Page 1

17-23 April 2015

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

Vol. 4 No. 35  Pages 16  ` 10

Teach them young { Barnali Dutta/FG }

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bus driver rapes twelve children….a father rapes his five-year-old daughter and kills her….. an uncle rapes his niece while her parents are away…. an elder cousin molests and rapes a seven-year-old school girl…. a child living on the street is raped by a man in the dead of night – these are but a few of the horrible headlines from newspapers across India and the world. Child sexual abuse is prevalent across the globe, and has grown disconcertingly in recent times. Yes, paedophiles are on the prowl! Of the reported cases of sexual abuse, as much as 23% relate to the girl child (it is also over 10% for the boy child). Most sexual offenders are acquainted with their victims. A global study states that over 30% of such offenders are brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins, while 60% are ‘friends’ of families, babysitters or neighbours – or people

known to them. Only 10% are complete strangers, who take advantage of children in unfortunate circumstances. Dr. Brahamadeep, Psychiatrist at the Civil Hospital, says, “Children are unfortunately easy targets for these criminals. Many of the victims can’t properly express their views or feelings. The crime is therefore expected to remain hidden forever. But I must admit that nowadays people are much more

aware and they are not scared of lodging complaints. Even in Haryana people are coming forward to protest against such crimes, which is a very good sign.” As per experts, these offenders, whoever they are, cannot be considered as normal or having socially acceptable behaviour. These ‘sick’ guys are mentally messed up and obsessed with molesting or raping young children because they are perhaps scared to

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attempt similar acts with older girls or women. ‘Men’ who rape tend to have little control even over other aspects of their lives or relationships. A rapist believes that this act gives him ‘power’, the power to hurt someone else. He is mentally depraved and finds joy in hurting someone who is ‘inferior’ in physical strength. Dr. Saurabh Mehrotra, a Psychiatrist at Medanta Hospital says, “Most of the victims suffer from mental trauma, which becomes pronounced over time. These types of psychological disorders progress through various stages, often culminating in the survivor undergoing a complete change in personality.  Most of the criminals are very often close relatives or persons extremely familiar with the victim and her family. I  would also  like to add that such crimes are not new to our society. We are becoming more aware because people are noticing this more and the victims and their families are willing to report these crimes. However, the extent – in both Contd. on p 4

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

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he fault lines in the Aam Aadmi Party have deepened, with Party dissidents Yogendra Yadav and Prashant Bhushan announcing the ‘Swaraj Abhiyan’, which aims to promote alternative politics. The decision to hold the Swaraj Samvad (in Gurgaon), to launch the Abhiyan, was aimed at chalking out a strategy for the country’s future political map, and to train workers, said Yogendra Yadav. The dissident leaders said that they would work within the framework of the Aam Aadmi Party, and with the rank and file, to launch a crusade for reforms. The decision to hold the Samvad and the launch of the Abhiyan could however result in the formal expulsion of Yadav, Bhushan, Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha – the prominent leaders on the stage at the Samvad – from the Party. Contd. on p 4


02

17-23 April 2015

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017 Vol. 4 No. 35   17-23 April 2015

THE WEEK THAT WAS  The govt.’s Mission

Editor:

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

Barnali Dutta

Sr. Photographer:

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Sr. Designer:

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Marketing Executive: Kumar Thakur

Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin: Shiv Shankar Jha

Editorial Office 108, Aap Ka Bazar, Gurudwara Road, Gurgaon-122001, Haryana

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editor@fridaygurgaon.com letters@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 108, Aap Ka Bazar, Gurudwara Road, 
Gurgaon-122001, Haryana Printed at AGS Publication, D-67, Sector 6, 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. Friday Gurgaon Empanelled with DAVP Empanelled with DIPR, Haryana

Indradhanush, from April 7 to 13, is reportedly a success: over 20 lakhs new babies are inoculated with 34 lakhs injections; in Gurgaon District over 17,000 babies and 5,000 pregnant women are inoculated; the next initiative is the provision of ORS packets and Zinc tablets. State govt. approves construction of 11,259 EWS flats valued of Rs. 882 crores, across select districts. CM states that all district headquarters will soon have a dedicated women’s Police Station. The State will have its first NCC academy in Karnal district. The State will now provide insurance cover to sportpersons. 5,000-year-old skeletons are unearthed at Rakhigarhi, a Harappan site in Hisar district. State govt. proposes that the Aravallis should be exempt from transfer of land provisions of the Forest Conservation Act.

 A 20-year-old student on a scooter is crushed by a bus on Old Railway Road.  A school bus allegedly speeding on Sohna Road crushes and kills a trainee pilot outside Tau Devi Lal Park.  A property dealer is shot dead in Udyog Vihar Phase 1.  A 60-year-old man dies after consuming a poisonous substance.  Anil Yadav, BJP leader and the husband of a Gurgaon Councillor, is shot after he asks some men drinking in a parked Mercedes in his Sushant Lok residential area to move out; 3 people have been held.  Police suspect murder in the case of a

22-year-old Delhi University student who was found dead in a DLF Phase II apartment.  A 22-year-old executive is molested by 4 men in a bus, after she boards it at IFFCO Chowk; 2 of the men have been arrested.  A youth is beaten up by a retired naval officer over the ‘wrong’ parking of his car; he suffers damage to his ears.

 

 5 men take a guard hostage and pull out a private bank ATM containing Rs 9 lakhs, in Kherki Daula village.  Over Rs 20 lakhs worth of clothes are stolen from a garments factory in Sector 37. A 68-year-old retired engineer is held for duping investors (in shares) of Rs 85 crores in total. A man is duped of Rs 62 lakhs in a property fraud, in Sector 56. An engineer is beaten up and his bike, wallet and mobile stolen, by 2 bike-borne thieves – who leave their bike (probably also stolen) behind. A constable is arrested while he is taking a bribe of Rs 40,000.

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 

 CM confirms that a University would be set up in Gurgaon, and a site has also been proposed.  AAP rebels hold a Swaraj Samvad in Gurgaon, attended by about 2,000 people from across the country..  Councillor Sunita Kataria, along with a group of women, allegedly assaults MCG Chief Engineer at his office; the Councillor had earlier alleged that the Chief engineer had ‘misbehaved’ with her when she had asked for some civic action

 

to be taken; MCG sanitation staff comes out in support of the Chief Engineer; the Mayor finally helps resolve the issue. Gurgaon Police Chief plans for 10 new Police Stations in the City, broadly on the basis of areas that have had more than 1,000 FIRs filed in a year. HUDA is finally (after many earlier failed attempts) able to free 17 acres from’ squatters’, by razing over 400 illegal structures in Sector 47, with the help of over 500 policemen; HUDA also razes a few structures near Subhash Chowk the next day.  Over 20 bars in the City may close down due to the significantly higher licence fees this year.  NGT asks CGWA to ensure that there is no more illegal extraction of ggroundwater. NGT asks civic agencies to remove concrete and tiles around (15,000) trees. CM inaugurates a new hall at Govt. Girls College, Sector 14 and also the new Sikanderpur flyover linking MG Road (from near Dronacharya Metro) to Cyber City. Faridabad and Gurgaon will not be directly linked by Metro – a new route will connect Faridabad to Mehrauli, via Surajkund. Ambedkar Jayanti is celebrated with fervour. A Special Raahgiri, based on the theme of ‘inclusiveness’, is planned for April 19th.; CM Khattar is expected to attend.

