to students achieving State/Zonal Rank 1 to 25).

Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity

Happy Parent, Happy Child

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yan International School, Sector 40 organised a workshop on ‘Raising a Happy Child’ for the parents of Montessori and Classes I and II. The resource person was Dr. Roma Kumar, Senior Clinical Psychologist, Max Hospital, Gurgaon. The speaker stressed that a child can be happy only if the parent is happy.

Jago Grahak Jago

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yan International School, Sector 40 conducted a special assembly to mark the upcoming World Consumer Rights Day. Students presented very entertaining as well as informative skits, which highlighted various consumer protection rights and laws. They also spoke of the role and functions of Consumer Forums. The School Head Ms. Peeya Sharma advised the children to be aware about their rights as sensible and responsible consumers.

No development tool is more effective than education of girls and empowerment of women’ - this statement of Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of UN throws light on the significant role bestowed upon women in our society.  Such statements and testimonials encourage effective action for advancing and recognising women and their ability to make things happen. The International Women’s Day gives an opportunity to everyone to celebrate the achievements of women and their commendable contribution in various spheres all around the world. Recalling the great historic conference of Beijing in 1995, where 189 governments adopted a visionary roadmap for gender equality, this year the UN Women organisation celebrated the International Women’s Day with a wonderful theme ‘Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity: Picture it!’ UN Women Organisation will re-energise the vision and picture a world where women and girls have equal rights, freedom and opportunity in every sphere of life. International Women’s Day celebrated the many women achievements over the years, recognised challenges and spurred needful action to address the gaps that still deprive women of their right to live a dignified life.  It is quite apparent that women are increasingly taking leadership in the global economy, both as employees and entrepreneurs. Education has indeed provided a huge breakthrough to a large number of women, enabling them to contribute more to the economy and to stimulate growth.  It has been forecast that nearly one billion women will enter the global economy in the coming decade. This will dramatically reshape the world business and economies. However, while much progress has been made, there is still a lot to be done, especially for women’s security and for gender equality.  Every country has to renew its commitment and strengthen action towards women’s rights and empowerment.  I believe that every woman can not only make a positive influence in her family, but also has the power to transform a society. I urge every woman to happily embrace her own individuality. My dear women colleagues, anchor yourself to values and stand up for your rights. You are born to win, your Creator has endowed you with divine qualities of endurance, resilience and faith, which can move mountains. Follow your dreams, follow your heart and never give up. Paulo Coelho has beautifully said, ‘When you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it’. May the examples of the many past and present women bravehearts and pioneers inspire, motivate and energise you to do something significant in your area of expertise. In India, along with the government, there are various organisations and groups working to create an enabling and positive environment for women, so that they can fearlessly exercise their rights. These laudable efforts need to be appreciated and applauded. Let us all together translate the vision of empowering women to reality. Grace Pinto Managing Director Ryan International Group of Institutions


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Most Graceful Mahila

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anaging Director Madam Grace Pinto of Ryan Group of Institutions has been nominated as the National Secretary of the Mahila Morcha by the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Math Olympians

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Fun & patriotism at ITM University, Gurgaon as the varsity hosts Club Fiesta 2015 ‘I Love My Tiranga’ events

he students of Ryan Global School participated in the 8th SOF International Mathematics Olympiad. Pritha Ghosh (Grade 1), Sanchit Chhamunya (Grade 2) and Raghav Dudeja (Grade 3) won Gold medals. School Head Ms. Andrea Martin felicitated the Winners and encouraged the students to excel in the various competitions.

TMS Sports Day ‘All work and no play doesn’t just make Jack and Jill dull, it kills the potential of discovery, mastery and openness to change and flexibility, and it hinders innovation and invention’.

