The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Spice up words with action
A poster of the latest screen adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragic romance, starring Leonardo di Caprio and Claire Danes

Young Metro readers argue for the timeless appeal of the Bard in the Time to Talk debate over ‘Is reading Shakespeare passé for school students or is he still a must-read'’ But there is also a call for more lights, camera and action.

Art is an imitation of reality. Nobody portrayed this better than Shakespeare. Humanity at large still identifies with his writings. He has given us the entire range of human feelings. Universal truths of life need early understanding and reading of Shakespeare does that for us. Maybe for students of today, Shakespeare is only a part of the English syllabus, but he uncovers life with its faults and makes us aware of all its sound and fury. We have to think twice before doing away with somebody as great as William Shakespeare.

Pravati Maulik Gupta,
IIIrd year, English,
Shri Shikshayatan College.

Reading Shakespeare can never become passé. He is undoubtedly the greatest creative mind in the realm of literature. His greatness lies in his ability to take old stories and retell them in his own inimitable manner. No other writer has been able to map human emotions as accurately as Shakespeare did, and the fact that each generation rediscovers new vistas in his works proves the immortality of his legacy. Through his works, we get rare insights into how people are shaped by fundamental emotions. Today, we live in a world torn apart by strife and turmoil and yet, we are given the promise of a perfect tomorrow. There is a void in us that Shakespeare seeks to fill with compassion, by stating that we are all part of a human drama. He explored ordinary impulses and described human nature as it was, as it is and as it always will be. In doing so, he has put himself far beyond the reach of time.

Priyanka Aich

Shakespeare has been canonised in the middle and senior school English syllabi. Students have been compelled to read the time-honoured works of the Bard, willy-nilly. The deterrents to a simply textual appreciation are many: the language is Elizabethan English, with words having different meanings, and the sentences being convoluted. A unique product of a special age in history, the plays are largely incomprehensible, and thus unexciting, in the modern perspective, unless the students are guided by the audio-visual medium. Frequent staging of the plays would help in generating interest. It is more appealing to the average school student to witness the histrionics of Laurence Olivier as Othello than to merely go through printed pages.

Trinanjan Dutt

Is it time to ban the Bard' It is pointless to deny that in today’s tech world, Leonardo di Caprio is easier to identify with than Shakespeare’s Romeo. But the abolition of Shakespeare would leave a gaping hole films cannot fill. It is unfair to pressurise students by forcing large volumes of Shakespeare on them. But if future authors work to make their grounding strong, will it be too much to keep Macbeth and the rest side by side with Jhumpa Lahiri' The Bard, it seems, must go. English literature, like Nietszche’s God, the dodo, Queen Anne and mutton, is dead. This is a “brave new world”and a Shakespearean quotation is as meaningless as ancient Greek to pupils of the future. Let us not go to extremes of ‘passé’ or ‘must-read’. What about something in between'

Ranjana Das

Members of Children’s Art Theatre stage Abanindranath Tagore’s Khirer Putul as part of their silver jubilee celebrations at Girish Mancha

Festive flair

The theme was ‘The bliss of the touch of the one in the play of the many—Tagore’; the setting was Loreto College; the players included Jadavpur University, J.D. Birla, Lady Brabourne, St Xavier’s, Presidency, IIHM, NUJS, MERI, Rani Birla, Bethune, IHM and hosts Loreto College. From September 4 to 6, Samagam 2003, the annual Loreto fest, ruled the campus.

Day One commenced with the Damayanti Shield Debate, on ‘War is the ultimate solution to peace’. NUJS’ argument for and against the motion won them the best team trophy, while Diyashree Chatterjee from JU and Purnima Venkat from Loreto were adjudged the best speakers for and against the motion, respectively.

In the eastern music competition, Loreto came first in the solo category, while St Xavier’s made a clean sweep of the duet and Bangla band. The eastern dance competition was won by Loreto College, with a fusion performance of Bharata-natyam, kathakali, and Odissi.

