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20-26 March 2015

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

Vol. 4 No. 31  Pages 16  ` 10

Farm Fresh the Haryana Way prakhar PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon


griculture in India is today at the crossroads, mostly plagued by small landholdings harbouring a rising population. This is putting immense pressure on farmers to sell and move out. However, by adopting new technologies and embracing progressive ways of farming and new produce, more than a few farmers are realising that they can increase their productivity, output and value. The more enterprising are into food processing, and are even branding their produce. This is the strong message that was sent out to thousand of farmers who participated in the Haryana Agri Leadership Summit in Gurgaon. While the State government leaders did hog the ‘medialight’, the event was undoubtedly of, for and by the farmers. Even the corporate crowd in Gurgaon was impressed by the ‘farmwares’ on display by stakeholders from across the State. The centre of attraction was Dharambir Kamboj - popularly known as Kisan Dharambir, who presented many progressive ideas and innovations. His journey, from being a rickshaw puller in Delhi to now becoming an entrepreneur who designs and sells innovative food processing machines across India, is an inspirational tale in a nation where second chances are rare. Dharambir said he had met with a serious accident while riding his rickshaw, and had gone back to his village. There, with govt. help, he learnt about farming and food processing. “I had no money, and my house was also on the verge of being sold. I was in despair. Just then a chance visit to Ajmer inspired me to take up food processing. "I saw that farmers there were making good money by processing local fruits,” he said. An inspired Dharambir went to nearby Jagadhri, a local steel fabrication hub, and got a supplier to make a rudimentary machine

{ Barnali Dutta/FG } write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon


he pioneering Agri Leadership Summit held at the HUDA grounds near Leisure Valley was widely attended by farmers from across Haryana, agricultural scientists and experts in agricultural practices from India and abroad. The Summit presented the changing face of Indian agriculture and captured the keenness of the farmer community to embrace technology. The focus was on innovations that are being practised across the world to enhance agricultural output and quality. This was particularly relevant in the context of a shrinking agriculture base in India today. Farming is no longer about simply tilling the land. Science and technology has taken an important position in Indian agricultural practice. According to official statistics, more than 90 per cent of the power is now being drawn from mechanical sources: tractors and power tillers provide the bulk of the requirement, followed by electric motors and diesel engines. Some forty years ago, over 72 per cent of the power was provided by human beings and animals. Many

progressive farmers have combined their hard work with technology to yield ‘gold’ in their farmlands. There is now greater focus on organic crops and human health. The offering of fresh farm produce is a most refreshing development. The 3-day Agri leadership Summit witnessed a healthy display of ‘nontraditional’ farm produce. Visitors crowded pavilions where farm products such as Broccoli, Strawberry, Squash, Cherry Tomato and the like were in evidence. These represented several success stories of India’s rejuvenated farm sector. The Summit was inaugurated by the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal and Union Minister for Surface Transport Nitin Gadkari. In the Farmer’s Pavilion, a range of farm produce was exhibited in stalls. The State government has coined the term ‘Agri Leaders’ to depict and recognise the outstanding farmers who have dared to experiment in their fields…. and succeeded “These ‘Leaders’ have evolved with the market demands and are today earning very good money,” said the Chief Minister. The CM added, “The new generation is well aware of the requirement of the market today, and they Contd. on p 6

for processing farm produce. After two years of hard work he was able to fine-tune his machine, which can now process multiple fruits, herbs and other produce. “The result is that I have been able to sell a number of these machines across the country, and even abroad. I now earn well, but all this happened only after I connected back with the farm. It helped me make my comeback,” said Dharambir. On sale at his stall were Aloe Vera gel, cream, strawberry juice, 'amla murabba' and several kinds of jams – all produced through his machine. Even the Haryana Governor stopped to take a look at his stall. An officer of the Agriculture department who came to his stall agreed that a large part of horticulture produce in the country, including in Haryana, gets wasted. In his opinion, local ‘factories’ like Dharambir’s, would go a long way in helping save food, and in turn ensure that farmers get a good price. The farmers at the Agri Summit were also told to branch out to floriculture, dairy and other related activities, which would free them from the wheat-paddy economy that is totally controlled by the govt. through its Minimum Sale Price (MSP) policy. Rajinder Dahiya, a farmer from Sonepat, was inspired by an official of the Hisar Agricultural University to take up floriculture. Today he, along with his sons, plants 12 acres of his land with imported bulbs from Holland and is making a neat profit by producing quality flowers - which include Lilies, Chrysanthemums and Roses. His son Kushagra said that they sell the flowers in Ghazipur Mandi, and these are bought by leading hotels in Delhi-NCR because of their good quality. A farmer can make a profit of Rs 5 lakhs per acre through floriculture, provided he is dedicated and willing to work hard, he added. In fact if some of the innovations are embraced seriously, even the humble potato and tomato can help you earn Contd. on p 6-7

See Special Feature on p 8-9 & Back Page


20-26 March 2015

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017 Vol. 4 No. 31   20-26 March 2015



Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

Barnali Dutta

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 The Haryana Budget is tabled on March 17; it proposes a total Plan Outlay of Rs 69,140 crores, leaving a high Revenue Deficit of Rs. 9,558 crores; by year-end the State could be servicing a debt of almost Rs 100,000 crores! Haryana Govt. promises piped drinking water supply to at least 90% of the population by October 2, 2019. State Lokayukta recommends criminal proceedings in the Rs 10,000 plus crores tax evasion scam in Haryana, which was unearthed by an SIT team. Haryana govt. will probe the 2009 land allotment to Rajiv Gandhi Charitable Trust for the setting up of an eye hospital in Gurgaon. Haryana govt. is examining the release of 224 acres from a total of 912 acres acquired for the setting up of an IMT (Industrial Model Township) in Manesar 9in 2004-05). State informs HC that 224 FIRs against 473 people have been lodged to date in the HUDA plots scam. DTCP (Town & Country Planning) says that Rs 6.59 crores bank guarantee(s) of the Mayfield Gardens’ builder will be revoked and the funds used for completing the builder’s pending civic works in the colony (since the builder has refused to do so, despite being ordered by various authorities). An Anti-Rabies Task Force for the State is flagged off by the CM; a key objective is the sterilisation of street dogs. Haryana is planning for the issuance of online Birth and Death Certificates within 3 months. Haryana State passes a Bill banning cow slaughter; violation would lead to imprisonment for 10 years. SC sets aside UPA’s notification on Jat reservation; Jats will not be on the Central list of OBCs.

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 A maid’s minor (15-year-old) child commits suicide by jumping from a high rise in Sector 56; the family suspects foul play.  A 33-year-old cable operator is shot dead by 4 men outside his office in Rajiv Nagar; 2 brothers are held.  A mob vandalises a camp office after a labourer dies in an under construction site in Sector 62.  A woman accuses an auto driver, her neighbour in Civil Lines, of molestation; he is arrested.  A policeman gets a notice for not taking any action in a missing person’s case.  Locals protest on the road against cow slaughter, after a severed head of a cow is seen on the road.  A car catches fire on Southern Peripheral Road, in Sector 74.  An NRI girl and her family are cheated of lakhs when they transact via an online marriage site.  4 men hold a doctor hostage and steal his car, in Sector 14; 4 men snatch a car from a driver at IFFCO Chowk.  MCG removes 3 staff members that were taking bribes at the Citizen Facility Centre.  2 are held for smuggling sandalwood worth Rs 4 crores.  A woman is caught for perpetrating a property fraud of Rs 14 lakhs, in Saraswati Kunj, Part 1.  3 are booked for a Rs 15 lakhs lottery fraud in Sector 5.  A person posing as an insurance company executive dupes people of Rs 3.7 lakhs in Sadar Bazar.  6 are held for cricket betting in Sector 49, and 8 in Rajeev Nagar; 3 gamblers are held in Badshahpur.  Gurgaon Civil Surgeon expresses grave concern on City’s water quality

