Tuesday, June 18, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PCCTU to hold dharna on June 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Teachers of the non-government aided colleges of Punjab and Chandigarh will stage a dharna at Matka Chowk here on June 25, to protest against the anti-teacher policies of the Punjab Government.

Earlier scheduled for June 27, the dharna to be organised by the Punjab and Chandigarh College Teachers Union (PCCTU) was preponed.

The president of the PCCTU, Mr S.S. Hundal, said that the Budget presentation would close on June 26 which necessitated the preponement. “We want to draw the attention of the government not only to the anti-teacher policies but also the downsizing of grants-in-aid by 10 per cent and the modified pension scheme,” he added.

Speaking on behalf of the association, he threatened to intensify the struggle if the government failed to meet the demands.

The Punjab Government recently announced a modified version of the pension scheme in which colleges would have to have a corpus fund to be financed by the managements and teachers, while the government contribution remained limited to the grants already being received by the colleges. This was in contrast to the earlier proposal under which the government Treasury was to fund the scheme.

The grants received by these colleges have come with a 10 per cent cut despite assurances by the Congress that 95 per cent grants would be restored.


City boy 9th in CBSE engg entrance exam
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
A city student, Jithun Nair, has stood first in Chandigarh in the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination conducted by the CBSE. He has secured ninth rank in the exam.

Sahil Sethi has stood third, while Anish Garg is fifth. Several students could not be contacted as they, along with their families, were out of station for attending IIT counselling.

The result took Jithun by surprise, like so many other city students.

Jithun and his family members are excited about the achievement. “It is all because of hard work, and more importantly due to God’s grace. Without this, I would not have been able to achieve what I have”. Talking to The Tribune on the phone, he said: “Till now, I have had very little time to think about options before me and my preferences. I am hoping to get into computers in the IIT. If I do not get it, I will either take up electronics or electrical engineering”.

As the news about the declaration of result spread around 10 p.m., a large number of students throned computer joints and cyber cafes. As per the available information, Mohit Goyal has stood eighth in the city, Komal Arora is 11th, Kunal Jindal is 12th, Natasha is 14th, Sahil Mohan Bansal is 22th, Arshdeep is 24 in Chandigarh. Naginder Singh is 30th. Puneet Kukreja is 47th in city. Misha Pratap’s position in city is 79 in engineering. In architecture, he is fifth in Chandigarh and Punjab. His all-India rank is 29 in architecture.

Atul Gupta is 82nd in Chandigarh, Ashwit is 100th. Vishal Goel is 102nd. Gaurav Kochhar’s position is 128, Udai Bir Singh Dhillon has stood 161st in the city. Manav Gupta’s position in Chandigarh is 219. Komal Arora’s all-India ranking is 59th, Nittin Gupta is 73rd and Robal’s all-India rank is 249th.


Entrance test toppers honoured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Three top rankers of the medical entrance examinations-2002 of Chandigarh and Punjab were honoured by Aakash Institute, Sector 34, at a function here today.

The toppers, Abhinav Sidana, (AIIMS), Arpeta Gupta (who stood fifth in the CBSE joint entrance examination and secured 19th rank in the AIIMS) and Arshdeep (who was first in the combined entrance test of Chandigarh), were all students of Aakash Institute’s Distant Learning Programme.

While Abhinav was given a cheque for Rs 15,000, Arpeta and Arshdeep were given Rs 5,000 each by the managing director of the institute, Mr J.C. Chaudhry.

Congratulating the toppers, Mr Chaudhary said that the excellent performances were the result of students’ hard work, right direction and guidance by the institute.


Consumer body serves legal notice on BSNL
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
The National Consumer Awareness Association, Chandigarh, has expressed serious concerns about the procedure being followed by the BSNL to cut defaulters phone connections.

The BSNL in a press note issued on June 12, 2002, had warned a group of defaulting subscribers that their phone connections would be disconnected on June 17, if they failed to deposit their bills, issued on April 19.

Col P.J.S. Mehta (retd), chairman of the association, has served a legal notice on the BSNL, contesting the public notice of the Nigam. He said the negam had violated the principal of natural justice by not hearing defaulters and by not serving individual notices on them.

Referring to a 1996 judgement of by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a case between PUDA and a section of SAS Nagar residents, he said, “As per the provision of the law, a public notice has no legal authenticity for immediate order to disconnect telephone connections of all defaulters in one stroke. Proper procedure is to serve individual notice on each defaulter giving details of his default.”

The association has also raised the question that if the bills had remained unpaid for so long, why action was not taken to serve individual notices on defaulter in time. Further, if any official was responsible for the delay, what action has been taken against him.

The association has urged the BSNL to take appropriate corrective steps to save subscribers from unnecessary harassment and inconvenience. Otherwise, said Mr Mehta, the association would be forced to take legal action against the nigam.


Shiamak’s pupils harmonise rhythm and energy
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
It was some high-powered dance performance at Tagore Theatre this evening! Each song and each choreography spelt the style of Shiamak Davar who had sent his four best trainers to the city. And as 280 participants of Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts put together 10 choreographed sequences, they gave Shiamak Davar enough reason to be proud of their performance.