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t The Millennium School (TMS), Sports are emphasised on a regular basis. Children play Cricket, Badminton, Basketball, Swimming, Football and indoor games like Table Tennis and Gymnastics. TMS, Gurgaon celebrated its Annual Sports Day recently. Parents came in large numbers, to encourage their wards as well as other contestants. The arrival of the Chief Guest Ms. Nuriya Ansari raised everyone’s spirits and added much charm to the occasion. Principal Mrs. Vineeta Mittal welcomed the Chief Guest and parents to the Sports Day and said that hard work, stamina, perseverance and endurance are some of the qualities that Sports help in developing. Important basic values can be imparted to a child during play. Winning is of course important, but participating with integrity is most important. Ms. Nuriya Ansari told the parents that they must encourage their children to play Sports regularly. She talked about how Sports helps in confidence building, which is very important, especially for girls. She said that while it’s important for children to focus on studies, they should also be motivated towards playing Sports, to stay healthy and fit. The Event began with the Pre-Primary children, who performed on different songs based on a ‘Flora and Fauna’ theme. Parents enjoyed the performances of their little ones and encouragingly applauded them. The Primary class children amazed the guests and parents with their different moves in Aerobics and Yoga activities – which are taught to promote physical fitness and to help prevent illnesses. Yoga asanas helps increase strength, flexibility and coordination, and also helps the children develop self-regulation and calmness. The Pre-Primary children then performed the Flower and Tree Race, The Hurdle Race and the Animal Race. The Primary classes performed the Relay with Ball, and Sack and Hurdle Race. ‘Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind’: therefore, aptly, the finale was a Tug of War between the parents and the staff of the School. All the proud winners were honoured by the Chief Guest with medals and trophies.


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C omment

A White Paper on Haryana & Gurgaon Haryana State Haryana GSDP at Current Prices (2013-14): Rs. 388,917 crores. Haryana’s economy is 3.7% of India (Area is 1.3% and Population is 2.9% of India).

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

The EWS (Economically Weaker Section) Housing scam Since 2000, 462 licences have been issued for 336 residential colonies, spread over an area Haryana 2013-14 Tax Revenue at Constant Prices (2004-05) of 9,263 acres, in Gurgaon. Of Sales Tax Rs. 9,445 crores these 336 colonies, 290 are 2,082 State Excise group housing colonies and 46 Stamps & Registration 1,803 are plotted colonies. The 290 Vehicle Tax 617 group housing colonies were to Others 449 develop 31,736 EWS flats and Total Rs. 14,395 crores the 46 plotted colonies were to offer 7,064 EWS lots. Of the 2013-14 Haryana Plan Allocation 290 group housing colonies, the Rs.10,270 crores Social Services Transport 2,237 building plans of 208 (including EWS Housing) have been Agriculture & Allied 1,427 approved. However, from these Rural Development 1,285 approved 208, only 66 group Irrigation 939 housing colonies have allocated Energy 422 EWS flats – totaling 7,478 (which Others 655 is a pathetic 24% of the 31,736 Rs. 17,235 crores Total that should have been built and allotted). Of the 46 plotted Haryana (78) Urban Local Bodies: 2004-05 to 2013-14 colonies, only 16 have allocated Tax & Non-tax Revenue: Rs. 3,690 crores EWS flats – totaling 4,556 (which Revenue Expenditure: Rs. 5,481 crores is just 64% of the 7,064 plots that Deficit: Rs. 1,791 crores (Rs. 537 crores in 2013-14 itself). should have been allotted). It’s a different matter that there Gurgaon District could well be an ‘allottee scam’ Per Capita Income at Current Prices (2011-12): Rs. 446,306 also. (next is Panipat, at Rs. 164,541); Haryana is Rs. 106,358

