Wednesday December 13, 2017

Creator of world famous Rock Garden, Nek Chand dies at 90


By NewsGram Staff Writer

Nek Chand Saini, the man behind the famous Rock Garden in Chandigarh breathed his last on Friday, 12:10 AM in PGI. The 90-year old died of cardiac arrest.

Born in Berian Kalan village, (now in Pakistan) on December 15, 1924, Nekchand emigrated to India with his family and settled in Chandigarh in 1950. This is where his journey from being a public transport official to a creative genius began.

Unfortunately, his death came just a few days before his 40 figurative mosaic sculptures were to be put on display for the first time in the UK Pallant House Gallery in Chichester (West Sussex) from June 13 to October 25. The works are on loan from the Nek Chand Foundation in London.

In 1972, the municipal authorities discovered the environmental marvel created by Nekchand, and took the decision of providing a team of labourers and financial support to enable him to continue his work. Officially recognised in 1976, the site, which came to be known as the Rock Garden, was, and is a key tourist attraction of Chandigarh.

In a brief conversation with a national daily, his son Amit Saini said that he was admitted in a private hospital after reports of medical tests indicated problems but was shifted to PGI on Thursday evening after his condition worsened.

His body will be kept at the Rock Garden, a wonderland he had created out of waste material so that his fans can pay tributes for at least a day.

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Journey of Indian Origin Harry S. Banga among Richest people in Hong Kong

Harindarpal Singh Banga is among the list of Top 50 richest people according to Forbes Magazine

Harry S. Banga is one of the richest people in Hong Kong
Harry S. Banga is one of the richest people in Hong Kong. Pixabay

Hong Kong, Sep 11, 2017: He grew up in Chandigarh and never thought he would be a billionaire and one of the richest people in Hong Kong. But Harry S. Banga has done that successfully in the fields of commodities, ship management and asset management.

With a net worth of $1.02 billion, Harindarpal Singh Banga, as the chairman of the fairly young Caravel Group, not only figures among the list of Top 50 richest people (Forbes Magazine) in Hong Kong but is known as the tycoon who has staged a comeback in the commodities sector in a big way.

“It’s been a great journey. (I am) So proud of achieving what we have done. Obviously, there were a lot of ups and downs. Never realised on leaving Chandigarh that I will be where I am today. By the grace of god, it has been a wonderful and successful journey. One day I will write a book,” Banga told IANS during an interview in the swanky headquarters of the Caravel Group in the Central Plaza skyscraper in Hong Kong’s busy Wan Chai commercial area.

Banga, who started as a shippie, has reasons to feel proud.

He exited the Noble Group, in which he was a co-founder in 1988, just before it started crumbling on the business front. Setting up the Caravel Group in 2013 with an $800 million investment, Banga was soon back in the big league of Hong Kong billionaires early this year.

“We have three verticals within the Caravel Group. The first one is Asset Management. It is purely investing in liquid assets in equity, fixed income and debt investment and some private equity investment. The other part is brick and mortar business in Caravel International which has got two verticals. One is Caravel Resources under which we do the commodities business. Then we have Caravel Maritime and Caravel Fleet Management Limited.

“Today we are the third largest ship management company in the world. We have 450 ships under our management, close to $20 billion dollars of assets. Total officers and crew are about 18,000 — the majority of them from India,” he explained.

With operations spread in 19 countries across most continents, Banga says that doing business with China is easier.

“Seventy per cent of our total turnover comes from China. I have been dealing with China since 1983. Dealing with officials and corporates in China, I find them very easy to develop and do business with.

“Our business mainly focuses around China, which is the main consumer of commodities today. Today, we are the largest international trading company supplying iron ore to China. Total volume is 40 million tonnes. The originating countries are India, Australia, South Africa and Brazil. Caravel Carbon does the thermal coal business. Sixty per cent of that goes into China and 40 percent to India to power plants, cement plants etc,” he said.

Though his company has offices in India, the business dealing is limited.

“While in other countries in Europe, Australia, America it is either a green light or red light — it is all very clear. Though in the last three years it is changing, in India it is permanent amber light. So, you don’t know if it is red or green. They do come with a policy in India but it takes a long time to understand that policy,” said Banga, who was honoured with the Pravasi Bharatiya Award in 2011 by the Indian government.

“Ours (India) is not easy. We have religion issues, caste issues, language issues, states have their own issues. All these things are very challenging. New Delhi takes decisions. The implementation is in districts. It is a very different world there (in the districts). In Beijing, one guy decides, everyone implements,” he said.

Banga is worried that too many young people in India are getting education and skills, but not enough jobs are available.

“In India, we have the beauty product and health product e-retail company called Nykaa. That is one of the major investments that we have,” he added.

