C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


From Colleges
NSS volunteers’ efforts lauded
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
A valedictory function was organised at GGDSD College, Sector 32, here to mark the end of a 10-day NSS camp.

A cultural show was put up by the volunteers at the prize distribution ceremony. Dr M.S Bains, Programme Coordinator, NSS, Panjab University , was the chief guest on the occasion. Dr Bains encouraged the volunteers and gave away prizes to 15 best volunteers of the camp.

Speaking on the occasion the Principal of the college, Dr A.C Vaid, congratulated the organisers of the camp and volunteers for their efforts.

As a part of the camp, the NSS wing of the college organised a number of drives and programmes like an Art of Living workshop, visit to the Chandi Kusht Ashram Society, Sector 47, a two-day health camp in Colony No. 5, a seminar on Breast Cancer Care in association with the Sahayata Charitable Welfare Society, Chandigarh, a rally against drug abuse and an interactive session on HIV AIDS.

Dev Samaj College for Women

The 10-day-long NSS Camp being held at Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, concluded yesterday. Mr M.S. Bains was the chief guest at the valedictory function. Speaking on the occasion, he motivated students to achieve success in their chosen fields by following the seven keys to success that included serendipity, understanding, confidence, enthusiasm, courage, self esteem and self discipline. He applauded the efforts made by volunteers under the supervision of their NSS in charge Ravipreet and co-in charge Kumud Khurana and Shaveta, in bringing about a change in the mindset of the villagers regarding various social evils.

The camp had begun on September 29 and as many as 50 volunteers undertook various activities, including nukkad nataks on HIV-AIDS, drug addiction and female foeticide; educating the villagers on personal health, hygiene and sanitation as well as coaching poor and needy students, in their adopted village of Burail.

Meanwhile, the three-day workshop on ‘‘Digitisation and Digital Libraries’’ organised jointly by Dev Samaj College for Women, Sector 45, Chandigarh Librarians Association (CLA) and the Chandigarh Libraries Consortium concluded at the college.



From Schools
Experts share tips on effective parenting
Tribune News Service

Mohali, October 8
Parents attended a seminar on ‘‘Art of Parenting’’ organised by an NGO— Disha—at Shemrock Senior Secondary School, here today. In the seminar various speakers, including Ms Jyoti (psychologist), Ms Rupinder Chahal (dietician), Dr R.K. Salhon M.D. (paediatrician), Ms Sunaina Grewal (psychologist) and Mr Rajeev Vashisht (Editor, Mohali Reporter), shared their views with the parents.

Speaking on the occasion Ms Sunaina said, ‘‘Teachers are the builders of nation. They can motivate children to eat a healthy diet.’’ Ms Jyoti, a psychiatrist, said a child should get undisturbed sleep for at least 10 hours a day to feel fresh to study with concentration. She advised the parents to follow the rule of ‘‘Do as I do’’ rather than ‘‘Do as I say’’. The programme concluded with an open house in which Ms Sharda answered many queries regarding eating habits, aggression and hyper activity among children.


Ms R. Bala, Principal and Ms Veena, a school teacher and Nancy, a student of Ram Tirath School here, were honoured on Saturday by Mr Baldev Singh Sidhu, District Education Officer (Secondary), for their dedication and sincerity towards the education of students of weaker section. They were honoured at a function ‘‘Guru vandana and chhatra abhinandan’’ organised by the Bharat Vikas Parishad.



Creating wildlife awareness through models, posters
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
A three-day exhibition on wildlife, organised at Maharishi Dayanand Public School, Daria village, concluded here today. Chairman of Sanskrit Department, Panjab University, Dr Virender Alnkar, was the chief guest.

The concluding function was presided over by the Sarpanch Jasbir Kaur. Dr Alnkar gave away the prizes to the winners. Suriya and Jyoti were joint first while Gurpyar and Manish Bhainsora were declared second. Mukesh and Lucky bagged the third prize.

Eco-club in-charge Prabha Bhainsora, Principal Vinod Kumar and member of the panchayat, Satinder Rai, former Sarpanch Kulwant Singh and Mr Rajesh Mittal were also present.



Practising theatre for social activism
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Back home in Pakistan, Madeeha Gauhar has been synonymous with progressivism. Bulk of her theatre has been inspired by the desire for freedom from everything that binds. Naturally, in her pursuit of liberation, she has incensed many a dogmatist, besides offending the establishment every once in a while.

“But that is the whole purpose of theatre. Art has to be anti-establishment. At Ajoka, we have been working tirelessly to inspire a change in attitudes. We have often been faced with stiff opposition but we have dared to go on despite everything,” says Madeeha, the spirit behind Ajoka Theatre, which has been part of the struggle for an egalitarian Pakistan for the past 22 years.

It is one of the only groups in Pakistan that has used theatre as a tool for social consciousness and political activism. In Ajoka’s repertoire rest several purposeful productions fiercely inspired by the need to break free of conservatism and of all that represents subservience of humanity to man-made norms. The toast of Ajoka has, however, been “Bullah”, a play that garnered immense appreciation when it was first staged in the Indian Punjab three years ago. Ever since then, “Bullah” has been representative of Madeeha’s signature style, which seeks to build bridges of peace between Pakistani and Indian Punjab.

