C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


A special school for specially abled kids
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, May 8
Ajay, 6 A cerebral palsy patient and Rekha (14), who suffers from a hearing and speech impairment, could have never hoped for an education. They are specially abled children from the lowest economic strata of society. Born in poor families where disability is deemed the biggest curse, these children could have never hoped for a future… had it not been for the Education Department that has set up the Government School of Integrated Education for Disabled in Mansa Devi Complex here.

Along with 40 other specially abled children, they are learning to read, write, and be self-reliant in their day- to- day work. This unique experiment, at least in the government sector, for an integrated education approach for specially abled children is beginning to show results. This year, as many as five specially abled children successfully passed their Class V examination from this primary level school, along with 10 normal children, and have moved on to Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 7, says Headmistress, Ms Surinder Kaur.

Mentally challenged, visually impaired, hearing and speech impaired, students with orthopaedic disabilities and learning disabilities — all are successfully learning the basics of English, Hindi, mathematics and science, even as they undergo physiotherapy sessions and continued monitoring of their disabilities.

With integrated education for disabled becoming an important component under the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan, four schools in Haryana at Gurgaon, Hisar, Rohtak along with this school, were earmarked for imparting education to disabled along with normal children. Hemant, 18, who is suffering from Down’s Syndrome, and is a student of Class IV, sings a song as he displays his newly acquired skill in the school. His teacher, Ms Usha Kiran, says that when he joined the school he could barely talk, but after interaction with other children, his learning has been faster.

The parents of these children have to pay an upkeep fund of Rs 5 per month. The specially abled children are picked up from their homes — mainly in slum colonies of Panchkula — in a bus, and dropped back after school. Other than normal classroom teaching, the school has an orthopaedic laboratory, where state-of-the-art equipment for exercising — parallel bars, weights, specially designed chairs for cerebral palsy patients — are available. Hearing impaired get free hearing aids and special lenses provided to children with partial visually impairment so that they can read from normal books.

Right from the seating arrangement in classes — visually impaired and those with learning disability are allotted front rows in classrooms — care is taken to ensure that special children mingle with normal kids. In fact, other than the five school teachers, over 100 normal children help them gain education. Like Dhanraj, a normal student of Class IV, has taken upon himself the task of looking after Ajay, a cerebral palsy patient, and student of Class I. Ajay, whose speech is barely discernible, has grown very fond of Dhanraj, who helps him eat, sit in the specially designed wheelchair and even takes him to the toilet.

The school does not have trained therapists to deal with specially abled children, though they are trained by the Education Department from time to time. A volunteer, Ms Sushila Jakhar, who specialises in teaching specially abled children, has joined here. “Integrated education is not only helping the kids with special needs to learn faster, but is also creating a sensitisation among normal kids towards the needs of other children,” she says. 



Poor students given uniforms, books
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
It was a memorable day for students of Government Primary School, Tanda-Masol village, today. The Youth Welfare Sports and Health Club, Mullanpur-Garibdas, distributed stationery and school uniforms among poor students of the school at a function organised on the school premises.

The school had shot into fame after its teachers devised a way of story telling through dramatic presentation. They had found that the traditional method of teaching was not going down well with the pupils. As a result the teachers began to look beyond the books and think about creative teaching-learning.

Mr Arvind Puri, chairman of the club, told Chandigarh Tribune that he was surprised to see that the students were performing equally well like the students of schools in urban areas despite several shortcomings. He said that the club would spend more money on providing other facilities at the school.

During the function, the members of the village panchayat complained that the state government was contemplating privatising the school despite the school adopting a new teaching way. “The government should encourage the existing teachers to produce better results instead of privatising it”, said Mr Bant Singh, a panch of the village. Other persons who spoke on the occasion were Mr Dyan Singh Dhillon, Mr Harbans Singh, Mr K.L. Verma and Mr Ranjit Singh.

To welcome the guests, the students enacted a play based on a short story on a low-cost stage made of mud and stones with the cooperation of the villagers in one corner of the school.

“The children live in the lap of nature. So we thought of teaching them on environment awareness and theatre was used to send the message across”, said a teacher, Mr Raman Mittal.

Enquiries revealed that on hearing about the school some NGOs had put in efforts to paint slogans on the school walls. Today, the school walls are covered with messages and designs, which could trigger the imagination of any child.

The school library was being upgraded. Apart from the books given by the Education Department, efforts were on to arrange more books. At the school, the students were being involved in maintaining the flower beds. 



Students apprised of engineering courses
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, May 8
Sanjivini organised an engineering fest here today. Mr J.B. Goyal, Secretary, Technical Education, Government of Punjab, inaugurated the fest. Students were given information about various colleges, courses, branches and entrance tests.

Dr M.S. Grewal, Registrar, Punjab Technical University, Jalandhar, was the guest of honour.