Summer funk, as Shiamak calls it, concluded with 10 power-packed presentations by students on the most happening Hindi, Punjabi and English songs. Comparing the thoroughly-professional show was ace choreographer himself (Shiamak Davar), who time and again, requested the parents and family members of participants to cheer the energised performers.

Right from ‘Dil Chahta Hai’s’ hottest number ‘Koi kahe kehta rahe’ to the Latin ‘Oye salsa’ ...the entire show was about harmony, rhythm and energy in plenty. The best part was that the participants hailed from all age groups. So while the show had tiny tots (four to six years olds) dancing on ‘You are my Sonia’, there was another group bringing alive the magic of salsa with a charged up performance on the Latin favourite Oye salsa....The group used satin capes as props, with a constant applause from the audience.

Then there was ‘Chale chalo’ by the kids group; followed by adults dancing away to freedom on ‘Can't get out of my head’, ‘Absolutely everybody’, and the hit favourite ‘Kambakht ishq hai jo...Mohabbat karle karle re and Nachange sari raat’ were also the favourites tonight.

While presentation was one part of the show, Shiamak was also fairly satisfied with the progress and response to the dance and fitness workshop, organised by Durga Das Foundation at Hotel Park View.Shiamak may open a branch of his institute soon here.

While the parents kept asking more of Shiamak and demanded that he performed, Shiamak concentrated on the energy level of performers. Trainers Nazim, Smita, Lester and Mridang also trusted their groups with the most difficult of props — right from capes and boxes to sticks and ribbons. As for the coordination of the group, it was well-achieved though not absolutely thorough at times. The spirit of the show, however, was more about a good, unified performance than about a good or a bad performance.

As Shiamak had declared in the beginning of the show which lasted for an hour and a half, ‘‘Summer funk is our tribute to the child in you. It is about people from all age groups coming together on a common stage to dance; it is just not about how well they dance. Anyone who has feet will always dance. The idea is to spill energy and a positive one at that.’’

The show was preceded by a 20-minute video on Shiamak Davar and his dance escapades. Right from his performance with the international pop sensation Sting to his choreography in the backdrop of Egypt’s pyramids, the show had everything. It had Shiamak’s views on dance; his institute — Shiamak Davar's Institute for the Performing Arts (SDIPA) and the various commercials he did for Hrithik Roshan, Urmila and many others...Then there were shots from the dances of ‘Dil to Pagal Hai’ and ‘Taal’, the two big projects which had Shiamak as the dance director.

Each participant of the workshop later stayed for an interactive session with the dancing star.


Dancing his way to freedom
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, June 17
Attired in white, Shiamak Davar looked like sweet sunshine. A soft sparkle lit his face after he had said a small prayer. And as he settled for an interview this afternoon at Hotel Mountview, his energy was just beginning to spill....Here was a man wedded to music for 17 years for the simple reason that music has the beauty of loneliness and of pain; of strength and freedom; of disappointment and hope...

Known better for the national award he bagged for choreographing Madhuri Dixit and Karisma Kapoor in “Dil to Pagal Hai”, Shiamak is a spiritual man, “in love with God.” He meditates extensively; draws heavily from the element of fire; communicates with spirits; spots UFOs. In town to conclude his dance workshop being organised by the Durga Das Foundation, he laughs, “I have been spotting UFOs for years, but I never talked about them. Now I don’t care. I believe in aliens.”

And also in dance as a medium to heal. He uses dance to pacify people. He says, “Dance is a spiritual experience. It helps balance mind, body and spirit. It helps you to break free and brings you closer to the world God has conceived for you.” Shiamak has been extensively using dance for therapy. At his Shiamak Davar Institute for the Performing Arts (SDIPA), he holds classes for the mentally and physically challenged, HIV positive kids and children of commercial sex workers.

It is the awareness of pain which inspires Shiamak to do all this. “You cannot understand pain unless you have gone through it. My mother has breast cancer. Sickness in my family is not a new thing. It was natural for me to fight it. I have simply chosen a bigger family.” A believer in karma, Shiamak has been heavily influenced by a book by the Bhavgiris, titled “The Laws of Spirit World”. He explains, “The Bhavgiris had lost both their sons in a road accident, but they nurtured their faith in God to know everything about life after death. They evolved the technique of automatic writing, with which they converse with the departed ones. I followed their path. Now I help people talk to those who have gone.”

Coming from someone as glamourous as Shiamak, these words sound strange. But as one gets to know spiritual Shiamak, one realises there is more to this man than the fact that he had choreographed Hrithik Roshan in three commercials; that he has sung with pop sensation Sting; that he has featured in numerous award functions.

That is why he could refuse offers of choreography to directors like Aditya Chopra who approached him for “Diwlale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge”. He confessed, “I can work for Ram Gopal Verma because I adore his creation. I will not waste energy on silly projects.”

Among the women he has choreographed, Shiamak finds Madhuri the most expressive.

Nowadays, he is working with USAED (an American agency which helps AIDS patients). He is also involved with many social work organisations. But in the end, dance remains his passion, a passion which he shares with the world. The logo of his institute says it all:

“Have feet, will dance; have will, will win; have spirit, will triumph”.

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