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1-7 February 2013

Vol. 2 No. 24  Pages 24  ` 7

{Inside} Even One Can Tango

Our Millennium City seems to provide both the basis as well as succour for new ‘modern’ lifestyles and realities. This week we review the tribe of single parent families.

Street Smarts

...Pg 8

A few child scholars have emerged from within the underprivileged families living in the villages, or on the streets. They had the will, and they dare to dream – of being architects, engineers and astronomers. ...Pg 9

Sunehra Sikanderpur

A few concerned citizens and NGOs have decided to help make a difference to the daily lives of villagers around them. They have chosen Sikanderpur Village (near DLF Phase I) as the first project. ...Pg 10

Surajkund Mela – A Preview

FG brings you a panoramic preview of the annual Mela, now an international event. ...Pg 22 & 23

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

Public Property Private Care

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


he benefit of the muchtouted Public Private Partnership concept being promoted by the Haryana government has been belied in the healthcare industry. While a large network of private hospitals has mushroomed in Gurgaon, helping it emerge as a medical hub in the country, the reality is that the poor in the City have been pushed further into the margins. This is despite the fact that some of the most prestigious hospitals in the City have got land at concessional rates from HUDA, which makes it mandatory for them to provide a certain percentage of health services free of cost. Neither private enterprise nor the state government seems ready to give the poor their rightful due. The collusion by the regulatory authorities, and a poor system of monitoring, has ensured that no

one has been held responsible for denying the poor their right to free health care. This is at a time when rising medical expenses have been identified as one of the reasons responsible for the increase in urban poverty in India. Falling

ill is a big burden for poor households, and the problem is even more acute for the urban poor. Poor wages, uncertain jobs, and a lack of basic amenities add to the pressure.

A fast growing city like Gurgaon, where the gap between the rich and poor is rising at a frightening pace, perhaps needs to learn a few lessons in healthcare from neighbouring Delhi. Timely action by concerned citizens/civil society have ensured that the poor in the national capital get their due share in health care at no cost, and the largesse bestowed by the government on private enterprise is rarely misused. In Delhi, it is estimated that, between 1950 and 2000, more than 37 private hospitals were given land at highly concessional rates, on the premise that 25 per cent of their services will be given to the poor and EWS free of cost. However, after it was observed that the majority of hospitals were violating the stipulation as per the sale

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Invisible Fraudsters

{ Abhishek Behl / FG }


o doubt the internet has given many options to the residents of Millennium City, in terms of connecting via the social media, conducting financial transactions, and buying goods and services over mobiles and laptops – but it has also added significant risks, as people are increasing falling prey to the machinations of Cyber criminals. The lack of technical knowledge, and sometimes one’s own greed, pitted against shrewd and even dangerous Cyber criminals, is responsible for the ever-increasing Cyber crimes in the City. As per the Cyber Cell of Gurgaon Police, social media sites

such as Facebook are also contributing to this menace, as ‘ditched’ husbands and boyfriends, and even angry women, are taking recourse to the online world to vent their frustration. The police

says that it is high time people realise that hacking an email account, morphing pictures, or putting up a fake facebook account are cognizable crimes under the Information Act.

Inspector Suresh Kumar, in-charge of the Cyber Cell of Gurgaon Police, says that the graph of Cyber crimes has been increasing since 2009. In 2010, the number of cyber crimes registered with the cell were 296, in 2011 the number increased to 325, and in 2012 the number of cases registered was 410. Inspector Suresh Kumar says that almost 75 per cent of the cases are solved and taken to a logical conclusion. The team is working hard to improve the percentage of success, he adds. “There are different types of Cyber crimes happening in Gurgaon – which include hacking of websites and email accounts, facebook attacks, posting of obscene material, financial crimes Contd on p 4 

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RNI No. HARENG/2011/39319 Postal Regn. No. GRG/35/2012-2014, VOL.–2 No.–24  1-7 February 2013


Atul Sobti

Sr. Correspondents: Abhishek Behl Shilpy Arora Correspondent:

Maninder Dabas

Sr. Photographers: Prakhar Pandey Jit Kumar

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A Milk Revolution

oodMilk organised a Health Carnival for various societies within the City. The funfilled Event also aimed at creating awareness on adulterated milk, with talks on how pure milk will keep us healthy and disease-free. Besides fun games–like Tambola and Wheel of Fortune–interactive sessions on diet plans and lifestyle disorders were also held. GoodMilk aims to serve society with its purest form of milk. It is fulfilling the needs of 7,500 families of Delhi-NCR with its brand of Organic and Cow – which are 100% natural and pure.

04  Contd from p 1 (including netbanking frauds), credit and debit card frauds, and using fake websites to dupe people,” reveals Kumar. The Cyber criminals operating in Gurgaon are highly trained, motivated and technically-equipped, thus making it easier for them to con ‘normal’ people. Kumar says that their team, of around 10 officials— comprising engineers, MCAs, and other computer experts—is constantly working to detect Cyber crimes, and put such criminals behind bars. “It is very difficult to prevent such crimes, but detection is in our hand, and we work very hard and deep to trace the criminals, as Cyber crime leaves strong electronic evidence,” he says. Recently, they have helped catch a miscreant who had sent a threatening email to a leading hotel in the City, in the name of Indian Mujahideen. “We worked on the case non-stop, and managed to track and arrest the person in two days,” he says, while adding that the nation’s top investigating agencies were also probing the crime. With the increasing influence of Facebook and other social media in our lives, the problems caused by this constant interaction in Cyber space is also spilling out into our real lives, as the cases registered with Gurgaon Cyber Cell reveal. A large number of cases involve people who have had recent breakups, jilted couples, jealous husbands and others known to each other. SubInspector Sudhir Kumar says that many people, despite knowing each other, spread malicious information, upload photographs, and send mails that could jeopardise the reputation of the other person. “All this is a crime, and people should know that this can be easily detected, despite the ‘anonymity’ offered by the internet,” he says. While embracing technology may have helped Gurgaonites, but the simultaneous adoption of a ‘western lifestyle’ is putting many a family, particularly young girls, to harm, as per the Cyber crime statistics. A number of girls from 'good' families have fallen victim to pornography, after their pictures were snapped and movies clicked by their boyfriends – often willingly. Police officials suggest that girls, and even boys, in the City should be very careful when entering into friendship with

♦ The 64th Republic Day is celebrated at the Tau Devi Lal Sports Complex. Minister of Public Health Engineering and Excise & Taxation, Smt Kiran Chowdhry, unfurls the national flag. ACP Sandeep Malik is the Parade Commander. ♦ The Minister says that a toll free number, 1800-180-5678 – has been set up for complaints regarding water and sewerage. There are plans to set up Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs) in all towns and cities by Dec 2014. ♦ The State is observing 2013 as the Year for Industry and Employment. The target is to provide employment opportunities to more than 20 lakhs people, and houses to 2 lakhs poor families, in 2013. ♦ National Green Tribunal (NGT) directs that sale of marble, and any encroachment, needs to be banned/demolished in SIkanderpur – there is a Court ban on non-forest activities in the Aravalis. MCG seals all commercial activity in Sikanderpur area, as per the NGT directive. ♦ IDFC is now the 74% owner of the Expressway project (toll plaza); the present concessionaire will have a 24% stake. ♦ CM Hooda inaugurates the 505-bed multispeciality Rockland Hospital at Manesar; also

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Invisible Fraudsters any one, particularly through the social media. They should also avoid chatting on webcams, because many times videos are recorded using cams, and also ensure that provocative pictures are not taken, because the same can be misused by friends or even husbands – as personal relations are very ephemeral these days. An official says that even married couples should avoid taking provocative pictures because their mobile phones or laptops might get stolen, or these can be downloaded by unscrupulous elements while the devices are being serviced. “The parents also have a responsibility to keep the kids on the right track. It is ultimately they who have to suffer along with their kids, when pornography is used to blackmail or take revenge,” he adds. Cyber Stalking is another problem that is being faced by people in the City. Often cyber criminals follow the victim online, and write messages to them in an attempt to control their lives. The objective is to harass a person, and experts say many times the stalkers are people known to the victims. To ensure that one does not fall victim to Cyber Stalking and related crimes, officials say that people should stop sharing private information on the internet, especially social networking sites. Inspector Suresh Kumar, Head of the Cyber Cell, says that they have detected and caught a number of such people engaged in personal attacks, and people who want to harass others. He also warns people of fake websites that use government names and logos to defraud people, by promising them jobs and other services. “Recently we detected a racket that was running a fake website. It was promoted by some unscrupulous elements, and promised jobs in IFFCO,” reveals Kumar. This racket was operating in 12 states, and had duped hundreds of people to the tune of lakhs of rupees. Once the Cyber Cell got a complaint about this website, the internet company which was hosting this site was contacted, but they too did not have any information about the ownership of this website. Consequently, the team studied bank transactions to detect and arrest the owners, says Kumar.

The list of cases solved by the Cyber Cell is long, but they also are hampered by lack of trained manpower, vehicles, and technical equipment. Police officials say that Gurgaon is not only witnessing personal crime in the Cyber domain. The hacking of company websites, stealing of data, Phishing, online lottery frauds and cloning of cards is also on the rise. The change in the financial behaviour of the citizens is also responsible for this new development. Gurgaon Cyber Police suggest that while making a banking transaction the users should take the same precautions as they would while going to a real bank. People should never share banking passwords, ATM pins and credit card CVV numbers, as these could be misused by criminals. In addition, the police also warns about financial crimes in which a person is coaxed into believing that he/she has won a lottery. The scamsters, mostly Nigerians, tell the gullible person that either he/she has won a lottery, or a rich prince wants to transfer funds into his/ her account. Mails are used as a bait to lure the victim, who ultimately ends up paying a large amount as a transaction


from 7th February onwards. Presently only 400 MW was being supplied. ♦ The current electricity consumption in Gurgaon is around 150 lakh units per day, which is likely to be increase to 200 lakh units per day during the summers.

visits Fortis Hospital in Gurgaon. ♦ Volvo buses of the State Transport dept. are abruptly stopped, due to the issue of tinted glasses. ♦ CCTV is planned for 300 buses in Gurgaon and Faridabad – 4 cameras per bus. ♦ First case of Swine Flu is detected in Gurgaon this season – a middle-aged man. ♦ The Minister for Power, Forest and Environment, Capt Ajay Singh Yadav, says that the second unit of 300 MW capacity of Yamuna Nagar Power Plant will start functioning by February end. Further, Gorakhpur Nuclear Power Plant, in District Fatehabad, has been cleared and construction of building work will start within next six months. The power generation in Thermal Power Plants of the State has been adversely affected by non-availability of coal in adequate quantity. The 1,320 MW CLP Power Plant in Jhajjar requires 24000 T of coal daily, against which only 6,000 MT is received; the Khedar Power Plant needs about 20,000 T coal per day and gets about 12,000 T only. The third unit of 660 MW at Yamunanagar would be constructed when the coal linkages are finalized. Adani Power Plant of Gujarat has agreed to provide 1424 MW power to Haryana,

The Cyber Cell Team of technical personnel includes – Inspector Suresh Kumar, Sub-inspector Sudhir Kumar, ASI Sunder Pal, ASI Subash, Head Constable Anil Kumar, Constable Pradip, Constable Sandeep, Constable Deepak, and Sukhbir Singh. fund. Here it must be noted that transfer of funds from a lottery is not allowed in India, and it is a crime. If you are getting any such lottery email, just delete it. Another type of Cyber crime that has become ‘popular’, and is hitting people in Gurgaon, is Phishing. The Phishers use fake websites, links and emails to acquire key financial information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by assuming a fake identity which often looks genuine. Fake websites are created to dupe people into entering information that leads to financial loss sooner than later.

♦ Health Minister Rao Narender Singh says that the State will set up Sick Neo-natal Care Units (SNCUs) in the general hospitals of every district. ♦ A newborn baby is found dead near Sec 51 Community Centre. ♦ A person is knifed and killed after a dispute, while playing cricket. ♦ A speeding vehicle runs over 4 youth on NH8 - 2 die. ♦ A man’s body is found in Sector 9. ♦ A guard molests a minor maid at a basement in residential society. ♦ An MNC executive at a BPO is held for molesting a colleague. ♦ 2 women constables are eve-teased on MG Road, late at night. ♦ HIPA will arrange soft skills and language training for women constables. ♦ Next hearing on Ruchi Bhuttan case is fixed for Feb 11th. – the accused is denied bail for 6th time. Sohna Police bust a notorious gang, and arrest

Police officials also warn people to remain wary of websites and emails that promise goods and services at throwaway prices. The aim of these fraudsters is to steal credit card information, or to sell stolen goods or fakes. Sub-Inspector Sudhir Kumar says that the rise in the number of software companies has also led to an increase in the data-theft allegations in the City. However, ninety nine percent of the times allegations made against individual employees turn out to be false. “The only objective of the accusations is to prevent an employee from leaving the organisation, or moving to a competitor. This ploy is increasingly being used by software companies, but now we are taking a strict stand against it,” says an official of the Cyber Cell. As information sharing is key to catching the Cyber criminals, Inspector Suresh Kumar says that they keep in constant touch with internet companies and mobile operators in the City – and in the rest of the country, whenever the need arises. Expert help is also taken from Cyber security experts, and Data Security Council of India, to ensure that citizens remain protected from the shenanigans of Cyber criminals. When asked how private companies like Google and Facebook respond to their queries, and support them in crime detection, Kumar says the companies that have servers in India are quite supportive. But organisations like Facebook, which have their base as well as servers abroad, are slow in responding to their queries. Some times it takes more than a month to get a response from Facebook officials sitting abroad. Likewise, while the majority of mobile companies are co-operative, there are some—like MTNL, BSNL, Reliance and Tata Indicom—that are slow in acting on their request for information. Cyber officials say that time is even more of the essence in catching Cyber criminals, so that they are in the net before they can erase the electronic footprint. It is imperative for every stakeholder to support the police in getting rid of these 'invisible scamsters', they add. u

9 members, along with weapons. The gang is allegedly involved in over 200 cases of car/truck snatching, and even murders. ♦ 2 young men dupe an old man and make off with his diamond ring – worth Rs 1.25 lakhs. ♦ 5 men are caught trying to loot a petrol pump. ♦ A Tata 407 is looted, along with all material. ♦ An executive is duped of about Rs 3 lakhs by a conman at a bank. ♦ A man is given 6 months sentence on account of his cheque having bounced. ♦ A Sub-Inspector for traffic in Manesar is suspended. ♦ There is a fire in Galleria Market – 4 securitymen feel suffocation. ♦ AID India, Gurgaon, an NGO, gets a mobile school (to seat and shelter 40 children) as donation from Pernod Ricard India. ♦ The concept of ‘single point power’ for housing societies is implemented. ♦ The Administration warns people against the sale and purchase of land in unauthorized colonies ♦ One more Maruti worker is arrested, for the violent protest last year. ♦ Auto drivers clash with City Bus staff, over passenger traffic. ♦ Maruti is asked to pay Rs 138 crores extra, for the Manesar land compensation.


