The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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School tool for fatal fight

If schools and colleges prepare students for the real world, then education on issues as vital as AIDS should be an integral part of the programme. So say most Time to Talk readers, making themselves heard on the issue of introducing AIDS education in classrooms. Here are a few more letters, with more to follow…

AIDS education should definitely be taken up in class as it concerns our very existence. We students have a right to be informed about this fatal disease, not only on World AIDS Day, but every day, to ensure our safety.

— Shreya Sarkar,

G.D. Birla Centre for Education

It is our duty to motivate people to adopt healthy and safe practices. Every student has a duty to society, and can also spread the word amongst the masses without access to education.

— Achyut Banerjee,

Class XI, RKMVC College

AIDS is a real threat to the human race, from which only knowledge and protection can save us. In India, too, the number of people with AIDS has risen sharply. Hence, introducing AIDS education in classrooms would be a wise and timely decision.

— Mayookh Sengupta,

Jadavpur University

AIDS education is necessary among students who can, in turn, generate further awareness.

— Moumita Rudra,

IIIrd year, Gokhale Memorial Girls’ College

AIDS, being an incurable disease, must be prevented. Though several organisations have tried to build consciousness about the harm this dreadful disease can cause, most of us don’t really know how this disease spreads or how it can be controlled and so it should be included in the syllabus.

— Pratyay Banerjee,

Class XI, Patha Bhavan

AIDS education should be taken up in schools, though conservatives may oppose sex education. Both sexes interact freely nowadays, though they may lack the basic information about each other.

— Sayan Ghosh,

Hindu School

The need of the day is to spread awareness to prevent AIDS. What could be a better platform than a class where both sexes can interact openly' But it should be restricted to higher classes.

— Manjari Choudhary,

Loreto College

It is essential to know the whats and hows of this fatal disease. Only education can forward the anti-AIDS campaign.

— Anushree Basu

The AIDS virus has spread all over the world. If proper remedial measures are not adopted, it will spiral out of control.

— Sananda Sen,

IIIrd year, Asutosh College

What will be gained by teaching about AIDS in classrooms' At the most, it will serve as a word of caution. We receive enough information from television, newspapers, radio and the Internet already, which has created enough general awareness.

— Manan Agarwal,

Ist year, St Xavier’s College

With sex education already creeping into some schools in some form or the other, AIDS awareness should also be included in the programme.

— Md. Tarique Nisar,

Ist year, St Xavier’s College

It is the responsibility of adults to combat this deadly illness by creating consciousness among students.

— Rimli Datta

With the spread of this deadly disease, AIDS education has become a must in class, for the creation of a more mature student body.

— Rohitash Agarwal,

IInd year, Bhawanipur Gujarati Education Society


Music on the air

New stars on the airwaves. And all five of them. The results of the All India Radio Music Competition are out and a young crop of champions has emerged from the state. “Calcutta always does well in the national finals, and the boys and girls this year have lived up to the reputation,” city station director Ashim Kumar Rej states.

The annual contest, which scouts for musical talent across the country, was held in August-September. The procedure was simple enough for a competition of this scale. Those who cleared the prelims were asked to come and record their music. The tapes were then sent to Delhi for the final selection by a panel of experts.

“The result was worth the wait,” laughs Smita Adhikari, who has topped the light music vocal section in the Shyamasangeet category. Smita, who has been on Yubabani since Class X, found out about the contest from the station itself. The 22-year-old graduate in Bengali from Narasingha Dutta College, Howrah, sang her favourite Ma hoye ma chheler prane for the prelims. “The judges, who were seated elsewhere and were talking to us through a speaker fitted in our room, then asked me to sing a song on the Jhaptaal beat and then another composed by Ramprasad,” she recounts.

If Smita had the support of her father, Gour Adhikari, an assistant of Hemanta Mukherjee during his composing days in Mumbai, the guitarist father of Koyel Saha, runner-up in the classical instrumental section, initiated her into music. “He used to buy me cassettes and take me to recitals of well-known artistes.”

Koyel came to know about the contest from the radio. “I was competing with all others playing string instruments. So, the prelims itself was tough,” the 24-year-old says. But her Ahir Bhairav recital saw her through to Delhi. “For the finals, I also played Raag Desh, a night-time raag, to contrast with Ahir Bhairav,” the Union department of culture national scholarship winner for 2001 explains.

For Debapriyo Adhikari, it was guruji Samaresh Chaudhury’s ashirvaad that saw him taking part and winning the contest in the Hindusthani vocal section. Speaking from his Dhanbad residence, the second-year student of Sindri College who has been training since age nine, says he was confident of a good result as his recital (Raag Kalavati and Raag Todi) had drawn praise from station employees. “Still, actually topping the charts is a great feeling,” he said.

“All these winners will now become our grade-B artistes who will be allowed to perform regularly on AIR without taking auditions,” Rej adds. Before that, all three, along with Koyel Dasgupta, runner-up in light classical vocal (thumri), and Pran Gopal Banerjee, second in tabla, will be waiting for the prize distribution ceremony at Akashvani Bhavan.


X-mas bash

Calcutta Foundation organised its annual Christmas bash for less-privileged children on the Raj Bhavan grounds.

Around 1,200 children from institutions like Oxford Mission, Udayan, Basti Welfare Society, CINI-Asha, Cathedral Relief, Calcutta Rescue, Satya Sai Institute, Jabala, Future Hope, Navjyoti, Disha and others joined the celebrations.

George N. Sibley, Consul General of the United States, accompanied by wife Lee Alison Sibley, sang Christmas carols, with the Calcutta Foundation Orchestra providing the music. Usha Uthup and Sandeep Vyas followed, with Governor Viren J. Shah doing a jig for the children. Retired colonel D.J. Klare dressed up as Santa and distributed gifts.

— Sangeet Shirodkar,

Apeejay School


Varsity valedictory

High spirits and cheer ruled the Jadavpur University campus on December 24, for the 47th Annual Convocation of the institution. The campus acquired quite a colourful look with scholars dressed in robes of orange.

The ceremony began at 10 am as various dignitaries, including Chancellor Governor Viren J. Shah, assembled. Scrolls were handed out to those securing degrees in D.Lit, Ph.D in the Arts, Ph.D in Engineering and Pharmacy and Ph.D in the Sciences.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were distributed to students of each department and every degree.

Some special awardees included best graduate of the year Saibal Bhattacharjee, best post-graduate of the year Srovonti Basu, and best sportsperson of the year Sanghamitra Mustafi. This was followed by an address by vice-chancellor A.N. Basu.

— Sreejita Deb


Contest for kids

The Interact Club of Pratt Memorial organised a competition for underprivileged kids at Gyan Manch recently. Challenged children from Manovikas Kendra exhibited excellent synchronisation in the dance performance.

The hearing impaired used mime to communicate their message.

Kids from the Don Bosco Night School and Gandhi Vidya Mandir sang while the Young Men’s Welfare Society and New Life New Hope spiced up their dance routine with flashes of comedy.

Later on, kids from Don Bosco Park Circus entertained the competitors with song and dance. The organisers from Pratt Memorial also took the stage with a fusion dance act.

— Dolon Dawn,

Class XII, Pratt Memorial

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