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31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Vol. 3 No. 24  Pages 24  ` 7

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

Our Adarsh Village Health is Wealth { Shilpy Arora }

{ Abhishek Behl/ FG }

write to us at

write to us at



hile the pressure on farmers to sell their land to the Real Estate industry in Gurgaon is increasing every day, there are still some village folk in the District who are committed to working hard on their farms and continuing to produce grains, vegetables and fruits. Farmers in Mankdola Village, which is about 16 kilometres from Gurgaon and close to the Daurala border with Delhi (5 km), say that they are proud of their farming culture and would stick to their farms - despite changes all around. It is also because of this commitment that Mankdola has won an Award for being the Most Progressive agricultural village in Gurgaon District. A Certificate and a cheque of Rs 10 lakhs were received by the Sarpanch, Dinesh Thakran, from Chief Minister Hooda, on January 19 at the Kisan Mela in Jhajjar. Friday Gurgaon visited this Village to discover what makes it special, and found that the farmers in this Village are educated and understand the importance of science and technology, and use it on their farms. Satish Sehrawat, an Award-winning farmer from the Village, says that the farmers here are better placed because of the relatively bigger land holdings; and because they are open to experimentation, they get the benefits in terms of higher yields and lower consumption of water and fertilizers.


They directly sell their produce in the mandis nearby. It helps that two good markets, Gurgaon and Najafgarh, are nearby; the farmers are able to sell their produce easily, and without incurring much transportation cost. To partly offset their dependence on agriculture, as also open a new source of income, the farmers have also taken up animal husbandry, horticulture and floriculture. Sarpanch Dinesh Thakran says that the farmers in the Village have readily accepted the norms of ‘model farming’, whereby a minimal amount of water and fertilizers is combined with top quality seeds, to get an optimum production. “We work closely with the Department of Agriculture in Gurgaon, and the field officers train the farmers in the usage of modern techniques, which are then deployed effectively in the farms”, he adds. The

results are there for all to see, as Mankdola Village has the only Greenhouse in the entire District; it has been set up with a subsidy from the government. Satish Sehrawat says that farmers from other villages come and learn about the use of poly-houses in farming. A majority of the villagers have also deployed sprinklers and drip irrigation systems in their farms, to ensure that minimal water is used for farming and wastage is reduced. It helps greatly because the water level in the village is low, and in half of the land the underground water is brackish. Although there are 112 tubewells that have been set up farmers, they want the government to help them in pumping out sweet water in areas where the water quality is poor. The Sarpanch says that farmers have also taken to organic farming, Contd on p 6 

asima, a 44-year-old businessman from the US, first visited Gurgaon in 2005 for a health checkup. A regular medical tourist since then, he is one of the many foreigners who fly to the City for healthcare. “I didn’t expect such facilities in India…and everybody here speaks English. I have found a lodge for just US$10 per night!” he says. Excellent medical facilities, medical expertise and a cosmopolitan culture have made the City a hub for ‘medical tourists’. Medical services in the City are about 70 per cent cheaper than in the US, UK or Europe, and half of the cost in other popular Medical Tourism destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. People from different countries visit Gurgaon for

services ranging from regular health check-ups to Super Speciality surgeries, which already contribute 15 to 20 per cent of the total patient traffic at private hospitals. Almost all private hospitals in the City have set up international wings. Twoyear-old Park Hospital already regularly treats about 6 foreign patients a month. Medanta has seen a whooping 30 per cent surge in patient traffic on an annual basis, while Artemis has seen an increase of over 20 per cent. “Our Hospital, being a Super Speciality Cardiac Care Centre, gets approximately 10 per cent of its total foreign patients coming for cardiac treatment,” informs a Cardiologist at Medanta. At Max Healthcare, Dr. Pradeep Nambiar, Senior Consultant (CardioThoracic), has introduced an affordable, painless and quick surgical procedure, of a Keyhole Heart Surgery using the mammary arteries from the chest – it has become known as The Nambiar Technique. It has been successfully conducted on varied individual profiles - a 39-year-old suffering from obesity, and a 91-year-old. “Gurgaon has become a global Medical Tourism destination. We now are also getting cases of patients with heart valve defects - especially from the Middle East,” he says. A. Aloyse, a Professor from Ghana, is in Medanta to undergo a Kidney Transplant. “My government sent me here for treatment and my expenses are covered by it. Contd on p 7 


C oming U p

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–24  31 Jan-6 Feb 2014


Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Sub Editor:

Anita Bagchi

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Circulation Execs.:

Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Sr. Exec Marketing:

Vikalp Panwar

Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin:

Shiv Shankar Jha

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib

Nightlife Retro Night @ Cooper's Grill & Bar, DLF Star Tower, Sector 30, NH8 Date: January 31 Time: 8:00 pm onwards Kickstart the weekend with a Retro night. DJ Nitin will be playing hits from the 80s and 90s and free mojitos will be offered to the ladies.

Nightlife Bollywood Flashback Night @ Nashaa Lounge Bar, MGF Mega City Mall, MG Road Date: Up to February 15 (Saturdays) Time: 8:00 pm onwards Revive your 'desi' Bollywood memories as DJs Manish and Kiran host the Bollywood Flashback night.

College Fest Crossroads Fiesta '14 @ ITM University, Sector 23-A Date: February 7 Time: 10:00 am Enjoy the College Fest atmosphere, especially in the month of love. There's a DJ to ensure you don't stop dancing. There is also a Photo Booth to help you share lovable moments with friends or a loved one.

Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails: Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on

Nightlife DJ Aqeel Live @ Lemp Brewpub & Kitchen, Star Mall, Sector 30, NH8 Date: February 8 Time: 8:00 pm onwards Popular DJ Aqeel spins out grooving numbers – Bollywood and Western. Get ready to burn the floor.

behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd.,

SMS NR to 08447355801


Nightlife Bollywood Night @ Vapour, MGF Megacity Mall, Sector 28 Date: Up to February 15 (Saturdays) Time: 8:00 pm onwards Enjoy peppy Bollywood beats and work your way to the dance floor – DJs Vikram, Mannu and RMG will ensure that. Nightlife DJ Aditya Live @ Underdoggs Sports Bar & Grill, Ambience Mall, NH8 Date: January 30 to February 20 (Thursdays) Time: 12 noon to 7:00 pm Swing to trendy beats with DJ Aditya, who will play a mix of genres – Bass, Dubstep, Trap, Moombahton and Drum.

Basics of Photography @ Clarks Inn Hotel, Old Judicial Complex, Civil Line Date: February 8 to 9 Time: 9:30 am to 6:00 pm A two-day Photography Workshop for beginners that will focus on the basics, to help amateurs achieve a good learning and understanding of the highly creative arena of Photography.
The Workshop is conducted by Phillip Ross, the 'little master' of wildlife photography.
Participants need to carry their own camera (it can also be arranged, if required) and lens, and a few pictures clicked by them – on a pen drive or a CD.

NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh


Session A Farm for the Future @ Upavan, Grainny's Food Studio, 234/2, Sector 12 Date: January 31 Time: 5:30 pm Enjoy an interactive discussion on food security and low maintenance food growing systems by a Permaculture expert from England, Rakesh Rootsman Rak. A screening of the BBC documentary, 'A Farm for the Future' will also be held. Call to confirm your presence @ 9818168018 (Ritu)

Cocktailians @ Cocktails & Dreams Speakeasy, SCO No.23, Sector 15, Part II Date: February 2 Time: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm Participate in this a unique Workshop that will focus on how to shake, stir, muddle, and build– to dish out lip smacking cocktails.
Cocktails covered in the Workshop include Ernest Hemingway's - Mojito, F. Scott Fitzgerald's - Gin & Sin, Ian Fleming's - The Vesper Martini and Tennessee Williams's - The Ramos Gin Fizz. To Register, Call: 98109990986/ 9810104439.

Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar,

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.

Summit Content Marketing Summit @ The Leela Kempinski Hotel, Ambience Mall Date: January 31 to February 1 Time: 9:00 am to 6:00 pm An event where some of the greatest minds, savvy brands, renowned publishers, innovative technology enablers and leading practitioners from across the world come together to explore the exciting world of Content Marketing.
Day 2 features two workshops―one for marketers, and another for publishers, content creators and agencies― conducted by experts in Content Marketing.

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

C oming U p Delhi's


Food Dragon & Phoenix @ Jing, Vatika Towers, Golf Course Road, Sector 54 Date: Up to March 15 Time: 12 noon to 3:30 pm; 7:00 pm to 11:30 pm It's time to pamper your taste buds with the finest of spicy creations from the Oriental cuisine. Savour the taste of live dimsums and Oriental grills – like Yakitori and Teriyaki, accompanied by a hearty soup and a glass of house wine, beer or mocktail. This Festival promises be a gastronomic delight for foodies.

Food Goan Carnival @ Amaranta, The Oberoi, Udyog Vihar, Phase V Date: February 2 Time: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm As a part of a three month coastal cruise, the Goan Carnival brings in a team of expert chefs who have explored and researched traditional family recipes from different regions of Goa. Enjoy!

Stand up Comedy Open Mic Comedy Night @ Cooper's Grill & Bar, Star tower, Sector 30, NH8 Date: February 5 Time: 8:00 pm Enjoy the 3rd edition of Open Mic Comedy Night. There are new and old jokes, amateurs and professionals, and the funny and not-sofunny on stage. You could be one of them! Email at to get yourself registered.
Admission for Adults (18+) only Music & Dance Jubilation 2014 @ Cafe Gartino, 18, Main Market, Sector 29 Date: February 8 Time: 6:00 pm onwards Get ready for an epic evening at this Music and Food festival. You get to see live performances by some of the most popular musicians and DJs, and also savour delectable food.
Featuring performances by Indian Ocean, That 80’s Project and Desi Roots. On stage will be DJs Akanksha, Sonya,

Sway and Dipika, spinning out popular numbers from behind the console. The music and dance is accompanied by a wide variety of delicious Pan Asian, Italian, Indian and Mediterranean food. Art Solo Art Show @ Epicentre, Apparel House, Sector 44 Date: January 31 to February 2 Time: 11:00 am onwards A solo Show of oils, pastels and water colours by Kiran Sandhu; the artist captures the beauty of the lands that she has travelled to. 
 Seminar Women's Security, Gender equality and Emancipation @ Fortis Hospital, Sector 44 Date: January 31 Time: 2:00 pm A Seminar in partnership with Gurgaon Police – on women's security, gender equality and sexual harassment at the work place.

Meet Start-up Yatra @ Mettl, B-401, Global Business Park, MG Road Date: January 31 Time: 5:00 pm Participate in this initiative of Nurture Talent Academy, wherein young startups, professionals and students visit the office of Gurus who are successful entrepreneurs in their fields – who share their knowledge, experiences and learnings in a candid manner while showcasing their workplace.
The Guru you get to meet this time is Tonmoy Shingal, Co-founder and COO of Mettl. Limited to 25 participants, on a first-comefirst-served basis. Register at startupyatra-mettl-office-nurture-talent-academy Participants who register online will get a 'Startup Study Kit' free. Meet New Beginnings @ Club Nirvana Patio, Sector 50, Nirvana Country Date: February 1 Time: 9:30 am An 'Expand' networking event by Mums at Work, with the theme, 'New Beginnings'. The Session includes a tete-a-tete with Anju Talwar, CEO Skills Academy, a Workshop on Personal Effectiveness by Gaurav Sareen, networking and work opportunities and plenty of fun and games. Contact Uma Sharma at 9818599457/ expand@, to confirm your participation.

Balcao @ The Stainless Gallery, The Mira Corporate Suites, Plot No. 1 & 2, Okhla Crossing, Mathura Road Date: Up to February 2 Time: 11:00 am to 7:00 pm An Exhibition of the works of Artists from Goa, and selected works of FN Souza. The Show is curated by Subodh Kerkar.


Pandit Vidur Mallick Dhrupad Samaroh @ India Habitat Centre, Lodhi road Date: February 7 to 8 Time: 7:00 pm onwards A tribute to the renowned musician composer and vocalist, Late Pandit Vidur Mallick. The two-day Music Festival will feature the performance of various eminent singers.

 Programme: February 7: Participating artists include Priyanka Mallick, Prem Kumar Mallick, Brij Bhushan Goswami and Samit Mallick.

 February 8: Participating artists include Sukhdev Chaturvedi, Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar and Prashant and Nishant Mallick who will present a duet.


Mare Gaye Gulfam @ LTG Auditorium, Plot No. A - 94, Mandi House, Copernicus Marg, Connaught Place Date: February 2 Time: 6:30 pm onwards Directed by Shyam Kumar
and Written by Sandeep Lele,
the Play is about the faith and respect shared between a husband and a wife. Their journey takes the audience through their hypocritical domestic life.


Beyond Silence @ Goethe-Institut, Max Mueller Bhavan,3, Kasturba Gandhi Marg Date: February 1 Time: 4:00 pm onwards Directed by Caroline Link, the story is about Lara, a budding musician, born to parents who are deaf as well as mute. What ensues is an ongoing struggle between her ambitions and parents, as Lara has to make them understand through sign language.

Family & Kids

Comic Con 2014 @ Thyagraj Sports Complex, Shri Ganganath Marg, INA Date: February 7 to 9 Time: 10:00 am onwards The 4th Annual Indian Comic Con is back. This year it will witness some of the most celebrated names from the international and Indian Comic book industry. Dress up in your favourite comic character and get set for a crazy celebration.


