Friday, August 22, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Govt teachers submit demands
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
A delegation of the Government Teachers Union comprising teachers of city government schools submitted a charter of demands to the Director, Public Instructions (Schools). The delegation headed by Dr Vinod Sharma, convener of the Government Teacher Union, has urged the Director, Public Instructions (Schools), Mr D.S. Mangat, to review the transfer policy and fix term of five years for teachers posted in government schools of villages and colonies.

They pointed out that seven years was too long a period for teachers in these schools. They also appealed to the Education Department to post newly appointed contract teachers in colony and rural schools and shift senior teachers posted in these schools to city schools.

They lamented that conversion of lecturers post in the subjects of Hindi, Sanskrit, Punjabi and music had affected the promotion chances of these lecturers.



Muktsar law students threaten strike
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Perturbed over inadequate teaching staff in the Law Department at the Regional Centre of Panjab University, Muktsar, students have threatened to go on a strike from next week if Panjab University “does not satisfactorily respond to their demand”.

In a memorandum submitted to the Dean, University Instructions, PU, the students claimed that despite being heavily charged for the course, they were being deprived of adequate teaching staff and other facilities.

The students complained that there were only three teachers for the first, second and third year and no lecturers for jurisprudence in LLB Part I and Transfer of Property Act , labour laws and income tax in LLB Part-II.

They also demanded a separate library of law books and journals. and said that in the absence of a hostel, students were forced to pay heavily for private accommodation.

The students claimed that despite a sanction of Rs 2 crore as grant from the University Grants commission for the centre, the university had failed to provide adequate facilities.



Road safety lessons through fun
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
It was a fun way for the students of St Anne’s School to learn about road safety measures, as a group “Image Maker” presented a skit based on Jataka stories as a part of the road safety campaign for children” launched by MICO, a Bangalore-based diesel fuel injection equipment manufacturer, on the school premises in Sector 32 here today.

The skit written by Kamal Taneja and directed by Rakesh Sharma, a TV and theatre artist, taught the children about the basics of road safety, Mr Subhash Chawla, Mayor of the Chandigarh Municipal Corporation, released a booklet “Learn to be careful on the road” brought out by MICO.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Chawla said it was important to inculcate the sense of road safety in children at a young age. He also complimented MICO’s efforts to create awareness on this crucial topic among children. On this opening day of the campaign, over 2,000 booklets were distributed among the children of St Anne’s School and St Stephen’s School, Sector 45.



Hindi Department students meet VC
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
On the fourth day of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s “Save Campus Campaign” a delegation of students of the Department of Hindi and the Indian Theatre, Panjab University, today met the Vice-Chancellor and submitted a memorandum to him.

The delegation was led by secretary of campus unit of the ABVP Saurabh Joshi.

A protest march was also taken out.



Studying at Nalanda

A Buddhist student at Nalanda
A Buddhist student at Nalanda

IT may give some heart to students of today who are writing various tests for gaining entry into institutions of higher learning that their predecessors have gone through similar grilling. We all know from contemporary experience that the greater the brand value of the institution to which admission is sought the tougher the test. Huen Tsang was a Chinese student who came to seek admission into the portals of Nalanda. It seems he was quite tense about the entire admission process. He says that in order to be accepted a student had to have studied deeply both the old and new books. By this he meant the Vedas, Upanishads and books from the various systems of philosophy then prevalent in the country. Also a student had to be well versed in the books of MahAyAna Buddhism and HinayAna Buddhism. Essentially Nalanda was a teaching university and students who came from other centres of learning had to undergo a strict test of their knowledge before they could begin their studies at Nalanda.


  • Important strands of philosophy and thought prevalent in ancient India: Samkhya, Vaisesika, NyAya
  • Important ‘schools’ of Buddhism to be studied at Nalanda included SunyavAda and VijnAnavAda

Getting admitted here was worth the effort for most students. Huen Tsang reports that people who wanted to earn renown came here to discuss with the teachers and students at Nalanda and that the wisdom available at Nalanda was of a very high order. But not everyone was allowed to enter. The keepers of the gate first examined the student orally. These gatekeepers were very learned men. Often times they posed very difficult questions to the students. Only a ‘hard discussion’ could satisfy and please these examiners.