1-7 February 2013



AMP Trust & Lorraine Music Academy hosted “A MUSICAL EVENING CELEBRATING OUR NATION’S REPUBLIC DAY" on Thursday 24th January 2013 @ 7:30pm at Epicentre Auditorium, Apparel House, Sector 44, Gurgaon. It was a “Musical Evening in Honour of India”! It was sheer joy to see over 120 students and adult participants perform on stage. In keeping with LAMP’s objective of nurturing talent and providing a platform for the exhibition of talent, the next generation of global Indians, aged 4 to 25 years – students from various schools across the National Capital Region & adults – performed along with professional musicians who had performed across India and the globe. The musical evening included patriotic songs, dance, poetry, songs to entertain, instrumental music - classical instruments along with folk instruments. GUESTS OF HONOUR: n Mr. Maheshwar Dayal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon n Mr. Mark Parkinson, Executive Director, Kunskapsskolan n Mrs. Bakhtawar Saini, Director, Scottish High International School n Mrs. Shalini Nambiar, Director, Excelsior American School n Mr. Lon W. McDaniel, Principal, Amity Global School n Ms. Geeta Sachdeva, Middle School Principal, Lancers International School n Father Dominic Dabreo, Catholic Bishops Convention of India

The evening included performances by: n students of the top schools of Gurgaon n winners of the recently concluded Nationwide Talent Contest “LAMP-iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra for Music 2012” n “Nrityapan” - a professional dance troupe of highly talented girls from economically backward society of Bareilly who have travelled and performed across the globe! Students of Lorraine Music Academy sang patriotic songs; Ishaan Bhatnagar sang “Imagine” by John Lenon; Nayantara Sen sang a Bengali patriotic song “Dhitang Dhitang Bhole”; Adya Uppal sang “Ao Bachcho”. The Lorraine Music Academy Band that included Gabriella Extross,

Atreya Mitra on vocals; Kaustav Sood on the Drums; Mike Manlun on the Bass; Mrinav Saxena on Rhythm Guitar; Andrew Packiam on the Lead Guitar; Dhruv Malhotra and Adi Chaturvedi on Keyboards performed “Cry For Freedom” by White Lions and “Shape of My Heart” by Sting. Students of the Scottish High International School sang “Hymn to the Nations” set to the music of “Ode to Joy” composed by Ludwig Van Beethoven. Students of the Excelsior American School performed a wonderful medley of dances with patriotic flavour. A student of Lorraine Music Academy “Nrityapan” performed 3 sets of dances – “I Love My India”, “Gypsy Dance” and “Pray for India” which was dedicated to every Girl Child and Woman in the Nation on the occasion of the "National Day Of The Girl Child". Twelve year old Ranveer Singh Saini, a student of Lorraine Music Academy and the Scottish High International School, gave a wonderful rendition of “Ae Watan Ae Watan Hamko Teri Qasam” for which he was awarded the “LAMP-iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra for Patritoic Music (Popular Vote) 2012”. Diagnosed with Autism, a Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD) at an early age of 2 yrs, this child has shown and proved to the world that a special needs child can at times outdo and overpower the capabilities of any child of his age. The evening witnessed the award of the “LAMP-iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra for Patriotic Music (Jury Award) 2012” for the song “Mhaajya Maayechya Bhumi” (Hindi, Konkani, Marathi & English) to SHANTA DURGA CREATIONS, Vasco, Goa. The award and citation were presented by Mr. Maheshwar Dayal, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Gurgaon to Mr Rajesh Naik and Mr. Sujit Bandekar, team members of the Shanta Durga Creations, Goa. “We take this opportunity to thank KALA ACADEMY GOA for associating

with Lorraine Music Academy and LAMP Trust in launching in Goa the annual nation-wide talent contest “SING A SONG” for the "LAMP–iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra Award for Music", a coveted annual award instituted alongwith United Nations,” says Aubrey Aloysius, Founder & President of LAMP Trust. The evening also witnessed the announcement and launch of the 2013 edition of our Nation-wide Talent Contest for the coveted “LAMP – iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra For Music & Art 2013” awards. This initiative will reach children and adults across India. After a screening, evaluation and selection process set by MERCER and GRANT THORTON, the finalists / selected participants would be invited to The National Capital Region of Delhi for the annual performance and award event. There would be various categories / themes for this award which would be announced annually including Patriotic Music. This would be open for performance in all National, Regional / Local languages and in English. This category would enable participation from across the nation. It is also open to the Indian Diaspora and people of Indian origin spread across the globe. The winners of the 2013 edition of LAMP’s Nation-wide Talent Contest will be awarded the “LAMP-iCONGO Karmaveer Chakra for Patriotic Music” at the annual performance and award event to be held around Republic Day of 2014. The Awards will include the following categories. Details will be announced shortly and would be visible on www. n  MUSIC (Vocal / Choral) n  MUSIC (Instrumental) n  PERFORMING ARTS n  VISUAL ART n  LITERARY ART The above concert forms a part of the Music & Art Festival in aid of LAMP Trust -

aimed at raising awareness and resources to set up the LAMP World Cultural Centre in Gurgaon, National Capital Region of Delhi, to promote the Arts - Performing Art, Visual Art, Literary Art. LAMP also endeavours to make resources available to the poor towards skill & talent development, training & basic education in the under-served communities across India. Lorraine Fiona Aloysius started playing the piano from the age of 8, greatly encouraged & inspired by her mother Helen D'Cruz. Lorraine is a Licentiate of the Trinity College of London - UK (Pianoforte) and a Masters in Banking & Finance. She has experience in teaching, creative thinking, public relations, training and motivating large teams across the country. She has sent over 300 students for examinations of Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, U.K., Trinity College of London, U.K., Trinity Guildhall, U.K., and RockSchool, U.K. Lorraine also oversees a regular visiting faculty that comes in from across the globe including some of the top global Colleges of Music & Drama, to teach our students during various periods of the year. Lorraine has been recently awarded the coveted “KARMAVEER PURASKAAR” for her contribution and work in the field of Music, Art & Culture. Lorraine has been living in Gurgaon since 2004 and is the Creative Director of Lorraine Music Academy and the Trustee of LAMP Trust. Aubrey Aloysius is an ex-International Banker, Marketing Professional, Entrepreneur, Thinker and Doer. He is a dynamic visionary with a focus on planning and execution. He has worked with clients across domains and geographical regions, ranging from established multinational corporations across India to start-up business ventures. Aubrey actively supports the rich heritage of World Music & Arts – Performing Arts, Visual Arts, Literary Arts. Aubrey Aloysius has been recently awarded the coveted “KARMAVEER PURASKAAR” for his visionary contribution and work in the field of Music, Art & Culture. He has been living in Gurgaon since 2004 and is the Founder Chairman, Managing Director & CEO of Lorraine Music Academy and the Founder Trustee & President of LAMP Trust. u

06 agreement, the Delhi High Court in 2007 directed that all private hospitals in the National Capital that were benefitted by subsidised land should provide free medical treatment to the underprivileged. As per the Court’s orders, these hospitals must comply by providing 25% OPD reservation and 10% bed reservation for the poor. A separate account is maintained with regard to their treatment expenditure, at CGHS rates. In 2011 the Supreme Court, while deciding on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), further ordered that all private hospitals that have availed land at concessional rates must provide free treatment to people falling below the poverty line – with no cap on costs. The Apex Court said that the hospitals may make arrangements to meet their costs from sponsorships or endorsements, but at no point can the patient be billed. Advocate Ashok Agarwal, who had filed the Public Interest Litigation, and has been fighting a legal battle to ensure that the poor get their due from private health care operators, told Friday Gurgaon that hospitals in Gurgaon are bound to provide free services to the poor if they have availed land at concessional rates. “The sale agreements stipulate what the hospitals have to do for the weaker sections, as they have been given state resources on which the poor have an equal share – if not more,” says Agarwal. In his opinion, the civil society in Gurgaon should approach the Administration, and even the courts, to set things right. Healthcare experts agree, and say that this matter needs to be taken seriously, because medical expenses are one of the primary reasons pushing marginal families into poverty – particularly in urban landscapes like Gurgaon. With the government healthcare infrastructure in a shambles, and the private health system not ready to accommodate the poor, Gurgaon is doing injustice to lakhs of people who form the service backbone of the City, they add. Three major hospitals in Gurgaon—Medanta, Artemis, and Fortis— have got land at concessional rates from HUDA. As per the sale agreement, a clause stipulates “subsidised rates @30 per cent of the normal charges shall be charged for 20 per cent of the functional beds, in addition to 20 per cent OPD free for the weaker sections of society. However, the hospitals, despite getting land at highly subsidised rates had objected to this clause, whereafter the government had decided to seek the opinion of the Director, Health Services, Haryana. It was also stipulated that one representative each from the Health department, HUDA and District Administration would be taken on the Board of a hospital, to monitor the affairs as well as ensure that service to the poor and weaker sections is given as per their due. However, it seems that all the promises that were made under these agreements have vanished in thin air, rues Asim Takyar, a prominent RTI activist, who has filed multiple RTIs to know why the private hospitals are not servicing the poor in a proper manner. “I had asked HUDA what action it was taking to ensure that private hospitals, that were given subsidised land, display the services that are available to the poor and BPL families on their Notice Board. I had also asked why no Nodal Officers had not been appointed in the hospitals, to help the BPL and EWS population,” says Takyar. The set of questions filed with HUDA under RTI were transferred to these three hospitals, who took the

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Public Property, Private Care plea that they do not come under the RTI Act, and are not bound to answer. Takiyar says that this issue is now pending before the full bench of the State Information Commission, and notices have been issued to all the parties. “The important issue here is not whether the hospitals come under the ambit of RTI but, more importantly, what is the role of the State in ensuring that the due benefits are not misused,” asserts Takyar. The widening gulf in the state of healthcare is worrying many concerned citizens, who say that the growth of ‘five-star hospitals’ further adds to the divide between the rich and poor. Instead of building an inclusive Gurgaon, the focus on increasingly providing highly specialised healthcare at the cost of the City’s poor could result in a catastrophe, believes Shubra Puri of Gurgaon First. “Private hospitals in Gurgaon, particularly those with subsidised land, must be made to provide free health care to the poor. The government must ensure that that a large population is not denied their constitutional rights,” she asserts.

like Rockland in Manesar and Park Hospital in Gurgaon, which have bought land in open bids, maintain that they provide help on a humanitarian basis, but they have no reservation policy for the poor and EWS sections in their hospitals. Ankit Gupta, Managing Director of Park Hospital, says that they help the poor and economically weaker patients out of concern, but they are not required to reserve IPD/OPD services under law. Dr. P.R Aryan of the Aryan Hospital also told Friday Gurgaon that they try to keep the costs reasonable, and offer concessional rates to the poor on humanitarian grounds. The hospitals that have got land at concessional rates maintain that they are doing what is required as per the legal requirements, though their pronouncements seem to lack conviction. Artemis Hospital, in its reply through Anirban Sengupta, Head – Marketing and Sales, says: Patient Care holds prime importance at Artemis Health Sciences. This, in our case, is not just restricted to the upper segment of the society but also to the economically weaker sections. As a super-speciality Hospital of international repute, we are fully aware of our responsibility towards the society, especially towards the section which cannot afford quality health care services.

al rates then they are duty bound to provide free facilities as per the sale requirement,” he asserted, adding that this will greatly help the poor in the City. Kumar promised to look into the matter... Even as the State promises to deliver the goods, there are activists like Councillor Nisha Singh who have had an unsatisfactory experience when they intervened on behalf of their ward residents at private hospitals. “I had occasions to interact with some of the private hospitals. I feel that they are not very forthcoming in helping the poor, despite the fact that they have got cheap land from the State. The hospitals insist on BPL cards, Aadhaar Cards and other certifications which many of the poor don’t have,” says Singh. In fact the primary grouse against the private hospitals is that there is no institutional mechanism that has been defined to help the poor. The poor are actually scared to enter the precincts of these mega hospitals, where even access is denied to those PRAKHAR PANDEY

 Contd from p 1

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Advocate Ashok Agarwal says that the Supreme Court decision on free health care for the poor is applicable in principle across the country. “If someone is violating the law then the courts will redress the wrong for sure. One just needs to knock the door with valid reasons and arguments,” he says, while citing the case of Delhi, where private hospitals had earlier refused to honour the commitment made in their sale agreements. In fact the Delhi Health Minister, A.K Walia, in the first week of January this year, directed the 43 private hospitals to proactively provide free health care services as stipulated by the Court, and even threatened to initiate Contempt Proceedings if any hospital in the City did not follow the same in letter and spirit. The same urgency perhaps is needed in Gurgaon, if the poor are to get any help from private enterprise in the City. Haryana Health Minister Rao Narender Singh, when asked about the issue at the inaugural function of yet another private hospital in Manesar, reiterated that the State will do everything to help the poor. “If free healthcare facility is available to weaker sections in Delhi, then the same would be made applicable in Haryana (and Gurgaon) as applicable under rules. The Hooda government is committed to provide quality healthcare, particularly to the poor,” said the Health Minister, who in his speech also exhorted the healthcare industry in Gurgaon to help the weaker sections of society. The Health Minister, while maintaining that hospitals which do not get concessional land can not be forced to provide free facilities, agreed that the others will be asked to meet the requirements. HUDA Administrator Praveen Kumar told Friday Gurgaon that he was not aware of the concessional allotments made by his departments in Gurgaon! “If any land has been allotted to private hospitals at concession-

The facilities that need to be provided free include – bed, medication, consultation, surgery facility, nursing facility, consumables, medicines, injections, dressing, and admission to hospital. However some facilities that are not deemed free are: cosmetic/plastic surgery, all types of Cancer, and neurosurgery. who are not English-speaking and 'look poor', says Takyar. His views are supported by many of the unfortunate citizens, like Beche Lal, who is suffering from bouts of cough, and suspected TB. Lal polishes the marble in newly constructed houses, and has spent a major part of his income on private hospitals and doctors, but has not got any relief. He does not know that some private hospitals in Gurgaon are bound to provide free service to him, including provision of medicines. To make matters worse, increasing commercialisation of medical facilities has also resulted in over-prescriptions and over-charging by private operators – while the government facilities are just unable to service the poor. Takyar says that unless these hospitals assume a proactive role, or are forced to act by the government or the court, the situation is unlikely to change. All the stakeholders in the City need to take up this issue seriously, else the days of civil strife are not far, warn some of the stakeholders.