Born in Amritsar, Banga, 66, did his schooling and bachelor of engineering in Chandigarh before moving out in the 1970s.

“I became the youngest captain at the age of 27-and-a-half. I worked with companies in London, Geneva and Hong Kong, where I arrived in 1984,” he said.

Among other things, Banga has an eye for contemporary paintings and antiques. (IANS)


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Ram Rahim Convicted of Rape: Here is the 15 Year Old Anonymous Letter from a Sadhvi

The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Aug 28

Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim
Self-proclaimed spiritual guru Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan. Wikimedia
  • Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim was held guilty in the 2002 rape case by a CBI court
  • The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Aug 28
  • Ram Rahim was taken to Rohtak jail through a chopper

Chandigarh, Aug 25, 2017: Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Singh Ram Rahim was held guilty in the 2002 rape case by a CBI court today. He was convicted of raping his female followers, the court stated. The quantum of punishment will be pronounced on Aug 28. Ram Rahim was taken to Rohtak jail through a chopper.

Tensions in the air were flowing since few days before the verdict, as around 200,000 blind supporters of the self-styled godman seized the Tricity. The protestors were seen threatening to incite violence in the city a day before the verdict.

All the educational institutions and government offices remained shut. Also, buses and trains service was halted. The parliamentary forces and police were patrolling on the risk prone areas while the army was on standby. Data services and the internet was suspended in Chandigarh, Haryana, and Punjab for three days.
Till now 17 people have died in the furious demonstration by the supporters. Many media vehicles were set on fire, and army forces were pelted stones, leaving some of them wounded. The Punjab government also imposed section 144. However, it was not successfully implemented.

Ram Rahim Rape Case: What happened 15 years back?

Ram Rahim was convicted in a 15 years old rape case by a CBI court today.
In 2002, his female follower wrote a letter to the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Judges of Haryana and Punjab court. The girl alleged that she and other females at the ‘Dera’ are a victim of sexual exploitation. The court instructed a detailed CBI investigation concerning the issue.
In 2007, Ram Rahim was convicted under sections 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code by CBI court.
 The anonymous letter from a Sadhvi revealed by Aaj Tak reads:
I am from Punjab and now I am presently working as a sadhu girl in Sirsa (Haryana, Dhan Dhan Satguru Tera Asara), for the last five years. Hundreds of girls also serve 16 to 18 hours in the camp. We are being physically exploited here. I am a BA graduate. Members of my family are blind devotees of Shri Maharaj, whose influence made a saint in the camp. Two years after becoming a saint, one-day Maharaj Gurmeet’s famous Sadhu Gurjot told me at 10 o’ clock in the night that Maharaj has called me in the cave (place of residence of Maharaj). Because I was going there for the first time, I was very happy, grasping that God himself has called me today. When I got up in the cave, I saw Maharaj sitting on the bed. There was remote in hand, a blue film was running on the front TV and a revolver on the bed side. I was shocked to see all this … the ground beneath my feet slipped. What is this happening? Maharaj would be like this, I did not even dream about this. Maharaj stopped the TV and made me sit with water and said that I have called you as my special beloved. Taking me in the arms, Maharaj said that I like you with all my heart. I want to love you because you have devoted your soul, wealth, and body to Satguru Ji when you became a sadhu. Hence, this body and soul is all mine. On my opposition, he said that there is no doubt that I am God. When I asked if this is how a God works, he said: Lord Krishna was God, he had 360 Gopis from whom he used to love every day, yet people consider him as divine. This is not a new thing. If I want, then you can cremate your life with this revolver. Your house believes in us by all means and is our slave. They can not go out of us, you know this thing well. I have a good stand in our government. The Chief Minister of Haryana and Punjab, the Union Minister touches my feets. The leaders support us, take the money, and will never go against us. I will expell the members of your family from the service. We will kill all the members without leaving any evidence, you know very well that we had already destroyed the manager of the dera, who have not been found till today. Nor has there been any evidence left outstanding. With the help of money, we will buy politicians and police and justice. In this way, my face was blackened and I have been raped for 20-30 times in the last three months. I was ordered to wear white clothes, keep sardine on the head, not to lift the eye on a man, and keep the distance of five to ten feet from the man. I am a goddess in the show, but my condition is like a prostitute. I once told my family that everything is not right in the tent here, so my people reprimanded me by saying that if it is not right with God, then where is it?. Bad thoughts have started coming to your mind. Adhere yourself to Satguru. I am compelled. Here the order of Satguru says that no two girls can talk to each other, can not talk to house holders by telephone. In the past, when a Bathinda girl revealed the black act of Maharaj before all the girls, many sadhu girls shunned her by whipping her together….. A girl from Sangrur district when came home and told the neighbors about the dirty activities of the camp, the attendants of the dera came to the girl’s house with guns inside the house, and threatened her by putting a pistol. So along with all these girls, I will also be killed with my family, if I will write my name in it. I would request you to examine our bodies with the help of doctors so that our parents and you will know that whether we are Kumari Devi or Not? If not then by whom ruined. 

