C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Economic reforms thrust on electorate, says PU study
Chitleen K Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh August 28
A Panjab University study has shown that while economic issues form a major part of political parties’ manifestoes, these issues have failed to become central to their electoral campaigns.

Prof Ashutosh Kumar, Reader in the Department of Political Science, Panjab University, has in a latest study, “Electoral Politics, Economic Reforms and Indian Democracy in the Era of Globalisation: Critical Reflections” has stated that economic issues even while getting considerable space in the manifestoes get swept away by the politics of populist sectarianism actively pursued by parties in a globalising India.

Pointing out that there has been a glaring incompatibility between the process of ‘greater democratisation’ and the emergent political economy of reforms, Prof Ashutosh said the institutional arrangements that mediated between these two were, however, missing.

“For the success of democracy, political parties have to bridge the ever widening gap between the two institutions. However, even as the new economic policies being adopted under the garb of reforms are largely inimical to the marginal groups and regions, distinct class content in the electoral politics has been sorely missing,” he added.

The electorate increasingly vote according to their caste or some other ethnic affiliation rather than out of some ideological concern. Instead of campaigning on the basis of the policies that ensure the well-being of the masses and not only the elite, the parties increasingly tend to mobilise the electorate by making emotional appeals to primordial identities like caste, religion, language, community and kinship. Consequently, the emergent electoral politics, instead of undermining, seems to reinforce the identities of the electorate, he said.

The process has been given an impetus by ‘ethnic parties’ who take recourse to identity politics in order to score over the national parties like the Congress that have historically acquired a stranglehold on the national imagination and national political discourse.

“Avowedly formed with the aim to mobilise and empower the dormant identity groups on the plank of ‘social justice’, these parties tend to use ‘lower order beliefs, vocabularies and homespun ideologies in the discursive practices of democracy’ in reckless efforts of ‘manufacturing electoral majorities’ by redefining caste identities at a macro level,” he added.

Basing his research on data of the National Election Studies, Prof Ashutosh states that the claim of Indian democracy being fairly mobilised sounds hollow when the electorate are not engaged in the debate about the policy option and thrust areas. “Both as an idea as well as in practice, economic reform measures seem to be being imposed from above as parties appear to be dictated by the media and the bureaucracy while chalking out their election manifestos that seem disturbingly similar in form and content as far as the socio-economic issues are concerned.

Their inability to link the rights of the peripheral groups and development challenges has been in contrast to the connectivity once achieved by the Congress in Nehruvian India,’ he contends.



From Colleges
Seminar on ethics in business practices
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The Department of Professional Studies, DAV College, Chandigarh, organised a UGC-sponsored seminar on “Promoting the idea of ethics in business practices in context of spiritualism”.

Mr Shastri Ramchandaran, Associate Editor, The Tribune, laid stress on business ethics and traditions aimed at eliminating corruption, improving working conditions for employees and promoting healthy local communities.

All these were stimulants to economic growth and development. In this world of competition, and liberalisation, maintaining high ethical standards gave considerable advantage to companies, he said.

Dr S.P. Singh delivered the keynote address and focused on the relevance of the Vedas and the Bhagwad Gita. He was of the view that Indian managers had to realise the practical utility of tolerance and pluralism.

Mr Ashok Khanna, an eminent industrialist and active exponent of Art of Living, viewed spiritualism as a path to self-development.

Swami Bhrameshanand, head of the Rama Krishan Mission, talked about the role of balanced individuals in society.

Turban-tying contest

A turban-tying contest was organised by the Gurmat Vichar Sabha of Sri Guru Gobind Singh College here. The event aimed at making students aware of the Sikh identity bestowed by Guru Gobind Singh, after whom the college has been named.

More than 22 students participated in the competition. The winners were: Harnidhan Singh, Balwinderjeet Singh, Jasdeep Singh, Narinderpal Singh and Ravinder Singh.

The Principal, Dr Kuldeep Singh, appreciated the spirit of the students and encouraged them to follow the ideals of the gurus.

Campus placement

Campus placement exercise was undertaken at the Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology, Sector 26, here.