Culture scape


31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

THE WEEK THAT WAS  AAP effect - CM Hooda says he will personally write letters to ‘aam aadmis’, seeking feedback. AAP is nearing the 2 lakhs membership mark in Gurgaon Dist. Supreme Court seeks a report on the status of SEZs in the City.  Punjab & Haryana High Court bans the State from acquiring further land and issuing CLUs (Change of Land Use) in the NCR, till the respective sub-regional plans of each area/state have been cleared by the relevant authority.  State govt. returns Lokayukta report (CD case, involving cash-for-CLUs issued in Gurgaon) against Chief Parliamentary Secretary R.K Fauji, and asks for re-examination.  HC reiterates that all liquor vends along highways in the State should be removed – gives a 30 day ultimatum. Gurgaon Dist. has 30 vends along NH8.  State govt. employees end their strike on the promise of a dialogue regarding their demands.  The Jan Jagran Yatra of the ex-Maruti workers reaches the City, after moving through various parts of Haryana, starting January 15th. It will culminate in Jantar Mantar, Delhi. Their demands are the release of 148 jailed workers and the reinstatement of 546 permanent employees and 1,800 contract workers.  22 tableaux are exhibited on Republic Day. The District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) Tableau is adjudged the best. The Haryana Police women’s contingent wins the First Prize in the march-past. CM, in Mewat, says that Rs 3,000 crores worth of new development plans have been started across Haryana.  A guard is found murdered in Nirvana Country; an engineer is found dead in his house in DLF III – his kin allege he was murdered, an 18-year-old maid is found hanging in DLF III; a man is shot dead near IFFCO Chowk.  A pool-car driver is arrested for sodomizing a 7-year-old student.  A man is held for the attempted rape of a 6-year-old, near Sadar.  A woman gives birth inside an ambulance, on Republic Day.  A 17-year-old boy from Rajiv Colony, a 9-year-old boy from Sector 5 and a 16-year-old girl from Kadarpur, go missing.  A man is arrested for assaulting a policeman during a check on drunk driving near Sohna Chowk.  Locals in Tigri Village (Sector 57) clash with HUDA officials, who have come with the police to demolish illegal structures. 12 persons, including 6 policemen, are injured.  Shots are fired in a property dealer’s office in Palam Vihar. 16 hutments are gutted in a fire in Sector 56.  There are 16 cases of ‘snatching’ in the first half of January.  The shutters of 10 shops are broken open and goods worth lakhs looted, in

Surat Nagar Market.  Robbers strike at a HC advocate’s house in DLF III – they tie him up at knifepoint and rob the house.  A person is defrauded of Rs 2 lakhs by a matrimonial site.  A resident of DLF II complains that thugs are trying to take over his house and belongings.  An MD of a realty firm is held for Rs 6 crores tax evasion.  An MNC executive is cheated of Rs 2.4 lakhs, in a forex transaction credit card fraud.  Drunk youth create a ruckus and smash the windows of many cars in Sector 7.

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 The issues plaguing the completion of the Northern Peripheral Road (NPR), also known as the Dwarka Expressway, may soon be resolved – probably by February 15th.. The Govt. would compensate about 200 families.  A French delegation visits the (almost closed) Bandhwari Waste Treatment Plant alongwith the MCG Commissioner. It is estimated that over 100,000 tons of waste will be heaped up outside the Plant, by mid-March! Almost a thousand tons a day is being added – from Faridabad and Gurgaon. DLF is reportedly ready to hand over maintenance of its Phases I to IV to MCG or any authorized organization. It claims that there is no work/facility pending in these areas. The hunger strike, by residents of the IAF Restricted Area, is called off, on the assurance of the MCG Commissioner. MCG asks the Town & Country Planning Dept. to confirm the status of ownership of its lands, and of encroachments; the MCG online grievance redressal system shuts down; the MCG office may shift to a ready building complex in Sector 34. New DTCP guidelines allow for extra gates in plotted colonies. ‘Walk On’, a song promoting walking, and dedicated to Gurgaon, is released in the City. A 10km Trekking & Cycling Track is proposed to be constructed along the Aravallis, near the CRPF Academy, Kadarpur.

U 4 4


by ShahnaZ Herbal Cosmetic Queen Padma Shree Shahnaz Husain is the CEO of the Shahnaz Husain Group – India’s leading company in the field of natural beauty and anti-aging treatments.

Watch and listen to

'Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan' a ballad on Gurgaon, based on the legendary song... 'Ye hai Bombay Meri Jaan'.

Q. Please recommend a good shampoo for dry and dull hair. SH

I would recommend Shamla hair cleanser or Shagrow shampoo for dry and dull hair. Shagrow is a shampoo with conditioner.

OR View it at the FG Facebook page at Hema Kapoor

WINNER Have you polled yet? Visit the FG website at and vote.

Ask the beauty expert questions on skin, hair and beauty. The best question (picked by Shahnaz Husain) will receive a gift hamper from the Shahnaz Husain Group. Write to us at

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Safety First


ver 230 participants, comprising various stakeholder groups of the City, came together at Artemis Hospital to discuss solutions for Women’s Safety. The Workshop was organised by Citizens’ Initiative, Gurgaon First, in association with a mobile application for women’s safety, ‘Safetipin’. The Chief Guest and the Key Note Speaker at the Workshop was Bharti Arora, Joint Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon. She spoke about the various initiatives taken by the Police to make the City safer for women. Some of the other prominent speakers were Nisha Singh (Councillor, MCG), Kalpana Viswanath (SafetiPin), Seema Mishra (Lawyer), Anju Pandey (UN Women), Anannya Bhattacharjee, (Gharelu Kamgaar Sangethan, Gurgaon) and Sheenam Ohrie (SAP Labs). The Workshop was attended by residents, corporates, NGOs, RWAs as well as key Gurgaon-based citizen initiatives – such as JAFRA, Gurgaon Citizen Council, Mission Gurgaon Development, I am Gurgaon, Gurgaon Moms and We the People.

H appenings


G’ City celebrates R Day K

ingdom of Dreams hosted an event wherein dance performances on folk music, by cultural groups from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Leh Ladakh, were held. There were also musical acts by Fusion Band Pratigya and Rock Band Fuzz Culture. DJ Manish got the crowd dancing to Bollywood songs.


aryana Governor, Jagannath Pahadia, attended the statelevel Republic Day celebrations held at Tau Devi Lal Stadium. He felicitated war widows, inspected the Parade and gifted tricycles to the disabled. Deputy Commissioner Gurgaon, Shekhar Vidyarthi was also present at the Event.


Pretty Celebrations


unjabi actress Priti Sapru visited BPCL on their 34th Anniversary and celebrated Republic Day there. Songs from her movies played in the background, while Priti got busy interacting with fans.

Euphoric Walk


amvedna Senior Citizens’ Activity Centre celebrated its first Republic Day with its members and guests. The function began with the National Anthem, followed by a short speech by Medha Richards, a student of Shri Ram School, sharing the significance of Republic Day. Members recollected and shared their past experiences of Republic Day celebrations. This was followed by a wonderful musical event conducted by Bhajan Vishwakarma and his troupe. The children present participated in a painting competition. Senior citizens participated in a Quiz contest titled, ‘Quiz on India’.

he City celebrated the release of the song, ‘Walk On’, sponsored by Nagarro and Fidelity, in collaboration with NASSCOM. The song was sung by Euphoria. The anthem aims to help push eco-friendly activities such as walking, cycling and the use of public transport for commuting.

If you have a flair for photography (you needn’t be a professional) and would like to see your clicked pictures appear in FG, send us photographs of Gurgaon (landscape or people) to

06  Contd from p 1 when they were told about the benefits to the land as well as the high price the produce could fetch from the market. Sehrawat, who has set up a model farm in the Village, says that a number of farmers have built Rainwater Harvesting structures in their lands, with government support. This is of tremendous help during the summer. “We have also deployed sprinklers, which ensure that 80 per cent less water is required for agriculture”, he says. Apart from using technology, the Villagers have also wholeheartedly embraced horticulture, and Mankdola is a leading producer of Guava and Ber fruits in the District - apart from Bajra. Meadow Orchards are also being set up in the Village; this involves the dense plantation of fruitbearing trees, a technique that was mastered in Israel and is now being successfully implemented in Gurgaon. Sehrawat has planted around 2,000 Guava trees in his oneacre Farm, and has been able to get produce in multiples of that in ‘normal’ orchards. Learning from such ‘leaders’, other farmers in the Village have also set up orchards, vermi-composting units and organic manure farms, which combine together to make it a Model Village for agriculture. The Village at present has around 1,500 acres of land under farming of different types, and the Villagers say that they are now under pressure from Real Estate developers, for the sale of their land. Sehrawat says that it would not be easy for Mankdola Villagers to take this decision, as they are traditional farmers who are earning well by working in the fields. Every family in the Village has also invested in good quality milch animals, which has led to a rising milk production. “Better breeds are kept here and fodder is available in plenty, which ensures that quality milk is produced - which also gets us a premium”, says Thakran. The Villagers are proud of the fact that fruits and vegetables produced by them also fetch a premium in Gurgaon, which has a large number of consumers looking for organic produce. Rajesh Kumar, a farmer, says that plans are also afoot to ensure that dairy and pisciculture are taken up in the Village on an even bigger scale. While dairy has become mainstream here but still a lot of work needs to be done, he adds. Even as agriculturists in Mankdola continue to plan for improving further, the Agriculture Department in

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Our Adarsh Village

Gurgaon says that all efforts are being made to support farming in the District, particularly in the villages where it is still being taken seriously. The Agriculture Dept. officers say that while there is a strong perception that farming is giving way to Real Estate in the region, agriculture still has strong roots here. Babu Lal, an official of the Department, says that a number of parameters are checked, while deciding the Most Progressive agriculture village Award. “Farmers in

Mankdola have done exceptional work in tandem with our Field Officers, to boost agricultural production, while using minimum resources in terms of water, seeds, fertilizers and other materials”, he says. Citing an example of how Mankdola is different from others, he says that while the entire Gurgaon District does not produce sugarcane, this Village alone has dedicated 20 acres for it! Mankdola also has some of the best, and the highest

C over S tory number, of agricultural tools and equipment in the Region. It has 47 tractors, 25 seed drillers, 1 rotavator, 25 cultivators, 12 threshers, 2 tractor mounted sprayers, 2 bed planters, 1 power tiller, 1 reaper binder and 1 harvester. Lal says that there will be just a few villages in the whole of Haryana that would have adopted advanced integrated farming and also used technology so effectively – as Mankdola. The Department has set up pulse demonstration projects in this Village, as well as in other parts of the District, to promote pulse farming. “The farmers in the Village must be complimented for embracing innovation, and also for their interest shown in various schemes, projects and melas organized by the Department”, he says. Gurgaon, he says, has won five Awards for agriculture production in the State, and this year the District won a Prize for the highest production of Bajra. The Department had taken 300 farmers from Gurgaon to a Kisan Mela in Jhajjar, where the Awards were given. Under the National Food Security Mission, top quality seeds were distributed to farmers, covering over 500 hectares in different villages. “We provide quality seeds, and offer advice and other help, which many farmers appreciate”, he says. Under the Agricultural Technology Management Agency, the Department organizes field trips, demonstrations and exposure visits to different States, to facilitate the spread of knowledge among the farmers. “We are now taking 10 progressive farmers from different blocks on a Horticulture trip to Nagpur. This will help them to know about the latest developments in the field”, he says. The major problem in Gurgaon is that the land holding is reducing among the families, and it is increasingly becoming tough for farmers to survive on land alone - if they stick to traditional farming. The Agriculture Department is therefore helping farmers emulate the Mankdola model, which has successfully shown how integrated farming can prove to be of great help to even farmers with small holdings. Babu Lal says that the majority of beneficiaries under their schemes, and also those who visit melas, are farmers with small holdings. However, he admits that with builders offering huge premiums, it would need great efforts from farmers as well as the Department, to develop more Mankdolas…. and thwart the conversion of open farmlands to gated complexes.u

C over S tory

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014


Health is Wealth  Contd from p 1 The Hospital also provides food and accommodation for my son and brother-in-law, who is the donor. The quality of treatment is good,” he says. The major hospitals in the City are well-equipped to treat procedures such as heart surgeries, orthopedic procedures, transplants, cosmetic surgeries and neuro-surgeries.

Giving a boost to other ‘industries’

“If you’re considering surgery and a vacation this year, why don’t you combine the two!” reads the tagline of the website of Mars Travel, a travel agency based in Sector 29. The Agency makes foreign patients understand that a trip to India is not limited to just health benefits; one can travel to historic sites, undertake pilgrimages and experience a rich cultural heritage. Tourism has begun to play an important role in the economy of the City. The direct benefits include business to the hospitality industry, retail shops, transportation services, entertainment venues and other attractions (of course in addition to the medical equipment industry and pharmaceutical industry); while the indirect benefits include government spending on related infrastructure and the employment and earnings of Indians in the tourism sector. “As of now we take foreign patients to malls and Sheetla Mata Mandir and conduct a tour to the historical places in the Capital and Rajasthan. If the State government helps develop eco-tourism

Dr. Devlina Charavarty, COO Artemis Hospitals

Dr. Pradeep Nambiar, Senior Consultant (Cardio-Thoracic), Max Healthcare

in the City, we can tap the potential of foreign tourists in a better manner,” suggests Manav, Marketing Manager, Mars Travel. He also puts forth the example

of Bangalore. “After the success of Medical Tourism, a movement toward eco-tourism, based on the appreciation and preservation of natural environments, was initiated there,” he explains. Dr. Devlina Charavarty, COO Artemis Hospitals, feels that Medical Tourism has helped in some unique ways also. “Foreign patients who come to the City find the handicrafts sold by the local dealers - and even sometimes by the villagers on the roadsides - very interesting. Many times this helps them come up with business ideas to initiate the export of handicraft from the City to their home country. It is one of the most interesting exchanges taking place due to Medical Tourism - where the poor directly benefit,”

she says. Interestingly, some NGOs have added the element of volunteerism and economic support for local communities, to Medical Tourism. P.D’Souza, from Nirmal Foundation in the Capital, explains, “We encourage foreign patients and their relatives to get involved in our programmes, wherein they can donate for a social cause and also visit a nearby slum to teach the kids and help the women – of course after their treatment is over. Last year over 50 foreigners, who visited Gurgaon for medical treatment, supported our cause. Some of them were so impressed with the medical facilities and the success of their surgeries, that they felt motivated to give back to the community.” Nirmal Foundation is now planning to open a centre in the Gurgaon too. The NGO also provides the foreign patients an opportunity to volunteer for work and work from ‘home’.