Very recently, she joined hands with Kewal Dhaliwal from Amritsar to form the All-Punjab Performing Artists Network (APPAN) under which Indian and Pakistani theatre groups have been coming together to stage theatre productions. The festival is called Panj Paani. For Madeeha, Panj Pani has come handy in several ways.

“It has served the purpose of bolstering peace across borders. It has also facilitated exchange of talent. In our latest production which we are here to stage under the Sada’ e’ Aman theatre festival, we have five Indian actors in our group. I am also working on a collaborative production with Neelam Mansingh,” says Madeeha, whose “Dukh Darya” is a representation of a facet of Partition which most contemporary literature has ignored. It dwells on the suffering of a Pakistani woman who delivers a child in India.

The production, which features Indian actress Rozy Rajinder in the lead role, also traces the trauma of three women torn by Partition. Replete with references from the Ramayana, the play talks of how Sita was blessed with Luv and Kush along the banks of the Ravi and of how Luv and Kush inspired Lahore and Kasur, respectively.

“This knowledge came from Ram Tirath, Rishi Valmiki’s ashram, which I was able to visit with the help of Kewal Dhaliwal. As I passed through the rural heartland of Punjab, I was overwhelmed to find that Muslim shrines were being looked after by Hindus,” said Madeeha, whose “Dukh Darya” is set in a “dargah” standing on the banks of a river. The story is about the predicament of a Pakistani woman and her child who is born on Indian soil.

A classic production by all standards, “Dukh Darya” marks another era in the life of Madeeha, who has long served the cause of liberation in Pakistan. But her struggle has often been frustrated by lack of good talent for theatre in Pakistan.

“Pakistan is now projecting a soft image to the world. In the bargain, the arts might prosper,” she says.



Every dance form creates its own aura, says master choreographer
S.D. Sharma

“Every dance form creates its own aura and exhales its particular atmosphere . If Bharatnatyam has solemnity and spiritual grandeur the Kathak is its complete antithesis, being hybrid offspring of vastly different cultures. To be precise it is called the love child of the Moghul-Hindu union as it retains, to a far greater degree, the zest of life and sensuality, comments the acclaimed choreographer danseuse Daksha Seth.

Known for her passionate love for bold innovations , experimentation and transformations of traditional dance forms , she and her Australian husband Devissaro, a musicologist Indian classical music and western music, had indeed enriched and revitalised the dance. In city for a performance at the Pinjore Heritage Festival she shared her views on the contemporary issues relating to the proliferation of classical dance forms. There is tradition of aesthetic excellence in her family with her illustrious actor, daughter Isha Sharvani, stealing limelight. She had played the heroine against Vivek Oberio in Subhash Ghai’s film Kisna and other films like ‘Good Boy Bad Boy’ are under release. Her son Tao Issaro is an accomplished percussionist. Her musician husband Devissaro came to learn ‘Dhrupad’ while Daksha Seth was a Kathak student under PadmaVibhushan Pandit Birju Maharaj in Delhi.

Though basically trained and established as a prominent Kathak dancer she realised her aesthetic potential and capabilities and initiated innovated experimentations, much to the annoyance of some traditionalists. Though I had been credited with performances in Kathak at the international level with acclaim but the urge to do something extraordinary inspired me for the lesser known dance form ‘Chhau’ and creating dance styles in martial dance art of Kalariyapattu and Malkhambh. She maintained that no art form could survive the challenges of time if not enriched from other sources. An environmentalist she loves to choreograph for her company and for some films.



Exploring pain through theatre
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 8
Madeeha Gauhar’s “Dukh Darya” is a dramatic representation of real-life pain. Based on the overwhelming account of a Pakistani woman, who strays into the Indian territory only to be marooned in trauma, the story is provocative to the hilt.

It marks a departure from the norm by raising the vital question of a woman torn between nationality and motherhood. The play also addresses issues around the rights of women who lost their homes in the wake of Partition. Repatriated unmindfully, they still live a life of divided emotion, unable to find home anywhere.

“Dukh Darya” speaks for such women through Kausar, the principal character of the play, whose story is derived from the case history of Shahnaz, a Pakistani woman who actually jumped into a river to escape the torment which the label “infertile” brings. By default she landed in the Indian side of Kashmir and was rescued only to be interrogated and eventually raped in jail.

But as they say every cloud has a silver lining — Shahnaz gave birth to a girl child and was redeemed from the allegation of sterility. But her moment of joy was shortlived as she was repatriated to Pakistan without her daughter, who could not go being an Indian-born.

Kausar is Shahnaz in “Dukh Darya”. The part is well played by Rajinder Rozy, one of the five Indian actors in this Pakistani production of Ajoka, yet another one being her daughter Malika, who plays her daughter in the production as well.

Set in a Muslim shrine managed by Meera Mai (Uzra Butt), who settled in this part of Indian post-Partition, the play moves from one level to another, evoking deep empathy. The river has been deliberately used to symbolise continuity of pain through decades, especially in context with Partition.

“Dukh Darya” explores these issues and many more. Its strength lies in its narrative which draws heavily from mythology and history to put women’s pain into perspective. Across the spaces of time, pain persists and demands a panacea. The play has been directed by Madeeha and written by Shahid Nadeem. It first premiered in Pakistan on International Women’s Day (March 8) this year.



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