Hospital Speak

The majority of the hospitals in the City are not very forthcoming on the issue of providing free or concessional services to the poor. Many hospitals,

Therefore, we at Artemis Hospital have constantly endeavored to provide the necessary health facilities to this section. We do of course abide by the Haryana Government Policy Guidelines regarding the Economically Weaker Sections of the society. For instance, we provide free OPD services to eligible patients up to 20% of the hospital’s total OPD patients. Apart from this, we carry out numerous CSR initiatives for the underprivileged section of the society. We have organized free health camps and checkups in Gurgaon and surrounding regions at regular intervals. Artemis recently tied up with Gurgaon Rapid Metro to provide free health consultancy to construction workers. The Hospital also distributes free medicines to economically weaker sections at times. Additionally, we will soon start our telemedicine services in the nearby villages of Haryana.” Takyar says that the rigmarole of eligibility and other basic legalities makes availing such services very difficult. An email sent to a representative of Medanta in this regard went unanswered, although the Hospital has sent a detailed list of EWS patients, who it claims were given free medical treatment, in reply to Takyar’s RTI. The RTI activist asserts that this is merely an eyewash, and all the hospitals which have got subsidised land must promote and advertise these reserved facilities, as is happening in Delhi, to make the service really meaningful. Critics further say that the private hospitals seem to believe that, by providing free beds, they are doing a favour to society at large; they fail to see that these beds are to be given free because the government gave them concessional land to build these hospitals. It is time that they realise that manipulating the vulnerable situation of the poor is akin to a crime against humanity, and this must be stopped, they argue.

Contd on p 7 

1-7 February 2013

C over S tory


 Contd from p 6 Private Hospitals Three major hospitals in Gurgaon, viz. Medanta, Artemis and Fortis, were allotted land at concessional rates by HUDA, to help the development of medical infrastructure in the City. However, it was stipulated in the Agreement that they will have to service the BPL/EWS patients at subsidised rates – at 30 per cent of normal charges for 20 per cent of functional beds (in the City), in addition to 20 per cent of OPD for the weaker sections of society. As per HUDA records: Medanta: In 2004 Hospital & Medical Education 25 acres Rs. 1.65 crores/acre Support Area 5 acres Rs. 1.08 crores/acre Guest Houses 6 acres Rs. 1.57 crores/acre Residential Accomodation 7 acres Rs. 1.57 crores/acre Total 43 acres Rs. 67.06 crores Fortis: Sec 44, bang opposite the HUDA City Centre metro station in what can be termed as one of the most premium locations in the City 11.5 acres at Rs. 3,552/sq.yd Rs. 19.77 crores The land was allotted on the same conditions as Medanta. Artemis: 8.3 acres at Rs. 4,000/sq.yd

Rs. 16.07 crores

Medanta reportedly has: a monthly income of Rs.70 crores (Rs. 2.5 crores a day); ensured that all CGHS payments are received immediately; claimed that the difference between its card rate and CGHS rate amounts is a ‘subsidy’ provided by it for the underprivileged. It is very clear that all the three hospitals have been given land in the heart of Gurgaon at a very cheap rate. Yet not much is being done to provide free healthcare to the poor – despite a clear Agreement. Sanjay Sharma, a real estate analyst, says that instead of about Rs. 4,000 per sq. yard paid by these hospitals, the actual value of this land would have been 15 to 20 times higher at that time. At present the value of land at these commercial locations is touching astronomical proportions, he adds. Hopefully they do not become real estate plays tomorrow!

How Delhi Does it Right

While the Delhi government has made it clear that no violations of the Supreme Court order on free medicare for the poor and EWS will be brooked, the civil society has also come forward to create an enabling environment, that ensures that objectives of this policy are met to a great extent. Lalit Sharma, who manages a web-based service called charitybeds. com, says that their website maintains a real time record of about 800 beds that are available for free in the 43 hospitals of Delhi. A team maintains regular contact with various hospitals—that include some prestigious institutions like Dharamshila, Escorts, Max (Saket), Fortis (Vasant Kunj),


unday evenings are when most people choose to relax; but senior citizens from Silver Oaks apartments get together under a forum of ‘Great Minds Meet’, to discuss topics of interest. Last Sunday the chosen topic was - ‘Let us join hands to build a better community’. Soft-skills trainer and social change activist Odette Katrak, who has helped actively in efforts to reduce traffic indiscipline, and who has also been involved in initiatives to reduce litter, spitting and honking, addressed the gathering. She talked on the role each citizen can play, to make a better Gurgaon. The crux of her message was that each of us needs to get out of the complaining mode, and instead move towards positive action. She urged

Primus, Rockland, Vimhans, G.M Modi and Jessa Ram Hospitals—and continuously updates the availability. “We are also trying to create awareness among the poor that the government has mandated some private hospitals to provide free health care to them. We print posters and other information material, and distribute it in different areas of the City,” says Sharma. He further says that the Supreme Court order mentions that all individuals who have a household income of less than Rs. 7,254 per month are entitled to free medical treatment in the 46 private hospitals in Delhi/NCR, which have been built on land acquired at concessional rates from the government.

“In case a person does not have a BPL or Aadhaar card, he can fill the self-declaration form stating his income, or provide an income certificate issued from an organisation, stating that his/her monthly income is below Rs. 7,254. That will suffice. No genuine beneficiary can be denied these free health facilities,” asserts Sharma. Every hospital coming under the ambit of the Court order has also appointed a Nodal Officer. Sharma concludes that once people realise their rights, they will certainly demand them from the hospitals. Why are the private hospitals, that talk so much about Corpoarte Social Responsibility (CSR) waiting for that day? u

Build Better Communities citizens to leave a legacy of positivity for their progeny – starting with setting good personal examples. Excerpts: We all wish to live in a perfect world – but are we doing our

Citizen Watch bit? One step better - are we doing all we can to make this a perfect world? When something is not okay, how do we respond? With silence, that leads to the wrong never being righted, and collectively leads to public apathy? Or with constant complaining?

Healthy communities are built by proactive members who give positive suggestions, with the objective of solving problems, and preventing repeats. Can we feel motivated to take a simple step of writing to agencies such as HUDA and MCG - made much easier now thanks to the internet? We need to develop an attitude of deep respect for others’ rights, and a deep concern for our responsibilities. Can we commit to both of these? And also to positively influence those around us who do not? On Gurgaon’s traffic indiscipline – can we be that first car to stop at the red light, while others try to whiz past? And can we

Update On Aadhaar { Maninder Dabas / FG }


he Unique Identification Card (UID), aka Aadhaar, was launched with an objective to provide all Indians a unique identity, and to flow all welfare schemes through it. In Gurgaon very few cards have been issued till now, despite fifteen lakh people in Gurgaon district having registered for Aadhaar. The State Food and Supply Department has been handed the charge of registering people. “We have a great paucity of resources in Gurgaon; we don't have the adequate machinery to issue the cards. We register people, and hand over their documentation to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), who have been appointed by the Central Government to issue cards to the masses. In Gurgaon District, work is going on at Sohna, Pataudi and Farukhnagar, and as soon as the teams finish their work there,

Forms Received

the machinery and work force will head for Gurgaon. A total of 17 kits, with scanning and other machines, are operational in these three Tehsils. We have also asked for machinery from Sonepat, and I think we would receive it soon,” said B.P Yadav, Assistant Food Security Officer (AFSO), who also happens to be the nodal officer of the Aadhaar initiative in Gurgaon. The government has made the eligibility of many services, such as LPG connection, based on ownership of a UID card. Real estate deals also need a UID. Till now, in Gurgaon district, a total of 443,355 families have been registered under Aadhaar, and a total number of 17,44,085 individuals have submitted their forms. But the slow process of verification and all other formalities has meant that only 816,423 forms (of individuals) have reached TCS, after verification. u

Forms Verified (and handed over to TCS)

(families) individuals) 443,355 17,44,085

(families) 194,034

(individuals) 816,423

influence our drivers, and others, rather than just turn a blind eye? Citizens may be aware/ not aware, or concerned/not concerned. For the unaware but concerned, a polite request can convert them to ideal ruleabiders. For those who are neither concerned nor aware,

the first step is to create an awareness, and then persist with a polite request. To hone a mindset oriented to solutions, and to ensure that the solutions are accepted, remember that a smile is your most important companion. u

Designed to be Perfect





08 W

hile writing a school essay on his family, 13-year-old Kavi wrote only about his mother, Karuna. He proudly wrote how she showers motherly love and takes care of all his needs, while running a business single-handedly. It is not an easy task. Not only has Karuna to take care of the financial issues, she has to cope with loneliness too. And while she does all this, she has to smile, as her son always looks to her for support. “I can’t let my son see my despair. I am happy that I have been able to fill the void in my son’s life,” says Karuna, a resident of Sector 28. As the traditional models of family life are collapsing, there are today a good number of single parents in the City. Although many women have to struggle after a separation, a few have found it quite easy to play both mom and dad. Vasudha's (name changed), husband walked out of a 10year-old relationship. “Honestly speaking, I feel more independent after my divorce. It seems as if I have stepped out of prison. Fortunately I was not dependent upon my husband in any way, be it financial or emotional. So I chose my self-respect over the wedding vows. I think it is very important for a woman to feel, and to be, independent. Today, we are a happy family of three – my 16-year-old son, my 10-year-old daughter, and me,” says Vasudha, an artist. She proudly plays the dual responsibility – she works, pays the bills, makes the dinner, takes the kids to dance lessons, oversees the homework, and arranges their birthday parties. There is Vidya Singh, 50, whose husband left her when she was 25. “I learnt that age doesn’t matter as long as you have the will to achieve what you want in life. For the last 25 years the only man in my life is my son. I am happy that I have been able to play the role of both his mom and dad. And in reciprocation he has been able to give me emotional support – like a male companion,'' smiles Vidya, who runs an online matrimony website. While single mothers enjoy their independence, they also feel that their children grow up to be more responsible. “There is also a beauty that emerges from the strain. My son has witnessed my struggle – arranging his school fee and tuition expenses. He has never asked for expensive gifts, or pressured for foreign trips, arranged by his school. I still remember that he had once given me his piggy bank to pay for the electricity bills,” smiles Vidya.

What leads to Single Parenting?

The growing number of single parents not only shows that these days couples break up more easily, but it is also an indicator of a changing relationship pattern in our society. Dr. Namrata, a City-

Even One Can Tango

has changed, and the level of stigma has gone down. Single mothers may still be vulnerable, but they also have lots of support. A social activist, Kamla Bhasin, says, “My mother could never have walked out of a marriage. However, if my daughter does not find a man who respects her dignity, I would suggest to her to walk out.”

The Flip Side


{ Shilpy Arora / FG }

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1-7 February 2013

based child Counsellor, also blames live-in relationships for the growing number of single parents in the City. Unlike Delhi, Gurgaon is a new city. Many youngsters have settled down here. Their careers have brought them to a City where most of the people (in ‘new’ Gurgaon) do not really care for, or know much of, traditional society values. They indulge in live-in relationships as a convenient arrangement. But when a child is born, the relationship generally breaks down. Most people, especially men, do not want added responsibility of a child and/or marriage. The child, therefore, becomes the responsibility of the mother. “Marriage is no longer a priority in life, because it needs commitment. If you are not committed, you can easily break off and move ahead,” says Dr. Namrata, while claiming that she receives more than 15 queries from single mothers every month.

Growing Acceptance

Another potential reason for an increase in the number of single parents could be their acceptance by society. Not only is the independence of a woman rejoiced and encouraged by the cosmopolitan culture of the ‘new’ City, a few institutions like schools and hospitals also positively acknowledge the changing dynamics of family structure. Vashudha gives an example of her daughter’s admission to an international school in the City. “I was glad to see a ticker for “Single Parent”, along with “Divorced” and “Widow”. The teachers told me that if they are aware of a family’s background, it helps them understand the child better. They were so supportive; they never punished my daughter for missing assignments, or for my being late for parent-teacher meetings,” says Vasudha. Director of Excelsior American School,

Shalini, informs that a school can’t question the family composition, but they prefer to be informed, so that they can support the child. “If anything is disturbing the child, we should be able to handle it in a sensitive manner,” she says. Similarly, a few hospitals, such as Alchemist and Paras, have special arrangements for both single parents as well as their children. “We understand that single parents can’t be with the child all the time, so we have come up with a special provision of a full-time attendant. On the other hand, if the parent takes ill, we discourage children from visiting the parent too much, as it can have an adverse affect on their health and can also hurt them emotionally,” informs Bhawna Mathur. “In upper middle class families like mine, usually a father or a husband does ‘manly’ things, like getting the car tyres changed or fixing a leaking tap. But I take care of all of that myself – never mind the strange looks I get from men,’’ says Aastha, a single mother. There are some groups in social media that cater to the needs of single parents. Single Parent Association, for instance, has helped many single parents, especially men, cope with day-to-day issues. The Group helps single parents in many ways – ranging from investment plans, to what activities they can indulge in over the weekends. “We provide them a platform where they can meet other single parents, and their children can also meet ‘similar’ children. The success story of one motivates the other. Children also find someone they can easily relate to. We also have special sessions just for parents,” says Mr. Singhal, founder of the Group. Although the Group is based in Delhi, almost half of its members are from Gurgaon. Insurance firms have come up with special schemes for the single mother. So, apparently, society

Although single mothers manning the house seems to be the main trend, there are single fathers too. While independent women easily enjoy the respect and love of their children, it is a daunting task for a single father. Dr. Khandelwal, a single parent, says that his daughter is an introvert. He blames himself for it. “Despite my busy schedule, I take out a lot of time for my daughter. But she always seems to miss something. In most of the families the dad is the ideal for a son, and a mom is the ideal for a daughter. She doesn’t have a female role model in the family,” feels Dr. Khandelwal. Also, the society looks more harshly upon divorced men, invariably blaming them for the breakup. Dr. Khandelwal feels the ostracism. “It is not just a matter of turning a deaf ear to gossip, but a question of tackling practical problems – like getting an apartment on rent, or getting your child admitted to school During my daughter’s admission to her school, I was questioned in detail about what led to my divorce. Did you have an extramarital affair? Did you beat your wife? I have always had to face these kind of questions,” says Dr. Khandelwal. He puts forth an example of a single father who found it so difficult to handle the societal pressure and his adolescent son, that he had given his son to a

friend who was looking to adopt someone! Even women who have always lived their lives as ‘house-wives’ often face a lot of issues. Meeta (name changed) says, “When I got married I had the feeling that my husband was there to take care of everything. I therefore never thought of stepping out of home and earning myself. Perhaps that is why today I am struggling to manage the home and work simultaneously.” Meeta’s daughter, Kaitki, misses her mother when she is away for work. Being brought up in a joint family, it is hard for Kaitki to live in a house alone. Her craving for a father figure is met by Meeta’s brother, who is a bachelor. “Kaitki identifies with my brother, and is very close to him,” says Meeta. Family is an important and integral aspect of our being. In India we all have an ideal view of how life should be, and our thoughts generally revolve around a family – a mother, a father and siblings. The presence of both the father and mother is important for the healthy development of a child. While a boy normally looks up to a father as a role model, a girl’s future relationship with a man is usually shaped by her interactions with her father. Dr. Mitra, a Relationship Counsellor, puts forth an interesting case, wherein a child posted profiles of his single mother on a matrimonial site. “A 15-yearold boy wanted his mom to find a new partner, so that she could have a secure future. He also wanted to enjoy his teenage days with a father, like most of his friends did. This particular case touched me so much. I think the best gift that parents can give their children is their loving company, to form a bond of togetherness.” u

T PIC OF THE WEEK Dear Readers, Each week we will feature a question/topic to get your views/suggestions. Selected views will be published in the subsequent issue(s) of Friday Gurg. This week's Topic is:

'What one change would you like to see in Gurgaon and why?' Write in to us at

1-7 February 2013

{ Shilpy Arora / FG }


homeless child, Azhar, proved his mettle by scoring a 100 per cent in the Class 12 Board examination. Hafeez made it to IIT, braving all the odds. Anand qualified for a reputed ISRO training programme. These are not just success stories scripted by underprivileged children, but reflect the struggle and hard work put in by their families. Friday Gurgaon brings you some success stories, wherein families, despite a financial crunch, have gone more than the extra mile.

