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6-12 June 2014

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

Vol. 3 No. 42  Pages 24  ` 10

The New Social Contract

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

U

ntil the nineties the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility was totally centred around charity or philanthropy, which was practised by large business houses like the Tatas, Birlas and large public sector units, to fund identified social causes. This was often done to improve the lot of industrial workers or people in the geographical area in which a company or an industry operated. Post-liberalisation it moved towards a more participatory model. Now, the recent decision by the Central government to make CSR mandatory has ensured that a formal stakeholders’ model will develop over time - in which the corporates, their employees, communities and even the local government are seen as the stakeholders. This move is also a realisation of the fact that corporates should not only feel responsible for their financial bottom lines, but also their ‘social performance’ – being watched keenly by discerning consumers and various stakeholders. As business in India responds to these expectations, it marks a not insignificant shift from Milton Friedman's advice - that 'there is only one social responsibility of business and that is to increase profits'. In Gurgaon, which is a corporate hub of the country, the decision to make CSR compulsory is being interpreted in different ways, and the majority believes that this is a learning phase for many of the stakeholders. Although everyone is in agreement that there is a cryiing need to augment the developmental activities across societies and cities, they also are looking for some ‘clarity’. Vikram Singh Verma, CEO of Smile

Foundation, who has been involved in CSR activities for the last several years, opines that the move by the government is advantageous for the social sector. It will bring more funding and involvement from a large number of organisations that would now be operating under a changed frame of reference. "At present it is too early to talk about the impact as corporates have to get their act together. The companies need to align their business with CSR objectives and goals. This will help them have a clearer idea of how they would like to socially contribute," says Verma. What development sector experts suggest is that the corporates, while formulating their strategies, must focus on long-term goals and realise that the development sector deals mainly with people issues. The problems faced by Indian society are chronic and can’t be resolved through just short-term measures. An undue focus on numbers, and quarterly targets and impact assessments may not be the best way to go. Verma adds that the quality of intervention is critical. In Gurgaon, he says, major interventions are needed to help the migrant labour, their children and families; they are in a huge number in the City. "Unless these families are helped, their children educated, and all of them given a chance to rise from the bottom of the pyramid, it would be difficult to stop the everincreasing gulf between the haves and have-nots," he

NOIDA/Greater NOIDA adopt the UP Apartment Act 2010. This Act, first implemented in Maharashtra in 1970, is the most apartment owners’ friendly Act and holds builders accountable at every step. NOIDA customers are expectedly upbeat. There is need for caution though. Haryana has had the Haryana Apartment Act since 1983. Unfortunately it has not been implemented in either letter or spirit, leaving most apartment owners very dissatisfied with their builders. To make matters worse, the Haryana govt. has introduced a new Societies Act 2012 (which was the Act that was rejected for applicability to group housing societies by Maharashtra, while framing their Apartment Act). This new Act in Haryana has ostensibly been introduced to provide leeway for the builders against the strict terms of the Apartment Act. No apartment/group housing society is being registered in Gurgaon under the Apartment Act! Will it need the Allahabad High Court (rather than the Punjab & Haryana High Court) to show the way here also – after its landmark verdict to remove the extra towers (built in violation) in a complex in NOIDA recently (see Page 8 also).

MCG has finally ‘discovered’ what probably everyone else – and surely even they themselves - has known for years. 18% of its land (669 acres out of 3,663 acres) is encroached upon. The alarm bells are ringing and opportunity is calling, because the encroached land is now estimated at Rs 4,000 crores! It’s money and builders that makes this Administration act. Earlier, ‘lucrative’ HUDA areas (through the current MCG Commissioner in his old HUDA Administrator avatar) were ‘freed’ from encroachment. It’s a different matter that all ‘recovered’ land stands vacant still. It is obvious that this Administration can act, when interested; it’s just that meeting the residents’ basic civic requirements is a

avers. Damyanti Bhowmik, Operations Head of the Gurgaon-based SNS Foundation, which is run by auto ancillary major Anand Group, states that CSR does not mean spending 2 per cent of the profits on some charity; CSR spend entails that an organisation has to become socially responsible in totality. "We have to make our Company more responsible to its employees, to the environment, business, customers and to the community as a whole. There is also need for being both morally and ethically responsible," says Bhowmik. In her opinion the corporates will also need to develop strategic CSR plans, just like the business plans, and monitor their execution in a proper manner. The SNS Foundation, which she heads, has developed two identities: one is that of a CSR arm of the Anand Group, and the other is of an organisation that works with other corporates to execute their social and development plans. "We have developed sustainable and scalable programmes for community interventions in health, education and skill development, which can be replicated across the country, depending on funding levels," she informs. An important point that she makes is that corporates should work with established NGOs as their partners, as this would make delivery easier and more certain; it

totally uninteresting pastime! Meanwhile, some land has probably started being encroached even in the new sectors… which an MCG or HUDA Head will ‘discover’ a few years from now. MCG encroached land (main areas) Gwal Pahari 262 acres Nathupur 91 Sikanderpur Ghosi 56 Ghata 53 Jharsa 23 Badshahpur 23 Sarhaul 18 Gurgaon 13 Basai 11 Kadipur 11 acres

Contd on p 7 

The accumulating waste at the Bandhwari Waste Treatment Plant (which is shut down) has started to raise a stink! The Administration has ‘acted’ by sprinkling some chemical on it. They think that the waste that has seeped underground will just go away on its own if it is ignored long enough. Enough of this Administration!


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6-12 June 2014

RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–3 No.–42  6-12 June 2014

Editor:

Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondent: Abhishek Behl Correspondent:

Barnali Dutta

Sr. Photographer:

Prakhar Pandey

Sr. Designer:

Amit Singh

Circulation Execs.:

Sunil Yadav Manish Yadav

Manager Sales & Marketing: Sunil Kumar Dy. Manager A/cs & Admin:

Civic / Social...

Our Southern Suburb

The massive turnout witnessed in the Badshahpur Assembly constituency in the recent elections was also on account of the anger of the residents against the Congress government and the sitting MLA. Residents living in the HUDA sectors, private colonies and the large number of villages are unhappy that little has been delivered in the last many years. While it is a large assembly constituency, the core is around Badshahpur Village on Sohna Road, which came into prominence during the Mughal era. It is said that one of the queens of Bahadur Shah Zafar had a palace in this Village. The location of Badshahpur, and its emergence as the latest Real Estate hotspot in the new sectors of Gurgaon

Shiv Shankar Jha

Consulting Art Editor: Qazi M. Raghib Editorial Office 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122001, Haryana, Phones: +91 124 421 9092/93 Emails:

editor@fridaygurgaon.com

...P 10

Social... Kick that Habit

Wellness... ‘Keep Cool’ Herbs

The first day man meets the drink, the second day man drinks the drink and on the third day the drink drinks the man’….so goes an old, wise adage. Many also get hooked to certain allied addictions, like drugs. These addictions commence as a fancy, in due course become a need and eventually a force of habit. Addictions have ruined the lives of families and in many areas impacted the social fabric.

As hot summers scorch the land, plants and trees, animals scurry to find escape in any shady nook or corner. The delicate balance in our body too gets easily unsettled. As the ancient science of Ayurveda tells us, this is a time when excessive ‘Pitta’ can affect the delicate balance between the 3 ‘doshas’. At such times it is important to redress imbalances and mindfully nurture our mind, body and spirit.

Spritual... The Body and I

Bon Vivant... Summer Savour

Whenever we say ‘I’, we tend to refer to the body. We know that as long as we remain alive, that sense of self-hood will continue. On the other hand, all meditative practices tell us to detach our thoughts of ego or self-hood from the body – to gradually discover the ‘self’ that we have been seeking all through our journey. We will then be able to appreciate the ‘self’ in the same way that a music lover appreciates

Licking on ice creams, guzzling cold drinks, slurping watermelons and sucking juicy mangoes while insulating oneself from the blazing sun and the confined indoors; a sojourn in the hills or sunbathing on the breezy beaches as the sun beats down mercilessly…. welcome Summer time! Summer is a time of relaxation - a short break from a year full of academic rigours for the children, and a time for parents

contributions@fridaygurgaon.com subscription@fridaygurgaon.com adsales@fridaygurgaon.com Friday Gurgaon (Weekly) edited, published and printed by Atul Sobti on behalf of Arap Media Ventures Pvt. Ltd. from 213, Tower A, Spazedge, Sector 47, Sohna Road, Gurgaon 122018, Haryana. Printed at Indian Express Ltd., Plot No. A8, Sector 7, Gautam Budh Nagar, NOIDA – 201301, Uttar Pradesh

...P 18

...P 17

Global ....

Plus Other Stories.... Political

BJP believes it’s ‘ab ki baar...’...............................P 11 Kid Corner

Activities/Events/Exhibitions/ Seminars.......P 12-13

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...P 14

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

C ontents

Wellness

Harvested in Peru but….........................................P 15 Comment

BJP - The Social Way Forward............................P 16 Bon Vivant

...P 20-23

Fashionable MBA......................................................P 19


C oming U p

6-12 June 2014

03

Epicentre

Exhibition Contemporary Collection The Show is an eclectic mix of genres: of the works of eminent Artists like Manu Parekh, Raghu Rai, Paresh Maity, V Ramesh, Chintan Upadhyay, Thukral & Tagra, G R Iranna, Anita Dube and S Harsha Vardhana; as well as young Artists like Dileep Sharma, Sudhanshu Sutar, Sharmi Chowdhury, Suraj Kumar Kashi and Siddharth Pansari. Dates: Till June 20 Time: Monday to Saturday, 11 am to 7 pm Venue: Art Alive Gallery, No.120, Sector-44.

Music Dead End Entertainment and Message Charitable Trust present Jugalbandi Youth Festival 2014 Date: June 11, 2014 Time: 6.45 pm onwards A jugalbandi (entwined twins) is a performance in Hindustani Classical Music, which features a duet of two solo musicians (Vocal or Instrumental). Tabla and Pakhawaj Jugalbandi: Rashid Niyazi on the Tabla and Salman Khan on the Pakhawaj. Rashid is the son of renowned Harmonium player Ustad Kareem Niyazi. Salman belongs to the traditional musician family of Sarangi players of the Muradabad gharana. They are accompanied by Junaid Khan, a young and talented player, on the Sarangi.  Sarangi and Violin Jugalbandi: Suhail Yousuf Khan on the Sarangi and Darshan Singh on the Voilin. Suhail has been hailed as a child prodigy and comes from the Senia Gharana of Mian Tansen. He is the grandson of renowned Sarangi legend and Padmabhushan awardee Ustad Sabri Khan. Darshan Singh's imaginative yet structured approaches on

Dance Date: June 6 Time: 7:30 pm Bharatnatyam recital by Uma Nambudripad Sathyanarayanan, disciple of Chitra Visweswaran Dada Life India Tour Shout Drink presents Dada Life in association with Heineken,Vh1 India, MTV India and Smirnoff. Powered by Jack & Jones.
Event Brought to you by WMS & Muzik-One, Submerge, White Fox


 Date: June 7
 Time: 5 pm onwards.
 Venue: IKandy, Pullman Hotel
 Bring out the champagne and the bananas, this is gonna be a massive one. Awesomeness – Boot Camp Weekend India's first MTB Skills Park facility.
Explore your potential of riding your bikes on these tracks and spend a super fun filled weekend with friends and family.
 This Event is brought to you in association with Team CycloFit. Date: June 7 Time: 6:00 am Venue: Pedalers Village 

 Entry Fee: Free

Delhi's

Culture-Scape

If you wish to be featured in ‘Coming Up’ (for listing your forthcoming events in Gurgaon), please mail us at fridaygurgaongallery@gmail.com At Japan Foundation, New Delhi Frozen Words – Exhibition by Sreejata Roy Sreejata Roy exhibits her experience from her Artist – in – Residence program at Tokyo. She will focus on the 'negative' aspect of modern gadgets.

Dance Date: June 9 Time: 6:00 pm Summer Fiesta - a culmination of the Dance workshop conducted by Dance Company Theatre Date: June 7 Time: 7:30 pm 3 Sakina Manzil (Hinglish/100 minutes) The Play is a timeless love story of two silent lovers. Torn apart by destiny, they tread different paths only to meet again after five decades. Writer - Ramu Ramanathan; Producer - Desires Unlimited Drama Society; Director - Deepak Dhamija; Cast - Puneet Sikka, Tarun Singhal Tickets at Rs. 500 & 300 available at the Venue. Suitable for 16 years & above.

Date: Till July 18 (closed on Sundays and Public Holidays) Time: 11 am to 7 pm Entry Free ‘Click! Japan Photo Contest' The Embassy of Japan and The Japan Foundation invite applications for the Contest. The chosen

photos will be displayed in a photo exhibition at the Japan Foundation Gallery in August.  This Contest is open to any resident of India, of any nationality, who has stayed in Japan for any duration between April, 2013 and June, 2014. Deadline of submission is

Ragas reflects proficient aesthetic sensibility. They are accompanied by Sabir Hussain on the Tabla.  Indresh Mishra - Vocal. Indresh is an eminent Indian Classical Vocalist representing the Kirana & Banaras Gharanas. He is a proficient singer of various different genres of Hindustani Vocal Music - like Khyal, Thumri, Dadra, Chaiti and Kajari, Holi, Ghato, Sohar Tappa. He is accompanied by Karim Niyazi on the Harmonium and Mohd Amjad Khan on the Tabla.  Kathak Jugalbandi: Krishan Maharaj and Abhay Maharaj. Krishna - with Mohd Amjad on the Tabla and Junaid Khan on the Sarangi.

Stand-Up Comedy Date: June 8 Time: 6:30 pm & 8:00 pm Gurgaon's Funniest Day Of The Month (Hinglish/60 minutes each) 6:30 pm: Comedy In Diversity: Season-2. Comedians - Sumit Anand, Saiam Hasan, Vikramjit Singh and Denny George. Theme: Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai...sab ne mil kar hansi udaai.
8:00 pm: Third World Comedy – Indiosyncrasies.  Comedians - Nishant Tanwar, Zakir Khan and Abijit Ganguly. Tickets at Rs. 500/- for each Show available at the Venue. Suitable for 18 years & above. Free Seating. Music Date: June 12 Time: 7:30 pm Evergreen Melodies of Asha Bhosle - an evening of her songs, sung by eminent artistes from Mumbai & Delhi. In collaboration with Global Cultural Foundation. Tickets at Rs.200 available at the Venue. Suitable for all age groups.

