Heritage festival: Local talent won’t be ignored

APROPOS of the report “Heritage fest: Sekhri ticks off Intach chief” (Nov. 23), the controversy regarding the Heritage festival planned for Amritsar is unfortunate. As one who is actively involved with the festival, I would like to clarify that local talent in Amritsar has not been totally ignored.

The Punjab government has decided last year to hold annual culture festival at selected heritage sites in Patiala, Kapurthala and Amritsar. Two festivals were held last year at Patiala and Kapurthala. This year the Kapurthala festival was held in October. The one in Amritsar will be held in early December and Patiala in mid-February, 2004.

The objective behind these festivals is to promote tourism in the three cities by focusing on the rich culture heritage attractions and to develop them, as in Khajuraho and Konark, as centres promoting cultural events in the field of music, dance, drama, theatre etc., of a very high order by inviting artistes of national and international fame to perform.



Over a period of time, the centres would acquire the same importance as in the other places. The presence of noted artistes would also afford an opportunity to local citizens to experience some of the finest performances. However, as the festivals are intended to attract tourists from outside the state, a distinct Punjab flavour has been given to a number of events.

In the festivals at Patiala, Kapurthala and Amritsar, the emphasis has been on providing both local audiences and visitors with a mixture of international, national and Punjabi art forms of the highest calibre. Local sentiment has definitely been respected. In Patiala and Kapurthala, for instance, Punjabi Opera was a major attraction in addition to Punjab artistes like the Wadali Brothers. In Patiala, the Patiala Gharana was represented and Jagjit Singh sang in Punjabi also. Punjabi pop music was also included. In visual arts, a special exhibition was curated by the Director of the National Gallery of Modern Art, including only contemporary Punjabi artists.

Jagjit Singh will also sing in Punjabi in Amritsar as will the Wadali Brothers, Punjabi pop music and Punjabi folk music and dance. In addition, Pandit Jasraj, Vasundhara and Kalapini Komkali will render Shabad from the Guru Granth Sahib. A Kavi Darbar has been planned for Amritsar in which 25 noted poets of Punjab including Surjit Patar have been invited from Amritsar.

As clarified by the Vice-Chairman, INTACH, local artistes will perform on one of the days of the festival. The Chief Minister has approved the entire programme. The cultural integrity of the events will be maintained at any cost.

ANITA SINGH, Director, The Indian Music Society, New Delhi

Forest encroachment

DURING the Prem Kumar Dhumal regime, many people applied for regularisation of forest land by remitting the prescribed fee. However, the Virbhadra Singh government has now reversed the order on regularisation of forest land.

Those who have encroached forest land for the last 10 years or more and having no tree in the land should be regularised, with a maximum limit of five bigha being economic holding. Such category of persons shall be quite few. The other category who have encroached big chunks of forest land overnight or otherwise should be asked to vacate.

VIJAY MOUDGIL, Shamshi (Kullu)


Graft and greed

The edit “Tehelka II” (Nov. 18) couldn’t have been more apt. You have signed off Tehelka II with “Corruption and greed do not have a religion.” How true? The numerous (mis) doings of those in power or position amply prove this fact.

Thought for the Day the same day gives another piece of valued advice, especially to the politicians. David Loyd George’s quote “If you want to succeed in politics, you must keep your conscience well under control” is apt. The pity is that greed has invariably proved superior to conscience in all such case that saw the light of the day.


Medical allowance

A fixed monthly medical allowance of Rs 250 being paid to Punjab government employees and pensioners since January 1, 1998 is inadequate to meet the ever-increasing cost of medicare these days. Since January 1998, medicare cost has registered a rise of 39 per cent according to the consumer price index and medicare cost data. The medical allowance should be raised from Rs 250 to Rs 350. The Congress government should honour its electoral promise.


No holidays

A number of schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) do not implement gazetted holidays. The management decides holidays according to their whims and fansies. The teachers are forced to slog like hired slaves and are deprived of their holidays which their counterparts in government schools enjoy. There is a need for an awareness campaign by the CBSE office to stop this practice immediately. I request the CBSE to follow these rules for CBSE schools strictly.


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