The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Timeless flight on Bard’s wing

Is reading Shakespeare passé for school students or is he still a must-read' Passé' No way. Must-read' Of course. That seems to be the deafening cry from Young Metro readers as they back the Bard all the way. More responses, as you like it, next week.

With the bells of change crying out to discard the old and ring in the new, one is forced to review the past in the context of the present. But reading Shakespeare can never become passé for school students. Besides introducing students to some of the richest works of creativity, it also enriches the young and formative minds. Shakespeare’s works have a universal and eternal appeal. The language may be different and difficult, but as a work of literature, transcending time and space, it gives the student an opportunity to look back at history, wherein lie the seeds of the future.

Anindita Chatterjee

Shakespeare should definitely be made a must-read in schools. I would regard reading of Shakespeare’s plays as an essential part of improving one’s general knowledge, rather than a time-pass for students.

Manan Agarwal,
B.Com, St Xavier’s

As Bengali literature is incomplete sans the writings of Rabindranath Tagore, English literature is unfinished without the works of William Shakespeare. Although written in 16th Century English, a person cannot attain a basic knowledge of the language without reading Shakespeare. He is still a must-read, for everyone. Nowadays, in schools, we read a lot of Shelley and Keats, because we are able to understand them better, but avoid reading Merchant of Venice or Romeo and Juliet as we find them behind the times. This is an unfair thought, since Shakespeare will never be dated. Moreover, a school student has to read Shakespearean literature if he wants to study English. In a way, Shakespeare is responsible for making English the universal language it is today.

Pratyay Banerjee,
Class XII, Patha Bhavan

Shakespeare can quite easily be used as a synonym for English literature. Without reading Shakespeare, one cannot gauge the value of English literature. It is as interesting to read Shakespeare today as it was centuries ago. Anyone reading English literature should read Shakespeare’s plays. It is not passé for students and never will be. Though, for a change, students can complement it with light reading, like the Harry Potter books.

Aakash Kamal Misra,

Literature is immortal. The impact of literature on our lives can never be denied. It is something to discern carefully. Shakespearean plays should be read by every person. It would be disgraceful to ignore his works. That is why schools and colleges still include Shakespearean literature in their syllabi. Literature plays a vital role in widening our views. Shakespearean literature should be read parallel to modern literature, and it will never go out of fashion.

Sharmistha Dan,
Class XII, Shri Shikshayatan

William Shakespeare was the greatest dramatist of the 16th Century. His writings still occupy a dominant position in English literature, as they remain universally famous. A person’s learning remains incomplete without knowledge of Shakespearean plays. His works, like Merchant of Venice, Julius Caesar and Romeo and Juliet, are still literary favourites, and have been read by generations of students. Shakespeare’s dignity and his style of writing have kept his works alive through the centuries, and will continue to do so in future.

Sananda Sen


Mr Moustache

A man from Jaipur turned many heads during his recent visit to the city, on account of his 10.5 ft-long moustache. Raj Singh Chauhan also caught the eye of a boy named Deepak, one of the many young inmates of Don Bosco Ashalayam. The kids from the orphanage had a desire to meet the moustache man, whose picture they saw in Metro. So, Ayesha Alam of Pratt Memorial School and Harsh Gupta of M.P. Birla Schools, both from the Interact District Council, arranged a meeting for these kids with Chauhan. The youngsters were dumbstruck when they saw the man in person. He obliged by unfolding his moustache to its full length amidst shrieks of “oohs” and “ooribabas” from the kids. He then went on to perform Rajasthani folk songs accompanied by a traditional instrument to the delight of the children. An ordinary evening was thus transformed into a momentous one for the young orphans, through the combined efforts of these Interactors.

Siddharth Jain,
Don Bosco School, Interact District Council


Leading the way

This Sunday was a journey on the path of leadership development for Rotaractors of the city. The Rotaract District Council, RI District 3290, organised its first professional development workshop of the year, in co-operation with the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (IIMC).

The topic for the daylong seminar was Management by Values. Professor Sanjoy Mukherjee, co-ordinator of the Management Centre for Human Values of IIMC, started the discussions, stressing the importance of values through interesting examples. The next session was on Leadership: Communication and Motivation, followed by one on Science and Arts — Purifying or Corrupting Morals' The last session was conducted by Rotaract member and student of IIMC Aritro, who included a breathing exercise demonstrating the power of meditation.


Stage is set

For many college-goers, the only reason for bunking class is to indulge in adda. The bookish ones, of course, can’t look beyond the classroom. But for Medha, Ishan, Shantanu and Shirsha of Presidency College, campus life means more than endless adda and non-stop studying. These members of Unpresidented, the Presidency College periodical, conceived Drama-ties as a forum for college-going amateur thespians and scriptwriters to showcase their talents. Having joined hands with the British Council, they’re on their marks to get set and go.

Preparations are on in full swing, as the organisers work relentlessly to iron out the rules and regulations, zero in on the judges, select the chief guest and invite other colleges for the event. Chandan Sen, Dolly Basu and Bratya Basu have agreed to sit in as judges, while Tanusree Shankar has given the nod to be chief guest. There is no particular theme, but the focus is on originality. According to Ishan and Shantanu, “The concept can be borrowed but the script has to be original. It can be inspired by a story, even a play, but not a published drama.”

The response has been great. Eight institutions have confirmed their participation, while there have been long queues at the audition to be part of the Presidency drama team. Even teachers are pitching in by scrutinising scripts. Next up is a meeting of representatives, where the rules will be announced. The teams for the one-act English plays must consist of only 12 cast members, apart from the backstage crew, and will be allowed 30 minutes each.

Drama-ties is all set to become an annual affair. Preparations are on track and the excitement is palpable. The battle-lines have been drawn and teams from St Xavier’s College, Jadavpur University, Presidency College and others will lock horns on September 22 to match their histrionic skills.

Aritro Ganguly,
Jadavpur University


Aim for a cause

Manzil, the newly-installed Interact District Council for 2003-04, organised a fundraiser, Manzil Nite, at Golden Park Hotel last week.

The night saw students from over 20 schools jive and hip-hop to the mixes stormed up by DJ Akash. The students contributed wholeheartedly to the cause of the Interact District Council by buying passes to the event. The funds raised will be spent on social work, on the uplift of the poor, and will go to orphanages and old age homes that the Council works with.

Recently, Neha Gupta of G.D. Birla Centre for Education, with the help of Interactors from other schools, donated a rickshaw to a worker and took members of the All Bengal Women’s Union, an old-age home, to Dakshineswar, from the money raised.

Siddharth Jain,
Don Bosco School, Interact District Council


Festive fun

School life comprises the ‘three F's’ — fun, frolic and fests.

On August 26 and 27, Ashok Hall Girls Higher Secondary School held its annual school fest, Zeitgeist 2003, at Kala Mandir.

On Day 1, after the opening ceremony, events like, Switchwit, otherwise known as block and tackle, Smooth Talk, or half-a-minute, Mogoje, the quiz contest, Stagecraft and Noise Banned, the western music competition, were held. Day 2 started off with That’s Your Q, the medley category, followed by the UN mock session, Unparliamentary, Rhydhun, comprising eastern music, Footloose or western dance, and the closing ceremony.

While the hosts came out on top, Don Bosco Park Circus emerged runners up, with Calcutta Boys’ in third position. True to fest tradition, Ashok Hall handed the trophy to DBPC.

Asif Salam,
Ist year, Ashutosh College

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