C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Counselling students to be positive
Monica Sharma

Chandigarh, February 23
Aasha — a helpline launched to prevent youngsters from committing suicides — is doing much more than helping potential suicidals. It is giving round-the-clock service counselling students encountering problems just before the examinations, once again focussing on the need for having such centres in schools.

The helpline was launched by the Department of Psychiatry, Government Medical College and Hospital’s, Sector 32, in collaboration with the Chandigarh Administration, earlier this month. Since its inception, the centre has received approximately 120 calls. A substantial number of them from students wanting guidance.

‘’In fact, almost 70 per cent of the callers are students from classes VIII, X and XII preparing for board examinations. Lack of concentration and poor memory are the major complains, along with examination-related health problems, including upset stomach. `Nothing enters our head’, they maintain”.

This is not all. “The students also wish to know details of books they should be referring to before taking the examinations”, says a counsellor with the centre. “Some even want our assistance in preparing a time-table and study schedule”.

One of the callers was a youngster without parents. Putting up with relatives after their death, he wanted to know if someone could help him with his Algebra lessons. “I have no where to go, no one to depend upon,” he reportedly told counsellors.

As majority of the counsellors are trained psychologists. They cannot recommend books and coaching centres, but guide the students about taking examinations.

Realising the gravity of the problem, counsellors are also visiting school after school to guide the students. “In fact we have so far visited several schools for helping out the students”, the counsellor adds. “We listen to their complains and do whatever we can to help them out”.

Giving details, Dr B.S. Chavan of Psychiatry Department said, “Our teams also address the students gathered for morning assemblies to create awareness about the helpline. They also visit doctors and private practitioners. Otherwise, we first listen to the caller, then connect him to the department”

The counsellors can be contacted any time over the phone at 2667782 and 2667783. They not only provide counselling, but also guidance to people in distress. A crisis intervention team is also available for reaching out to the potential suicidal in their homes for providing immediate care and counselling.



Programme on effective teaching
Tribune News Service

Mohali, February 23
Chandigarh Engineering College, Landran, here organized a three-day programme on effective teaching in collaboration with the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research, Chandigarh, to equip the faculty and technical staff with the knowledge and skills required to plan, organise and deliver instructions efficiently and effectively.

All faculty members and technical supporting staff of the college participated in the programme. Col. S.P. Sharma (retd.), Principal of the college, in his welcome address highlighted the need for continuous training of the faculty in view of the rapidly changing technology. Dr P.K. Tulsi, coordinator, briefed the participants about the rationale, objectives and methodology for organising the programme.

Prof V.P. Puri, Professor and head of the NITTTR, in his inaugural address stressed that each teacher had to remain updated and current in subject matter and educational technology to avoid obsolescence and deliver the goods efficiently.

Hands on experience was provided to the participants by involving them in practice tasks and exercises. Sessions were interactive and provided an opportunity to the participating faculty to understand the intricacies of the process of teaching. Eminent academicians including Prof B.M. Dhir, Prof V.P. Puri, Dr P. N. Menon, Dr S.P. Bedi and Dr Sunil Dutt presented their views on these topics. The programme concluded with the course evaluation by the participating faculty. Dr O. P. Bajpai, Director, NITTTR, Chandigarh, in his valedictory address praised the infrastructure of the college including the richly equipped computer laboratories, well stocked library and various other laboratories. He stressed that teachers should improve their qualifications, undertake research and consultancy projects and involve students in a wide variety of activities.

Mr Satnam Singh Sandhu, Chairman, Mr S. Rashpal Singh Dhaliwal, general secretary, Dr G.D. Bansal, Vice-Principal and Mr S.K. Kakar, training and placement officer, thanked the faculty of the NITTTR for the educative programme organised by them.



Tribune in Education
Teaching toddlers independence and self-quieting skills

As a child psychologist, I often face questions about disciplining young children. Studies indicate that 90 per cent of mothers of two to four year olds have mild concerns about their child’s behaviour.

Helping the toddler to have a fixed schedule, especially bedtime, handling temper tantrums and teaching children to play on their own are some of the concerns which mothers express.

