Category Archives: People

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The story of Major Chint Singh, Indian POW World War 2

Many of the readers who had their school education or even college back in India would have studied Indian history. The text books, I can recall covers history from Indus Valley civilization to Indian Freedom Movement. However there has been a vital part of our history which most of the children in India do not know, at least I didn’t, the role of Indian troops in World War 1 and World War 2. Many Indians died in the line of duty and displayed great courage for which every Indian can take pride in. Unfortunately, their stories have lost over time. There has been no attempt on the part of Indian Government to build war memorials outside India to recognize and honor our brave soldiers.

Here is a story of one soldier from Himachal Pradesh who was respected by many Australian and some of his mates still remember him. The story of Major Chint Singh, my father, who was one of the nearly 3,000 Indian POW survived to tell the atrocities and suffering he and his comrades had to go through. He became the witness in War Crime Commission after the war in Australia. His evidence was able to bring many Japanese officers to justice. I have for you his brief story.

Major Chint Singh (1917 – 1983), enlisted in the Frontier Force Regiment (now in Pakistan) in 1935. After the fall of Singapore in 1943, about 3000 Indian Ps O.W. were shipped to New Britain and New Guinea. This was the start of life which Chint Singh and his comrades would not like to remember. The reason will be evident by the following Chint Singh’s message which he sent for the occasion “Operation Remembrance”, to mark the establishment of memorial in respect of Indian martyrs, at Angoram (PNG) on the bank of the Sepik river, on 30th September 1971.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, 30th September is the day of great significance to me when I along with 10 Indian P. O.Ws were rescued by the Australian Armed Forces and saw the “New Light” at this spot.

We were feeble, sick, emaciated, reduced to mere skeletons due to the brutalities of Japanese guards. Life was no certainty. A day earlier, i.e. 29th September, 1945, Sepoy Jai Ram and Sepoy Ibrahim had breathed their last. We the remaining 11 were also waiting our turn to join them. In the meantime God sent angles from heaven (Australian and local people of New Guinea) to fetch us out from the oblivion into the new world, and put new life into us at Angoram…We were not known to the world nor the world to us. We were declared “missisng” by the British Government and our kith and kin were missing to us. We were living in absolute darkness. Our hearts had become as hard as stones, our feelings were crushed, we had turned worse than animals eating grass, jungle roots, lizards, insects….

How we passed days, months and years, through atrocities and privations and without any type of food including sugar and salt seems incredible even to me. Alas! Fate was not satisfied with all our sufferings and planned a tragic anti-climax when all 10 leaving me behind at Wewak were killed in a plane crash in New Britain…”

While all this was happening with Chint Singh and his fellow Indian prisoner of war, the Australians were running different search missions in that area.

Lt. Monk recalls in his memoirs ‘Taim Bifor’,

(not sure if this work has been published at time of writing this article) that a Japanese barge had gone down river to Marienberg carrying Japanese troops and 13 Indian PsOW. According to Lt. Monk, a Japanese runner was sent to Mareinberg to bring the Indians back to Angoram.

Just after we finished their burials, there came a prominent turning point in our life which has been expressed in the following which I wrote on 4th October, 1945 at ANGORAM: WE ARE REBORN AT ANGORAM ON 30 SEPTEMBER, 1945. It was the loveliest Sunday of 30th September, 1945, when I was sitting in a native hut at Merinberg on the left bank of the Sepik River. Suddenly a Jap boat buzzed and stopped in front of the hut. A Jap soldier came with a letter in his hand and asked for the Indian Officer. I went forward, took the letter, opened it and read as follows:

“ANGORAM
29th Sept. 1945

To O.T. Indian Troops,

Merinberg.

I am sorry that I was not at Angoram when you called two days ago. I would like you to bring your Indian soldiers back to Angoram in the Japanese boat. We have a doctor here and plenty of good food. A boat from WEWAK will call here at Angoram on Thursday or Friday and will take you to WEWAK.
(Sgd) F.O.Monk

O.C. Angoram.”

Apart from that, the Japanese officer who brought that letter also said that all Japanese should surrender themselves.

After being reported about the arrival of Indian prisoners of war, Lt Monk recalls, when he went down to see them “…it was heart-wrenching. Ten of these poor fellows were lined up in two ranks, some were sitting because the sore on their feet or their condition generally were such that they could not stand, but all were rigidly at attention despite their rags and their pitiable condition. In charge was a smart looking man, Jemadar Chint Singh, also in rags but with most military bearing, who marched up, saluted and said “Sir, One officer, two NCOs and eight other ranks reporting for whatever duty the King and the Australian Army requires of us”. I found it very hard to reply to him. I still feel much emotion when recalling it.”

