C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Seminar on Aurobindo’s vision
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The two-day national seminar on “Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of the Future of Humanity” at ICSSR Complex, Panjab University, concluded here today.

The Governor of Haryana, Dr A.R. Kidwai, in his valedictory address said India should spread the message of peaceful co-existence to the entire world. He added that the values of Indian civilisation could be of help in this regard.

Welcoming the Governor of Haryana, the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof K.N. Pathak, said the pursuit of humanist values was essential for the upliftment of the individual’s moral character and development of the Indian society. He hoped that the deliberations in the seminar would contribute towards increasing sensitivity for moral development at the individual and collective levels.

In his valedictory remarks, Prof Sachiddanand Mohanty said the main objective of the seminar was to deliberate upon the thoughts of Sri Aurobindo in totality. He suggested that there was need to incorporate the wisdom of Sri Aurobindo in the syllabi of schools and colleges to spread his messages among the youth.

Prof G.C. Pande, Chairman, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, said Sri Aurobindo’s presence during the last century was a pointer to the heralding of a new phase in human consciousness.

“While earlier prophets had regularised the changes taking place in the Indian society, Sri Aurobindo envisaged a new future for humanity through its spiritual evolution. Sri Aurobindo was unique in envisaging the descent of superior consciousness,” he stated. Prof. S.P. Gautam proposed a vote of thanks.

Earlier, the sixth session was chaired by Prof Raghu Nath Ghose and five papers were presented. Pankaj Srivastava presented his paper on “Intergral Yoga of Sri Aurobindo: A Comparative Appraisal” while Babu C.V. presented his paper on “Sri Aurobindo’s Vision of Positive Health and Well Being” and Chandreswar Sharma presented his paper on “Integral Yoga: Revisioned”.

The local Aurobindo society presented study material and CDs to delegates, while Mr Kuldip Singh, a scholar of devotional literature, presented his book ‘Mangal Kalash’ to the Haryana Governor.



Student leaders woo day scholars
Students Council poll
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Ending of internal examinations has upset the calculations of student bodies as far as fielding of candidates in direct elections to the Students Council here is concerned.

A trusted vote bank, the hostelers have packed off their bags to leave for their hometowns as the internal examinations are over. Confused, the student bodies are now focusing on day scholars. A new strategy to carry out door-to-door campaigning has been worked out.

Beginning tomorrow, student teams would spread out in the city for canvassing. Anurag Dhillon, a presidential candidate from Government College for Men, Sector 11, said: "At least we can motivate certain section of the local students to participate in the poll".

Anurag, who represents the Government College Students Union (GCSU), said they were urging the hostelers to stay back. After the examination ended on September 18, a number of hostelers have left promising to cast their vote on September 24, he added.

At Government College for Girls, Sector 11, the examinations will end on September 22. Gagandeep Aulakh, a presidential candidate from the college, said, “We are hopeful that the hostelers would stay back to cast their votes". At the college the canvassing would be a low-key affair as there is hardly any opposition.

The examination at DAV College, Sector 10, will end on September 23. Vicky and Manmohan Jalta, student leaders, said there was a lot of enthusiasm among freshers.

At Sri Guru Gobind Singh College for Men, Sector 26, two rounds of campaigning in the hostels had been completed. Ramandeep Singh Mankoo, a presidential candidate, said: "As the examinations are ending on September 23, we are pinning our hopes on the day scholars".



SOPU, allies release manifesto
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
The SOPU-HSA-NSUI-HPSU-USSA alliance released its manifesto at a press conference held at Panjab University, here today. Their manifesto includes a proposal to form a students' grievance cell to register complaints against misbehaviour by teachers and staff, ragging and complaints pertaining to examinations.

If elected to the Panjab University Campus Students' Council, they would strive for quality education by seeking construction for a new block for the engineering institute, upgradations of animal house and Internet facilities for all students.

To counter the problem of students being rendered jobless on completion of their studies, the alliance will seek a full-time appointment of Director, placement cell, formation of a students' committee with the placement cell to supervise activities and introduction of more job-oriented courses.

