Friday, April 5, 2002, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


Schools-shops nexus makes a big hole in 
parents’ pocket
R. D. Sapra

Sonepat, April 4
Prestigious schools in this city and elsewhere in the district are forcing students to buy books and school uniforms from selected booksellers and garment dealers. The turnover of shops selling books and uniforms is believed to be in lakhs of rupees as there are a large number of big and small schools in the city.

The business peaks during the admission season of March-June and there is little doubt that some of these schools have a nexus with some traders. The modus operandi is simple. During the days when admissions are held after an all-India test, the parents become an easy prey to the school’s demands. Once a child is cleared for admission, the school provides a list of books to the parents with the name of the bookseller. A similar list is given for the uniforms with the name of a particular dealer as well.

One has to make payment either to the school or the uniform dealer even for the uniforms that are required later during winter as the dealer continues his services the whole year. Similarly, the bookseller is invited by the school management and parents are asked to buy the books from him. Little doubt that the parents have to buy these books and stationery items, including diaries, at exorbitant rates which are more than the market rates.

Mr K. K. Sharma, whose daughter is studying in class XI here, says that he had to shell out more than Rs 7,000 for buying books, stationery and school uniform. The school purchased books on its own from the bookseller of its choice and later sent him a bill.

Similarly, a hefty sum was charged for horse riding and swimming though his daughter is allergic to horses and she has never availed of this facility. Meanwhile, the swimming pool is open for the children only in the beginning of the year. Besides, parents have to pay through the noses as donations to the building fund.

The parents call it a fraud upon them and degradation of education.

Some parents smell a racket and they doubt the involvement of school management. “Why should school management ask us to buy books or uniforms from a particular shop?” they ask. A resident whose son is a boarder in a school here comments, “If we had the choice, we would have purchased books, stationery items and uniforms from a shop of our choice at a much cheaper rate.”

The man who hails from Chandigarh visits Sonepat every month to see her daughter who is a student of Class X here. He says, “I wanted to buy clothes and get the uniforms stitched for my daughter but the school authorities insisted that I buy readymade uniforms from a particular shop.” Left with no choice, he had to bow before the school management.

On an average, each student has to spend about Rs 2,000 every year on uniforms for summer and winter besides another Rs 1,000-1,500 on shoes, books and stationery. So by conservative estimates, the total turnover of this business is stated to be a few lakhs of rupees for these particular shops even if only half of the students studying in various schools in the city were sucked into the racket. Some of the shops in the mandi and Gita Bhawan (city) areas dealing with uniforms have been authorised by a majority of schools.

A shopkeeper in the mandi area said schools kept the list of books a closely guarded “secret” till the last minute.

Hence most of the booksellers, except the chosen one or two, were not able to arrange the books. The schools should be directed by the government to display the book list at least six weeks before the commencement of the new academic session, he demanded.

Several booksellers are forming their associations to fight out this exploitation. The shopkeepers are also approaching the principals and headmasters of the schools for a meeting to sort out the issue.



School offers free education to poor 
Tribune News Service

Panipat, April 4
Poor but meritorious students can now hope for a better future. In a bid to provide quality education to the students, MASD Public School has decided to provide free and concessional education up to the ten plus level.

The school chairman, Mr Ashok Goel, said that a committee would be formed to select the deserving students, whose parents were not in a position to pay admission and other charges.

Besides such students, other students, whose parents were in a position to pay only a part of the school charges, would also be admitted. Mr Goel claimed that about 30 students, whose families had been facing adverse circumstances on account of death of their breadwinners, had been getting free education in the school. He said that it would be the endeavour of the SD Education Society to enrol at least 10 per cent students from the under-privileged sections of society.



Rewari lawyers, judge have a law and 
order problem
Our Correspondent

Rewari, April 4
With the members of the Rewari District Bar Association sticking to their demand that Mr M. M. Dhonchak, Civil Judge (Senior Division), be transferred, there is no end in sight to the ongoing confrontation. The boycott of the court of the Civil Judge by the advocates entered the third day here today. Mr Shadi Lal Sharma, a senior member of the Bar Association, said that the boycott would continue till the Civil Judge was transferred from here.