Many mothers, especially working mothers, often seek help in teaching their toddler to play independently as they are too exhausted or do not have the time to play with their toddler. One way of teaching children to play independently is to begin an activity with the child that you think the child will enjoy. Initially play with him the entire time. During play provide the toddler a lot of gentle pats, on the back, head, or face. After this has been well established pick out game that is best played alone, eg. blocks, jigsaw puzzles, drawing and colouring. Start to excuse yourself from the activity when the child is actively engaged in it. Initially excuse yourself for a very brief period of time, say for five seconds, while you go to the kitchen and come back. Do not disturb the child when you leave. Once the child has learnt to tolerate a separation of five seconds, gradually increase the duration of separation. With many repetitions the child becomes less disrupted by these brief periods of isolated play and continues playing. Encourage the child to play alone by periodic brief, non verbal, physical contact, like gentle pats. In this way the toddler will get the enjoyment of playing as well as affection from the mother from the same activity. It usually takes three to four weeks to teach toddlers to play independently.

Another important strategy which parents should teach their toddlers is self quieting skills. Many parents rush to their child as soon as he cries, make a huge fuss and instead of soothing the child actually inadvertently increase both the duration and the intensity of the crying spell. Self-quieting skills refer to an individual’s ability to calm oneself down when upset. Self quieting skills help the child to cope with many ups and downs in life without getting unduly angry or upset.

One way of teaching this skill is to refrain from saying anything when the child comes crying loudly after being denied something. Instead pick up the child and hold him against you gently without a word and pat the head or rub and child’s back slowly. The gentleness of the touch and the calmness shown by the mother communicates to the child and he calms down in a couple of minutes. Children soon learn that parents are a great source of comfort when they need them and also learn that quieting down is their own responsibility.

Parents should remember that to comfort a child with lectures, sermons while he is having a tantrum only encourages him to have a more intense tantrum. It is important that the mother provides the child more opportunities, closely spaced together, in order to make him learn self quieting. Over a period of time, young children learn to use these skills in their everyday activities which result in excellent coping even during adolescence and adulthood.

— Dr Prahbhjot Malhi



Parents resent cut in AIEEE quota
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Parents of the students who are appearing in the All-India Engineering Entrance Examination (AIEEE) have criticised the decision of the Chandigarh Administration to reduce the quota of seats from 85 to 50 per cent in Punjab Engineering College(PEC) for students from Chandigarh.

Demanding that the Administration restore the earlier quota of 85 per cent for students from Chandigarh, the parents in a representation have stated that there was no need to reduce the number of seats for local students despite the college being made a deemed university. They have cited the case of the Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology, Patiala.

The parents said there were 385 seats in various courses of engineering at the PEC. As per the earlier quota, of the total seats 327 seats were meant for students from Chandigarh and the remaining 58 seats were reserved for students from other states.

Citing the case of other states, the parents said Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Delhi had reserved 85 per cent of seats in their respective engineering colleges for students hailing from the respective states.



80 participate in ‘Fiesta’
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
A three-day inter-college competition “Fiesta” started at the Government College of Education, Sector 20, here today. As many as 80 participants from various colleges in the city are taking part in the event. The event for the day included poster making, cartoon making, rangoli, mehndi and fresh flower arrangement.

Mr V.K. Bhardwaj, Chief Engineer, Chandigarh Administration, gave away the prizes to the winners of various contests. Mr Bhardwaj advised the future teachers to uphold dignity of the profession they would join.

DPS School: The chairman of the Delhi Public School Society, Mr Nerendra Kumar, visited Delhi Public School, Sector 40, here yesterday. Mr Sunita Tanwar and members of the managing committee, Mr Bal Krishan, Mr Amit Bansal and Mr Anup Soni, were also present on the occasion. Mr Kumar interacted with teachers and students of the school.

Farewell: The MRA Senior Secondary Model School, Sector 27, organised a farewell party for the outgoing students of Class XII at the Forest Hill Resort in Karoran village, near here. The students enjoyed foot tapping music amidst the lap of nature.



IT promotion seminar on February 25
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
The Society for Promotion of IT in Chandigarh (SPIC), under the aegis of the Department of IT, Chandigarh, will organise an awareness seminar in DAV College, Chandigarh, on February 25. The seminar will address the importance of “Soft skills for global work environment”.

The IT enabled services policy of Chandigarh has been announced with an objective of providing youth with high-level employment in the industry.

Taking the cause of taking skilled manpower a step further, the department plans to introduce training programs in colleges on communication and soft skills through SPIC, which plays an important role in global ITES scenario.

