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Summer camp

Chandigarh, June 8
A 15-day summer camp of Ryan International School, ended with a peace march here today. As many as 550 students participated in indoor and outdoor activities held during the camp. There were matches and performances in dance, music and theatre. TNS



Kalagram sculptures perfect blend of love, union, ecstasy
Aditi Tandon

The sculptures on display at Kalagram are much more than works of art. They are designed to function as icons which, when clicked open, speak to visitors about the spiritual journey from self discovery to self realization, release and joy….

Not just that, the works have also been lavished with elements critical to human existence - love, union and ecstasy. The blend of the spiritual and the material is perfect, just as the final works of art are. In terms of power and impact, all sculptures, executed by artists from Mysore, Orissa and Mahabalipuram are rich and strong.

While the work of Laxmikant Mohapatra from Orissa follows the exuberant Greek style, the sculpture by MA Srikhandan shines with a divine charm. It merges the male and female forms - using the icon of Buddha to symbolise peace and the image of a woman to reflect power.

Based at Mahabalipuram, Srikhandan is one of the two Indian sculptors behind the famous Sculpture and Theme Park in Ireland. Srikhandan assisted master sculptor T Bhaskaran in creating this magnificent space in Ireland - a space which features 10 giant black granite sculptures and 12 stone carvings. All these works were executed during a workshop held at Mahabalipuram. The artists also designed a meditation path and a philosophy maze for the Ireland park.

Much of that philosophy is visible in Srikhandan’s present work, which he created for the sculpture workshop organised by North Zone Cultural Centre at Kalagram. The workshop started on May 25 and concluded today.

Unlike Srikhandan, Mohapatra’s prefers to be direct and communicative. He chooses the frame of a female and lends it a Greek format to create an interesting mix. Back home, Mohapatra loves to make temple sculptures in stone, inspired by Konark temple.

He has company in Vithal Wadgeyar from Mysore whose works also fall in the category of temple art. Mantesh Paldini, also from Mysore, has carved out the black stone to weave a wondrous pattern that exudes sensuality. On a closer look, the stone lends itself to male and female forms, engrossed in a divine union. TNS



Badminton — elite’s first choice
Arvind Katyal

Badminton has always had a great following. It was considered a royal game by the British, who introduced it in India.

In England, where the game owes its origin, the sport has always attracted royal families, who played the sport as pastime.

This practice was also followed in India. After Independence, the sport became popular with leaders here. In Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and other places, the sport became a first love for various chief ministers, ministers and bureaucrats.

Among Punjab CMs who have been devoted to the game is former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

Whether during his incarceration, or otherwise, Badal made it a habit to visit the badminton hall.

He was more actively involved in playing the sport during his first tenure as Chief Minister in late 1970s when he used to play badminton in Sports Complex, Sector 7.

Mr D.K. Mukerjee, the then Deputy Principal Secretary to Mr Badal and a sports promoter, said only a few days back, Mr Badal asked him: “Mukerjee sahib, tuhada te tuhadi badminton da ki hall hai. Badminton khedan nu bada dil karda mera, ki tusi aj-kal khedan jaden ho.” (Mukerjee Sahib, how are you and your badminton. I wish to play badminton. Do you still play this game.)

Mr Mukerjee said in earlier days, Mr Badal, Rajya Sabha MP M.S. Gill, former hockey Olympian Balbir Singh used to take part in badminton activities regularly.

Mr Badal would even say in his office that the day he used to play the game he felt energetic and was able to take quick decisions.

Mr Mukerjee said even former President of India and then Chief Minister Giani Zail Singh was also a keen badminton player.

Once he was offered the post of president of the Badminton Association of India, which he accepted and later declined due to pressure of work as Home Minister. But he always remained a badminton lover.

S. Bangarappa, another senior politician and former Chief Minister of Karnataka, is still active in the sport.

Mr Mukerjee recalled how late Brij Bhan, former PEPSU Chief Minister and father of Justice Ashok Bhan, would frequent the badminton hall.

He said current Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had recently inaugurated a new indoor badminton hall in Sangrur. He used to play the sport when he was Agriculture Minister in the Barnala Ministry in 1980s.

His father Maharaja Yadavindra Singh and mother Mahrani Mahindar Kaur were also keen badminton players.

Mahrani Mahindar Kaur used to play mixed doubles matches with Mr Mukerjee at Patiala in 1950s.

The famous rink hall at Patiala, which was once used for skating, was thrown open to badminton players at the initiative of Maharaja Yadavindra Singh.

Though few other sports like tennis and golf have caught the interest of new generation VIPs, badminton still remains the first love for many.

One can find badminton courts at bungalows of various VIPs like S.S. Dawra, former DC, Patiala, and T.C. Gupta, also former DC, Patiala.

Some IAS officers have also taken personal interest in developing badminton halls.

In Chandigarh, Adviser to UT Administrator Lalit Sharma along with a few fellow IAS officers also have a liking for the sport.



Sitar maestro’s magical spell

With an exquisite blend of tradition and modernity coupled with an adroit mastery over the display of technical nuances the young maestro, Manu Kumar Seen made the sitar sing, much to the expectation of the elite city aficionados at the special celebration programme of the Pracheen Kala Kendra. The decisive influence of his first guru and legendary musician father, Lachhman Singh Seen, of the Punjab Gharana as well as Manu’s ustad sitar icon, Shahid Parvez, of Eatawa Gharana was apparent on his captivating performance today.

Manu opened up the concert with delineation of the complex raga ‘Charu Keshi’ and his performance bore an aura of innovative skills. Instead of delving deep into alaap in the beginning he crafted a novelty as he induced the alaap in the progressive ‘Vilambat’ gats, duly accomplished with the rhythmic pattern of sixteen beats on tabla, articulated by Ahirbhav Verma on the other end.

Manu’s expertise and dexterity, however, came to the fore as he brought alive the latent ‘angs’ of other Hindustani ragas amalgamated in the composite south Indian raga ‘Charukeshi’. The audience relished the brief but simultaneous spells with glimpses of raag Darbari, Bhairavi, Rageshari Kauns and even Basant Mokhar.

He went to dole out briefly raga ‘Kamod’ and later raga shankra to conclude with a popular Rajasthani dhun ‘Aao Padharo Sunder Sham Mahro Desh…’ in dadra taal.

Holding master’s degrees in English literature and music from Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, he had the privilege of performing at the Harvallabh Sangeet Sammelan when he was only 17. Winning of AIR and Doordarshan competitions followed and he was invited to play at Sangeet Natak Akademi functions, the Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Manch and in various programmes of the Department of Cultural Affairs. He is a painstaking sitarist and his diligence has taken him to concerts in Jakarta, the USA, Indonesia, West Indies and many parts of Europe. Manu’s sitar-playing reflects a unique blend of Gayaki and Tantrakari Angs in amazing profusion. His soulful rendering and strict adherence to the purity and virtuosity of ragas have got him superlative critical acclaim. The globe trotting percussionist Avirbhav Verma stole the limelight with a matching magical performance on tabla. OC


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