After the tragic plane crash, Chint Singh became the chief witness against the Japanese at War Crimes Commission. One of his rescuers Sgt. Eric Sparke, wrote Chint Singh’s story, which was published in a Newcastle’s newspaper (April 1947), “Lieut. Mitsuba, who was awaiting trial on five atrocity charges, said: “We should have killed him”. When I told Chint Singh he smiled, showing his white teeth and said: “They will pay. They will pay”.

After the war, he retuned home to find that his parent regiment has gone to Pakistan after partition of India in 1947.

Chint Singh points out a Japanese soldier who had mistreated him while he was POW to Australian war crimes investigators, 11Sept 1945. Source: Australian War Memorial. AWM 098708.

Consequently, he got commission in 2nd Dogra Regiment in 1948. During his career in Army he excelled in training role. He was recalled on active service during 1971 Indo-Pak war. He retired in 1974 and settled in his village. During his retirement he was actively involved with welfare of ex-servicemen and war-widows. He was appointed as Vice President of his State’s ESL (Ex-servicemen League). In late 1982, he was diagnosed with cancer and he lost his battle with it in February 1983. He passed away in the Military hospital where my eldest brother was posted. So being ex-serviceman, he received a soldier’s funeral. Few days before his death my brother, trying to cheer him up, said, “Dad you will be alright soon. You have seen a lot during the War…”. Before my brother could finish his sentence, my father said, “I don’t think I will make it this time”. And he was right. When we went through his belongings we found a diary in which he mentioned all the steps to be taken after his death. One of the task was- “Inform my friends in Australia of the death e.g. Mr. Bruce Ruxton, Mr. Tony Hordern, Mr. Peterson, HQ, RSL, Canberra, Australia”. It is amazing that how well he maintained his diaries during the War which became important evidence against the Japanese and he kept that habit of writing in his diaries till the last day of his life.

In August 2002, I was interviewed on Radio National ABC (Mecca’s show on Sundays- All Over Australia) regarding my father’s story. After the interview the response I received was just amazing. I was able to contact Australian WW II veterans who knew or met my father. I was humbled by their support and kind words. At times, sitting alone contemplating my father’s story and the responses I received, I would look up at the skies and say “Dad, I have experienced true Australian mateship which you did during the War”. And that began my journey to meet those old links which my father had and put together his story which he wanted the world to know.

Hello world! Welcome to Himachal.us.

Hello world! Welcome to Himachal.us.

My Himachal is a non-religious and a non-political organization. My
Himachal’s mission is to preserve Himachal culture, promote, support and expand social and economic interests of Himachal Pradesh and its people worldwide. As the name suggests, My Himachal, it’s an effort, which is yours! It’s an effort from people like you, it is an effort for everyone and with everyone’s support.
With information technology, it is becoming easy to connect to everyone beyond physical boundaries. Technology also gives us power to unite and expand our efforts so as to preserve our rich culture and show it to rest of the world and at the same time generate various avenues for employment and development.

All these efforts are managed by a team of people who love Himachal from different parts of the world and are working hard to make Himachal the best state in India. In this effort, we all invite you to be part of it and write about Himachal. If you have stories about Himachal and want to share positive information about Himachal then you are welcome to be part of the team.

Spread the word about myHimachal. Link to us, use our banner or tell your friends. Thank you!

President at Agri. Univ. in Palampur

Complete speech is on President’s website

Hill Agriculture for Prosperous Himachal Pradesh

I am delighted to be here and interact with the students and faculty of Chaudhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishwavidyalaya, Palampur. I take this opportunity to congratulate the University students for their academic performance. I greet the Vice Chancellor, Professors, teachers and staff for shaping the young minds to contribute to the development of Himachal Pradesh in agriculture, horticulture and dairy science. Dear graduates, when you go out of this university, the education and empowerment that you have received will be with you to meet any challenge. You will be a winner if you have a high aim, if you can sweat for achieving the aim and have indomitable spirit to overcome any problem you face in your life. I would like discuss with you on the topic ?Hill Agriculture for Prosperous Himachal Pradesh?

Special Characteristics of High Altitude Agriculture

As you are aware, the high altitude agriculture has special problems pertaining to diverse climatic conditions, terrain, availability of water, connectivity, mobility, marketability and the stress to the flora and fauna. Keeping these characteristics in mind the agriculture scientists have to work on products which will have high value at low volume and weight, water harvesting, water storage system and efficient use of water, special farming such as green house for off season cultivation of crops. Also, the University must consider designing low cost high efficiency mechanized equipments which can be used by the farmers in the high altitude conditions. In this background, I would like to discuss some of the areas in which the University can directly help the farmers of Himachal Pradesh.