The Accenture conducted the campus placement and students of CCET, UIET, MCA and the Chemical Engineering Department, all affiliated to Panjab University, Chandigarh, made use of the opportunity.

Thirtyeight students were selected, 27 from CCET and 11 from UIET, chemical engineering and MCA with a package of 2.7 lakh per annum. Confirmation letters were issued to the selected students at the end of the event.

Sadbhavana Divas

NSS volunteers observed “Sadbhavana and Communal Harmony Divas” at the Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, here on Monday.

The college Principal, Dr Shashi Jain, said, “It was at the time of adversities like bomb blasts at Varanasi and Mumbai that the communal harmony among Indians came to the forefront.”

An essay-writing competition on “National integration” was also organised. NSS volunteers also celebrated the spirit of monsoon by planting around 60 saplings.



From Schools
Divneet, Amandeep best speakers

Chandigarh, August 28
The Regional Round of the ninth Mahbub-ul-Haq Memorial Inter-School Debate was held at Carmel Convent School, Sector 9, on Sunday. Eleven schools from the city, Mohali, Panchkula and Solan participated. Students spoke on “Cities are responsible for water scarcity in India today”.

The competition was judged by Dr P.D. Kaushik, Director, Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies, Dr Chadha, Mr J.B. Verma and Mrs Veena Singh. The best speakers were Divneet Sandhu of Carmel Convent School and Amandeep Kaur of St .Xaviers school, Mohali. St. John’s School, Sector 26, was declared runners-up. The winning trophy went to Carmel Convent School. They have qualified for the national round to be held at Jawahar Bhavan, New Delhi, in October.

Quiz contest

An inter-house quiz competition was held at St Soldier Divine Public School, Sector 16, Panchkula. Three rounds were conducted. While the first round was of short questions, the second was rapid fire round and the third a buzzer round. The Principal, Mrs N. Bedi, was the chief guest. Nilgiri and Himalaya bagged the first position in the junior and senior category, respectively.

Motivational talk

A motivational talk by Mr Asit Ghosh, Director, Tuff Track International, was organised in Saupin’s School, Sector 9, Panchkula. Students from Classes V to X attended the talk conducted to motivate children to succeed in life. Mr Ghosh shared with the students golden rules to be successful in life. Students as well as staff members benefited from his talk.

Blood donation

A blood donation and medical checkup camp was organised at St. Stephen’s School, Sector 45, in association with Health Aid Medicare. Mrs June Saupin, Director Principal of Saupin’s Schools, inaugurated the camp. About 35 units of blood were collected. A renowned team of specialists from various fields conducted the camp. Refreshments and blood donation certificates were given to the donors.



Teachers’ protest jams traffic
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Hundreds of motorists were put to inconvenience on the busy Ambala highway this evening when protesting Computer Teacher Union (Contractual) members blocked the road at Piccadily Chowk. They were demanding regularisation of services.

The situation worsened as it was office rush hours. The police had to face a tough time while managing the traffic. Certain routes were diverted. Long-route buses and other vehicles led to congestion, especially at roundabouts. The jam continued for about two hours and things came to normal after more than 30 minutes when the jam was lifted.

The police blocked the entry to Sector 34 from the road dividing the area from Sector 33, triggering chaos at this stretch, which faces small traffic jams even on normal days. The roundabout on the road dividing Sector 20 and 30 was virtually choked.

Earlier during the day, agitating teachers, who were about 1,000 in number, including women, protested outside the office of Mrs Seema Jain, Director General, Sarv Sikhya Abhiyan (Punjab), in Sector 34.

They were demanding a hike in their salaries and regularisation of jobs. They also surrounded the office of the Director General.



Mohali Schools
Astronomical show at Saint Xavier’s
Tribune News Service

Mohali August 28
Saint Xavier’s school here organised an astronomical show for the students and their parents ‘A voyage to the end of the known universe’ in the school premises. An interactive movie ‘Origin of the Universe’ was also shown. This grand finale was the culmination of a weeklong astronomical bonanza when the students studied the concept of time and space and identified numerous stars, constellations and other deep sky objects in a makeshift planetarium, enriching their knowledge and broadening their horizon. The Principal, Mrs Georgina Roy, said that in today’s world, it was important for the new generation to be aware and develop interest in upcoming scientific technologies besides excelling in academics and sport to remain one step ahead.

