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13-19 September 2013

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

Vol. 3 No. 4  Pages 24  ` 7

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

Let's Play Politics

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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ASHA PANDEY

urgaon is often called a melting pot because it has grown primarily due to the increasing number of migrants, from across the country ,who have made it their home. It has even led to the creation of a separate nomenclature for (a part of ) the City – ‘New’ Gurgaon. Most would agree that the contributions made by the new arrivals have helped in transforming this once sleepy town into a manufacturing, IT and real estate hub, which today contributes almost half of the revenue of Haryana. But despite these magnificent contributions, the residents of ‘New’ Gurgaon, particularly the corporate professionals, seem to be a dissatisfied lot. The disillusionment with the City's lack of infrastructure, including a shortage of power and water, is widespread. But does it go beyond just inconvenience? The reality seems to be that, rather

than the lack of facilities, it is the political indifference of the ruling class and bureaucratic apathy that hurts these residents deeply. They wonder why ‘New’ Gurgaon, a Millennium City, does not figure even dimly on the radar of politicians – even of the local MLA and the MP, forget the Ministers and Chief Minister of the State. This points to a disconcerting fact that, despite large numbers, which are also increasing by the day, the urban corporate professionals will not have their voices heard until they become willing participants in the political process. Would the people of Gurgaon be ready to break with tradition and support new ‘netas’ that have a corporate and professional background? The answer seems to be both yes and no – not a bad start. Shubra Puri, an activist, says that the deep-rooted aversion to politics in the urban middle class population has become a problem in itself. “In the last elections only 30 per cent of the people of

Poor State of Education { Shilpy Arora / FG }

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t is two years since 12-year-old Geetu (name changed), a resident of Badshahpur Village, dropped out of school. Neither the Mid-day Meal provided at the government school, nor the benefits such as free uniforms and textbooks, were attractive enough, as the over eight kilometres walk every day, to the school in Sector 45, was very tiring. “There is no government school near our Village. When she was young, a group of boys from the Village would accompany her; but now I don’t want her to go with the boys. So we have no other option but to take her out of school,” says Geetu’s mother. Razia, 13, has an entirely different reason for leaving school. She feels shy in using an ‘open’ toilet in school, which is common for both the boys and girls. “There are just two toilets in our school, and both are common. It is embarrassing for girls to use such toilets,” she says. It is unfortunate that this ‘Millennium City’ has just nine government schools. The majority of them not only lack basic facilities, such as toilets, power

connection, drinking water, but more importantly even books and teachers - leading to a poor quality of education. At the Government Primary School in Sector 4, four classes (from Class I to IV) are conducted in one room. The School has a total of four teachers, including the Principal. Of the 76 children registered, not more than 20 attend the School regularly. Sometimes, all subjects are taught by the same teacher. Similar is the state of the Government School in Arjun Nagar. Over 100 children are registered, but the regular attendance is about 20-30 only. Besides, most of the students, especially in the senior wing, always come late. A teacher, Sakshi Malhotra, says that if she scolds the children for coming in late, the chances are they will stop coming altogether - so she lets them enter till noon.

Lack of basic infrastructure

At the government school in Jacubpura, students are expected to clean their classrooms. It takes them more than two hours to sweep the whole building, and therefore they can’t settle down for the day’s lessons before 12 noon. The Contd on p 6 

All Domestic Help and Tenants in the City need to be verified with the Police, urgently. DC has invoked Sec 144 for this, to ensure compliance Dengue cases in the City cross 100, officially. SportsFit HT creative size 12cm X 14.5cm

‘New’ Gurgaon came out to vote, whereas 70 per cent of people from urban villages voted. This is the reason that the local MLAs, and MP listen to their problems and woes, and the urbanites find no place in their scheme of things”, asserts Puri. According to her the need of the hour is for people to get registered as voters, and then come out and vote. The excuse of the residents is that none of the politicians inspires them and so they don't go out and vote. In the last MCG elections a couple of candidates who could be called migrants or corporate professionals, had fought and won. Political analysts say that the lack of roots in the City and the inability to connect and identify with Gurgaon, is another reason for the political marginalization of ‘New’ Gurgaon residents. Unless the young professionals get involved in the social life of the City, participate in community activities and are engaged with the locals, it would be impossible for them to have a Contd on p 6 


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13-19 September 2013

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–04  13-19 September 2013

Editor:

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora

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WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

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events@fridaygurgaon.com marketing@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd., Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

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.

Nightlife House Tuned Saturday @ Buzz, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Sector 53, DLF City Phase 5 Date: Up to September 28 (Saturdays) Time: 9:00 pm onwards

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he eclectic duo of DJs Rahul and Prashant ensure you party hard on Saturday night. Sway to a freaky mix of house numbers with all your favourite dance moves. best of Sufi tracks played in the house. Couple that with scrumptious snacks and the evening promises to be a hit..

Conference SHRM India Annual Conference 2013 @ Hyatt regency, Sector 83 Date: September 19 & 20 Time: 10:00 am to 9:00 pm

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Conference that felicitates HR professionals. Speakers include Shirley Davis, Ben Casnocha, Kia Scherr, Wayne F. Cascio, Rajeev Dubey and Prof. Dinesh Singh. You can nominate your organisation for the SHRM India HR Awards 2013. The Conference also includes a challenge for experienced HR professionals and a National Quiz competition for HR professionals.

Nightlife Club Saturday Night @ Club Rhino, South Point Mall, DLF Golf Course Road, Sector 53 Date: Up to October 5 Time: 8:00 pm onwards

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J Mudit takes you on a Saturday spin as he plays the best of inhouse music. Dance the night away and welcome the weekend with a bang!

Yoga The Essentials of Yoga Therapy @ Studio-Yoga Earth, Nirvana Country Date: September 20 to 22 Time: 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

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part of a series of Workshops on Yoga therapy. This Session focuses on bringing together important and relevant concepts from the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali - to inform and inspire us to live a conscious, meaningful and nourishing life. The Workshop will be conducted by Saraswathi Vasudevan, Founder of YogaVahini.

Nightlife Introducing GRV @ Peppers, The Bristol Hotel, DLF Phase 1 Date: September 13 Time: 9:00 pm

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njoy singer GRV perform his popular number 'Patiala on the Rocks'. He will be joined by 'Sahil & the Deora Son' – to keep you dancing on the floor.

Nightlife Sufiyana Wednesday @ Buzz, South Point Mall, Golf Course Road, Sector 53, DLF City Phase 5 Date: Up to September 25 (Wednesdays) Time: 9:00 pm onwards

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pend a soothing mid-week with your friends, which will have the

Mela The Family Day Mini Mela @ The Pullman Hotel, M.G.Road, Sector 26 Date: September 14 Time: 10:00 am

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urgaon Connection, the Gurgaon community of expats, is celebrating 'Family Day' with a fun-filled mini Mela. On offer is lots of shopping and plenty to do for the entire family.
The Mela will have ladies', kid's and men's clothing, children's toys, jewellery, accessories, homeware and more. Free foot and shoulder massages and nail art are also on offer. For the little ones, there is a Children's Fashion Show organised by Marks and Spencer.
Kids also get to enjoy face painting, Bouncy Castle and the pool. 



Quiz Tata Crucible Business Quiz 2013 @ Vivanta by Taj, Plot No 01, Sector 44 Date: September 14 Time: 2:30 pm

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he 10th edition of the Tata Crucible Business Quiz - a knowledge initiative of the Tata group. It is a unique opportunity to experience the ultimate test of business intelligence, along with the best of infotainment. If you have the quizzing acumen, be

a part of the fun and excitement as you battle it out with some of the best quizzing minds across Corporate India.

Music Tabla Jugalbandi @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: September 19 Time: 7:30 pm onwards

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Tabla Jugalbandi by the wellacclaimed Debashish Adhikary of Farukhabad Gharana, along with his disciples.

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13-19 September 2013

WORKSHOP  THEATRE  NIGHTLIFE  MUSIC  ART

C oming U p

03

RIDGE VALLEY SCHOOL

Music Bhoole Bisre Geet @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: September 18 Time: 7:30 pm onwards

Ridge Valley School set up by DLF, managed by Learn Today, The learning division of The India Today Group, Promoters of Vasant Valley School, New Delhi.

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musical evening that is bound to take you down memory lane. Talented artists will sing popular numbers of the music greats of yore – Hemanta Mukherjee, Talat Mehmood and Mukesh.

Located at Gurgaon- DLF Phase IV 6 acre eco-friendly campus for sports and activities n Dynamic curriculum contextualised to students’ learning needs n Cerebral, social, emotional, spiritual and physical development through a balanced curriculum n After school activities - Archery, Soccer, Cricket, Basketball, Tennis, Swimming, Theatre, Dance, Music, Chess and Roller- Skating n Rich social climate enabling positive interaction with parent volunteers and individuals from various walks of life. n Continuous professional development for teachers through workshops and seminars n Diverse learning styles catering to students' multiple intelligence n Inclusive education for children for Special Needs n Technology enabled school bringing cross-discipline integration of all subjects n n

Music Musical Evening @ Community Hall, National Media Centre, NH 8 Date: September 14 Time: 6:30 pm

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oted singer Simrat Chhabra brings you a melodious evening of popular songs and evergreen oldies.

Behind, Galleria Market DLF Phase-IV, Gurgaon-122001 Mail: info@ridgevalleyschool.org

Admissions Open From Nursery to VIII Call: 0124-4666161/62 Mob: 98-112-68706 www.ridgevalleyschool.org

They also get a chance to make a new robot with a different function in every session.

Cinema Kontroll (Hungarian) @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: September 17 Time: 7:30 pm

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Hungarian Film that revolves around the dramatic but comical relationships between passengers and ticket inspectors. The film is directed by Nimród Antal.

(106 minutes)

out for yourselves.
Featuring Abijit Ganguly, Nishant Joke Singh and Amit Tandon.

Strictly for 18years and above.

Workshop Water Works @ Stellar Children's Museum, Ambience Mall, NH8 Date: September 21 Time: 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm

Stand up Comedy Standup Comedy Night @ Nirvana Patio, South City II Date: September 13 Time: 8:00 pm

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n exciting, interactive Workshop for kids aged 5 to 8 years. The Workshop entails a visit to the 'Splash It' Gallery. Learn about density, absorption and the power of water.

bhijit Ganguly, Nishant Joke Singh and Amit Tandon promise to have you in splits with their comic acts. Come prepared to go back with aching sides.

Workshop Basic Robotic Workshop @ Vardhman International, 1032 Q, Sector 38 Date: Up to September 22 Time: 10:00 am to 12 noon Dance Kuchipudi Recital @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: September 20, Time: 7:30 pm

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Kuchipudi recital by the talented Meenu Thakur, along with her disciples of Suramya, An Institute of Performing Arts.

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special Workshop on robotics for the little ones. Designed for weekends, the Workshop will have sessions on the basics of robotics, and will teach robotics that are fully programmable and operational.
 Kids get to learn the design, construction, programming and operation of robots.

Stand up Comedy Two And A Laugh Men @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: September 15 Time: 8:00 pm

E

njoy the Comedy special that aspires to bring a change in every man's life. 
The Act, dedicated to the life of men, addresses problems that men face because
everything in this world revolves around women... and because men are the easiest victims.
Seriously? Find

Stand up Comedy Comedy Club @ Cooper's Grill & Bar, 33 DLF Star Tower, Exit 8, Sector 30 Date: September 13 Time: 8:00 pm

W

atch comics Jeeveshu, Nishant and Appurv give rib-tickling performances in the 5th edition of Comedy Club. Make sure you get your sense of humour along.


04

13-19 September 2013

THE WEEK THAT WAS  The Haryana Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Fouji, is accused of demanding Rs 5 crores for approving a Change of Land Use (CLU) for a piece of land in Gurgaon; the ‘deal’ is allegedly video-taped.  Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated, and a week long festivity kicks off.  Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor investments worth Rs 1.2 lakhs crores are cleared – including the Integrated Multi-Modal Logistics Hub near Rewari.  Haryana Govt. looks to regularize over 1,000 Unauthorized Colonies and charge a one time compounding fee for all ‘illegal’ constructions (as per a Common Compounding Policy). 45 Colonies to be authorized in Gurgaon.  Ex-Army Chief Gen VK Singh flags off a ‘Bharat Jago’ Run.

campus.  A 10-year-old boy goes missing from an NGO.  2 are hurt in a brawl in Sadar Bazaar.  8 women, including 3 Uzbeks, are held for running a prostitution racket in Sector 39 – after a tip-off/complaint by a local resident.  3 fraud dentists are booked and their ‘clinics’ sealed.  A gang of 5 robbers, wanted for many crimes including murders, is held.  An auto driver is robbed of his vehicle and cash near HUDA City Centre, by 3 youth who had hired the auto; a man is robbed of his car at gunpoint, in Sector 42; a driver is robbed of his cab at gunpoint, in Sushant Lok.  3 pubs are closed temporarily for operating beyond the authorized hours; pub owner of Club 18 is booked for running the Pub beyond the approved hours at night.

 Ex-Police Commissioner’s nephew is found dead on the railway tracks; a woman BPO executive is found hanging, at her PG apartment in Sec 15; an allegedly depressed elderly person jumps to his death from the 8th floor of Orchid petals on Sohna Road; a mechanic is brutally killed by cutting his neck; 3 people are killed after being run over by trains.  A student, resident of Delhi, is killed and his friend injured when their car hits a tree on Sohna Road – both were students of GD Goenka University.  A driver is held for sexually assaulting a 9-year-old British girl, resident of a society in Sohna Road; 3 sisters go missing from Dundahera.  The family of a factory worker, who died after burn injuries, is given compensation of Rs 7 lakhs.  Amity University lodges an FIR against students who were rioting on

 Residents protest power bill hike.  Sector 56 residents now protest against paid (HUDA) parking in their local market area (following successful protests by Sector 31 residents, for their local market).  Hundreds of DLF New Town Heights buyers protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, against the delay of project. DLF says that they have handed over to most who have paid; more than half still have not paid. Uniworld Garden II (Sector 47) buyers protest delay of their project at MG Road.  DLF areas plan RWA elections – one of the oldest societies’ (Silver Oaks) RWA, QERWA, will have voting for 106 collegiums on September 15th.  Plan for Hero Chowk – for a Foot Over Bridge (FOB) and drains – is under finalization; hopefully finally this time. An FOB is also being finalized between Signature Towers Chowk and IFFCO Chowk, across NH8.  Sultanpur Lake area will open to the public from September 16th.

