SHIMLA- On Friday last week, children of Shimla town took first step to raise their voice for a very basic as well as essential amenity – public parks, recreational space or space to play. The lack of public parks and playgrounds in Shimla’s growing concrete jungle found expression in the inter-school declamation and slogan writing competition held at the Amphitheater, Shimla Ridge on Friday.
About 21 speakers from about 11 prestigious schools of Shimla made the event successful. The topic of the competition was “Parks/Playgrounds in Shimla for Children – Indifferent Attitude of the Administration”.
The participant schools included Chapslee School, Laureate Public School: Mohit, Apurva Jhagta, Himalyan Public School, JCB Khalini, St Edwards, Portmore Swaran Public School, St Thomas, Auckland House Girls, DAV New Shimla.
The event was organized by Vivek Mohan and Keekli, a weekly newspaper. The organizers also included Editor Vandana Bhagra and contributor Ritanjali Hastir. Himachal Watcher had the pleasure of collaborating with the organizers as the media partner.
Suman Rawat, an Arjuna Award winner athlete from Himachal Pradesh, and Vivek Mohan, a National Award winner filmmaker from Shimla, were judges for the contest. The Deputy Advocate General Vinay Sharma was present as the chief guest.
The topic was such that the children, along with their academic training, received an opportunity to know what basic rights mean and role of district administration, thus, government in ensuring protection of these rights. It was inspiring to see children pointing out lack of vision in political leaders and administrators due to which Shimla is now plagued by haphazard and unplanned construction. Sadly, speakers said, the government has entirely omitted incorporation of public parks and playgrounds and blindly encouraging construction of only multi-story complexes and commercial structures.
Part-I-Watch speakers at ‘Shimla Inter-School Declamation Competition’ Amphitheater –
Part-II-Watch speakers at ‘Shimla Inter-School Declamation Competition’ Amphitheater
The speakers mentioned how lack of outdoor spaces can affect over-all wellbeing and personality development in children, how gadgets are replacing culture of outdoor playing, how children feel inclined towards substance abuse as a mean of recreation, and how children are deprived of learning important lesson in team-work, leadership, competence, social engagement etc.
Similarly, in ‘Slogan Writing’ contest, the participant schools conveyed the same message through eye catching slogans over beautifully painted charts. The slogans were judged by Vivek Mohan.
Watch Winners of Shimla Inter-School Declamation and Slogan Writing Contest
Not only the students, but the Chief Guest and Judges spoke their heart and supported the children in their demand. J R Nanda, a senior citizen and a true Samaritan, recalled days from his childhood when almost every house built during British rule had a tennis court. He recited how the government allowed reconstruction over these courts as well as any space it could find to pile up bricks and sand. Everyone applauded organization of such a wonderful event and encouraged children except one of the judges, Suman Rawat.
Suman Rawat, in a very strange stance, labeled the topic as irrelevant and demands for parks and playground as impractical. She launched sarcastic attack on the participants. She said that the general knowledge of every participant was zero and claimed that the city has sufficient grounds. She blamed children for not coming ahead to play and left no stone unturned to discourage children from taking up this issue. She even went to question education provided in even most prestigious schools of Shimla and said that it’s easy to cram a speech than actually form solutions in response to this demand. She appeared agitated over the fact that in the topic related to sports and playground, she wasn’t recognized by anyone. However, later the chief guest answered her well and boosted up children, who were discouraged by Suman Rawat. Moreover,Vivek Mohan also expressed concern over lethargy of media that failed to highlight Rawat and her achievement.
The winners were awarded by the chief guest and all participants were given participation certificates. The vote of thanks was offered by Vandna Bhagra that was followed by honoring the organizers, judges, and the chief guest. With distribution of refreshments, it concluded on a very positive note.
Results of English Declamation Contest
First: Anmolika Sood, DAV New Shimla
Second: Riya Saran, Portmore
Third: Mrinal Joshi, Swaran Public School
Results of Hindi Declamation Contest
First: Aakrit Sharma, DAV New Shimla
Second: Sashantika, Portmore
Third: Chahat, JCB Public School
Consolation: Megha Jasmal, Swaran Public School
Winning Entry in Slogan Writing Contest
Second Winning Entry in Slogan Writing Contest
Third Winning Entry in Slogan Writing Contest
All Photos: Tarun Sharma and Dheeman Gaud
Videos: Himachal Watcher
Internationally famed Indian violinist Johar Ali Khan performs at KV Jakhoo Hills, Shimla
Shimla: The students and staff of Kendriya Vidyalaya Jakhoo Hills, Shimla, today, received an opportunity to watch the internationally famed Indian classical violinist Ustad Jauhar Ali Khan performing live. The occasion was an event organized by the Promotion of Indian Classical Music and Culture Among Youngster (SPIC MACY) – a non-profit organization formed in 1977 by Dr Kiran Seth with an aim to promote classical music.
