An OUTRAGE! ‘Most rapes in Haryana consensual’ says Congress leader

Uddari objects in the strongest terms to this outrageous notion of a Congress leader where even RAPE is perceived to be ‘Consensual’. Does the Congress leader KNOW the meaning of these two words? If not, may be he should educate himself before making such assertions since his constituency, Haryana, is the only state with 17 reported cases of rape in 01 month.

CHANDIGARH: Even as the Haryana government continues to scramble to handle the surging rape cases in the state, a Haryana Pardesh Congress committee (HPCC) member Dharamvir Goyat on Thursday brought up fresh embarrassment for the government by terming “majority of rapes in the state as consensual”.

Goyat made this comment while interacting with mediapersons at Hisar.

“If we go into the details of rape cases and abductions, it is found that victims and accused in 90% of cases are runaway couples. So the cases are consensual” he said.

His comments drew immediate flak from the National Commission for Women chairperson Mamata Sharma. She launched a scathing attack on Goyat asking him to “respect women before making tardy assessments of such a heinous crime”.

“Rape is a reproach on Haryana. Rather than suggesting measures to control and set his government’s house in order, he’s inciting more such cases” Sharma told TOI over phone. She said that Haryana remains the only state that has been grappling with two rising social crimes against women – female feticide and rape.

Goyat’s comment come close on the heels of the Opposition leader INLD chief Om Parkash Chautala’s endorsement of the Khap panchayat, seeking lowering of women’s age to marry to prevent rape cases. His comments had created a nationwide stir on Wednesday. Citing marriages in Mughal era, Chautala had said that “people would marry girls early during those days to prevent cases of rapes”

Chautala, however was forced to take back his comments, after the issue drew ire of several women activist groups.

The Congress is already under fire after the party-ruled Haryana state has reported 17 rape cases in the past one month. Congress chief and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had on Tuesday visited Jind where a Dalit teenager had committed suicide after being gangraped by a group of men.

Information pointed to by Ilmana Fasih.

Scholarships to 10 Young Artists 2010-2011

Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi
(State Academy of Art)
Scholarships given to 10 Young Artists
20-35 years of age

Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi is pleased to announce the names of the young artistes (20 – 35 years of age) selected for receiving Scholarships by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi for the year 2010-2011.

This is the third batch of artists being given scholarships since 2008.

The selected young artistes would be given Rs.36,000/- each (Rs. 3,000/- per month for one year). The scholarships are given in the names of renowned personalities from the world of art including Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Shergill, Dr. M. S. Randhawa, Le Corbusier, Manjit Bawa, J. Swaminathan, Jamini Roy, F. N. Souza, Sohan Qadri and Dr. Mulk Raj Anand.

The Scholarship programme, which is a first of its kind by any Akademi in the region, is a part of Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi’s continuing efforts to promote, disseminate and encourage art and culture in this region and nationally. The scholarships are aimed to promote research and quest for individual signatures by the young artists in their respective fields.

The scholarship were open to artists residing in Chandigarh and its two satelite towns – Panchkula and Mohali for disciplines of drawing, graphics/ print making, painting, sculpture, multi -media, photography and installation.

All the scholarships are sponsored by various individual and corporate sponsors, which include:
ABC Paper – Pavan Khaitan, Key Foundation – Sonam Grewal and Anuraj Sandhu, Groz Beckert Asia Pvt Ltd, Micron Instruments – Vikram Sahgal, Mount Shivalik Breweries – Rajiv Bali, Paramjit Singh – Painter, Winsome Foundation – Ashish Bagrodia, Winsome Foundation – Manish Bagrodia, IndianARTCollectors .Com – Anuja Lath, Kamla Dials – Yashovardhan Saboo.

The work done by the scholars will be reviewed quarterly and would also be showcased in an exhibition at the end of the tenure of the scholarship.

The following Young Artists are being given Scholarships by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi for the year 2010-2011

Names of Artist
Gagandeep Kaur, Kapoor Saini, Kuljeet Kaur, Lakhwinder Singh, Manjot Kaur, Nayan M.Kalita, Naresh Kumar, Ravish Kala, Robin Singh, Seema.

A scam to remember: Shaheed Bhagat Singh Centenary Celebrations 2008

Rs 1 crore fraud in 2008 during Bhagat Singh’s Birth Centenary Celebrations
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh, 22 March 11

Even as frantic preparations are on these days to make the martyrdom day function of Shaheed Bhagat Singh being held at his ancestral village Khatkar Kalan on Wednesday, a ‘historic’ event, a probe by the Vigilance Bureau has pointed to the embezzlement of nearly one crore from the funds sent by the Union Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 2008 to the state government for the concluding function of Shaheed-E-Azam’s birth centenary which was organized in 2008. The information provided by the Bureau to an NGO, Human Empowerment League of Punjab (HELP) under the Right to Information (RTI) Act reveals how bogus bills were raised in the names of not only the event management and supplier companies but renowned Bollywood artistes also to ‘utilize’ the money. The probe, report of which is under the consideration of Vigilance Bureau chief, is learnt. to have indicted a number of persons including a bureaucrat. The probe was ordered on the complaint of HELP activist Parvinder Singh Kitna.