Write To Us

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be the change you wish to see

Dear Reader

Thank you for choosing Friday Gurgaon. As we complete our 2nd year, we would again like to hear your views on our coverage and content. Do you like what you see and read every Friday morning? Is there any topic/issue that you think we should focus (more) on? We would like to publish your views, and the best will win a gift. Write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com Feedback I like reading FG and wait eagerly for it every Friday. I like the content and coverage of your paper. For a last few weeks I had been thinking of a column that could be added to enhance readers experience and was seriously motivated to propose it after reading that the best three would get a gift each. :) Gurgaon today has people coming from diverse backgrounds and experiences residing together. Can we have a column where a guest is interviewed every week? It could be any eminent personality related to the field of art, politics, corporate society or a real estate agent or a BPO employee or a farmer or a foreigner for that matter who has been living here( basically all kind of people who form today’s Gurgaon). They can be asked about a typical day in their life, their association with Gurgaon (how they came here or for how long they have been living here), what 2 or 3 things they like about Gurgaon and 2-3 things which can be improved, the places they like the most in Gurgaon etc. It would help us to know each other better and also help us to view Gurgaon from somebody else’s perspective. Best Letter Achala Sharma Congratulations on finishing 2 years ..well done. I request you to carry more personal stories of the poorest of the poor that generate action. Let each story be a call to action to the reader to lend himself/ herself to the aid of the underprivileged in the community Paradigm Shift Congratulations Friday Gurgaon. You brought the much awaited distinct flavor to the millennium city. I always felt, there was a need for Gurgaon to have its own paper. ToI and others are not doing justice to Gurgaon. Krishna Mohan

PIC

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:

Who would you consider as a Guru of Gurgaon? Write in to us at

letters@fridaygurgaon.com

WORKSHOP MUSIC

NIGHTLIFE

ART

EXHIBITION

DANCE

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H appenings

13-19 September 2013

U 4 4

Tips

Vivek Treks to the City

by ShahnaZ

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ctor Vivek Oberoi was in the City to meet NRI Trekkers, who are out to raise funds by trekking, for the construction of the third Sandipani Muni School in Vrindavan. Vivek, an Ambassador of the charity, “Food for life Vrindavan”, interacted with the excited students of the School, who were very happy to meet ‘Vivek Bhaiya’.

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.

Q. Is there an easy way to remove blackheads. I don’t like to

use the creams available in the market.

SH

Dreamy Teachers

Blackheads occur on oily skin or oily areas of the skin. After washing the face in the morning, wipe the blackhead prone areas with an astringent lotion, using cotton wool. In the morning after washing the face, make a paste of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and water. Apply the paste on the areas with blackheads daily and wash it off after 5 minutes. Use a facial scrub three times a week on the blackhead prone areas. Apply on the areas with blackheads and rub gently on the skin using small circular movements. Leave on for 5 minutes and then wash off with water. You can also go for regular clean-ups to a beauty salons and have the blackheads extracted.

WINNER

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n the occasion of Teacher’s Day, Kingdom of Dreams hosted 1,800 Teachers from schools across Delhi and Gurgaon, for a fun-filled day with exciting events and shows. Some Teachers watched a special show of Jhumroo and some watched Zangoora – they also grooved to the classic retro tunes in Zangoora. Several talent hunt contests were held at Culture Gully, with active participation from all the Teachers. The categories included Best Dressed Teacher, Best Orator and Best Performing School, which were judged by the Jhumroo super-star Gaurav Gera, who gave away prizes for each category.

Niyati Khurana

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

Web Presence Galli Galli

S

esame Workshop India, the organisation behind Galli Galli Sim Sim, has launched a new website: www.galligallisimsim.com on the occasion of International Literacy Day. This 3G optimised Website comes with entertainingly educational content in English and as well as Hindi, making it more accessible to all children in the age group 2-8 all across India. Sesame Workshop India’s Galli Galli Sim Sim, which is also a popular TV show on DD and Pogo, is the Indian adaptation of the world-renowned educational series, Sesame Street.

Art’s True Calling

G Oh Maria!

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stylish evening at Hyatt Regency was hosted by Sahiba Limited (textile conglomerate), showcasing the innovative collection of Pakistan-based designer Maria B. Models sashayed down the ramp, displaying high-quality and trendy designs of the young designer.

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opa Kumar & Shalini Vig Wadhwa, of Renge Art, recently hosted a group Art Exhibition, ‘My True Calling’, at the Club Aralias. The event was inaugurated by singer Annamika Grover. Guests who attended the event included Jewellery designer Shalini Arora Kochhar, Designer Dolly Oberoi, Stylist Sylvie Rogers, Photographer Rony Kaula, Jaspreet Singh, ED DLF J.K Chandra, Richa Sood and Dr. Amit Bhasin.


06  Contd from p 1 strong political say. Latika Thukral of IamGurgaon believes that the time has still not come for the ‘new’ residents to become politically assertive. “We have to change our attitude, the feeling that all politics is only dirty; we need to understand that this attitude will only result in us continuing to get low quality political leadership - nothing will change. Us urban residents treat election time as a chance to go on a holiday”, says Thukral. In her opinion, ‘good’ people do not want to stake their reputation in the political arena, as they are not sure if people will come out and vote for them. An exception to this norm is Nisha Singh, a corporate professional who left her cushy job to fight the MCG elections. When Friday Gurgaon asked her if the time has come for ‘New’ Gurgaon to throw up a candidate who can win the MLA elections - either from Gurgaon or Badshahpur constituency - she gave an astute interpretation of the complexity and the political reality of the Millennium City. “Gurgaon is a unique mix of urban and rural populations, with marked difference in their approach to the political process. In the MCG elections I remember that it was almost impossible to get people out to vote, and everyone put the onus of voting on the others. This is a very difficult situation”, she says. Experts also opine that the ruling party has divided the District into two constituencies keeping in mind the voting preferences of the people; ‘New’ Gurgaon has been effectively divided between both the constituencies. Consequently, it would be extremely difficult for a person from ‘New’ Gurgaon to fight and win the polls. However, there is a new wave of political leaders who are trying to put forth a new option to the people in the country. Mehmood Khan, who was a top manager in Unilever, is now working with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to try and change the political process. Khan is holding a meeting of AAP in Gurgaon on September 21, in which Arvind Kejriwal is also likely to come. “I think the time is ripe for political change, because we have seen enough of how the traditional political system

13-19 September 2013

Let's Play Politics has destroyed the country. We are in bad shape because of rampant corruption and bad policies”, he asserts. “The corporate professionals and youth in the City need to understand that they must participate in the political system and became a part of it, to ensure that it works for the people. Right now schools dropouts, college dropouts, real estate dealers and dynastic politicians are ruling the roost in this City and the country. The AAP is going to push for bringing change in the governance of Delhi, and if we are successful it will send a message across the country that things can change. This is difficult but doable”, asserts Khan. The political isolation of urban Gurgaon is visible whenever one visits the office of a national or regional political party in the City. Not even a single resident of ‘New’ Gurgaon can be seen in the company of 'netas'; political workers, who play an important role in guiding the 'netas', are all from Gurgaon villages or other districts of the State. The political distance is vast. Residents of urban Gurgaon admit that it is difficult, but strongly believe that the situation can be turned around. Pavan Choudhary, a CEO of a pharmaceutical company, and also an author, says that urban professionals in the City are looking for change and they are ready to support a party or a candidate with clean credentials. Outlining the process, he suggests that people need to unite and chose a candidate who they will support, with resources as well as with their votes. He wants a sort of political realignment, wherein a clean candidate gets the support of RWAs and NGOs, alongwith help from spiritual organizations like Art of Living. “I think that without a committed cadre it would be difficult to win an election. Either a spiritual organization or any other voluntary group needs to be created, to ensure a strong fight; otherwise it would be difficult to match the well-oiled political machinery of the Congress or the BJP”, says Choudhary. He firmly believes that the panacea for Gurgaon's problems can come only by creating a new political class in the City. Manas Fuloria, Director, Nagarro, is another individual who

Poor State of Education  Contd from p 1 Principal of the School explains, “We can’t afford to hire a regular sweeper for the allocated sum of Rs. 200 per month for the School maintenance.” Moreover, students have to sit on the floor in the sweltering heat, as the School lacks both electricity and furniture. There are seven rooms dedicated to the Primary School section, but classes are held only in three rooms. "One room is used as a staff room, another is used for office purposes and the rest are used for the Anganwadi schools," says the Principal.

Toilets are a luxury here

Basic facilities such as toilets, access to clean drinking water and electricity are a

luxury in most of the government schools. "Every time we need to use the washroom, we have to go home," says seven-year-old Nuri, who studies at a government school in Jharsa. Her School doesn't have any toilets. Premlata Hooda, a Counsellor of a Government School in Sector 45, believes that there is a direct correlation between sanitation facilities and the retention of girl children in schools. "Parents don't want their girls to go to schools that have ‘open’ toilets. I think that it is a major reason for the high drop-out of girl children in schools,” she says. Not just the students, even female teachers find it difficult to work in such schools. Government schools have failed to protect the basic rights and dignity of women. Lack of electricity is also a major issue.

firmly believes that the future of Gurgaon would vastly improve if this City's professional class participates in the political process in every way – as voters, as influencers and possibly even as candidates. “We sometimes think of politics as a dirty word and anyone who comes close to politics is seen as tainted. But I think politics is too important to be left to the dynastic political classes!”, asserts Fuloria. He also emphasizes that the urban residents of Gurgaon need to shun their inertia and get registered as voters. The people should also attend diverse political meetings with open minds and then form opinions about various parties and candidates. “We need to support the candidates and parties that we feel can change the City and country for the better. We should agree on a few important issues for the City and extract promises from the candidates on these issues, and then have these promises documented by the media”, asserts Fuloria. Anju Anand, President of NAR India, NCR Chapter, opines that the time has come for professionals with contemporary thought and outlook to come forward and fight elections. “I think a person with a corporate background, who has experience of running a large corporation and has clean credentials, will definitely run the political system in a far better way. The efficiency, productivity and results will be much better”, says Anand. A majority of the people with whom Friday Gurgaon spoke, opine that either Gurgaonites should opt for Kejriwal's AAP or find a suitable independent candidate to fight the ensuing assembly elections. Shubra Puri says that migrants should fight to ensure that they get registered as “Anyone denying you a Voter ID Card is doing something unconstitutional, and this can be challenged”, she says. That the need for change is being felt even among the industrial workers living in Gurgaon villages is evident from the fact that they are trying to get registered as voters. Vijay Kumar, who lives in Mollaheda, says that a large populace of migrant workers, which is in tens of thousands, has Although most of the government schools have computers, they don’t function at all due to the lack of power. “In the last one year, we could conduct just three practical computer classes,” informs a teacher at Government School, Jacubpura.

No boundary wall

Some schools don’t even have a boundary wall. “As there is no boundary wall, some naughty students bunk classes often. The School closes at 2 pm, but you can’t find any senior student in the classroom after 12 noon. With just two security guards, it is difficult to restrict them,” says a teacher at Government School, Sector 4. Moreover, for the last 30 years the School has conducted the classes in a dilapidated building, risking the lives of students and teachers. Some two years ago a student had died as the boundary wall had collapsed on him. Even after such a horrific incident, nothing much

C over S tory been denied the right to vote despite living here for years. “We must vote, to get our due share, as no one cares about our existence. The infrastructure is poor and resources limited. Without political intervention nothing changes”, he opines. Milin Kapoor, an activist and industrialist, holds that more women should become involved in Gurgaon politics to raise the standard. “Women are more humane and better managers - they should be given a chance”, he says. Nidhi Singh, who runs a school in DLF Phase I, opines, “I think the time has come for a candidate from ‘New’ Gurgaon to fight the election on an independent plank. We will support him or her”, she says. However, old-timers like activist Harinder Dhingra assert that it is extremely difficult to bring about change in the political system in the current scenario. “In the coming elections the Punjabis in Gurgaon are going to vote for a candidate from their own community, as they have realized the futility of depending on outsiders. In Badshahpur the mood of the local villagers, particularly Yadavs, will be decisive”, says Dhingra, who has fought an election from Rewari. Analysts point out that the role of money, muscle power and liquor is so strong during poll times that it would be impossible for a corporate professional to challenge established candidates. However, Col Raj Singla says that despite the obstacles, it is high time people of the City unite and formulate a strategy to make ‘New’ Gurgaon and its residents more relevant politically. “We form the backbone of the City's economy and need to find ways to make this contribution transform into political strength as well”, says Singla. For him, new options like the AAP are good, but he does not prefer a party system that relies almost totally on the personality of one person – like Kejriwal. With about a year to go for the polls, it is being felt that unless the ‘new’ people change their mindset, and act accordingly, it is unlikely that they will be able to get newer leaders who understand their language and outlook. The ‘new’ residents, who demand world-class living, will have to sacrifice ‘comfort’ if they want to see a world-class Gurgaon. How long will we remain strangers to our own polity?u has been done. "We are really scared of sending our children to the school. Plaster keeps on peeling off the walls. Children are really at a risk," complains a parent. The Principal, Ashok Kataria, expresses helplessness and says that the School is situated on disputed land. “We don’t have the permission to carry out any construction in the School. Many times I have written to the DC, to take immediate action for the re-construction of the building. However, nobody has got back to me till now,” he says. Not just the infrastructure, the quality of education provided at government schools is extremely poor. Premlata Hooda says, “The poor quality is apparent when we see the entrance exams results for professional courses. Government schools may claim that many of their students are doing well in these exams, but a close look would reveal that the students who clear Contd on p 7 


