Archive for July, 2011

Punjab creates two new districts of Pathankot and Fazilka

July 27th, 2011

SOURCE: Punjab Newsline Network

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab Cabinet today approved the creation of Fazilka and Pathankot as the new districts of the state following the recommendations of the committee of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Local Government Minister Tiksan Sud.
A decision to this effect was taken here at a meeting of the Cabinet chaired by the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal this evening.

Disclosing this here a spokesperson of the Punjab government said that with this decision the total number of districts in Punjab had gone up from 20 to 22. Newly created Fazilka district would consist of three sub-divisions viz Fazilka, Jalalabad and Abohar besides three sub-tehsils Arniwala Sheikh Suban, Sito Guno and Khuian Sarwar. Likewise, the Pathankot district would comprise two sub-divisions of Pathankot and Dharkalan along with two Sub-Tehsils namely Narot Jaimal Singh and Bamial. The cabinet also approved the creation of posts of officers as well as the ministerial staff for these two newly created districts according to the government norms.

The Cabinet also approved the upgradation of Sub-Tehsil Dharmkot in Moga district and Sub-Tehsil in Guru Harsahai in Ferozepur district as new sub-divisions besides giving approval for the creation of new posts for these newly upgraded sub-divisions.

The Cabinet also gave nod to promulgate ordinance for the establishment of Guru Ki Kashi Self Financed University at Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda district.

The Cabinet also approved to amend the Punjab Civil Services (Executive Branch) Rules 1976 to evolve a transparent criteria for the recruitment of the PCS (EB) officers from other categories of employees like District Revenue Officers (DROs), Tehsildaars, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioners (AETCs), Block Development and Panchayat officers (BDPOs) and Ministerial Staff etc.

The Cabinet also gave go ahead to amend the various sections, sub sections and Preamble of Punjab Tax on Entry of Goods into Local Areas Act, 2000.

The Cabinet also gave approval for the creation of the post of ex-officio Vice Chairman in the Punjab ex-servicemen corporation.

Sikh cricket fan denied entry in Lord’s

July 25th, 2011

Baptized Sikh cricket fan Gurdev Singh was denied access to the Lord’s cricket ground on Sunday after he was found to be carrying a traditional Kirpan (dagger).
On being denied entry, Singh staged a protest outside the east gate of the Lord’s cricket ground, where a Test match between India and England is being played.
“I was refused entry because I did not agree to take off my Kirpan as Kirpan is a body part of a Sikh. It is always on our body, we wash with it, we clothe ourselves everyday, we go everywhere with our Kirpan. That much respect we give to our Kirpan,” said Singh.

“It is the same Kirpan that saved half of people and are able to live in freedom, when Sikhs went from all the villages from Punjab, from Jalandar, Phagwara, Ludhiana and came in for with these English people against the Nazis. A woe, which had nothing to do with us but yes my ancestors which I am proud of, they came from India fought here, honorably. And gave me the ability to live freely but now I am asked to take my Kirpan off and refused entry,” added Singh.

He said that Lord’s might be a legendary cricket venue, but it is also one of the dirtiest places in London.

Kirpan is a curved ceremonial dagger and is regarded as one of the key religious symbols of the Sikh community.

Five articles of faith are required to wear by baptized Sikhs, the Kirpan, the Kara – a steel bracelet, the Kachhehra – a type of shorts, kes – the unshorn hairs and the Kangha – a comb, which is further covered by a turban.

Scare for fans – Kuldeep Manak in Hospital

July 24th, 2011

Source – Times of India

LUDHIANA: A wave of concern ran among Punjabi folk music lovers when they came to know that ‘Kaliyan Da Badshah’ Kuldeep Manakhad been hospitalized. He had suffered acute lower gastrointestinal bleeding and was admitted in Deep Hospital, Model Town. Doctors said Manak’s condition is stable and he would be discharged within six days. Fans have been coming from as far as USA for knowing about his health condition. Kuldeep is popularly known for singing Punjabi folk numbers including ‘Ma hundi hai ma’, ‘Tere tille ton surat dendi aa heer di’, ‘Dhula Bhatti’ and ‘Sucha Surma’.
According to Mohammad Sadiq, Punjabi folk singer and a good friend of Manak, his son Yudhvir had not been keeping good health for the last three months, which had made the going tough for their family. He said Yudhvir was admitted in Dayanand Medical College and Hospital for a long time and a few days ago, he was discharged from there.
Sadiq said Kuldeep was under tremendous stress owing to his son’s illness, which resulted in him falling sick. Dr Dinesh Singla said initially, when Kuldeep Manak was admitted in the hospital, his condition was very serious, but he was stable now. He said they had given him endoscopic treatment and had transfused blood. He added that while the bleeding had stopped, he was under observation and would be discharged within a few days.

