C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students return from stint in foreign schools
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25
Two students of Vivek High School, Sector 38, Harsimran Chadha and Prateek Kanwal, are back from the exchange programme of Round Square member schools all over the world.

Prateek Kanwal, a Class XI student, went to Abbotsholme School, Manchester, UK. He studied in the sixth form, equivalent of Class XII in India. He stayed in the school’s boarding house. He was the only Indian in his class and the senior school while two others were studying in the junior school.

“I used to go for outings and visit Indian families on weekends to deal with homesickness. The school authorities even introduced me to the Indian families living there and we celebrated Baisakhi with a lot of enthusiasm there,” he says.

“The students there had reservations about meeting Indians and had an altogether different notion about India. They thought it to be a land of snakes and beggars. I had to make presentations to educate them about our culture. I surfed the net and took out material for my presentations. They were receptive. I also took them to a gurdwara and they were fascinated by the langar and how it is served. We also visited a temple,” he says.

He played in the school’s cricket team, took part in a 50-mile walk, went climbing in Wales, rafting and mountain biking and frequently went to watch Rugby matches.

“However, the best part of the trip was my visit to Alton Towers, the largest theme park in the UK. It was a dream come true. I was lucky to be selected for this exchange programme and go to a school that has over £21,000 as annual fees. I only had to pay for my ticket,” he states.

Harsimran Chadha of Class X went to Appleby College in Ontario. She went there for two months. “I was very impressed with the system of school education. We would study in the morning and participate in sports activities in the afternoons. The students of Appleby were very friendly and helpful. Each student was provided with a laptop and I studied Canadian history, geography, maths, drama and art. A special class for international students was also organised,” she added.

The school had its own gym and classes were held only thrice a week. “On some evenings, we used to go to the lakeside to see the CN tower which was visible from there. The school took us to Niagra falls, Wonderland and Toronto zoo. It was an amazing experience. Thirty students from all over the world had come,” she adds.



Industrial tours mandatory for PEC students
Swarleen Kaur

Chandigarh, July 25
Laboratories are not sufficient training grounds to groom technical students. Realising the importance of practical experience, Punjab Engineering College (PEC) has made industrial tour mandatory for its students. The tour will take students to big production houses to unable them to understand the dynamics of engineering.

This training existed before but it was stopped a few years ago. The Board of Governors, however, has decided to make this tour compulsory. The students of all departments in their third year will visit industries across the country. This decision has been welcomed by the staff and students. The tour expenditure will be borne by the students.

Mr M. L. Gupta, Placement and Training Officer of PEC said, “This move will prove very useful as it will instill confidence among the students. They would be able to differentiate between theory and its workshop implementation. It will definitely help in shaping their career.”

Prof S. C. Sharma, Head of the Aeronautical Department, is happy with the decision. “This is a good move and it will groom the students in the right manner. Since such trips will be organised and managed by the students themselves, they can learn many things while travelling.”

Sudhir Dhamija, a third-year student of the Aeronautical Department, said, “It will definitely provide us the much-needed exposure. I am sure it will help us in our career since we would be travelling in groups , learning will be fun.”

Mr Vijay Gupta, Director of PEC, said these tours would be undertaken by the students in November or December. “We will work out some strategies and the committee will come out with suggestions. We will include ideas of students also. The PEC authorities will remain in touch with reputed industries.” On the funding of the trips, he said the college would see to it that the students are given some financial help.



Pathak releases science journal
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
The latest volume of Panjab University Research Journal (Science) was released by Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor today. The journal conforms to the latest international scientific format and carries 19 full-fledged reports and three invited reviews.

To make the journal at par with any leading international journal, coloured plates have been introduced for the first time. All papers have been scrutinised by a panel of two to three referees drawn from their respective fields. In addition, the journal also carries abstracts of Ph.D. theses from science departments awarded by the university in 2004.

According to Prof. I.S. Dua, Professor, Botany Department, and Chief Editor of Research Journal (Science), the journal has witnessed 35 per cent jump in its sale. The boost in circulation-cum-sale has gone a long way in making the publication of the journal self-sufficient. The efforts will be made in the current financial year to enhance its circulation by 25 per cent so as to reach a break-even point between its expenditure and the cost of its circulation.