The HUDA & TCP Story HUDA and Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF) of Town & Country Planning (T&CP) Department are off-budget institutions/items in Haryana. HUDA’s core objective is to promote and secure the development of urban areas in a systemic and planned manner. HUDA and T&CP collected Rs. 32,039 crores during the period 2004-05 to 2013-14. Of this only Rs 9,202 crores (less than 30%) was spent on development works – the rest being almost entirely spent on land acquisition and enhancement. As of December 31, 2014, Rs. 11,048 crores of EDC is still (over)due against licences granted in various urban estates across Haryana. HUDA says that it has spent Rs 8,106 crores on Gurgaon for the period 2004-05 to 2013-14. You would wonder where it went. It was almost all for land acquisition and enhancement. So much for its D for development role. Wonder why the infrastructure within our colonies is so pathetic? The Infrastructure Development Fund (IDF), collected from colonisers as IDC, HUDA/T&CP: 2004-05 to 2013-14 from its inception Resource generation in 2006-07 to 2013Gurgaon Rs. 15,633 crores; Haryana Rs. 32,039 crores 14, has generated Gurgaon contributed 49% to the State. Rs. 2,989 crores. Of Expenditure this only Rs. 1,321 Gurgaon Rs. 8,106 crores; Haryana Rs. 29,051 crores crores have been Haryana received 28% from the State. spent.u


W ellness

13-19 March 2015

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Powerful Adaptors

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here are some things in Nature that never seem to change. One of them is the principle that life depends on cellular energy. In the human body too there is a constant ebb and flow of energy, in response to external factors. Each day we are exposed to thousands of physical, chemical, emotional or biological stress-agents. The healthy body resiliently responds to each stressor in a positive, adaptive manner. Stress hormones help us carry out any activity by expending energy and then help us rebound and repeat this cycle after a period of restoration. The process that helps the body to reestablish its equilibrium in a dynamic manner is called homeostasis. However, at times the stress can be excessive and negative, and our ability to cope can get compromised. We can fail to ‘adapt’ to the constant change and stress around us and the body’s immune system can break down. Before we know it this slippery slope becomes a downwards spiral of chronic life-threatening diseases. All traditional healing systems lay emphasis on building ‘overall wellness’ and ‘vitality’, and for this they have promoted the use of ‘supplements’ like tonics and rejuvenating substances, to help strengthen the body’s resistance. These are mostly of plant origin. In Ayurveda, these have been referred to as ‘Rasayanas’ (the path for life-giving essence) and in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) these are called ‘Superior-Herbs’, as they nourish Qi, Jing, and Shen (Kinetic Energy, Vital Force and Consciousness). In Africa these herbs are called

Here is an illustrative list of Adaptogens from around the world:

Ayurveda Amla or Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Holy Basil or Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Long Pepper (Piper longum), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus) and Shilajit (Ashphaltum bitumen) Far East & TCM Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng), Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis), Dang Shen (Codonopsis pilosula), He Shou Wu (Polygonum multiflorum), Jiao Gu Lan (Gynostemma pentaphyllum), Lycii Berry (Lycium chinensis), Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum), Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis) Europe Chaga Mushroom (Inonotus obliquus),Eleuthero or Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Prince Seng (Pseudostellaria heterophylla), Rhaponticum (Rhaponticum carthamoides or Stemmacantha carthamoides), Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) North & South America American Ginseng (Panax quinquefolium), American Spikenard (Aralia racemose), Cat’s Claw( Uncaria Tomentosa), Devil’s Club ( Oplopanax Horridum), Maca (Lepidium meyenii), Suma or Brazilian Ginseng (Pfaffia paniculata)

‘Manyasi’. In 1947 a Russian scientist – Dr. Nikolai Lazarev – coined the term ‘Adaptogen’, to describe some of the characteristics of these wonder-herbs, which seemed to offer multi-fold benefits in terms of vitality and general well being. Adaptogens are non-toxic plant substances that can increase the body’s ‘total-defence’, by producing a non-specific response that rejuvenates multiple systems of the body – namely, the immune, endocrine (hormones) and central nervous systems. In other words, Adaptogens may tone down systems that are in ‘over-drive’, or these herbs may boost those that are under-performing. The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal (HPA) axis plays a key role. It modulates direct and indirect feedback mechanisms that regulate the body’s reaction to stress, build immunity and impact the efficacy of key activities such as digestion, energy usage, mood and sexuality. In short, Adaptogens have the unique ability to ‘adapt’ their function according to the body’s specific needs as well as help the body to ‘adapt’ to changed circumstances. Researchers have recently turned to Adaptogens as a possible treatment for patients experiencing high levels of emotional and physical stress, as well as for the debilitating conditions associated with ageing and chronic lifestyle diseases. The increasing cost of conventional healthcare is spurring a lot of interest in these natural products.