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13-19 September 2013

07

Walks Shoots & Leaves { Shilpy Arora / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

I

t all started as an adventure photography trip in and around the City by a group of amateur photographers. Soon it was transformed into an active club of like-minded people and an online platform for uploading photos and sharing of ideas, concepts and tips on photography. With over 1,300 members, Gurgaon Photography Club (GPC) has emerged as one of the most popular clubs in the City. The inspiration for the group came from Sanjiv Kumar, who used to give tips on Facebook to amateurs. “It's a group of hobbyists, who meet regularly to showcase and discuss new ideas and thoughts about photography. They interact, learn and thus get inspired from each other,” says Sanjiv, Founder, GPC. The Club organises a unique activity called ‘Photo Walks’. This refers to a casual hang-around by a group of photographers, who move about and click photographs in and around the City. Sanjiv has clicked many major landmarks of the City and the Capital during these Photo Walks. Within the first eight months the Club had conducted over 15 Walks. “Only six people turned up for the first Photo Walk held by GPC; by the time of the second Walk, however, the number had gone up to 50. The idea then came to my mind that photography lovers could meet every weekend and share their knowledge, to mutually learn many things about photography,” says Sanjiv. GPC also organises various workshops and seminars for amateur photographers. Shubra, who works as a Brand Manager in an MNC, hardly finds time for herself during the weekdays, but the weekends are only for her camera and

Photo Walks. She feels that GPC has inspired her to make every moment special, by catching it in her camera. Similarly, Mritunjay calls himself a techie during a weekday and a photographer over the weekend. “The expansion of the communications network and the growth of advertising, media and digital photography has made photography a popular hobby in this corporate city. Photos are now extremely important for the print, electronic and online media. That is why photography also offers a great scope to earn money as well,” he says. Recently his photographs have been featured on billboards by an advertising agency. Rhea, a student of Delhi University, has a different perspective on the Photo Walks. “I have seen growth in my social skills along with my photography skills, as the Walks provide me an opportunity to meet a variety of people who share similar interests. Besides, it is a great stress-buster. I have discovered so many aspects of the City, which I have just passed by in the last 20 years,” she smiles. A few have joined the Walks for a cause. Shalini, a resident of Sector 57, clicks photographs of street children to document

the situation of slums in the City. These pictures are then shown to various NGOs and government bodies to highlight the ground reality. “Photo Walks are a great means to interact with the poor and be part of their life. I captured over 60 portraits of street children during these Photo Walks and shared them with various NGOs,” she says. This ‘cause-based photography’ is very popular abroad. Shalini now plans to create awareness about obeying of traffic rules in the City. Usually the photo walks offered by other clubs are chargeable - GPC offers them free of cost. All that you need is a decent camera and the inspiration to take creative photographs. “Whether it is a theme-based Photo Walk led by an expert, a casual hang-around or a workshop conducted by top-notch photographers of the country, GPC offers everything for free,” informs Sanjiv. He prefers Photo Walks to commercial photography classes or workshops, as they are more casual and affordable. GPC is celebrating its first anniversary on September 22 and is offering a free photography workshop to its members on the occasion.u

Poor State of Education  Contd from p 6 these exams haven’t generally studied in government schools till Standard 10. They often switch to government schools after the 10th standard, as they don’t get the subject(s) of their choice in private schools,” she informs. Ashok Kataria says that even after passing out at the primary level, some students can’t write their names properly. “I don’t feel ashamed, I feel helpless…as I have been struggling to provide some basic facilities to my students,” he says.

NGO schools help state-run institutions

While the government schools in the City are struggling to provide good education, there are a few NGO schools that are doing exceptional work. They have taken on the onus of helping the students of government schools as well. Shubashish, Founder of Jagriti Sansthan, says “There are over 60 children in our School who have been trained to provide basic knowledge about health and hygiene. They often go to the government schools to spread awareness about these issues. Besides, we have a team of nine students who give computer lessons to the students in government schools. Our programmes focus on helping the under-privileged children in our school as well as nearby government schools.” The NGO conducts two computer classes a week and three health awareness workshops a month, in three government schools in ‘old’ Gurgaon. Another NGO, Bal Niketan, plans to bring portable toilets to government school in Jacubpura. The NGO has installed six portable toilets in its premises. “The toilets are developed by a Dutch company, that has a branch office in the City. As we have a tie-up with them, they provide the complete infrastructure - such as water, pipes and fixtures, to operate the toilets. We want to promote the use of portable toilets in government schools too,” says Divya Chanda, Corporate Communications Executive, Bal Niketan. There are over 30 NGOs in the City working for the cause of education. Most of them help students in government schools by providing them basic facilities and infrastructure. Thanks to the support provided by corporate sector, the NGOs in the field of education are doing quite well in the City. But it is unfortunate that the state of government schools has remained in a pitiable condition for years. Although the efforts of these NGOs have reached thousands of students, their efforts alone cannot provide a sustainable solution. Mere ‘paper’ reservations in private schools, under the RTE Act, are also not going to help either. The authorities have to address the infrastructural problems and the lack of teachers. There is a need to inject a sense of purpose and accountability among the teaching staff. Premlata says, “There is still a class prejudice among the teachers in government schools. Besides, lack of accountability is a major issue in Staterun educational institutions. The problem can be resolved only if teachers are first given better education and training.”u


08 { Shilpy Arora/ FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

K

aruna (name changed) came to the City from Chhattisgarh some four years ago with the help of a placement agency. She needed a job to support her family. As the placement agency couldn’t find a job for her for the first three months, she was ‘handed over’ to a man, who sexually assaulted her in his house. Karuna was hurt and angry, but accepted this as her destiny. She did not want to leave the City – getting a job was very important. Thankfully, now she is working as a domestic help in a household. Unfortunately, many such vulnerable women are sexually exploited soon after they are brought to the City. Later they are either forced to marry boys in local villages or made to work as domestic help. This exploitation came to light when an NGO, Drishti Stree Adhyayan Prabodhan Kendra, conducted a survey/ research, to understand the problems associated with migration. A hundred activists of Drishti had visited 200 villages in India’s Eastern states and directly interacted with more than 650 girls who were working in cities and had gone back to their villages (in the East) for holidays. Drishti had involved field workers from various social organisations. It is unfortunate that, despite such large-scale exploitation, there are hardly any rules to protect the vulnerable. The placement agencies rarely face any legal proceedings for committing such heinous crimes. Drishti believes that their work and findings would pressure the authorities to come up with suitable punishment and a better law. Many feasible suggestions were made by the NGO – for action by governments, social organisations and also by the society in general. “We work as a pressure group for the rights of women and other weaker sections of society. Based on our work and findings we approach the concerned ministry, department and agency to take up the matter more seriously,” informs the Secretary of the NGO, Anjali Deshpande. Many times their studies and findings have been taken up for debate in Parliament. The NGO has recently demanded the immediate enactment of a comprehensive law to prevent forced migration and harassment of minor girls. It has been protesting to make the punishment more severe for placement agents undertaking and facilitating

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13-19 September 2013

From a Woman's Drishti illegal and exploitative activities. The NGO believes that the role of women in a family is very important. A woman acts as a mother, sister and wife, and has a lot of responsibilities. It is crucial to acknowledge and study her role in the Indian family system. Drishti was founded on this very basis: to study the various issues related to women, and work to remove the obstacles. The NGO has been working for the last 15 years, to develop a deeper understanding of the important issues impacting women, through their lives. Till date the NGO has conducted over 57 studies on women. “Although a woman is today seen inching forward in all walks of life, she has not been able to achieve an equal status to man in society. In order to improve her societal status, it is first necessary to conduct special studies on the various aspects of her life,” says Deshpande. The NGO spreads awareness relating to the various policies declared at the state, national, and international levels. It also makes women aware of the various schemes and projects pertaining to their development. Simultaneously, it makes available all the necessary information to the activists and provides them extensive training to deal with villagers and tribals. To create a better understanding of the issues impacting women, Drishti also publishes material on various topics. Vrittasankalan and Mahila Swasthya are womenspecial publications that are brought out from Pune and circulated in Maharashtra.  

Studies in Haryana

Drishti is the only NGO that has conducted more than 30 surveys in Haryana, to understand the status of women here. Last year it carried out a research on the prevalence of the dowry system in the State. Contrarily, they came to know that over 318 brides in about 10,000 families had been purchased by the groom’s family! The study, which covered Sonipat, Karnal, Sirsa, Mewat and Mahendragarh, was an eye-opener. The activists at Drishti directly interacted with the girls, who informed them that cash had been paid to their parents/placement agencies and they were forced to marry. “It is contrary to the popular belief that the dowry system is prevalent in Haryana. In fact, the State’s skewed sex ratio has given birth to a new

problem! Our studies were used extensively in spreading awareness among local Self-Help Groups, NGOs, authorities and

people in general,” says Sandhu, an activist. “It seems people in Haryana don’t mind getting a bride from the Eastern states, as

the number of unmarried girls in their villages is fairly low. According to our study, more than 9,000 brides in Haryana have been brought from other states,” informs Anjali. The NGO also conducted a study on Child Trafficking in the City. With the help of the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the NGO found out that a large number of children are brought to the City and Faridabad for sexual exploitation, child labour and domestic work. The Study revealed 13 forms of Human Trafficking and highlighted the broad trends. It highlighted that once these children arrive in the City, many are pushed into a form of bonded labour. They are not even allowed to talk to their family members. The various studies of Drishti have helped the authorities and police take many important, necessary actions. u

Don't Tilt The Balance { Prabha Prabhakar Bharadwaj }

I

n the quest of ‘getting’ a son, who is the only 'vansh chalak', who alone can perform all the rituals, even the poorest of poor keep ‘having’ children in the hope that the next offspring would be a son. ‘Son preference’ provides the traditional security of economics. The son always belongs to the family, and his income, dowry value and capacity to carry out rituals at every stage of life makes him the preferred – or only – choice. Additionally, he is perceived as the oldage care-provider. A daughter is felt – especially when it ‘matters’ - to belong to the ‘other family’, where she shall go after her marriage. She is seen as an economic burden all through her life. A boy child is an asset and a girl child a liability. Life starts with an unbalanced sheet. Traditionally the ‘son preference’ is not only an Indian phenomenon; it is widespread in China, North Korea, Pakistan and some other Asian countries. Interestingly, according to a Study, the preference for boys is mostly driven by fathers. Poll records available since 1941 in USA demonstrate that by more than a twoto-one margin, men would prefer to have boys. Women showed only a slight preference for daughters. The preference in the US is based on different considerations; men think that boys would make better companions as they would share common interests. Here are some Indian statistics: according to the 2011 census, the Child Sex Ratio was 914 girls for every 1,000 boys — the worst since the Country’s Independence. New urban areas, including those in economically developed states such as Gujarat, have emerged as centres of foeticide, recording adverse gender ratios as low as 770 girls per 1,000 boys. It is amazing to observe the methodologies that are adopted in order to ‘have’ boys. Let us take a case study from Gurgaon, of an illiterate, poor family residing in Salokhra Village. Maneesh (all names changed) and his wife Usha live in a shanty house, paying

a monthly rent that is escalating by the year. Maneesh works at a company as a gardener and Usha does odd jobs in the nearby houses. Fourteen years ago they had their first daughter; they were hoping that the first born would be a son but a daughter was acceptable. Three years later a second daughter was born. Usha continued to work, besides caring for the daughters. They waited for a few years to consolidate their resources, and to appease the Gods to give them the son they coveted. Seven years later the third daughter was born. They were devastated. By then Usha was a steady part-time worker in a bungalow. Her social worker employer was very keen that the couple should decide and get the family planning procedures done. In spite of all the counselling, they ignored the advice and tried for another child; Usha had to undergo two abortions. Clearly they had ‘illegally’ come to know the sex of the baby. Last year Usha went on leave and became pregnant again; her employer was very angry. Usha was convinced that this was a ‘good’ child (implying male) and everything would be okay. The employer asked her to promise that she would undergo Tubectomy, the foolproof family planning method, just after her delivery, and then supported her through the pregnancy. Usha was sent to the Civil Hospital for delivery. She gave birth to her fourth daughter on July 10, 2013. On some or the other pretext the Tubectomy operation has not yet been carried out. It seems Usha will take another chance. Knowing fully well that this decision will not be acceptable to her employer, Usha has severed relations with her. In quest of a male child, many couples keep trying – and end up with 4 or 5 children. One of the factors contributing to India’s over-population is the survival of abundant, although unwanted, daughters - in spite of rampant female foeticide and other negative actions against the girl child. The ideal expectant couple is one that shops for Blue and Pink together and prays for a healthy child. u


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13-19 September 2013

{ Anita Jaswal }

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f you ask me what I came to do in this world, the artist in me will answer you: ‘I am here to live out the music in me...this is my calling, not my career’. Our calling is not one specific magical job out there, but rather our unique talents, gifts and capabilities - the things within us that we bring to a job. This special feeling I get when I put my hands to Clay,” says Varsha Singh, who relishes the thrill of creating with this fascinating medium. “It’s amazing how you work for years trying to establish yourself and follow a certain course of life… and then one little incident, one little experience can ignite a spark that can change everything - and yet falls into place so naturally. The fascination for creating with Clay has awakened a ‘me’ that I didn’t know existed. It gave me a totally new perspective to life. Why Clay? Because it has the ability to capture a fluid moment and hold it for all to see. My works are mostly inspired by constantly changing landscapes that are sculpted by nature. The pieces that I make are all different, yet not isolated. Each

one is part of a chain that is pulling along a slow sequence of ideas”. Varsha’s easy-going personality radiates warmth. As she throws a lump of Clay on a potter’s wheel, seemingly without effort and alters the shape of the form, one wonders, what next? She spends days on each form, to carve and reveal the depth and layers. Like all good artists, Varsha’s creations have evolved over the years. “It takes an incredibly long time to find your own expression,” she maintains. Her work reflects her love for nature, through forms that are adorned with layers of glazes that melt through the carved paths and reflect like Varsha is a proud mother of two grown-up sons, and has a very supportive husband who is an avid golfer and the Director of a company that has three verticals: Catermanwhich provides food & beverage solutions to institutions; five finedining restaurants in Gurgaon, New Delhi & Noida– Wok-a-Mama, Lotus Pond, Bamboo Shoots, Lemon Twist & The Trance; and an outdoor catering company – The Ranch.