The seminar addresses the need to create awareness regarding the importance of such skills and training. Wipro Spectramind, Elquest, and Hero Mindmine will also participate in the seminar. Other speakers expected to participate include Ms Parveen Malhotra, a career expert, Mr Vivek Atray, Director, IT, Chandigarh, and principals of various colleges.



High Court
Security cover
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 23
Acting on a petition seeking police protection filed by Panchkula resident Nikhil Kant Sayal — son of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Golden Forests Rakesh Kant Sayal — the high court on Monday fixed March 12 as the next date of hearing.

In his petition against the state of Punjab and Haryana, besides other respondents, Nikhil had sought provision of security cover for his sister also. Claiming that their lives and liberty were in danger, he had asserted that the Chandigarh Police had recently caught a gang planning to kidnap him.

Giving details, he had asserted that the investigations had revealed that a conspiracy had been hatched to kidnap the petitioner because of the general impression that his father had a lot of money. The petitioner had added that his father was in Model Jail at Burail due to inability to repay money invested by persons in Golden Forests.



Judicial remand for Bawa, gunman
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, February 23
The Chief Judicial Magistare(CJM), Mr Gulab Singh, today remanded president of the INTUC unit of Himachal Pradesh, Amarjit Singh Bawa and his two gunmen in judical custody.

According to information, Bawa was sent to judical custody for a day. His two gunmen, Head Constable Baldev and driver Ravinder, were sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

However, there are conflicting reports about the firing incident between the gunman of Bawa and Sisodia. The reports said Sosodia was injured in the arm when fired upon by the gunman of Bawa.

Bawa, his gunman and driver were arrested by the local police on a compliant filed by M.K. Sisodia, a local advocate. Mr Sisodia had alleged that Bawa assaulted him and threatened him with dire consequences.



Students date with nuances of Indian music
Parbina Rashid

Chandigarh, February 23
“Permutation and combination of two basic elements of music, “swar” and “laya”, and what we get are different gharanas,” says Prof Vidya Dhar Vyas, a doyen of the Gwalior gharana and Vice-Chancellor of Bhatkhande Deemed University, Lucknow.

As Professor Vyas interacted with students and a few select audience at the Government College for Girls, Sector 42, today to deliver a lecture on “Basics of Gwalior gharana”, he made the history of Indian classical music interesting with a demonstration of “bandishes”, spinning melody effortlessly.

“In fact, the very term classical is a misnomer,” says Prof Vyas. “It is a borrowed term from the West where music has been categorised according to a particular time frame. But in our country, there is no such thing as classical period for music. What we can call our music is “rag sangeet”,” he added.

The sixth generation doyen of the Gwalior gharana of music, Professor Vyas was initiated into the world of “swars” and “ragas” by his renowned father, Pt. Narayan Vyas, who was disciple of Pt. Vishwa Digamber Paluskar, one of the two stalwarts who revived the glory of the Gwalior gharana.

“The Gwalior gharana is the parent gharana of all other musical gharanas like the Patiala gharana, the Agra gharana, the Lucknow gharana, the Bhindi Bazar gharana and so on. It is also the most balanced in which all eight facets of gayaki are aesthetically balanced,” he says.

Professor Vyas, who as a performer, has evolved his own signature style by interpreting “ragas” in his own way, feels that music needs to be improvised while remaining within the traditional gambit of its original gharana. “Fundamentals of music have been laid by our forefathers. It is up to a musician as to how he adds his own style without compromising with the foundation,” he says.

After successfully introducing experimental music first in Bombay University and later in Jaipur University during his tenure as the Head of Music Department in both places, Professor Vyas is planning to bring in a few changes in Bhatkhande Deemed University in Lucknow too. “Music needs to change with time and to bring this change, I propose to bring experimental music into the curriculum by introducing the latest technics like sound recording, dubbing and editing,” says Professor Vyas.

He later gave a recital at the Evening Studies auditorium in Panjab University. The function was organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations in collaboration with Panjab University. Earlier, he also performed in a “baithak”, organised by the Triveni Sangeet Sabha, Sector 16, last night.



Pritish bags Cyanide Jockey award

It was activities galore at Cyanide-2004 hosted by the Department of Chemical Engineering, Panjab University, here today. Proving to be an explosive affair in the morning with activities slated for the day attracting a large participation, the evening was made equally entertaining with a fashion show.

