C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Most opt to ‘study’ in Australia for immigration purposes: expert
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
According to a survey by the Government of Australia and the IDP, more than 80,000 students are predicted to be studying in Australia in the coming decade. As of today about 30,000 students are pursuing various courses in Australia.

"In 1995 about 300 visas were issued to students. The growth has been tremendous ever since," stated Henry AS Ledlie, Director-India, IDP Education Australia Limited.

Punjabis have their eyes all set for investment in Australia, informs Sabina Jain, business development manager, Australian Trade Commission. "Punjabis are very keen to invest money in Australia. We receive so many queries and we have also helped many invest their money," she informs. However, people are not very focused. "People want to invest, but they don't know where. Gujarat is another state from where lot of investment initiative has been taken in Australia," she informs. Interestingly mining and coal are the top most sectors in investment followed by wool, food technology etc. “Investment is a growing sector and people are now importing after investing their money, Especially mining in Australia.”

"About 95 per cent of the students who apply for study in Australia, do it for immigration purposes, especially students from this region," he added.

However, he feels that Punjabis need to brush up their English skills a little more. "Punjabis are very keep no study abroad, however, they lose out on the fact that they are not very proficient in the English language. If they hone that skill they can do wonders."

Talking about the change in trend and increase in number of students Mr Henry was quick to point out while earlier students who would apply would be postgraduates, however, now the trend was changing and more and more students were showing keen interest in under graduate courses.

"Bio technology, Nano Technology and management courses are some of the courses that the students show keen interest in even at the under graduate courses," informs Mr Henry. "Cullinary, hospitality and physiotherapy are some of the courses that are now picking up interest, while the most courses in demand are engineering and management courses,'' he adds

The number of foreign students studying at Australian universities campuses in semester 1, 2006 are estimated to be about 144,398 of which 16,969 were from India. Indian student numbers have almost tripled since 2002 with the highest growth rate of 49.40 per cent. Indians are also making the up the third largest migrant group in Australia after the British and the New Zealanders. According to figures released by the Australian Bureau of statistics (ABS) there were 10,600 permanent (settler) arrivals to Australia during May, 2006.

Under new migration plans announced by the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, Amanda Vanstone, students who graduated from Australian institutions, will now be able to apply for temporary work visas in Australia.

According to Mr Henry advantages of studying in Australia are many. "Not only is it economical, it is also an affordable city. Moreover, racism, etc is not an issue here.

Also students can work up to 20 hours a week and through their vacations while studying, thus making pocket money," he states.

According to him at an average it costs About Rs 6-10 lakh per year (excluding living costs) for a graduate course and Rs 15-25 lakh (excluding living costs) for a post graduate course in Australia.

The IDP today organised a daylong education fair for students aspiring to study in Australia. As many as 43 educational institutes from Australia participated.

The IDP usually does only two fairs in a year, however, seeing the special interest of students from this region, for the first time they organised the fair thrice.

Students were given information about various courses offered and procedures to apply etc.

It may be mentioned here that IDP Education Australia Limited was established in 1969. It has an international network of over 50 offices.



A shift in PU poll scene
Amrita Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Student politics in Panjab University are set to change, claim members of the nationalist parties, who are slowly making their presence felt on campus. The National Students Union of India (NSUI) created history this year by fielding a girl as a candidate. It also for the first time contested the elections independently, setting the pace for the elections to come.

The Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), another nationalist student organisation, also contested the elections independently this year. However, none of the candidates supported by it won the elections. The parties feel that this is so because of lack of ideologies of the students on the campus.

“It’s a national organisation and if you compare with the other national parties in PU, we are way ahead of them. The scenario in PU is different as the culture here is different,” states Nitin Goyal, party president of the NSUI, Chandigarh

“We want political parties to come. You watch next year. The fight will be among national parties,” he adds.

Anup Gupta party president, ABVP, echoes the same sentiments. “The politics here is different. There is a lot of regionalism. They have no ideology and they are divided into further factions. We are much bigger than that. In the coming years, things will change.”

This is the second time the ABVP has contested independently. The NSUI came into the election scene in 2004. It was part of an alliance and their candidate was chosen to the post of joint secretary. According to sources it was after instructions from Delhi that it was decided to contest elections independently.

According to Harpreet Singh, campus president, NSUI regional parties are more at play as they have more at stake. “The students are local and are backed by regional parties. Moreover they have a base over the years. They thus have an upper edge. However, with politically-backed parties coming in, it won’t be long before the election scene changes on campus.”



Free postal service for UGC-NET aspirants
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A city-based NGO, Aryans Educational and Charitable Trust, today announced the extension of free postal service for UGC-NET aspirants till December 2006.

This service will be available for the aspirants of the entire northern region comprising Punjab, Himachal, Haryana, Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Chandigarh, a press note said here today.

Students would be able to get application forms and other information free of cost at their doorsteps. The announcement is good news for aspirants as the UGC is expected to announce the schedule for its December exam shortly.

Prof D.C. Kataria, director of trust, said the free postal service for the UGC-NET aspirants had especially been started for students of far-flung areas.



Yoga camp held at Sec 20 school
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
A yoga camp was organised at Government Model High School, Sector 20-D, here, yesterday in which students and teachers participated. Mr Anil Sharma, School Headmaster, inaugurated the camp.

