Friday, March 8, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Foul is fair for 10+2 Jhajjar examinees

Jhajjar, March 7
The examinees of the 10+2 class have been resorting to unfair means on an unprecedented scale in the ongoing examinations conducted by the Haryana Board of School Education. According to the education department sources, about 12,000 students are appearing for the senior secondary exams, March 1 onwards, in 49 examination centres, 23 in urban areas and remaining in rural areas.

The authorities have made elaborate arrangements to check the menace of copying. However, the efforts have come a cropper as a number of people can still be seen around the examination centres. They are there to lend a hand to their wards appearing for the exams.

The flying squad is there too, but not of much use. The official sources said that three squads of Special Task Force of the Education Board, four squads of the Education Department and teams of the Deputy Commissioner and SDMs at Jhajjar and Bahadurgarh were raiding the centres regularly.

The prohibitory orders under Section 144 of CrPC had also been imposed at the centres. An official report of the Education Department informed that 26 cases of cheating had come to light during the papers of English and Hindi. The number is likely to increase as ‘difficult’ papers of science and mathematics are due.

Mr Dinesh Yadav, SDM, Bahadurgarh said that during his visits at certain centres, he observed that almost 60 per cent students depend on copying while 35 per cent are inclined to use unfair means if a situation is ‘convenient’, that is whenever they get a chance.

He said that in some cases even invigilators could be found helping and encouraging the students to take help from outside.

During his raid earlier this week, the flying squad registered six cases of copying, two in Holy Child School and four at Government Senior Secondary school at Bahadurgarh.

According to some reports, the authorities of some private schools made ‘arrangements’ in advance for their students. It is learnt that they do this as more student get admissions in the schools which show good results. While the result of the government schools was around 35 per cent last year, it was more than double in the private schools.

An owner of a private school who faced flak for making ‘special arrangements’ for his students, said at Bahadurgarh today that his school secured fourth position throughout Haryana last year.

He, however, denied reports of mass copying by the students of his school. He said, “You can visit the centre yourself and observe the goings-on.” The district education officer could not be contacted for his comments. However, the Deputy Commissioner, Mr Ashok Khemka, expressed satisfaction at the situation prevailing in the centres in the district. All the same, he held that if a complaint against any private school was made, he would take a stern action.



23 cheating cases in one exam centre
Our Correspondent

Rewari, March 7
As many as 23 incidents in which students had used unfair means were detected by the flying squad of the Haryana Board of School Education at the examination centre at Sangwari, 10 km from here.

The squad also detected four such cases at the Budhpur, three at Kanwali and one each at the Kosli (Vocational Institute) and Rewari (Saini Senior Secondary School) centres. Moreover, reports said that outsiders caused a lot of disturbance at the examination centres at Kund, Kanwali, Budhpur etc.

Meanwhile, the administration has increased the number of police personnel deployed at the centres as well as appointed internal observers to curb the menace of external disturbance at all such centres.



‘Teachers must know changes affecting economy’
Our correspondent

Rohtak, March 7
Although the process of globalisation and liberalisation has ushered in significant socio-economic changes, the economic scenario of the world has been affected in the post-September 11 terrorist attack in New York. Inaugurating the UGC-sponsored refresher course in economics at Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU) here, the Vice-Chancellor, Maj-Gen (retd) B. S. Suhag, said that all these uncertainties, processes and changes affected the economy and, as such, the teachers must be fully aware of them. Nearly 50 teachers from various universities and colleges are taking part in the refresher course which will conclude on March 27.

The Vice -Chancellor urged the teachers to constantly update their knowledge of the subject. He said that the economy of a nation was affected by the continuous transformation going on around us. Underlining the importance of the economy, he said, it was the foundation of both the society and the polity.

Delivering the keynote address, Prof S. B. Dahiya, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences and a well-known economist, said that economists must ponder over the problems of unemployment and other important economic problems of the day. He said that economists must probe as to why Indians were so poor in entrepreneurial innovations.

He also pleaded for the inclusion of philosophy, political sciences and economic history in the economic syllabus for undergraduate courses in order to produce better economists, who was also a civilized human being. 



Pre-medical entrance exam on April 28

New Delhi, March 7
The all India pre-medical/pre-dental entrance examination will be conducted on April 28, said a release issued by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).

To facilitate the candidates, particulars of eligible candidates with roll numbers and centre of examination have also been put up on the CBSE website htpp:// This year 2,13,850 candidates out of whom 83,155 are girls will be appearing for the examination that will be conducted at 411 centres spread across 32 cities. OC



Painting the different strokes of terrorism
Rana A Siddiqui

Terrorism begins in the mind. Even if you destroy one form, another looms large – staring at you in the face, intimidating and mocking. Unless you kill the terrorist within, how can you expect the world to be a beautiful place? That in nutshell is the work of Rajendra Prasad, an artist from Gorakhpur and a lecturer at College of Arts, Lucknow, whose creations are displayed in the Lalit Kala Gallery.