Gurbhajan Gill, president of Punjabi Sahit Academy, visited the hospital to inquire about Kuldeep’s health. He said Manak is pride of Punjabi culture and folk. ‘He continues to be fully attached with his roots,’ he added.

Gill said not only is Manak renowned in Punjab but also, his voice is resounding across USA and Canada. He said state government should come to the aid of ailing Punjabi singers, writers, journalists, theatre activists and folk instrumentalists by ensuring their medical insurance. Mukhtiar Singh, one of his fans from California, USA, said from his childhood, he had been listening to Manak’s songs. On getting to know he was not well, he came to the hospital.

Visually-impaired Jyoti Parmar has a vision – to enable others like her lead an independent life

July 23rd, 2011

Her eyes are set on a goal ‘ making visually impaired self-reliant. On her noble journey, Jyoti Parmar, 45, has taught 30 such persons how to write their name. Besides, she has been teaching English and social studies since 18 years at Braille Bhawan, Jamalpur. And while treading this path, she has not let her handicap be a barrier ‘ she had lost her vision when she was eight.

”Eight months ago, a school peon came to me with an attendance register. Assuming that I would not be able to sign, he sought my thumb impression. That day, I decided to change people’s perception towards us and started teaching my colleagues, friends and students how to write their name on paper. Now, there are others too who are learning it,” she smiled.

A resident of Jamalpur, Jyoti has undergone cornea transplant surgery many a time. ”But, I do not feel less blessed. As, I can even use ATM cards and sign cheque books. I am not dependent on anyone and I want others like me to be independent too. I feel very happy when I find them writing. It encourages me to go further,” said Jyoti, who has done MPhil in public administration from Punjabi University.

Her husband, Jaswinder Singh, and two daughters support her at every step. ”I have a better vision than a normal person, as I want to see visually-impaired people rising,” she said. ”It’s my responsibility to give them what I have. I plan to visit National Institute for Visually Handicapped, Dehradun, to appeal to it to add signature writing to the visually-impaired’s syllabus. It will make them more confident,” she added.

Sangeeta, a teacher in Braille Bhawan, said she used to feel helpless and low when people treated her as disabled. ”But after learning how to write my name, I feel confident. It has given me the will to learn more, as I am not less than anyone.”

Prem, another teacher, said, ”Jyoti has given me a reason to smile and live my life independently. My family feels proud when I write my signature. They are happy for me and want me to learn computers too.”

SOURCE – Times of India

Hard to resist cupcakes are now catching attention in Ludhiana

July 19th, 2011

Ludhiana might be reacting to a phenomenon about seven or eight years too late, but cupcakes in the city are finally catching up with all the attention. Ludhiana’s top nautch bakery owner, Harjinder Singh Kukreja who often dishes cupcakes out for various catering assignments, says that even though he doesn’t quite do the fancy trimmings on the cupcakes, people like them anyway. “We have been making cupcakes for a long time… But it’s only in the past year or so that everyone is talking about cupcakes in this country,”says Harjinder.

While people are ordering cupcakes to perhaps be a more prominent part of a party menu, it’s not quite replaced birthday cakes for children yet. In the recent past, about three to four people have used cupcakes as the main cake itself and got a great response. For instance, you can create a whole carnival on cupcakes — so there were Ferris Wheels, balloons etc on different cupcakes and people loved it,” Harjinder says. Harjinder says that people in India still have a traditional mindset when it comes to desserts but they are slowly trying to absorb creative offerings. “I am trying to make people think small — cupcakes let you enjoy small bits of everything that would have been on a bigger cake,” adds Harjinder.

Cupcakes are becoming a huge rage in Ludhiana. Earlier, we had only heard of Contour cupcakes from NYC and London; now, Ludhiana is experiencing that transformation in the baking industry. When we first launched Cupcakes a year ago, people were quite apprehensive about buying them because they weren’t too sure if it made sense, but today we have 10 set themes of the same that are especially made for lovers, new born babies, branded ones, naughty ones and even for those who are shopaholics!” says Harjinder. Of late, our cupcakes have been making a break through in the market; at birthday parties, corporate events as well as launches these are a big hit!” he adds.

