Page 1

6-12 March 2015

Vol. 4 No. 29  Pages 16  ` 10

{ Abhishek Behl FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he industrial unrest in the Gurgaon-Manesar belt, which remains inert most of the time but erupts suddenly in the form of violent protests and fights between industry and labour unions, is unlikely to end soon. Without any safety valve mechanism in place that could allow the release of some of the pent up steam, there are chances that the simmering tension in the industrial belt will lead to repeated incidents of violence - similar to what happened in Udyog Vihar recently, when workers of a garment unit went on a rampage, smashing cars and damaging property worth crores. The major reason why the situation remains unresolved is that all stakeholders continue to look at the problem from within their narrow prisms, and there is no mechanism or process within which dialogue can take place and trust can be built. Most industrialists in Gurgaon firmly believe that industrial disputes are a law and order problem, and the State must make an authoritarian intervention to resolve this problem for them. On the other hand, the workers and their trade unions see both private industry and the government as exploiters. The government, they allege, is aligned with the interests of the industry, and it has never done anything to ensure that labour gets its due share. A majority of the trade union leaders in Gurgaon and Haryana believe that private industry is concerned only about profits, and wants a weak labour force, which they can hire and fire at will. They refuse to make an employee permanent, even after the person has done the same job, full time, for years. Some industrialists, allege trade union leaders, also have scant respect for labour rules or occupation, health and safety standards. The labour force cites the case of the hundreds of Maruti workers who were fired from their jobs indiscriminately (after a 2012 protest ended in violence and the death of a manager); a large number of workers are still incarcerated in jail. RS Pathak, a lawyer who has been fighting

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

Who will Make in Gurgaon?

prakhar PANDEY

Industry in Gurgaon sees the increased trade union activity as being chiefly responsible for the new aggression in workers. They are particularly suspicious of the Left-leaning trade unions that have become active in this industrial belt. VP Bajaj, President of the Gurgaon Industrial Association, is of the firm opinion that the increasing unionism in this belt is just extortion in the name of labour welfare. "If the government does not intervene soon, a majority of the industry might soon migrate to other States," warns Bajaj. He expresses hope that the new government’s industrial policy will usher in the required labour reforms. Like most of his fellow industrialists, Bajaj sees the labour unrest as majorly a law and order problem. "if the workers of one unit go on strike, the labour from related companies, and even the trade unions, congregate and put pressure on the management. This is clearly intimidation, and must be stopped," he says. The NCR Chamber of Commerce has been demanding a special industrial force to deal with labour unrest in this belt. HP Yadav, President, says, "Our worry is that the industrial units might not expand here, as most are moving to neighbouring Rajasthan, which is quite peaceful and safe. The bigger units are going even farther away. This environment will bring industry to a standstill in Gurgaon." Yadav says that an industrial security force was created in 2003, comprising of 1,200 police personnel, but this was disbanded in 2005. However, Amina Sherwani, a former executive of the Manesar Industries Welfare Association, sees the issue differently, and wants both industry and labour to understand that they are indispensable for each other. "Despite mechanisation we will always need workers, and we (including the State) need to take good care of the people who produce the goods. Of course the anti-social elements in the labour need to be removed. In Gurgaon and Manesar the State has failed to intervene, and the industrialists have been left to their own imaginations to resolve this crisis - which has made matters more complex," she asserts. The industrialists in Gurgaon are hopeful that the Modi government at the Centre will effect changes in the Factories Act (1948), Labour Laws Act (1988) and the Apprenticeship Act (1961). They also want the State to go the Rajasthan way - notably, that industrial units employing more than 300 workers are allowed to terminate them without seeking any permission from the State; the minimum number of employees required for the application of Factories Act has been increased from 10 to 20 (in electricity-powered factories) and from 20 to 40 (in factories without power); and - the most liked reform - the formation of a union requires the membership of 30 per cent (earlier 5 per cent) of the work force.

the case for the Maruti workers, says that industrial relations in Gurgaon-NCR will remain in the doldrums till the government creates the right environment and maintains neutrality. "Right now the government does not have a cohesive policy on how to handle labour issues. The rights of the workers are being allowed to be bulldozed, and as a result there is anger and frustration among the workers. If they want to set up and register a trade union, a basic right, they are opposed tooth and nail by the management, and the Labour department officials also discourage the workers," alleges Pathak. The lawyer says that the legal battle for the 147 workers arrested for the ‘murder’ of

a senior executive has been an uphill task, as the State government has been antagonistic. At the larger level, the industrial workforce and the trade unions have also launched a campaign against the government, accusing it of trying to dilute the Labour laws in favour of industry. "We fear that the BJP governments at the Centre and the State are trying to dilute laws in favour of factory owners, and we will oppose this move tooth and nail. Local factors, like the status of workers and facilities, need to be taken into account while forming labour policies," says Amit Yadav, a National level Union functionary who hails from Gurgaon. Contd. on p 4

Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan Chief Secretary orders the recarpeting of 8 roads (upto 1km inside the City) that link various parts of the City to NH8. The roads are: Cyber City Road, Shanker Chowk Road, Sector 17/18 dividing road, MG Road, road to ‘Old’ Gurgaon Road, Signature Tower Road, Jharsa Road, Medicity Road. As per data shared by the State, the per capita income of Gurgaon district was Rs. 446,305 – the highest in the State – in 2001-12. The disparity with other districts is growing. While the transfer of HUDA sectors to MCG has been stalled, the transfer of roads has started! Even the new Chandu Budhera Water Treatment Plant does not have power back-up. When will we ever learn? The 2-day rain led to a boost in online shopping and home delivery business.


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6-12 March 2015

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2014-2017 Vol. 4 No. 29   6-12 March 2015

Editor:

THE WEEK THAT WAS

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

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 Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 108, Aap Ka Bazar, Gurudwara Road, 
Gurgaon-122001, Haryana Printed at AGS Publication, D-67, Sector 6, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

The views expressed in the opinion pieces and/or the columns are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, Friday Gurgaon or Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. Friday Gurgaon Empanelled with DAVP Empanelled with DIPR, Haryana

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16  Pages

 Former Haryana CM Hukam Singh passes away.  State Minister Om Prakash Dhankhad chairs the Grievance Committee Meeting and asks for FIR to be issued against an allegedly grossly negligent builder. State announces Rs 1 lakh payout for inter-caste couple marriages. HC asks the State to constitute a separate cell in every district to handle the complaints of couples that are being harassed by family and khaps. BJP govt. blames its predecessor for a ‘notional’ Rs 20,000 revenue loss, based on a lowering of the Tax to GSDP ratio. The State Budget would be presented on March 17. Liquor prices and bar licences are set to increase sharply from April 1, as part of the new govt.’s policy. Class 12 English paper is leaked; exam. Is postponed. Mayors of the 9 Municipal Corporations across Haryana meet the CM, who promises to amend the Municipal Corporation Act of 1994 to further empower them (elected representatives). HC orders the govt. and builders to ensure that residents of (new) Sectors 68 to 80 of Gurgaon are provided water through tankers till the pipelines are laid; the cost also needs to be borne by the govt./builders.

Friends Colony.