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after lab tests of water samples from 4 locations in ‘old’ Gurgaon show that the water is not fit for human consumption. National Lok Adalat resolves 1,256 cases (out of 1,308 heard). SAT quashes SEBI’s market ban on DLF. A survey of land bank data shows that 600 acres of HUDA land in City have been encroached and another 500 acres are lying unused. MCG is planning to provide online fire safety clearance. MCG officials survey a few HUDA sectors, as part of the planned (though now delayed) takeover. The third 22MGD unit of the Chandubudhera Water Treatment Plant will become operational from April – which will take the City’s total treatment capacity to about 130MGD.  The City’s first underground power substation will soon come up in Sector 29. After an e-tender this year, 319 liquor shops fetch Rs 546 crores (Rs 100 crores more than last year) – despite an upcoming steep hike in the prices of liquor. The City Police has decided to allow branding of all its police stations, in lieu of their maintenance and upgradation by private parties. MCG plans to hire an agency from Mathura to tackle the monkey menace. A flash one-day Haryana Roadways strike on Tuesday inconveniences thousands. Haryana Agri Leadership Summit is held over 3 days at Leisure Valley. Over 100 cyclists take part in an antipollution drive on Sunday. Yadav Mahasabha confers Yadav Vibhushan Sammaan on 17 people. Vegetable prices surge after the unseasonal rains and hailstorms.

Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan Park Place (DLF Phase V) RWA files an FIR alleging cheating and breach of trust against the DLF Chairman and some of the Company’s senior functionaries and affiliate companies, for reneging on the promise of an exclusive club; DLF denies the allegations. Recently FIRs have also been filed against Unitech, Vigneshwara Developers and ADEL Landmarks. Meanwhile, Sushant Lok II & III residents await their promised

community centre – allegedly due for decades! HUDA says that it will now reinvestigate the allotment of 58 acres (in Sectors 29 and 52) to Appu Ghar. 77 ex-Maruti employees (out of 145 that were still in jail) are granted bail by a Gurgaon court. In 2013 the Punjab & Haryana High Court had refused them bail.

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20-26 March 2015

Haryana Budget

like the linking of 4,000 villages with the Internet he Haryana Budget presented by Finance by September 2015, supply of maize and bajra at Minister Capt. Abhimanyu Singh seems subsidised rates through PDS at Rs 1 per kg each, in to have bet on higher growth in the State economy. The focus is on increasing revenue by addition to wheat at Rs 2 per kg. The Budget however does not provide for unemployment alboosting the industrial sector. The govlowance for youth, which was promised by ernment says that the goal is to push the Party. The FM has repeatedly claimed 'Made in Haryana’. Assuming the highthat the economy of the State was in the er revenue, the Budget has increased doldrums when BJP took over, and this allocations for education, skill developBudget has tried to 'rebalance the books' by ment, job creation and power - leaving reducing spend on non-profitable ventures a revenue deficit of Rs 9,558 crores. The and PSUs. By announcing no district speState debt is expected to increase from Rs cific program, the govt. has sent the mes81,836 crores to Rs 98,848 crores. In 2014-15 sage that it wants equal and uniform deHaryana grew at 7.8 per cent, against the Abhimanyu Singh velopment of the entire State. The Budget All India growth rate of 8 per cent. Capt. however omits any mention of EWS HousAbhimanyu said that his Budget aimed ing or parity in salary of govt. staff vis a at high growth, balanced regional devis Punjab employees. GL Sharma, State velopment and good governance. He Executive Manager, BJP Haryana said said that the Budget document was a tool that more expenditure in the social and for social development, positive change and infrastructure sectors would spur growth inclusion. As a major relief to the common in the State. “The schemes for girl child as man, and industry as well, the FM did not well as for villages will transform the rural announce any new taxes. He reduced VAT landscape,” he added. He also opined that on bio-fertilisers, LED lights, pipe fittings focus on skill development and jobs for and prefabricated steel structures. In the GL Sharma youth will help tackle the rampant unemsocial sector, the Finance Minister has anployment in the State. The BJP governnounced schemes like Beti Bachao, ASHA, ment has also shown through this Budget Protsahan Yojana, Aapki Beti-Hamari Beti that equal development in all parts of the State was Scheme and the Kanya Kosh Scheme. The Budget possible, unlike the past when development was also launched the Swachh Haryana-Swachh Bharat always lopsided, he said. Vashist Kumar Goyal, a Abhiyaan in villages, along with Vidhayak Aadarsh businessman, hailed the Budget for imposing no Gram Yojana and the Swaprerit Aadarsh Gram new taxes and for reducing VAT for certain items. Yojana (for the development of villages with the “We now must build more flyovers, roads and other support of MLAs and other prominent persons and infrastructure as these developments fuel growth,” organisations). The FM also made good on some he added. u promises made by the BJP in its election manifesto, The Budget for FY 2015-16, presented in the Haryana Assembly by Capt. Abhimanyu Singh, Minister of Finance, Haryana, proposed neither a hike in any tax rate nor any new taxes. H P Yadav, President, NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Gurgaon, said that there was only a mention of the New Industrial Policy - the final policy is still awaited. Hopefully the several suggestions of industry would be incorporated. Yadav stated that the decision to set up an 800MW Thermal Power Plant in Panipat, and the resolve to ensure speedy completion of the Kundli Manesar Palwal (KMP Expressway), Is com-

mendable. While the extension of Delhi Metro from Dwarka to Gurgaon is on expected lines, the earlier plan to extend the Metro from Gurgaon to Manesar seems to have been put on the back burner - and the H P Yadav Manesar to Rewari link looks more like a dream now. “We were also expecting the withdrawal of External Development Charges (EDC) and the resolution of dual property taxation in Industrial areas,” said Yadav. Further, in view of deteriorating labour conditions, NCR Chamber of Commerce and Industry

has been demanding a Haryana Industrial Peacekeeping Group (from Haryana Police). “While the Minister talked of Make in Haryana, there was no mention of Industrial Safety. There was also no mention of incentive/subsidy for the installation/use of Solar/ Renewable Energy. Finally, and most importantly, our request for the setting up of a Tax Free Industrial Zone in a barren, remote area(s) of the State, which would help propel Make in India, has again been denied,” said Yadav. According to him, overall this was a ‘general’ Budget.

Free at last A

fter almost three long years of incarceration, and three weeks after the Supreme Court granted bail to two Maruti workers alleged to be involved in the violence at the Company’s plant that led to the death of an officer in 2012, a Gurgaon court has granted bail to another 77 workers. The bail was given by the court of Additional District and Sessions Judge S K Khanduja. Bail application for around 40 more workers is likely to be filed next week in the same court. Rajender Pathak, lawyer for the workers, told Friday Gurgaon that the main contention was that these workers have been falsely implicated, and there is no evidence against them. A majority of the workers have not been identified by eyewitnesses, and the prosecution has failed to produce a single credible witness against the workers, he added. Pathak further alleged that despite negligible evidence against the workers, and they not being habitual offenders, the government has been misusing the State apparatus against them. He said that it is unheard of in a democracy that workers are denied bail and held for years in jail, without the backing of any sound evidence. Sources said that the change in government and the dropping of senior lawyer KTS Tulsi, who was fighting on behalf of the erstwhile government, have helped the workers. The recent bail to two Maruti workers by the Supreme Court was also probably one of the reasons why the lower court could boldly take this decision, said Pathak. The jailed workers had been repeatedly denied bail, and in May 2013 even the High Court had refused to grant them bail. It observed: ‘The incident is a most unfortunate occurrence, which has lowered the reputation of India in the estimation of the world. Foreign investors are not likely to invest money in India out of fear of labour unrest’. It is alleged that the workers were ‘picked’ randomly, with an objective to teach them a lesson. A majority of the workers are the only earning members in their families. The Maruti workers said that a thorough probe should be ordered and the truth must come out. Pathak said that while the bail given to workers has given him hope, the real problem is the lack of support from State authorities, who always seem to prefer to side with the corporates instead of helping the workers. “We want the government to treat both sides equally,” he said. The Maruti workers and their union were elated that the court had finally come to their rescue. Kuldip Janghu, President, Maruti Udyog Workers Union, said, “Now we will ask the Company to take these workers back. The Union will fight for all the 546 employees who were terminated, and several others who were fired without being paid any compensation,” he added.u

