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Sarod maestro Ali Akbar Khan no more

SAN FRANCISCO, June 19: Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, (87), belonging to Sania Maihar Gharana, noted player of the 25- stringed instrument Sarod, passed away on Friday at his residence in San Anselmo, San Francisco, USA.

Ali Akbar Khan was born in 1922, in the village of Shibpur, Comilla in Bangladesh. His parents were Baba Allauddin Khan, the illustrious multi-talented maestro and Madina Begum.

Khan had his training in both vocal and Sarod from his father at a very early age. He was also adept in playing several other instruments like Sur Bahar, Sitar, Tabla, Drums etc. He became a court musician of Jodhpur Kingdom at the nage of 22.

He had performed all over India and extensively in the West. He founded Ali Akbar Khan College of Music in 1956 at Kolkata and another College of the same name at Berkeley, California in 1958. A branch of this college was opened in Basel, Switzerland in 1985. The School at US was moved to its present location at San Rafael, California in 1968.

His style of Sarod playing was to bring out more melody with fewer strokes. He was known for his long expansion of Raga in Alap and Jod and mesmerising Gat and Jhala. He had also performed many Jugalbandis with the likes of Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Nikhil Bannerjee, Pt. Vilayat Khan, Vid. L. Subramanyam and many western musicians. He was the first Indian to cut a Long Play record of Indian music in the West.

He was married three times and was the father of 11 children. His son Aashish Khan is a noted Sarod player. He has left a huge pupilage, including Pt. Rajiv Taranath and admirers.

He has been awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1989, National Heritage Fellowship (1997) highest award for traditional Arts in the US, MacArthur Genius Grant (1991), several Grammy awards.

Bharat Ratna for Bhimsen Joshi

NEW DELHI, Nov 5: Eminent Hindustani vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, 86, has been chosen for the Bharat Ratna award on Tuesday.

Pandit Bhimsen Joshi has exressed his happiness for being chosen for the Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award.

“I am extremely happy to accept this award on behalf of all the maestros who have contributed to ‘khayal gayaki’ of Indian classical music,” the legendary maestro said.

The honour for the 86-year-old vocalist, who belongs to ‘kirna’ gharana, caps a distinguished career spanning over seven decades.

It was after a gap of seven years that the government selected a performing artist for the award, the previous recipient being shehnai maestro Ustad Bismillah Khan.

A recipient of several awards, including the Padma Vibhushan, the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, Pandit Joshi has added his own distinctive style excelling in gamakar, meend and tanakriya and adapting characteristics from other gharanas to create a unique vocal idiom.

‘Walk With Me’ a book by P.R. Kyndiah

NEW DELHI, Sept 2: ‘Walk with me’ a book on the goodness of walking written by Mr P.R. Kyndiah, Minister for Tribal Affairs, was released by the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh here today.

Presenting the book to the Prime Minister, Mr Kyndiah said that the attempt has been to make the readers of the book enjoy walking and derive immense pleasure from it. The wide array of quotes, verses and recitations have been included in the book. Walking becomes most fruitful when it is done in a relaxed frame of mind with recitation of favourite verses or quotes, he said.

Releasing the book, Mr Manmohan Singh said that the book celebrates the joys of walking and helps to raise the consciousness and makes it almost a spiritual experience.

The book is divided into six chapters with recitations for six days of the week during the walking session.

Students can stay in Canada for 3 more years after studies

NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Foreign students in Candada can now stay in that country for three more years after their studies and explore job opportunities as the Canadian government has introduced many flexibilities in its work permit policy.

As per the new work permit policy, which has been introduced since April this year, international students are now eligible to an open work permit with no restriction on the type of employment and no requirement of a job offer.

"Earlier system was more stringent. But now even if a student does not have any offer in hand, he can stay in Canada for three more years and look for jobs," S R Stewart, a member of a delegation of top Canadian universities, told reporters here on Monday.

Stewart, Manager of International Admissions and Recruitment of Canada's Capital University, said the duration of the work permit has been extended up to three years and is not subject to limitations based on location of the institute.

As per the earlier policy, international students based in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver were allowed to work for up to one year while students based outside these cities were eligible to work for up to two years on completion of their studies, she said.

"The three-year work experience will help the person to get Canadian citizenship," she said.

The step assumes significance in view over 5,000 Indian students going to Canada every year to pursue higher studies.

Fifteen of Canada’s elite universities are in India, August 18-28, to hold information sessions on Canada as a destination for higher education. The delegation is led by Michelle Beaton of Ryerson University, Toronto, and assisted by Ginette Sanfaçon of McGill University.