 It is found that most water tanks in the City have not been cleaned for over 2 years; samples of water taken from 2 sites in the City fail in water quality test.  Kherki Toll Plaza will get 5 additional lanes; the ex-Sirhaul Toll Plaza dismantling begins, as per NHAI instructions.  New embankments will be built alongside the Najafgarh Drain, to stop sewage water overflow and make almost 200 acres of land fertile again.  Children of South City II petition the PWD Minster to improve the standard of roads in and around their colony, after recent mishaps.  150 trade unions carry out a protest in the City.  MP Rao Inderjit Singh allocates Rs 60 lakhs for the uplift of the Gurgaon Railway Station and Rs 70 lakhs for the construction of girls’ toilets in 200 identified schools, from his MPLADS funds.  2-day rain triggers power outages of 16 hours, apart from ‘routine’ waterlogging and pothole-creation.

 4 vehicle thieves are caught, in Sector 5.  A miscreant breaks the front glass of a train at Gurgaon station, leading to a few hours delay.  Employees of a Manesar-based financial company are booked for cheating scores of people of over Rs 20 crores with the help of a Ponzi-style scheme.  Park View Residency, Palam Vihar RWA accuses 3 residents of cheating the society of over Rs 5 crores, over maintenance work.  An NRI’s 300 sq. yd. plot in DLF Phase II is fraudulently sold.  3 are caught for stealing goods from a company dealing in spices, in Udyog Vihar.  A robbery in DLF Phase V fails, as thieves are unable to break open iron grill on door; an ATM robbery in Behrampur fails, as the thieves are unable to break open the cash box.  A person loses Rs 95,000 in an online fraud.  Side view mirrors of 12 FORM IV luxury cars are stolen in one Statement about ownership and other particulars about newspaper night, in DLF Phase 1. (Friday Gurgaon) to be published in the first issue every year after  23 people are held for the last day of February gambling, in Tigra village, 1. Place of publication: 108, Aap Ka Bazar, Sector 57. Gurudwara Road,  A fake MCG employee is Gurgaon-122001, Haryana held for extortion; a Food & 2. Periodicity of its publication: Weekly Safety Inspector is caught 3. Printer’s Name : Atul Sobti taking a Rs 50,000 bribe. Nationality : Indian Address :

 FIRs are filed in 3 separate cases against builders, for ‘cheating’ their customers, by inordinately delaying the delivery of flats.  DHBVN files a case against the builder of Mayfield Gardens for alleged power theft.  Some MCG Councillors meet Principal Secretary, Town & Country Planning at Chandigarh, and push for the takeover of private colonies by MCG.  MCG is reportedly thinking of converting ‘illegal’ guesthouses to commercial units, rather than sealing them.

H909, South City,Vill. Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana

4.

Publisher’s Name :

Atul Sobti

Nationality :

Indian

Address :

H909, South City,Vill. Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana

5.

Editor’s Name :

Atul Sobti

Nationality :

Indian

Address :

H909, South City,Vill. Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana

6.

Names and addresses of individuals who own the newspaper and partners or shareholders holding More than one percent of the total capital.

Sl.

Shareholders Name

I Atul Sobti

Address H909,SouthCity,Vill Silokhara, Gurgaon, Haryana

II Emerging Securities Pvt Ltd. 106, Oriental House, Gulmohar Park Commercial Complex, New Delhi-110049 III Meher Bajwa

A 14 / 16 DLF Phase 1, Gurgaon 122002, Haryana

I, Sh. Atul Sobti, hereby declare that the particulars given above are true to the best of my knowledge and belief. Date : 01/03/2015

Signed (Atul Sobti) Signature of Publisher


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04  Contd from p 1 Yadav, along with leaders from other labour unions, says that the Centre and State should also be looking to reform labour laws for the benefit of workers; and of course ensuring that current laws are strictly enforced. Labour experts believe that India has some of the most complicated labour laws in the world, which are the result of our colonial heritage. Despite repeated calls for uniform labour laws, the government has failed to take any steps in this direction. And now, the unions fear, with a vision for the revival of manufacturing and new investment, the govt. is under pressure from industry for introducing sweeping (one-sided) labour reforms. Anil Kumar, a senior trade union leader, says that there are hundreds of labour laws that have been enacted by different States, apart from those made by the Union government. Many of these laws have provisions that are inconsistent with the others, says Kumar. For example, the Minimum Wages Act is applicable to all workers and establishments, but the Payment of Wages Act is applicable to establishments with ten and more workers, and also to those where salary is less than Rs 18,000. Likewise, while the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947 is applicable to all factories for the settlement of industrial disputes, several of its clauses relating to layoffs, retrenchments and closures have limited applicability. Advocate Ritu Singh, who is a senior functionary of the Garments and Allied Workers Union, says that there are only a small percentage of workers that has the protection and the freedom to organise as per trade union laws. "The condition of the garment workers is especially bad, despite there being almost four to five lakh workers employed by this industry in Gurgaon," asserts Singh. The garment workers in the City are the least organised, as the majority of the units do not allow trade unions to be formed – in fact there is seldom space for even dialogue. The shop floors of the garment factories allegedly witness regular intimidation and even physical violence, which is very frustrating and worrying for the workers. There are almost three hundred factories in Gurgaon that manufacture and export garments. These companies also undertake contract jobs for large MNC brands like JC Penny, GAP, Net and several others across America and Europe. While the owners of these export houses have benefited from the unregulated garment industry, the labour has suf-

C over S tory

6-12 March 2015

Who will Make in Gurgaon?

Amit Yadav

Anilji Ghanghas

Harish Sharma

A large number of Maruti workers who were terminated by the Company following violence at the Company’s premises at Manesar in 2012, have been awarded a compensation of Rs One lakh each by the Gurgaon Local and Civil Court. The 425 workers who have been awarded compensation had challenged their summary dismissal in the Court, terming it arbitrary. The Gurgaon Labour Court has ordered Maruti Suzuki to deposit Rs. 4.25 crores in this regard. It also said in its Order that the workers have been unnecessarily harassed since July 8, 2012. Meanwhile, in another major development, the Supreme Court has given bail to an accused worker. R S Pathak, lawyer for the workers, described both the decisions as great morale boosters, and said that a majority of the workers had been terminated by the Company on the mere suspicion that they had helped the 148 workers who were allegedly involved in arson that day. Pathak says that only twenty-five workers have been identified by eyewitnesses. He says that the rest should be given bail, as they have been under arrest for the last three years - which is unprecedented. They need to be treated humanely. fered because of poor wages and working conditions. These workers, mostly migrants, are not allowed vote or to avail the State's services and schemes; they suffer abuse not only at the hands of factory owners, but even sometimes their landlords. Although factory workers are entitled to social security, PF, ESI and other benefits, these are mostly denied to the garment workers, alleges Ritu Singh. Workers also allege that they have been working on the same posts for years, and continue to be paid just the minimum wages; even those with ten years of experience are paid the minimum wage. pay. Questions are also being raised on the functioning of the Labour department, as it has not been able to (or willing to) implement the Labour rules in letter (let alone spirit). Ravi, a worker from UP who lives in Kapashera and has been working in the industry for over a decade, says, "Those who are close to the management are sometimes able to get cycles, eyeglasses, or money for the marriage of their daughters, but the State has provided no welfare to us ever." A majority of the workers are surviving on a monthly wage of Rs. 6 to 7,000 rupees, and a couple is able to earn about double of

that. However, given the high cost of living in Gurgaon - for rent, food, health and education – there is need to always ‘cut back’; savings remain a dream. Singh says that to augment their income, the garment labour puts in 'overtime', which should be paid at double the normal rates. However, in a majority of the companies the overtime is paid on ‘single rates’, and the time is also not calculated properly - which is breeding strong resentment. "When a worker joins, he or she is made to sign a bunch of papers, which include the appointment letter as well as the ‘full and final settlement’ papers. These are retained by the company. If you ask any questions, you are not hired," says one of the workers. Ameena Sherwani, an industrialist and entrepreneur, says that this plight of the workers has to be accepted and understood by the government as well as the private industry. "Unless we take care of the workers, this tension between the two sides is going to continue. The government, and in our case HSIIDC, has played truant and denied the labour force their due facilities; they have also forced ‘enhancement charges’ on industry, thus hitting both sides," she says. As