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20-26 March 2015

Music Date: March 20 Time: 7:30pm ’Katha’...the chronicles of life, an instrumental ballad depicted by a mono dance act. Producer: Impulse Artists: Arunangshu Chaudhury (Multipercussion), Archana Singh (Kathak Dance) & Sujoy Chakravarty (Keys). Stand Up Comedy Date: March 22 Time: 7:30pm Italy through the eyes of Italian female directors

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Gurgaon Haat INTACH-Gurgaon has planned the fifth edition of Gurgaon Haat on March 21 & 22. 55 artisans from different States will offer a range of products: including juttis, wrought iron furniture, paper products, pottery, silver, artificial jewelley, organic products, khadi wear and textiles. Many of the participants have received National and respective State recognitions and awards for their art and talent. The Haat will remain open from 11 am to 8 pm at the DLF Phase - I Community Centre. Vikas Gupta, IAS, Municipal Commission, Gurgaon will inaugurate Gurgaon Haat on March 21.

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06  Contd from p 1 big bucks – even in the arid lands of South Haryana. Vinod, a young farmer from Patikra village in the dry zone of Mahendragarh district, has adopted the use of hybrid seeds and the drip irrigation process to multiply his production of potatoes and tomatoes. “My quality is better and even the taste is good, so it fetches me a good premium. I also save on water and power costs, and thus make a better profit,” he said. Agriculture no doubt needs hard work, he added, but if farmers are open to adopting advanced techniques, they can earn well. Raj Kumar, another progressive farmer from Tejakhera in Sirsa, grows Kinnows. He said that co-operative farming could be the way forward for farmers with small holdings. “We grow Kinnows in our farms, and also jointly with other farmers. The business is good, but it has a gestation period of five years,” said the farmer, whose family has a large land holding. He added that, compared to farming, orchards are a more reliable and better source of income. Baljit Singh Redhu, owner of Lakshya brand, has a dairy and milk processing plant in Jind. Redhu is a leader in milk production in the State. He states that the government will have to intervene strongly to make dairy farming profitable. “Right now running a dairy is not at all profitable for the small farmers, and even those who keep cattle as part of subsistence farming are giving it up,” said Redhu. “We urgently need to improve the quality and breed of the indigenous milch-producing animals, using the latest genetics. We need to have better fodder management. The government needs to work on a PPP (Public Private Partnership) mode in this industry. The number of cattle in this country is huge, and we can supply milk to the entire world if proper measures are taken,” he quipped. A special section of the Summit was designated for the indigenous cows and

20-26 March 2015

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Farm Fresh the Haryana Way

Dairy farmer Baljit Singh Redhu, owner Lakshya Dairy Dharambir Kisan with the Governor of Haryana

 Contd from p 1

Dahiya, Floriculturist the Murrah buffaloes and bulls, which were priced in lakhs - and even a couple in crores, much to the surprise of the visitors. Bulls like Yuvraj, Virat, Dara Singh, Golu, Sultan and others were the centre of attraction at the ‘mela’, as people thronged to see these ‘Mercedes-class cattle’. Narendra Singh Poonia, owner of Golu, said that the demand for his bull is very high because of the top quality germ plasm it produces. Poonia regularly sells the semen of his bull at a very high profit – farmers use it for the artificial insemination of their stock. “I have earned more than 50 lakh rupees from Golu; he is invaluable to me,” he added. Redhu, the dairy industrialist, said that genetic breeding, artificial insemination and techniques like these need to be evenly spread across the State, including among small farmers, to ensure equitable development. Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar has said that the government will provide 50 percent subsidy for the setting up of small dairy units having 4-5 Haryanvi Sahiwal cows, and 25 percent subsidy on big dairy units. He also said that the government intends to

Farmers from Kaithal enjoying the Summit

are most willing to adapt and adopt the appropriate farming practices. You will now find many youth with B. Tech. degrees adopting agriculture as their career,” he said. One such youth was Vikram, from the Mada village in Hisar district. He grows strawberry in his fields and is earning a good fortune. Similarly, agri leader Manpal, of village Malikpur and Shakti Rajan, of village Chamanpura in district Jhajjar, have experimented with new techniques. A graduate in Agriculture, Rajan said that he has erected an 8,000 sq.m. ‘Polyhouse’ within his 3-acre farm. In village Chamanpura they grow Cherry Tomato, Larrups, Red Cabbies, Broccoli and Squash – which fetch them between Rs 100 to 150 per kilogram. They sell to various markets across the country. Rajan produces 400 tonnes of vegetables per year and earns Rs 1 crore from exports. He has travelled to Israel and China, to study the new agri techniques. According to him, farming in a Polyhouse is cheaper than traditional farming and one can even produce ‘unseasonal’ crops or vegetables. Manpal (of village Malikpur) said that, motivated by his near relative, he started ‘Bee-rearing’ with 28 boxes and 280 colonies in 2002-03, and now is able to produce 400 quintals of honey - from which he earns Rs 50 lakhs per year. He said that a large number of customers have approached him for supplying ‘pure honey’, which has medicinal value. The demand for Manpal’s honey is high because of its quality. “Recently some samples of honey of even branded companies have failed,” he said. Manpal’s son Vinay, an educated lad, finds the new techniques more cost effective - thus yielding higher profits. Onkar, a farmer from Fatehabad district, was yet another success story. Switching to become a ‘kinoo grower’ from a traditional cotton grower, Onkar is now able to earn more than Rs 2.5 lakhs in profits every year. Dr Vivek Gupta from Kurukshetra has transformed himself into a successful mushroom cultivator. Interestingly, the Summit had provided a wide platform for woman farmers to showcase their talents. They had come from different areas of the State. “One day I decided that I would begin working on our land. Initially we started cultivating mushrooms and then into ventured into organic farming. I know I could have chosen any other job but I preferred to be

Innovation machine by Dharambir Kisan

a farmer, to work on our own land. Society has a misconception about a woman's capability – she can do anything that she sets her mind to. In a village, most women anyway do almost everything, but since they are not allowed into the Mandi house, the men take all the ‘credit’. We (women) need encouragement and financial support from the govt. A farmer works very hard to produce food,” said Seema, who runs her own farm ELLE. Smt. Krishna Yadav of village Bajghera (Gurgaon) reminisced about her life 20 years ago as a poor woman struggling to sell vegetables in the market, often below cost. Now she has graduated to food processing. She makes various types of pickles and ‘murabba’ and her whopping 153 brands are sold in several cities - including the swanky shopping malls. She earns well through her four outlets, and also directly and indirectly employs 400 women. Across Haryana, a traditional agri champion of India, there would be many similar success stories today. It required an Agri Summit to bring many of them out in the open. The new methods, techniques and produce have changed the world for many of them. They have proven that the lands of farmers can bloom many model, innovative projects. Quick to dispel fears of unbridled (farmer) land acquisition, Union Minister for Rural Development Ch. Birender Singh assured the farmers that no land would be acquired without their consent. He however cautioned them that, with cultivable land decreasing, farmers would have to learn to adopt new technologies. He also expressed concern on the persistent use of chemical fertilisers and their impact on soil fertility. “We have to devise ways to preserve the fertility of the soil, so that the future generations can also enjoy the benefits of this fertile land,” he added. Haryana Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar, the prime mover of the Agri Leadership Summit, said the ‘Second Milk Revolution’ in the country was already taking place in Haryana. The government has enhanced the incentive under ‘milch-cattle scheme’ from Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000, to give a boost to the White Revolution in the State. Union Minister of State for Agriculture Dr Sanjeev Balyan said that the Agri Summit had even attracted the urbanites and the ‘common man’, who were fascinated by the prize cows and bulls…and had partaken the fresh farm produce. Jai Kisan.u