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03

Theatre Date: April 18 Time: 7:30pm Paighamber (Musical/Hindi/90mins) Director: Vikas Dwivedi; Producer: Ale House Pvt. Ltd.; Cast: Tom Alter. The Musical Play is inspired by the classic of literature world, ‘The Prophet’, by the great author Dr. Kahlil Gibran. The Play incorporates the rich folk music of Chattisgarh and Haryana, as well as the famous ‘Karma’ dance form of Chattisgarh, along with Live

music and singing. Ticket at Rs. 650 & 450/- available at the Venue. Suitable for 14 years & above. Dance Date: April 20 Time: 7:00pm An evening of Odissi dance recital by Arpita Tandan and the students of Kala Uditayan. Directed by Guru Panchanan Bhuiyan in Guru Shri Kelucharan Mahapatra’s style. Date: April 22 Time: 7:00pm An evening of Kathak recital by the students of Ravi Gangani Date: April 23 Time: 7:30pm An evening of Kathak recital by the students of Harish Gangani

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04  Contd from p 1 numbers and cruelty – has definitely gone up. Every section of our society is affected with such crime.” In India, a large number of cases of child sexual abuse go unreported. The parents are scared of the repercussions on the child, when she is faced with the trauma of having to relive such heinous acts. Besides, there is the social stigma, which parents themselves are unable to face, especially since most of the offenders are known to them as well as the child. Social scientists and psychologists believe that rape is not just difficult to predict, but also difficult to comprehend. Often these acts are attributed to issues related to social mores, gender, depravity and masculinity. Rapists do not belong to any particular section of society. They rape children or

17-23 April 2015

Teach them young even women because they do not believe they can achieve physical gratification in any other way. “They do not believe that they can develop normal relationships with women,” a psychologist observes. “Emotional intimacy is missing in such men,” adds Malhotra. According to another social scientist, who works closely with rapists who have been jailed, very often men turn rapists because they no longer enjoy any relationship with their wives. “They begin to fantasise, and look for sexual gratification in young helpless children,” he says. The rise of Internet porn has just added fuel to the fire. Gurgaon reported a horrific incident only a few days ago

wherein a five-year old girl was brutally raped and sodomised by a 32-year-old man. The man, not related to her, was quite drunk when he saw her on the street and enticed her in with some sweets. He had intended to kill her after abusing her. Mercifully, he was caught in time. The girl is still recuperating at Safdarjung Hospital, Delhi. It will be a while before the police are able to comprehend the man’s mind and the reasons for him committing this heinous crime. Alcohol will become an easy ‘excuse’, for his not being ‘in his senses’. The fact is that he is a depraved man who has committed a dastardly crime. Dr. Anju Rawat Negi, Advocate, says, “These kinds of criminals are suffering

from mental illness. They have no humanity within. Sometimes it is an act of revenge; at other times it might just be a frivolous act – ‘fun’." She adds, “I believe that the mentality of such criminals won’t really change, though the fraternity continues to hope that a new environment and education might compel them to mend their ways. There is really no mechanism to discern what goes on inside the heads of such perverts." Dr Negi strongly feels that whatever may be the reason behind such a dastardly act as rape, the verdict and punishment – exemplary - must be delivered fast. "Justice delayed only emboldens these criminals and even encourages them to continue abus-

ing innocent children," she added. There are of course stringent laws within the purview of the Indian Penal Code and the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences Act. But despite obvious offences, very often it is quite difficult for the police authorities to determine the veracity of the crime. In the process, thousands of such criminals go scot-free and many others are not convicted for years. “We are taking every possible step to stop such crime. What is helping us in our duty is the refreshingly bold attitude of the victims and the citizens. They are definitely showing more courage to speak out against criminal acts. In Gurgaon the people are now coming forward to help the law, without worrying so much about repercussions and personal dangers. This definitely is a good sign," say police officials.u

gaon. Bhushan also said that AAP is not Kejriwal’s Party, as thousands of people had worked hard to make AAP win in the Delhi elections. AAP Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar, who attended the meet, said that the samvad had been organised to strengthen the Party. Rallying their supporters, who are unhappy with the working of the Party under Kejriwal, the AAP rebels said that under Swaraj Abhiyan they would fight for the rights of farmers, women and the common man across the country, by organising rallies and protests. The decision to hold the Swaraj Samvad has however not gone well with the Aam Aadmi Party leadership. The Party had already warned that action would be taken against workers and leaders who attend the meeting organised by the dissident camp. The Party leadership said that AAP has nothing to do with the meeting organised in Gurgaon. The decision to hold the Samvad seems to have forced AAP to hasten the exit of Yadav and Bhushan from the Party, and

their case has been referred to the Disciplinary Committee. The Political Affairs Committee of the Party has also referred the names of Anand Kumar and Ajit Jha to the Disciplinary Committee, for suitable action. The decision was taken at the PAC meeting held at Party chief Arvind Kejriwal’s residence. The Party has however taken no action against MLA Pankaj Pushkar, who was also included in the core group of the Swaraj Abhiyan launched by the dissidents. Ironically, Prashant Bhushan was head of the Party Disciplinary Committee before he was removed from the panel. It now comprises Dinesh Waghela, Pankaj Gupta and Ashish Khetan. Responding to a query regarding disciplinary action, Prashant Bhushan said, “Let the execution take place, the trial can follow,” making a reference to how the Party had made its mind to summarily punish – without any ‘trial’ - the workers and activists who had refused to follow the diktats of Kejriwal & Co. Bhushan said that there was a difference between being anti-Party and being disliked by the leadership. Sources said that hard action is likely to be taken against the dissidents and their supporters, because the AAP leadership now seems to believe, and is comforted by the ‘fact’, that it is no more dependent on the volunteers who steered it to power in Delhi. By making an example of these ‘high-profile’ rebels, they believe that that it would send a strong message that any further dissidence, especially against Kejriwal, would not be tolerated; it would probably be nipped in the bud.u

 Contd from p 1 They are also the four leaders who were expelled from AAP’s national executive. Yogendra Yadav made it clear that the Aam Aadmi Party rules and its Constitution allows workers to hold a dialogue. However, he was equally clear that, though many AAP volunteers were still hoping that some miracle ‘compromise’ would take place, this seemed extremely remote. He said that although the Party was a gush of fresh air for some time, the present circumstances have led to much anger and sadness. “In such circumstances,” he told the volunteers, “we all must return to our mission and we must come back to the vision that we had when the Party started.” When asked about the decision of the Party to not accept this meeting as official, Yadav said that the Party’s Constitution gives the right to workers to hold a meeting, and the Party should respect it. A large number of Party workers who had come to the meeting to mark their solidarity with the dissidents, said that it was wrong for the AAP leadership to confine the Party merely to Delhi. “What is wrong if Yadav wanted the Party to fight elections in Haryana, and that the Party should spread its wings to other States?” asks a volunteer. The volunteers also said that they won’t quit the Party but will fight for reforms within, and a majority said that they did not want a split in the ranks. Critics however say that if Bhushan and Yadav do not take some critical action soon, and form a group outside AAP, then their relevance to the alternative politics movement will diminish, and the Kejriwal group will gain more

ground. Splinter groups have always found it difficult to survive in Indian politics. Though the decision to not launch a Party is being considered an astute move, the lack of a mass leader in the ranks of the dissidents is being seen as their major handicap. Meanwhile Arvind Kejriwal has fairly well retained his mass leader profile – though political infighting, sting operations and bickering have marred the ‘clean’ image of the Party. Another issue for the rebels is that AAP came into existence at a time when there was a peculiar condition in Indian politics, when people were totally disenchanted with the Congress government. The situation has changed today, with the Narendra Modi government giving the people hope of progress and development – and there is not even a hint of any corruption scandal. Adding some zest to the Tuesday meeting in Gurgaon, Prashant Bhushan, who is leading the Abhiyan along with Yadav, said that if they had announced a new Party, then the dangers would be the same that

