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20-26 February 2015

Vol. 4 No. 27  Pages 16  ` 10

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

Your Car Could Be Next { Abhishek Behl FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

W

ith Gurgaon Police continuing to be short on men and equipment, especially to handle the high level of ‘street crime’ in the City, it would be prudent for people owning vehicles, particularly luxury cars and motorcycles, to invest in good quality anti-theft devices such as GPS tracking systems and alarms, and mechanical devices like gear locks, steering locks, tyre locks and heavy duty chains, to prevent car thieves from ‘skimming’ their vehicles or running away with them. On an average there were 10 vehicle thefts in Gurgaon every day throughout 2014 (total 3,638) – and the trend continues. The threat is serious, because the majority of

vehicle lifters operating in Delhi-NCR are professionals - they seem to have every tool of the trade. Police officials say that these smooth operators use sophisticated equipment, including laptops and master keys, and don't think twice once they have chosen a 'soft' target. They will take only a few minutes to steal your dream vehicle. The ‘normal’ modus operandi is that one of the gang members breaks the lock, anther drives it to the ‘receiver’, who then takes it to the final destination - for sale, or the scavenging of the parts. The business is well organised and well spread. Sometimes cars are even stolen on specific ‘orders’. Despite the threat of auto-lifters looming large in the City, what is surprising is that only a few vehicle buyers have installed GPS tracking de-

vices and anti-theft devices or alarms in their vehicles. Sub-Inspector (SI) Raj Singh of the Vehicle Theft Cell of Gurgaon Police, which is a special-

ised agency that has been set up to check such crimes, tells Friday Gurgaon that vehicle owners will have to ‘co-operate’ with the Police in checking this menace. "A large number of vehicle owners park their cars in unsecured places, and also many times leave their keys in the ignition, while they 'rush' to take care of some tasks. Contd. on p 4


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20-26 February 2015

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017 Vol. 4 No. 27   20-26 February 2015

Editor:

THE WEEK THAT WAS

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

Barnali Dutta

Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Marketing Executive: Kumar Thakur Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin: Shiv Shankar Jha

Editorial Office 108, Aap Ka Bazar, Gurudwara Road, Gurgaon-122001, Haryana Phone: +91 124 421 9092 Emails:

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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

 

in Bhora Kalan village – honour  CM asks all killing is suspected. State department  A youth allegedly dies after being heads to identify 5 hit by a Metro train at the IFFCO Key Performance Chowk Metro station. Indicators (KPIs)  A 15-year-old is raped in for their respective Dharampur Village;  departments.  A 14-year-old boy goes missing The State govt. proposes to from a child protection centre, set up 500 Customer Service Shanti Bhavan, in Dhankot. Centres (CSCs) across the State  Thousands of by end-March. labourers vandalise  Acting on an RTI filed by activist parts of Udyog Vihar; Harinder Dhingra, State CCTV footage has  Information Commissioner identified about 20 key (SIC) asks the Chief Secretary to instigators; 7 people ensure the speedy appointment are arrested, including 4 of State Public Information guards of a company; the Police  Officers (PIOs) and First suspect that the ‘event’ was Appellate Authorities (FAAs). ‘staged’. High Court cancels the licence  In the 2012 Maruti labour of a 151 acres township that trouble case, wherein a straddles parts of Sectors 60 to manager was killed, the last 65, due to ‘irregularities’; it pulls witness deposes on February up DTCP for the lapse. 20th. – meanwhile almost HC asks HUDA to finalise plans 150 accused persons are still for delivery of water to residents languishing in jail. of Sector 68 to 80 by February 25;  A woman and her 2 male it rejected the interim ‘plan’ put accomplices are booked for forward by HUDA. kidnapping a person who had  Surajkund Mela closes, after a sold them his scooty and was most successful 2-week run – asking for his money. welcoming over 10 lakhs visitors  2 members of a gang that was and facilitating over Rs 50 crores business. National Games, hosted by Kerala, conclude. CM promises an Industry Ease Window, on the lines of Haryana comes Third. The State team participated in 31 events and the CM window for citizens. won medals in 20 of them. Haryana Budget Session will commence from March Medals Tally 5.

 A 26-year-old woman bank executive is found dead a week before her wedding,

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State/Entity Gold Medals Total Medals Services 91 159 Kerala 54 162 Haryana 40 (18 in 107 Wrestling)

forging degree certificates and mark sheets and selling them for Rs 10,000 to 50,000, have been arrested from Sukhrali; 445 fake degrees/mark sheets have been recovered. 4 members of a coaching institute are booked for cheating a resident of Krishan Colony of Rs 20 lakhs, on the promise of a medical college seat. A truck loaded with spare parts is looted in Sector 34. A Delhi woman has been duped of almost Rs 1 crore that she had invested in a local city society over 5 years ago. A woman is duped of Rs 3 lakhs in a property fraud; a woman is duped of Rs 2.25 lakhs in an online lottery fraud; an elderly person loses Rs 55,000 in an online lottery fraud; a family is duped of Rs 70,000 by a cab driver and his accomplice; a woman is duped of her gold bangles, in Sadar Bazar. Rao Narbir Singh, MLA from Badshahpur and State PWD & Public Health Minister, interacts with residents of multiple colonies on and around Sohna Road.  MCG says that it will take action against pig owners who are letting their animals roam free (unattended); they have become a menace in some colonies.  Encroachments over a 10 acres area in Bhimnagar are demolished.  Maha Shivratri is celebrated with fervour.

Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan All 5 accused are acquitted in the case where a toll operator was shot and killed in 2011. The reason – lack of evidence and eyewitnesses (despite CCTV surveillance). MCG invokes Section 87(A) of the Haryana Municipal Corporation Act 1984 to justify that it can collect house/property tax even if it provides no/limited civic service in a locality. Wonder why it is silent and negligent on its responsibilities

(and accountability) under the other Sections of the Act. Gurgaon will soon see 50 ‘Pink’ Nano Cabs on the road - an initiative that will be ‘Of Women (cabs owned by them), By Women (cabs driven by them, after training) and For Women (only). While autos from various NCR cities will now get to ply around NCR, Gurgaon autos have missed the bus – they still have no meters.


03

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Your Car Could Be Next with arms, firing on the Police or attempting to kill someone - are they in serious danger of serving long years in prison. "Most of the car thieves are ‘clever’ in this respect, and do not offer any resistance - barring the few who are ‘prone’ to violence," he adds. So 'fearless' are some car thieves that recently a Police official, who was driving his car, was forced to hand over the keys to them as they were armed. Another Police official’s car was stolen. However, the most audacious form of car theft is where the thieves, after stealing top end luxury vehicles, demand ‘ransom’ for the safe ‘delivery’ of the vehicles. Police officials of the Vehicle Theft Cell also say that it is very difficult to predict where and when the next crime would take place. Although the new Police Commissioner has set up a crime hot-spotting system, till the time this process is complete, it is unlikely that vehicle thefts can be ‘prevented’ in the Millennium City. Singh also says that tracking and recovering a vehicle after it has reached the destination villages in Mewat, Meerut or Rajasthan is very difficult. A Police team recently encountered violent protests, and even attacks, when they went to recover some stolen vehicles. A number of times the vehicles are just stripped; their parts are sold in the second hand spare parts market, while the body is sold as scrap. The auto-lifters also have a network of ‘experts’ – who can ‘properly’ tamper with the chassis numbers and create duplicate ‘papers’ (which are used by buyers in rural areas and other mofussil towns, where checking is not very stringent). Recently a number of luxury cars that were stolen from Delhi-NCR were recovered from Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh. A number of prominent local businessmen and politicians had purchased the Pajeros and other luxury vehicles, without any registration papers, for a pittance. What is however surprising is that, despite the imminent threat of vehicle theft looming large over the City, most vehicle owners do not seem to have noticed. And have therefore not acted. Vaibhav, who owns Car Sansar, a car accessories shop on the ‘Old’ Delhi Gurgaon Road, says that he sells very few GPS tracking devices to car owners. The majority of the owners are not worried about theft, and say that their car insurance would take care. Vaibhav says that manual gear and steering locks are very

