(Please check the gallery for pictures)


 It was suggested that this non-sectarian and humanitarian project should be run by people not holding any active political positions. That will help to keep the project above party politics. Also this long-term care facility should be for all the South Asian communities.

Edmonton; July 22: Today, the life is getting so busy, competitive and stressful that working members of a family hardly get any time to attend and look after their elders at home. As they can’t always be there for senior parents and relatives, so opening of a senior care home is the next best thing, was the topic of discussion at a South Asian gathering on Sunday, July 22, at the Mill Woods Cultural Society.

In such homes caregivers provide companionship and care that touches lives in profound ways. However, as the 21st Century starts to unfold, we find an expanding senior population, infirmed people living longer, and the need for support in one’s golden years becoming a pressing, almost urgent need. Just as no one can escape death, each of us, if we live long enough, will eventually require some form of support, whether it is provided in institutions or is provided in the home.

Taking all these factors in consideration, representatives of several South Asian groups decided to discuss the possibility of opening a senior’s care home for the people of South Asian origin. It was encouraging that all the members representing various South Asian Organizations approved the proposal in principal. Though, different views were presented particularly on the mode of formation of the society which will pursue the project, yet every issue was settled gracefully.

In the beginning, Bharat Agnihotri MLA Edmonton-Ellerslie, relating the background and input already made by some Indo-Canadian organizations in this respect invited the members to give their suggestions for opening a Long-Term Care Facility to help the seniors. He was confident to receive an active support of the Alberta government in this regard.

Taking keen interest in finalizing the preliminaries of the ambitious project, a number of members expressed their views:Harchand Grewal, president of SAHAARA, disclosed that his organization has already conducted a survey of the local Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Homes to confirm the number of Asian’s sharing those facilities. He assured support of Sahaara in this project.

Harchand Grewal, president of SAHAARA, disclosed that his organization has already conducted a survey of the local Nursing Homes and Long Term Care Homes to confirm the number of Asian’s sharing those facilities. He assured support of Sahaara in this project.

Dr. P.R.Kalia suggested that this non-sectarian and humanitarian project should be run by people not holding any active political positions. That will help to keep the project above party politics. He also wanted the upcoming long-term care facility should be for all the South Asian communities, which include people from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. 
People from these countries mostly share food, language, way of living and even their faith with each other.

While taking u-turn, Jagwinder Singh Sandhu pleaded the inclusion of politicians to hold responsible positions in the set-up of the dream project. He offered to donate some land for this purpose.Naresh Bhardwaj told the Asian Times that "Before we make any final decision we must execute needs assessment of the larger South Asian community conducted by some known agency, so that we may have some concrete numbers in place to work with."Sukhdev Singh Aujla, Peter Sandhu, Charan Kanwal Singh Saggu, Aman Gill and Cathy Khan also gave some valuable suggestions.

It was decided to hold some more meetings of this kind to finalize the proposal to start a Long Term Care Facility for the seniors of South Asian origin.




Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Edmonton hosts 29th annual convention of Western Canada

Edmonton: The 29th annual convention of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Western Canada was held on July 21 and 22 at the Mayfiled Inn. It was hosted by its Edmonton branch. This convention was a blend of speeches on many important contemporary issues and prayers for world peace and for the persecuted ones.

There were four sessions and the message was that if we want to change the world we have to change ourselves and in order to do that a correct understanding of God is required. While value of God and religion is being questioned by the contemporary society, it is the godly qualities and attributes which can bring peace and happiness in individuals and family and society. There was quite a bit of emphasis on role modeling provided by all the prophets of God.

The final session addressed three key issues. Mr. Ataul Wahid Lahaye from Toronto speaking on Protecting Our Youth emphasized how to protect our youths from the onslaught of immorality in general and drugs and intoxicants in particular. He said at that young age, youths fail to understand the consequences of their actions. Once drugs take over them, then all moral values take a second place in their lives. He extensively quoted from The Holy Quran highlighting the commandments forbidding drinking, gambling and all intoxicants.

Safeguarding the Environment was another fascinating speech by Mr. Naseem Mahdi, missionary in-charge of Canadian Ahmadiyya Muslim Communities. He mentioned that God does not love polluters and there are prophecies in The Holy Quran how water will be contaminated by human hand. He suggested that the only way to turn around to understand that all our resources are God given and must be utilized in an efficient manner and must not be wasted. There will be accountability both in this life and in the hereafter.

