J A L A N D H A R  S T O R I E S


By the sweat of their brow
Deep in villages, women hold the field in agriculture
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

AGRICULTURE. The moment you utter the word, an image of a burly man manoeuvring a rather unwieldy tractor in the backdrop of a vast expanse of ploughed land crops up. It's a male hinterland, where women can at the best be pretty adjuncts, either preparing a bagful of lunch and snacks for their menfolk (as Bollywood films would have us believe) or 'stilettoing' delicately into the lush fields and orchards to filch the blush of blooms.

All-woman show

The Kandi area in the Balachaur sub-divisionThe Kandi area in the Balachaur sub-division has many women farmers, as their menfolk have shifted to "more lucrative" trades. The landholdings are small - 1 to 5 acres - and it's the women, many of them unlettered, who run the show.

Social perceptions change hard

They may have stormed the male bastion, but it's hard to change social perception. Women are still the "weaker sex" in the villages. "Boys are still the pampered lot. A sister has to play the second fiddle to her brother. The choicest food is first served to the boy. The girl is taught the 'virtues' of adjustment and sacrifice," rues Ms Charanjivini. She adds that people don't take kindly to women who show an inclination for independence. They are too willing to cast aspersions if you don't adhere to their timeworn codified norms.

But deep in the villages of Jalandhar and Nawanshahr, there are women for whom agriculture and the work associated with it are an integral part of life. Mind you, it's not a feminist statement for them. Most of these women may find the ideology-laced feministic talk hollow and pretentious. These women are no feisty entrepreneurs spouting the tough marketing lingo. They are as desi as the dusty, bumpy roads that snake their way to their fields in dull, dreary villages.

When we visit Ms Inderjit Kaur of Bir village, Jalandhar, the stereotype of a 'village woman' is completely sloughed off. Farming is the raison d'etre of this sarpanch's life. "I am a mother and I think nurturing comes easily to women. I have been nurturing my fields for the past 10-12 years, ever since my marriage," she says. Her husband is abroad and she is managing her fields as well as her business single-handedly. Interestingly, this petite woman is extremely fond of driving. Be it tractor or a motorcycle, she cannot help taking a shot at it!

Our next stop is at Dhamal village, barely 7 km from the city. Time to unfold Ms Sangeeta Deol's story. This polio-afflicted woman wanted to do "something worthwhile". And she settled for farming! "We had a landholding of only one hectare. But I was determined. I even sold my gold jewellery to mop up resources. I tried my hand at mushroom growing. Loaded with my 'mushroom crop', I would board a train for Delhi at night, reach Azadpura Market in the morning and come back to Jalandhar the same day. But it was not so lucrative, as people had yet to develop a taste for mushroom dishes. So, I got training in bee keeping from Punjab Agricultural University and diversified into rearing bees, though I am still into mushroom farming," says this woman, who has carved her stepping-stones out of the stumbling blocks. She says she was among the first in her village to discard purdah. Her annual production of honey is about 20-25 tonnes. Recently, she started a training school for bee keeping, where she also imparts free training to poor women. Her dictum is: "Rest not till the goal is achieved."

Saloh is a non-descript village, about half an hour's run from Nawanshahr town. An antiquated house with wide-open doors stands unobtrusively in some equally unobtrusive corner of the village. A woman (possibly in her thirties) peers through the door. Determination is writ clear on her face. "I have seen life in the raw. But adversity has not crushed my spirits. There was a time when we had a flourishing poultry business and a fleet of cars, but today I have just my fields and a few cattle to see me through," says this feisty woman Charanjivini, as she shows us around her fields.

"My father bequeathed to us his strong will and 'never-say-die' attitude. One of my brothers is abroad and my other brother and sister, too, are well settled. They don't stay here. My day starts early at 2 am. There's so much to be done. You can't expect the workers to do their job, if you reel off orders while being comfortably ensconced in a sofa," she explains, her stream of thoughts ambling along her 8-acre fields.

