C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Probe ordered against absent college employees
Tribune News Service

Mohali, September 16
In yet another early morning raid to check attendance, Kharar MLA Bir Devinder Singh caught two employees of Government College, Mohali, ‘lying’ to save their latecomer colleagues. There was no attendance register in the college at all and the teaching staff, according to the MLA, were not following the rule laid down by the UGC that a college teacher would stay in the college for at least six hours.

During the surprise check here this morning, the MLA accompanied by the SDM, Mohali, Mr M.L. Sharma, found that while the college Principal ,Mr Harkuldip Singh, was on medical leave, the staff attendance was not being monitored. ‘‘We were told that there was no attendance register in the college and the teachers, who do not attend the college, fill a slip for the information of the office and students. In the absence of an absentee slip the staff were presumed to be present,’’he said.

However, as the news of checking spread and sensing that action was likely against the staff found absent without information and latecomers, a library employee and a lab assistant in order to help their ‘latecomer’ colleagues, filled their half-day leaves.

‘‘These two employees said that they had received telephonic messages from their colleagues to fill their leave slips. But when I cross-checked, I found that they had not received any call from the absentee employees. Interestingly, one of the lab assistants, who was trying to help the ‘absent’ lab assistant, did not even have a phone.

He insisted that he had received a call on his ‘chip’ while his wife carried the instrument. He was caught when the person whose half-day leave he had marked walked into the college about an hour later,’’said Mr Bir Devinder.

The college, according to the MLA, did not have any mechanism in place to monitor the attendance and the stay hours of the teaching staff in the college. ‘‘There is not even a circular in the college for the teaching staff that they have to be present in the college for six hours at least,’’ he said, adding that none of the office staff could even make a time table available to him.

Inquiry ordered

The Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, informed the Director Public Instructions (Colleges), Punjab, and the Minister for Higher Education, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, about the state of the college. The DPI Colleges, Ms Nisha Sharda, ordered a time-bound inquiry into the incident. A Deputy Director of the department has been asked to conduct the inquiry and report to her.



6 non-existent PU Senate voters ‘live’ here
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Exposing the lack of a foolproof procedure of preparing voter lists for the election of Senators from the registered graduates’ constituency by Panjab University, a resident of Sector 22 here, Mr Ajay Jagga of the Janata Party, complained today that at house 755, Sector 22, six voters had been listed, but they never existed. The six votes are in the name of Abdul Hai, Sarbjot Singh, Tasvir Lal Bhatia, Rajesh Kumar, Balvinder Singh and William, but none of them lives in the house.

A resident of the house since 1966, Mr Jagga, along with some other registered graduates, demanded that election for the graduates’ constituency, scheduled for September 19, be postponed and the voter lists be revised after proper scrutiny. They decided to formally complain to the university Registrar and the Chancellor in this regard.

While the university has yet to take note of the incident, the matter has exposed the basic flaw in the procedure of enrolling graduates. It does not require any proof of residence at the time of filling in a form to become a registered graduate. It relies on the information provided by the person about his address. As a result, a number of fake voters, including those who are dead, are listed as voters.

Prof Paramjit Singh, Registrar of the university and returning officer for the elections, agreed that the issue needed a policy change. “I think that if we ask graduates willing to attach proof of residence along with their enrolment form, many problems will be taken care of,” he said.



Data on local judges sought
Our High Court Correspondent

Chandigarh, September 15
Advocate H.S. Gill, who is the convener of the five-member committee constituted by the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association on the issue of transfer of local Judges from the High Court, has written to the Presidents and Chairmen, respectively, of the State Bar Association and Bar Councils of other states.

In his letter sent to the bar associations and bar councils, Mr Gill has requested them to send data concerning local Judges, whose kin are practicing in their respective High Courts.

He has said that a joint strategy would be evolved to agitate on the issue.

Mr Gill has said that the data is necessary before steps are initiated to seek the transfer of local Judges, whose kin are practising in the same High Courts. 



Bharatnatyam fascinates her
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 16
Mrinalini Sarabhai may not be at home with her “legendary” status but legendary she nevertheless is. A creator par excellence, she straddles the world of almost every classical dance tradition with ease and élan.

But her achievement lies not simply in mastering Bharatnatyam, Kathakali and Mohiniattam but in blending them to create a versatile language for communication.

One still swears by her courage of conviction as the dancer who dared to mirror the malady of dowry on stage 25 years ago. As an acknowledgement of her attempt to rid the society of evil, the authorities in Madras conducted a survey to determine the extent of the problem.

