C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Bringing astronomy to doorsteps of schools through mobile planetariums
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 5
It was a rather strange beginning of their hobby of star gazing to develop into business. Deep Bali had bought a telescope and returned to Dehra Dun from Australia, but did not know how to use it. He met Siddharth Trivedi through a common friend, who knew how to use the telescope. Unravelling mysteries in the space as they explored the skies, the two were joined by Rajbir S Grewal, and soon their company, Constellation Mobile Education and Learning Technologies (CMeLT) was born.

Three years down the line, the trio have made tremendous strides in teaching about space, stars and universe to thousands of students, in their mobile planetariums. They began by manufacturing low-cost telescopes so that these instruments could be made affordable to kids.

Interestingly, none of them has studied astronomy. It is merely through self learning that they learnt the nitty- gritties of astronomy, and are now teaching the same to young enthusiasts. When astronomy is not a preferred science in school curricullae and planetariums are restricted to the metropolitans, the trio are bringing the science to the doorsteps of school students in Punjab, Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh.

But real recognition has come now, after the personal staff of the President of India, Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, invited them for a presentation of their show before the President later this month. Talking to TNS, while in town showcasing their planetarium at the Gurukul school here, Rajbir S Grewal says that the President’s staff has also asked them to hold a presentation for a group of specially-abled children studying in some Delhi schools.

Says Trivedi, who deals with the conceptualisation and technical part of the shows, “ It is important to develop a scientific temperament in children. In today’s age, most of the elements on the earth have been discovered and man is ready to explore new elements in the 98 per cent so-far-unexplored space and water. Thus, teaching various aspects of astronomy gains importance”.

The two mobile planetariums have a capacity for 90 children and 40 children, respectively. Made of a nylon-base fabric, these can be dismantled and packed in a box after use. While the bigger planetarium is 13. 5 feet in height, the one with a capacity for 40 children is 10 feet in height. Children, and even adults, can just sit inside and watch the show, which deals with astronomy and earth sciences. Children are shown the important stars, planets and constellations in the sky.

Other than the planetriums, CMeLT is now setting up astronomy clubs in schools. The clubs are given a 14-session training capsule, where besides teaching them about the Big Bang Theory and origin of life, Super Nova explosions etc, they are taught how to make sun dials, telescopes and read the latitude. Specially designed CDs and a small-course curriculum is also distributed to the club members. “We started with setting up astronomy clubs only three months ago. Some leading boarding schools in Dehra Dun and Shimla have already signed for the setting up of these clubs,” he said.



From Schools
Varun, Ibna in Horlicks Wiz Team
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 6
Varun Sarwal (Delhi Public School) and Ibna Sharma (St Stephen’s) in the junior category, Somriti Mitra (Satluj Public School) and Prabhdeep Singh (Guru Nanak Public School) in the senior category will form the Horlicks Wiz Team 2005, which will represent the city in the national finals to be held in Bangalore in November.

The Gurukul, Sector-20, Panchkula, bagged the maximum number of competition titles proving to be the Horlicks Overall Champion of 2005. More than 1,000 students from over 50 schools participated in the event held at Tagore Theatre, here today.

The competitors were judged on their performance in three rounds — the talent round, the versatility round and the judges question round. They were evaluated on their overall personality, stage presence, confidence, self-awareness, communication, interpersonal skills, critical thinking, creativity, decision-making, problem solving, stress management and emotions.

The four winners will compete against 96 students from 24 other cities at the grand finale.

Ghazal contest

“Swar Udgam”, an inter-school Indian classical vocal, geet, and ghazal contest, was organised at Mount Carmel School, Sector 47, here today. Students from Class VI to X participated in the contest. Fifteen teams from nine schools participated in the programme.

The Registrar of Pracheen Kala Kendra, Mr M.L. Koser, was the chief guest. He gave away prizes to the winners. Mementoes were presented to the chief guest and judges by the Vice-Principal, Ms Annie Charles. The music academy of the school presented a Kathak composition.

The programme ended with a vote of thanks by the head girl of the school, followed by the playing of the national anthem.


The social science and eco club of Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 46, in collaboration with the World Peace Mission organised an inter-school painting, paper-writing and reading contest to observe Hiroshima-Nagasaki and Quit India Day on Saturday.

The Principal of the school Mr R.S. Goraya, stressed the need for peace and security for humanity and future generations. Lieut-Col G.S. Sethi spoke of the need for cooperation among various nations while other speakers shared information on the two subjects.