R C Bidhan, ALC per Sherwani, 200 acres of land, which was meant for industrial housing, truck parking, schools and sports facilities for workers, has been sold out to commercial interests. She however also puts the blame of deterioration in industrial relations on workers and trade unions as well; she thinks they have become over aggressive. To put a point across to the government, which they believe is trying to ‘liberalise’ Labour laws, trade unions from across the political spectrum - including the AITUC, INTUC, CITU, Hind Mazdoor Sabha - have united and given a call for a Jail Bharo satyagraha. Anilji Ghanghas, a senior leader of AITUC, says, "We want prolabour rules and regulations, and there should be no privatisation of public sector units." Harish Sharma, President of the Hero Motors Union, says that the workers face several problems due to the contract labour system, and there is large-scale disparity on the shop floor. "A large number of casual workers who are hired for auxiliary work are forced to do regular work, but they are paid much lesser wages for the same work. The contractors often do not pay the promised wages, and even play around with the labour’s share of ESI and PF," says Sharma. The government, like industry (perhaps influenced by it) sees the unrest in labour as basically a law and order problem, which can be resolved through police intervention… and perhaps some counselling. There is little will or vision to look at the issue holistically, despite the industrial future of Gurgaon being at stake today – mainly owing to labour issues. Some large companies have opted to move to other States for their expansion/new plants, and some others have just migrated. R C Bidhan, Additional Labour Commissioner, Gurgaon division, says that they are working hard to improve the industrial relations

in this region. "We are trying to set up a tripartite dialogue system to help settle any disputes, and the arguments put forth by all the stakeholders will get equal weight," he says. When asked why the local industry was reluctant to allow the formation of trade unions, Bidhan says that they will reach out to industry, to ensure that democratic institutions guaranteed by law are allowed to be formed, and also permitted to function with ease. Referring to the recent violence in Udyog Vihar, he says that it was the result of a misunderstanding, and the workers protested because of a rumour. The main problem, he says, is that there a vast communication gap between the workers and management, which he aims to bridge by reaching out to all the players and also organising discussions and seminars. The workers, however, are not satisfied with what is being planned by the Labour department (there is a huge trust deficit here), and are planning to organise a largescale agitation to stop the proposed unilateral changes in Labour laws. Trade union leaders say that while they support labour reforms, these cannot be decided without a proper dialogue process, and they definitely cannot be onesided. Manufacturing and industry cannot ever grow without a motivated labour force. The crying need is to introduce reforms in law that promote productivity and equity, and dignity – and then apply and practice them uniformly in letter and spirit. For example, Labour laws should be rationalised into 5 to 6 groups, there should be an Act that protects collective bargaining, there should be a law that protects migrant labour, contract labour should be abolished, labour disputes should be handled through a separate judicial process and there should be healthy and safe work practices. Increasing self-certification by employers should not become the norm – there must be regular and adequate checks. The primary contention of the workers and unions is that while industry should become more competitive and should also be given the required flexibility to operate in tough economic conditions, the rights of workers cannot be sacrificed at that altar. Skilled workers will indeed be the foundation for any big leap in manufacturing – for Make in India. All the stakeholders need to understand this well, and work accordingly for their mutual prosperity. u


6-12 March 2015

PEOPLE'S VOICE WISHES YOU

Vashisht Kumar Goyal, Social Activist

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6-12 March 2015

C ivic/S ocial

The growing influence of Online Tuition

{ Barnali Dutta/FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

oday’s Cyberspace is pregnant with possibilities. While Online newspapers and magazines, and learning portals are already occupying serious mind space, Online Teaching (in real time) is still a relatively new concept. While it has immense potential, given the rising demand for private tuition, there is still a mixed reaction amongst the student and teacher community, as also among parents. In the current education setup, amidst a very competitive world, almost every student needs additional ‘attention’ at home from subject specialists, to supplement the learning in schools and other educational institutions. When queried, an Online Tuition provider says, “This is a relatively new concept, which has unfortunately been blurred by misconception. Online Tuition or Tutoring is a synchronous live interaction across the Internet between a student and a teacher for the purpose of achieving some learning goals. This type of interactive learning can be an excellent supplement to the formal school education.” Says Manoj Sharma, “I started this service two years ago, as I felt it has great potential in India, especially in metro cities. I have worked as an Associate Professor with IP University College and have been teaching for the last 12 years in Delhi.” A section of students also swear by the efficacy on Online Tuition. Hiteshi Malhotra, a student of Class XI, says, “I have joined an Online Tuition ‘course’ because it saves me travel time (to private tuition classes). Time is very crucial in higher classes. For Online Tuition we basically have to create a Skype ID and through that we can talk and clear our doubts. Yes, unlike home tuition, there is no ‘comfort’ of a physical presence or the ability to ‘check’ through expressions, but we are anyway kind of living in an e-world today. So why not learn to adapt to, and benefit from, the new facilities. Further, it helps improve your writing and concentration, which are especially useful for for competitive exams." Yet, there are others who do not share these views. Some students in Sector 14, when approached by

A society with too plentiful a supply of, as well as demand for, tutors could end up inadvertently harming the education system. FG, say that they are not overly impressed with this method. They continue to endorse the tired and tested private tutor method. "It is true that technology has made Online Tuition possible, but I believe that the physical presence of a teacher is very important. Even with the facilities like video conferencing, the expression of a tutor who is explaining something or commenting on a student’s comprehension, is not expressly clear. Further, if one misses out on something, one may not get a second chance,” says a student of Class VIII. He believes that it is very important to get an opportunity to ask further queries, so that one’s concepts can get cleared on the spot. “In an Online setup, a teacher may not always be that patient – for clarification and/ or repetition - especially if there are connectivity problems,” he says. The Director of Euro International School, Reena Sharma, says, “While I can understand the need for tuition, especially with both parents nowadays being very busy, I do not believe that Online Tuition is the solution. However, it may be good for professional courses.” A key issue in the Online system is of getting the right kind of teachers, because they should not only be proficient in their subject(s), but also be able to adapt themselves to the technology associated with such a system. “Hiring the teachers for Online education is a very tricky process. Normally it is through

references. But nowadays I put out a post on social networking sites and invite applications from teachers. Depending on the needs and demands of students/ parents, I arrange the teachers of various specialisations,” says Manoj. But for a new entrant, arranging teachers is only the start. The site must attract enough students as well. “We send fliers and handbills across the area, along with newspapers, on weekends. Normally it is the concerned parents who contact us. Many of them use our website too. We have also tied up with teachers of different schools – though this is not always with the knowledge of the school authorities, who are generally not favourably

disposed to Online Tuitions,” adds Manoj. There are more than 20 Online Tuition sites ‘based’ in Gurgaon. Over the years, Gurgaon has attracted high quality professionals, who are now finding the business of Online teaching a fairly attractive proposition. Also it is easy to set up and start – with no formal ‘approvals’. The biggest advantage of such a system is that it is very economical – especially versus the expensive private tuition. The same teacher-tutor may charge a lot less Online. “It does not cost much in terms of infrastructure. All one needs is a good interactive Web portal and high-speed broadband connectivity. It can also help you reach many good students who do not have access to good teachers in their schools,” says an Online teacher. However, just like every coin has two sides, Online Tuition too has its ‘negatives’. Often, because of several constraints, like bad connectivity or teachers giving Online Tuition low priority, students are forced to cram as much as they can in a few sessions. But the chief drawback remains the lack of the ‘human element’. The learning turns out to be more generic, lacking the personal touch. Individual requirements of students are often not addressed, or