 

Agriculture

I understand that the University is concentrating on the technologies pertaining to rice, maize, pulses, oil seeds etc. These are mainly the food crops which can probably be consumed within the State wherever it is produced. Emphasis should be to make the State self-sufficient in food crops since the cost of transportation in the hills is high. While upgrading the technology, the University should not lose sight of traditional food crops and the traditional methods of their production. Any improvement must be a super imposition on the acceptable and affordable methods of the local farmers. The improved technology should reach the remote areas of the State inhabited by the tribal people through the research and the extension centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendra of the University. The University can also consider having model cultivation and demonstration cum training farm in these areas.

Browse > Home / People / Feel proud, the very first Hero was from us!

Major Som Nath Sharma was born on 31 January 1923 in Dadh, Kangara District in Himachal Pradesh. His father, Major-General Amar Nath Sharma, was also a military officer and his brother General V. N. Sharma was the Chief of Army Staff from 1988 to 1990. He was commissioned into the 4th Kumaon Regiment of the Indian Army (then British-Indian Army) on 22 February 1942. He also saw combat during the second World War in the Arakan Operations. His younger brother Gen. V. N. Sharma retired as head of Indian army.

On 3rd Nov 1947, Major Somnath Sharma’s company was ordered on a fighting patrol to Badgam village in the Kashmir Valley. He reached his objective at first light on 3rd November and took up a position south of Badgam at 1100 hours.

The enemy, estimated at 700, attacked his company position with 3-inch mortars, LMGs and rifles. Completely outnumbered and with withering fire being brought to bear on its position from three sides, the company began to sustain heavy casualties.

Fully realising the gravity of the situation and the direct threat that would result to both Srinagar and the aerodrome if the enemy attack was not held until reinforcements could be rushed to close the gap leading to Srinagar via Hum Hom, Major Sharma urged his company to fight the enemy tenaciously, with extreme bravery, kept rushing across the open ground to his sections exposing himself to heavy and accurate fire to urge them to hold on.

Keeping his nerve, he skilfully directed the fire of his section into the ever-advancing enemy. He repeatedly exposed himself to the full fury of enemy fire and laid out cloth air strips to guide our aircraft onto their targets in full view of the enemy.Sharma.jpg Realising that casualties had affected the effectiveness of his light automatics, this officer, whose left hand was in plaster, personally commenced filling magazines and issuing them to light machine gunners. A mortar shell landing right in the middle of the ammunition resulted in an explosion that killed him. However, Major Sharma’s company held onto its position and the remnants withdrew only when almost completely surrounded.

His inspiring example had resulted in the enemy being delayed for six hours, thus gaining time for our reinforcements to get into position at Hum Hom to stem the tide of the enemy advance. His leadership, gallantry and tenacious defence were such that his men were inspired to fight the enemy outnumbering them by seven to one for six hours, one hour which was after this gallant officer had been killed. Major Sharma set an example of courage and qualities seldom equalled in the history of the Indian Army. His last message to Brigade HQ received a few moments before he was killed was : “The enemy are only 50 yards from us. We are heavily outnumbered. We are under devastating fire. I shall not withdraw an inch but will fight to the last man and the last round.”

A hero to remember!

Gave his life for our future on July 7, 1999

© G.L. Batra, father of Shaheed Captain Vikram Batra, PVC (13 JAK Rifles)Images
© A Ridge Too Far: His Highness The Maharajah of Patiala

Twin sons were born to the family of Mr. G.L. Batra and Mrs. Jai Kamal Batra, on 09 September 1974 at Mandi, Himachal Pradesh. The family had two daughters earlier and twin sons were a joyful addition to the family. The family nicknamed the twins as ‘Luv’ (Vikram) and ‘Kush’ (Vishal). Luv received his primary education from his mother, who herself is a teacher. He received his education up to Middle Standard in D.A.V. Public School, Palampur and up to senior secondary stage in Central School, Palampur. Both his sisters are married and his twin-brother, Kush, is undergoing an internship training course as a Junior Executive with Tata Finance Ltd. Captain Vikram Batra was very brilliant, diligent, and active from the very beginning of his student life. He was very popular among his friends, students and teachers since, he was ever smiling and respectful to everyone.

He was an all rounder, good in studies, always a first divisioner and equally good in sports and all other co-curricular activities. He always kept himself in first line and among the toppers in all the different fields. He was also a green belt holder in Karate. He always kept himself in first line and among the toppers in all the different fields. He used to sweep almost 75% of the prizes from the prize distribution table during his schooling. He participated in ‘national level’ table tennis (Central Schools) and represented the North Zone. He participated in a national youth parliamentary competition. After passing his 10+2 in 1992 from Central School Palampur, he got admitted in D.A.V. College, Chandigarh in B.Sc where he was adjudged the best N.C.C. Cadet (Air Wing) in two zones. He was selected and underwent a helicopter flight course for 40 days at the Pinjore flying club.