Hindi poetry competition

Tiny tots of Shivalik Public School here participated in an inter-section Hindi poetry competition held here today. As many as 19 students were selected for the final competition out of 190 students during the preliminary rounds held much before the main event. The function was attended by the Principal of the school, Mrs Satwant Bedi, who gave away the prizes to the winners. The winners were: Shivani, Vaishali, Vansita, Implepreet Kaur, Samardeeep Kaur, Ravneet Kaur.

CBSE merit for St Soldier students

Three students of Class XII of Saint Soldier International Convent School, Phase VII, here brought laurels to the institution. They have been recognised by the CBSE, for their merit and outstanding performance at AISSCE-2006. Chairman K. S. Brar honoured all three students Manu Waraich, Shipra Gupta and Manmeet Kaur. Principal Mrs. V. Tiwana and teachers congratulated the students and blessed them for their bright and successful future.



Poor kids given books
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, August 28
Owing to the efforts by Brig Dr M.L.Kataria (Retd), Chairman, Health Care India, at a simple ceremony here today, Maj-Gen Dr P.C. Chamyal (Retd), renowned ENT specialist, patron, Health Care India, as well as the Residents Welfare Association, Sector 12, distributed books among children wanting to enrol themselves for informal education.

As many as 60 children from poor families are being given free education — books, uniform and writing material. This polyclinic provides free consultancy, medicines, x-ray, ECG and other lab tests to the poor.

Wg Cdr Ratta informed that this project was started in April 2006 on the initiative of Mr Adhiya, a retired senior bank manager from the State Bank of Patiala.

Now the project had been included in the Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan of the Haryana Education Department and would be provided free meals and other facilities.

Wg Cdr Ratta also requested the Government of Haryana to issue directives to all public schools to provide at least 10 per cent seats for free education to children on merit in all classes. Others present on the occasion were Mr S.B. Gadgala, senior vice-president, Panchkula Residents Welfare Council, Mr S.B. Sharma, vice-president, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 12, Mr J.S. Kapoor, secretary, Residents Welfare Association, Sector 12, Col Dr S.K. Choudhry, senior eye specialist, Lt Col Dr R.S. Sangha, senior skin specialist, Dr R.K.Goel, medical specialist, and Dr R.K.Madan, medical specialist.



Rayat students boycott classes
Tribune News Service

Ropar, August 28
Students of Rayat Institute of Engineering and Information Technology today boycotted classes alleging that poor quality of food was being served to them in the hostel mess.

They alleged that their demand to improve food quality continued to be ignored by officials. Besides, two students of first year alleged they were beaten up by their seniors after they refused to obey their orders during ragging last night. They submitted a complaint to the police.

When contacted, the vice-chairman of the Rayat college, Mr Gurvinder Singh, said the complaint of the students regarding hostel meals had been solved. “We are running the mess on a no-profit, no-loss basis,” he said.

He said he was not aware of any complaint to the police by students alleging ragging.



Evening of fun, frolic

Mohali, August 28
Youthful fervour pervaded Rayat and Bahra Institute of Engineering and Biotechnology, Sahauran (Kharar), as senior students organised a welcome party for the new batch of students.

It was an evening of fun and frolic. The evening was marked by a special cultural programme by students. Mr Gurvinder Singh Bahra, vice-chairman, Rayat and Bahra Group of Institutes, blessed the students and appreciated their efforts. TNS



Govt school holds vanmahotsav
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 10, organised vanmahotsav on the school campus yesterday in which the NSS and the Eco Club planted 50 saplings of various species like Ashoka, Amla, Arjun etc.

On the occasion, Mr Chander Mukhi Sharma, Municipal Councillor, was the chief guest. He inaugurated the plantation programme.

Apart from Mr Sharma, other guests present on the occasion included Col Dr. B.R. Pruthi, Mr O.P. Kapoor, former Chief Engineer, Mr G.S. Tandon, former Engineer-in-Chief, Mr A.C. Prasher, PTA president of the school, and Mrs Indra Beniwal, Principal of the school. 