Tip of the Week

Adaptogens are meant to be taken as a ‘tonic’ for the good of the whole body. Hence, the best effects are when taken as preventative medicine for at least three months at a time. In some specific cases even a single dose administration has produced results. However, to treat a specific condition, it’s wise to consult a herbal professional.

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Adaptogens from around the world

Natural herb products supplement the body’s ability to deal with stressors such as anxiety, fatigue or trauma. The most researched and highly esteemed anti-stress immuno-enhancing of these Adaptogens are: Amalaki , Ashwagandha , Eleuthero, Ginseng, Guduchi , Haritaki , Long Pepper , Shatavari and Holy Basil or Tulsi . The use of these drugs typically generates no side effects, unlike traditional stimulants that possess addiction, tolerance and abuse potential, produce a negative effect on sleep structure and cause rebound hypersomnolence (or ‘come down’ effects). Further, a single administration of these Adaptogens effectively increases mental performance and physical working capacity in humans. R. rosea is the most active of the three plant Adaptogens, producing, within 30 minutes of administration, a stimulating effect that continues for at least 4-6 hours. Most people can take these Adaptogens daily without facing any side effects; however, most also means that this isn’t true for everyone. If you see or feel unusual symptoms, please immediately discontinue use and/or consult a knowledgeable health professional. u For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions

13

Are you living a Kidney-friendly Life?

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major health concern worldwide, Chronic Kidney Disease affects millions of people, radically curtailing their quality of life. The affected people lead difficult lives, dreading the eventuality of dialysis or the need for transplantation. A little more care and awareness about healthy living can drastically reduce the risk of developing Kidney ailments. Our Kidneys play the vital role of filtering and removing the waste and excess fluids from our blood and body on a continuous basis. A problem in the functioning of the Kidneys can therefore be extremely dangerous, and life threatening in the long term. Chronic Kidney Disease refers to a gradual loss of Kidney function - in either one or both the Kidneys. A failure to reduce the progression of the disease can lead to complete Kidney damage. A large number of people go through dialysis or artificial removal of waste from the blood, when the Kidneys lose their function - and many of these patients are advised Kidney transplantation. Much like cardiovascular disease, Kidney disease too is in many ways a lifestyle disorder and can be controlled and prevented by adopting healthy ways of living, says Dr Anupam Roy, Consultant - Nephrology, Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon. Particularly susceptible are people who are diabetic, as almost 50 per cent of them develop Kidney damage at some point of time in their lives. Do follow Dr. Roy’s Golden Rules: 1.  Know your family medical history: Knowing this is half the job done, as it prepares you to do something about your risk factors. People who have parents or other relatives with Kidney disease are genetically predisposed to developing it. Talk to a doctor about how this puts you at greater risk and what preventive steps you should take to reduce your risk. If you are at greater risk, make sure you get your Kidney functions tested, to know about the health of your Kidneys. Often, many people discover that they have renal disease though there were no ‘symptoms’. 2.  Keep your blood sugar level under check: Having diabetes compounds your chances of developing Kidney disease. It is important for people with diabetes to have regular Kidney function tests, to try and detect any anomalies at an early stage. If detected early, Kidney damage from diabetes can be reduced or prevented. 3.  Manage blood pressure: Hypertension increases your risk of developing Kidney damage. If you have a family trait of hypertension and Kidney disease, keep a strict check over your blood pressure. Manage it by living a healthy life and sticking to advised medication. Maintain your cholesterol levels. 4.  Live an active life: Being overweight increases your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, which are major risk factors for Kidney disease. 5.  Eat healthy:  Eat a healthy diet, light and fresh, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Reduce the consumption of food items that are rich in empty calories, reduce your salt intake and cut down on processed and packaged foods. Consult a dietician to advise you on a Kidney-friendly diet. 6.  Quit harmful habits: Excessive drinking doesn’t just cause damage to the liver, it also increases the risk of Kidney damage. Similarly, excessive smoking doesn’t just harm the lungs, but also affects Kidney health. 7.  Maintain a healthy fluid intake: Consuming plenty of water and other fluids helps the Kidneys clear sodium, urea and other toxins from the body in a healthy way and keeps the Kidneys in good health. How much of fluid intake is right for a person depends on several factors - including the climate, health condition of the person, physical exercise levels and whether the person is pregnant or breast- feeding. 8.  Consume Kidney-safe drugs: Excessive intake of Over-The-Counter pills, painkillers and analgesics such as ibuprofen is not a healthy practice. When consumed on a regular basis, some of these drugs can harm the Kidneys. Make sure your doctor, not your friendly chemist, prescribes your drugs.u