The sessions in Bangalore, Mumbai, Pune and Delhi are being organized by The Canadian Higher Education Committee under the aegis of Council of International Schools (CIS). It is Council’s fourth consecutive tour to India.

The tour is of special interest to Standard XI and Standard XII students who exhibit strong academic standing, as well as to their parents. The schedule includes school visits, information fairs, and an in-depth Canadian university admission workshop for guidance counselors.

“India is a key undergraduate student market for Canadian universities,” said Michelle Beaton of Ryerson University, and Tour Director.

“Indian students are sought for their academic strengths and their rich contributions to student life on Canadian university campuses. In turn, increasing numbers of Indian students are making Canada their first choice for study– as evidenced on this tour. Indian students are drawn to our universities’ common attributes of international reputations for academic excellence, state of the art resources, and safe campuses in welcoming locations,” Beaton said.

Each year, tour organizers work to strengthen existing relationships with secondary schools in the city they visit, and also expand outreach to new regions. The 2007 tour included an information program in Dehra Dun, and there are discussions about the inclusion of Chandigarh as a destination in the 2009 tour itinerary.

Why Canada?

Canadian universities are engaged internationally as leaders in education through teaching, research and partnerships. Undergraduate education in Canada is a hybrid of US and UK styles offering breadth of program options, flexibility in choice and a degree that is ultimately recognized world-wide.

Indian students choose Canada because a strong education and a positive international experience is the foundation for their exciting and successful futures. The quality, affordability and renowned research opportunities are key factors in this decision. University campuses across Canada offer multicultural environments, beautiful spaces and friendly people. As a leader in business, political diplomacy, arts and culture and technology – Canada’s education system is at the core of its success and its graduates are players on the world stage.

How to improve your social skills?

By Dr Agyajit Singh

Dr Agyajit SinghBOSTON, Aug 7: Hardeep (name changed) was a very studious student when I was working as a school teacher at Chandigarh. He was introvert, shy but snobbish in nature. He used to stand first in his class. He completed degree in mechanical engineering and joined an organization as an engineer.

One of his classmates, Sandeep (named changed) was an average student in studies but extrovert, smart and jovial in nature. He did civil engineering but could not find a suitable job. He joined M.B.A. where he sharpened his social skills. After completing his management studies, he was able to find a job as personnel manager in the same organization.

After few years, by the dent of hard work and social qualities, he was made CEO and later on promoted as vice-president of the company where Hardeep was also working. He did not relish being his subordinate as he was quite superior to him in academic matters in the school. He felt frustrated and left the job and joined some other organization as an engineer.

Due to the social skills the later student rose to a good position. Social skills matter a lot to be successful in life and to be effective in one’s professional life.

Social skills are the most important attribute of human personality. Developing the charismatic personality of a human being is one of the main objectives of modern education. Personality is not which appears only overtly but it also involves the inner beauty of a person. What the covert qualities a person possesses cover the basic dimensions of one’s personality.

A well-integrated personality means that a man is physically fit, mentally alert, emotionally matured and socially adjusted. In fact social adjustment is the main prerequisite of one’s personality. Social adjustment depends how a person has developed his social skills.

Social skill is the ability to respond to a given environment in a manner that produces, maintains and enhances positive interpersonal relationships. Social skill is a part of man’s total social competency, which is the overall social functioning. It includes a composite or a multitude of generalized social skills. Social competency can be improved by teaching social behavior or social skills. It is also related with the process of socialization.

Social skills are a group of skills that human beings use to interact and communicate with others. Communication is one of the components of social skills.

Communication may be verbal or nonverbal. Verbal communication includes talk or conversation with others, cracking and sharing jokes with others, sharing views and discussing ideas which may be related to politics, current events, religion, fashion, music, technology, sports or movies etc.

These are the common topics, which are discussed among friends while conversing with others. How much exertive and impactive you are in convincing others to your view points shows your smartness, ingenuity, knowledge, way of expression and also the technique of presenting your ideas to others.

The verbal talk should be in a sequence and in smoothness of delivery i.e. it should avoid stuttering or giving any awkward pauses. Your speech should be audible and comprehensive i.e. neither too loud or harsh or too soft or slow. Your speech should help in getting ideas across i.e. words are designed to grab the attention of the listener.

The non-verbal communication includes how patient listener you are and secondly how your body language works. What are your actions, reactions and responses to others in your movements, gestures, facial expression etc?