Not just for cost

Michael, 35, couldn’t find any good doctor in the United States to conduct his Stem Cell treatment. He was suffering with Lyme’s disease, which causes nerve and muscle damage and brain lesions…and the patient suffers near-constant pain. Following the advice of his doctor in the US, he decided to visit Medanta. He made three trips to the Hospital, as part of the embryonic Stem Cell Therapy programme. Today Michael is healed and working as an energy therapist in San Francisco. “The Western system failed in my case. My India visit not only helped me recover, it also helped in my spiritual growth. I have learned to live life with a purpose. Besides, the visits offered ex-

actly what my life needed at that time - and that was hope” he smiles. Michael has fallen in love with the City; he likes everything about it - be it the malls, Ayurveda spas or a trip to Cyber Hub! In fact, for many foreign patients, it is not just about cost; it is also about the medical expertise and the overall experience – which seems to help them heal better and faster. How are hospitals managing this new form of ‘Tourism’? “Right from the arrival of patient at the Hospital, to his/ her departure at the Airport, we take on the responsibility for his/her safety and wellbeing,” says Dr. Devlina of Artemis. Dr. Farida says, “India is also known for ancient alternative therapies such as Ayurveda, Yoga and Meditation, and Therapeutic Massages. Foreign patients are happy to undertake these as add-ons, and this benefits the whole industry.” Gurgaon hospitals, with their highly skilled and experienced personnel, many with international exposure, excel in Cardiology, Orthopedic Surgery, Bariatric Surgeries, Gastroenterology, Ophthalmology, Dentistry and Urology. Besides, the Medical industry in the City has kept pace with the latest technology; the strong Pharmaceutical sector has already gained recognition across the world. Gurgaon is already a name on the lips of many doctors and patients across the world. Perhaps Medical Tourism will be the New Millennium Industry – following Auto and BPO/IT – and like them, offer benefits to many ancillary and complementary products and services.u

08 Righting the Wrongs { Shilpy Arora/ FG }

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hikha (name changed) was married at the age of 10, became a mother at 14 and was divorced before she was 17. She hardly has any memories of her marriage. Unfortunately, she will probably remain unmarried throughout her life and will have to raise her child on her own. In our country (including our State), it is estimated that more than 56 per cent of the girls in rural areas get married before the age of 18 and over 70 per cent of them become mothers by the time they are 20. Child Marriage is clearly a Human Rights abuse, as both the social and physical development of a girl is compromised; it also results in early pregnancy and social isolation. In Odisha, 74-year-old Natisaha was forced to leave her home, having been displaced by a private mining project. She had no option but to move to a nearby town and live in a slum. Natisaha has joined millions of homeless people in the country, who are being deprived of their basic Human Rights of shelter, clean water, health and sanitation. Although Human Rights were an inherent component of various civilisations that have flourished in India, today they stand widely violated. Activism by Human Rights NGOs has therefore become critical. Many of these NGOs and independent Human Rights’ bodies have been working to spread awareness, and helping protect the vulnerable.

Forum for Fact-finding Documentation and Advocacy (FFDA)

Led by a well-known Human Rights’ activist, Subash Chandra Mohapatra, FFDA monitors, and then fights to promote and protect, Human Rights in India. The organisation works with the victims of Human Rights’ violations. It educates them and their communities. It addresses the issues of displacement and forced eviction, violence against women and children, exploitation, torture, abuse and discrimination against Dalits, and attacks on minorities and indigenous communities. Tribals and Dalits, especially women and children, are its priority. One of the success stories of FFDA is in the area of Child Marriages in rural areas. In 2003, FFDA filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Supreme Court of India, seeking a ban on Child Marriage. The Apex Court directed the authorities to enact a new preventative law. In 2000, FFDA helped 26 tribal families got their land back, after a steel company funded by the International Monetary Fund had displaced 3,000 tribal people from their land. FFDA helped the tribals in publicizing their ordeals and taking legal action. FFDA also publicized the consequences of the mining industry’s destruction of the hills in Odisha. Besides, FFDA is credited with providing legal expertise to the first official Lesbian Marriage in India, wherein two young tribal women in Chhattisgarh got married in the presence of a magistrate in New Delhi.

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Human Rights Watch is one of the leading independent organisations in India that is dedicated to defending and protecting Human Rights. Many times HRW has helped in attracting international attention to Human Rights violations in the country. The Organisation gives voice to the oppressed and holds the culprits accountable for their crimes. Human Rights Watch has expert staff, including country specialists, lawyers, journalists, advocates and academics from diverse backgrounds and nationalities. These experts conduct factfinding missions and investigate Human Rights’ abuses, by impartially reporting on the conditions across the country.

Vigil India

Based in Bangalore, Vigil India is a reputed NGO that aims to protect and promote Human Rights in the country. It focuses on the rights of women and children, especially those belonging to the weaker sections of society. The NGO has formed more than 900 vigil groups in various parts of the country. Of these, over 300 are working for the protection of women’s rights. Vigil India has also launched the Institute of Human Rights, which provides training for Human Rights’ activists. The Institute helps activists acquire grassroots education and knowledge about basic laws pertaining to Human Rights. Any individual, organisation or Non-Governmental Organisation can approach these NGOs directly online or via a letter. For more information, log on to: www.ffdaindia.inu

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Mayor in waiting { Abhishek Behl/ FG }

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hen Vimal Yadav and his team were elected as Councillors after the hotly contested polls in June 2011, there was great hope that MCG, under an elected Mayor, would be able to transform the City – starting with the areas currently under it's jurisdiction. The citizens also expected that with an elected Municipal body, they would be able to get their issues resolved more easily and there would be greater accountability. However, two and half years down the line, MCG Gurgaon stands where it was, and barring some cosmetic changes, the infrastructure and the civic services have not improved much. The bureaucratic sloth continues and files are pushed around as usual; the inefficient contractors still rule the roost, claiming more workers on paper than on the ground; and the multiplicity of civic agencies ensures that there is no clarity - even within the MCG – on how to go about its task. Gurgaon Mayor Vimal Yadav minces no words when he accuses the State government of putting the brakes on the working of the civic agency, just because he and his group of Councillors were close to Rao Inderjit Singh, the rebel Congress MP (who has opposed the CM for long and will be joining the BJP on February 13). “I feel that MCG and the people of Gurgaon have been victimized because we came from a different ‘political camp’. Projects that were planned and estimated by us have been hanging fire for the last two and half years”, asserts Yadav. Inn a recent meeting with senior Cabinet Minister Savitri Jindal, he raised the issue of the empowerment of the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon - both financially as well as for the devolution of powers to the elected Councillors and the Mayor. “ The Minister has only given us assurances, but it appears to be a political gimmick, meant for the impending elections”, says Yadav. Currently, every project of over Rs 1 crore has to go for approval to Chandigarh. All the proposals for flyovers, underpasses and other works are gathering dust in Chandigarh, for months if not years. Yadav points to the DPR of Rs 90 crores for works in 10 Gurgaon villages, which has remained pending for one and half years. Yadav also questions the expenditure of Rs 25 crores each on sanitation and officers’ salary every year, which he sees as wastage. Yadav says that advertisement contracts are being managed by the officialdom; there is a nexus between some officials and the contractors. “We raised this matter during our meeting with Minister Savitri Jindal and told her about the loss of Rs 100 crores every year”, says the Mayor. When asked about the new MCG Commissioner, Dr Praveen Kumar, Yadav says that he does not expect much from him. “What has he done during his stint at

HUDA? After the initial hoopla there is not much he managed to achieve”, he says. Pointing to the lack of seriousness on the part of the political establishment in Chandigarh, he alleges that during his tenure 4 MCG Commissioners have changed. In Yadav’s view, Gurgaon needs an apex agency, which could be either the MCG or a Gurgaon Development Authority. The MCG has the ability to take care of the entire Gurgaon, he says, but the need is to empower the elected members and ensure that the Mayor can take decisions regarding all issues of development. “Being elected from among the people, we know what are their problems, but the bureaucracy will not let go”, he says. Gurgaon being a world-class city, the Mayor wants that the MCG should be made self-sufficient and allowed to earn revenue, which it should then be able to spend on the development of the City. The large chunks of land that the MCG has got in a number of urban villages, will also be utilized commercially, to raise funds within a PPP model. A major project is to bring the Metro service to ‘old’ Gurgaon – which has been a long pending demand of the residents. The Gurgaon Mayor is also concerned about the plight of the residents staying within the 900 meters Air Force restricted area, but says that during his meeting with the Air Force officials it became evident that this Ammunition Depot was crucial for the safety of Delhi. “What we have now suggested is that the restricted area should be reduced to at least 300 meters, so that a large population is saved. The rest of the people can be given compensation by the government”, he adds. He, however, also wants that action should be taken against government and civic officials who have condoned violations and allowed constructions that were clearly illegal. Asked about the achievements of his team, Yadav smiles and points to the fact that it was after their election that Rs 600 crores has been invested in different projects across Gurgaon. Roads have seen a facelift, streetlights have been installed, community centres built, and lanes and drains constructed in many areas. He however agrees that big-ticket projects have not taken shape, because politics came into play. “We have met the CM, the Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner; not only the top bureaucrats, but even the mid-level functionaries have been lethargic and have shown no responsibility to the citizens”, he alleges. None of the officials in MCG or the other agencies feel responsible for holistic development of Gurgaon, and every one runs their areas like small fiefdoms. The Mayor is no doubt frustrated by the lack of clarity in the administering of the City, and on his own role. Team Mayor, which it was called at the start of the tenure, is now hoping for political deliverance, if things have to change in the Millennium City - and for their own future too.u

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'Me & My City' { Anita Jaswal }


or centuries Gurgaon was just a Delhi suburb. It was only in the early nineties, with the coming up of the Delhi-Gurgaon-Jaipur Highway, that things started stirring. Soon builders began eyeing Gurgaon with interest. Then followed the influx of multinational companies and the launch of shopping malls. All this has made Gurgaon a role model for many cities in India…as also an aspiring world class city. Let us hear what the people, who have made their home here, have to say about this City. Tej Nirmal Singh Plaha, Director, Head Supply, Ericsson, says, “We have been living in Gurgaon since 1996, and have seen the City transform from a ‘one off’ conventional Haryana town to the so-called ‘Millennium’ City of India. In the early days we were proud to share Gurgaon’s greenery and fresh rural air with our friends from Delhi. Now, after so many treees have been cut, to make way for ‘modernity’, Gurgaon has turned into a concrete jungle. Gurgaon is now a Telecom Hub, with everything just a phone call away. The things that bother me a lot are: poor roads, almost no parking areas, poor and inadequate drains and sewers and a lack of greenery.” For Rutinder Singh Negi, Manager – Learning & Development, HSBC Bank, Gurgaon is a study in contrasts. “Swanky buildings, big restaurants and expensive apartments form one end of the spectrum, while broken roads, open drains and (alcohol) ‘thekas’ form the other. When I came to Gurgaon in 2008, it was next to impossible to commute within the City. Although the CIty has now added tens of thousands of rickshaws, the lack of a proper metering system remains an issue. Safety and security are terms that exist only within the big gates of societies. I still get very nervous if my wife and daughter have to travel on their own. While the taxman classifies Gurgaon as a B category city (HRA rebate is 40%), the cost of living in Gurgaon burns a big hole in one’s pocket. Of late however, Gurgaon has been in the news for some right reasons. Raahgiri Day is one such initiative, where Gurgaon has become a trend-setter for the entire country. Online forums like Gurgaon Foodie and Gurgaon Moms have also become popular. With the launch of the Rapid Metro, getting around Gurgaon will definitely become easier. If the political leadership has the vision, Gurgaon can be turned into a model city, like Singapore,” he says. Col V.K Suri ( retd.), Senior VP, Operations, Nutek India Ltd and a member of MC/RWA of Devender Vihar, Sector 56 for nearly 10 years, says: “I have just retired after a very satisfying stint in the Army. I always wished to have a second innings and remain socially active, thanks to the rich culture inherited and imbibed from the Army. Considering the potential  of Gurgaon, I bought a house here in 2002, from AWHO. Over the past decade Gurgaon  has surpassed all expectations and transformed into a prosperous

city. The vertical growth has been exponential, but the parallel horizontal growth of infrastructure, is lacking. There is much to improve in the law and order situation to make citizens feel safe; women should feel confident to move around freely. The road network, especially the arteries leading to the sectors (and even within the sectors), needs immediate attention. Citizens have come out to demonstrate their co-operation and desire for a better living by organizing various road shows like Raahgiri Days. It is a step in the right direction, to generate awareness and help change the mindset and culture of the people. Hats off to the organizers for their efforts! The State of Haryana has produced many international sportsmen, but the City lacks adequate sports complexes and playfields.These should be spread all over the city, to encourage budding sportsmen and promote a healthy lifestyle. The residents need to be engaged, and help tackle issues related to public services and land use.” Alka Bhandari, a teacher in Summerfields DLF, feels that Gurgaon has, over the past three decades, emerged as the fastest growing city of the country. “This is so because of its strategic location, adjacent to the National Capital. It has all the major MNCs, operating from the IT hubs/industrial areas. This has been mainly achieved because of the policies of the the Govt. of Haryana, to encourage planned development, and even more because of the participation of private developers. Their buildings are comparable with the best in the world. However, all is not good. The development of Infrastructure has not kept pace. While most of the sector roads have been developed, their quality is poor and they are not properly maintained. There is always a shortage of power during the peak summer and winter seasons. The City is not very clean; while there is a lack of facilities for garbage disposal, the civic sense of the residents is also to blame. For transport, the residents are quite dependent on autorickshaws, which do not operate on (fare) meters. While the Govt. has started City Bus on some routes, the coverage and frequency is grossly inadequate. Moreover, there are no proper designated bus stops or shelters, and no one has any knowledge of the bus timings and schedules. Though Gurgaon boasts of a large number of schools, it lacks higher education institutions. And finally, there is the big question mark regarding safety. Probably HUDA was not prepared for such a phenomenal growth, and we can only hope much will soon be done for the civic and social development of the City.” Neera Sirohi , Principal of St. Angel’s School, Sector-45, says, “Shifting to Gurgaon on a permanent basis 12 years ago, after living and experiencing  different small towns of the country, seemed a blessing. Wide open roads, with no hassle of electricity cuts  gave one a wonderful feeling. Now, although all this has changed, I still feel very happy and blessed to be a resident of Gurgaon. There is something in the air, that makes one feel very energetic  here. My children, who have been living abroad, feel nostalgic after coming here. There are good places to eat, good movie halls, theatres, shopping areas, a good crowd, good connectivity to airport…and above all, good schools. There is a lot of opportunity for work, which is why we can see people of all statesand languages working and living here. All this makes Gurgaon an exclusive, metropolitan city. If only we can have better roads (without potholes), better electricity and water supply, and enough park-

