C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


IIT Professor appointed PEC Director
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Prof Vijay Gupta, from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur, was today selected as Director of the Punjab Engineering College. He was offered an appointment to which Prof Gupta will reply at a latter date.

Well-placed sources in the Chandigarh Administration confirmed the appointment late tonight.

Prof Gupta is in the Aerospace Engineering Wing of the IIT, Kanpur. PEC had been recently upgraded as a deemed university and a search committee was formed to look for a suitable Director.

This search committee was headed by the Adviser to the UT Administrator, Mr Lalit Sharma, in his capacity of the Chairman of the Board of Governors of PEC.

The PEC is now run by the board and is not under the direct control of the Administration.

Three names had been shortlisted by the search committee. Apart from Prof Gupta, two more contenders Prof Madan Gopal and Prof R.K. Mittal — both from IIT Delhi — were in the race.

All three had come to Chandigarh last night and this morning they held discussions with the UT Administrator General S.F. Rodrigues (retd), who picked Prof Vijay Gupta out of the three.

The sources said it was decided as to what would be the fate of the present interim Director Prof Baljit Kapoor.

He may be asked to shift to the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology but that stage would come after Prof Gupta joins. 



Campus interviews being held in PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Department of Correspondence Studies recently started PG Diploma in Computer Application through correspondence from the session 2004-2005. A Delhi-based company interviewed students of PGDCA at the Computer Science Department, Panjab University, where a personal contact programme is being run from December 20 to December 30. On the spot campus interviews were conducted and one student out of four students was selected and given appointment letter with initial start of Rs 15,600. Some more students are expected to be selected according to Prof Devinder Singh, Chairperson, Department of Correspondence Studies, PU.

General body meeting

The Panjab University Library Staff Association at its Annual General Body Meeting has unanimously elected the following office-bearers and the members of Executive for 2005. The members are: president — Mrs Neelam Sharma; vice-president — Mr S.S. Bedi; secretary — Mr G.S. Thakar; joint secretary — Mr R.L. Arora and treasurer — Ms Navjeet Kaur.



CBSE cuts days for applying for rechecking
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
To enable students to get timely admission in professional courses, the CBSE had reduced the days during which a candidate can apply for rechecking of answer books. It will enable the board authorities to declare the result in time, said a senior officer of the board.

The decision was taken during a recent meeting of the Examination Committee held in New Delhi. The rule 61 (ii) of the Examination Bylaws had been amended to reduce the period.

Sources in the board said against the previous period of 25 days, now a candidate would have to apply within 21 days from the date of the declaration of results for the annual board examination and for the compartment cases, the time period was now 15 days.

As per the procedure, the process of rechecking of answer books begins within a day of declaration of the board results. The decision will be applicable during the board examinations being conducted in 2005.



Scientists throw light on emerging technologies
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, December 28
The Punjab Technical University (PTU), Jalandhar, organised lectures for the principals of various engineering colleges and the budding engineers at the Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, Dera Bassi, here today.

Eminent scientists Mr S.K. Salwan and Mr Prahalad delivered lectures on the occasion and informed the upcoming young professionals about the changing world of technology.

Mr Salwan spoke on the “Nano Technology”. He deliberated upon the potentials of the nanotechnology and its applications in the quality control and development of new products.

He also advised them to enter the field of ‘Research and Development’ to help make the nation stronger.

Known as the Missile Man of India, Mr Prahalad, spoke on a visionary topic, “Technology Strength and Technology Initiative”. He explained that how the technology demonstration achieved during the missile development programme could be used for industrial development and economic growth of the country.

Professor Avtar Singh, Chairman, Sri Sukhmani Institute of Engineering and Technology, appreciated the efforts of the PTU in organising such lectures at the institute.

Dr Y.S. Rajan, Vice-Chancellor of the PTU, thanked the college management, especially the efforts put in by Wg. Cdr. P Prabhakar (retd), Dr Y.P. Gupta and Mrs Kanwaljit Kaur in making the function a great success. 



NSUI to collect relief funds
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
The Chandigarh unit of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) at an emergency meeting held under the chairmanship of Nitin Goyal, president of the local unit, decided to collect donations for the PM’s Relief Fund.