The journal has enrolled a significant number of paid annual members as well life subscribers.



Naya Gaon NAC: amended writ seeks status quo
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
The petitioner of a PIL petition challenging the decision of the Punjab Government to grant notified area committee (NAC) or nagar panchayat status to Naya Gaon, has filed an amended writ in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

On July 13, the high court had vacated the almost four-year-old stay on the November 2001 notification of the government regarding the constitution of the NAC.

The operation of the notification dated November 15, 2001, issued by the Department of Local Government, Punjab, notifying the grant of NAC status, had been stayed by the court till further orders on the petition filed by Dr B. Singh. The petitioner had challenged the legality of the notification.

However, on July 13, the Bench of Mr Justice J.S. Khehar and Mr Justice S.N. Aggarwal vacated the stay and adjourned the matter to August 3. During hearing, the petitioner had sought the permission of the court to file an amended petition.

In his amended petition, which is likely to be taken up for hearing on August 3, Dr B. Singh has prayed that status quo with regard to the onstitution of the NAC should be ordered till the pendency of the writ. He has stated that since a judgement dated October 12, 2004, of a Division Bench of the high court affects his petition, the amended petition was necessary. The judgement that he cited is the one delivered in the case of the Forest Hill Golf Club and Resort in Ropar. The court had ordered the demolition of the same on the grounds that it was constructed in violation of laws.

He has also stated that the Forest Hill judgement is under challenge in the Supreme Court. On an earlier hearing of his PIL, the petitioner had asked the Bench to adjourn the hearing till the Forest Hill case was decided.

The amended writ says that in case the respondents seek time to file replies, status quo must be ordered to continue in the matter of the constitution of the NAC.



Santoor wizard to perform on August 6
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, July 25
Santoor wizard, Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, will perform at a special concert to be held at PGIs Bhargava Auditorium on August 6 at 7 pm under the aegis of the Chandigarh Chapter of the Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture. Among Youth (SPIC-MACAY).

The Chandigarh chapter chairperson, Mr Harish Bhatia, said the annual convention of the North Zone would be organised for two days on July 6 and 7 at the faculty house of Panjab University. Delegates from Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Chandigarh would hold deliberations.

With a view to involving more art loving youngsters a meeting of the executive will be organised at the Student Centre, Panjab University, at 4 pm on July 27 to welcome the new aspirants.

Those interested can contact chairperson Harish Bhatia at phone no. 2749643 and 9815585815. 



Lawyer makes century
Gayatri Rajwade

“I am passing time,” says this old man whose staunch principles, unswerving faith in humanity and simple beliefs have brought him to the turn of the century. For Mr G. S. Giani, born on July 26, 1905, in Montgomery (now in Pakistan), life takes a full circle as he turns 100 tomorrow.

He did his Bar-at-Law in England in 1926 and started his career as a criminal lawyer in Montgomery and then moved to Multan. During the Partition, his family shifted to Rohtak (Haryana) where he was appointed Assistant Registrar of Claims for Refugees in Pakistan.

He was appointed Member Election Tribunal, where he petitioned for political stalwarts like former Deputy Prime Minister Devi Lal, former Haryana Home Minister Mani Ram Godara and former PEPSU Chief Minister Suraj Bhan, among others.

Sardar Pratap Singh Kairon, former Chief Minister Punjab, impressed with his acumen and knowledge appointed him Chairman, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, Punjab.

After his tenure as Chairman, he started his own practice in the Punjab and Haryana High Court and continued practising till 1990. He has also been at the forefront of all activities of the Chief Khalsa Diwan and other educational and religious institutions. An expert in the field of criminal, civil, election and accident cases, he took to writing extensively in the twilight of his years.

He has seen a century of changes, of transformed value systems and altered perspectives but it was the Partition that gave him most grief. “Families were separated and the bloodshed was completely unnecessary,” he says.

The Tribune, he says, has been his companion. “I used to read it in the library when I was in England, never missing a day,” he says.

As the entire family of 67 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren converge for the celebrations tomorrow, it is a visit to the gurdwara that will mark the special occasion.

A visibly proud Brig R. B. Singh shows off his father’s writings on scriptures and saints. “He has enormous respect for all faiths and religions, always placing them on the same platform of love and reverence.”