Dr Manmohan Garg, Director, Sanjivini said, “The purpose of this fest is to create awareness among the students about the various options in engineering. We are providing information about colleges in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan.



City girl presents paper in Hawaii
Tribune News Service

Shimona Kanwar
Shimona Kanwar

Panchkula, May 8
A local girl, Shimona Kanwar, has done the country proud by representing India at the Fourth Graduate International Students Conference, hosted by East West Centre at Honolulu, Hawaii.

On her return, Shimona recounted her experiences in Hawaii. “I was the only person from India to present my paper there. Over 100 students from 12 countries were participating in the conference. My paper on “Orientalism in reverse: Indian nationalism in works of Mahatama Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru” was widely appreciated, she said.

Shimona has just submitted her thesis for a doctorate in English literature. She says that her methodology involved examining the autobiographies of the two leaders, and other texts. “People in the West are generally impressed with any study on Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. So there was a lot of interest on my paper,” she said.



PMT prospectus to be replaced
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
Baba Farid Medical University will replace all PMT prospectus with missing pages, sold to candidates by Canara Bank, in Sector 44 here, without levying any extra charges. The Deputy Registrar of the university, Mr K.P. Singh, said they regretted the inconvenience caused to the candidates and their parents. “We have issued instructions to Canara Bank, entrusted with the job of selling our prospectus, to replace all those which had missing pages,” he said.

Yesterday, a large number of students and their parents who had come from far-flung areas to buy the prospectus for the PMT examination of the university, found some pages (from 17 to 20 and 49 to 52) missing.



Gem Public students excel in Class VIII exam
Tribune News Service

Mohali, May 8
There was an air of jubilation at Gem Public School in Phase 3B2, as three students of the school are among top four position the town in the Class VIII examination of the Punjab School Education Board declared here today. A student of Sant Isher Senior Secondary School, Phase 7, has also been placed among the top four positions in the city.

Mr MS Midha, Principal of Gem Public School, told Chandigarh Tribune that Arashdeep Kaur, Sohaj Singh Brar and Sapna had been placed first, second and fourth, respectively, in the merit list. Jaspreet Kaur of Sant Isher Public School has been placed third in the city’s top four positions.



PUDA asked to pay interest on earnest money
Pradeep Sharma
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, May 8
The Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has asked the Punjab Urban Development Authority (PUDA) to pay interest on the earnest money to Ms Poonam Singla, a resident of Sector 38 (West) here.

In its order, the commission ordered PUDA to pay interest on the earnest money amounting to Rs 2.75 lakh at the rate of 18 per cent from August 28, 2002, till the actual date of payment. The order is to be complied with in two months.

In response to a PUDA scheme in Mohali, Ms Singla had applied for a residential plot in Sectors 68 to 71 on January 16, 2002. However, the scheme was withdrawn by PUDA on August 28, 2002 and the earnest money was refunded to the complainant.

Ms Singla then moved the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum-II claiming interest on the earnest money. However, the forum held that there was no deficiency of service on the part of PUDA as the refund was given within 180 days from the date of withdrawal of the scheme.

Aggrieved at the order of the forum, Ms Singla moved the commission claiming that the condition regarding the payment of the interest on the expiry of 180 days from the date of draw of lots was not applicable in the present case. Since the scheme was withdrawn by PUDA, the 180 days’ condition for refunding earnest money did not arise in the present case.

It was claimed that PUDA might have earned interest on the amount received till the refund of the earnest money. There is considerable force in the contention of the appellant that PUDA not only committed deficiency in service but also adopted unfair trade practice in not paying the interest, the commission order said.



Zakir’s book to be released in Pak
Aditi Tandon

Dr Kashmiri Lal Zakir
Dr Kashmiri Lal Zakir

Dr Kashmiri Lal Zakir’s literary enterprise is getting better with age. In the 84th year of his creative journey, the eminent writer-poet has several milestones to cite, the latest being the immense appreciation his recent work has drawn in Pakistan.

Titled “Samandari Hawaon Ka Mausam”, the work has not only been serialised in a reputed Pakistan-based newspaper, but has also served as a platform for further strengthening Indo-Pak ties.

Already in promising circulation in Pakistan, the work, originally in Urdu, has won another honour for Dr Zakir. He will shortly be visiting Pakistan where he will be a special guest of Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Pervez Ilahi.

Overwhelmed by Dr Zakir’s work which comprises a novelette and four stories on the theme of Indo-Pak friendship, Mr Ilahi has consented to release the book in Pakistan. While the formal invitation has been extended, the date of the function is yet to be decided.

At home in Sector 44, Dr Zakir is naturally touched by the gesture which, he says, has been inspired by the interest Pakistani writer Shayasta Nuzhat took in his work. Also Director of Punjab Academy of Culture and Language, Pakistan, Nuzhat has been a regular reader of Dr Zakir who has over 100 published works to date.