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ing areas at public places, Gurgaon can be graded as the best city in India!”                                     Jayanthi , a homemaker, feels, “Gurgaon is India’s Shanghai. With its ever-changing landscape, high-rises sprouting up everywhere in the blink of an eye, glass and chrome towers that come in all shapes and sizes, I think that Gurgaon has developed to become a truly ‘millennium city’. I have recently shifted back to Gurgaon after a gap of 8 years. The commercial hubs of Gurgaon, like the Mall Road, Cyber City, Ambience Mall and the Golf Course Road, carry globally renowned brand names - be they in automobiles, apparel, food, software, engineering, publishing….The Western influence on this City is apparent. For example, the range of Western Winter Wear for women, being offered at the malls, is something I have never seen in this City earlier. Gurgaon offers every kind of food for the ever-hungry residents! Even the small shopping centre around the corner has so many eating joints and houses many small utilities - like a vegetable and fruit shop, dry cleaners and a pharmacy. It makes shopping so convenient. The local autorickshaws do need some stiff monitoring, as they make hay while the commuters suffer silently. The bustling activity on the roads at night shows that this City hardly ever sleeps. It looks like the City celebrates life everyday! Gurgaon is a greener and cleaner city than my home city Chennai, and its green cover is appealing. I quite like the way urban planning has shaped this City. While its isolated growth in Haryana has made Gurgaon a famous landmark, it has also set a benchmark for other cities.” Lt. Col. R.B Singh, a retired Army officer, says: “We shifted to our flat in Devender Vihar, Sector 56, in July 2003. Those days Gurgaon was at a development stage, devoid of infrastructure and public transport. Shopping complexes were few; medical facilities/hospitals were also inadequate. The paucity of public transport services resulted in the mushrooming of many taxi services next to almost all the societies, charging exorbitant rates. The only motorable road was Golf Course Road. One could hardly find a police man on the road, and discipline was in a shambles. Over a period of time, Gurgaon has undergone a sea change, with shopping complexes/malls coming up on MG Road (spilling over to Golf Course Road), besides shopping areas in many pockets within reach from anywhere today. The traffic has increased many folds, but is quite under control due to strict policing. Many good hospitals have come up in the last few years, making Gurgaon a place worth living after retirement.” Despite all the progress, there are many eyesores - traffic jams, power outages, inundated areas (during the rains), pot-holed roads and heaps of garbage. They unfortunately speak volumes about the poor civic amenities and inefficient infrastructure. However, while these day-today frustrations are undeniable, I do truly believe that it’s a city with a grand plan and an important role to play. There is so much happening here, so much growth, so much development; each day the City seems to be expanding, and yet it is so compact and integrated and secular. On returning from Delhi, the moment you cross the border, you kind of feel the distinct cosmopolitan flavour.u

10 W

hen residents of Bblock in Sushant Lok built their homes, they were very happy, as this area promised them a quiet abode away from the hustle and bustle of Delhi - where pollution, power and parking woes had made life difficult. The builders lured them with promises of sylvan surroundings, with plenty of green areas and large parks, as well as local clubs and community centres. However, there already is pressure on water and power supply, especially as large commercial buildings in the area - including a major hospital and a hotel – seem to have poached the resources meant for the residents. Sunder Singh, President of the Citizen Welfare Forum of this Block, says that apart from institutional shortcomings, the residents are also suffering from some myopic decisions. “A wine shop and an even bigger ‘ahata’ have opened up just behind B-Block, in a green belt. Earlier there was a smaller ‘shop’ but now it has transformed into virtually a restaurant,” alleges Singh. The residents complain that

Prime Location...Centre of Neglect a number of call centre employees regularly jump into the park inside B-block, and start drinking and making passes at women - who are now avoiding to go there. The RWA members are also unhappy over the opening of a car park in the green belt, which is again a violation of the government policy. “We have also complained against a large number of illegal vendors who are operating on our side of HUDA City Centre Chowk, all through the night” says Singh. Liquor flows easy, and their garbage just piles up. This is the plight of residents in a posh colony in the centre of the Millennium City. Singh says they have approached the civic agencies a number of times on all the issues, but no action has been taken. Perhaps this is also a reason why they are not very enthused by the idea of their colonies being transferred from private hands to the MCG. Gulshan Rai Malhotra, a resident, says that at least today there is a local complaints office, but once the government agencies step in it

Haiku 1: The first drop of rain kisses the lips of a shrivelled leaf quenching the soul’s thirst


{ Abhishek Behl/ FG }

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would be difficult to get any help. But slowly the residents are getting restive. They want the DTCP to ensure that the Builder should be made to deliver on the

promises made while selling the property. Residents say that a 66 KV sub-station, which had to be set up by the Ansals, is still awaited, despite a notice by the

DHBVN to the builder. “Right now there is a single line that is supplying power to B-block, and this was meant for the residents; but it is now being shared by a hotel and a hospital, which have come up adjacent to the residents’ homes,” says Singh. The Club, which was meant only for the residents, now does not give them entry; it has been converted into a luxury facility, where only the affluent can avail its services. There is only a community centre. The residents are also facing problems of paucity of water supply especially during the summers, as volumes are diverted for construction. The maintenance agency alleges Singh sanctions water connections to house owners who start to build, and this ensures that drinking water is diverted for construction. The residents also say that there is urgent need to repair and re-carpet the roads, as this has been done only once since the construction of this Colony. The lanes and drains are choked, and the sewerage system is inadequate, as multiple floors have come up on plots meant for single houses. The residents rue that their Colony has become a desert within the glittering commercial oasis.u

City Bus Shelters


Haiku 2: Snow covered pine trees, cool breeze over the mountains a moment of bliss. Haiku 3: Unflinching spirit, amidst the fears of violence emboldens others.

Sukhrali, Sector 17C

Haiku 4: A ray of sunshine, that little dew on a palm leaf - and then a spectrum.

Archana Kapoor Nagpal

Mahavir Chowk

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Creating Social Harmony PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Shilpy Arora/ FG }


ucked away in the calm neighbourhood of Sector 17 is Harmony House, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that helps underprivileged women and children from the nearby slums. Started by a couple, Lucy Bruce from Britain and Gaurav Sinha from India, Harmony House serves as a community centre that provides education, food and shelter to over 200 children. Housed in two bungalows, the Centre delivers education in a safe, fun and loving environment. The bungalow houses classrooms for different age groups, an activity room that is used by all, two kitchens, a dining room, two libraries, a computer lab and a medical room. Stocked with bright-coloured furniture, white boards, colourful books, arts and crafts resources, stimulating games and toys and topical posters, the Centre looks like an exciting and motivating space to learn. “We want to improve the lives of children at a physical, emotional and intellectual level. Thus we provide them opportunities to play with toys, build houses, paint pictures, watch cartoons on TV and take part in other activities like the ‘normal’ children. We hope these would be enrich-

{ Vijay K. Saluja }


ing and memorable experiences for them,” says Meghna Eidnani, Manager, Harmony House. The NGO provides children with a well-rounded education. Subjects such as Hindi, English, Mathematics, Science, Music, Arts and Crafts and Cooking are taught to the children at both the primary and secondary level. “I think what these children need the most is an awareness about nutrition, hygiene and moral values, to help them cope better in their home environment,” says Mrs. Jain, a teacher. The NGO encourages children to go to ‘normal’ schools as well, because it can’t issue any school certificates to the children. For the older children, the NGO runs vocational classes, in order to make it easier for them to get a job in future. The NGO is focusing on yoga, stitching and beautician courses. “The ob-

jective is to train these kids such that, by the time they are 18 they have enough training and experience and can get respectable jobs ,” says Meghna. Breakfast, lunch and evening snacks are

provided to the children. Interestingly, the NGO depends solely on donations in kind to help the children and women. After facing criticism from her family for spending seven hours in school, Padmini, 12, left her school last year. “My father said that I could earn Rs. 100 a day if I didn’t go to school. He made me quit the school. But my mother wanted me to study, and so she now sends me to Harmony House in the evenings, after work,” smiles Padmini. Harmony House has been successful in spreading awareness about the importance of children’s education among the mothers. That is why women from the nearby slums are helping their children to study. “Mothers are invited to participate in the daily events at Harmony House. We noticed that mothers do not want to leave their small kids alone at home, or


are forced to make their older children stay home and take care of their younger siblings. So we invite toddlers, children and women - the whole family - to spend time together at Harmony House. While children can learn in the classrooms, their mothers can earn by helping within the facility,” says Meghna. The NGO provides vegetables, stationary and toiletries to the women. It is also developing a programme for women, to help them learn new skills, see a doctor and get social and welfare advice from experts. For mothers-to-be, the NGO arranges pre-natal and post-natal camps, where doctors provide pregnant women with health and hygiene related information. Harmony House is working hard to enroll their students in colleges or get them work placements, as soon as they turn18. The NGO would like to see its children achieve their dreams, and is working on how best it can help. Going forward, a new Centre has come up in the last year - the NGO plans to increase the number of children. Though founders Lucy and Gaurav live in Dubai, they frequently visit Harmony House. Besides, Gaurav’s mother and brother are actively involved in the day-to-day activities. u

We must Stand Tall

n 31st Dec 2010, after 7pm, various TV channels were busy transmitting their programmes for the New Year’s Eve. One of the channels was running a programme,`2010,Year of the Corrupt`. In this programme, some of the scams that had hogged the headlines during the year were being reported, with video-footages. Some of the scams featured were - Radia Tapes, 2G, Adarsh Housing, CWG and a Land Scam in Bengaluru. Apart from the huge money that the citizens/nation had lost in these shady deals, to my mind the nation was losing much more by way of the impact of these scams on (the lack of) future administrative and political actions and decisions. The Parliament seemed to have stopped functioning. The Times of India had earlier reported about an Indian Forest Officer, Sanjay Chaturvedi, who, as a whistleblower, had been harassed & victimized for years by the Haryana Govt. - for taking a brave stand and not toeing the lines of his unethical seniors. He was chargesheeted on allegedly fabricated charges. However, it was heartening to learn (from TOI of January 1, 2011) that the Union Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, had revoked the charge-sheet, thus bringing an end to five years of

ordeal. In 2013, apart from the other scams, we also heard about the travails of another IAS Officer from Haryana, Ashok Khemka. To my mind, the environment in the governance of the country has taken a big hit. Why I mentioned these cases is because I believe that they are similar to my case; I can well understand how much agony a conscientious & honest officer goes through…and it is a lonely world. In January 2010, Sony TV gave me their inaugural CID Gallantry Award for ‘demonstrating an exemplary act of bravery.’ The Citation also mentioned that the signatories hoped that that this achievement would serve as an example to others. I had stood up against some unethical seniors for more than twenty years, while in the municipal service – and had ‘paid’ dearly for it. ‘For honesty, integrity & for efforts in fighting corruption’, I was awarded the Satyendra K. Dubey Memorial Award (from IIT Kanpur & IIT Kanpur Alumni Association) in Feb 2009. These Awards were great morale boosters. However, it is my humble submission that civil society organizations & media should also consistently and purposefully take up the cause of fighting corruption – by backing officials

who stand up to unethical seniors & commending those who hold on to their values & ethics. It will have very salubrious effects on the present perverted system, besides providing a moraleboost to the courageous & honest officials/elected representatives - who I am sure are many in number. I also wonder why such honest officers do not figure more in the annual Padma Awards’ lists. We, the citizens & honest officials, should not remain mute spectators, but be proactive in helping arrest corruption. As insurance for a better future, we should seriously consider how parents & schools could better motivate children to fight corruption. n Director Giraffe Heroes India Program n Ex-Chief Engineer (Civil), New Delhi Municipal Council n Ex-President, IIT Delhi Alumni Association n Red & White Bravery Awardee – 2002 n Giraffe Hero – 2004 n Nominee (2004) -`Delhi Citizen One Award`, instituted by the `India Today Group` n Honoured by Technology Alumni Association of IIT Kharagpur (2012-2013) n Idea Daredevil Awardee (2013]) u

The Light of Right As life moves on and I leave the past behind In the midst of all my struggles I see that God was kind That many a flower I had longed for Was embracing a thorn of pain And many a cobbled path Led to fields of blooming flowers The clouds that enveloped sunshine Could not banish the Sun And the Earth seemed brighter When the overwhelming rain was done We must stand in the deepest shadow To see the crystal clear light For through the darkness of wrong Peers the pure strength of right Sabeeha Shah

12 { Shilpy Arora / FG }

'G is for Guidelines'

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here is a rush for Nursery admissions. Parents are lining up at schools to secure a prized seat for their child. The new Nursery guidelines have certainly been a major relief for the parents. Rekha Talwar, mother of 4-year-old Arnav, was finding it difficult to get her child admitted to a Nursery school, because of the donation demands. “Some schools were ready to take the child without any interview of the parents, just on the basis of donation. It was quite disheartening. I decided to wait for a year,” she says. The new guidelines are based on a pointssystem, wherein applicants get 5 points if a family member is an alumni of the school, 20 points if the family has a sibling in the school, 70 points if they reside within a school’s 6 km radius, and 5 points for inter-State transfer cases. The neighbourhood 6 km criteria vastly increase the admission chances of a student in a nearby (to the house) school. Besides, the 20 per cent management quota has been scrapped, the quota for the underprivileged has been increased from 10 to 25 per cent, 5 per cent reservation has been given to the girl child and 5 per cent has been reserved for the children of staff members. Till last year, Nursery admissions were carried out on the basis of a written test of the parents, followed by their interview, and a final selection was decided via a draw/ lottery system. Kartik Goel from says, “There was no transparency in the draw or lottery system. Parents could only access the final list of selected students issued by the school. I am glad that new guidelines have been introduced. It will bring a major relief to the parents.”