14 The Inner

Calm { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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hen we lose our inner peace our entire outlook gets disturbed, and even something simple seems complicated. When the heart is calm the mind and nerves are also calm. Calmness - of the heart, nerves, thoughts, senses, behaviour and body - is one of the beautiful qualities of the spiritual person. This type of calmness comes from faith in Him. Spirituality can be felt as a deep calm…as complete harmony. The thoughts of a person with a calm heart would be balanced, void of any disturbances. When we lack tensions that distract us, we can experience greater things. To attain this inner peace, it is useful to live in a peaceful environment that has no agitating effects. For this reason, monks prefer to live in the wilderness - far from noise, people’s clamour and any agitating news or incidents. The life of loneliness and isolation generally brings calmness, because it helps to calm all the senses - and our senses impact our thoughts. What we see, hear and touch is what makes our thoughts. Life unravels in different phases, exposing us to pleasant sails as well as roller coaster rides. Spirituality aids in bringing about a certain calmness amidst this chaos in life. An acceptance of one’s situation is the first and foremost step in handling a problem. Acceptance makes room in the mind for it to look into the depths of chaos. Unfortunately, our first impulse while encountering a difficult phase in life is to react. The reactive mind just adds to the existing chaos. The more the reactive mind is cultured, the more there is scope to analyse the issues. Yoga and meditation are most helpful. They help to slow down the mad rush of impulsive, reactive thoughts and keep us calm. While our problems threaten from the outside, the solutions come from within. So look within and watch your thoughts; watch your fears and anguish, for they are basically

S piritual

13-19 March 2015

Set aside some time to spend with yourself each day. Get in touch with your authentic self. Practise positive selftalk. Be supportive of yourself. Strive to fill the world with love and caring. Look for the best in other people; people by and large become what we believe of them.

thought forms. Stand aside and look calmly at the issues, rather than wallowing in the puddle and reacting. Let not any chaotic reactive thoughts get you entangled with the external problems. Do not judge. Judgment triggers the working of the reactive mind. Solutions are bound to surface by your just being aware. Awareness creates a certain detachment from the chaos…fostering calmness. From calmness surfaces the right solution to your problems. Understand the difference between acting and reacting. Acting is a positive way of handling issues, while reacting has a flavour of panic - which keeps peace at bay. Time has its own magical way of settling things. Simply understanding that all experiences are bound to pass, mellows you and makes you understand and accept situations…and to keep calm. Surrender is the most effective of all spiritual ways to instill calmness. By surrendering to a higher power, or to existence itself, you can experience a transforming peace and calmness. In your daily life, take with you the intention to notice all the moments when no specific activity demands your attention. They might be moments travelling to or from work, breaks in your working day or a disengaged lull at the end of the day. Sense what happens in your mind and body in those moments. Be aware