A whopping Rs 3.05 crore were spent by the organizer Punjab Arts Council (PAC) on the function which was held on September 29, 2008 at Khatkar Kalan, out of which Rs 1.49 crore were spent on lighting, stage, sitting arrangement, tents, green rooms, sound system and power supply, Rs 1.12 crore on calling singers and musicians and Rs 18.53 lakh on television video production besides lavish spending on lodging and transportation. Rs 11.42 lakh was spent on publicity and Rs 2.52 on hospitality.

Vigilance probe has revealed that to provide benefit to a Chandigarh based “The Professionals Stage Management Company”, two fictitious bidding firms were raised which were shown to have quoted higher rates than this company. The investigating team failed to trace these addresses. The PAC engaged G M Entertainment Company to arrange Bollywood artists from Mumbai. The company pretended to have paid the performers (some non performers also) much higher a price than it actually did. Vigilance team, obtained statements of all concerned artists or their promoters to find out that except Pammi Bai, no one else was paid the quoted money. Music director Uttam Singh, for instance was showed to have been paid Rs 20 lakh whereas he was paid Rs one lakh only. Playback singer Udit Narayan, Sadhna Sargam and Punjabi folk singer Daler Mehndi were paid Rs 12 lakh, 10, lakh and 5 lakh respectively in books, but the singers themselves claimed to have received one lakh each. As per bills, actor Ajay Devgan was paid Rs 6 lakh whereas he told the investigating team that he was invited at all for the said function. Daler Mehndi’s manager said the singer was told by the entertainment company that he need not come but who deposited Rs one lakh in his account was not known.

The PAC signed an MOU with another Chandigarh based company ‘Rainbow Entertainment’ to make a documentary on the celebrations for Rs 15 lakh. The record shows three quotations from three firms including Rainbow but the other two companies again came out to be fake. The address given by Rainbow too proved to be false. During the probe, misappropriations were detected in purchase of cloth, flex banners, sign boards, and other miscellaneous items.

Vigilance Bureau also questioned Punjab Art Council chairman Dr Swaran Singh, secretary general Rajpal Singh and executive officer Sham Sunder Sharma. Dr Swaran Singh, who was then principal secretary, Cultural Affairs, said in his reply that the detailed budget estimate was prepared by a team of experts. He revealed that the original project cost was pegged at Rs 6 crore but it was rejected by the Central government following which, the cost was curtailed. He claimed that that the budget estimates and issue of selection of artists were discussed in the Cabinet. Since the organizing committee had not much time at its disposal, a “trustworthy” Karan Brar was asked to assist, he said. Dr Singh argued that in this high-tech era it was not “unusual” to call quotations in a single day.

As for participation of artists, Dr Singh said that the state government had suddenly made up its mind to turn the event into a political function despite the knowledge that pricey performers had been booked and advance paid. It was government’s ‘fault’ and not theirs if they could not perform, he added. “The cultural affairs minister got two stages built instead of one and left every thing topsy-turvy. Although I had technical competence but my advise was not sought”, he said.

Information sent by Harpreet Kaur

Report: Condolence Meeting in memory of Painter Manjit Bawa


A condolence meeting in the memory of eminent artist/painter Manjit Bawa, who passed away a few days earlier after being in coma for three years, was held by Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi at its office in Sector 34 State Library this morning.

Renowned art critic Nirupama Dutt shared the Art and Times of Manjit Bawa with the audience consisting of various personalities from different walks of life who gathered to pay homage to the legendary artist. She chronicled Manjit’s life and art from the point of view of a friend as well as that of an art critic. She put in perspective his place in the history of modern Indian Art.


Diwan Manna, Chairman Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi, shared the multi faceted aspects of Bawa’s personality – his love for Sufi music, his concern for social events and his unusual organizational skills. He said India had lost a very significant artist who was at the peak of his artistic journey and there was still a lot to come from his brush when he fell ill.

Others who spoke about their personal encounters with the artist and the respect they have for his art include Viren Tanwar, Malkit Singh, Jagdish Garcha and Shiv Singh.

Theatre personality Gurcharan Chani, Secretary Punjab Arts Council Rajpal Singh, artist S Raj Kumar, Novelist Neel Kamal Puri, Radio announcer Vijay Vashisht, Secretary CLKA Ravinder Sharma were among those present to pay tribute to the artist.

Neelam Mansingh Chowdhury, Dr. Atamjit, P Khurana and Vivek Atray sent their condolences.

Official Press Note:

Contact Uddari

UBC Students of Punjabi Literature, Delightful Performers!

