Thursday, September 21, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Students to boycott Kisan Mela
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 20 — The strike called by the students of Agriculture College entered the second day today. Students boycotted classes and held a rally.

A gathering of around 500 students, was addressed by Mr Kamaljeet Singh, President, PAUSA, and others.

The students have decided to wear black badges and hold a rally on the occasion of the Kisan Mela also, which is to be organised on September 21 and 22. The students have decided to boycott the mela by refusing all duties on stalls.

Dr Pal Singh Sidhu, Dean, College of Agriculture, said, “We can only propose the demands to the Punjab Government but it is their responsibility to implement the same.”

Meanwhile, the students of the College of Veterinary Sciences have also decided to boycott the Kisan

Mela. A decision to this effect was taken at a combined meeting of the Unemployed Veterinary Doctors Association and Veterinary Students Association, under the Presidentship of Dr Amandeep Singh Riar.

The decision was taken to express resentment against the Punjab Government for not filling 500 vacant posts of veterinarians.

The students also demanded that the Indian Veterinary Council Act 1984 should be implemented. They also showed resentment against the conduct and training of 250 new veterinary pharmacists by the College of Veterinary Sciences, PAU.

A press note issued by Dr Rupinder Singh, Secretary, Unemployed Veterinary Doctors Association, said a memorandum will be given to the Chief Minister on his visit to the Kisan Mela.


GNP school case: Bhail seeks clarification
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 20 — Even though normalcy has returned to a large extent in the Guru Nanak Public School here, the controversy over the management committee of the school refuses to die down.

In the latest episode, Mr Ranjit Singh Bhail, General Secretary, Shri Guru Nanak Public School Trust, has filed an application in the court of Mr S.S. Arora, District Judge, seeking clarification of the orders passed by the court on September 18, directing restoration of the old management committee of Mr Jagat Singh and Giani Bhagat Singh in order to run the affairs of the school.

The orders had set aside previous orders by another district court directing that Guru Nanak Public School Trust be given the reins of the school. Mr Bhail had taken over the control of the school. But later, opposition from within the school staff started embroiling the school in one controversy after another. The school examination too had to be postponed.

However, Mr Bhail today filed another application in the court seeking clarity of its previous orders as to which of the three managing committees be observed for control of the management of the school. It demanded as to whether it was a committee appointed by the Trust vide a resolution in 1983 or was it another managing committee again passed through a resolution in 1999 of which Mr Bhail is the member or was it the committee of Mr Jagat Singh and others which had been given the right to manage the affairs of the school?

Mr Bhail further pleaded that he wanted to clarify on the actual managing committee as he had to hand over a cash amount of Rs 1,48, 925 which he had deposited in the Central Bank of India, Civil Lines, in the name of the trust, receipts of the donation taken in name of the Trust and the keys of the room of the school principal to the rightful management committee.


Folk music casts a spell

FOLK songs of the Langas and Manganiyars of Jaisalmer have an earthy feel, as land and culture are inextricably linked. The pattern of seasons and its associated images of change are woven into the fabric of the country’s music, dance and folklore tradition. Langas and Manganiyars have been instrumental in preserving the rich tradition of Jaisalmer from the times of Lord Krishna.

The Langas and the Manganiyars have had no formal training in music or dance, but they have been singing and dancing for many generations. They sing on happy occasions like the birth of a child, marriages and festivals.

Their folk songs are based on classical raags and Raginis like Khamaj Bilwal, Kalyan, Maru and Saurath.

Traditionally they belong to those tribes who have been entertaining the people of the region since many generations, but now they have crossed traditional boundaries and have started travelling around the world and have been appreciated in every country for their music and songs.

Yesterday’s programme began with shehnai vadan, considered to be auspicious. It suggested an ongoing of festive occasion and one was transported into another world. As per tradition, a welcome song Kesaria balam aao Padharo hamare des was sung soulfully.

Algoza a twin bansuri, is a very popular instrument used in folk songs. The tune was based on raag Kalyan. The melodious tune took one to the years of yore in the forests where Krishna played his flute and the gopis surrounded him. The jugalbandi between shehnai and dholak was breathtaking.

Next, the Halaria was sung. The audience were told that Halaria was sung at the birth of Lord Krishna. Usually these people go and sing this song at the birth of a baby, and are generally paid in kind. Some times they are even gifted a camel or a goat. Singing, however comes naturally to them, the effect of which is enhanced by unique musical instruments like the kamaicha and Khartal.

The next presentation was a jugalbandi between dholak and khartal. The khartal is the simplest instrument imaginable. It comprises of four wooden pieces. Two each are held in one hand. The music is created by clicking them. Therein lies the technique. No one could ever imagine that simple wooden pieces could produce such phenomenal music. The dholki players’ fingers danced swiftly and the players seemed to enjoy the challenge between themselves.

Another unheard of instrument, a very tiny one, made of iron called marchang, was played by a mangniyar beautifully. Nimbura the famous song from the movie Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam’, was their traditional folk song. Many of their traditional songs have been plagiarised.

