Wednesday, August 14, 2002, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Adventure in the hills
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
A bunch of boisterous boys for whom adventure is a visual life from Bay Watch, X-Files Michael Schumacher’s car races and programmes of the dare-devilry kind from AXN, a weakened adventure camp in the Shimla Hills was not just a sobering experience but also one which sensitised them to the gentle demands of nature.

Boys of Class VI of St. Johns High School have just returned after spending two days in Dharampur as part of a comprehensive adventure initiative organised by the Durga Das Foundation. A specially structured programme for first-timers embarking on a “rough-n-tough” trail, this was a unique experience for not just the faculty but also the participants. For most children bred on a diet of synthetic lifestyle comforts coping with the unpredictability of weather, the changing landscape and the idea of living out of basic infrastructure set-ups is something that takes some unlearning to do. But the boys adapted to the needs of the moments and were raring to go from the take-off point itself.

According to Manik: “I had not heard of anything called mountain manners. When Anurag Sir, our senior faculty member, elucidated on the kind of behaviour one must exhibit when one is in the mountains, we realised how insensitive and callous we city boys were. I was reminded of the time when my neighbour had tied a string of crackers on a pet dog during Diwali. the sight of a hapless creature running helter skelter completely terrorised had given him such sadistic pleasure. We thoughtlessly abuse nature in much the same way. We all realised that we talk too much, too loud. Just listening to the stillness in the air was such a pleasant feeling. Also the way we are supposed to walk, observe, be cautious and prepared is something we are never taught to do. By inculcating the right mountain etiquette I am sure we will be able to apply some of the principles to our daily life too.”

Soft walking expeditions led to slightly more demanding hill treks. The boys were looking forward to following this initiation course with a more demanding one where they could be better equipped in terms of stamina and expertise as they traversed tougher treks in the next round of adventure camping by the Durga Das Foundation Rappelling, navigating, mountain and rock climbing were weaved into the programme. For most of the boys this was a revelation. So sure of themselves and their physical prowess they thought that navigating big boulders and small hillocks was kid stuff and so was crossing a lake till they saw that each activity had to be preceded with information and simple do’s and don’ts. Even inconspicuous looking things like tying different kind of knots for purpose of climbing and rescuing along with pitching up tents needed some learning.

At the end of the two days the boys were sure that there still was a lot to be learnt. They had for a change found the study of flora and fauna fascinating and were hoping to make their biology and science lessons interesting. The opportunity, which the camp provided in terms of socialisation skills, was significant. The high point was when they found a surprise visit by their school Principal, Mrs Cheema, Brother D’ Abreu and the Director of the Foundation, Mr Atul Khanna. What was a discreet attempt at checking if all was well, turned out to be an adventurous time for them too as the boys roped them into the trek they were going for. At the end of it a tentative suggestion was made to perhaps have an adventure camp for adults too. Faculty members included Priya Dhillon, Anurag Sood and Shikha Khanna who have been doing similar camps for the Foundation’s summer and winter schools. Responding to the enhanced interest and demands the DDF has now started offering customised programmes for different age groups to schools. According to Mr Khanna,”I was disturbed to read a newspaper report highlighting obesity in city kids. Sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits are fast making our kids couch potatoes and net junkies. We have to do something fast to break the jinx and take them to nature rather than expect nature to come and beckon them into its fold. Fortunately there is hope because whenever we have introduced children to a new experience they have responded. And the St John’s camp was no different.”


Contests mark I-Day celebrations
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
Patriotic feeling was the hallmark of various competitions organised by Mount Carmel School to celebrate Independence Day at Lecma Hall, 3 BRD Air Force Station, here today. The students of Classes V to X participated in various competitions which later culminated in a colourful cultural show.

Besides on-the-spot painting, poster making, sketch drawing, rangoli and alpana, solo singing contests, all of which bore elements of patriotism in the themes, a declamation contest was also organised on the theme “Achievements and challenges since Independence” in which about 20 speakers from the senior wing put forward their points.

The cultural show called “Prakriti” started with a patriotic song presented by the school choir, depicting the events of post-independent India. The highlight of the programme was a play titled “Desh” which was based on the major events that took place in pre and post-independence era in the Indian history. The solo and group dances performed by students was entertaining and well coordinated.