Kamal Kumar, whose Hero Honda motorcycle was stolen recently from Sector 14, says that the loss of his motorcycle has just been the start of his problems, as the Police issues an untracked, non-recovery certificate almost three months after the crime. The insurance company also takes its own time in finalising the claim, which is also only 50 to 60 per cent of the vehicle cost in most cases. helpful in dissuading thieves. On the operation of GPS devices, he says, "If a car fitted with a GPS device is stolen, the owner just has to send an SMS to us, and we will immediately send a command, which will immobilise the vehicle, and it won’t (re)start." The device also helps in locating the car; in fact a number of times the tracking device has helped in pinpointing the exact location of a stolen car. Gurgaon Police officials say that they recently managed to recover a car from Sohna, after a long chase, as the car was fitted with a tracking device. The cost of a GPS tracking device is between Rs 6,000 to 12,000, and is available at any good car dealer in the City. Neeraj Vashisht, who deals in second hand cars, says that due to the high incidence of vehicle theft, they now deal in cars that come with a reference. "We avoid buying and

selling cars from/to unknown people, as this could lead to problems," he avers. SI Raj Singh suggests that car owners, and particularly drivers, should avoid giving a lift to unknown persons, as they could be potential criminals who are targeting cars. The Police officials further suggest that licences, registration cards and other identification papers should never be left in the car, as these could be misused by the thieves. The car and bike keys should not be given to parking lot attendants. More importantly, vehicle owners should park only in well-lit areas – it is a different matter that streetlights are functional only on some roads in Gurgaon. A majority of the people in Gurgaon, particularly those living in HUDA sectors and unauthorised colonies, park their cars outside their homes, which makes it easier for the thieves. There has been some decline in vehicle theft in areas that have improved their CCTCV surveillance and installed gates. The Police say that the thieves may have ‘temporarily’ shifted to other areas, and could come back to strike once the attention of the guards goes down after some time. To prevent thefts, the Police suggest that vehicles should be parked inside houses and garages. To ensure that stolen vehicles can be identified once they are recovered, the car and bike owners should etch their vehicle registration numbers at several places (on their vehicles) with an engraving tool. This will be of great help even

Friday Gurgaon Subscription offer To get FG regularly, you may choose from: A) 26 Issues (6 months), for Rs 250 - Get FG as a PDF every Friday; a Print edition will follow by mail. B) 26 Issues (6 months), for Rs 500 - apart from the PDF, get the Print edition by (same day) courier or personal delivery

30 Jan-5 Feb

Vol. 4 No. 24

 Pages 16

2015

 ` 10

The Unmak ing RNI No. HAREN

G/2011/39319,

{ Abhishek Behl

write to us

FG }

at letters@

fridaygurgaon hile the State of Haryana cies have and its civic not been infra able agenlike water structure, inclu to provide adequ ding basic ate isting Gurg, power, sanitation amenities the previ aon city and resid and roads to the ous gover exents, the pendently nmen (of the NCR t to relentlessl decision by Master Plann y and indeBoard) push ing (2021 residents , 2025, 2031) ahead with its of even has now the new The Mast left the secto er Plans ing more that were rs most vulne rable than Real prepared apart from Estate alloca were noth-. the short gaon is age of natur tions. As a resul now t, al resou will proba being enveloped bly rema in a smok rces, Gurunending in constructi so for decades), y haze (and cupancy being low on activity - despi thanks to the The most and there te pressing being few current octer table issue, howe new unde ver, is that buyers. which could r the City is the waindeed have getting dange rously low, disastrous consequen ces,

W

Postal Regn.

No. GRG/35

/2014-2017

of Gurgaon II PaNDEY

This provides the auto-lifters a good opportunity to steal the cars, as they are constantly on the prowl in busy areas, parking slots and near government offices - looking for ‘easy’ prey," says Singh. Every vehicle theft reported to any police station within Gurgaon is forwarded to the Vehicle Theft Cell for investigation. Experts from the Cell visit the crime scene, check CCTV footage if available, review the likely suspects and immediately plan raids. A large number of vehicles, particularly motorcycles, are stolen by Mewati gangs, who are well aware of the topography of the City and seem well versed with the ‘borders’ from where they can exit with ease. Police officials say that the stolen vehicles are taken to villages in Nuh, Tauru and Punhana, and even to Rajasthan villages like Chor Garhi - which are infamous for being hubs of stolen vehicles. A police official adds that it is very difficult to raid villages in Mewat, as the entire population turns up and violently protests against any police raids. Their best (or only) hope to seize stolen vehicles is to stop them before they reach these destinations. SI Raj Singh says that there are also gangs based in NOIDA and other parts of NCR that target only luxury vehicles such as SUVs and highend bikes. A large number of vehicles stolen from Palam Vihar were recovered from Jhajjar and Bhiwani districts of Haryana, after Gurgaon Police caught a notorious car thief who was an expert in breaking alarm and device codes. An expert thief takes about half an hour to crack the code of a luxury car, and Police say that there are several such operators across Delhi-NCR. ASI Khalil Ahmed, who is in-charge of the Sadar Bazar police post, says that the Police has increased its surveillance and checking in the ‘Old’ Gurgaon area, particularly markets where the rate of vehicle theft has been high. According to him, it is not only gangs, but also disgruntled youth looking to make quick money, who have been found to be involved in these activities. A low rate of conviction has made autothieves bolder; and the punishment (3 to 5 years) for car theft is also not seen a major deterrent for habitual criminals. In a number of instances, even car thieves booked for multiple robberies have managed to get bail, and continue to indulge in the same activity. A police officer says that it is only when vehicle lifters are involved in serious offences - such as being caught

for insurers. In fact the vehicle owners should also record other details like chassis number and other part numbers, which are normally required by the Police to identify vehicles. A number of anti-theft devices, apart from GPS-tracker, are also available, and should be installed. Vaibhav says that the installation of antitheft devices acts as a very good deterrence; criminals tend to avoid such cars. The devices include: Ignition Cut-Off, which is a key-operated or a hidden manual switch, which interrupts the power supply from the battery to the ignition; and Fuel Cut-Off, which is integrated with the fuel line, and prevents any further flow of fuel. Only a special key deactivates the cut-offs. Further: Ignition Column Guard provides protection to the (ignition) starting system; Trunk Lock is a secondary locking device, which may be installed inside the trunk. A majority of those involved in the car safety business, and even Police officials, agrees that it is very difficult to prevent vehicle theft, but if people take precautions, then these crimes can be minimised. The tracking of vehicles, and their early recovery, would be far better if the available technology is widely used by vehicle owners. The Police are in the process employing technology and software to better plot and even ‘predict’ crimes (or crime spots). Don’t wait for your vehicle to be stolen. Insurance does not cover it all; it also takes time, causes inconvenience and tests your patience. Help the Police help you better. Safety begins at home...or in your vehicle.u

warn exper ts. Whil ciety are e discussing the authorities in (curr and ways to ent) tackle this civil sobusy build Gurgaon, the situation Real Estat apartment ing more castles e industry in up in the s and commercia the air. Thousands is l complexes new Gurg of tened GII aon secto are comin g lines are by FG), while waterrs (58 to 115 – chris yet to be , power ever, have set up. and sewa Several already ge builders, are now ‘completed giving posse how’ their proje gross viola ssion to cts, the autho tion of the rules apartment buyer and rities. They , with the s, in ground collusion are still water for devio of usly extra is that the all their projects. cting will now water from these And the irony be sold same illegal to the haple water tanke ss residentstubewells rs (as the dream)! official suppl through y remains It was only a pipea chance plaza that visit to through brought this illega the Kherki Doula tankers l use and toll by const sale of ruction companies water , to the Prakhar

