C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Coalition politics here to stay: Dr Wallace
Naveen S Garewal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
“Coalition politics in India is here to stay, at least till the foreseeable future. At the same time India’s electoral politics continues to be full of surprises. Macro trends show a clear shift from dominant one-party to coalition politics. Diversity rather than uniformity marks Indian politics as reflected in an increasingly decentralised democratic federal political system embracing over a billion people”.

Delivering a talk on “Democracy and Elections”, Dr Paul Wallace, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Missouri, Columbia, said that Indian politics was full of paradoxes. Electoral politics, he said, had transformed qualitatively since Independence, of course with contextual variations.

“A political party that may be viewed as secular in one state may seem communal at the national level and vice versa. Politically relevant data in India comes in different sizes, is expressed differently at different points in time, and consequently is subject to various kinds of interpretation”, he said.

Before his lecture yesterday, his third book on Indian elections titled “India’s 2004 Elections, Grass-roots and National Perspective” was released. The book has been written jointly with Dr Ramashray Roy, Visiting Fellow at G.B Pant Social Sciences Institute, Allahabad. This is his third book on Indian elections.

Dr Wallace, a well-respected political scientist, has written several books on the Punjab turmoil and is familiar with the political setup in north India, especially Punjab and Haryana.

Commenting on the forthcoming elections in Punjab, Dr Wallace said: “from what I have heard, it will be the most expensive election of all times. But that is a universal trend, even elections in the United States have successively seen more play of money power ”.

Dr Pramod Kumar, Director, Institute of Development and Communication, releasing the book at the institute’s premises said: “It is interesting that in every election people have mentioned unemployment, poverty, paucity of water and electricity, poor road infrastructure and rampant corruption as the main issues, and yet continued to vote for political parties who promised but did not perform”.



No unanimity on quota in private schools
G.S. Paul
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
The 15 per cent quota for the economically weaker sections in private schools continues to raise dust with unanimity on the issue eluding school managements.

As a result, a big question mark hangs on the future of children from the economically weaker sections who are in a catch-22 situation.

According to guidelines of the Chandigarh Administration, it is mandatory for all city schools to reserve 15 per cent seats for the students belonging to the economically weaker strata. "A notice to this effect has already been circulated to all schools with guidelines to comply with. We have also asked them to furnish the details about how they are implementing this reservation in their schools," said Mr Ashwini Kumar, DPI (S), Chandigarh Administration.

Mr I. William Gosain, Counsel, Independent Schools Association, Chandigarh, have ready justification for not adhering to the quota norms. "The said notification is effective from the date when it was circulated i. e. July 29, 2005. This clearly means that 15 per cent reservation and other clauses of the notification can be implemented only to allotments after the said date of the notification," he said.

According to him, the said notification dealt with a 'scheme' pertaining to the allotment of land to educational institutions (schools) on leasehold basis in Chandigarh (Amendment) Scheme, 2005. Describing this reservation as 'illegal and unconstitutional', he quoted a Supreme Court ruling in support of his argument.

Supporting the argument, the principal of Shivalik Public School, Mr D.S. Bedi, said, "Ours is an independent school and hence this is our autonomy. We follow the national curriculum and generate our own resources. In a way, we share the burden of the government by providing quality education and infrastructure." Moreover, the findings of the 2005 Central Advisory Board on Education (CABE) revealed that the government and aided institutions were spending Rs 1700 to 2000 per child, where building was not included, while the private schools were spending approximately Rs 800 to Rs 850 per child. So, this should also be taken into consideration.

The principal of DAV-15, Mrs R. Sachdeva, stated that this forced reservation would put an extra financial burden on other school children. "Our school does not get aid from any of the agencies and if we are forced to implement the reservation policy, we will have no option but to raise the fee structure, for other students. This is also not fair, I suppose", opined Ms Sachdeva.

"Moreover, we are already giving almost free education to about 150 children, including those who secure 90 per cent marks, belong to martyr families, and sports persons. The administration should also consider this view. At the least, if it is made 5 per cent, then it can be given a second thought", said Ms Sachdeva.

When DPI (S) was apprised of their views, he said since it was a legal matter, he would look into the matter after going through the technicalities. "There are some schools that did not have the reservation clause in their allotment letter, but I will look into the matter personally. Moreover, I think that it should be their social obligation to provide education to children of the weaker sections. I don't think that we are asking them for more".