His writings on the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, besides his anthology of “Gurus, Prophets and Saints” enthral in their simplicity and beauty.

Life is about memories now. As he watches television, prays or meets his family, it is about keeping them together. “It is important to live together for that is how families are built,” he says.

Principles, goodness and honesty are what have kept him sane in this chaotic world. 



Ornamenting nails

Fiery colours, deliciously long and pierced! What characterises Pammy Singh are her pierced nails no less! Swarovsky diamond and nine karat gold ornaments embellish the nails of this creative stylist, hair dresser and nail art trendsetter all rolled into one.

Pammy Singh
Pammy Singh

Back in Chandigarh on a visit (for this is where she belongs), Pammy has just finished training top Indian stylists in haircare as an international trainer for Lakme in Delhi.

For this UK-based artist, it is this world of makeovers and transformations that delights her and where she has found her calling.

Having been awarded the highest honour in beauty and hairdressing in the western world—the National Vocational Qualification — for hair styling and having been trained by top professionals at the Wella Studio, London, Pammy knows she is ready to show the world, especially India, the splendour of the make-up world.

For Pammy who brought nail art to India last year, the potential in India is enormous. “The hair and beauty industry is changing and I can see a boom coming up. People want to look their best and want to experiment with new trends and fashions and we are ready to make that happen.”

Pammy will hold a free walk-in consultation on July 30 in Sector 8- C for hair, nails, skincare and bridal touches. This will be followed up by a five-day module on total beauty care, including beauty remedies, and lessons on draping heavy wedding saris. “Right from the make-up you use to the shampoo for your hair, there is a product that is most suitable for you. But, unfortunately most people do not know what will suit the their hair and skin the best.”

However, it is her nails that garner curious glances. An inventive splurge during her training days, has now turned into a style mantra. “My friend’s young son looked at my nails and said ‘wow masi, that is cool’ and I knew I had arrived,” she laughs. TNS



Balancing strands of life

Mukta Goel
Mukta Goel 

For this spirited lady, life is all about, “the need to keep the five elements of life in balance”. For Mukta Goel, selected as “Woman of the Year” in 1996, in the USA, the defining moment is the commitment to continue, to balance the many strands of her rather full life!

For Mutka, who grew up in the city, marriage opened up her horizons and moved her to California where her paediatrician husband lived and worked. It was here in 1978 that Mukta was first exposed to a series of remarkable programs for young people.

The first was “Volunteen”, a project where youngsters learnt the value of compassion and care towards senior citizens suffering from sickness and loneliness. “I was overwhelmed by the program. I knew I wanted to do this. It was amazing what these young boys and girls were imbibing through the project. I really wanted to be a part of it”, she said.

The other was the opportunity to work at a federally funded program for economically deprived families, counselling, nurturing and caring for young people and ensuring that grants kept coming in for these families from the Federal Government. Simultaneously, Mukta also decided to do her Bachelor’s in Child Development to be able to contribute more significantly towards young children and the youth.

A job of project coordinator, two children, large amount of homework and a fulfilling marriage did not deter this plucky lady. It took Mukta seven years to get her degree. “I was the chauffer, maid, laundry person, sweeper, cleaner, cook and entertainer!” she laughs.

At this point, Mukta decided to add more pies to put her fingers into. She started classes for Indians children in religion, festivals, history and geography, prayers and dances of India, which were conducted in her home, complete with games, cookies and milk! “Indians grow up feeling lost, confused-they face cultural challenges with their home environment being in total contrast to their lives outside. It was to bridge these differences that I decided to conduct these sessions,” says Mukta.

In 1996, Mukta Goel was selected as “Woman of the Year” by the Minority Women’s Network of Stanislaus County, USA, for “building the cultural gaps that boost self esteem” in young people for her work among underprivileged families and Indian children.

For this feisty lady, all this is a day’s work, which she attributes to tremendous support systems around her. “You need help with the small things, with tiny gestures, with little acts of encouragement and kindness and then you can conquer the world”, she says.

For this remarkable lady, who works in a spiritual bookshop today the lustrous trappings of the world are all means to a greater good. “I have been able to find myself, in small measure, because of an ever-changing world with indefinable needs. God, my parents and my environment have brought me here. I am yet to achieve so much and by the grace of my god I will”. TNS


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