C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Election bugle sounded at PU
Geetanjali Gayatri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The beginning of the academic session at Panjab University is synonymous with a lot of activity (read dharnas) as the campus readies for the run-up to the students’ poll in September. It seems, various students’ organisations have already sounded the election bugle.

The first indication has come by way of regular dharnas being organised by students’ bodies in a bid to make their presence felt. It is also an attempt to show their commitment towards the students.

The tree outside the office of the Vice-Chancellor has become a favourite haunt. One or the other students’ body keeps organising a protest, no matter how trivial the issue might be. In the past week, three students’ bodies have expressed their resentment on varied subjects which range from insufficient hostel accommodation to poor supply of water to extra chance for examination.

Interestingly, while these dharnas begin with a lot of fanfare, at the end of the day, the protesting students are nowhere to be seen. Hopping from department to department, expressing concern for problems plaguing students and raising them at the suitable forum —-that’s the agenda of all students’ bodies in August and September.

A very consistent demand over the years has been the need for a placement cell in every department.

While the students admit that the “dharna business” is essentially about getting mileage, they are quick to add that it also helps address problems which go unnoticed for they affect only a few.

“The students’ organisations resort to dharnas, fasts and processions before elections. There is hardly any meat in the issues they put before us. Everybody knows it is part of the election strategy,” an official claims.

Ravinder Sheokand, Haryana Students’ Association: “We haven’t organised any dharna. All other organisations are only looking for cheap publicity. I have just taken over as president and have a vision that I want to realise. Also, students’ problems have grown over the years.” He fails to spell out what his “vision” entails and what their problems are.

Dalveer Singh Goldie, Students’ Organisation of Panjab University: “Closing down all self-financing course is a priority for us. How can students afford to pay Rs 1 lakh as fee? I have organised 16 agitations so far, the maximum by any organisation. I haven’t been out of action even for a day. We are doing real work, the others are publicity hungry.”

Vikas Rathee, Indian National Students’ Organisation: I have hired a PR agency to ensure “news gets delivered to the right quarters”. “We have already sat on a handful of dharnas for the betterment of the students. We take up causes of students who approach us and have a whole lot of things on our agenda.” Beyond that, he’s silent.



Students put up physics models
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 7
Sanjay Public School, Sector 44, organised a physics exhibition on the school campus to comemorate the international year of physics as declared by UNESCO. The Principal, staff and students also paid homage to Albert Einstein.

Most of the models were based on various theories of Einstein. Some of the most appreciated models included the formation of black hole, electromagnet, photo electric effect, theory of relativity, twinkling of stars, solar cooker and dry cell. Students also spoke on the inventions of Einstein.

The chief guest, Mr K.K. Khandelwal, Commissioner, School Education, Haryana, appreciated the efforts put in by the students and encouraged them to conduct such exhibitions and seminars in the future also.

The exhibition-cum-seminar ended with a speech of the Chairman, Mr T.R. Sethi.

SAPLING PLANTATION: As many as 200 students of SD High School, Sector 24, organised a sapling plantation programme on Monday. The programme was organised with the help of the Bharat Vikas Parishad.

Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, inaugurated the programme. Students along with officials of the school planted saplings.

The Mayor lauded the involvement of students in such programmes.



College given Rs 38 lakh for IT lab, stadium
Our Correspondent

Mohali, August 8
A sum of Rs 38 lakh was given to Government College, here for the construction of a stadium and setting up of a computer lab by the Kharar MLA, Mr Bir Devinder Singh, here today.

The cheques were handed over to the Principal, Mrs Mandeep Kaur, by the MLA. He said the amount for the college got sanctioned from the Chief Minister’s fund. While a cheque for Rs 28 lakh given for the computer lab, another cheque for Rs 10 lakh was given for the construction of the stadium. Earlier, the MLA laid the foundation stone of the stadium and planted saplings on the college premises.



Judicial remand for 4 in rape case
Tribune News Service

Mohali, August 8
A Kharar court today remanded the four arrested by a special investigation team of the Punjab police in connection with a rape and abduction case, in judicial custody till August 22.

Surinder Mohan, a property dealer from Nayagaon, Satpal Singh of Kansal, Ram Singh of Mullanpur Garibdass and Rajwinder Singh of Dehlon (Ludhiana) were arrested on August 5 for allegedly harbouring those absconding in the case and helping them with ill-gotten money.

A sum of Rs 43 lakh was recovered by the team from the bank locker of one of those arrested.

The accused were presented before the Chief Judicial Magistrate on August 6 and remanded in two days of police custody.

The team is investigating the rape and abduction of a minor and resident of Nayagaon in 2003 following orders of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The team led by the IG (Special Operations) has arrested 13 persons, including a woman, in the case.



Arrest of prime prosecution witness Mathews
Samuel ordered

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
The general court martial trying Brig Iqbal Singh for professional impropriety in the Tehelka case today directed the prosecutor, Lieut-Col Sanjay Sitanshu, to arrest Mathews Samuel for failing to depose before the court as a witness and produce him on August 17.

Prosecution counsel Arvind Moudgil said the court was appraised that the witness was in serious condition and was admitted in a hospital in Kerela. Mathews was in the process of being cross-examined by the defence. After deposing for three days, he failed to appear before the court on August 3.