It is not that all private schools are opposing this move. Some private schools are running special schools for economically weaker sections of society. The Administrator of St Kabir, Mr G.S. Bakshi said, "We are already abiding by the directions of the Administration. We are already running a school named 'Pustak' in Sanjay Colony and teachers from our school go there to teach almost 46 such children". The Principal of Strawberry Fields World School-26, Ms Aman Sidhu, said, "It is a noble thing to do. We do follow the guidelines prescribed by the government for EWD quota. But we are particular about the antecedents of the parents because there had been instances in the past where the parents gave wrong information to fit into this quota. Ms Shikha Rajouri, Principal Rai School-48 said, "We are open to this quota scheme. We have already given admission to 3-4 students". Ms Poonam Sharma, Ryan International-49, said, "Till now no one has approached us for claiming seat under this reserved quota. But if some body approaches us with supporting documents, we will entertain them".



Science students make most of Internet
Chitleen K. Sethi
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
A Panjab University study has found that use of the Internet by science students in the university is far higher than the students pursuing disciplines in social sciences and humanities.

The study conducted by Dr Preeti Mahajan, a reader in the Department of Library and Information Science, concludes that science researchers make maximum use of the Internet facility provided by the university. However, researchers in other fields rely more on bibliographies and printed journals. Researchers in social sciences and humanities consider their institutional libraries as the last resort for obtaining information.

“The aim of the survey was to study the use of the Internet by the researchers at the university pursuing sciences, social sciences and humanities, and determine its impact on their academic routine.

As high as 90 per cent of science stream students use the Internet for academic purposes whereas only 30 per cent social science students and 5 per cent humanities students use the Internet for academic purposes,” she said.

It was further found that 80 per cent of researchers in sciences use the Internet for three-four hours per week whereas about 20 per cent use it for about eight-10 hours per week. In the social sciences, 85 per cent of the researchers use the Internet for two-three hours per week and 15 per cent for about an hour per week. The use of the Internet by the majority of the researchers in humanities is only one-two hours per week.

Eighty per cent of researchers in sciences use the Internet facility available in their departments whereas only 20 per cent go to cyber cafes. Ninety per cent of the researchers in social sciences use the Internet in their respective departments whereas 10 per cent go to cyber cafes. A majority of the researchers in humanities visit cyber cafes.

“But this could be due to the fact that the humanities departments do not have too many computers for students to use,” said Mrs Mahajan.

“We found some other aspects of the Internet usage also as part of the study. We wanted to know how many students referred to e-journals available in the library. Once again the science students were ahead of the other students. “As high as 100 per cent of the researchers in the sciences had gone online to find information from the e-journals that are available through the university library whereas only 40 per cent in the social sciences and only 5 per cent in humanities used the facility.

Although academic resources are offered online in their fields also, it may be that researchers have not been taught, or have not yet figured out, how to locate these resources,” said Mrs Mahajan.

Interestingly, nearly 90 per cent of science researchers use the Internet more than the library whereas it is otherwise in case of social sciences and humanities.

About 80 per cent of researchers in the social sciences depend on the printed resources available in the library.



Book on psychopharmacology released
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Dr R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, released a book “Developments in psychopharmacology” authored by Prof S.K. Kulkarni in his office here today.

Taking about the book, Dr Kulkarni said psychoneuropharmacological research had received special attention during the past four decades, particularly after the discovery of psychotropic drugs, chlorpromazine and reserpine. These drugs had not only helped alleviate many mental disorders such as schizophrenia, anxiety and depression but had also helped neuroscientists to look deeply into the neurotransmitter based-pathophysiology of these disorders. Of the many neurotransmitters which were involved in the behavioural effects of drugs, gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) and dopamine had received a great attention.

The book is based on the research work conducted by Dr Kulkarni in these areas. Interestingly, all these research papers emanating from the work that have been published in one single journal namely, Indian Journal of Experimental Biology (IJEB).

Dr Kulkarni has written overviews on the current concepts and developments in GABA receptor pharmacology and behavioural disorders and these articles were supported by selected publications from IJEB which were put in the form of book format for easy reference.

Dr S.K. Kulkarni, Professor of Pharmacology and Coordinator, UGC Centre for Potential in Biomedical Sciences of Panjab University, has more than three decades of teaching and research experience.



KVS foundation day celebrated

Chandigarh, December 15
The regional-level Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan foundation day was celebrated today on the premises of Kendriya Vidyalaya OCF, Sector 29, here on its 44th anniversary. Ms Swati Sharma, SDM (East), who is also an alumnus of the KV school, was the chief guest and Mr J.P. Sharma, General Manager, OCF, was the guest of honour.