The house of Ms Pritipal Kaur, in her late sixties, is a large mansion at Langroya village, again about 30 minutes' drive from the town. As her husband is into social work and politics, the mantle of taking care of orchards and fields has fallen on her. "Our land is spread over 30-35 acres. My husband usually remains busy with community welfare work. So, I supervise the orchards and the fields. Of course, my husband is there to give expert suggestions," she says modestly. In her snippets on crop diversification, she gives away a "small secret". Her husband had once contemplated selling off their orchards. She put her foot down and threatened to "leave him", if he sold "her 10 years of hard work"!

Balachaur, with its steeped-in-tradition ambience, may be an unlikely place for women's empowerment. But women like Ms Kuldip Kaur know better. A few years ago, she took training in vermiculture and since then she has not looked back.



City sports industry's poor Olympic performance
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

JALANDHAR'S fame as the hub of sports goods manufacturing industry notwithstanding, it was only hockey sticks that the city-based industry supplied to the Indian team during the recent Olympics at Athens.

"It is disheartening to note that our sports products are not of international standard. This does not augur well for sports buffs. Hockey, as a game, has a few sponsors and at the international level, it is considered a 'backward game'. So, where do we stand?" says a leading sports goods dealer, pleading anonymity.

"Even in case of hockey sticks, it is Pakistan which has been better known as a hockey stick manufacturing country," says Mr Rajiv

Sharma, proprietor of the Dyna Sports, who claims that five hockey sticks manufactured by his company were used by the Indian team in the Olympics.

According to Mr Sanjay Kohli, president of the Sports

Forum, six or seven hockey sticks manufactured by the Vampire brand, two and five hockey sticks manufactured each by the Vijyanti Sports and the Rakshak brand, respectively, were used by the Indian hockey contingent in Athens. He said that in the recent past also there had not been any major contribution of the Jalandhar sports industry. "I cannot say if somebody has been manufacturing something for indirect exports (may be for some major sports brand). I know hockey sticks were Jalandhar sports industry's only contribution to the Olympics this time," says Mr Ravinder Dhir, chairman of the Sports Forum, Jalandhar.



Pornographic video albums proliferate in city
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

PORN video albums shot in Jalandhar and its satellite townships are earning the city the dubious distinction of being the "porn city". These albums are circulated not only in major cities of Punjab, but they also find their way to countries like US, Canada and the UK, where they are reportedly being exported with the help of some NRIs.

What law says

Mr Rajinder Singh, DSP, said the registration of an FIR without any delay can curb the circulation of such CDs. "In such cases, the FIR can be used as a preventive tool," he added.

On the other hand, Mr Rajpal Sandhu, SP, said though the culprits could be booked under Section 292 of the IPC (sale of obscene books and literature), this was not enough to check the circulation of such video albums. "Practically, under the law, the production of such albums at homes cannot be stopped. But it is an offence to circulate these albums," he said.

The first such album had descended in the local market about one and a half years back. These days, the sixth sleazy video album is in circulation in the Doaba region. It's easy money for those who make these pornographic albums.

What is more shocking is that some local boys and girls from 'respectable' families have 'acted' in these sleazy videos. What surprises the observers is the quantum of money generated by any new porn release. A video album fetches Rs 200 to Rs 500 till it gets 'obsolete' and then its prices plummet to the range of Rs 20 to Rs 100.

That the porn video business has attracted boys and girls of upper middle class families is evident from a video album in which the main female character is allegedly played by a girl said to be an employee of a private bank. The girl was later transferred, it is learnt. After having created 'ripples' for over six months, this porn album was 'eclipsed' by another one in which the main 'role' was played allegedly by a young couple hailing from the Maqsudan locality here.

Currently, the most talked-about porn video album is a 14-minute album in which a Phagwara-based NRI is shown in obscene postures with a young girl hailing from a nearby village. The album is in wide circulation in cities like Jalandhar, Phagwara, Ludhiana, Kapurthala and Hoshiarpur.