ignored. Further, with the market for private tutors being unregulated, one cannot be certain of the quality of tutors. Of course this is also true of agencies providing private (personal) tutoring, but parents have greater comfort in being able to ‘supervise’ that. Reena Sharma of Euro International adds, “Authenticity is very much important. Given the faceless nature of the Online system, there will always remain doubts on the perceived quality of the education that it imparts.” Organisations running Online Tutoring often hide the identifications of the students, and sometimes of the teachers too. Online Tuition is a more acceptable system in the West. In India, however, there are teachers available (for private tuition) in large numbers, though there may be sections that are found wanting in delivery and quality. A silver lining could be that the concept of Online Tuition may help reduce unemployment in some ways. There are large numbers of well-educated youth who find it hard to get absorbed as teaching staff in traditional schools. Further, due to their lack of experience, they are also not favoured by students and parents for a private tutor role. Online Tuition academies can soon become their favoured destination. u

Builder Booked Three First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered against Unitech Limited, a top Real Estate developer in Gurgaon and the country, for delaying the completion of a residential project in Sector 33. Three separate FIRs have been registered at the Gurgaon Sadar Police Station, by Manish Kumar, Vinod Bala and Shipra Chabbra, who bought apartments in a Unitech project called 'The Residences'. State Cabinet Minister OP Dhankhar had recently chaired the meeting of the District Grievance Cell and had instructed the police to register complaints against the developer. As a result of the FIRs, top officials and even the promoter(s) of the Company were called to the office of the Police Commissioner. Anoop Rana, Secretary of the 'The Residences' RWA, said that the Company was asked to provide clear timelines for the delivery of the flats, and also give detailed accounts of the funds collected from buyers. The Company has asked for a week's time to look into the details. The case against the promoters and top management of Unitech has been filed under Sections 420/406/409/1208 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), with the Economic Offences Wing of the Gurgaon Police. An investigating officer has been appointed by the Police. Apart from delayed construction, the flat owners have accused the Company of shoddy construction quality and use of poor material. The buyers allege that they had repeatedly approached the Company and complained about delays, but the promises made by the Company never materialised. A Unitech spokesperson, while responding to media, said that the allegations of the homebuyers were baseless. The Company asserted that it was a law-abiding firm that is in compliance with the laws of the land, and the Company remains committed to handing over all the flats in the said project. It will pay penalty to the allottees/buyers as per the Buyers Agreement.


07

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K id C orner

6-12 March 2015

Ryan International School, Sector 40

Healthy Workshop

A

s part of its efforts to reach out to the underprivileged, Ryan International School, Sector  40 invited the little children of Kanhai Village, and Anubhav students, to the school, where the School Nurse enlightened them on how best to prevent themselves against Swine Flu, and also about its likely symptoms.

Discover the Scientist in you

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yan International School, Sector 40, celebrated National Science Day with the presentation of a lively talk show by the students of Class V. The day marks the discovery of the Raman Effect by the great Indian Physicist, Sir CV Raman, on February 28,1928. The students also presented a role play on eminent scientists like Homi J Bhabha, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam , Vikram Sarabhai, C V Raman and Jagdish Chandra Bose. This was followed by a quiz conducted by Master Divyanshi of Class V D.

Mathemagic

R Camp Commandos

R

yan International School, Sector 40 organised an adventurous excursion to Camp Farmstead for the students of Classes III and IV. The activities - Zip Line, Tracking, Zorbing Ball, Wall Climbing, Commando Crawl, Burma Bridge, Crocodile Pit and Hopscotch - were aimed at developing team spirit and self confidence in the children.

yan international School, Sector 40 celebrated World Maths Day with some learning and fun. The 'Profit and Loss evaluation' demonstration by Ms. Thara, Class V Maths Teacher, was enlightening. There was some sharing of 'tips' by teachers. The winner of a Maths puzzle designed by teachers was given a  'MathMagician' Certificate.

Ryan Global School Sector 40

Li'l Champs


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yan Global School Sector 40 conducted a Dance Competition for its Montessori students.

Global Flower Power

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yan Global School Sector 40 organised a Flower Show. All Global Ryanites contributed.


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6-12 March 2015

09

Matrabhasha Din

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ositively adopting the CBSE initiative of an 'International Mother Language Day', the students of Primary and Middle School at Manav Rachna International School (MRIS 46) participated in numerous activities to promote the dissemination of the mother tongue and to create awareness about linguistic traditions. They encouraged everyone to learn a few sentences of any 'new' Indian Language.

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at letters@ fridaygurgaon hile the State of Haryana cies have and its civic not been infrast able agenlike water, ructure, includ to provide adequa isting Gurgapower, sanitation ing basic ameni te ties and roads the previo on city and residen to the exts, the decisio pendently us government to relentl n by (of the NCR Master Planni Board) push essly and indeng (2021, residents 2025, 2031) ahead with its of even has the new The Master sectors most now left the Plans that ing more vulnerable. were prepar than Real apart from ed were Estate allocat noththe shorta gaon is ge of naturaions. As a result, now l resour will probab being enveloped ces, Gurunending ly remain so for in a smoky haze decades), construction (and cupancy thanks to activit being low The most and there y - despite curren the pressing t ocbeing few ter table new buyers under the issue, however, . is that the which could City waindeed haveis getting danger ously low, disastrous consequences ,

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warn expert s. While ciety are discussing the authorities in (curre and ways to nt) tackle this civil sobusy buildin Gurgaon, the situation Real Estate apartments g more castles industry in the air. and comme up in the Thousands is new Gurga rcial complexes of tened GII on sectors are comin g lines are by FG), while water, (58 to 115 – yet to be power and chrisever, have set up. sewage Several already builders, are now ‘completed’ giving posses howtheir projec gross violati sion to ts, the author on of the rules, apartment buyersand ities. They , in with the ground collusion are still water for deviously of is that the all their extracting projects. water from these will now And be same illegal the irony water tanker sold to the haples tubewells s residen s (as the dream)! official supply ts throug h remains It was only a pipea chance plaza that visit to through brought this illegal the Kherki Doula tankers toll use and by constr sale of water uction compa nies, to the

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10

6-12 March 2015

C omment

Budget Review

D EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

ear FM, were the Economic Survey and the Budget prepared by 2 different teams and/or approved by different leaders? How come a Survey points to a most favourable environment (oil prices down, inflation down, growth picking up) while a Budget seems to feel constrained – and therefore lacks any special thrust or innovation? It does not even begin where it should – from last year’s outlays and the status of their spend and outcomes. It’s remarkable how the private sector has been ‘excused’ from investment, due to stressed balance sheets! Who then will Make in India, FM & Modiji? It’s good that you did not pamper private sector with excise freebies, but it needs to be pressured to invest from its huge reserves (built on more than a decade of earlier achhe din). PPP, last year’s panacea, has suddenly become a bad word, and has just been dropped - almost a thousand PPPs are probably languishing. A big miss was in incentivising households to move out of gold and property investments and into the ‘productive’ financial market – in order to build a most important savings base. It also seems that the Delhi electoral defeat is starting to colour all Modiji and BJP decisions. What else explains the messed-up intervention in Bihar, the desperation to somehow cobble together a ‘coalition’ in J&K and the decision not to touch MNREGA and the like? The latter put paid to a major opportunity to merge various govt. schemes, to ensure more productive outcomes and in the process also significantly prune the total outlay. And whatever happened to Smart Cities - have they already been smartly eased out? Most ridiculously the Budget became more a 5-year Plan document of various intents. The most important and urgent Infrastructure Bond was presented as work in progress. It seems that the BJP still thinks it is presenting an Interim Budget! Even Disinvestment, which could be the bailout for the BJP for ‘revenue’ (given that States will now get more of the revenue share), is not getting the focus it deserves. The current year target has not been met. FMji, there will never be a perfect moment for disinvestment – please be happy with 80% outcomes. Your next year’s performance is almost dependent on Disinvestment, given the phenomenal target that you have taken (or been forced to take) for it. BJP’s jitteriness has given the opposition a perfect handle, and the Land Acquisition Bill has been the first casualty. Surely Modiji should be made of sterner stuff. He needs to pull himself up – for there is no other who can then do that to the Party. u

