SUMMARY OF FIRST FRIDAY FORUM ANNUAL ORATION-cum-AWARDS-GIVING FUNCTIONS
These events were regularly held in the past since 2006 without any financial assistance and/or organisational help from the government.
Sunday, 12 November 2006: Government Museum & Art Gallery
- First Friday Forum held a Symposium on CHANDIGARH HERITAGE: Planning, Architecture, Landscape, Art, etc., first-ever of its kind since the City’s inception in 1951, to create aesthetic awareness of its unique environment and an urge in the citizenry for its holistic conservation. It was done to establish CHANDIGARH as World City making a strong case for its recognition by the powers-that-be as MODERN HERITAGE at a time when the Archaeological Survey of India [ASI] did not consider any building or site worthy of the title unless it was 100-year old, in the first place.
Initiated far-sightedly, and followed up with exemplary vigour by the Forum Founder, Dr SS Bhatti, the Government of India constituted Chandigarh Heritage Panel under Mr Shivraj Patil, Governor of Punjab & Administrator, Union Chandigarh Territory. As key member holding a national award-winning doctorate on Chandigarh’s Planning, Architecture, Urban Design, etc he prepared a comprehensive report that was approved by the Government of India, and notified by Chandigarh Administration for implementation.
Tuesday, 09 October 2007: Government Museum & Art Gallery
- FFF-2007 Annual Function theme was: INDO-SWISS FRIENDSHIP: An Architectural Vision, which was presented in the historical context of Chandigarh’s founding as the New Capital of Punjab, underscoring the fact that Indo-Swiss Friendship was initiated in 1950 when the Swiss-born Master Architects Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret conceived Chandigarh as a global city based on Modern Urbanism transcending the geo-political boundaries of India. 24 Swiss architects, led by Prof Arthur Gruegg, actively participated in the heavily-attended programme.
Sunday, 19 October 2008: Government Museum & Art Gallery
- This year FFF Annual Oration Theme was: WOMEN ARCHITECTS: Their Distinct Sensibility and Unique Contribution to the Making of the Built-Environment. In the keynote address it was revealed on the basis of scientific evidence that the Male and Female sensibilities among human beings are poles apart in terms of psycho-emotional forces, as illustrated in the age-old Chinese Yin-and-Yang Principle, which direct the thoughts, feelings, imagination, and creativity of the opposite sexes. The Women are Right-Brained creatures as compared to the Men who are Left-Brained. Women Architects of varied expertise and experience made brilliant presentations on different aspects of the theme.
- The Forum honoured at the first two functions select professionals, with FFF Awards for Excellence, for their outstanding contribution in the fields of Architecture, Structural Engineering, Architectural Journalism, Art, Education, etc., thereby enriching the Built-Environment by their consequential works. However, in keeping with the significance of the Annual Oration Theme-2008, FFF Awards were conferred exclusively on Women Professionals.
Sunday, 04 October 2009: Government Museum & Art Gallery
- First Friday Forum in its Annual Oration-2009 organised a Symposium on ARCHITECTURE AND MUSIC: Their distinct contribution to the making of the Built-Environment. The keynote address brought out the fundamental affinities between the two disciplines, and showed in a scientific way that in all the Forms of Art: Literary [Poetry]; Visual [Architecture, Painting, and Sculpture]; and Performing [Dance, Drama, and Music], Rhythm is the common Principle of Creativity—though its presence is most palpably felt only in Music. And Music at its sublimest is Mystical. Its unique vibrations lift the Soul [one of the Trio: Body, Mind, and Soul] to where it can have creative communion with God, the Incomparable Artist in every imaginable sphere.
- The Forum honoured seven professionals for their noteworthy contribution in their respective fields: Architecture, Hindustani Music, Kathak Dance, Punjabi Literature, and Art and Cultural Journalism. Two school-students were presented Certificate of Commendation for the essay they had entered in the Essay Contest on “architecture and Music”.
Sunday: 10-10-10: Chandigarh College of Architecture
- The Annual Oration-Theme ARCHITECTURE, JOURNALISM, and ARCHITECTURAL JOURNALISM was carefully selected and delivered by Dr SS Bhatti because it was he who at Chandigarh College of Architecture introduced Architectural Journalism in 1985 as an Elective Subject. He thus delineated the theme on the basis of his pioneer expertise and life-long experience in these fields to show how ARCHITECTURE, by its own imperatives of unique creativity, spins off into JOURNALISM which, in turn, prepares the ground for ARCHITECTURAL JOURNALISM.