June 30. Application Form and guidelines are available at http://www.jfindia.org. in/?event=click-japan-photocontest.   Film Screening Theme of the Month: Suspense Films with a Social Twist, by acclaimed

Director, Yoshitaro Nomura Title of the Film : The Incident Date & Time: June 4, at 6:30 pm June 14, at 2:00 pm Title of the Film: Suspicion Date & Time: June 18, at 6:30 pm June 28, at 2:00 pm


04

6-12 June 2014

H appenings

Femina Festive Showcase 2014

First off the block

M

ahesh Dayma, MCG Councillor Ward32, has set up 'Samadhan', a Forum for Inclusive Governance, at Golf Course Road. Resident are welcome to represent their problems related to Safety/Security/Electricity/ Water/Roads/Cleanliness/Public Transport/ Street Lights or any other civic problem. Samadhan will take up the complaints with the concerned authorities and ensure early resolution. Phone: 0124-2570097/9871602266. Address: #252, Sector-55, Golf Course Road. Email: maheshdayma55@gmail.com, Web site: www.maheshdayma.in

Superbikers Break-fast Together

If you wish to be featured in ‘Happenings’ (for coverage of your events in Gurgaon), please mail us at fridaygurgaongallery@gmail.com

S

andeep Bansil, MD, Techno Automobiles and the owner of the Indian Motorcycle Superbike showroom in Gurgaon, hosted a Breakfast Get Together for the Superbike Riding Groups of Delhi NCR. 


6-12 June 2014

Migrants First

A

s part of an ongoing ‘Pehal’ program among the community of migrant labourers inhabiting Chakarpur Village, United Technologies (UTC) in partnership with United Way of Delhi organised an Eye Camp and an awareness drive on health and hygiene for the community. The program aims to improve the lives of over 2,000 families of migrant labourers (10,000 people in all) who are living in makeshift houses in 20 slum clusters in the City.

Ecoskooling

P

anasonic India, under its Ecoskool Project, contributed Solar Lamps to 15 government primary and upper primary schools of Jhajjar, with the aim of strengthening the primary education system in this rural area. The Company also awarded 486 people, who mainly included teachers, students and VEC members. Among the dignitaries present at the occasion were Ram Rohilla DEO, Education Department; M.M Gupta - Vice President, SARD; and Mayank Shrivastava - DGM, Panasonic India.

H appenings

05


06

6-12 June 2014

THE WEEK THAT WAS  Sub-Regional Plan of Haryana (as part of NCR Plan) is notified, despite strong protests on environmental grounds.  Haryana notifies an ‘eco-friendly’ colonies’ policy – minimum 100 acres, density 25 persons per acre. Opposition says it is meant to facilitate setting up of farmhouses in erstwhile SEZ areas.  Minister Kataria is questioned by the SIT as part of the investigation in the ‘bogus votes’ case.  3 HPS/30 IPS officers are transferred across Haryana. Naazneen Bhasin, DCP (E) has been transferred as SP, Rewari; Bharti Arora, Joint Commissioner, HQ, Police, will additionally handle this assignment; Sangeeta Rani will take over as DCP (W) – she was earlier Addl. SP, Rewari.  3 senior school officials of a private school are taken into custody for allegedly abetting the suicide of a school supervisor.  Sanitation workers allegedly kill a colleague near Chhoti Mata Mandir; a 19-year-old labourer kills his colleague with a shovel.  A 29-year-old man from Chakarpur is held on charges of raping and  blackmailing a woman; a 10-year- old girl and her 6-year-old brother are taken away from their father, after the girl is discovered to have been raped by neighbours; a 22-year-old man is arrested from Chakarpur Village on charges of kidnap and sodomy of 2 minor boys; a woman is stabbed by her brother-in-law, after she resists his attempts to molest her; a 40-year-old teacher in Nurpur Village takes objectionable photos of a woman, and then tries to commit suicide when caught.  A 22-year-old woman (a private counsellor) admits that she faked her reported 6 hour abduction in a car; she did not want it known that she was out with a friend.  A 50-year-old man jumps in front of a Metro

 

train at IFFCO Chowk Station; he is saved by the timely action of the driver. A minor girl working as a maid is rescued after she tries to ‘escape’ via a drain pipe from a 6th floor flat; she alleges mistreatment, her employers say she was caught stealing. 6 staff members are held after a brawl takes place at a pub in Cyber Hub; 2 people are thrashed by Africans in DLF III, for throwing garbage into their compound. 8 are held for IPL betting. There is a fire in a warehouse storing wooden crates on Dhanwapur Road.

Palam Vihar residents.  An executive engineer of HUDA is suspended for not taking action to repair (despite repeated reminders, even from Chandigarh) the Southern Peripheral Road, which remains in a pathetic condition.  MCG Commissioner has been asked by environmentalists to not try out any fancy ‘project’ in the Biodiversity Park – it should be left well alone.  MCG Meeting to discuss the Budget turns into a farce, a slanging match between the MCG Commissioner and the Mayor, over the ‘highhandedness’ of the former.  HUDA allots 8 acres to NHAI for a proposed flyover at Hero Honda Chowk.  The e-way concessionaire will float a tender to chose the new operator for the next 9 years – till 2023 - by June 19th.  Multi-level parking facilities are being proposed at Sectors 29 and 43; the Sector 29 facility is proposed to cater to 1,000 vehicles.  MG Road Metro Station gets a prepaid auto booth; there will soon be one at Sikanderpur Station also.  Traffic on the Faridabad toll road runs toll free for over an hour, after commuters get impatient with delays.  A storm disrupts power in many parts of the City over last weekend.  Gurgaon Police is now on Twitter.

 A serial property fraudster is held – he had cheated various people, for a sum totalling Rs 20 crores!  2 bike-borne thieves are held – they were involved in 20 cases of snatching; a vehicle thief is arrested from Sector 9 - nine two wheelers are recovered.  2 people are held for cheating a Delhi-based businessman of over Rs 3 crores, for a deal involving costly mobile phones; 4 are booked for a Rs 2 lakhs online property fraud on a Sector 4 resident; 2 people are arrested for trying to steal a car from near Artemis Hospital.  There is a burglary in an advocate’s house in Palam Vihar – Rs 5 lakhs cash, valuables, cards and documents are taken away. Friday Gurgaon is also available at:  8 shops are broken into, in Sadar Indian Oil Petrol Pump (Opp. Neelkanth Hospital, M.G. Road) Bazar. Paritosh Book Stall (Sikanderpur Metro Station)

 There are multiple protests on various roads in the City, on account of serious problems faced by the residents on water and power supply and in getting basic civic facilities. The protests are by: the residents of the 900m restricted area around the Air Force Depot; Sushant Lok I residents, who give a 1 month ultimatum to their RWA; and New

C.S.P. - Kanchan (Opp. Vyapar Kendra - C Block Sushant Lok-1) C.S.P. - Swamy (Sector-14 Market, Near Mother Dairy) Deepak Book Stand (Bus Stand) Nagpal News Agency (Bus Stand) C.S.P. - Madan (New Railway Road) Jain Book Stall (New Railway Road) Rojgar Point Book Stall (New Railway Road) C.S.P. - Sector-14 Market (Near Mother Dairy) C.S.P. - Dharampal (Sohna Chowk) Karan Book Stall (Railway Station) Shashi (Fuwara Chowk) Raw (Sohna Chowk)

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'Hai Ye Gurgaon Meri Jaan' a ballad on Gurgaon, based on the legendary song... 'Ye hai Bombay Meri Jaan'. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHKm54U913g OR View it at the FG Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fridaygurgaon

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6-12 June 2014

C over S tory

07

The New Social Contract  Contd from p 1 is better than trying to set up projects on your own, for which some special skills and infrastructure would be required. Viraj Chauhan, Exectuive Director, MTS India, says that their company has been working with NGOs to implement their CSR objectives. "Although MTS is not making any profits in India we are still spending a substantial amount on health and education because we are a responsible company. For us CSR is about understanding the business' impact on the wider world and considering how a company can use this impact in a positive manner. It means taking a responsible attitude, going beyond the minimum legal requirements and following straightforward principles that apply irrespective of the size of the business," says Chauhan. Being a telecom company, MTS is using its strength to help children in schools, facilitating polio vaccinations and contributing to the Global Food network - which aims at preventing hunger among the poor. In a pioneering initiative, the Company partnered with the government and organised awareness drives in several Indian states - including Delhi and Haryana - to remind people about the need to get their children vaccinated against polio. MTS sends out about 10 million SMSs to its customers across the locations where the drives are going to be conducted. In addition the Company also arranges publicity material and assists in the setting up of polio booths. Chauhan says that MTS has been lauded for its consistent support to the IUEPN program, by Aid Matrix as well as UNICEF.  Organisations like Maruti, SRF, DLF and some others are also helping to improve the social and community parameters in Gurgaon and NCR. SRF Foundation works on an inclusive approach to bring about development, by involving local communities and their representatives. The Foundation has set up a number of schools in Mewat by adopting the cluster approach, with the goal of quality education for all. Bhavna Sood, Vice President, Corporate Communications, DS Group, tells Friday Gurgaon that the government move to make CSR mandatory will ensure that it gets more structured. Earlier it was the

CSR department alone, but now the entire management and Board of a company are equal stakeholders in executing their social responsibility. "Things would now be more streamlined and actions would be faster, as even in private companies the decision making has been slow for this kind of work,” says Sood. Her own organisation runs sustainable initiatives in health and education across the NCR, to help the poor and weaker sections of society. Regular mobile health clinics are run by the DS Group in urban slums and villages. Discussions and plans on CSR are normally centred around the corporates, and NGOs, who are a major stakeholder in this programme, are often not given adequate attention. It is the NGOs who, as development partners, mostly execute the CSR activities of the companies. There are only a few organisations, mainly large Public Sector Undertaking (PSUs), who have separate departments for this ‘function’. However, the CSR responsibility being outsourced to NGOs is not necessarily a smooth operation. While most NGOs are good in their work and mean well, there is often a lack of transparency and accountability, as also a mismatch of expectations. Vikram Verma of Smile Foundation adds that with more funding coming into the CSR area, the NGOs will have to change their work culture and understand corporate working in a better way. "NGOs need to be more responsible, develop better capacities to deliver, manage accounts better and consider the MoUs sacrosanct," he says. In addition there is need to develop quality talent and better leadership, says Verma, predicting that this ‘sector’ will witness a major transformation in the years to come. The focus is now more on community participation and new ways to  meet the needs of the community groups. A liquor company in Gurgaon recently launched Traffic Tau, an innovative idea, in association with Gurgaon Police, to make people aware about the problems of drunken driving (and preventing people from doing it). A major pharma company in India decided to sell a cocktail of anti-HIV drugs at a fraction of its cost, which led to a significant decrease in the price of these drugs in

the world markets. Maruti Suzuki, an auto industry leader based in Gurgaon, works with local communities around its plants in Gurgaon, Manesar and Rohtak, to help improve the lives of the weaker sections of society, and also to safeguard the environment. There is no separate CSR organisation in Maruti, but these activities are built into the DNA of the Company, and they have separate divisions for working with local communities, skill development and road safety training. Till now Maruti Driving Schools have trained around 1.5 million people. More Schools are being opened regularly. While corporates and NGOs are bracing for the change, social activists in Gurgaon say that the government should also open up and get ready to take help from the corporate expertise and funding. Latika Thukral of I Am Gurgaon says that projects like Biodiversity Park happened because officials were open to do so in collaboration with private partners. "There is however a need to form a ‘system’, because such long terms projects cannot depend on the whims and fancies of an official. The government must create a system, and also identify projects like greenery, afforestation and saving of village ponds, to be given to corporates and NGOs as their responsibility," says Thukral. Her own organisation works with private companies by involving all the stakeholders - which ensures that there is a long-term interest in the CSR work and there is a shared responsibility as well.  The need for integrating social responsibility into business practices is also being felt among the Indian corporates. Damyanti Bhowmik of SNS Foundation says that there is need for greater evaluation and transparency norms both for business and social initiatives. Others opine that projects should be genuine and serve the society, and should not be guided by profit, or undertaken to influence a certain section or community, or taken up for currying favour with some individual in government or the bureaucracy. A paradigm shift in the CSR is also taking place because corporates now realise the importance of building their 'reputation capital' - which

is becoming very helpful in winning and sustaining new markets and businesses globally. In such a scenario, CSR could soon be a core business strategy, which may help in reducing risks while ensuring long-term profits through the co-option of all the stakeholders. In Gurgaon, CSR could play an important role in

taking care of some glaring deficiencies in the civic and social facilities and services, and in ensuring basic care for the underprivileged – helping ‘rebuild’ the City in some manner. The need is for corporate leaders to have a social vision and similarminded social partners to help them achieve their societal goals. u

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write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

W

hile there may be a sense of elation among local apartment owners after the NOIDA and Greater NOIDA authorities adopted the UP Apartment Act 2010 to bring housing transactions under a stronger legal framework, Gurgaon residents are sceptical over this development as they have had a very bad experience in the Millennium City (Haryana adopted the Apartment Owners Act in 1983). Both the UP Apartment Act and the Haryana Apartment Owners Act are based originally on the Maharashtra Apartment Owners Act, and housing activists say that unless the government authorities (especially Town & Country Planning) implement the Act in letter and spirit, it will be impossible to rein in the builders. Pooja Aganpal, a

Now NOIDA gets into the Act Gurgaon-based lawyer who has fought several cases on behalf of the RWAs here, says that it is a welcome decision, but the NOIDA area officials should first come to Gurgaon and understand the loopholes if they really want to seriously and effectively implement it. Till now apartment ownership in the NOIDA area was governed by the UP Industrial Act 1976. The UP Apartment Act 2010 is expected to benefit more than 8 lakhs house buyers in the twin cities of NOIDA/Greater NOIDA, where Real Estate development has faced a setback because of litigation, complaints against private builders and disputes related to sizes of houses, delivery, quality and possession. An RWA member who has witnessed the spat between local residents and Supertech (builder) – a case