The camp was conducted under the guidance of Mr Rajiv Tandon, DPE. “This camp was organised to justify our motto “Yoga is key to fitness”. We are also planning to carry out more such camps in the slum areas of the city. The next camp is scheduled to be held at Colony No. 5.



Inter-school folk dance festival
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
An inter-school folk dance festival was organised at Delhi Public School, Sector 40, today. Ms Shobha Koser, well-known Kathak dancer, was the chief guest.

The festival showcased folk dances from various parts of India. Giddha, bhangra, Rajasthani folk dance and kinnauri dance were some of the dances performed.

Ms Sunita Tanwar, principal, DPS, congratulated all participants. “The purpose of organising such a cultural event is to enrich one’s knowledge of India’s glorious cultural traditions,” she stated.



Partition relived through pictures
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, September 10
Tragedies last longer than comedies, somehow. But some tragedies - like the Partition of India - last forever. So when people from a generation wounded by the event come face to face with metaphors that aid its recall, an emotional upheaval is only natural. At the Sukhna Lake these days, such upheavals are commonplace, courtesy Roli Books and its rare display of images from the oeuvre of Margaret Bourke-White, who captured the tragedy like no one did.

Such is the power of her images that everyone passing by them gets drawn into them almost instantly. What follows is a sense of unease, spurred by the desecration of humanity - the extent of which is unimaginable and unbearable. The big challenge then is to reconcile with something as horrible as what White has portrayed in her works. She has passed on since, but her works have lived to tell a tale lest the present generation forgets what the past generation has endured.

For those who actually endured the pain, the exhibition is a means to walk down the memory lane and come back with blisters in the feet and the heart. Harbhajan Kaur Jaura, who was only five years old when India was dissected, had a tough time coming to terms with her past when it came back to haunt her in many of White’s pictures. The one that distressed her the most was the one that captured people loaded into carts in a desperate move to escape death.

“I was one among them that day. I still remember the frenzy that marked Partition. We were at home and suddenly on the roads, piled up in carts and rushing past roads flooded by rains,” Jaura recalled.

Born into a family of soldiers who fought two World Wars for the British, Jaura grew up among all comforts known to man. But in a second, everything was gone. All that remained was death and destruction.

“We lived at Chak 287 in Montgomery. Those days villages were known by numbers. Our village was considered safe as it belonged to ex-soldiers who had been awarded with lands, post-war. But the tragedy made no distinctions. My mother got hold of some essentials like pulses and rice. We barely ate along the way. I remember we were all drenched. Along the road we saw the dance of death. We saw bodies stuck in the flooded waters and much more,” Jaura broke into tears, moving to another photograph which showed bodies washed away in floods.

She took several pictures of the exhibition for her children in London so that they could feel a part of pain she suffered for years.

Equally at pain to see the images was Surjit Kaur, who also fled from Pakistan in the hope of getting another home.

“Thing were never the same after that day. I remember the mayhem that marked the tragedy. It was raining when we escaped in carts. I remember how my mother kept changing the bedsheets we were using to fight nature’s fury. It was as terrible as these photographs are,” she said, accompanied by her husband Jodh Singh, who had something to share.

“I was safe at Dhuri but I remember how the Muslims of Punjab were rushing towards Malerkotla. They believed they would live if they reached the town blessed by Guru Gobind Singh. The Guru had said that Muslims would never be persecuted in Malerkotla. Strangely, those who reached Malerkotla actually lived,” he said.

Among other visitors who had a brief encounter with the tragic past through the exhibition was acclaimed Hindi litterateur Mohan Bhandari. Quietly, he watched the frames, allowing memories to return like deadly floods.

He said nothing as he moved along the montage. But he seemed to be praying in silence perhaps for history to never repeat itself.



‘Check Mate’ holds audience spell-bound
S.D. Sharma

Chandigarh, September 10
“Check Mate” presented by Bhopal-based ensemble Rangayan on the second day of the National Theatre Festival here held the audience spell-bound. The absorbing play bared the truth regarding the human tendency to acquire wealth by unethical means.

Based on a Marathi play by Yogesh Soman, versatile playwright-director Prashant Khiravkar depicts the life of a couple from a middle-class family. The couple executes a plan to kill a poor orphan bearing resemblance with the protagonist and secure an insurance claim of Rs 50 lakh against a policy. But the wife fails to convince an alert CID officer, who stalls the couple’s plans to settle abroad and repeat the heinous crime, as her husband goes into hiding.

The play suddenly moves to different climax as it is revealed that the CID Inspector is, in fact, the real culprit and the couple is the investigating team that had structured the sequences to trap him.

Skilful use of lights, soothing music and brisk and witty dialogues were the highlight of the play. Actors Parveen Bahugule, Neeti Srivastva and Rahul Rastogi gave outstanding performances.

The festival got off to a grandiose start yesterday with “Kissa Nautanki ka”, a musical play in Haryanvi directed by Sheonath Tyagi. The audience relished the unusual treatment given to humour-laden narrative sequences through music and dance numbers.

Actors Rattan Bahrti, Sheo Nath Tyagi, Sanjay Sharma and Sharif Ahmed stole the limelight.

The Mumbai chapter of IPTA will present “Sirphire” by Rajender Gupta at the same venue and time tomorrow.



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