A Homeless Topper

A student of Vidya School, Azhar had been living on the streets, along with his two siblings and mother, for nine years. Their house was sold off after the death of his father. Fighting against all odds he put in great effort to score 100 per cent in the Senior Secondary examination last year. While finishing most of his studies at school, he completed his homework by paying for a shelter in an under-stairs ‘rented’ space. While recalling the struggle of his family, Azhar says, “My mother rented an under-stairs space for Rs. 500 per month, so that I could even study in the rain and extreme winters. My siblings ensured no one came to play nearby, so that I could study in peace.” After his result was declared, a local bank offered him a home loan to buy a single-room apartment near Wazirabad Village. Luckily, Azhar has also got support from a Delhi-based NGO, Bachpan, that offered funds for his college fees, stationery and books. “We were so touched when we heard about the story of this boy. We wanted to help him and his entire family. So we decided to

{ Maninder Dabas / FG }


t has been decided that there shall be an immediate crackdown on buses having tinted glasses and/or heavy curtains. They shall be impounded immediately, if they have not removed them. All buses will be asked to keep their inside lights on while plying at night in Delhi. All buses must be parked at their owners’ location, and not with their drivers. The photo identity card of drivers should be displayed in the bus, along with the Helpline  number in bold. Delhi Police have also been asked to provide more number of vehicles for patrolling,” said the Union Home Minister had said in a statement on December 19th. Some buses were impounded, tinted glasses of a few were removed, and for a few days buses and their drivers followed the instructions; but within about a month Delhi is back to its usual ways. Gurgaon thinks differently. Here, the top brass of the police believes that with so much focus on buses, the

C ivic/S ocial


Street Smarts fund his higher studies and bear his expenses, so that his siblings and mother live a secure life as well,” says Nutan, the founder of Bachpan. When asked about his ambition, Azhar says that earlier he wanted to become an IAS officer, but now, looking at the condition of the poor and homeless people around him, he wants to be an architect/engineer. “I have opted for the science stream so that I can build houses for the poor and homeless. I don’t want anybody to study on the road like me,” says Azhar.

Youngest makes it to IIT

Hafeez from Kanhai village, who has witnessed acute poverty, made the City proud by making it to the reputed Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). He scored around 98 percent marks in the Class 12 Science stream examination, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Examination (CBSE). He has a strong c o nv i c t i o n that everything is possible if a person is determined.  “I wanted to prove that villages have got brilliant brains too. They should be properly nourished though,” says Hafeez. Hafeez is the only son, and the youngest of seven children of Aziz, a roadside fruit seller. “I am the son of a fruit seller, and a woman who cleans other people’s homes. Both my parents work hard but don’t earn much. They have however, always encouraged me to have an education. I now take it as my responsibility to help turn their dreams into

reality,” says Hafeez. His parents wanted him to study in a good school, but they could not afford it. Thus Hafeez began his primary education in Bagiya School, before switching over to DPS, where he studied up to Class 12. Expressing his gratitude to the School management, Hafeez says, “The School authorities waived my tuition fees and the fees for the bus, which helped me continue my studies. Mr. Singh, the Management Secretary of the School, accepted my request and let me study in the School at a minimum fee. It is because of his guidance and advice that I have come out with flying colours in the Board examination, and cleared IIT,” says Hafeez, who considers books his best friends. Expressing happiness over his son’s achievement, Aziz says, “He has made us proud. I think he has become a role model in his village, to guide thousands of poor students who aspire to do well in their career.” While his six sisters celebrated his success in a big way, they seemed little upset that they didn’t get an opportunity to attend a school. “Boys are lucky!” says Shaheen, the eldest sister of Hafeez. Her mother says that she could not afford to have all her seven children study, so she picked her son. “I regret that my daughters couldn’t study. But this is the destiny of a girl,” says her mother.

Anand in the Stars

Anand, a student of Class 12 at Sankalp School, is the eldest son of a rickshaw-puller. He lives in a house with a hot tin roof in Sector 4. While the house doesn’t have any water connection, and the electricity is

erratic. Anand has always been good at mathematics, especially Trigonometry. He finds it very interesting to play with numbers, and solves most of the mathematical problems on his own. His basics in Physics were, however, a little weak. Thanks to his neighbour, Karan Vashisht, who offered him free tuition, Anand was able to score 90 in Physics in Class 11. He loves the subject so much that he wants to build his career in A st r o n o my. Owing to this interest in Physics, Anand applied for a special training project at the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). “Sir (Karan) advised me to apply to this special training programme. It will not only give me a chance to work with the scientists of ISRO, but I will be given a monthly stipend of Rs. 3,000 to maintain my expenses. I am glad that I qualified for this special training,” says Anand. Every year, over 20,000 students appear for this examination, of which only 300 qualify. When asked about what made him so much interested

Gurgaon Has Missed The Bus chances of a major incident will be elsewhere. “We have challaned a few private buses, but no drive against the private bus contractors and drivers has been initiated by the police,” informed a senior official of Gurgaon Police. “I have many buses, but none have been impounded, or asked to put the identification stickers of the drivers on the front glass. I have recruited my drivers after thorough enquiry and proper identification,” said a

bus contractor. “The responsibility for women executives working in any company lies with the company itself. The Police is not responsible for their security! And as far as checking private bus contractors is concerned, we take action if we find somebody violating the prescribed laws,” said a police official. Bus contractors are not aware about any new rules. “No, we are

A Friday Gurgaon team roamed the whole City to check the status on private buses. Most of the private buses continue to have tinted glasses. Thankfully, at night they are running with their inside lights turned on, and curtains too have been removed from most of the buses. We saw no bus having the identification of the driver displayed over the front mirror.


Although many of the cars and buses plying in Gurgaon have glasses tinted beyond the prescribed limit, the police seldom takes action against them. According to the rule a car must have 70% visibility for front and rear glasses, and 50% for the side glasses.

not aware of them, and till now we have not done anything new. Most of the private buses in Gurgaon don’t have curtains, and even if some of them have, they

ply at night with the curtains drawn. And as far as security of women is concerned, yes I agree that there are some issues that need to be addressed, but targeting private bus contractors or drivers for such type of crime is also highly uncalled for,” said a contractor. Companies in Gurgaon do not seem interested in reforming the security scenario. Companies seldom make any enquiry, or

in space, Anand says, “The Earth is becoming too polluted, so there is a need to explore other planets!” Talking about his family’s contribution, Anand narrates a story. Next to his house was an empty lot, where piles of garbage collected and pigs roamed through it all day. That is why he caught the Swine Flu in 2007. “My mother not only bore the cost of medical care single-handedly, but also approached the village Sarpanch and requested him to clear the garbage lot. After three months it was cleared out. Today it has been converted into a coaching centre, wherein Sir (Karan) provides free tuition to the local children. Once my mother asked me what is the kind of work one does at ISRO. I said ‘research’. So she calls me research-wallah,” smiles Anand. Anand’s aim is to make it to NASA after his Class 12. He and his family believe that if Anand makes it to NASA, it would change their fortunes forever. Anand plans to install a proper roof on his home and arrange for regular water supply. He says “I’m not so concerned about reaching any peak. I’m more interested in doing something good for my family, my city, and the world.” u check on a driver’s identity and crime record from the contractor. “In reality none of these companies has time for these ‘petty’ things. The companies just pay the money. We all know how drivers and other staff are being kept by these contractors, and what background many come from,” said an official of a private company. Not only companies, but even the big educational institutes, such as big private schools and private universities, are not very alert when recruiting drivers for their buses. Most of them have their own buses, to transport students from their homes to schools and back. “I can’t vouch for the identification of the drivers, but I believe all of them have been kept after a proper inspection and identification of their past records and papers. And apart from this, all schools buses, including ours, nowadays have the given school’s landline number at the rear – so that if anybody finds the driver not driving properly, he/she can inform the school authorities about it,” said an official from a school. u

10 A

fter suffering years of neglect and administrative apathy, which turned Gurgaon villages into urban slums, it appears that the time to rediscover them has arrived. Realising how important and crucial they are to the urban and social infrastructure of the City, efforts are now being made to reinvigorate the villages, that house thousands of migrants from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and other states. Living in pathetic conditions, and without any service from the government, these migrants provide crucial manpower not only to industry, but also service the numerous software companies, malls, and residential townships as drivers, maids, helpers, and support staff. Sikanderpur Village, which lies in the heart of ‘New’ Gurgaon, flanked by the DLF township and Cyber City, houses more than 70,000 residents – while government records show that this Village has a population of only 6,000. Despite this massive increase in the urban populace there has been no addition to the civic and social infrastructure. Thousands of migrants here live in single room tenements, share the few toilets, and survive despite a dysfunctional sewage system, non-existent health facilities, and an invisible government. Latika Thukral, who runs ‘I Am Gurgaon’, an NGO, says that a large number of people in these villages are forced to live like second-class citizens in the heart of a modern city like Gurgaon. “We were appalled to see the living conditions in these villages, and thus decided to do something,” she says. To help transform the civic, social and urban landscape of Sikanderpur,

people like Thukral, Prabhat Agarwal of Aravalli Scholars, and several other NGOs came together and conceived a project, that has been christened ‘Sunehra Sikanderpur’. Thukral says that the objective of this project is to build a community which serves as a model for other villages – where citizens are empowered, government institutions and schemes deliver the goods, residents have access to professional services, and people become stakeholders in the City’s growth and success. “Gurgaon represents the successful India, and all Gurgaonites, including those living in Sikanderpur, should be able to benefit from this growth. To do this we have prepared a plan to improve the civic infrastructure, boost political participation and train manpower. We would also involve government agencies and corporates, so that an effective transformation takes place,” says Prabhat Agarwal. To start with, the NGOs have brought on board the Municipal Corporation Gurgaon, as this village falls in its territorial jurisdic-

C ivic/S ocial

Sunehra Sikanderpur tion, and chalked out a plan for improving the sanitation and sewage system in the Village. When asked why Sikanderpur was chosen as the pilot project, Thukral says: We have chosen Sikanderpur because it is a village near where we live. The population of this village primarily consists of the people working in our houses – such as cooks, sweepers, drivers, maids etc. We feel that our duty is not only to improve the condition of a village, but also to make everyone feel sensitive towards the people working for us in our houses and offices, and do our bit to improve their lives. In Sikanderpur, the education facilities are primitive in the two government schools – which also lack proper drinking water, have missing windows in some rooms, have a poor student-teacher ratio, and have teachers who are not motivated

enough to teach. “We have also started monitoring the schools, and are trying to ensure that children are regular,” he says. Thukral says that English-speaking classes have been started for both the children as well as the adults. Since the only hospital in the village is non-functional, Agarwal says that Rotary Club has been roped in to conduct free surgery for people who have a cleft palate, an organisation called IQ is going to conduct free cataract surgeries, and Sikanderpur Charitable Dispensary will also be made more effective. Efforts with the government are also on-going, to make the existing hospital functional again. To improve the sanitation infrastructure, a professional organisation called ARCOP has been roped in. Thukral says that the priority would be to improve the sewage system, and motivate the residents to contribute equally in improving their living conditions. Efforts are being made to connect all the houses to the sewage lines, remove obstructions in the sewage lines and storm water drains, and connect the sewage lines to the master network of the City – or alternatively build an

talks are on with a company called “Magic Bus”, for developing some sports in the village. By participating in these sports, children will not only learn how to play, but will also apply the learnings from hygiene and teamwork to their daily lives. As part of the Magic Bus Programme, an Activity Based Curriculum will be introduced, that comprises of a unique model that uses games to effect change. Forty sessions are held per year – each with a lesson that teaches children about education, gender, health and key issues affecting their lives. The games help in building physical, social, and personal characteristics in a positive manner. Another facet would be the Mentorship Programme, wherein local youth volunteers are trained to be mentors and role models for other children. They conduct ABC sessions, and act as catalysts for community change. The children and youth thus grow up more confident and responsible. Agarwal says they are also trying hard to empower the citizens politically. At present Sikanderpur, despite having a 70,000 population, has only 2,000 voters, rues Prabhat Agarwal. “Unless the residents get Voter I-Cards and are empowered, they will not be given much importance by the politicians. Towards this end NGOs like Janagraha have been roped in, and local villagers who were the original inhabitants have been taken into confidence,” informs Agarwal. He says that the original inhabitants are also doing their bit to


{ Abhishek Behl / FG }

1-7 February 2013

STP. Agarwal says that people are also being made aware about problems caused by encroachments on the existing pond, which is already now a cesspool. “We think the public area in Sikanderpur, the disused Shamshan Bhumi and the existing Sewage Pond can be developed into a really good urban neighborhood,” say the