if you are carrying an inclination to immediately fill that space with something to occupy your attention. There may be an inclination to pick up a book, turn on the radio, make a telephone call or search for food. See if it is possible to restrain the immediate impulse towards ‘busyness’ or distraction, and try to simply rest in that moment. Initially you may find that these spaces of ‘nothing to do’ feel moderately uncomfortable, or carry with them a sense of there being something missing. Bring your attention to your body and mind, to simply explore the landscape of that sense of unease, without judging it in any way. Initially the simplicity of calmness and ‘nondoing’ may reveal the complexity and ‘busyness’ of your mind. Pay attention to the thought streams that arise in those moments, rather than being pushed by them into new cycles of busyness. You might experiment with adopting the lulls in your day as times when you befriend your mind and body and discover a deep sense of calmness. Instead of focusing upon what appears to be missing, bring your attention to what is present. You may discover that your capacity to feel at ease in stillness, calmness and simplicity brings with it a greater sensitivity and awareness. This can be a source of renewal and creativity. Take some moments to reflect upon your life and sense where it is cluttered by objects that no longer serve you well. What is it that you are holding on to, out of anxiety? Sense whether letting it go would create more spaciousness in your mind and life. Reflect upon what your mind most frequently dwells upon. Sense whether it has been undermined by preoccupations, fantasies, goals or desires that do not contribute to your well-being. Is it possible to let them go? Sense how many of the richest and deepest moments, the happy moments, in your life have been moments of great calmness and simplicity. Often when people are presented with a great opportunity or any other positive possibility, they squander it away by reacting over-eagerly. If instead they could absorb the incoming energy, the opportunity would more easily get realised - otherwise the energy just spills over and the opportunity is lost. As long as our hopes for better things are held back by our fear of their attainment, the mind can never be at peace. We must therefore accept change as life’s only constant. Sorrows are not inherent conditions of life; they are born out of the weaknesses of the human mind. Awaken the victor in yourself, arouse the sleeping hero, and you will see that no sorrow will ever darken your life. But this can be attained only through constant inner calmness. Try to be calm in life, especially in the midst of activity - it is the time when you most need it. By practising calmness, you will find that it brings other virtues. When we are calm we become more sensitive to the state of our higher self, with whom we are seeking conscious union. Life is too short for us to spend

time worrying about things that are out of our control. We must learn to let go. Do not obsess over tasks or spend time trying to achieve a level of perfectionism that you know is impossible. In fact, when you take the time to notice things like the brightness of the day, the singing of the birds or the blossoming of lilies, your life will seem more enjoyable. Our mind and soul are intrinsically linked. Only when our mind is calm will our soul be truly at rest. Importantly, it is in these moments of tranquility that our soul is able to effectively communicate with us. Being in touch with our soul helps us discover our inner self, which then enables us to connect with the true essence of the world outside.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 30 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com

Spring is here { Shobha Lidder } My garden is full of weeds No good deeds from past life karma My dharma I did not know So ignorance grew a lot of rubble Thistle & thorn, stubble True knowledge is like new seeds Sown with good intentions And good deeds Will grow, however slow The garden of mind and thoughts will Bloom with happy things Roses, lilies, jasmines It does take time A lot of patience More right knowledge To nurture the seeds I sow Of good health and happiness Good nature and good will The traits to be tranquil The will to weed out, throw away The waste thoughts, which decay Soon I will learn the power of Happiness I will feed my thoughts with happiness Take swigs of happy tonic And I know however slow My garden will grow Spring will flower in my heart And bloom with joy, fun & laughter I will not have to run after... Shobha Lidder Writer, Journalist, Teacher, Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