All cupcake bakers believe that the little treats are a great way to celebrate and convey feelings. As Harjinder puts it aptly, “They make great gifts because you can express exactly what you want to say on them. Recently, I made some for a baby announcement party where the new parents wanted to give cupcakes away to their guests. So I made them little icing like a baby bottle etc — they were received quite well.”

Hot Breads might not have cupcakes placed in a dedicated display counter and readily available but they are quite deft at creating cupcakes on order. Their menu ranges from colourful ones that resemble a wild animal to the chocochip cupcakes for adults that will need at least 20 minutes to finish. Their entire bakery menu is available for you to choose and order from. If you would much rather order a dozen and send them to yourself to just pamper the child in you — they are happy to oblige!

Wearing a turban in the face of hate

July 17th, 2011

Source: David Whiting, Columnist – The Orange County Register

Father and son, Arinder Chadha, 48, left, and Angad Chadha, 20, at their home in Placentia. Despite being victims of hate crimes, both continue to were the traditional turbans of their Sikh faith. The elder Chandha wears the pagri turban and his son the patka turban. LEONARD ORTIZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Regardless what you think of turbans, you’ve got to admire the Chadha family.

Father and son wear turbans everywhere. And Mom, though at time fearful for their safety, supports them.

It’s not that the Chadhas want to antagonize anyone in our post 9/11 world. Far from it. It’s simply that their religion, Sikhism, requires such attire.

I suppose they could deny their faith. But then they’d also be denying what the United States is about.


But in 21st century America, religious freedom doesn’t come without a price.


The Chadhas came to this country in 1998 from India, a country with a blend of faiths including Hindu, Islam and Christianity. Sikhism ranks fourth.

It was before India’s economic boom. And, like millions of immigrants before them, Mom and Dad saw America as a land of opportunity.

Dad, Arinder Chadha, arrived in the U.S. with a medical degree. Now with an MBA from UCI, he serves as associate chief medical officer at Chino State Prison.

Mom, with a son in college and a 14-year-old daughter, is a full-time homemaker and part-time volunteer. She often works at one of two Sikh temples in Orange County. One is in Santa Ana, the other in Buena Park.

When they first immigrated to the United States, they lived and worked around New York City. But life changed for the Chadhas – and other Sikhs – on Sept. 11, 2001.

Before 9/11, Chadha might get a few curious looks while wearing one of his tightly wound colorful turbans during his commute from Long Island to Manhattan. But after the hijacked jets tore into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, Chadha saw stares of hatred.

And worse.


Chadha’s been called a “towel head.” He gets flipped off. Some shout, “Hey, Osama, go back to Iraq.”

In Long Island, one kid knocked off his son’s turban. School administrators, the parents say, declined to address the issue.

Ten years after 9/11, some still keep their distance, refuse to shake hands.

In June 2006, a month after the family settled into their Placentia home, someone placed an orange traffic cone on their porch and spray-painted a penis with three testicles on their driveway.

The family believes the graffiti was a reference to the informal head dress Chadha’s son, Angad, sometimes wears. It’s a turban of sorts with a top knot that looks like a ball.

Police classified the incident as a hate crime.

The haters, of course, assumed that Chadha was Muslim – not that there’s anything wrong with that. A small, fanatical army of terrorists doesn’t represent a faith with more than a billion followers.

But to be persecuted for someone’s mistaken assumption was troubling.

Perhaps fatal.


Four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodi, a Sikh, was gunned down at his gas station in Mesa, Ariz. It marked the beginning of the backlash.

Consider August 2008. On Aug. 4, Inderjit Singh Jassal was shot and killed working at a 7-11 store in Phoenix. Four days later, a man was found beaten to death in front of a Sikh temple in New York. Eight days after that, Gurmohinder Singh was fatally shot walking into a bank in Oxnard, Ca.

Less than five months ago, March 4, two elderly Sikhs were fatally shot while taking a walk in Elk Grove, Ca.

Some Sikhs, including the Chadhas, started wearing buttons, “I’m not an Arab. I’m a Sikh. Ask me.”

Sitting in the modern and minimalist living room at the Chadha’s home, I ask Chadha if the button is just passing on the anger and violence to someone else.

We’ve been talking for two hours and his every reply has been measured and quiet. But when it comes to life – and death – Chadha’s tone changes. He raises his voice a notch and speaks with passion and frustration.

“We tried to be subtle for so long,” Chadha explains, his face framed by a carefully groomed black beard and lavender turban. “But we don’t want people dying on the streets because of a misunderstanding.”

Chadha, who received an award last year from the Orange County Human Relations Commission and sits on several interfaith councils, has a point.