The piece-de-resistance was a dance by Khatu Devi of the Kalbelia tribe. The Been of the snake-charmers charmed the audience. But surprisingly, a beautiful young Rajasthani girl dressed in traditional Rajasthani dress, with mirrors and kawri shells, emerged like a sweet dream. Her agile and serpentine movements hypnotized every one. Her ghagra moved around her as she twirled and pirouetted. She then, took off two iron bands from her fingers and placed them on the floor and gracefully bent back to pick those rings with her eyelashes — a feat that was truly fantastic.

The group comprising of ten people were Sakar Khan, Paipa Khan, Chanan Khan, Jalal Khan, Feroz Khan, Habib Khan, Kheta Khan (the leader) Khatu Devi, Barkat Khan and Dhewar Khan. All of them sang with great enthusiasm and fervour, the evergreen Dama dam mast kalandar made the audience really mast.

Langas, traditionally have Muslim patrons, whereas Mangniyars have Hindu patrons. We wish them luck on their forthcoming trip to Spain. — AA


A painter of distinction

AMONG the painters of Punjab, J.S. Garcha of SAS Nagar holds a place of distinction for his paintings on a large number of themes such as life, society, nature and environment. In a brief conversation on the current trends in art forms, Garcha said that through his art he was trying to get to the bottom of things so as to discover the mystery of life.

From promoting art as a professional and giving an aesthetic touch to the art gallery of Punjabi University, Patiala, to an art critic and a creative artists, his career has taken full circle. He has been dabbling in drawing, masses of black in oils, and figures carved on graphics.

In fact, his drawings and paintings appear to speak of a trapped existence or the continuity of life. Masses of his strokes or blobs seek to convey a ray of hope after darkness. His graphics emit vibrations and their beauty comes from within.

Garcha uses different colours to depict different moods and expressions of nature, man, and life. He uses oil and water colours as the base and adds pastels for effects.

Garcha is a thinking artist. Themes like the reality and rationality of life, the agony, pain and pleasure of man, and above all, his spirituality have been his favourites. He studies the themes thoughtfully and plans his moves before getting down to his canvas. Once he begins, he moves at a pace that can be the envy of any artist.

In his drawing room, colourful paintings of Guru Nanak Dev, Jesus Christ, Lord Buddha, and terracota figures of Ganesha and Goddess Durga attract the attention of the visitor. “The Gurus, saints, gods and goddesses have been my inspiration to paint themes of brotherhood of man, faith in God and non-violence as a way of life”, says Garcha. A painting on spirituality done by him has been admired by artists as well as the lovers of art. Although his paintings depicting scenes of a bomb blast, an explosion, and a hospital have been works of great artistic merit, yet the ones on the cold war and spirituality have shot him into prominence.

Garcha has also painted landscapes which include scenes of rural Punjab as well as of the City Beautiful during his 11-year tenure as lecturer in painting in the Government College of Art, Chandigarh. His paintings and drawings carry no titles because he does not want to restrict the perception of the viewers. According to Garcha just as soulful music provides solace and enchantment to the mind through the ears, a painting should have an effect on the eyes and the mind.

Recipient of a number of awards and honours, 52-year-old Garcha has participated in a large number of state and national-level exhibitions. At present, he is a lecturer in the Department of Fine Arts, Punjabi University, Patiala.

— J.S. Bedi


Saving history hidden in monuments
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Sept 20 — Ms Gurmeet Rai, a postgraduate in preservation of architecture from Delhi School of Planning spoke candidly to the students of Guru Nanak Engineering College on the need to preserve monuments. The programme was organised by SPICMACAY. “Historically, kings have constructed monuments and gone. Now it is up to us whether we want to prolong or reduce their longevity,” said Ms Rai in a lecture-cum-demonstration talk.

Ms Rai worked as an architect for four years. “I did not find the work satisfying. Whenever I used to travel, I would see historical buildings, bridges etc in a dilapidated state. So I thought I should do something. As I belong to Gurdaspur, I decided to list all historical monuments, havelis, bridges and minarets of Punjab. I started this work in 1995 and travelled not only on the GT Road, but also on the Badshahi Sarak, the highway made by the Mughals. I have listed 1,500 monuments that need to be saved whereas the Punjab State Department of Archaeology has listed only 27 ‘endangered monuments’. Out of the 27, only three Sikh monuments have been marked for preservation. Not a single bridge or church built by the British has been considered important enough to be preserved.” says she.

According to Ms Rai, “When one undertakes conservation, one should not destroy the historical elements. These days in the name of conservation, the original structure is changed. Instead of the original mud, marble is being used. Hence the beauty of the structure is ruined”.

Ms Rai has started a movement, Cultural Resource Conservation Initiative. The manifesto’s theme is: ‘preserve the planet’. The organisation is getting help from UNESCO. Ms Rai says she has not been able to rope in the urban middle class but is getting cooperation from the rural people.

She wants more and more people to become aware of their heritage and conserve it. “We can bring in change only if there is a strong political will. The state government is apathetic towards its heritage. Without government support, individuals cannot take up the gigantic task of conservation of monuments”.

In her interaction with the students, she also showed a film on monuments, mosques, minarets and havelis which are lying in a state of disrepair. She exhorted the students to form pressure groups to bring in the required change and asked the teachers to conduct workshops on “traditional ways of construction”.“Punjab does not have grand palaces and mansions like Rajasthan, but that does not mean that smaller Punjabi historical monuments should be neglected”, she said, adding that “restoration of monuments is an act of faith.

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