The 5-year Plan part of the Budget talks of removing exemptions and exceptions, while the Annual part introduces ad hoc surcharges and swachh levies (to the extent that Corporate Tax, which is to reduce by 5% in 5 years, starts with an increase this year)!

Do we have a wrong PM-FM combo? Or the right FM at a wrong time?


6-12 March 2015

C omment

11

Do women themselves reiterate stereotypes? Copying men is not liberation - in fact it just may reinforce the ‘difference’. Is a good copy ven 67 years after Independence we can only think of ‘protection’ for women. When and how would we ensure that women also feel free, better than a less than perfect original? We unencumbered and empowered? Why cannot all agendas of women go do need to realise that the focus has been far together - safety along with freedom, liberation and empowerment? too long on women’s’ bodies, their physicality. We may not have not consciously realised it, but the woman has stepped We should remember that beauty is not skin out. She is working, travelling and entertaining. But unfortunately deep. Even women need to seriously introspect. that world still remains a male bastion, made for him. We expect her Let us stop all sham symbolism. Let us stop to conform to this world, rather than trying to change it to make the conveniently mouthing platitudes like ‘women new member more welcome and comfortable. However, in this modern are equal’, ‘recognising’ them as homemakers world, economics is beginning to trump ‘culture’. Working women are and magnanimously accepting them as the earning well…and will soon take their rightful place. Maybe they will shun better halves, while actually treating reservation, and make it on their own. They surely are not a minority, and them like handicaps - or worse, our do not need that mindset. It has been written…soft(women)power shall prevail honour! over hard(man)power, as surely as software has trumped hardware. We shall then celebrate an International Men's Day.u

Women will make their Day E

Pehle Aurat T

toilets. The males just haven’t bothered enough about here is a very strong case for the setting up of an all this. The education and health of the children and Aam Aurat Party. Of course women, having the of the poor is another ‘soft’ area that needs sensitive better-half sense too, would probably like to call it handling and delivery, rather than the boast and Aam Log Party or Hamari Party. The issues at a local flourish of fund allocations. The same thought and level have most to do with the provision and delivery care would apply to the housing for the poor, and the of adequate civic and social infrastructure, facilities setting up of facilities and services for the differently and services, and their maintenance – consistently abled. Women will also think twice before allowing and equitably. And of course providing for the safety the mushrooming of liquor vends, that too around and security of all the residents. It’s quite a noresidences and schools. It’s time for women to also brainer to realise that more women (than men) have regain their freedom in the parks, rather than being to deal with (the lack of) these facilities and services forced out of them. Once the ladies in numbers take on a daily basis, and it is they who better know the charge, things at the ground level will get better very answers/solutions to the issues. They could also be soon. trusted to implement the solutions more effectively. Of course men could also participate, and soon even Men have conveniently used the Indian woman ask for a quota (reservation)...even in the Party. stereotype, and exaggerated the ‘specialised Further, no one would be more sensitive It’s skill’ needed to run administrative and to the issue of children’s and women’s surprising that political posts, as an excuse to keep women safety than women themselves. Men there are very few out of decision-making roles outside simply have not learnt…to even ‘talk’ women RWA Heads in the house. Women, we are told, are not with sensitivity. A special Women’s the City. The men seem to ‘jugadu’ enough. They do not need to be. Police Force (again with a ‘reserved’ believe they have all the Women would handle corruption better number of men) could more effectively answers – even outside and in a more practical and focused tackle street harassment - and will manner. Men will only feel the heat if they definitely not smile indulgently and the office. are put at the receiving end – especially say ‘boys will be boys’. They will even against women. They are beginning to get a manage traffic and ‘no parking’ issues taste of it, with ‘frivolous’ cases of dowry and livebetter. The frustration of the ordinary citizen in rape being on the rise. Surprisingly, the Supreme is primarily on account of the daily issues – of Court had recently intervened in such a case, to inadequate and infrequent water and power supplies, the rising prices of food items, poor sanitation and the signify that it thought this had already gone too far! Is that the ‘tolerance’ level of (even) the Supreme filth around, and of the inconvenience and insecurity male? The time for the woman - the aam aurat - has to of travelling by buses and autos. Women face special come...soon. Really achhe din tab hi aayenge. u issues of open defecation and the lack of public


12 { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

S piritual

6-12 March 2015

Self-Control

T

o cure ourselves, we will have to learn to fight with ourselves. Over a lifetime we build habits and incarnations that shape our personalities. We continue with some bad habits – like over-eating, over-spending, over-indulging - because we often lack the selfrestraint to stop when we should. However, we must learn to rule over our appetites rather than letting our appetites rule us. Over-indulgence can lead to intoxication. We have to learn to bring our body and mind under some degree of control. Self-control is simply defined as the sublimation - by its higher connotation; mastery over the Self; the capacity the lower meaning of the Self needs to ‘When I of individuals to restrain their be raised to its higher meaning. It have to control own emotions, desires and becomes more abstract as we proceed impulses, so that they can serve further; finally, only concepts and the Self, I mortify others. To exercise Self-control ideas and notions matter. my body, harass is to grow progressively in The connotations of Self my mind, torture my impersonality, because the the various meanings that we Self is integrally associated intellect and put myself give to the notion of Self - are with the personality. Put very important in our study of to such hardship that I spirituality. The lowest concept another way, it means that we may pass for a Yogi have to realise the Self – which of Self is the situation in which we can be defined as a unit or spark are today, at this present moment – or a seeker of of consciousness. It is said that defined its objects, fields of activity, Reality’. the goal of life is the realisation of connections and operations. We cannot the Self, and the method to be adopted be fully aware of how many objects are for this is Self-control. This control or associated with Self-consciousness, but at a restraint of the Self has been termed Yoga. The given moment of time we can take into consideration Self can be both the friend and enemy of the Self – those factors of objectivity that are vitally connected through the restraint or the lifting up of the Self by with our conscious life. As spiritual seekers we the Self. For example, we sometimes put restrictions have to live in the present, concerning ourselves on our bodily personality - we do not speak or eat with the present state of our consciousness and much, we do not sleep on soft cushions or beds, or studying it. When we recognise ourselves in other do things that may be regarded as conveniences or persons and things, we temporarily forget our bodily luxuries. However, Self-control is not merely the personality. For instance, people who are extremely control of the body, or of the activities taking place attached to certain persons and things are more within the body; we are also psychologically in conscious of them than of their own selves. It is our contact with many things in the world, organic as consciousness, not our body, which has transferred well as inorganic. The study of Self is the study of the itself to other objects. It does so with pious meaning of life. It is not a study of objects or things; intent… but there can be foolish piety too. The it is a study of significances and values. What can be road to hell is often paved with good intentions. a greater education than an instruction in Self, which There must be understanding behind the is the primary Reality of life? When we take to the intentions. We should not be ‘foolishly good’. path of Yoga, we have to first understand where we We cannot be self-deceptive in our practices. We actually are. In the process of Self-control, we have need to be conducive to the blossoming of the to take into consideration the immediate concerns spiritual consciousness within. We must try to of the Self and then go inwardly, step by step, to the see, hear, taste, touch and smell pure things. subtler concerns of the Self. The lower connotation This control of our senses has to be undertaken of Self has to be subdued and absorbed – through gradually - in the beginning, by living in a ‘holy’ atmosphere, and then by the intake of simple food for the senses, while also reducing the magnitude or quantity of intake. Various Social ascent is not the criteria for methods have to be adopted to control the Self. success in Yoga. We may be very Consciousness will not yield easily to worldly arguments or threats. The heart (and mind) has big ‘Yogis’ in society, but could a reason that (even) reason does not know. u