prakhar PANDEY

Breaking The Mould

snow on smooth rock; or with pools in depressions, accentuating the depths of the form. Originally from the hospitality industry, Varsha worked as a Director of a company that provides food and beverage solutions to various institutions. Taking a break from the corporate world so that she could be around her two growing-up sons, she found her way to Clay. Her first experience with Clay happened at a short Sculpture course in Melbourne, in 1999. On returning to India she first joined the Sanskriti Kala Kendra and then, under the tutelage of Rahul Kumar, found her niche! Today Varsha has her studio in her residence in DLF Phase I, where

09

she satisfies her own creativity and also takes classes. “I offer people a different point of view,” she says. “They don’t have to have all these technical skills; they can just be playful while handling Clay. My students’ work, like mine, needs to be driven by the heart and soul - but we do need to justify what we’re doing, as we’re producing objects from the world’s limited resources. Why did I choose to become an artist? I didn’t. I don’t consider myself to be an artist either. It just happened to me, and working with Clay is something that I just love to do! The wonder is that each creation takes on a life of its own. I don’t equate success with the quantity I sell. Success to me is when someone asks with wonder, “how did you do it?”; and they then reach out to touch the artwork! It’s a great feeling that something I created is proudly displayed at their homes and is enjoyed by them as much as I enjoyed creating that piece,” says Varsha. The fact that there are people who understand that a high-quality handmade piece is unique and well worth the cost, and the fact that I can support myself and take the time to make each creation without rushing to get it done, is satisfaction in itself,” concludes Varsha. And, behind the wheel, her quest continues... u

Citizen

The Law & Beyond Organ Donation { Vidya Raja }

H

ow many of us would be comfortable donating the organs of our loved ones – or of ourselves - after their/ our death? According to the available statistics, it seems that only a handful will be willing to do this. Religious sentiments, myths about organ donation and the lack of a clear legislation are only a few reasons why organ donation in India is only at 0.01% of its potential. While 2.1 lakhs Indians require kidney transplantation annually, only 3,000 to 4,000 transplants are possible; similarly, while annually around 4,000 to 5,000 patients in India require a heart transplant, so far only 100 heart transplants have been conducted across the Country. According to the National Programme for Control of Blindness’ (NPCB) 2012-13 Report, only 4,417 corneas were available, against a whopping requirement of 80,000 to 100,000 per year. August 6 is being promoted as Organ Donation Day, and while people are coming forward and pledging their organs, what needs to be seen is how many of these will translate into actual donations. In 1994, India passed a legislation called the Transplantation of Human Organ (THO) Act, to streamline organ donation and transplantation activities. Broadly, the Act accepted

brain death as a form of death and made the sale of organs a punishable offence. The World Health Organization (WHO), in its statement on the sale of organs, clearly states that it violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as well as its own Constitution: “The human body and its parts cannot be the subject of commercial transactions. Accordingly, giving or receiving payment… for organs should be prohibited.” Vidhya Venkat, a resident of Suncity, said, “I fully support and endorse organ donation. My grandfather, grandmother and mother-in-law have all been eye donors. In fact my grandmother’s eye donation took place in 1992, when there was hardly any awareness or talk about all this. They have all set an example that hopefully we will be able to take forward.” For Amita Pareva, a resident of Sushant Lok, the decision to pledge her organs was more personal. She says, “My friend was in dire need of a kidney, and not being able to find a suitable donor, her brother ultimately donated his kidney. Having seen that situation, I have pledged all my organs that can be donated. I am proud to have done this.” Dr. Parmanand, a senior eye-surgeon, spoke about what organs could be donated and the myths that shroud donation. He said, “The cornea of the eye, kidneys and liver are organs that are widely donated. The heart is also an accepted organ but there are very few centres that deal in heart transplants.” When asked about the role of legislation in helping streamline the process of organ

donation, he said, “The government must address the ground realities. In fatal accident cases, the government must ensure that the victims’ organs are used to save the lives of others. Currently, with the red tape, the procedure gets stuck at various levels, and by the time the clearance comes it is too late for the retrieval of the organs.” Dr. Parmanand also pointed out that something as nonintrusive as blood donation is so low in our country; blood donation is restricted to times when family and close friends are in need. However, he is confident that with the right kind of awareness we will achieve a better donor pool. If religious beliefs are keeping you away from organ donation then think again. Much before organ donations were spoken about, Lord Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles, paved the way by being the first xeno-transplant recipient. If one were to look at the scriptures, the Bhagvad Gita in Chapter 2:25 says, “It is said that the soul is invisible; knowing this you should not grieve for the body.” ‘Daan’ is the act of selfless giving. The Holy Quran, in Chapter 5:32, also talks of giving, “Whosoever saves the life of one person would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” With such clear messages from our holy books, it is perhaps time to accept and embrace the fact that the donation of our organs would be a sensible act…and can be a life/ lives-saver. u The writer is a qualified legal professional who has practiced before the Madras and Karnataka High Courts

{ Preeti Rawal }

B

Speak

ig Bazaar is a known name in departmental stores and even I was of the same opinion till I visited one of the stores on Sohna Road in Spazedge Mall on 3rd September. It was a usual day of shopping and I shopped for groceries at a leisurely pace, and was pretty satisfied with the variety offered at the Store. After shopping for all my stuff, that is after nearly an hour, the cashier at the counter asked me to submit an identification proof before making the payment. I was shocked. I have never carried id proofs while shopping at a departmental store. The officials at the Store also started arguing with me and started explaining the rules and regulations of the banks and how they were so important. I am not saying that they were wrong, or in doing so they were doing something that is out of the book, but what irritated me was the lack of information. They should have put up signages saying that anyone who was purchasing material for an amount above Rs 7500 should carry an identification proof. I was not only getting late but I was also getting exasperated by the callous attitude of the people at the cash counter. They should at least be more customer- oriented, and in such a situation, allow the customer to make the payment and provide them the id proof later. Instead, they told me to leave my stuff and get the money from an ATM located at a nearby mall. I had to pick up my son from his school bus in 15 minutes. I somehow managed to go the mall, struggled with the defunct ATM machines and came back and made the payment at the counter. The person had the cheek to further delay the billing, and grinning lamely asked me if I wished to donate some money. I felt angry, frustrated and helpless in front of these hopeless officials. After making the payment, when I was leaving, I heard one of the officials giggling and saying,”aa jaate hain kahaan kahaan se bina id proof ke; chor kahin ke!” I was shocked and bewildered and swore to myself to never ever go back to Big Bazaar for shopping ! u


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13-19 September 2013

Preksha Therapy

{ Bhuvana Shridhar }

T

oday every individual is leading a fast-paced life and this is specially the case with urbanites, whose stress takes its toll at all levels mental, physical and emotional. Oftentimes, in desperation, people take to drinking and use dangerous drugs, which give temporary relief but create more serious problems. The actual answer, or remedy, is the process of catharsis and the development of our inner powers. By practicing Preksha Therapy one can achieve mental, emotional, psychological and physical good health. Since perception is the key to this meditation technique, it is also known as Preksha Meditation.

What is Preksha Therapy

Preksha Therapy is an ancient science of the practice of yoga, meditation and the perception of psychic colour therapy, to help cure physical, mental and emotional sickness. Preksha Meditation is a popular meditation technique of  Jainism. It was formulated by the tenth Spiritual head of  the Shvetambara  Jain s, Acharya Mahaprajna , in the middle of the 20th century, on the guidance of  Acharya Tulsi . It complements the other modalities of holistic therapies to improve the final outcome of all sickness. It treats an individual as a whole and thereby the various ailments concurrently, and restores positive health and wellbeing in body, mind and spirit.

Multiple Advantages of Preksha Therapy

Increases energy, self-power and confidence; removes debility and physical weakness; controls high and low blood pressure;

{ Krishan Kalra }

T

he van Witzenburgs are a middle-aged Dutch couple. Wim has taken early retirement from his job as a leading physicist; Agnes has always been a homemaker, having brought up three fine children, all international citizens. The daughter, married to a Spaniard, lives in Belgium; the elder son and his American wife are in God’s own country and the younger boy has married an Indian! The Dutch couple has a lovely house in Schoorl, about 60km from Schiphol airport. With hardly 4,000 inhabitants, this charming Village sits on a heavily-wooded dune area, 4 km from the coast. The Witzernburgs lead a full

B on V ivant

be relaxed, and feel that sensation. Similarly, take the concenPineal tration to each and every part Amethyst, Quartz of the body. Feel relaxed as you Pituitary go through this experience up to Lapis Lazult, the head. Once the body is comSodalite pletely relaxed, the muscles get demagnetized, the flow of the Thyroid nerve current reduces and the Turquoise, Aquamarine breathing calms down. Next, in this calm state, recall that the Thymus Jade, soul and the body exist separateBloodstone, ly – they are two different entiEmerald ties. Try to feel and accept this Pancreas as a reality. As you go deeper, Citrine, simply feel the existence of the Topaz soul; and gradually forget about Adrenal the body. Try to be with the self without any hindrance. Get Carnelian deeper into the emptiness and Gonads the meditation. This state is conducive to bringing you face to Garnet, face with the self, to come closer Jasper, to the self. In this inactive state, Aventurine when all the bodily activities have been slowed down, there is an inner experience wherein you can come closer to witnessing the consciousness, and see the its activities.

Physical location

Chakras Crown Third Eye

Throat

Heart

Solar Plexus

Spleen Root

Associated Stones

Special Benefits

 Achieves higher levels of consciousness n Increases mental concentration and alertness n Provides extra-sensory perception and intuition n  Helps in curing various bodily ailments n

removes migraines; eradicates stress hormones from the body; removes fear, anger and intolerance to drugs; improves stamina and digestion; removes all negative emotions like jealousy and anxiety; helps in curing acidity, respiratory diseases, insomnia and an imbalanced mindset.

Kayotsarg Preksha Meditation

Kayotsarg literally means abandonment of the body,

thoughts and mind, and being absorbed only in the conscious self. It also means selfawareness through complete relaxation and inactivity.

Procedure

This can be easily practised through various postures of standing, sitting or lying down. If you are a beginner, then start by sitting on a mat on the floor. Focus on the right toe of the right leg. Give it a command to

Psychic Preksha Colour Meditation

This is known as the practice of Leshya Dhyana, which takes the Kendra Preksha exercise further, by specifying a colour to visualize on the chosen psychic centre. Through the Colour Meditaton we focus on the various centres: Shakti Kendra,

The Dutch Connection life, working probably harder than ever before - tending to a large garden full of exotic flowers, fruits, vegetables and herbs; turning out great meals; cycling upto 100 km a day; skating on the frozen canals of De-Rijp - another charming village with a town hall dating back to 1630, quaint houses and draw bridges - maintaining e-mail contact with the children… The modest couple are forever ready to help anyone - by repairing a bicycle in the well-appointed workshop or fixing a broken buckle on a guest’s suitcase belt or re-soling the daughter-in-law’s Italian shoes or mending a child’s shirt. While they keep themselves very busy, they are always cool, calm and

unruffled. Recently, on a business trip to Europe, I spent a wonderful weekend with them. On a gorgeous Saturday morning I accompanied Richard - the younger son - and his wife to the nearest big town of Alkmaar. We selected a cycle for hire, but Richard had some trouble getting enough cash from the ATM and so he called his father. Wim readily agreed to come with his card. Meantime, another ATM yielded fruit and so, before Pappy arrived, we had paid. Wim came and heard the son’s story, said he had enjoyed the 12 km cycle ride and started back without as much as a wrinkle on his fine brow. Wim has cy-

cled everyday, for 20 years, to his laboratory, which is 13 km from home. Their garden has many fruit plants. However, most of it has been eaten up by snails. They won’t use any pesticides, because that would be poison to the snails and in turn to the birds that eat them. They cannot think of upsetting the ecological balance! I was given a lovely guest room and made very comfortable. Agnes cooked some marvelous Indian meals, painstakingly learnt from a Madhur Jaffrey book. We would sit by the fireplace and talk, late into the night, about our work, our families…and feel really close. The post-breakfast coffee sessions on

Swasti Kendra, Taijaas Kendra, Ananda Kendra, Visudhhi Kendra, Brahma Kendra, Pran Kendra, Apramad Kendra, Chaksus Kendra, Darshan Kendra , Jyoti Kendra, Shanti Kendra and Gyan Kendra.

Technique

Perception of the above 13 psychic centres can help us boost our mental and spiritual powers and alleviate our common problems. Five bright colours, known for their positive qualities, are used to visualize. As the steadiness of the Meditation increases, the visualization of the colours intensifies. It is advisable to do this Meditation under the guidance of a guru or expert.