The second day began with the quiz. JU came out on top, with St Xavier’s a close second and Presidency in third position. In the Ajit Roy memorial inter-collegiate one-act play competition, J.D. Birla presented Percival Wilde’s Refund, JU staged James Saunders’ Bye Bye Blues and Loreto College performed Jean Giraudoux’s The Apollo of Bellac. Loreto won the prize for best production, while Samimitra Das of JU snapped up the best supporting actor title. Laura Mishra and Sravasti Datta of Loreto College jointly won the best actress prize.

The last day began with the HAM session, where Loreto came out on top. This was followed by the western music and dance competitions. Bethune College won the first prize in the solo section, while Loreto bagged the prizes for both duet and band. In western dance, St Xavier’s was the champion by a narrow margin, with Loreto in second place.

Overall, Loreto College led the show, with J.D. Birla and St Xavier’s in tow, followed by IHM and JU. The fest ended with performances by singer Shayne Hyrapiet and dance troupe Zodiac.

Suchi Arya,
Ist year, English, Loreto College

Activity week

Smiling faces, shrieks of joy and frenzied cheering could be seen and heard from every corner at Don Bosco Park Circus from August 29 to 31, the venue for Activity 2003, the ‘cool school’ fest. Horlicks Activity 2003, the seventh edition of “India’s most prestigious inter-school festival”, showcased the talents of students from Classes I to XII.

Held in Calcutta for the first time, DBPC was buzzing with students from about 30 schools as the fest, comprising about 40 events on and offstage, was formally kicked off. The first day witnessed rounds on debate and quiz, where Mahadevi Birla Girls’ High School and St Augustine’s School came out on top. They will represent Calcutta at the national finals in Bangalore. Short play, fusion dance, Indian film hits, calligraphy and cartooning were also held.

On Day Two, the competition intensified, as students fought it out in categories like fashion show, elocution, poetry-writing and cooking. But the major events of the day were Mr and Mrs Horlicks and antakshari. In the latter, Frank Anthony Public School was the champion which will represent Calcutta at the national finals.

For the Mr and Mrs Horlicks crowns, 10 boys and 10 girls were selected from 70 students through written prelims and group discussions. Five boys and five girls went on to the finals. Here four rounds saw the participants answering questions from judges and showcasing their talents. Anant Agarwal of Lakshmipat Singhania Academy was crowned Mr Horlicks, and Nabhi Mitra of St Francis Xavier was crowned Mrs Horlicks. Both will represent Calcutta in Bangalore. Mahadevi Birla Girls’ was the overall winner, followed by Apeejay.

Nihar Jain,
Class IX, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy


Verbal volley

The best college-student debaters of leading city institutions will square off at the end of September, to thrash out the pros and cons of ‘Legalisation of prostitution’. The debate is being organised by the Youth Volunteer Action Division of CRY (Child Relief and You).

The concept of the debate was mooted during a consultation among the volunteers and CRY personnel.

The aim of this inter-college event is to reach out to the students and sensitise them about the issue. It is also a platform for socially aware youth to voice their opinions.

Jadavpur University, Presidency College and St Xavier’s College have confirmed their participation, while many others are in contention to fill the final slot. The last leg of the preparation is on, as the volunteers put up posters at various institutions, and the CRY team decides on a venue and date. A panel of judges has also been finalised.

The debaters are busy honing their pugnacious word skills and researching the issue. For them, it’s more than a competition. It is a chance to address a serious social issue. Samya Seth, representing JU, explains: “While there are more basic issues of import in today’s world, sex is a driving force for humanity. In this regard, prostitution is a problem affecting society at large. The topic has made me think, and I am glad that I now have a platform to air my views on the subject.”

So, one hopes that the audience will be equally enlightened through this brainstorming debate on the burning topic.

Aritro Ganguly,
Jadavpur University

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