{ Maj. Gen. R. K. Kaushal (Retd.) }

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rime Minister Narendra Modi seems to have set in motion a consolidation process of geo-strategic and geo-economic potential, which should enable India to take its due place in the comity of nations. The invitation to SAARC heads of government for the oath-taking ceremony was an exceptional diplomatic move in this direction. While Pakistan’s initial ambivalence was seen as a manifestation of the tussle between the elected government, the all-powerful Army establishment and the hardcore right-wing ulemas, the fact that Nawaz Sharif did come shows that the democratic government in Pakistan has been able to (more than partially) overcome the inhibitions of the other stakeholders. Sharif has personally also stood true to his election promise of developing good relations with India. In the talks Modi conveyed that Pakistan must prevent territory under its control from being used for terrorism against India and that the accused in the Mumbai terror attacks must be convicted. He confirmed that the two countries could move towards normalisation of trade on the basis of the September 2012 roadmap on political and economic relations. Sharif called upon the two neighbours to strive to change ‘confrontation into co-operation’, and that ‘engaging in accusations and counter-accusations would be counter-productive.” He laid emphasis on the Lahore Declaration (with PM Vajpayee, in 1999). The relations between India and Pakistan become more complex when Afghanistan is brought in. The modern day ‘Great Game’ is playing out once again in Afghanistan, but for different reasons. The spread of ‘Islamic terrorism’ represents the geo-strategic dimension, while the lure to tap Afghanistan’s hitherto

that went to the Allahabad High Court - says that they hope that the new Apartment Act will discipline the builders. While this Act should make property transactions and delivery easier, Aganpal says that if builders manage to ‘co-opt’ the authorities – like in Gurgaon - then no rule or regulation can save the buyers. Citing a recent instance, Aganpal says that years after filing the Deed of Declaration a builder is trying to convert an EWS Housing section of an apartment complex into a residential tower - and for this no sanctions have been obtained! Shops, which were never part of any plan, have been built and sold! As a result of these violations the residents were forced to approach the court, which

granted an injunction. Likewise, Commander Dharmvir Yadav (Mayfield Gardens RWA Head) says that the Haryana Urban Development Act 1976, despite giving all powers to the State government to be able to act against errant builders, has only been used to perpetuate their (builders’) hegemony. Mayfield Gardens (colony), which has been built by a consortium of builders, is devoid of any facilities, despite there being adequate laws in Haryana. In fact Aganpal states the Haryana govt has stealthily brought in the new Societies Act 2012 to dilute the Haryana Apartment Owners Act. This, perhaps as planned, has caused utter confusion in Gurgaon. Aganpal adds that the Societies Act has been introduced only to help the builders, and avers that RWAs

Dynamics of Indo-Pak-Afghan Triangle unknown mineral wealth represents the geo- economic dimension. China, India, Russia and the United States are the major powers embroiled here, but Pakistan and Iran are also very much in the game. The spread of global terrorism can be attributed to the creation of a Frankenstein monster - the mujahedeen - by the United States in 1979 (with the help of the Pakistan ISI), in order to undermine Soviet power in Afghanistan. Once the Soviet troops left in 1989 and the Najibullah Regime collapsed in 1992, the Taliban dropped off the U.S. radar. They swept into Kabul in 1996 and provided safe heaven to Al Qaida - an epicenter of international terror by then. The 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers made the US realise that its own creation had come back to haunt it – to penetrate its ‘impregnable’ fortress. Thus began Operation Enduring Freedom in October 2001, led by the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. In all these years, while the IASF has not been able to eliminate the Taliban, they have been were able to keep them on the run and engaged. However, the withdrawal of ISAF at the end of 2014 could create a vacuum, which could have serious implications for regional security. Afghans are a fiercely independent race and will not countenance occupation by any power. Moreover, neither Russia, China nor India will be willing to substitute the US and get into this quagmire. Some observers believe that the Afghan government forces will not be able to effectively deal with the resurgent Taliban and the current Presidential elections will not lead to any political stability. In fact the resulting infighting will only benefit the Taliban. However, a large turnout for the first phase of Presidential Elec-

tions in April 2014, despite the Taliban threat, is a very good omen. Abdullah Abdullah, the frontrunner, and even two other candidates, has accused Pakistan of aiding the Taliban. He claimed that Pakistan is using the Taliban ‘as a tool of foreign policy’, and that the Afghan governmentwould have to prevent Pakistan from destabilising Afghanistan through proxies. He added that in order to marginalise the Taliban, the Afghan people needed to stand together behind a unifying authority. Much will also depend on Pakistan’s primary national interests and how those interests play out in the context of the interests of the other major actors that are engaged in this Great Game. Would Pakistan, support Mullah Omar and his cohorts, to try and set up a pliant regime in their backyard? Pakistan should not try to destabilise the Afghan Government, lest Afghanistan once again becomes the hub of Al-Qaida and also proves detrimental to Pakistan’s own security in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Some international observers also warn that the battle-hardened Taliban, with the support of some leading intelligence agencies and ISI, will try and spread terrorism in the Central Asian Republics, China’s Xinjiang province, Iran and India. The recent attack on the Indian Consulate in Herat is an indicator of this. To protect their interest vis-àvis the Taliban, Russia and China should also assume a greater role in the area and support the democratic process in Afghanistan. Both Iran and India will have a strong incentive to work with them. Russia and China should do their best to strengthen, train, equip and support the Afghan Armed Forces and a National Government in Kabul. While Afghanistan is acknowledged as a strategic hub in Central Asia, it is

in NOIDA should be cautious from day one. Another instance of how the Haryana Apartment Owners Act has become a toothless tiger in Gurgaon can be seen in the case of Unitech Fresco - where the residents’ Association was forced to take over the maintenance because the builder had been providing shoddy service and was not responsive. The RWA, in a recent general body meeting, alleged that poor quality of construction, poor maintenance and lack of security had forced them to initiate legal proceedings, to ensure that builder exited the project. A large number of buyers complained that they had paid almost 95 per cent of the money over 5 years ago! Aganpal concludes that while the implementation of the UP Apartment Act will probably ensure that there is more clarity in transactions, it is the actual implementation that would be key to ensuring that buyers are not taken for a ride later on. u

located at the crossroads of pipeline routes and major oil and gas reserves. Its huge mineral wealth as well as its untapped natural gas reserves was not in the public domain till 2010. These previously unknown deposits – including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium  – are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry, that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centres in the world and become one of the richest economies in this Region – no longer depending on doles and exports of poppy. However, for this, Afghans must create a business-friendly environment. Ever since the establishment of democracy in Afghanistan, India has been following a policy of ‘Soft Power’ by people-friendly projects in agriculture, rural development, education, health, energy and vocational training. Important infrastructural projects have also been undertaken, including the construction of dams, power projects, electricity transmission lines and even the Afghan Parliament Building. India has also helped in the expansion of the National Television Network, establishment of an Agriculture university and the construction of the 218-kilometer Zaranj-Delaram Highway - enabling Afghanistan to have access to the sea via Iran. India also plans to lay a 900-kilometer railway line that would connect to the Delhi-financed Chabahar Port in Iran, which would helpful in the shipment of minerals. Ironically, India’s local successful connect has made Pakistan’s security establishment very uncomfortable. Hopefully this dilemma will also be discussed and amicably resolved at a larger forum, when the post-2014 Afghanistan situation is reviewed.u


S ocial

6-12 June 2014

{ Barnali Dutta / FG }

T

he first day man meets the drink, the second day man drinks the drink and on the third day the drink drinks the man’….so goes an old, wise adage. Many also get hooked to certain allied addictions, like drugs. These addictions commence as a fancy, in due course become a need and eventually a force of habit. Addictions have ruined the lives of families and in many areas impacted the social fabric. They have led many an individual to a state of acute depression. The ‘normal’ treatment or ‘return path’ has been one of counselling and paternal care, to help convince the addicted person to kick the bad habit. This City has its far share of addicts. Fortunately, Gurgaon has a centre that provides remedy to alcohol or drug addicts. Lifeskills Consulting, dedicated to a humane cause, is the first of its kind in the National Capital Region. It is run by an enterprising veteran from the world of mass media. Meena Iyer, CEO and founder of Lifeskills Consulting, is a psychologist and an expert in Reiki and hypnotherapy, besides being a motivational trainer. She provides the muchneeded healing touch, to the addicts and alcoholics, with an element of dignity. As Meena Iyer put it, an addict is not a ‘mad’ person and rehabilitation is a process of reviving and regenerating the ethical mindset of the affected person in a constrained manner. Rehabilitation involves both medical and psychotherapeutic treatment. A notable feature of the Lifeskills Consulting rehab centre is its very ambience. Apart from the homely environs, a person undergoing de-addiction can opt for the double or single occupancy air-conditioned suites having television and Wi-Fi links. There are also numerous other facilities, such as gym, sauna, steam, swimming pool, basketball, badminton and tennis. Each admitted person has the privilege of interacting with his/her near and dear ones once in a week. This is sup-

Kick that Habit

PRAKHAR PANDEY

plemented by outings - to watch movies or to go for picnics. Meena Iyer says, “We get clients from diverse backgrounds. We have had entrepreneurs, IT executives, lawyers, TV producers, corporate trainers and students. It doesn’t matter where they are from or what they drink or consume. What’s common is their utter powerlessness vis a vis their addiction and their family members’ anguish at what they have been reduced to.” The wide array of treatments reveals that, by and large, our westernised urban society has succumbed to fancies that range from spirits to narcotics and psychotropic substances. A majority of the addicts assume or presume that a dose of liquor or dope enhances their romantic indulgence. What they don’t realise is that it may pep up their desire but reduce their performance! The therapies followed at Lifeskills Consulting are holistic. They range from the basic analysis of an addict to appropriate remedial measures - like counselling, Reiki, meditation, hypnotherapy and group discussions. Surprisingly, nowadays rehabs are not considered to be taboo. The addicts finally wish to face the issue and try and move forward…and hopefully come out of rehab with smiling faces. Sonal Dutt Verma (38), who at one time was an addict, is a reformed person today and takes immense interest in the activities at this Centre. Recalling his trauma, he says, “I went through pangs of addiction personally. It starts as a fancy, the fancy be-

comes a need, which in turn becomes a force of habit. I finally got myself admitted to the Safe House Wellness Retreat. After six months as a patient at Safe House I took up addiction counselling with a passion. I currently head the treatment programme at Safe House, in addiction to partnering with Lifeskills.” Anita (name changed), in her early 30s,

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is a heroin addict who came from Bangalore, and is in the process of checking out. She says, “Having run away from a previous rehab, I had gone through moments of relapse despite the detoxification sessions.” However, today she is beaming a smile of confidence and is keen to revert to her career as an IT professional. It is important to realise that addiction is not really ‘connected’ with willpower. If the family members, including the spouse, think that they can convince a person to will himself to only drink occasionally, it will not work. Addiction is a physical, mental and spiritual disease. The guzzlers out there need to remember to ‘enjoy the drink but never let the drink enjoy you’. Likewise, those relying on drugs must also realise that one can live without being dopey. Meena adds, “We at Life skills believe that de-addiction and rehabilitation can be achieved in a caring and compassionate environment. Alcoholics and drug addicts can start a fresh chapter in their lives - one where they feel responsible for their health, career, finances and relationships. Every person who comes to us is an opportunity for us to give back to society a healthy, happy and productive human being.” u you can visit the website: www.lifeskills.co.in.


10 write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

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he massive turnout witnessed in the Badshahpur Assembly constituency in the recent elections was also on account of the anger of the residents against the Congress government and the sitting MLA. Residents living in the HUDA sectors, private colonies and the large number of villages are unhappy that little has been delivered in the last many years. While it is a large assembly constituency, the core is around Badshahpur Village on Sohna Road, which came into prominence during the Mughal era. It is said that one of the queens of Bahadur Shah Zafar had a palace in this Village. The location of Badshahpur, and its emergence as the latest Real Estate hotspot in the new sectors of Gurgaon (Gurgaon II), has also added to its strategic importance. A large number of schools, educational institutions, residential and commercial Real Estate is coming up in the vicinity, thus changing the face of this once rustic village where agriculture and pastoral farming was the main source of income. The sharp rise in land prices has brought considerable affluence to the villagers, which can be seen in the huge palatial buildings and luxury cars that dot this Village. However, infrastructure and development, which are necessary for the integration of the village and the villagers with the City, is still missing. With the lopsided development that is taking place in Sector 67 to 70, this Village will also soon turn into an urban ghetto (like the many others in Gurgaon). Rajesh Yadav, a local activist, says that the area around Badshahpur needs immediate attention, and the government must act fast to create roads, water and power utilities, a proper bus stand, and decongest the market on Sohna Road. A Detailed Project Report (DPR) that was prepared (a year ago) by the MCG to develop the Village and the surrounding areas is still hanging fire as the Municipality has decided to change the plans. Locals allege that promises made by the Chief Minister and local MLA, to set up a college and other infrastructure in this Constituency, have not been fulfilled. Yadav says that the majority of plans remain on paper, and the much-touted Southern Peripheral Road, which was launched to connect Sohna, Faridabad and the new sectors of Gurgaon