Sources say that the porn video net has spiralled to even foreign countries, where these CDs command a high price.

How are these films made and by whom? While some are of the view that porn films are made by youngsters for their personal viewing. These youngsters use small web cams for the purpose. These albums then reach some tech-savvy computer operator for copying. Another more plausible view is that it is a handiwork of a well-oiled and well patronised gang, which not only makes these films, but also has a vast network of 'dealers' who send CDs to various destinations in North India and abroad in return of hefty profits.

If this version is to be believed, the question why boys and girls from 'respectable' families 'act' in these albums, still remains. Perhaps, they do so for big money.

The legal and the social implications notwithstanding, the porn business is proliferating in the Doaba region and a potent proof of it is the circulation of about half a dozen porn video CDs in a brief period of about one and a half years.



Kids look for rainbow in life; Naari Niketan looks for their adoptive homes
Minna Zutshi
Tribune News Service

THEY are strangers to the warmth and the togetherness of "family". All 28 of them at the Pushpa Gujral Naari Niketan Shishu Grah here. A few of them have a hazy recollection of their parents and siblings, who left them here. Some of them have seen the desecration of human relationships — cruel stepparents, plotting relatives, forlorn grandparents and helpless mothers.

Six-year-old Neetu, who was left at the niketan three weeks ago, cringes with fear when she is asked about her parents. Her stepmother was a cruel woman, tells this battered child. Her trauma still shows in her eyes. "As her father is alive, we were reluctant to accept her at the niketan. But when her father came to take her back, she started howling. This clinched the issue. We asked the father to get the recommendation of deputy commissioner, so that we could keep her with other children, most of whom are orphans or destitutes," explains Col R.C. Mehandroo, Director and Chief Executive of the niketan. His wife, Ms Devi Mehandroo, who is actively associated with the niketan, adds that the first words that this child uttered after coming to the niketan were, "I have been saved."

Another girl was left here by her (now dead) destitute maternal grandmother. It is learnt that this girl's mother was a victim of dowry-greed. This girl has the horrifying memories of her mother being tortured and eventually killed.

But it's not all a sob story. These girls are alive to their dreams and they have managed to coax a bit of sunshine into their lives. Like other youngsters of their age, they like watching television, doing up their rooms and taking a shot at their hobbies. Most of them aspire for economic independence. Nineteen-year-old Mamta is already an expert beautician. Teenaged Sweety is pursuing a diploma in Library Science.

"When we joined the niketan nearly two years back, I could see that some girls showed a distinct lack of purpose. The only thing they liked to do was to doze off. They had a shuffling gait and walked with a bent head. Our priority was to instill confidence in these girls. An affectionate touch and a kind word can create an instant rapport, particularly with the younger lot," says Ms Mehandroo. She goes on to add that the niketan is a registered adoption centre and there have been wonderful success stories of adoption here. Though it is difficult to convince people to adopt older children, yet these children make affectionate sons and daughters, she says. "Recently, an eight-year-old girl was adopted by a well-off family. Today, the girl is a student of one of the best city schools. It's a happy family; the parents are not regretting their decision at all," Colonel Mehandroo adds.

Lost ‘Pearl’

Dark and with saucer-shaped eyes, three-year-old Moti is the favourite of all girls. Though not exactly chirpy, she is sharp and receptive. She understands Hindi fairly well and the girls here are eager to take on the role of her mentor. Too young to remember her home address, she sometimes talks about her mother being at Delhi.

Her world revolves around her toys (read dolls). "This doll does not have shoes. My doll had nice, attractive shoes," she prattles. Tears come easily to her, particularly when 'didis' (older girls) lovingly play with her tuft of hair shooting up at right angle.