In the solo singing competition which was in three groups, in the junior-level Sukanth Gupta won the first prize, followed by Swati Behl and Habby Rajput in the second and third positions. In the senior group II, which was meant for Classes VII to VIII students, Jonathan Ivan Charles was declared the winner, followed by Piyush Mehta and Neelu Vashist in the second and third position, respectively. In the senior group II for students of Classes IX to X, Stuti Vashist bagged the first prize, while Richa Gupta and Parvinder Sodhi won the second and third prize, respectively.

The declamation contest at the senior group II (Classes VII to VIII) was won by Nitin Pathania, followed by Gaurav and Eshaan Raina in the second and third position, respectively. In the senior group I (for Classes IX to X), the first position was bagged by Surbhi Mahajan and second and third positions went to Sakshi Kathuria and Manleen Kaur, respectively.

The on-the-spot painting competition, which was meant for junior students (Classes V and VI), was won by Herminder Singh, followed by Vikas Rana and Iresh Kumar in the second and third positions. The poster making competition for Class VII and VIII students was won by Manju Negi, Abhishek Bohal and Prerna Malhotra in the first, second and third position, respectively.

Surbhi Mahajan, Anshul Sharma and Shruti Gupta were declared first, second and third, respectively, for the sketch competition which was meant for the students of Classes IX and X and the rangoli and alpana competitions, which were also for senior students, were won by Ratnali Maladia and Gagandeep Kaur jointly followed by Aanchal and Sakshi Kathuria in the second position. The third position was bagged by Ashu Mangi and Anu Rana.

Students and the teaching staff of The Gurukul celebrated Independence Day here today. The students also wore tricolour caps and carried flags in their hands.

Patriotic songs “Aao bachho tumhe dikhayen”, and dance item on “Vande Mataram” and other songs were presented by the students. The teachers also participated by singing “Chodo kal ki baatein”.


PUSU activists go on fast
A Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
Student activists of the Panjab University Students Union (PUSU), including its president Malwinder Kang, sat on a hunger strike at Student Centre in PU here today. They were released yesterday.

They demanded a rollback of extra fee of Rs 2,750 which was charged from students of MSc Part I (Mathematics), relaxation in condition of minimum number of students required to start the M.Phil (Statistics) course, re-admission to the students who failed in MSc Part I (Mathematics), improvement chance to BSc Part III (Honours) students, revamp of the examination system of UBS Department so that the students get reappear chance in September, withdrawal of case against all 34 students under violations of Section 144 and revocation of Section 144 from the Panjab University campus with immediate effect.


Death sentence for 2 in murder case
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 13
The Additional District and Sessions Judge, Panchkula, today pronounced death sentence to two youths involved in the murder of a 10-year-old girl in May, 2001, here today.

The duo-Rakesh and Abdul Khalil, were also sentenced to seven years of rigorous imprisonment for raping the 10-year-old before killing her.

As per the prosecution, the accused were next door neighbours of the victim. The latter was staying in a farm house near Barwala along with her father, Alamgir. The accused had called the victim over to their place during the night intervening May 4 and 5, 2001, for cooking their dinner.

While the girl was cooking their food, the accused had a couple of drinks. Then they forcibly took her away to a lonely place and raped her. She was later strangulated to death. It was the next morning that the residents of the farm house launched a massive manhunt for her, when she failed to turn back home. Her body was later found in the fields. Subsequently , a case under Sections 302 and 376 of the IPC had been registered.



Life term for four men
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13
Nearly six years after the incident, the four accused who had murdered a former MLA Bachittar Singh, were sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court here today.

Jugraj Singh, Kulwinder Singh, Kuljit Singh and Inderpreet Singh were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment by the UT Additional and Sessions Judge, Ms Sneh Prashar. A fine of Rs 10,000 was also imposed on them.

Another accused in the case, Gurdeep Singh, was sentenced to one-year rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act by the judge.

As per the prosecution, Bachittar Singh was shot dead by the accused on December 1, 1996, in Landhran village near Kharar. Bachittar Singh was returning home from Ludhiana after attending a ‘Chetna rally’. 


City girls are best folk artistes
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
City-based singing sisters Simran Jeet and Tripat Jeet Kaur have been pleasantly surprised with a sudden encounter with fame. Only last year they had marked their presence on the folk music circuit of the region, with their maiden album, titled “Lacha Multan da”.