AAP Rebels AAP is today facing. He predicted that once many workers join the multiple discussions planned across the country, hold meaningful dialogues and pledge to follow democratic principles, then a new Party could be formed. Bhushan alleged that there was no internal democracy in AAP under Kejriwal, and the Party was being controlled by a coterie. “We are hearing that, since we have organised this dialogue, we have been removed from Party. We demanded that a Lokpal should be set up in each State, with final decisions taken by a National Lokpal, but the Party leadership did not agree to this. It’s been two years and we can’t even see the Party’s decisions on AAP’s website what kind of transparency is this? We had promised that we would be the first Party to subject ourselves to RTI,” asserted Bhushan, while addressing the Party workers, who had come in large numbers to Gur-

C overS tory


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17-23 April 2015

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The 'VIP' Ward

{ Barnali Dutta/FG }

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prakhar PANDEY

I

s Gurgaon fast turning into a hellhole? Or is there still hope for the citizens of this City to get the infrastructure that was once touted as one of the best planned after Chandigarh? The jaded look, the dust, the traffic snarls, the potholes, the parking distress…often the Gurgaon scenario resembles a nightmare! Ward number 18 is the largest in Gurgaon, comprising Baraf Nagar, Civil Lines, Friends Colony, HVPNL Colony, Jacubpura, Kirti Nagar, Patel Nagar, Police Lines, Roshanpura and Sec 15-1. This Ward is considered the heart of Gurgaon. It is also the most prized residential area on the ‘old’ Gurgaon side of the e-way. This is where top bureaucrats and senior government officials reside. The Ward has been likened to a lotus in the otherwise dirty waters. Maybe apt, because it is clearly not all roses. A former Councillor, Thakran, says that this place is very close to his heart. "But I am not really happy with the development of this Ward," he adds. One of the bigger issues here is the heavy traffic and limited parking space. "Adding to the traffic woes are the vendors, whose carts spill onto the roads, using up all free spaces; they also encroach parking lots. With pedestrians thus having to fight for walking space, the vehicles can only crawl at snail’s space. The vendors are none too happy either. Says a fruit seller, “We are always blamed for the congestion on the roads and are often shunted out. No one actually checks if the cars are parked in an orderly manner. Drivers must be disciplined. After all, this is one of the busiest roads.” According to pedestrians as well as commuters, the police presence in congested areas is often

Damaged roads

Garbage strewn found wanting. At Sadar Bazar, where vehicular movement is heavy, traffic snarls are a regular feature. Thakran highlights other issues, such as ‘swachhta’, rather the lack of it, and of course the poor sewerage system. “It is a menace, especially when it rains. Sadar Bazar, once the biggest market in Gurgaon, is also one of the dirtiest. Ideally MCG should be maintaining it in partnership with the people who own businesses there. The swachh andolan has become more of a debate among the people than any actual, meaningful action,” he says. He is happy that the cleaners employed by MCG do come in the morning to clean some of the waste and dirt. ”There is need for greater cohesion and co-operation between MCG authorities and the people who use the market place. Only the civic authorities cannot be blamed for the accumulated filth everywhere,” he says. However, he quickly adds, “MCG does not lack in manpower nor does it suffer from financial weakness. It is up to the Councillor and his team to set things right.” He laments the fact that every colony does not have a post office and school. Residents of Jacubpura and

{ Sharad Goel }

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C ivic/S ocial

17-23 April 2015

he year 2014 could be considered as the year of change in the history of the country as it brought about massive political change. The era of corruption and lack of growth was predicted to end with the new government taking charge under the leadership of a dynamic new leader who had proven his expertise in Gujarat. There was great hope now that the new political dispensation would provide a fillip to trade, business and the industrial sector, which had fallen behind in the last one decade. There was also hope that infrastructure and other related requirements, which are key for economic recovery, would be speeded

High tention lines Kirti Nagar complain about the poor drainage system. Kapish, a resident, says the area suffers both from a poor sewerage system as well as shortage of water. The sewage as well as water pipes are damaged in several places. “We have made umpteen complaints to the authorities for their repair, because waste water and water for use in households are spilling into each other, causing severe health hazards,” Kapish says. He also complains about the poor drainage system, leading to clogging in many areas. “There is a lot of filth in some areas and the smell from it is horrible,” he says.

The children in the colonies of Ward 18 have no playgrounds. Besides, the Ward also lacks a community centre. RWA President of Patel Nagar, Deepchand Chaudhury, laments, “There are no schools either. Further, the proximity of high tension lines poses a life threat to the people, especially those who living on the streets. As many as 120 persons have lost their lives in the past ten years due to short circuits. This needs immediate action,” says Chaudhury. He does have a few words of praise for the current Councillor. “He has been very active. Some new roads have been constructed, though some

Time for Agro+Industry up by the new government. Everyone is now waiting for the new government to transform their promises into reality. On the current govt.’s pet Make in India scheme, RBI has said that we need to be careful about the programme, because the SEZ scheme and the export sector in our country have not been able to make any major dent. A number of our products can only be exported because the govt. gives subsidies for their manufacture, as the others are more efficient and productive. The need of the hour in India is to boost industry, so that it becomes a major revenue generator and employer. Currently the mood in the manufacturing sector is gloomy, with

industrial relations particularly touching a low point. In industrial zones in NCR the license permit raj is still existent. There is need to implement a single window clearance system for industry. The govt. must assure continuous power to industry, which has in many cases been forced to run on diesel generators. There is also urgent need to set up technical colleges and skill development centres, make cheap land available, and reduce the corruption in the system. Another important step that the Indian government must take is to make agriculture competitive, and introduce food processing on a large scale across the country. The Indian farm sector is

roads (over which there are high tension wires) need to be extended through the Bund area, to open up an emergency route.” The Bund is quite a controversial topic. Once upon a time this bund was clear and properly maintained. According to the people living around it, the MCG cleaners are not doing their work properly. The area is also infested with pigs, which adds to the general filth. The colony is not too safe either; poor street lighting has made it a haven for drunks, who often cause a lot of nuisance. Councillor Subhash Chand says, “Most of the allegations are quite untrue. The civic authorities have been doing their job diligently. We have worked hard in many of the areas where problems were detected. These are ongoing issues and we are trying to resolve the problems one by one.” Chand adds that all the roads in every colony have been well constructed, and MCG workers undertake cleaning every day. On the question of the dangers from the high-tension lines, Chand says that the authorities are taking appropriate action. “We have already filed a case and the matter is sub judice,” he says. Regarding the water problem in the area, Chand says that special efforts are being made for the supply of tubewell water for meeting any water shortages. He denies any issues with the sewerage system in the area. Chand admits that some problems do remain. “Yes, we have not been able to provide proper playgrounds for children, because we do not have space to develop a playground or community center. As for the Bund, we can’t do anything because it is under the Forest department and they have not agreed to our proposal to connect it to the roads in the Ward, and nor are they willing to allow us to make any further development around that area.”u

inefficient, despite producing a lot. It could achieve a lot more through scientific methods and processing. There is huge wastage of food. The recent unseasonal rains have wrought further havoc on the farming community, and it is fighting for its survival. There is need to take immediate steps to help farmers who are under debt. Farm suicides are now taking place even in affluent states like Punjab and Haryana, which have been the bread baskets of the country. Between 2000 and 2010 there were 6,128 suicides committed by farmers due to debts and failed crops. Farm and industry both need to make a turnaround in the country, and it only when these two crucial sectors see positive growth that the Modi government would be able to take India on the path to progress - as it has promised.u


