The Asian Age – It seems Kamal Nath government is falling: Shivraj Chouhan

BJP leader Narottam Mishra said the resignation of 20 ministers is an indication that something is wrong in the Congress

Bhopal – Madhya Pradesh – India, 10 March 2020. Hours after the Congress-led government in Madhya Pradesh plunged into a crisis on Monday late night, senior BJP leader Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Tuesday said his party was not interested in toppling the government and termed the developments as the “internal matter” of the ruling party.

However, former minister and BJP leader Narottam Mishra said it seems the Kamal Nath government is falling. As former chief minister Chouhan arrived this morning in Bhopal for the BJP legislature meeting, which will be held in evening, he was welcomed by upbeat leaders and workers of the saffron party.

“Wishing Happy Holi to the people of Madhya Pradesh,” Chouhan said. When asked about the ongoing political developments in the state, Chouhan said it is an internal matter of the Congress party.

Earlier in a tweet, Chouhan said, “This is the Congress’ internal mater and I would not like to comment on it. We had said on the first day that we are not interested in bringing down the government”.

However, former minister and senior BJP leader Narottam Mishra, who was accompanying Chouhan, said the resignation of 20 ministers is an indication that something is wrong in the Congress. “I don’t think this government is going to survive. It seems the Nath government is falling,” he said.

The state government was pushed to the brink on Monday as a sulking Jyotiraditya Scindia, along with 17 MLAs, virtually revolted prompting Chief Minister Kamal Nath to call a late-night cabinet meeting where around 20 ministers resigned reposing faith in his leadership.

Nath had alleged that the BJP was adopting immoral ways to “destabilise” his government and vowed not to let it happen. Meanwhile, Chouhan paid tributes to former Union minister and Congress leader late Madhavrao Scindia on his birth anniversary.

Madhavrao was father of Jyotiraditya Scindia, who is said to be at the centre at the current political drama in Madhya Pradesh. Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh also paid tributes to Madhavrao Scindia through his tweet.

While the BJP has called its legislature party meeting at 7 pm, the Congress will hold a similar meeting at 5 pm at the residence of the chief minister. – Dal Khalsa launches Nanakshahi calendar in its original form outside Akal Takht Secretariat

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 07 March 2020. In a concerted attempt to step up its campaign to restore the original Nanakshahi Calendar, Sikh political party Dal Khalsa launched the year 552 calendar in its original form accepted by the SGPC general house and ratified by the Akal Takht Sahib in March-April 2003 but debunked by the SGPC executive in 2010.

The organization believes Kartarpur corridor as a landmark achievement for Sikhs hence it dedicated the calendar to it. Having the image of Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan inaugurating the corridor on it, the Sikh organization availed the opportunity to thank the Pakistan for the same.

Without mincing words, the leaders of the pro-freedom Sikh group said this calendar is a befitting reply to all those, who not only nurture bad-feelings about the corridor but also hatred against Sikh-Muslim bonds.

After performing ardaas at a simple ceremony at the Akal Takht Sahib, the Dal Khalsa leadership released the calendar of current year from Akal Takht secretariat. During the release Dal Khalsa activists faced mild resistance from SGPC task force, who objected to the release of calendar from the secretariat premises.

However, Dal Khalsa members stick to their stand and there were heated arguments between both sides. Later on, incharge of the Takht secretariat intervened and expressed regret over misbehaviour of task force members and allowed the Dal Khalsa members to release the calendar from there.

“We are determined to restore the Nanakshahi calendar in its originality and to its pristine glory.” Dal Khalsa believed that having a unique and separate calendar was vital for the integrity of the Sikh religion.

Party president Harpal Singh Cheema said the Nanakshahi calendar was the identity marker for the Sikh community and reverting back to Bikrami has triggered confusion. He asked the SGPC to revert to original Nanakshahi calendar to bridge the gulf within the Sikh community.

All faiths and communities have their own calendar as a mark of their distinct cultural identity. Under the garb of amendments, the SGPC executive in 2010 has killed the spirit and uniqueness of the almanac said.

Cheema said the Akali Dal (Badal), under the influence of a section of the Sant Samaj tactfully reverted to Bikrami calendar but deceitfully retained Nanakshahi its name.