Relations between the judge and members of the Bar worsened over the former’s role in a case of alleged scuffle between the court’s peon and a senior advocate on the court premises here on Tuesday.

According to available information, on Tuesday, the court’s peon, Mr Ram Chander, on the order of the court, made a verbal announcement asking the parties concerned and their advocates to appear in the court in a case titled “Sant Lal vs Sis Ram”.

When his call did not elicit any response, he personally approached Mr Sardar Singh, counsel of one of the parties. The advocate was engaged in a conversation with the client at the time. A scuffle followed after which both the advocate and the peon made their complaining statements and the Civil Judge referred the matter to the District and Sessions Judge, Mr K. L. Goyal, at Narnaul for adjudication.

Following this action, the advocates held an emergency meeting in which they decided to boycott the court of the Civil Judge as well as the peon, Mr Ram Chander, and to seek the judge’s transfer.

Later, Mr Sardar Singh made a complaint on the basis of which the Model Town police registered a case of voluntarily causing hurt and criminal intimidation under Sections 323 and 506 of the JPC against the peon (Ram Chander).

In the meantime, the District and Session’s Judge, Mr G. L. Goyal, came here on Wednesday on an inspection of the courts.

The agitating advocates apprised him of the entire matter and sought appropriate action against the erring peon as well as the judge.

Simultaneously, Mr Ram Chander along with other class IV employees of the court also met Mr Goyal and narrated his version of the incident. It is pointed out that Mr Ram Chander, who happens to belong to be a Dalit, also complained that filthy language had been used against him by advocate Mr Sardar Singh. However, Mr Sardar Singh refuted the allegation.

When no concrete assurance was given by the District and Sessions Judge, Mr Sardar Singh, Mr Salish (president of the District Bar Association), Mr Shadi Lal Sharma, Mr Mange Lal Rustagi, Mr Man Singh Gupta and several other senior members of the association went to Gurgaon on Wednesday and met Mr Justice V. K. Bali of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, who reportedly assured them that he

would look into their complaint. Mr Shadi Lal Sharma today said that they were hopeful of appropriate action on their demands.



Breathtaking beauty to wow wildlife votaries
Rana A Siddiqui

Northern elephant seal bulls caught fighting.
Northern elephant seal bulls caught fighting.

As the USA warns the world that within 20 years, all jungles would vanish from the world scenario, a few lovers of wildlife have taken the warning too seriously.

They are all set to capture the best of the wildlife in their camera, to show to the world that some precious animal habitation are hounded out and they are on the verge of extinction.

A sea lion playing with a cushion star, a pike lying in ambush, a rare species of a fish amazed at the flash of a camera and a lot more could be witnessed with the opening of the BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition at the Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre from April 16. It would continue till April 26. The exhibition will display 50 of 115 winning and commended photographs, chosen from BG Wildlife Photographer of the Year (2001) Competition, organised by the BBC Wildlife Magazine and the Natural History Museum, London and sponsored by BG Groups —- an integrated gas company. The display will be divided into two categories, Adult and Junior.

The adult section is further segmented into 12 categories, ranging from the under water to animal portraits.

The junior section is subdivided into three categories.

Besides, the display of prize-winning exhibits from the worldwide competition, the event will also organise a photography contest and on-the-spot painting competition for schoolchildren from class V to XII.

The exhibition that sees Delhi after travelling to Ahmedabad and Mumbai this year, aims at finding the best wildlife pictures taken by the photographers of all ages worldwide and to emphasise through their work the beauty, wonder and importance of natural world.



Bhishm Sahni’s ‘Muawze’ exposes the wolf in sheep’s clothing

Communal violence does not take place of its own, it is incited. Naturally, those who pay the price for it are not the ones who incite it. The why and wherefore of the riots was shown in a tragi-comedy play, ‘Muawze’, written by a veteran writer Bhishm Sahni and presented by Datum Zoom Arts Centre Presentation at the at LTG Auditorium recently.