 Contd from p 1

C over S tory

20-26 February 2015

Contd. on p

4

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20-26 February 2015

Skaarving a niche in Rental

I

behalf of their clients, because that impinges on their own earnings. However, Skaarv’s motto is to ensure that our clients get personal service and value for money. We also have a strong research backing, wherein we are able to better ascertain the real value of properties in different areas. We aim to make our clients feel comfortable in every way; we want to earn their trust,” says Yogesh. Skaarv began its journey in 2013, when a of group of friends working in different cities got together and decided to set up a company to cater to what they felt was a growing need. “The idea first came to us when we ourselves went through the pain of searching for a rental home. Our pain was multiplied by the highly unprofessional and unorganised services provided by property dealers and brokers,” say both the Partners of Skaarv Relators Pvt. Ltd. They realised that offering professional expertise and service in this growing segment of Rental accommodation would be a huge opportunity. Satish adds, “We aim to provide our customers the best - and that too at their doorstep. We offer value to our customers in real terms and help remove unnecessary hurdles.” Skaarv’s

n a world that is rapidly changing to a self-help online mode, Skaarv seeks to offer the comfort of a personalised service to clients in need of accommodation - be it a room, a PG, a service apartment, a guest house or an office space. Skaarv is a leading real estate Rental service provider in Gurgaon, Delhi and NOIDA. “Our vision is to provide hassle free, value for money, personalised service to our clients,” says Satish Rewliya, Partner at Skaarv. “We work to get our clients their ideal Rental property – one that truly fulfills their expectations,” says Yogesh Yadav, the other Partner. Besides finding the right accommodation for its clients, the Company offers them expertise in architectural and interior design. The obvious question is, why did Skaarv think about Rental offerings as its niche? “Well, while there are a host of real estate and property development firms here in Gurgaon, our home base, there is none that serves the huge need for Rental accommodation. That was our trigger,” says Satish. Over the years this opportunity has grown well, fed by the constant migration of employees and businessmen, in their search for better localities, cities or States. Locating the ‘right’ accommodation, for self Satish Rewliya and family, is of utmost importance – especially in India. However, as everyone’s ‘official’ life has got busier, the time to take care of ‘personal’ chores, even important ones, has become limited – despite online help. This is also the age of specialists. “House hunters need to spend a lot of time and energy to find something acceptable. Very often they end up paying a lot more or compromise on an accommodation that they are not satisfied with. Many intermediaries and the broking community tend to take advantage of this. They also do not negotiate hard on

business model seeks to offer a one-stop shop for varied needs. It has therefore also created a seamless relationship with those who seek to offer their properties on rent. With a well-documented database, it can offer its customers a wide choice. The Company also offers additional support, like arranging pick-ups and drops, preparing rental contracts and initiating security checks and police verifications - for the comfort of both the lessors and lessees. To instill professionalism in the entire process, the Company has hired smart young men and women with proven communication skills. Skaarv has also set its sights on institutional business. “We have approached several companies, to help them address the accommodation needs of their employees,“ says Satish. He admits that it was not an easy business to enter, considering that this market place has been muddied by many unscrupulous opportunists. “But we are definitely getting there. Our services, aided by a well-developed modus operandi, are catching the attention of corporates - especially our women-for-women strategy, which has evoked great confidence among corporates that employ a larger number of women,” he says. Skaarv seems to be making a mark with its professional approach. It has to its credit a satisfied bunch of customers. Says P.R. Malhotra, a property owner, “They do all the work which was very helpful since I stay in another city. They are reliable and genuine people. I have not faced any difficulty in the last one year.” Jayshree Ghosh, who was looking for a PG accommodation, says. “I got my job done fairly quickly. It was very smooth. Skaarv has smart and helpful women executives.” According to Manohar Sriram, the Company has brought a whiff of fresh air to the Rental property service. “I have worked in different cities and always hoped to see some educated and professional people whom I could engage with, to help me rent a house or rent out my house. But most of the time I met dealers who were only there to make money for themselves. Skaarv is different,” he says.

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06 { Abhishek Behl FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

W

here there is a will there is a way, and tasks that look impossible can be performed if the community leaders and residents unite to achieve them. In a water-starved city like Gurgaon, which is facing the threat of an emptying ground water table, it is almost a miracle that the Sukhrali Pond, which had turned dry and had become a garbage dump, has been revived. This has not only helped in increasing the water table in the area, but many dried tubewells have also ‘come to life’. Anoop Singh Bhamu, MCG Councillor of the area, who has been instrumental in transforming the Sukhrali Pond from a garbage dump back into a water body with around 10-feet water now, says that everyone in the community has contributed to make this happen. “The Pond bed was first cleaned. We made people aware of the project, and requested the residents to stop treating the Pond as a garbage and sewerage dump,” says Bhamu. The sewage lines of a number of PG guesthouses, which flowed into the Pond, were disconnected with the help of the authorities. Bhamu says that water that was getting wasted from the pipelines and was overflowing on the roads, was diverted into the Pond. Now the plan is to build a park around the periphery of the Pond, and if possible even introduce boating in this 4-acre Pond. Bhamu says that people have responded enthusiastically and are ready to contribute to the development

20-26 February 2015

C ivic/S ocial

Reviving a Wetland

of the park. He is however worried about the fate of another pond in Sukhrali Village, which falls in the disputed 900 meter area around the IAF Depot. That pond has attracted encroachers. “No one is paying any heed to that pond, and several others, across the many villages of Gurgaon. All of them can be revived,” he says. He suggests that the government should create an artificial rainwater harvesting structure parallel to the bund in ‘Old’ Gurgaon, which could absorb the rainwater that gets collected in different sectors of the City. Smaller artificial ponds could also be constructed, so that water can be saved from getting wasted. As per Nature International, a Gurgaon-based NGO, there are around 75 water bodies that have been identified in and around the City; of these, 35 are within the City. Local

residents recall that there were large water bodies at Kamala Nehru Park and Dronacharya College in ‘Old’ Gurgaon, as well as in every urbanised village. All have become extinct. Bhamu says that wherever ponds have been encroached on in villages, some land should now be diverted for the creation of artificial ponds. Ranjit, a resident of Village Chauma, recalls that a huge pond existed at the periphery of the Village, and the water was even suitable for drinking. Many residents however says that with the natural slopes and drains having been choked due to the urbanisation of the City, there is little possibility of these ponds getting revived. Jahajgarh Village, on the outskirts of ‘Old’ Gurgaon, is witnessing largescale construction, and the residents fear that soon there will be no water in the johad for the village cattle – the buildings

and roads will block the flow of water from all sides. The only hope for revival of these ponds is to pump water through supply pipelines, and then hope that there is enough rain in the City to keep the ponds filled. Another positive fallout of the revival of the Sukhrali Pond has been that the area will witness the start of the Raahgiri movement from the middle of March, says Bhamu. “We wanted to start Raahgiri in this area because ‘Old’ Gurgaon has fallen behind in infrastructure, facilities and even socially. Movements like Raahgiri can help people to bond better, and let children enjoy freely on the roads and streets,” he says, adding that people from colonies like Sanjay Gram, Rajiv Nagar, Sheetla Colony, Sectors 14 & 17 and Old DLF will be involved in the exercise. The RWAs of these areas are playing an active

prakhar PANDEY

part in the organisation of the coming Raahgiri Day. Bhamu says that lack of any development funds with the Councillors is a major handicap in the organisation of such activities, and the government should allocate funds for Councillors on the lines of Delhi and Mumbai. “Development in these areas would also become easy if there is coordination between HUDA and MCG, but this is not happening. As a result, projects get delayed,” he complains. His goal is now to protect and expand the Sukhrali Pond, and he believes that this project could be a model for other wards and parts of Gurgaon that are witnessing a steep decline in their water tables. “When you have the will you will find a way. However, you need discipline and commitment from the local community,” says this can-do, will-do community leader.u

BJP membership campaign in Mewat

Unrest in Udyog

GL Sharma, State Executive Member, BJP, who is also in charge of the BJP membership drive across the Mewat region, is holding a series of meetings in the area to motivate workers and Party leaders of the area to maximise the number of people joining the Party. In a meeting at Firozpur Zirka, Sharma told the Party workers that the top leadership under PM Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah has dreamt of making the Party the largest political outfit in the world, and the workers now have to work hard in the field to ensure that this becomes a reality. Sharma was confident that if Party workers sincerely reach out to the masses, then BJP could become a stronger force in Mewat region as well.

H P Yadav, President of NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gurgaon has said that incidents like the recent violence by the labour in an Industrial unit in Udyog Vihar Industrial area are a big hurdle to industrial development. Because of such labour unrest, a negative atmosphere is being created, and has affected the Industrial growth of Southern Haryana. He was worried that this may lead to a further migration of Industries and demanded immediate action from the govt. for the formation of an industrial security force - Haryana Industrial Peacekeeping Group (from Haryana Police) - and other related steps. Many Industrialists are also planning to return their land at circle rates. Yadav expressed that this will lead to major unemployment in Haryana and also major revenue loss to the State. Such incidents have occurred previously at Maruti, Hero Motocorp, Honda Monocycles and Orient Craft, and in the Roz ka Meo Industrial area. According to Yadav, all industrial associations and even the NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry have demanded the intervention of the govt. in the matter – but neither the State Government nor any Central Ministry had taken it seriously. In 2003 a Haryana police force had been established for the security of industrial areas, with the special recruitment of 1,200 police personnel; however, surprisingly, a new Haryana Government had disbanded this Haryana State Industrial Security Force w.e.f. 29th June 2005. Yadav has asked the State Government to immediately organise a joint meeting of various stakeholders - like the government, chambers of commerce, industrial associations and trade unions - for finding permanent solutions to such issues also for the earliest formation of an industrial security force.u


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20-26 February 2015

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20-26 February 2015

K id C orner

Ryan International School, Sector 40

Good Morning World!