“Samandari Hawaon Ka Mausam,” was earlier released during the World Punjabi Conference held in Chandigarh.

Speaking to The Tribune today, the writer said, “I was elated to receive an official communiqué from Mr Pervez Ilahi who expressed a desire to invite me over to Pakistan. He had been enquiring about my antecedents from his sources in Pakistan. And he was obviously delighted to discover that I belonged to Kunza in West Punjab — the area which is also Mr Ilahi’s constituency. While extending the invitation to me, Mr Ilahi also assured me of a journey to my homeland. When I return, I will write another book — my fifth in this year.

“Among the books which Dr Zakir has written in the current year are — “Dard-e-Bezubaan”, a book inspired by the teachings of Lord Buddha. The book is located in Sikkim and other sites famous for their monastic heritage, like Dharamsala and Darjeeling.

“Ek Safar Dard Ka”, another book published during this year, is the fourth edition of Dr Zakir’s highest selling work “Karmanwali”. The work has been adapted for the stage by thespians of the order of M.L. Raina. Recently the story was also staged by Zulfiqar Khan, a Chandigarh-based theatre director and artiste.

Last but not the least of Dr Zakir’s latest works is “Ab Mujhe Sone Do”, a striking account of human relationships. It is woven around Deepti — a single woman in love with a boy and his father. Unable to cope with the stress of misplaced affections, she ends her life. The book details her dilemmas and her heartache which lead her to commit suicide. TNS



Musical soiree for senior citizens
S. D. Sharma

Come Saturday, and the city reverberates to festivities at the chosen points, courtesy the Chandigarh Administration and the Chandigarh Institute of Performing Arts. It was the turn of the elders to make most of the ghazal soiree which lit up the Fragrance Garden.

Malerkotla based ghazal singer Alamgir Khan regaled the audience with ghazals and Punjabi songs popularized by Ghulam Ali and other Pakistani singers. His repertoire included “Ham tere sheahr mein aaye” and “Har kisi haath mein”. But the Punjabi songs like “Na layi vi na gayi te nibhai bhi”, “Kise da yaar na bichhde” immortalised by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Others like “Baija mere kol”, “Rabba yar milaa de” were more in demand. Ably accompanied by Jolly on tabla, the singer had to oblige the audience with more numbers in the largely attended programme compered by Shyam Juneja.

However, the Sukhna lake remained the hub of activities as the Chandigarh Administration organised a local tour for physically challenged children. Social figure Ajit Sailani flagged off the bus at the lake.

Mr Jasbir Singh Bir, IAS, while talking to Chandigarh Tribune said efforts are being made to involve more NGO’s and departments to contribute to the noble cause of providing excursions and entertainment to the down trodden children.

Ms Savita Malik, Chief General Manger, CITCO, also interacted with the children and distributed packed eatables to the children.



Mapping artist’s journey with line

Dr S.S. Bhatti’s book on S.K. Sahni’s fascination for the straight line was released at a function held at Natural History Museum, Sector 10 yesterday. Offering an appraisal of the book, published by Harman Publishers, Dr Rajinder Bhandari, Chairman, Department of Fine Arts, PU, said Dr Bhatti’s exposition of Sahni’s drawings and creativity was a serious attempt to map the processes leading to the artist’s journey with the line.

“In doing so, Dr Bhatti has wonderfully elaborated certain concepts of art and aesthetics equally applicable to other mediums of art. He has managed not to reduce the book to a chronological account of Sahni’s works, but has also explained deeper concepts that may interest uninitiated readers,” said Dr Bhandari while presiding over the programme.

Referring to four quintessential elements of an artwork - line, drawing, drafting and picture drawing - Dr Bhandari said the present book incorporated all. “The book is organised as a limited series of case studies which have been carefully selected to show how the straight line is the ubiquitous element of Sahni’s works,” he said before mentioning the three categories under which Dr Bhatti has explained the gradual evolution of S.K. Sahni as an artist. Sahni was also present at the function.

The categorisations have been made under the following heads - the first that traces Sahni’s movement from simple to abstract forms; the second that talks about the birth of kinetic drawings; and the third explores the psycho-emotional syndrome which inspires the artist towards “another transition”.

Lavishly illustrated, the book, said Dr Bhandari, combined visual appeal with the seriousness of content. Releasing the book later, Mr Vivek Atray, Joint Secretary, Technical Education, made a rather attractive remark about the straight line. He said, “Those who live by the straight live do rather well in life.”

The last words came from S.K. Sahni himself who was all praise for those who showered admirations upon him. He talked of how the City Beautiful had inspired him to explore the magic of lines, and of how despite the financial constraints of art he had strived to follow it. TNS


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