Mr. Lal Khan Malik, national president of the community spoke on Establishing Heaven on Earth. He described how family relationships and dynamics changes if basic Islamic principles are not followed. He described it as heaven where husband and wife understand their roles and responsibilities and there are no power struggles. His message was to focus on moral and spiritual components of marriage and husband and wife must understand their obligations to each other. He spoke emphatically against family violence and said that heaven on earth can be established by bringing peace to the family.
It was interesting to note that all meals were cooked and provided free to over 2000 participants and most of the families were accommodated at homes, thus promoting interaction. 
Mr. Naimat ullah Khan, president of local community said that it takes a lot of planning and dedication by volunteers and several thousand hours were contributed by Edmonton community.

There were several dignitaries who addressed the convention delegates, including Mike Boyd, police chief, Dave Hancock, minister of health, Moe Emery, MLA, Bharat Agnihotri, MLA, and Brian Mason, NDP leader.

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India and promotes the value of good morals at every level of existence and importance of peaceful jehad of the pen in the world.

I talked to many participants on the benefits they derived from this convention. It was summed up by a 8 years old boy who was serving water. He said, "I learned how to hold glass with one hand and pour water from a full jug without spilling." That is the balance of life.
-By Mohyuddin Mirza, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

                      SAHAARA HOSTED AN OPEN HOUSE 

Edmonton; July 26: In an effort to promote awareness of the programs and services they offer to the community, the non-profit organizations SAHAARA and IFSSA (the South Asian Humanitarian Aid and Resettlement Association and Islamic Family and Social Services Association respectively) hosted a successful Open House Thursday, July 26 at the SAHAARA Drop-In Centre.
In an effort to promote awareness of the programs and services they offer to the community, the non-profit organizations SAHAARA and IFSSA (the South Asian Humanitarian Aid and Resettlement Association and Islamic Family and Social Services Association respectively) hosted a successful Open House Thursday, July 26 at the SAHAARA Drop-In Centre.

People began arriving at SAHAARA shortly before 4pm and the steady stream of visitors continued until the Open House’s end. Members from the host organizations, representatives of community and government agencies, and guests from the larger community made up the fifty-plus attendees at this event. Participants mingled in a friendly atmosphere, met old friends and made new acquaintances, enjoyed refreshments and learned about the services of SAHAARA and IFSSA.

IFSSA was established in 1992 and serves the greater Edmonton community, while specializing in Muslim needs. IFSSA is located at #85, 4003 – 98 Street, and can be reached at 430-9220.

SAHAARA’s Drop-In Centre is open to all, providing a quiet place to meet up with friends, read, or use the internet. There are opportunities to join in other social and educational activities, like potluck suppers and meditation classes. Individuals can also visit the centre for information and referrals to other community and government agencies. Specifically for newcomers, SAHAARA holds an English Conversation Club several times a week, and has monthly outings with its Welcome Club to introduce new immigrants to places and events of interest around Edmonton. Visit SAHAARA at 9338 – 34 Avenue or contact by phone 414-1053.                          -AT


Edmonton; July 15: Bollywood’s versatile playback singers Alka Yagnik and Kumar Sanu amazed the South Asian Edmonton audience with their magical and enchanting rendition of songs. This was their first ever show in Edmonton on July 15, 2007 at the Jubilee Auditorium.

The event was organized by the Bhartiya Cultural Society of Alberta to promote culturally diverse entertainment to people of all ages and to raise funds to further complete the remaining work of their dream cultural Centre. The concert raised about $50,000.

These artists were invited because of their popularity in India and their ability to interact with the audience along with entertaining the crowds. It is said that Kumar Sanu has the world record for the most songs recorded in a single day (28) and Alka Yagnik has earned a national award by contributing to the song "Hindi sad diamonds" in Moulin Rouge, the motion picture which originated from the song "Chama chama" which was featured in the Bollywood movie "China Gate". Kumar Sanu and Alka Yagnik performed to a sold out audience.

This event was anchored by glamorous Mona Singh (Jassi). She started off the evening by introducing the two singers Manoj Mishra and Sujata. Manoj Mishra has sung for a movie named Kafila and also for the epic series Ramayana along with Sujata who has sung for music companies such as, Tips Venus and T-series. They stole the limelight by singing the songs – tera naam hum ne liya and raat baki baat baki.

After about half an hour of melody played by the band the much awaited Kumar Sanu entered the stage with his famous song Bas Ek Sanam Chahiye from the movie Aashiqi. Then in an ecstatic mood Kumar’s sincerity and commitment came fore in several other renderings, such as: tum dil ki dhdkan mein rehte ho, chand sitare phool aur khsboo, kisi se tum pyar kro, and ek ladki ko dekha to aisa laga. It was a qualitative leap beyond its maiden attempt.