Moreover how much confidant you are in your stance i.e. standing up straight, putting your eyes into the eyes of others while conversing. It will enhance your confidence. Your body language should also be attuning to your verbal message.

Good communication helps a person to develop self-expression in speech, which should be fluent, flawless and rhythmic. Self-expression will definitely increase the self-confidence, which will enhance your self-image, self-concept, self-prestige and self-esteem. Hence communication is one aspect of social skills.

The following guidelines are suggested which will help you in increasing and improving your social skills.

-Have a positive attitude towards others. Positive attitude will lead to positive thinking and positive action.

-Be optimistic in life. Never think of the adversities likely to occur.

-Have a pro-social behavior. Develop the feeling of altruism and imbibe a helping attitude to others.

- Consider the good and positive qualities of others and ignore their negative points..

-Express empathy in thoughts by giving accurate picture of the situation.

- Give kind and sympathetic hearing to show that you understand the whole matter.

-Work with smile and show your smiling and pleasing face to others while greeting.

- Show good mannerism while interacting with others.

-Be broad-minded and ignore the trivial matters

-Make peace with the past. Forget the unpleasantness of the past, face the present with reality and think about the future rationally..

-Adopt the policy of forget and forgive.

-Be very objective and don’t criticize others for nothing.

- Don’t give disparaging remarks even if you don’t agree on some arguments.

-Ask for help when you need it

-Participate in the discussion when it is being held in a group of your peer mates.

-Encourage others when it is required and praise others when it is needed.

-Give feedback to your friend when he is wrong and convince him without any rancor.

-Say kind words in the conversation.

-Accept the differences and listen to them patiently.

-Try to resolve conflicts amicably when they occur.

These social skills are very useful in transforming one’s life. They can bring incredible effectiveness in your professional life. They can add new meaning and purpose to your life. They act as motivational tools and energize you to work more and more at your work place. You can win over friends with your pleasant demeanor and lead a happy, harmonious and prosperous social life.

Dr.Agyajit Singh, is former Head of the Department Of Psychology, Punjabi University, Patiala in Punjab (India)

How Smart Are You?

By Dr Agyajit Singh

BOSTON, July 28: Everybody wants to look smart covertly and overtly. But how much a person appears smart may be judged from other people perspectives. To be smart is the inner desire of everybody, as it enhances the self-image, self-prestige, self-concept as well as self-esteem.

It is a part of one’s personality. By wearing ornamental and costly clothes does not mean that an individual has become smart. Smartness includes that a person is active, has good mannerism, objective outlook towards life, takes initiative in every walk of life and leads a healthy life style.

He deals with other people in an affectionate and loveable way and he can impress others with his conversation, verbal and non-verbal i.e. with his gestures, manners, movements and gait etc. He may also interact with others nicely, so that others may say that he possess a magnetic and charming personality.

A charming and attractive personality is when a person possesses a well-integrated personality, which means that he is physically fit, mentally alert, emotionally balanced and socially adjusted. It is quite obvious that a well-adjusted person possesses a good personality. Social adjustment depends upon how much a person is emotionally matured and balanced. An emotionally matured person may, quite possibly, be mentally alert and a mentally alert person has good physique and may be physical fit.

Smartness includes both intra-active and interactive relationships. The intra-active relation means a person’s relation with his own self so that he may harmonize with his desires, motives needs and thinking according to his immediate environment.

By intra-personal relation is meant for understanding of self, access to one’s own feelings, emotions as well as understanding of one’s own cognitive strengths, styles and mental functioning. It consists of self-expression, language, music and other forms of expression. Such a person has the tendency for tension reduction, conflict resolution and stress management as early as possible.

By interactive relationship means a person’s relation with other persons in his environment i.e. his parents, family members, friends, peer mates, class fellows, colleagues as well as co-workers. These relations should be harmonious, cordial and desirable. Such a person is said to have high social intelligence.

Social intelligence is a part of one’s personality.

Intelligence is an overall ability-a general mental ability that is complex in character and underlying a great many different functions e.g. (i) the ability to make adjustment or adaptation of the individual to his total environment (ii) the individual’s ability to learn or benefit from experiences and (iii) the ability to carry on abstract thinking. According to this concept; intelligence is of three types (i) abstract,(ii) concrete and (iii) social.

Abstract intelligence is the ability to understand and deal with verbal and mathematical symbols. It consists the ability to solve problems presented in form of symbols, words, numbers, formulae and diagrams etc. Concrete intelligence is the ability to understand and deal with things; as in skilled trades and scientific appliances.

