Monday, August 13, 2001, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Coveted Chairs unfilled in PU
Sanjeev Singh Bariana
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
More than four years after their institution, five coveted Chairs of academic research and excellence remain unfilled in Panjab University.

The chairs include Jawaharlal Nehru Chair Professor (technology), Lal Bahadur Shastri Chair Professor (public administration), Sri Aurobindo Chair Professor (philosophy), Dr B.R. Ambekdar Chair Professor (political science) and Sarojini Naidu Chair Professor (English).

The Panjab University Syndicate at a meeting in July, 1997, had instituted these chairs. However, nothing happened till May, 2001, when the matter came up before the Senate for a final approval of the guidelines.

The Chairs had been instituted as Golden Jubilee Chair Professorships.

Prof K.N. Pathak, Vice-Chancellor, when contacted, said the accounts of the university were being settled and the last minute formalities being worked out. The chairs have been instituted under the university fund for higher education. Following completion of the formalities, the university would go ahead with the appointments, he added.

The Vice-Chancellor said the process had already started and appointments would be made according to norms. The search is already on for academically suited personalities to match the Chairs.

The proposal reads, “Professors of eminence be invited. They be paid a fixed renumeration of maximum of the professor’s grade which is Rs 22,400. They should be provided rent-free accommodation.”

The minimum stay of the visiting professors would be two months which could be extended to one year. They have to be invited while the academic session is in progress.

Panjab University will publish the lectures delivered by the visiting professors. During the session two or three professors could be invited at a time.The committee has authorised the Vice-Chancellor to invite eminent professors and appoint them against any of the Chairs.


Save Education Day’ on Sept 5
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
The All-India Federation of University and College Teachers Organisations (AIFUCTO) has decided to observe Teachers Day on September 5 as “Save Education Day” throughout the country.

This was disclosed to the media here today by Mr K.B.S.Sodhi, president, Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union. He said teachers staged protest dharnas from August 6 to 10 outside the office of the University Grants Commission office in New Delhi. Teachers from Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir staged a dharna on August 6 while those from Haryana were on dharna on August 8. Members of Parliament addressed the demonstrators on different dates and condemned the “anti-teacher and anti-education policy” of the NDA government.

While observing “Save Education Day”, different affiliates of AIFUCTO would demand more funds for higher education, a ban on the entry of foreign universities, an end to the communalisation and commercialisation of education through privatisation and fulfilment of the assurances given by the HRD Minister, Dr Murli Manohar Joshi, on September 5, 1998, when a 26-day-long nationwide strike by university and college teachers was called off.


Madarsas to impart computer education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
With a view to prepare Muslim students for employment, the Central Government has decided to impart computer education in the madarsas all over the country, Dr M.S. Usmani, national president of the Minority Morcha of the BJP, said here today.

Talking to reporters, Dr Usmani accused the Congress and other political parties of using the Muslims as vote bank for the past over 50 years and trying to keep them out of the mainstream.

Till the Muslims joined the mainstream, they would continue to lag behind in the social and educational fields, he asserted.

Contrary to popular perception, the current BJP-led government at the Centre had done much for the welfare of the Muslims, he said, claiming that a large number of Muslims were joining the BJP.

Meanwhile, the National Muslim Welfare Movement, at a meeting under the chairmanship of its president, Dr Anwar Ali, demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged corruption in the Punjab Wakf Board.

It demanded that a Muslim regiment in the memory of Shaheed Abdul Hamid be constituted.

Demanding the fourth language status for Urdu all over the country, the movement urged the state government to provide reservation for Muslims according to their population.

The meeting was of the view that the terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir were being operated by the Pakistan-supported terrorist groups. The jehad in the name of Islam was basically a non-Islamic act which has no place in Islam.

It demanded that the problems of general public of the state be solved within the constitutional limits.

Through another resolution, the movement demanded nominations in all advisory committees of the Chandigarh Administration and the Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh. A proper space for the construction of Khwaja Garib Nawaaz Bhavan was also demanded.