{ Krishan Kalra }


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31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

or a visit to Lucknow some years ago, I decided to try out the famous Shatabdi, if only to check whether it was really ‘the pride of Indian Railways’. I had heard so much about its comforts and its convenient timing. It would also give me time to clear my pile of pending ‘dak’ (mail). The train rolled out from New Delhi promptly at 0620 and my first pleasant surprise was to see an attendant bringing in newspapers – and even offering a choice. I slept through the ‘fruity’ service, looking forward to the promised ‘super’ breakfast. However, when it came, I wasn’t quite ready for the shock treatment: an oil-soaked omelette with two greasy potatoes chips, a small stale bun, an apple that must’ve looked fresh a year ago, some masala wafers spread on the bare plastic tray, a paper napkin already oaked with oil in an aluminium foil tray, and

Despite some schools having expressed their dissatisfaction with the new Nursery admission guidelines, they will have to abide by the order and start admissions accordingly. Schools have also been instructed to post the following on their websites: map of a 6 to 8km geographic radius around their school, the fee structure and the number of students in every class - so that parents can easily compare. However the guidelines have so far been followed by only a couple of schools. Some schools argue that the Haryana State Education Board has no such policy for admissions to private schools – they believe that this is applicable only in the Capital. These schools are therefore still conducting tests and interviews for parents. “The test includes long questionnaires comprising 40 to 50 questions, and they ask about my qualifications, the qualifications of my in-laws and grandparents, whether I am a teetotaler…. ,” says a mother, who went to a school in South City 1 for the admission of her daughter. Further, while the Directorate of Education in the Capital sets a common start date for admissions to all schools, the schools in other parts of the NCR decide the dates on their own. “There is a lot of confusion regarding Nursery admission in Haryana. Schools are saying that they do not need to follow the new guidelines. Some schools say that they are aided, so they don’t have to provide for any EWS quota; others say that they are unaided, but run an afternoon school for the underprivileged in lieu of offering an EWS quota,” says Archana, who runs a small child NGO, Kranti in Sector 56. She has been struggling to get admission for the underprivileged children of her NGO.

Guidelines for Haryana Schools

Not many know that the Haryana government already has school admission guidelines in place. They clearly state that all privately

managed, recognised schools have to put the information regarding admission of EWS and BPL categories (under Section 134-A) online. “In fact, 90 per cent of the guidelines for Nursery admission are the same for Delhi. For example, no recognised school can take a written test or an interview of the parents or children. Only a healthy interaction between the parents and teachers is required, in order to understand what should be the grade of a child,” says Peeya Sharma, Principal, Ryan International, Sector 40. The guidelines also state that 25 per cent seats need to be allocated for children from the economically backward sections, in unaided private schools. Besides, no child can be denied admission, and preference should be given on the basis of an 8km

Once in a Shatabdi miserable plastic crockery. Three foreigners sitting next to me wisely decided to skip the fare. The glutton that I am, l ate it… and soon felt sorry. The only good part was the tea service – with boiling hot water in a small flask, a tea bag, a cream powder sachet and a sugar pouch. If only the spoon wasn’t broken, it would have made a perfect cuppa. In fact the quantity of sugar and creamer were enough for three cups. I remember pointing this out to the attendant on an earlier journey to Bhopal − when the meals served were excellent − and was told that this was the only option they had. Well, I thought, food is not the only important thing, and the air-conditioning was not too bad, so let me get down to some paper work. While the rocking of the train posed no hinderance to my reading, I doubt if my notings made

much sense to those who were to act on them. I took consolation in the fact that such remarks don’t make much sense anyway! It was time now to freshen up. The trip to the toilet brought further enlightenment. Indian Railways had run out of toilet paper, but some considerate passenger had thoughtfully left a copy of the Economic Times! My enquiries further revealed that all the attendants had left the train at Kanpur, and taken the keys to the ‘cupboard’ that held the reserve stock of the precious paper. Why does this happen to most things Indian − especially those run by the government? Why do we start ventures with much fanfare and then allow them to go to seed? Why can’t we at least maintain some simple standards − of cleanliness, punctuality, service, food, efficiency? The same story is repeated

neighbourhood distance. Parents can write to: aadmnpvtschool@gmail. com and clarify all their doubts regarding Nursery admission. “There are a number of issues related to Nursery admissions in Gurgaon, which makes it hard for parents to get their child admitted to the school of his/her choice - and are thereby forced to pay hefty amounts as donations. Further, the admission process in the City is not uniform, and continues all through January to September. Hence the parents face a dilemma on whether they should block a seat, as these schools do not have a ‘fee refund policy’," suggests Goel. Moreover, parents should know about the concept of ‘aided’ and ‘unaided’ schools, and what is applicable to each.u

in all walks of life - be it the airlines or telephones or power generation or tourism. In all fairness, there were some positive points to the journey too. There was much greenery on view and the bilingual recorded announcements on the PA system provided a wealth of information about all the towns enroute. As an added ‘attraction’, during a (deliberate?) stop at the ‘Kanpur Bridge left bank’, some urchins organized ‘action’ at the goat stud farm next to the tracks – supposedly a ‘regular beat’. The piece de resistance was to follow: as soon as the Train moved out of Kanpur − the locomotive change here takes 30 minutes − about half a dozen ‘khalasies’ invaded the Executive Class coach and made themselves comfortable on the now empty seats for a ‘well-earned siesta’. And all was well as it ended well the showpiece of Northern Railway did zoom into Lucknow Station ten minutes ahead of time. u

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

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Happy School Sports Day



14 The School has been abuzz with a lot of activities.

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

American Montessori Public School

The festival of Lohri was celebrated by the lighting of the traditional bonfire by the DirectorPrincipal, Anita Sharma. After the Lohri poojan, a community lunch was organised. A Spelling Competition was held for the students of Class II. The students were asked to identify the correct spellings of words.

ne sunny day Rushi went out into the garden at the back of her house. It was a garden full of different kinds of flowers. The sun was warm and the flowers nodded in the gentle breeze. There were butterflies everywhere. Pit a pat, pit a pat went Rushi’s feet and hmm, hmm, hmm she hummed. But wait. Rushi heard something. “It sounds as if someone is sobbing,” said Rushi to herself. “Who can that be?” She started to search and saw a tiny little butterfly sitting on a large yellow sunflower and sobbing. Rushi was concerned and ran up to the little butterfly. ”Whatever is the matter, little butterfly?” she asked. The butterfly looked up in wonder. “You actually saw me?“, she asked excitedly. “Why, of course”, said Rushi, smiling. “But why are you crying?” The butterfly sighed, “I am so small,” she said sadly, “My wings have no bright colours and no one even looks at me. I wish I was like the others.” She started to cry again. “But you are special because you are different” said Rushi. “How boring it would be if everyone looked the same.” But the little butterfly did not think so. “No, no, no,” she kept saying, between sobs. Rushi felt sorry for the butterfly. As she walked back to the house she wished she could do something to help. But what could she do? I am just a little five-yearold girl, she said to herself. It was then that an idea struck her. I will tell my best friends, Atreyu, Nadira and even little Diya, about the butterfly, thought Rushi. “I am sure we can together think of some way to help.” The next day Rush told her friends about the little butterfly. The four of them sat down to think, under the big Oak tree in the garden. Soon Atreyu, the oldest, had a bright idea. “Do you think we can ask the fairies to give big, beautiful wings to the little butterfly?“ he asked the other two. “Yes, yes,“ agreed Nadira, the three-years-old. That made the others smile at her enthusiasm. “Yes, yes,“ echoed Diya, all of two years, jumping up and down. So, after school, they all went straight to Rushi’s house and into the garden. The sun was just setting and there were shadows under the big trees. Soon they saw little twinkling lights under the bushes. “It is the fairies!“ shouted both Rushi and Nadira excitedly. “Shush,” said Atreyu in a whisper. “We must go carefully, so that they do not fly away.” The friends slowly crept up to a tall row of lilies. They saw three elves sitting on the grass, under a large bright pink lily. The elves wore little shirts and pants made of red, blue and yellow flower petals and had curly hair and beards. They were laughing and seemed to be having fun. Rushi,

A Food Festival was organised for the students of Montessori I to Class II. The students were asked to bring various food items of different States. The children feasted on dishes like Idli, Dhokla, Puri, Chhole and Rosgulla, and enjoyed the Festival. A Maths Workshop on the topic, ‘Number sense and Place value’, was conducted by Sagarika Sengupta and Rachna Malhotra for the teachers of Classes I and II. Discussions on how the teachers could make the subject more interesting using interactive methods, were held.

Republic Day was celebrated with great patriotic fervour. A Special Assembly was hosted by the students of Montessori IV. The Programme began with the hoisting of the National Flag by the Director-Principal. This was followed by a colourful cultural event. The finale was a dance performance, to a medley of patriotic songs.


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A Story-telling Workshop was conducted for the teachers of the Junior wing, by Ruchi Gandhi Chawla, who gave tips on how to be expressive while narrating stories to the children.

The Little Butterfly Nadira and Atreyu crouched behind a clump of tall plants, just behind the lilies. Diya tightly held on to Nadira’s hand. But one of the elves, the one dressed in red, saw the four faces peering at them. “Why. Hello,“ said the little red elf in surprise, not at all afraid. The blue and the yellow elves turned and smiled in a friendly way at the children. Then they nodded their heads and waggled their beards. This made the children smile. Then Rushi, who was a polite little girl, said, “We are so sorry to disturb you. We thought we would frighten you away and that is why we crept up on you like this.“ “We just wanted your help,” said Nadira, laughing now that she knew the elves were so friendly. “Yes,“ said Diya, “please help us.” The elves laughed merrily. “Afraid of you?” queried the red elf, who seemed to be the leader. ”You are just children, although to us you too seem like giants.” Then the elves climbed up the lily stalk and onto the large soft petals. ”Now,“ said the red elf, “tell us why you want our help.“ So the three friends told the elves the story of the little butterfly, who was sad because she was so small and did not have large brightly coloured wings. Hahn, homm, hmm said the elves, as they talked in their elfish language to one another. They shook and scratched their heads, nodded at each other and waggled their beards. The red elf finally said, “We will give the little butterfly what she wants.” ‘Thank you, thank you,“ cried the friends together. “But,” said the red elf, shaking a finger at the children, “she will have to decide whether she wants to keep the wings we give her, by tomorrow night.“ “If she does not she will be very, very sorry,“ said the blue elf. “We will do it only because you want to help. Good children always help others – even butterflies whenever possible,” said the yellow elf.

Do you know what happened next?

Early the next morning, even before going to school, the three friends went running to Rushi’s garden. They had a wonderful surprise awaiting them. They saw a very beautiful, large butterfly, whose wings had all the colours of the rainbow. She was gorgeous. “Is that you, little butterfly?” asked Rushi hesitantly, for she did not recognize the little butterfly that she had seen sobbing. “Yes, yes,” sang the little butterfly, “I am so excited and happy. Thank you for helping me.” She swirled this way and that, showing off her new wings. The friends were happy for her too, but they told her what the elves had said.

“So, so silly,“ sang the little butterfly. “Why would I change back to something insignificant? I will just sit here and let all the others come and see me. Am I not the most beautiful now?” The children realised that the little butterfly had changed. Now she seemed vain and boastful. That night, when the children were fast asleep in bed, it started to rain. Soon, everything in the garden was soaked. However, all the butterflies flew away and were safe and dry…all, except the little butterfly. When she tried to fly she found that she just could not carry the weight of her new beautiful wings. Every time she tried to fly, she fell down. So she crawled under a tall yellow sunflower plant…but still got wet and cold. She began to feel very sorry for herself. The next morning, when Rushi woke up, she ran into the garden…but could not find the butterfly. “Oh, I do hope nothing has happened to it,“ thought Rushi worriedly. Just then her friends came running; they had been worried too. They began to search for the butterfly. Suddenly Nadira shouted out. She had found the butterfly under the sunflower, all soaked and sad. The poor butterfly was so soggy that it could hardly move and lay quite still. Its beautiful wings were all muddy. It looked sad and bedraggled. “Poor, poor butterfly,” said Rushi, picking it up. “I am so sorry you got so wet.“ She cradled it tenderly in her warm hands. Soon the butterfly was better, and looked up gratefully at Rushi and her friends. “Thank you all so much”, she said softly, “but I don’t want these heavy wings anymore. They are not for me and were no use when I had to escape the rain. Oh, how I wish I could get my small pale wings back again.” “But you can, little butterfly,“ said Rushi. “Remember what the elves said? There is time. All you have to do is wish yourself back as you were.” “Oh, I do, I do,“ cried the little butterfly. “I wish I could become what I was before”. The friends watched in astonishment as the bright rainbow colours on the wings slowly disappeared. Then the wings started to become smaller, till the butterfly was once again a small white butterfly. I was so silly,” said the little butterfly, as she flew in circles above the friends. “I should have always been happy with my small white wings. They work better for me.“ You have taught us something little butterfly,“ said Atreyu; “we should all try to make the best of what we have, rather then wish for what our neighbour’s have.“ “And more important than how you look, is what you are,” said Rushi. The elves were delighted that everything had ended so happily, and danced merrily away. u Pramila Balasundaram The writer is Founder-Director of Samadhan

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Ryan Global School

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Playing Safe

The Ryan Republic


epublic Day celebrations were held with patriotic zest at the School. The Chief Guest, Priyanka Dubey, was given a warm welcome. The programme that followed was an amalgamation of dance, drama and music. While the tiny tots of MI presented melodious patriotic songs, the Primary Wing presented a glimpse of democratic India through a skit. Dance performances were also presented by children of MIII. The Programme concluded with a poem by the Head Mistress, Vandana Sharma. The School also celebrated Republic Day by involving underprivileged children in various activities. An awareness programme was held wherein the right to education of every Indian was discussed with the underprivileged children. The guest children also coloured kites in the tri-colour.


he Primary students won the 2nd runners-up Trophy in the Nukkad Natak Competition organised by the Gurgaon Traffic Police, as a part of the Gurgaon Road Safety Mega Festival. Besides being awarded, the winners also were appreciated by the Commissioner of Police, Alok Mittal for their endeavours.

Grand GPS Celebration


t was a day to celebrate grandparents, who are our teachers, caregivers, friends and confidants. They guide us with their never-ending wisdom and provide us their stories from generations past. Padamshree R.S.Lugani, the Managing Trustee of the School, welcomed the Chief Guest, Maj. Atul Dev. Saraswati Vandana was recited by the students of Prep Class. The tiny tots, in colourful attires, were all excited to perform before their grandparents. They tapped their feet to Jai Ganesh Deva and danced to various tunes. The Rajasthani Folk Dancers and Ball Dancers then set the stage on fire with their performances.