Right from the word go, the participants tested their skills in dramatics where teams had to be shortlisted for the final round to choose the winner. The team from the university Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University and Punjab Engineering College won the two contests, respectively.

In the music section, the "besura contest" aimed at honouring the worst among the singers, proved to be a big hit with the students and thoroughly entertaining for the crowd. The most out-of-tune award went to Som Indora of the host department. A folk dance contest with 17 teams also proved to be a crowd-puller.

Pritish Narula of an engineering college in Mohali bagged the Cyanide Jockey award for being the wittiest among 30 participants, seven of whom were shortlisted for the finals on the basis of a questionnaire. Later they were given situations to enact, answer crank calls and questions before the winner was chosen.

In the evening, a fashion show was held at Gymnasium Hall on the campus. Comprising three rounds of casual, ethnic and formal wear, the fashion show had five teams participating in the contest.

The participating teams included JC Modelling Institute, the NIIFT, Mohali, Kapsons, Government College, Sector 11, and the host department. TNS



A show of fashion and nationalism
Ruchika M. Khanna

A file photo of a model at Khadi Paridhaan Utsav held in Delhi
A file photo of a model at Khadi Paridhaan Utsav held in Delhi.

THE Sangh Parivaar nodding its head in approval to the ramp? Well yes, and only when the ramp walk is to promote the essence of India. Thus, Swadeshi Jagran Manch, affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), is organising a fashion show in Chandigarh to propagate nationalism through khadi. The fashion show — khadi Paridhaan Utsav — will be held here on March 5, during a trade fair to be organised by the Khadi Village and Industries Commission from March 1 to 10. Top models like Aditi Govitrikar will sashay down the ramp in a variety of khadi garments, including Indian, Indo-Western and Western. The salwar-kameez, churidars, kurtis, and capris for women, and shirts, Aligarhis, kurtas and pyjamas for men, are being designed by budding fashion designers of NIIFT, Mohali.

This will be the third fashion show to be organised by the manch. Earlier two were organised in Mumbai (February, 2003) and Delhi (November 2003). Ms Jaya Jaitley and several BJP bigwigs are expected to attend the show.

Says Ms Ranjana Shahi, a former BJP councillor, who is also associated with the RSS and is making arrangements for the show, “There will be no vulgarity in the fashion show, and that is why we call it Khadi Paridhaan Utsav, where fashion would not mean baring all. Everyday fashion wear, to suit all socio-economic groups, will be showcased at the show.”

Talking to TNS, Mr Kumara Krishna, Manager, Centre for Bhartiya Marketing Development (CBMD), an offshoot of the manch, says that the idea is to promote khadi - the national fabric- as fashionable. “It’s a pragmatic approach to show people what swadeshi is, and how it is getting trendy. Besides, the idea behind this fashion show is also to promote small-scale khadi industries.”

He says they decided on the idea of promoting khadi through a fashion show, when the usual rhetoric on nationalism, and promoting village trade, especially khadi, failed to find favour with the younger generations. Thus we decided to change the image of khadi as a dull fabric, into something that is more fashionable, and as much for street fashion, as for the upper- end consumers, he adds.

Mr Krishna said after the two mega Khadi Paridhaan Utsavs organised earlier, they had now been receiving calls from Japan to host a similar show.

But this fashion show will just be about khadi couture alone. Ms Shahi reiterates that the programme will also showcase fashion vis-a-vis other indigenous fabrics, and traditional clothes of the region. The phulkari of Punjab, and the ghagracholi of Haryana, will also make a style statement, she adds. 



School kids join in save Rock Garden drive 

Volunteers of the Nek Chand Foundation, who are presently camping at Rock Garden, have now roped in school students for helping them remove graffiti. About 50 students of Gian Jyoti Public School, Mohali, accompanied by their teachers, today helped remove graffiti from concrete structures in Phase I of Rock Garden. Young boys and girls, all students of Class VIII, are not just removing the graffiti but also creating a mass movement against the defacing of sculptures, painstakingly created by Mr Nek Chand.

Playfully plastering walls with mud and cement paste, the students said that they had not realised that this would be such fun. “We thought that the school authorities were taking us out for a mundane social service exercise,” they echoed as they followed Isabel Brunt, a volunteer of the Nek Chand Foundation, in plastering the concrete walls.