Social intelligence is the ability to understand and deal with persons. It is the ability to adapt or adjust with people. It is the capacity to behave effectively in social situations. The diplomats, salesmen, the ministers, politicians, teachers, psychotherapists and religious leaders must have this type of intelligence.

The socially intelligent person has the knack of getting along well with people, as he is an extraverted man. The extraverted individuals are outgoing, impulsive, uninhibited, involved in-group activities, sociable, friendly, craving for excitement and having many social contacts.

According to a well known psychologist Thorndike of early 20th century who gave the concept of intelligence referred social intelligence to the person’s ability to understand and manage other people and to engage in adaptive social interactions or it can be said that social intelligence refers to the individual’s fund of knowledge about the social world.

He also says that “By social intelligence is meant the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls-act wisely in human relations.” Another psychologist, Wechsler says that it assesses the individual’s ability to comprehend social situations because, according to him, social intelligence is just a general intelligence applied to social situations.

To conclude it may be stated that to look smart or appear smart to others, one must have high social intelligence. Social intelligence can be enhanced through learning, training and education.

A child must be exposed to a good and congenial environment where he may grow, prosper and blossom, where he is able to express himself liberally, think freely and make decisions independently to solve his daily or day-to-day problems amicably. He should be given full freedom with some guided control by elders to work and learn to encounter difficulties in his early life.

For understanding social intelligence how to be smart, an individual should consider the following dimensions:

-Understands people’ thoughts, feelings and intensions well and also accepts others for what they are

-Is good at dealing with people and is sensitive to other people’ needs and desires

-Has extensive knowledge of rules and norms in human relations

-Is good at taking the perspectives of other people

-Adapts well in social situations

-Is open to new experiences, ideas and values as well as displays interest in the world at large

-Thinks before speaking and doing

-Makes fair judgment about others

-Is frank and honest with self and others

-Displays interest in the immediate environment.

Every individual can become smart in his life by increasing his social intelligence.

(Dr. Agya Jit Singh is Retired Head of the Department of Psychology, Punjabi University, Patiala)

Bal Bharati Public School, Ganga Ram Marg, receives International School Award

By Deepak Arora

L V SehgalNEW DELHI, July 18: Bal Bharati Public School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg, New Delhi has been conferred the International School Award (ISA) for three years, according to Mr L V Sehgal, Principal of the school.

Mr Sehgal informed “the International School Award is an accreditation scheme that recognises the contribution of schools in adding an international dimension to education.”

“Under this scheme we bring in internationalism in the school curriculum. The staff, the students and the immediate community interacts freely with each other and the world outside to create a microcosm of a global family within the premises of the school itself,” he said.

Under the ISA award, Mr Sehgal said the students not only interact among themselves and with e-pals abroad, but also work enthusiastically on projects like The Girl Child – a comparative study of gender imbalance in India and the west, Obesity among Youth, Comparison of the Euro with the Rupee and Global warming.

To open its doors to international partnerships in a bog way, the Bal Bharati Public School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg, has also initiated other schemes such as Dreams + Teams and the UKIERI project run by the British Council of India.

British Prime Minister Brown receiving stature of Goddess Saraswati from Bal Bharati Public School Princiapl L V SehgalThe school has been running the Dreams + Teams programme for the past five years. It is a leadership programme developed through sports. It was started by the British Council and is now being sustained by the school, added the Principal.

Under the UK India Education and Research Initiative Programme (UKIERI), Mr Sehgal said “our school has joined hands with other Bal Bharati Public Schools to participate as a group in this programme.”

Under the UKIERI project, he said six Bal Bharati Public Schools of Ganga Ram Marg, Pitam Pura, Rohini, Dwarka, Brij Vihar (Ghaziabad), and Noida and four schools of the UK would work as a team on the common projects.

Last year Principal Sehgal along with his counterpart S C Baveja of Pitam Pura school visited the UK for the first ever committee meeting of the project. This year in September two Principals – Rekha Sharma (Rohini) and Govardhan Gupta (Brij Vihar) along with six teachers would be visited the UK for the meeting.

Syria – Confluence of Cultures, Religions, Peace and Love

‘Year of St Paul’ celebrations in Damascus

By Deepak Arora

DAMASCUS, July 5: An invitation to Syria turned out to be a pilgrimage, a spiritual journey and a life time experience of the land that has been confluence of cultures, religions, peace and love. The invitation from the Syrian Tourism Minister was to witness the celebrations to mark 2,000 years of Saint Paul attaining enlightenment in the Syrian Capital. St Paul converted to Christianity on the road to Damascus and helped spread the new religion to the world.

