C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Class XI admissions: 780 reserved seats filled
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
On the first day of counselling for admission to class XI in local government schools, around 780 seats in the reserved categories could be filled against a quota of 1200 seats. Today, around 1000 candidates turned up for counselling.

The remaining seats under the reserved categories would be transferred to the general category, counselling for which begins tomorrow, said a senior officer in the UT Education Department. Around 1300 candidates are expected to appear for counselling tomorrow.

Ever since the counselling began at Government Model Senior Secondary School (GMSSS), Sector 23, a huge rush of candidates and parents was witnessed. As the day advanced, there was chaos at four fee collection centres. The officials manning the centres said more centres could be required from tomorrow.

According to the information available, all the science seats under the Scheduled Caste (SC) quota were filled in the GMSSS, Sector 16, GMSSS, 35, GMSSS, Sector 37, and GMSSS, Sector 40. The cut off percentage under the reserved category was GMSSS, Sector 16 (37.3 %), GMSSS, Sector 35 (60 %), GMSSS, Sector 37 (56 %) and GMSSS, Sector 40 (57.4 %). All reserved seats in the commerce, humanities and vocational streams could not be filled.

The officials said the number of seats filled in different streams were science (286), commerce (132), humanities (178) and vocational (106).

This year around 10,500 applications were submitted for admission against around 8800 seats in various streams in government senior secondary schools of the city.

The department had extended the last date from June 26 to June 29 as there was delay in declaration of the result of class X by the Punjab School Education Board.

Expecting a high demand, the UT Education Department has already increased around 430 seats in the science and commerce streams, depending upon the area specific demand for the subjects. The number of subjects in the vocational stream have also been increased.

Last year, the cut off percentage for commerce and science stream touched 71.2 per cent and 84.4 per cent, respectively. The admission in the government-run schools was done through a centralised system. The total number of seats in the science, commerce and arts stream were 2700, 1230 and 3940, respectively. The interviews will continue till July 17.

Science classes in government schools to begin in two phases

Classes in science stream in GMSSS, Sector 16, GMSSS, Sector 19, GMSSS, Sector 33, GMSSS, Sector 35 and GMSSS, Sector 37 will begin on July 5. In other schools, the classes of the science and commerce streams will begin on July 12, said the District Education Officer, Ms Rajesh Chaudhary.


Art college holds tests for general candidates
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Government College of Art in Sector 10 was the hub of activity today, with the authorities holding aptitude test for admission to various seats under the general pool. There is 60: 40 ratio of seats reserved for UT pool and general pool, respectively in four disciplines of the college.

The College principal Prof Brahm Parkash informed the Tribune that 220 applications had been received in the general category, for which exams were taken today on the college campus. Out of the 220 applicants, 194 appeared for the test which will fill 24 out of the total 60 seats available in the college.

The aptitude test is designed to measure the students’ sensitivity towards the environment. While the focus is on art, there is also a full test of general knowledge. The other two tests are of object drawing which includes still life, and composition.

The test for UT pool will be held on the college campus on July 5. About 101 applications have been received for the same. Competition stiffer in the general category under which a greater number of applications has been received.

Results of tests for both UT and general categories will be declared on July 13.


Imbroglio over fees continues
Tribune News Service

The crisis in Ayurvedic College deepened when second year students of the college who had paid fee of Rs 81,600 last year, forwarded a representation to the college management, demanding the lowering of the fees. The parents and the students alleged that they paid to the college Rs 11,000 in addition to Rs 85,000 as annual fee last year, which was not in accordance with the fee structure approved by the Panjab University Syndicate which had recommended the college to charge Rs 40,000 fee and Rs 10,000 as refundable security.

The parents and students alleged that the college management tried to threaten students and asked them to sign on a blank sheet during a meeting between the students and the management. However, the vice-chairman of the college, Mr Naresh Mittal, said the old students had made a representation but said “We didn’t ask anyone to sign blank paper,’’.

Chandigarh, July 2
The imbroglio over the fee structure in Shri Dhanwantry Ayurvedic College, Sector 46, continued today as the college maintained a status quo over charging the enhanced fee of Rs 81,600 from students who have been given admission by the counselling committee at Government Medical College, Sector 32.

