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August 13, 2001 - August 13, 2001

Gujarat's first Sangh pracharak dead Monday, August 13, 2001

AHMEDABAD: Prominent RSS leader and Gujarat's pranth pracharak Madhukarrao Bhagwat died at his residence in Nagpur on Friday. He was 85.

He was bedridden for a while due to a fracture. He was credited with making the organisation popular in Gujarat in a short time.
Bhagwat joined the RSS in 1929 and was deputed to Gujarat in 1941. Endowed with exceptional organisational skills, he had established as many as 115 branches in both big and small towns by 1948.
Source - The Times of India

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MSU students develop campus landscape Monday, August 13, 2001

VADODARA: Students of the department of architecture have made a perfect egg, an old-fashioned fighter plane, a fish pond, an open air canteen and a sculpture garden - all of which now adorn the new campus of the department at the DN Hall.

Landscape designs and interior decorations may be a part of the course syllabus for the MS University students of architecture, but instead of limiting their study to merely plans set up on charts and cardboard, the students here are trying out a practical approach.

They design projects for the campus, which in addition to decorating the campus landscape also fetch the students marks for their creative endeavours. One such recent project by the second year students was that of making a 125 kg fighter plane that is suspended from the terrace of the new building.

Department of architecture's basic design instructor MK Gupta says these projects which started in a small way have now become an exercise in fun and learning.

The students, on their part, find the projects fun as they are involved in creating the design for their own campus - a place where they have to study for five years.

"We have to study here for five years and due to our hectic schedule this place becomes our home. Designing it the way we want to makes it a fun project and also provide us with creative satisfaction," says Amrita Dasgupta, a second year student who was a part of the 37-student team that worked on setting up the fighter plane.

"As the department has now shifted away from the Kala Bhavan campus and we have our own campus here. The department head Prof UV Mathai gave us the permission to initiate our landscape design projects within the campus. The students love the project and the idea has proved to be a great success," he says.

Each year students are given several design projects and each one has to come up with creative suggestions. "There were 37 of us in the second year and each submitted a project to design the campus. Out of these two were selected -- one was the construction of the fighter plane and the other a huge painting for the wall of the new building," says Dhaval R, a second year student.

The students worked jointly and created the plane with help of bamboo sticks, cycle tyres and wires that were used to bind the structure together. "The idea of the air plane is symbolic, in the sense it provide space (in architectural terms) and conveys flight of creativity," says Gupta.

The plane weighed 125 kg and it took more than three and a half hours to suspend it from the terrace grid of the new building, says Amrita.

Riti says that the students also made their own stone sculptures many of which were sold. "The money we received was used to but a pottery wheel and a welding machine that we now use to learn pottery and welding - skills that help architects to design better," she says.

According to her friends Hardik and Nandini architecture is more than just designing buildings it is also about learning the skills of working with different media and the campus landscape design projects are providing them the opportunity to design using a practical plane.

"The current batch of fifth year students designed the department canteen wall and the seating arrangement which make it a fun place to be in," says Chinmay P a final year student.

At another corner of the campus the students have designed a mural made of bricks. "It was a challenging experience as chiselling the bricks was difficult. We had to be careful with them as they are brittle and break easily if hit hard" says Amrita.

Gupta says that in addition to the sculpture garden and the fishpond that they have designed, other projects too are in the pipeline. "One of the problems that we are facing at present is that our fence is low and often students jump over and enter inside. Instead of placing barbed wires and pointed iron rods on the fence we are looking for alternatives.

"The students might design sculptures that would be placed on the fence. This would give it an aesthetic appearance as well as serve our purpose," he says. And for the students it's yet another adventurous learning experience.
Source - The Times of India News Services

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Minor commits suicide Monday, August 13, 2001

VADODARA: A 15-year-old girl immolated herself after being raped by a man at Peepalvada village in Thasra taluka of Anand. The girl was brought to SSG Hospital, where she died of excessive burns on Thursday.

According to relatives of the girls, the incident took place on Wednesday when the girl was alone at home. The relatives alleged that one Ahmed Pathan of the village had raped her.

Thasra police have registered an offence, and are investigating the case.
Source - The Times of India

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Legal awareness campaign for tribals Monday, August 13, 2001

VADODARA: The district police have approved 50 illustrations that will pictorially depict Sections of the Indian Penal Code for the benefit of tribals in the region.

These illustrations are a part of district police's drive to create awareness among tribals regarding IPC codes concerning day to day crimes. All the illustrations will be drawn by tribal artists. The work will be co-ordinated by Tejgadh Tribal Academy and Bhasha Publication and Research Centre (BPRC).