This post was going to indulge in a discussion on different ways to further develop Punjabi literary communities in Canada with reference to the UBC Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature but then Sadhu Binning sent me photos that brought back all the smiles and laughs drawn by a skit performed by the ‘junior’ students of Punjabi at that Conference.

The package also includes an expected group photo with newly emptied tables that i am happy to present to you here.

UBC Conference on Modern Punjabi Literature, First Day

For the rest, please stay posted.

The skit ‘Mr. Binning’s Retirement’ was presented by the UBC students of Punjabi to celeberate the life long tenure of their teacher Sadhu Binning. A 20-delightful-minute long exploration of all available career options of a retired South Asian Canadian teacher of Punjabi literature in Vancouver, the skit was a light-hearted view of a teacher and the system.

Before we proceed further, it will be helpful to see this mobile-phone photo of a youth who could so easily project the body language of his teacher.

Sandhler as Mr. BinningShamsher Sandlas, the ‘Mr. Binning’, ready to hail Nasiruddin Shah?

The ‘Mr. Binning’ character played by Shamsher Sandlas brings out all of Sadhu’s laid back mannersim where though disinterested in climbing social ladders, he does oblige Mrs. Binning (Rupinder Gosal) time and again by giving a good shot to each presented career choice by turning it into a viable opportunity. From making an on-the-spot call to Actor Om Puri in India and arriving there for an audition on the next flight from Canada- to playing golf with BC Liberal Politician Ujjal Dosanj as a career move- to going all out for a chance to become a Punjabi Pop Singer- Mr. Binning tries everything with mild enthusiasm, and good-natured submission to various hiring requirements. Yet he FAILs at everything. This leaves an open stage and eight happy artists to ponder over various new possibilities.

The Seven UBC Students who predict Sadhu Binning’s post-retirement career options as being NIL. Shamsher Sandlas (Mr. Binning), Rupinder Gosal (Mrs. Binning, in red shirt), Daljit Mahal (Om Puri, Ujjal Dosanjh), Harman Bains (Actress), Rupeela Gill (Director’s help), Akashdeep Villing (Actor and Music producer), and Aman Oberoi (Music producer) in ‘Mr. Binning’s Retirement’.

The Eighth, if you are wondering, is Sadhu outside the frame at this point; and, if you find that people are not standing where their names indicate than please be my guest because i also can not understand all the moves made by our youth.

Moral of the story? Mr Binning CAN NOT do anything but teach Punjabi, and/or that Mr. Binning MUST NOT do anything but teach Punjabi. Sounds good to me because i know that teaching Punjabi the last few decades has not stopped Sadhu from working on his creative writing, and that is what matters the most.

An interesting observation is that the teacher role of Sadhu presented by his students who all appeared to be second generation Punjabi Canadians, is the same as is revered in South Asia for centuries where the love of teaching a particular discipline makes a teacher a strong role model for the students or at least, someone that they respect, learn from and remember as they move along to shape their lives. Yet at the same time, unlike the traditional model of a teacher in South Asia, Sadhu does not create distance as means to command respect but remains informal and communicative with his students, a quality attributed to teachers in the ‘Western’ education system. The character that comes out is a cross between the two traditions.

Another observation is that each time Mr. Binning enters his living room and takes a seat after a day’s hard work, the ominious remote (weapon of TV) control finds his right hand in a brisk and un-observing manner, compliments of course, to the groundedness of Mrs. Binning played by Rupinder Gosal.

Daljit Mahal was comfortable with enacting both character actor Om Puri and our own leader Ujjal Dosanjh. Harman Bains and Rupeela Gill, the actress and the director’s assistant in the film scene, provided faster tempo and some tension to Mr. and Mrs. Binning’s slow and comfortable drawl. Akashdeep Villing (Actor and Music producer) and Aman Oberoi (Music producer) came out strong in their roles as well. And of course, in the shape of Shamsher Sandlas we may be looking at an expatriot Nasiruuddin Shah, to say the very least!

That was a lot of fun Shamsher, Daljit, Harman, Rupeela, Akashdeep and Aman, thanks; it was a great group effort to write/direct/produce the skit in such a short period of time. We also must thank Bibi Anna Kaur Murphy for her advisory role in the skit, and so, thanks Anne.

Also view Rana Nayar’s forceful comment on Modern Punjabi Literature at UBC: A Glass Half Full, that goes right into the discussion that is about to take place in the next post. Before we split, let me tell you that from 40-50 new people that i had the pleasure to meet, Rana Nayar got me the most confused in that after hearing his first presentation par excellence i was sure he was a British Punjabi from London but he turned out to be a Punjabi Punjabi from Chandigarh thus challenging some of my myths and assumptions.
No More Watnu Dur by Sadhu Binning
Earthy Tones by Gurdial Singh and Rana Nayar
Punjabi Books at Amazon