“Salem reported the highest incidence of dowry deaths,” recalls Mrinalini Sarabhai who was in Chandigarh with her troupe to perform for SPIC MACAY at Government College for Education, Sector 20 today.

More of a social activist, Mrinalini has shown how a dance tradition as ritualized as Bharatnatyam can be infused with a verve that brings modern elements with it. The Padma Bhushan danseuse has created many ballets on themes as wide ranging as “the master poets”, “dowry deaths”, “the dying verdure”, among others.

In fact, her outstanding concern is environmental degradation, and she addresses it extensively through “Prakriti”, a wing of her Darpana Academy of Performing Arts in Ahmedabad.

As Director of the academy, Mrinalini has been reviving dying traditions like the shadow puppetry of Andhra Pradesh. She is now busy redefining the martial tradition of Kalaripayattu in modern context.

Speaking about her involvement in dance, drama, music, puppetry, and experimental dance, Mrinalini said, “Bharatnatyam lies at the heart of all my pursuits. Through this tradition, I have realised my spiritual self. Although I have imbibed many forms, there is nothing that fascinates me like Bharatnatyam.”

Coming from a politically aware and a socially inclined family (her mother was an MP, her sister led the Indian National Army with Subhash Chandra Bose), Mrinalini could not but be a social reformer.

Her aesthetic comments on the forces of degeneration are strong, and her choreographies draw from folk and classical traditions alike. A lot of her experiments with dance find a mention in her book, “This Alone is true”.

Shortly, Mrinalini’s biography will be released in Delhi, an occasion which will also see her perform after long.

For now, Mrinalini is savouring her freedom, besides instructing students at Darpana. Trained in the Pandanallur tradition by Sri Meenakshi Sundaram Pillai, Mrinalini says, “I believe in movement with a purpose. Although I learnt Kathakali from the legendary Asan Kunja Kurup and Mohiniattam from Kalyanikutty Amma, I am most comfortable with Bharatnatyam which helps me with tools to create new forms of communication.”

Her partner in creativity is daughter Mallika Sarabhai, an IIM graduate who turned to dance for the sheer love of it.

And as a symbiotic relationship enters another year, Mrinalini makes it a point to admit how proud she is of her daughter who continues to celebrate womanhood through dance, theatre and writing. 



New Release
Another comedy by Shah

‘Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro’ director Kundan Shah has cast: Suneil Shetty, Raveena Tandon, Isha Kopikar, Shekhar Suman, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Rana Jang Bahadur, Vivek Shauq and Makrand Deshpande in ‘EK Se Badh Kar Ek’. It is supposed to be a comedy.

Kundan Shah is back at what he is best at comedy. The film’s music is by Anand Raj Anand. It opens today at Sangeet and Shingaar, Ludhiana. Suneil Shetty plays a gardener’s son. Raveena Tandon plays an ambitious police officer. This laugh riot has an interested climax.

‘Ek Se Badhkar Ek’ is produced by Pammi Sandhu. It is another comedy by Kundan Shah. DP



Style i
Embroidered look
Geetu Vaid

Colourful, delicate and intricate embroidery has been a distinguishing feature of Indian outfits the world over for ages. It is ruling the style graph this season. It is no longer limited only to the formal or ethnic wear but has become a part of everyday casual wear. Be it salwar suits, chauridaars, sarees, Indo-westerns or even jeans, embroidery can be seen “flowering” everywhere, jazzing up the casuals.

“Whether it is plain or printed fabric the trend now is to liven it up by some kind of work”, says Geetanjali, a city-based designer. Fashion designers all over the country are busy trying out different permutations and combinations in styles and are working out subtle innovations and forms using the centuries-old tradition of hand embroidery.

While ethnic embroidery forms like phulkari, chikan, Kashmiri, kantha, zardozi, kamdhani etc are evergreen but these are more or less region specific, it is the more cosmopolitan versions of these stitches that are popular among the clients these days, she adds.

The zardozi work that was earlier being done only with gold or silver threads on silk is now being embroidered on cotton, with colourful threads. A kurta of a pastel shade comes alive with zardozi work on it, while an ordinary kalidar kurta with kantha work looks chic.

Embroidered salwars, which used to be worn by children in Gujarat are now getting popular all over. Even chauridaars are being embellished with heavy or light work.