On the examination front, the alliance would press for time-bound declaration of the main, re-appear and revaluation results, declaring the last date for submission of examination forms only after declaration of re-evaluation results, making the task of depositing fee and submitting forms easier and to delegate the responsibility of the Sports Department to an individual who understands sports.



Students take part in painting competition
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
About 60 students from various Air Force schools functioning under the aegis of the Western Air Command, took part in a painting competition organised at No.12 Wing here today. The programme was inaugurated by the president of the local Air Force Wives Welfare Association, Ms Latika Tilloo.

The competition was conducted in two categories: junior group (10 to 13 years), whose topics were sports events at the Olympics or celebrating festivals, while the senior group (14 to 18 years), were asked to portray the role of the IAF during natural calamities or use of natural resources for mankind.

In the junior group, the first three winners were Manish Sharma (Jammu), Manpreet (Halwara) and Anurag (Sirsa), while among the seniors first three winners were Sukhwinder (Halwara), Deepak (Palam) and Ajay (Bikaner), respectively. The rolling trophy was bagged by Air Force School, Halwara.

After the competition, the students were shown various aircraft, including the IL-76, AN-32 and Mi-26. Later, they were taken to the Rock Garden and the Sukhna Lake for an excursion.



Course for disabled children

Chandigarh, September 19
The Government Institute of Mentally Retarded Children, Sector 32, has invited applications for admission to foundation course on education for children with disabilities through distant mode. The duration of the programme would be of 3 months, including a 3-weeks face to face contact programme.

The programme schedule and the application form can be obtained from the institute with a demand draft of Rs 100 in favour of the Registrar M. P. Bhoj University payable at Bhopal. The last date of submission for the forms is September 30, 2004. — TNS



Using theatre to voice her deepest concerns
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
Theatre, for Usha Ganguly, is subordinate to nothing else in the world. For 28 years, she has been using the medium to voice her deepest concerns and share her gravest fears. In the process she has emerged not only as a celebrated actress and director with productions like “Mahabhoj”, “Rudali” and “Antaryatra” in her repertoire, but also as a writer engaged in unraveling elements that make our world look hideous.

Ganguly is particularly respected for her responses to parochialism that stifles women in India. Her adaptation of Mahasweta Devi’s text “Rudali” which centres on two women who develop a partnership for survival, won her the best director award in 1992.

Earlier, she won the Sangeet Nakat Akademi award, besides being honoured by the West Bengal Government as the best actress for the play “Gudia Ghar”.

A feminist with a daring stance, Ganguly could well have been content with the routine of awards. But a sense of restlessness brought her to theatre which she nurtured through her group Rangkarmee.

Not only did she translate and adapt texts of writers like Wesker, Ibsen and Mahasweta Devi, she also evolved scripts for theatrical presentation.

Among her most successful productions is “Antaryatra” in which she uses herself as a reference point to narrate the story of an actress’s struggle through life.

In Chandigarh to stage “Kashinama”, Ganguly talked about her literary corpus which boasts of two classic plays, “Antaryatra” and “Khoj”. She is now working on Manto whose ruthlessly realistic portrays of people in lower depths fascinates her.

“His truthfulness inspires the artiste in me. We all need Manto’s sensitivity to bare the reality of our times,” said Ganguly who never chose the easy way out.

A much sought after script writer for film makers like Mrinal Sen, Aparna Sen, Gautam Ghosh and Rituparno Ghosh (for whom she wrote Raincoat), Ganguly never allowed glamour to get the better of the artiste in her.

“I detest those who say something else and do something else. I believe in concentration. As such, I could never have denied myself the pleasure of theatre which allows me a direct audience with people.

I have staged “Kashminama” 55 times but every time the experience has been different,” said Ganguly whose own book “Rudali” is being published by Seagull.

It takes off from Mahasweta Devi’s work to explore the dynamics of mourning as a profession.

“In my search for the setting I even traveled to Punjab where “Syapa” is prevalent as an equivalent to “Rudali” in Bihar. But I was surprised to discover that the villagers in Punjab were fairly prosperous.