Artistic Strokes

Rotary Republic


epublic Day celebrations were held at Rotary Public School. Students performed a dance skit and enjoyed waving the Tricolour. The students also sang patriotic songs.

Antara Verma, K.R. Mangalam World School

A ‘Vivek’ Republic


tudents of Vivekanand Academy celebrated Republic Day with great enthusiasm. The stage came alive with colour, with the many dance and musical performances. It was a memorable sight to see little ‘jawans’ cheering for India.

Rehaan Chaudhary, MRIS-46


31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Ryan International School, Sohna Road

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Bye Seniors


Ryan Salutes the Heroes

he School held a farewell ceremony for the Class XII students. Dr. Augustine F. Pinto, the Founder Chairman of Ryan Group of Institutions, graced the occasion and blessed the seniors. The students were nostalgic as they remembered every teacher who guided them and led them to the path of success. A candle ceremony was held, wherein the seniors held the candles lit by the Chairman and passed them on to their juniors – to carry forward the legacy of devotion, discipline and dedication to the alma mater. Vrushabh R. Rao and Rukma Singh were crowned the Ryan Prince and Ryan Princess respectively.


tudents of the School visited the CRPF Academy to witness the courageous graduates stepping up to receive the honour of defending their country’s dignity. The Chief Guest at the Event was the Chief Minister of Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda. After a synchronized passing-out parade of DAGO's 44th (A) Batch, students of Classes VIII, IX and X got an opportunity to interact with the CM.

The Ryan Excellence


he Ryan International Group of Institutions was named as Asia’s Best Private Education Institute in the K12 Category, at the recently held WCRC Leaders Asian Education Excellence Summit & Awards.

Calling all Educationists, Administrators, Co-ordinators, Teachers and Principals – here’s a chance to pen down your experiences, teachings and learnings. Send us your contributions (400-500 words)

Going (Re)Public


he Montessori students celebrated Republic Day in a unique way, by giving presentations amongst the public. They visited a Mega Store at Sohna Road and sang patriotic songs. The tiny tots of Montessori I and II shouted Jai-Hind slogans and wished a Happy Republic Day to the visitors.

Banyan Republic Day


he Banyan Tree World School held a programme to celebrate Republic Day. Prarthana Sabharwal, the Master of the Ceremony, began by quoting beautiful verses on the martyrs of our country. Aarav Kalkar of Grade VI spoke about how Republic Day is celebrated. Ths was followed by a patriotic song by Garry Ahlawat and Sahil Kadian. A short Hindi skit, ‘Shaheedon ki mazaaron par’, was also presented.

The Path of Art


For information, Call us at 0124-4219092/93 Or \email at

ratyush Swarup of Pathways World School, Aravali (Grade XI), participated in a Global Art Competition organised by the ‘Arts University of Bournemouth’, UK. His work was shortlisted for the final round, where the decision on the winner will be by the number of ‘likes’ on the Facebook page managed by the University.

S piritual

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Being Transparent

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }


eing in the field of caretaking for the specially challenged persons, I spend some time everyday listening and talking to them. As I tune in, a kind of resonance starts to occur - I feel something of what they feel. This experience of empathy gives us (my team) very helpful information about the suffering of the person and also enables us to assess and draw up a multi-pronged strategy to address the person’s special needs. These persons do not know how to suppress their emotions. They are very transparent, non-manipulative, clear and pure at heart. None of us can control our feelings and emotions; we can only suppress or express them. To express them is to be transparent, and that is what makes humans unique. Suppression means trying to hide certain energies - not allowing them to manifest. Transparency in behaviour keeps us upright and free of stress; we become like a mirror reflecting whatever is inside us. 
No human society has been able to accept its members as they are, and without creating certain ‘rules’ that those members are expected to follow. Why should a healthy human being have a duality of behaviour? Why should we wear two faces; why cannot we be happy with the one given by Nature? Being transparent means that we should show ourselves without holding back, and be willing to be truthful and real with everybody – rather than embarrassed. People who are not transparent are sneaky, secretive and normally not liked. Whenever we speak to someone with an open heart and a willingness to reveal our true self, we are being transparent. We let down our walls. It is a joy to be with someone who is transparent. Our hearts feel refreshed and open. We feel like we are receiving an invitation to genuine intimacy. The communication is real. When we are transparent, others in our presence find their hearts opening up as well. When we practise transparency, they feel more emotionally safe; they also feel more loved because we are being emotionally honest and real with them. Transparency is an attitude of responsibility for the good of others. They will appreciate us more because they are seeing the genuine, ‘real you’ - which is always more lovable than the ‘pretend, disguised, or hiding you’. Transparency plays a very vital role in building trust between individuals. Transparent persons are authentic, and deliver their brand of honesty with respect and concern for others.  They have no hidden agendas.  Information is shared openly yet appropriately.  Such people demonstrate being transparent by being congruent between their inner and outer selves. They keep no pretense. We can fake genuine consideration, but not for long; we cannot force an unnatural or uncomfortable bond with others. Of course it is usually not appropriate to divulge all information without discernment.  We do not need to tell everyone everything - but we never must lie. People respect both candour as well as discretion. We should learn to communicate both the good and bad news.  Just tell the truth simply, with a touch of compassion when necessary. It may then not be that awkward to reveal personal information. Transparency is all about mindful revelation; so take advantage of opportunities to appropriately reveal the inner self.   Meaningful connections are built on mutual respect and communication; share things about yourself to increase your credibility in the rela-

tionship. It is good to responsibly share true opinions and emotions. Never lie, but be responsible in the manner in which you share with others.  Explain your reasoning for a decision, but not at the cost of someone’s dignity. You can strike a balance between being transparent and excessively personal. When you are transparent, the world will see the real you. While not lying to others, take steps to ensure that you are not lying to yourself. Ask those whom you respect, and prepare yourself to accept their feedback with an open and gracious mind.  While it takes courage to face criticism, appreciate the bravery it takes for others to be frank with you. It is good to own up to mistakes.  Everyone appreciates someone who can admit a mistake. The act of owning up to a wrong turn, or a bungled attempt, demonstrates humility and a genuine desire to do the right thing. The more others see you modelling this skill, the more likely they will return the favour. It is true even at the workplace; a transparent organization will attract the best and retain the best, while an opaque organization will continually deal with high turnover or a disgruntled workforce. We all live surrounded by lies, secrets, deception, jealousy, resentment and hatred. The renewing of the mind does not happen overnight; it is something that starts on the inside and eventually manifests to the outward person. Many people often ask why they should choose to be so transparent about who they are and where they have come from. It is not our choice to be transparent; it is His choice for us to be transparent. We choose what He wants for us today, instead of what we wish or want for ourselves. Sacrifice of one's self is the ultimate sacrifice; sacrificing the desires of earthly life is what we owe to Him, who has loved us enough to redeem us from ourselves. It is believed to be our responsibility to be spiritually transparent, always tuned to opportunities to share His grace and mercy with others. We often get obsessed with what others expect of us or think of us. Our focus should be on our internal transparency. Transparency teaches us to smile at difficulties, at human imperfection and the human reality. True religiosity is more profound - we must go to the depths of our humanity. By being transparent we also start getting closer to a divine self-realization through the power of surrender. A pure and transparent heart surrenders in the true sense. When we invoke a higher intelligence or seek the blessings of our elders and revered ones, we are always transparent. We surrender to their higher intelligence and trust with absolute clarity. We accept the outer world for what it is, and take the responsibilities of our inner world. While bowing before Him in great deference, we become transparent to our soul. Transparency towards self and others brings us ease, purity, clarity of vision, self-realization and enlightenment. Our transparency is a gift that reminds us of the grace that flows when we surrender the outcomes of our relationships to a higher authority.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 25 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@


Who am I? { Shobha Lidder } Who am I? I often ask myself Am I the doting, compliant Obedient child to my Mother’s errands Am I the caring indulgent sister A foster to my brother Makes him feel like there is no other Am I the nurturing fussing mother So patient & tolerant Accepting, adjusting, accomodating Am I the trustworthy subordinate to my superiors Always doing my duties correct Am I good to my friend Loyal to the end Conform to peer pressure, always hang out together Am I the good non-interfering neighbour Am I the patron saint of the lesser community Always helping them in their adversity Doling out sweets & hot tea On a cold freezing week Am I the social activist Whom women call at midnight In the midst of a crisis Am I the educator Crusading the dharma of teaching As meditation Or am I the incognito Common man The ordinary- extraordinary The aam aadmi? Who am I? Am I the invisible one The atman on this jeevan yatra? Just a character of my karma Must guard my soul from adharma The only truth is the atman The rest, the devil & the desires Are all figments of the mind Will be left behind I must remind myself Remain centered, aligned & anchored With the divine one within Instantly, constantly So be it. Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer Reiki Master, Pranic Healer



31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

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They Shall Overcome


Letter To The Editor Dear Editor, The Nation celebrated its 65th Republic Day this week. There will be celebrations, like every year. The martyrs and brave soldiers will be decorated with medals by the President, at India Gate. So many lives are lost, so much blood is shed every year, because of infiltration at the borders or due to the spread of terrorism from across the border. How long will we allow this ‘thorn’ in the Nation’s flesh to keep paining the soldiers of our defence services? How long will we keep cribbing about the  fate of Kashmir? With these thoughts, I have written a poem. My thoughts are absolutely ‘apolitical’ - but real - as of any thinking Indian. I really admired the poem ‘Take a Pledge’, by Shobha Lidder, on women’s security and their traumas. The information on HCAH (Health Care At Home) made for a very useful reading. Your Comments: ‘It’s AAPtime Folks’ and ‘Onward, Rahul’, made a very just analysis of the 1.25 and 125 years’ old parties. Please keep feeding us with more views and reviews. Ashok Lal

t’s surely not a chicken versus egg syndrome. Mama was clearly there first, vis a vis her children – though for every Mother her children always come first. So you would think that a Women’s Agenda would come before, if not take precedence over, a Youth Agenda; yet, the Agenda for Women is even today relegated to one of Security, while that for youth is often all-encompassing and calls for empowering them from a young age. Further, the youth call seems to be mostly directed towards men. This is despite the numbers (which is all that matters, especially politically) being heavily loaded in favour of women – as they constitute almost half of the voters. If the assumption is that women (daughters and wives and mothers) will vote as per the man (father/husband/brother), as perhaps in earlier times, we may get the surprise of our life. Women today are not only more aware generally, but are sure that their ballot is indeed secret. In this election, every Party is out to specially get the first time voters, the youth. Social media use is widespread and there is promise of a lot of jobs. For women, however, the promise is just for special protection forces and laws thereof; this, 66 years after Independence, and even hundreds of years after ‘modern society’! When and how would we ensure that women also feel free, unencumbered and empowered? Why cannot all agendas of women go together - safety along with freedom, liberation and empowerment? Today, beyond safety, the fight is just for equal opportunity. Women’s Protection, seen as an end in itself, should combine with a more meaningful Women’s Liberation – maybe via some Reservations. Why is there not universal support for a Women’s Reservation Bill? It must be used as a plank to name and shame the naysayers. The Govt. has more time and inclination for now passing a reservation policy for the promotions in jobs of SCs/STs (job reservations

Do women themselves reiterate stereotypes – of physical versus mental? Copying men is not liberation; in fact it just may reinforce the ‘difference’. Even a good copy is anyway not comparable to a less than perfect original. In society, we do need to realize that the focus has been far too long on women’s’ bodies, their physicality. It needs to go deeper. Beauty is definitely not skin deep. Even women need to seriously introspect.

Let us stop this symbolism. We call a woman an equal (she is definitely so in numbers), and in fact magnanimously accept her as the better half. How conveniently we mouth these platitudes, for we actually treat them like a handicap - or worse, our honour. We believe that by calling a housewife a home-maker we have given due recognition. However, her role remains unchanged – work ceaselessly and then take care of the man of the house when he returns ‘tired’. not being enough) than the Women’s Reservation Bill. If some groupings can get a Bill passed on Class/Religion Reservation, it is clearly high time for a Bill on Gender Reservation. Across strata, no ‘group’ faces more bias, or is a bigger victim, that the female. Fortunately, many women’s issues cut across income, caste, religion or location (urban/ rural) barriers. Every Party should have a concrete action plan on this - on who will do what and by when, for different issues and concerns impacting women. Maybe we have not consciously realized that the woman has stepped out. She is working, travelling and entertaining – but in a world that was a male bastion, made for him. We expect her to conform to this world, rather than change the world to make the new member more welcome and comforted. There is much emphasis on the education of the girl child – and rightly so. However, as important is to ensure the right education and upbringing of the boy child – about what being a man or being manly should actually mean; and why cooking and cleaning are male responsibilities too. It has been, and is, a financial issue too. The male breadwinner has had it good for too long. Change is in the air… creeping slowly in. Boys and their parents are ok with, in fact want, working girls. Economics is trumping ‘culture’! It is also about pregnancy and menopause, and the corresponding lost years. Since men are not subject to these, little provision, in any work or lodging or entertainment place – rural or urban – is made for a woman worker. With growing urbanization, and with more women having started to work, and moving out of their homes, we need to take care of their specific needs, for their safety and comfort. Let not the angst, hurt, frustration and anger, of women, maybe pent up for decades (centuries actually), spill out uncontrolled. Let us help and support women find their rightful voice. It is surely written…the softpower (of women), like software, shall prevail – over hardware and manpower. u

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

C omment


The Reluctant Dynast - The Interview of His Decade


aba has been 10 years an MP, working at the Youth Congress and NSUI level. He sure needs to graduate; Mama needs to let him. The System he so dislikes has virtually been run by his Mama, for at least a decade. And Mama seems to want to continue to run it, in the same manner. So Baba, are you sure you want to be her PM? Does it need a guess as to who will win? Baba is against the concept of dynasty – and yet, reluctantly, he will accept PMship, if thrust upon him. Does the meaning of dynasty exclude a First Family concept? Can’t the Congress find a PM from among so many notables? Or are they perhaps not-ables? Baba says, ‘I’m being attacked because I want to change the System.’ By whom, Baba? It surely would be someone in the UPA…someone close to Mama. We repeat…it is they who run the System! Baba believes there is too much concentration of power – Mamma Mia! Charity begins at home, Baba . Don’t you talk at the dinner table? Baba says, ‘Father was always combating the