Having gained admittance the student generally spent two or three years with the teachers. Most of the education was through self-learning or discussions with teachers. “Here at Nalanda eminent and accomplished men assemble in crowds,” recalls one student, “to discuss possible and impossible doctrines and after having been assured of their opinions by wise men, become far famed for their wisdom”. The brighter of the students were also asked to instruct other students much in the manner that Teaching Assistants in our better institutions do even today. Huen Tsang, while himself a student, also taught the “Yoga SastrA’ of SilbhadrA and the teachings of the master Jayasena to others.

There were some subjects that were compulsory for all students. Theology had to be thoroughly studied. This essentially meant studying the texts of MahAyAna Buddhism. The students were also expected to be well versed in the 18 other ‘schools’ of Buddhism. The classes on Theology were large. About a 100 students gathered to hear the masters’ discourse. No one was allowed to be late even for a miniute. There was also an astronomical observatory at Nalanda. The observatory also had a water clock to give accurate time. Tantra too was a popular subject.

The book written by the Rector of Nalanda, the Bhikku Dharmapala entitled Surangama Sutra, it seems, was quite popular among students. Its doctrine, says the historian H D Sankalia, went by the name of the Sky-Flower doctrine. It was simple: ‘that all objective phenomena are only like sky-flowers, unreal, and vanishing’. The vulgar post-modernism that is so popular among some American under-graduates today seems quite akin to this!

Knowledge of Sanskrit was compulsory for all. Those who were ignorant were supposed to learn Sanskrit within 6 months. Among the basic books for learning Sanskrit was the grammar, Ashtadhyayi, written by Panini. By the end of the year the student had to have mastered this book. After a general knowledge about philosophy, theology and languages, some selected students went on to have a specialised education. The more popular specialities consisted of DhanurvidyA [pertaining to archery], SarpavidyA [concerned with controlling poisons, chemicals and animals] and ChikitsavidyaA [medicine].

The students were examined for their knowledge in oral examinations. It is reported that a large number of students failed. Only 2 or 3 students out of 10 were able to clear the exams. Considering that all those admitted were already of a very high calibre it seems that standards set at Nalanda were very high.
Dr M. Rajivlochan, Department of History, Panjab University, Chandigarh



School World Helpline
Child’s refusal to go to school

‘K’, is a 6 year old female child from a middle class home, who after two years of regular preschool, refuses to attend her new school. Admission to the new school was tough and parents were happy their daughter was one of the lucky one’s who made it. However, their happiness was short-lived as the child refuses to go to school and each morning she cries, whines and complains of intense abdominal pain. Medical investigations have drawn a blank. By the time we saw the child, she had missed several months of school and parents were desperate. This is not an isolated case. Many children are referred to my clinic with problems of school refusal.

“School Refusal” refers to persistent reluctance to attend school despite the physical capacity to do so. The main features of school refusal are reluctance to leave home in the morning to attend school because of a desire to remain at home with the parents. This may also be accompanied by marked emotional distress such as crying, temper outbursts, excessive clinging behaviour, pleading with the parents, and persistent and unrealistic expression of fear, either at home or after arrival at the school. The child may also make frequent negative comments about school or schoolteachers. There may also be verbalization of fear of failure, ridicule, or anxiety regarding academic achievement accompanying the refusal to attend school. Low self-esteem and lack of self confidence may further contribute to fear of school and being separated from parents. School refusal is also known as “masquerade syndrome” as it can present in a variety of disguised forms including frequent somatic complaints such as headaches, abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting with anticipating of school attendance.

School refusal usually develops gradually often following a genuine reason for absence from school such as a minor physical illness. The problem is most noticeable after weekends or holiday breaks or following a change of school. The problem gradually becomes acute and the child adamantly refuses to go to school despite persuasion, threats or support. This often produces a conflict between the parents and the child. Parents feel distressed and powerless to exert their authority in an effective manner.

Sometimes the transition from a small informal preschool to a bigger and more structured school may be accompanied by enhanced anxiety, fear and distress before going to school. It is important for parents to be supportive and accepting of the child and consult with the school authorities to develop a plan to manage the child’s emotional distress and negative outbursts after arriving at school. The teacher can help by making the stay in school a pleasant and rewarding experience for the child by providing extra attention, identifying an activity in which the child excels and allowing the child to demonstrate the skill to others, by reducing presence of school work, and pairing the child with a class “ buddy” who is not only better adjusted but also provides one-to-one attention. A reward system or contingency contract may also be developed by parents and teachers to reinforce attending school for increasingly longer periods of time.