She is happy holding the hands of those who show affection towards her. She firmly clasps your hand, as if she would not let it go. Does she understand her situation? Does she want to go home? The questions obviously makes no sense to her and she is back to playing with her doll — her tiny hands trying to fix her doll's dress. She's ready to make a home for her "sweet doll" but her own home remains lost somewhere…

Fairy tale gone awry

Experts say parents must tell the adopted children that they are not their blood children. The right age to do so is when the child is three or four years old. At this age, the child may not be able to understand the full import of the information, but they are able to register it without getting disturbed.

Make this information sound like a fairy tale. Tell the child that he's special and the fairy got him especially for the family. It's very traumatic for a child to learn about his "adoption status" from other sources. Under such circumstances, the child may feel cheated and betrayed, say the experts.

Waiting for a Good Samaritan

Little Bani was abandoned when she had barely stepped into the world. A cherubic smile plays on her face, as we approach her. She gurgles a bit and her short arms rest on her pushchair, drawing attention to her undersized stature. "Bani's mental development is normal but her physical growth would remain stunted. We are trying to get her placed at Mother Teresa's home, as she has better chances of being adopted by foreigners who frequent the home," Ms Mehandroo says.

Contact comfort

A warm, affectionate touch works magic for children, says a psychologist, Ms Monika Kapila. She explains that children have a need for "contact comfort". "An experiment conducted on baby monkeys revealed that monkeys fed by wire-mothers (bare wires that provided nutrition) were psychologically disturbed, while monkeys fed by cloth-mothers (nutrition-providing wires covered with stuffed clothing) were better adjusted. Reason: The cloth-mothers provided the baby monkeys an opportunity for cuddling. The monkeys clung to the cloth-mothers whenever they felt insecure," she explains. So, next time if your child demands cuddling, don't be stingy!



(St)itching for economic independence
PAP Ladies’ Welfare Centre helps women earn livelihood
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

THEY treasure their economic independence. It has given them a new vision, say the 800-odd women employed at the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) Ladies' Welfare Centre, near Jalandhar Cantonment. In fact, it has given them a new perspective on the significance of "uniforms of the police force". That they are the wives of PAP employees does not make their striving for economic independence less important.

Families of jawans come first

As a part of other welfare activities for the families of the jawans, the PAP has also set up a multipurpose hall that can be used for social functions without any paying any rent. In yet another project, the PAP is running a computer centre with the aid of the Central government. More than 1000 children have already been imparted free training there. As an incentive to the children from scheduled caste and scheduled tribes, a stipend of Rs 400 per month is being given to them during the six-month certificate course in computers.

The PAP has been giving free training of six months' duration to the wives of the PAP employees. Later, these women take up the job of stitching uniforms. While some women work regularly at the centre, others stitch the uniforms at their home.

The project was started some 17 years ago with an aim of lending welfare services to the families of jawans. It was designed to help their wives augment the family income to the extent of Rs 1500-Rs 2000 per month.

Under the project, the state government has fixed the rates of the dozen-odd items that are a part of the uniform. About 85 per cent share of the fixed rate is paid to the women and the rest 15 per cent goes to the PAP welfare work.

The women are also trained in embroidery, but most of them prefer stitching. It is more useful in the long run, they say. Ms Kuljit Kaur, wife of a PAP employee remarks, "I am able to make Rs 1500 from the stitching job at the centre. In addition to it, I stitch ladies' suits at my home and I am able to earn close to Rs 3500 in total. This helps in supplementing our income. We are able to afford good education for our son."

Ms Urmila, also working at the centre, says that she started working there after her husband's death 14 years ago. He was employed with the PAP. She says that she comes daily from Nawanshahr to the PAP campus where she is working on a contractual post. 'I was able to educate my son only because I had received training at the centre," she adds.

Mr Mohan Lal, in charge of the centre, explains, "Several women receiving training at the centre belong to Himachal Pradesh and even Nepal. They are here as their husbands have been working as class IV employees with the PAP. All of them find the occupation a good means of earning livelihood."

Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional Director General Police, PAP, said that the main purpose of conducting such programmes was to ensure the welfare of the families of jawans. "It's more like a family. When a jawan's daughter gets married, we give items of daily use as gifts. Jawans can work wholeheartedly only if their families prosper", he added.



Inexpensive musical instruments made in city are music to melody buffs’ ears
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

THAT Jalandhar has attained the status of the "musical kingdom" of the northern region is known to almost every Punjabi, but what is not known is that for the past 50 years Jalandhar has been providing musical instruments like harmonium, banjo and tabla to music lovers and singers. These musical instruments have been exported from here since the time of partition.

Though musical instruments of all kinds such as harmonium, tabla, dholak, dhol, chaina, khadtals, kongo, banjo, flutes, sitars are sold by the musical instrument shops situated on the Phagwara Gate and the Railway Road, it is harmonium and tabla that call the shots. These instruments are being exported to countries like Canada, the UK and the US.

Jalandhar is next only to Kolkata, which is the largest musical instrument manufacturing centre in the country. The only difference between these two cities is that the instruments made in Kolkata, particularly harmonium, cater to the needs of the top artistes who can afford to spend anything between Rs 80,00 and Rs 14,000 on a harmonium, whereas Jalandhar-made instruments are much cheaper. So, they are preferred not only by educational institutions, but also by a large section of local artistes and orchestra parties.

While harmoniums, dhols and banjos are manufactured and assembled by seven or eight families in this city, who have been into this business for about three generations, the production of 'sitar' is the specialty of a single family running its own music house in the Phagwara Gate area. Most of these families had shifted here from Gujjranwala, now in Pakistan. Gujjranwala, before the partition, was known all over the world for the production of quality harmoniums.

According to Mr H. S. Arora of the Calcutta Music House, his is the third generation in the musical instruments industry. "A large number of products like harmoniums and banjos are being exported to Canada, the UK, and the US. Many NRIs buy musical instruments from here," he says.

Mr Gurdip Singh of the Singh Brothers Musical Works maintains that there are about 50 "karigars" here, who have specialisation in the manufacture of musical instruments. "Apart from school children and Punjabi artistes, harmoniums made at Jalandhar are favourite among raagis, as they are very cost effective. You can get a good harmonium between Rs 1000 and Rs 4000," says Mr Gurdip Singh. He estimates that about 95 per cent of harmoniums used in the northern India are manufactured in Jalandhar. "Dhol is basically made at Amroha in UP and is subsequently assembled here. Our tablas are very famous in India and abroad," he adds.

According to Mr Balbir Singh of the Ajit Brothers' Music House, the only factor in high demand of Jalandhar-made harmoniums and tablas is competitive price.



Garbage dumps dot Urban Estate, residents' health at risk; officials blame neighbouring localities
J.S. Malhotra

Despite repeated requests to the authorities, a garbagae dump is yet to be set up
Despite repeated requests to the authorities, a garbagae dump is yet to be set up

THE lack of proper planning on the part of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA) has left residents of Urban Estate, Phase I, here fuming. In the absence of any earmarked space for garbage dumping, vacant plots and roadsides have been converted into temporary dump yards.

The residents say that they have submitted several memorandums to the authorities, requesting the latter to set up a garbage dump in the locality.

On receiving several complaints from the area residents, the Tribune team visited the place. The locality seemed to be dotted with the garbage dumps. Temporary garbage points were found near a branch of Punjab and Sind Bank and along the boundary wall of Shivalik Hills Senior Secondary School on the main road. "The garbage remains strewn about. There is no arrangement for its removal. Mosquitoes and other insects continue to breed in these places," says an area resident.

During rainy season, water mixes with the garbage and the stench can be felt on the road, says Mr B.S. Gill, who submitted a complaint in this regard to the PUDA Chief Administrator during an open interaction with him here last month. The complaint, however, has still not been redressed, despite an assurance from the chief administrator.