be poor Yogis in the eyes of God. Social ‘progress’ often cloaks us like a psychological cobweb, which may blur the vision of our inner consciousness.

Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of children with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities for more than 30 years. He can be contacted at rabhola@yahoo.com

Salute your Adversary { Shobha Lidder } Salute your adversary like a sportsman Shake his hand Whether you win or lose After the match, remember Your opponent is your benefactor He flexes your muscles Giving you a tough tussle You know where you stand With your mastery of self In whichever field You face your competition It is a test and challenge So thank you adversary Maybe you need to master more patience Develop more stamina Improve your style & skill Be more focused Strengthen your will Take consensus of space to grow You have incentive for more growth So never hate or loathe Your opponent or adversary Thank him, admire him Salute him Next when you meet him You won’t go insane, in jealousy or fear Treat him like a peer Life is sportsman spirit Your adversary is an essential part of the tournament Win or lose, don’t confuse Your opponent for an enemy. Shobha Lidder Writer, Journalist, Teacher, Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

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W ellness

6-12 March 2015

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

An Energy-boost (Co)Enzyme

{ Jaspal Bajwa }

T

he name Ubiquinone suggests that it is ubiquitous – present in all living cells. This particular coenzyme (also called Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10) plays a critical role in making energy available to our cells, helping them carry out their life-giving properties. Most diets offer about 25% of the body’s requirement. For this reason, acute deficiency of this coenzyme is not widespread. Yet, as and when compromised, the consequences of a deficiency can be serious; it could lead to chronic fatigue, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, muscular dystrophy, gum disease, AIDS and other immune deficiencies. There may also be an effect in some nerve-related conditions like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s….as also some cancers. When we ingest carbohydrates and fats, they need to be converted to Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), the form of energy that is used by cells. To achieve this, we need to have Coenzyme Q in our inner mitochondrial membrane. Further, as an antioxidant, the coenzyme can help neutralise free radicals, to prevent some of the damage that they can cause. CoQ10, as a coenzyme, supports enzymes in their various biochemical functions. This fat-soluble nutrient can help protect all cells, reducing our overall risk of developing chronic diseases. CoQ10 also affects our cellular energy and the immune system.

Although it is found in every cell of the body, it is present in higher concentrations in organs with higher energy requirements - such as the kidneys, liver and the heart. Unfortunately, from the onset of mid-life, our CoQ10 levels start decreasing. This problem gets compounded by the widespread use of statin drugs, often recommended for lowering blood cholesterol levels; these statins tend to interfere with our mitochondrial function.

Tip of the Week

Although the body synthesises some Coenzyme Q10 on its own, our diet also provides this to us. Most people have a dietary intake of less than 10 mg/day of CoQ10 – and the method of cooking can impact even this. Between15-32% of CoQ10 can be lost during the frying of vegetables and eggs; it remains mostly intact when boiled. The usual supplement dose used in clinical studies is 90 to 400 milligrams per day. Supplements in the form of tablets, capsules and gelcaps are quite common – and formulas that contain fat may be better absorbed by the body. Supplementation needs to be taken under guidance of healthcare practitioners.

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the week: High CoQ10 Natural Foods

There are several natural foods that are high in CoQ10. The best sources are fatty fish, such as cold-water fish (salmon, tuna & herring, sardines, rainbow trout), organ meats (such as liver), reindeer meat and poultry, eggs and dairy products. For vegetarians, the richest sources are nuts (almonds, peanuts, pistachio), sesame seeds, spinach, broccoli, peanuts, wheat germ and whole grains - although the amount is significantly smaller than that found in meats. Importantly, these foods should be consumed raw, fresh and unprocessed. Coenzyme Q10 appears to be generally safe, with no major side effects, except occasional stomach upset. CoQ10 may decrease the efficacy of anticoagulant drugs as well as some anti-cancer therapies. Certain prescription medications can lower CoQ10 levels in the body – like statins and fibric acid derivatives, Beta-blockers as well as some antidepressants. Coenzyme Q should therefore be taken under the supervision of a knowledgeable healthcare provider. u For Education purposes only; always consult a Healthcare Practitioner for medical conditions

13

A Dignified Surgery

A

60-year-old woman, Rajesh Devi, who came in crawling has gone out walking, after a complex knee replacement at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. A deformity-correcting Knee Replacement procedure has given her a new lease of life. The woman, with severe neglected osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, and permanently deformed knees, had been bed-ridden for the past one and a half years. The procedure marks a major success, as cases of flexion deformity of more than 100-110 degrees achieving a successful outcome have been rarely reported. After having been refused surgical intervention by a few hospitals, she finally reached the Joint Replacement Centre at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon. A detailed examination revealed that the wheel chair bound lady from the village of Kheri Hosdarpur,  Jhajjar (Haryana) had a severe case of advanced osteoarthritis and severe osteoporosis. The procedure performed on Ms Devi is high risk on many counts. However, relying on their own experience of handling severe deformities, Dr Vivek Logani, Chief of Joint Replacement Surgery at Paras Hospitals, Gurgaon, and Dr Deepak Thakur, Consultant, Joint Replacement decided to take up her case. “It was not a simple case of arthritic or injured knees needing joint replacement. The case was much more complex and challenging, as the flexion deformity was over 100 degrees - meaning that the patient’s knee was bent at an angle more than 100 degrees (considering straight knee to be zero degree). The woman’s bones had become very weak, since they had not been subjected to weight-bearing loads for a long time. The knees required extensive soft tissue releases at the back, and also meticulous balancing of the ligaments, to correct the deformity,” said Dr Logani. The surgery was undertaken using the latest computer navigation system, to ensure accurate alignment of the artificial implants and balancing of the knee-joints. Special knee implants with stems were used, to get a better hold of the soft bones. In a procedure that lasted five hours, the surgeons worked meticulously to perform soft tissue releases and ligament balancing, to accomplish one of the most complex Knee Replacement procedure - on both the knees. The procedure turned out to be encouragingly successful, with 80-90% of the deformity having been corrected during the operation; further correction is planned during the post-operative rehabilitation. “Such cases need meticulous surgical technique and planning. The patient started doing exercises the day after the surgery and started walking on the second day. Her muscle strengthening is progressing, and on the fifth post-operative day she was walking comfortably. Both her knees were straight, free of pain and deformity, and were bearing the full weight of her body,” said Dr Logani. Unfortunately, in India, a large section of the population fails to receive treatment for arthritic disability and ends up remaining unattended - owing either to its ignorance or a fear of being operated on. “Osteoarthritis may be age-related but it is not untreatable. A gross lack of awareness and poor accessibility, particularly in rural areas, are the factors responsible for a large number of people failing to receive any treatment and ending up disabled for life,” added Dr Logani. For Rajesh Devi, who had all but given up hope of walking again, it was like being born again. Being able to stand on her feet and walking after one and a half years of debilitating disability was nothing less than a miracle for her. “After spending months bound to a bed, I had almost given up hope of recovery - more so when several hospitals refused to take up my case, considering it virtually untreatable. I am extremely grateful to the doctors of Paras Hospitals for enabling me to regain not just my mobility but also my independence and dignity,” said Rajesh Devi. u