Kumar Sanu was amazed at the crowd’s response and mentioned that it had been a very long time since he sang for a full audience and he wanted the crowd to enjoy the music and would keep singing until the public accepted him. The audience clapping, cheering and singing to each song is what made the performers keep going. On one or more occasions the audience wanted to have the song sung again by saying once more.

Kumar Sanu enthralled the audience with his romanticism along with his Elvis like dance moves while Alka Yagnik performed favorites which made the audience want to get up and dance. She started with kuch kuch hota hai. The highlights of the show followed by some of Alka and Kumar’s duets together such as Teri Chunariya, Dil Ne Yeh Kaha Hai Dil Se (Dhadhkan) and Gungat Ki Aad Se (Hum Hain Rahi Pyar Ke) and in addition they sung some old songs composed by the legend R.D. Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar such as: Tere Bina Zindgi (Aandhi) which was all complied in a typical Bollywood love story for the audience to listen to and fall in love over again.

In between the program, Hon. Gene Zwozdesky, Associate Minister Planning, presented plaques of honour to the sponsors of the event, namely: Durabuilt Doors and Windows, Maurya Palace, Sunny Aggarwal, Sher Singh Dhaliwal and Desh Pradesh Times.

Chander Sekhar Mittal, President of the Bhartiya Cultural Society of Alberta, on behalf of the cultural Centre, thanked one and all for extending a hand of support in raising a spacious-cum-magnificent new temple building. Naresh Bhardwaj was the host of the program.

There was an overwhelming sense from the crowd that the evening full of magic was very special. It was such an experience which once again established that music and poetry transcends all races, religions and generations.

-Anshu Sharma, Asian Times



                         AN EVENING WITH URDU POETS

Edmonton; July 14: The local Pakistani community organized an evening with the Urdu poets on Saturday, July 14, at the Multicultural Handicrafts Training and Friendship Society.
Known poets like Shamsi, Jamal Anjum, Jalal Syed and many more regaled the audience with poems and ghazals. Poetry acted as an ambassador of love and tolerance on the minds of the South Asian Canadians.


 He prances around the stage all the time and dance and sing, assisted and encircled by an orchestra team. He has no dancers. He holds his audience, interacts with them and the audience listens. It worked very well with him. That is the soul of his music- live interaction with a live audience. Tradition breathes in his music. Like always the entire stadiums was full. That was his reward.Edmonton; July 29: Dressed in a bright green kurta and a lungi, and an embroidered red jacket, Gurdas Mann captivated audience with his performance, shaking his ‘chimta’ vigorously and playing on his ‘dhafli’ at a concert held at Jubilee Auditorium Sunday night, July 29.
The show was organized and presented by Desh Videsh Times and Mohogny Homes. Thousands of Gurdas Mann fans came to see him perform. 
He sang some meaningful songs which mostly appeal to the mind, reminding us of our rich Punjabi folk literature. The popular love stories of Punjab have been his source of inspiration. Still, he draws a huge crowd and remains as one of the top star of Punjabi folk in the era of bhangra rap.

As per the norm, Mann started with tributes to God. It was a unique prayer dedicated to the gods, goddesses and messengers of all the major religions. Although the show started later than the stipulated time, the fans kept waiting. But once started, Gurdas Mann charmed the huge audience by singing songs of their choice. He sang ‘yaar punjabi hai‘, ‘apna Punjab hove’, ‘ni mein yaar di kamli’, ‘sawari’, ‘pind diyan galiyan’, Heer, Chala, Labhi hoi chees na gvayo sohnyon, and set the stage on fire. His dancing and timing was superb. He did it for about four hours. As usual, he had no sexy dancers pirouetting on the stage with him.

His songs encompass not only a true reflection of Punjabi society but he dares to sing about social issues that affect us all, bringing these into the public domain, whereas most of us would be happy to brush these under the carpet and pretend that they don’t exist.