School refusal may sometimes present during early adolescence. Late onset of school refusal may represent a combination of adolescent stress and revival of an earlier over-dependent parent-child relationship. The increased need for independence and autonomy posed by the demands of high school precipitates an avoidance response to school attendance by the adolescent. Anxiety symptoms may manifest as somatic complaints. It is important that organic pathology should be promptly ruled out with the minimum amount of medical investigators before the physical symptoms become well entrenched.

Delay in recognizing the underlying psychological basis for the problem may make it worse and more difficult to manage. Prognosis is good if the problem is recognized early and interventions promptly initiated. However, children with more serious underlying family pathology may have problems maintaining school attendance. Chronic school refusers have been found to have poor psychosocial outcomes. These children may require more extensive interventions at the hands of experts.

Guidelines for parents

* Parents and teachers to be accepting of the child’s problem.

* Parents to consult with school authorities and develop a reward system to reinforce gradual attendance of school.

* Increase positive statements about accomplishments and experiences at school.

* Verbally acknowledge how fears related to school are unrealistic.

* Set firm and consistent limits to temper tantrums, aggressive behaviours associated with attending school.

* Increase the frequency and duration time of the child spends in independent play or activities away from parents.

* Understand the secondary gain that results from missing school.

* Make the child’s stay at home, after missing school, boring and uninteresting.

* Increase communication, intimacy and consistency between parents.

Dr Prahbhjot Malhi, Associate Professor, Child Psychology, APC, PGIMER,



High Court
Suspended judge seeks regular bail
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 21
Chandigarh’s suspended Judicial Magistrate S.S. Bhardwaj today claimed that the complainant in the alleged bribery case registered against him had connived with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to implicate him.

In a petition filed before the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking the grant of regular bail, Bhardwaj added that he may have decided a case against complainant G.S. Samra when he was posted at Jalandhar. The petition is likely to come up for hearing on Friday.

Claiming to have been implicated, Bhardwaj also denied the allegations of escaping from the CBI’s custody. He added that the CBI was at his residence for over six hours, but not even a single document, prepared by the agency, had been signed by him.

Arguing before the court, his counsel asserted that the petitioner was not required as the investigations were over. Moreover, other accused in the case had been released on bail.

In his earlier petition, Bhardwaj had added that he had no connection with Jalandhar’s suspended District and Sessions Judge R.M. Gupta. Giving details, Bhardwaj had further submitted that he had never worked as his subordinate.



Finely nuanced kathak
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 21
Samira Koser might have stayed away from stage for the past 11years but she sure has not forgotten the nuances of Jaipur gharana of kathak she learnt from her guru Shobha Koser. If her thaat, uthan, aamad, prana and other technicalities of pure kathak in her second solo performance at Government Home Science College auditorium today is anything to go by, Samira is on her way to carve a niche for herself in the field of classical dance.

Beginning her recital with a salutation to Lord Vishnu “Jai Shankh Gadadhar —-”, Samira gave a demonstration of pure kathak with well-defined movement and abundance of youthful spirit. Her execution of the complicated pranas was skilful and showed very subtle expressions in her items.

Samira’s next presentation came in the form of “Tarana” set to raaga Shanra in Ek taal was well received by the audience. It was followed by an abhinaya piece “Thumri” in which she showed her expertise “layakari” and various “taals”. She concluded the show with a sringar piece “ubi joyon naat” set to raaga maand depicting the sad story of “Birha Nayika.”

In tonight’s show Samira was accompanied by her Guru Shobha Koser on padhant, Vinod Sood on vocal,Mehmood Khan on tabla, O.P. Gupta on Sitar and Veval Sharma on flute.



New release
Junior B pins hopes on ‘Mumbai se...

‘Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dist’, produced by Vishal Nihalani that opens today at Neelam Chandigarh, is one film on which Abhishek Bachchan has pinned lots of hopes. Apoorva Lakhia, the writer-director who has assisted Mira Nair and Hollywood biggies Woody Allen, Ang Lee and Andraw Davis makes his debut in Bollywood with this film. He hopes his decision to cast Abhishek Bachchan in a powerful role will change the image of junior Bachchan who had recently played an author-backed role in Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Mein Prem Ki Diwani Hoon’.

The film has a rustic storyline that has Abhishek looking his best. Daylong stubble lends a character to his face. After ‘Andaaz’ former Miss Universe Lara Dutta can be seen once again as she plays a Harijan girl in this film. Rubber Band Film ‘Mumbai Se Aaya Mera Dost’ has lyrics by Sameer and music by Anu Malik. The writer — director Apoorva Lakhia promises something different in his directorial debut. — DP


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