Our Southern Suburb

with NH8, is in a pitiable condition. Manoj Kakrola, a local leader, says that they are fighting the system to ensure that the heritage of Badshahpur, its culture and its wealth is saved. He also tries a take a broad view of the social change that is taking place. "There are a large number of new schools and educational institutes that have opened up on both sides of Sohna Road. We are sending our kids to these institutes, to ensure that they have a bright future, but sometimes our rural kids are unable to mix with the urban crowd, and this causes problems," says Manoj. In his opinion, international schools like GD Goenka, DPS, Ryan and others must feel it their responsibility to help the local youngsters assimilate into their system, and prepare them well for the challenges ahead. The residents are happy that Badshahpur, instead of getting turned into an industrial hub like Manesar, has arrived as a residential, commercial and educational hub of Gurgaon II. Ryan International School, DPS Marutikunj, Kumaramangalam University, Pathways School, JK Business School and several other institutions have come up in and around this area. Manish Yadav, a young leader, says that while private institutions are aplenty, there is little effort being made by the government towards the civic and social development of the area. Yadav says that Badshahpur, despite being in the heart of the Gurgaon Parliamentary constituency, has been neglected because it is an Ahir dominated area – loyal to MP (and now Central Minister) Rao Inderjit Singh. Because of this a large number of unauthorised colonies in Badshahpur have not been regularized, despite most

Some things don’t change easily…

Chief Engineer-I, HUDA Panchkula, R.K. Kakkar had given specific orders on May 2nd for the immediate repair of the Southern Peripheral Road (SPR) and the Superintending Engineer, HUDA Circle-II, Gurgaon had issued an inspection note four times (on March 31st., May 2nd., May 15th. and May 27th.) to the Executive Engineer (XEN), HUDA Division No. I, Gurgaon, to take up the repair work on a priority basis. However, the concerned XEN did not take up the work, and has now been suspended by the Department. others getting the benefit. In fact, even those that have been authorised have not been even surveyed for development work. Roads in major parts of this entire constituency, particularly in the rural areas as well as in some internal HUDA sectors, are in a pitiable condition. The lack of playgrounds, parks and public spaces - apart from the traditional choupals - is also an important issue that needs to be addressed.  Pravin Tyagi, a Badshahpur resident, says that government schools should be improved, the number of teachers increased, girls’ education should be made more secure, so that the rural populace is better able to compete with their urban counterparts and migrants. He also wants a better transport connect of

this area with the rest of Gurgaon and other rural parts, as a large population is now living here. "The shared autos and other such means are not able to handle the huge traffic," asserts Tyagi. The locals however are happy that Real Estate development in this area has brought wealth, income generating opportunities and employment for the locals. The wave of construction in the areas close to Badshahpur is massive, with large number of residential complexes coming up in sector around Badshahpur Village. What started as an affordable housing destination has now turned into a hub of luxury housing - as Sector 67 is well connected to the Golf Course Extension Road (Southern Peripheral Road) and Sohna Road – making even NH 8 quite accessible. Perhaps this is also a reason, says Amit Sharma, a realtor, that this area has become a hub of investors as well. Sector 68 also offers god connectivity with Gurgaon, Delhi and Sohna and is becoming a residential hub, although smaller apartments with lower ticket size are available in this Sector. Pareena, Supertech, Spire and Era Constructions are the major builders in the area, with the rates hovering in an affordable range of Rs 4,500 to Rs 5,000. Sharma says that a majority of the projects in this area are in a construction stage, with around 25 per cent having been delivered. Apart from investors, a large number of end users have also bought property in the area, as there is already a developed ecosystem in the adjoining areas, says Real Estate consultant Pankaj Tomar. "There are a good number of schools in and around Badshahpur. Many malls, shops and offices have come up on Sohna Road, " says Tomar. His only worry is that the government agencies have still not delivered on

PRAKHAR PANDEY

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

C ivic/S ocial

6-12 June 2014

the infrastructure front in the sectors, nor have the builders done much outside of constructing buildings. Another issue that is likely to be faced by developers is that, with the High Court refusing permission to HUDA to acquire any further land from farmers for the development of civic utilities, they would now have to find a different way forward. The locals says that the builders should contribute their own land for the building of internal roads and civic facilities, given the huge amount paid for each buyer towards Internal Development Charges (IDC). Rajesh Yadav asserts that there is a simmering tension between the farmers and the government over the ‘forcible acquisition’ of land, as people do not want to sell their land cheap. They know better now. "Why should a farmer sell his land at a rate that is lower than what is being offered in the market?” asks Yadav. He adds that there is great resentment amongst the farmers against the recent issuance of Land Acquisition notifications - more than 1,955 acres of land have been notified in the villages of Badshahpur constituency. The locals say that the government should stop conniving with the builders. "Some of us don’t want to sell, but even if land is required it should be compensated for as per new Land Acquisition Act," says a local.  While there is a lot of resentment with the state government, the voters in Badshahpur have great expectations from the Modi government, for whom they voted in record numbers. Rao Inderjit Singh, Gurgaon MP and Union Minister, tells Friday Gurgaon that all efforts would be made to deliver on the promises of development and growth in the area. The first thing on his agenda is to set up a world-class National Defence University at Binola. As a Central Minister for Planning he also wants to contribute to infrastructure and environment projects. He cautions that real change in Badshahpur will come only when the BJP comes to power in Haryana and a leader from South Haryana takes over the reins at Chandigarh. The residents of Badshahpur agree, and say that despite voting for the Congress MLA multiple times, there has been little local development. They are hoping that trickles of development will anyway start soon, like for the rest of the country. They would then feel encouraged to vote for the BJP in the legislative (Vidhan Sabha) elections as well.u


P olitical

6-12 June 2014

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

G

ood days in Haryana are bound to come if the people of the State vote BJP to power in the ensuing State polls, as they have done in the Lok Sabha elections, says the Head of BJP Gurgaon, Tejpal Tanwar. He is a veteran of many battles and has seen the fluctuating fortunes of the Party in a State where local political parties have mainly held sway. Though Congress has managed to out-manoeuvre the INLD, BJP and other smaller parties for a long time, strong anti-incumbency against the Hooda government may ensure that the BJP this time becomes the frontrunner for power in this still extensively rural State. While caste, and community loyalties will continue to play an important role, Tanwar strongly believes that people will give his Party a chance because they now want a party that will bring development and

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

write to us at letters@fridaygurgaon

T

he setback faced by the Aam Aadmi Party in the Lok Sabha polls has forced a churning within. The primary objective now is to infuse internal democracy down to the rank and file. AAP has been forced to look into this aspect of the organisation after senior party leaders, activists and even dedicated volunteers alleged that the Party is being run by a group of only four to five people, which goes against the very ethos on which the Party was established. Gurgaonbased Kishore Asthana, founder member and part of the apex team, says that the National Executive meeting of the Party being held on June 6 and 7 will be crucial. "The main thrust will be on internal democracy, on ensuring that decisions are taken with consensus. There is a hundred percent support for Arvind Kejriwal, but it is also being felt that certain decisions taken by the leadership on the spur of the moment have badly hurt us," says Asthana. In AAP the National Council comprises of a large collegium, which then elects the National Executive, and this elected body nominates the powerful Political Affairs Committee. The members are keen that the Party gets back its aam aadmi touch. Asthana is candid. "Our Delhi govt should not have resigned,

BJP believes it’s ‘ab ki baar...’

growth. Till now Haryana has been dominated by powerful clans who have strong pocket boroughs, and once elevated to power they indulge in parochial development restricted to their areas. Tanwar asserts that under the BJP the era of the ‘CM City’ will be brought to an end, and the entire State will get equal attention - particularly the backward areas of Haryana.

The victory of BJP in the Gurgaon Lok Sabha election, he says, is a clear message that Modi's charisma and the strong locals roots of Rao Inderjit Singh are a winning combination. "In Haryana we have a strong team, a good organisation and committed workers," says Tanwar. He believes that the Party should project a right leader for the post

of Chief Minister, and thereafter fight the election with full force. He adds that coalitions have not really worked, and this time the BJP should fight the battle alone and possibly project Rao Inderjit Singh as the candidate for Haryana CM. Though the decision in this regard has to be taken by the Parliamentary Board, a choice of Rao Inderjit would almost assure the BJP of 30 seats. "In case there has to be a coalition, it should be based on performance and not on any emotional reasons," asserts Tanwar. He also opines that whatever is decided by the Party and the leaders, and workers will abide by that as loyal soldiers. Referring to the earlier apprehensions among BJP workers on the entry of the Gurgaon MP and his supporters (from the Congress), Tanwar says it is just that anyone who enters the Party has to follow

AAP Introspects The critics of AAP say that the Party is still in a ‘movement’ mode, rather than trying to become a mature political party that can offer quality governance. The Party would do well to help mitigate the frustration of the masses, which is still real, rather than fight for causes that are of little concern to their core constituency. It can no longer be led by politics based on just the instincts of top leaders like Kejriwal. The country too needs a vigilant opposition, like AAP, which will continue to raise issues that are often forgotten by a ruling class and Party. and we should not have made the election campaign personal (by attacking certain individuals)", he says. Kejriwal has also called for retrospection. According to Asthana, AAP should relaunch itself in its original avatar – with a focus on corruption, inflation, scamridden governance and the problems faced by people in their daily lives. “Beyond a certain point no one is really concerned whether Ambani gets a major contract or not; everyone is more worried about his or her job, the cost of food and availability of power. Also, we erred in making a major shift in our plank by bringing in communalism as a top priority, saying that it was even a more potent danger than corruption. Our ‘mool mantra’ was changed,“ he says. Communalism has unfortunately become a ‘bogey’, a tired concept, in Indian politics, and has been milked by all kinds of parties. “The Congress in Delhi was defeated by focusing

on corruption and price rise. The success of the AAP movement will depend more on our ability to focus and deliver on local issues, than in espousing some grand vision for the entire country. The Party should concentrate in its core areas of Delhi and Punjab, and gradually move to Haryana,“ adds Asthana. On Haryana, he says that, despite it being close to Delhi and many parts of the State being a part of NCR, the political ground is still not ripe for a successful AAP experiment - which was also visible in the Lok Sabha polls. On the decision to fight the Lok Sabha polls nationwide, Asthana says that it was seen as an important strategic thrust. However, that collective decision did not pay off; maybe more thought should have gone into it. “The Party also needs to reconsider its stand vis a vis the media, police and other institutions of the State. In politics we should not make anyone – and definitely not everyone - an enemy. In the run up to the Lok Sabha elections, there had almost been

a war of attrition with certain media channels, and the Party had decided to ‘abstain’ from those that were not supporting its cause. "We need to clearly understand and accept the reality that AAP is no more a movement – and act accordingly. AAP is a political party, which needs to function within a system, and yet have the flexibility to manoeuvre for the betterment of the people whom it represents,"

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the organisation’s rules and regulations. The loyal party workers will always be specially appreciated and respected. "After winning at the Centre, the next target is Chandigarh, as winning power in the State is the only way we can end the prolonged discrimination with this area (South Haryana)," asserts Tanwar. Referring to the politics of polarisation in Mewat, Tanwar says that the Congress is responsible for practising ‘minority politics’, and this is also the reason why it has alienated a huge section of population. Appreciating the role played by the RSS in the recent Lok Sabha polls, Tanwar says that they helped greatly in providing a support system to the BJP, especially for co-ordination and monitoring. What should give heart to Gurgaonites is Tanwar’s assurance that all those builders who have not delivered as per their plans will be taken to task, the farmers who have not been paid their due compensation will get justice, and forcible land acquisition will be stopped.u he asserts. “The leadership needs to develop more gravitas, more depth, and should take the seniors and advisors into confidence before launching specific projects. The AAP leadership should imbibe our constitution in letter and spirit. We have senior people like Admiral Ramdas and several others who can contribute quite well," he asserts. He also points to certain important decisions that were taken by a small coterie – like the ‘sudden’ announcement of Kumar Vishwas as the AAP candidate against Rahul Gandhi, Shazia Ilmi's shift to Ghaziabad, and the bringing in of ‘outside’ candidates. He maintains that AAP won in Delhi because the candidates were local, common, honest people who had the zeal to make an impact in the lives of the aam aadmi. AAP would do well to remember this, to remain a relevant, and respected, player in the Indian political scene.u

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6-12 June 2014

K id C orner

Printmaking Workshop

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n its journey to provide an ideal environment and opportunity for untapped artistic talent, Pathways School took the first concrete step by organising the Printmaking Workshop. A group of eminent artists (like Anjolie Ela Menon, Gogi Saroj Pal, Ved Nayar), along with emerging artists and promising art students, collaborated to make intaglio portfolios. 

The Golden Abacus

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anav Sethia of Class 3A, Ryan International School, Sector 40, won the Gold Medal at the Inter-State Abacus Competition held recently at Jaipur.

Camping High

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right sunshine, greenery, pure air and eclectic surroundings are what the adventurers of Grades 6 to 9 of MRIS-46 experienced during their recent Adventure Camp to Mehli. The organisers had lined up a number of exciting and challenging adventure sports, day and night treks, morning drills and games for the young explorers. The Camp mentors observed the performances, behaviour, curiosity and connect among the students and awarded medals and certificates to the best in various categories.

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


K id C orner

6-12 June 2014

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Kunskamp 2014

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he first Summer Camp was organised at the School, for 2 weeks, with an aim to develop creativity, imagination, personality, teamwork & bonding - and, on top of all, to have fun. There were Art & Sculpture, Ballet and Robotics workshops. Little girls learnt the basics of Contemporary Jazz and Ballet and then performed at the end, much to the delight of their parents. The Robotics Workshop was equally fascinating, with the students creating, programming and then instructing their robots. In the Creative Art Workshop the students created their own masterpieces by exploring various mediums - like water colours, oil pastels, charcoal, ink, clay, papier mache, plaster of paris and waste material. The participants created murals, paintings, sculptures and clay stamps. Kunskamp 2014 culminated with an Art exhibition showcasing the works of the participants. The Exhibition was inaugurated by Padmashree Keshav Mallik. While appreciating the artworks he emphasised that schools should provide adequate opportunities to their students to be creative and to explore different forms of Art. After creating footprints in Sweden, UK & USA, Kunskapsskolan is now changing the educational landscape in India. Kunskapsskolan Gurgaon was established with the vision to empower every student to master the challenges of today and shape the world of tomorrow. The School has a strength of 550 students - from Pre-Nursery till Grade 7 - and follows the CBSE Board. IXPLORE Daycare and Activity Center Summer Champs Fun Club Fun-filled Summer Camp for children, with loads of activities to explore Date: June 9 to 28, Age Group: 3 to 9 years, Venue: Sector 46

Vani Verma, Class KII, Chiranjiv Bharati School

Artistic Strokes Karan Madan, Class VII, Blue Bells Model School

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2th Class Toppers of Science & Commerce (CBSE Board Exam.) Vivekanand Academy Senior Secondary School. Sector 7 Ext.