Party senior leader H S Dhami said in 2003, the then Jathedar of Akal Takht Joginder Singh Vedanti in consultation with SGPC general house and Sikh organizations implemented the Nanakshahi calendar. His successor Giani Gurbachan Singh, who’s remembered as disgraced Jathedar reverted the calendar to Bikrami one under the dictates of Badals family.

“As of now, the ball is in the court of the present incumbent Giani Harpreet Singh to undo the damage done by his immediate predecessor”. “The SGPC and its appointed Jathedar must realize their role and responsibility to end the discord on calendar issue within the Panth” and added that till then they will stick to original version.

Taking to the media at press conference, spokesperson, Kanwar Pal Singh said, “Nanakshahi Calendar is a manifestation of distinct identity and a clear symbol of the “Sikhs as a separate people”, set up and nurtured by the great Gurus. We view the SGPC made amendments as “abject surrender in the face of the expansionist designs of RSS/BJP leaders aiming to subsume the Sikh religion.

The calendar released today not only has Gurpurab related holidays but also dates relating to the contemporary Sikh struggle.

Terming it a symbol of faith and bonds, the calendar carried a brief background of the corridor under the title from Ardaas to hug to becoming reality. “The long journey for Kartarpur corridor, which started with prayers passed through hopes and promises, despair and scepticism from time to time.

The famous hug between Pak army General Bajwa and ex-Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu set the ball rolling. Pak PM Imran Khan’s googly ensured reluctant India agreeing to fulfill long cherished desire of Sikh Nation.

With corridor becoming a reality on 9 Nov 2019, all designs and moves by the people in power that nurture hatred against Sikh-Muslim bonds stand defeated”.

Dal Khalsa launches Nanakshahi calendar in its original form outside Akal Takht Secretariat

Gentbrugse Meersen

Gentbrugse Meersen
26 January 2020

A puddle filled with mouldy leaves

Crossing a ditch

The Meersen are wet again, as they should

Koningsdonkstraat – Pick-nick area

Green leaves in January

Koningsdonkstraat – traditional farm

More Belgian pictures to be published
Harjinder Singh
Man in Blue

The Indian Express – Descendants of World War-I Sikh soldier, featured in Hungarian artist’s prized artwork, traced to Punjab

Hundred years on, a handwritten note helped his great grandson-in-law connect the dots

Divya Goyal

Ludhiana – Panjab – India, 09 March 2020. More than a century after Hungarian artist late Laub Fülöp alias Philip de László painted a portrait of two Sikh World War-I soldiers at his London studio in May 1916, the descendants of one of them have been traced to Tarn Taran, Punjab.

Now part of a private collection in London, the ‘oil on board’ portrait artwork depicts two Sikh soldiers, Risaldar Jagat Singh (12th Cavalry) and Risaldar Man Singh (21st Cavlary), elegantly posing for László at his studio, dressed in their Army uniforms and turbans.

Jagat Singh left a handwritten note with his son’s name and address in László visitor’s book in Punjabi in 1916, and after nearly two years of research, his great grandson-in-law Harpreet Singh Bhatti has managed to connect the dots.

Bhatti’s research started after he came to know of his wife Jasmeet Bajwa’s great grandfather being a World War-I soldier, from his mother-in-law (Jagat Singh’s granddaughter) and then came across the portrait online.

He then asked his in-laws family to dig out whatever they could related to Jagat Singh’s service in the Army to substantiate that the Risaldar Jagat Singh posing in the portrait was actually his wife’s great grandfather.

Surprisingly, more than eight decades after Jagat Singh’s death in 1939, the family was left with no other photograph of their war hero. And now they can again get a glimpse of the soldier, even though they can’t own the portrait yet.

Bhatti, a government school teacher from Batala in Gurdaspur district, has a passion for researching world wars. He was digging into his own family history when he came across the portrait.

“I was researching my great grandfather Havildar Kala Singh, who too served in 45 Rattray’s Sikhs and it was in October 2018 that my mother-in-law Amarjit Kaur told me that her grandfather Jagat Singh also served in World War-I in the British India Army.

He was also later allotted two murabbas of land at Chak 77 in Montgomery (current Sahiwal in Pakistan) but the family were natives of Khadoor Sahib (then part of district Amritsar but now in Tarn Taran).

After coming across this portrait online, I requested everyone in my in-laws’ family to dig out all the documents or whatever they could find related to Jagat Singh.