C over S tory

20-26 March 2015

The glass and chrome buildings of Gurgaon and the unending stream of luxury cars no doubt impressed the farmers that had come from across the country to participate in the Agriculture Summit. But the farmers also disapproved of the garbage strewn across the City and the slush caused by the untimely rains. Vikram Kumar from Sirsa, who had come for the first time to the City, said he was surprised by the development here. “We never thought Gurgaon is so big; the buildings are huge and people seem to be very rich,” he said. He was also impressed by the wide roads and the private colonies, which have nice homes, and said that all districts of Haryana should be developed in a similar manner. The large glass buildings in also made the farmers inquisitive; they discussed about the ‘ventilation’ and other merits and demerits of these buildings. Mohinder Kumar from Gulha said that he also wanted his children to work in such a fine place, rather than toiling in the fields. Kumar is a landless farmer who takes land on rent for cultivation. “One of my kids is studying in a Delhi college and I hope that he qualifies to get a job in Gurgaon,” he said. However, some of the prosperous farmers from Rohtak and Panipat, who also have roots in the City, had a different take on Gurgaon. Ramphal, who has a large land holding in Rohtak, said that cleanliness, roads and other civic services in the City are very poor. “I own a house in Delhi as well as Gurgaon. Delhi is better. Here there is no water in summers and the power situation is worse than rural areas,” said. Jaleb Khan, a visitor from Mewat, said that all development seems to be concentrated in Gurgaon, while the rest of South Haryana, including their area, has remained stuck in time. “If everyone in Haryana migrates to Gurgaon how will the rest of the State function?” he asked. increase milk production in the State and make it available for commercial use. At present the State produces 2 crore litres of milk, of which 60 percent is consumed by locals and only 40 percent is sold. The per capita consumption of milk in Haryana is 800 grams. Another major boost to agriculture by the Haryana government was the introduction of the 'Haryana Fresh' brand - wherein the govt. would help improve the produce of farmers, so that they could pass the quality control norms of ISI, AGMARK and ISO. The Agriculture Minister believes that this branding would help farmers get better prices for their produce. The government would also create a conducive

atmosphere for trading, so that farmers and traders become joint stakeholders. Some farmers said that they should be helped to market their produce or offered a ‘minimum support price’ by the government. Gurmail Singh, who came with a group of farmers from Sirsa, opined, “We have learnt a lot about new seeds, better machines and soil testing. These facilities now need to made available locally and at low cost.” There were some critics as well, like G.S. Dhillon, a farmer who has visited several European countries and seen how farmers work there. “We are very backward, even by the standards seen in this Summit. Agriculture in India needs to leapfrog a couple

Keep Your City Clean use recycled water Avoid Polythene bags


of decades, to ensure that farming becomes a viable alternative. The local traders do not pay even the cost of the produce. The situation is so bad that sometimes the crops are allowed to rot in the field,” he rued. His fellow villagers said that power and water are the major problems and costs for the agriculturist, and most of them have little incentive in exiting the wheat and paddy crop cycle. The lack of crop insurance and poor cold storage facilities in rural areas were cited as other major problems that lead to losses. Rakesh Kumar, a farmer from Kaithal, said that pioneering agricultural summits like this are most welcome and the government must continue this effort by holding workshops, to help increase farm productivity. Shamsher Singh from Guhla Chika said that the government should focus on setting up Special Agricultural Zones instead of ‘bogus’ Special Economic Zones (SEZs) that are later taken over by real estate majors to create urban land banks. In reply to the shrill demands for crop compensation (due to the recent untimely rains and hail), the Agriculture Minister Om Prakash Dhankar announced that Haryana will get all its fields insured. “We are preparing a special insurance policy, and any compensation owing to damage due to adverse weather conditions will be paid by the insurance companies. The farmer will also get compensated if his crop is purchased below

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the Minimum Support Price,” said Dhankar. The Haryana government has also announced the setting up of a ‘dry port’, to ensure that agricultural produce of the State can be transported quickly to different parts of the country. The participants at the Agri Summit wanted the government and their local officials to now show similar zeal at their feild level. “If the government genuinely partners with farmers, India can become the food producer to the world,” asserted Devinder Singh of Karnal, who is planning to set up an orchard, inspired by the Kinnow growers of Sirsa. u

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20-26 March 2015

S pecial F eature PRAKHAR PANDEY



20-26 March 2015

We can’t see the wood... { Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon


n the face of it, ‘India’s Daughter’ the docu-feature on the Nirbhaya gang rape in Delhi, is a narrative on the gruesome crime on a young girl in the streets of India’s capital - the seat of supreme political power. But what it underscores is a more serious issue of the underlying attitude of the overtly maledominated Indian society, which observes scant respect for women. It is indeed a serious malady and certainly provokes the rational mind into thinking about the depravity engrained in our society. That even the educated can think like what is depicted in the comments offered by a couple of lawyers, is a clear reminder of this chilling truth. The deep psychological disorder is extremely disturbing, as one struggles to find an answer to the decay that is so deeply set in our society. Merely banning the viewership of the film is like brushing the dirt under the carpet. But that is what our political bosses and the judiciary have chosen to do at this critical juncture. Even stringent penal measures, as were hurriedly enshrined in the law books against such offenders, have offered little solace, much less instilled fear in the minds of the depraved sections of society. As for the ban, it simply drowns out another set of voices - of those that do not want the film banned, but are critical of its approach to rape in India. Suman Dahiya, Advocate and Vice Chairperson, Haryana Women’s Commission, says, “The film should not be banned. Although I believe that the documentary neither has any motive nor any message for our society, it has shown the core reality of our society. Forget the rapist, even the two defence lawyers have terrible opinions on women. Our fraternity is ashamed of such comments from lawyers. The rapist has grabbed this opportunity to defend himself and his ‘friends’. What we have failed to root out is the malaise. Kneejerk reactions and subsequent quick-fix actions are never going to lead to any sustainable solutions. If our society is to change, there has to be a serious commitment to educating the masses. Education will have

to mean more than just academics – and of course we first need to ensure education for all. Crime can’t be stopped but there must be a method to reduce crime. Further, the law should be equally applied to everybody, irrespective of age, caste or creed.“ She strongly believes that the system, including the civic bodies, has to be more proactive towards social issues and undertake awareness programmes regularly. While a few have been vocal, many, often very responsible persons in society, still find it convenient to skirt even such serious social issues that are besieging our society. A former judge of the District Court was not comfortable in sharing his views, just saying that it is a very sensitive issue, though agreeing that this documentary has raised a question on the mentality of our society. An advocate, mediator and co-convener of BJP Haryana Legal Cell, Rashmi Bhushan, admits, “We have a male-dominated society and we can’t expect it to change in a day. The society has misconceptions about women and conveniently portrays them as weak. Banning a documentary won’t stop the crime. We need to go to the roots of the crime.” Advocate Narender Yadav, a criminal lawyer, laments,” The culprits should be given exemplary punishment. It reminds me of the notorious Billa-Ranga case (many decades ago). Those villains were hanged, though even then it took a long time in the courts.” Commenting on the Nirbhaya case, Yadav says, “The lawyers are doing their job, but what is agonising is the mentality of those who are defending the accused. The film is very moving. It has also clearly brought out that such criminals have no remorse or feel any need to change; even our society seems to not have changed. Crimes against women have continued unabated. That is the great tragedy.” It seems that no woman in this country is safe. At every nook and corner of the country lurks a criminal, salivating at the first opportunity to perpetrate this gory crime. Either the law is helpless or conveniently blind, as justice eludes victims for years and the accused roam free, even having the gall to intimidate the victims while their trial continues. God save India’s women. Or has even He forsaken them?u