The biggest disappointments were: Looking for excuses for RTI applicability on Political parties; and for tying up with a Lalu-led RJD. The best parts were: ‘On corruption, no one will be protected - no one.’ Sheila Dixit, watch out. And Baba, that does apply to Robert too…no?

system’ – even as PM?! So why go there, Baba? Let Mama run the System – she sure seems fine with it. Baba says, ‘There are no real legislative roles for an MP, MLA or Pradhan’. What about the (non) role of a PM, Baba? This is not a new leader wanting to walk a fresh path. Rahul has supposedly been given the power to choose candidates and run the election as he wants. It clearly does not seem so. Either Mama is not sure, or Rahul has developed cold feet. Something says he would have been best, untutored. He should also have been graciously allowed a 5 minute extempore – especially when he almost requested it. Sadly, Rahul is not Prime material.u

The President’s Speech – Check for Yourself ‘Corruption is a cancer that erodes democracy, and weakens the foundations of our state. If Indians are enraged, it is because they are witnessing corruption and waste of national resources. If governments do not remove these flaws, voters will remove governments….This rage will abate only when governments deliver what they were elected to deliver: social and economic progress, not at a snail’s pace, but with the speed of a racehorse. The aspirational young Indian will not forgive a betrayal of her future. Those in office must eliminate the trust deficit between them and the people. Those in politics should understand that every election comes with a warning sign: perform, or perish’. Addressed to the UPA? ‘Equally dangerous is the rise of hypocrisy in public life. Elections do not give any person the licence to flirt with illusions. Those who seek the trust of voters must promise only what is possible. Government is not a charity shop. Populist anarchy cannot be a substitute for governance. False promises lead to disillusionment, which gives birth to rage, and that rage has one

legitimate target: those in power’. Addressed seemingly to AAP, but UPA too? ...This chance will not come if India does not get a stable government….A fractured government, hostage to whimsical opportunists, is always an unhappy eventuality. In 2014, it could be catastrophic’. Frustration at his past? Watch Pranabda in action after a hung Parliament. Something says he will surprise us all! A priceless view of a leading newspaper (on the President’s Address) ‘It would be presumptuous of us to claim that his (President’s) speechwriter takes his (?) cues from what we write. But there are, coincidentally or otherwise (!), multiple points of convergence between his speech and our editorial positions (multiple?), most recently on the subject of anarchy (that was not the only subject)… (It has since been reported that The Speech was written by the President himself). (brackets by FG) u


W ellness

31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

The Bone Herb { Jaspal Bajwa }


uring very cold winters, the probability of slipping on ice and injuring oneself is high. Bone fractures are among the most serious of all musculoskeletal injuries, signifying a deep trauma to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, blood vessels and nerves. In addition to conventional procedures, there is a lot of interest in knowing whether natural foods can hasten the healing process. Interestingly, there is a rambling shrub, native to India and Sri Lanka, which has a quadrangular stem and resembles the shape of our bones and joints. Cissus quadrangularis has been found to be very effective in healing bone injuries. Not surprisingly,

the local name,‘Hadjodh’, translates as ‘unites broken bones’. In Sanskrit, ‘Asthisamharaka’, meaning protector of bones, is used by Ayurveda practitioners for several healing properties – the most noteworthy being its ability to hasten bone-joint healing. In traditional herbal medicine, a paste made from the stem of Cissus is applied directly over the injury, to treat fractures and associated swelling. In recent years, clinical trials and lab studies have confirmed that Cissus facilitates the remodelling process of the healing bone; as a consequence, healing time reduces by 33% to 55%. The role of Calcium is important in bone-healing, but it cannot be utilized just by increasing the uptake–the absorption efficacy has also to be increased. Lysine is an amino acid that helps in the absorption of Calcium, and Vitamin C is essential for making the collagen that helps the body form healthy bones. Some TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practitioners prefer a combination of herbs to tackle the functions of bone-building, blood

circulation and cellular energy. Cordycep Mushrooms can boost all these functions, and are often used in osteoporosis-healing formulae. Tang-kuei - another popular Chinese herb - is believed to improve blood circulation.

Goodness in a Seed

Tip of the Week

Although painkillers are routinely prescribed to ameliorate the trauma following a bone injury, the use of these drugs should be considered with prudence. Asprin and anti-inflammatory drugs can, in fact, retard bone healing. The damaged cells in the fractured area release a large amount of prostaglandins, which are important in the first stage of tissue repair. If blocked for long periods, through over-use of painkillers, this can affect bone health. Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Cissus quadrangularis Lin. or ‘Hadjodh’ Cissus quadrangularis is a wonder herb and has numerous bioactive compounds. Cissus has multiple benefits – as an antioxidant, anti-flatulent, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial and as a cancer suppressive agent. All parts of the plant have been used in traditional preparations and were typically mashed, roasted, juiced, pulped or cooked prior to consumption. The stout, fleshy quadrangular stem is traditionally used for the treatment of bone fractures, osteoporosis, skin infections, constipation, eye diseases, piles, anaemia, asthma, irregular menstruation, ulcers, burns and wounds. Its bactericidal effects on Helicobacter Pylori hold promise as an effective treatment of gastric ulcers and as a preventative of stomach cancer, in conjunction with anti-inflammatory therapy. For its bone-healing action, a bioactive steroid is believed to be the main constituent that acts on estrogenic receptors of the bone. As a preventative, consuming Cissus quadrangularis everyday can reduce the risk of fracturing a bone by up to 40 percent, as also help control osteoporosis. Although Cissus consumption does not seem to have notable side effects, it is best taken under guidance of an experienced herbalist. Pregnant women and breast-feeding mothers should avoid using it.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition). For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

GURGAON’S OWN WEEKLY NEWSPAPER be the change you want to see

to advertise 9999444818

{ Alka Guhra }


he Quinoa craze is sweeping through the world of fitness and health. Is Quinoa truly healthy, or is it just a fad food? Botanically, Quinoa is the edible seed of the plant Chenopodium Quinoa, which belongs to the genus Chenopodium in the family Amaranthaceae. Even though some people consider it as a foodgrain, it is actually a seed that can be cooked - like rice or barley. Quinoa is a native of South America and was used by the Aztecs long ago. Pronounced as ‘keen-wah’, these seeds are low in carbohydrates and rich in protein. Quinoa Seeds are as versatile as rice but they have a richer, nuttier flavour.


Quinoa is primarily known for its edible seeds. They are a good source of iron, magnesium, Vitamin E, potassium, and fibre. Quinoa also provides traces of Omega-3 fatty acid and Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA). There are nearly 15 grams of protein in every 100 grams of Quinoa. This makes it an ideal food for bodybuilders. Some studies have shown that Quinoa does not get oxidized rapidly, due to its high fat content. This means that the processes of simmering, boiling and steaming do not affect the quality of the fatty acids present in Quinoa seeds. We can thus relish the cooked texture and flavour of these seeds, while also enjoying their nutrient benefits. These seeds are also low in cholesterol. Since Quinoa is gluten free, those allergic to gluten can also enjoy its health benefits.

 Quinoa Seeds have a naturally bitter coating, to deter birds and insects. Quinoa Seeds therefore should be rinsed or soaked before use, to remove their bitter coating. However, packaged Quinoa is almost devoid of this bitter coating. When cooked, it doubles in size and become somewhat translucent unlike rice. Quinoa can be eaten on its own as a side dish - with a bit of butter or oil, and salt and pepper (or any other seasoning). Quinoa is easy to prepare. To cook it, soak 1 cup Quinoa in 2 cups water for 8-10 minutes (to dissolve any remaining bitter coating). Drain and pour into a pot, after rinsing it with water. Now add one and a half cups of water, and salt to taste. Boil this after covering it with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes - covered. Quinoa is now ready to serve. Quinoa can be a great breakfast cereal, similar to oatmeal. It also makes for a great breakfast dish, when mixed with dried fruit, milk and honey; and you can incorporate Quinoa while baking nutritious breads and muffins. Since Quinoa is expensive, it is used sparingly in salads, and is ground along with ‘atta’ (for making chapatis). Some people also make Quinoa Tikkis, by mixing boiled mashed potatoes and steamed Quinoa Seeds. Several on-line stores deliver Organic Quinoa, but it is even more-highly priced. According to studies, there are very few health risks associated with Quinoa consumption; the seeds can be consumed safely by most people. The natural coating of saponins, on Quinoa Seeds, can sometimes lead to an irritation in the stomach – so remember to always rinse the seeds before cooking or mixing with other food.u

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31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Rollator Driving Lessons

Leopoldine Schneider, 87 (centre), negotiates a kerb during her Rollator-driving course.

Kohn. Then the attendees go through the practical portion of the course. Schneider has only had her Rollator for three weeks. “I’m struggling to figure this out,” she complained. “The front wheels are always waggling.” Heinrich Schinke is about to spend his first winter with a Walker, after suffering a stroke. “I still want to check out a few tricks,” said 70-year-old Schinke. Lechler meanwhile takes a look at Mrs. Schneider, asking: “Is that correct where the bag is hanging?” Lechler explains that her handbag shouldn’t hang between the handles, because it’s in the way of her knees. “It’s better on the front!” urges Lechler. Schneider turns down that suggestion at first, countering: “Then anybody could grab it from me there.” The next step is a bit of Rollator aerobics - to loosen up. The participants stand between the wheels, lift their legs and shift their weight, to train their sense

Larsen Lechler (right), a professional sports teacher, smiles at a woman, as she learns to safely push her Rollator down a ramp, during a Walker-driving course.

of balance. Then it’s time to head out onto the track. “Don’t rush,” says Schnitzler time and again. “Not so fast! Slow, slow! The brakes are not there for decoration! We have all the time in the world.” Mrs. Schneider wants to practice going up kerbs. “No problem. Let’s do it!” says Schnitzler, pleased at her show of initiative. “And while we’re at it, we’ll also try out what to do when the wheels get stuck in a groove.” During one break, the attendees compare the various models of Walkers. “What did you pay for that one?” asks Mrs. Schneider to Mr. Schinke. “I paid 760 euros (1,030 dollars),” said Schinke proudly. “It’s not a supermarket cheapie.” The industry says that Germans, who initially buy no-frills Rollators, often shift up to full-featured models once they understand the benefits.

Who flew first? Challenging Wright Brothers { Klaus Tscharnke/Berlin / DPA }


as the world’s first powered flight by the Wright Brothers? Or was it an obscure engineer who soared with a madlooking, bird-like contraption over an Atlantic beach of the United States, in 1901? The tide of opinion seems to be shifting, thanks to a campaign by an aviation historian, John Brown, who argues that the honours should go to Gustave Whitehead, a German-born aviation pioneer who had emigrated to the United States. The Wrights, who made their powered flight in December 1903, are still credited in most reference books and by most authorities. But Brown believes that mounting evidence means that it’s just a matter of time before Wilbur and Orville Wright are bumped off their pedestal by Whitehead, who was born Gustav Albin Weisskopf, in Bavaria, Germany on January 1, 1874. An aircraft designer by profession, historian Brown was born in Australia and now lives in Germany. In 2013 he opened a bitter dispute with histo-

rian colleagues, using as his weapons documents, eyewitness reports and photos. After a 15-month search of 136 contemporary newspaper reports via archives and the Internet, he contends that Whitehead made the first powered flight on August 14, 1901 - more than two years before the Wrights. Brown says the clippings and other documents show that Whitehead flew for a few hundred metres along a beach at Bridgeport, Connecticut. Brown claims he has found 17 eyewitness accounts for Whitehead’s flight, and in that sense he contends that the evidence is much better than that available for the Wright brothers. However, some of the pro-Whitehead witnesses were interviewed decades after the event. Also there is no undisputed photo of Whitehead’s flight. Brown believes he has found one in a photo of a booth at an aircraft exhibition that took place in New York in 1906. When the picture is greatly magnified there’s an image of something airborne that Brown claims is Whitehead’s No. 21 aircraft. However, experts such as Tom Crouch of the Air and Space Museum in Washington

John Brown, an Australian-born aviation historian, shows one of the historic photographs of Gustave Whitehead (1874 - 1927).

and Hans Holzer, aviation curator of the German museum of technology in Munich, aren’t convinced by the photo, considering it too blurry. Brown believes he has cast enough doubt on the claim of the Wright brothers to be the first. In a 1978 letter to historian Leonard Opdyke, Tom Crouch himself cast doubt on the Wrights’ claim: “Was the first flight of the Wrights on December 17, 1903 a stable flight? Probably not.” Crouch has said since then that this quote has been misunderstood. The photo of the first flight by the Wright brothers was seen as a key evidence of their pioneering endeavour. The image appears on hundreds of

Julia Schnitzler, a care-giver (right), checks the progress of pensioner Heinrich Schinke (left), through a Rollator slalom course in Cologne, Germany.