Said Saravraj Singh, a student, who was on a first ever visit to Rock Garden,” I was so inspired by the sculptures and equally touched that foreigners were making efforts to remove the graffiti, while Indians had spoiled the place.”

His classmate, Ms Deepkiran Kaur added,” Earlier, I had never taken note of the graffiti, but next time, when I visit here or any other public place, and see any person scribbling, scratching and causing damage, I will inform the authorities besides giving them a good lecture.”

The Creator Director of Rock Garden, Mr Nek Chand, who is supervising the work, said this had created awareness among people, and hopefully they would not deface the place again.

It may be noted that the volunteers of the Nek Chand Foundation from the UK, led by Wilfred Wood, a sculptor and graphic designer, had finished plastering the concrete walls in the second and third phase of Rock Garden. Using the age-old Indian science of plastering floors and walls with mud and cow dung by adding cement, they are using the mixture on concrete walls to hide scars left by human vandalism.

This batch of volunteers also includes Rene Rice, a stone mason, Abi Isherwood, a curator, Iain Jackson, an architect, Isabel Brunt, a fine arts student; and, Holly Hall, an editor with a publishing house, and they are being assisted by employees of Rock Garden and members of Friends of Nek Chand. TNS



Defining love through theatre

“Kadar Yaar” — a play staged by the artistes of Adakar Manch, Mohali, at Tagore Theatre this evening, proved an engaging drama with all its intellectual arguments on the real definition of love. With its two central characters — Kadar and Rajia, the play implored the basic questions like what is love? Is the physical aspect of love a sin?

As the curtain goes up, what we see is a song sequence that tells the story of blossoming love between two young adults — Kadar and Rajia, soon to be lost in a whirlpool of complexities, with Rajia forced to marry Kadar’s elder brother. Rajia never gets over her former love and keeps going back to Kader only to be rejected by him who in the meantime becomes a sufi saint.

It is the clash between Kadar’s values and Rajia’s need for love that gives rise to a series of strong emotional scenes with two other characters — Hafiz a friend of Kadar, and Santu, a jilted lover, adding intensity to the entire drama. They question Kadar’s humanity with dialogues like — “you have become a fakir but in that process lost your humanity.”

The play was directed by Dr Sahib Singh and written by Dr Surjit Singh Sethi. The cast included Suvinder Vicky as Kadar, Rajender Rozy as Rajia, Parvesh Sethi as Santu and Dr Sahib Singh as Hafiz. Music was given by Jitender Singh, lyrics by Jaswinder. Costumes were designed by Rajender Rosy. OC



Protect eyes in dusty spring
Monica Sharma

Spring can be cruel too if you are allergic to dust and less than 15 years old. In case you are not careful, allergic conjunctivitis or ‘Spring Catarrh’ can cause redness of eyes. The problem occurs mostly in the months of March and September. Doctors in the city maintain that the allergy is caused by dust fumes.

Natisha of Sector 27 has been suffering from this allergy for the past four years. She is only 14. “It is extremely painful,” she says. “In fact, I cannot study although examinations are just around the corner. My entire day is spent in washing eyes and instilling eyedrops,” she says.

The doctors Natisha consulted told her that it was probably due to allergic reaction to sunlight. That is all. Tests were not conducted and she was simply advised to take safety measures.

The ophthalmologists at the PGI, however, add that the problem should, under no circumstances, be taken lightly.

Giving details, they add that sunlight may enhance the allergic attack, but is not the only reason. They advise patients to avoid dust.

Regarding symptoms, they say in majority of the cases, the problem is characterised by a grey hazy area around the top and bottom of the cornea almost like an arc. The eyes, in substantial number of cases, are “weepy” and itchy, tempting you to rub them vigorously.

Regarding the treatment, a senior ophthalmologist with the PGI says, “First you should control allergy with mild steroid drops and then reduce the dose gradually.”

“Steroids should later be replaced by non-steroidal drops for long-term effect,” he says. Warning against long-term use of steroids, he says, “Use of steroids is not recommended as these may lead to corneal ulcers and even cataract in some cases.”

He also recommends the use of dark sunglasses while venturing out in the sun. “These not only protect the eyes from sun’s harmful rays, but also from dust particles that may cause allergic reaction,” he adds. OC


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