Prasad’s uniqueness lies in his ability to capture the various faces of terrorism. He successfully conveys that the best way to combat terrorism is to banish perverted thoughts from one’s mind. The use of bright shades is his hallmark.

He explains: “The theme cannot be painted in light colours because it denotes an explosion, which gives birth to countless shades.”

Prasad, who has to his credit countless solo and group shows, portrays village life in Gorakhpur with the same elan. “I love figurative work,’ says the artist. ``It enables my village folk to identify themselves with my paintings. And that is my real award,” says this 35-year-old artist who has no patron and finds Delhiites better judges of art than Mumbaiwalas. “The latter go in more for decorative items rather than real paintings with some even having a preference for a nice frame! They also haggle to the extent of humiliation,” he complains.

In the same gallery, you will find Shibalik’s sculptures in `synthetic’ fibres. It is apparent that he has many firsts to his credit. He is the only one in India to dabble in this medium, which he has invented. The 39-year-old Lucknow-based artist’s creation on the `Bullgod Nandi’ and ‘Ganesha’ and their association is also a theme that has not been attempted earlier. In creating a mix of various shades in these figures, he has notched another first.

A visual treat, his creations have won him accolades in India and abroad

If too much of reality bites you, you can watch Shafali Neetu Mehra, a 25-year-old artist’s nature-related paintings, displayed in the same gallery. The mountains and figurative works are done in shades of brown that capture your attention. Kanika’s nature paintings, too, have the power to transport you to the splendid wold of nature. Her exhibition, on view in India Habitat Gallery last week, drew huge applause for the aura of serenity and natural shades.

Interestingly, this time, different galleries in Delhi had strikingly different themes on paintings. A visit is recommended.



Blood thicker than water in realm of music

The programme: 17-year-old talented Kaushiki performing a classical song item

Venue: Kamani Auditorium

Date: Jan 2002

Major attraction for the audience: Pt. Ravi Shankar

The response: A very receptive, discerning audience

Father’s daughter
Father’s daughter
Shiv Kumar Sharma
Shiv Kumar Sharma 

The flip side: Anoushka Shankar, the famed daughter of Pt. Ravi Shankar and Ayaan and Aman Bangash, the media-hyped sons of the revered sarod player Ustad Amjad Ali Khan just talking and giggling amid the performance. They are seated in the front row. And we believe that they are carrying forward the artistic legacy that their fathers have nurtured with years’ toil! Or are they put into it? Otherwise can a real artiste or a connoisseur of music conduct in such an irresponsible manner more so when their movements are under constant media gaze? Maybe, they are paying for the limelight which they crave for. The other day, a newspaper carried a photograph of Aman and Ayan Bangash playing polo and Anoushka, partying around dressed in a mini-skirt and low-neck, sleeveless T-shirt celebrating her father’s reception of Grammy Award.

“They are not serious disciples, leave apart deserving,” said a well-known award winner artiste requesting anonymity.

Not that these or other great artistes’ media-elevated progeny deserve the connoisseur’s antipathy but the million dollar question is: are they really meritorious? Will they be able to weave the musical wonders and successfully catch the audience attention the way their fathers did? “Probably,” says a well-known tabla player, who performed at Kamani Auditorium recently.

There were times when musicians like Adarang and Sadarang of the royal court of Mohammad Shah Rangeela popularised the khayal gayaki by teaching them to their pupils. Similarly, Tansen, Nayak Baiju, Ram Das Bahadur, Tulsi Das, Surdas and Meerabai were not connoisseurs because their ancestors forced them into the musical sphere. In fact, they waged a lone battle to incorporate in themselves the soul of classical music and thus reached the zenith of popularity. Following the tradition, today’s classical music geniuses like Kishori Amonkar, Nikhil Bannerjee and Mallika Arjun, et al. burnt the midnight oil to reach the place they are today. They were neither born with silver spoons in their mouths nor had the much-needed support like today’s star children have. They learnt the art from their gurus after years of dedication and hard work.

But the time has changed. The master-disciple principle in teaching this art now has ceased to exist. The guru-shisya parampara is almost taken over by the ‘kutumb parampara’. Take for example, Pt. Ravi Shankar had many disciples besides Anoushka, but he preferred to promote his daughter only. Also, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan whose encouragement to his sons has left many of his deserving pupils yearning for a recognition. The revered santoor player Shiv Kumar Sharma has also joined the band though an ace sarod player Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt has never learnt to be put in words for his son, himself a good instrumentalist.

The kutumb parampara is proving to be the undoing of the real deserving candidates, who have been relegated to an abysmal corner. For instance, the Shri Ram Bhartiya Kala Kendra had instituted ‘Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan merit scholarship’ for the deserving candidates in classical music. Many recipients of this coveted scholarship like Tony Bose, Sanjay Sharma, Biswajit and Samir, et al. are being overshadowed by the family tribe. “They are now trying to get the much-deserved recognition by performing here and there,” agrees a Padamshri awardee, Mrs Shobha Deepak Singh, Director of the Kendra. Only sometime back, the privileged sons of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan performed with the king of tabla, Ustad Zakir Hussain, a rare chance for others, however, talented.