Special Benefits

Psychic Colour Preksha Meditation is an efficient tool that successively diminishes the intensities of the malevolent Leshya from the various centres - Krsna to Nila and Nila to Kapota - and then progressively increases the intensities of the benevolent energies - from Tejas to Ananda and Shakti to Brahma. The Meditation activates our spiritual journey through the various Chakras. Today scientific evidence has confirmed that long exposure to specific colours has an influence on a person’s emotions and personality.u Tarot Reader, Coffee Cup Reader the patio, luncheons near the lily pond and walks up the dunes to the look-out point were just the things my system needed, to unwind. After lunch one day, Agnes proposed a cycling trip to the coast - “just 4 km away.” Not wanting to be a damp squib I agreed, although secretly dreading the trip; the last I had cycled some distance was 34 years ago. Surprisingly, I made it. I really didn’t feel tired and it was a very refreshing trip. On the return, however, Indu, the daughter-inlaw, skidded and fell down. For several minutes she lay prostrate on the road; then she got up and walked a few steps, leaning on the cycle. Agnes was a very concerned mother. She held the young girl just as her own mother would have done. I know, because Indu is my daughter.u


13-19 September 2013

S pecial

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Rapid Metro

prakhar PANDEY


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13-19 September 2013

Best of FG Art - Gurgaon Artists & Galleries

S pecial F eature


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K id C orner

13-19 September 2013

Kids Brainticklers

Artistic Strokes

The Holidays are over... but your creativity isn’t.

Palakh, Scottish High Int. School

Tanishi Agarwal, Rayan Int. School

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/co-ordinators – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (300-350 words). For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or email at anita.bagchi@fridaygurgaon.com

Paintings stories poems Ariyan Dahiya, Chiranjiv Bharti School


13-19 September 2013

lass II students of American Montessori Public School presented a Programme on the occasion of Teacher’s Day, as a dedication to their beloved Teachers. The Programme was compered by the students and included speeches on the relevance and importance of Teachers. A song was also dedicated to the Teachers, followed by a humorous skit. The Teachers were given fun titles – like Ms.Parachute, Ms. Dominos etc. The FounderDirector of the School, Lalita Trehan, addressed the students on the role and significance of Teachers.The Programme was enjoyed equally by both the Teachers and the students.

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hiranjiv Bharti School, Palam Vihar, won 2 Gold medals in the Districtlevel Science Exhibition held at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Jacobpura. The Exhibition, a part of the Inspire Scheme, had over 170 schools participating. The models selected for the State-level Exhibition were – Plastic Recycling Plant by Harsh Lahiri and Dushyant Deswal of Class X, and Go Organic, depicting vermi wash and vermi composting, by Nandita Sangwan and Ojal Saharan.

Time to Take Seriously

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yan International School, Sohna Road, conducted a Workshop on Time Management. Varun Khanna (Senior Trainer) conducted the Workshop, wherein the students were guided how to prepare a proper schedule in a given time frame in the best possible way. Senior Co-ordinator Smita Saha, along with Poonam Sarkar and Mahima Sharma, also discussed the time management problems that students faced during examinations. The Principal, Dr. Mouna Gupta, thanked the guests and suggested that the students follow the tips given by Mr. Khanna.

GrandDay

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yan Global School celebrated Grandparents Day at the School premises. The students were accompanied by their grandparents. Montessori 2 children, along with their grandparents, were taken to “Bal Bhawan”. Various interesting games were held there, in which all the grandparents participated. There were some touching moments when the elderly guests shared their feelings. Montessori 1 & 3 organised entertaining games – like ramp walk, statue dance, antakshari and musical chairs – which saw enthusiastic participation by the grandfathers. All the grandmothers contributed to the food pot-luck that was enjoyed by all. The children gifted their grandparents wall hangings that were especially made by them.

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Inspired CBSers

Teacher’s Day In

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K id C orner

Ryan Global School

Teacher’s Day

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he School celebrated Teacher’s Day in a unique way. Different messages were read out by Primary Class children – each revealing the role of teachers in their lives. The stage came alive when the Montessori children recited a beautiful poem, with actions. This was followed by the Director’s message to the Teachers, read out by Headmistress Vandana Sharma. Some children came dressed as their teachers and mimicked them. The Programme ended with a dance performance by the Teachers.


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13-19 September 2013

K id C orner

The Masterminds

The Grand MRIS Affair

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anav Rachna International School (MRIS), Sector 51, celebrated Grandparents’ Day. The Vice-Principal, Seema Malhotra, welcomed all the grandparents who had accompanied the students, and lauded their efforts in the upbringing of the children. The Programme began with prayers, which were followed by special performances like rhyme recitation and circle time by the kids, in their respective class rooms. There was an activity session wherein the grandparents shared their memorable moments with their grandchildren. All the Nanas and Nanis, Dadas and Dadis participated with enthusiasm.

Teacher's Day Special

Mridula S.Deol, Teacher Trainer, Gurgaon.

Shivani Ahuja, Class 6, The Shri Ram School, Aravali

Understanding Changes @ Ryan

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he most revered day for Teachers is here once again. On Teachers’ Day one is inevitably reminded of the crucial and indispensable role that Teachers play in our lives. Each letter of the word ‘TEACHER’ also embodies the quality that an ideal teacher should possess: The Letter ‘T’ stands for Truth - she should be truthful to her professional ethics and impart the same values to her students - be a role model. Letter ‘E’ stands for Enlightenment - an enlightened teacher’s personality illuminates her students through her knowledge and wisdom; she helps dispel the darkness of ignorance from her students’ lives. Letter ‘A’ stands for Aspiration - a teacher should aspire to become a better teacher with each passing day; and she should sow the seeds of high aspirations in her students as well. Letter ‘C’ stands for Charisma - her charisma should leave the students spellbound, and spark an enthusiasm for learning – which should always surround them, even when she is not around. Letter ‘H’ stands for Humility - she should be a grounded person, in spite of her heady knowledge; she should never lose her centre of gravity and always be approachable to her students. Letter ‘E’ stands for Earnestness - she should be earnest in her constant quest for knowledge and learning; there should be a strong desire in her to expand her horizons. Letter ‘R’ stands for Respectful - she should respect the individuality of each child, irrespective of caste, creed or status; her approach should be inclusive.

Our teachers, our mentors, The Mastermind Centre. So many responsibilities, Which makes our learning easier. Teachers are famous for their noble profession, Answering to the students each and every question. From English, Maths to Science and from Sanskrit to History, You solve our hidden mystery. Our teachers are very motivating, They teach us reading, writing and converting. They make learning so much fun, And taught us to be one. Our teachers are the best, Better than the rest!

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yan International School, Sector 40, held a Workshop for teachers and parents at the School. The Workshop, conducted by Dr. Manish Menon, Paediatrician, Paras Hospital, included discussions on the unnatural behaviour of kids and the solutions. Dr. Menon cited many examples of such behaviour in kids, which helped the attendees understand the behavioural changes that a child goes through. The School Headmistress, Peeya Sharma, thanked the Doctor for helping the teachers and parents understand this important phase in a child’s life.

Weeding Out...Or In

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anu was happily enjoying the lovely day in the garden, running between flowers of various hues - from yellows to purples. She suddenly noticed that the gardener was tearing, uprooting some of the plants from the pots; horrified, she ran to her grandfather. “Grandpa, come quickly, the gardener is killing the plants,” she yelled as she ran. She then dragged grandpa to the ‘scene of the crime’. “See, he has killed so many plants…punish him!” she wailed. Grandpa asked the gardener, “Maliji, what are you doing?” The mali replied, “I am merely taking out the weeds saheb, so that the flowers can bloom and look more radiant.” Grandpa then explained to Nanu, “He is doing this so that the water and fertiliser reach the flowers and they can bloom big and strong – otherwise the weeds will take away all the nutrients.” However, Nanu was not convinced. “But these uprooted plants also have life and aren’t they too the creation of God? This uprooting is wrong and cruel”, she said. The mali tried to explain, “But baby, these plants drain all the water and nutrients we provide, starving the flowers. And they neither flower nor provide fruit, so what use are they in the garden?” he said. Grandpa looked lovingly at his small but wise grand daughter and felt proud. He said, “Maliji, make a separate space in the garden for these plants and transplant them carefully there. Treat them like the flowering plants. And you my dear girl, come with me; let’s go and see if we can find the purpose of these plants in our Nat Geo collection.” Nanu climbed onto her grandpa’s shoulders with a big smile, all eager to find out the answer. Mihir Joshi


W ellness

13-19 September 2013

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

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lobally, Cancer continues to climb up the killer-list charts. This seems to be aided by our choice to live life ‘on the edge’. On the one hand is our increasing exposure to pollutants, an excessive dependence on overlyprocessed foods and a heavyhanded intervention by invasive pharmaceuticals; on the other hand we are foregoing quality sleep, meditative practices and a robust regimen of physical outdoor activity. In the midst of all this it is heartening to see increasing evidence highlighting certain therapeutic foods that have the potential to prevent (and even reverse) cancerous tumours. Natural foods that have drawn such attention in recent years are Adaptogens - like Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng, Basil and Mugwort. An Adaptogen is a plant extract that can increase the body’s ability to resist the damaging effects of stress and restore normal physiological functioning. Other examples are powerful Blood-cleansing Herbs (Turmeric, Burdock Root, Red Clover), Blood-circulation Enhancers (Milk Thistle, Gentian) and Immunity Boosters (Echinacea); Expectorant Herbs (Trikatu, Black Pepper, Ginger, Cayenne, Cardamom) and Colon-cleansing Herbs (Triphala, Asafoetida,

The Triple Wonder Skullcap) round up an impressive list. Pancreatic Cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths, and has an extremely poor survival rate. There may be some good news from one of the most ancient and popular Ayurvedic formulations – Triphala. In the last decade, a series of studies have confirmed Triphala`s potency in terms of preventing pancreatic and other cancers. Studies from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center have indicated that Triphala is effective in inhibiting the growth of human pancreatic cancer cells. This was confirmed in a 2010 review in the “The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine”, by M.S. Baliga; and in 2012, interesting findings from the Ohio State University were reported in the open-access journal, Public Library of Sciences One. It would seem Triphala and its main active constituent (Chebulinic Acid) can essentially starve cancer cells to death, by blocking the action of Vascular

{ Alka Gurha }

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hether in crowded places during summer or in high school locker rooms, we come across people who sweat a lot. Sweat is a clear, salty liquid produced by glands in our skin. Sweat by itself does not smell; however, when it mixes with skin bacteria, it can produce a smell. Sweat, or perspiration, is our body's way of cooling itself. Our body works best when its temperature is ‘normal’ - about 98.6ºF (37ºC). When the body gets hotter than that, the part of our brain that controls temperature - called the hypothalamus - sends a message to our body, telling it to sweat. The heat-regulatory function of the hypothalamus is also affected by inputs from temperature receptors in the skin. There are two situations in which the nerves stimulate the sweat glands, causing perspiration – either during physical heat or during emotional stress. Emotionally induced sweating is often restricted to our palms, soles and the forehead, while physical heatinduced sweating occurs throughout the body.

Triphala (Sanskrit tri = three and phala = fruits) is composed of three medicinal fruits: Phyllanthus emblica L. or Emblica officinalis Gaertn., Terminalia chebula Retz., and Terminalia belerica Retz. Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), which plays a critical role in tumour formation.

Tip of the Week

As a general tonic, upto 2 gms of Triphala may be taken with warm water before bedtime or with honey in the morning. Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Triphala Triphala is considered to be a tridoshic rasayan – a universal cleanser, bal-

ancer and rejuvenator. It is unique in its power to balance all the three humours recognized by Ayurveda - Vata (wind/ air), which works in conjunction with the mind and the nervous system; Pitta (water/ fire), associated with metabolic fires of digestion and assimilation; and Kapha (water/ earth), which provides for the structural connect between muscle and bone tissue. An imbalance in these doshas is considered to be the main reason for all pathologies in the human body. Triphala 'churan' is one of the most common tonics prescribed in Ayurveda for tackling chronic digestive disorders, as also to keep the heart healthy. The numerous health benefits attributed to Triphala include bowel regulation, management of weight, helping better vision and preventing a wide variety of conditions such as inflammation, cancer, ageing, anemia, constipation, asthma, jaundice and chronic ulcers. Triphala is rich in polyphenols and contains equal quantities of Amalaki (Emblica officinalis ), Bibhitaki (Termi-

Perspiring? No Sweat Sweat Glands

The average person has nearly 2.5 million sweat glands in his/ her skin. Basically, the sweat gland is a long coiled hollow tube. The coiled part in the dermis (skin) is where sweat is produced, and the long portion is a duct that connects the gland to the opening or pore on the skin’s outer surface. Nerve cells originating from our nervous system connect to the sweat glands. There are two types of sweat glands: Eccrine – these glands are found all over the body, particularly on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet and the forehead; and Apocrine – these are mostly confined to the armpits (axilla) and the anal-genital area. These glands end in hair follicles rather than pores. The glands differ in size, the age that they become active and the composition of the sweat that they make.

Hyper- and Anhidrosis

Sweating a lot is normal when it is hot or when you exercise, are anxious or have a fever. If you often sweat too much, it's called Hyperhidrosis. This condition affects 25 % of Asians

nalia bellirica ) and Haritaki (Terminalia chebula ). Each of these is prescribed commonly for internal cleansing of blood and lymph. Amla is a potent anti-microbial and nature’s best antioxidant - it is extra-rich in flavonoids, Vitamin C and Gallic Acid. It attacks viruses and bacteria, helps to get rid of mucus, aids blood circulation and tones the heart. It is helpful in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels and in preventing premature greying of hair. It helps us detox, leading to a glowing skin. Haritaki (or Harad) is a digestive, laxative, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, cardiotonic and aphrodisiac. Its restorative properties help in managing cough and colds. Bibhitaki is considered to be an astringent, blood purifier, hair root tonic and a laxative. It also helps to control infections of the throat and chest. As a Cancer preventative, it is possible Triphala has several mechanisms that contribute to its potency. These include anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, free-radical scavenging properties, as also increased antioxidant enzyme production, reduced cellular damage and immune-modulatory effects. In the coming years further research should confirm much of this wonderful news.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

reasons why many in Asian cultures don’t shake hands. Sweating too little is called anhidrosis. It can be dangerous, because our body can then overheat. Causes of anhidrosis include dehydration, burns and some skin and nerve disorders.