In one of his interviews Gurdas Maan aptly replies to such issues. He says,"I don’t need movie stars, hundred musicians, another hundred dancing girls in varying stages of undress. But if you look at the way my songs have done over the years, you will realize that the excitement always existed. My songs may not have been exactly setting the discos on fire but wherever you go in Punjab you will find people singing them everywhere. It was a change from the usual, the smut that was popular before. I brought decent lyrics into fashion. The poems of serious poets like Shiv Kumar Batalvi were sung for the first time and people liked it. In the way they like Jagjit Singh." Further he admires the great sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

But why is Gurdas Maan so popular? What is different about him? What separates him from other artists in the eyes of the public? The answer is simple….life and respect. The unique aspect about Gurdas Maan’s music and in particular his lyrics is that he writes about real life. Where as the majority of the music world sings about drinking, dancing, women and violence, Gurdas Maan’s lyrical content captures the audience’s imagination and has the ability to make them visualize the words in their minds. In ‘Punjabiye Zubane’ (Punjabi Language) he talks to the Punjabi language as a physical being and goes on to talk to it about how it has been ill treated by some. In the final verse he tells the language that legendry artists like Surinder Kaur, Parkash Kaur, Asa Singh Mastana have all did you a great service. And writers and poets like Shiv Kumar Batalvi and Noorpuri have kept you alive. (Though through his song Padh lai gurmukhian, he advises others to own Punjabi and Punjabiat, yet never mind his own son studies at Eton College, U.K.)

In the song ‘Pind Diyan Galliyan’, ‘The Streets of my Village’, he talks about the way life used to be in the villages of Punjab. It’s boom time for Punjabi folk music. Amongst the Malkits, Bally Sagoos, Sukhbirs and Dalers, how does Gurdas hold his own still? "For me the lyrics are of prime importance, geet mein vajan hona chahiye. My shows aren’t just a song and dance routine. My music is for the soul. People sit back and enjoy my performences, very rarely do they get up and dance around. That’s the kind of respect my fans give me," he observes gratefully.

In between the program, the anchors of the show kept the audience enthralled with their witty repartee. At times, some kids came up on the stage and the singer talked to them with affection and shared few steps with them. A band of sponsors of the show were also honoured by the performer, Gurdas Mann, himself. They were; Mega Sponsors: Brij Mohan, Pali Virk, Manjit Singh Nagra, Jag Grewal, Dave Sidhu, and Sweg Deol ; Sponsors: Kulwinder Toor, Sandeep Mann, Jessie Gill, Reshamdeep Mundi, Paramjit Sandhu, Paramjit Ubhi,Awtar Singh Mohie, Davinderjiy Purewal, Rajiv Bhalla, and All India Foreign Exchange.

Life and Works
Gurdas Maan was born on January 4, 1957 in a Jat family in Faridkot, Punjab, India. He received his Masters Degree from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala. Gurdas is happily married to Manjeet Maan and has one son Gurik who is currently studying at Eton College in Eton, Berkshire, U.K.

During his early career Gurdas Mann wrote and directed TV programs such as POP Time for the Door Darshan in Delhi. He is often credited with raising Bhangra music from the level of Punjab to international recognition. Since its release the massively popular song Apna Punjab has surpassed all of his other songs, in terms of popularity and critical acclaim. At the Asian Pop and Media Awards held in Birmingham in 1998, Apna Punjab won Best Song and Best Album and Gurdas also won the award of Best International Artist. This song was originally written by Makhan Brar of Toronto.

In addition to these awards, Gurdas more recently won the 3 music awards of Best Lyrics (Kudiye), Best Song (Heer), as well as Best Singer of the Year at the ETC Channel Punjabi Music Awards on March 6, 2005.

Gurdas Mann has starred in the Punjabi films "Shaheed Udham Singh", "Des Hoyaa Pardes", "Waris Shah - Ishq Daa Waaris,"and also made a special appearance in Veer Zaara with Shahrukh Khan and Preity Zinta. As an actor he has also performed in Hindi and Tamil movies. As a singer he has worked with music directors such as Laxmikant Pyarelal, Bappi Lahri, Anu Malik, Nadeem Sharvan, Amar Haidipur, Charanjeet Ahuja, and Jaswant Bhanyara. Aside from singing in Punjabi, he is fluent in Hindi, Bengali, Tamil, Haryanvi and Rajasthani. He has 27 Punjabi folk albums to his credit.

Today, for many people Gurdas Maan is the be all and end all of music. From India to U.K to right here in Canada, Gurdas Maan is the man who brings a smile to your face with his music and makes you proud to be Punjabi wherever you live!

A singer, song writer, composer, actor, and choreographer all rolled into one, he is considered the equivalent to Elvis Presley. His song, style and profile, has an overwhelming effect on those who see him perform or in person. The transition from artist to legend is cemented when the performer doesn’t even need to sing but can give audience that look and still have them chanting his name. That’s Gurdas Maan!


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