"Though the PUDA authorities have spent lakhs of rupees on the installation of fancy lights in the main market and for setting up two bus stops, which are not being used, no serious effort has ever been made to redress the problem that affects the health of more than 20,000 residents of the locality. Such dumping points pose a serious health risk. The authorities concerned should immediately make proper arrangements for the disposal of the garbage," Mr Gill maintains.

The residents are of the view that since the PUDA authorities have failed to maintain the colony during the past 20 years, it is high time to hand over the charge of the locality to the local Municipal Corporation. "The PUDA has failed to appoint a single safai sewak for regular sanitation work. Besides, they have failed to augment water supply and sewerage, which need immediate attention. It is tough staying in this locality, which is without even the basic civic amenities," says Ms Bhawna Goel, a housewife.

The residents maintain that most of them have hired the services of workers, who collect the garbage "We are not dumping the garbage in vacant plots. We are quite surprised when we find garage lying about in these plots," says Mr H.R.Gandhi, who stays in the locality. He adds that the MC is to be blamed. "Why has the MC not set up a garbage disposal dump in the locality? The MC can keep a tab on those who dump garbage in the vacant plots, only if it has earmarked a space for dumping," he says.

When contacted, the Estate Officer, Mr B.S. Bajwa, ;maintained that they were trying hard to improve the sanitary conditions in the locality. About 15 safai sewaks were deputed for the purpose. "As far as dumping of garbage in the vacant plots is concerned, it is the residents of adjoining localities who are the defaulters. It is virtually very difficult to check this practice. A team of about 15 safai sewaks collects the garbage from every house in the locality daily," Mr Bajwa added.

He revealed that it was decided to enter into an agreement with the Urban Estate Welfare Society for appointment of safai sewaks for the sanitation work. "We will give the welfare society a grant to the tune of 50 per cent. The society will be responsible for keeping a tab on the attendance and work of safai sewaks," he added.



Residents demand completion of park
Only broken boundary wall built in 4 years;
stray dogs roam in 'park'
J.S. Malhotra

MOST of the developmental projects envisaged by the local Municipal Corporation fail to take off for years together. The failure to develop a model park at the Buta Mandi here during the past four years is a glaring example of this.

The foundation stone of the park was laid by the former Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral on June 28, 2000, during an impressive function organised by the civic body. Acceding to the demands of residents of the Buta Mandi to fill a 100-year-old water pond spread over 8 kanals and to construct a park in its place, Mr Gujral had even sanctioned a sum of Rs 10 lakh under MP Local Area Development Scheme for the project in April 1999.

The Municipal Corporation had planned to fill the pond and develop a model park with all facilities like walking tracks, concrete chairs, fountains and swings for children. It was also planned to provide fancy lights in the park, proposed to cater to the needs of residents of the Buta Mandi and its adjoining localities, including Sidharth Nagar, Deol Nagar and Tilak Nagar.

But the work on the project was started a year after the formal laying of its foundation stone by Mr Gujral. Only a boundary wall has been constructed till date. The private contractor has suspended the work on the project without assigning any reason, it is learnt. Later, the MC authorities started using the place for the dumping of garbage.

Mr Resham Kumar, a resident of the Buta Mandi, alleged that since the residents of the nearby localities belonged to the weaker sections, the MC had turned a blind eye towards the development of the park. "We had to resort to agitation to stop the civic body from dumping the garbage here. The practice of dumping garbage here was abandoned following a series of protests by us," he added.

A visit to the park revealed a damaged boundary wall of the park. Stray dogs were roaming freely inside the park. "Now the place is being used by some unscrupulous elements, including drug addicts, who frequent the park at night. There is no check by either the administration or the police on such activities, despite the fact that we have submitted several memorandums in this regard to the authorities concerned," says Mr Mohinder Pal of Sidharth Nagar.

The residents have demanded that the completion of the park should be started immediately. They say that though the Mayor, Mr Surinder Mahey, is from the Buta Mandi area, he does not take any interest in the completion of the park for which the funds have already been released.