In her welcome address, Ms Sudesh Sharma, Principal of the school, talked about the sangathan in detail highlighting the need for its inception. Ms Swati recalled pleasant memories of her schooling in the Kendriya Vidyalaya institutions and told the students to work hard in this age of competition.

Meanwhile, Dr O.D. Sharma, Education Officer, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangthan, spoke of the student achievers of Kendriya Vidyalaya. TNS



Bank honours students
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Four students of Sri Aurobindo School, Chandigarh — Rohit, Sushant, Akshay and Aditi— were honoured by the State Bank of Patiala, Sector 7 branch today. These students were honoured for having secured above 85 per cent marks in their matriculation examination. Besides these, six other students were also honoured by Mr Vinod Pathak, the Chief Manager of the bank.



Judicial remand for NIIFT teacher
Tribune News Service

Mohali, December 15
Head of department of textile engineering (HoD), NIIFT, K.Krishnamurthy, who had been arrested for allegedly sending vulgar SMS and making obscene phone calls to girls students, was today remanded in judicial custody by the Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate (SDJM), Mrs Poonam Ratti, this evening. The court has issued a notice to the state for December 19 on the bail application moved by Krishnamurthy. The police has pleaded to the court for police remand of the HoD.

Coming out of the court, Krishnamurthy’s counsel Gourave Bhayyia said they had decided to file a complaint against the girls for sending vulgar messages to Krishnamurthy. He said the complaint would be filed under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act.



Let experts manage film festivals, says Kaul
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Goa or Chandigarh, celebrated film critic Gautam Kaul has the knack to say the right things at the right time. Only recently he had lambasted organisers of the International Film Festival of India held at Goa for “”meek handling of a phenomenal academic event .” He blamed the organisers’ “arrogance” for the fiasco, reasons for which are being examined by the Government of India.

“The government might well think of reviving the Delhi International Film Festival and treat the Goa event as a regional one. The fact is that the State of Goa’s preparedness to handle an event of that order is being reviewed now so that mistakes are not repeated,” said Kaul, a regular at national and international film festivals and head, Delhi Film Society.

He was in Chandigarh today as principal speaker at the inauguration of the first Chandigarh Film Festival at Fun Republic. He asked the Chandigarh Administration to revamp its advisory committee to include more professionals for hosting events like film festivals.

“Films are no more mere tools for entertainment. They are seminars which require proper selection, an in-depth study. They are not only assertion of community identity, but also an attempt to demand a level playing field with big guns of international diplomacy,” said Kaul, referring to the Goa festival where a film from Mauritius was pitted defiantly against an entry from China, which in turn saw good competition from a film entered by Taiwan.

In a way , the film festivals were platforms for gentle punching of national rivalries. “Even hosts must accept this. A little controversy is always good publicity,” Kaul said.

Kaul was all praise for the Chandigarh festival - the youngest in the family of Indian film festivals. Analysing its contents, he said: “We are not here to comment on why only 11 films are being screened over three days.We are here to understand that this is our chance to join a unique league. Film festivals are not just about artistes showcasing their talent and that of their community’s. They are about us.”



Finally, city gets its film fest
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Chandigarh has finally entered the league of big cities, where cinema and social evolution go hand-in-hand. As the first Chandigarh Film Festival took off at Fun Republic today, the aspirations of organisers ran high.

Everyone at the inaugural show — from Administrator S.F. Rodrigues to Home Secretary Krishna Mohan — hailed the festival as the first major step towards a bright future in which Chandigarh would emerge as a destination rather than a transit point.

Promising to put Chandigarh film city project on the fast track, General Rodrigues said the festival and other such endeavours would do better in joint ventures, the current one has Chandigarh Tourism partnering with the CII, National Film Development Corporation and Fun Republic.

He also viewed the future with optimism, saying that by 2008 the tricity would have six new multiplexes. “It would help us in avoiding the trouble which Goa faced,” said the Administrator. His speech was preceded by one by Gautam Kaul, a film buff who has seen national and international cinema evolve through the ages.

As for films, 11 drawn from three film industries (Hindi, French and Hungarian) will be screened at Fun Republic in the next three days. They have all been exempted from tax.

Senior vice-president of Fun Republic, Mr J.G. Jolly, told Chandigarh Tribune today that 100 passes for each show were available with the multiplex authorities and only 90 seats against 212 would be ticketed. The charges would be normal, as they are for other shows. As the host of the event, Mr Jolly could not help commenting on the richness of the selected fare. “Each film is a classic and we are hoping to have housefuls on weekend,” he said.