17-23 April 2015

07 prakhar PANDEY

Hare Krishna Kala Kendra


08 write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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he Department of Education has chosen five government schools in Gurgaon as Model Schools. The Model School scheme aims to provide quality education to talented rural children through the setting up of 6,000 Model Schools across the country (one school per Block) as benchmarks of excellence. The Model School’s mission is to provide a true alternative for parents who realise that their children need a comprehensive educational program within a humanistic developmental environment. The scheme has the following objectives: - To have at least one good quality Senior Secondary school in every Block of the country - The institution must be open to innovations in curriculum and pedagogy - The institution must be a role model in infrastructure, curriculum, evaluation and school governance. The five Gurgaon schools chosen by the Education department are the government schools in Islampur, Chakarpur, Bhim Nagar, Sector 47 and Kadipur. Principal of the Islampur School says, “The government schools will be ‘modified’ into Model schools for the benefit of the students and staff. Our challenging aim is to raise the standard of the education holistically, while also increasing the number of students and teachers, so that more can benefit from the new system. We will

also ensure that our teachers are more effectively trained, by SCERT, for the betterment of our students.” The School is also adopting newer technologies for creating a better environment of learning. For example, overhead projectors have been installed in Classes VI to X. The Principal of Bheem Nagar School, Indira Yadav says, “Our selection would primarily have been due to the presence of a large number of underprivileged students in the area. The government’s intention is also to ensure that the Model Schools are able to cater to the less privileged sections of society,” she says. She sees this decision of the Education department as a silver lining for the School. “The Model School status will be a boon. Our School lacks proper infrastructure and we are now hopeful that the State Education department will help us improve it, as also the education system. This will benefit a large number of children in the area. The Model School scheme would help build the necessary platform for raising the quality of education in government schools,“ she says. Principal of the Kadipur government school, Munni Ram, expressing satisfaction at being chosen as a Model School, feels that this decision will make such schools more competitive and help bring them at par with the private schools even in the quality of education. “The new system will also help develop quality teachers, which will even attract children from more ‘well off’ homes. The admissions can be transparently conducted online, ” he says. “Of course the infrastructure would

vastly improve,” he adds. Rana is proud that his School even today produces quality students, who are good at both academics and sports. In order to make the students more competitive, the School has decided to invite specialists for lectures. “With better quality teachers, as planned under the Model Schools scheme, the School would be able to develop even better quality students in future,” he says. District Elementary Education Officer (DEEO) of Gurgaon, Ms Kaushik, states that the Model Schools have been chosen quite randomly in this first phase, as it is a part of the experiment to see how this new system evolves. “We had an extensive meeting with the principals of the five schools, and the development of quality education was discussed with them extensively. The schools have been given the freedom to express themselves and suggest measures that will improve the overall education system. The Model Schools will also inculcate sports and vocational training, which will give the children better exposure and opportunities for their future,” she says. Ms Kaushik adds that dedicated professionals have been recruited to help make the proposed Model School curriculum ‘come alive’ in the chosen schools. “We are hopeful that this staff team will provide good instruction, guidance and supervision, and ensure that the educational activities and recreation for young children take place in a well prepared, humanistic and developmentally appropriate learning environment,” she concludes.u

CM in Gurgaon

prakhar PANDEY

Re-Modelling Govt. Schools { Barnali Dutta/FG }

S ocial

17-23 April 2015

Bhim Nagar School

Islampur School

Kadipur School

The BJP government in Haryana should offer a major relief package to the farmers in the State who have lost their produce to the unseasonal rains, says Vashisht Goel, prominent social activist of Gurgaon. "The farmers are staring at massive losses as the wheat and mustard crops have been severely damaged. The cost of farming has risen in the past few years; power, water and fertilizers have become expensive, and the farmers have also taken loans at high interest. In such a scenario, it is important that the government take urgent cognizance of this serious issue and promptly help the farming community," he says.


17-23 April 2015

K id C orner

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Ryan International School, Sector 40

Most Unlucky Day

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he students of Class V-B, Ryan International School, Sector 40 gave an informative talk show on the significance of the Jalliawalan Bagh (Amritsar) Massacre, which took place on April 13, 1919, and also performed a role play on the prominent freedom fighters who had strongly protested the Massacre - Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlen, Shri Udham Singh and Shri Satya Pal .

Ambedkar Jayanti

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yan International School, Sector 40 celebrated the birth anniversary of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar with great enthusiasm. Students of Class V F effectively described Dr. Ambedkar’s achievements and contributions to society through a dynamic role play. Class 8 students presented an informative talk show on Dr. Ambedkar.

Talking Autism

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sychology students of Class XII, Ryan international School, Sohna Road, presented a play to help create better awareness of, and dispel certain stereotypes and stigmas attached with, Autism (on World Autism Day).  Autism is a life-long neurological condition that affects perception and understanding.

Teen Talks

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he concept of ‘Teen Talk’ was introduced as part of the morning assembly to make the students more aware and self-assured. The first Teen Talk was delivered by Balachandra Routhu, a student of Class-XIIA. He spoke on the topic of self-esteem to an audience comprising of students from all sections – Primary, Middle and Senior.

Oysters Beach, Gurgaon season starts


10 { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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devotional life is one lived in His presence. Various religions of the world tell us to practise devotion in an amazing variety of ways: dancing as if in a trance, standing on one leg, chanting, praying with a string of beads, singing hymns, going on pilgrimages, meditating on icons, gathering in places of worship for blessings, wrapping ourselves in prayer shawls, or ‘bringing up’ the sun. Whether our devotional practices are formal liturgies or informal gestures, they recognise that everything is linked to the Divine - there can be no bracketing of our existence into holy and unholy precincts. Begin, then, by cultivating your own garden of devotion. Pick as many seeds to plant as you desire; water them with love; be vigilant in your caretaking; add new plants

to the garden for variety; and be happy knowing that this garden pleases God. Devotion is not something that is done once a week, just on religious holidays or only in response to a particular event in your life. Special devotion may be called for at those times but, as a spiritual practice, it needs to be part of your daily routine. Devotion helps you build selfdiscipline. Being constant in your prayers prepares you for the other disciplines needed in your life. If you lack commitment and do not tend to follow through, in the long run your devotional life will suffer as well. Devotion means that, even while doing our daily chores and while performing our professional duties, we can connect ourselves to the cosmic consciousness. Every organised religion holds that certain behaviours, rituals, personalities, places and/or

