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Since 1st March, 1999
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Seven cheers for seven stars
The nominees are ... (from top) Medha Patkar, Prannoy Roy, Aamir Khan, N.R. Narayana Murthy, Sourav Ganguly, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and Amartya Sen

Who are the people who “inspire” young Calcutta' We have all heard what MTV has had to say about it, with the nominations for the Icon of the Year in and open for voting. And though the music channel’s survey included people from Calcutta, it also took into account the views of young guys and gals from seven other cities. Taking a step away from the ‘pop’ picks, here are Young Metro’s nominations for the Star of the Year:

Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee may have been their choice from the political boxing ring, but Buddhadeb ‘bhadralok’ Bhattacharjee is our choice of winner. Turning the rules of red on their head, he has made all the right moves to save the state from being written off as dead. He is looking within and without to bring in the investment and get things going. And we can feel the change. He has always shown a commitment to the arts — particularly films — and for that he has our two thumbs up!

Amartya Sen

The son of Bengal’s soil wins over the MTV pick from science and academics, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. It’s more than a toss up between the nukes and the Nobel. Not only in the academic arena — where Sen’s contribution is undoubtedly invaluable — but also as an ambassador for our nation in the finest universities across the globe, he is unparalleled. For being the best amongst the rest, we salute him!

Sourav Ganguly

No offence — we all LOVE Sachin. But the best batsman in the world will have to take a backseat in our idol ratings, because the captain’s push for team play is something worth aspiring for. There is no knocking the Master Blaster’s personal greatness, but something must be said — specially for a generation of wannabe managers — for galvanising a whole team to up the aggro in attitude and aptitude.

Medha Patkar

When it comes to environmental activism, the firebrand Patkar’s crusades are the first that come to mind. True, Maneka Gandhi has made her mark in her pet area — animal rights. But the passion Patkar brought to the Narmada Bachao Andolan and her recent focus on the Sunderbans tourism projects make her the country’s most active activist.

Aamir Khan

Need we explain why Aamir has our vote for the man with the mojo' Shah Rukh may have raked it in with Devdas, and may be going places Chalte Chalte, but Aamir, with or without Lagaan to his credit, is the thinking man’s hero and the wise woman’s hearththrob. With his forays into production and his astute negotiations with Coke, he is our ‘dil chahta hai’ man.

Prannoy Roy

Smriti Malhotra as an icon' No how! As one of the stars of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, perpetuating every negative gender stereotype in the book, this actress gives way to Prannoy Roy, who broke loose from the STAR stable with NDTV 24x7. After the initial teething trouble, the news channel is developing an identity, an identity unmistakably Roy, suave and sincere.

N.R.Narayana Murthy

If we are talking about industry, we should also start talking more about corporate social responsibility. Anil Ambani — whose company is now under the scanner for allegedly underhand dealings — definitely loses valuable brownie points to the Infosys chairman who, besides creating a ‘cool’ environment for his employees, made a mark with the swift action against an alleged sexual harasser in the company’s top echelons.

And the award goes to…

Now here is your chance. Cast your votes by July 5 for the Young Metro Star of the Year. Pick your fave out of these seven, and also drop a line about your alternative choices, if any, to [email protected]


Next steps

With most of the results out (just the HS is pending), the top question on everyone’s mind is “What next'”. To provide an insight — at least for some — the Management, Engineering and Medical Education Fair was held from June 14 to 16. The fair, organised by Afairs, held at the Ice Skating Rink, featured stalls from around 100 institutions, from abroad as well as around the country. They were offering degrees and diplomas in the field of engineering, management, nursing, pharmacy, medicine, paramedicine, biotechnology, dentistry, aeronautics and emerging careers in the arts, humanities and commerce.

Spot counselling and guidance were on offer, according to students’ interests and academic qualifications by institutions such as Global Institute of Management and Technology, National Institute of Science and Technology, IMS Ghaziabad, AICMS Business School, Yeshwant Rao Chavan College of Engineering (Nagpur), South Asia International Institute (Hyderabad), University of Wales and Canterbury Christ College. But the main attraction was the student loan offered by the United Bank of India for all the available courses.

“The trends in education are fast-changing and the awareness level amongst students is noteworthy,” remarked Sanjeev Bolia, CEO, Afairs.

Harsh Vardhan Sonthalia


All for one

Interact’s Each One Teach One education project saw 102 students of “privilege” touch the lives of 150 of their “economically-challenged” friends. Students of premiere schools, including Pratt Memorial, St Thomas’ for Girls, Don Bosco Park Circus, Welland Gouldsmith, St James and St Joseph’s College, spent time at three non-formal schools run by Calcutta Police and NGOs, under the Nabadisha-project umbrella.

After mornings spent helping the kids with their lessons, the student initiative ended with a bang on June 15, with the Nabadisha kids putting up a show. The youngest girls and boys from the Bowbazar branch performed a “fruit recitation”, with a sizzling dance to Mohabbat hai mirchi and an Akbar-Birbal play being followed by an impressive juggling routine. The kids from the Lake centre chose to present a selection of their favourite nursery rhymes, part of a Rabindranath play and a dance choreographed to a medley of popular Hindi songs. The gang from Beniapukur presented a dance to a song from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai and a play entitled Kaun Banega Nyaypati.

Our thanks go out to all those who supported the project, and all the Interactors who conceived it.

Akshay Jain,

Class X, St Joseph’s College


Members of Zenith put up dance on skates choreographed by Madhuchhanda Sanyal at the Clown Town ice-skating rink on Saturday. The participants, aged between eight and 20, will stage another show on June 28. Picture by Pabitra Das

Tee star

Calcutta and the east were strokes ahead of the pack at two Sub-Junior India Golf Union tournaments held in Bangalore recently.

Ten-year-old Rommel Majumdar emerged the victor in the D category at the Eagleton Golf Club competition, held between May 27 and 30. Moving on to the third leg of the junior and sub junior tour at the Bangalore Golf Club, where the Southern India open was held from June 3 to 6, the youngster stole the show with a huge 21-stroke victory in the under-11 age group.

What makes Rommel’s wins even more commendable is that he has a handicap of seven, when most of those in the level above him have double-figure handicaps. Coached by his army colonel father at Fort William, Rommel was all grins about his victory, particularly since an international tournament in Indonesia earlier this year, in which he was supposed to tee off, had to be cancelled because of the SARS threat.

Although turning 12 this month will mean having to compete with the older lot, he is confident of his prowess with a golf club that’s just about as tall as him. Having to give up buying the latest Harry Potter for better sporting equipment can be tough at times, but Rommel has his priorities in order. For the moment, however, he’s enjoying his stint in the spotlight.

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