I am one of those traditional dhakis (drum players) who come to perform in Calcutta during the Durga Puja from remote villages. As a fourth generation dhaki in my family, I took up drumsticks when I was barely a teenager. It fills my heart with great joy to share the fact that this year I was awarded the “Rhythm Dhaki Srestho Scholarship” instituted by the manufacturers of Cycle Pure Agarbathies. Since 2007, I have been participating in “Rhythm Dhaker Ladaai” (RDL), an annual competition among dhakis organised by the same group during the Pujas. We won the runners-up award three times, including the “best solo performer of the year” award (Rhythm Dhaki Sreshtho) last year. The judges of the competition, classical vocalist Ajay Chakraborty and percussionist Mallar Ghosh, spotted me. RDL arranged for my formal training session under Ghosh. He gave me the opportunity to perform along with him in several fusion concerts and also as a soloist. The scholarship gives me the courage to forsake my part-time job (setting stones at a jewellery shop), and learn more about the finer nuances of dhak as a professional percussionist.
Totan Das, Traditional percussionist
Recently, Birla High School, in association with Global Cancer Trust, a non governmental organisation, recently organised a cancer awareness programme for students in the school auditorium. “Working towards a tobacco free society”, was arranged as a small step towards beating the devastating tobacco epidemic, stemming the tide of new and young addicts and spreading awareness about cancer and the preventive measures. The awareness programme also aimed at demystifying the widely held, but mistaken belief that hookah smoking is harmless, or less harmful than cigarette smoking.
All types of people suffer from tobacco addiction; rich, poor, male, female, working or unemployed. The only thing that they have in common is that they all need help.
The anti-tobacco and cancer awareness programme arranged by Cancer Global Trust (CGT) educated the students about the unforeseen dangers of chewing gutkha (pan masala and tobacco), khaini, cigarette and hookah. The students were also encouraged to participate and be a part of the programmes organised by the Scouts of Global Cancer Trust (GCT) — the youth wing of trust. The programme was very informative and interactive and highlighted facts about cancer, summarising the risk factors, causes and the preventive measures for cancer. The success stories of quitters, who had successfully given up from smoking and stayed away from it, were also shared with the students.
Shivam Saraf, Class IX, Birla High School
Indian Institute Of Mass Communication (IIMC), New Delhi, recently held an inter-departmental debate on the topic, “Media is the mirror of government not truth”. The debate which took place on the institute premises housed eminent media persons as guests along with the professors of the institution. The given topic was vividly discussed and analysed from varied perspectives putting forward the views of those who aspire to become a part of the Indian governance system in near future
In the duel of “to be or not to be” both positives and negatives centering the fourth estate was brought to notice. Besides such instances as the Nira Radia tapes and paid news, references to Jessica Lal, Bofors scam and 2G spectrum cases were also made in sharp contrast. As a student of English journalism, I spoke against the motion and rested my opinions on the positive side of media in an effort to convince that it reflects truth and has credits attached to it. The amalgam of visions of the students from all departments of the IIMC made the debate insightful.
The event ended with prizes being given to the best speakers and with those against the motion winning the debate. Through this endeavour IIMC once again highlighted the creative side of its students.
It gave us a platform for to exchange ideas and also understand different points of views. It also created an opportunity for beginners like us to have a lucid perception of what happens in the media.
Somdatta Sen, Student of English journalism, Indian Institute of Mass Communication
The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK) recently held an innovative six-day course on managerial perspective. By design, the course was participative. Students analysed and decided in teams and then shared their experiences and insights with the rest of the class at the time of debriefing. Instructors were mere facilitators. We all learnt a lot from this novel course.
It gave us a holistic perspective and better understanding of various facets of management. It taught us how different dimensions of management such as marketing, finance, HR, strategy and others are involved in decision making. Simulations like “Everest” gave us hands on experience on leadership and team building.
Apart from this, real life stories from speakers ranging from talks about brand value to dynamics of a cooperative society were also equally interesting. The dynamis of a cooperative society was taught through the movie Manthan (Amul’s story – by Shyam Benegal). The fact that one of the speakers, Kumar Ankit — an entrepreneur of almost our age — could tackle various challenges and subsequently achieve success left us fully inspired and motivated for the road ahead.
Divya Sreenivas, Management student, IIM, Kozhikode
Recently, IT services major Cognizant visited our campus and made a record number of job offers to students in our college. About 1,820 jobs were offered to the students, breaking all previous records. For the last five years the Vellore Institute of Technology (VIT) university has been consistently scoring over all other colleges in campus recruitment. The placement season at our university for the 2012 batch started by the end of July with core and software companies visiting the campus in scores. More than 40 companies came including, Amazon, EBay, Schneider, Thoughtworks, Honda, Maruti, Tata Motors, Google, Netapp, Vmware, Deloitte, National Instruments, Michelin, McKinsey, Ashok Leyland and so on. The headhunters offered 201 students salaries ranging from 4.5-10.5 lakh rupees per year.
K.R. Arvind Kumar, Final year, MS software engineering, VIT University
The D-day arrived faster than I had expected. When I entered South City International school as a participant of the regional finals of Debating Matters India organised by the British Council and Institute of Ideas UK, I realised the immense importance of this event and how privileged I am to be associated with it. My school was among the 12 to have qualified the online elimination test, and we were nervous yet determined to do well, if not win in this event. I remember clutching the hands of my partner, Payaswini, and whispering “fingers crossed” while waiting for the results of the first stage. We couldn’t help but let out a scream and a “yes!” when Our Lady Queen of the Missions School’s name was announced. After the knock out stage, time flew by as we cleared round one and two and before we knew it, we were on the final round of the Calcutta regional finals. At each stage the judges had pointed out the strengths and weaknesses of our team and we realised what the judges expected from us, and what we were supposed to deliver. We had strong opponents at every stage, and were up against DAV Bhubaneswar in the finals. The topic of the final round of debate was “Civil society activists are undermining India's democracy”. This was our chance to do our school proud and we did not miss it. The questions thrown at us from the judges and the audience in the finals were tough but I couldn’t stop smiling when one of the judges said that we were good. All the teams got comments from the judges regarding the negative aspects of their performance. Waiting for the results seemed like eternity. I couldn’t sit still in my chair during the wait. Finally, the chairperson called both the finalists to the stage and the moment of reckoning had arrived. All I remember after the announcement of results was that all the students of our school who were there to cheer for us embraced us. Now we will be going to Delhi for the national finals to be held in November. I had a smile plastered on my face the rest of the evening and it’s probably going to remain that way for many more days.
Arushi Dhupia, Class XII, Our Lady Queen of the Missions School
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