When contacted, the Superintending Engineer, Mr A.K.Talwar, admitted that there was an inordinate delay in the completion of the park. He attributed the delay to removal of encroachments from the site. "Mr Mahey recently persuaded the encroachers to vacate a portion of the park site. Besides, the architect is yet to submit a final plan of the model park to us. The work will start soon, following the approval of the plan," Mr Talwar said, adding that the project would be completed within a period of four months after its start.

"Apart from providing regular facilities, the park will have a specially designed waterfall. Maximum emphasis is being laid on providing a nice landscape," he added. 



The fine art of tapping students’ potential
Tribune News Service

"PERFECTION" is the mantra of the Apeejay College of Fine Arts here. The institution has been the dream venture of Dr Stya Paul, an educationist and philanthropist, who believed in the concept of "quality education". The college is committed to creating a judicious blend of the traditional and the modern, so that students are able to develop a well-rounded personality.

The college may have been named as the college of fine arts, but it has become a multidisciplinary institution. It offers courses in fine arts, music, management, commerce, design, computer and information technology, multimedia and physiotherapy. The institution had a humble beginning and initially music and painting were the only two disciplines taught here. Later, the Guru Nanak Dev University granted its affiliation to the institution to run a postgraduate course in music. This was followed by the permission to start MA in drawing and painting. Incidentally, the college got the affiliation for the postgraduate courses prior to that for the undergraduate courses. Gradually, subjects like home science, psychology, economics, philosophy, sculpture and commercial arts were added to the curriculum.

The college has acquired the status of being the sub-regional centre of the Guru Nanak Dev University for M Phil in music. But academics are just one aspect of the institution. The students here are encouraged to participate in co-curricular activities. In fact, the students of this college have won laurels in various national and international competitions and national youth festivals held at Banaras, Gwalior, Warangal.

Seminars, workshops and lectures are organised regularly at the college. Eminent singers, poets, painters, dancers and theatre personalities are invited to share their expert views with the students. "Our endeavour is to make the students aware of their culture and also to help them tap their potentialities. We encourage the students to strive for excellence," says the college principal, Dr Sucharita.

Four high-tech computer labs, art gallery, audio production room, still photography studio, well-stocked library - make it a favoured institution among the students, we are told. The institution has a well-established placement cell, say the college authorities.



From the schools
Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

VARIOUS competitions among staff members marked the Teachers’ Day celebration at Police DAV Public School, Punjab Armed Police (PAP) Chowk, on Saturday.

The competition started with “Kuch kar dikhana hai” event. All teachers participated enthusiastically in it. Their job was to train students for various contests. The students put up a creative show in art and craft, painting, model-making, flower arrangement, gift-wrapping and wall hanging contests.

The programme began with the presentation of cultural programme at the Multipurpose Hall of the PAP. The function started with a kathak dance by Sweety and Harsumit Kaur.

Dr Rashmi Vij, Principal of the school, welcome the chairman of school managing committee, Mr D.R. Bhatti, Additional Director General of Police, Mr Rajan Gupta, IG, and other eminent persons. The audience were regaled by a number of fun games squeezed between the cultural items. The music department presented a Punjabi skit through the medium of folk songs, sweet and sour bickering between mother-in-law and daughter-in-law and husband.

A modelling show was presented, depicting the different states of the country. A Gujarati dance was presented by Gargi, Gagan, Neeti, Anuradha, Urmil Malik, Preeti Chaudhary and Rashim. A captivating snake dance through yoga was presented by Rupa and her team. A dance item was presented on the song “Mein vari, mein vari”. A satire depicting the hollowness of declarations made in the Olympic games was also presented. The function ended with a “jago” presented by Rajinder Sandhu and the team.

Mr Bhatti appreciated the efforts of the teachers. He stressed on the need to impart good education to children. He then honoured the teachers who had put in long years of service in the school.