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W ellness

6-12 June 2014

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

‘Keep Cool’ Herbs { Jaspal Bajwa }

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s hot summers scorch the land, plants and trees, animals scurry to find escape in any shady nook or corner. The delicate balance in our body too gets easily unsettled. As the ancient science of Ayurveda tells us, this is a time when excessive ‘Pitta’ can affect the delicate balance between the 3 ‘doshas’. At such times it is important to redress imbalances and mindfully nurture our mind, body and spirit. Any activity that makes us feel light, refreshed and re-energised is what works best. Foods and beverages that generate heat in the body are best avoided - as are activities like overeating or eating late in the day. The best foods to pacify ‘Pitta’ and to control the ‘Fire’ element (symbolized by the Heart ) are from the bitter and astringent taste spectrum. In summer these include - fresh, seasonal leafy greens, asparagus, broccoli , endives, escarole, cucumber, coconut, various melons and gourds. Lightly spicing the food with lemon grass, parsley, coriander, cilantro, basil and other fresh herbs works better (than heavily spiced dishes). Infusions made with flowers (like Hibiscus, Chrysanthemum, peppermint or spearmint) are great. Potassium-rich vegetables like squashes (acorn, butternut, winter squash and zucchini contain between 10-25% of the Daily

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Value), mushrooms, avocadoes, potatoes, dark leafy greens and fruits like bananas and cantaloupes can help alleviate heatstroke symptoms. In the Indian herbal system, example of herbs and plants that produce a cooling effect in the body are: amalaki, pomegranate, grapes (draksha), chandan (sandal) , guduchi, khus khus, coconut, fresh lime or lemon. Similarly, in the Chinese medicine discipline there are several coolness-producing herbs – like roots of stellaria (yin chai hu), swallowwort (bai wei), wolfberry (di gu pi), tree peony (mu dan pi), ningpo figwort (xuan shen), groomwell (zi cao), lotus seed, lily bulb and longan fruits.

summers, instead of taking hot beverages (like infusions or green tea) that are cooling in nature, a common misconception to tackle the heat is to over-indulge in icy drinks. This extends to setting of our air-conditioners to the ‘max’ blast power. Just as overly-iced drinks can lead to a slowing down of the digestion process, so also violent changes to body temperature in overcooled rooms can compromise the body’s immunity and can easily lead to colds and flu. It is best to set the A/C thermostat as close as possible to ambient temperatures; and instead of bonechilling temperatures, offer the body the full benefits of humidity control.

Tip of the Week

Nature’s Wonder Food(s) of the Week : Khus or Vetiveria Zizanoides Khas or Khus - a densely

Our body does not adjust well to swift and extreme differences in temperature. At the peak of

rinary Incontinence is a very common and often debilitating ailment, yet it is hardly taken seriously by people. Despite hampering normal life, Urinary Incontinence (or loss of bladder control), which leads to leakage of urine or dribbling, is often accepted by the elderly as a part of their ageing process. However, it can be controlled and managed with proper medical intervention, which can radically improve the quality of loves of the affected. Often, embarrassment or a sense of shame prevents people from discussing their urinary problems, but this attitude needs to change. People often experience problems with their urinary system but sometimes ignore them, thinking it might be due to inadequate water consumption. Often they hope the problem will subside on its own. Losing control of your bladder, leading to a frequent need to urinate, can be a devastation condition. “Urinary Incontinence implies that a person would lead a restricted life, think twice before stepping out of the house, and be unable to undertake journeys. By

tufted grass - is native to India. Not only is it a boon for farmers in warm climates, as it prevents soil erosion, it is also a preferred ingredient for cooling sherbets and a flavouring agent. This grass is also used extensively to make fresh-smelling cooling mats for room air-coolers and hand-fans. Khus Essential Oil has extensive use in aromatherapy. Khus has been used in traditional medicine in South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Africa, to temper excessive heat, acidity, fever, mouth ulcers, burns, excessive thirst and heat strokes. Khus pacifies Pitta, stimulating a fresh and cooling effect - similar to mint or peppermint. It has strong anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, in addition to being an important adaptogenic tonic for the circulatory

Bladder (Re)Control no means should this condition be taken as a way of life, especially when there are medical interventions that can provide relief,” says Dr Anurag Khaitan, Sr Consultant Urology, Paras Hospitals. Poor urinary control and incontinence in males may be due to enlarged prostate or various other medical conditions like diabetes, Parkinsonism or stroke,” explains Dr Sandeep Harkar, Consultant Urology, Paras Hospitals. The problem of loss of bladder control is more common in women. During pregnancy, when babies push down the bladder and urethra (the tube through which we urinate), this weakens the muscles of the pelvic floor and the bladder. During ‘labour’, the pelvic floor muscles can weaken and nerves that control the bladder can be damaged. Women experience problems with bladder control after menopause too.  Urinary Incontinence may be

and nervous system. Khus improves metabolism, nerve health and immunity build up. It helps in the formation of new tissue, which can accelerate the healing and recovery of skin wounds. It may also help people who suffer from rheumatism, arthritis, gout, muscular aches, dryness and cracking of skin. Khus Essence is a dark green thick syrup made from the roots of khus grass (vetiver grass). Khus syrup is made by adding khus essence to sugar, water and citric acid syrup and does not need refrigeration. The syrup can be used to flavour milkshakes, ice creams, coolers, mocktails and yoghurt drinks like lassi. Cooling combo-drinks with kewra, lemon juice and garden cress are also very popular. Essential Oil from khus (or vetiver) has a mild, musky, earthy smell. In addition to aphrodisiac-like qualities, it has a cooling effect on the body and mind and is extensively used in a very large number of fragrances for men.u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition). For education purposes only; always

of several kinds, which need different approaches for treatment. Urge Incontinence is the involuntary loss of urine occurring while suddenly feeling the need or urge to urinate. Stress Incontinence is loss of urine that occurs simultaneously while performing physical activities that increase abdominal pressure - like sneezing, coughing or exercises. Functional Incontinence occurs when a person does not recognise the need to go to the toilet in time; while Overflow Incontinence is when people cannot stop their bladder from dribbling constantly. Some patients may be helped by adopting behavioral changes, like: decreasing fluid intake to average levels, or urinating more frequently to decrease the amount of urine that is leaked. Dietary or medical treatments also help to maintain regular bowel habits, as constipation can worsen the problem. Weight loss has also been shown to help decrease such symptoms in overweight people.  Pelvic muscle training exercises, biofeedback and electrical stimulation, as well as medicines, can also help. u


W ellness

6-12 June 2014

15

Harvested in Peru but… Flor Ruiz

{ Omar Reyes Sotelo/Lima/ DPA }

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uinoa, an edible seed grown high in the Andes mountains, has been discovered by the world’s trendy set, setting off complaints in South America about the soaring price of the ‘golden grain’. It has taken a long time for Quinoa to get this far. Over 400 years ago, a local chronicler wrote of the first failed effort to export Quinoa. The starchy seeds grow on a goosefoot plant that is native to Peru and Bolivia. Technically, Quinoa is a cereal, but is akin to a vegetable with high nutritional value - providing vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids. It also appeals to people with a gluten allergy, since it contains no gluten. The cereal has more protein in it than wheat, and double the quantity contained in rice. Quinoa is also a restorative food, because of the presence of lysine (one of the 10 essential amino acids essential for the development of living beings), making it a key element in brain-cell growth and development. Some doctors say Quinoa is also anti-carcinogenic and helps prevent osteoporosis and heart disease. The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) long ago chose Quinoa as the food par excellence for astronauts, because of its nutritional properties. The Agency found that, even eaten just on its own, Quinoa provides a balanced diet. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared 2013 as International Quinoa Year, after declaring it the world’s most nutritious grain. This drove up demand, especially in countries such as Australia, Canada,

Quinoa first appeared as a food about 5,000 years ago, according to studies using some findings from the province of Ayacucho. The native land of the seed is Lake Titicaca, which is shared by Bolivia and Peru. In ceramic vases that can be traced to the Tiahuanaco civilization, which flourished on the shores of Lake Titicaca from 1500 BC to 1200 AD, Quinoa is depicted as a plant that has bunches of spikes on its stem. This is evidence that one of the most ancient tribes of the Americas had already discovered it. Quinoa was an important crop and a basic food under the Incan empire, and most probably was boiled as part of its preparation.

The Quinoa seed comes in different forms: black (left), white (centre) and red (right) seeds. The cereal comes from a grass of the goosefoot species.

A woman in Andean costume sells a tub of Quinoaflavoured ice-cream to a boy during the Mistura Fair in Peru. Germany, Italy and the United States. The Peruvian National Statistics and Informatics Institute found that, in 2013, Quinoa exports increased by 71 per cent, earning over 78 million dollars (151 per cent more than in 2012). Peru is the world’s number-two exporter of Quinoa, trailing Bolivia. However, the Quinoa boom in Peru has its downside. Ever since the seed has become an export, local prices have rocketed, putting it out of the reach of the poorest families - possibly the ones who need it the most. “Exports are increasing and Peru might become the main exporter in the world, but the government should intervene, and not allow all of the product to be exported. The government should also subsidise the price for some, so that it can reach all the tables,” said distinguished Peruvian Chef Cucho La Rosa, who is a fan of Quinoa as an ingredient. The price of Quinoa in the Peruvian market doubled in a single year - from 9.8 soles (about 3.5 dollars) per kilogram in January 2013 to 18 soles (about 6.40 dollars) in December. It’s locally more expensive than meat. Thus, paradoxically, the

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Peruvians, who produce Quinoa, only eat less than a kilogram of it per year per capita, whereas the consumption rate of rice (that has half the proteins) is 54 kilograms per person per year, according to the Agriculture Ministry. “We need massive campaigns from the government to (encourage) Quinoa consumption. (They need) to work with mothers, because they are the engines in their households,” said La Rosa, who owns the prestigious restaurant La Casa de Don Cucho (The House of Don Cucho) in the Pachacamac district of Lima. Gourmet cooking in Lima now uses Quinoa in many dishes. “Quinoa is in high demand because it has come to be labelled as healthful food (because of its wonderful nutritional properties) and because of the rise of healthy eating habits throughout the world,” said La Rosa, who is an expert in nouveau Andean cuisine. Some of his dishes include, Quinoa prepared in a Chinese rice style, and in tamale form with cheese, chilli, onion and beef. Preparing Quinoa is simple, said La Rosa. One only has to choose the seeds well, wash them several times, with a change in the water every time, and then bring them to a boil. Once the Quinoa has been boiled it is ready for use in different dishes. La Rosa explained that another quality of Quinoa is that it is multi-faceted, and adapts well with other ingredients. Peru, which gave the world the humble Potato, is now giving it the wholesome Quinoa. u

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For Subscription SMS FGYES to 8447355801 Quinoa being harvested on a high plateau in Bolivia.

Savings 170


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6-12 June 2014

C omment

BJP - The Social Way Forward

W EDITORIAL Atul Sobti

Letter To The Editor Ref – Learning from the Adept. The truths contained in the above article of Dr Bhola (last week's issue) are the intellectual heritage of the humanity handed down to us through the sanatan philosophy’s scriptures, to guide us from birth to liberation. It is the constitution of our very existence. The reason why we fail to comprehend and live by it is the inherent limitation of our faculties. Yoga sadhana is all about transcending these limitations. There is of course another vital point which is the summary conclusion that ‘life is an illusion’. It is not the right interpretation. Even Sankaracarya’s proclamation: ‘Brahma satya  jaganmithya' is often misunderstood. Both are real truths in their own ways. One is a conditional reality (Satyam) under specific conditions and the other is truth beyond all conditions (Rtam). When I say I am the son of my parents, it is undeniably true, but conditional to this physical ‘me’, ‘my’ present life and ‘my' environmental conditions. But Rtam is true beyond all superimposed conditions. My real source of parenthood is Brahman and I say 'Aham amritasyaput rah'. How one wishes all our children grow up from childhood with this truth and its ramifications.  Sri Bimal Mohanty    www.ahwan.org

ith the elections out of the way, the

in being a Hindu, and in Hinduism, even for the

BJP should also be looking beyond

youth. The 2 points are clearly linked. Isn’t it

politics – to society. An electorate in

ironic that a ‘Hindu’ party has precious little

a democracy should benefit from a choice of

following in South India – say in Tamil Nadu,

political cum social alternatives. It is also the

in many ways the ‘home’ to ancient Hindu

right time for India to make a special mark as

relics, rituals and thought. South India is where

an important global society, and not just as

children are religiously brought up on the

an economy. In this context, it is important

Vedas and Upanishads; and Shiva and Vishnu

that Modi and BJP should, within this regime,

are literal household names – alongside Rama.

address and settle the ‘secular/communal’

Any ‘true Hindu’ Party should have found

debate. Modi is a good candidate to champion

good common cause here. Yes, unfortunately,

this initiative – just as he would be for signing

the promotion of Hindi as a national language

a definitive Indo-Pak accord. A national party

played spoilsport in the South, and so ‘North

of India can legitimately believe that Hinduism

leaders’ (esp. from the ‘cow belt’) have always

is central to the idea of India, and that having a

been looked at with suspicion. However, it is

majority population of Hindus - and of people

clearly not just about language. The BJP needs to

from the other Indian-origin religions of

enter the South by understanding the ‘Hinduism

Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism – is a good bet

of the South’. Senior BJP leaders need to reach

for the stability of our plural society. Talking

out, and the locals need to be convinced of its

or doing religion openly and positively can only

new avatar. The RSS should also be comfortable

be good – ‘pseudo-seculars’ can figure that one

with this new positive platform – frankly they

out. However, the BJP is almost in denial over

would have little choice. Hinduism does need

Hindutva. It wants to not deny, but dare not do

serious introspection, for its own future (eg.

so. That is because the mindsets are still narrow.