After 40 years of journey, the SPIC MACY is a movement to reckon with that has done a pioneer work in the promotion of not only Indian classical music but also in promotion of classical dance, folk music, yoga, meditation etc. at national and international level.
Khan is the elder son of late Gohar Ali Khan – the legendary artist of the traditional Patiala and Rampur ‘Gharaana’ (family).
In a duet with Indian ‘Tabala Vadak’, Amir Khan, Ustad Khan offered glimpses of rich and incredibly diverse Indian music of various states. It was followed by a session of ‘Sufi’ music performance.
The artist also interacted with the teachers and the students regarding their knowledge about the Indian music. He appreciated the students of the school for their keen interest in music and encouraged them to pursue and promote what actually belongs to them – the Indian classical music and cultural heritage.
You should make music an integral part of your life and carry it forward to the coming generations,
he told the students after the performance.
The artist concluded the event with the performance of a patriotic song.
The Principal of the school honoured the artist by presenting him a traditional cap of Himachal.
The staff and students are very fortunate to have received this opportunity to watch such a renowned Indian artist perform at their school,
said the Principal in the concluding speech.
The Principal also expressed gratitude towards the SPIC MACY for the organization of such a harmonious event.
HPU’s disabled students demand stay on M.Phil, Ph.D entrance exam results
Shimla: The Himachal Pradesh University has scheduled the counseling for M.Phil for October 27, 2017. However, the disabled students, who had been demanding implementation of the reservation from some time, have opposed the move.
The Disabled Students Association (DSA) has written to the Governor of Himachal Pradesh Acharya Devvrat and urged him to immediately prohibit the HPU of declaring the M.Phil and Ph.D entrance exams results.
Earlier, a delegation of the Association had met the Vice-Chancellor in September this year and submitted a memorandum demanding reservation of seats in MPhil and PhD under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, 2016.
However, it did not brought any relief to them.
Today, the distressed members of the association alleged the university of not implementing the five percent reservation quota provided under the new disability law despite the directions passed by the State High Court.
After the court passed its orders this August, the university implemented the provisions of the new Act and gave admission to the disabled students in M.A. and B.Ed courses.
However, the university is following the decades-old roster system while conducting admission in M.Phil and P.hD, which is contrary to law.
The DSA convener Mukesh Kumar wrote a letter to the Governor saying that it would attract the contempt of court if the disabled students are not accommodated in M.Phil and Ph.D as per the orders of the court.
The new disability law was supposed to be implemented across the country from April 19, 2017. When the university did not follow the Act, one of the blind students, Indu Kumari of Chamba, wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court, which was treated as a PIL
Thereafter, keeping in view the strict directions of the court, the university was compelled to enroll the disabled students in the PG classes, but is still reluctant to amend the old roster system for research classes.
The matter is listed in the High Court for hearing on 31st October, said the DSA.
Court compels HPU to implement 5% reservation quota for disabled students
The varsity had to deliver what it owed to these students. Now, the students have also been provided with hostel facility.
Shimla: A visually impaired girl of Himachal Pradesh knocked the doors of the State High Court in June this year after the HP University denied her admission in the post-graduate course despite provision for five percent reservation.
Indu Kumari was not the only one to face the apathy of the varsity administration. There were other disabled students like Ravinder Thakur, Jitender Kumar, and Vijay Kumar, who had paved their way upto college despite their disability but were sent back by the varsity.
The disabled students had to form the Disabled Students Association (DSA) to highlight the fact that hundreds of disabled students are being denied education in the state.
Apparently, the court pulled up the state government and the varsity and asked them to clarify why they failed to implement the new guidelines of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
As a result of this struggle and the directions of the court, the varsity had to deliver what it owed to these students. Now, the students have also been provided with hostel facility. Though the varsity had to do it unwillingly, still it has become the first state university in the northern India to reserve 5 percent quota in higher education to disabled students.
The division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Sanjay Karol and Justice Ajay Mohan Goel had directed the University to enroll the petitioner and consider the similar cases of some other students for admission and hostel facility.
The bench also directed the state government to implement the provisions of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
It is the responsibility of the government to ensure complete and proper implementation of the provisions of the Act. It is an obligation, coupled with duty, cast upon the government to ensure compliance of the statuary provisions,
the High Court had observed while hearing the PIL.
Ajai Shrivastava, faculty member and the additional charge of nodal officer (disability affairs) at HPU, expressed satisfaction and said that now more and more disabled students would get opportunity access higher studies.
Ajai Shrivastava also runs a non-profit organization, Umang Foundation. It was due to his guidance to these students that the varsity had to implement the enhanced disability quota. He had also warned the varsity of legal action if the quota was not reserved.
The students are thankful to Shrivastava for his efforts.
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