Friday, October 3, 2003, Chandigarh, India


C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Battling traditions through education
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
Battling age-old traditions and introducing rural women to financial independence are a group of 55 NSS volunteers from MCM DAV College, Sector 36 working at Badheri village near here.

Educating while learning in the process, these volunteers are unanimous in their opinion that women in this adopted village are still leading a life in the shadows of their husbands and are reluctant to step out of the four walls of their homes.

“While those owning houses are aware of the happenings around them despite being illiterate, tenants residing in the area, especially women, have no concept of hygiene food and nutrition,” the volunteers add. This being their first visit to the village.

Teaching three women under the adult education programme entrusted to her is final year student Richa Arora. “They don’t even know how to write their names. While some feel it is a waste of time, others needed a lecture or two to begin learning,” she adds. Learning to write her name 35-year-old Ritu says that the volunteers have come as angels. “I was very keen on studies but didn’t get an opportunity since my parents died when I was very young. I got married early. My wish of getting education is now being fulfilled,” she adds.

Open filthy drains in this village are an eye sore. The villagers complain that the sweepers of the municipal corporation turn up only twice a year and there is no garbage dumping ground nearby. We are drafting a letter and sending it to the Mayor. We will follow it up for them. We are making some headway,” holds Shailja Thakur, in charge of health at the village while Shefali Kularia of BA part II is going from door-to-door educating people about inoculations and identifying women wanting to work.

We are imparting training in stitching, embroidery and soft toys to women. We are paying these women through personal contributions,” she states.

“The toughest fight is against traditions. We are trying to tell women that they too need food. Most of them are only bothered about feeding their families,” claims Nitya Punj, who derives great satisfaction from her work.

But the heartening fact was that most of the children are going to nearby government schools. “We are helping them with their syllabi, explaining topics and at times entertaining them through stories,” explains Neha Gupta of BA III.

The two teachers supervising the camp, Ms Mini Grewal and Ms Jatinder Kaur, said the village was adopted after the unauthorised Palsora Colony where they were working earlier, was removed.



Dasehra, Gandhi Jayanti celebrated
Tribune News Service

SAS Nagar, October 2
Students of Golden Bells Public School, Sohana, celebrated Dasehra with fervour and joy, today. The principal of the school enlightened the students about the significance of the festival. Students came dressed up in colourful costumes. Prizes were given to well-dressed students.

Shemrock School: Students of Shemrock Senior Secondary School, Sector 69, celebrated Dasehra and Gandhi Jayanti. Children came dressed as Mahatma Gandhi and characters in the Ramayana. Students paid homage to the Father of the Nation in the morning assembly. Many came dressed as Bapu and talked about his life and ideals.

Teachers told the story of the Ramayana to the students and explained the significance of love, sincerity, obedience and righteousness. An effigy of Ravana was burnt, but crackers were not made a part of the celebrations.

Shastri Model School: A special function was organised in the Shastri Model School, Phase 1, to mark the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri. A prayer and a havan was held and tributes were offered to Shastriji.

Mr Rajinder Prasad Sharma, vice-president, Municipal Council, SAS Nagar, presided over the function. He spoke about the life and ideals of Shastriji.

Mr Mohinder Singh, secretary of the society, paid tributes to Shastriji. Mr Ram Lal Sewak, manager of the school, also spoke on the occasion.



Society on PEC affairs formed
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
The Chandigarh Administration on Tuesday registered an eight-member society to manage the affairs of Punjab Engineering College (PEC) when it is given the status of a deemed university in the near future.

The society’s ex-officio members are the Adviser, the Home Secretary, the Finance Secretary, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Director, Technical Education, Principal, PEC and the local Chairmen of the Chamber of Indian Industries (CII) and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.



Pronouncing verdict online likely soon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
It happened in England. Judge Valeria Pearlman, hospitalised due to a broken leg, concluded a criminal trial over the Internet from a hospital bed. He created history by directing the jury from a distance of 60 miles through video link. This may soon be possible in India also — at least this is what experts at the recently concluded international legal conference claimed.

“Time is not far when, while pronouncing a death sentence, a Judge in India will click a computer mouse instead of breaking the nib of a pen”, said Punjab’s Additional Advocate-General (AAG) Ravi Sodhi.

Addressing a gathering during one of the workshops, Mr Sodhi asserted that as of now, India’s name was mentioned in a book of records not for major break through in some vital field, but for longest litigation.

Giving details, the AAG asserted that the Limca Book of Records had quoted the case of Hunumantha Reddi. His “battle against suppression had lasted with the government for 44 years, nine months and eight days in a court of law”.

He said the Information Technology Act 2002, in light of the present situation, had come as a breath of fresh air. “Electronic governance, secure electronic records and digital signatures have been recognised.... The latest technology mantra can be used effectively for filing cases through e-mail. The affidavits could also be sent through new e-filing system since digital signatures have now been recognised by the latest IT Act. The technology can also be used for creating an information data bank on personnel and other aspects of court administration”, he stated.

Mr Sodhi concluded: “Fiscal and report management, simultaneous translation of judgements and court proceedings can be other areas in which latest technology can be used in order to make justice more people-friendly. Only then will we be able to grapple with the Herculean task of clearing 30.4 million pending cases in the country”.