The events spread over the three days marked the opening of the year-long celebrations that have been approved and celebrated by the Vatican too. The events were attended with great fanfare and zeal in secular Syria by both Christians and Muslims.

St Paul was born in Tarsus, in what is now Turkey, somewhere around seven to 10 AD. He died in Rome, where tradition holds that he was beheaded on the orders of the Emperor Nero.

In the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles recount how Paul, born as Saul, was travelling to Damascus from Jerusalem with letters authorising him to persecute Christians there.

The Bible says he was surrounded by a bright light which caused him to fall from his horse, blinded. A voice from Heaven, believed to be that of Jesus, said "Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?"

It was from that experience that Saul converted to Christianity, being baptised a few days later in Damascus after he recovered his sight.

In an allusion to Paul's experience, dramatic conversions to Christianity are often called a Damascene experience.

On the opening day of the celebrations on June 28, hundreds of followers, including children, walked the five km path that St. Paul had undertaken 2,000 years ago on way to Damascus. The leaders of different faiths led the procession that culminated at St Paul’s Vision Abbey on the outskirts of the city. It was here that Saul was blinded by the bright light.

Over 110 journalists from 17 countries, including four from India, had come to Damascus to cover the event. Many followers of St Paul had come from different parts of the world, including Europe and the US, to be part of the celebrations.

Soon thereafter at the abbey, Syrian Tourism Minister Saadalla Agha Al Kalaa opened the celebrations titled “The Road to Damascus” in the presence of hundreds and thousands of people, including top religious leaders of different faiths and senior officials.

Speaking at “the Vision Convent” in Tal Kawkab, Dr Saadalla Agha Al Kalaa said Syria was the cradle of civilization, just as it is the cradle of Christianity and Islam. He said Syria has always spread the message of fraternity, of love and of peace to the world.

The Minister said "Syria is an example of brotherhood between Christians and Muslims and it was from here that Islam and Christianity spread worldwide." He said “many people talk of tolerance; we live this in reality. Here people from different faiths live together in peace, understanding and respect.”

He said “the Tourism Ministry is a bridge of dialogue between Syria and the humanity and different cultures in the modern changed world.”

The Tourism Minister’s words rang true when we undertook a visit to ancient, historical and pristine mosques and churches and elegant palaces and Seraies (caravans) and we realized why Syria is known as ‘the cradle of civilisation’.

During our week-long stay, we experienced that the people are warm, kind hearted and welcomed visitors with open arms and smiling faces.

As Syria’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Badreddin Hassoun rightly pointed out in his speech at the inaugural event that Syria has always been a meeting place for different civilizations of East and West.

The Grand Mufti said “we have gathered here to celebrate a man who contributed in building good men.”

The Mufti said St Paul became immortal even though he neither built palaces or Capitals. “St Paul taught us that the most important thing was to make good human beings and not building of churches, mosques or Kaabas.” In short, he added the most important thing is not the place but the man himself.

Referring to the clouds of irrelevant violence in the Middle East, the Grand Mufti reminded the world that the God wanted to turn Paul from darkness to light at the Gate of Damascus. “The God chose this sacred land to give the enlightenment to several holy persons and not Paris, London or Moscow. In turn, it was Syria who spread this sacred light of Christianity and Islam to other parts of the world.”

While Syria gave “Noor” (Light) to the world over thousands of years, he wondered why the world was giving it “Naar” (Fire). He said let this ‘Naar” fire turn into ‘Noor’ light as St Paul witnessed light here. His message of peace and love is still relevant 2,000 years after his enlightenment.

The next morning (Sunday) we walked through an ancient bazaar of Al Hamidiyeh on way to the underground Hanania church. It was here that Ananias, a Damascus Christian, who after a vision from the Lord, had brought back the sight of Saul and had converted him to Christianity.


At the end of the Suq (Bazaar) lies the Umayyad Mosque. The site dates back to 705AD when it was built upon the order of Waleed Abdul Malak. It was first a pagan temple, a church in the 4th century and later a mosque. The site is regularly visited by both Muslims and Christians who come to Syria for religious tours.


Later in the evening a mass was held at Bab Kisan, one of the ancient seven gates of the ancient town of Damascus. It is from this gate that St Paul was lowered in a basket so that he could escape by walking his way to Jerusalem. A chapel has been built at this place.