I had to return to Bihar to make sense of mourning as a profession and also of the forces that feed it,” explains Ganguly. In fact, she has been spearheading the Hindi theatre movement through Rangkarmee in Kolkata.

A lecturer in Hindi, she has developed 15 productions which now define the repertoire of Rangkarmee. Besides performances, Ganguly also heads Samanvay which works exclusively on women related themes; Sambhavana, which imparts education to children through theatre and Sahityikee where playwrights join hands to evolve socially relevant scripts.

Women still remain central to Ganguly’s pursuits, so much so that she scoffs at the concept of women’s theatre festivals.

“These well meaning men derive pleasure out of treating women as weaker sections and then obliging them with sops like festivals.

This is disregard of womanhood. I abhor it,” declares the activist whose theatre seeks fulfilment of humanity.



‘Kashinama’ has all ingredients of a fine production
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 19
It’s enriching to follow a script around, to appreciate the elements it brings in its fold and then trace their relevance to the structure of the play. The experience becomes even more elevating if the story takes the route you had wished it took.

Usha Ganguly’s “Kashinama”, which was staged as the concluding production of the weeklong National Drama Festival at Tagore Theatre today, has all ingredients of a fine production. The idyllic ghats of Varanasi, streaming Ganges, sacred tridents symbolising faith and saffron and quintessential hue of fire - all these fall together to form the vibrant backdrop against which Dr Kashinath Singh’s tale of “mutation” progresses.

A well crafted production, it ensures that every element finds justification in the storyline that dwells on the conflict between mindsets. On the one hand is the temptation of flowing with the tide, on the other is the call of the conscience which demands propriety. Torn between reasoning and faith is the central character - the priest who finally deviates from the path of religion.

A sense of conflict is palpable throughout the play which traces the moral degeneration of man. The location of the play is also symbolic, with religion as the reference point. The holy city also witnesses changes in character as a foreigner searching for peace sets feet on its soil. The story develops from here, with the narrator mirroring the reality of the world to the priest who is initially reluctant to allow the foreigner to stay in his house as a paying guest.

A small gesture may yield big result; the priest is forced to think. As he understands the logic behind the narration, the playwright moves deeper into his psyche to explore the mechanism of change. In the balance of faith and material gain, the latter weighs heavy.

Values are thrown to the winds to accommodate change. To suit his convenience, man does not mind altering the definition of religion.

In striking sequences, the director portrays how the priest concocts excuses to make room for the foreigner. He prevails on his own conscience, then on his wife and children; finally on God himself. It is the priest’s own desire to do away with Lord Shiva’ idol and make room for the guest that drags him into reassuring dreams. He hears Lord Shiva castigating him for having shackled him.

The priest now has an excuse to justify his newfound perception about religion. What if the scriptures prohibit the dispersal of Lord Shiva, the same can well become a rule if God himself so desires.

In the poignant denouement, the writer makes no sermons. He leaves the issue open for deliberation. The vital question that seeks an answer is whether the foundation of change must be laid on the grave of tradition or whether we are gifted enough to find the middle path.



Mela for would-be brides

WOULD-BE brides, bridegrooms and their parents now need not spend sleepless nights. Their worries about the management of the marriage could be over. Right from choosing dress of the bride and make-up to stage decoration and decoration of cars, a whole range of experts are there to share your burden.

To popularise this concept ‘Vivaha-The pre-wedding mela’ was held here today. A team of experts, including marriage counsellor, cosmetologist, make-up artist, doctor, diet planner, dress designer, jewellery designer, mehndi artist, caterer and florist, put up there stalls.

The cosmetologist gave tips on skin care, including what kind of make-up one should use and what kind of beauty products one should buy. The beauty products, designer kurtas, suits and jewellery were also on display. Diet planner laid stress on taking e-vitamins.

Three models showcased different make-up styles. One of them was dressed as Hindu bride and another as a Christian bride. The third one showcased the complete make up for reception and engagement. Computerised demonstration of make-overs helped the brides to choose the make-up according to their face-cut. OC


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