PEC candidates hold meeting
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
More than 70 students who have applied for admission to Punjab Engineering College met at Panjab University here today. These students along with their parents discussed the possibility of postponement of the date of second counselling of joint admissions to the PEC slated to start on August 29.

The students have decided to meet the Vice-Chancellor tomorrow and the UT Home Secretary later. They have asked for the postponement of the date of second counselling of PEC admissions.


Talk at PU
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
Mr K. Natwar Singh, former diplomat and Union Minister, will deliver a talk on “Peace — Agra summit and after” here on August 18 at English Auditorium, Panjab University.


With dreams in his eyes
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
His eyes are dreamy with great hopes. All of 24 and here he is with a bagful of offers from the fashion world and Bollywood. With virtually no serious experience in ramp modelling, Panchkula’s Rajan Nanda is back home after sharing the attention of fashion stalwarts with top-slot models of India like Rahul Dev and Zulfi Syed. Rajan was the only newcomer at the Lakme India Fashion Week (IFW), which concluded in Mumbai’s Taj Hotel today, and the only one from Chandigarh and Panchkula.

This model, who will shortly feature on the big screen, does not hand down all credit to destiny. He admits that “luck courted him on the road to success rather earlier than expected”, yet he adds, “I did sweat it out for months together. This is the reward.” Rajan was supposed to participate in the last day’s show at the IFW, but he rushed back after learning about his father’s heart attack.

A product of St Stephen’s, Sector 45, and of DAV College, Rajan’s interest in fashion dates back to days when Chandigarh Carnival used to be a regular feature. Even today he remembered, “I always used to be slotted for the fashion parade, which was conducted towards the end of the carnival. But that was it. My experience at the ramp never really grew until about two months back when I shifted to Mumbai to see if my personality was any worth.”

Till two months back, Rajan had little idea that he would soon be marking his presence on the stage with leading models. Streaks of pride fill his eyes as he recounts how it all happened. “I think the best thing I did was get my portfolio made from Daboo Ratnani. As the pictures began doing rounds of the industry, a menswear designer Krishna Mehta became interested in my looks. I have just done an assignment for her, which will appear in this month’s Savvy issue. From there the market became fond of me.”

The real break came when Rajan dropped his pictures in the office of IMG, the organisers of India Fashion Week. Says Rajan, “I just took a chance. I never knew I would clinch the offer. In fact, I consider myself blessed for this kind of an offer. Such offers evade even established models for years together.”

Within no time, Rajan found himself rehearsing for the show under choreographers Aparna, Tanya, Lubna Adams, Asha and Achla Sachdev. He took the ramp as if he was never really away from it. Rajan laughed, “Well, we used to rehearse from 8 am till about past midnight. Choreographers helped me correct the gait and posture. I was even asked to get rid of that extra bulk, for which I went to a gym in Bandra.”

Courtesy IFW, Rajan was even noticed by leading film producers, who extended offers to him. Says the boy, “That’s my real aim and I am willing to work hard for that. I don’t know how to act, but I did not even know how to really model. But I guess, the will to do things takes you there.” Rajan’s confidence has won modelling offers for him. He has been signed up by Colours and another new sports brand for sportswear and shoe ads.

There sure is more lined up for him, who is also pursuing a correspondence degree in MBA from Symbiosis Institute in Pune. This is to help his father in business. Ask him how he plans to balance his expected routine at Bollywood with the academic schedule at Symbiosis, and he replies with comfort, “That will be manageable. It would just require time management.”

As for films, Rajan perceives himself in romantic and action leads, with many pictures in his portfolio making him an Aamir Khan look-alike.


A date with exotic Indian art and artisans
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 12
It’s a collection straight out of dreams. The line of artisans, showcasing rare arts of India at Lala Lajpat Rai Bhavan in Sector 15 has dotted the city earlier also, but there is something very exotic about the collection every time it comes up for the aesthetic lot to savour.

