C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


PU gives clean chit to former VC Puri
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Panjab University Senate has dropped all charges against the former Vice-Chancellor of the university, Prof M.M. Puri, and also decided to release his provident fund dues.

This decision came after five years of the university accusing Mr M.M. Puri of misappropriation of funds. Mr Puri was alleged to have misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 2.91 lakhs on account of ISD calls made by him on official phones installed at his residence. Mr Puri was asked by the Senate in December 2002 to deposit the due amount, failing which a criminal case would be filed. An FIR was lodged on April 9, with the Chandigarh police, but no action was taken.

The issues regarding telephone bills and adjusting an advance of Rs 1.09 lakh withdrawn by Mr Puri on account of his visit to Canada against his PF have since been deliberated in Senate meetings with no concrete decision. Mr Puri had also appealed in the High Court to claim his PF.

This is not the first instance that the PU Senate has failed to take any action.

Two years ago, also no action was taken and former FDO M.G. Sharma allegedly misappropriating Rs 2.81 lakh. 



9 students caught cheating
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 13
Nine students of Class X were allegedly caught cheating today in the social studies supplementary examination being conducted by the Punjab School Education Board. According to Mrs Sukhwinder Kaur Saroya, Controller of Examinations, one student, who was cheating in an examination centre in a government school in Amritsar, allegedly ran away with the answersheet when members of the flying squad tried to catch him. A case has been registered against the student.

In another case seven students were caught cheating in an examination centre set up at Government Girls Senior Secondary School, Ropar, and one student was caught from DAV school in the same area.

On September 11, four students of Class X were allegedly caught cheating in an examination centre in a school at Chamkaur Sahib.



ITFT launches centre for media studies
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Institute of Tourism and Future Management Trends, Sector 17, today launched a centre for media and entertainment studies. The centre will relate to research, education and employment with focus on infrastructure development in India.

Addressing a press conference here today, Dr Gulshan Sharma, Executive Director of the ITFT said As the Indian economy became integrated with the world economy, the Indian entertainment industry could not remain isolated. “On an average 30 to 40 million people are joining the middle class every year who spend hugely on mobile phones, televisions, music systems and similar goods.

Dr Sharma said according to a survey carried out by the ITFT spanning two years in which more than 5,000 graduates from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Chandigarh were interviewed, their first preference for employment was airlines, second media and entertainment, third going abroad while fashion travel and tourism also figured in their list of preferences. He said to cater to this growing demand for media and entertainment, the ITFT would introduce short-term and long-term programmes in this stream from 2006.

Keeping in view the potential the media and entertainment industry had for the northern region, Dr Sharma said the Centre would urge the state governments to develop attractive packages for TV and film shootings, besides tapping NRI resources for media and entertainment projects. The centre would also help the Chandigarh Administration and the Punjab Government to bring in FAM tours of film producers and directors. With a view to assisting film and TV serial producers and directors in shooting, a pool of location managers would also be created and a directory of budding artistes also be brought out.

On September 27, which is celebrated as World Tourism Day, the centre plans to have a national-level programme on synergising tourism and media and entertainment as cinematic tourism.




IIT revisions: teachers happy, students not
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
Aspirants preparing for the IIT entrance exam next year were in for a big shock yesterday after the format of entrance test and also the basic requirement of qualification was revised. While the teachers were happy with the change saying that the students would be under less stress now, students were apprehensive and did not know what to expect.

According to the change, only students who got 60 per cent and above would be eligible to sit in the exam. Also the students would now have to appear only for one entrance test, which was said to be objective. Every year about 2 lakh students appeared for the screening test, which was objective. Around 20,000 cleared the test and sat for the subjective paper.

The objective paper was now expected to have comprehension type question, questions with more than one correct answer etc as well. Sangeeta Khanna of Sector 15 said the IIT used to conduct entrance tests on similar lines before the 2000 also. “The paper then used to be objective and subjective, students who cleared the objective then only their subjective section was checked.”