The results of the contests are as follows: paper writing and reading: Yogesh (1), Anish Rai (2), and Monika (3), Kiran from the host school got a consolation prize; painting contest: Monami (GMSSS-35)-1, Avtar Singh (GMSSS-44)-2, and Pawan Kumar (GMHS-26)-3, Sujeet Kumar (GMHS-28)-consolation.

Science exhibition

A science exhibition was held at Doon Valley Public School, Nalagarh, here on Saturday. Parents as well as dignitaries visited the school to see the creative works done by students. Models related to food, energy, electronics, made by students, were exhibited.

In the science electronics section models of the fire alarm, flood alarm, remote sensing car, clap switch, air coolers, water harvesting project caught the eye of the visitors. In the mathematics section, students elaborated real life problems and their mathematical solutions. The best projects were awarded prizes while others were given for certificates of appreciation.

The Director of the school, Mr Rajeev Sharma, and the Secretary, Ms Anoop Sharma, while addressing the concluding session of the exhibition appreciated the efforts of the teachers and students in organising the event.

They felt that the recent changes made by CBSE concerning the projects in science, mathematics and social sciences would definitely go a long way to help the students in understanding the subjects in a better way.

Books sale

An exhibition-cum-sale of books, organised by Scholastic, concluded at Saupin’s School. The exhibition revealed a refreshing display of books. The exceptional collection put in by Scholastic was a feast for avid readers and book lovers.

Books for every age group, including those on science; fiction, classics, non-fiction and educational games, were exhibited.

Cash prizes given

The Parents Teachers Association, in collaboration with Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 35, on Saturday disbursed Rs 81,000 among the students of Class VIII and IX for securing 85 per cent or above marks.

The District Education Officer, Dr Gulzar Singh, was the chief guest while principal Khushinder Sharma presided over the prize-distribution function, which was held on the school’s premises.

Outgoing PTA president, Ms Ravinder Walia, general secretary Jasbir Singh and auditor Kamal Bhushan, were also felicitated by the PTA. Dr Upender Sharma, Vishnu Pandey and Ms Manjit Kaur, lecturer in Hindi, sanskrit and economics, respectively, were accorded farewell by the association.



Talk on strategy for CS exam
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6
A lecture-cum-interactive session on “Strategy for being successful in the civil services examinations” was held today at MCM DAV College, today. A lecture was delivered by Dr. Aman Puri, an Indian Foreign Service Officer. The session was organised by Compass (Club of M.C.M. Public Administration students).

Dr Puri apprised students about the nature of Civil Services Examination and talked about the methodology to be adopted for preparations. He exhorted students to adopt a positive approach while preparing for the exam.

He discussed in brief the scheme of examination and apprised the students of importance of various optional subjects. Later, he invited questions from the students and answered their queries.



Dev Samaj silver jubilee function
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6
To mark the silver jubilee year of Dev Samaj College for women, Sector 45, a grand function was held on the premises of the college. The function was presided over by the local MP, Mr Pawan Kumar Bansal.

An audio-visual presentation on memorable moments of college was given by principal of the college, Dr Shashi Jain.

Many luminaries of Dev Samaj Council, distinguished ex-vice chancellors of Panjab University, founder principal of the college and illustrious alumini were felicitated. The website of the college www.dscw45.com was also launched.

Celebrating their silver jubilee year as the ‘year of women empowerment’ students presented a cultural programme.



NIFD annual exhibition
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 6
Students of the National Institute of Fashion Design (NIFD) organised their annual exhibition “Creations-2005” in Phase VII here today.

The exhibition which would go on till August 8, was inaugurated by the SDM, Mr M.L. Sharma. A whole range of colourful creations including formal suits, lehangas, Indo-Western outfils, tops, frocks and a number of other items were put up.

The exhibition was divided into a number of segments. While six segments presented the creations by students of fashion and textile department, three segments showcased designs on interiors.

Segments, related to fashion and textile, presented items like lehangas for brides, nightwear collection with lots of frills, flounces and laces tie and dye items ranging from bedspreads to cusion covers and Western costumes.

Items like decorative pots, wall panels, lamp shades, murals, candles, glass paintings, etc were also put up at the exhibition.



Riot of styles, colours

Chandigarh, August 6
It was creativity at its best at the NIFD annual exhibition, “Vivid India”. Put up by students of the textile design and interior design departments, the exhibition saw fantasies in an array of artefacts and ensemble, which found appreciation from all quarters.

Inaugurated by master craftsman Nek Chand yesterday, it laid bare a riot of contemporary styles and colours. The exhibition will remain open for the general public today and tomorrow. In the Moda Arcade section, students experimented with the idea of shopping malls.