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6-12 March 2015

{ Ankur Mithal } “Do you want more evidence?” The words were spoken calmly, each syllable standing out - much like the character of Professor Snape (in the Potter movies) speaking to a young, disbelieving Harry. But they had the effect of a thunderclap on the listeners. A hush descended on the audience. “Nnnno,” came the feeble reply. For the audience the matter had already been settled. The speaker of “Nnnno” was a renowned scientist. In a panel discussion on the existence and usage of an Access Control System that was superior to the ones in use today, he had dared to question the veracity of claims made by a prominent leader of a political party (who had argued in favour of the motion). The fact, as the leader had knowledgeably articulated, was that there were, indeed, Access Control Systems that were superior to the ones in common use today. After some light debate, while patronising the lack of knowledge of the scientist and hoping he would back off and avoid a public embarrassment, the political leader had finally got irked and, rising to his full height, said, “Have you not heard of the ‘Laxman Rekha’?”. This had produced a stunned silence in the hall, to break which he had calmly queried, “Do you want more evidence?” Now, who has not heard of ‘Laxman Rekha’, the magical line drawn by Laxman. Before venturing out to look for his brother Ram in the jungle, he had drawn it around Sita’s dwelling, to ensure that nobody could cross that line and harm her. Was that not a system of access control? And it was created not by some maniacal data-punching into a computer and the issuing of plastic cards, but simply by drawing a line with the tip of an arrow in his quiver. It was activated neither by proximity nor by insertion (of a card), but by the mere presence of an individual in the vicinity. It was thus based on advanced bio-technology. The scientist, clearly, had not researched his facts. The Prime Minister had set the ball rolling immediately after

Con-science

winning the election and forming a new government, by informing an incredulous crowd at a rally that plastic surgery was commonly practised in the country in ancient times. His claim was met with a stony silence. The PM had paused, expecting a thunderous ovation. But he had reckoned without the ‘rationality’ of the gathering. Sensing the mood, which he was then so good at, having only recently become PM, he weighed his options. The credibility of the PM, and of the new government, was at stake. He reluctantly asked, “How do you think Lord Ganesh got the head of an elephant?” It was a rhetorical question, and the crowd erupted in response. The smoking gun, with fresh fingerprints, had been produced. No other evidence was needed. Soon after, at another rally, the Home Minister informed the gathered crowd that genetic sciences were commonly practised during the time of the Mahabharat. The crowd was taken aback. They had heard about the plastic surgery capability, which had been revealed to a crowd at another place by the PM, but they were not, it appears, ready for another blow to their dearly held beliefs. Displaying traits of an informed, logical crowd, they met the claim with a stony silence. It was the Home Minister’s turn to be taken aback. After the PM’s performance he had expected this disclosure to be met with less resistance. However, taking a cue

from the PM, he asked, “How do you think Karn was born outside his mother’s womb?” Once again it was a rhetorical question, and once again, logically, the crowd erupted in response. They were a generous crowd. They recognised greatness when they saw it. They acknowledged that the Home Minister had been able to rise to his exalted position only because of such powers of observation that he was now sharing with them. They realised that the makers of the Mahabharat serial had erred in not explaining it as well. Organisations claiming to be associated with the ruling party have been on a roll ever since. Skeletons have been tumbling out of cupboards all over the country. We now know that we discovered Pythagoras’ theorem – though of course it was called something else. We then apparently lent the copyright to the Greeks. Flying was common in ancient India - inside aircraft as well as solo. Who has not heard of Ravan flying off with Sita in the ‘Pushpak Vimaan’? Who dare question that Hanuman flew off to ‘Doonagiri Parbat’ in the Himalayas to quickly get the ‘Sanjeevni Booti’ for Laxman (when he was struck by an arrow)? Even though not required, sketches of huge rectangular boxes have emerged, which do not adhere to any of the laws of flying discovered by the modern world. If the ancients could make those boxes fly, surely they could make anything fly. And can anyone question the invention of nuclear missiles? Who can forget Ram and Laxman (so tellingly shown in the televised version of Ramayan) touching arrows to their forehead, saying a silent prayer, and then unleashing terrible death and destruction with their ‘missiles’? And only they had the access and control to do so. Further, that the Earth is round is what we have always known. Haven’t we heard

B on V ivant that Lord Vishnu, in his Varaha avatar (incarnation as a boar), lifted the Earth out of the water to save it from deluge and destruction. Recently illustrated versions depict Varaha with the Earth on its nose. And since the Earth is round in these illustrations, it proves that we knew the Earth was round even in those times. QED. We are on the lookout for creating more such scientific and undisputable data. We need to find reasons for having found the solutions to problems that either did not exist in ancient times or had not been discovered. With the vast mythological treasure trove at our disposal, no peak seems too high to scale. Several noteworthy initiatives are already underway. A path-breaking research has been undertaken at a prestigious institution to prove that the chemical composition of water in the Nile is the same as that of water in the Ganga. Would it not prove that the Ganga is the font of all the rivers in the world? I am humbled by all these revelations…and the ones still to be made. Actually, I am ashamed. I have not known our true history and traditions. I should have been even prouder…nay, the proudest. How am I any better than the unthinking masses whom I often mock? I need to make amends. As a first step, I consider it my humble duty to take forward this rich legacy - of writing great stories that have no fundamental logic underlying ‘magical’ events. So that, a millennia later, should some likeness of the magical events be translated into reality, thanks to technological advances in the interim, our centuries-old traditional prowess is rightfully acknowledged, and accepted as proven. It’s a different matter how many would still believe us. I believe that my generation is infinitely better placed to do this than the sages who penned most of our mythological literature. The old sages did not have our vision (or did they?). They definitely did not have such political leadership, which has blazed the trail for us. They were merely writing great stories like ‘Ramayan’ and ‘Mahabharat’...the most riveting and compelling stories ever told…and which remain relevant to this day.u

A Close Encounter with a Raindrop and a Sunbeam { Vipen Kapur }

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ne morning, just after it rained and the sun peeped through a hole in the clouds, I stepped out into the garden. I treated my lungs to the clean fresh air, while my eyes feasted on the bright green grass and vibrant colours of the bougainvillea and water lilies. I was soon captivated by one pristine and glittering drop of rain, which seemed to be smiling at me while it rested on a young and grateful leaf. I wondered about the mission of this raindrop - this tiny ‘piece’ of water. I thought that the best way to get the answer was to smile back and

start a dialogue. But even before my smile reached its full bloom, the raindrop gave me a friendly wink and said, “Good morning! My name is Aardy, the long form of RD, which is the short form of Raindrop.” With some hesitation, I responded, “Hello, Aardy, welcome to my garden and thank you for bringing the cruel dry spell to an end. We have been praying and waiting for your return.” Aardy responded, “In recent years we had brought too much water to your island, causing floods, so El Niño asked us to shower certain other places that had been too dry for too long. Sorry for being late, but we

have to balance things and keep everybody happy.” “Yes, Aardy,” I agreed, “You are quite right, natural resources are meant to be shared.” Wanting the dialogue to remain cordial, I added, “Aardy, you look so clean and radiant this morning,” Aardy replied, “Thank you, I did not want to descend on your garden as harmful acid rain, so I had a good ‘shower and scrub’ before dropping in…ha, ha.” I joined in her laugh and said, “Aardy, you have a great attitude and I enjoy your wit.” “Now, let me tell you why I am radiant,” continued Aardy, “It’s because my friend, the sunbeam