the issues of ‘Harijans’ and untouchability and

Hindutva is caught up in a Ram temple and an

Dalits has to be tackled purposefully, as also

anti-Muslim appeasement stance. There is need

the position of women). Religious heads, from

to broaden the outlook (and surely Hinduism

across India, need to become positive change

is cosmic) and keep the gaze inwards. There is

agents. A few of them will emerge as leaders,

enough to 'set right' in Hinduism itself. It is a

and start work for the reformation of Hinduism.

good time to work on uniting and modernising

By involving itself in this reformation, and

Hindu thought…and action. It is time to

engaging the various States of India in this

celebrate Hinduism, rather than trying to mock

cause, the BJP would serve its own cause well

or knock anyone else. The BJP needs to give this

– as well as that of the country. It has to be

serious thought. For not only has the overall

done with utmost humility. After all, it is also a

voter emphasis shifted more to development

matter of righting some wrongs. ‘Garv se bolo

(due to aspirations), but the youth will not buy

hum Hindu hain’ should take on a new, fresh

a negative, exclusive stance. It would also be

meaning – and feeling (rather than just being a

wrong.

macho slogan).Most importantly, the BJP needs the youth, across India and religions, to feel

As espoused earlier too, if the BJP were to move

the change in its perspective. The youth are not

on the ‘pro-Hinduism’ line (not ‘anti-anyone’), it

less religious, but believe that Hinduism should

would need to do 2 things: first, appeal to, and act

remain a very tolerant religion. This tolerance

accordingly with, an All India audience - and not

by the majority is what imbues India with its

just the ‘cow belt’; second, take up the challenge

unique way of life and liberty – and democracy.

to collaboratively ‘modernise’ Hinduism. This

After all, at the core, it is not about religion; it is

should also help reinforce the feeling of pride

about views, and ways, of life.u


6-12 June 2014

The Body and I { Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

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henever we say ‘I’, we tend to refer to the body. We know that as long as we remain alive, that sense of self-hood will continue. On the other hand, all meditative practices tell us to detach our thoughts of ego or self-hood from the body – to gradually discover the ‘self’ that we have been seeking all through our journey. We will then be able to appreciate the ‘self’ in the same way that a music lover appreciates the subtlest of notes or a nature lover is enthralled by the beautiful swirling waters of a river, or a painter contemplates a beautiful landscape. All of them, in those moments, are able to forget themselves for a while and detach themselves from their obsession of self-hood. We should establish a similar relationship with our body. We can learn to withdraw our mind from our body, and realise that it is not ‘I’. The body is no more than an outer shell, a thin surface level of who we are. The body is not us, it is but one of our possessions; it is ‘my body’ - like ‘my car’ or ‘my house’. ‘I’ is also the mind and soul – both being subtle and separable from the body. While we sleep the mind withdraws from the body - which lives on; when we die, the soul and the mind withdraw from the body. Hence ‘I’ is not a permanent part of the body; it is for certain that both will separate one day. Keeping this truth in mind, if we constantly practise such withdrawals and take a less familiar and detached attitude, we will see where our body really stands in relation to our true self and what and who we are. The story of Pam Reynolds shows us how consciousness, or mind and soul, are separate from the body. As per her account, she underwent a rare operation to remove a giant basilar artery aneurysm in her brain, which had seriously threatened her life. A surgical procedure, known as hypothermic cardiac arrest (or ‘standstill’), was performed. Pam's body temperature was lowered to 60 degrees, her heartbeat and breathing were stopped, her brain waves were flattened and all the blood was drained from her head. For all practical purposes she was ‘put to death’. After removing the aneurysm she was ‘restored to life’. But, during the time that Pam was in ‘standstill’, she underwent a profound experience. Her remarkably detailed ‘outof-body’ observations on her surgery were later verified to be very accurate. Pam's case is considered to be one of the strongest evidences of ‘authentic perception’. She was able to describe the unique surgical instruments and procedures in detail, at a time when she was clinically ‘brain-dead’. In her own words: "But then I got to the end of it and saw the thing, my body. I didn't want to get into it ... it looked terrible, like a train wreck. It looked like what it was: dead. I believe it was covered. It scared me and I didn't want to look at it. It was communicated to me that it was like jumping into a swimming pool. ‘No problem, just jump right into the swimming pool’. I didn't want to, but I guess I was late or something because he [the uncle] pushed me. I felt a definite repelling, and at the same time a pulling, from the body. The body was pulling and the tunnel was pushing ... it was like diving into a pool of ice water ... it hurt! I mentioned later to Dr. Brown that that (action) was incredibly insensitive and he told me that I needed to sleep more." It has been scientifically proven that the mind can function outside of the body. Consciousness transcends our physical body…and possibly even death. There are some who have had the uncanny knowledge that death was just ahead of them. They began to mourn the loss of everything they had known: the Earth, their home, and their friends - all that they had been aware of, all that they loved. They ‘saw’ that everything they had believed to be true and lasting

was slipping away from them. They had been ‘face to face’ with death, face to face with the unknown. We are connected to a universal consciousness and we must be ready to accept the possibility that there is a limitless range of awareness for which we now have no words; that awareness can expand beyond the range of our ego, our self, our familiar identity, beyond everything we have learned, beyond our notions of space and time, and beyond the differences that usually separate people from each other and from the world around them. The great transcendentalist English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge said about the ‘out-of-body’ experiences: "What if you slept, and what if in your sleep you dreamed, and what if in your dream you went to heaven and there plucked a strange and beautiful flower, and what if when you awoke you had the flower in your hand? Ah! What then?" There is another unique facet of the human body. Every time we look at our ‘magnified’ face in a special mirror we see things that are not visible normally. Seen closely, our skin looks like the surface of a strange planet. There are ridges and canyons on our chin and lips; forests of tiny hair grow from our ear lobes; unnoticed pimples rise from the nose like volcanoes; and a sheen of oil coats the landscape. We may halfexpect to see alien creatures living in the minute settlements within our dimples or roving the great plains of our cheeks. If we could look through higher magnifications, we may just see exactly that. Whatever comes from inside the body is like a foul messenger from the underworld, whom we fear to encounter. We have a body - but we are a mind. My body and I have an intimate but awkward relationship - like foreign roommates who share a bedroom but not a language. As the thinker of the pair, I contemplate my body with curiosity, as a scientist might observe a primitive species. My mind is a solitary wanderer in this universe of bodies. Though I identify with the mind, the mind itself is matter. I remember dissecting a fetal pig’s brain in high school. As I sliced layers of cerebellum and cerebrum, I imagined someone likewise cutting my own brain from my skull and examining the weird intersection of my mind and body. There I would lie in the dissection dish, the whole mystery of my being made visible, the deep complexities of consciousness, thought and personality reduced to a

S piritual

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three-pound mass of squiggly pink tissue - the vaporous soul separated from the body. However, it is not entirely fair to criticise the body as transitory and the mind as the real matter. The human body, in keeping itself alive, does a vastly better job than any conscious effort could. How long would we last if we were put at the controls of our physical existence? Fumbling uncertainly with hundreds of thousands of levers, we would go blue in the face from forgetting to breathe. Faced with the endless critical and absurdly complicated tasks of circulating blood, digesting food, interpreting retinal images and fighting bacteria, how would we ever find time to repair sunburned skin cells, grow hair or process the occasional nerve signal from our toes? Doctors attain specialisations at ages that are well beyond 30, to learn just a fraction of the great manual of life that an infant’s body knows at birth inherently. The child is born with the most complex sub-systems working in a well-synchronised manner - with all parts of the body working as one unit. Although we have made huge discoveries that have totally changed the way we live, it seems that we still know less about ourselves than the previous generations. While our ancestors did not have all the modern conveniences, they had a peace and strength that eludes most of us today. As our knowledge of our natural world has increased, our knowledge of the spiritual has decreased. Man’s arrogance blindly believes that all of life’s problems can be solved by him and everything is done by the capital ‘I’. But there can be no peace without if there is not peace within. Modern Man, in all his wisdom, is yet ignorant of the world of the spirit. And I am not just talking about the spiritual realm outside of us but also the spiritual being inside of every person. We are spirit beings. Our true identity is the part of ‘I’ that can see beyond our own hunger and feel the hunger of others; can divert it away from our own needs and focus on the needs of those around us. That is the real purpose of the soul that is manifest in the human body. In the interplay of the body and the soul, let us learn to care for our body so that it can serve as a vehicle of goodness to achieve the object that our soul was sent to this world to fulfill. 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@yahoo.com

The Imperfect Planet { Shobha Lidder } The Earth is said to be an imperfect planet A heavy planet Of all the ‘loks’ Tenure on Earth is the toughest one Full of hardships & woe Suffering & pain galore Deceptions & deceit and lots of bitter defeats In the ‘Deva Lok’, the ‘Bramha Lok’, the ‘Indra Lok’ The beings are superior to humans And have some celestial powers To overpower disease & desire Change their forms, astral travel or disappear Or remain young forever But dear Earth is full of drama Emotion, action, passion The antagonist, the hero & the anti hero You can overnight become a zero Yet ‘devas’ take ‘avatars’ and visit Earth To taste a life Of surprise & intrigue & dearth They love the excitement of unpredictability The trials & tribulations of Earth’s instability

The ‘avatars’ embrace the rules of the reality show Lead impeccable lives, follow the Vedanta’ & ‘Siddhanta’, which are The moral lesson at the end of every life’s Tumultuous story of right & wrong. Our Destiny web-charts, our travel plans The limitations of resources et al are set To test our soul Our mastery over hate, anger, envy, greed, lust Fear, loss, insecurity, phobias, panic The secret formula is to chant I am not the body, I am the soul Earth is neither my goal nor my destination Neither my award nor reward Just a reality show To develop the soul muscle The tussle will perhaps graduate you To the next subtle ‘lok’ Yet, you may want to come again & again to Earth It must be so boring To be perfect for ever Ask the Gods! Writer Journalist, Social Activist, Teacher Trainer, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer


18 { Meenu Thakur Sankalp }

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icking on ice creams, guzzling cold drinks, slurping watermelons and sucking juicy mangoes while insulating oneself from the blazing sun and the confined indoors; a sojourn in the hills or sunbathing on the breezy beaches as the sun beats down mercilessly…. welcome Summer time! Summer is a time of relaxation - a short break from a year full of academic rigours for the children, and a time for parents to take a breather from work. It is a time to travel to cooler surroundings with one’s family and friends. However, the vacation is fairly long for the children and they could soon get bored. To keep them busy and to channel their energies, there are normally many types of Summer Camps and Workshops on offer. They help to constructively engage children for a week or two. They organise a plethora of activities in different fields, like painting, art, pottery, carpentry, craft, vocal and instrumental music, swimming and dancing. Unfortunately a few of these have become just money spinning businesses - with some schools and sport academies also jumping onto the bandwagon by organising Summer Camps and Workshops within their premises at exorbitant costs. While parents normally choose activities for their children based on the children’s interests, this ‘noble’ idea is often transformed into an ‘expectation’ of an achievement or a goal of getting ‘their money’s worth’. The organisers of Summer Camps have cleverly begun to cater to such parental expectations by putting up ‘talent shows’ at the close of these Camps. While Summer Camps and Workshops do expose talent, which may otherwise have remained untapped, they should

{ Krishan Kalra }

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B on V ivant

6-12 June 2014

Summer Savour

The Chantilly Returns

t must’ve been the mid seventies. On one of my frequent visits to Japan I gave in to my wife’s extravagant demand – as if I had a choice – & brought her two ‘Chantilly Lace’ sarees. I don’t know if the name has anything to do with the city of that name in France but, like most other fashion trends, this fabric too must’ve originated from that country. Chantilly was the rage those days. I don’t remember exactly, but perhaps the blessed things cost $100 or 125 each (as compared to $ 30 to 70 for the georgettes & chiffons). It was quite a hole in my pocket, but orders are orders & so I followed them - if only to see the glow on her face when she flaunted her new acquisition at every party. Soon, too many people began acquiring these; I know of some who bought ‘all available shades’ at Sardarji’s ‘Super Saris’

shop in Tokyo. When every one & her aunt are wearing Chantilly, ‘high society’ would obviously discard it. The craze soon subsided. There were also new things on the market. So my dear wife took the hint & put away the saris in the ‘discards’ cupboard, albeit with a liberal dose of naphthalene balls - just in case! The coveted saris were offered to assorted nieces who got married in the eighties & nineties. Some took a fancy to the intricate work & gratefully accepted the gracious gift. However, they soon returned it equally graciously, saying “Aunty, I hardly wear saris”, or “I think it’s a bit too ornate”. So the saris kept going back to the discards cupboard, & eventually to the ‘to-be-givenaway-to-servants’ pile. Once a sari was almost given to the cook – who was going home to get married,

not be seen as a part of the formal learning or nurturing of a talent. These camps and workshops are conducted as one-off events, with no follow-up activity once their tenure is over. Many talented children never get back to their chosen areas of interest. Any ‘learning’ is forgotten by the time the new academic session starts. It is time that schools and parents start encouraging weekend follow-up activities in the students’ areas of interest. The activities structured to sustain these interests would definitely transform them into learning outcomes in due course. It is also imperative that Summer Camps and Workshops are not undertaken as commercial ventures. The ‘mall-culture’ needs to be totally eliminated from these endeavours. Parents should also not attempt to satisfy their own ambitions by pushing their children into some collective activity, without trying to explore the attitude, aptitude and the attributes of their children - each of whom is ‘special’ in his or her own way. Sadly there is poor attention paid to safety standards at most outdoor camps. The organisers of such camps absolve themselves of all responsibilities in the case of a mishap - an example being of a young girl hurtling to death in a bungee-jumping activity when the harness rope snapped. On a positive note, Summer Camps and Workshops are avenues for having fun and keeping children well engaged in multiple activities – and away from the otherwise ever-present computers or television sets. Summer camps also provide the perfect opportunity for inculcating a spirit of teamwork among children, and an environment wherein children are just happy being in each other’s company.u The Writer is a renowned Kuchipudi Danseuse and Choreographer

but the guy found it “too fancy and yet too dull - without any gotasalma (brocade)”. So, the Lady of the House (LOH) decided that these must go to the Mother Teresa ashram on our next visit. Somehow we forgot about them, & the saris remained in the charity pile. Recently, one evening after we returned from a late dinner, madam started rummaging through the ‘salvation army’ pile of clothes in one of the lofts. “I hope you haven’t given away that bundle,” she kept saying. I had no clue to what she was talking about, till the 3-decade-old Chantilly saris resurfaced & the dear wife almost jumped with joy – aching knees forgotten for a while. “These are hi-fashion once again; each costs nearly Rs.10 k. All I need is a new fall & a new blouse & a couple of matching shoes, and I’ll have two almost brand new ‘latest’ saris, she said triumphantly!u