A meeting would now be held between parents, the Secretary Medical Education, Punjab, Mr Satish Chandra, Justice G R Majithia, who is heading the committee for deciding the fee of unaided colleges in Punjab and Chandigarh, and ayurvedic college representatives on July 5 where an interim order would be given on the fee to be charged from students this session.

Earlier in the day, more than 40 students who had been given provisional admission by the committee gathered at the SD Ayurvedic college to deposit the fee but the college management refused to accept Rs 55,000 as the annual fee as mentioned in the prospectus.

The coordinator of the centralised medical admission and Director Principal of the GMCH, Sector 32, Prof HM Swami, said. “If the college persists with the attitude we will write letters to the authorities concerned, including Panjab University and Secretary Health, to take appropriate action.’’

The vice-president of the Ayurvedic College, Mr Naresh Mittal, maintained that they tried to convince the parents but said the question of accepting anything less than Rs 81,600 did not arise.


Banda Singh Bahadur’s era recreated
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Historical plays are always the most difficult to handle. They pose a challenge not only in terms of reproduction of an era, but also in terms of juxtaposition of historical facts.

On both these fronts, today’s production titled, “Baba Banda Singh Bahadur” emerged a winner. It not only presented stark realities of the Mughal rule and the consequent backlash by the Sikh armies powerfully, but also managed to recreate the period well for the theatre audience at Tagore Theatre.

Directed by Hitender Kumar and evolved by Jagjit Singh Saini, today’s production was presented under the aegis of Holy Theatre. The better part of the play was that it did not just rely upon mundane elements of theatre to breathe life into the persona of Banda Singh Bahadur.

Because the character of Banda Singh Bahadur was not being portrayed on stage, it became essential for the director to explain his life and times through other media. Throughout the two hour long play, the screen installed in the backdrop served as a virtual tool for narration that happened through a “sutradhaar”, played by Bajendra Bhardwaj. Other key roles were played by Janaki Prasad and Wazir by Hitender Kumar; Hussain Ali by Raman; Abdullah by Rohit, Baaj Singh by Amrit Pal and Wazir Khan by Jagjit Saini.

The play offered a complete insight into the life of Banda Singh Bahadur, who was born Madho Das. It then traced his life through his days as a hunter to his induction into Sri Guru Gobind Singhji’s Khalsa Army, when he came to be known as Bhai Gurbaksh Singh. Employing the martial art of gatka, the director ably put across scenes from the famous battles that Banda Bahadur fought against the Mughals and won. These included his triumph over Samana, Sirhind, Patiala and other regions of Punjab.

Facts from history were also splashed across the screen in the background, even as scenes were being enacted on the stage. This made a fine bridge for communication even for those who could not understand Gurmukhi. Gradually, the play progressed depicting the victories which the Sikh Army earned under the stewardship of Banda Bahadur. It ended with the poignant tale of Banda’s death.

The use of audio-visual aids and the depiction of virtual fights on stage made for a meaningful presentation, which kept the audience in a thrall, and cleared doubts which some historians have created about the personality of Banda Bahadur. As the sutradhaar mentioned during the curse of the play, “Banda Bahadur was not a plunderer. There was no denying the fact that he looted, but only to facilitate donations to the poor.”


Bhatti releases 3 music albums
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 2
Jaspal Bhatti today released three music albums produced by Golden Ball Musico. Titled, “Tera Mera Pyar Amar”, “Abhi Na Jao Chodkar” and “Kahin Deep Jale Kahin Dil”, the three albums feature songs by city based singers Brijesh Ahuja, Ranjana, Meenu Palta, Ritu Sharma, Muktesh Diwan and Richa Sharma. The cassettes were released at a function held in Press Club.

Of the above mentioned singers, Brijesh Ahuja has a record of working with Jaspal Bhatti in his various serials like “Ulta Pulta” and “Flop Show.” He has long been associated with Bhatti as a music director. Later, he also sung few numbers in Bhatti’s film, “Mahaul Theek Hai”.


A beauty with brains
Swarleen Kaur

“It is easy to distinguish between right and wrong but it is difficult to detect a wrong which appears to be right,” believes budding model Kanika Ashok who has come to the city to try her luck.

“I wanted to be a civil servant but God had decided something else. Modelling just happened to me and I accepted it with gratitude,” says Kanika. For her life is a learning process and her philosophy is to live and let live.