During Menopause

Hypoglycemia Sometimes low blood sugar can also cause sweating. People who are taking insulin or oral diabetes medications may experience hypoglycemia, which is accompanied by sweating. It is best to consult your doctor and follow medical advice. and comes from a malfunction of the sympathetic nerves, which can cause excessive sweating from the extremities. It can either be generalized, or localized to specific parts of the body. Hands, feet, armpits and the groin area are among the most active regions of perspiration, due to the relatively high concentration of sweat glands in those areas. This is perhaps one of the

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Hot flushes are one of the most common signs of peri-menopause the years leading up to menopause. Menopause – the time when a woman’s ‘periods’ stop for good – typically happens between the ages 45 and 55.
Some women experience the heat and flushing without sweating, while others sweat so much that they regularly need a change of clothes. When hot flushes happen at night, leaving you and your sheets drenched, they're called night sweats. Doctors believe that hot flushes and night sweats happen as a result of changing oestrogen levels. These changes affect the part of the brain that regulates temperature. Apart from hormonal treatments, abdominal breathing exercises can halve the number of such hot flush ‘attacks’, according to researchers. A lucky minority of women may experience only mild hot flashes and no sweating.u


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13-19 September 2013

C omment

The Fault, Dear Citizens....(see Back Page)

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EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

hatever works everywhere else in the world – with fair ease - just has to fail here. And Gurgaon is getting good at it. We now want to do away with the Toll Plaza – just like that. And the chorus for its removal includes not just residents and associations, but also the administrators and politicians - and even the CM ! Why? It was clearly thought appropriate when making NH8. Would removal of the Toll Plaza remove the traffic snarls and bottlenecks? How would we then finance highways all across India – as each country does - over the next decade? Is there no sanctity of contract? What if the Concessionnaire were a foreign firm? Would an ad hoc termination of the contract not be a kind of project version of the disastrous Vodafone decision? And if there is significant non-performance of only the Concessionaire, why is it so hard to get rid of them? Instead, they have been given a Completion Certificate, signed by the Centre, for a job well done – issued 4 years ago. It seems that the Concessionaire is on good legal ground as far as the contract/Agreement (and scope and responsibilities therein) is concerned. And that the lacunae are primarily due to inaction and non-enforcement by Central and State agencies and administrators – on actions related to lane discipline – at the Plaza and Highway, exits and entries, service lanes, drains, foot over-bridges, underpasses, flyovers. If the State cannot decide and direct its own agencies HUDA, MCG, HSIIDC and the Police - to take care of the issues plaguing NH8 and its surroundings, and if the National Highways Authority of India cannot regulate a Concessionnaire to deliver, it a basically a matter of (mis)governance. It is not about having or not having a Toll Plaza. As a simple example, Hero Honda Chowk issues remain unresolved for a decade…and they have nothing to do with the Toll Plaza! The Concessionnaire did not approve the location of Ambience Mall – and the attendant problems of people visiting there or residing nearby; the decision was of the real estate-run State. So yes, the Plaza is taking a toll from us – and on us. But it is not because it is bad…but because multiple agencies are not playing their role. For example, even the Police need to chip in and enforce lane discipline. They can ask for additional staff, or empower the Concessionaire to do so. The Concessionnaire cannot police on their own. Why is the public ire also mainly against the Concessionnaire? Why are we allowing the Administration and the CM (and the Central Ministers and Ministries) to almost go scot-free? Specially when it is actually they, at least the CM, who were party to the decision for the Toll Plaza. At that time the Highway (and even the widest this-side-of-Asia Toll Plaza) were the jewels in our State crown. The uncomfortable fact is that the removal of the Toll Plaza will not ensure the end of traffic snarls and bottlenecks. One only has to remember what the scenes were when the Toll gates were kept open for some time – forcibly or willingly. The pile-ups just shifted to beyond the Toll Plaza. The facts are: that the traffic has multiplied – and is still increasing; and discipline will not improve the moment the Toll Plaza is removed. In fact all sorts of traffic will begin to mingle – including bikes and carts and trucks. Even today emergency vehicles and breakdown/accident

vehicles run in the same lanes. It will become a Free-forall-way. And most importantly, the removal of the Toll Plaza will not help the thousands of pedestrians who are forced to cross NH8 – every kilometer; with many having lost their lives. It’s time that the Centre, and especially the State, took responsibility and were made directly accountable. NH8 needs to be integrated into the Gurgaon Master Plan. A Centre-State Panel needs to urgently (in 3 months) address what needs to be done - on, in and around the Highway - and by when. Who will do it and who will pay for it needs to be decided across the table by the Central Roadways/Highways Minister and the CM – not by Gurgaon Administrators. It is after all the ‘seniors’ at the State and Centre who approved the NH8 Plan and the Toll Plaza, the Concessionaire, the Toll rate and the Master Plans. There cannot be a shortage of funds – from both the State and the Centre - for setting right NH8 and its surroundings. After all, this City feeds 50% of the State. Our Toll Plaza toll also feeds the National Highway Authority of India – and not just the Concessionnaire. If HUDA can commit Rs 500 crores to ‘remake’ two of the best roads in the City – Golf Course road and MG Road - there surely is money to throw!

There is too much at stake for the Concessionaire to give up. Their best decade is coming up. Why should they accept termination –without a diamond handshake? Also, the quality of the road – NH8 – by itself is not under question. Who will maintain the roads if the Concessionaire is just terminated? Why will any Concessionaire take up a road project anywhere across India after seeing such ad hoc action? All it would seemingly need is public pressure, and govts. will cave in. It cannot be Toll Plaza yes or no; it has to be yes, and we have to ensure that we make this work. We can’t just give in to populism. Yes, governance is at a severe deficit everywhere nowadays, but free is too easy a choice. Of course we also seem to mind the Toll Plaza wait more than the hundreds of other waits – some probably longer – because we have ‘paid’ a toll. It is Gurgaonites who have benefitted maximum by having a National Highway (made by the Concessionnaire) connect different parts of the City as well as the Capital. The CM is just being opportunistic, since Gurgoan has now got the Highway, and Haryana does not earn from the Toll Plaza – and so he is willing to ‘pay’ for the closure, and ad hoc termination of the Agreement. He needs to get his Administration to undertake its responsibilities. In fact, if just lane discipline is ensured – at both the Plaza and the Highway – the waiting time and traffic snarls would significantly reduce. The CM should also remember that he could be hit on some similar ‘popular’ issue. People could stop paying various civic fees in Gurgaon - because nothing works. If we had to dismantle or stop paying for everything that did not work in India, there would not be much left !u


S piritual

13-19 September 2013

Mind & Body in Sync { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

into our personality, it wrecks havoc in the form of some write to us at negative symptoms. At times letters@fridaygurgaon.com this is due to a failure in our psychological development or ue to my close a lack of personal motivation interaction on a daily and responsibility coming basis with Cerebral from our mind. Many Palsy-afflicted persons, I fantasies and emotions assail have realized that even for us every moment: some are a physically normal human It is interesting to learn of violent, some lustful, some being it is important the basic synchronization terrifying and some tempting. to have an effective principles anywhere in We are all afflicted by the same synchronization between nature, as ultimately mental perversions whenever the mind and body. everything is made out of we stop censoring ourselves. Traditionally  we describe energy that resonates at Not only do we experience a person afflicted with all these emotions, thoughts Cerebral Palsy as a person a specific frequency and and fantasies flooding into with ‘an  intelligent mind synchronizes with others our minds and bodies, we also caught in a disobedient automatically. It has been realize how they arise and body’; the body does not noted that women sleeping experience how insubstantial obey the commands given in the same dormitory and impermanent they are. by the mind. Contrarily, in would, over time, tend to It is illuminating to see a normal human being, the synchronize their menstrual how the mind works, how body may work normally cycles. People who live the body gets impelled into but the mind, which is giving together for many years behaviour by the mind, the commands, may work may even tend to look how a person thus builds in a perverted manner. an unauthentic identity Synchronizing the mind and alike, as their energies of himself and how the body is helpful as a technique become synchronized. The continuing defence of for self-improvement. The telepathic ability between this identity enslaves and body is like a camera, and the them increases; they find hurts us. Basically the mind is like the film inside the that they think the same body is the source of all camera. The idea is how to thought at the same time, our suffering, and so the best use them together. When and perhaps surprise body must be overcome. the aperture and the shutter themselves by saying out In the traditional Indian and speed of the camera are loud the same word at the Eastern spiritual systems, properly set, in relation to the same time. The question overcoming the body is speed of the film, we can take attempted through asceticism good, accurate photographs that comes to mind is that or penance. This means because we have if many people who stay going against what the body synchronized the camera and together can automatically seems to want; of asserting the film. Similarly, when synchronize their response the mind over matter. One the mind and body are behaviour, why cannot of my colleagues married a properly synchronized, we our minds and bodies boy from Rajasthan. Before can have a clear perception automatically work in her marriage she was hardly – and not have any doubt unison? ‘religious’; after her marriage or anxiety. she seems to be on a fast every The mind is the central second day. However, modern command post for each nutritionists tell us that happiness is not going activity in the body; a healthy mind denotes to be achieved by torturing the body - any more a better functioning body and overall positive than by indulging it. bodily responses. Our everyday experiences Meditation helps in the synchronization tell us that it is not easy to keep both the of the mind with the body; it is a method for mind and body in sync. We are in the habit of synchronizing the body and mind in the present getting distracted. Our mind, every now and moment. When the body and mind are in sync, then, departs from the here and now; when we are naturally relaxed, alert, open and aware, we are talking to somebody, our mind is often and experience the world and ourselves in a somewhere else. It generally requires effort direct, unmediated way - without conceptual and concentration to keep the mind and body filters. Let us enjoy every moment of our lives well synchronized. If we are not able to keep here and now, with the body falling in line the mind and body well-tuned, we are not able with the mind. We should be able to feel the to focus well on the present moment, and things tenderness of the new-born leaves on a tree, start falling apart; as a  result frustration, and savour the sweet smell of a Champa flower even a  feeling of defeat, strikes us. When our and experience the quality moments of the attention has separated from our body and/ very early hours of the day. In metaphysical or our environment – by, say, being absorbed terms, such experiences never existed by fear, wild hope or fantasy - we become in the past and nor may they exist in the vulnerable.  We then fail to notice or respond future - they exist only in the here and to our immediate situation with any accuracy now. It is this direct experience of the or effectiveness, and so our troubles begin to fullness, vitality and splendour of life that mount.  This may also be attributed to an is the gift of meditation. When the soul is intra-psychic conflict; the idea that it is ‘all peaceful and the mind is clear, the body in our heads’, leads to confusion and a lack of is healthy.u clarity on what to do and how to respond. At any given moment many of us are stuck in our heads, disconnected from our bodies, living a Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic step removed from our immediate situation. Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause Often it also involves some kind of revenge - or of children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental whiplash – from the unconscious mind. Because retardation and multiple disabilities for more unconscious material has not been integrated than 20 years

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Spooky & Spiritual

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ail six days Southeast from the tip of South America through latitudes called the furious fifties and you strike the South Sandwich Islands, guarded by blue icebergs, millions of penguins and an unforgiving sea. The South Sandwich Islands are nature’s solo act. Volcanic eruptions roughed out their shape, and ice, wind and waves hammer and carve them. Birds and seals alone find refuge here. Captain James Cook, on his search for a rumoured southern continent, discovered the Islands in 1775. Confronted by “thick fogs, snow storms, intense cold and every other thing that can render navigation dangerous”, he quickly tired of the region and, without apology, left the South Sandwich Islands forever. But what repelled Cook is what makes the 240-mile area of the 11 islands extraordinary - isolation. Where else will you find: exposure to the southern oceans’ furious moods; pack- ice that holds the Islands in a vice-like grip most of the year; the roar from crowded bird colonies; the reek of their guts and waste coating the rock and ice; and exploding waves that beat surfing penguins bloody against the cliffs and block ships from shore. And beneath it all, one of the Earth’s fastest moving tectonic plates keeps the young volcanic archipelago - only some three million years old - expressive and unpredictable. “The place has a pulse,” says photographer Maria Stengel. “It’s spooky and spiritual and immensely powerful”. Yet, so few have been here. After Cook named the islands for the fourth Earl of Sandwich and fled, nearly 45 years passed before Russian explorer Fabian van Bellingshausen battled sleet squalls to discover the three northerly islands his predecessor had missed. Commercial sealers and whalers haunted the area in the 19th and 20th centuries, but found their task too daunting. So they, too, went away. Unlike the well-travelled Antarctic Peninsula, the Islands see no tourism, and every intrepid volcanologist relies mainly on aerial surveys to study them. There’s only a four-month window for a boat to dodge the hullcrushing pack ice - and few sailors are up to the task. Then there’s Jerome Pircet. The veteran Antarctic sailor has been testing himself against the southern ocean for three decades. In the late 1990s he lent his skills to making detailed bind and seal courts on the South Sandwich Islands. Piloting his 65-foot steel-hulled yacht, Golden Fleece, he is one of the few sailors who is audacious enough to sail to the South Sandwich Islands - a place he admits can offer nowhere to hide, no safe mooring - just ice and sea and big waves and a pessimistic forecast”. Setting out from the Falklands, with Maria Stengel and a crew of four, he skirted icebergs and bucked foul weather last January, for a three weeks’ survey down the Island chain - a territory of the United Kingdom (though also claimed by Argentina) In their remoteness, the shape-shifting Islands hold their stories close, and the few souls who have felt the pulse of the South Sandwich Islands’ volcanic energy and abounding wildlife consider it a ‘privilege’. “Living in deep communion with this place, you feel changes in yourself”, says Pircet. “Every trip brings something new”. u Maj. (Retd.) NK Gadeock M.R.I.S. 46