Teachers at various coaching centers across the city had similar advice to give to the students. According to them students needed to adopt an analytical approach. And most of them felt that for the intelligent students it would make no difference.

For teachers there was no problem in shifting over to the new style of teaching as a few other entrance tests like Chemistry Olympiad, etc were also based on similar patterns.

Students, however, need not be worried as many books on the new pattern were also available to help them. Certain books were based on this pattern.

Due to the entrance test the teachers of the city were predicting that the exam might be conducted later than the usual month of May. However, for queries regarding how many questions, how many marks each the students expect would be answered in the brochures for the entrance test, which would be coming out by next month end.



CAT directive to Education Dept
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 13
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today directed the UT Education Department to allow a candidate to appear in an interview for the post of yoga therapist.

The orders were passed by the tribunal on an application moved by Manoj Kumar, who is working in the Higher Education Department, Haryana.

In his plea, the applicant stated that though he was eligible for the interview as per the conditions of age relaxation, he was not called for the interview held on August 29. The Chandigarh Administration had advertised the post on June 29, 2005, and the age limit was 18 to 30 years.

But for government servants, the age was relaxed up to 35 years. But the same relaxation was not allowed in his case. The application cited a similar relief given by the tribunal in case of another applicant, Naveen Kumar. Clubbing the two cases, the next date of hearing has been fixed for October 7.



Consumer forum flays hike in water charges
Our Correspondent

Mohali, September 13
The Consumers Protection Forum has condemned the decision of the Municipal Council to increase water and sewerage charges here.
The president and the general secretary of the forum, Mr P.S. Virdi and Mr Upkar Singh Cheema respectively, said today that the proposal to increase the charges, which were applicable to cities, towns and nagar panchayats in Punjab, should not be applicable to urban estates like Mohali. In such estates the infrastructure had been provided by PUDA and the cost thereof had already been recovered from the allottees.

The forum said electronic meters provided by the Punjab State Electricity Board (PSEB) were not working properly. These meters were showing excess consumption as compared to old ones installed earlier. The meters should be withdrawn as in the case of Haryana.

Forum representatives also criticised the board for not responding to requests and complaints sent by the forum regarding the withdrawal of the policy under which billing was being done on the basis of the sanctioned load. Besides, no action had been taken by the PSEB to pay interest on the security amount deposited by consumers.



Art, an act of creation: sociologist
Tribune News Service

Dr S.L. Sharma, a former Head of the Sociology Department, Panjab University, delivers a lecture on the “Sociology of art” at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Tuesday
Dr S.L. Sharma, a former Head of the Sociology Department, Panjab University, delivers a lecture on the “Sociology of art” at the Government Museum and Art Gallery, Sector 10, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. — A Tribune photograph

Chandigarh, September 13
The Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi (CLKA) organised a lecture on “Sociology of art” by an eminent sociologist, Dr S.L. Sharma, who has been the Head of the Sociology Department at Panjab University.

The lecture, the second in a series being organised by the CLKA, aims at bringing together art lovers, critics and artists to share a common platform and discuss divergent views on art and its influences.

A small, albeit rapt audience, participated fervently in the lecture and the question and answer session that followed.

Dr Sharma began his lecture with the three pertinent aspects of art namely the social nature of art, the dynamic interdependence of art and society and the impact of art on society. “Since art consists of forms of creation, communication and cohesion, it is primarily a social activity — a form of expression, an act of creation.”

According to Dr Sharma, creation exists even in the animal kingdom — “even birds make nests” — but man is different for his ability to create cultures whereas in animals the act of creation is instinctive rather than acquired. “Man is the only creature that gives several meanings to a created model.” For Dr Sharma, art is perhaps the most evolved form of creativity. “Communication is the starting point of society and art is a mode of communication.”