ALSO READ: Indian Gurus-Preaching Spiritualism or Business? 

It is frightening to see that someone in this country with gigantic backing, despite the criminal accusations, can shake up the whole scenario. Army wounded, media injured, open firing and burning places for the rape trial of an accused shows that 60 million in this country are living in denial. Distortion of religion and faith is a common sight in India.

Personages like Ram Rahim who win over people by misguiding them are a threat to the entire human race. The man who claimed himself a godman devasted the parts of Punjab and Haryana, however, this is an alarming situation for the nation for the nation as well.

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt. 

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Women bring Misfortune and are Impure, Dirty, say Priests of Kheda Temple in Chandigarh

Entry of women is barred at a Hindu Temple, near Chandigarh as the priests consider them as impure and dirty

Kheda Temple banned women's entry
Kheda Temple has banned women's entry. Pixabay
  • The sign board on the gate of a Hindu Temple reads females are not allowed inside the Kheda temple
  • Priests say the God became furious as the women did not wear a veil while entering the village as a mark of respect
  • Kheda temple is not the only temple in India which falls in the category of temples where females are not allowed to enter

Chandigarh, August 6, 2017: It’s shocking to know there is a place near Chandigarh where women are not allowed to enter a Hindu temple that is Kheda Temple as they think the women bring misfortune and are dirty, impure. We are talking of Kansal Village near modern Chandigarh, whose male population has such shameful thoughts for women of their village.

If you don’t believe us, the sign board on the gate of Kheda Temple will change your mind. It reads Kheda Mandar De Andar Aurtan Da Aana Sakhat Mana Hai in Punjabi which means females are not allowed inside the Kheda temple.

A month ago this diktat was passed by the temple management committee. It was done as per the advice of a priest after few locals approached him.The locals were worried about an untimely death of three to four youths belonging to this village. The priest told them that the Kheda, a local god is not happy with them as the women don’t respect him.

Also Read: Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati to be Closed For Lunar Eclipse

According to India Today report, Sanju Kansal, a local said, “the God became furious as the women did not wear a veil while entering the village as a mark of respect. Some even entered the temple during their periods. Women while having periods are impure and dirty.” Other villagers including a village headman, Shamsher Singh agreed with Kansal and said that it was a unanimous decision and it was in the interest of the village.

“The whole village nodded in favor of this decision as it was a question of the well-being of the future generation. The Baba has advised us not to allow women inside the temple for 40 days. The women too have agreed to this,” said Shamsher Singh.

Village women are not objecting on the Diktat, despite knowing the fact that this decision is against them and also violates their rights. Awareness of women’s rights in India is very less in villages. The women of Kansal village seem to have silently nodded, giving their consent to the banned entry.

Gurmeet Kaur, a local woman (who is unaffected by the ban) said, “Earlier we were allowed inside the temple but now we do not go. I don’t know but the children are allowed. It hardly matters who goes or not. I pay my respect from outside.” On questioning other women, most of them gave similar answers. Some of them refused to comment as not agreeing to it can lead to a domestic dispute.

ALSO READ: In last 3 Years, there is a Significant Rise in Chamundeshwari Temple’s Income

However, there is some hope left in the form of residents like Azaib Singh who are against the diktat and want the women worshippers to be allowed to enter the temple.”The ban is arbitrary. We are against it. Everybody should be allowed to enter the temple. This is the brainchild of some people who are dividing the society,” said Azaib Singh.

But, Kheda temple is not the only temple in India which falls in the category of temples where females are not allowed to enter. There are about four other temples in the vicinity where their entry is banned. One of it is a temple of a Naga Baba few hundred meters from Kheda which has also banned entry of women worshippers. Two other temples located in Dhakoli near Zirakpur and in Nayagaon are also a males only domain. There are some religious places in India where women are not allowed, sad but true fact.

“Women cannot enter this Samadhi (temple of a Naga Baba). I have been living here for last 18 years. When others are not entering why should we?” said Veena, a resident who lives close to Naga Baba temple where women are restricted.A senior citizen Rajni, when asked about the reason due to which women were not allowed in these temples, said that some people (priests) visited the village and asked not to allow them to enter the village.


While the women of Kansal village are silent on the diktat, women’s rights activists are objecting to the ban and have also criticized the temple management committee for taking this decision. A Panchkula based women’s rights activist, Renu Mathur said,”I am shocked how the people who live in the vicinity of country’s modern and highly educated city Chandigarh stooped so low and labeled women as inferior human being. This is shameful and against the women. We will start an agitation if the board is not removed immediately.”

– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08

NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
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