Textile design students unveiled their imagination by using the techniques of block printing, tie and dye, batik, screen printing, embroidery, fabric printing and yarn craft to create home accessories.

A panel of judges comprising eminent artist and art teacher Jodh Singh, and Business Head Fab India, Diltaj Grewal will decide the outcome. — OC



Lift inaugurated in PU girls’ hostel
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 6
A long-standing demand of the residents of Savitri Bai Phulle Hall, Girls Hostel No.5 was fulfilled with the inauguration of a lift by Shri Krishan Mohan, Home Secretary, and Chandigarh Administration at Panjab University here yesterday.

He also inaugurated a garden meant for the exclusive use of the girls, saplings of Barrington actangula were planted in this new garden by the Home Secretary and Prof K N Pathak, Vice-Chancellor. Mr Krishan Mohan also planted saplings in the compounds of University Institute of Engineering and Technology and Dr Harvansh Singh Judge Institute of Dental Sciences in Sector-25 Campus of Panjab University.

The Home Secretary and the VC also inspected the facilities being provided to the residents.



Students celebrate Teej
Our Correspondent

Dera Bassi, August 6
Students of Deepmala Public School, presented a cultural programme to celebrate Teej, here today. Dressed up in multi-coloured dresses, the girls participated in a dance competition organised to mark the festival.

Earlier, Mrs Deepmala, chairperson of the school, inaugurated the festival while Mrs Anita Mittal, school principal, highlighted the importance of the festival.

The Vasundhra Group and the Shruti Group, were adjudged the best dance groups.



10 selected for Junior Chandigarh Idol
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 6
The semifinals for the Junior Chandigarh Idol were held at Ajit Karam Singh International Public School in Phase XI here today.

The judges included Miss Shalini, TV anchor, composer and singer for Doordarshan and All India Radio and Mrs Reeta Chopra, dance director and a tele-film actress. After the two rounds the judges selected 10 persons who would go to the final round to be held at the Tagore Theatre, Chandigarh on August 20.

The semifinalists include Rahul from the Institute for the Blind, Damanjet from Sri Auribindo, Divya from Swami Ramtiratha, Gurkamal from DPS, Tanya, Pooja, Ekem and Gurleen from Shemrock, Sagarika from Doon International School and Satyam from Saint Johns.



Tejinder, Gaurav win drawing contest
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 6
A drawing competition for the students of Classes IV to X was organised at Gian Jyoti Public School here today. The topic for the junior group was to draw ‘a scenery’. In this category Tejinder Singh, Ramanpreet Kaur and Amisha Gupta bagged the prizes. In the senior group Gaurav Jain, Inderpreet Singh, and Parth were the winners. The Principal of the school, Mrs. Ranjeet Bedi, congratulated the students and gave away the prizes to winners.



Mangal Pandey-The Rising

Renowned numerologist Sanjay B Jumaani will share his prediction on Aamir Khan’s much-awaited movie “Mangal Pandey - The Rising” in his first numerology show on television.

The show Bolein Ssitare – Number Sey Amber Tak will be aired on Sahara One TV channelat 6:30 pm on Sunday.

Jumaani says, “If we take a look at the date on which the movie will be released i.e. August 12 adding up to no. 3. The movie title adds to no. 5. Everything related to the film adds up to no. 3 or no. 5. Aamir was born on March 14. He is ruled by no. 5. His zodiac sign Pisces is ruled by no. 3. He is 41 years of age adding to no. 5.”

Jumaani’s prediction has also taken into account, Aamir’s co-stars Rani Mukherji who is no. 3 with her birthday falling on March 21, and Amisha Patel being a Gemini, who is ruled by no. 5.

Besides, Jumaani will take a look at the famous jodi of Akshay Kumar and Priyanka Chopra, analysing their success through numbers in Jodi No. 1 section.

Further, the future of the movie, “Double Cross-Ek Dhoka” starring Negar Khan and Sahil Khan will also be unfolded in the episode, with an analysis at the couple’s numbers as well. Yeh Number Ki Baat Hai segment features Khallas girl Ishaa Koppikar. — D.P.



Shiv Kumar, Shivputra’s melody spellbounds audience

Over 150 teachers and volunteers from the northern region assembled on the Panjab University campus today for inauguration of SPIC MACAY’s north zone convention. More formal than before, the convention began with the address of PU VC, Dr K.N. Pathak and wrapped up on a melodious note with Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and Kumar Gandharva’s illustrious son Mukul Shivputra adding spiritual flavour to the event.