He was also selected for the 1994 Republic Day Parade at New Delhi. During his B.Sc. course in 1995, he got selected for the Merchant Navy in a foreign-based company (Hong Kong).However in the nick of time he dropped the idea of joining the Merchant Navy due to his patriotic zeal to serve the Nation. As a true son and soldier of the motherland, he decided to join the Indian Army as a Commissioned Officer. He got commissioned in June 1996 and he joined the IMA (Indian Military Academy) at Dehra Dun. After passing out in December 1997, he joined the Army as a Lieutenant of 13 JAK Rifles at Sopore, Jammu & Kashmir. Later he was sent for the Young Officer’s Course at the Infantry School in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh where he secured Alpha grading for his overall performance.

Next, he attended a 35-day commando course at Belgaum, Karnataka in February-March 1999 where upon completion of the course, he was placed in Instructor’s Grade.Reconnaissance for the capture of Point 5140. Sitting Left to Right: Lieutenant Vikram Batra, Major Vikas Vohra, Captain Chatterji and the CO of 13 JAK Rifles, Lieutenant Colonel Y.K. Joshi.Lt. Col. Y.K. Joshi, adding the third pip on Lieutenant Vikram Batra on his promotion to Captain after the battle for Point 5140. He was to win a posthumous PVC some days later in the battle for Point 4875.On 01 June 1999, his unit proceeded to the Kargil Sector on the eruption of a war-like situation in Kargil, Drass and Batalik sub-sectors from where he was sent along with his company on the first strategic and daring operation to recapture the first peak of utmost importance – Point 5140, which was at an altitude of 17,000 feet. Upon reaching Point 5140, leading a company of troops, he encountered the commander of the Pakistani-backed terrorists on radio. The enemy commander challenged him by saying, “Why have you come Shershah (his nick name), you will not go back.”

Captain Batra, being the last person to back away from a fight, replied, “We shall see within one hour, who remains on the top.” In a short while Captain Batra and his company of troops killed eight enemy soldiers and more importantly captured a heavy anti-aircraft machine gun, neutralising the advantageous peak. Re-capture of Point 5140 paved the way to the return of the rest of peaks and cleared the Srinagar-Leh highway which sat in motion of successes like capturing Point 5100, 4700 Junction, Three Pimples and the ultimate prize – Tiger Hill. After the capture of Point 5140, standing left to right: Captain Jamwal, Lt. Col. Y.K. Joshi, Captain Vikram Batra and Major Vikas Vohra. Sitting Left to Right: Major Gurpreet Singh and Captain Rajesh Adhau, the RMO. Soon after capturing Point 5140, he radioed his commanding officer and said jubilantly,”Yeh Dil Mange More!”

On the successful capture of the vital peak he was congratulated and graced by the Chief of Army Staff, General Ved Prakash Malik on telephone. After taking rest for 4 – 5 days he proceeded towards Point 4750, where he was challenged again by the enemy who said, “Shershah, nobody shall be left to lift your dead bodies,” to which Captain Batra curtly replied, “Don’t worry about us, Pray for your safety.” He captured Point 4750 and hoisted the national flag. He also played a commendable role in the capture of Tiger Hill. He had dedicated himself and was determined for total victory.On ‘Ledge’ overlooking the 17 Jat objective of ‘Whale Back’ and their approach. An enemy snow-hut is in the background. Captain Vikram Batra was killed here, winning the Param Vir Chakra (PVC).He volunteered himself for a third crucial operation of Point 4875 at an altitude of 17,000 feet, with a gradient of 80º. He attacked the peak along with his company and another led by Captain Anuj Nayyar, MVC. They gave the enemy a tough time, killed a number of enemy troops and re-captured the peak on 05 July 1999. The enemy counter-attacked the peak on 07 July 1999, but Captain Batra retaliated the counter-attack with vigour.In the heat of the battle, one of his junior officers (Lieutenant Naveen) was seriously injured and Captain Batra immediately went to his rescue. Destiny however had something else in store for Captain Batra and during the rescue, he was hit by a bullet in the chest. With the words Jai Mata Di on his lips, the brave Captain fell down and was hit again in the waist by an artillery splinter. Before succumbing to his grievous injuries, this brave son of the motherland and a true lion of Bharat Mata killed another five enemy soldiers. A grateful nation applauds the Batra family. He fought with exceptional bravery and magnitude, which is rarely seen. He has set an example before the youth of our nation, which shall inspire generations to come.