B on V ivant

6-12 June 2014

Fashionable MBA { Barnali Dutta / FG }

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he youth has shown keen interest in studying subjects that are complex in nature, as in the case of Management in the Fashion sector, which calls for creativity to be moulded with commercial ventures. Friday Gurgaon reviews options for an MBA in Fashion Management, a novel academic endeavour in the business of Fashion and Designer-ware garments, in this exclusive interview with the DG and CEO of Institute of Apparel Management (IAM) & Apparel Training & Design Centre (ATDC), Darlie Koshy. Q   What are the parameters that mooted the introduction of this academic discipline (MBA, Fashion Management)? A   India is a country of more than 550 million youth and therefore India can influence the ‘Fashions for Youth’ around the world. However, so far, the institutes (set up by the Government in the late 1980s) have not been focusing on ‘Fashion as a  Business’; their expertise remains mostly on the Design area. This needs to be now changed, as ‘Design’ is connected to Brands, and Brands need to have well-defined target groups, positioning and promotion. Focus on 'Fashion as a Business’ will also provide career opportunities to many students.   Q   In other relevant fields of both products and services, the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) exists. Other than brand names and trademarks, does the concept of IPR exist in the Fashion industry too; and if so, how do the managerial skills imparted in your Course address these aspects? A   Intellectual Property Rights is a critical issue, as copying is rampant in the Fashion industry. There have been many WIPOs (intellectual related property workshops and initiatives) and in the last WIPO seminar in Geneva I was a speaker, where I presented the case studies of Ritu Kumar and Suneet Verma, while highlighting the need for proper IPR protection. If a Designer is creating a critical design, it is important for him or her to take necessary steps for design registration, which is not very expensive. However, all the variations of the  Design need to be registered, to ensure that other people are not able to make slight variations and claim the rights.   Q   Is this idea of Fashion Management new in India and how do you foresee the overall impact among the Fashion Designers? A   Certainly this idea is new in India. The Fashion world is now beginning to embrace the business world on multiple fronts - efficiently, economically and ecologically. For this, brands, designers and fashion businesses as a whole are finally willing to admit that they need MBAs Every Designer faces or reaches a stage in life where he/she needs  to rediscover his/her signature brand(s). MBA in Fashion Business would certainly help in this direction. Fashion is also closer to a ‘perishable product’ as time is the crit-

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MBA (in Fashion) Programs: 2 years Eligibility: students who have completed their graduation in any stream or appearing in the final year of the graduation from recognised universities and institutions, with minimum 50% aggregate, or having qualified the Management Aptitude Test of IIM/AIMA etc., are eligible to apply The age for applying is 20 (minimum) to 26 years, with relaxation of 2 years for professionals with work exposure of 2-3 years. MBA - Fashion Marketing and Merchandising The objective of the 2 years FMM Program is to provide the export and domestic industry with trained professionals equipped with managerial skills in the field of Marketing and Merchandising. FMM students are exposed to creative merchandising/marketing practices, trends in Fashion forecasting and commonly followed business practices by the industry, through real time projects at classroom level as well as regular exposure to the industry. Possible Areas of Employment: Merchandisers/Buyers, Fashion Marketing professionals, Souring Managers and Product Managers. MBA - Fashion Design Management The FDM Program is amongst the few programs in the country that offers a unique blend of Design Management related training. These skills are required by designers as well as managers, to manage a creative business, and to acquire a holistic view through the assimilation of newer areas of Design, Management and Technology. The FDM Program helps in creating innovative learning methods that are required by the industry, for whom Design is at the core of their businesses. Possible Areas of Employment : Design Managers, Design and Merchandising Co-ordinators, Design Consultants.

ical factor in determining its positioning and price. Dealing therefore with rapid changes and dimensions of time makes the Fashion business different. A separate MBA programme will sharpen the antenna of the students to pick-up the outgoing and incoming trends. Q   While learners interested in an MBA in Fashion have a new offering to dig into, has it been tough for the management to select the faculty? A   The faculty for this Programme needs to have out-of-the-box creative thinking. IAM is looking for the right kind of faculty members to be retained for the Programme. However, initially, people who are working in the industry, and are willing to provide part time help as adjunct faculty, would also be desirable. Q   How many students are you intending to enrol in the first batch? A   Since the MBA in Fashion Business is a dual campus programme to be offered both in Mewar University and at IAM, the initial batch size is likely to be around 20-25 - which would be scaled up in due course. Q   What has been the reaction of concerned bodies, including the Apparel Export Promotion Council, organisers of periodical fashion shows such as Wills Fashion Week and also individuals? A   IAM’s MBA programme was discussed at the Academic Vision Committee and also in the Board meeting of IAM, which has the representation of industry leaders and experts. It was a unanimous recommendation that IAM should introduce an ‘MBA’ in Fashion Business. A launch seminar was recently conducted in Bhilwara, where the industry members were enthusiastic about the new programme Q   With this element of managerial skills linked to Fashion technology, will there be a yardstick similar to ISO standardisation, in the grading of various products and services? A   Benchmarking is better than yardsticks and standardisation, as ‘global benchmarks’ would need to be set for the Programme. Accordingly, IAM is in dialogue with institutes like BIAD and LCF in London and IFM in Paris, for ensuring that there will be intellectual benchmarks for the Programme. u

With the temperatures scaling high, every one seems to be crying and cursing the summer. The poet in me has looked at the summer in an entirely different and positive way. Maybe this will inspire FG readers to start 'enjoying' the scorching heat of the Gurgaon summer.

Wah ri garmi { Ashok Lal} Garmi se sab darte hain, hae hae karte hain Phir bhi isi garmi mein dekho kaise Maze bhi loota karte hain Bachchon ki lambi chhuttiyan hoti hain Bade bhi sang manate hain Koi pahadhon par, koi beach par Mauj manane jaate hain Kaam taalna ho kuchh bhi To garmi ek achook bahana hai "Baithe raho ghar mein!" kahte hain woh bhi Jinka kaam har waqt bhagana hai Woh laal laal lichi, woh peele peele aam Woh meethe kharbooze, aadhoo, khumani, tarbooz Woh oode oode jamun, woh hare hare kachche badaam Lade hain bazaar sehatmand phalon se har jagah Bhala is garmi ko bura kahen to kis tarah? Zaraa nikal kar ghar se, kisi 'pool' mein dubki maaro Bina jhijhak ke rang birangi 'bikini' ko niharo Thandi thandi 'beer' pio, ya baraf pe dalo 'whisky', Ho parhez nashe se agar, to sharbati gole ki bana lo 'chuski' Ice cream soft ho, ya piste ki kadhak kulfi ho Maze garmi ke kuchh kam nahin, chaahe tum kuchh bhi kaho Ek niyamat hai garmi ki Jo kaash aaj ki peedhi ko naseeb nahin Woh kya din the garmi ke Jab khuli chaat par sote the taaron ki chhaon mein Ab bhi garmi khushi se manate hain log gaon gaon mein Kahta hai 'Lal', Jitna kosoge garmi ko Woh utna tumhen sataegi Mast raho, khao 'sattu', pio 'panne ka paani' Mat jhallao is garmi se, yeh to Khushi ki barsaat mein badal jaayegi! ablsl1971@yahoo.co.in


20 The Beards pledge... Sid Astbury

{ Sid Astbury/Sydney/ DPA }

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ave White, President, Australian Beard and Moustache Club, pines for the 1800s, when being cleanshaven was the oddity. “Most men who decide to grow a beard have to now first check out with their partners and their workplaces,” he moans. But, clearly, opposition is crumbling. Whiskers are back and the razor gang may be in retreat. “Thankfully we are starting to see more cases of facial hair,” White says; “it may even become the current fashion.” The hairy have their very own band too, The Beards, an Adelaide fourpiece, singing exclusively about what is on their chins. “To us there’s no other topic worth singing about and we’re confident we’ll never run out of inspiration,” says the Band spokesman Nathaniel Beard. “A song that’s not about beards is a waste of music.” A decade ago they were just another pub band in Adelaide; now they are a headline act around the world. One of their songs, ‘You Should

{ Dorothea Wagner/ DPA }

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he air in Bamberg on this day is as cool as the smoke-flavoured beer that is waiting to be drunk by Wolfgang Pflaum at his favourite ‘beer garden’. Beyond the plain trees of the ‘garden’ stretches a pasture crowded with dandelions; behind that is the skyline of the many church spires of Bamberg, a partly medieval German city that has a UNESCO world cultural heritage title. Pflaum and his wife, Gabi, have regularly drunk outside – irrespective of the weather - for the past 30 years at the ‘beer cellar’ - the term Bambergers give to their beer gardens. These gardens lie directly above the vaults where, in the olden days, the barrels of beer were kept cool. Bamberg’s beer traditions go way back: beer has been brewed here for nearly a thousand years. In Bamberg, located in the beer-loving state of Bavaria, you discover that Germans venerate beer much as other nations cherish food or folk customs.
To enjoy a sip amidst a beautiful view in summer, the people head up to Fritz, atop the Stephansberg Hill. Tavernkeeper Fritz Loehr is muchbeloved among his guests, as are his two ducks, Elfriede and Alfred, which waddle through

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The Beards

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Catherine Hamblett, who makes and sells beard oil, says beards give men confidence and are a handy conversation starter. Consider Having Sex With a Bearded Man’, was nominated for Australia’s Song of the Year in 2012. Their biggest fans are in beard-friendly Europe, particularly Germany, where they are off to perform again in November. The Band is about to release their fourth album about beards, titled Beard Album. After a concert in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city, a music critic had this to say about them and their shtick: “At the end of the day it may be a gimmick, but it’s one of the most entertaining and well-performed gimmicks I’ve witnessed.” Beard, who denies the Beards are comedians masquerading as campaigners,

The four performers in Australian band, The Beards. They sing exclusively about facial hair. Left to right: Nathaniel Beard, Johann Beardraven, John Beardman Jr and Facey McStubblington. Full-bearded Dave White with a beardless dummy. He says the popularity of beards is a reaction to the metrosexual era, when some men shaved off all their bodily hair. comments: “To us, beards are not a gimmick. If nobody but us had a beard and nobody attended our concerts, we’d still be doing the exact same thing - having beards and writing songs about beards and how great it is to have a beard. I’d rather die than

be beardless!” White founded his Club after finding himself as the sole Australian competitor at a 2012 facial hair carnival in the United States. “The friendship in the bearding world is unlike any other group I’ve been involved with,” he says. “Any beard is better than none and I’ve got mates who’ve grown small beards over 20 years and that’s it for them, but at least they are part of the group. Mai Creation’s beard oil and moustache wax are now top sellers. Sales have

Crazy about Beer

Guest enjoy the sunshine at a ‘beer cellar’ that offers a beautiful view of the city and its surroundings, especially in spring. the beer garden begging for scraps of bread. The pair is the place’s unofficial mascots. In good weather, every seat and table is taken. Bamberg has 10 breweries, producing a good 50 different sorts of beer – light, heavy, bright, dark, bitter, hops-heavy or smoky-malty (like smokecured beer). Bamberg is often used as a backdrop for movies set in the olden days, and has a beer bus, a beer academy, beer sommeliers and even a beer medal - to award those burghers who distinguish themselves in some way with beer. Visitors to Bamberg’s taverns might

Tavern keeper Fritz Loehr (centre) and wife Maria (right) enjoy a sip at their ‘beer.

A waiter with a mug of beer gestures to 12 of the little lockers inset in a hallway wall, at the 1670-founded Mahrs Braeu, a family-owned brewery in Bamberg, which has its own tavern. The lockers contain personal beer steins of the limited 24 members of the Stehgammler Club. Credit: David Ebener / dpa / dpa

A beer mat for a Bamberg brewery’s version of smokecured beer, on top of two steins, as used in the German city’s taverns.

tripled this year. “What men and their partners were finding is that beards can be quite rough; and there’s an element of discomfort and problems like beard itch. My oils create a soft, healthy beard that soothes and nourishes the hair follicles,” she says.” Catherine Hamblett, who runs a Sydney-based toiletry, says that beard growing can be quite competitive and men are taking real pride in how their beards look. “It’s like a secret club,” she says. u be puzzled when they hear the locals ordering ‘a U’. In Bamberg dialect that roughly means ‘an uncarbonated beer’ - one with low carbon dioxide content. “We’re kind of lazy with the language and like to shorten things a bit,” says Stephan Michel, explaining the ‘U’ term. He’s the Managing Director of the 1670-founded Mahrs Braeu, a family-owned brewery having its own tavern. “I’m here six days a week,” says one regular, Manfred Scholler. “I prefer standing and drinking in the hallway; I would never take a seat in the restaurant.” Those who are especially in the know of the goings-on in the city are the ‘Stehgammler’ (the standing ‘bums’). This Club of beer-drinking regulars has been an institution for 30 years now. It has just 24 members, corresponding to the number of little lockers that are inset in the hallway walls. The lockers contain the members’ personal beer steins. Manfred Scholler, who has been coming to the tavern for more than 20 years, would dearly like to be taken into this special circle – though of course there are no social rankings in a tavern. “Ultimately that is what is beautiful about the tavern culture - it’s all the same, whether you’re unemployed or have a doctoral degree,” he says. u


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Male seen from the air, as a jet approaches the Maldives for a landing.

