C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Students face uncertainty as counselling begins at PEC
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Uncertainty was writ large on the faces of students as counselling for admission to engineering and architecture courses in Punjab Engineering College (PEC), Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET) and Chandigarh College of Architecture (CCA) began here today.

The counselling being conducted by the Joint Admission Committee would continue till August 13. "We only checked the documents of the students but did not disclose their admission status as directed by the court. A general merit list was only displayed at the counselling centre ", said an official at the counselling centre.

The final list of admission status would be displayed after the court decision, added the official.

Today the counselling was held for SC/ ST candidates. For the other reserved category candidates, the counselling would be held tomorrow. For the general category, the counselling would be held on August 11.

It may be mentioned here that a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, while hearing a petition challenging the move by the Chandigarh Administration on reducing the quota for local students from 85 per cent to 50 per cent, had directed the administration to prepare two merit lists- one as per the existing provisions of 85 per cent and 15 per cent seats for city students and outsiders and other as per the proposed division of 50-50.



Campus Notes
SOPU members start chain fast
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Students Organisation of Panjab University (SOPU) began a chain fast outside the office of the Vice-Chancellor here today. Students of fourth year of the Department of Chemical Engineering Department, Aman Bhalla, Jagtar Singh, Harishankar Meena and Tarun Sandhu, observed a fast this morning to press for the acceptance of their demands.

The demands include dividing hostel rent in the cases where students share rooms and allotting more classrooms to the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET).

SOPU has demanded complete overhaul of the placement cell of the food agro processing cell of the Chemical Engineering Department. A student leader stated that not even one student was able to get placement with the help of the cell this year.

SOPU will form a joint action forum against the repetitive mistakes committed by the examination branch and the frequently set out-of-syllabus question papers. The organisation has demanded re-examination of students of the Chemical Engineering Department.

The President of SOPU, Ranjeet Raju, said the activists would observe a chain fast to begin with. “If our demands are not met, we will observe an indefinite fast and the agitation would be intensified by holding protest marches, if such a need arose,” he said.

Admission: The University Business School (UBS), Panjab University, will shortly shortlist candidates for the MBA Course (session 2005-2006), on the basis of CAT 2004 conducted by the IIMs. An advertisement in this regard will appear in all newspapers, according to Prof. Satish Kapoor, Chairman, of UBS.

Panel constituted: Different student Organisations have started putting up demands before the Vice-Chancellor, Prof KN Pathak, which are either vague or non-specific and some of these are factually incorrect.

However, the Vice-Chancellor has formed a committee comprising the Dean of University Instruction, Dean Student Welfare, Dean Student Welfare (Women), Chairperson, Department of Chemical Engineering and Technology, and Director, University Institute of Engineering and Technology, to look into these and find a viable solution, according to an official press note issued by Panjab University.

Clarification: Some misinformation is being spread regarding the availability of the lecture rooms in the University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University. It is clarified that 11 classrooms are available for the 13 classes of various branches.

Also scheduling the classroom lectures and laboratory work further reduces the requirement of lecture rooms. The university authorities claimed that the number of classrooms available were well above the required norms.

The sizes of the classrooms are much bigger than the space-to-student ration of 1.1 sqm per student in a classroom. Other infrastructure facilities for the conduct of current courses are available with the institute. The classes are functioning normally, according to the Director, University Institute of Engineering and Technology.


PUTA election campaigning in full swing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
With elections to the Panjab University Teachers Association (PUTA) slated for August 12, campaigning is in full swing in the university. Members of the two panels in the contest visited various departments today.

All through the day, the members of the two panels and their supporters branched out into different departments to appeal for votes. The making of appeals through e-mail and SMS has also gained momentum with the date of the elections drawing near. This time a lot of focus is on group meetings

This election has implementation of the pension scheme as the central issue unlike last year when the poll was fought on a number of problems “ailing the university”.

Among the major manifesto items are irregularities in house allotment on the campus, “saffronisation” of the university by allowing a political party to organise a camp and the lack of academic activity by PUTA.

Dr Raunki Ram of the Department of Political Science has been fielded for the post of president by the outgoing team which chooses to call itself “democratic” while Dr Sudip Minhas from the Department of English will contest for the secretaryship of PUTA. The two are pitted against Dr Pawan Kamra of the Department of Correspondence Studies and Dr Chiranjiv Singh of Public Administration.

