Iraqi children sit near a British Challenger tank in Basra, southern Iraq (Reuters)
How unconnected can the classroom be from world conflict' With the battle for Baghdad won and lost, Time to Talk asked its readers whether the promised land (the campuses of America and England) would be a lesser draw this year. ‘In the wake of the war, will students think twice about going to universities in the US and the UK'’ Yes, no, maybe... More responses will be printed next week
Most of the students go to the US because they are attracted by the better and higher standard of living there. So, I don’t think that the Iraq war will reduce the desire of the youth to pursue higher education in the US or the UK as this conflict it is not likely to have an adverse effect on the standard of living there.
Manan Agarwal, Ist yr, St Xavier’s College
Students will definitely think twice before setting out to study in the US and the UK, because they don’t want to risk their lives at the altar of higher studies. Also, why go abroad when there are so many colleges and new institutes coming up in India these days'
Zainab R. Vithorawala
Blood has been shed in 1991 and again blood is going to be shed in 2003. The Bush and Blair partnership is responsible for the slaughter in Iraq. The motivation behind this is total control over the oilfields. They have defied the UN and gone against world opinion. Their own people are against them and now in the wake of the war students should boycott universities and colleges as a symbol of protest.
Students who wish to go to universities in the US and the UK have a lot of dreams and high hopes. Their excitement in seeking knowledge cannot be mellowed by the influence of wars. Moreover, education and politics are two different fields that should not be mixed. So, I don’t find enough reasons to think twice about going there.
Class XII, Shri Shikshayatan
War decimates everything, from economy to the dreams of entire nations. Most youngsters prefer to go abroad, especially to the US, for higher studies. But today, several restrictions have been imposed on entry into the US and the UK and students should think twice before going.
Gunjeet S. Wadhwa,
Rai Bahadur Road
I would definitely think twice before going there to study because for me being a human being is much more important than being a student. An opportunity to study in the UK or the US comes once in a lifetime and a hell of a lot of hard work and luck goes into it. But we must not forget that these are the countries responsible for turning a deaf ear to the pleas of peace from all over the world and killing thousands of innocent people for a selfish cause. I know I can’t do much about the present situation and lessen the sufferings of the Iraqi people, but if I take this decision, then deep in my heart I will know that I have done the right thing.
Ist Yr, B.Sc
Well, there are some risks, of course. The US and the UK have the best universities but they are also waging war against another country. Education is affected by war. In the wake of the war, anything can happen. Therefore, I feel students should think twice about going to study in the US and the UK.
Class X, Modern High
|(Top) Shreya Ghoshal. (Above) A scene from her greatest hit Dola Re, picturised on Madhuri Dixit and Aishwarya Rai, in Devdas
“I have written my exam well today. I think with this encouragement, kal bhi main achchhi likhoongi.” The thanksgiving speech struck a chord in the filmi gathering at the Hotel Tulip auditorium in Mumbai. But then, the petite figure collecting the award on stage was a day from her 19th birthday. Shreya Ghoshal, the latest sensation in the playback corridors of Bollywood, is the youngest even among today’s early starters. And started she has with many a bang — Zee Cine awards, Filmfare, Sansui Viewer’s Choice, Stardust… Quite a collection in the nine months since Dola Re in Devdas.
“I keep those awards in a not-so-visible corner of my room so that I don’t become complacent,” says the voice of Aishwarya Rai (Paro). Her songs for Bipasha Basu in Jism, too, have hit the top 10 charts. Yet, Paro remains special. “It must have been the innocence in my voice that made Sanjayji (Sanjay Leela Bhansali) pick me,” reflects the winner of the TVS Sa Re Ga Ma contest, on her dream break. It is now part of music lore how the director was watching the TV show where 14-year-old Shreya outsang senior competitors. “The Devdas call came in March 2000. Sanjayji had kept me in mind for a year-and-a-half,” says the student of South Indian Education Society (SIES) College, Mumbai, the surprise still evident in her now-famous voice.
Class is a still where a major part of Shreya’s day is spent (“Education is important,” mother Sharmishtha cuts in). But after college hours (7 am to 12 noon), it’s off to the recording studios, while the later hours of the day are meant for music practice. Shreya takes classical music lessons from Mukta Bhide. “I am also learning Urdu to improve my pronunciation,” she says, though Hindi diction for the girl brought up in Rajasthan is not a problem.
Does that leave any time for herself' “I am a night bird. So, however late I am, I still find time to surf channels.” Top favourite is Cartoon Network, but if there is any channel playing her own songs, she has to watch it all. “I put the volume up so everyone can hear the song, all over again,” she says, excitedly, so what if it disturbs brother Rivu’s sleep. Being a student celebrity sometimes renders her schedule really hectic. “Last year, I had committed to a Durga Puja programme in Pune which coincided with my first-term exams. That meant singing in the evening, travelling back through the night, reaching Mumbai at 3 am and sitting for the exam at 6 am. “Don’t ask me what I wrote. I wasn’t sure myself,” she laughs, jumping about from bed to chair and back in her hotel room.
Shreya has lots of Bollywood on her plate right now — Main Hoon Na, Zaroorat, Aitbaar, Armaan, Saaya, Imtehaan… But not having enough offers from Tollywood surprises her. “I have sung in five Bengali films so far, but there should have been more offers,” feels the teenaged songstress, who is also busy down south. “I am singing for all the masters there, from Illayaraja to M.M. Kreem to A.R. Rahman.
Any talk of nervousness is shrugged off. “Even Lataji started early. Since I am at the height of enthusiasm, this is the best time to take off. After all, I’ll have that many years left to experiment.”
— Sudeshna Banerjee
Tribal children and underprivileged girls of Binapani Ashram, Sriniketan, presented Tagore’s dance drama Chandalika, at Kala Mandir, on May 7. Governor Viren J. Shah was the chief guest. Chitralekha Choudhury, former principal of Uttarpara Girls’ College, was the special guest. Prof Dilip Coomer Ghose, general secretary, Asiatic Society, presided over the show.
After Dr S. Bhattacharya, president of Binapani Educational & Welfare Trust spoke about the ashram and its activities, the dignitaries shared their views on the functioning of the institution. This was followed by a staging of the dance drama. Established by Barka and Manjushree Saren, the NGO works for the uplift of backward classes around Santiniketan.
— Srinwanti Das & Sutirtha Sengupta
—The Interact Club of Mahadevi Birla Girls Higher Secondary School organised a movie festival at Orient. Funds collected from the screening of Ishq Vishk will be utilised for its social service projects.
—Urmila Srivatsava, Head of Departement, Hindi, Apeejay School, launched her first book of poems, Sree Chintan, at the May Queen Ball held at Fort William on May 10. The book was released by the wife of army commander General J. Verma. Proceeds received from the book will go to the NGO Ashadeep, for the education of deaf and mute children.
— Sangeet Shirodkar,
—Kinder Klub is organising Kinder Fest, a three-day and two-night summer camp at Ffort Radission, in Raichak, from May 17 to 19. The camp, being conducted by young adults, includes photography, child rights, positive attitude, star gazing, a floodlit cricket tournament, a movie show, water polo and more. Those interested can contact 31025336.
—Birla Industrial and Technological Museum is organising a series of summer camps on syllabus-based activities in physics, chemistry, life sciences and geography, as well as basic astronomy and robotics, from May 20 to June 7. For more information, contact 2247 7241.