Thursday, October 9, 2003, Chandigarh, India


N C R   S T O R I E S


JNU election scene hots up
Smriti Kak

Slowly, but steadily the momentum for the forthcoming elections to the students union in Jawaharlal Nehru University seem to be building. The disagreement over the dates of the elections resolved, it is time for the parties to pick their candidates and work out the strategy. With the elections scheduled for the 20th of this month, candidates are mulling over what can be their winning card.

“There are no burning issues this year. Even on the national scale there are hardly any issues. Last year, there was the Gujarat issue, but this year the elections will lack the activity and the verve”, pointed out a student.

JNU being considered the stronghold of the SFI, the party has been quick to announce the names of the candidates as well as the poll issues. The party’s candidates for the central panel consist of Rohit for the post of president, Ena Panda for vice-president, Murtaza Ali Akhtar for joint secretary and B Mahesh Sharma for general secretary.

“We are going to seek participation of the students in the Academic as well as the Executive Councils, in the library committee and the transport committee. We have also put forth a demand for having one student representative from each school and one from the student faculty committee in the Grievance Redressal Committee,” said the SFI’s presidential candidate Rohit.

He went on to add, “We will also seek more facilities for sports. Sports has been neglected in JNU and we also plan to take up the issue of the Ashok Mathur Committee report on the rules for the GSCASH, which we find is against the students.”

The ABVP, which is seeking to consolidate its position in the school panels, is yet to finalise the names of the candidates who will fight for the central panel, “we are focusing on the school panels this year. To have a presence in the central panel we have to make an impact in the school panels,” said the spokesperson of the ABVP, Jatin Mohanty.

The poll agendas for the ABVP, he cited would be, “fighting for democratic space of the students,” Mohanty said. “The administration has severely come down on students activism. Earlier, we could organise programmes and events. Now, we have to seek permission for each event and programme, first we have to seek permission from the Warden, then the Dean and finally the Provost. We are going to raise this issue,” Mohanty added.

Another issue on the ABVP’s agenda is SAR Geelani. “We are not against liberal thinking, we are against anti-nationalism. Some teachers and students have been actively supporting Geelani and we will raise our voice against that. The anti-national activists and activities cannot be tolerated on the campus,” emphasised Mohanty.

With almost all parties agreeing that JNUSU elections are “based on ideology” the challenging part, they say is to come up with issues that compel attention and not just the typical “pani, bijli and buses” issues.

Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest

One of the exhibited pictures of ‘Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest’
One of the exhibited pictures of ‘Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest’.

A journey into the minds of the mentally challenged people is the ActionAid India’s exhibition of pictographs titled, ‘Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest’. The exhibition was first put up in Jawaharlal Nehru University from October 6 to 8.

The exhibition looks at the lives of the people living with mental illness in mental institutions. The thought-provoking pictures are an insight into the lives, the challenges faced and the fears of a mentally ill person.

Apart from pictographs, the event also showcases films based on the real life experiences of those afflicted with mental illness. Popular Hollywood movies including, ‘A Beautiful Mind’, ‘As Good as it Gets’, ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, ‘Girl Interrupted’ and ‘The Fisher King’ are being screened.

On display are the works of Anita Khemka, Shumona Goel, Achinto among others. The exhibition has been put up by ActionAid India’s mental health initiative, Maitri in collaboration with Kolkata-based NGO, Anjali and a Mumbai-based NGO, Point of View.

Country Director, ActionAid India, Mr Harsh Mander, explaining the objective of the exhibition said, “We believe that there are no medical or moral grounds to lock away persons living with mental illness into custodial jail like mental institutions. Instead, they need to be restored to families as foster or protected situations in the country”.

It was pointed out that Beyond the Cuckoo’s Nest aims at challenging misconceptions and conveys the message that people with mental illness are entitled to full, productive, healthy lives like anyone else.

The exhibition will move to the Jamia Millia Islamia from the 13th of this month till the 15th. Later, it will be set up in Miranda House from October 21 to October 22.