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R eal E state

13-19 September 2013

Building Conflicts

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon.com

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he delay in delivery of apartments and houses by private builders has become a norm rather than the exception in the Millennium City, forcing buyers to now come out on the streets to protest. What is surprising is that the builders still act as ‘masters’ - the State authorities have failed to rein them in and have chosen to act as bystanders in this conflict (if not acting in collusion). While apartment owners of New Town Heights, a highend DLF project came out on the streets this Saturday to protest. Many have been left in the lurch despite having signed contracts and made payments. The buyers in these delayed (and maybe doomed) projects are a worried lot, and experts opine that if top builders in the City are defaulting, then it could be even worse with the second (and third) rung of ‘developers’ who have jumped on the real estate bandwagon in the new sectors. The delay in delivery of apartments means that the buyers are forced to continue to pay both the EMIs as well as rent – a situation that is impossible to manage in the poor economic climate today. More than 300 apartment buyers of New Town Heights, a premium township of DLF, protested at Jantar Mantar this Saturday, and also in front of the corporate headquarters of the Company, against the delay in delivery. Nitin Grover, President of New Town Heights Apartment Buyers Association, says that DLF had promised delivery in February 2011, but the customers are yet to get their flats. “DTCP had issued Occupancy Certificates (OCs) despite the Complex being unfinished; heavy construction is still going on even in the towers where the OC has been granted”, says Grover. Shalabh, who has bought an apartment, says, “We have paid money for registration, gas and even cess for the construction labour, but our homes are yet to see the light of day”. The residents also allege that the Company, in violation of the Haryana Apartment Owners Act (HAOA) and a Supreme Court decision, sold the parking spaces, a common area, to buyers. Ritu Jain, a buyer, says

that despite complaints to DTCP, no action has been initiated. Grover says that recently the Company handed over 80 flats for possession, but the construction was not complete. “We have invested hard-earned money, and most of us are first time buyers. The Developer is playing with the emotions of common people. We want them to come forward and provide answers to our issues, and reply to our mails and phone calls”, says Grover. The Association has already filed a case with the Competition Commission of India, and Senior Advocate ML Lahoty has been hired as Counsel. In its demands the Association has also said that the Builder forced them to pay the registration money directly to the Company, with the promise that the properties would be registered within a month - but this has not happened even after two months. “Our biggest grouse is that the sale of the apartments has taken place on the basis of ‘super area’, a term that is not defined under any law. Under this garb the Company has sold 13,05,072 sq ft more than the sanctioned FAR. We want the Company to share the detailed calculations with us in writing, so that the buyers know what they are buying”, says Grover. SAS Arcadia was launched in 2009-10 by Sumel Heights Private Limited, comprising low-rise floors (G+2) on 240 & 300 sq. yards plots. The License Number of the project is 113 of 2008, issued by District Town and Country Planner, to M/s Vatika Developers. Gulshan Malhotra, General Secretary of the SAS Arcadia Apartment Buyers Welfare Association, says, “The Project has not seen the light of day after 4 years”. However, while the Project was sold at Rs 2,100 psf at the time of launch, the current rates (despite no building) are Rs 6000 psf. This seems to be the primary reason why the builder does not want to continue with the original buyers. He is waiting for them to cancel their bookings, which were made at the lower rates, allege the buyers. “This is nothing but injustice and we have filed a petition in the court. Soon the matter will be taken to the Economic Offences wing,” asserts Malhotra. “The builder also made ‘bogus’ allotments of

apartment/floors in the name of its employees, which was done to create a fake demand, to induce buyers to continue to invest,” alleges Malhotra. Interestingly, Vatika, in whose name the Licence has been issued, is ready to get the Project developed, but SAS group seems to be unwilling, he adds. A number of other builders such as Landmark, Pal and others have also refused to

build after taking money for some projects. The buyers of Express Greens in Manesar, who brought the property in the hope of timely possession, have also come forward and expressed resentment against the non-delivery of their property. Sanjeev Sharma, a buyer, says that they had come to the corporate headquarters to meet the Company represen-

prakhar PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

A letter from a harassed buyer I purchased a 3BHK apartment in July, 2011, in resale, at the rate of Rs. 2,700 per sq. ft., in a project located in Sector 106, on the proposed Dwarka Expressway. The original booking was @ Rs. 2,385 per sq. ft (14-Sept-2010). There had been no allotment till my purchase date. I was told by the builder that the construction work would soon start, as some layout approvals were pending with the concerned authorities. I made 30% of the total BSP payment to the builder. Since then they always reply that they are working to clear pending approvals and promise start of construction in the very near future. There is no written communication. On the eve of Deepawali last year I received a letter, dated 09-Nov.-2012, from the Developer, where they have mentioned about an on-going civil-suit (since 14-Feb.-2012) and court orders dated 01-Sept.-2012 - whereby the land of this Project was subjected to a stay, till further orders. A general offer was made to buyers that we could take back the amount we had paid, with simple interest at 9 %, if we wished. When I contacted them, they replied that it would be better to wait for a while to get a clear picture, as they were taking up this matter with the concerned authorities to seek remedy. However, I came to know that they had quietly decided to put the ‘refund’ into my bank account through onlinetransaction, without any notice or any formal request from my side. They said that as the Project Licence had been cancelled, due to the on-going legal battle, they were left with no option but to refund the amount. This resulted in mental trauma to me and my family, as we were expecting to move into a house in a good location in the near future. We are under shock. How can they do this to us? Rates in that neighborhood have increased many fold and are now beyond our paying capacity. What legal stand can we take to see that our interests are addressed properly by the builder? We want a house in the same place and at the original booking rates. We do not want a refund. With regards (Name withheld on request)

tatives and register their complaint. More than 200 homebuyers of Uniworld Garden II, a Unitech project, came onto MG Road to protest – by ‘begging’ - against the non-delivery of their flats. Joginder Singh, President of the Uniworld Garden II Apartment Owners’ Association, says that they had cumulatively paid Rs 300 crores to Unitech in 2009 and still haven’t got possession of their flats. Sanjay Sharma, MD Qubrex, says that more such delays and cancellation of projects are likely to happen because of the exponential increase in the price of land along the Expressway. Real estate analysts point out that one important reason for delays in delivery of a large number of projects is that almost 60 per cent buyers of Gurgaon real estate are investors, who benefit because of the late delivery. “The investors pay only a certain percentage of the cost and want to exit the project once the prices have begun to shoot up. It is only delays and the artificial jacking up of the prices that has kept them in good stead for so many years. But this bubble is likely to burst as the economy is in the doldrums, jobs are not being created and even IT has slowed down considerably”, says an analyst. The recent decision of the RBI, to put a lid on the 80:20 subvention schemes, was also a step towards curbing speculation in the real estate trade, as a large number of investors were using this route to speculate in property. Sanjay Sharma believes that the RBI decision to insist on construction-linked payment is like a vote of no confidence on real estate. Another reason being ascribed to delays is that even after taking 90 per cent money from buyers, the developers divert the same to buy land for future projects and put the present (even almost complete) ones on hold. Instances like these are now rampant across Gurgaon, and with the economy slowing, it is being speculated that things could go from bad to worse. Real estate experts warn that unless the State government as well as the local authorities take responsibility, it would be impossible to stop buyers from getting fleeced. They say that with cases filed by different RWA Associations – with the CCI as well as Supreme Court – some of which are in the final stages, it is most likely that concerns of the consumers will be finally and effectively addressed by the judiciary. u


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13-19 September 2013

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Global Database For World Music

{ Antje Lauschner/ Weimar, Germany/ DPA }

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computer-based music analysis engine, which should automatically recognize and classify music genres worldwide, is under development in Germany. If successful, the Global Music Database, being compiled by the Franz Liszt Music Conservatory at Weimar, Germany, will be able to show how pop stars like Shakira are often influenced by traditional music in crafting their hits. According to Tiago de Oliveira Pinto, from the School, an analysis of Shakira’s music shows links to Cumbia, a style that originated in the musical and cultural fusion among native Colombians – slaves brought from Africa and the colonial-era Spanish.

The pilot Project makes it possible, in a short period, to identify a single musical piece’s historical and stylistic influences; for example, the Brazilian samba of Roda, which first appeared in the state of Bahai, but has its origins in Angola. For the past two years Brazilian music ethnologists have been working together with other experts from Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa on a semantic search engine, which automatically recognizes basic musical attributes such as tone and rhythm. “We are creating something that is independent of the global industry. The current search engines are only capable of finding identical musical pieces from huge databases,” explained Project worker Philip Kueppers. “We synthesize basic

elements from rhythm in order to deliver general musical information to users.” The concept focuses on the music itself, rather than on a particular artist or song. This is a completely different form of measurement, meaning incorrect or incomplete results—such as confusing samba and salsa—are excluded. The Software was developed by musicologists working closely with digital audio engineers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute. “We presumed that when the musicologists gave us computer readable music, we would be able to recognize typical rhythmical patterns,” explained Christian Dittmar, Project leader for semantic music and technologies at the Fraunhofer. Unfortunately, this failed to

India’s “Forest Of Living Languages” { Siddhartha Kumar/ New Delhi / DPA }

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staggering 880 languages are spoken in India, a four-year survey showed, in the first comprehensive study since the 19th century. This major increase, from the 122 languages identified in the 2001 census, is largely because the threshold for the number of required speakers has been lowered. The People’s Linguistic Survey of India (PLSI) has identified more than 780 living languages. “Another 100 languages spoken in remote areas escaped our attention, and the total is around 880,” said linguist Ganesh Devy, 63, who is in charge of the Project and the lead author. “This is in contrast to the 122 languages found in the 2001 census, which followed a 40-year policy of omitting languages with less than 10,000 speakers,” Devy told dpa. It is the first comprehensive language study in India since Irish linguist George Grierson’s survey on subnational languages between 1898 and 1928. Devy, who is the founder of the non-profit Bhasha Trust in the western state of Gujarat, led the 60-million-rupee (900,000-dollar) study. He said the survey, which was not government-funded, included languages spoken by as little as four people. India’s linguistic diversity is almost unmatched, given its size, Devy said, as he compared it with Europe, which has 250 languages. India uses 66 scripts, he added. The research was conducted by 3,000 volunteers, who included scholars, activists working with tribal communities and even bus drivers and nomads. The result: Some 50 volumes, running over 35,000 pages. “Now we are actually creating a forest of living languages or Bhasha Vana (in Hindi) at our tribal academy in Baroda city,” Devy said. “In the next eight

months, people will be able to walk amid the trees and hear folk songs, tales and voices in different languages via audio guides or speakers planted on every tree.” Kanajibhai Patel, the PLSI coordinator in Gujarat, said lesserknown languages such as Bhili - spoken by the Bhil tribe in WestCentral India - are among the country’s fastest-growing languages, despite official apathy. “Bhils are now proud of their mother tongue. The community is assertive and is giving vent to its aspirations and expressions,” Patel said. A large number of languages such as Bhojpuri, spoken in the Eastern state of Bihar, are rapidly growing, despite not having a script.

The Survey revealed that a language called NarsiFarsi is spoken only by thieves in eight states. Meanwhile, transgender communities use a speech variety called Koti, a sort of code language with double meanings. Induction into the community is bound by the ability to use Koti. Yet, the researchers noted, languages in India are constantly under threat, as is the case worldwide, because of migration, globalization and cultural domination, which imperils the voices of indigenous and minority communities. “Young people migrate to the cities for better jobs and lose touch with their mother tongue. They think they would be sidelined if they use their mother tongue, and want their children to learn English and Gujarati,” Patel said.

Siddi, an African language spoken by descendants of the Bantus - who were brought to Gujarat by the Portuguese as slaves between the 17th and 19th centuries - is now extinct in the region. “We feel we have lost a big part of our identity,” said Faridaben, a Siddi woman in her 50s and a bank employee in Gujarat’s Bhavnagar city. “We could have been empowered if our language was alive.” Francis Neelam, who worked on the volume about the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said that Bo - one of the world’s oldest dialects - became extinct three years ago, after its last speaker died. Bo is one of the 10 dialects used by the Great Andamanese, an indigenous tribe whose language is in peril – with only 42 surviving members. “It takes centuries for a community to create a language,” said Neelam, from Port Blair, the capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. “With the death of a language die the culture, traditions, history and beliefs of a people. They can never be revived,” he added. Yet the rate of decline of India’s languages is slower than the global slide. It is estimated that in the last 50 years, upto 220 languages have vanished in India. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), of the 6,000 languages worldwide, 3,000 are likely to disappear by the end of the century, Devy said. “The Project is not about digging up graveyards of dead languages,” Devy said. “It is about a responsibility to ensure our languages do not face a global ‘phonocide’. The languages’ forest is an effort in that direction.” India’s thriving living languages are evident even in the urban jungle of the capital, New Delhi. On the Metro train network alone, experts say, that as many as 300 languages are spoken. u

give the desired results. “We therefore had to develop a system that was capable of comparing musical pieces directly,” said Dittmar. The advent of the Internet, smartphones and tablets has completely changed the way music is listened to and sourced. Progress on the Project could even save electricity. Today, ever larger amounts of data are being downloaded, using up more energy in the process. Countless songs that users do not want are downloaded and eventually end up in the recycle bin. Up to 7 per cent of Europe’s electricity consumption is linked to computers and the Internet, so smarter downloading and swapping of audio and video files might save power, Dittmar argued.u