In addition, there was the handwritten note too he left in the visitor’s diary in London stating that the name of his elder son was Janmeja Singh. That was my mother-in-law’s father’s name too and then the dots just kept connecting.”

On Bhatti’s request, his in-laws’ family was able to trace a naval dagger, which they believe the soldier might have used or conquered during WWI, and a 1915 certificate. World War 1, World War 1 Sikh soldiers, Sikh soldiers, Sikh soldiers World War 1, India news, Indian Express Jagat Singh’s surviving grandsons. (Express photos)

The certificate (a copy of which is with The Indian Express), undersigned by Inspector general of Police, United Provinces (under British rule), was awarded to ‘Jamadar Jagat Singh Commissioned officer, 12th cavalry, Meerut’ for ‘distinguished services rendered by him…’.

A brief narrative of his achievement reads, ‘…The above officer rendered valuable assistant to the government on the night of 20th-21st August 1915 when taking part in the arrest of some armed dakaits, on the grassed farms, near 12th Cavalry Lines, Meerut. The raid was attended with considerable risk to life and Jagat Singh deserves the highest praise for his conduct on the occasion…’

“The records were further matched with archives of Indian soldiers who served in the British Army during World War I and details available in digital archives online. It showed that Risaldar Jagat Singh joined the Army as Jemadar on 26 February, 1905, and later got promoted. He then went to London to participate in WW I and returned,” said Bhatti.

Meanwhile, the note Jagat Singh left at the artist’s studio in 1916 said: ‘Rasaldar Jagat Singh, Rasala 12. Address in India: Janmej Singh, s/o Rasaldar Jagat Singh. V.P.O Khadur Sahib, Amritsar Sahib (Punjab) India’.

Jagat Singh had four children, none of whom are alive. Late Janmeja Singh had ten children (seven sons and three daughters) of which five sons and a daughter (Bhatti’s mother-in-law Amarjit Kaur) are alive.

Jagat Singh’s second son Harkaran Singh had five children (three sons and two daughters) and of them, one son and both daughters are alive.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Kashmir Singh (82), one of the surviving grandsons of Jagat Singh and son of Janmeja Singh, who now lives in Pindiyan village in Tarn Taran, said, “My great grandfather probably went for WWI in 1916 and returned in 1918. When our son-in-law Bhatti showed us his portrait he found online, we were elated.

I was an infant when he died, We had our ancestral land and home in Khadoor Sahib and details in the handwritten note are absolutely correct.”

Bhatti’s mother-in-law and Kashmir Singh’s sister, Amarjit Kaur (72), still has a faded memory of a photograph of her great grandfather she had seen once. “I was born in 1947 and never saw him in person but I vaguely remember a photo of him that I saw before my marriage in which also he was dressed in uniform.

We have no idea where that photo is now. When my son-in-law showed us this portrait now, we could see how his facial features clearly match the children in the family. At least now we know how he looked like,” she said.

About the artist, portrait and London connect [bold]

According to the official website of The De Laszlo Archive Trust, which aims to record the entire journey of his artistic career and preserve his artworks, the artist Philip de László, born as Laub Fülöp in 1869 at Pest (now part of Budapest in Hungary), ‘produced more than 4,000 works in his 50-year career’.

“I am an artist of the world and paint history, not only individuals,” he had said. He had moved to Vienna in 1903, settled in England in 1907 and died in London in 1937.

He is known for painting members of the German imperial family and traveled to Rome to paint Pope Leo XIII in 1900. He was also commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint her favourite General Sir George White in 1900.

On the portrait, the trust catalogue says: ‘A number of Indian Cavalry officers visited de László’s London studio in May 1916…De László succeeded in having two of the officers pose for him and the present picture was completed for the artist’s own pleasure and remained in his collection until his death.

This picture was greatly admired by Austen Chamberlain, then Secretary of State for India, and he asked De László to produce a small version for a Red Cross sale being organised by Lady Willingdon, the wife of the Viceroy, in Bombay.

De László opted instead to paint a one-sitting sketch of another Indian officer for the nominal fee of 50 guineas, which was then raffled for £650.

This sensitive portrait is among the best of those that De László painted of officers and soldiers before their departure for the front. In a short sitting of 2-3 hours the artist has captured the solemn dignity of these two professional soldiers and as a double portrait it is unique among his First World War portraits.