17-23 April 2015

Devotion to Bhakti The Bhagavad Gita truly sums up devotion: “There are people who perform all the ancient rituals, who offer all the sacrifices that the sacred texts prescribe, who drink the sacred drinks, who keep themselves from committing any sin, and who pray regularly. They will be rewarded for their efforts. They will go to a realm above the earth, and enjoy many blessings and pleasures. But when these blessings and pleasures are complete, they will return to earth, and be trapped once more in the cycle of death and rebirth. Performing rituals cannot liberate a person from the chains of desire. But those who worship me, who meditate upon me constantly, and who live in perfect harmony with me, will attain perfection. I shall not merely provide for their needs, but I shall give them far more. I make no distinction between one religion and another. People may worship me in any form they wish. The form of worship does not matter to me; my only concern is the quality of love that is expressed in worship. I accept every kind of worship, because I am supreme. People may offer me merely a leaf, or a flower, or even a little water; I shall accept it, so long as it is offered in a spirit of devotion. Offerings are merely symbols, which in themselves do not concern me. I want a pure heart and a mind hungry for truth. Whatever you do, or eat, or give, let it be an offering to me; and whatever you suffer, then suffer it for my sake. In this way you will break free from the bonds of cause and effect. You will be free from all interest in the consequences of action, because you will be free from desire and fear. You will be free to come to me. I look upon all living beings equally; I do not love one being more and another being less. But those who love me, live in me, and I come to life in them. Even the worst sinners become holy when they turn to me, and worship me with all their heart and mind. Soon their wickedness is turned into righteousness, their corruption is made pure, and they become tranquil and serene. All those who devote themselves to me will attain the supreme goal - regardless of race, sex or class. Those whom society scorns are equal in my sight to those whom society exalts. You have been born into a world where suffering is constant and pleasures are fleeting. Give all your love to me, fill your mind with me, serve me with all your strength, and seek me with all your heart. Then you and I will be united in joy.” Devotion appears to be the path most recommended in the Bhagavad Gita. Within modern Hinduism, Bhakti Yoga remains the predominant path towards spiritual fulfillment. Krishna says that Bhakti Yoga appears simple, but as it is perfected and as the practitioner matures, it combines all types of yoga. It includes the external and symbolic worship of the ‘murti’, other practices such as pilgrimage and the sophisticated processes of inner development. It has often been condescendingly presented as suitable to those with emotional rather than intellectual dispositions, but thinkers such as Ramanuja, Madhva and Vallabha have refuted such claims. Their theologies emphasise the importance of developing devotion based on knowledge. They also stress the importance of grace in achieving such spiritual knowledge - often received via the guru, the mediator of God’s mercy. Devotion is sometimes considered the synthesis, and the ultimate goal, of Karma and Jnana. In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna reveals that expensive fire altar rituals are not necessary for honouring God. “I accept the offering, even of those who give me a leaf, a flower, a fruit or some water, with devotion,” says Krishna. Every day, in temples and homes throughout the world, Hindu devotees make such simple honour-offerings to Krishna and to other deities. They present fruits, flowers, water and sweets, and they receive these gifts back again, as the ‘prashad’ - blessing and grace - of God. The love of Krishna is sung in popular chants of the Lord’s name, such as ‘Hare Krishna’! (Praise to Krishna!), and in ‘bhajans’ (popular hymns). Dance is also a form of devotion. Krishna devotees in India and America will often dance as they sing ‘kirtans’. Indian Classical dances also have a devotional context. Shiva as Nataraja is the ‘Lord of the Dance’ and is sometimes depicted in the energetic, balanced and beautiful pose of a dancer. In his dances he creates the universe and destroys it, absorbing the manifold creation back into himself. At the outset of an Indian Classical dance performance, the dancer may honour one of the Gods with an invocation. The dancer may create, through gesture and movement, the very image of Krishna, so that the audience may experience the feeling of devotion; or the dancer may become Krishna’s beloved, so that the audience may taste the yearning she has for Krishna.

S piritual books are sacred. However, these organised teachings are but mere options for the one infused with devotion. To such a one, God is direct and spontaneous, providing him with an immediate source of guidance and direction; his relationship with God is not mediated through anyone or anything. The true devout is one who is always striving to eradicate that which shadows his inner light, and striving to see the inner light in others. He hides from no one and seeks escape from nothing. Acts of devotion are inherent to religious life. Through them, individuals and communities continually reinforce the unique bond that exists between God and humanity. This bond vitalises the relationships that sustain society - between individuals, and among the various elements of the community and its institutions. Prayer is essential for our spiritual sustenance and growth. Through it we may praise God and express our love for Him, as well as beseech Him for assistance. The capacity to meditate is a distinguishing feature of the human being. Probably human progress would be impossible without reflection and contemplation. Fasting and pilgrimage are two other acts of devotion, which have played an important part in religious life over the course of human history. Work may also be seen as an act of worship, when it is performed in a spirit of service. With its many individual perceptions and traditions, it is easy to understand why definitions of Hinduism have baffled so many. In fact, Hinduism is not one codified religion, but is a compilation of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of smaller belief systems. While millions of gods are worshipped, in their multiple variations and avatars, across the country, in practice each Hindu worships those few deities that he or she believes directly influences his or her life. It is considered natural that as humans we should respond to those deities that meet our individual needs. By selecting one or more of these gods and goddesses to worship, and by conducting the rituals designed to facilitate contact with them, a Hindu devotee is striving to maintain balance in this world. Hindus believe in a universe created and maintained by many Gods and Goddesses (a concept that can be overwhelming to an outsider). Hinduism is indeed a religion of diversity, but it is essential to understand that the underlying belief is in ‘Brahman’ (the Absolute).


W ellness

17-23 April 2015

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

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Rama describes the path of devotion as nine-fold: first is ‘satsang’ (association with loveintoxicated devotees); the second is to develop a taste for hearing my nectar-like stories; the third is service to the guru; fourth is to sing my ‘kirtan’ (communal chorus); ‘japa’ (repetition of the Holy name) and chanting of ‘bhajans’ are the fifth expression; to always follow scriptural injunctions, to practise control of the senses, nobility of character and selfless service, are the expressions of the sixth mode of devotion; seeing me manifested everywhere in this world and worshipping my saints more than myself is the seventh mode of devotion; to find no fault with anyone and to be content with one’s lot is the eighth mode of devotion; and unreserved surrender, with total faith in His strength, is the ninth and highest stage. Anyone who practises one of these nine modes of devotion pleases Him most. Although some Hindus believe that God is formless, most believe in an Absolute that manifests itself and its powers through various Gods and Goddesses. The highest path lies in concentrating all thoughts upon Him and renouncing all actions in Him with exclusive devotion. All our thoughts must fix on Him with utmost trust. Let us do our duties and then surrender the results of our actions as devotional sacrifice on His altar. We must do everything in the spirit of service, regarding the self as but an instrument through which the Divine expresses itself. u Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 30 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@ yahoo.com

he incidence of Cancer continues to rise across the globe. In each part of the world, depending on the local environment and the native lifestyle, the body’s immune systems and digestive flora were attuned to what it would take to survive and thrive. However, due to the relentless urbanisation, man is becoming increasingly divorced from his natural habitats. As this large-scale migration to urban areas, and sometimes across the seas to distant lands, takes hold, the mindbody-spirit trinity gets a rude jolt. In the first flush, the enjoyment of the ‘luxury’ and amenities’ of the urban world blunts the signals that the body may be sending back to us. But the new life soon begins to take its toll. It is not surprising to see therefore that, the higher the rate of urbanisation, the higher the incidence of Cancer. Prevention is key. If the case for preventative measures is strong for all Lifestyle Diseases, it could perhaps be said that it is the strongest for the deadly trio of Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes. It is critical that we listen to the body’s signals, so that we can take timely actions. We cannot allow our emotional stress to build up to a breaking point; we must strengthen our body & mind – by building a regular ‘practice’ into our daily routine. This should include a healthy dose of Aerobic exercises, stretching, strengthening and breathing exercises, and meditative practices. The more we live in harmony with the natural laws of life, the more we take in the life-enhancing gifts of Nature. Cancer is a sign that our internal environment is disconnected with the external environment. Keeping our internal environment harmonious with our external reality prevents the cancer cells from take hold. Food choices play a critical role – see tips below. In addition, Traditional Medicine systems across the world have for long used adaptogenic herbs and plant-based high potency antioxidants, which help prevent various cancers. For example, several herbs are used in Ayurveda to bring balance to our ‘doshas’ (constitution), which helps minimise cancers of various kinds. Cancer drugs used during the last 20 years have been either directly derived from plants or from chemically altered natural products. Nine plant-derived compounds, including

Astragalus

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Shatavari

Cancer Fighting Herbs

vinblastine, vincristine, etoposide, teniposide, taxol, navelbine, taxotere, topotecan and irinotecan, have been approved for use as anti-Cancer drugs.