Dr Raunki Ram’s panel includes Dr Kuldip Puri as joint secretary, Dr J.P. Sharma as vice-president and Dr Rajat Sandhir for the post of treasurer. The other panel has chosen Dr Ramilla Pathak, Dr Shankarji Jha and Dr V.K. Singh for the three posts, respectively.



From Schools
Students seek removal of telecom towers
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
Students of Vivek High School, Sector 38, here have written an open letter to the UT Administrator, Justice O.P. Verma (retd), for the removal of telecom towers of a mobile service provider in Sectors 7, 8 and 20 here as these are creating environment hazards. The students, Radhika Bhalla, Vatsala Sarda, Sushane Puri, Satyam Batra, Sultan Rana and Nihar Mishra, members of the Round Square, said these not only posed a threat to human lives, but wreaked havoc on the flora and fauna of the city. Due to the dangerous magnetic waves of the towers, migratory birds had been falling ill, they said.

Aaina honoured: Vivek High School, Sector 38, honoured Aaina Jain, the Chandigarh girl who recently won the NASA competition on resettlement colony on the moon. The Principal of the school congratulated Aaina. She shared her experiences with the children and said, “I was the only girl from Chandigarh in the team. When Kalpana Chawla’s husband J. Harrison got to know this, was concerned. At that moment, I felt proud to be a Chandigarhian. Shaking hands with the Ambassador of the USA to India was my first elation.” Aaina talked in detail about the project and how the team participated in the competition and won it.



Skill upgrade for 6 colleges’ alumni
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
The Chandigarh Training On Soft Skills Programme (C-TOSS), an initiative of the Department of Information Technology, to upgrade skill sets of the youth, has been offered to the alumni of six colleges where C-TOSS programme has been started. The alumni can enrol at their respective colleges.

The colleges are Government College, Sector 11, Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Government College for Girls, Sector 42, Government College, Sector 46, MCM DAV College, Sector 36, and DAV College, Sector 10. The training modules cover communication skills, interpersonal skills and other ITES industry specific skills.

The Department of Information Technology has also started the C-TOSS programme in schools of Chandigarh. Training is provided to the students of Class XI at Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 16, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 37, Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, and Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 33.


Bar association fails to adopt resolution condemning UT action
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 9
A hurriedly-called meeting of the general house of the District Bar Association had to be called off today due to the lack of quorum.
According to sources, a clear division over the calling of the meeting was visible with very few advocates turned up for meeting. The meeting was called to condemn the action of the enforcement staff of the Chandigarh Administration in demolishing an “illegal” canteen on the District Courts premises recently. Even certain office-bearers of the association skipped the meeting.

A section of the advocates wanted the Bar to adopt a tough attitude over the “highhandedness” of the authorities concerned. However, the lack of quorum ensured that no resolution condemning the action could be passed. Ultimately, it was decided to call an executive meeting to discuss the issue.

Meanwhile, hundreds of litigants and advocates were put to incovenience due to the absence of a canteen. They were seen going to the Sector 17 Inter-State Bus Terminus for having tea, snacks and other food items.



High Court
Judgement reserved in Forest Hill case
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 9
The Punjab and Haryana High Court today reserved its judgement in the fresh issues that cropped up recently in the case of alleged violations in the construction of Forest Hill Country Club and Resort, Karoran.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Punjab, AS Dogra, Chief Conservator of Forests (Hills) H.S. Gujral and the public interest litigant in the case also filed their affidavits in the matter today.

At the very onset of the hearing, the Bench of Chief Justice Mr Justice B.K. Roy and Mr Justice Surya Kant also came down heavily on Indian Forest Service (IFS) officer Harsh Kumar for seeking permission from the Punjab Government to prosecute amicus curiae Anupam Gupta, who is assisting the court in the matter.

The Tribune had first written about the letter written by Mr Kumar to Punjab Financial Commissioner (Forest and Wildlife), seeking permission under Rule 17 of the service rules to prosecute advocate Gupta.

On the last hearing, the amicus had brought to the court's notice the news report, following which the Bench asked counsel for the Punjab Government to seek instructions from the Financial Commissioner if the letter had actually been written to him. The Bench also wanted to know if any order has been passed in this matter. Today, the court was informed that the Financial Commissioner had indeed received two separate letters in this regard and had also sought the opinion of the Advocate-General in this regard.

The Bench asked how the Financial Commissioner was competent to give such permission? The Bench also said that it could not allow any government officer to try and pressure the amicus. "An attack on the amicus is an attack on us," the Bench said.

The Bench also expressed concern over the statement of counsel for the Punjab Government in the matter that she had earlier been threatened by Mr Kumar.