Art has the unique distinction of cutting through caste, religion, gender and race, a means of social integration. “The concern of sociology of art is to examine the relationship between social structure and art.”

He then defined the three schools of thought on this subject. One, the structural school of thought, where art is considered to be a reflection of society of its time of which it is a product.

However, this was rejected by thinkers because, “This perspective does not do justice to the role of the artist”. The second is seeing art through the eyes of the artist.

The third is the post modernist perspective, which maintains that neither is there a structure to society nor of art; it simply a mental construct imposed by us on society and art. “We have to appreciate that the consumers of artworks have become more important than artists per se. There is no way to know precisely what message the artist wants to convey. After all, interpretation is more important than intention of art.”

As far as the impact of art is concerned, “A piece of art has a life of its own and is not dependent on the social structure of its time”. However, he said, the media had begum to impinge on our social life. “Art is being used as a medium to manipulate people’s thinking. Take for instance the case of advertising.

Art is getting more and more linked to market forces and is becoming a commodity and this will have significant implications to the character of art.”

Dr Sharma concluded his talk by explaining that those aspects, which determined art, were also what bound art together — race, generational aspects, gender perspective, economic outlook, power, culture and social structures.



CISF jawans “strike balance” at yoga camp
Gayatri Rajwade

In an attempt to relieve stress and help jawans achieve mental and physical balance, the CISF held a five-day yoga camp for their unit stationed at Chandigarh. The session, an unqualified success if the responses are anything to go by, was the idea of the Senior Commandant S.N. Duggal who believes health is not so much about just physical fitness as it is about social, spiritual and mental well-being.

“It is like having a stone in the shoe. So long as the stone is there, it is irritating. The minute the stone is removed, one feels better. Yoga helps develop positive thoughts and removes stones.”

The serene atmosphere, the pleasant weather and the chanting of the Gayatri Mantra pervaded the air as the last sitting began at 5 in the evening. More than a hundred jawans participated under the guidance of Acharya Sushilji, who came all the way from Benaras to conduct this session. “These courses are designed to relieve mental and physical tension and the pressures of daily living. They are not strenuous as much as they are practical. I explain about the importance of eating right, teach small exercises to relieve joint pains and how to achieve mental peace through yoga, in the middle of a tough schedule.”

With tremendous daily pressures accumulating from the nature of their jobs, their environment, erratic timings, eating conditions and lives far away from families, stress levels need to be combated regularly. According to Deputy Commandant Kuldip Kumar, “this is the first yoga camp we have conducted on such a large scale. We have regular PT, stress management sessions, lectures, indoor and outdoor games for the benefit of jawans but this has been on a much larger scale.”

The benefits are visible in just five days. Sub-Inspector RN Pandey says his problems with his stomach are much better and the sessions really helped him. The sentiment is echoed by Head Constable Dilip Singh, who is unequivocal in his praise, “I feel so much better. I had a gastric problem and that has totally gone in just five days.”

Health is now an important criterion for advancements and promotions. According to Kumar, “weight problems are tackled on a war-footing and jawans are encouraged to stay fit. In our work there is a tendency to put on weight due to an irregular lifestyle.”

There are some who, inspired by the benefits of yoga, have started doing it regularly. Inspector Amar Chand is a regular follower of Swami Ramdev on television while Inspector Dayal Chand swears by the “miraculous difference” on doing the asanas regularly.

For life defined by strife and nervous tension whether it is VIP security or disaster management or security of government buildings or airports, yoga is perhaps one answer to help bring about that natural equilibrium. TNS



Painter of paradise lost and found
Nirupama Dutt

Many young women and men, who joined newspapers in the ‘70s and early ‘80s to earn a living, nurtured a dream in their hearts to write a novel never written before. Or for that matter become an artist painting new images on the canvas. More often than not, the dream dies young with the kick of the by-line, addiction to the copy or security of the monthly salary taking the better of it. This is, of course, accompanied with not-so-happy work-style maladies like backaches, hypertension and even a heart attack. I recall one of my News Editors telling me emphatically, “You know why journalists don’t write books? The work tension is such that they do not live long enough to write them.”