Tip of the Week

Dietary choices greatly enhance or reduce the risk of cancers. For overall health and vitality, as well as for Cancer prevention, foods that are full of life-force (‘prana’ or ‘chi’) should be heavily present in the diet. These foods are primarily plantbased, whole, fresh, sun-ripened, enzyme-rich, alkalising and ideally organic. Low glycemic foods that have low sugar content are helpful, as are dark green leafy vegetables - especially the cabbage family. Cruciferous vegetables – like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale and radish - can improve or maintain our nutritional status while we receive Cancer treatment. Another potent source is rejuvenative foods, such as sprouts, baby greens, wild greens, enzyme-rich foods, sea-vegetables and algae. Overly refined foods, saturated animal fats, hydrogenated fats, heated oils or fried foods must be avoided.

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Cancer Fighting Herbs

Studies undertaken by the University of Texas have shown that Cancer patients on a diet that contains Astragalus have twice the survival rate. It seems to be effective for virtually every type of Cancer. Brahmi, Tulsi

(Holy Basil) and Calamum are helpful during meditation and help to rejuvenate the nervous system. Examples of immunity strengthening tonic-like herbs are Cleavers, Echinacea and Cat’s Claw.Rosemary can help prevent Cancer and age-related skin damage. Caffeic acid and rosemarinic acid are potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. Carnosol detoxifies substances that can initiate the Breast Cancer process. In Ayurvedic practice, Cancer preventative herbs are chosen as per each person’s ‘dosha’ (constitution). Some illustrative examples are: Colon cleansing herbs or antispasmodics: like Triphala, Asafoetida, Skullcap, Ginger root, Celandine, Aloe Vera, Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic. Examples of powerful blood-cleansing herbs are Shatavari, Turmeric, Burdock root and Red Clover. Other herbs for ‘Vata’ body types are Adaptogenics such as Ashwagandha, Siberian Ginseng, Holy Basil(Tulsi) and Mugwort. Herbs that aid circulation for ‘Pitta’ constitution are Milk Thistle & Gentian. To ameliorate ‘Kapha’, examples of expectorant-like herbs, which help dislodge phlegm, are: Black Pepper, Ginger, Cayenne Pepper , Cardamom and Trikatu. Other than for purposes of preventative tonic use, it is important to consult a highly qualified professional when considering these herbs for disease management. u For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions

Cleavers

Tulsi (Holy Basil)


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C omment

Free versus Freedom

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EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

ho owns the Internet? For only He should services, but can impact your business. be able to permit or deny access to it, The ISPs and telcos will get little sympathy. They or influence the speed to access it. The have been profitable entities for decades and have Internet is the Global Network of processors had great times. They also disrupted established and transmissions and terminal equipment, businesses. As long as they were not hit by an operating on the most comprehensive Global online raider, they were fine. Why didn’t telecom Spectrum. But it is also Global Content. The companies enter online value added services or Internet is thus uniquely the medium and the invest in companies offering them? They could message. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and have chosen the segment they wanted to play in telecom companies, who are now trying to play - whether for volume, value, God, are but mere providers of growth or profit, or all. The the services of the Internet to learning is that one must intheir customers. The Internet, Google is not novate, collaborate or invest in most importantly, needs to considered an Over new areas and businesses conremain neutral (which is why The Top (OTT) service stantly….but also know when Net Neutrality is the buzzword), and where to stop. Regarding like WhatApp or Skype. allowing for easy collaboration the current controversy, acand constant creativity. The hot Why? Because it is the cepting a Telecom Zero scheme issue of Net Neutrality should most well entrenched could be akin to playing a zero not just be about whether we inside – Google Inside sum game – where they will should allow ISPs and telcos (the Internet). Perhaps win, and we will lose. And the to regulate the speed at which that is why it is being scheme will soon spawn its own we can open/use an app or charged with ‘insider version of Search Engine Opwhich app we can open/use. trading’. timisation (SEO) – perhaps an There are other, perhaps more Applications Optimisation (an serious issues that should be App Op). addressed alongside. Today we Closer home, top print houses innately take Google search have fast realised that they had output and its ‘sequencing’ Will online become the messed up by silently signing as the ‘truth’, when in many survival of the free-est? up for ‘Net Not-Neutral’ bencases it may not be so – and efits, and are now backtracking not just due to chance, but fast – though even the leader perhaps ‘manipulation’. EU is wants others to back off first. Print service procurrently investigating Google for this and other viders are of course able to influence content, matters. Google is today almost as ubiquitous but they also can influence access (delivery and as the Net, and yet it seems to follow its own circulation). And they have been selling below rules. Google is the ‘net copy’, the index, the cost forever, while ‘cross-subsidising’ themselves algorithm, the platform, the content and the through corporate advertisements. Yet they have intermediary. Like the Net, Google is in its own been getting away with it…perhaps because they way the medium and the message. This is bound are offline? But free speech on the Net has hit their to lead to conflict of interest (if it hasn’t already), cousins in telecom. Maybe somebody will see this and it will only increase once Google becomes larger offline scam some day. a commercial and payment gateway (as per its ISPs and telcos need to learn from Google. They plan). Google also charges for its services, as does should offer the ‘general public’ everything free, Facebook, for ‘boosts’. Google has tormented as also unrestricted access, while making money ‘standard’ businesses, and it has ‘googled’ content from ‘corporates’ and ‘data’ and ‘value added sercreators and producers. Why, and how? Because vices’. Maybe it is best to offer customers an access it can ‘justify’ this as benefit to consumers and customers. Google has disrupted businesses in the choice – say, a free unfettered option (the current one) versus targeted paid (value added) or even a name of transparency or lower cost to customers. bespoke/tailored option. ‘Hard’ value added serPonder this: Microsoft sells its operating system, vice options are already being offered in terms of but lets customers then use it for ‘whatever’ in access speed and reliability.u their businesses; Google takes no money for its