The same evening the Tourism Minister, Dr Saadalla Agha Al Kalaa, also inaugurated a documentary exhibition that vividly told the story of St Paul at the Holy Cross Church halls.

The evening culminated with a concert by the Syrian National Symphony Orchestra at Azem Palace.


The next day (Monday) we visited the shrine of St Elias (or Prophet Elija), who is considered as one of the greatest prophets and the most important character of the Old Testament.

Later we attended a mass at the newly built St Ephrem Theological Seminary, at Ma’aret Sednaya, a few kilometers from the shrine of St Elias. The mass was presided over by the Patriarch of Antioch, Ignatius Zakka 1, the spiritual head of the Syrian Orthodox Church that has a huge following in Kerala.

Later, we visited the Convent de Notre Dame of Sednaya. It was built around 547 AD by the Byzantine Emperor Justanian after Mother Mary appeared to him in vision when he was about to kill a deer. Frescoes and icons dating from the time of Christ can be seen here adorning the walls.

A visit to a Greek Orthodox church, built around 300AD, that sits on a mountain which overlooks a village called Maaloula, 60 km from Damascus, turns out to be another spiritual journey.

The church, Couvent Saints Serge et Bacchus, is named after two soldiers who were sentenced to death in 297 for converting to Christianity.


People living in and around Maaloula still speak Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke to his disciples. It was an overwhelming experience when the guide of the church recited the Lord's Prayer to us in Aramaic. The village that speaks Aramaic has a population of 5,000 people. Nearly 30 children from the village had gathered outside the church and sang in Aramaic to welcome us.

The three-day launch celebrations concluded Monday evening with a unique concert of chanting and hymns by Chanters Association and Al Farah Choir at Ass’ad Pacha Khan in old Damascus city.

Several couples also tied the knot in the city to coincide with the celebrations of the Year of St Paul.

Over the next 12 months, the Tourism Ministry will organise conferences, exhibitions and other cultural events in line with the Pauline Year to pay tribute to the saint.

As the Tourism Minister said the celebrations would give further boost to tourism in the country that has been on an upswing. The country’s economy is flourishing as its President Bashar Assad has opened the economy to private ownership and foreign investment.

It must also be remembered that while Syria's neighbors struggle to contain sectarian and religious conflicts, Syria boasts that it remains an outpost of secularism, a bastion of tolerance in a region of growing extremism.

Art exhibition marks EU Day

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, May 12: Head of the Delegation of European Commission Ambassador Danièle Smadja and Romanian Ambassador Vasile Sofineti inaugurated an exhibition of art works from the private collections of the European Union Ambassadors accredited to India at the PBC Art Gallery here on Monday.

It is for the first time in Delhi that the PBC Art Gallery, the European Commission and the Embassy of Romania have organized such an exhibition. It coincided with the Europe Day that is celebrated on May 9.

Out of the twenty-three EU member countries, 10 countries participated in the show with thirty-nine works of art. The countries included Czech Republic, European Commission, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, and United Kingdom. The artists are Adol Born & Emanuel Prull – Czech Republic; Adriana Maras – Slovenia; Alexander Cresswell, Wycliffe Egginton & Peter Biegel – U.K; Paulo Varona & Arturo Suto - Spain; and Naresh Kapuria, Georgeta Grabovschi, Kanak Chanpa & Dipto Narayan Chatterjee- Romania.

The other artists included Soile Yli-Mayry- Finland; Gast Michels – Luxembourg; Elizabeth Sass Brunner –Hungary; Barletta & Mino Maccari – Italy; and William Townsend, Vasililki Kolotourou, Jean Batisete Valadie & Daniela Dicorrado – E.U. Commission.

The art works are in oil, water color, acrylic on paper, pencil on paper, oil on wood, lithograph and mixed media.

The PBC Art Gallery believes in ‘Art for Environment’. It promotes artists and in doing so, helps protect the environment.

India confers Padma Shri on Canadian food scientist

Prof Joseph H HulseNEW DELHI, May 5: Canadian biochemist, Joseph H. Hulse, one of the world’s leading experts in biotechnology and a former Vice-President of Canada’s International Development Research Centre (IDRC), has been conferred with a Padma Shri award at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Monday.

One of India’s highest civilian marks of recognition, the Padma Shri conferred to Prof. Hulse comes at a time when the spectre of food crises looms over the world.

A former scientific advisor to the UN Secretary General, Prof. Hulse has devoted his life to research on food, nutrition and food security and written many acclaimed scientific books and papers on the subject.