B on V ivant

6-12 March 2015

is with me today.” Coming in with a twinkle, the sunbeam said, “Hi there, I’m Sunny. I know that you have missed Aardy, but I’m your friend too.” “Nice to meet you, Sunny,” I replied. Then I addressed them both, “You two are so different, and yet so happy together. What is your mission here?” Together they eagerly responded, “In unison we help seeds germinate and trees grow, flowers bloom and fruits ripen. Why, your very own body is almost 90% water and it cannot function without energy or heat. Can you imagine the world without water or sunlight? Depending on the need of the season, one of us may be more active than the other but, whatever we do, we do in concert and for the general benefit of mankind and other species that share the planet.” “Tell me, Aardy,” I enquired, “Why is it that you precipitate so much over the oceans when there are water shortages on land?” Aardy said, “You may have forgotten your school lessons, but I’ll give you a few quick answers: If I do not fall sufficiently over the oceans, they will become too salty and all marine life will perish, depriving you of vital proteins. Isn’t one Dead Sea enough?” Sunny interjected, “Sometimes, I become more active in certain parts. As you know, heat and drought can help destroy certain harmful germs. In any event, certain phenomena that you call disasters are meant to restore the ecological balance. When things get too damp, I get active and vaporise Aardy, and she floats up to help form a new cloud, which then moves to another area.” And Aardy added, “When Sunny gets over-heated, I take over and cool him down...the cycle goes on forever.” “That’s exactly right,” Sunny concurred, “And we hope you humans realise our importance.” Of course,” I replied, “Both of you are important to the world, and mankind has worshipped you both from the beginning of time.” Now, both Aardy and Sunny, like a chorus of teachers, said, “You people of the world know that you need us for your welfare and your survival. But too many people, because of ignorance, selfishness, shortsightedness and poor planning, abuse the resources gifted by God… and now you are having to pay the price. You pollute the atmosphere with

sulphur and the like, and invite acid rain; your CFCs dig big holes in the ozone layer, which then allow harmful ultra-violet rays to enter and bombard all earthlings. You have to mend your ways before it is too late. If you chop down your rainforests, you’ll be left with dust bowls; if you fell too many trees in hilly areas, you’ll be deluged with floods and landslides. You guys and your governments and businesses need to plan and coordinate better. Build sensible dams and water catchments and distribution systems. At the same time, construct good drainage and recycling systems. There is no point in wasting water one year and then complaining of monsoon failure in the next. You must have systems to control both flood and drought. You humans have the technology…you only need to improve your attitudes and priorities. Don’t blame us for the greenhouse effect and global warming; you need to look inwards, at your own actions.” ‘Oh boy!’ I said to myself, ‘What a lecture early in the morning! And that too from a tiny, single droplet of rain and a little sunbeam’. I felt guilty and embarrassed. I choked a bit and, in a solemn tone, said, “I apologise on my own behalf and that of my kind, for complaining about too much rain, too much sun or too little rain, too little sun, and promise to be more sensible and caring for our precious resources and sharing them wisely. Meanwhile, on our behalf, please implore El Niño and his consort, La-Nina, to look kindly on us.” Aardy and Sunny continued, “Remember, we are your friends. We know that there are enough decent humans on earth. From our side, we, Aardy and Sunny, pledge to continue to work in harmony and team spirit for all kinds of creatures that deserve our patronage.” As I smiled gratefully, Aardy and Sunny said, “Look up.” And my eyes beheld the most gorgeous twin rainbows decorating the morning sky. My whole being felt blessed, as I continued to gaze adoringly at this true symbol of co-operation between Raindrops and Sunbeams…all for our benefit. My heart and mind softly chorused, ‘Thank you Aardy, thank you Sunny, for your constant support. Friends in need are friends indeed. We shall not let you down…so help us God’. u

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15

The Path of a Dancer { Meenu Thakur Sankalp }

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as Dance created the artiste or is it the other way round? A sincere attempt to discern the balance between Dance and the Dancer, and their sharing of credit, if any, brings to light the primary focus of any art or artiste - the creation of something new. A Dancer is the most visible artiste, performing in front of a live audience. The Dancer is the instrument through which the tune of Dance is played. The Dancer’s tireless efforts to demonstrate and recreate add a new chapter each day to the ever-growing repertoire of Dance itself. However, nothing is greater than the imminent understanding that the success of Dance, or that of the Dancer, depends on the will to learn and, above all, the humility to step back. No Dance can succeed if the Dancer is engulfed with the feeling that there is nothing left to accomplish or create. Many Dance forms have suffered from this fate and have hurtled towards oblivion. Many great Dance gurus have not attempted to pass on their skills to learners for two primary reasons: the first is the unwillingness to part with what they have created painstakingly for decades, lest the same be ‘hijacked’ by the next generation Dancer; the second is the element of selfishness that is engrained in every creative individual - the feeling of being the ‘Last Emperor’ of one’s art, even if it means the imminent extinction of the Dance form itself. Dance gurus and teachers should remember that the proponent of a particular Dance form is almost always revered. An art form almost always owes its indebtedness to its preserver or creator, assuming that the creator is not also the last man left standing amidst the ruins. The greatest gurus are the ones who have drifted peacefully to the background, after dutifully passing on their art to their talented disciples. Any Dance form, be it Kuchipudi, Salsa or Ballet, would live longer if its illustrious proponents help not only in its evolution and innovation, but also in ensuring its sustenance. Coming to the individual, it is natural that every proponent of Dance longs for recognition – with a lifelong passion and ambition to have his/her name becoming synonymous with a Dance style. The Dancer, however, is but a miniscule part of Dance, even though his/her image instantly flashes as the identification mark of a Dance form. The greatest Dancers always remember the time when they began to dance, cocooned in the tutelage of their celebrated masters, practising and performing incognito - representing the banner of their revered Gurus or an institution. Never did they feel the need to surpass their Gurus or the art that they were devoted to. All they wished was to be a part of a bigger design. But in some cases egos have dwarfed the purpose of Dance. Why do some Dancers feel neglected if their names are not ‘placed’ in the same league as their contemporaries? Why do they feel heartbroken if their efforts are overshadowed by others? These Dancers, in most cases established ones, forget that only a few out of thousands (of Dancers) will be remembered – and that too primarily for their selflessness and devotion to the art. It’s far better to pass on one’s ideals to the future generations, than to try and rest on one’s laurels. Dance is a mighty mountain that can deflect the strongest of winds, but the hardy mountain can get chipped away by unscrupulous ‘miners’. The Dancer needs to choose his or her path clearly: to be the gentle breeze that meanders through the mountain, or the vain rock-cutter that helps bring down the mountain. u The writer is a renowned Kuchipudi danseuse and choreographer


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6-12 March 2015

The Next 10 Sectors?

G -Scape prakhar PANDEY

Friday gurgaon 6 12, march, 2015  

..be the change you wish to see

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