Trying to keep its head above water

Doreen Fiedler

{ Doreen Fiedler/Male/ DPA }

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istinguished as the lowest country on Earth, the Maldives is looking at a host of alternatives to ensure its survival in the face of rising seawaters as climate change advances. Sitting an average of just over 1.5 metres above sea level, the chain of 1,200 island and coral atolls is likely to disappear under the Indian Ocean before the end of the century if the current pace of climate change continues to raise global sea levels. Former President Mohamed Nasheed once had the idea of diverting a percentage of the country’s billion-dollar revenues to buy a new homeland, with Sri Lanka, India and even Australia considered possible options. The Maldives continues to look for some kind of insurance against the high tide that threatens to turn the 300,000 islanders into environmental refugees. In the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004 some islands were completely submerged for a while, but reappeared once the waters receded.
H However, thousands of people decided against permanently

A jetty for vacationers in a lagoon on the Maldives. returning to those islands and instead migrated to the capital Male and other urban centres. Male remains the world’s most densely populated town, with 100,000 people crammed into two square kilometres. There is no room even for rubbish dumps; waste is simply dumped into a nearby lagoon. “Tilafushi used to be just a reef, but we turned it into a waste island at the beginning of the 1990s,” explains Mohamed Shihab, the former Interior Minister and now Male’s Mayor. The Island has grown into a U shape and is now so big that it has even developed into an industrial area, with

Election banners wave in the wind in Male, capital of the Maldives.

Last year a man from the Pacific island state of Kiribati sought asylum in New Zealand, under the UN Refugees Convention, stating that the rising ocean made a return to his home impossible - but his application to become the world’s first climate change refugee was rejected. numerous warehouses and factories. The country has also engaged in its most ambitious land reclamation and urban development project, reclaiming the 188 hectares of land that

comprise the Hulhumale district. By 2020 it is hoped that 60,000 people will live and work there, as more people move from the smaller, more exposed islands to the larger, safer ones. “Hulhumale looks more natural than Male in places,” says local environmental activist Ali Rilwan. The latest UN report on climate change predicts that sea levels will rise by between 26 and 82 centimetres by the end of the century. In an effort to avert its possible fate, the Maldivian government has teamed up with a Dutch architectural firm, Dutch Docklands International, to create artificial ‘floating’

islands. Tethered to the ocean floor by cables, the structures will stay above water no matter how high the sea levels go. The Ocean Flower development involves the construction of 185 spectacular waterfront villas, and 40 of the luxury houses have already been sold, says Jasper Mulder from Dutch Docklands. “We have complete floating settlements in Holland, so this is nothing new,” he explains. Construction has also begun this year of floating private islands that are anchored to the north atoll, while there is also a floating golf course and a floating hotel in the pipeline. u


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Joan Marcus / Roundabout Theater Company

6-12 June 2014

Cabaret returns to Broadway

The Kit Kat cast performs ‘Willkommen’, with Alan Cumming playing Emcee, the nightclub Master of Ceremonies. The Cabaret number, ‘It Couldn’t Please Me More’ - where middleaged Fraulein Schneider, the owner of a boarding house, becomes close to Herr Schultz, a Jewish man who owns a fruit shop.

{ Emoke Bebiak/New York/ DPA }

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illkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome!” The fictional Kit Kat Klub, a nightclub set in 1931 Berlin, is open again as the musical Cabaret returns to Broadway - featuring actors Alan Cumming and Michelle Williams in the top roles. The Show opened on Broadway in late April for a limited-run third revival, which is based on an acclaimed 1998 production by the Roundabout Theater. The Musical depicts an infamous night-

{ Andrea Abrell/Berlin/ DPA }

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club, its scantily clad dancers and seedy staff in Berlin, shortly before the Nazis took over.
Cumming, whose silver screen career has included roles in XMen and the James Bond movie Golden Eye,  is reprising  his Tony Award-winning role as the Master of Ceremonies (Emcee)  at the Kit Kat Klub.
Williams, who recently starred in My Week with Marilyn and Oz the Great and Powerful, plays the mediocre British cabaret dancer Sally Bowles, a role that had  been previously performed by Liza Minnelli and the late

Michelle Williams (centre) as Sally Bowles sings the number, ‘Don’t Tell Mama’, in the musical Cabaret. The 2014 production at Roundabout Theater’s Studio 54 on Broadway in New York City is a reprise of a 1998 production. Natasha Richardson.
The Musical also follows the doomed love story of the  middle-aged Fraulein  Schneider, the owner of the boarding house where Cliff and Sally live, and Herr Schultz,  a  Jewish man who  owns a

fruit shop.
The Show, which is based on a collection of short stories by author Christopher Isherwood, takes the viewer into the bohemian and free-spirited night-life of Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
The light-

very well with sporty outfits,” says Claudia Schulz. “They can be an alternative to ballerinas.” Like sandals, slip-ons suit slender young women best. The classic ballerina is a type of shoe that can be worn by any woman and matches almost any style. What’s new about ballerinas this year are the colours and styles. “There are metallic nuances such as rose gold and silver-gold, as well as pastel and nude tones.” says Schulz. “Apart from the classic, round ballerina style we are also seeing ballerinas with pointed toes.” Sling pumps with small heels are also seeing a change towards pointed toes. “This type of shoe looks elegant and very classy, no matter what you wear it with,” says Andreas Rose. Ines Meyrose also thinks the small heel pump is a very versatile shoe that suits almost any type. u

Time to hang up your high heels

as a new era dawned in shoe fashion? Instead of dizzyingly high heels, many models are walking down catwalks wearing flat-heeled shoes. Designer Marc Jacobs picked ‘trainers’ for his models, Oscar de la Renta chose ‘flat pumps’ and fashion house Yves Saint Laurent sent its models out with ‘ballerinas’. “This trend is going to make its way onto the streets this summer,” says Claudia Schulz from the German Shoe Institute. Of course flat shoes are more comfortable to wear, but they also now seem to reflect a certain zeitgeist. “Especially in difficult times, shoe trends often tend towards flatter heels, so women can walk through life more confidently,” is Schulz’ interpretation. Sandals

in the style of orthopaedic shoes go well with shorts, Bermudas and even mid-length skirts. “However, that only looks really good on slender women with long legs,” says personal shopper Andreas Rose. “Sandals with ankle straps tend to make legs look shorter,” adds fashion consultant Ines Meyrose. “If you have larger calves, it’s a good idea to pick nude and beige tones. These colours closely match skin colour, and sandal straps in these shades are not too obvious. As an alternative you could pick shoes with very thin straps,” she adds. A sporty variation of the flat shoe is the slipon. The shoe comes originally from the US and has its roots in the country’s skating scene. “Slip-ons go

hearted entertainment and sexual freedom soon begin to be tainted  with anti-Jewish sentiments and a disdain towards homosexuals, as Hitler comes to power.
“Why can’t they leave us alone?” sings the Emcee poignantly, while dancing with a gorilla dressed as a woman. “If they could see her through my eyes,  maybe they’d leave us alone.”
While much has changed since the dark era of 1930s Germany, the Show’s intense portrayal of the need for  tolerance and to fight against discrimination,  resonates with audiences today. Cabaret is being staged at Roundabout Theater’s Studio 54, which has been transformed to resemble a pre-war night-club.
Viewers can enjoy the Musical sitting around tables and ordering drinks from a functioning bar. The Show runs until January 4, 2015. u


6-12 June 2014

Neanderthals not inferior to modern humans { Boulder, Colorado / DPA }

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wo researchers have disputed the widely-held hypothesis that Neanderthals, a human species thought to have lived in Eurasia between 350,000 and 40,000 years ago, became extinct because they were intellectually inferior to modern humans. Paola Villa, a Curator at the University of Colorado Museum of Natural History in the United States, and Wil Roebroeks, an Archaeologist at Leiden University in the Netherlands, have argued that the reason for the Neanderthals’ demise was likely more complex. It would have included interbreeding with anatomically modern humans - who were much more numerous - followed by ‘genetic swamping and assimilation’. Their study was published in the US-based scientific journal PLOS ONE. The disappearance of Neanderthals from the fossil records coincides with the migration of modern humans, Homo Sapiens, from Africa to Europe and Western Asia. That the two hominin groups interbred was recently proven by genetic data - the Neanderthal inheritance making up an estimated 2 per cent of the genomes of people outside Africa. Upto now many scientists have used the archaeological finds of Neanderthals and their modern human contemporaries to suggest that the newcomers were superior in a wide range of areas - including language, weaponry, hunting skills, subsistence strategies, the capacity for innovation and the extent of social networks. And that this led to the demise of Neanderthals. But following what they termed a ‘systematic review of the archaeological records’, Villa and Roebroeks have said they had found ‘no data in support of the supposed technological, social and cognitive inferiority of Neanderthals;. They have noted, for example, that while art and body ornaments had been found at archaeological sites of both Neanderthals and modern humans, only in the case of the latter had this been interpreted as indirect evidence of a complex language. They also disputed the notion that Neanderthals were not skilled hunters, saying that the early humans were by all means accomplished large game hunters, who survived in a wide range of environments and hunted a wide range of animals in a variety of topographical settings. The ‘flawed’ explanations for the Neanderthals’ extinction, they have said, were due to the much smaller amount of data available to previous researchers and, at least in part, a long tradition of how we have thought and internalised the differences between Neanderthals and modern humans. “Researchers were comparing Neanderthals not to their contemporaries on other continents but to their successors,” the University of Colorado quoted Villa as having said. “It would be like comparing the performance of Model T Fords, widely used in America and Europe in the early part of the last century, to the performance of a modern-day Ferrari, and concluding that Henry Ford was cognitively inferior to Enzo Ferrari!” u

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he Earth was struck by 26 asteroids ranging in explosive power from 1 to 600 kilotons of TNT between 2000 and 2013, says a private US foundation that is soliciting donations for a space mission to protect the planet from such impacts. For comparison, the atomic bomb that destroyed the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945 had the power of 15 kilotons. The impacts were monitored by a network of sensors (put up for detecting nuclear detonations) operated by the international Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization. The Earth is continuously colliding with fragments of asteroids, the California-based B612 Foundation notes. It says that thankfully most of them exploded very high in the atmosphere and so there was no serious damage on the ground. In addition to the 600-kiloton impact in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013, there have been asteroid impacts of greater than 20 kilotons in Indonesia, the Southern Ocean and Mediterranean Sea, since the turn of the millennium. “While most large asteroids, which with the potential to destroy an entire country or continent, have been detected, fewer than 10,000 of the more than 1 million

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Waking up a 36-year-old probe
 {Christina Horsten/New York/ DPA }

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group of selfproclaimed space nerds are excited at the prospect that they might be able to revive a 1970s era space probe whose mission ended years ago. Within a few weeks the scientists will try to contact and take over the International Cometary Explorer (ICE) when it passes by the earth. NASA announced recently that it had given a green light to a group of ‘citizen scientists’ who want to ‘breathe new scientific life’ into ICE. The group’s plan is to contact the spacecraft, command it to fire its engines and enter an orbit near earth, and then resume its original mission - which began in 1978. The NASA announcement said that the Agency signed an agreement with Skycorp of Los Gatos, California, allowing the Company to attempt to contact, and possibly command and control, the probe. The Agency said it was the first time it had negotiated an agreement for the use of a spacecraft that it is no longer using or ever plans to use again. ICE was originally called the International Sun Earth Explorer-3 (ISEE-3). It was launched

Large asteroid impacts not rare { Seattle / DPA }

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dangerous asteroids - with the potential to destroy an entire major metropolitan area have been found (by the combined might of all the existing space or terrestrially operated observatories),” says former US astronaut Ed Lu, the B612 Foundation’s CEO and co-founder. “Because we don’t know where or when the next major impact will occur, the only thing preventing a catastrophe from a ‘citykiller’-sized asteroid, has been blind luck,” he adds. To change that, the B612 Foundation is planning the Sentinel Space Telescope Mission, an early-warning infra-red space telescope, expected to discover about 500,000 near-Earth asteroids and identify their trajectories - during its 6.5 years of operation. According to the Group, asteroid deflection is possible with current technology, so long as it is carried out decades before a projected impact. The launch of the telescope aboard a Falcon 9 rocket - designed and built by the private, California-based spaceflight company SpaceX - is scheduled for 2018. It would be the world’s first privately funded deep-space mission. The B612 Foundation is named after the asteroid home of the protagonist in The Little Prince, a story by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. u

to study the constant flow of solar wind streaming towards earth, a mission it successfully completed in 1981. With fuel remaining, and with its instruments functioning, it then was redirected to observe two comets and was renamed the International Cometary Explorer. Since completing that mission it has continued in orbit around the sun. NASA says that in June it will make its closest approach to earth in more than 30 years. That’s when the space nerds will swing into action. Thilo Elsner, Director of the observatory in Bochum, Germany, said that the first indications that ICE would fly close to earth came at the beginning of the year. That prompted the observatory to erect an antenna to listen for signals from the probe. Whether the spaceship’s instruments are still functioning can be determined only after they are switched on. Presently the probe is sending only minimal signals. “It’s in sleep mode,” Elsner said. The citizen scientists have received no funds from NASA  for their efforts. The group started raising money in April and said that as of May 15 it had surpassed its initial goal of 125,000 dollars. It is now hoping to collect some more money, to pay for some time on NASA’s Deep Space Network, to quickly estimate the location of the spacecraft. “The funding we seek will be used for things we have not already obtained from volunteers,” the ISEE  Reboot Project said on its website. The scientists said that they will have just a brief window, in which they will attempt to communicate with the vintage spacecraft and put it back to work. The advance in technology that has occurred since 1978 is posing a challenge, said Kieth Cowing,

an editor at NASAWatch. com. “It has a processor that is hardwired to do certain things,” he told the technology website Motherboard. “It doesn’t remember anything. You just tell it to do a task and that’s it. Your toaster is smarter than this thing.” Should the citizen scientists succeed in commandeering the probe and find that its instruments are intact and functioning, ICE could soon begin sending data again. This would be posted on the Internet for the benefit of the general public and students learning about space. The 36-year-old spacecraft could also reveal what kind of wear and tear it has experienced while on its sojourn. If efforts to reach it fail, it will resume its orbit around the sun. u


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