Family goes Luddite { San Francisco/ DPA }

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Canadian family is going viral with a novel idea. It has banned all technology developed after 1986 as a way to get their young children to play outside more. Blair McMillan, 27, and girlfriend Morgan, 27, and their children Trey, 2, and Denton, 5, are planning to live like it’s 1986 for at least a year. “No cell phones, no computers, no internet. I basically wanted to mould it around my household when I was growing up,” McMillan told The Morning Edition. “I used to live outside, and I realized how different my kids are.” The family’s experiment has been widely reported in the Canadian and US press, with many readers applauding their efforts. “Good for them and their kids. It takes initiative and courage to do what they’re doing,” said a commenter on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation website. According to the Toronto Sun, Blair hit upon the idea when the children could not tear themselves away from their parents’ iPhones and iPads long enough to kick a ball around in the garden. The new rule means their home is now without Internet, GPS devices and smartphones, and no digital cameras or cable television. To listen to music, they rummage through a pile of cassettes. If they need information, they consult a set of encyclopedia books donated by a bemused neighbour. If MacMillan needs to find his way, he consults a paper map. The 1986 date is based on the year both the parents were born and reflects a longing for the more traditional childhood they enjoyed. “We’re parenting our kids the same way we were parented, for a year, just to see what it’s like,” said Blair, who even sports a strange 1980s haircut. The parents did feel anxiety about closing their Facebook accounts, and Blair even says he felt a phantom cellphone buzzing in his pocket for a few days, but now they feel it has brought the family together. “We’re just closer - there’s more talking,” he said.u


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Bhutan To Become First 100% Organic Country { Doreen Fiedler/ Thimphu/ DPA }

Doreen Fieldler

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hutan is renowned for espousing Gross National Happiness, but now the isolated Himalayan nation is also looking to become known as a world leader in organic farming. “We are nearly all Buddhists. Being kind to the environment and the planet has a central meaning for us,” says Kesang Tshomo, coordinator of the Ministry of Agriculture’s National Organic Programme. Pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilisers have found little acceptance among Bhutan’s population, and have only been used on around 1.5 per cent of the Country’s agricultural land. Soon, it is hoped, this figure will drop to zero, allowing Bhutan to be recognized as the first country to be 100-per centorganic. “We had this idea several years ago: the air was clean, the soil uncontaminated and the rivers were not yet polluted,” explains Kesang Tshome. “It would be a real pity if we did not keep things this way.” The small country of approximately 700,000 inhabitants, located between China and India, was virtually closed off to the outside world until the 1960s, but has begun opening up in recent decades. Television and internet were made available to its citizens in 1999, while Bhutan has been ruled by a democratic government since 2008. The unusual approach to economic development, centred on protecting the environment, was made public six years ago – but there is still no set time-frame in place. “We might achieve it by 2020,” says Kesang Tshomo. “We

Farmers’ homes near the village of Wangsisina in Bhutan with rice paddies in the foreground.

Lotto Zam, a Bhutanese woman farmer, sells her potatoes and other produce at a market in Shaba, Bhutan.

would love to be a fully organic country tomorrow, but we have to be practical and consider the realities facing farmers.” Chencho Dorji, from the village of Khariphu, which is a twohour walk to the nearest road, is one of Bhutan’s farmers and faces many of the problems that are preventing a speedy implementation of the project. “Life is difficult for us in the valley because the slopes are so steep and fields so small,” explains the 27-year-old. Like most farmers in the country, Chencho Dorji

A Bhutan woman, right, wearing a kira, an ankle-length traditional skirt, buys her tomatoes from peasants in a market in Shaba village.

uses oxen, as an investment in agricultural machinery is not economically viable. Around 70 per cent of Bhutan’s people make a living from agriculture, but many still have to buy wheat and vegetables. The population is growing rapidly, while large numbers are migrating to urban centres in search of work. Over half of the country’s rice is now imported from neighbouring India. “We are going to have to increase productivity, along with the switch to organic farming. This is the greatest challenge,” admits

Most Competitive Swiss { Geneva/ DPA }

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witzerland was named as the world’s most competitive economy for the fifth year in a row by the World Economic Forum (WEF), but the country was warned that it needed to improve university enrolment to stay innovative. Singapore and Finland defended their positions at number two and three, among the 148 countries analyzed by the Geneva-based WEF for its annual ranking. Rounding out the top five were Germany and the United States, which both moved up slightly. US financial markets and confidence in its public institutions had improved, but “serious concerns persist over its macroeconomic stability,“ the WEF found. One of the biggest risers this year was Indonesia, which climbed 12 ranks to number 38. This was due to spending on infrastructure, a more efficient government, a low budget deficit and gains in the technology sector, according to the WEF, which

hosts the annual meetings of world leaders in the Swiss mountain resort of Davos. “I predict that the traditional distinction between countries being ‘developed’ or ‘less developed’ will gradually disappear and we will instead refer to them much more in terms of being ‘innovation rich’ versus ‘innovation poor’ countries,” said WEF founder Klaus Schwab. Some of this year’s biggest losers in terms of ranking were in the Middle East. Politically troubled Egypt dropped 11 places to 118. Iran tumbled 16 ranks and came in at number 82, as political instability and lack of financing affected an economy that has been hit by international sanctions. Latin American economies were led by Chile in 34th place, but the region suffered from low productivity rates, the WEF said. In subSaharan Africa, Mauritius (45th) overtook South Africa as the most competitive economy. Chad, in central Africa, was named the world’s least competitive country. u

Kesang Tshomo. Farmers are learning different composting methods, as well as how to handle farm manure correctly, so that nutrients are not lost through evaporation and leaks. “We are also making an extract from chillies, garlic, onions and pepper, which can drive off pests,” says Thinlay, who works in the area of plant protection for the Ministry of Agriculture. Products such as neem oil protect against insects, while if there is a snake plague the creatures are trapped, thrown in a hole and sprinkled with salt. “This way, they dehydrate and die,” explains Thinlay. Farmer Lotto Zam would love to grow all her crops organically, but the 45-year-old believes that sometimes it is impossible to get by without the use of pesticides, citing the example of the spread of the army worm through the rice crops in her valley. “We had no other choice. We had to buy pesticide sprays from the government,” Lotto Zam explains, as she sits in front of her market stall in the village of Shaba – selling organic peaches, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, chillies, peas, garlic and cucumbers. Pesticides are not manufactured in Bhutan and are imported by the Ministry of

Agriculture. They can only be sourced through official outlets. “We only give out herbicides and insecticides in emergency situations,” says Thinlay. This type of policy is only possible because for decades Bhutan has put the population’s “Gross National Happiness” above economic growth, by looking at the spiritual, physical, social and environmental health of its citizens and natural environment. As part of Bhutan’s environmental protection measures, the Country is constitutionally bound to ensure that at least 60 per cent of Bhutan remains forested. The figure currently stands at 72 per cent. Bhutan has also set itself the target of remaining carbon neutral, and is currently actually carbon negative. “The next logical step was obviously to promote organic agriculture. says Peldon Tshering, Chief Strategist of Bhutan’s Environmental Commission. Kesang Tshomo believes Bhutan has to prioritize the export of niche products. Due to the lack of mechanization in agriculture and the small size of fields, which are for the most part tended by independent farmers, only small amounts can be produced. “Ginger powder, herbal teas or homemade soaps made from mustard oil are examples of some the products we could export,” she says. u

Hitler Swastika Ring To Be Auctioned { Washington/ DPA }

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ruby and gold Swastika ring, said to have once belonged to Adolf Hitler, is to be sold at auction in the coming weeks, a Maryland auction house said. The long lost ring, a gift to the Nazi dictator from goldsmith Karl Berthold, has an estimated value between 75,000 and 100,000 dollars, Alexander Historical Auctions in Chesapeake, Maryland, said. Berthold was a prominent goldsmith and Hitler devotee, who made his career under the Dictator, according to the auction house. Only a few weeks after the Nazis came to power, Berthold carried out a cleansing of Frankfurt’s Staedelschule School of Fine Arts, dismissing what the Nazis called “degenerate” professors – including Max Beckmann and other “cultural Bolshevik Jew servants.” The ostentatious ring displays a Swastika formed by rubies. The ring also features wreaths of oak leaves, small berries and a lightly stippled background, according to the auction house. The ring, made of silver, will be sold along with its sterling silver globe case, also featuring a Swastika, and an ebony wood pedestal. There is hardly anything left of a 24-karat gold powder coating on the ring. The auction house said documents it possesses prove the ring is authentic. The documents say the ring was recovered by a US soldier from the flooded basement of a Nazi building in Munich at the end of World War II. Many collectors have owned the ring. The last one died two years ago, and his grandchild brought it to the auction house. u


13-19 September 2013

Wiegand-Maelzer

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The Tropical Islands indoor pool complex 80 kilometres southeast of Berlin.

loves the loop-the-loop and turbo slides, where he can feel the centrifugal force. He has also tried out slides riding in a capsule dropped into free-fall by a trapdoor. One paradise for waterslide fans in Germany is the Galaxy Therme leisure centre in Erding, near Munich. According to Wiegand Maelzer, it is Europe’s largest indoor

aqua-park, with some 20 slides combining for 1,700 metres. This includes Europe’s longest tube slide, 356 metres long. Also popular is the Tropical Islands recreation park in Krausnick, 80 kilometres southeast of Berlin, which boasts the country’s tallest water-slide tower. Those who dare to take off from the 25-metre-

A boy rides an orange-coloured water slide.

tall tower can reach speeds of up to 70 kilometres per hour. The biggest vertical descent of a water-slide in Europe is at Lazise on Lake Garda in northern Italy. The L-shaped runs start from a 32-metre-tall tower, and is upto 75 degrees steep. The latest thrill-giver on the market is the Canonball. It’s simple. It resembles a gigantic pipe, inside the head

Climbing Yosemite’s Half Dome { Barbara Munker/Half Dome, California / DPA }

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t six o’clock in the morning not much can be seen of the towering granite dome. Most Yosemite Half Dome climbers get going with flashlights well before sunrise, on a trail that is long, steep and ultimately, adventurous. For the final steep 120 metres they will need to pull themselves up the climbers’ path with the help of steel cables. “You just have to keep calm and put one foot in front of the other,” Yosemite National Park ranger Kari Cobb advises. A wiry 27-year-old, she can do the trek from Yosemite Valley, elevation 1,230 metres, to the peak of Half Dome (2,693 metres) and back in about five hours. Less experienced hikers should plan 10 to 12 hours to cover the 27-kilometre distance. Hiking a zig-zag path, hikers quickly put Yosemite Valley behind them. An idyllic resting point before proceeding to the top is at Little Yosemite Valley, over 2,000 metres up. Up until 1875 the mountain was considered to be unconquerable. But then climber George Anderson hammered eyebolts into the

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Freefall & Cannonball

{ Joern Perske/ Rasdorf, Germany/ DPA } he sparkling world of water slides is getting speedier, more daring and varied. Be it the cannonball, the freefall or a loop-theloop ride, slides are what draw many thrill-seeking bathers to today’s swimming pools. “The adrenaline junkies always want the craziest slides,” says Hendrik Wiegand, Chief Executive of Wiegand-Maelzer, the largest German water-slide manufacturer. Since the sale of the first flume or water slide in 1981, Wiegand-Maelzer has sold more than 500 around the world. The channels are made either from stainless steel or fibreglassreinforced plastics. “Stainless steel lasts longer. It’s the higher-end variant, and above all perfect for outdoor pools,” 49-year-old Wiegand says. Adding value to the waterslide experience are new special effects such as LED lighting, sound and fog. Videos of water-slide tests, conducted by Julian Tshech, can be viewed on his Internet page, www.tuberides.de . Tschech

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granite, ran steel cables through them and so created a trail along the back side of the mountain up to the summit. The steel cable balustrade in use today was installed in 1919. It’s a simple design, consisting of two steel cables about one metre apart, stretched at about arm’s level along poles anchored in the rock. Climbers can use it from May through October. The route is closed in the winter.

For decades now the Half Dome has been the most popular trail hiking destination in Yosemite Valley. “Some days you’ll see 1,200 people making their way up the steel cables. Often enough, there are some real traffic jams,” Cobb says. Starting

three years ago the Park administration began restricting the number of dome climbers. This summer, 300 permits - which need to be reserved in advance - are issued each day. And one had better not forget to bring the permit along. At the foot of the “Subdome,” where things are about to begin in earnest, a Park ranger is there to stop interlopers. For another hour, hikers clamber over granite boulders,

and the trail that has been hewn into the rock is difficult at times to make out. But along the way, there are spectacular views of the surrounding peaks. Then the final stretch, a 47-per-cent grade, comes into view. Dozens of hikers stand on a small plateau and stare intently at those ahead of them, looking like tiny ants against the gigantic rock, as they hold onto the two cables to make their way up to the top. On come the gloves and now it’s time for the final push – step by step on the smooth rock, both hands firmly gripping the cables.

of which some daring soul sits, waiting for 1,500 litres of water to smash into him with a pressure of 1.2 bar and launch him 8 metres through the air into the pool - as a human cannonball. “This is something really special,” slide tester Tschech says. Adds Wiegand: “This one makes humans the playtoy of the water.” u

Every three or four metres there’s a board lying crossways between the poles - a spot to stop and catch one’s breath, to pass up slower climbers, and for those who dare - to risk taking a look back down below. The strenuous half-hour “high wire act” brings a rich reward. From the top of Half Dome there’s a breathtaking view of the world far below - a view that drops vertically downwards 1,400 metres to Yosemite Valley. The top of the Half Dome is the size of several football fields. The daring few will crawl out onto a promontory called “the visor”, which looks as its name suggests. Max Bock is now posing for a classic summit photograph. “It’s been worth all the effort,” the German says, beaming. But the effort is only half over. “The return down the Cable Route is tough,” ranger Kari Cobb warns. “Most people will go backwards hanging on to the steel cables. After that there is 13 kilometres of hiking, all downhill.” Many finally finish just as darkness is descending on the valley. But fortunately, the adrenaline rush of having conquered the summit drives the hikers onwards. The fitting souvenir can then be purchased in a Yosemite shop, in the form of a T-shirt that says “I Made It To The Top.” u


13-19 September 2013

This is how it should have been...can be.

The fault, dear citizens, is not in the Toll Plaza, but in our State...

24 G -scape ASHA PANDEY

Friday gurgaon 13 19 sept, 2013  

...be the change you want to see

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