District superintendent of police Keshav Kumar and noted tribal activist G N Devy had a meeting recently to thrash out the final plan in this regard.

"We liked the drawings submitted by tribal artists. We have asked them to submit more drawings depicting some more IPC Sections. About 50 drawings were completed by Friday and have been approved by us", Kumar said.

He said tribals have also responded well to the idea. "They like this form of communication. The accompanying text with illustrations will be in 'Rathvi', briefly explaining the offence which would make it easy for tribals to understand the message", Kumar said. He reiterated the objective of spreading legal awareness among tribals and thus help them keep away from crime.

Devy said that the campaign would go down with tribals, a majority of whom are still illiterate and cut off from the mainstream society. Incidentally, Chhota Udepur and Kanwat have the lowest literacy rates in the state. Tribals are prone to crimes due to illiteracy. In the last 10 years many heinous crimes, mostly murders, have been committed in tribal region of east and central Gujarat.

Significantly in the current legal awareness campaign for tribals, besides police and tribal rights activists, tribal leaders have also shown a keen interest. Chhota Udepur MP Ramsingh Rathwa lauded the concept and said that the campaign can dispel some doubts and misconception about police in the minds of tribals.

Another prominent tribal leader and former Chhota Udepur MP Naransinh Rathwa has also appreciated the project. "The best part is that these illustrations or drawings would be made by tribal artists. Tribals will be able to identify themselves with visual images. We will do our best to popularise this form of visual communication", Naransinh said.
Source - The Times of India

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NRIs give bankers sleepless nights Monday, August 13, 2001

BHUJ: Baladia, 17 km from here, is a large village with a resident population of around 2500 which could, perhaps, boast of the highest per capita bank deposits and small savings in the entire country.

By conservative estimates, the total deposits in banks and post offices touch around Rs 500 crore, an average of Rs 20 lakh per person!

The importance banks attach to the area could be gauged from the fact that Bank of Baroda (BoB) has posted officials of the level of assistant general manager at Baladia. Another AGM-level official mans its branch at Madhapar, 9 kms from Bhuj. The total deposits of banks in Madhapar is in excess of Rs 1000 crore, out of which BoB's share is around Rs 264 crore.

The Patel Chowisi area around Bhuj is the most affluent part of Kutch district which perhaps has more cars per capita than Ahmedabad. The palatial houses here could rival the best in Ahmedabad and Vadodara. Some have swimming pools and gymnasiums.

The secret of the affluence of the region is the huge remittances from NRIs hailing from the region who have settled down anywhere between Arkansas and Argentina.

But nearly 200 days after the quake, there are reasons for the bankers to be a wee bit worried. There are signs that for the first time in the last five decades, the deposits are showing a downward trend.

Baladia officially has a population of 5000 out of which 2500 are settled abroad. "Every year, the NRIs used to come home during the months of July and August bringing along with them crores in remittances. Very few came this year and all of them preferred to use the money for repairing their huge houses which were damaged in the quake," reveals a senior bank official.

A senior BoB official in Baladia, R C Shah, who handles deposits worth almost Rs 150 crore, says though only 4 persons died in the village in the quake, damage to property was on the higher side. "People have withdrawn money from the banks and gone for massive repairs. The NRIs have also made lavish donations for quake relief, mainly through the Swaminarayan mission to which most of the Kanbi Patels belong," says Shah.

The region is dominated by the Halai Kanbi Patel community of skilled workers who have built mansions at Madhapar, Mirzapur, Sukhpar, Mankuva, Smatra, Kodki, Sarli, Baladia, Kera, Surajpar, Naranpar, Meghpar and Dahisara.

Ominously, there are signs that the remaining members of the community, shaken by the quake, are planning to migrate to Africa, UK, US, Canada, Denmark, Switzerland, Australia, Italy and even Peru, Argentina and Somalia where their brethren are settled. The Halai Kanbis have earned a world-wide reputation in the construction business.

After the quake, a number of NRIs had rushed to Kutch. Rasikbhai Zambiawala arrived from Zambia on January 29. He has decided to take along all his relatives to that country.

Shamji Vaghji Gorasiya, who has just arrived from London, says his main intention is to resettle his family members in Madhapar village abroad. "We cannot take the risk anymore. It will be better if all of us shift to London."

People of his community have already started repairing their houses in Kutch. "After the repairs are over we all will leave Kutch," says Gorasia.

Muljibhai Pindoria, who has settled in Nairobi, says, "We have stopped sending remittances after the quake because it is all very uncertain here (in Kutch). I am not even sure if I should invest more money on my damaged house."
Source - The Times of India

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