Eleven months down the lane and the duo has proved itself more than anyone had ever expected. Not only have they managed encouraging sales of their first album, which was released by Times Music and composed by famous music director Jaidev Kumar, they have also beaten seasoned folk singers Sardool Sikander, Pammi Bai and Kaur sisters to become this year's best folk artistes in the second annual Lashkara Punjabi music awards. Announced in Jalandhar sometime back, the award was presented to Simran and Tripat by the nightingale of Punjab, Surinder Kaur.

Acknowledged for their rich rendering in “Lacha Multan da”, the sisters have in fact won the award for the title song of the cassette. Composed with a strong classical base, the song is full of musical variation. Talking about the joy of success, Tripat said, "Receiving this award from Surinder Kaur was a dream come true for both of us. As beginners we could not have asked for or expected anything better. It was an overwhelming moment for us when Surinder ji presented us with the coveted awards which were announced some time back in Jalandhar."

Rather fresh in the field, Simran and Tripat are already making their presence felt in the world of Punjabi as also Hindi film music. They have both sung in the yet to be released Hindi film on “Shaheed Bhagat Singh”. They are also featuring as playback singers in the latest Punjabi film “Jiyayaan nu”, which has Harbhajan Mann and Priya Gill in lead roles. Apart from this, they have at hand the film project of Raj Kanwar and K. Pappu, who are planning to make a high-budget Punjabi movies after a long time.

While movies are happening in a big way, another pleasant fact about Simran and Tripat is that they are not joining the rat race of popularity with the so-called pop numbers. Instead they are concentrating on the folk tradition of music, and are also making their second cassette with the same idea in mind.

Their yet to be titled audio album is folk in texture and will be composed again by Jaidev Kumar, who has recently married Simran Jeet. As for Tripat, she is also concentrating on stage shows in the city. She has been touring abroad to do shows for several people. But now she plans to settle down in the region.


Sirmauri dancers enthral audience
Tribune News Service

A troupe from Sirmaur in Himachal Pradesh performs at the Pracheen Kala Kendra in Sector 35,
Chandigarh, on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, August 13
Nostalgia of the hills was brought alive on the small stage of Bhaskar Rao Auditorium in Pracheen Kala Kendra, which was the venue of a cultural presentation by a troupe from Sirmaur. Recreating the magic of mountains in melody were six young dancers comprising the Sanskritik Dal Baunal from Sirmaur.

The presentation took off with a tradition and customary invocation of Goddess Renuka, who is believed to be the mother of Parsurama. This item was followed by a Himachal dance in its purest form. Exhibiting the nuances of Himachali style of dancing, young dancers enacted an interested story of a man in love with two sisters. Pure dancing techniques were used to show how the man marries one woman and decides to kidnap another.

After the enactment of love and craft came another item called the “paraat” nritya. With “paraats” in hands, the dancers exhibited tremendous poise in dealing with the prop which they exchanged between each other on the stage. Following this sequence was a beautiful affair with flames. Titled deepak dance, the presentation was delightful with its vibrancy and grace. Towards the end of the show came the most-important, almost inseparable part of any Himachali dance presentation — the nati. The dancers got together to present the traditional Sirmauri nati.

The programme was organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).


A colourful ode to nature
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 13
Taking a cue from nature, Nikhil Sanger weaves a beautiful tapestry with colours. Intense in conception and impressive in execution, the works span a vast area of human thought and imagination. Not only does the ensemble draw from the rich, eternal, ethereal treasure of nature, but also from the creative base of mind, which is home to the memories of all beautiful or not-so-beautiful images in the world.

For this Jalandhar boy from Khalsa College, art seems to be a medium of self extension and realisation. So his canvases reflect all possible dimensions of the self. Sometimes his works revel in the beauty of the hills and the tiny grass that lends beauty to the barren mounts; sometimes they delve into the long-lost past, drawing inspiration form the primitive age; and sometimes the artist comes back to the present moment to recreate the glory of “today,” which is the only truth known to all mankind. Broadly, however, the ensemble has more to do with nature than anything else.

The technique does not draw the viewer as much as the soul and theme of the work does. The viewer is led into an aesthetic conversation with the canvases, confirming the substance of the artist. The works can be evidenced at IndusInd gallery in Sector 8.

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