In the cultural activities competition, faculty members - Ms Anju Vij, Ms Seema Vij and Ms Savita won the first prize. Ms Gurpreet Johal, Ms Rashim (teachers) and Ms Meena, a faculty member, were declared second. Ms Rupinder Singh, Ms Monica Sodhi and Ms Amandeep — all teachers received the third prize.

Inter-house painting contest

Students of Ambika Modern School, Kapurthala Road, held an inter-house on-the-spot painting competition, poster-making competition and sticking-of-leaves competition on the theme “Environment Conservation” on Wednesday.

Students prepared posters depicting depleting green cover, air, water, land and noise pollution with a catchy slogan. On the occasion, eight students were given prizes based on their work.

These included Lavanya of class III, Manmeet of class VI, Manpreet of class VI, Deepanshu of class VI, Ikrat of class VI, Nitin of class VIII, Jatin of class VIII and Harshad of class VIII.

The students were given prizes by Mr V.K. Mehta, Principal, and Ms Sunita Mehta, Headmistress. They impressed upon the students to be committed towards maintaining the environment and also to work out detailed and specific programmes under the auspices of the eco-club of the school.

Also present on the occasion was Ms Veena Bhandari, Chairperson of the school.

Colouring contest

Students of pre-nursery and nursery classes participated in a colouring contest held at Euro Kids, a Montessori at Mota Singh Nagar, on Thursday. The students were given printed sheets with pictures of balls, kites and ice creams.

They were told to colour the items. Ms Mouna Prehar, Chief Operating Officer, said that the students used their imagination to create new colour contrasts during the contest.



Teacher with a vision
Deepkamal Kaur
Tribune News Service

HAVING put in more than 35 years of his life into teaching, he was finally rewarded when he received a state award at Teachers' Day function held at Ludhiana this year. Mr Gurdeep Singh, Principal, Government Senior Secondary School, Mithapur village, received a medal, a certificate and a cash award of Rs 10,000 from Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Education Minister, Punjab, last Sunday.

Mr Gurdeep Singh began his teaching career way back in 1971 when he taken into the army. A resident of Saidowal Khurd village in Gurdaspur, his first posting was in Panchmari, Madhya Pradesh. His job took him to places as far as Leh-Ladakh, Sikkim, Nagaland, Agra, Ferozepore and finally in Gurdaspur, his hometown, from where he retired in 1988.

In that very year, the Punjab education department advertised for the post of headmasters and Mr Gurdip Singh applied for the same. He was posted at Government High School, Mattewal, in Amritsar. Thereafter, he was promoted as principal in 1996 at Government Senior Secondary School, Chak Kalan village, Nakodar. From there, he was shifted to Government Senior Secondary School, Mithapur village, where he is currently serving.

As a teacher, Mr Gurdeep Singh says, he has tried to make the school environment conducive, so that students could concentrate well and not get distracted. This he achieved by getting involved with the school parent-teachers' association, NRIs of villages and other social organisations.

"In Government Senior Secondary School, Chak Kalan, erratic supply of power was the major problem. But with the assistance of some NRIs, I managed to get a generator for the school. I even ensured that each classroom had at least four to five ceiling fans. As a result, the students preferred staying back in the classrooms even two hours after the school was over and tried to finish their home assignments during that time," he says.

"I arranged for funds to set up a beautifully landscaped garden (with fountains) adjacent to the school building. The students often visit the garden and spend hours there reading books," he adds.

The efforts of Mr Gurdeep Singh in setting up school playgrounds, arranging sports kits, making arrangements for coaches of hockey, football and athletics, maintaining a book bank for needy students, constructing a stage for organising cultural programmes and morning assembly, arranging for scholarships for three toppers from each class, made him very popular in the school, where he is currently posted.

But what added a star to his image was that he arranged for wheelchairs for two physically challenged students and got a ramp constructed to ensure that the latter could go to the classes on their own.


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