pradesh: Residential schools
pradesh: Residential schools
A profusion of pine and oak in the Himalayas is a perfect setting for a nursery to nurture healthy bodies and minds. Dalhousie Public School, Dalhousie, is one such cradle in the lap of nature at 7000 feet above sea level in Chamba district. The long list of success stories here underlines one of the school’s aims of ‘developing serene minds with resolute hearts’.
In a meticulously designed academic agenda, the school concentrates on the all-round development of the students, instead of concentrating singularly either on academics, extra-curricular activities or sports. The secular and democratic values of the school are evident from the fact that it has students from more than a dozen states in the country. The school, established in 1970, has students from more than a dozen foreign countries, including the USA, Canada, England and several other European nations.
The first impression that the school makes on fresh minds is with its striking cleanliness and decor in an area of about one kilometre surrounding the school premises. The road stretch is lined with hanging flowerpots and flowerbeds along the mountainside.
Perseverance, endurance and camaraderie are the qualities that the school endeavours to specially hone among students who take their first step in learning truths in the struggle for life, as they sit far from the laps of their parents and elders in hostels. A day’s routine underlines the mission of the school. A student gets up at 6 am and goes to the playgrounds for a jog and games. This is followed by breakfast and classes. It is once again time for sports in the evening followed by a ‘prep’ where children are supposed to do their homework and studies. There is a specified time for watching television at night and, of course, those interested can continue with their studies even later. The list does not include regular trekking expeditions in the lesser explored mountains, sporting competitions and cultural events.
Sports competition are another regular feature in the school and are often fought tooth and nail among six houses for supremacy in bagging the ‘Cock House Trophy’ which goes to the best all-rounder house. The houses are in the names of Maharana Pratap, Subhas Chandra Bose, Ajit Singh, Shivaji, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Jawahar Lal Nehru.
The Principal, Dr (Capt) G. S. Dhillon, served the Army with the Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) before retirement. He says, "The school aims to nurture students by avoiding relying on pure academics. The aim is relevant in the changed scenario of the job sector today. In the wake of immense pressure in seeking fresh avenues, it is very important to make the youth mentally and physically strong besides resorting to the routine of mugging syllabi notes. I think life today best exemplifies Darwin’s theory of the survival of the fittest."
The school has a long list of students who made it to the cadre of officers in the Indian defence forces. It is also interesting to point out that all chief guests at the Founder’s Day functions of the school have been Army Generals, including General N.C. Vij, a former Chief of the Army Staff. Mr Ashok Ganguly, chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education, was also in the school recently.
A casual perusal of the school records shows that students have excelled in diverse streams of professional life. An interaction with schoolteachers gives you hundreds of names that have made the school proud by excelling in medicine, engineering, art, sports and other walks of life.
The school has a strength of 1300 students. As many as 1000 are hostellers. "We have given admission to local children also as a goodwill measure", Dr Dhillon adds.
A German neurologist Dr Rudolph Pophal puts it this way: "The rhythmic, interactive, repetitive manipulation of the thumb and fingers profoundly impacts the brain. The process of moving the thumb and fingers to form certain letters influences the thought process and behaviour of the individual."
Mumbai-based K.B. Master, who has developed a book, which guides on how to succeed by mastering the art of writing the smart way, says when we write, we use the energy at our disposal to form letters. Later, our subconscious takes over and words flow without the use of energy. The law also stands true the other way round too, he says. In fact, one can write away one’s way to success. Here is a lowdown on how, according to him, our brains make our hands work.
Low self-esteem: A person who thinks low about himself, fears failure and change. Such people set easily attainable goals and fear taking risks. This trait is seen in the crossing of the letter ‘t’. The one who crosses the ‘t’ bars very low on the stem suffers from low self-esteem, while those who cross it as high as possible also rank high on the esteem scale. Also, if the crossing is above the stem, the person is more theoretical than practical.
Self-confidence: This trait is both a factor and barometer for success, also judged by crossing of the letter ‘t’. Here too, higher the crossing, the more prominent the trait. Another indicator is large capital letters. Those who begin their sentences with capital letters that are larger than the rest in the sentence make it to the top.
Optimist: The writing of such writers who believe that the best is yet to come shows a noticeable upward slant in the entire baseline. The entire line of writing gradually slants upwards. Also, they cross their ‘t’ bars not only high on the stem, but also rising upwards.
Fear of ridicule: Watch out for the way you write the letters ‘m’ and ‘n’. If the second hump of the ‘m’ is taller than the first hump, you are self-conscious and fear being ridiculed, especially in the company of others.
Interestingly, those who write the second hump shorter than the first, are diplomatic and can get way with telling pleasant things in a friendly manner.
Concentration: Those who have small writing, which is legible and clear, have a tendency to focus on a specific thing at a time for an extremely long span. However, if the writing is illegible, it denotes traits of being disturbed, withdrawn and unproductive.
Temper: It is said if you are angry you don’t solve a problem but become one. Here too, the letter ‘t’ reveals your explosive behaviour. Those who cross the ‘t’ bar predominantly to the right of the stem are known to have a temper.