B on V ivant

13-19 March 2015

{ Meenu Thakur Sankalp }

T

he world recently celebrated International Women’s Day. The official United Nations theme for the International Women’s Day 2015 is ‘Empowering WomenEmpowering Humanity: Picture It’. Commencing March 8, and continuing through the year, the International Women’s Day seeks to recognise women’s achievements, understand the challenges faced by women in an ever-changing society and minimise the gender gap, so that every woman can compete on equal terms with her male counterpart. It is very difficult to pick a favourite from among the millions of women achievers over the past decades. It is no easier to choose a favourite (woman) from the field of Dance. Yet, despite this arduous task, there is one woman who does stand out: Maya Rao, a dancing legend in the field of Kathak dance and choreography. Regarded as one of the cultural icons of the twentieth century, she stands unrivalled in the field of Indian Classical Dancers. What makes this remarkable woman occupy a pivotal place in the pantheon of Classical Dance legends? The answer lies, uncomplicated and precise, in her autobiography titled ‘Maya Rao-A Lifetime in Choreography’, which was released a few months before her death (due to cardiac arrest) in Bangalore, in September 2014 (India lost another Kathak great, ‘Kathak Queen’ Sitara Devi, in 2014). Maya Rao, who was a Kathak

The Legendary Maestro dancer, choreographer and writer, was not only instrumental in making Kathak a predominant dance form north of the Vindhyas, but also a household cultural passion in South India. Not only did Maya Rao propagate Kathak as a dance form and a performing art, she is credited with institutionalising it as a theorised structured discipline. The journey began in 1928, when Maya was born into an orthodox South Indian Saraswat Brahmin family of Bangalore. Her father was a well-known architect. The 1930s was a decade when dancing, especially for girls and that too in the public domain, was not considered appropriate. Initiated into Hindustani Classical Music from childhood, young Maya, undeterred by these ‘norms’, was destined to challenge society at large. After watching a performance of the great Uday Shankar, who had visited their city, her father was persuaded to allow her to dance, though the pre-condition was that she would not do so on stage. At the age of 14 she began learning Kathak from Sohal Lal of the Jaipur Gharana, and after two years (in 1944) she performed at the Town Hall, at a community function. Her father

{ Ankur Mithal }

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e can hold our heads high. Our leaders are leaving no stone unturned to protect us. British filmmaker Leslee Udwin’s documentary ‘India’s daughter’ has been banned. And why should it not be? It defames the country. It seeks to unearth the ‘truth’…asking searching questions about male attitudes towards women. Of course it is quite possible that in the process of interviewing the accused, some laws may have been broken, which the Home Minister has been at pains to point out. And that needs to be addressed. Because the common man is extremely upset about it - which is evident from the fact that amongst the milling crowds at bus stops, people at corner shops, panelists on TV shows - and even headlines in newspapers - nobody is talking about it. The documentary, among other things, portrays the accused blaming the victim. We need to shelter the public from such ‘honest’ confessions, especially the adult male population that, though it currently doesn’t, will start thinking like the accused if exposed to his views. Who knows what further atrocities women will be subject to as a result of that? And whoever has heard of a debate on an issue of importance doing any good in our society? Whoever has heard of the presentation of a true picture

did not oppose her performance on stage. Unfortunately he did not live much longer, and Maya had to take up the job of a dance teacher to support her family. She was only seventeen then. In college, while graduating in English, Maya was instrumental in forming a dance club, which staged a ballet, ‘Sita Haran’. Many of the dancers in the ballet were girls belonging to poor families. Soon Maya took up an English schoolteacher’s job, but she continued to learn Kathak. In 1951 she trained under Guru Sunder Prasad of the Jaipur Gharana. A short stint with the legendary Chitrasena,

