Wednesday, March 31, 2010

22 Couples enter Wedlock in Haridwar


Twenty-two specially-abled couples entered wedlock at a mass marriage ceremony during the ongoing Maha Kumbh mela in Haridwar.

A voluntary organisation, Narayan Seva Sansthan of Udaipur, conducted the ceremony.
The couples were married as per traditional Hindu rituals. The whole camp was beautifully decorated.

Rohit Sharma, director of Narayan Seva Sansthan, said: "This is for the first time that such a marriageof specially-abled couples is being held during the kumbh mela. We are not only giving them free medical help but also organising marriages for them so that they come to the mainstream society."

The organisers also gifted household items to the newly married couples.
Mass marriages are becoming very popular, especially among the economically backward sections of Indian society.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Uttarakhand government to clear Ganga of corpses


Ganga won't have to bear the burden of unidentified corpses and carcasses anymore, at least in Rishikesh.

Garhwal commissioner Umakant Panwar has submitted an interim report to the Uttarakhand government, about the state irrigation department's illegal practice of dumping unidentified corpses and carcasses on the banks of the Ganga, a few kilometres downstream from Rishikesh.
Panwar has asked the police to maintain a record of the dead bodies, conduct post-mortem and perform their last rites.The inquiry began on March 3 and it was recently submitted to chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

It all started when Nishank took serious note of a MAIL TODAY report, (Illegal & undignified dumping of the dead' edition dated February 26) and ordered a commissioner- level inquiry.
Once the probe was announced, the police decided to become more active.From March 3, they began maintaining a register at the Laxman Jhula police station in Rishikesh.

Panwar said: " We have recommended proper disposal of the dead bodies. We want the state government to give additional funds to the police for cremating the unidentified bodies at Bir Bhadra Barrage. We cannot take action against the irrigation department staff for lack of evidence."

With this, an illegal practice that is more than three decades old, has ended. Till now, the irrigation department officials have been allegedly dumping the bodies in the river while cleaning the barrage.

The department has placed an iron fence at the barrage, three km from Rishikesh in Uttaranchal, to ' net' the bodies floating in the river. This is to ensure that waste- free water flows into the Chilla powerhouse, located 14 km away.

According to reports, two boatmen used to daily look for corpses at the barrage. They would tie a nylon rope on the bodies and fasten its other end to the boat.

The bodies would then be taken to Malwala Sroath, a cremation ground on the riverbank. But instead of cremating the bodies, the men would tie them to a tree on the riverbank - so that they can't float back to the barrage - and leave them to decay in the water.

The villagers living in and around the controversial dumping site are happy about the government's action.

Chander Mohan Singh Negi, a resident of the nearby Kunao village, said: "Malwala Sroath is being used as a cremation ground by the villagers here. Very often, we had to look for other cremation sites since bodies would be rotting in the river here. Government action has been long overdue."


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Uttarakhand Raises Gender Budget for Women Empowerment


Dehradun, Mar 18: For empowering women, Uttarakhand government has increased the gender budget by nearly Rs 200 crore for 2010-11.

Concerned over the skewed sex ratio in the Uttarakhand state, the government has earmarked Rs 1417.75 crore for gender budget, meant for women empowerment through various schemes.

The allocated amount for 2010-11 is nearly 17.65 percent more than the previous fiscal when it was Rs 1205.04 crore.

For the first time, Rs one crore has been allocated for providing free gas connections to rural women while an equal amount has been provided for employment-oriented plantation of herbs like Harr, Bahera and Trifla.

The Uttaranchal state government has also earmarked Rs 50 lakh for protecting women against domestic violence, while Rs 5 lakh each has been provided for constructing homes for mentally challenged women and promoting widow marriage.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Uttarakhand with Gail set up 2 Power Plants


The Uttarakhand Government today said it was setting up two gas-based plants of 500 Mw each in collaboration the Gas Authority of India (Gail).

Under the plan, both Garhwal and Kumaon regions would have one plant each. “It is our commitment that we will set up two gas-based power plants with the help of GAIL,” said Devendra Bhasin, Chairman of the state media advisory committee. The power through these plants would be used mainly for industrial usages. For this purpose, the Uttarakhand government has already urged the centre to supply 3 million metric standard cubic meter per day of gas to the hill state.

Following recent talks between GAIL Chairman and Managing Director B C Tripathi and Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank here, the government is optimistic that gas pipelines of GAIL would be extended to the state which is facing acute power shortage.

GAIL has agreed to bring gas to Garhwal region from Dadri-Bhatinda pipleline from Saharanpur side. This pipeline can be extended to Haridwar where gas-based power plants can also be established. Similarly, the GAIL’s gas project via Karanpur and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh to the two industrial towns of Rudrapur and Kashipur is likely to give a tremendous boost to hundreds of existing industries in Kumaon region which are facing power shortage.

The government also sees vast scope for private developers to set up such plants in both Garhwal and Kumaon region.

This would also give further flip to industrialization in the region as vast notified industrial land is still available there.

The power demand in the state, which is presently hovering around 26 to 27 million units, is likely to grow by 10 to 15 per cent every year due to urbanization and industrialization in the state.

The State Infrastructure and Industrial Development Corporation of Uttarankhand, a state government enterprise, which has developed several industrial estates, had signed an agreement with GAIL to give a push to gas-based energy projects.