A special relief collection cell has been formed and Mr Rajesh Kumar has been appointed in charge of the cell. Those who want to make a contribution can contact Rajesh Kumar at 9872725599.

Meanwhile, the NSS unit of the SGGS College has collected a sum of Rs 15,000, clothes and woolens for the Tsunami victims. Prof Amandeep Kaur, NS Programme Officer at the college, said more funds would be collected on a regular basis. Yesterday, the unit organised a free dental and eye check up camp in Kaimbwala.

NSS camp focuses on hygiene

On the seventh day of the 10-day NSS camp, being organised at GGDSD College, Sector 32, the volunteers were informed about personal hygiene and cleanliness.

The volunteers were involved in a cleanliness work outside the college main gate. Dr Safri Lal and Ms Suman Sharma encouraged the volunteers for such camps.

Euro-Enviro Quiz from Jan 28

The 3 rd All-India Inter-School Euro-Enviro Quiz 2004-2005’ is being held in the city next month. Beginning from January 28, nine schools from Chandigarh are competing for the trophy.

Recognising the need to inculcate concern for the environment at grassroot level, the Eureka Institute of Environment (EFIE), a non-profit organization dedicated to the cause of ensuring a better and pollution-free world, has announced to hold the contest.

Having tasted success for 2 years, the Euro-Enviro Quiz 2004-2005 is now bigger and better, reaching out to 1.5 lakh students with 156 premier schools across 14 cities participating.

Outlining the objectives of the quiz, Mr S.K. Palekar, Secretary, EFIE, said, “The quiz intends to help children look beyond their immediate surroundings and focus on larger issues involving their city, country and continent. We aim to sensitise students to the environmental concerns around them and assist them to become proactive citizens to safeguard the environment. The quiz targets the youth and has been designed with a dual objective to educate and entertain.”

This year the quiz is being conducted in 14 major cities across the country. After the preliminary elimination, the winners of the city finals from 24 schools will come to Mumbai for the national quarter and semifinals.

The winners will then compete at the national finals.



Orders to make discos safe
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 28
Going to discos will be safer for the city youth. This means fewer brawls, those getting tipsy will not be served drinks and carrying of arms will be strictly prohibited.

The District Magistrate-cum-Excise and Taxation Commissioner, Mr Arun Kumar, has issued an order to the owners of discotheques namely Copper Chimney, Sector 26, Aerrizona, Sector 9, Jail House, Sector 17 and Blues, Sector 34 to ensure that private security guards or “bouncers” are to be in place by January 24. The Blue Ice bar in Sector 17 has been asked to hire private security if the management wants to reopen the bar.

The District Magistrate has informed the owners that any dis-obediance of the order shall invite action under the relevant law. The idea is to make these places safer.

The discos will have to engage private security guards for the maintenance of order both outside and inside the premises. The private guards will carry out physical checks of all visitors/members to prevent carrying of any weapon/object of assault inside the premises.

A register for recording of particulars of all visitors has to be maintained. Also the bartender will not serve drinks to a person who appears to be loosing balance, says the order. Also security guards accompanying VIPs will be required to wear uniforms and take permission to carry weapon.

The Deputy Magistrate said it had been reported that discos with licensed bars in the city had become the hotbed of brawls and fights. 



Chill slackens morning walkers
Swarleen Kaur

Twiddling their thumbs, city residents wait for the sunrise. The morning chill surely bogs many of us down. As the temperature is dipping down it is becoming difficult for people to leave the bed early in the morning.

Consequently, now very few morning walkers and fitness freaks are seen in the city gardens and at the Sukhna Lake.

Even those who used to throng the Sukhna Lake a month ago in the wee hours have become lazier. Vigorous exercises are out. They no longer want to sit and relax.

The idea is to finish the walk as soon as possible and go back home. The young blood is reluctant to take cold head-on. Youngsters, who used to come in groups and do exercises and jogging, could no longer be seen.

There are many who don't want to get up early in the morning but it is their regime which beckons them. So, still some can be seen draped in jackets and long coats taking a walk in the morning.

