Thursday, 9 January 2014

Visit to Sardhana Church

Sardhana is a small town about 20 km from Meerut City off Delhi - Dehra Dun highway NH 58. It is famous for two hundred year old Roman Catholic Church-Basilica popularly called Sardhana Church.

Construction of the church began in 1802 (or as some people say 1809) on the order of local ruler Begum Farzana Joanna Sombre generally known as Begum Samru & is said to have been completed by 1822 at a cost of Rs 4 lacs under supervision of Antonio Raghellini an architect from Italy. All the marble statues were crafted in Italy & shipped to Kolkata. From there the statues were brought in bullock carts & boats.
The church is dedicated to Virgin Mary & is largest in northern India. Pope John XXIII declared this Church a Basilica on 13 December 1961.
This Church is only Basilica in northern India & is one of the 19 Basilicas in India.

Begum Samru was born Farzana Zibuneesa in 1751 & was a courtesan in durbar of Shah Alam II in Red Fort Delhi. She married a mercenary soldier Walter Reinhardt Sombre of Luxembourg.
Begum Samru became a Roman Catholic in 1781 & changed the name to Joanna Nobilis. After the death of her husband she ruled Sardhana jagir ably & with an iron hand. She died at the age of 90. She is said to be the only Catholic ruler in India. Some photos:

Side entry to the Basilica

Beautiful front view of the Church

Side view of the Basilica

Another view
Declared as Basilica on 19 December 1961
One of the several statues in the Church

Jesus being informed of death sentence

Jesus being lowered in to the grave

Jesus have mercy on us

Monday, 6 January 2014

Happy New Year in the Branch!

These days because of computers there is no 'Closing day' in banks which has taken fun out of the job.

During ancient times banks closed their annual accounts as on December 31st & half yearly on June 30th. Both days were Bank Holidays meaning working days for staff but  off days for public transactions. On both the occasions HO issued circulars to that effect well in advance.  Come to think of it, it feels funny at this point of time. Staff will be working in locked channel gate with a placard hanging outside proclaiming to the public 'Bank Holiday Today'. Though unwritten announcement was 'Get lost & come again another day'!

Inside the branch atmosphere was rather festive. Staff casually walked in up to noon relaxed & in a mood to have fun. The targets of deposits & priority sector advances had been achieved & so tea / biscuits / lunch were on the house & two bottles for the naughty boys for evening celebrations of Happy New Year.

Mr Gupta was busy with arrangements of lunch which alas did not include non-veg items making two Tellers sulk. They joked about the menu calling it as Bania menu! They both calmed down when learnt about the bottles were available for the evening show.

Three ladies working in the branch huddled together near room heater warming their toes & chatting about their unruly husbands, naughty kids & Hitler like branch manager. They were of the view that none of  them understood womenfolk. They were waiting for the lunch to be served so that they could quit early.

Mr Malhotra cleared his throat for singing filmi songs. He considered himself no less than Manna De. I am not sure if film industry missed him!

Mr Agarwal & Mr Sood were busy in one corner of the branch. They were placing loan files first on the table, then on floor & then again on the table. Large blank formats of branch balance sheets, loans & deposit statements were spread here & there. Black pens, blue pens, red pens, pencils & white corrective fluid bottles, staplers were thrown about everywhere confirming that very important closing work was on. They must not be disturbed.

Regional Manager The Baldy, wanted figures of deposits & advances on phone every few minutes as if they were increasing on their own magically. He wanted assurance that all C/C account were debited to the full. I wished to inform that none of C/C account had any balance left similar to no hair left on his head. I wished that boss kept cool but no the phone kept ringing.

By evening people related to loans were left with Daftari Mahto helping them with files. It was time for final inking of all formats, figures in pencil were to be rubbed off, mistakes were to be white-washed & placed again. No photostats were allowed therefore only originals in four sets were to be submitted. This exercise began in right earnest. All originals meant minimum three hours boring work indeed.

By about 8 pm, things were in shape & smiles appeared. Daftari Mahto produced whisky glasses on the table & a plate of namkeen. Every one cheered for new year. As luck would have it light failed for a few moments, somebody moved & hit the table. The table was shaken & glasses spilled over the bunch of statements!

It took another bottle & two hours to finish the task.

All settled you see!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Clean Chits!

Clean Chit to Clean Energy

1. Gurumurthy gives clean chit to Gadkari,
2. RIL’s Nagothane plant gets clean chit from AERB,
3. Sushma gives clean chit to Reddy Brothers,
4. Govt’s clean chit to Thackrey
5. Clean Chit to IPL team owners.

I wonder what these ‘clean chits’ are? What are the size, texture & colour of these chits? Are they visible, touchable?

To me the chit is a bit of paper & if nothing is written on it, it is a clean chit! I carry many chits in my pocket-small, large, crumpled, folded and creased. Let me see at the moment in my pocket - there are two chits mentioning house-hold goods to be brought today, one crumpled chit has a mobile no. written in a foreign hand, one has an address on it, fifth one has a date & address of no use now as date is gone & last one is of tailor but none of these are clean!

Chits come in handy for the candidates & the baldy members of interview board. All candidates must try & send-in recommendatory chits via godfathers to the baldy members of board for favourable results in time. The baldy members glance over these chits discreetly. Once i recommended a junior officer for promotion by sending a chit to the Zonal Manager The Baldy who headed the interview board. He immediately came out & did show me 6 chits of recommendations from his coat-pocket favouring other candidate with a wicked smile ‘you are late’!. So be careful while sending your recommendations by chit.

My NRI friend informs that long time back a person in US could buy things without money. The retailer would list the items & prices on a chit, total them up & send to customer along with goods. Once purchaser paid off this chit it was referred to as a clean chit.

There are Chits or Chit Funds also an informal or part formal credit & saving scheme in India. Very large number of them approx 3000 are in Thrissur district alone. For governance of such funds there is a Kerala Chitties Act 1975 besides central act The Chit Fund Act 1982.

Chit, voucher, bill, note, slip, rukka, hundi, parchi, pawati all appear to be synonymous. Here context or usage may be important to construe the meaning. For example, ‘The police checked the background & gave the man a clean chit, absolved him, freed him of charges’ etc.

It was a pleasant surprise when research revealed the origin of the word ‘Chit’ in Harper Collins Hinglish Directory. It says that the word ‘Chit’ originated in 18th century from earlier Hindi ‘chitty’ or ‘cittha’. This in turn has roots in Sanskrit ‘citra’ meaning ‘marked’ or ‘coloured’.  
So ‘Like’ this write up & give me a Clean Chit - in return you will get a Thanks Chit!