In recognition of his gallant act, Point 4875 has now been renamed as Captain Vikram Batra Top and has received all credit to capturing this vital peak by his Commanding Officer, Colonel Y.K. Joshi, 13 JAK Rifles. For his sustained display of the most conspicuous personal bravery and junior leadership of the highest order in the face of the enemy, Captain Vikram Batra was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest medal for gallantry, posthumously. His father, Mr. G.L. Batra, received the award from the President of India, on behalf of his brave son.

JAI HIND!! JAI JAWAN!!

Jeff Salz’s Trek to GHNP

A Way of Adventure Exclusive


Be a ‘
Special Guest‘ in the Great Himalayan National Park.You are personally invited for a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity!
Join me on an ‘Invitation Only’ Trek.

Help preserve the Earth’s wildest mountain ecosystem and support Himalayan villagers.

I gave up guiding in the Himalayas ten years ago, but when the people of Kullu asked me to help them by bringing some friends over next year…. these people, these mountains.were simply too beautiful for me to say no. By participating in this expedition you will be supporting the efforts of the locals to sustain both the pristine national park and their way of life. And in doing so, create a model for cultural and wilderness preservation in Third World countries world wide.

Read on …

No commercial trekking company offers trips to this region … and you cannot go on your own.

What: A unique ‘benefit trek’ organized at the invitation of local villagers and the Director of the Great Himalayan National Park.

Where: The least-visited, most unspoiled mountain wilderness in the western Himalayas … arguably the world!

Who: 12 people like you – like-minded ‘adventurers’ supported by a team of experienced guides, cooks and porters.

When: Early September 2006, right after monsoon when the meadows are most vibrant with grass and flowers. The entire trip will be 2 weeks from start to finish (you may want to extend this time frame to experience either the Tibetan plateau and monasteries or the Taj Majal).

Why: A chance to climb, photograph, paint, write or just explore, while supporting local villagers.You will take a pilgrimage trek up the holy Tirthan River, sacred to the locals, to our high base camp in alpine meadows (13,500′). You will experience Blue sheep and purple flowers (the sheep aren’t really ‘blue’ but that is their name) – crystalline rivers and snowy summits.

How much? A very reasonable $2,500 – All Inclusive!!

INCLUDED: 5 star hotel in New Delhi … flights and ground transportation within India … all meals, guides, porters, equipment, etc.

NOT INCLUDED: Airfare from North America, personal expenses and tips.

***Non-stop air travel Chicago-New Delhi now available on American Airlines!

What do YOU need to do? Just click here and tell me that you are interested – space is extremely limited so you’ll want to connect with me asap.

POLYANDRY IN HIMALAYAS

The mechanics of fraternal polyandry are simple. Two, three, four, or more brothers jointly take a wife, who leaves her home to come and live with them. Traditionally, marriage was arranged by parents, with children, particularly females, having little or no say.

 

This is changing nowadays, but it is still unusual for children to marry without their parents consent. Marriage ceremonies vary by income. The eldest brother is normally dominant in terms of authority, that is in managing the household but all the brothers share the work and participate as sexual partners. There is no attempt to link children biologically to particular brothers, and a brother shows no favoritism toward child.

Society in this region allows a variety of marriages including monogamy, fraternal polyandry & polygamy.

The explanation for choosing polyandry is materialistic. If you ask someone why he decided to marry with his brothers rather then take his own wife, they say it prevents the division of his family’s farm & animals.

Polyandry is practiced commonly in the Trans- Giri of district Sirmour & some other parts of Himachal.Usually the eldest brother, in a polyandry family is regarded as the head of the family after the death of the father. He exercises a general control over all brothers.

Samrat Shankar Proposes to open magic academy in Himachal

World renowned magician Jadugar Samrat Shankar has announced to open a magic academy in Himachal Pradesh to impart training in this ‘fine art’ to the promising youths of this country.

Speaking at a press conference here today Samrat Shankar disclosed that he has discussed this proposal with the top ranked political leaders and officials of Himachal Pradesh government. He added that very shortly he was going to submit a proposal in this regard to the government for granting two to five acre of land for the academy

Samrat Shankar said that from the very beginning he was demanding that for the promotion of this superb art, it may be declared as a fine art in the country. He added that government should scrap entertainment tax on the magic shows in the country immediately.

He stressed that government should also give loans and aid for the promotion of this art so that new budding magicians of this country who had promising future ahead may not collapse in the absence of financial crunch. He added that in the foreign countries governments were extending full financial and moral support for this art in their countries. He quoted the government of USA had given a grant of crores of rupees to the famous magician of their country Devid Coper field who had brought laurels to the America in this field. In the absence of full government support ‘as a fine art’ magicians of the country can not rise speedily on the world scene.

Samrat Shankar made it clear that in the present era of T.V. and internet, holding magic shows in the different part of the country was no more a profitable business but in fact his motto was to carry message of Indian Magic door to door in the country and tell countrymen that they should always watch such shows as a fine art of Indian
tradition.