Well, if your heart beats for westerns a fringe of sparkly bugle beads trimming and a delicate threadwork give capri pants a funky update. Add to this an embroidered white shirt for a casual look that’s both bohemian and trendy. Tiny embroidered flowers pretty up a plain tee. Skinny straps of tank tops or blouse of a saree both get an uplift with sequin studded thread work. Even men’s shirts and sherwanis with delicate as well as ornate work are available in a wide variety of colours. So embellishments and embroidery are everywhere these days.

The bold and bright Parsi work is quite popular in the city, says Geetanjali who has designed suits, sarees and dupattas having this work. This form of embroidery in which a lot of threads of shades of the same colour are used to create the effect of depth is done by machine and is thus quite cost effective.

Antique look is also in vogue as the retro rules not only on the ramp but also in day-to-day clothes. Oxidised silver, gold and copper effects are used to add regal touch to the clothes.

Done by hand this work is costly and is ideal if you are looking for formal or wedding outfits.

For those looking for a more delicate work, applique is a good choice, says Roop Shergill, another city-based designer. Ribbon work and cutwork are other preferred forms for casual wear.

Panels of net with embroidery also add delicate grace to an ensemble, so the choices are endless and so are the designs ranging from floral to bels to abstract and geometrical.

If you want to add a touch of shimmer and glitter then sequins, kundan and coloured stones are the obvious choice. These are being used extensively to embellish the embroidery even in the ready-to-wear clothes available in the markets, says owner of a showroom in Sector 17.

Sequins are available not only in a huge range of colours but also in shapes like the stars, flowers etc and in big sizes. According to Roop, delicate flowers and small motifs, embellished with sequins and beads, are the hot items this season as broad patterns were in vogue last season. Tone-on-tone embroidery rather than the contrast looks graceful and is the current trend on and off the ramp too.

Kundan work, which is a blend of heavy and delicate, is also ideal for trousseau as well as formal clothes. Stick-on crystals in different colours, from simple to swarovski add a glittering touch to Indian as well as Indo-Western garments.

As hand embroidery is very expensive and machine one is more affordable a mix of hand and machine is the most preferred. It is stylish as well as easy on the pocket. The trends change so fast that no one is ready to spend a bomb on a thing that may go out of fashion within a season, says Geetanjali.

Embroidery no doubt enlivens a staid dress and is the style of the moment so go romance the thread. TNS



Divorcing films for the love of theatre
Aditi Tandon

Surendra Sharma’s stay in the film city was cut short by a pressing urge to get back to the roots. The lessons he took as a student in the National School of Drama were on the verge of being lost in the glamour of Bollywood, which was taking away more than it was offering. And the actor in Sharma was not ready to let the talent in him be drained away.

So he decided to call it quits, even with productions as celebrated as Mahesh Bhatt’s “Daddy”, Govind Nihalani’s “Tamas” and Shyam Benegal’s “Yatra” and “The Discovery of India” were behind him. Homecoming was exciting and Sharma finally settled for Delhi, where he began creating his own tools for communication. “I felt a lot lighter once the baggage of films was off my shoulders. The spurious attractions of Bombay had taken a toll on my creative energies. I was looking for something that could reactivate my zeal. I was fortunate to lay hands on brilliant pieces of Hindi literature,” says Sharma, who is finally on the track he so desired.

Within years of return, he has managed a sound repertoire of works that stand out for their social relevance. But the process of churning out meaningful productions year after year has not been easy for the director. “It has taken a lot of conscious effort over a long period. I have been heavily drawn to litterateurs like Fanishwarnath Renu, Rahul Sankartayan and Munshi Premchand, who had a remarkable ability to tell simple tales with great intensity. It has always been a passion to dramatise their works which are so full of depth and pathos.”

Invariably, Sharma has been able to meet his targets. His play “Maila Aanchal,” based on a novel of Fanishwarnath Renu, is well regarded for mature treatment of a sensitive theme. His latest production, Munshi Premchand’s “Rang Bhoomi”, also underlines his worth as a director with a penchant for subtleties.

Having created scores of successful productions, Sharma is planning to change tack for a while. Lately, he has been fascinated by the stories of Munshi Premchand. Though the trend of adapting short stories for stage is not new, as it has already been successfully set by Naseeruddin Shah in “Ismat Apa ke Naam”, Sharma wishes to add newer dimensions to the phenomenon. He says, “These stories are thrilling. They make you sit up and ponder over things that have gone wrong. Also, directing stories is much more interesting as this medium leaves you with greater liberty to experiment with the script and evolve it to suit your creative stance.”