So it is heartening when the spotlight is on one of our tribe like today with the opening of an exhibition of paintings by journalist Raja Jaikrishan. He is more often than not engrossed in the rough and tumble of putting the newspaper to bed every night but has come out with a body of work that shows him at his painterly best. An exhibition of 35 paintings by him opened at the Panjab University Museum and one is taken aback at the silent ripening of this artist when he is holding the brush or spatula with confidence and enjoying a free and yet ordered play of colours in painting what can be best described as ‘heartscapes’ of Paradise lost and found. Paradise is, of course, Kashmir, a la Jehangir, but it is Paradise that has turned into Inferno all too often.

The title of the show, ‘Fright Springs’, is somewhat limiting for as the painter traces the landscapes of his boyhood in the mind, the chinar leaves, the pyramids of dargahs, the water springs, trees and dreamy skies, it is not just fright but hope that seems to light up his works many a time. The luminosity of the colours, and Raja has used many hues from pale greens to dark reds and from soft violet to dark blue, is indeed enchanting. This is interesting indeed because when the subject be Kashmir even if it be one of loss and sorrow, the emotions cannot be portrayed but with beauty.

When asked how he has been able to express himself so well for one has seen his amateurish attempts some two decades ago, Raja replies in all humility: “I was exposed very early to paintings by G.R. Santosh and M.F. Husain. I feel I am a learner but I do have the satisfaction of being able to express myself. It has been hard work, practice and a heart attack along the way.” The exhibition will remain open for view till September 17 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) TNS



Theatrical tribute to women empowerment
SD Sharma

Yet another classic presentation of a play, “Susheela” staged in the fifth National Drama Festival at Tagore Theatre by the Allahabad-based group, Saman, which charmed the city audience was a theatrical tribute to women empowerment.

The play was a subtle psychological study of womanhood in all its manifestations, baring the intense emotional conflicts which influence her persona, be it that of a perverted and despised woman or the queen. Playwright Radha Vallabh Tripathi had structured the creation in the mythological mould to bring alive the persuasive message of social parity for the woman who was once extolled as the goddess of power, but had been condemned to be a denizen of hell and made to fight male chauvinism all along the ages.

Director Anil Ranjan Bhowmik had employed his expertise at the physical theatre form and folklore music as also the vast experience of having worked with legendary thespians. Bhowmik recreated the required ambience to build a climax of desperation in a jungle with the emotionally belligerent behaviour of Susheela, moral scruples and awakening of womanhood to the consciousness of her rights. In a novel style he achieved this all through various chorus songs and dancing sequences and composite acting spells by four women.

The protagonist Susheela undergoes various trials and tribulations as a poor milkmaid, deserted woman slipping into comforts of royal life, a prostitute and ultimately a revolutionary force to reckon with when she discovers herself to take on the life with a volcanic courage as the life completes a full circle in the captivating drama.

Susheela, as Bhowmik, puts it, is not just a dramatic character but a blissful phenomenon of a loving trend struggling to secure a deserving status in the social structure. Samantar had dedicated many plays, including “Panchali”, “Manthan” and “Yarma”, on the theme of women empowerment .

The music compositions weaved in the folklore by Vivek Priydarshan and soulful renditions by Aina Bose and Sangrila Mishra and special effects by Umesh Khushwaha augmented the production level. Pranav Bhattachrya and Pooja Thakur were brilliant at dialogue deliveries and acting skills.Rajkumar Pal, Prithvi Pal Singh, Manu Diwedi, Deepali Lal, Meenal Mishra,Sarswati and Kostuba Chandola formed the cast.

“Saleem Sherwani Ki Shaadi”, directed by Jitender Mittal, will be presented tomorrow.


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