anxiously tried to experiment and were ‘thrown away’. They failed to understand how an ‘unseen force’ could be so powerful. We bought a black & white Konark TV set in the early 70s. The Sunday TV movie shows were festivals in themselves. My father would get the entire courtyard sprinkled with water, cots and ‘mudhas’ would be laid out for the elders and a special enclosure would be set up for the ladies. Young children preferred to watch from the boundary walls and the roofs. The TV may have just had a 21-inch screen, but that did not matter. The shows were always house full – ours was a full house on Sundays. Special ‘teams’ were detailed to ensure that the electric supply did not fail; the village electrician was sufficiently ‘taken care of’. Evenings in general were social times, when the men folk came back from the fields, freshened up and sat down to ‘gossip’ around their ‘hookahs’. We, including my cousins, would walk down to our well in the fields with a bucket and rope, for a bath. Before that there would be some sports activity – either exercising or wrestling or ‘Kabaddi’ (the most favourite pastime). At times we would compete on who could ‘stand’ the most number of water buckets, especially in winters. Now they have a one ice bucket challenge and the whole world goes mad about it! Later in the evening, my mother would be waiting with a ‘fauji’ enamel mug full of fresh buffalo milk, which had to be to be consumed in one go. That gave her immense satisfaction and assurance that her sons would remain healthy…at least till the next mug the next morning. With the entire family now sitting together, it was time for the evening news, and our views. My father would put the radio on full volume, so that the nearby households could also benefit. There were very few private radios or transistors in those days, apart from the one at the ‘chaupal’. After the news it was time for tales from the British period or the War, or listening to interesting experiences of veteran soldiers. The village was full of these veterans, including a Victoria Cross holder. My father was himself a veteran of World War II, the 1947 partition, the 1962 Chinese aggression and 1965 Indo-Pak war. Almost every household in the village had a soldier serving in the Defence Forces - and the tradition still continues. Puffing

A ‘modern’ village of Haryana

A crusher at work on hookahs was an essential part of these evening gettogethers – it helped smoothen the flow of conversation. And of course so did a few pegs. I remember an incident vividly, when I had first come on leave after my commission in the Army. I realised that most of the men folk who had gathered at our ‘baithak’ in the evening were complaining of a sore throat or cold. My father advised me that when I next came on leave I must carry some bottles of rum or brandy. That day he helped out from his stock and, after a couple of rounds, the day ended with blessings from all the village elders who had come to meet me; of course their cough & cold also got miraculously cured. Village folk have simple social customs. On a ‘charpai’, the elder always sits at its head. If another elder person joins the group, all the others shift towards the foot of the ‘charpai’. A ‘hookah’ is always rotated by the youngest, and he has the duty to refill or clean it. Whenever an elder person enters a house where ladies are residing, he makes a false grunt to ‘warn’ them. We were told to wish every elder we met, irrespective

of what his or her caste was. We never heard of the now muchpublicised ‘Khap Panchayat’. Most disputes were sorted out over a round of the ‘hookah’, with the village elders deciding what was ‘socially right’. Of course even then a ‘same gotra’ marriage was considered blasphemous. Most of the village folk were descendents of one ancestor, and so everyone in the village was a cousin. The village was literally one big family, carrying the same gotra. This intricacy has to be understood to fully understand why, amongst communities like Jats, ‘same gotra’ marriage

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Alas! Today the village is no longer what it used to be and resembles a ‘modern’ town-in-the-making. People do not trust each other. They even have no time for their kith & kin. Their diet is no longer nourishing – almost everything, including vegetables and milk - comes from outside. Milk is no longer the preferred drink, even for the youth. The abundance and easy access of liquor shops ensures its uninterrupted supply. Baithaks are now private, in one’s own home in front of the TV. This ‘social transformation’ has been aided by the sudden inflow of large cash from the sale of land. It is killing whatever is left of the spirit of the village. Wealth is being lost to liquor, gambling, big cars and the glitter of the modern world. Education is not a priority. This had led to many of the youth becoming indisciplined, or worse. I hope the village folk don’t lose all their rich culture and traditions. I want my village and its people to prosper; it should not become a slum of modernity. I want the new generation to imbibe modern education, but they should not forget their ageold traditions. I want my village culture to co-exist with the latest gadgets. I want my village back….but know deep in my heart that it has long gone.u

24-30

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pur, Badshah bir ining Rao Nar est cont In adjo idate, stiff of - PM. BJP cand face a ltabad l to e deci the h, had esh DauParty rebe a brav sever been e the h to Jan- Sing nst Rak (BJP) mad It had t Sha agai D and , who While of Ami Haryana when in the INL Sharma resting. sion ), the esh (HJC budge e inte eck race the Muk ties withgress -to-n est quit sed to nd, cont hit Con r refu stand, cona neck hinterla whelmno 0 ’ it was pur the latte got over y ‘new its 50-5 BJP had dman ‘stan Badshah idate are from that cand from which perring pendent course, BJP ort , side ncy. age s (of d inde supp colonies titue aver gres coul yana ing cons real the these of Con ramin Har ct, if he a in been of this votes in went Gurgaon ing’ Sen Dha ance e a part per cent Shiv sion cam retrospe form nies a te still in deci the He en on ost 95 gaon colo ng him r candida a, whod. 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Vol. 4

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Our village was fortunate to be amongst the first to get electricity, way back in 1962. My father was then posted at NEFA (North East Frontier Agency), and so my mother took the initiative and our house became the first in the village to be electrified. What a spectacle it was! Every day people would gather to see the wonders of the electric bulb. Anecdotes would be exchanged about how dangerous electricity (it was DC, Direct Current) could be and how it could ‘catch’ you even if you went near it. Many

My Lost Village

PaNDE

I

revisited my village a little while ago, along with my brother. As we walked down the streets we reminisced (as always) the fun-filled days of our youth. We both miss the village environment and its amicable atmosphere. Although we had never stayed long enough in the village, our father always insisted that we spend a part of our summer vacations (from boarding school) there. These small breaks have left their firm imprint on our minds and hearts. We like to visit our village whenever an opportunity arises. However, urbanisation is now beginning to take its toll. The village looks more like a haunted place; you hardly see anyone on the streets (now cemented). Most of the men folk have left for their ‘jobs’ and the ladies are confined to their homes, avoiding the ‘harsh’ weather. Earlier one could easily identify new brides, in their new and shiny dresses, wearing a full complement of traditional jewellery. Now they keep their ornaments in lockers at banks. Today’s village folk seem to feel unsafe with each other! Gone are the trees, under whose cool shades we would sit for hours; they have been replaced by home/room coolers. Earlier open spaces have given way to houses. The cattle sheds have vanished, as Mother Dairy is the new buffalo of the village. Kitchen gardens too have vanished, and the area is now covered with tiles and cement - to give it a ‘neater’ look. The village drinking water well, which was then on the outskirts of the village, is now well within, and dying of neglect. In our youth it was always humming with activity. The ladies and girls would gather there, while going to fetch water, and exchange the latest gossip. It was considered very sacred - no one could climb on to its parapet while wearing slippers or ‘juttis’.

is socially prohibited. As per the records, which my father very meticulously maintained, I am the ninth generation in our family tree. The family feeling meant that we were all together in both celebrations and tragedies. Though there were also some ‘dalits’ in the village, they were not treated as outcasts. I remember that I once took ‘prashad’ from a dalit lady and all the kids made fun of me, but when I ate it, to show them that there was nothing wrong in it and it had the same sweetness and God’s blessings, they all quietly took the prashad. My boarding school education helped me adopt this attitude.