The court had then directed the prosecution to produce its witness when it reassembled today.

Meanwhile, former General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, Lieut-Gen J S Verma deposed before the court today.

He was posted as the Deputy Master General of Ordnance at Army Headquarters when tehelka.com had carried out the sting operation in 2000 to expose corruption in defence deals. He was then Brigadier Iqbal’s immediate superior in the ordnance branch.

Mr Moudgil said the general told the court that Brigadier Iqbal had neither sought any permission from him to meet representatives of West End nor had he given him any information about his meetings with them.

The general also told the court that according to Army procedures, meetings with representatives of equipment suppliers were to be held strictly in office and there were specific instructions to this effect.



Mangal Pandey lookalike contest
Poonam Batth
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 8
Do you look like Mangal Pandey? If yes, here is your chance to walk down the red carpet with Aamir Khan at the premiere of “Mangal Pandey — The Rising” in Mumbai. The movie is scheduled for release this week.

If you are determined to suceed, grow your hair, sprout a moustache and post a picture at www.msn.co.in. “With just three days to go, lookalike contests and blogs are being used to promote the film,” some say. Publicity or patriotism, in any case, you will be the winner.

MSN India and makers of the movie have launched an exclusive mini website for the film, where you can interact with Aamir Khan, post your lookalike pictures and participate in contests that offer lots of prizes.

MSN claims that this is the first Indian movie that is using blogs to bring at closer to fans. Speaking on MSN India’s partnership, Mr Krishna Prasad, Head Programming, MSN India, said: “The character of Mangal Pandey is interesting and we used it to generate more curiosity about the film. Much to the delight of the fans, Aamir Khan himself will post his comments once a week on the movie and interact with users on the blog.”

The site would give them access to inside information on the film, exclusive still pictures and a chance to participate in the contest. “Participants can drag and drop the Mangal Pandey headgear, moustache and long hair over their pictures and enter the contest,” he said.

Thirty of those who come close to looking like Mangal Pandey would get to attend the premiere. The selection of the top three would be made by Aamir Khan.

The contest is on from August 1 and the winner would be announced on August 10.



Faakir shatters some myths that surround him
Nirupama Dutt
Tribune News Service

Sudarshan Faakir

Chandigarh, August 8
The favourite poet of the last phase of ghazal queen Begum Akhtar, who sang five of his ghazals, and the co-traveller of Jagjit Singh in an association that began with ‘Woh kagaz ki kishti, woh barish ka pani’ in 1982, there is reason for many myths to be built around Sudarshan Faakir. However, now that this Ferozepore-born and Jalandhar-bred poet has put in a quarter century in Mumbai town penning memorable lyrics, he is in a mood to shatter some of the myths that surround him.

In an interview here today, as he is visiting the city to be with friends and finalise the publication of his ‘diwan’, Faakir said: “Very often news about me on the radio and in print comes as a surprise to me. I often wonder how these rumours start. I want to set the record straight.” He is particularly pained about the tall tales made about his drinking even though he does not deny that he loves his drink. When asked why poets have this special relationship with alcohol, his reply is: “When I have taken two drinks, poetry comes to me easier. I note down the thought or the ‘mukhrha’ of the ghazal. But I stop there and complete it only the next morning when I am sober.” He adds that poetry has some tie with blood circulation and a drink raises it. “I have also known poets who will write after a workout.

The other myth that has clung to him is that he left his job with Jalandhar AIR and moved to Mumbai at the Begum’s behest. “There is no truth in this. In fact, I went to Mumbai because I wished to write lyrics for Madan Mohan, my favourite music director.” That was not to be but he wrote for Jaidev and his song from Bhim Sen’s ‘Dooriyan’ is popular till date_ ‘Zindagi, zindagi, mereghar aana zindagi.’ “I hear people saying that I struggled in Mumbai but that is also wrong. I did not even struggle for a day. Things happened on their own. In fact, I still choose my producers when it is lyrics for films and insist that there should be 60 per cent poetry and 40 per cent of the popular elements,” says Faakir.

And these words are not hollow because even major poets, including the Urdu greats are known by a handful of ghazals, but Faakir’s each ghazal is remarkable. A perfectionist to the core, he labours hard over his poetry and says, “I am no Anand Bakshi who will write four songs a day.” His needs are taken care by the royalty he gets from HMV and his ‘Hey Ram’ for Jagjit Singh has made him quite rich. Faakir penned the first Hindi song that Gurdas Maan sang in ‘Pathar Dil”_ ‘Jag mein kya thha rab se pehale/ Ishq thha shaed sabse pehale.”

Faakir is perhaps one of the last of the tribe of vanishing poets who lived for poetry and it is significant that he is now putting together his poetry in an anthology when he is a much-celebrated poet. For we are living in times when upstarts launch themselves with anthologies of poetry. Another myth that Faakir wishes to shatter with his ‘diwan’ is that he is not just a ghazal writer but a poet of the nazam too. His nazams have fared wonderfully, be it ‘Kagaz ki Kishti’ sung by Jagjit Singh or ‘Ek pyara sa gaon, Jis mein peepul ki chhaon’, sung by Neena and Rajendra Mehta.


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