Verdict reserved: The High Court on Monday reserved its judgement on the petition filed by Commercial Tenant Association (CTA), Chandigarh, challenging the November 7, 2003 notification of the UT Administration.

Through the notification, the UT had exempted buildings having rent more than Rs 1,500 per month from the operation of the Punjab Urban Rent Restriction Act, 1949, as applicable to Chandigarh.

On the last hearing, the UT Administration had informed the court that it had no intention of withdrawing or amending the notification. 


Nadira, Juhi Babbar cast a spell
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 9
Nadira Zaheer Babbar and her daughter Juhi cast a spell on the audience with their powerful performance in “Begum Jaan” staged at Shivalik Public School here this evening.

The play, directed by Nadira herself and written by Javed Siddiqui, took the audience into the past life of a singer, Begum Bai, who later came to be called Begum Jaan. Through skilful presentation and backed by fairly elaborate sets, Nadira, portrayed the octogenarian former singer in all her loneliness living with her granddaughter, Zarina (Juhi).

The forgotten Begum Jaan’s life suddenly becomes a subject of interest to a journalist, Sanjay, who wants to explore the different aspects of her life. She tells him about some letters she had from the well-known Maulana Azad, Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Jawaharlal. The journalist looks for a romantic angle in these letters and is prepared to go to any extent to get them so that he could make money by publishing a book in which a new angle could be given to history.

He once even tries to steal the letters and on another occasion there is a scuffle between the journalist and the old singer for getting the valuable letters. She later dies, never to give the  letters to anyone.

The play, perhaps as a sub-theme, focuses on the rich Indian culture that is dying. Begum Jaan represents a theatrical person who is endowed with ethical values. The old singer at one point says that nobody bothers about Hindustani sangeet and no one even gives royalty to singers. There were so many artistes, she says, who live a hard life.

Mohali has rarely seen a play so well staged. And residents certainly were grateful to Nadira and Juhi for exposing them to a unique theatrical experience.



Social activism soul of theatre for Nadira
Aditi Tandon

Nadira Babbar sounds more of a social activist than a theatre personality. As you get closer to her mind, you realise the hint of social activism is deliberate because Nadira regards it as the very soul of theatre. “Theatre is a reflection of times. Theatre can be treated as a living art only if it mirrors the truth, no matter how hideous it is,” she says.

For her part, Nadira has kept the art alive, and has fed it with passion for 25 years. That is why despite temptations she has never chosen cinema over theatre. It is Nadira’s spirited activism which has kept her group, Ekjute together for long. She proudly guards a tradition which now has many keepers.

“We have reared Ekjute like a child and have nurtured it with our intellect,” declares Raj Babbar’s eloquent wife, in the city to stage her production “Begum Jaan” today. As she conversed with Chandigarh Tribune at the UT Guest House, her glamorous daughter Juhi took a backseat, testifying the respect Nadira commands. Everyone allowed her to do the talking, knowing well that she would talk purpose.

And so she did. “Theatre’s growth has been slow and television is to be blamed for the rot. I do not want promising actors to forego their right to test other lucrative mediums, but my grudge is that theatre has been unable to sustain its actors. I wish I could prevent great actors from leaving Ekjute for television and cinema,” says Nadira, who also rues the lack of meaningful scripts for theatre.

“I wonder where the playwrights have gone. We are suffering due to dearth of scripts that can have some impact. There have been writers like Mohan Rakesh and Dr Dharamvir Bharti, but they have, at best, given one good play. Unlike in the West, where creative writing is more of a passion than a requirement, we have a huge vacuum that waits to be filled. I now write my own plays,” she says.

Nadira has staged three of her own plays, including “Dayashankar ki Diary”, which traces the lives of misguided youth, “Suman aur Sana” on the evil of communalism and “Saku Bai”, that talks about life from the perspective of maids. She is now working on two projects — “Ji, Jaisi Apki Marzi”, featuring five monologues of women from different ages, and another one that blends Dr Dharamvir Bharti’s “Andha Yug” and his collection of poems titled “Kanupriya”.

Nadira says, “The last project is very interesting. It talks of Radha’s love for Krishna and shows how she reacted to Krishna’s involvement in the Mahabharata. It is like exploring Radha’s mind using literature as a tool.”

Having lived theatre for long, Nadira recently signed Gurinder Chadha’s “Bride and Prejudice”, the only film she has ever done. But the quintessential actress had a reason behind the act, “My children and Raj pushed me into it. I accepted the offer to honour their sentiments,” she says. For Nadira, Raj Babbar still remains the eternal reference point in all aspects of life, and she admits, “He is my best audience and my best critic. I want to direct him someday.”