learning the Kandyan dance of Ceylon, followed by an application for a scholarship to learn from Padma Shri Guru Shambu Maharaj at the Bharatiya Kala Kendra in Delhi, changed the course of Maya’s dancing career. Shambu Maharaj was one of the best exponents of Kathak, and Maya was one of his first students, in Delhi. In 1960 she was awarded the USSR Cultural Scholarship in Choreography - a very prestigious scholarship during those days. Maya spent 4 years in Russia, where she learnt (Russian) ballet. On return she was consumed with a passion to establish a dance institution. With encouragement and support from Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the then ViceChairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi in Delhi, Maya Rao started the Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography in 1964. Maya married composerflautist M.S. Nataraj, and Maya’s daughter Madhu Nataraj, who is an accomplished and established Kathak dancer and choreographer, carries forward the legacy. During her illustrious career, Maya Rao produced many ballets of acclaim, a few of them being Shakuntala, The Vision of Amir

Banned! ever leading to catharsis in our society? Whoever has heard of debate and counter-arguments leading to society gaining a clearer understanding about itself ? There is no need to waste time on such trifles. In any case, since we know that ours is a rich culture, there is no need for a debate or the presentation of a true picture of what people really think - especially men about women. We know. We know that all our men only possess clean and noble thoughts for women. It is only the rapists who are caught that possess a sick mind. And we know that men have the right to decide….what women should do, what they should wear, where they should go, whom they should talk to or meet, and what they should say or publish. Our political leaders most definitely need to get into the act – though they rarely need any excuse for that. We should be happy that our leaders do not undertake half-measures. They address such issues whole-heartedly. They will make sure that defamation is now never able to raise its ugly head in any sphere. Political leaders have prevailed upon the Board of Control for Cricket in India to use its clout to treat all games where the Indian team loses, as not

15

Khusrao, Ramayana Darshanam and Govardhan Leela. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Academi Award, Tagore Ratna Award, Rajyotsava Award and the Emeritus Fellowship by the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Maya Rao also served as the Chairperson of the Karnataka Sangeet Nritya Academy. Ramakrishna Hegde, ex-Chief Minister of Karnataka, encouraged her to establish a Natya Institute of Kathak and Choreography in Bangalore – which came up in 1987. She was also the Member of the Advisory Board of the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi. Maya Rao led cultural delegations to 24 countries. One can only marvel at what a woman of substance can achieve in a lifetime. Dancers like Maya Rao are born perhaps once in a century. Unfortunately, achievements of ‘classical’ cultural icons are rarely and briefly recognised by the media and society; the adulation is reserved for movie stars and sports stars... and even political stars. Maya Rao once famously remarked, “Even in the winter of my life, there are many aspirations and dreams I look forward to. God willing and energy permitting, I hope that my zest for life and dance will continue”. It would Maya didi, through your students, and the sheer joy you brought into our lives through your dance. u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi danseuse and choreographer

having been played - with retrospective effect. Every person who does not wear ‘foreign’ clothes or does not talk in a western language will henceforth be removed to an area especially reserved for such ‘misfits’. After all, if an overseas visitor were to interact with such a person and see India’s ‘reality’, would it not create a poor impression - which is tantamount to defamation? Many other measures have been prescribed. But nothing is foolproof. To cover that eventuality, legislation has been enacted requiring citizens, in the manner of Mahatma Gandhi’s three monkeys, to ‘hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil’. In simple terms, bury your head in the sand and pretend that all is well. In the interest of transparency and openness and in order to protect against defamation, there will be a clamp down on all divergent views, particularly ones that call upon men to introspect about their attitude towards women. We now know that the country’s defamation can only happen when a foreigner is involved. An Indian can, at best, cause regional defamation, State-level defamation or religious defamation. But defaming the whole country? No, an Indian can never hope to rise to that level. However, there is something to be said for the irresponsible actions of foreigners. Only a foreigner can unite the country across region, State, caste, creed and religion. u


16

13-19 March 2015

G -Scape prakhar PANDEY

HUDA Spring Fest - Flower Festival

Friday gurgaon 13 19 march, 2015  

..be the change you wish to see

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