Resolution of labour disputes: In his paper on “Alternate dispute resolution — Punjab experience on Lok Adalats in labour courts”, Punjab’s Financial Commissioner in the Department of Cooperation, Dr B.C. Gupta, revealed that 18,000 cases of labour dispute were settled through Lok Adalats.

Participating in a workshop organised as part of the international legal conference, Dr Gupta said “Rs 13.50 crore were disbursed to the labourers”.

He also gave details of the current system of labour dispute resolution and the new system adopted for speedy resolution of labour disputes by organising Lok Adalats with the active help of all social partners.



Tara Chand gets police remand

Chandigarh, October 2
The suspended Registrar (Additional) of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Tara Chand, was today remanded in police custody by a local court. Tara Chand, who had surrendered before the UT police, was produced in the court of the UT Duty Magistrate, Mr Phalit Sharma.Tara Chand had surrendered before the DSP, Mr S.C Sagar, in Sector 17 police station. He was booked on September 22 for allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to known sources of income. OC



Cultural feast at Kalagram
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 2
From the rhythmic dandiya to the exotic bihu, visitors at Kalagram got a glimpse of the rich heritage of the Indian culture as the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC) organised a dance festival to celebrate Gandhi Jayanti here today.

A dandiya group from Gujarat was the major crowd puller of the show as the 15-member team not just performed dandiya based on folk and film songs, but also taught the willing visitors basic steps of the dance.

The cultural bonanza also included the scintillating bihu dance, a folk dance of Assam. Bringing the spring season early with their youthful vigour of life, the bihu team presented song and dance items highlighting the significance of the season. Other dance items included cherry and peacock dances from Rajasthan and ghoomer and tipri dances.

The function was attended by the Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), who is also the Chairman of the NZCC. The Director of the NZCC, Mr RT Jindal, was also present on the occasion.



Blending oriental, occidental dance traditions
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 2
When the Algerian choreographer Kader Attou, known for his romance with hip hop, visited India a few years ago, he was deeply moved by the magnificence of Indian classical dance forms which conversed deeply with him. More than this conversation, it was the commonness of history and tradition that intrigued the dancer in Attou. He selected the Gandhian principle of non-violence as the point of reference in his choreographic piece, titled 'Anokha', enriched it with the theme of Swastika, which spells peace and finally linked the sequence with hip-hop, another form which was born out of humans' urge to digress from violence.

To be presented for the second time in Chandigarh tomorrow, the international dance piece has eight dancers, three of Indian lineage. While Attou and his team of five French hip-hop dancers were stuck in Bhopal due to some reason today, the two Indians in the presentation made it to City Beautiful, which they are visiting for the second time. After presenting some 150 shows of Anokha all over the world from Mexico to Nepal, Paris-based Bharatnatyam dancer Rukmini Chatterjee and Ahmedabad-based kathak practitioner Vaishali Trivedi recounted the sequence of events that led to the creation of the masterpiece.

Trained by Indian gurus, both dancers met Attou when he was in Amhedabad for a workshop some years ago. Within days, the confluence of dance forms happened, with Attou deciding to collaborate with Rukmini, Vaishali and Prashant Shah through his company Acrorap, which was ready with the production in three months.

Recalled Vaishali, who has learnt kathak from Kumudini Lakhia: "The performance is built on the meeting between hip-hop, kathak and Bharatnatyam. It puts hip-hop in a historical perspective by taking a cue from the Gandhain concept of non violence. The dance matures beautifully. First we appear on the stage individually to introduce our respective dance traditions. Then we showcase their meeting through movements. Gradually the real theme of non-violence surfaces, with the climax reflecting the relevance of the Swastika."

Rukmini, who is trained in bharatnatyam by Mrinalini Sarabhai, relates to Anokha at various levels. "The presentation strikes a connection between cultures through the language of dance. On the one hand is hip-hop, a dance tradition which is boundless and which gathers energies from all possible sources. On the other hand are Indian forms of kathak and Bharatnatyam, which offer a world of freedom, within a set format. Using non-violence as a message, Attou has woven a wonderful sequence of peace. Rhythm and grace are his tools in this mission."

Based in Paris, Rukmini keeps busy with a host of international dance collaborations. She also choreographs.

While she is still wishing for an eternal confluence of Western professionalism and Indian emotion, Vaishali is satisfied with her offering at Kadam, back home in Ahmedabad. She says, "It was purposeful to get together with Attou to create something graceful and musical in a historical perspective. What happened was truly magical. This magic will not be repeated. The best of choreographers never replicate ideas and styles. Perhaps, this was the last time we ever worked with Acrorap and Attou."



Blending traditional, contemporary styles
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 2
For those who prefer to look ethnic and chic at the same time, Parampara, a Delhi-based fashion house, blending traditional handloom with contemporary style, is offering a range of sarees and dress material that spell class.

The main creation of Paramrara, which is being led by Ms Kiran Patel, are gadwal sarees, weaved in the pattern of jamdari from Andhra Pradesh. “Parampara not just offers designer sarees, but also designer blouses for a complete look,” says Ms Patel. The exhibition is on at Hotel Aroam in Sector 22.

Along with Parmpara’s ethnic wear collection, Ms Seema Bhaskar from Faridabad is holding an exhibition of designer suits.

This Faridabad-based designer is offering a range of hand and machine embroidered dress material and a collection of Indian-Western dresses in cotton, hand-woven tissue, crepe and silk.


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