Champion of the girl child
Gitanjali Sharma
"T
HE bias against the girl child can be removed only if we educate the girls, and make them aware of their rights and responsibilities," says Sister Elsy Odackal, who has been selected for the CBSE National Award for Teachers-2003, for her contribution towards the girl child.

MAKING WAVES

Anjala stages a comeback
Aditi Tandon
I
T takes quite a heart to consciously deny oneself a chance of doing something one has always loved to do. But thespian Anjala Maharishi had no qualms about making the decision of abstaining from stage until she came across a script refined enough to inspire the actress in her.

UNís face in India
Humra Quraishi
S
ecretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed 54-year-old Shalini Dewan as the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi, covering India and Bhutan. She succeeds Feodor Starcevic.

Top


 







 

Champion of the girl child
Gitanjali Sharma

Sister Elsy Odackal
Sister Elsy Odackal ó Photo by Rajesh Sachar

"THE bias against the girl child can be removed only if we educate the girls, and make them aware of their rights and responsibilities," says Sister Elsy Odackal, who has been selected for the CBSE National Award for Teachers-2003, for her contribution towards the girl child. This Principal of St Paulís High School in Ajrawar village in Patiala district is popularly known for her term as head of Sacred Heart Senior Secondary School, Chandigarh, from July 2001 till May this year. She had also served the school as a teacher from 1985 to 89 before leaving to teach in a convent in Mussoorie.

Upbeat about this yearís Class X result of Sacred Heart girls this year, 50 of whom scored above 90 per cent, Sister Elsy says it has always given her immense satisfaction to attend to the weak students and those from the weaker section of society. The Hindi-medium section at Sacred Heart, essentially for the underprivileged, grew in strength to over 1000 students under her charge.

Known for quietly helping the needy students with books and uniform, this much respected and admired teacher made sure that these girls got all facilities and opportunities that were given to the English-medium section.

Taking up teaching as her calling in 1979, this Keralite missionary says she may feel happy about the honour bestowed on her but she did what was expected of her. "It is our duty to bring up the downtrodden and educate the girl child."

Concerned about the lack of time parents have for their offspring, Sister Elsy says in the present times with both parents working, childrenís problems not only remain unsolved but also unrecognised. "I have seen the brokenness of girls. Outwardly, they may appear happy and cheerful, but they seem to be suffering inside. They have none to share their anxieties and concerns with."

Children need time and love more than anything else, this educator asserts, adding that nobody else can offer them these more than parents, especially mothers, who are the first and the best teachers. And, nothing can be more precious a gift than spending time with children and listening to their problems.

Sister Elsy would like to continue with her work of assisting and guiding students in the co-educational St Paulís High School, as she considers that "thereís nothing more satisfying than securing and brightening up the future of your wards."

Top

 

MAKING WAVES
Anjala stages a comeback
Aditi Tandon

Anjala with husband and director Mohan Maharishi
Anjala with husband and director Mohan Maharishi

IT takes quite a heart to consciously deny oneself a chance of doing something one has always loved to do. But thespian Anjala Maharishi had no qualms about making the decision of abstaining from stage until she came across a script refined enough to inspire the actress in her. After a hiatus of 20 years, Anjala returned to the space of performance on August 19, adding the much-needed tinge of purpose to the maiden production of her husband Mohan Maharishiís Sanket productions. Adapted from the American playwright Marsha Normanís award winning text... that explores the issue of identity in an increasingly pugnacious world, the play, Ho Rahega Kuch Na Kuch, drew the best in Anjala.

Her portrayal as member of a minority community was too perfect to be challenged. And her hour-long act on the stage of Tagore Theatre was so flawless that one could hardly believe she was staging a comeback after two decades. The last production in which she featured as a director and an actress was the Hindi adaptation of Marathi playwright Vasant Kanetkarís Aaakhri Sawaal. She associated with this play to raise funds for the building of Maharashtra Bhavan. And those who saw her in action 20 years ago still swear by her effortless adroitness on stage.

Thankfully, Anjalaís fans had no difficulty in retracing her skills as she made a powerful impression yet again. She delivered the dialogues with a heightened sense of poignancy, vainly attempting to battle the suicidal instincts that have suddenly got the better of her daughter. Anjala admits, "I was nervous, simply because teaching theatre is something different from living it on the stage, that too for an utterly objective audience. To remain on stage for one hour and forty five minutes was no less than a challenge for me, but was I was confident because I had never quite lost touch with the performing media."

Top

 

UNís face in India
Humra Quraishi

Shalini Dewan
Shalini Dewan

Secretary-General Kofi Annan has appointed 54-year-old Shalini Dewan as the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in New Delhi, covering India and Bhutan. She succeeds Feodor Starcevic. A citizen of the United States, Dewan was formerly Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Rome, until December 2003. Subsequently, she was assigned to Brussels where she assisted in the establishment of the new Regional United Nations Information Centre for Western Europe. She has more than 30 years of experience in the field of information, including 26 years in the UN. From 1998 to 2001, as Chief of Publishing and Multimedia with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Rome, she was responsible for the conceptualisation and editorial management of a wide range of print and electronic products She spearheaded a project on the development of a corporate visual identity for the organisation.

Her focus now will be "Basically development issues relevant to India `85there has to be bigger outreach and awareness." She began her career with the UN in 1978, before which she worked as a journalist. Dewan has a Masterís degree in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature (honours), French and psychology, from Panjab University, Chandigarh, India. Dewan is single and had her schooling at Dalhousie.

HOME PAGE

Top