According to the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, SALDEF, there are 25 million Sikhs worldwide, 500,000 in the U.S. And 99 percent of the people who wear turbans in this country are Sikh.

That’s plenty of opportunity for misunderstanding.


I turn to Mom, Manpreet, and ask why she doesn’t ask her husband and son to give up their turbans.

With her long dark hair in a neat bun – another Sikh tenant is never to cut hair – and a sleeveless lime-green shirt, she says her reasons include tradition, faith and standing up for what is right.

Speaking of her son, now a 20-year-old senior at Northwestern University in Chicago, Manpreet says, “I was scared for him.” But, she adds, fear isn’t something to be ruled by.

“Like grandfather, like son; like father, like son,” she says. “It’s part of our religion to wear the turban.”

Her words remind me of Sikh history. About 500 years ago when generally only kings and chieftains wore turbans, Sikh founders told followers to wear turbans to cover unshorn hair and as a symbol of equality.

“A big part of the religion,” Manpreet says, “is instilling courage.”

To help quell violence, Mom encourages her children to educate others about Sikhism. She advises: “Strike up a conversation so they’re comfortable.”

That’s a tall order for a young teen such as the Chadha’s 14-year-old daughter, Simran. I ask how she handles such a parental request.

Without hesitation, Simran replies she talks about Sikhism every chance she gets.

Even one person learning could save a life.

Ludhiana railway station haunted ?

July 17th, 2011

SOURCE: Dainik Bhaskar

Ludhiana: Reservation Centre at the railway station in the city is a place for ghost stories. A room of the reservation centre has remained closed for over seven years now for fear of a ghost.
A former Computer Reservation System (CRS) officer died due to natural reasons in 2004. Subhash, the deceased officer was said to have loved his work. People fear that his spirit still haunts the room.

Not a single officer after Subhash has dared to sit in the room. Rumors also say that whoever tried to sit there has faced difficulties and problems. Few had unreasonable fights while others even faced legal troubles.

The officers have tried everything from spraying gangajal (water of River Ganga, believed to evoke positive vibes) to performing special puja at the room. However, the room still remains abandoned for the fear of evil spirits.

Ajmal Kasab’s birthday = multiple bomb blasts in Mumbai

July 13th, 2011

The multiple blasts in Mumbai coincide with the birthday of Ajmal Kasab. Kasab was born on 13th July, 1987 and is the only attacker captured alive in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. It is a shocking coincidence – Mumbai has been attacked yet again and that too on Kasab’s birthday ! (Source of his birthday is Wikipedia)

Kasab’s birthday = multiple bomb blasts in Mumbai

July 13th, 2011

The multiple blasts in Mumbai coincide with the birthday of Ajmal Kasab. Kasab was born on 13th July, 1987 and is the only attacker captured alive in the 2008 Mumbai attacks. It is a shocking coincidence – Mumbai has been attacked yet again and that too on Kasab’s birthday ! (Source of his birthday is Wikipedia)

Now here, now gone: Power plays hide ‘n’ seek in Ludhiana

July 13th, 2011

LUDHIANA: Sudden breakdown in two units of Ropar Thermal Plant around 11am on Tuesday played havoc with the lives of city residents who had to bear frequent electricity cuts till late in the evening. Following the collapse, the department had to shed load in the 220kv power sub-stations at Hambran and Ferozepur Road.

As a result, power was disrupted in areas like Rajguru Nagar, Model Town, Model Town Extension, Pakhowal Road, Punjab Mata Nagar, Gurdev Nagar, DC Complex, GT Road and Haibowal, apart from other adjoining areas. Cuts lasting 45 minutes to an hour were imposed after every 15 minutes in these places, making the hot and humid Tuesday even worse.

Expressing helplessness, engineer-in-chief of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) K L Sharma told Ludhiana, Times of India, ”There was sudden breakdown in the units of Ropar thermal plant on Tuesday morning due to which we had to shut them down in parts.”

He added that since power generation was affected, they were forced to impose cuts in various parts of the city.

With power supply playing hide and seek, residents had the going tough. A few areas of the city also bore the brunt of fluctuations and low voltage that damaged their appliances.

A businessman and resident of Model Town, Sunil Mehra, said, ”If there was a technical snag in thermal plant and power shedding was important, authorities could have imposed the breakdown in one go instead of frequent ones.”

Troubled with the outages, a student and resident of Sarabha Nagar, Silky Sharma, said the weather was humid and a shutdown after every 15 minutes was unbearable. ”The power board must upgrade the system. No attention is paid to emergency outages and this is the story of every summer,” she added.

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