- Three distinguished Experts dilated upon the stated disciplines. Mr Swaraaj Chauhan, a widely-travelled veteran Journalist, shared his seasoned views of Journalism and its expanding horizons vis-à-vis its whys and wherefores. Professor Sarbjot Singh Behl, an able academician-practitioner, sketched the fascinating world of Architecture in terms of its evergreen creativity. Architectural Journalism was discussed by Ar Apurva Bose Dutta who is an impassioned protagonist of this new-fangled discipline.
Friday: 11-11-11: Chandigarh College of Architecture
- The Annual Oration-Theme GAP-SEAL [Geography, Architecture, Planning-Science, Engineering, Art, Literature] was selected and delivered by Dr SS Bhatti because it was he who at Guru Ramdas School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar, introduced in 2002 the holistic concept of Geography, Architecture, Planning as being three primary disciplines instrumental in development which, though move the world forward, impose a high price on the Natural Environment by the bulldozer approach adopted worldwide thereby unwittingly leading to such irresolvable problems as depletion of natural resources, dwindling forest-cover, global warming, etc. He contended that unsavoury results of this kind issued forth from the G-A-P that unnoticeably continues to exist between Geography, Architecture, and Planning. The GAP could be bridged by treating, teaching, researching, and practising these three disciplines as one integrated professional course under the same roof. The GAP thus bridged could thenceforth be SEAL-ed by an intelligent and creative use of other disciplines like Science, engineering, Art, and Literature.
Six distinguished Experts from different fields dilated upon the subthemes of the stated Oration. Dr Sharda Kaushik, Director, Regional Institute of English, made a presentation on Reverberations of Art, in Literature: The Metaphysical Dimension, Dr Krishna Mohan, former Chairman, Department of Geography, Panjab University, spoke on Geography, The Mother Science, Ar Archana Chaudhary brought out the shortage of planners in Planning: The Mother Strategy, Ar Sangeet Sharma, Founder, A3 Foundation, showed fascinating aspects of Architecture; The Mother Art, and self-taught artist Mr Desh Ranjan Sharma talked about Art: The Aesthetic Aspect of the Built-Environment.
Friday: 28 December 2012: Chandigarh College of Architecture
First Friday Forum in its annual oration-2012 organised a Symposium on Architecture, Science, and Art Dr Sharda Kaushik, Director, Regional Institute of English, was the Chief Guest. She lauded the Forum’s persistent role in educating the citizenry in aesthetic appreciation vis-à-vis artistic creation in the many forms of Art of which India has the richest tradition in the world. Guest of Honour Ar Sangeet Sharma revealed fascinating aspects of Architecture in his stimulating presentation on The Mother Art.
Dr SS Bhatti, Former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, and Founder, First Friday Forum, delivered the theme-oration titled GAP-SEAL: Geography, Architecture, and Planning – Science, Engineering, Art, and Literature. He pointed out that all the problems of the modern world like depletion of natural resources, thinning out of forest-cover, global warming are attributable to one factor: dismal neglect of Geography that he defined as the Architecture of the Earth’s crust. To bridge the GAP among the three primary disciplines he pleaded for their integrated education in professional courses.
Dr Krishna Mohan, Former Chairman, Department of Geography, Panjab University, with his distinguished expertise and diverse experience, laid bare little-known aspects of Geography as the Mother Science.
Professor Harish Bhatia, a highway engineering expert, showed how a slight slant impels Engineering to reach out to Planning, a discipline that remains blissfully far removed from it by virtue of our own conditioned thinking!
Architect-Planner Archana Chaudhary presented her special view of Planning and its connectivity with Architecture in a broader perspective. Mr Desh Ranjan Sharma, a prodigious self-taught artist, pleaded for treating Art as integral to architectural creativity.
Sunday: 13-10-13: Chandigarh College of Architecture
First Friday Forum in its annual oration-2013 organised a Symposium on the theme of ENGINEERING: The World-Transforming Discipline. Dr BS Sohi, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Chandigarh University, was the Chief Guest. He lauded the Forum’s persistent role in educating the citizenry in aesthetic appreciation of the built environment vis-à-vis the contribution of architecture and allied disciplines. In his thought-provoking speech he dwelt on the role that engineers play in the country’s economy. Guest of Honour Engineer AK Sharma, former Senior Manager of Punjab Tractors Limited, revealed in his presentation how engineering enlightens the analytical faculty of human beings.