Both of them stole the show on the opening day of the convention when they performed at PGI’s Bhargava auditorium this evening. While Pt Sharma used his trademark subtlety to drive the audience mad with melody, Shivputra doled out classical pieces one after the other. Though not in the best of health today, Shivputra managed to recreate an impressive aura on stage. In that aura one the audiences could sometimes spot glimpses of the legendary Kumar Gandharva.

As for Pt Sharma, melody played a hostage to the maestro who used his imagination and class to bring out the best in it. He began by making a humble introduction to the gathering at Bhargava auditorium where he is quite used to performing. As moments passed by, Pt Sharma’s music emerged more youthful — finer and finer still with every fresh strike of melody.

Earlier during the day Dr Pathak lauded SPIC MACAY’s efforts to enrich the youth on the cultural front. He also complimented Dr Kiran Seth for his sustained efforts in securing continuity with heritage. On behalf of the volunteers, Neha Arora, a student, compeered the programme and delineated the objectives of SPIC MACAY - a student’s participatory movement. As of today, SPIC MACAY has 180 chapters in India and 55 chapters abroad.

The final word of the day came from Dr Kiran Seth, Founder President of the movement, who stressed the need to restructure and rekindle policies and programmes for preservation and promotion of culture. He said conventions provided platforms to volunteers to meet each other, exchange ideas and plan future activities besides being exposed to a rare feast laid out by eminent artists. He announced that next year’s National Convention would be held in the June at Jaipur.

Information about SPIC MACAY’s activities in the north came from Dr. S. Lavasa, convener, SPIC MACAY (North Zone), who called upon students to join the wave of cultural promotion. Among those who spoke today were Prof Nirmal Singh, Dean Student Welfare, PU and Harish Bhatia, Chairman, Chandigarh Chapter of SPIC MACAY. TNS



A crisp satire well received

The spirit of comedy is essentially a social phenomenon laced with an articulate didactic aim and the Punjabi play staged by the National Theatre Arts, Patiala, in association with NZCC at the Kalgram had this all on Saturday evening. The play “Takey Ser Bhaji Takey Ser Khaja” intertwined the series of dastardly and shocking irregularities during the rule of erstwhile feudal governments under the British Empire. The audience relished the treatment of crisp satire by the actors. Based on the late Bhartendu Harishchandra’s classic comedy “Andher Nagri Chaupat Raja” the veteran theatre couple of Sunita Sabharwal and Pran Sabharwal adapted the play in Punjabi with certain aberrations to project the defunct functioning of the governance and social system in the contemporary society. Despite inordinate delay in commencing the play the audience enjoyed the crisp dialogues and adroit acting spells by a few artistes.

The strong cast of over 25 artists on stage portraying characters from different segments of society presented the play in the traditional and Parsi theatre style, a rarity in the region. The foolish king and his unethical acts symbolised the present-day leaders and those at the helm of affairs in the government and other spheres. The musical play with many sequences touched a particular problem and the actors, slipping into other characters, had a fair chance of displaying their talent as actor, singer and dancer. Dharminder Sandhu portraying Raja stole the lime light with instantaneous shifts in mood and actions. Vijay Sharma, Sukhjit, Jagdish Kumar, Sukhwinder, Kamaldeep and Sharnajit Kaur also performed well. The musical repertoire contributed well except at times the instruments dominated the singers.

Earlier NTAS director Pran Sabharwal welcomed the chief guest Amrish Aggarwal who honoured the artists. OC



An upcoming singer
S.D. Sharma

Preet Harpal
Preet Harpal

Where there is a will there is a way. Child prodigy Preet Harpal, smitten by the music bug, would do ‘riyaz’ in a secluded corner of his house in a sleepy village, Baupur Jattan (Gurdaspur).

Preet Harpal blossomed as an accomplished singer under the tutelage of Ustad Chaman Lal Gurdaspuri. With over a dozen musical albums in his kitty and a reputation among the Punjabi music lovers, Harpal longs to learn the finer nuiances of Indian classical music.

He has penned a few songs for contemporary singers, including Jazzy B, which brought him to the limelight.

Sur Sangam launched Preet Harpal with Punjabi album ‘Hassley Vairne’ followed by ‘Begaane Taan..’. But the lyrical content and melodious music of ‘Ankhan Te Dil..’ by Atul Sharma won him contracts with top musical companies, resulting in two more albums like ‘Kehda Saada Naa..’ and ‘Munde Sardaran De..’

Talking to the Chandigarh Tribune, young Preet Harpal said no form of “gayaki” was bad and it all depended on the taste of the audience. He said he preferred fast beat songs with catchy lyrics.

“The greatest challenge to the music industry today was from the rampant piracy,” he said.


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