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Pune: a City that enjoyed the status of being ancient Greece

Pune has been home to various social reformers. It relates in many of ways to Ancient Greece

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Thoseghar Waterfalls - Satara, Pune Source: Wikimedia Commons
800px-University_of_Pune,_Pune
University of Pune. Wikimedia Commons

Shruti Pandey

A city commonly referred to as ancient Greece of India has a long history on its part. Let us explore by merging Greece of Europe and Greece of Asia as Aasish Chandorkar elucidates the tale of two cities in a recent article published in Swarajya magazine. Here is the summary of his point of view:

Right from the birth of Thales of Miletus in 620 BCE to the death of Aristotle in 322 BCE, Greece saw a paradigm shift in its ideology, varying from mythology to science, myths to facts and reasoning based thought process. The work of various modern minds of Greece eventually led to the establishment of modern city state of Athens and paved a way for Greece to become a nation that could conquer the world.

In the similar context, Pune also lived the idea of thought processing. The outcomes resulted into political awakening, creation of institutions for lasting social change and impelling great minds to initiate a mutiny against the British rule.

The foursome of Mahadev Govind Ranade, Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Dhondo Keshav Karve and Gopal Krishna Gokhale did exemplary jobs over the mission. When Ranade shifted to Pune in 1873 ,at the designation of a Magistrate, their ideas came together to impinge upon a political and social awakening. It included thoughts to awaken nationalism, surge the freedom movement and bring about a social renaissance in the nation. Pune lost this momentum with the death of Tilak in 1920. The time between 1873 and 1920 was the “Golden Philosophical Age” of Pune which was tried to be rejuvenated by Maharishi Karve later on.

Also Read: Punjab through the ages!

Pune was also seen as the potential contender of being the capital of India after British sought a move to change the capital from Kolkata to anywhere else. Pune still resumes the legacy left behind by conglomerate of social reformers and thinkers who left behind a galaxy of ideas and theories. The ideology of Pune is still thriving and growing. Very few Indians are aware of the fact that many of the social and liberal thoughts are accredited to this city and its Golden philosophical age. It is still a hub of world class educational institutions and is still a home to writers who aspire to bring about a change.

Shruti Pandey is a third year engineering student at HBTI, Kanpur and aspires to bring a change through words. Twitter handle: srt_kaka

 

 

  • Pragya Jha

    There was a time when this city was called as a pensioner’s paradise- an ideal place for the people who want to spend a peaceful time after many years of hardships of life. The enviroment here is salubrious.

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  • Pragya Jha

    There was a time when this city was called as a pensioner’s paradise- an ideal place for the people who want to spend a peaceful time after many years of hardships of life. The enviroment here is salubrious.

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India: Sugar Mills, Distilleries under The Scanner of Special Task Force of UP Police for Links with Hooch Syndicates

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol

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India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

As more than a hundred people died in ‘poisonous hooch’ tragedies in Uttar Pradesh during the past one year, a few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Working round the clock to bust ‘killer syndicates’ supplying cheap industrial alcohol to bootleggers and gangs involved in manufacturing of illicit liquor, STF has seized more than 10,000 litres of rectified spirit in raids across the state in the past one month.

Industrial alcohol allegedly used in hooch is distilled ethanol and is usually used in manufacturing of paints, fragrance, printing ink and coating. As it is cheaper, the liquor syndicates get it smuggled from distilled ethanol manufacturing units. On June 16, STF seized 5,750 litres of rectified spirit (high concentration alcohol) from the possession of a big time crime syndicate active in Lucknow and Kanpur.

The STF rounded up the kingpin, Suraj Lal Yadav, along with six other members of the gang. During interrogation it was discovered that Yadav was well-connected with some distilleries in Haryana. Large quantities of industrial alcohol was smuggled out of Haryana and pushed into hooch manufacturing dens in UP.

Concerned about frequents deaths in UP due to consumption of poisonous hooch, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath launched a statewide crackdown on illicit liquor manufacturing gangs after 21 people died in a hooch tragedy in Barabanki two months ago. The STF, considered the state’s premiere crime busting agency, subsequently geared up to intercept scores of tankers and private vehicles being pushed into UP from Delhi and Haryana.

India, Sugar Mills, Distilleries
A few sugar mills and distilleries have come under the scanner of the Special Task Force of the UP police. Pixabay

“The syndicate involved in smuggling of rectified spirit has spread its tentacles in the state. Even murders have taken place in disputes relating to the smuggling. But our raiding parties are determined to bust the gangs. Innumerable cases have been registered by us in the past one-and-a-half years,” said Amitabh Yash, Inspector General(IG) of STF.

Even though the STF, after rounding up the accused handed over the investigation of the case to the district police, the agency is said to have the most precise data on organised crime in North India.

“We seldom investigate the cases as it involves prolonged court work, so our main aim is focused on cracking heinous crimes, particularly organised by crime syndicates. At the moment, gangs involved in illicit trade of hooch are our target,” said Amitabh Yash, known for his skills in dealing with underworld operations and syndicate crimes. When asked whether a few officials of the excise department and a couple of distilleries could be linked with smugglers of rectified spirit, the IG said a report was given in this connection to the government.

While high excise duty makes liquor expensive, hooch, on the other hand, is available for less than Rs 20 per bottle. At places the rates are less than even Rs 10 per liter. A report, in connection with the Saharanpur hooch tragedy in February 2019 which took the lives of over 50 people, reveals that the quantity of rectified spirit mixed in the drink was so high that it had the effect of poison.

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The report says that rectified spirit was smuggled by criminal gangs which were hand-in-glove with local authorities.

“The gangs have links in distilleries and chemical factories from where industrial alcohol is smuggled out at a very cheap price. It is later re-packed in drums and transported to hideouts of manufacturers (of illicit liquor),” said a source in the police.

With widespread sale of hooch across UP, CM Yogi Adityanath has instructed DGP O.P. Singh to take stringent measures against the culprits and ensure that police secures conviction of those accused who are put on trial in cases of hooch smuggling or hooch-related deaths. (IANS)