Monday, July 23, 2012

Fauja Singh aged 101,inspiring run in Olympic Torch relay


Punjab-born Fauja Singh, who defies age to run marathons, drew the loudest cheers on Saturday as the Olympic Torch was carried by him, Olympic medal winners and leading individuals through London amidst a welcome clear sky and sunshine.
Clad in all-white apparel and a matching white turban, the sprightly Singh carried the torch accompanied by hundreds of admirers, including Sikhs with yellow T-shirts bearing Singh’s image, who hailed him every moment of the distance he travelled.
Singh was born in 1911, and began running at 86 to keep himself occupied.
He has since set several records for people of his age, running six London marathons, two Canada marathons and the New York marathon.
Clearly a bit of a sensation for his achievements, his participation in the relay on Saturday was described by admirers and onlookers as “a moment of history”.
Singh, who carried the Olympics Torch in Athens eight years ago, now wants to carry it before the 2016 Olympics too, when he will be 105.
Hundreds of Sikhs organised a ‘langar’ at 16 points along the torch relay route to celebrate Fauja Singh’s efforts.
The torch from Greenwich to Waltham Forest was carried by several Olympians, including Nadia Comaneci, and Indian-origin individuals who have excelled in various fields, such as Kaushali Trivedi (23), Natasha Sinha (15), Priya Rajgor (20) and Dhrashti Shah (16).
The relay’s youngest and oldest (Fauja Singh) were among the 143 torch-bearers on Saturday.
The youngest was Chester Chambers, 12, who was nominated for representing his classmates, fundraising and helping to develop an anti-bullying campaign.
Saturday was the first day of the Olympics torch’s seven-day tour of London in the final countdown to the Games.
Hopes that the constant rains of the last few weeks will give way to sunshine during the Olympics were realised, as Saturday’s relay was held amidst a clear sky.
United Sikhs, the charity organisation that organised the ‘langar’, distributed thousands of ‘roti rolls’ along the torch relay route.
The ‘langar’ was held to “celebrate the wonderful achievements of this under-spoken treasure of the Sikh community”, organisers said.
Parvinder Kaur, manager of the ‘langar’ project, said: “We are proud to share with the public the 500-year-old Sikh tradition of serving free meals to celebrate the carrying of the Olympic Torch by Bhai Fauja Singh”.

Leaders No to FDI in multi-brand retail trade

Samajwadi Party, Left parties and JD(S) shot off a joint letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday asking the government not to open up retail trade to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) any further.

"We urge the government not to open up the retail trade to FDI any further. Political parties across the spectrum are opposed to this move. Many state governments have also stated their opposition," said the letter sent by these parties to the Prime Minister.
"In the absence of a wide-ranging consensus, we request you not to proceed with this decision," it said.
The letter was signed by Mulayam Singh Yadav (Samajwadi Party), Prakash Karat (CPI-M), S Sudhakar Reddy (CPI), Danish Ali (JD-S), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Block) and Abani Roy (RSP).
The government had allowed FDI in single brand retailing but had suspended the decision to allow such investment in multi-brand retailing due to opposition from several parties including UPA allies.
Among the signatories of this letter, SP and JD(S) support the government from outside.
The joint letter said that reports were appearing that the Government of India was going to revive the decision to allow FDI in multi-brand retail trade.
The letter argued that the retail sector was the second largest employer in the country after agriculture, employing over four crore persons.
"Most of these are small unorganised or self-employed retailers. Entry of MNC supermarket and hypermarket chains would cause severe displacement of these small and unorganised shopkeepers and traders. The entry of the giant Wal-Mart supermarket chain would have a disastrous impact," the letter said.
The parties also said that the employment growth had slowed down according to the National Sample Survey data of 2009-10 and the entry of foreign supermarkets would further aggravate the employment situation.

"July 25 ko Jantar Mantar" IAC

"July 25 ko Jantar Mantar"- the slogan filled the air as scores of people once again came out on the street to demand Jan Lokpal Bill. As a run up to the anshan starting from July 25, India Against Corruption (IAC) organised a massive car/bike/auto rally in Delhi NCR today in which nearly 1500 vehicles participated.

Many smaller rallies were organised throughout the day - notable among them were rallies originating from Peera Garhi, Uttam Nagar, Mehrauli, Azadpur and Dilshad Garden. These rallies culminated into a larger rally which started from Rajghat at 4pm. This rally was led by the three anshankaris Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and Gopal Rai. Senior IAC leader Shanti Bhushan along with Prashant Bhushan, Kumar Vishwas, Sanjay Singh, Arvind Gaur and Sunita Godara were also present.

The patriotic fervor that reached crescendo during Annaji's August anshan once again came alive with all the vehicles waving the tri color. The rally passed through Ramlila maidan - the August anshan site -  and reached Jantar Mantar, where the July 25 indefinite anshan would take place.

Arvind Kejriwal reiterated the charges on the 15 ministers including the just elected President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. When he asked the crowd to raise their hands if they felt that Pranab Mukherjee and Manmohan were corrupt, all hands went up. The verdict was for all to see. He informed that Bulandsher court had summoned him on July 26 for saying that in our Parliament there are 162 MPs against whom serious allegations like murder and kidnapping are there.

Manish Sisodia who has just completed his Gram Sanvad Yatra covering more than 500 villages said that people in villages suffered the most. Even after 6 decades of Independence, the plight of farmers remained the same.

Kumar Vishwas reiterating the need for a strong lokpal asked people to take out time for the country and come out on streets with the tri color in hand from July 25th.

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