{ Alka Gurha }


ears ago I had participated in a writing workshop called ‘Still Waters’. Back then becoming a writer was the last thing on my mind. Having come to a new city, the idea was to emerge from my comfort zone of solitude and make new friends. When the group met on the first day in the conference hall of Hotel Ramada on Cunningham Road, Bangalore, I was visibly nervous. The other ten participants were working professionals, amateur journalists and literature students. On the second day, after informal introductions, we were asked to write a short story of less than a thousand words. The prompt for all of us was the same: Meera, the protagonist, wants to see the world but her aunt is an obstacle; Meera overcomes the obstacle, learns to dance and gets to fulfill her dream. An otherwise simple task was made noteworthy on two counts. First, I was amazed to discover that despite being given a common prompt, each of the participants had approached the story quite differently. Our stories and thought

S ocial

A ‘Safe Driving’ Pledge { Odette Katrak}


ndia has a dismal record on Road Safety and Gurgaon is among the worst cities on road discipline. Should not every citizen of the City help in improving the situation? Some believe that it is only a job for the cops, and even feel no shame in zipping through red lights and using their mobiles while driving. And many of those who scrupulously follow rules believe that they are too insignificant to matter, and usually end up hugely frustrated at the dismal and deteriorating state of affairs. Dear Gurgaonites, here is a simple initiative targeted at improving Road Safety, wherein you can play your part in making our roads safer. It is a Safe Driving pledge that will take just 3 minutes of your time. This action will help to positively influence change on our roads. I have been passionately involved in the cause of Road Safety for the last 4 ½ years. Rather than just grumbling I decided to do something about it. A behavioural trainer by profession, I refused to give up when others said, ‘get used to it’ or ‘nothing can be done’. Today I champion the cause of Road Safety as an activist and writer and have been a Road Safety Officer with Gurgaon Traffic Police for the past 4 years. My voluntary efforts have focused on improving Road Safety and helping change behaviour on the road in several different ways - be it through direct interaction with commuters on traffic awareness drives, improvement initiatives, training schoolbus/BPO cab drivers on how their following of rules can help save lives, designing fliers/stickers/banners on Road Safety, or improving

Behind the Words processes were so diverse. My Meera became a part of an international troupe and performed next to the Eiffel Tower on a moonlit night; a college student’s Meera joined Summer Funk dance classes and visited several countries via exchange programs; another Meera learnt Bharatnatyam and performed against the backdrop of an ancient temple in Bali; a working professional’s Meera learnt jazz and escaped to Venice after murdering her aunt. However, despite the diverse perspectives we all arrived at a common goal - a happy ending. This made me realise how our social milieu, upbringing, age and culture impacts us in the way we write and treat a subject. That is perhaps why it is rare to see a woman write a murder mystery or a man pen an emotional drama. And yet, excellent works of fiction have emerged when writers have explored the alien. Second, we were surprisingly able to guess who wrote what, despite not knowing each other. The ten of us had been asked

the safety of ‘invisible’ cyclists/ rickshaws on dark roads through the Light-a-cycle reflector tape project (of which I am a founder member). While I believe that I have done much, I unfortunately do not have as much to show yet. I am grateful that my efforts have found mention on the Satyamev Jayate website: http:// To get the many good people out of their apathy, we decided on the Road Safety Pledge - a simple affirmative ‘calling for change’ action. Of course it should be backed by being a good role model on the road. The points listed in the Pledge provide a good checklist of what is okay and what it not. I do believe that this change can happen (even if slowly at first). In fact I think that we have already reached the ‘tipping point’, wherein enough people are already saying that the situation of and on the roads needs to drasstically change. Some of the comments that people have written on the site, as they sign the Pledge, are chilling. Here is an example: ‘Im signing bcoz i m a true road lover...i was driving under the influence of alchohol...crashed in a truck... did not wear seat belt..broke 2 ribs, banged my forehead in windscreen...head injury, injured the beautiful car bed ridden...cnt evn move, sneez or cough’. All you need to do is google the site and then type ‘safe driving pledge’ in the search tab to locate and sign the Pledge. Please do share this initiative with others in your networks…and thank you for becoming one. u The writer is a Road Safety Activist (also Soft-skills Trainer & Writer)

to e-mail our stories anonymously, and then told to read and rate all the stories. We were able to find out the author of each, barring one. This exception was written by a reticent professional, who had somehow introduced explicit sex in an otherwise staid story. Do we really leave traces of our personality in our words? I write humour and satire, but I am anything but funny…or even witty or clever. Of course I do enjoy watching and reading things that are funny. Perhaps I am so dumb that when I write serious I appear a bit funny. And what about our all-pervasive Net presence? Do we create a certain image about our personality, upbringing and thought process when we interact on social media? I interact with several virtual friends on a daily basis. And when we have met (physically), most of them have turned out to be exactly as I had imagined them. It appears that creative writing can reveal several aspects of the author’s personality to his/her readers. So, maybe this ‘funny writer’ excepted, the mighty written word does seem to mirror the heart and mind of its author. u

20-26 March 2015

K id C orner


Camp on a Farm


yan International School, Sector 40 organised an excursion to Camp Farmstead for the students of Class I and II. The children participated in many adventure activities, like Zip Line, Tacking, Wall Climbing, Commando Crawl, Burma Bridge and Crocodile Pit. School Head Ms. Peeya Sharma encouraged all the students to go for outdoor activities with their classmates to learn teamwork, self control and sportsmanship. 

School’s Pride


0 students of Classes I to V of Vivekanand Global School participated in an Olympiad - an open test. 10 children were awarded medals

Joyful Graduation


yan Global School celebrated its Montessori Graduation Junior Awards Ceremony with the theme ‘World of Joy’. In this unique annual feature, the students of Mont III are awarded degrees for the successful completion of their informal learning, before they take up formal learning. The students welcomed the guests in foreign languages and gave a vote of thanks in regional languages.The School Head Ms.Andrea Martin felicitated the esteemed guests with potted plants and mementos.

Kidalicious Day


otary Public School Sector 22 celebrated ‘Kidalicious’ - the Primary School Annual Day for Classes I and II. The Principal, Miss Gulshan Dewan, congratulated the tiny stars and thanked the Headmistress Ms. Sandeepa Rai and the parents for their faith and unwavering co-operation.

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


20-26 March 2015

C omment

Some recent or ongoing events in Gurgaon and the Nation - like the Land Acquistion Bill, the PM’s Indian Ocean visit and the bail given to 79 ex-Maruti workers – have prompted this piece. FG has commented on and/or featured them in earlier Editorials and Cover Stories.