Mr S. S. Rathore, police official deputed at the Sukhna Lake, says, “In early winters there were many morning walkers and people used to come in the groups for the morning walk. The hours of promised exercise have now been postponed a bit, they start the morning walk at 6.30 and walkers keep coming till 8 o' clock. Now many of them have started coming in the evening. "

Mr Ram Lal said, " Earlier I used to go in the morning at six o'clock to the lake but now I have changed my time and usually go in the evening along with my wife. Sometimes, we even have a cup of tea or snacks there."

Ms Harjeet kaur, a resident of Sector 10, said, " A sunless morning puts me off and now I don't go to the lake. I just wake up in the morning and make several rounds in my garden at the backyard. I know it is not like a walk at the Sukhna Lake but the fog has made me to stick to my garden. I will resume my morning walk at lake when the veil of chill will be lifted."

It is the only adamant morning walkers who are regular with their routine and interestingly they have not even changed their timings.

Take the example of Mr Gupta who has never missed the early morning walk not even once since the winters have started.

He religiously practices pranayam at the Rose Garden every morning at 6.30 am. He says keeping the health in good shape is more important than reciting mantras at Temple. Only fit and sound body can view the God and other valuable things of life with higher perspective.

It is for sure that the ones with steely resolve won't let the mercury upset their routine.



Portraying pangs of love
Aditi Tandon

Chandigarh-bred Renu Mahajan is living the joy of a dream realized. As her debut novel “Whispering Vines” travels through the critics’ circuit in India, she seems confident of her labour, believing her passion will not fail her. And she has all the reason in the world to relax, for responses to her first work of fiction have been encouraging in Canada where she migrated 24 years ago.

Back to roots, she is feeling comfortable as any writer would. But she does answer with a chuckle when one confronts her on the intriguingly named characters in her romantic novel which is set in Chile.

“I certainly worked hard on my characters, their entire personality. The names I chose emerged from my research. Daphne Deveraux, the French-Canadian woman, is the soul of my work. Damian Antunez is the love of her life, literally by default. Daphne has survived a fatal air crash, so has Damian’s daughter Anna who needs to be nurtured with love. Damian urges Daphne to impersonate his wife Francine who died in the crash,” says the writer in an interview with the Tribune in Chandigarh on Tuesday.

What follows is a poignant tale of love lost and found, and of the true love’s journeys through hardships. For Mahajan, the work is not very new for it was born in her imagination many years ago.

The script had been lying in the basement of her Calgary home in Alberta for long until she garnered enough courage to make it public. “I was not expecting that America’s foremost publishers Publish America would grace the work. But it was sold out in three months,” she prides.

The sale might have something to do with the “broken heart” of Daphne Deveraux. Broken hearts always run into several editions. Mahajan concurs, “Romance is eternally relevant. As far as the plot goes, I was clear in my mind as to what I wanted my characters to do. Later of course the characters decided for themselves.”

Well versed with children’s literature which she formally studied in Canada, Mahajan earlier handled the kid’s section for Calgary Herald, a daily published from Calgary. Later she published poems and several articles on issues concerning women across the east-west divide.

“This divide is purely geographical. Those who think women in the west are any better off than those in India are hugely mistaken. Our problems are similar. It’s a man’s world and a man loves to assert himself, despite nationalities. I have written several short stories on this issue, besides writing and directing plays in Canada,” says Mahajan who is also working on another novel which is set in India.

Also active on the cultural front, Mahajan has long served the cause of community in Calgary. She still organises concerts, conferences and bashes for her Indian friends in Canada. But more than anything else, she writes about women’s sensibilities and about how they change with the changing tides. TNS



A search for woman’s identity
S.D. Sharma

“Social evils, especially the predicament of the ‘woman’ in India, are rooted so deeply in the soil that a complete revolution is necessary for reformation. Extolled as an angel in our scriptures, the ‘woman’ is a mere romantic adulation in the contemporary male chauvinism, where she has to fight for her survival at every level of society,” reiterates playwright director Pali Bhupinder Singh through a powerful presentation of a classic Punjabi play, “Ghar-Ghar”. The play was staged at Tagore Theatre here today.