R

yan International School, Sector 40 observed World Radio Day by organising a Radio Jockey (RJ) show.

Self-Charging Day

B

attery Day is all about celebrating and recognising just how important the simple battery is to our way of life. Students of Class V-H, Ryan International School, Sector 40 conducted an informative and energising Talk Show on the use of batteries in our day to day life.

Be(a)ware

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yan International School, Sector 40 students participated in a skit – Healthy Life – to explain the symptoms, precautions and cures of/for Swine Flu.

You can save a life Karate Kids

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yan International School, Sector 40, received the ‘Outstanding Participation Award’ at the 6th DKAI Delhi NCR Karate Championship. The School won 9 Gold, 6 Silver and 11 Bronze medals at the Championship.

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n National Organ Donor Day, the students of Class 6D, Ryan International School, Gurgaon presented a talk show on the significance of donating organs.

Education Leader

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adam Grace Pinto, the Group Managing Director of Ryan International Group of Institutions (128 Institutes) was prakhar PANDEY awarded the World Women’s Leadership Award - Education (2015).  The Award was presented at the World Women Leadership Congress & Awards held recently at Mumbai. Over 30 women achievers from across the globe were honoured for their contributions in various fields - including Education, Women’s Empowerment, Business, Entrepreneurship and Social Work.

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


K id C orner

20-26 February 2015 Ryan Global School, Sector 40

Let's all help each other

T

he students of Ryan Global School Sector 40 participated in a Role Play activity - Our Helpers. The participants came dressed as various helpers (Doctor, Nurse, Postman etc.) and depicted the roles to the best of their abilities.

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Kaun Banega Kahanikaar?

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ll of us, be we young or old, love to listen to stories. Story telling is an art; the capability of the narrator lies in him/ her keeping the audience engrossed. A similar ambience was created when the children of Classes I & II, American Montessori Public School narrated beautiful stories with the right clarity, confidence and expression in the Hindi Story Telling competition.

Experiencing Nature

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ature has blessed us with many beautiful things - like the trees, flowers and the sun. To increase their awareness of Nature and its importance, Ryan Global School Sector 40 organised a Nature Walk (at Leisure Valley) for its Montessori students.

Fighting for the Black

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aishogun Karate Do India conducted a Black Belt grading event, wherein 25 children participated. 3 of them got Black Belts - under the supervision of Sumit K Virman and Sensei Rajkumar.

Manav Rachna International School, Sec 46

MRIS Spell-Check

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vesa Anuj of Manav Rachna International School (Sec 46) secured 5th. position at the National Championship of MaRRS International Spelling Bee in Category I. She also received a scholarship of Rs. 5,000.

A Sporting Day

T

he Annual Sports Day at Manav Rachna, International School (Sec 46) was inaugurated by the Principal, Mrs Dhriti Malhotra, who was also given the Guard of Honour by the School Champions in various sports. She also lit the torch and handed over the flame to the School's National level players, who carried it around  the track. The Chief Guest was Mr. Sunny Bansal.


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S ocial

{ Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) model introduced by CBSE for the evaluation of students has evoked sharp divides across the country. While this project has been successfully implemented in northern India for the lower classes and is being readied for a comprehensive pan-India roll out, sections of students are not happy with the system. They believe that the preparatory groundwork has not been completed and there are a number of grey areas that need closer scrutiny - such as a proper evaluation methodology. Besides, in the absence of proper training, many current teachers are also not well equipped. The CCE scheme was launched in the belief that the new method would instil in students a greater sense of discipline and commitment. Continuous and Comprehensive

The main aim of CCE is to reduce the pressure on students, since a majority of them have been unable to effectively participate in the education system and often leave it dejected and low in confidence. It is believed that the previous system celebrated the success of a minuscule few who, owing to their socio-cultural milieu, were able to take better advantage of it. As a part of the new CCE system, marks will be replaced by grades, which will be evaluated through a series of curricular and extracurricular evaluations - along with academics. The aim is to reduce the workload on students and improve their overall skill and ability. This will also help students who are not very good at academics; they can show their talent in other fields - such as arts, humanities, sports, music and athletics.

CCE was first implemented in 2010. However, even after 5 years of CCE it appears that the overall performance of students in government schools has not improved much. Maybe the newly modified rules, incorporating two examinations along with the continuous evaluation, will help improve the results. According to Sheel Kumari, Principal of Jacobpura Government Girls School, "Every new idea will invariably have some shortcomings. CCE was introduced so that all the students could get equal opportunity. For example, even those who fail are promoted to the next class and are provided remedial classes. CCE has also introduced ‘bridge courses’ for those students who dropped out,” she says. Moreover, the new system will be able to check the alleged blatant ‘corruption’ in Haryana schools, wherein fake student admissions seem to have become a ‘valid’ basis for the appointment of many govt. teachers. Evaluation (CCE) is a system by which a student’s performance is sought to be improved by identifying his/her learning difficulties at regular time intervals (right from the beginning of the academic session), and employing suitable remedial measures for enhancing his/her learning performance. CCE also has an inbuilt flexibility, which allows schools to plan academic schedules as per their own specified guidelines. For Haryana, the State government decided to introduce CCE ‘model tests’ for students of Classes 1 to VIII at all government schools. According to officials of the State Education department, starting with the current academic session, the teachers at all the government schools will conduct monthly tests for each subject. The schools have to ensure that these examinations are held smoothly. The CCE model is intended to bring about the holistic development of children. The system provides for a blend of academics and extracurricular activities, to enable the overall development of students. “The core idea is to create a base for the seamless development of children. Once the scheme is implemented, the students will be evaluated through a continuous process, which will include subject knowledge and attitude and skills during a session - rather than just quarterly, semi-annual or annual examinations, ” says an Education department source. The government believes that the current system leaves a lot to be desired. Intermittent or periodic tests often tend to disconnect students from what they have studied previously. Whereas, with

a method though which continuous assessment and evaluation is conducted, the chances of a student retaining more and in a less tardy manner, gets greatly enhanced. Further, the pressure to cram for examinations does not benefit knowledge building, feel government officials. The new mechanism, under the CCE model, would automatically eliminate periodic examinations. However, two exams, in line with earlier norms, have been reintroduced. “The hybrid system of continuous evaluation (CCE coupled with the two exams) will take away the fear often associated with the existing evaluation methods. CCE is more like class tests, which evaluate the quality of knowledge absorption over a shorter period of time. Besides, continuous evaluation would enhance the linking of subject knowledge without any break in the chain of learning. Students will also tend to grasp more in a far more relaxed environment,” says an official. “It no doubt is a good system and should release the ‘pressure’ on the students to a great extent. But it also means that teachers will have to gear up their own preparation,” says a schoolteacher. Principal of Happy School, Ranu Sobti, adds, “It is heartening to see that the Education Dept. is taking some important initiatives to improve the system. There should be greater focus on the quality of teachers, and on ensuring their regular training. I also believe that the proposed Online system will be helpful in keeping track of both the teacher and student performances." The Government has introduced an Online Report Card, wherein the performance of the students can be fed. This will in time

become a useful database, and will help keep a track of the teachers and their performance as well. Clearly the success of the CCE model lies in the teachers being appropriately and effectively trained. Their method of questioning needs to necessarily undergo a change. The pattern of teaching may also have to be adapted to the change in the method of evaluation. “While we all welcome the move, our major worry is that, in the absence of proper training to teachers, the scheme might not see the kind of success envisaged by the planners. From the 280 schools that have been selected for the introduction of CCE in Haryana, about 1,200 teachers have already been trained by professionals. Moreover, subject questionnaires will also be provided by SCERT,” says Mrs. Madhubala, an official of SCERT, Gurgaon. While it is too early to assess the mood in the student camps and how welcome the system is to their learning process, the belief seems to be that the examination system makes them more attentive and sincere towards studies. However, the reality is that many students in govt. schools in Haryana are today poor even at a basic level. Students will probably take the most time in getting used to the new system. With the earlier system, they were attuned to basically a Board examination – a final judgment for which they were willing to put in a lot of effort. Now, with them being evaluated on a regular basis, many students are not able to cope. According to some, the competitive spirit, which was an important feature in the earlier examinations based system, is now missing. They also believe that a 40 per cent weightage for projects is an unfair method to judge their skills and competence. Most projects are seen as ‘cut and paste’ jobs and often are not done by the students themselves. Hopefully the new modified CCE will be helpful to the students in developing their academic skills. A consistent and strong level of transparency and honesty between students and teachers will also need to be developed, if CCE is to succeed. In Delhi recently, students who had a chance meeting with the Union HRD Minister, Smriti Irani, had voiced their concerns about CCE. They wanted the system scrapped. Their angst is that the decision to make the Board examinations for Class X optional has only postponed the ‘stress’ – to Class XI. Some student issues never seem to change. Hopefully time, sincere efforts and honest intentions will lead to better education outcomes for the nextgen.u