If the plans mooted by the group of NGOs come to fruition, then it could develop into an ideal urban village on the lines of Shahpurjat in Delhi. In that village of South Delhi, an NGO called Vatavarn initiated a project by which the Archaeological Survey of India was requested to repair the historic monuments, the government of NCT Delhi was pressurised to remake the roads, trees were planted on the roadsides, a local fair called ‘ShahpurHaat’ was held with the co-operation of MaxIndia Foundation, academic classes for drop-outs from schools were undertaken, alcoholic men who abused their wives were counselled, and women were counselled on self-sustenance, economic upliftment and their rights.

change agents. With 70,000 people living and breathing in a small area, garbage disposal is a major problem, as empty food packets, plastic and glass bottles and plastic bags choke the lanes and drains. To resolve this issue, several awareness programmes have been launched, to motivate villagers that it is in their interest to keep the Village clean. An NGO called Jamghat conducts street plays to spread the message of cleanliness. Dustbins have also been provided. In terms of social infrastructure, there is space for a sports ground and park; it needs to be developed, so that it can be effectively utilised. Thukral says that they are trying to rope in corporates who can help in setting up sports facilities, such as a basketball court. To provide holistic learning to the kids,

improve the condition of their Village. Their support is vital. Agarwal says that to provide quality jobs to the residents, and help upgrade their skills—which is another mode of empowerment—organisations like Labournet have been roped in. Labournet provides financial inclusion, social protection and welfare services to workers, builds the capacities of workers, and markets their services to customers. Sikanderpur residents will also start getting micro-finance facilties, says Latika Thukral, as local money lenders charge high interest rates from the migrants. A company called Janlakshmi Financial Services had explored the possibilities of microfinance in the village, and has started a project in the village. The final objective, say both Thukral and Agarwal, is to transform Sikanderpur into an ideal urban village, where services are within walkable distances, and the neighbourhood has mixed land use. The compact layout should make it easy to move around on foot, or using a cycle. These compact villages will be in stark contrast to our sprawling suburbs, where everything is spread out, separated by uses, and connected only by roads and highways. Perhaps some years from now life in Sikanderpur (and hopefully more villages) would be easier, friendlier and idyllic, despite being in the centre of an expanding, maddening City. u

1-7 February 2013

Kid Corner



Fill in the grid so that every row, column and coloured box contains ALL the numbers from 1 to 6. Bonus clue: which number should go in the circle: 1 or 4?

Literary Flourish

Kids Brainticklers

Rain The tinkling sound of the drops falling The fresh fragrance of the first rain, The birds dancing and calling buddies Tied in a friendship chain. Seems to be moving – feathers of green and blue A beautiful dazzling sight called the dancing of the peacock This site is known to be true. May all the two-legged be able to see, This beautiful sight of thee. Anjali Sachdeva Class 9, Delhi Public School, Sec 45

Artistic Strokes

Ojas J, Grade II D, The Heritage

Avanika Choppra, Pathways World School

Yukti Sharma, Grade VIII-B, Chiranjiv Bharati


S pecial

1-7 February 2013

NGOs Of Gurgaon FG Coverage

 Adarsh Rural Development Society (ARDS)

 Asswin


 Literacy India ( Education)

 Nirmaya Charitable Trust

 Shakuntalam


 Tau Devilal HUDA Old Age Home/Snehadham

 Eco-Development Foundation Contact No: 9811516815

Contact No: 09871963535

Contact No: 0124-2321234 Contact No: 0124-2320698

 Advit Foundation

 Maxvision Contact No: 9810984916

 Bagiya School (Education)

 Radiant Kids

 Snehlata Hooda

 Thakkar Datta Charitable Trust

 I am Gurgaon

 Friendicoes Contact No: 9818391118

Contact No: 9811601497

Contact No: 0124-4309490/91/92 Contact No: 91 124 499 4300

 Apni Duniya

Contact No: 9873329733

 Daily Dump

Contact No: (011) 24314787, 24320303

 Jagriti-The Banyan Tree School

 Rashtrahit Sewa Sangathan  Mobile Creche

 Society for Education and

Environmental Training (SEET) (Education & Literacy)

 Thallessaemia Welfare Society

 Galli Galli Sim Sim Contact No: 9899287353 Contact No: 91-9891961965

Contact No: 0124-4083193

 Aravali Scholars

Contact No: 9582213428

 Jain Bird Hospital

 Deepashram

 Museum of Folk and

 Rotary Club

Contact No: 9213366339, 0124- 4209080

 Uthaan

 Spastic Society of Gurgaon

Tribal Art

 Happy School Contact No: +91-9811175332

Contact No: 0124 499 4300 Contact No: 0124- 4089701

 Arushi  Deepshikha Society for

Juvenile Justice and Prevention of Female Foeticide (Women)

Contact No: 0124-4083560/61

Contact No: 0124-3201740

Contact No: 0124-2350815, 9899355223

 LEU School

 Nadir Khan

 We The People Contact No: 0124-2254150, 4264737/ 9810215055/ 9818131737

 Saksham  Sugam

 Haryali

Contact No: 9810026319

 Wildlife SOS Contact No: 9810855761

Contact No: 0124-2365366

Asha Bhawan (Drug)

Contact No: 0124-2322657

 Discover I

 Harmony House

 Lions Club

Contact No: 01234-5678910

 Narayana Sewa

 Shakti Vahini (Human Rights)

Contact No: 0124-2380212, 8130705757

 Suurhae

(Women & Children)

 Yuva Ekta Mission (Sports)

Contact No: 0124-4221543 / 09999905446

Contact No: 9971290396

Contact No: 0124-4017616

Contact No: 0124-2321695

Contact No: +91 9310544346/ +91 9650117076

Contact No: 91-11-42870188
 (M) +91-9582909025

Contact No: 0124-4062551


S ocial

1-7 February 2013

Walking The Extra Mile For Animal Rights { Shilpy Arora / FG }


nimals are god's creatures and men owe them kindness. Since this adage is hardly followed in the City, a few citizens embarked on an awareness drive to protect stray animals. That laid the foundation for 'Walks for Animals and Habitat (WAH)' – a concerned Group. "People living in cities show great concern for protecting the 'sacred' animals like cows and peacocks. However, a few stray animals, like pigs and dogs, are not only socially abandoned, there is no official system in place for their treatment and rehabilitation. That is why we decided to come up with an initiative to protect such animals,” says Professor Amita Singh. Lecturer of Law, Governance and Social Justice at Jawahar Lal Nehru University. She says the theme of social justice needs to go beyond the human sphere – to look at the issue of animal rights. I was shocked to see how some animals that don’t find mention in Indian mythology are treated in the City. Often they are victims of brutal attacks and accidents. There is, therefore, a need to spread awareness about the plight of such animals,” says Singh. The Group organises community outreach activities, such as walks and workshops, to sensitise people on a variety of issues – ranging from abandonment, to the cruelty in meat shops. A campaign run by WAH led to the feeding of many stray dogs and cats; and the Group has also raised its voice against the inhumane slaughtering of pigs, and the shooting of Neelgais in the Aravalis.

they are an ignored lot in the Helping Strays City. A few members claim to Revealing the poor state of pigs in the City, one of the volun- have gifted pigs to some local teers informs, “Just behind the farmers, for help in farming. Some members allege that famous Sheetla Devi temple is the shrine of Masani Mata. Cer- in many areas the dogs have tain communities earlier used to been killed, to stop them observe a ritual in this temple, becoming a menace.   “Over wherein the blood of pigs was 100 dogs and cats were killed, used to anoint worshippers. To- by giving them feed mixed with day people chop off an ear of a poison, in Palam Vihar. Instead of adopting pig to obtain enough a rational option blood for ‘tilak’. of animal birth This is quite apparcontrol, the muent, as one can find nicipal authorimany earless pigs ties chose to kill roaming around in the stray dogs. It the temple. A cage is not only violates also kept outside the the Prevention of temple, where little Cruelty to Animals piglets are locked, Act, but is a highly before they are se‘inhumane’ act,” lected for such a rit- Prof. Amita Singh says a member. The ual.”    Unfortunately, there is no law for the pro- members therefore demand tection of pigs in India. “Ju- that a dog census should be dicial pronouncements offer carried out, followed by a vacprotection to sacred animals cination drive and an animal like cows. The Constitution’s birth control operation. A reArticle 48 affirms the protec- quest letter to carry out a census tion of the cow, and prohib- has already been forwarded to its the slaughter of cows and the authorities. A few members of the Group calves and other milch and draught cattle. We, therefore, have set up a feeding table for decided to take the issue to stray dogs and cats. The table court,” says Nimesh Dhawan, has three buckets, with biscuits a lawyer, who is one of the for dogs and milk for cats. Peomembers of WAH. He points ple are encouraged to donate out that the City Adminis- biscuits, milk and vegetarian tration is clueless about the eatables. The Group feeds more benefits of pigs to farming, than 200 strays a day in the 'old' and in helping clear out the Gurgaon area.  The Group also runs an edugarbage/sewage. He reveals that in some states, pigs are offi- cation programme, reaching out cially used in some areas to clear to students in schools, colleges, and institutes, to teach them up human excreta, especially if there are no sewage systems. Pig about first aid that should be pens are built in some houses given to injured animals in case to ensure that human waste is of an emergency. A 19-year-old disposed of immediately. Even student says, “During a weekin the US, pigs are used to long workshop conducted clean sewage lines. However, by the members, I learnt

{ Anita Jaswal / FG }


here is no one to follow but your own self ! Staying true to your values, living with integrity, and being aware of  your  intentions saves you from confusion, and allows you to sing  your own song. Belief in yourself and knowing who you are, is the foundation of everything great. Tripti Bhadauriya, with a Masters in Microbiology, worked with Ranbaxy Laboratories, Gurgaon, as a researcher for seven years – before moving to Singapore. “Though I was happy for my husband on his scaling the corporate ladder, my life was a vacuum... not cut out for parties and shopping. I wanted to spend my life doing something different. I was told many times, by well-meaning friends, that I would be happier if I pursued the career I had left. I didn’t agree with them. I had to listen to my inner GPS, my failsafe navigational system. And true enough, things started falling in place when I had my muchawaited baby Ananya. Soon after that, I met Shruti Komundar, COO of Protsahan, in Singapore. The journey began with me volunteering with the organization for fund raising activities; today I am the Project Head, actively

how to treat wounds and fractured legs. I am glad that I can now give first aid to stray animals.”

Conserving the Habitat

The Group strongly advocates the conservation of the habitat for wild animals in and around the City. Professor Singh feels that involving people in habitat conservation is the best way to achieve the desired results. She suggests that we form groups of people in each locality, to sense the conflict, identify the pocket, alert the department, and initiate the preliminary steps. Last year a few members, residing near the Faridabad-Gurgaon road, raised the issue of the deaths of Blue Bulls in the Aravalis. Members allege that some animals were killed by the construction workers. “As the Group raised its voice against the alleged shooting of Blue Bulls in the Aravalis, the authorities intervened and construction activities in some areas were banned,” says a member.

Protecting Pets

Not just strays and wild animals, the Group spreads awareness for the protection of pets too. As a lot of pets go missing in the City, the members had spread a message of gifting an identity tag to pets, on this New Year’s Eve. “Pets often go missing. Getting them an engraved identity tag (like a pendant on a collar), with their name and owner’s num-

Follow Yourself

involved in all their projects – here and in Singapore.” Spearheaded by a bunch of young people who have set out to make this world a better place, Protsahan uses creativity and art, along with functional literacy, to bring change amongst the marginalised. “Born in the summer of 2010 in a little unknown slum cluster in Delhi, Protsahan has been spreading smiles in the lives of disadvantaged children and slum women. We have started with our first classroom for the neglected girl child by mobilizing families in slum clusters. We have started with a dream,

and infinite hope...and we hope to be the reason for cheer and hope in someone’s life!” says Tripti. But what about the hurdles? “There’s always a way through a problem. I’m an eternal optimist,” says Tripti. “Along with that, I have the ability not to dwell on things that don’t turn out so well. I can move on and accept the next challenge. That’s part of how I live my life. I never stop looking around, and seeing opportunities to help.” She epitomises a true social worker—with her compassion for the disadvantaged, passion for bringing about a change, commitment to life-long learning, mentorship of new social workers, and service to the community. It speaks volumes about Tripti as a person and as a philanthropist. That’s the life-long social worker in her! Settled in her apartment in Valley View, Tripti is always on the go. Juggling between meetings of Protsahan, or a lunch with an old friend, she is also always there for her family of four generations living under the same

ber, can save their life,” says an ardent pet lover, Shweta, a resident of DLF Phase IV, who has adopted two street dogs. The Group believe there is a need to have frequent interactions between owners and the pets. “You can’t just leave them on their own. You have to involve them in activities such as games, and give them a few toys they can call their own. If you can’t devote that much time, you can maybe adopt two pets, so that they will have each other for company when family members are at work,” suggests Ranjeet. One of the members, Mr. Ganguly, criticises the preference given to foreign breeds – domestic breeds are pushed to the streets. “The local breeds find no takers. They are considered ‘ugly’ and ‘ordinary’, which has almost sealed their fate, as far as adoption is concerned. However, people don’t know that Indian breeds too have distinct characteristics. Mudhol Hound, Rampur Hound, Karwar Hound, Rajapalayam Hound, Himalayan Sheep Dog and Kangai Hound are some of the indigenous breeds of India. Mudhol, indeed, was used by Shivaji to send messages to soldiers at the frontlines. Moreover, these breeds are very slim and thus fast runners,” says Ganguly. The saying, “All men are equal but some are more equal than others” seems to be as relevant for animals too. u

roof ! She says, of her tender bond with her daughter, “I am a good mother not because of genetics, or because I have read more books, but because I have struggled and toiled for this child. I have longed and waited. Like most things in life, the people who truly are appreciated are those who have struggled to attain their dreams...I marvel at this miracle every single day, and will continue doing so for the rest of my life,” laughs Tripti. So what can you take from this? “I was determined to get more out of life and I did. Believe in magic. Believe in others. Believe in yourself. Believe in your dreams. If you don’t, who will?” Above and beyond should be her middle name, and I wish I could bottle up and distribute her zest, skill, passion, energy and commitment – not only to her cause, but also to herself. And this is just the beginning.  In the coming months she plans to reach out to the CSR wings of corporate houses, to take these projects under their wings. And Protsahan, under Tripti’s leadership, looks at a Gurgaon where everyone gets at least two meals a day, has a roof over their heads, and provides good education for their children. u