"We are very pleased to see such a prestigious award being conferred on a man whose illustrious career has been one devoted to mankind,” said David Malone, Canada’s High Commissioner to India and President-elect of IDRC.

“This recognition will bring to the attention of those not already aware that Canadians are heavily engaged in research activities aimed at bettering life conditions in the developing world."

Receiving accolades in India is not new to Prof. Hulse, who first visited the country in 1962 to offer Canadian cooperation in the establishment of the International Food Technology Training Centre, Mysore.

In the next 40 years, he travelled to India over 60 times for various projects. Indians have shown their appreciation for Prof. Hulse’s contribution to their country by honouring his achievements.

In 2006, Prof. Hulse was elected Fellow for Life of India’s National Academy of Sciences. To date, he remains the only non-Indian to have received the Conservation of the Environment Award presented by Rotary Clubs and the Earthcare Society of India.

Prof. Hulse is currently a Visiting Professor at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore and the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Tamil Nadu, besides being the Honorary Fellow of the University of Manchester’s Institute of Science and Technology and the Australian, British and New Zealand Institutes of Food Science Technology.

He has served on numerous scientific committees and held various high-profile positions, including Consultant to the Secretary General of the United Nations, President of the International Union of Food Science and Technology and Chair of the Canadian Freedom From Hunger Committee.

Children can save the Earth: Krishna Tirath

Save environment theme at Bal Bharati annual day

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, April 7: Global warming and save environment for the future generations is the key issue facing the world today. At a time when the global leaders not able to reach a consensus to meet the challenging issue, the students of Bal Bharati Public School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg, took the lead to show the way and chose the issue as the theme to celebrate its annual day.

The students conveyed the message through a wide spectrum of captivating music, dance and drama items and emphasised upon the urgent need for preservation and restoration of Mother Nature to its pristine glory.

Krishna TirathSpeaking on the occasion, Krishna Tirath, Member of Parliament and Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee on Empowerment of Women, lauded the school Principal L V Sehgal and the students for choosing the global warming as the theme for the annual day.

Mrs Krishna Tirath, who was the Chief Guest, said that our real wealth was indeed the bountiful Mother Nature and not the materialistic assets. She was positive that women and children had the potential to save the Earth if they were so determined.

Principal L V SehgalIn his address, Principal Sehgal said “global warming is an issue that is so important that it may literally determine the future of human species. The world today is facing the most serious threat of this environment problem which needs concerted efforts on the part of all nations, both developing and developed in a non-partisan and equitable way.”

He said “our school plays a pivotal role in the life of the community. We believe that the youth of today need to campaign against environment threats like global warming, the use of polybags, pollution and deforestation and adopt self-regulatory mechanisms to reverse adverse trends.”

At Bal Bharti, the Principal said “we understand that education compasses not only teaching and learning specific skills but also something less tangible but more profound: the imparting knowledge, positive judgement and well developed wisdom.”

He said “education means ‘to draw out’ and it facilitates the realisation of the innate potential and latent talents of an individual. Our mission at Bal Bharti centres on a shared commitment to academic excellence, intellectual growth, arts, high standards of sportsmanship and community service.”

Be being committed to academic excellence, Mr Sehgal said “we are equally committed to the under-represented and less privileged sections of the society. We understand the importance of building a strong partnership with the community so that our students understand their social responsibilities.”

Presenting the Principal’s report, he said the school has opened its doors to international partnerships in a big. Three major schemes initiated by the British Council India, namely: Dreams+Teams, the International School Award (ISA) and the UKIERI Project have been adopted by the school.

The program commenced with the school orchestra, comprising 90 chote ustads, presenting a mesmerising symphony of classical music in different ragas.

Thereafter, the school choir presented a series of illuminating compositions, including Sankalp and Tarana, besides the soulful renditions of shlokas and Rabindra Sangeet.

In addition, there was Matrachhaya, an enthralling song and dance item by a 190-strong group of primary students. The highlight of the evening, however, was a ballet item, Shunya Se Shunya Tak.

Among others who graced the occasion were VK Garg, IRS, Commissioner, Service Tax, Alok Kumar Verma, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, and renowned singers Ritesh and Rajnish Mishra.

India to set up four new IITs, six IIMs : Arjun singh

NEW DELHI, March 29: In a bid to give an impetus to the higher education sector, Government decided to establish four new IITs and six IIMs in various states besides upgrading some of the state universities to the status of Central Universities.