IIPM students’ initiative

The students of Indian Institute of Planning and Management (IIPM) in association with the Directorate of Family Welfare took part in a five-day Intensified Pulse Polio Immunisation Programme.

These students went from one house to another in areas, which need more focussing and administered polio drops to children between ages, 0-five. Volunteers went around the city covering 35,000 houses, which covered around 2,00,000 people. The focus was the villages and the slums.

These students created awareness about the need for administering polio drops and also sought to dispel myths that stand in the way of eradicating polio.

IIPM also inaugurated a new mega facility IIPM Tower II. The new tower with its all blue exterior houses 15 classrooms, which are online and with advanced teaching classrooms.

Four computer conclave-domes with 250 computers loaded with advanced software, a library spread over 5,000 square feet and equipped with books, journals and magazines, are part of the tower.

IGNOU to establish research centre

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) has decided to establish a Centre for Research and Innovations in Distance Education to provide a forum for distance educators for sharing experiences and evolving new models for Open University system.

Addressing a delegation of parliamentarians from South Africa, IGNOU Vice-Chancellor H. P. Dikshit said that the forum would be an effective platform for sharing experiences by those engaged in distance education.

He said it during a recent visit of UNESCO Assistant Director General, it was felt that being the largest University IGNOU was in a position to advise those countries which were in the process of establishing open universities.

The South African delegation showed particular interest in HIV/AIDS, Indian System of Medicine, IT and teacher training programmes of the university.



14-day theatre festival from today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 8
A fortnight-long theatre festival aiming to showcase a wide spectrum of Indian theatre, being organised by the Sangeet Natak Akademi will begin here tomorrow.
Eminent artists, playwrights and performers from across the country will participate in the event titled, “Rang Swarn’. The festival will feature 50 shows of contemporary and traditional theatre and will be attended by noted theatre personalities like Habib Tanvir, Dr Shreeram Lagoo, Naseeruddin Shah, Amrish Puri, Mohan Agashe and Kavalam Narayana Panikkar, among others.

Giving details about the festival, being dubbed as the largest of its kind, Shyamanand Jalan, vice-chairman of the Akademi told media persons that the fortnight-long festival aims to bring together the vast spectrum of Indian theatre from the conventional to the contemporary form.

It was pointed out that the festival is an opportunity to see all of them, the good old Indian folk theatre, the ballad singing and comic strips to the conventional theatre with a mix of western and Indian sensibilities.

The festival, organised as part of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Akademi, would be held at several venues. The aim is to bring theatre to every nook and corner of the Capital and make it a festival of Delhi, said Jayant Kastaur, secretary of the Akademi.

Apart from workshops, seminars and exhibitions, a small selection of traditional theatre forms will be presented from October 10-15. The Akademi has also introduced some novel experiments such as ‘’Open Platform’’ that will provide a forum for exchange and interaction of ideas and viewpoints.

As part of the Akademi’s efforts to reach out to a wider and newer audience, the plays will be staged at multiple locations within the city besides the usual venues.

Jalan said that the Academi is attempting to rope in audiences who don’t usually frequent plays, and efforts have been made to reach out to this audience by taking the plays to them.

Audience can also watch the traditional theatre forms like Kootiyattam, Therukoothu, Prahlad Natakam and Yakshagana that have also been included in the festival.

Also participating are artists from Bangladesh, Finland, Ivory Coast, Japan, Romania, Slovakia and South Korea. Besides the plays, a separate segment focusing on the individual actor, titled ‘Actor at Play’, will be held in which one actor will perform scenes from some other plays.

In the three-day international seminar, ‘Theatre in the World Today: Individual and Collective Visions’, as well as a photographic exhibition on theatre from the Akademi archives will be presented.

Also for the first time this year, a corporate house has been roped in for the celebrations.

Mr Kastuar said this was the first time, a corporate house had joined hands with the Akademi to help organise a cultural event. He expressed the hope that it would send a message to other corporate houses and set a precedent. 


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