24-30 October 2014

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

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 won by a record 84,000 votes (over his nearest rival, Gopi Chand Gehlot, of INLD). What has surprised many has

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 mandate. "Punjabis did not vote for Gaba this time. When we see the voting pattern boothwise, we realise that the BJP

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 number of Jaat voters, who have never ‘crossed the line’, also entered the saffron space, due to the magnetic attraction of the

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 election. Prem Bhatia, who stays in Sushant Lok, says that people

tures, and certain ‘associated’ behaviour, the Northeasterners have often been viewed with contempt (if not hate) by a particular section of ‘mainstream’ Indians. They are ‘dismissed’ derisively as Chinks or Chinkies (something that even the Chinese are not called today). Even the ladies are not spared, and are given anything but a ‘sisterly’ treatment. Their fairness, features and ‘modern’ dressing makes them ‘fair play’ for the locals. The men are often beaten up, though they will not be cowed down easily. These aspects were also observed by the Additional Sessions Judge of Dwarka Court in Delhi, Virender Bhat, while delivering the recent judgement in the Dhaula Kuan gang-rape case,

sentencing the five accused persons (incidentally belonging to Mewat, near Gurgaon) to life imprisonment. These beasts had raped a girl hailing from Mizoram, who had been working at the call centre of a BPO in New Delhi. It is shocking that within this year itself, three such racial attacks have taken place in Gurgaon. In the latest sickening episode, three young men from Nagaland, who were working at a BPO, were attacked by some perverted locals at Ghosi village in the vicinity of Sikanderpur. Around 100 people from the Northeastern states live in this village. The victims were assaulted for a flimsy reason; they had refused to offer a round of drinks for the locals.

asha PaNDEY

How Best to Test a Child

prakhar PANDEY

20-26 February 2015

To Advertise 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 ‘belief’, that an Independent always wins from at least one seat in the District, has been belied.

9868163312 { Barnali Dutta / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he states in India’s North East – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh (formerly NEFA), Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura - are often referred as the Seven Sisters of our country (lately Sikkim has also been clubbed in this segment of Northeastern states). However, considering the treatment meted out to the people hailing from this region by the rest of us Indians, particularly in New Delhi and Bangalore, it seems that we do not even consider them a part of our country or of us, let alone seeing them as a family member. Seemingly due to their ‘Mongoloid’ fea-

Desi Apartheid

Contd. on p 4 

adsales@fridaygurgon.com Contd. on p 4 


S piritual

20-26 February 2015

It’s All in the Mind { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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ur mind, in which all dwells, is basically a collection of thoughts that come and go. And what we think and perceive is most dependent on our mental state. Every phenomenon that we observe in the outer world leaves us with an inner experience. What is the true nature of this world? Is it a reality of atomic particles and energy, or some ethereal plane of ideas? There appears to be a real world out there, which can be sensed in and through our human organs. However, what we perceive of things is only our idea of them in Staunch materialist our minds. For example, even but our consciousness. physicists have loved to though a chair may physically Things only exist insofar exist, each individual can only as they are perceived. compare the quantum and experience it through the medium Therefore there has been spiritual worldviews. They see of his/her own mind, from his/ great interest in knowing some great paradigm-shifting her own point of view. Thoughts what happens to things when and ideas are impermanent – not we are not looking at them. potential in Quantum Physics. part of the ‘real’ world. Their Scientists have carefully In 1982, an experiment in France existence is similar to that of a studied this problem, and conclusively established the dream. However, it seems that some of them have come veracity of spiritual notions, the mind and its thoughts are to a simple conclusion: the the only true things that exist; things disappear. Well, not particularly the notion of everything else is illusory and quite. Philosophers believe transcendence (of ‘life’ beyond will eventually leave us. While that objects only exist as a matter). For many years not rejecting the occurrence of phenomenon of consciousness. external phenomena, the Buddha So, your laptop is only here Quantum Physics had been focused on the illusion created while you are aware of it giving indications that there within the mind of the perceiver, and believe in its existence; are levels of reality other than by the process of ascribing when you turn away from it, permanence to impermanent it ceases to exist until you or the material level…that objects phenomena, satisfaction to someone else interacts with it. really do have connections unsatisfying experiences, and Modern scientists believe outside of space and time. a sense of reality to things that that though human existence were effectively insubstantial. is still quite an enigma, there is Buddhism also challenged the no reason to believe that it is all idea that one can experience an objective reality a miracle. Since humans first evolved, they have felt independent of a perceiving mind. Many ancient Indian much of life and their world to be an enigma, but, over philosophies advocate the notion that all matter and the centuries, many inexplicable things have been humans are subtly interconnected with not only one’s explained. These scientists say that, given time and immediate surroundings, but with everything in the research and intelligent surmise, a ‘rational’ way to Universe. They claim that the perception of absolutely everything will be found. Scientists hold that mind and independent beings and things is an illusion that leads matter are the same thing, and that what we call mind to confusion and dissatisfaction; they put one’s self is but a manifestation of the functioning of the brain. (or merely one’s own mind) at the centre, as the only To them, along with the mind, there is also space, item of reality - with all other beings (and perhaps time, matter and energy. And the Universe is surely even one’s own body) being an illusion. Zen holds that not a figment of our imagination, for it continues to each individual has a Buddha mind: an all-pervading exist even after we die. Maybe a part of the answer awareness that fills one’s entire existence, including lies in an old riddle: ‘If a tree falls and there is no the ‘external’ world. This need not imply that one’s one around to hear it, does it make a sound?’ The mind is all that exists, but rather that the distinction answer is quite obvious: ‘No, there’s no sound, as between ‘I am’ and ‘It is’ is ultimately unnecessary, and sound is a product of waves of air hitting a tympanic a burden that, paradoxically, gives rise to an illusory membrane and then being transported to a brain. sense of permanence and independence of a separate With no one present, there would be no ‘perception’ self that suffers and dies. The Upanishads hold the of sound – though ‘sound’ waves would have been mind to be the only God, and all actions in the Universe generated when the tree fell.’ Bertrand Russell had are thought to be a result of the mind assuming infinite stated, ‘that the universe came into existence forms. One who sees everything as nothing but the five minutes ago, courtesy of my mind, complete self, and the self in everything one sees, withdraws with my dirty socks in the laundry hamper, and from nothing. For the enlightened, all that exists is the I challenge you, and everybody else, to prove Self; those who know this Oneness do any suffer any me wrong. But, on reflection, I think I will leave delusion. The real ‘I’ is thought to be nothing but the things as they are and just go on pretending that absolute whole looked at through a particular, unique there really is reality out there that I can, if I point of interest. Similarly, we normally divide time want to, discern…and let it go at that.’ u simply into the past, the present and the future. But in a true sense, there is neither a past nor a future - only Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of the present exists. Time cannot be both behind and Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children ahead. In the words of Buddha, everything past and with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation future is unreal; everything absent and imagined is and multiple disabilities for more than 30 years. He unreal. We cannot prove the existence of anything can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com

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Be Your Best { Shobha Lidder } We gather right knowledge from the right sources We engage in limitless discourses Of what is right & what is wrong True knowledge is two pronged Knowing is wisdom But practising is the true crux I know to lie and cheat is not a good thing But I do it in every tiny thing I know hate & anger burn my mind Yet I criticise, cannot find One good trait in fellow mates I irritate at the smallest bait I cannot clean the slate Of past grievances And so say the Masters Do one good deed a day Glow like the amber sun today Dependency on women, wine or men Just say a no, once, to these addictions Arouse your ‘kundalini’ for great quests Self-achievements, self-conquests Invest in self worth, self-esteem Seeking from others is dependency Stop chasing shadows Earn like the tree, nurture someone for free Build your empire, fulfill your own desires Put your knowledge to test, be your best Before you rest. Shobha Lidder Writer, Journalist, Teacher, Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