Dr SS Bhatti, Former Principal, Chandigarh College of Architecture, and Founder of First Friday Forum, delivered the theme-oration bringing to public notice 20 internationally-recognised engineering achievements which have transformed the entire world and shrunk it into a global village. He said that modern urbanism would be unthinkable without the indispensable inputs from the discipline of engineering. He thanked the media for spreading the message of the Forum’s activities among the general public for arousing its interactive response.
Friday: 17 October 2014: Government Museum & Art Gallery, Sector 10
The central idea of this year’s Oration Theme “Living for Life” was to show how technological advancement worldwide has introduced into workaday existence hither-to unknown creature comforts which, ironically, have produced luxurious lifestyles at all levels but benumbed our sensibilities to the need for living above the body’s mundane plane. The latest gadgets brought into being by technological advancement are tending to make life less than a child’s play—far removed from the human prerogative of thinking and reflection which warrants mature endeavour. When such physical amenities progressively become available to ever-increasing numbers of humans, a grim question arises: Is there something more to life than only the perennial yearning for creature comforts?
Thursday: 15 October 2015: Government Museum & Art Gallery, Sector 10
“ARCHITECTURE: Principles, Practice, Probe, Pedagogy, Promotion, and Patronage” was the symposium theme for First Friday Forum Annual Oration-cum-Awards-Giving Function held on 15-10-15.
Dr SS Bhatti explained with new insights the changes that the discipline of architecture has undergone and drew attention to the need for fresh thinking into what should go into the making of the Built Environment in a fast-changing world of virtual reality. The Indian Institute of Architects president Ar Divya Kush, who was chief guest for the function, spoke on the promotion of architecture. He revealed the importance of the role that architects must play in the development and growth of the country’s economy by an impassioned promotion of architecture that is truly the “Matrix of Civilisation”. Ar SS Sekhon, guest of honour and director, Indo-Global College of Architecture, delved deep into the process of architectural pedagogy with focus on creativity to show how this unique training prepares future architects of mettle and moral magnificence. Architectural education is of little value if it lacks creativity, he stressed. Ar Kapil Setia chief architect, Chandigarh Administration, stated that architectural practice and ethics should live up to the high standards set up by our forefathers. He highlighted the commitment displayed by Le Corbusier and his first team of architects in the creation of Chandigarh with a lesson in architectural ethics.
Noted Hindi poet and scholar Colonel Tilak Raj released Dr SS Bhatti’s book “JAPUJI – Exegesis & Poetic Rendering”, and said that this offbeat contribution of the author is a rich addition to the existing literature on theology and religious studies.
Saturday: 15 October 2016: Government Museum & Art Gallery, Sector 10
First Friday Forum in its annual oration-2016 organised a Symposium on The Making of City and the Unmaking of Humanity at Government Museum & Art Gallery in Sector 10-C here. Ar Renu Khanna, Renu Khanna & Associates, Panchkula, was the Chief Guest. She lauded the Forum’s persistent role in educating the citizenry in a host of problems facing the city. She said that Le Corbusier planned Chandigarh for our physical needs, but it is high time we Indianise our cities and cater for mental, psychological and sociological needs. Planning some compulsive socially interactive spaces within each sector wherein people of all age groups could sit together and share their joys and sorrows could be a possible solution.
Dr SS Bhatti, Founder, First Friday Forum, delivered the theme-oration. Painting a dismal picture of cities at the global level he came to down to illustrate the key points of his thesis with particular reference to Chandigarh. He pointed out that politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen, and citizens, are together responsible for turning Chandigarh, the City Beautiful, into a shanty town. A city supposed to civilise the citizens is rapidly becoming a den for crime because the original population of 5 lakh is now 12 lakh with nobody bothered about the rapid decay of modern urbanism. This decay is neither self-limiting nor restrictive in its harm. It gives birth to crime of various kinds which keep growing even as the population grows beyond limits of civic manageability.
Ar Jit Gupta, Sahara Prime City Limited Area Office Chandigarh, said that city governance should be more transparent and community responsive and informal sector made an integral part of city planning and development process to eliminate slums in order to create self-reliant urban communities to make city more socially vibrant and safe for residents.
Prof Aradhana Jindal, Principal, MM School of Architecture, Sadopur, Ambala, said that in the present oppressive environment due to population explosion and rise in technological advances, a non-oppressive environment can be realized only when human consciousness is awakened to bring about balance in our economic, social, built and natural assets.