Tuesday, September 26, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


Use of CDs makes learning fun
By Deepkamal Kaur

LUDHIANA, Sept 25 — Tired of looking for a good teacher to teach your children and that too at charges well within your budget? Well, now there is no need for this strenuous exercise as hordes of education compact discs (CDs) to be played on computers are available in the market. Not only do these provide an endless knowledge on various subjects but some versions even teach syllabus of a class.

Such learning through CDs is fast catching the fancy of parents. Not only are these a convenient form of education but are in fact real fun for the students. Several companies which are into the making of educational CDs are now coming up with the latest versions that cover complete syllabus of most of the subjects of classes VIII to XII. Since these CDs are highly interactive, they create a classroom-like atmosphere.

Most of the CDs are very well illustrated and help one glance through each and every bone and muscle of the body through 3-D models of the human body. One can virtually travel to any country, explore its flora and fauna and even meet the natives. If the user does not understand a word, a double click on the word gives a complete illustrated definition of the word.

Some CDs even read out the text for the user. The IBM CD package comes with a free microphone and speech software. The software types the message that the user speaks out, thus, enabling the students to prepare their notes much quickly. If one has a printer, a print out of the prepared notes or any other matter in the CD can be taken and read at any time. Special tools to highlight main points are also available which hasten the process of learning later on thousands of colour photographs, step-by-step teaching, followed by practice problems.

Mrs Ravinder, parent of a class V child, says, “I always had to forcefully send my son to tuitions. When I recently bought a computer and some educational CDs for him, he started showing keen interest in studies. Now he daily opens up CDs and works out various exercises that are there on his own.”

CDs on encyclopaedias, on literature, geography, history and medical sciences are also available. One encyclopaedia on literature has 10,000 entries providing in-depth coverage on prominent authors and their works. A medical dictionary lists 53,000 words from medical terminology.

Besides, there are a variety of CDs for nursery kids. At some nursery schools here, there are CDs that help the kids identify colours, vegetables, alphabets and numbers. As the rockets shoot up on the computer screen, tiny tots count their number. They hear the roars of the tiger and shout with excitement. Objects of different shapes are shown to the kids and the teacher tells them to select triangles, squares and circles with the mouse.

All what one requires to play a CD is a 486 DX and 166MHz computer with 16 MB RAM, CD ROM drive, 39 MB hard free disc space and a sound card. If one has an Internet connection, some CDs even give links to other websites related to that subject.


Rich traditions from the East
By Asha Ahuja

LUDHIANA, Sept 25 — Charu Mathur and Raj Kumar Singhajit, both great exponents of the Manipuri school of dance, won the audience’s heart by their gentle dance movements, typical of Manipuri dance.

Raj Kumar is known for his great mastery of the art and his complete dedication. He has distinguished himself as an outstanding performer, choreographer, scholar and artist of creative ability. Charu Sija Mathur’s name is synonymous with Manipuri dance. Her works reflect the extremely rich traditions of Manipuri culture and her presentations are marked for their elegance, maturity, sensitivity and sophistication.

Incidentally Charu was a student of Raj Kumar when cupid struck and they married. Dance, however, remains their first love.

Whether the dancers are from the West or the East, they always start with a prayer. Raj Kumar addressing the students said, “We have been independent from last 53 years and yet our students have a poor knowledge of our heritage. Probably you do not know anything about us as we are from the East. We speak Manipuri. Manipuri is the classical dance of our region. It is performed very gracefully. Our dance, like other classical dances had its origin in religion. In Manipur, no puja is complete without a dance. We are Vaishnavs, devotees of Lord Krishna. Raslila is the most important part of Manipuri dance and out of the five types of Raslila, we are going to depict Vasant Raslila.

In the Raslila, Radha comes hearing the musical notes of Krishna’s flute. She tries to spot him. Finally he becomes visible and both of them dance very gracefully and later on it is ‘gulal time’. They throw colour at each other. This small piece was done in perfect harmony between the two dancers and the highlight of the dance was the extremely delicate movements of hands and feet.

Raj Kumar said, “We have been carrying on our traditional dances from thousands of years. We do not want to bring in any change for we are afraid of God’s wrath. In our temples, the priestess were young girls. Till now this tradition of finding a teenage girl as a priestess is going on. A girl is selected after a lot of hard work and then she is trained in Manipuri dance.”

This dance of a young priestess was performed by Veena, their pupil. Her perfect coordination of hands and feet made the student audience applaud. She was very light on her toes and moved like a graceful gazelle.

Like most classical dances, the themes are selected from our epics. The piece the couple chose to dance on was based on the story of Arjun falling in love with Chitrangada of Manipur, during one of his trips.

Later on, over a cup of tea, Charu laughingly said, “You know the roles were reversed. Arjun was from Delhi and Chitrangada from Manipur, but today it was other way round. I am from Delhi and Raj Kumar is from Manipur.”

Lastly two of their male students performed an energetic dance while playing on the mridangam. The dancers’ movements and their hands on the mridangam moved in perfect sync. They won a lot of applause.

Raj Kumar said, “At least now when you ever see a Manipuri dance live or on television, you will know that this is an important classical dance of India. If we have succeeded in making you aware of Manipuri dance, we think we have succeeded in our mission.” 


Punjabi singers to get website
From Our Correspondent

LUDHIANA, Sept 25 — punjabisinger.com, a web directory on Punjabi singers and their songs will be launched by Artcave, a web designing company, at Guru Nanak Dev Bhavan tomorrow.

The site will give detailed information on the lives, awards, likes and dislikes of the Punjabi singers. It will also provide information on Punjabi musicians, lyricists, music directors and recording studios. Mr Rinka of Artcave said, ‘‘punjabisinger.com will be a business directory for the singers and other music artistes as it gives their addresses, phone numbers and even e-mail addresses. Soon the feature to play songs will also be added on the site.’’

Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal, former Union Minister of State for Industry, will be the chief guest on the occasion. Mr Raj Babbar, film star and Member Parliament, will formally inaugurate the site.


Pencil portraits his forte

MANJIT SINGH draws portraits in pencils. He has put up an easel in the corridor of Sarabha Nagar Market. He is good at sketching portraits. The resemblance between the person and the work of the artist is amazing. A graduate from the Delhi School of Art, he had spent five years learning painting and drawing. His hand is fluid and movements swift and deft. Earlier, he used to draw portraits in Delhi.

He started sketching portraits in pencil of the holiday revelers on Sundays in Sarabha Nagar Market a few weeks ago as he thought that there were a very few outlets where he could make the public aware of his skill. He charges around Rs 100 for a sketch and takes about only 10-15 minutes to complete it.

“For rest of the days, I paint portraits in water colours and oil colours. I like to make sketches of Gurus. I can copy the master pieces like Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper. I have tied up with the Darpan Club and regularly I hold painting exhibitions.”

In February he met with an accident. He was in coma for almost two months. But gradually he came out of it and picked up the threads of life again.

“I thank God that he has given me a new lease of life. I can draw and paint again. If I had lost this ability, life would have become torture for me. My accident has slowed me down. I have developed some speech impairment but I count my blessings every day that I am alive and I am able to earn my living the way I want to.”

The rush did not seem to be ebbing off as many people wanted their sketches to be made. — FAC

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