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WEEKLY

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20-26 February 2015

C omment

Capital Learnings

W

EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

ith Capital political coverage behind us, it’s time to get real. Too much is being read into the election and the verdict. The AAP victory is Delhi specific...and partly a self-inflicted defeat. If BJP had called for elections last year, or even asked Harsh Vardhan to lead, the result could have been significantly different. We will see the answer very soon in Bihar. To repeat the AAP phenomenon anywhere else would be near impossible. Arvind Kejriwals (like Narendra Modis) are not easily duplicated; comparisons would forever be made. Opposition parties hoping for an AAP ‘link’ would It’s time for BJP and its cadre and supporters to humbly – or at least with good grace - accept defeat, rather than trying to be disappointed. While they now see look for ‘excuses’. The most ‘acceptable’ to them – trending AAP as fellow opposition, they should on Facebook – seems to be a January 19 article by Bobby realise that it is actually in opposition Naqvi, Editor of XPRESS (a sister paper of Gulf News), in to them also. Which opposition Party Gulf News. It has this to say: has a citizen manifesto, or even an Why BJP may want to lose Delhi Action Plan? Which of them will There are enough signs to indicate what you see in Delhi commit to a strong Lok Pal and Swaraj may not be true at all. There is something going on behind (rule)? Would Nitish Kumar change, closed doors and is not known outside a tiny group in with Laloo in tow? We have seen no the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)… But what will BJP change in Gurgaon, or Haryana. The gain from losing Delhi? A lot actually…More importantly, answer will forever be blowing in the Kejriwal’s victory will divert attention of the people who wind. are getting restless from Modi’s inability to deliver on his election promises…Kejriwal will have no honeymoon period, AAP will be under daily scrutiny in both media and voters will demand immediate results, at Delhi. For the sake of their political least on corruption, power tariffs, VAT (value added tax), philosophy and fellow travellers, AAP health hotline and WiFi…The media spotlight on Kejriwal needs to steadfastly stick to Delhi government will allow Jaitley to quietly to push through and deliver well for at least 2 years… unpopular reforms – disinvestment of PSUs (public sector before it even thinks of venturing out. undertakings), budget cuts in health, education – in his Whether the Delhi election and AAP’s attempt to cut budget deficit….away from media spotlight, victory is historic, will only be known the right-wing Sangh Parivar machinery can then unleash its after that. Then, as rightly seen by AAP foot soldiers to polarise voters with low-intensity disturbances itself, its best next bet would be Punjab ahead of the two big battles – Uttar Pradesh (UP) and (2017)…from among the States where Bihar…BJP’s top brass is aware that even if the party wins BJP is in power and the Congress is the Delhi, the state will remain a headache – partly due to intramain opposition. However, if AAP fails party bickerings and partly because of impatient voters who this time, it’s goodbye to all AAPs for expect immediate results and good governance, something quite some time. The ‘performance’ of the BJP is unsure of delivering. BJP has controlled the citythe Kejriwal-led AAP Delhi govt. (on state’s civic bodies for years but has failed miserably. Losing some key deliverables of its 70-point Delhi won’t be such a bad idea! Action Plan) will either change State politics forever, or forever reinforce the FG Note: That BJP seems incapable (deliberately or status quo. otherwise) of delivering immediate results, we have now seen. But is it unsure/incapable of delivering even The media also needs to be able to good governance? And are we to believe that Amit differentiate between and State and Shah had planned his son’s wedding to time (to the Centre, in its coverage and assessment. day) the fall of the BJP in Delhi?! A daily yardstick is hardly how we should measure the Centre’s plans and performance. Come 2017 we may all be surprised to observe the width and depth of the Modi government’s impact, across multiple sectors and segments many hitherto untouched. Swachh India, Beti Education, Skilled India, Digital India, Make in India, Maritime India, as well as Defence, Ganga, Border States and Foreign Relations look likely to leave some indelible marks. But we’re as usual busy watching and commenting on the trees and the empty patches of the forest.u


W ellness

20-26 February 2015

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Ferment Your Gut

We now refer to the human body as a ‘microbiome’ – an inter-linked community of 100 trillion cells. Within this community, bacteria outnumber human cells by a factor of 10 is to 1! Most bacteria reside in the gut and account for about 70-80% of the Immune system, which protects us against disease and premature ageing. In addition, these microbes help counter inflammation and oxidative stress, which is the root cause for several chronic diseases. The critical role of ‘Probiotics’ is being seen in a whole new light. Most experts now agree that maintaining the right balance in the gut microflora is imperative to our maintaining good health. Good bacteria (probiotics) must significantly outnumber bad bacteria. And this fight can be greatly helped by fermented foods. Not only does the regular consumption of fermented foods aid digestion, but it can also help prevent obesity (by helping you feel full) - which in turn affects cardiac and kidney health. A 2014 study by Cambridge University indicates that the benefit could be even upto a 25% reduction to the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes. Interestingly, emergent studies are also indicating huge potential benefits in the area of mental health - specifically an increasing resilience against anxiety and depression. Fermentation can also enhance the Vitamin B content in the final product.

Tip of the Week

Enjoy these fermented foods – you will discover at least some new Dairy based: Yoghurt, Sour Cream (Crème fraîche ), Cheese, Kefir, Lassi/Chhaas/ Ayran/Doogh/ Amasi & other yoghurt-drinks, Blaand, Filmjölk

Yoghurt Bean Paste

Pickles

Soya & other Beans based: Fermented Bean Paste, Miso, Tofu, Tempeh, Soya Sauce, Doenjang, Douchi , Doubanjiang

Vegetables based: Sauerkraut, Fermented Tea Leaves, Kimchi, Pickles (Achar), Cured Olives, Salgam, Fermented Beetroot with Garlic, Hot Peppers Sauce, Pickled Cucumber & Dill, Sauerkohl, Sauerruben, Kombucha, Chicha, Curtido, Gundruk , Kanji Idli

Fruit based: Apple Cider Vinegar, Grape & other Fruit Vinegar, Wine, Chutneys, Fermented Juices and Plant Saps, Toddy, Kvass, Burong Mangga Fish Sauce

I

n the search for the ever-elusive ‘silver bullet’ or a quick fix, sometimes a ‘solution’ right under our nose can get ignored. One such is the age-old tradition of fermentation as the most cost-effective method of food preservation. Ancient cultures across the globe made virtue out of many a necessity. What could be more simple and elegant than discovering a way to eliminate spoilage and at the same time making the food healthy, simply by reasserting a harmonious balance? In fermented foods, the ‘good bacteria’ are enabled to outnumber the ‘baddies’ that are responsible for putrefaction and consequent diseases. Like alchemy, the fermentation process simply lets food ‘age in tight-lidded containers, while having some fun playing around with a few environmental conditions. Adjusting the quantity of oxygen, sunlight, temperature and salt levels, aids anaerobic (absence of oxygen) fermentation, which magically converts sugars into acids. This is commonly called ‘souring’, ‘curdling’ or ‘curing’. Uncontrolled ageing, in contrast, leads to putrefaction, due to denatured and toxic proteins and fats. The world rediscovered fermentation benefits thanks to Élie Metchnikoff, a Russian biologist who won the Nobel Prize in 1908 for work on the Immune system. In his book, The Prolongation of Life, he makes a strong case for the regular consumption of fermented foods produced by bacteria, yeasts and moulds. Unfortunately, the full impact of fermented foods did not register until several decades later. This is partly because the pendulum was still swinging heavily in favour of our (then) newly found penchant for antibiotics, which can nuke all bacteria – the good along with the bad. The easy access to highly processed, overrefined, high fat or high sugar foods did not help matters either. All these ‘modern’ and ‘industrial’ practices, combined with sedentary lifestyle choices, wreak havoc on the delicate balance of microflora in our gut. This weakens the Immune system, leaving the door wide open for chronic diseases to enter. And the heavy medication that follows also knocks off some more good microbes. Not surprisingly, this leads to a vicious cycle of chronic ill health. It is only in recent years that we are, for the first time, perhaps fully appreciating the benefits of purposeful fermentation in food and beverages - not just for preservation benefit, but also for helping improve palatability and nutritional value. A recent report by the FAO concludes: ‘Fermented foods play an important role in providing food security, enhancing livelihoods and improving the nutrition and social wellbeing of millions of people around the world, particularly the marginalised and vulnerable’. The reframing of our perspectives on good health is helping us get such deeper understanding.