He thanked Himachal government for declaring magic shows in the state as entertainment tax free shows. He will show his magic tricks in the Basant theatre in Nahan town for the next 15 fifteen days and would donate a good part of his income to the Sirmour Red Cross Society. Magic shows would be inaugurated by the D.C. Sirmour tomorrow evening. In the Tuesday morning he will drive motorcycle in the busy market of the town by tiding a cloth on his eyes. He would also show some newly developed magic tricks.

Kaul Dass: at service of Baba Balak Nath

He is a man with a difference. He can think better. He can write better. He can speak better. However, he is without limbs and that it why he is always respected by all and sundry who visits the temple of Baba Balak Nath at Deotsidh in Hamirpur district from time to time.

The thirty-six years old, Kaul Dass of Khann village of the Hamirpur district is a man to watch with rapport attention. He is handsome, smart but a man with difference. He writes profusely but with a difference. While others write with their hands, he writes with his teeth, as he is limbless. He does his work more accurately than others, as he is a good worker.

Who so ever comes to temple, he meets Kaul Dass, as he maintains records of all who come to the temple and want to stay in the temple for the night. He provides them all sorts of material for their night halt and issues them a receipt. People watch him with rapport attention when he writes with his teeth as he is handless.

Hailing from a remote village of the Hamirpur district, Kaul Dass used to sing songs to earn his livelihood on the floor of historic shrine of Baba Balak Nath at Deotsidh in Hamirpur in the early age. He is a rare case of genetic abnormality (Maromelia). From there he was taken to the local school by the then Mahant, Shiv Gir of BBN temple. He studied up to B.A from BBN College Chakmoh and later on did his Post graduation in English with 55% marks as a private candidate.

He works as a clerk in the temple and presently he is working in the main gate of the temple. However, those ruling the temple play a joke with him and used to shift him from one post to another due to his disability.

Narrating his past, he says that he was considered to be a bad omen for the family when he took birth. However, his mother nursed him without caring for the comments by the local community. In this process, he also got full support of his father, sister and younger brother. The younger brother accompanies him till date and both serves in the same section of the temple. He was given this job by the present chief minister, Vir Bhadra Singh, when he had taken over as the chief minister of state in year 1985.

Kaul Dass says that he is indebted to his family for what he is today. He gives full credit to his mother, two sisters and a brother who still nurse him. His younger brother, Bikram Singh still takes care of him and works along with him in the temple. He brings and takes back
Kaul Dass to temple and then to home in a bus.

He says that he is happy with his present status. He has no regret for his disability.
He is a keen follower of Baba Balak Nath and goes to his cave daily to pay his obeisance there. He says that Babaji has given him strength and power to face the world. He has no grudge with the God. The God has given me everything and I’m happy with that.

Gaddis of Himachal on their way back to higher hills

Shepherds from kangra area on way to plains for pasture. this is their routine affair every year. the pioneer photo

With the advent of winter, Gaddis (shepherds) move to plains along with their herd of sheep and goats for their pasture. However, with the onset of summer they go back to hills to meet their families. They mainly belong to Bharmaur area of the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.

They have homes, substantial village houses, and they own land which they or their family cultivate, their homeland is Gadderan, Bharmaur tehsil, in the west of Chamba district. It comprises the valleys of the upper Ravi and its tributary the Budil.

During the last hundred years or so many Gaddis have bought land and built houses on the southern slopes of the
Dhola Dhar- the northern edge of Kangra valley but whether or not they still have land or relations in Bharmaur tehsil, they consider themselves as belonging to Gadderan. While the Gaddis of Bharmaur falls in the category of scheduled tribes, no status has still been given to their Kangra district counterparts who also live in the same conditions but with no facilities from the state government. The previous BJP government had assured them that they too would also be covered under the S.T category. However, the BJP government collapsed just before providing status of ST to them by the state government after getting permission from the central government.

At least six groups of gaddis reached Hamirpur town from various parts of Punjab today where they spent months together grazing their cattle wealth. They were accompanied by their sheep, goats and big dogs to protect their flocks. They were moving slowly and steadily on way to their respective destinations.

Ram Singh of Chhota Bhangal area said that he had come with a flock of 500 animals this time. However, the flock rose to one thousand, he added.

He said that gaddis were happy with their present status and were following the century old traditions. We worship Lord Shiva as he (Lord Shiva) is our chief Devta. He said that about fifty percent of gaddis had no flocks and they work in their fields. About 3,000 persons go to plains along with their flocks as during the winter their areas faces acute shortage of pastures.