“I have always spoken against this family domination and have been severely criticised for it. But I don’t care,” says a vehement Biswajit Roy Chowdhry, a distinguished sarod player. Because of such practice, many deserving candidates are suffering. They should not be promoted until they are fully prepared, he adds.

Roy’s statement holds water when we witness that these star children are not actually doing wonders despite great backing. “I feel Amjad Ali Khan was more talented when he was of his sons’ age and he earned name because of his own caliber than the patronage by his father who was also his guru,” says Mrs Singh. And the fact goes that Ustad Amjad’s father did not promote him the way he is promoting his sons. If sources are to be believed, he is even known to have refused to perform at many concerts if his sons do not accompany him on stage! Much shot by the media, his sons’ interest seemed to have shifted more towards camera than their musical instruments.

What is the result of this encouragement? Are the much-patronaged star kids able to do justice to this pure art? Not really. Comes a unanimous response from the connoisseurs of music. “For last many years, I could not push myself to attend such tailor-made concerts,” says Mrs Singh. The sad part is, these star classical wizards are so busy in promoting their children that Delhiites did not have the pleasure to witness these great artists roughly for last 6 years, moans a guru at Gandharav Mahavidyalya.

Who is to be blamed for this all? The artistes? Their children or the organisers? “All,” comes a vehement response from Abhijit Bannerjee, a well-known tabla player, who has created records abroad. “It is the responsibility of artistes to gauge the merit of their children and disciples without making any distinction. They might feel embarrassed if their much-helped and hyped children fail to evoke a desired response. The star children should also concentrate more on worth than the hype and help,” he adds. The organisers, however, are to be blamed largely because they also have fallen prey to the commercial gains in this realm of art. They are known to sponsor celebrity kin in the hope that next time the celebrity will perform for them, free of charge.

“It is the organiser’s responsibility to draw a line between the star children and a real good music. In this capacity, they must be able to elicit the desired response from the listeners or else they too will be branded as bestowing favours and thereby breaking the very law of promoting the young artists,” Mrs Singh apprehends.

Will this kutumb parampara continue to reign? Will the meritorious candidates ever get the recognition? It is not so. “Audience these days are discerning. They are growing mature, understand what they want to listen.” So the initial spell will only prove to be a flash in the pan. Agrees Mrs Singh, “In every concert, the audience marks the performer. Neither the organiser nor the patronage can bar a real candidate draw applaud from the audience. They are the best judge,” she claims.

Also there are others. The institutions like Sawai Gandharav of Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Gandharav Mahavidyalya, and one Saptak of Ahmedabad etc. are also trying to save the guru-shisya parampara. Some individuals like Anita Singh, Shankar Jha and Desh Prem have also come to the fore for the cause of music.

The rich musical legacy after all cannot be allowed to die an unceremonious death.

Rana A Siddiqui



Milestones in cultural ties

Friends and art know no barriers. They are always free from the limiting circumstances of race, milieu, time and border. The ages have proved it time and again. This time too it did when France ad Russia recognised India and Indian artists. Recently, Sayed Haider Raza, a famous Indian painter living in France was conferred `Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters’ (officer des Arts et des Letters) award by the Minister of Culture And Communications through the Ambassador of France in India, Mr. H E Bernard de Monteferrand coinciding the artist’s 80th birthday on Feb 28, 2002 in New Delhi.

Mr Monteferrand described the artist as “One of the best Indian artist today, an interpreter of culture, who has played an exceptional role in Indo-French relations…” He praised the artist for the “tranquil energy and poetic content” that his works imbibe. The occasion also saw the release the famous author Ashok Vajpaye’s book on art that has all contents to understand “the message and influence” of Mr Raza’s works.

Friends India and Russia, have also once again joined hands to promote artists by organising a show of 37 Indo-Russian artists’ creations jointly organised by the Academy of Fine Arts and Sports, the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society (AIFACS). Mr Inder Kumar Gujral, the former Prime Minister of India who was described as “one of the best Indian friends of the Soviet Union and Russia” by the Russian Ambassador Alexander M. Kadakin, inaugurated the show on March 6. Mr Gujral defined the move as “another milestone in the Indo-Russian relations.” The exhibition is on view till March 15 at the Russian Embassy, New Delhi.

Tales retold

Some stories never grow old. Indian mythology abounds in tales that you love to audience time and again. The charms of our ancient mythological figures like Dhruv, Vishwamitra, Kunti, Karan, Savitri and Damyanati has once again captured the attention of well-known author Meera Ramchandran (Shristi 2002). She has come out with a collection of four “long short stories” incorporating all these figures who have taken new avtar in her book, ‘In their Shadows….’.


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