As Nadira expresses love for her man, Juhi finally decides to speak up, “I am proud of parents who encourage me to act for the love of acting and not for the sake of it. I recently rejected 14 films because I did not wish to trivialise my talent. You will now see me in Rishi Jena’s “Antara” and Aslam Azmi’s “Paigam”, she says.



Juhi feels at home among Punjabis
Gurvinder Kaur

Juhi Babbar, daughter of cine star Raj Babbar and theatre thespian Nadira Babbar, is beautiful and poised. However, it is the maturity of emotion that she displays in her young age that sets her apart from numerous other star siblings who are trying to make their mark in Bollywood.

Juhi who was in Patiala along with mother Nadira to stage the play ‘Begum Jaan’ gives a peep into her life. Wanting to become an actress was perhaps the natural choice for Juhi who remembers spending most of her time throughout her childhood in theatres watching rehearsals along with her mother. However, much to her surprise her father would not hear of it. Juhi’s debut as an artiste in the much acclaimed play, “Yehudi ki ladki” failed to persuade Raj Babbar to accede to her wishes.

“We tried to get her mind off acting. We even made her do a course from the NIFT but we did not reckon with her steely resolve”, laughs Nadira. When queried as to why this was so Juhi turns to mom, Nadira in mock severity and says in chaste punjabi,” Tussi dasso” (you tell). But Juhi is quick to explain that as her father had come up the hard way in life, he wanted to protect her from the harsh realities of tinsel town. “However, all changed when he saw my performance in ‘Begum Jaan’ “Dad is a typical traditional Punjabi father who is wary of letting his little girl be exposed to the harshness of life”, she adds.

“My father has always made it a point to talk in Punjabi at home and tell me about the culture and vitality of the Punjabi people. I have a healthy respect for his protective streak. You see this Babbar is actually a ‘sher’. He has instilled in me a pride for Punjabiyat. I have lived all my life in Mumbai yet I feel at home in Punjab. Its like a homecoming for me where I am surrounded by my own people”.

Juhi’s brush with Bollywood has not been an altogether successful experience. Her first film, ‘Kash aap hamare hote’ fared badly at the box office. However, the girl left a mark with the result that she has two good films in the hand at the moment. “I have till date rejected 14 film offers. Only ‘Antra’ and ‘Paigaam’ have materialised”, says Juhi, adding that theatre too hold her in its unyielding grip and she would continue to do theatre with her mother’s group ‘Ekjut’.

Juhi, like most star offsprings, is conscious of the onus on her to carry forward the flag in flying colours. “I understand only that there is no shortcut to success. This is the most tangible thing that I have learnt from my parents and I plan to work hard”, says Juhi.



Labour of love by NIFD students
Swarleen Kaur

A National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) exhibition, Vivid India, concluded on the campus in Chandigarh on Sunday. The collection put on show by students of textile design and interior design drew a lot of appreciation.

Earlier, fashion design students had show-cased their creativity at the recently held annual passing out fashion show. This time it was the turn of the interior design and textile design students to display their creativity.

The NIFD exhibition, an annual feature, is organised to showcase the collections designed by the students as part of their curriculum.

The interior design and textile design students had put in a lot of hard work to create the exhibits. All pieces on display had been individually handcrafted by the students.

NIFD textile design faculty members Shweta, Gurpreet, Deeksha and interior design faculty members Jasveen, Niyati, Shipra, Ritesh, Rashim, Shubi and Nanki had motivated the students for this first-its-kind presentation by the NIFD .

The highlight of the exhibition was the “designers’ apartment”, which portrayed a spicy blend of trend and tradition. Designer belts, bags, cushions and rugs emphasised in the niches enhanced by the play of light. The textures were also a treat. While the funky discotheque designed by interior design students set a peppy mood, a coffee lounge was a picture of style and sophistication.

A panel of eminent jury members judged the students, who would be awarded at the NIFD annual awards ceremony to be held later.



A multi-faceted artiste

Rajesh Sharma Chandigarh-based 22-year-old Rajesh Sharma is a multi-faceted personality. He is a popular figure in Panjab University. Ask anyone there about him, he or she is most likely to tell you something about him. Performing at university cultural programmes like the chemical engineering fest, Cyanide, Jhankaar youth fest and Agaaz gave him exposure and popularity.

But for him choreographing a Punjabi music video song, ‘Billo’, with Tips was the biggest recognition. The singer is Preet Harpal Singh and Honey Romy is the director. This videos on Mh1, Balle Balle and Alpha has boosted his morale.