“I learned a lot while working with renowned designers and choreographers like Raghvender Rathod, Rashmi Virmani, Kaushik Ghosh, Shraddha Khaitan, Sabyachachi Mukherjee and Rohit Gandhi.”

While in Chandigarh she has worked with Sunil Bansal and Jeet Brar. She is a beauty with brains. She topped Panjab University in MA (public administration) last year. She also topped BBA in finance at Devi Ahiliya University, Indore. She knows Punjabi,Dogri, Nepali, English, and Hindi.

She started her modelling career from Delhi and has done various ramp shows and hosted serval programmes.

She derives inspiration from her father, an Army officer, who is her philosopher, guide and a friend. She says her parents played a major role in building her career.

“I am looking forward to more ramp shows, video films, music videos,commercials and anchoring shows but Bollywood is my final destination,” she said.

She is a religious person and at the same time a party lover. Her other interests are horse riding, gardening and cooking. Philosophies of Osho, Krishnamurty and Kahlil Gibran stir her soul , guiding her to a positive path.


MTV-Balaji hold final auditions

The MTV-Balaji combine played the game of secrecy on Friday. After managing media attention for the first two days of the auditioning, that aims to pick talent for the new serial being made by Ekta Kapoor, both MTV and Balaji suddenly chose to withdraw today. The only official word was that “no media coverage is required for the final round of audition.”

Though the visiting MTV veejays had admitted in their interviews earlier that 20 candidates would be shortlisted for the final auditions after the first round, there was no information on how many candidates were finally selected. The organisers were also tightlipped about the names of candidates selected, and the venue where the final auditions were held.

Incidentally when many of the candidates who took the screen test on Thursday did not receive any calls from the organisers until this morning, they went to do some reality check at Himachal Bhavan. Much to their surprise, the organisers were not around. The candidates were informed that the auditions were happening at a different location, which remains an official secret.

Attempts to elicit information about the final 20 shortlisted candidates failed, even as the event managers said they were not allowed to share information of that level. While many candidates and their parents went home disappointed due to the close-door operations of the organisers, even the media kept wondering where the final auditions were held.

“Things were more opaque than we expected. Our child had auditioned for Zee Cinestars recently. The entire selection process was so transparent that nothing was left to speculation. However, this time we have been left guessing. We don’t even know the venue of the final auditions,” said parents of a Patiala based candidate who was here for auditions yesterday. — TNS


He wishes to set up magic academy

Samarat Shankar
Samarat Shankar

“Magic is the most popular form of entertainment because it arouses curiosity. Punjabis exhibit a keen desire to learn this art”,says world famous magician, Jadugar Samarat Shankar, who recently returned from London after doing some shows there.

He recently performed in Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar where he got a good response.

“Many youngsters approach me to learn the art,” he says. There are many people in the region who want to master the art but they don’t know how to go about it because there is no institution to impart training in this, he says.

It is odd that the country that has given birth to the art of magic has no academy to teach this art. He cherishes a dream to set up an academy of magic. Talks regarding this have been going on with the Chief Ministers of Punjab and Haryana to allot a land, he says, adding that “It will not be a private institute but will be run by the Government”.

He says it would have magic labs and a theatre academy for the students to practice. He will also train professors. The course would be a diploma of one or two years.

The academy will help clear misconceptions related to this art.

He says that abroad people take magic as a form of entertainment but in India most of the people take it as tantra or “jadu tona”.

He wants to pass on this art to his son who has mastered the knack of meditation and yoga.

“Magic is like a deep ocean. It is not easy to learn. One needs dedication and those who have it stand a good chance to earn fame and glory,” he adds. — OC


Healing through yoga

Here is a way to gain greater control on ourselves. Yoga, an ancient science with curative powers, is being marketed to heal us. This is a sermon on yoga from Priya Khetrapal who has come from the USA to hold yoga classes.

“Through yoga we become more aware of our body and psychological state. By practicing it we can balance our thoughts and feelings. It helps us to control ourselves”, says the “hatha” yoga instructor

She will hold yoga classes at Planet Fitness, Sector 8, from July 12.

She has been holding yoga classes in Berkeley and California for more than 10 years. Explaining the concept, she says, “hatha” the denotes the union of the sun and the moon, regulating the flow of breath.

“If faithfully practised, it leads to a glowing face, graceful posture and good mental health”, she says.

A person of any age can start yoga under guidance. — OC

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