The first-day first-show of “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” went off well, though most seats were empty. But tomorrow’s shows are expected to generate good response. Tomorrow's films include “Slap Jack”, “Dance like a Man”, “Hanuman”, “Violence des Echanges”, “Lage Raho Munnabhai” and “Rudali”. Many of the films like “Rudali” and “Mirch Masala” have been supplied by the National Film Development Corporation.



Framed for you — spring and its hues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
It is as if the Centurion Bank of Punjab is fulfilling its corporate social responsibility. What started as a humble effort to launch budding artists and recognize existing ones has now become the bank’s annual ritual, a much-awaited one.

This year is the 10th year of the exhibition, which is mounted after careful selection of works around a single theme. The theme, almost always evokes cultural images. And this time, it is “Melody of Spring”. Romantic as the title is, the works are romantic too. As many as 335 entries were received for the competition, but only 116 form part of the final exhibition which opened in the gallery of Punjab Kala Bhavan in Sector 16 on December 12. The tough task of sifting was done by a panel of art experts including Jivan Adalja, Nand Katyal and Prem Singh.

True to the spirit of the title, the works evoke a mélange of images - all mirroring the wonders of spring, its brilliance, its vibrancy, its pulse. From Gods and goddesses to kites and flowers and buds, the show offers everything that we associate with the most loved of all seasons. The award winning works are truly inspiring as they vibrate with the hues of spring. Topping the list is Lakhwinder Singh’s set of three works which centre on spring as the harbinger of life. Singh works with leaves, both dried and fresh, and communicates the essence of spring which inspires the creation with life. Heartfelt execution sets Singh’s work apart from the rest. He has won the first prize of Rs 25,000 and rightfully so.

Other award winners are equally-deserving. They include Ishro Devi from Shimla whose play with the hues of fire brings home the theme of the competition. Madhushree Pawar’s miniature-kind of work weaves a nostalgic spell, while Seema, Anu and Praveen Kumar border on the philosophical edge of spring.

Akash Gaur’s truly scintillating work on spring is yet another toast of the show, which will end with a prize distribution function on December 19. The winning works apart, all the other entries also contribute to the feel of the show, which is all about the spring shining at you from hundreds of frames.



He makes officers dance to his tunes
Sarbjit Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Dalbir Singh Sakhowalia makes officers dance to his tunes. He has been teaching bhangra to IAS and other trainee officers at Lal Bahadur Shashtri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, since 2001.

The academy celebrates India Day every year with a function depicting the diverse cultures of India. Dalbir Singh says most trainees are keen on being taught to dance on the bhangra beats.

" Dalbir taught me this rhythmicl dance," says Dr Sukhchain Singh Gill, a Punjab-cadre IPS officer posted at Phagwara. " I learnt the basics of Bhangra from Dalbir in just seven days," says Mr Basant Garg, an IAS officer of the Punjab cadre.

" I was first invited to the academy in 2001 by Mr Tarun Sridhar, who was Deputy Director then", says Dalbir Singh. He has also taught bhangra to the J and K Armed Police at Srinagar. He held a bhangra show at the Police-Public Mela at Srinagar on August 15 this year.

Though Dalbir Singh hails from Sakhowalia village near Batala, he did his MA in from Jammu University and B.Ed from Srinagar. He is now settled at Paonta Sahib in Himachal Pradesh.

He has taught bhangra to students of Jammu and those of Guru Nanak Mission Public School, Paonta Sahib.

He formed a cultural troupe at Paonta Sahib in 1997 and also a team of dancers from Himachal Pradesh.The latter has performed at popular functions such as the Summer Festival of Simla and the Dasehra Mela at Kulu.



Musical giants to come alive
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 15
Recreating the past is a tough task. But the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi is all set to take up the challenge. Tomorrow, Tagore Theatre in Sector 18 will come alive with the aura of the days gone by.

In presence, through songs, will be the legendary sons of Indian music - K.L. Saigal, the first true Indian superstar, and Pankhaj Kumar Mullick, the man who made intoxicating music for the film "Yahudi ki Ladki."

For akademi chairperson Kamal Tiwari, the show will be one of most memorable events. "We will paste their pictures on walls, bring together small, little pieces of their persona and present them in delightful ways. The evening will be dedicated to senior citizens, but the show will be open to all," said Tiwari.

The concept of the show is unique as it seeks to revive old times that belonged to people who lived and flourished in a period marked by genuine artistic endeavours. And there lies the charm of the show, the first of its kind, which will start at 6.30 pm.



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