It is not known why these men were on leave from their respective regiments, who were stationed in France at the time of the sitting. Amongst the trenches and wire of the front line there was little use for cavalry in its usual role and much of their war was spent waiting to take part in the action without actually being deployed.

Both regiments eventually used their men in trench warfare and particularly at the Battle of the Somme, which began 1 July 1916, two months after this portrait was painted…’

Speaking to The Indian Express over phone, Amandeep Singh Madra, a London-based Sikh historian, who had displayed this portrait in his exhibition on World Wars, ‘Empire, Faith & War’, in 2014 in London, said, “In 2014, I was part of the team that found this painting in a private collection and it was a really important object in our 2014 exhibition.

When I saw that Harpreet Singh Bhatti posted a picture of Janmeja Singh and other records matched too, we were elated as we knew for sure that we had indeed found the descendants of Jagat Singh.

It felt wonderful to able to reunite a family with an extraordinary and noble portrait of the man himself. It is currently a part of private collection.”

He added, “There is a doubt that Jagat Singh was 12th Cavalry throughout his military service, and was sent to the 18th Lancers in France with a draft of other ranks of his regiment. The 18th Lancers was one of the very few Indian cavalry regiments that was left in France after 1915.

This means that Jagat Singh was exactly the kind of soldier that could have been in France during 1917, which was the setting for the recent feature film 1917, where a Sikh character appears.”

The Hindu – Delhi violence ‘one-sided, well-planned’, says minorities panel

Report says extensive damage to Muslim houses, shops and workshops everywhere, but at Yamuna Vihar shops and houses belonging to both communities were affected

Shinjini Ghosh

New Delhi – India, 04 March 2020. The Delhi Minorities Commission in its assessment report of events which unfolded recently in northeast Delhi has concluded that the violence which erupted was “one-sided, well-planned” and involved support from locals with maximum damage being done to shops and houses belonging to the minority community.

The Commission also said that compensation announced by the Delhi government was inadequate, considering the extent of damage caused due to the violence.

“We found extensive damage to Muslim houses, shops and workshops everywhere we went.

We found that people were visiting their damaged houses for the first time since they fled on February 24-25 but since the houses and shops were badly damaged and debris lying, there was no question that they will be able to start living there any time soon,” the panel said.

The delegation, which included commission chairman Zafarul-Islam Khan, in its report also highlighted instances like those in Bhajanpura, where “Muslim-owned shops like a travel agency and motorcycle showroom were looted and torched while Hindu-owned shops were left untouched.”

The panel’s report also cites residents of Gali number 5 in Khajuri Khas claiming that the violence on February 23 began “shortly after the threat and ultimatum” by BJP leader Kapil Mishra.

“This ‘gali’ is a blind alley where 100 persons lived and they could not on their own flee from the main road. They left the place under police protection in the morning of February 25. In this ‘gali’, we found the house of BSF jawan Mohammad Anis which was badly damaged,” the panel said.

At Yamuna Vihar, however, the report states that shops and houses belonging to both communities were affected.

“On the one side of the road are Muslim houses and shops while on the other side are Hindu houses and shops. Both areas were affected by looting and burning. At a charred petrol pump, the owner Mahinder Aggrawal claimed that 30 vehicles were torched there,” the report states.

The panel also refers to testimonies by Raj Kumar, a driver with the Rajdhani School which was also burnt.

“Mr Kumar told us that some 500 persons barged into his school around 6.30 pm on February 24. They wore helmets and hid their faces. They remained there for the next 24 hours and went away next evening after the arrival of police force in the area.

They were young people who had arms and giant catapults which they used to throw petrol bombs from the school rooftops,” the report states.

Fact-finding committee

The Commission chairman said that a fact-finding committee would be formed which would include journalists, human rights activists and civil society members.

“We have said that the violence was one-sided as that’s what we felt from what people told us. They said that it was not possible for outsiders to pin-point shops and houses owned by Muslims. So there had to be insiders who we’re helping the outsiders,” said Mr Khan.

Adding that the commission has urged Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to double the compensation, Mr Khan said, “We have also asked the government to fix the compensation depending on the damage caused.

For example, a person whose garage has been burnt cannot sustain with the compensation announced by the government. The damage caused might be more and money not enough.”