Another task at hand is the reading of Rahul Sankartayan’s “Volga se Ganga Tak”, a literary creation every man of theatre worth his salt dreams to direct. TNS



Perfection unlimited

A jazz concert by Azul was held at the Law Auditorium of Punjab University in Chandigarh on Thursday.
A jazz concert by Azul was held at the Law Auditorium of Punjab University in Chandigarh on Thursday.
— A Tribune photograph

Bharat Bariya and Akshay Patel, students at Darpana Academy of Fine Arts, Ahmedabad, run by Mrinalini Sarabhai, perform Kalaripayattu for SPIC MACAY at the Government College of Education, Sector 20, Chandigarh, on Thursday.
Bharat Bariya and Akshay Patel, students at Darpana Academy of Fine Arts, Ahmedabad, run by Mrinalini Sarabhai, perform Kalaripayattu for SPIC MACAY at the Government College of Education, Sector 20, Chandigarh, on Thursday.

Any production that substitutes another will normally be at a disadvantage. But Surendra Sharma’s “Rang Bhoomi” reversed all equations on Thursday as it ended amidst a roaring response by Chandigarh’s discerning audience, which thinks twice before making gestures in applause.

Admiration flowed in abundance at Tagore Theatre, where members of Sharma’s Rang Saptak made great sense of Munshi Premchand’s legendary creation “Rang Bhoomi”. Rising beyond expectation at almost every front, from adaptation of 500 pages of Premchand’s novel to treatment of the subject, the production earned itself quite a name. Such was the level of perfection in today’s presentation that everyone was surprised to learn later from the director that the play had been on stage for only three years.

But as is said that maturity is more a matter of mind than of age, the play forces the audience to sit up and think. The issues raised in the production are not unusual, but the dramatic enactment of emotions ensures that the desired level of empathy is reached. The story builds around Surdas, the visually impaired protagonist who embodies everything saintly. There is a definite symbolism implied in his name, as also his blindness, which is never allowed to become his drawback.

Virtuous and forgiving, the lead actor becomes the source of inspiration for those wasting their lives in feeding malice. The production is structured as a game which the characters play with passion. The sport becomes grave as ugly sequences are enacted on stage. The story stems from a piece of land which Surdas owns. Prized and commercially viable as it is, a plutocrat wishes to own it, but Surdas is unwilling to oblige. Finally the land is grabbed by unfair means.

Even as the deal gets finalised, the unruffled Surdas goes ahead with his generous ways, helping people who mean him harm. For him, the piece of property is worthless in comparison to his humble hut, which is on the verge of being demolished. The conflict now surfaces, with Surdas refusing to lose the battle of principles that tell him that home is where hearth is. He does not vacate his hut, his body does.

The denouement is the strongest part of the production, which devalues malevolence and crowns forbearance. The message is strong and clear: play games as games, not as battles of life and death. In the parting words of Surdas, which he addresses to John Sewak, who grabs his land, is the crux of the production: “You must be a trained player who plays taking everyone in confidence. I am still a novice, but I do not mind the hammering. Practice will make me perfect.” TNS



Cell a health hazard, say doctors

Excessive use of mobile phones can be a health hazard. The former President of Indian Medical Association(IMA) Dr G S Kochhar has cited several international studies to stress on the harmful effects of the cell phone. A study of the Finland’s Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority, has found that the radiation from mobile phones can cause damage in human cells that might effect the brain.

It could disable the blood-brain barrier, which is the safety mechanism that prevents harmful substances from the blood entering the brain.

* Reduce the mobile usage.

* Ban its use among children

* Keep antina away from head

* Pacemaker patients should be more careful while using mobiles and they should stay away from the mobile phone towers.

* Mobile towers should not be closed to the residential areas.

Cell phones operate in a frequency ranging between 800 to 2400 mgz, the radio, television, cordless operate at a lower frequency. Some other studies have also pointed out that the heat produced by the R F Radiation from cell phones may be associated with brain tumour.

Dr Kochhar further quoting Peter Franch says that the production of histamine, which triggers the bronchial spasm, is nearly doubled after exposure to a mobile phone.

Moreover, the British military scientist have discovered that cell phone transmission, disrupts the brain centres responsible for memory and learning. Its overuse can cause forgetfulness and sudden confusion and the ability to concentrate, calculate and coordinate.

In Spain, Brazil, Switzerland and Israel cell phones has been banned. Moreover doctors say that the hands-free kits are no guarantee of lowering radiation as has been claimed by certain cellular companies. TNS


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