Your Land, My Land


his land is your land, this land is my land… this land was made for you and me. These lines from a wonderful old American song are very appropriate for our land acquisition and compensation policy. Why is someone else’s land acquisition just a commercial deal, a matter of national progress and urbanisation, while our own land is our birthright and our constitutional right. In India, over decades there has been very little squabble over land acquisition that was for clear public purpose. There is acrimony when it seems that private purpose is being served; in these circumstnaces, the land owner rightfully feels less obligated to part with his land, or expects a far higher compensation. The proposed policy’s basic assumption—that land acquisition is primarily a matter of deciding on compensation, in some form - needs to be challenged. It does not seem to recognise the angst and the violent agitations that have taken place against self-serving land acquisition. Land, to different people and families, in different parts of India, at different times, would have different significance. There are some who would happily part with their land for a good compensation, and treat this as an opportunity to make their lives better. There are others for whom this (land) is the only constant, their security blanket. Nothing would make them move, or sell. We need to recognise, and accept, both. So there should never (except for clear overriding public interest) be a situation wherein a person is forced to sell, if he/she does not wish to. Too much is made of industry requiring a particular piece of land/location. What industry needs most is transparency and consistency, and ‘independence’. And the cost of land, for most projects (except real estate) is hardly a worthwhile percentage of the project cost. The pioneers of industry in India set up manufacturing bases in many remote parts of the country, for decades. States like Gujarat led the move, with industrial growth centres promoted by GIIC and GSFC, starting with Vapi. Maharashtra followed instantly, with multiple centres promoted by SICOM. What made the industrialists

(Editorial in Vol. 1, No. 5: September 23-29, 2011)

willing to move in those times was a planned growth centre strategy, where basic industrial and social infrastructure was provided by the State. Today that infrastructure would of course include telecom/Net connectivity. There is enough land area in our country, and there is enough diversity within industry to entice a particular type to location A and another to location B. Indian entrepreneurs should be prepared to play anywhere in India (if not globally), and not only in their backyard. Apni gali mein toh… They would and should find their own answers - provided the cost and constraints are known up front, and there is transparency and consistency right through. It is also pertinent for some service sectors to introspect. They ask for prime real estate, when actually bigger towns/cities are clearly becoming the ‘wrong choice’ commercially. Even the service sector should think of remote location operations - as long as basic ‘service’ (IT, telecom, English-speaking manpower) and social infrastructure is available. Coming finally to land for developing real estate, for urbanisation. This is clearly the biggest scam. Politicians, the bureaucracy and the government clearly do not want to give this up. They have obligingly offered higher compensation for this - ‘we will pay 4 times instead of double’ - knowing well that even that will leave millions for the interested parties. The colonial masters threw us natives peanuts; our elected masters throw us cashew nuts. This has to stop. To conclude therefore, let us stop this sham of industrialisation or urbanisation requiring people to give up their land for a national cause. Instead of any Policy, what is needed is government action - in setting up remote industrial growth areas, and/or providing sufficient incentives in those areas. Any project in urban areas or suburbs should be left entirely to private enterprise to resolve; the government has no role here, other than to protect the landowners. Those inclined to sell will readily accept; those who do not, need to be left alone. This land was made for you and me. u

Decoding the Namo-nama

(part of Editorial in Vol. 3, No. 43: June 13-19, 2014)

Beware/Zoned-out State/ Who will Make in Gurgaon?

Modi seems to have a Blue (Water/Jal) fixation. Is it due to Vaastu or his Gujarat roots? For the first time India’s long coastline has been seen as a gateway to prosperity. Modi talks of Ports-led Development – modernisation of ports; new world-class ports; the Sagar Mala project - rail/road/river connectivity of ports with the hinterland; inland and coastal waterways; the Ganga Project; and a National Maritime Authority. Even in Agriculture, Modi seems quite obsessed with irrigation and water. The only PM-named Mission is the ‘Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana’ – offering ‘har khet ko paani’; then there is ‘Jal Sanchay and Jal Sinchan’ (water harvesting & irrigation), and the micro irrigation initiative – ‘per drop - more crop’.

77 ex-Maruti employees (out of 145 that were still in jail) have been granted bail by a Gurgaon court. They had been refused bail by the Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2013. FG has covered this issue ever since it erupted in 2012: first, as a warning (’Beware’ – July 27, 2012) to the State, to take action or face economic consequences; then, a year later (‘Zoned-out State’), to take the State to task for disregarding the rights of workers; followed again a year later (July 25, 2014), on the plight of 147 ex-Maruti employees continuing to languish in jail for 2 years; and finally, earlier this month, as a critique within a broader context (‘Who will Make in Gurgaon?’). It was again the Supreme Court that had set the example, by recently releasing on bail 2 workers against whom there was no evidence even after 2 years.

W ellness

20-26 March 2015

Health & Vitality... Naturally!


Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week: Healthiest Nuts Each nut brings to the table its own unique strengths. Hence, it is always better to go for variety. A line-up of the ‘Top 10’ would probably contain the following: Almonds: They are the highest on fibre and the richest in Vitamin E – a powerful antioxidant. They are an excellent source of protein and healthy monounsaturated fats; and are also rich in bone-healthy calcium, nerve-healthy magnesium and immunity-building selenium. For best results, almonds should be soaked overnight. Walnuts: They are the richest in Omega-3 fatty acids and are good for the heart and brain. They also contain Ellagic acid, a cancer-fighting antioxidant that is beneficial for the immune system; and walnuts are also a good source of manganese, which is beneficial for healthy bones and metabolism.

A Fistful of Nuts Tip of the Week

Brazil nuts: They offer more than 100 percent of the daily value for the mineral selenium, which can help prevent certain cancers. Nuts can be enjoyed in various They are also a good source of protein, copper, niacin, magnesium, fibre recipes and can help replace the and Vitamin E. ‘regular’ dairy butter with a nut-based bread spread. Crunchy or smooth Pine nuts: They are the crunchy yet butter-textured variations of Almond Butter are a great small edible seeds of the pine tree. They are rich in example. And ‘Trail Mix’ is a good Vitamins A, B, D and E and contain 70% of the body’s example of a nut-based mini-meal or required Amino Acids. snack on-the-go. It is a mix of bite-sized ingredients, which is convenient, easy– Macadamia nuts: They are the most calorie-dense nuts, to-store and travels well. Trail Mix and contain the largest amount of heart-healthy monounsaturated typically includes nuts, seeds and dried fats. fruit tossed together – either uncooked or lightly roasted. It is perfect for Pistachios: Each pistachio adds less than four calories. They carrying to work or to school, during are rich in the antioxidant gamma-tocopherol, a form of cancera long drive or as ‘travel food’. It is fighting Vitamin E.  Pistachios are also packed with potassium lightweight, filling, nutritious and essential for a healthy nervous system and muscles, and are a good requires no refrigeration. Recipes for source of mood and immunity enhancing Vitamin B6. ‘Trail Mix’ can vary as per individual taste. As far as possible, choose Hazelnuts: They are ‘rounders’ - notable for their high levels of ‘unsalted’, ‘organic’ and ‘non-roasted’ monounsaturated fats, which can improve cardiovascular health and variants. A ‘DIY’ (Do-It-Yourself) help manage Type 2 Diabetes Trail Mix is easy to throw together. For best results, the flavours and Peanuts (although ‘technically’ legumes, more often than textures should be balanced with not Peanuts are counted amongst the ‘Nuts’): Peanuts are contrasts, thus perking up the mix for a good source of proteins, B Vitamins and heart-healthy better taste and nutrition. A mix of magnesium. salty, sweet and sour tastes, having both a chewy component (dried fruit) and sufficient ‘crunch’ can be very interesting. Dried fruits can be selectively added for a touch of sweetness. People with nut allergies can rely on seeds, like: immunity building pumpkin seeds (pepitas), Omega 3 rich To get FG regularly, you may The Unmak ing of Gurg aon II cold-pressed flax seeds, W To Subscribe choose from: Folate & Vitamin E rich sunflower seeds, A) 26 Issues (6 months), for Rs 250 calcium & magnesium rich sesame seeds and Get FG as a PDF every Friday; a Print chia seeds. Dried berries edition will follow by mail. – like Goji – or dried tart Or, send an email to cherries are also perfect B) 26 Issues (6 months), for Rs 500 additions to a Trail Mix.u - apart from the PDF, get the Print For Education purposes Or, pay Online at edition by (same day) only; always consult a FG is circulated only in Gurgaon. Healthcare Practitioner courier or personal delivery for medical conditions