1-7 February 2013

{ Dr. Rajesh Bhola }

S piritual 15

Coping With Failure

coalesce to form the unique creation we are, and help us to fulfill our destiny and purpose. There is a story about a young boy who chose to forego hile facing life’s ambushes we often fail. Nobody escapes unscathed from failure. Yet his studies, in order to pursue his dream of becoming a all too often we live our lives pretending that jazz singer. Against his parents’ wishes, he began playing we can avoid failure. Personality grooming sessions in a jazz band. However, his musical talents were less always talk at length about how to succeed; have we than sterling, and soon he realized he was just another musician, teetering on the brink of unemployment. ever groomed people for facing failure? Our It was his colleagues who recognised his parents dote on us, grandparents spoil talent for money management, and soon us, and teachers will us to succeed; hired him to manage their finances we build an ego that does not accept for a fee. This caused the young man failure. to rethink his career goals, and We do not know how to deal with changed the course of his life. This things when they do not go our way. failure’s name is Greenspan, who If we compete on a daily basis later rose to become the Chairman in life’s seemingly unlimited of the US Federal Reserve Bank. opportunities, we have to be ready It is not so important on what to lose sometimes. And we have we go through, but in how we go to find victories, even when we through it. We may fail in the task that lose. There are things which we learn we have set out to do, but if we respond through failure that can not be learnt to that failure with faith and courage– through success. We need to increase rather than despair, bitterness, and our capacity to cope with failure. depression–we would be successful in Success propels us into another At every Olympics, the totality of our lives. realm of life, whereas failure keeps many athletes face We are not finished just because us close to the ground reality of life we fail; we are only finished if we – and gifts us with another saintly that failure. Of the over give up and quit. We need to pick up quality called endurance. Through 11,000 individuals who the pieces of our failure and, having failure, nature builds the quality of participated in the recent learned from it, move on. Credit to endurance into our lives. Olympics, more than 92% the person who is in the arena, Failure is often a clue to redirect were left with no medal – face marred by dust and sweat and our efforts in a different direction, blood; who strives valiantly; who and to follow a different set of plans. fewer than 200 won their errs; who comes short again and If a series of failures leads us to competitions, and were again, but continuously strives; open our minds to new knowledge awarded gold medals. who possesses great enthusiasm; or information, or gives us the who spends himself in a worthy willingness to try different cause; who loves fellow men; who behaviours, then we have not failed – we have learned how to create different results. values relationships; who at the best finally knows One of the greatest gifts of failure is the knowledge the triumph of high achievement, and at the that failure is never final, unless we choose to give worst, fails while daring. Our failures highlight up. Discovering that we can turn our lives around, choose our values, and help us to define what is important a different path, or embrace a new idea at any age, or in in our lives. Our failures may help us choose in what any set of circumstances, is liberating for the soul. It can area we would like to have success, so we can focus our motivate us to seek the wisdom and experience of others time, effort and energy on that area – and happily let go who have had different experiences, and can provide the of the rest. u momentum we need to propel us to successes beyond our imagining. There is a saying that to teach a snake his Dr. Rajesh Bhola is President of shape put him in a box. Our failures can be the box Spastic Society of Gurgaon and is working for the cause of that teaches us our shape, and helps us to ascertain children with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and how our talents, personality and learning ability multiple disabilities for more than 20 years.


{ Alka Gurha }

Teach me Sweetie Even as you go to your heavenly abode Your courage in suffering Your stoic self. Teach me your fearless style Your sweet charming smile Even in deep dismay. Teach me to pray Sweetie… Teach me to be still in suffering Teach me to smile in pain Teach me to wag my tail. Your wagged your tail And said, “Mommy no way Don’t cry, I am only going away To a better life. Pray”. When your heart was broken You said, “Mom don’t be shaken This is life, full of strife Look at Jesus Christ.” Teach me unconditional love Teach me forgiveness Teach me your tenderness Teach me your loyalty & fidelity. Teach me your bravery Teach me (to be) your quiet silent self Teach me to accept Teach me to face life as it comes. Teach me to die at once Teach me Sweetie Even as you go to your Heavenly abode To be a brave soldier. Shobha Lidder To her pet & best friend who left for her heavenly abode on 28 Jan 2012


ave you noticed how quickly we pronounce judgments, and declare our opinions on situations? Most of us are quick in labelling circumstances as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. In reality, however, any change–like a job transfer or a promotion–can hold several possibilities, apart from being good or bad. Only time unravels the mysteries of life. Any perceived good happening in the present can be a source of discomfort a few years down the line. Likewise, any event perceived as bad can hold the potential of good. Events in life unravel and unfold in unimaginable ways. No wonder they say, “If you want God to laugh, tell Him your plans’. The following story, which appeared on author Paulo Coelho’s blog, tells us why it is futile to comprehend life in simple black and white terms. Many years ago there lived a poor farmer with his son, in a Chinese village. His only material possession, besides his land and a small straw house, was a horse he had inherited from his father. One fine day the horse ran away, leaving the man to plough the soil alone. His neighbours came to his house to say how much they lamented what had happened. He thanked them, and asked: ‘How can you tell that what happened to me was misfortune?’ Someone whispered: ‘He doesn’t

Teach Me Sweetie

Shobha Lidder Writer Journalist, Teacher Trainer, Social Activist, Reiki Master, Pranic Healer

How Can You Tell...? want to accept reality.” A week later his horse returned to the barn, but it wasn’t alone - with it was a beautiful mare. The village inhabitants returned to compliment the farmer on his luck. ‘You had only one horse, and now you have two. Congratulations!’ they said. ‘Thank you very much for your visit and for your kindness,’ answered the farmer. ‘But how can you tell that what has happened is a blessing in my life?’ Confused, and thinking the man was getting mad, his neighbours went away, questioning: ‘I wonder if this man doesn’t realise that God has sent him a gift?’ A month went by, and the farmer’s son decided to domesticate the mare. However, the animal jumped in an unexpected way, and the young man fell badly, breaking his leg. The neighbours again came, saying they were very

sad about what had happened. The man thanked everyone for the love they had showered. And then he again asked: ‘How can you tell that what happened was misfortune?’ Everyone was stupefied; how can anyone have the least doubt that an accident involving a son is a tragedy? They left, puzzled: ‘The man has really gone mad; his only son may be forever crippled, and he still has doubts whether what happened was misfortune.’ A few months went by, and Japan declared war on China. The Chinese Emperor’s emissaries travelled throughout the country, in search of healthy young men to be sent to the front. As they arrived at the village, they recruited all young men, except the farmer’s son, who had a broken leg. After the war, none of the young men returned alive. The farmer started to visit his neighbours, to comfort them. Whenever one of them complained, the farmer would say: ‘How can you tell if this is misfortune?’ If someone was happy, he would ask, ‘How can you tell if that is a blessing?’ Life can hold many meanings beyond human comprehension, and which unravel at an opportune time. So much of life depends on chance meetings, and complex forces of fate, which unfold each moment. Perhaps that’s the beauty of life – it is a saga of seeking, searching and surviving; fighting new battles and yet going with the flow. u


1-7 February 2013


Hand It To Babaa


Atul Sobti



he anointment as Vice President of the You’ve got to hand it to the Congress. They Grand Old party (GOP) was the tipping have even played into the opposition’s hand. point. The elaborate ceremony of the And now, before 2014, they are trying their ‘Changing of the Hands’ has begun. hand at everything. Will the electoral masses Babaa, the white sheep, has held mommy’s wash their hands of the Hand, or will they go hand long enough – and now wants the Hand. hand-in-hand with the Hand? Yes, Babaa covets the Party more than the It is time for the PM Rahul has finally been ordained The Babaa. PMship. to play his last hand. The clean (shaven) Gandhi was put on parade, He is already He needs to show a after a lot of ‘chintan’ – his own, and the party’s; passionately pleading: firm hand, and take a and now the nation’s. “Mujhe Haath de de hands-on approach, This youthful woolly-headed shepherd, his Thakurain – Hand it for the revival of the own master, has many a time, with many bags to me, Mamma Mia !” economy. He needs to full, broken bread with families of little crying take courage in both boys living down the Bharat lane. Now all he Thakurain has seen hands – of course needs is a dame. it all. after ensuring that The hand that one hand is still not Does inclusiveness rocked the cradle now rocks the tied behind his back. In this final mean that the right nation. hand, the Hand should back the hand is wrong, and It is an iron hand in a velvet PM, and strengthen his hand. that the left is right? glove; with Babaa now officially So should the Party also hand in glove. While the Party looks for a symbol be the left Thakurain has rarely shown her new slogan and manifesto, Babaa hand only? hand, much less tipped it. already has his hand-book ready. It She has the Hand well in control is a one liner – ‘We need a symbolic – and uses it to Hand-hold even change - from the Hand to Sheep’. Babaa is not the the prime of ministers. She always Babaa is the good shepherd. first Gandhi son to have made his holds the upper hand. And there He loves sheep – not for him a powerful mother cry. are no Hands-free options for ringmaster’s role of taming a That distinction her partymen, or any free Handcircus of animals and clowns. His goes to Sanjay shakes for coalition partners. young flock, in sheep’s clothing, Gandhi, who The ‘aam aadmi’ is well-provided will go forth across India, to flock reportedly made a Hand-to-mouth existence. them all into his fold. The old Indira Gandhi cry hands, the goats, will be put to over Ma ruti :) The UPA has been caught with pasture (as a second-Hand team). its hands in the 2G and other jars. This ‘haath ki safai’ of the With the anointment of the Rahul Babaa, Hum dua karte hain ki Congress and its many ‘saathis’ son, the GOP believes it is now in Tum itna aage jao, could be its nemesis. And the good hands. itna aage jao, on-going land scams will also The Party now prays for the Ki jahaan bhi jao erupt, sooner than later – there sporty Hand of God to help log kahen is just too much cash in hand(s). them win. Jao Babaa aage jao. Unfortunately, some family Miracles do happen. members also seem to have gone out of hand. Baabye.u “I have never in my life learned anything from any man who agreed with me.”

Dudley Field Malone

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” Bill Copeland

“Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

Will Rogers

”The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back in your pocket.”

”Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” Henry David Thoreau “If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.”

”The only thing worse than a man you can’t control is a man you can.”

E. Joseph Cossman Margo Kaufman

A rt 17

1-7 February 2013

{ Srimati Lal }

Art For Aspirants

ruary, to all visitors and guests. At the cafe-lobby, known as Marriott Courthe acquisition of Modern Art, as yard, 13 canvasses of four Delhi-based yet another symbol of having 'ar- artists are on display. The artists are Rohit Sharma, rived' at a certain 'contemporary lifestyle',  becomes an inevitable part Suchit Sahni, Amar Sultan and Ramesh Kumar. These socially-visible artof a Millennium Citizen's  cycle of frenetic social aspirations. However, ists, born in the 1960s and 70s, have dewith a dearth of galleries to provide easy veloped consistent bodies of work over art-viewing, alternate venues for the decades, and have exhibited frequently display and sale of art have come up. across India as well as in international Galaxy Hotel inventively opened its group-shows. Although the Marriott display is not strictly a main cafe and lobby spac'curated' exhibition, it es for a series of noteworshowcases different rethy art-exhibitions last cent works by these artyear. Pllazio Hotel then ists, with the paintings showcased curated modorganised and proern art exhibits across its vided by the Gurgaon stairways and restaurant art-enterprise 'Tad areas. Five-star Hotels Arts'  – with the cooppossess the essential luxeration of the Hotel. uries of space, ambience, All the artworks lighting and active interon display are large national audiences --- all canvasses, painted in requisites for effective Oils and Acrylics --displays of Fine Art. mainly in a Figurative These curated shows mode, while a few are had been organised well, Abstract. The most with all the expected 'galaccomplished among these are the figurative and detailed paintings by Rohit and Amar, who have created distinctly recognisable idioms. The AbstractAmar Sultan landscape artworks of Suchit too are on a fairly sophisticated plane. Ramesh's modern-mythological works are of a more kitschy nature. However, as there really is no accounting for tastes in the art-market, every artist must be provided a fair viewing.  The Delhiite, Rohit Sharma, born in 1978, graduated from the Delhi College of Art.   He has evolved a signature 'Cow' series, that depicts colourfullybedecked, serene, white Indian cows, jostling patiently with rickety threewheeler scooters and quaintly-painted highway-trucks. As his backdrops he lery parameters' – including informed often uses Indian street-maps, applied Curation, sophisticated Vernissages texturally in a digital manner. His or  Opening-Nights with cocktails, and central canvas in this Exhibition may special invitees. Subsequently, one has be described as 'Tantric-Op Art'.  This canvas neo-realistically also noticed a parallel initiative --- that pleasing of home-decor and lifestyle-stores in depicts his quintessential patient malls, showing tentative displays of art Indian Cow, placed in the centre of alongside their stores, and organising an auspicious red Tantric 'bindu'. It art-competitions within mall-spaces – in is like the vortex of a Buddhist-Hindu some new shopping units such as Ninex Lotus Chakra,  which emanates an infinity of cosmic petals, painted in Mall (on Sohna Road).  As part of this 'Aspiring Art' phe- vintage sepia-tones – that seem to echo nomenon, the current winter season the texture of antique parchments. Rohit's skilful draughtsmanhas seen yet another Gurgaon ship, delineating Indian Cows 5-Star Hotel open its public Suchin Sahni with photo-realism, lends an imspaces to the display of Modmediacy to his depictions. He ern Indian Art. The Marriott vividly employs a warm Indian Hotel's main lobby is now the palette of marigold, saffron, haldi venue of a collection of paintand leaf-greens with panache. In ings by emerging artists, made the painting under analysis, his available for view until 17 Febinteresting application of the Impressionist   Pointillist  technique, with thousands of minuscule red 'bindus' carefully painted within the larger central cosmic 'bindu', lends drama and depth to this quaint canvas. The painting --- albeit quite modern --- is also redolent with North India's visual history of   decorative Rajasthani   Pi-


chwais, and the charm of other symbolic folk-art genres. Amar Sultan was born in Mussoorie in 1977, and is known for a series of paintings based on card-games; that incorporate the metaphysical symbols and forms associated with packs of playing-cards. In such earlier works, Amar exemplified his graphic, illustrative and design sensibilities, along with a contemporary sense of colour. He also employed well-wrought classical GrecoRoman heads, placed as contrasts to his playing-card symbols. Here, in his more recent experiments, Amar utilises more Indian visual inspirations, such as meditative Buddha-heads captured in Nirvanic moments. In a striking mixed-media vertical Buddha canvas painted in earth-tones, the artist has applied intricate graphic linear details that evoke the feeling of wood-cuts and