The last drill of the course is, ‘walking on hills’. It’s especially difficult to maintain control when you go downhill. “Pull the brakes, Mrs. Schneider. Concentrate! Very good! Bravo!” says Lechler. Once the group gets back, Mrs. Schneider feels the need to relax. “That was pretty exhausting,” she admits. “I still have to practice the kerbsides at home.” Lechler offers a smile and says: “It really is kind of like a driving course. It takes a bit of practice to use the Walkers.” Then Lechler announces to the participants: “You have received enough training in theory and practical use, and so I am giving you all a Rollator driver’s licence.” It’s just a piece of paper, but it symbolizes progress. Lechler adds one more comment before finishing. “I can assure you of one thing. Regardless of how you act in traffic, the police can never confiscate the keys of one of these.” u

Klaus Tscharnke


hite-haired Leopoldine Schneider is pretty quick for an 87-year-old, as she takes a sharp 90-degree turn through the slalom course. “Don’t forget to breathe deeply,” says Julia Schnitzler. A caregiver, Schnitzler helps run a Rollator-driving class at Cologne’s St. Hildegardis Hospital. As at every Driving School, there are a couple of frisky trainees who regularly exceed the recommended speed limit. The Hospital has offered the course, on how to operate wheeled Walkers, for the past two years. Similar courses are provided elsewhere in Germany too. Rollators, which have tyres, bicycle-style brakes, luggage baskets and seats to rest on, have spread in European countries since 1990, having taken over from the simpler Walkers such as Zimmer frames – which were used to be used by elderly pedestrians and neurally impaired patients. Larsen Lechler, the Head of the Therapy Centre, goes through the most common mistakes in the theory section of the course. The biggest issues he addresses are of setting the adjustable handles too high or walking with a poor posture - mainly a rounded back. Another problem is of overloading the Rollator with shopping bags. After that, Policewoman Natalie Kohn comes in to explain the ‘blind spot’, the place where a truck driver cannot see you in the side mirror before a turn, and recommends to the participants to not take any chances out on the roads. “As the disadvantaged participant in traffic, you should behave in a defensive manner,” says

Oliver Berg

{ Christoph Driessen/Cologne, Germany/ DPA }


Gustave Whitehead (1874 - 1927) and No. 21, the flying machine alleged to have achieved in 1901 the world’s first powered flight, in a contemporary black and white photo.

thousands of US pilot’s licences, as well as US stamps. But now the Wright picture appears to Brown and some other historians as proof of the opposite - that the Wrights’ flying machine in that photo was never really able to fly. At the time, none of the inventors celebrated their hops along beaches because they had their minds on building proper aircraft that could reliably take off, fly in any direction and land safely. Whitehead died embittered, in 1927 (at 53), convinced that he should have received the first-flight credit. The issue has even caused

controversy between two US states. In 2013 Connecticut declared August 14 - the asserted day of Whitehead’s flight - an annual day of remembrance, sparking protests from officials of pro-Wright Ohio and North Carolina. In March 2013 the British reference book, Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft, backed Brown’s claims that Whitehead made the first powered flight. However, the community of aviation historians remains sharply divided on the issue, with most still believing that the Wright brothers deserve the laurels for the first historic flight. u


31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

Would the ‘real’ Barbie please step up? Nickolay Lamm

{ Johannes Schmitt-Tegge and Chris Melzer/ Washington/ DPA }


hat kind of makeover would Barbie need to make her look like a normal woman? That’s the question various US activists have begun to ask in increasingly vocal terms of late. It’s no secret that the famous toy’s dimensions are anything but realistic. Galia Slayen, a student at Hamilton College in the US State of New York, made headlines a few years ago when she sized the doll up into a 180-centimetrestall model. The result was anything but attractive. Made with wood, chickenwire and newspaper, the model teeters on matchstick legs and appears to be anorexic. It would be impossible for such a woman with a 99-centimetre bust and European size 35 shoes - to balance herself. She’d likely have to move around on all fours. It would make even her most ardent admirers shudder. It made others question - publicly on Facebook - “Should toy companies start making plus-sized Barbie dolls?” The question came paired with a computer-generated photo of a very different Barbie, dreamed up by Plus Size Modelling. It was shorter than the average Barbie and clearly overweight. Driving the point home, this Barbie had a double chin. But that didn’t deter people. Within two weeks, at the end of 2013, 42,000 had clicked the “Like” button, with more than 2,500 sharing the picture with friends. “Some people are bigger than others. I wish my daughter could see greater diversity in the dolls she plays with,” one respondent wrote. On the other hand, many believe that the double chin on the computer-generated Barbie is a step too far and unkind to overweight people, even if they agree that toy dolls are, in general, too thin. Demands for Barbies with more normal body dimensions, and that do not appear anorexic, are nothing new. Pennsylvania artist Nickolay Lamm is part of that trend, analysing official data on US women aged 20 and over. Using statistics on average height, weight and waist circumference from the Centers for Disease Control,

A standard Barbie Doll (left) contrasted with a doll (right) made by US artist Nickolay Lamm, based on the average proportions of US women aged 20 and over.

G lobal

Sochi 2014 Games – 3 Animal Mascots { Moscow/ DPA }


hree animals – a snow leopard, a rabbit and a polar bear – are the Mascots for the 2014 Winter Olympics. Television spectators voted for the trio of Mascots by telephone, and the Sochi Organisation Committee hopes that the animals become as popular as the smiling brown bear Misha – the still beloved Mascot from the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. The duo of a ray of light and a snowflake were selected as the symbols for the Paralympics in Sochi. Before the telephone vote, a jury selected 10 candidates from 25,000 suggestions. Despite many surveys saying it would likely win the vote, the figure of Father Frost was removed from the list of candidates. If it had been chosen, the International Olympic Committee would have received the rights of the Russian version of Santa Claus, which would have been problematic,” Russian IOC

member Vitali Smirnov said. The organisers believe the 3 mascots will immediately remind people of Russia and give them a good impression of the Games. But the residents of the venue host city criticised the selection, saying the animals have no connection to Sochi. And in an unofficial vote, they voted for another candidate, a dolphin on skis. The animal, which reminds people of the dolphinarium in Sochi, is very beloved in the Black Sea City and is featured on many unofficial Olympic souvenirs. u

“Thank you, Mr President”: Helmet-maker wins big on Hollande scandal { Clare Byrne/ Paris/DPA }


rench President Francois Hollande may not be relishing the global interest in his love life, but the small French company that designed the motorcycle helmet worn by the man in the Closer magazine pictures,

A standard Barbie Doll (left) next to an unpainted doll (right) by US artist Nickolay Lamm, based on the average proportions of US women aged 20 and over.

he created a “Barbie vs Real Life” series. The result is a more curvaceous and shorter doll, which is still recognizably Barbie. Thanking the news outlets that had published his material, the 24-year-old wrote on his website: “You helped show that average is beautiful.” Toys may, in general, present an idealized view, he said, but Barbie’s artificial looks could have serious consequences. “No woman looks like that. No one is that slim, that tall,” Lamm said, asking what was stopping Barbie makers, Mattel, from making a doll representing an “averagesized woman in America.” Mattel hit back, saying people should remember that Barbie is a toy. “Girls understand that Barbie is a doll. She was never modelled on the proportions of a real person,” the Company said. It added that Barbie had

been created for play, so that children could easily dress and undress her and change her hairstyle. Barbie’s central message is that you can be anything and become anything. There are also questions about the version from Plus Size Modelling. Could unhealthily fat dolls send a message to children that being overweight is completely normal? The United States has a serious health problem, with more than a third of the adult population overweight. Five per cent are classed as being a source of concern because of their weight. Lamm is critical of the idea of a fat Barbie. “I am very much in favour of us loving ourselves,” he told dpa. “Calling for a healthy body shape is one thing, but it’s something else to promote obesity and diabetes.” u

has been having a field day. No sooner had Closer published revelations of an alleged affair between Hollande and actress Julie Gayet on January 10, than a scramble for the black helmet worn by the figure spotted outside a flat frequented by Gayet, began. Within 24 hours the helmet, which is designed in northern France by D3T, and sold on the website for 199 euros (271 dollars), had sold out. “We found out about it on the Monday after the publication

of the infamous Closer edition,” D3T Chief Executive Thomas Thumerelle told dpa in a telephone interview. “One of our staff brought in a copy of the magazine and said, ‘Look, we’re in here, in a double-page spread’. That’s when we checked our sales and saw we were suddenly out of stock on that model!” The 1,000 helmets sold, represented a tenfold increase in sales, prompting the Company to rename the helmet as the ‘Dexter President’ and take out a tongue-in-cheek advertisement thanking Hollande. “Thank you, Mr President,” read the Advertisement in Wednesday’s edition of Liberation daily. “We welcome your choice of a French brand for your twowheel outings.” Inviting Hollande to peruse the Company’s full range for his “next secure escapades”, the Ad teased: “You will also find a collection of jackets for women...the perfect gift for a successful Valentine’s Day.” 3DT is based in the village of Carvin, in the northern Pas-de-Calais region. The Company employs 45 people. The helmet is designed in France and made in China. u

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31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

{ Christiane Raatz/Dresden, Germany/ DPA }


uenter Fricke pushes open the gate to an old quarry south of the German city of Dresden, where he teaches how to safely dispose of unexploded ordnance and dangerous fireworks. The remote and well-secured location is the perfect spot for hands-on practice by students of the Dresden Explosives School. The loud blasts, heard when they safely detonate bombs, disturb no one; the only people at risk are the students and teachers themselves. “We practise probing the soil here,” says Fricke, as he shows a visitor a wooden frame on the ground. Shells and bombs have been buried in the earth, and the students now have to try and locate the ordnance with the help of a metal detector – before identifying what each item is and then gently pulling away the soil around it. In the sheds, the future bomb-disposal teams have a huge range of demonstration models ranging from shrapnel mines to hand grenades and artillery shells - to familiarize themselves with, before they learn to unscrew the detonators from live munitions. Thousands of samples have been collected over the years; the oldest shell here dates back to the time of the FrancoPrussian War in 1870. German, Russian, French and American munitions are stacked side by side, and Fricke knows every designation and the cunning details of all their triggers by heart. “None of them make it easy for you,” says the expert. “That’s what war is all about.” Students at the Dresden Explosives

School are taught both ordnance disposal and the art of using explosives for blasting and fireworks. There are so few institutions offering this kind of schooling that the courses in Dresden are in demand around the globe. Fricke and his colleagues have just returned from Qatar, where they gave training to the Gulf emirate’s special police force. They have also been to the United States, Angola, Bosnia, Britain and other countries, to share their knowledge of ordnance removal. “The demand is certainly there,” says Fricke. Christian Holler works in an engineer’s office. He has signed up for a nineweek course in explosives removal, so that he can learn how to search for the unexploded bombs that have littered Germany since World War II. If he finds one, he will be qualified to remove the soil around it and cordon off the site, but not to defuse it. That task is reserved for the bomb-disposal services maintained by all German regional authorities. “I am approaching this course with a mix of fear and respect,” says Holler, who is acutely aware of the risks involved. Anyone looking to enrol for a course in the Dresden Explosives School has to possess a basic level of expertise, as well as a (flawless) certificate of good behaviour from the police. They also need strong nerves, as explosives experts need to keep a cool head at all times, says Fricke. If you make a mistake, believing a detonator of type A to be one of type B, there may be a very loud blast and that’s the end of you. That is why the School keeps its own database, listing around 3,800 different explosive devices in exhaustive technical

Arno Burgi

Explosive Experts A white bomb, with fins to guide it to a pinpoint hit, lies in a former quarry near Dresden, Germany. It is used for instruction at the Dresden Explosives School.

The Head of the Dresden Explosives School, Guenter Fricke, pushes open the gate to the heavily secured detonation area of his Academy, in a former quarry near Dresden, Germany.

The Head of the Dresden Explosives School, Guenter Fricke, holds a 105-millimetrecalibre shell in the instructional material room of his Academy.

detail. Over 30,000 students have passed through the Dresden Explosives School since its foundation in 1961, in what used to be communist East Germany. Demand for ever-diminishing energy resources has increased the need for ordnance removal experts, because the seas near Germany are also littered with ex-

Stephan Scheuer

China’s ‘ghost cities’

Only a few of the windows in these waterside apartment blocks in Anting New Town are lit up as night falls. The development on the edge of Shanghai, China, has failed to attract as many new residents as hoped.

{ Stephan Scheuer/Shanghai, China/ DPA }


hen the sun sets, the streets and houses of Anting New Town sink into deep darkness. The street lights remain unlit and nobody is out and about. The large square in front of the Shanghai suburb’s church is swallowed completely by the night. It has been eight years since the first residents moved in, but even now, just a few people live in the quarter. Chinese call the place a “ghost town” – with good reason. Anting has joined a long list of semi-empty


The large square in front of the church of the Shanghai suburb of Anting New Town is empty of people by day and is swallowed completely by the night after sundown.

places. Fears are rising in China about these ghost cities. Houses and apartments used to be thought to be good investments – throughout the country, new suburbs and even entire cities shot up as builders sold schemes. Now, the Communist Party organ, People’s Daily, is warning about a real-estate bubble. “Due to poor planning, many new cities will become ghost cities,” it said, critical of the fact that a further 200 new cities are in the planning stages. Even some of the powerful real-estate magnates are starting to voice concern. Wang Shi, head of the largest real estate group, Vanke, warns: “There is obviously a real-estate bubble. It could become uncontrollable and simply burst.” The multi-billionaire, Wang Jianlin, says real estate is be-

plosives. Off-shore drilling for oil and gas requires a search of the seabed for munitions and their clearance. At the end of World War II (in 1945), Germany and the Allies simply ditched unwanted ammunition stocks overboard, from ships in the North and Baltic Seas. “This is a problem that won’t solve itself,” says Fricke, who is acutely familiar with the issues involved, as a former weapons officer with the East German army and expert in Soviet ammunition. Fricke joined the Dresden Explosives School in the early 1990s, and even though he turns 64 this year, has no intention of retiring any time soon. He opens a storeroom full of rusted and not-yetclassified shells and other munitions. “I have to work through all of this. It’s clear now that I won’t be able to achieve it in my lifetime.”u

coming a risk for China. The paradox is that, on the one hand, residential property in China’s big cities is no longer affordable for many people, while on the other hand entire suburbs are sitting there, virtually empty. By official Chinese statistics, the country’s urban population has now gone past 700 million. For the first time in history, more Chinese are living in the cities than in the countryside. Premier Li Keqiang has declared on several occasions that the government aims to keep pushing the country’s urbanization. The State believes this will stimulate domestic consumption, in order to assure China’s long-term economic growth. But many of the new estates that have sprung up on greenfield sites are a hard sell. Without schools, hospitals or community halls, the new quarters can scarcely hope to attract residents, says Johann Dell, head of the operations in China for Albert Speer & Partners (AS&P), a Frankfurt, Germany urban planning practice. “If nobody wants to live there, then no stores will open up. And when no stores open up, then nobody wants to live there,” he notes. Local administrations must come up with the money to build the deficient infrastructure. This is what is happening in Anting New Town, which locals think of as a little piece of Germany. It was designed by AS&P and features German-style amenities, including statues in a town square of two of Germany’s greatest poets. In October, Shanghai’s subway line 11 began stopping in Anting. Starting from September 2015, there is to be a school (up to the ninth grade). At the same time, horrendous inner-city apartment prices are driving people out of Shanghai, to the City’s boundaries, including places like Anting. Anting has apartment blocks which could accommodate up to 25,000 people, but municipal officials say that the population so far is only 7,000. Anting may provide a signal of hope for how China can tackle its real-estate crisis. u


31 Jan-6 Feb 2014

G -Scape

Gurgaon -Scape


Friday gurgaon 31 jan 6 feb, 2014 the change you want to see

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