While the new IITs would be located in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Gujarat and Punjab, the IIMs would come up in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Uttarakhand and Haryana.

These new institutions would be part of the eight IITs and seven IIMs proposed to be set up during the 11th Five Year Plan.

Government has already announced establishment of four IITs in Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar and Himachal Pradesh and one IIM at Shillong.

The location of the new higher education institutions has been approved by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, HRD Minister Arjun Singh told reporters in the Capital.

In addition, he said the government proposed to convert the Institute of Technology of the Banaras Hindu University into an IIT.

Admission to this Institute was already based on the IIT-Joint Entrance Examination.

Singh said it is also proposed to establish during the 11th five year plan period 14 Universities with world class standards and 16 universities in states which do not have a Central University at present.

Swiss touch of fancy, poetry

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, March 28: Pro Helvetia, the Swiss Arts Council, organized a contemporary Swiss dance performance Da Motus here on Wednesday as part of the jubilee celebrations commemorating 60 years of Indo-Swiss friendship.

DA MOTUS! questions the very relationship human beings have with the urban spaces they live in. The performance results in the audience becoming judgemental about their very existence in a surrounding that is self created – but yet so alien. The costumes worn by the performance dancers are thought provoking. Is this our future?

DA MOTUS! (da!=give, offer! / motus=movement) was founded in 1987 in Fribourg/ Switzerland by Antonio Bühler and Brigitte Meuwly and has performed at various international festivals and cultural events in more than 100 cities across 30 countries.

DA MOTUS cannot be defined as theatre, neither as dance, nor as any conventional form of body art. They are different and constantly surprise their audiences. Their performances are eclectic and stand out for their vivid creativity and are known for their constant search of artistic renewal, enriched by a subtle ability to play with the circumstances, on stage as well as out-door.

The performance in India is called en vie ... en ville (French for ‘alive… in town’) and has touches of fancy and poetry bringing colour into the grey urban space while sending out inevitable warnings.

Kalam releases Romanian translation of ‘Ignited Minds’

By Deepak Arora

NEW DELHI, Feb 16: Former President of India Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam released the Romanian translation of his book “Ignited Minds”. The book has been translated by Romanian Ambassador in India Vasile Sofineti.

While releasing the book, Dr Kalam praised Ambassador Vasile Sofineti for the excellent translation of the book. He said the book will help bring the youths of the two countries together.

Dr Kalam exhorted the youth, especially children, to dream big to make India a developed country by 2020.

Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Sofineti said “the first time I read it I knew that the book ought to be translated. Titled “Minti Aprinse” it is a book, which will inspire young minds. It transcends several arenas, from politics to the civil society and Dr. Kalam’s own experiences make it special”

To mark the occasion, the PBC Art Gallery in collaboration with the Romanian embassy organized an exhibition of paintings “Beyond Expressions” by artist Dipto Narayan Chatterjee.

Much to the delight of Dr Kalam and august gathering, a Romanian artist, Beliciu Victor Marius, presented a wonderful sitar recital on the occasion.

Welcoming Dr Kalam, Kamal Meattle, CEO, PBC Art Gallery remarked, “PBC has always been a socially committed organization and the Art Gallery is yet another venture in this direction. The PBC's share of proceeds from art exhibitions goes to support environmental initiatives undertaken by it thus supporting Art for Environment through its attempt to provide a platform to eminent as well as upcoming artists to showcase their works of art”.

This art exhibition is on view till February 29 at PBC Art Gallery, Paharpur Business Centre at Nehru Place. The themes depict a large range comprising ordinary life paintings and landscapes of human struggle of the economically deprived section of society.

Speaking on his art works, Dipto Narayan Chatterjee said “the creation of this exhibition is my tribute to Dr Kalam. The art exhibition is being categorized into three categories: First category includes 10 illustrations in painting done for the Romanian version of Ignited Minds. Second category showcases the picturesque landscape of Romanian natural beauty and heritage."

He said "Third category speaks about “Beyond Expressions” that encompasses various series like “Power”, energy, movement, action and basics of life. The hand series symbolizes hard work in which illuminated technique gives value additions to the forms and subjects.”


Groove to Charlie Charles tunes @ Shangri-La
Now Dr Mukesh Ambani
Interpretation of Life
Clean up campaign
Theme nights at Café Uno
Jassi rocks at Airtel's 'Dil se - Jhoom Le'
Indian teachers impressed with Australian teaching
Australian Studies Fellowships Awards for 2007-08



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