The show, put together under the common head of Dastkarita by the Bunkar Avam Dastkar Vikas Samiti, Jaipur, has a host of novelties. The delightful aspect of the entire ensemble, patronised by the Government of India, Ministry of Textiles, is that it serves to mirror the grandeur of the Indian arts and crafts. Highly-acclaimed rural workmen can be seen giving live demonstrations of their exuberant art for the viewers.

This is the first time that as many as 42 artisans have gathered in the city from places as far as Kochampalli and Kanyakumari to test their hands on the North Indian clientele. For them, it’s a heartening fact that the city residents, after rejecting the routine high-flying stuff, have been increasingly inclined towards their crafts. No wonder then that the frequency of exhibitions by craftsmen, registered with the Ministry of Textiles, has been increasing in the city.

Most of the products featuring in Dastkarita — right from the jute jhoolas of Calcutta, daris of Agra to Madhubani paintings of Bihar — are all about finesse and grace. But there are some creations which Chandigarh has never seen before. Chandigarh Tribune spoke to the unassuming rural artisans, whose talent generally remains buried under the obscurity of their villages.

Lokesh and Balu belong to Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. They are the creators of the majestic Konark Wheel, which greets the eye right at the entrance to the venue. After talking to Lokesh, one finds out that this magnificent creation out of neem wood had taken four long months to complete. The two have many wall panels bearing images from spiritual texts.

Sagar Kumar sits in front of his collection which revels in beauty. The physical handicap has not prevented Sagar from going on with miniature paintings on Kishangarh furniture. He spends days together to create a masterpiece. He has often been rewarded for his work by the Indian government.

Rakesh Kumar has grown to become a master block printer. Belonging to Jaipur, this man is the brain behind Dastkarita and the president of the Bunkar society. His hand block printed material has always been lapped up at big fairs in Mumbai and Delhi.

Deepak Patel’s work exudes the charm of Gujarati art. While the memories of devastating quake are still fresh on his mind, he has chosen to use his art for ameliorating the condition of many others back home. His collection comprises beautiful mirror-laced purses (each purse embedded with as many as 400 mirrors). He also has the typical Gujarati wall panels and many other decorative items.

Silk of Bihar is coming to Chandigarh for the first time. This product scores on the scale of purity. It has no cotton base. R.P. Gupta, the artisan, has a strong hold in Nalanda. His ensemble consists of bed covers (created on single loom), silk material and many more rare crafts. Farid Ahmad’s Chanderi has won him many honours from the Handicraft Societies of India. He has been to the city earlier.

Next on the list is the composite stone work of Dev Nidhi, who is a frequent participant in the “Dilli Haat” fair. Created out of composite stone, this product is resistant to breakage. The laughing Buddha and another Buddha in a state of Nirvana are two exotic products on his bench.

The driftwood works of Suresh Pant from Nainital tell a tale of master craftsmanship. This wood, collected from banks of rivers and lakes, is moulded by rubbing sand paper against it. No other instrument is used to give shapes to this wood. That is why the thumbs of many artisans who work on driftwood fall numb due to difficult workmanship.

On other counters, there are beautiful handloom and handicraft products by artisans registered with the government — tana bana works from Kochampalli, South cotton from Mangalgiri, Kantha from Calcutta, khuja wood works from Bihar. Shyam Sunder Mandal works on khuja wood, which is burnt after being moulded into the required shape. This rare craft product is being exhibited in the city for the first time.

Among other products, which have received the recognition from the Ministry of Textiles are — Kota doriya material of artisan Zakir, date palm leaf basketry of Pardeep Bawa, who belongs to Palwal (Haryana). Pardeep Bawa is the only artisan into date palm creations in the North. Navneet Vohra’s Nuwood works have been increasingly gaining ground in various fairs sponsored by the government.

The Dastkarita will be on view till August 19.

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