He has also performed in a patriotic Tseries album, ‘Sandeshe Aate Hain’, which will be released on Independence Day. I am always ready to jump at any opportunity that comes my way, he says.

Though he has not taken any formal training, he has successfully dabbled in modelling as well and has done various ramp shows in New Delhi and Chandigarh.

“I was quite a shy student. A farewell party in Government Model School, Sector 16, Chandigarh, brought out the hidden talent in me. Some friends challenged me to dance on the stage. I accepted the challenge did it with verve which drew applause. This instilled confidence in me and set me on the track to success. Then gradually I thought about venturing into choreography.”

A sportsman, too, he has been a national-level cricket player and represented Punjab University Cricket team in all-India inter-university tournaments.

Enthusiasm for dance also keeps him busy. He takes dance classes in bhangra, Rock N Roll, Bollywood and western dances.

His philosophy of life is to live and let live. He respects those who hold their parents in high esteem. At present he is doing his third year in law in Panjab University. OC



Powerful strokes bring nature and music alive

A painting exhibition at Citi Bank in Sector 9 is much in consonance with the subtly changing face of the season. Being hosted in this bank for the first time, this unique exhibition brings together the works of two famed artists from the region — Prem Singh and Anju Pasricha.

Taking off from nature and its manifestations, the artists have structured a brilliant show that stands apart for its striking ensembles. While Prem Singh draws inspiration from nature, which eternally inspires him as an artist, Anju chooses her themes from the seven musical notes which fill the world with magic and romance.

Her canvasses are bright and vibrant, laced with colours that best embody the spirit of music and the calm it begets. Her strokes seem rather effortless as she brings alive images engrossed in worshipping music in one form or the other. The colour palette is soothing and striking at the same time. Anju manages to blend colours well to create an impact she has chosen for each work.

As for Prem Singh, whose very name is synonymous with meaningful artwork, nature comes to the forefront in its various forms. The canvas comes across as a mirror of his mind which cherishes nature in all its abandon. His technique is admirable and works powerful, as always. The exhibition will continue till August 13. OC



Collegiate music contest on Aug 12

The first-ever nationwide collegiate music competition, ‘Campus Rock Idols’, will see its first round in the city on August 12. The event will be held at the Leisure Valley, Sector 10, Chandigarh, from 3 pm onwards.

“Campus Rock Idols”, an independent competition for music groups at campus level, will offer a “definitive” college experience to the students as far as live music, entertainment and a healthy inter-college rivalry is concerned. One lucky band will get a lifetime debut opportunity to perform alongside international artistes like Bryan Adams and Sting.

The winners will also get to see performances by main line bands and spend time at the unique and exclusive “Campus Adda”, a market square that will offer a multitude of entertainment experiences. Well-known Delhi-based band Messiah will be the headline performance for the regional event in Chandigarh.

The judge for the regional event in Chandigarh will be Anshuman, who manages exclusive tours for Indian bands both internationally and across the country through his company, ‘Only Much Louder’.

The event will be held at 11 cities across the four geographic regions of the country. The winners at each city will participate at the regional finals in their respective regions. The regional finals for the North will be held in New Delhi on August 20 and will include the winners from the rounds in Indore, Chandigarh and Delhi.

The grand finale will take place in Mumbai on September 12. TNS



Stress affects memory, says Biswaroop

Biswaroop Roy Chawdhury Many of us have suffered taxing moments just because our memory failed us at that crucial moment. But now worrying about forgetting things can be a thing of the past, promises Biswaroop Roy Chawdhury who is a national record holder. He recently conducted a three-day seminar on “How to improve memory and learn faster” at Tagore Theatre here for students.

Asked why students tend to forget their crammed lessons, he said stress affected memory. He said parents should give a positive attitude to their children and should not compare their children with others.

He was of the opinion that intelligence was not inborn and one could develop it gradually by putting in effort and energy. A lot of methods and techniques were available these days through which one could achieve good memory

“I was an average student and never participated in any extra-curricular activities. After I studied a few books on memory, my passion for the subject increased. It proved to be a turning point in my life,” he said.

“I remember all names and never forget my schedule. I remember more than 400 telephone numbers. We forget only those things which we have not seen. We remember movies we have seen because of visual effect,” he said.

“There is association between body and mind. There is a need for good food and exercises to keep the body fit. Similarly, there is a need to reduce stress to increase memory. One should use imagination in the right way,” he said. OC

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