200 students donate blood

Chandigarh, August 28
As many as 200 students of the Army Institute of Law, Mohali, along with faculty members, donated blood at a camp organised at the institute’s premises today.

The camp was organised in collaboration with the Rotary and Blood Bank Society Resource Centre. Chairman of the Bar Association of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Mr H.S. Dhanda, was the chief guest. — TNS



Film’s real-life script impresses cast and crew
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 28
The music release of Anurradha Prasad's Punjabi motion picture 'Mannat' (under the aegis of her film production house BAG Films) was a cheery affair with many promises made and fulfilled by the politician mentors in tow. With the film boasting of an integral role being played by Punjab Arts Council Chairman and Vice-President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Kewal Dhillon and the music being launched by Punjab Finance Minister Surinder Singla, the request for a tax exemption for the film was readily given on the dais. "The fact that a non-Punjabi (Anurradha and her politician husband Rajiv Shukla are from Uttar Pradesh) has worked towards understanding the ethos of Punjab and has made a film in Punjabi, is actually doing a service to Punjabiyat," declared Singla about Anurradha's maiden Punjabi venture.

As for the stars of this film, both Kulraj Randhawa (of television's 'Kareena Kareena' fame) and Jimmy Shergill provided the glamour for the evening.

This is Kulraj's debut into filmdom and she is thrilled to have got a chance to start her film career in her mother-tongue Punjabi. "The script and the role should matter and the language is really of no consequence. I am grateful that I was trusted to carry this role through on my shoulders." Even the dapper Jimmy Shergill, (a Sikh by birth) is clear about doing one Punjabi film every year as his contribution to the region he comes from. "Last year Manmohan Singh's 'Yaaran Naal Baharan' was my first foray into Punjabi films and this is the second.

As for next year, the script of the film has been almost finalised and I will announce it very soon," he declared.

Jimmy's career is on a roll. "It may be slow but it has been steady. I live the lifestyle I want to and do the films I wish to. I believe in destiny. If something better has to happen, it will."

He has been shooting steadily for the past one year and a half and at least half a dozen films of his are up for release which include the eagerly awaited 'Bas Ek Pal' starring Juhi Chawla, the Sanjay Dutt starrer 'Lage Raho Munnabhai', 'Eklavya' and Rak Kanwar's 'Rakeeb' amongst others.

As for the ideal part, "there is some youngster who is watching the kind of stuff I do and writing a role with me in mind, that is my dream-role," smiles Jimmy.

As for Kulraj, this debut helps her widen her vistas because, "television can get stagnating where you are required to play only one or two characters at a time, films afford a greater scope to play many different roles," she avers.

Indeed 'Mannat', based on a real-life incident, seems to have enthused the cast and the crew into being a part of it. Says Anurradha, "When director Gurbir S. Grewal narrated the story to me, I was moved to tears. I come from a hardcore news and current affairs background and have moved to entertainment from there, so I know what will click with people.

This is not a television story, it is a tale for cinema and it literally took me 10 minutes to make the decision to make this film." 'Mannat' is slated for an early October release. 



Theatre festival begins
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, August 28
The three-day CIPA theatre festival organised by the Chandigarh Institute of Performing Arts (CIPA) in collaboration with the NZCC and the Department of Public Relations and Cultural Affairs commenced with the staging of “Parajit Nayak” at Tagore Theatre today. An adaptation of Dhanjanya Bairagi’s Bengali play was directed by actor-director Shyam Juneja.

The production depicts the reluctant entry of an honest academician into politics at the behest of his life partner.

Initially declared unsuccessful in the elections, the professor, Srikant, is virtually confined to live under the care of young girl deserted by her lover. As they interact, they gradually discover the naked truth that each individual is engaged in exploitation of the other for personal gains. But the affiliation is shortlived as the professor leaves her on being declared a winner on a recount.

Both Rubina and Shyam Juneja portray all four characters on stage.

Girish Bakshi’s “Subah Kab Hogi” will be staged tomorrow at the same time and venue.



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