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Grains based: Sourdough or Rye Breads, Idli, Dosa, Apple Cider Appam, Dhokla, Beer, Meat or Fish based: Cured Meats, Amazake Fish Sauce, Bagoong, Bánh cuon

The benefits from Naturally Fermented Foods may not be available from all highly refined packaged foods, which tend to kill off all bacteria during processing, or use chemically produced yeasts or acetic acid for preservation. When buying packaged products, it helps to look for labels such as ‘Organic’ and ‘Contains Live Bacteria’.

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Naturally Fermented Foods

In addition to the traditional fermented foods consumed locally in each region of the world, there is increasing interest in the crossfertilisation of tastes. People are discovering that there are almost unlimited ways to add these simple yet healthy foods to our diet. Care should however be taken to choose the right strains of bacteria. For example, Lactobacillus are best for boosting the Immune system and Saccharomyces cerevisiae are most effective in concentrating the Vitamin B content. Lacto-fermentation is one of the easiest to experiment with at home. Salt plays a pivotal role in traditional fermentation, by creating conditions that favour the bacteria, preventing the growth of pathogenic microorganisms, pulling water and nutrients from the substrate and adding flavour. Some interesting recipes can be found on : http://www.culturesforhealth.com/u For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions


14

20-26 February 2015

{ Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he Make in India dream clearly rests on skilling the large unskilled and under-skilled youth of India. Considering that over 65 per cent of the Indian population is below 35 years of age, it is perhaps not a day too early for the country to take on Skill Development in a big way. In March, the Narendra Modi government is set to launch a new Skill Development policy, with a view to skilling nearly 500 million youth over the next decade, as per the needs of industry – which is expected to aggressively ramp up production and capacity in existing and new projects. Currently the employment generation in the country is a little higher in the Services sector, which employs about 28 per cent of the workforce; the Manufacturing sector employs 24 per cent. Modi’s dream is to sizably increase the Manufacturing sector’s footprint in the employment market. This evidently entails a structural change in the quality and quantity of training and skilling. In India today, while the government can create the opportunities through a well-defined and supportive policy, a big responsibility for Skill Development will rest on the able shoulders of the private sector. The Modi government has created a separate Ministry for Skill Development, which is facilitating the framing of guidelines for the training and skilling of the youth. Even before the introduction of the mandatory CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) scheme, enlightened organisations like DLF Foundation had envisioned building India’s human and social capital by nurturing various communities through some well thought out initiatives. Skill Development has been one of its prime intervention areas. ‘Skilling India to Make in India’ is the mantra. DLF Foundation head, Gayatri Paul is steering the Group’s ambitious plan to impart appropriate skills to the unemployed youth. With over 13 years of experience working in various social organisations, Ms Paul, a Law and a Management graduate, has good and appropriate

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Skill Foundation

DLF also runs a Labour Net programme, a social enterprise that has been set up to help create sustainable benefits for workers in the informal sector. Located at Gopalpura, the DLF Labour Net Training Center offers short-term courses in beauty & hair care, electricals and sales. According to Rahul Shandilya, Manager - North, Labour Net, the Centre aims to benefit the local youth and their families. “We are looking forward to opening more such centers across the country, to help fill the wide skill-gap,” he states. knowledge in the area of social welfare. Her expertise lies in designing innovative models for social development in the areas of Education, Training and Healthcare. She has been associated with DLF Foundation since its inception in 2008 and has conceived and implemented the entire CSR Program of the DLF Group - chalking out its Vision, Mission, philosophy, roadmap and the strategic areas for intervention. In her capacity as the Director of DLF Foundation, she has been responsible for identifying and executing CSR initiatives and has strategically developed and executed diverse projects like Model Village Development, DLF Skill Development Programme and the CGS Veterinary Hospital. With her passion and commitment for social development Ms Paul has forged strategic partnerships with leading  national and international non- profit organisations in the social arena. “I am of the opinion that we can greatly enhance employability by providing the right training programmes. This will also help reduce the (current) huge waste An additional benefit of Skilling India comes in the form of a greying population in the more prosperous parts of the world. It’s estimated that by 2020 there will be a shortage of skilled manpower of nearly 56 million. India can reap a ‘bonus demographic dividend’ by being the lead exporter of skilled manpower, even as it expands manufacturing frontiers domestically.

of human and financial resources,” says Ms Paul. DLF Foundation was set up with the express mission of empowering communities and creating opportunities for the underprivileged in the areas of Education, Skill Development, Cluster-village Development and Healthcare. DLF believes that these initiatives are integral to the upliftment of, and a better quality of life for, the economically challenged sections of society. The DLF programme has largely focused on the Construction sector, Health assistance and the Beauty and Fashion designing industry. ”We have successfully created awareness by developing effective communications tools. We have developed unique programmes to take this knowledge to all those who require it. Our training programmes are extensive and focused on livelihood generation. They have benefitted large numbers, who have found employment in different sectors, ranging from retail to construction to data entry, besides also several upmarket segments of the fashion design and garment industry. The key skill and aptitude that we have managed to instill in the trainees is professionalism, an essential ingredient in a dynamic global market,” Ms Paul adds. At the same time, DLF is not neglecting the large number of youth who are rural based. The Group is also focusing on imparting appropriate skills to the relatively underprivileged sections and even school dropouts, so that they get a fair chance to join the workforce. DLF has two centres in Gurgaon District - at Chakarpur village and Pataudi, besides another 35 such centres across India. The future plan is to expanding such facilities to another 20-25 locations. DLF Foundation works at the ground level to ensure that the training imparted is need-based and therefore useful. “Along with Skill Development, we make sure the youth get proper counselling and attitudinal training as well. We have developed in-house operating systems, which help us monitor progress at each of our training centres,” Ms Paul says. “Helping the youth become employable also keeps them in a positive mindset and away from negative influences,” she adds. Of prime importance in helping DLF achieve its objectives is the quality of its trainers and the training methods – for imparting both theoretical and practical training and skills for different vocations. This is an area that the DLF Foundation has been seriously addressing at its centres. It has ensured that the trainers are well equipped and updated with the knowledge and skills that they must impart to the trainees. “This is definitely making a qualitative difference to our ambitious ‘Skill a Million’ programme,“ says Ms Paul. DLF believes that, as a responsible corporate, it is helping set a sustainable employability foundation for the youth of the country.u

S ocial

Lead Saintly Love { Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

V

alentine’s Day celebrations passed off rather ‘uneventfully’ in Gurgaon and other parts of the National Capital Region. Lovers were out in big numbers - in parks and malls, pubs and cinemas. The naysayers were out too, though in much smaller numbers. Some right wing organisations, who say that this celebration of the patron saint of lovers is against Indian culture, had threatened to round up lovers and marry them. But this didn’t dampen the festive spirit. By V-Day eve most outlets in the Millennium City were doing roaring business.  The Archies and Hallmark shops were overcrowded, with throngs of the young buying cards and trinkets for their loved ones. Those with more cash in their pockets flocked to Tanishq and other jewellers – to order expensive ‘tokens’ of their love. Some picked up specially ordered chocolates and cakes. The first signs of celebration were already evident early morning on the Metro. Young boys and girls were holding hands; some even trying to steal a peck on the cheek, despite some disapproving glances. A couple of girls held flowers in their hands. For some the gifts had already been exchanged, and plans for the day made. “We had met on this same day, three years ago…and he had proposed. So for me this day is very special. We have planned for a dinner and a night out,” said Malika Jaiswal. Even by noon, despite it being a working day, the malls were teeming with people – though not all of them were there to celebrate. “We came here to pass some time and enjoy the ambience of the mall, not to celebrate anything,” said an elderly gentleman. Did he believe in this festival of love? “Why do you need a special day to express your love? That said, let the young enjoy,“ he said. By early evening the tables at most restaurants s oup in Gurgaon were e gr ring ocratic f taken, and the y d b r dem igns sue u dance floors ts is ult to o campa top. a e r s Th an in ls. The ust s crowded. to are dentia ation m ity have on Here again, cre ntimid secur occasi ot of i hould on an If it’s n . not all of s it p Why eefed u ’s Day? ’t drink them, even e e n b n c i o t a e d n e b among the tea, in p Vale like  cup of ers sip ste ,,, r young, were cela h t t u o yo t let h its ebrating Valentine’s Bu d relis ut fear. an witho Day. “We don’t believe in Valentine’s Day; we are just having a girls’ night out. Love has a different meaning for us “ said Ankita Sohail, a chartered accountant. Ankita was among a group of girls who had come from Delhi to the Cyber Hub. “This day has given us a ‘bahana’ to hold another party. We are having fun watching couples,“ Ankita added. In some bars same-sex couples were out in big numbers. “We also want to show our love and people should accept us the way we are. We are a part of this society. He has gifted me an iPhone and proposed marriage,” said Krishna. Is the celebration of Valentine’s Day a blind aping of the West, a move into decadence, as religious groups would have us believe? “We are not so westernised, but change is a constant thing, so we have started adapting to this culture. I have two daughters and, for me, spending time with my family is much more important. But this time my daughters have organised a special dinner for us, and after that they want us to take a small break from work, for a trip to Manali,” said Mr. Srinivasan. Since many groups had threatened to create trouble, the City police were geared up for the occasion. “We want to make sure that there are no untoward incidents. Our special force is on its toes,” said Gurgaon Police Commissioner Virk. Mercifully Virk’s special force didn’t have to do much. Love won the day and the Millennium City folk danced late into the night.. and are looking forward to the same ‘notso-saintly’ day next year. As they say, all’s well that ends well. u