Staged by artistes of the Offstage Theatrical Activity Group, Moga, the play concluded the festival of plays under the aegis of the Suchetak Kala Manch in the honour of peerless thespian Gursharan Singh.

The play proved to be theatrical extravaganza in view of its potent theme, technical excellence in set designing, chiaroscuro effects and soulful renditions of poetry augmenting the emotional impact by actors.

The current of realism operated at all levels during the staging and artistes made the audience share their emotional outburst embalmed in every dialogue with its brilliance and drollery.

The director had given a befitting treatment to the theme to bring alive the abuse and condemnation a meek woman has to bear silently and without registering a protest.

Weaved with a usual dilemma of the woman, cursed to be betrayed by man, the story involved a complexity of emotions of the protagonist, Param, a maidservant, and Aman, wife of Ajit Kumar, who nexuses to achieve the multiplicity of motives out of the pastoral drama.

A research scholar and divorcee, Ishaan, an old classmate of Ajit, excavates explosive truths of Ajit’s illegal relationship with the maid.

The pulsating performance with meaningful social satires keeps the audience engaged for retrospection of the so-called modern society sacrificing moral ethics.

Leading the cast were Amar Manochahal (Param), Sachin Kohli (Prof Ajit), Rupinder Rupi (Aman), Anita Shabdeesh (Ishaan), Naresh Chawla (Peena MC), Palvinder (Tassy), Shabaz Singh (Shazzi), besides Varinder Kaur, Pushpinder Jeera, Raman and Sandeep Kakkar for other credits.

Earlier, Gursharan Singh shared his experiences as a person and a theatrical crusader for social justice.

He complemented his old associates for supporting him in securing the goal.



Music is medicine for this doctor
Geetu Vaid

Man with magical fingers, the epithet suits Patiala-based Dr Sukhdeep S. Boparai to the tee as his fingers hold the surgeon’s knife and move on the strings of guitar and on the keyboard with equal deftness.

This postgraduate in ophthalmology has performed several complicated operations and has restored the vision of thousands of patients in his 17-year-long career, besides attending several seminars and conferences in India and the world.

He has acquired a special place in the medical fraternity of the city as well as the state but it is music that has a special place in the heart of this healer. He has not only performed at several functions in India and abroad but has also recently released his CD, Emotions, having instrumental music of old Hindi film numbers.

Recorded with the latest digital technique, the CD has tunes of eight hit songs like “Mere mehboob kyamat hogi” and “Chalkaye jaam”. He believes that music mitigates suffering and gives one strength to fight thus helping in the healing process.

Born and brought up in Patiala, Dr Boparai completed his schooling from the YPS where his love for music bloomed as a captain of the school band. Telling about his love for music, he recalls the days in medical college, Patiala, when he and some of his friends started a musical group- Jazzy Boys — the Medicos.

This was something rare as medical students were associated with serious academic activities. “But playing the guitar relaxed my mind and actually helped me in performing well academically”, he says.The group won several prizes for the college in different college competitions and youth festivals and won the best orchestra award at the national-level youth festival in Meerut and Chandigarh in 1982 and 1983.

His love for music kept on deepening over the years and apart from the guitar he also plays the keyboard, mouth organ and other instruments. Talking about his CD, he said: “Though now I play only for my friends or at personal functions, I wanted to do something new so that’s how “Emotions” happened. It is not a commercial venture but a milestone in my musical journey”.

Even as a busy eye surgeon specialising in lasik laser technique, at his eye hospital and lasik laser centre and holding numerous free eye camps in the region, he finds time to pursue his hobby. “Music gives me immense peace of mind and relaxation after a tough day and motivation to fight tensions. Music purifies the soul and my profession gives me a chance to serve humanity so there is a strong link between medicine and music”, says Dr Boparai.

“In both these fields there is always a lot to learn and scope to grow so I keep learning new things to be a better doctor and a better performer too”, he adds. Emotions is just the beginning, says this doctor with a passion for music.

“There is a need to rediscover the magic of old numbers and to make the young generation enjoy the melodies and I will keep working towards this goal”, he adds while as a doctor fighting blindness is his chief aim. “A hobby does not hamper ones professional life but enriches it so everyone should follow their interests like I have done”, advises the doctor. 


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