asha

{ Col TS Dalal (Retd.) }

13

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17-23 April 2015

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B on V ivant

17-23 April 2015

{ Meenu Thakur Sankalp }

I

t is sad that the present generation is quite unaware of a television channel that was an integral part of the social life of two past generations. It was an era when the entire country watched Doordarshan (DD), the State-owned National channel. Thanks to DD, weekends became occasions for community get-togethers - it helped bond the neighbourbood. Proud owners of black and white television sets (and their huge antennas jutting out of terraces) played host to many of their neighbours. Doordarshan, which is at present the autonomous umbrella body of national and regional television channels, was launched in 1959, and for more than forty years it remained the sole TV content provider in India - before the advent of Cable TV. The Star TV network, followed by Zee TV, entered our homes in the early 1990s. Who can forget the iconic TV shows on Doordarshan - Hum Log (1984), Buniyaad (1986), documentaries like Peacock Calls (1968), and Transtel Cologne shows from Germany in the 1980s? However, today, in the cities, only a rare breed - comprising artists, writers, musi-

cians and dancers – still watches Doordarshan programmes. For Classical dancers, young and old, Doordarshan remains the window of culture even to this day. TRP-based entertainment channels or 24/7 news channels largely ignore any dance that is not ‘Bollywood’ or ‘Reality Show’ based - though a few private channels do carry interviews with Classical dancers. Before the advent of satellite television, it was a matter of pride for dancers to be featured on Doordarshan dance shows and documentaries, which were eagerly watched by many. Though Doordarshan (National) has had to cut down in this area, its quality of production and its presentation (with genuine, knowledgeable comperes) remains top class. The dance programmes produced by Doordarshan are well researched, conceptualised and documented. The National Programme of Dance, which is aired at 11.30pm, mostly on Thursdays, is one such example. You get to see amazing young Classical dance talent, and of course experienced and established performing artistes also. DD Bharati, a niche channel launched on Republic Day, 2002, is devoted exclusively to art and culture – including Classical dance and music. The Channel also repeats the telecasts of Classical recordings thrice a day, to suit the timings of the

art-loving audience. The exhaustive Doordarshan (National) video library, comprising lakhs of recordings, has been passed on to this channel – including grainy recordings of music programmes featuring Ustad Zakir Hussain and Ustad Vilayat Ali Khan, a documentary on the legendary artist S.H. Raza, and the recordings of the Classical dances of Sitara Devi, Birju Maharaj, Sonal Mansingh, Vempati Chinna Satyam and many other legends. DD Bharati covers India’s many annual Classical dance festivals (like Khajuraho, Konark or Taj Mahotsava) and reports on dance events (like the North East youth festival) across the country - either live or recorded, or through documentaries. Despite Government interference, red-tapism and, above all, public apathy, Doordarshan has soldiered on, while its sister channel DD Bharati is putting in exemplary effort to showcase art and culture despite no sponsorship or corporate funding. Today’s telly-box, featuring more than three hundred channels, has become more a purveyor of publicity or voyeuristic entertainment – for the ‘stars’ of Bollywood, cricket and politics. Do spare a thought for our Classical culture and our artistes, across all fields. Do check out DD Bharati and sample some top class performances, and documentaries on the lives of legends. Thankfully Doordarshan has remained a faithful national beacon, dutifully highlighting India’s Classical culture.u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi danseuse and choreographer

Mind It! { Shobha Lidder } Don’t be everywhere at one time Focus more on one thing Multitasking is no more fashionable Work mindfully It is like meditating When doing some mechanical job Mind strays to petty stuff Confusion arises We lose focus, cannot find Things as we need them Eat mindfully, so they say Enjoy the food on the plate Certain hobby keeps mind & body focused Like painting, stitching, reading, writing Fixing with tools When the mind is fixed on the object At task, It relaxes One mind one thought....that is the art Of mindfulness....and serenity When at work, work with delight When at home give it priority right Listen to your child’s prattle, don’t pretend When with friends attend to them When with parents give them your attention Their failures don’t mention Nor deride them, or show off, Sort the puzzle each day In your own special way Be here & now The kaleidoscope is unique Be mindful what you speak. Shobha Lidder Writer, Journalist, Teacher, Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

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Vol. 4 No. 10  Pages 16  `10

The Lotus has bloomed here

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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ew’ Gurgaon, which was the hub of ‘Aam Aadmi politics’ during the Lok Sabha elections, and voted almost en bloc in favour of the AAP candidate Yogendra Yadav, embraced saffron in the Assembly polls. In the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP candidate, Rao Inderjit Singh, had polled 6,44,780 votes, while INLD's Zakir Hussain got 3,70,058 and AAP candidate Yogendra Yadav got 79,452 votes. Yadav, however, polled almost 27,000 votes from the Gurgaon assembly area, and it was expected that if AAP had fought the Assembly elections, it would have been a strong contender for the Gurgaon constituency. In the absence of a viable alternative to the Congress, many of these 'AAP voters’ and several others preferred to go with ‘Modi BJP’. In fact all the four seats in Gurgaon District (Gurgaon,Badshahpur, Sohna & Pataudi) have gone to the BJP. In the Gurgaon assembly constituency, BJP candidate Umesh Agarwal

been the average performance of Congress candidate Dharambir Gaba, who came a distant third. He was expected to win, riding on the strong Punjabi vote bank of almost 70,000 votes. All the permutations and combinations of the political pundits were proved wrong not only in Gurgaon, but across Haryana as well. It seems that people once again – even for an Assembly election – voted overwhelmingly for BJP in the name of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even the strong, tried and tested caste arithmetic was proven incorrect in this election, says Vijay Arora, a Congress supporter. He is rankled by the poor performance of the Congress, particularly in Gurgaon, which is considered a ‘Punjabi’ seat. Gaba, backed by this community, has won it four times - and it was because of this performance that he was given the man-

It had been a brave decision of Amit Shah to sever ties with the Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC), when the latter refused to budge from its 50-50 stand, considering that BJP had no real independent ‘standing’ in Haryana (of course, in retrospect, if he could take on the Shiv Sena in Mumbai, the HJC decision would have been a ‘cakewalk’). Shah also stayed away from any ‘tie-up’ with INLD. With a repeat historic performance in Haryana, at Lok & Vidhan levels, Modi-Shah have proved that they are indeed mega game-changers. In many areas of ‘new’ Gurgaon, including DLF, Sushant Lok and adjoining localities, a large number of people did not even know the local party candidate, but still voted for BJP. Even Umesh Agarwal admitted that people had voted with Modi in mind. Akshay, who has worked for the INLD for a long time, says that despite a large number of people promising to vote for their candidate, they finally preferred to vote for BJP due to Modi. In fact a large numasha PaNDEY

Doordarshan – Doordarshi

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has won even in areas considered to be our strongholds. The people have just voted for Modi," he admits. Analysts say that the Lok Sabha polls had shown that Gurgaon, particularly the new areas, would vote BJP, and it has now been proved beyond doubt that Gurgaon has become a bastion of the Party. Meanwhile, another strong

PM. In adjoining Badshahpur, the BJP candidate, Rao Narbir Singh, had to face a stiff contest against Rakesh Daultabad of the INLD and (BJP) Party rebel Mukesh Sharma, who made the contest quite interesting. While it was a neck-to-neck race in Badshahpur hinterland, the BJP candidate got overwhelming support from many ‘new’ Gurgaon colonies, which are still a part of this constituency. Almost 95 per cent votes in these ‘new’ Gurgaon colonies went to Narbir Singh - giving him a chance to become an MLA after a long time. The ‘elite’ corporate crowd did vote in many areas. In Pataudi and Sohna too the BJP won by huge margins, again despite not so strong candidates. In Pataudi, Bimla Chaudhary won by a good number, and she ascribed her victory to PM Modi and also to her mentor, Gurgaon MP Rao Inderjit Singh, who has quite a large following in the Ahirwal belt. So strong was the BJP wave in the urban areas that even ‘personal connections’ were swept away in the Modi wave. RS Rathee, an Independent, who had performed well in the last polls, managed only a couple of thousand in this elec-


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