Ramesh Kumar

As a point to note -- I caught sight of a series of other abstract canvasses placed permanently in the Marriott lobby and bar areas. I found it strange that these were unsigned paintings, and nobody was able to identify the names of their artists. Painted in acrylics in geometrical forms, in tones of red and black, these paintings are interesting in their Minimalism. Although these canvasses are not signed, they blend effectively with the current exhibits, and their artists deserve credit for adding dramatic nuance to neutral hotel interiors.

etchings. He has also applied 'distressed' tonal elements, to lend a sense of antique texture, and the timeless concentric visual striations that Rohit Sharma may be seen in the bark of ancient trees. Amar's other large canvas on show here, depicting a cluster of grey Indian pigeons with two sepia heads is, by comparison, more naive, stiff and facile in its impact. Suchit Sahni was born in Delhi in 1977, and has a Diploma from Delhi's Academy of Fine Arts. His 'Pop-Art' – influenced Delhi cityscapes employ a blend of realism and abstraction, with an overall 'Poster-digital' look, that tends to overpower their clarity of formation. As a result, one may detect hazy, floating 'human' elements fused into the abstract tonalities of his renditions, which merge all realistic elements seamlessly into an   easy, 'decorative'   manner of poster-art. The paintings that more clearly depict the vehicular chaos of India—with graphic details of buses, taxis, tractors and cars—bear greater visual impact than Suchit's more abstract experiments. While some of these works may be noticed for the use of translucent colour tones, the artist needs to further hone his clarity of concepts, representational abilities and drawing skills. Ramesh Kumar, the seniormost artist of this group, was born in 1962 in Delhi. He attempts to depict Hindu icons in a neo-modernist manner, in acrylics on canvas. However, his formations are the most awkward in this Show, being sentimentalised with a palette that is too garish for the evolved eye. In this Exhibit, Ramesh has portrayed the popular divinities Krishna and Shiva, drawn in saccharine, one-dimensional postures that lack the essential  Lasya and  grace of genuine Hindu iconography. The glaring orange backgrounds to these blue Gods are a confusing amalgam of symbolic shapes, that go awry in their overenthusiasm to embellish his work. The depiction of Divinity in Art requires an evolved Sadhana --- a very high discipline, involving intensive study of form, technique and the highest aesthetic parameters.  Ramesh's awkward 'modern icon' paintings serve to indicate that such 'divine' representation must not be attempted by urban painters in haste. Overall, the collection on view can best be described as a tentative beginning towards exposing the dynamism of Contemporary Indian Art within hotel interiors. More striking art, inclusive of Contemporary Sculpture and Photographic Art, must be collected and curated with greater focus. The works must also be displayed with more focused lighting. More evolved and original art needs to circulate in Gurgaon's hotels, as well as in its corporate environs --- thereby adding expressiveness to commercial ambiences.u Artist, Writer, & Curator


B on V ivant

1-7 February 2013

4U 4

Healing With Symbols { Bhavana Sharma }


n life’s journey, faith is nourishment, virtuous deeds are a shelter, wisdom is the light by day and right mindfulness is the protection by night. If a man lives a pure life nothing can destroy him; if he has conquered greed, nothing can limit his freedom.”


Lama Fera is an ancient system of Buddhistic healing, that was practiced centuries ago in the monasteries of Tibet and the Himalayas. Lord Buddha was the original founder of this technique of spiritual healing – that redeemed the masses from various problems and diseases. After Buddha’s death, this healing remained popular amongst his disciples, as a modality to expand consciousness – to restore harmony between the mind, body and the soul, and aid enlightenment.

Historical evidence

During the third century AD, the ‘Medicine Buddha’, as he was so called, (also known as Bhaisajya-guru), was recorded in Buddhist texts as an emanation of the historical Buddha – the pre-eminent healing deity in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition.  Bhaisajyaguru, also known as “Master of Healing, the Lapis Lazuli Radiance Tagatha”, was one of a number of emanations of Buddhist deities, whose purpose was to open the imagination of the supplicant – to expanded understanding and empowerment. These teachings of the Medicine Buddha have been handed down the centuries by means of oral tradition and practical applications, gleaned from written works – such as  The Medicine Guru Beams of Lapis Lazuli Sutra,  and  The Four Secret Oral Tantras on the Eight Branches of the Essence of Nectar. Both works were attributed to Sakyamuni Buddha.


Lama Fera is the union of two words. Both the words have their own identity and importance. Lama means follower – who follows the philosophy of Buddha, making it part of his life from the core of his heart; and Fera means the two and half times of circumvention. It has 12 symbols to practice. Though its method of treatment or healing is quite different from what we practice in Reiki and other healing therapies, its symbols have abundant power to treat the highest levels of negative energies.  The followers of Lama Fera say that disease and illness result from a combination of factors. There may be misaligned connections between the physical body and the bio-

magnetic sheath. Sometimes other energetic disturbances may be caused by environmental factors. By simply using the symbols and bringing positive energy through the body, diseases can be cured. It also makes one aware of the cause and the source of the disease, and then supports the releasing and healing process.

How It works

The 12 powerful symbols, which have abundant power to cure diseased energies from the human aura, are used for healing. The symbols can heal holistically – that is to say they work on the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels of beings. They realign subtle energies, and dissolve the disease, getting to the root cause. They work through a vibration of symbols and mantras – which are chanted by the experts. A professional Lama Fera expert can rebalance the bio-magnetic sheaths that surround the patient, activate linkage points to the chakras, and regulate the body’s vibrations. Thus by bringing the chakras back into balance, many states of physical and psychological disease can be improved. Mentally, the symbols can overcome problems by strengthening analytic capabilities. They can stimulate perceptive observations, and facilitate a fast decision. They help people who are driven by other people’s thoughts and programmes, rather than their own. The symbols can also remove extraneous thoughts during meditation, and tune daydreamers into everyday reality. They sharpen concentration and dispel mental lethargy. Emotionally, these symbols act as a powerful protector against rage and resentment, calm anger and banish emotional negativity – replacing it with the love of life. They bring calmness and equilibrium, act as an antidote to emotional extremes, and ameliorate bipolar disorders in individuals. They heal the trauma of the heart, and reconnect to natural playfulness

and joyful childlike energy. For some, the symbols help in standing in their own space – free from outside influence. They are a calming energy that soothes sleep disturbances and emotional stress, causing deep emotional healing. They can open your heart to unconditional love. At the psychological level, these symbols can help bring deep selfforgiveness, and promote completion of karmic cycles – going back into past lives to forgive oneself for mistakes, and ease karmic guilt. They can help one realise the dualities within the self, anchor the flighty into a more stable way of life, and impart self-control. The process can amplify traits and bring characteristics to the surface for transformation, thus enhancing self worth and true potential. At the physiological level, the symbols help clear negative energy or problems in business, property, and health. They can promote chemical processing of body, muscles, bones and digestive disorders, and can give strength and radiant energy. They can balance the yin and yang energies within the body, thus promoting all-round healing, and restoring harmony.u Author, Tarot Reader



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


I am a 15 year old girl with shoulder length wavy hair. My hair has started to get frizzy. My mother is insisting I use oil on my hair before each shampoo. Is there no other way?


Oil does help. After shampoo, take only 2 drops of a light vegetable oil, like sunflower oil. Put it on your palms and rub the palms lightly together, so that the oil spreads over both palms. Smooth the palms over the hair. Or, take the ends of the hair in your palms and scrunch them. Leave the oil on. If you do not wish to use oil, mix some water with creamy hair conditioner and put it in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture on the hair. Then comb the hair, so that it spreads through the hair. Avoid very hot water to wash the hair. After shampoo, wrap a towel around the head and let it soak up water. Avoid rubbing.


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

The Power of Pi

ny class six kid would tell you what Pi is. It is the value to the nth place of decimal of 3.142857 (or 22/7), a ratio between the circumference and diameter of a circle. Yet, ask many 50-year-olds, especially the ‘M.A History’ types, and chances are that they would either think of a dissect pie, or the smallest Indian coin (pice) till the Second World War – 192 of which made a rupee! My story is about one such guy. I am a regular walker in our South Delhi colony’s central park. With a beautifully laid-out garden, lovely trees, manicured grass, and neatly paved wide walk-ways, it’s an oasis in the midst of roads packed with smoke-belching vehicles. I walk at a fairly brisk pace, always clockwise, sticking to the outer edge of the track. I must be quite fast because most people find it tough to keep pace. Actually it’s strange, because I can’t run at all – a few hundred yards is enough to tire me out. Yet I can give most walkers a run (oops!) for their money. There’s this guy about 10 years my junior, who also walks fast. He’s always trying to race me. Most people walk in the same direction, so

often we don’t even cross each other. But he’s always close on my heels. One day I met him in the first round itself. He was walking in the opposite direction, and we crossed each other. Instinctively, we both noted the spot. In the second round he had gained some distance, and yet more in the third. His joy knew no bounds. He was all smiles and couldn’t contain himself, as he flexed his arms and said “Aaj aap peeche reh gai” (Today you have lost). I told him he was mistaken, it was only the “Power of Pi”. The guy was flabbergasted. “What do you mean? Haven’t I beaten you squarely?” He was quite brusque. I asked him to change direction. I did likewise, and we started again. This time he lost. The guy couldn’t believe it. He

increased his pace, but again he was beaten. He looked askance at me, and I again told him “it’s only the power of Pi”. He seemed thoroughly confused. Quietly I left the park. The next few days I deliberately changed direction after every two rounds. He did the same, so he was always walking in the opposite direction. He’d win whenever he walked anti clockwise, and lose in the reverse. I’d only repeat “The power of Pi” every time we crossed. By the fourth day our man was a nervous wreck. He folded his hands and begged to be told about this Pi. “I’ll never race you again, but pray, who the devil is Pi?” he pleaded. We sat down on a bench and I explained to him the meaning of Pi. The fact was that when he walked anti-clockwise and stuck to the left, he was on the inner edge, and thus on a shorter diameter circle. The track being wide, if we walked 1-1/2 meters apart, he was covering almost 10 meters less. In the opposite direction, I had the same advantage. Now he’s a relieved man. He doesn’t race me any longer.u Krishan Kalra

1-7 February 2013

Wellness 19

Health & Vitality... Naturally!

Spring To Watercress { Jaspal Bajwa }


pring is the time to shake off the winter blues … to get up and go. It is the season of activity. People desirous of losing weight can take advantage of the natural trends of spring, to help them be more active, and at the same time eat less. Of all the vital organs, it is the liver and the gallbladder that are in focus in spring. If these organs are well-supported and balanced, the entire body benefits. Rich, fatty foods, that make the liver struggle, also have a negative impact on the gallbladder – which can manifest as indigestion, flatulence, shoulder tension and a bitter taste. A liver in balance helps us get things done without stress. To assist blood flow, it helps to eat plenty of leafy greens, along with other foods that cool and calm the liver. A simple diet of cooked vegetables, grains and legumes is best. Specific foods that help speed up the cleansing process are lemons, limes, celery, lettuce, turmeric, parsnips, radishes, linseed oil, chamomile tea and seaweed. Watercress is particularly good, as it helps build yin (female energy) and blood. We are constantly bombarded with toxic materials that the liver must remove from our circulatory system. These toxins come from our environment, chemicals in our food supply, or naturally produced waste. However, the liver is hindered in its detox action when viral hepatitis strikes. Many experts believe that some of our safest, most potent allies are certain foods that can help the liver neutralize an overload of toxins better. This is particularly important when it

comes to preventing the progression of chronic viral hepatitis. Certain foods like garlic, kale, blueberries, lemon and grapefruit are particularly helpful, as they contain nutrients that the body needs – to activate dozens of enzymes involved in detoxification. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), spring is the season of wind – both literally as well as symbolically. At this time it is best to eat foods with uplifting energy – such as young, green, sprouting above-the-g round vegetables. Some other good options are pine nuts, prawns, ginger, fennel, basil, black or yellow sesame seeds, sage and chamomile.

Tip of the week

If any of the spring foods referred above seem new, it is always better to introduce them slowly into the diet. Over-eating any of these new items in the diet can cause diarrhoea.

Nature’s Wonder Food of the week: Water Cress or Nasturtium

officinale or ‘Jalkhumbi’ Watercress looks like a common pond plant. Although mainly found in the wild, it is also widely cultivated as a salad herb, and can be had as sprouts as well. However, like many plants in this family, the foliage of watercress becomes bitter when the plants begin producing flowers. Loosely translated, Nasturtium means “wrinkled nose” in Latin. This probably

alludes to its pungent odour. Watercress contains a large amount of sulphur, which may add to the odour, but also adds to its benefits. Around since 400 BC, watercress is one of the first known leafy vegetables to be consumed. The Romans and ancient Egyptians were known to eat watercress for various health reasons. Watercress is widely found in temperate regions throughout the world. It thrives along, or in, fresh running water. Watercress is reported to be a super liver cleansing agent, as also an excellent overall detoxifier. Not only is it extremely nutritious, it contains very few calories. It provides four times more calcium than milk, as much Vitamin C as oranges, and more iron than spinach. It is rich in Vitamins A, C and K, as well as carotenoids and phytochemicals. In Chinese medicine, watercress is believed to reduce tumours, enhance night vision, and stimulate bile production, thus helping improve digestion and remove intestinal gas. It is

used as a remedy for jaundice, urinary problems, sore throat and bad breath. The leaves, flowers and seeds are the most commonly used parts. The leaves have a high vitamin and mineral content, and also help digestion. The juice of the fresh leaves has been used to treat acne, eczema, ringworm, rashes, and similar skin irritations and infections. Watercress has been used since the time of Hippocrates as a stimulant and expectorant in the treatment of coughs and bronchitis, and also helps in balancing the blood sugar level. Watercress tea or juice is valuable for eliminating accumulated fluids in body tissue—such as in gout—and for clearing mucus congestion from the lungs. Watercress has a diuretic effect, and is thought to aid in breaking up kidney or bladder stones as well. It’s best eaten raw, added to salads or a sandwich, or on its own with fish. It is important to wash the plant thoroughly, as unwashed leaves can contain liver fluke. u Registered Holistic Nutritionist (Canadian School of Natural Nutrition) For education purposes only; always consult a healthcare practitioner for medical conditions

Beetles Keep Eyes On Heavens { Berlin / DPA }       


species of African beetle that spends its nights gathering animal droppings to eat, turns out to also have a loftier ability: the dung beetle is a stargazer, new science shows. Even on the darkest of nights, the ball-rolling insects are guided by the soft glow of the Milky Way. While birds and humans are known to navigate by the stars, the discovery is the first convincing evidence for such abilities in insects, say Swedish researchers in the latest issue of Current Biology. It is also the first known example of any animal getting around by the Milky Way, as opposed to single bright stars. “Even on clear, moonless nights, many dung beetles still manage to orientate along straight paths,” said Marie Dacke of Lund University in Sweden. “This led us to suspect that the beetles exploit the starry sky for orientation.” Dacke and her colleagues found that dung beetles transport their dung balls along straight paths under a starlit sky, but lose the ability under overcast conditions. In a planetarium, the beetles stayed on track equally well under a full starlit sky and one showing only the diffuse streak of the Milky Way. That makes sense, the researchers explain, because the night sky is sprinkled with

stars, but the vast majority of those stars should be too dim for the beetles’ tiny compound eyes to see. When they discover a dung pile, the beetles shape a piece of dung into a ball and roll it away in a straight line. The beetles also use celestial compass cues such as the sun, the moon, and the pattern of polarized light formed around these light sources, Dacke said. “Celestial compass cues dominate straightline orientation in dung beetles so strongly that, to our knowledge, this is the only animal with a visual compass system that ignores the extra orientation precision that landmarks can offer.”u


Thanksgiving HOLY Spirit Thou who make me see everything and show me way to reach my ideal. You who give me the divine gift to forgive and forget the wrong that is done to me and who all are instances of life with me.  I in this short dialogue want to thank you for everything and confirm once more that I never want to separate from you no matter how great the material desires may be.  I want to be with you and my loved ones in your perpetual glory. Amen. Person must pray this for 3 consecutive days without stating ones wish. After 3rd day your wish will be granted no matter how difficult it may be. Promise to publish it soon as yr favour has been granted. ‘M’


1-7 February 2013

In Vino Veritas?