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{ Abhishek Behl

write to us

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



hat could be simpler than merely tossing together a few wholesome nuts and seeds to come up with the perfect snack or mini-meal for people ‘onthe-go’? Not only are they delicious and cook-free, they come loaded with a nutritional power-punch. No wonder these simple foods have always been relied upon for ‘quick-energy’ for ages - they have been a mainstay for adventurers, soldiers and farmers. Yet, in recent times, the role of nuts has been misunderstood. Following from the ‘low-fat’ craze since the ‘90s, the relatively high fat content of nuts has given them much negative publicity. In fact, frequent nut eaters are less likely to gain weight, as nuts are high in protein and fibre, which help delay absorption and decrease hunger. A growing body of research suggests that people who eat nuts regularly tend to be leaner and have a lower risk of serious diseases. In Nov 2013 the New England Journal of Medicine published findings that confirmed that increased nut consumption is associated with a reduced risk of major chronic diseases - especially heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, cancer and respiratory diseases. The healthiest nuts contain two types of ‘good’ fats - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which may be beneficial for the ‘lining’ of the arteries while also helping to lower the risk of a person developing blood clots. According to Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, eating nuts lowers LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol), raises HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) and also lowers blood pressure. Nut consumption helps boost a process called ‘reverse cholesterol transport’, by which HDL particles in the blood sweep away fatty plaque from clogged arteries. In balance, quite clearly nuts have been under-appreciated, thanks to some myths spread by the ‘being-

slim-at-any-cost’ lobby.

Pecans: They help improve heart health (lower cholesterol) and are among the most antioxidant-rich nuts. Pecans are loaded with vitamins and minerals, like: Vitamins E and A, Folic Acid, calcium, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, B Vitamins and zinc.

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

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

Cashews: They are particularly rich in iron and zinc. They are a good source of memory-enhancing magnesium as well as copper and biotin. Cashews have a high concentration of Oleic Acid, which is good for the heart, and are also a good source of Tryptophan, which is an anti-depressant and a sleep-inducing agent.

Contd. on p


SMS FGYESA (or B) to 08447355801

14 Pleasure and Pain

S piritual

20-26 March 2015

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


eligions tell us that we should not seek either of the two conditions of pain or pleasure…and yet not be afraid of them either. We must learn from both pleasure and pain. The belief is that we are forever chasing pleasure in this material world. Everyone is trying to be sensually happy, chasing an illusion, but the result is often unhappiness and frustration. The Self, being unlimited by nature, is ever pressing against any boundaries that seek to limit it. When these limitations give way a little, we feel pleasure; and when they resist or contract, we feel pain. Buddha understood well the nature of material pleasure…and was thus able to renounce it all. He gave up his kingdom to demonstrate that sensual attachment does not help in the attainment of salvation. Salvation, the goal of Buddhism, comes from freeing oneself from the clutches of the pleasures and pains of this world. In Hinduism we believe that we cannot put an end to pain, and neither do we need to seek happiness. That is already ours, for it is the essence of our nature. The Upanishads say: ‘The Self is Bliss’. Happiness exists perennially within you - it is your normal state, you do not have to seek it. You will necessarily be happy if you get rid of the obstacles called pain, which are in the modes of the mind. Pain is but transitory. It has no permanent place in the Self, the all-permeating life of the universe. The foremost function of pain in the universe is to arouse the Self to turn itself to the outer world…to evoke activity. There is another very interesting view of pain and pleasure – of how a physiologist views and studies them as objects of medical analysis. As constructions of the brain, neither pleasure nor pain really ‘exists’ in a conventional sense. A striking example of the brain’s construction of pain is the experience of ‘phantom pain’, which is felt in an amputated limb. Pleasure and pain are central to consciousness, and to many if not all of our actions. The mechanisms that regulate our perception of pleasure and pain, and which thus bring forth our feelings and sensations, are essential to the formation of our memories and our behaviour. They enrich our memory and motivate our actions. They influence us on how we recall the past and view the present. Pleasure and pain give a shape or coherence to the many and varied stimuli that an organism is exposed to from the environment and from the body. Pleasure and pain attach value to our complex

perceptions of the environment. This process takes place in a ‘control center’ of the brain, which observes and preserves our body state (how we feel) and body context (what is going on around us). When we experience a positive body state (especially an unanticipated one), we feel bold. Neuronal activity that drives our musculature then traverses the brain, and we act accordingly. The brain is a machine whose neurons, synapses and circuits respond to our environment by orchestrating muscle movements, which generate our actions. In many ways, pleasure and pain create and control a balance between the brain and the body – a balance that includes bodily necessities and the creation of motives and desires that govern our actions in the real world. We make sense of the real world in part through our notions of pleasure and pain. Rather than performing a logical analysis of all our options each time an action is required, the brain relies on the memories of the pleasures and pains associated with past actions. From the physiologist’s perspective, our memories of pleasure and pain are incorporated into the connects by strengthening or weakening synaptic connections and by pruning existing synapses and adding new ones. The brain has extraordinary means for extracting the salient features of this context - be they visual, acoustic, odourbased or tactile; pleasurable or painful. The memory of past pleasure makes me reach for the coffee mug every morning, while the memory of past pain makes me start with a small sip. In pleasure all the vehicles of the self are made harmonious - they all vibrate together, rhythmically (in pain they are jangled). These vibrations permit the expansion of the Self and thus lead to illumination - the knowledge of the Self. Pleasure plays an immense part in Nature, being the nature of the Self. In pleasure, when we experience bliss and the glory of the Self is made manifest, we see the face of God. Pain leaves unpleasant

indelible marks. However, all the best lessons of life come from pain, not from pleasure. Pain is the teacher of wisdom. The wise welcome pain, for they understand and then utilise it. Pleasure and pain should be equally welcome. Identified with neither, the wise man takes either as it comes, knowing its purpose. When we understand the places of pleasure and pain, then both lose their power to bind us or make us upset. Often when we experience something pleasurable, we tend to cling to the supposed source of the pleasure. Of course, since all sources of pleasure are impermanent, we end up causing ourselves more pain. Often when we encounter pain, we tend to think and act such that we end up suffering more. We whine, get upset and then indulge in blame and criticism. A wiser course of action is to simply experience discomfort without reacting to it. We can do this by being mindful cultivating a patient, non-reactive, curious and welcoming attitude towards anything that seems unpleasant. We can also adopt this attitude towards anything that is pleasurable. We call this ‘attitude equanimity’. Equanimity is not a state of non-feeling; it is a state of freedom from habitual patterns of thought and emotion that lead to further pain. When we experience this freedom we become happier. There is a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are also two sides of the same coin - one cannot exist without the other.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