The play exposes the modus operandi of communal elements. “How do our administrators, citizens, the affluent section of society and political leaders try to draw mileage out of such situations is what my play tries to reveal in a lighter vein,” says the creator of the play. Executed in a hilarious mode, the play shows what are the ‘apparatus’ used in initiating a riot and how the poor people are incited to die in return for a handsome compensation, i.e. ‘Muawze’.

A rickshaw-puller is persuaded by his kin and friends to die in a communal disturbance to be incited soon, for he will get a compensation of Rs 50,000. He agrees on the condition that he is married to his neighbour’s daughter Shanti before dying. Shanti’s mother persuades her to marry him so that the money goes to her after his death. She is not even told whom she is made to marry but is assured that the death of her husband would bring her riches.

To cause riots, a religious leader hires a professional killer to kill a few persons from one community. The killer bargains on the amount, else he would carry killings on behalf of other community. Weapons like knives and pistols are bought from a shopkeeper, who sells weapon to both communities depending upon who is the best paymaster.

The police commissioner receives orders from the higher-ups that he should get the schools and shops closed and make all arrangements to see that riots break out. As soon as the much-planned riots flare up, an announcer wrongly proclaims last year’s speech that promises grants to those who have died in the present year. He is stopped by the police personnel as so far none has died! Listening to the declaration, many whose kith and kin had died in last year’s communal riot queue outside police office for the grant. Meanwhile, the rickshaw-puller now married to Shanti, refuses to die to enjoy the marital bliss and both flee the city. The grant money is kept safe in the police station. But after only a few minutes of the riots, a police official gets to know that the entire money is being burgled from the police station!

Amid much hullabaloo, the professional killer appears in the guise of a social worker and declares that he will distribute money to all those who have died in the riot. In reality, it is actually he who steals money from the police station!

The gullible public consider him to be an angel and go to him with their other problems like scaring away tenants from their houses etc. With the help of his henchmen, he solves most people’s problems and requests them to vote for him, as he is all set to contest elections this time. The ignorant public votes for him whole-heartedly and he wins with a huge majority emerging as a great political leader as the play concludes.

“There is no end to selfish motives of the people, crushed by the all-round corruption, even common people have started to realise that unless they also try to get some mileage out of a situation, they will stand no where. Hence, even a situation like riot would seem to them, a silver lining in the dark clouds of their life. As also the administrators and people belonging to the higher strata of society take riots as a lottery that would benefit them monetarily,” justifies Dhruv Kumar Mishra, the director, for “staging this play at a time when the nation is facing a similar situation”.

Ayushman Tiwari, the play’s asset in a befitting role of the professional killer Jagga, is surprisingly “only a year old in the acting profession”. Vikas Mallick as a speechwriter, Hiranya Hinkar as the police commissioner and Sahil Saifi as the weapon seller tickled most funny bones. The obvious shortage of talented artists otherwise was compensated through an appreciable backdrop at many a places.

Rana A Siddiqui



A dancing tribute to gurus

Not that ‘guru shishya paramapra’ has breathed its last in all realms of performing arts, it has survived through the efforts of a few concerned artistes.

The efforts showed in ‘Guru Shishya Paramapra Festival’, organised by Jyantika’s Mayadur Raut School of Odissi Dance at India Habitat Centre recently.

The festival staged three generations of Odissi, Kathak and Bharatnatyam artistes in their creative best. It had Kiran Sehgal, daughter of the actress and dance partner of Uday Shanksr, Zohra Sehgal, Madhumita Raut and Yaamini Mubayi — all trained under Guru Mayadhar Raut, the Odissi exponent as also Prerna Shrimali, the ace kathak dancer trained by late Kundan Lal Ganagni of Kathak Gharana of Jaipur and Guru Saroja Vaidyanathan, trained on the line of Tanjavour Bharatnatyam tradition by Smt. Lalitha of Saraswati Ganga Nilayam, Chennai. Through this programme, the artistes paid a dancing tribute to their gurus.


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