{ Sandra Trauner / Frankfurt / DPA }   


Claus Lampert, a Psychologist who specializes in counselling workers in hospitality, in his office in Frankfurt, Germany.

they think they’re being attacked.” Why is it that people target the bartender to relate their woes to? “They want some relief,” Lampert feels. At first glance, a psychologist and barkeeper have a lot in common: “People trust them, they listen, they keep silent.” Alcohol additionally loosens the tongue. A guest may even think it’s better in a bar than in a therapist’s office: “The advice doesn’t cost anything, you don’t have to be willing to change, and you don’t have to show up sober.” The proverbial couch at the bar is more often to be found in rural regions than in the city, Lampert says. “It’s personal hospitality with very intense contacts,” he says about rural pubs. The guest has less of a choice of pubs, the tavern keeper has often run his bar for decades – a perfect breed-

{ San Francisco / DPA }   


Nicolas Armer

t best it’s a kind of symbiosis: the patron needs somebody to narrate his sorrows to, and the listener is a barkeeper, flattered that his advice is needed. At worst, the bartender feels like he’s some kind of garbage pail, into which the guest is dumping all his emotional trash. The tavern is a place of danger to both sides, says Frankfurt Psychologist Claus Lampert, author of a book about the psychological aspects at play in many a pub. Lampert, 51, grew up behind a counter. As a child, it was at his parents’ butcher shop, while later on as a juvenile it was at the bar of a country tavern belonging to his best friend. Lampert financed his psychology studies by waiting tables, and at night delivering newspapers to the taverns. Together with a barkeeper friend, he began writing a column for a magazine in 2004, called “The Couch At The Bar”. In 2006 he began holding psychology seminars for hotel and restaurant employees. In the book (now out in German), titled “Hotel-und Barpsychologie” (hotel and bar psychology), Lampert hopes to help people like Sabine Woelfinger. For 12 years she ran a village tavern in the Taunus Hills, outside Frankfurt. A year ago, Woelfinger, now 50, gave the tavern up. She says the main advantage of post-bar life is that she can now choose the people she wants to talk with. “The guests can suck everything out of you – like a sponge,” she says. “At the bar, they simply unload everything on you, like a garbage pail.” Except for a very few, nobody wants to hold a real conversation or listen to another’s opinion. “And if you give them some advice,

f you are one of the more than 15 million people around the world who devote huge swathes of time every day to navigate the complexities of the hit smartphone game ‘Temple Run’, it’s time to rejoice – or perhaps quake in fear. The tiny studio that released the hit iPhone, Android and iPad app, has released a sequel to the game, enticing players with a new world – that features gently rolling and curved trails, rather than the strict geometric paths that characterized the original version. The three-person Imangi Studios also built in new powers for players, who can now use zip lines to help navigate the endless obstacle course – with the same mixture of tilting, swiping and tapping

Claus Lampert, a Psychologist who specializes in counselling workers in hospitality, in his office in Frankfurt, Germany.

ing-place for “chronicled tales of suffering.” In the smart bars of a big city, the patrons rarely reveal any vulnerable side, or show themselves to be in need. In Lampert’s estimation, many people working in the restaurant business have “high level of social skills, and a good way with people.” But this does not make them psychologists. “The barkeeper isn’t paid for that,” he says. Small-talk is “meant more to show sympathy, not to provide

motions that made the original version such a huge hit. Players also need to be on alert for mine tracks. According to Imangi, Temple Run has been downloaded more than 170 million times since its launch in the summer of 2011. The new game is twice the size of the original, but remains free to play. Players are able to access superpowers with coins they earn during the gameplay. They can also buy coins for real money, which is how Imangi makes money. “We’re not really sure what’s gonna happen, we’re kind of curious,” says Imangi co-founder Natalia Luckyanova. “Temple Run 2 is a new update, but I think a lot of people will like the classic look and feel. We’re gonna wait and see how that shakes out. “We’re not removing the original,” adds her partner Keith Shepherd. u

treatment”. It is also not without its perils. Many a sympathyprovider can fall victim to the “danger of the night: he provides tips from a gut feeling, and these aren’t always the best ones.” Krischan Knoll knows this well. The 30-year-old is Chief Bartender at the five-star Villa Kennedy Hotel in Frankfurt, and has previously worked in Dubai and top-class hotels around the world. “A little bit of knowledge is dangerous. You can quickly push things in the wrong direction with one faulty comment,” he says. Sometimes, Lampert notes, things happen in a bar that one sees in a psychotherapist’s office: “Transference and counter-transference.” One of the parties projects his or her previous experiences onto the other. “And voila, after only a few minutes, a feeling can emerge between complete strangers, that they have known each other forever.” “Sometimes it works like the key-and-lock principle,” Lampert says. The man behind the bar comes to regard the guest as a needy child, or as an unattainable role model. It can also happen that the bartender takes on the moods of his guest – sad when the person complains, and euphoric when the guest is in such a mood. In his book, Lampert also offers advice on how to handle “difficult personalities”. For example, he advises against joking with people who are hypersensitive, or commenting on somebody’s eccentric behaviour, or denying somebody (who is obviously compulsive) their favourite seat in the bar. u

G lobal LinkedIn Users Top 200 million { Peter Zschunke / Washington / DPA }      


he world’s largest career networking website, LinkedIn, is growing at a rate of two new users per second, and recently crossed the 200-million user threshold. The online platform now has about one-fifth as many users as the social networking website Facebook, and is growing at a similar pace. It reached the 10- million user mark only eight months ago. LinkedIn specializes in professional workers, who post information about themselves, their jobs, and other information – such as their resumes, promotions and photos. It is often used by people looking for a job. The website has long had a high number of US-based members, but most of its users (64 per cent) are now outside the US. India, Brazil and Canada are the countries with the most members after the US. Job offers and professional networking, along with fee-based special services, have become the most important features of the website. Another function, called endorsements, allows members to confirm and support the abilities they list. More services are planned. u

G lobal 21

1-7 February 2013

The Car Is So Yesterday { Sid Astbury / Sydney / DPA }


flash 1969 Chevrolet Camaro was Ray Smith’s first car: all muscle, bulging bonnet and burbling exhaust. “It was that freedom thing, your own set of wheels, a rite of passage,” the Sydney retiree recalled. Adam Smith got his first car at about the same age as his father Ray did; but unlike his dad’s, it is a hand-medown family saloon, that he shares with his five flatmates. “It’s certainly not something you’d want to have sex in,” he says. Attitudes to the private car, among middle-class Australians, have shifted over a generation. Five years ago the best-selling car was a statement-making six-cylinder job from General Motors Holden; now, the winner is the power-challenged Mazda 3. “The car is so yesterday,’ as my 21-year-old says regularly,” Curtin University sustainability specialist Peter Newman says. In Australia, as elsewhere in the rich world, people are taking out driving licences later in life, and motoring less. Suburbia is losing its charm, and once desolate inner cities are alive with cafe-society-types – who rely on public transport for most journeys. Newman points to a report on US young people, showing that between 2001 and 2009 there was a 23-per-cent decline in car use among the age group 16 to

34. He quotes a survey, showing that in the 10 years to 2008 the proportion of young German households without cars rose from 20 per cent to 28 per cent. Advertisers tell us that the latest cars are all wired up for communications on the go, but with driving all about hand-eye coordination, there will be no big breakthrough to using media on the move until the driverless car arrives.

“We needed freedom and connection and the car provided that to us baby-boomers,” Perth-based Newman says. “Today, it’s provided by social media devices and we baby-boomers look on through our windscreens in disbelief.” Apart from rising fuel costs, the impetus for the car’s fall is traffic congestion: people baulk at car commutes longer than an hour each way, and either move nearer the city

No Urban Life Without Cars? { Berlin / DPA }     


ar-loving Germans do not want to see city centres declared off limits to the automobile, a survey in the home country of MercedesBenz and the Autobahn has revealed. Only one on four of those asked, said they were in favour of car-free city centres, the lowest quota among citizens quizzed in seven European countries. The survey was carried out by the GfK Market Research Institute on behalf of an internet car sales portal Autoscout24. A total of 8,844 people were canvassed, including 1,450 in Germany. Almost half (48 per cent) of Germans asked in the representative survey, said they wanted inner cities to remain accessible by car. Around a quarter of respondents (27 per cent) be-

lieve that car-free inner cities were desirable. Exactly 25 per cent favoured a compromise, whereby inner city access be limited to vehicles specifically designed for urban mobility. Although there are no congestion charges in force in Germany–such as in London and the Swedish capital Stockholm–German drivers do face tougher restrictions from the beginning of this year. In the cities of the Ruhr conurbation such as Essen, only cars with low emissions are allowed unlimited access to city centres. The fine for non-compliance is 40 euros (53 dollars). A number of cities (such as the capital Berlin) restrict access to vehicles with a green sticker – which denotes that the vehicle meets the highest environmental standards. A total of 50 German cities have restrictive environmental zones. u

Young adults tell researchers they value their mobile phone above a private car, and would sooner be stuck into social media on a commuter train than behind the wheel and stuck in traffic. centre or catch a train. “It’s not just fashion,” Newman says. “It’s about making the knowledge economy and the green economy work productively - the car gets in the way of both.” Some employers in Sydney and Melbourne are now counting (as working hours) the time that employees spend in train carriages with their phones and tablet computers. Australia is not out of love with the private car yet. Chris Loader, Director of Planning Consultancy, Chris Loader & Associates, says ownership rates are still rising, although usage is falling. He has charted that the

New Italian Supercar { Pontedera, Italy / DPA }


Efficient Electric Car { Washington / DPA }   


he US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified the combined city and open highway performance, of the battery-electric Fiat 500e from the Italian maker, at 116 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe). That makes it the most energyefficient European electric vehicle in the US market. The MPGe rating is a virtual measure used by the

EPA to assess the efficiency of electric cars in petrol terms. Only the 2013 Scion IQ EV (121 MPGe) and the Honda Fit EV (118 MPGe) were more miserly on fuel overall in the EPA appraisal. The Fiat 500e, based on the iconic petrol-driven version of the Italian baby car, was first shown at the 2012 Los Angeles car show. It goes on sale in the ecology-sensitive state of California, in the second quarter of this year. u

ompared to Italy’s new supercar, the F&M Evantra V8, a Bugatti Veyron is a massproduced car. Named after the Etruscan God of Immortality, the Evantra is limited strictly to five examples a year, making it considerably more exclusive than most of its Ferrari and Lamborghini counterparts. The manufacturer, Mazzanti Automobili in Pontedera, near Pisa, has not announced a price tag for the Evantra – which is powered by a 700-horsepower engine, mounted in a lightweight chassis. The car comes with distinctive rearhinged doors, and bodywork fashioned from either aluminum or composite materials – in line with customer wishes. The combination is enough to hurl the creation from zero to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds. Top speed is given as 350 km/h. The Evantra will be unveiled at the Top Marques Monaco Car Show, which takes place in the principality in April. u

big shifts to public transport have followed big investments. “Sydney is still well ahead of Melbourne in public transport usage rates, but Melbourne is fast catching up,” Loader says. Melbourne annual public transport patronage has grown by 58 per cent in the last 10 years, while Sydney patronage has grown by around 12 per cent. The nation is wedded to its cars more strongly than most, but this means it is reaching what urban planners call “peak car” more quickly than most. The evidence is there: slowing new-car registrations, smaller distances travelled, and the advent of car-share schemes, helped along by designated parking spots in congested areas. Adam Smith, who followed his father into a career as an academic, said the post-war prosperity, that put teenagers behind the wheel of burnished private vehicles, was over for most members of his own generation. “It’s no longer economically or logistically imaginable that 19-years-olds would all have their own cars, and all play out their own seduction rituals,” he says. u

Classic Car Drivers Are Safest { Hamburg / DPA }


t may seem obvious but it now is official. The owners of cherished and classic cars in Germany are the safest drivers in the land, according to a survey by Dresden University for the VDA Car Industry Federation. The figures show that the owners of older cars, many of which have been lovingly restored, drive more carefully than the average motorist. Vehicles older than 30 years make up just 0.9 per cent of the cars on German roads, but are involved in only 0.1 per cent of accidents. Thirty-six per cent of cars in Germany are up to four years old, and these account for 31 per cent of all road accidents. The clean accident record of classic car drivers becomes even more apparent when road injury statistics are taken into account. Per 100,000 registered cars, only 91 classics were involved in such crashes. Technical defects led to far fewer accidents among cherished cars (0.8 per cent), than was the case with cars aged up to nine years old (1.5 per cent). Experts said the outcome was remarkable, considering that classics seldom have the range of active and passive safety features – such as airbags and crumple zones; and, in some cases, are not even fitted with seatbelts.u


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