According to him, they have grazing rights in almost all parts of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh on basis of old traditions.” No one stops us from grazing the flock in their fields. At many places, people themselves offer them their fields and also provide them with food as a goodwill gesture. There is general belief in the people that with the arrival of gaddis along with their cattle wealth in their fields, their productions will increase and they will not face any threat from evil forces, “he added.

Another shepherd, Nandu Ram said that despite his old age he used to visit plains every year. He said that he had been visiting plains for last sixty years except for once when he had fallen ill. He said that it was too hot in Punjab this time due to change in the weather.

He said that such tours were fantastic and were beneficial to them and their families.

Dharmshala Boy brings laurels to Himachal Pradesh

Paritosh Pathak, resident of Dharamshala brought laurels for the ‘land of gallantry Army officers- Himachal Pradesh’ as he was awarded Sword of Honour by the Director General Indian Costal Guards last week.

Pathak impressed with his all-round best performance and extraordinary courage shown in the ocean. The award was conferred at the passing out Parade of 46th Assistant Commandant course of Indian coastal Guard, for his outstanding performance in the ‘Autumn Term 03 Training Course’ organized for the induction of new Costal Guard officers, in an impressive ceremony held onboard Coast Guard Ship Varuna, Naval base at Kochi.

A student of Govt. College Dharmshala, Paritosh comes from a family of defense officers. He was selected for Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guards, both, but he opted for Indian Coast Guards where responsibility of an officer stretches 7500 kilometers along the coastline and over a sea area of 2.01 million square kilometers in Indian ocean.

Assistant Comdt Paritosh Pathak born and brought up in village Dari just two K.M. from Dharmshala in Distt Kangra received his early education from Scared heart High school, Sidhbari village and central school Yol and passed out his graduation from Govt. College Dharmshala. His Father Prof Y.R. Pathak had been teaching English in Govt. Post graduate College Dharmshala till retirement and his mother Muktesh Pathak is also teacher in Dharmshala.

His parents returned back from Kochi after attending the ceremony, were very excited on the performance of their son as boy from Hills have excelled in mighty Sea and getting ready for ensuring the safety and protection of offshore island,offshore installations , structures in maritime zones, and giving assistance to the customs in anti smuggling, protection of maritime environment, protection of fishermen and assistance to them in distress and protection of life at Sea.

Working on the motto ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ that means ‘we protect’, the Indian Coast Guard was established in 1977 as principal agency for the enforcement of all National Laws in the maritime zones of India stretches 7500 K.M. along the coastline.

Dharmshala Boy brings laurels to Himachal Pradesh

Paritosh Pathak, resident of Dharamshala brought laurels for the ‘land of gallantry Army officers- Himachal Pradesh’ as he was awarded Sword of Honour by the Director General Indian Costal Guards last week.

Pathak impressed with his all-round best performance and extraordinary courage shown in the ocean. The award was conferred at the passing out Parade of 46th Assistant Commandant course of Indian coastal Guard, for his outstanding performance in the ‘Autumn Term 03 Training Course’ organized for the induction of new Costal Guard officers, in an impressive ceremony held onboard Coast Guard Ship Varuna, Naval base at Kochi.

A student of Govt. College Dharmshala, Paritosh comes from a family of defense officers. He was selected for Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guards, both, but he opted for Indian Coast Guards where responsibility of an officer stretches 7500 kilometers along the coastline and over a sea area of 2.01 million square kilometers in Indian ocean.

Assistant Comdt Paritosh Pathak born and brought up in village Dari just two K.M. from Dharmshala in Distt Kangra received his early education from Scared heart High school, Sidhbari village and central school Yol and passed out his graduation from Govt. College Dharmshala. His Father Prof Y.R. Pathak had been teaching English in Govt. Post graduate College Dharmshala till retirement and his mother Muktesh Pathak is also teacher in Dharmshala.

His parents returned back from Kochi after attending the ceremony, were very excited on the performance of their son as boy from Hills have excelled in mighty Sea and getting ready for ensuring the safety and protection of offshore island,offshore installations , structures in maritime zones, and giving assistance to the customs in anti smuggling, protection of maritime environment, protection of fishermen and assistance to them in distress and protection of life at Sea.

Working on the motto ‘Vayam Rakshamah’ that means ‘we protect’, the Indian Coast Guard was established in 1977 as principal agency for the enforcement of all National Laws in the maritime zones of India stretches 7500 K.M. along the coastline.

Dr. Puneet Gupta of My Himachal featured on TOI

Dr Puneet Gupta, 42, India’s first certified cancer specialist and currently attached to the Indraprastha Apollo hospital, has taken upon himself the task of making cancer therapy affordable to every common man in the country.

His take on the subject: With the latest medical care, detection machines and screening instruments, including mammography machines, PET scan, cancer patients in the country should get equal, if not better, treatment than those in the US, and at affordable prices.