Monday, March 1, 2010

उत्तराखंड में होली की अनूठी परंपरा


उत्तराखंड के ग्रामीण अंचलों में तबले, मंजीरे और हारमोनियम के सुर में मनाया जाने वाला परंपरागत होलिकोत्सव हर किसी को बरबस अपनी ओर खींच ही लेता है.

सांस्कृतिक रूप से समृद्ध एवं सजग माने जाने वाले अल्मोड़ा में तो सांझ ढलते ही होल्यारों की महफिलें सज जाती हैं. इसमें हर उम्र के लोग शामिल होते हैं. युवक, युवतियों और वृद्ध सभी को होली के गूंजते गानों में सराबोर देखा जा सकता है.

लगभग यही दशा कुमाऊं मंडल के अधिकांश क्षेत्रों की होती है. नैनीताल और चंपावत में तबले की थाप, मंजीरे की खनखन और हारमोनियम के मधुर सुरों पर जब 'ऐसे चटक रंग डारो कन्हैया' गाते हैं, तो सभी झूम उठते हैं.

तिहाई पूरा होते ही लगता है कि राग-विहाग की ख़ूबसूरत बंदिश ख़त्म हो गई है. लेकिन तभी होली में भाग लगाने वाले होल्यारों के मुक्त कंठ से भाग लगाते ही तबले पर चांचर का ठेका अभी शुरू नहीं हुआ कि 'होरी' फिर से शबाब पर लौट आती है.

पूरी रात इस मस्ती में गुजर जाती है और इस बीच पता नहीं चलता कि भोर कब हुई.

बैठकी होली की उमंग

कुमाऊंनी होली के दो रूप प्रचलित हैं-बैठकी होली और खड़ी होली.

बैठकी होली यहाँ पौष माह से शुरू होकर फाल्गुन तक गाई जाती है. पौष से बसंत पंचमी तक अध्यात्मिक बसंत, पंचमी से शिवरात्रि तक अर्ध श्रृंगारिक और उसके बाद श्रृंगार रस में डूबी होलियाँ गाई जाती हैं. इनमें भक्ति, वैराग्य, विरह, कृष्ण-गोपियों की हंसी-ठिठोली, प्रेमी प्रेमिका की अनबन, देवर-भाभी की छेड़छाड़ सभी रस मिलते हैं.

इस होली में वात्सल्य, श्रृंगार, भक्ति रस एक साथ मौजूद हैं.

संस्कृति प्रेमी एवं युग मंच संस्था चलाने वाले जुहूर आलम कहते हैं कि बैठकी होली जैसे त्योहार को एक गरिमा देती है.

होली मर्मज्ञ एवं संस्कृतिकर्मी रहे गिरीश तिवारी 'गिर्दा' कहते हैं, ‘‘बैठकी होली अपने समृद्ध लोकसंगीत की वजह से यहाँ की संस्कृति में रच बस गई है. यह लोकगीत न्योली जैसे पारंपरिक लोकगीतों से भिन्न है. इसकी भाषा कुमाऊंनी होकर ब्रज है. सभी बंदिशें राग रागनियों में गाई जाती है. यह खांटी का शास्त्रीय गायन है.’’

एकल और समूह गायन

इस गाने का ढब निराला ही है. इसे समूह में गाया जाता है. लेकिन यह तो सामूहिक गायन है ही शास्त्रीय होली की तरह एकल गायन. महफ़िल में मौजूद कोई भी व्यक्ति बंदिश का मुखड़ा गा सकता है जिसे स्थानीय भाषा में भाग लगाना कहते हैं .

गीत एवं नाट्य प्रभाग, भारत सरकार के पूर्व निदेशक प्रेम मटियानी के अनुसार, ‘‘यह कदरदान और कलाकार दोनों का मंच है. इस लोक विधा ने हिन्दुस्तानी संगीत को समृद्ध करने के साथ-साथ एक नई समझ भी दी है.’’

खड़ी होली दिन में ढोल-मंजीरों के साथ गोल घेरे में पग संचालन और भाव प्रदर्शन के साथ गाई जाती है. तो रात में यही होली बैठकर गाई जाती है.

शिवरात्रि से होलिकाअष्टमी तक बिना रंग के ही होली गाई जाती है.

होलिका अष्टमी को मंदिरों में आंवला एकादशी को गाँव मोहल्ले के निर्धारित स्थान पर चीर बंधन होता है और रंग डाला जाता है.

होली का उत्साह

बसंत पंचमी होली का नमूना देखें. बसंत पंचमी में "नवल बसंत सखी, ऋतुराज कहायो पुष्पकली सब फूलन लागी फूलहि फूल सुहायो" के साथ शिवरात्रि में "जय जय शिवशंकर योगी, नृत्य करत प्रभु डमरू बजावत बावन धूनी रमायो" गाकर यह होली मनाते हैं.

उत्तराखंड में गंगोलीहाट, लोहाघाट, चंपावत, पिथौरागढ़ एवं नैनीताल बैठकी होली के गढ़ माने जाते हैं. यहां के लोग मैदानी क्षेत्रों में जहाँ-जहाँ गए, इस परंपरा का प्रसार होता गया.

आधुनिक दौर में जब परंपरागत संस्कृति का क्षय हो रहा है तो वहीं कुमाऊं अंचल की होली में मौजूद परंपरा और शास्त्रीय राग-रागनियों में डूबी होली को आमजन की होली बनता देख सुकून दिलाता है.

Source: BBC.CO.UK