To be Good or Better { Shobha Lidder } To be good is a good thing But to be better than the other Is pride and vanity Makes you competitive When one is young, pride & vanity Make good ornaments They help us win awards & rewards Accolades, ovations A place of celebration On the stage, spot lights So much praise, becomes a craze We call it appreciation It becomes an addiction Then we work only to be acclaimed Have name & fame A place of pride in our tribe But say the scribes, the ancient wise Do grow & glow, achieve Reach the outreach Hoist your flag on heights An endorsement of your might Feel the joy & thrill of being you Enjoy your skill like playing the flute Defeating another is not your goal Better to better yourself Enjoy your skills, seek Masters to tranquil Bloom like a beautiful flower Spread fragrance like the spring shower No flower outgrows another It is its own miracle, its own power. Shobha Lidder Writer, Journalist, Teacher, Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer



B on V ivant

20-26 March 2015

Twins Apart

{ Meenu Thakur Sankalp }


eema and Seema, though twins, were poles apart; they only had a facial resemblance. When they were 12, their mother had approached a renowned Classical Dance Guru to teach her girls. The Guru knew almost instantly that Seema was destined to be a dancer. She was fleet-footed, expressive and flexible. Reema was quite the opposite. During dance sessions Reema just went through the paces, yawning regularly, much to the chagrin of the kind Guru. She would always miss her steps and inevitably fall. The other students would laugh merrily at her comical dance movements. Though Seema defended her sister, everyone knew that there would just be one dancer in the family. Reema finally quit dance and never came to the class again. The girls enrolled themselves for shooting classes in the evening at the City’s sports complex. Reema began to excel in Pistol Shooting. Her coach, an Olympian who had missed a Commonwealth Games medal by a whisker during his shooting days, was pleased with Reema’s performance. Seema decided that Shooting was not her cup of tea – she seemed unable to reconcile with the very idea of Shooting. Reema’s coach dreamt of making her a champion shooter, who would win the medal that had eluded him. The dance Guru wished to make Seema a dancer who would win much praise and acclaim. Both the girls began to live their own dream worlds. Years passed. Seema and Reema were now eighteen years of age, still attempting to carve a place for themselves

in their chosen fields. Seema had already performed on stage a number of times and was already touted as the successor of the renowned Guru. She had succeeded in not only living up to his expectations, but her accomplishments - after a fairly short period of training – had left many in her field awestruck. Her sister Reema had already qualified for the National Games the previous year, having won Gold medals in the State Championships, and was progressing well towards winning a National Games medal. And she did walk away with the Gold medal in her event, beating her nearest rival convincingly. When the names for the individual shooters for the Commonwealth Games were announced, it was hardly a surprise that her name figured on top of the list. But there was another strange yet beautiful coincidence. Seema was selected by the Ministry of Culture to choreograph a dance show for the Opening Ceremony of the Games. It was a rare honour for the eighteen-year-old. Her Guru was speechless. He had already passed on the mantle to his worthy successor. Reema’s coach, on the other hand, was keeping his fingers crossed, for he did not know if the mercurial Reema would be able to lay her hands on the elusive medal that he had not managed to win. The day of reckoning arrived. The Commonwealth Games opened with much fun and fare. The breathtaking Opening Ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries and sportspersons. Seema’s choreographic routine was the highlight of the show. As laser beams criss-crossed the stage, the performance

of Seema and her team of dancers stood out; their synchronisation was perfect. The prolonged blinding flashes announced the arrival of one of India’s most promising dancers. The country needed a shot in the arm, and Seema provided that. An international delegate, after watching Seema and her group majestically dancing on stage, remarked, “The Indians may have their problems, but they know how to put up a dance show. These petite Indian dancers seem to fly in the air.” Reema marched with the Indian contingent of athletes and waved to her sister, who was by then sitting among the audience (after her breathtaking show). Seema blew a kiss of luck towards her. The first sports event of the Games was Shooting. Reema drew a blank on the first two attempts, and was on the verge of elimination. She took a deep breath even as she saw her sister waving at her. She told herself that she could not betray the trust of her sibling. She looked at the target and fired instantly. Her shot pierced the centre of the concentric circles. “It’s a Bulls-eye!” exclaimed Seema. The next two shots also hit dead centre. Reema was back in contention for a medal. The final shot would decide the winner of the first medal of the Commonwealth Games. Reema took aim and shot. She missed the Gold medal by a whisker (to her Australian counterpart). Her Silver was the first medal for India in the Commonwealth Games. The Coach could not control his tears. Reema had fulfilled his dream - the elusive Commonwealth Games shooting medal had been won by his protégée. He felt a firm hand on his back. The Dance Guru was congratulating him. The two girls had made both of them proud. Later, after the girls had retired to their rooms and were resting, Reema was woken up by an excited Seema. A news channel was showing Reema aiming at her target and a swirling Seema performing her dance routine. The Headline read: ‘Dancing and Shooting at the Games India strikes’. The Guru and the Coach soon joined them. The Coach remarked solemnly, “Thank you Guruji, for not teaching Reema to dance”. The Guru retorted in kind, “I should thank you. You created my beautiful dancer, Seema”. The girls looked sternly at them both, but could not stifle their laughter for long. u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi danseuse and choreographer


It’s The Process, Stupid { Ankur Mithal }


his conversation took place a few days ago when I picked up a call from an unknown number. Voice on Phone (VoP): Hello, am I talking to Ankur Mithal? Me: Yes you are. VoP: May I know your Date of Birth (DoB) please? Me: Is that why you have called? Are you writing up my horoscope? VoP: No Sir. I am calling from Town Bank. You called a few days ago and lodged a complaint about a transaction on your Card. Me: Look, I have gone through the Terms and Conditions listed on your website. Nowhere is it stated that a customer needs to provide his DoB while lodging a complaint about a transaction on the Card. VoP: No, Sir, you don’t need to provide your DoB while lodging a complaint. Me: But you just asked me for it, didn’t you? VoP: I did, Sir, but that is not because you lodged a complaint. Me: But you just said that you are calling because I lodged a complaint. If that is not the reason, then why have you called me? VoP: I did, Sir. I have called about the complaint you have lodged with the Bank. Me: That is exactly what I told you. In fact, you said so yourself not a minute ago. Then why were you denying it? VoP: I was not, Sir. Me: Not what? VoP: Not denying it, Sir. Me: Not denying what? VoP: Not denying that I called about the complaint you have lodged, Sir. Me: Now that that is clear, I trust you don’t need my DoB. VoP: I do, Sir. Can you now please tell me your DoB, Sir (imploringly)? I resisted the temptation to rush back to the “Look, I have gone through the Terms…” part of the loop. Instead, in a conciliatory tone I asked: “But why do you want my DoB?” VoP: That is our process, Sir. For security purposes we need to verify that we are talking to the right person. Me: But you called me, didn’t you? VoP: Yes, Sir. Me: Why did you call me on this number? VoP: Because that is your number available on our records. Me: If that is the case, why do you need to verify? VoP: That is our process, Sir. (It has been honed over years of frustrating and unproductive customer interactions in over a hundred countries, he seemed to say). Me: But no other bank asks me for this information when they call (I persisted). VoP: We cannot be responsible for weak security practices of other banks, Sir. Me: What if I don’t give you my DoB? VoP: I am afraid that I will then not be able to share an update regarding your complaint, Sir. Now, I am a reasonable man. In a situation wherein I have no way out, I am willing to climb down from the high moral ground…which is what I promptly did in this case. After all, what was the point in preventing the caller from doing his job? I gave him my DoB, my anniversary date, my home address, the make of my car, my dog’s name and the number of clubs in my golf set, in rapid succession. VoP: Thank you, Sir. This call is to update you that we are looking into the issue and will respond soon. In the interest of civility I shall not write what I then said or felt. And no one heard me also…the phone had gone dead.u


20-26 March 2015

G -Scape prakhar PANDEY


Friday gurgaon 20 26 march, 2015 change you wish to see

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