“We have to look into the physical, mental, social, economical and spiritual aspects of a cancer patient before treating him so that we doctors are able to deliver in a comprehensive way,” Dr Gupta says.

The first doctor in India who has done an MD, DNB and DM in oncology — all certified by the Medical Council of India – Dr Gupta is also the first Indian to deliver trans-arterial chemotherapy by using arterial electronic pump and to use latest targeted monoclonal antibody therapy for head and neck cancer.

A Padmashree hopeful, Dr Gupta has under his belt a string of awards, including Leading Scientist of the World 2004, Certificate of Merit Award, Glory of India 2007, Vijay Shree 2005, and Indira Gandhi Shromani.

A practitioner of synchronous chemo radiation therapy and organ sparing technique, Dr Gupta says, the Indian way of treating cancer is the best in the world now, as in the US the method of treatment is predominantly modern. But in India the approach is total cancer care.

Earlier, one had to depend on the US for drugs to treat cancer which was unaffordable. However, the same drugs are available now here at reasonable prices. For example, persons suffering from lung and head-neck cancer bank upon Geftinib capsules, hard to come by in India till recently. However, it is now being made available here by the drug company NATCO.

Multiple Myloma (bone marrow cancer), which the former PM Chandrasekhar was suffering from, can now be treated with an injection with no wastage, whereas 60 per cent of the US-made injection goes waste, says Dr Gupta.

A member of various national and international cancer bodies, Dr Gupta also wants to be an effective link between the drug industry and cancer patients.

It is trailblazers like Dr Puneet Gupta who can lead the way to making India self-sufficient and a force to reckon with.

Dr. Puneet Gupta is Vice President of India chapter of My Himachal

Political – religious processions be kept a private affair – Shatrugan Sinha

Shimla: Dharna’s, religious processions, marriages and political rallies need to be kept a private affair in the country and should not be allowed to encroach upon the liberty of others or disrupt emergency services like the one that cost the live of a boy, here, a few days ago, stated Shatrugan Sinha, the actor turned politician.

Talking at a ‘meet the press’ program he said “Thus far, not farther” and asked all political parties to deliberate and consider appropriate legislation to curb the practice of encroaching upon public space while celebrating or demonstrating that causes hardships to the common man.

Speaking on a wide variety of issues Sinha, who was the health minister in the Vajpayee government, said that the death of the boy because of the violence outside the Vidhan Sabha was sad but it had pricked the conscience of many.

“Was the congress party, which is in the government, not holding a support rally on the same day that the opposition had planned a protest demonstration to suppress the voice of the opposition,” he questioned? “It was an act of desperation of the congress government which by all intent appeared to be packing its bags,” said Sinha.

About criminalization of politics he said his dignified, disciplined and silent protest of not supporting or campaigning for criminals in Bihar elections had been appreciated by his party (BJP) and president Rajnath Singh and senior leader LK Advani had recently announced that criminal elements would not be given tickets.

Talking about the performance of the Bihar government, he said that chief minister Nitish Kumar was doing it best to bring about order. He said that the state had been neglected for long and had perhaps the lowest per capita income of Rs 300 per month in the country. About 42 % of people are below the poverty line and improving all that would take time. Without reacting to a question over Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi’s long term as chief ministers, he said, “Lalu’s rise in politics had brought dignity for the common man.”

About the film industry Sinha said that with the previous NDA government having given films the status of industry has helped in financing and executing projects.” The industry was becoming more transparent and payments were being made through cheques,” he said. About Indian singers, musicians and actors not being allowed to perform in Pakistan, he said, that though India and Pakistan share a common heritage, it was sad that even legendary personalities like Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosale were not permitted to do so.

Bilaspur girl honoured at a public function for her honesty

Sapna, a young girl of village Kajeil in Bilaspur district was honoured by Mr Vivek Chandel, Sub Divisional Magistrate Rajgarh yesterday at a public function organized at Rajgarh PWD Rest House by the President and Members of Bhanat Panchyat of the area for setting an example of honesty by returning a bag containing one lac and six thousand of rupees to its actual owner.

As per details Arjun Mehta, a progressive farmer of Ser village under Bhanat Panchyat lost his bag containing rupees one lac and six thousand at bus stop, in front of the office of the Deputy Commissioner Solan, resently. Sapna, who works with a private concern near Solan found this bag laying on the road, when she was passing through the bus stop. Setting an extraordinary example of honesty she searched its owner Arjun Mehta and returned the money bag. Every body in the Bhanat Panchyat praised the moral and honesty of Sapna and decided to honour her publically.

In an impressive function Mr Chandel , SDM praised her honesty and honoured her with Himachali cap, a shawl and commendation certificate. A number of immanent persons of the area in their speeches called lerp roll model of honesty for new generation.