B on V ivant

20-26 February 2015

And so they wrote... { Meenu Thakur Sankalp }

A

s a dancer who has performed for close to two decades in the presence of a varied global audience, I decided to pause and ponder about some of the most interesting people I have met during my performances. Some of the best connoisseurs of Classical dance and knowledgeable members of the general public have graced my recitals. Among the international audience, there have been very handsome, charming men and a sizable number of women as well, who had promised to keep in touch through letters, even after my return to India. A few of them stand out, as they kept up their word. In today’s age of mobile apps, e-mails and social media, the world has been compressed into a zipped file. Today I receive photographs of my performances from a number of people on my e-mail. However, nothing quite matches the power of letter writing and photographs (prints), the real expression of feelings. My memories go back to photographs that were shot in far off Manila or nearby Bulandshahar, and the prints

packed neatly and sent to my residential address by registered post. Each packet signified the special effort taken by a member of the audience to reach out to a dancer, knowing well that he would perhaps never meet her again. There were even a few foreign male ‘admirers’, whose ‘love letters’ would be delivered almost a month later. The friendly neighbourhood postman would stand at my door saying, “Foren se letter aaya, Air Mail”, and wait for a generous

tip. The letters would often be sprayed with some perfume and written with colourful sketch pens. My ‘girlie’ friends would secretly read these mushy letters. I felt like a diva. It sure felt heady having a tall, fair, handsome and strong Serbian or Austrian guy writing these love letters to me and requesting a reply. The shy young woman that I was, I did not reply to any of them. Today I laugh at my cagey disposition. With age and some wisdom, I think that it

was the woman dressed up in a traditional Indian dance costume, impressively made up (flowers adorning her hair, hands and feet decorated with ‘Mehendi’, all decked up in jewellery), dancing and emoting on stage, that these attractive men fell in love with - in spirit and letter. I must admit that it stills feels good when I (re)read these letters. Two of them, from the 1990s, are special. The first occasion was in Brazil. I was joined by some local Brazilian dancers on stage. As I was teaching them some Indian Classical dance moves, I was ‘noticed’ by a very tall, handsome and rugged man of Portuguese origin. After the performance he walked up to me and handed me a marker pen. I was startled when he craned his neck towards me and requested me to sign my autograph on his neck. Though I initially refused, for I had never experienced something like that in conservative India, I eventually obliged. He then scribbled my address on a piece of paper and promised to keep in touch. The second occasion, in South Africa, was similar. After one of my performances, a South African man of South Indian origin approached me. He must have been in his twenties. Though he was a bit over-weight, he had a very attractive face.

{ Ankur Mithal }

I

still carry the scars of the incident that took place soon after we moved to Gurgaon, over ten years ago. The memory continues to haunt me; it sometimes makes me wake up in the middle of the night, trembling, in a cold sweat. While driving down to the market one day, I saw the traffic light turn red in front of me. Dutifully, I stopped the car. Almost immediately I heard the screech of brakes behind me. As I turned my head I could see a car swerving, to avoid crashing into the rear of my car - even though I had not suddenly applied the brakes. I can only guess that it came as a late surprise to the speeding gentleman behind me that the car ahead of him would be stopping at the red light. That close shave completely unsettled me. In the sixty odd seconds that I was at the traffic light, I had vehicles going past on either side. One ‘kind’ taxi-driver, who was without a passenger, asked me if I had a problem with the car and if he could help. Some gave me withering glances, for slowing down their imperious march towards their destination. Some gave me the ‘how dare the government issue driving licences to such uneducated people’ look. All of this in sixty seconds….though it seemed like a lifetime. I felt completely alone. I cracked. I engaged the gears and moved. My hands were still trembling. After that incident I could not drive for a long time. But I am not one to give up easily. I would spend hours standing on the roadside observing the traffic movement and piecing together the jigsaw puzzle…in the hope that one day I would be able to drive in Gurgaon without making a fool of

Licence to Learn myself. My efforts yielded results. I learnt a lot about traffic signals. I learnt that it is the people ‘whose light is green’ who need to stop and wait for people driving through red lights, and that they need to wait for their light to turn red before they can begin to move. I learnt that if you see a traffic signal turning red in the distance, you must crazily speed up. A corollary of the above rule is that you should never, ever, be the first to stop at a traffic signal. Doing so is bound to lead to an immediate and irrevocable deterioration in your social status, if an acquaintance were to notice this act of weakness. But I did not learn just about traffic signals. I learnt that while going the wrong way on a one-way street, if the oncoming traffic honks at you, you must

15

He said that he appreciated my dances and had attended my recitals in four different cities. He wished to know me better. He promised to write to me. When I returned to India, I was surprised when letters from South Africa and Brazil began to come to me regularly. The two men had kept their promise. They kept writing to me for a long time, despite receiving no reply from me. I still chide myself for the discourtesy of not even penning a few words in return. I can only look up to the sky and pray for their well being today. I have never spoken about these beautiful memories to anyone. But today I understand the value of each gesture, and I thank those two wonderful men and scores of others, for making me the dancer I am today, for it is they who gave me the confidence of being talented and perhaps worthy of love and adulation even though I never met them again. I have preserved these beautiful letters for my daughter, for her to read when she grows up. I am sure she would chuckle, just like my girlie friends. I wish to make her realise that every woman needs to know that she is special. More so a professional dancer, who looks longingly at the audience for applause and the cry for an ‘encore’.u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi danseuse and choreographer

flash your high beam. When aimed correctly, the magical properties of the high beam will make that ‘errant’ vehicle vanish. I also learnt that while driving at night on an undivided two-way street, the non-stop use of the high beam is a contribution that every individual needs to make, to ensure that driving in the city remains ‘safe’. I learnt that if you need to turn right at an intersection, you must stay in the left-most lane till the last second. The right turn must be made in a graceful arc, sweeping across all the on-rushing vehicles – to bring them to a screeching halt. This strategy is even more effective when you have to make a U-turn. The beauty of this strategy is that it is equally effective the other way round - while turning left from the right-most lane. I learnt that one should never, ever, stop on the left side of the road. For maximum impact, stop right in the middle of the road. And, to show that you are educated, to those honking away and to the cops, you should then turn on the blinkers. I learnt that the law asks you to wear a seat belt while driving for the safety of the cops trying to enforce it, contrary to what they would have you believe. Hence never, ever, wear a seat belt while driving. If you think you have to, just hold the belt and stretch it to the point where it should be buckled, without actually doing so. This will still leave you with one hand to drive, shift gears etc. I have finally learnt not to blame the City’s traffic woes on its drivers…and picked up some choice words that can be used to good effect on any occasion wherein you don’t see eye-to-eye with someone. Driving on Gurgaon roads, as you can guess, is pregnant with possibilities. Each day brings a new, refreshing experience…and learning. u


16

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20-26 February 2015

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