Sensitive to criticism: If you take your critic to be your sworn enemy, you loop your ‘t’ and ‘d’ as
Persistence: This quality is shown by the tie stoke, especially in letters f, t and a.
Lying: This trait is disclosed by the loops in the lower case ovals ‘a’ and ‘o’.
Confusion: A confused mind is easily noticed from confusion in the writing. Such people suffer from lack of clarity in their handwriting.
Organisational skills: The character that most prominently deciphers this trait is the letter ‘f’. A cursive ‘f’ that has both parts in equal proportion denotes a well-organised person.
Irritability: The persons who get irritated over minor issues and are bogged down by little inconveniences are likely to have the following handwriting. Known as slash trait, it s denoted by an "i" dot which is slashed or ‘a’ and ‘t’ bar which is slashed to the right.
Determination: Such people are firm of purpose and get things done through and with others or all by themselves. Straight and firm strokes show this trait, especially in letters ‘g’ and ‘y’.
A member of the Alcoholics Anonymous talks to Vibhor Mohan about her fight against the bottle at the annual conference of the organisation held at Dharamsala recently
I used to hate the smell of alcohol and when I got married at age 20 I made sure that my husband was not addicted to it. Within two months of marriage, I tried some bhang on Shivratri and that changed my life forever. I still remember that it was a Tuesday and I had immensely enjoyed the high it gave me.
Like any other normal housewife in Delhi I began taking a few pegs at social functions, but it was occasional. It was alright with my husband as my habit was under control and he could have never imagined what was in store for us.
Over the years, a sense of worthlessness started growing on me. Initially, I had no ambitions to make a career but gradually I started having an identity crisis. So after six years of casual drinking, I became a slave of alcohol and was drunk round the clock. I used to keep bottles as reserve hidden all over my room.
In the beginning, it seemed like a way to get rid of my lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Once drunk, I had no inhibitions while talking to people in a gathering and thought I was confident even though in reality I was making a fool of myself.
I had two small kids to take care of but I used to tell myself that I’m there for them physically all the time, little realising that my emotional support was what they wanted instead. After some time, they started telling me that I was not there when they needed me the most and this suddenly triggered a sense of grave guilt in me.
But I just couldn’t get over drinking. The doctors diagnosed that my liver was damaged. I would take medicine with water every morning, but would have a drink soon after. There seemed no escape from the abyss.
When out in parties, I would not drink openly and mixed alcohol in cold drinks as I had developed psychological fears about what society would think of me as drinking among women is still a taboo. It was difficult to quit and equally difficult to drink in public.
I was fed up of myself but still could not muster enough courage to commit suicide. Then I began justifying my drinking as a slow poison by which I could end my life and get rid of the trouble.
It was only when people in similar situations at the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings told me that they loved me the way I was and I would surely get out of it that I began trying hard enough to stop drinking. I remember I attended the first AA meeting in a drunken state but once I got over it there has been no looking back.
Torh torh ke bandhanon ko dekho behane aati hain... was a feminist song that has been a favourite at meetings of women’s groups in India and Pakistan. It was written to the tune of a popular Punjabi song first sung by Surinder Kaur: Kut kut bajra... Kamla Bhasin penned this, and many other songs that still stir heart, in the 1970s for the women’s movement. But Kamla is not just a lyricist. She is indeed a woman of many talents and one who has stood for a cause be it equal rights for women, peace and holding one’s own in the face of globalisation.
Born in 1946 and grew up in Rajasthan, she received a BA at Maharani’s College in Jaipur and an MA in Economics at Rajasthan University. She studied Sociology of Development for four semesters at Muenster University in West Germany.
Heading the South Asian programme of the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations for many years, Kamla very effectively worked out linkages for the causes close to her heart and mind not just in South Asia but also all over the world. A standing ovation was her lot at the Beijing conference many years ago and last year she touched at the very core of the hearts by quoting Pablo Neruda, "They can cut all the flowers, but they cannot stop the coming of spring." She was speaking at the World Social Forum 2004 on anti-globalisation.
Kamla asserts, "Globalisation which is nothing but an intensified form of imperialism has strengthened inequality and exploitation and patriarchal structures all over the world."
The recent activities that Kamla has been involved in are picking out women from South Asia and recommending them for the Nobel Peace Prize in an initiative called ‘1000 women for the Nobel Peace Prize’. And she has just returned from a "People’s Peace Initiatives" conference held at Lahore.
Kamla says, "We are documenting the
various peace initiatives by people in all walks of life in the past decades
be it through literature, education, activism or even cinema."
Overcoming many struggles of her personal life, Kamla is known to add zing
to activism through songs, poems, stories and jokes. A founder member of the
Jagori resource Centre in Delhi, Kamla is now running a trust called Sangat.
"The thrust of Sangat’s activities in recent times has been raising
voice against violence from the micro to the macro levels. We say no to
violence on the battlefield and violence in the homes." A vivacious and
dynamic person, Kamla believes in the songs she writes — Dariya ki
kasam, maujon ki kasam, Yeh taana-baana badlega...