Given the ferment brewing in different parts of our country, more of intellectual, and deep soul searching ferment, among those, who so far had taken anything and everything in their stride, trying to make sense of the happenings, being so used to apathy from those elected to take good care of them, I wonder, actually, if the topics for elocution that came this year, for our Annual Inter School Cultural fest [on November 21 and 22, 2008], were in some way prophetic! I have already shared one of them here, Tolerance is the Need of the Hour, which was presented by a Class 7 student, Niranjana.
I’d like to now present the topic and text of the Group II participant, Ashna D. Her group had this beautiful topic, given as the post title here, India, My Beautiful Country. She had to speak for 3 minutes. Exceeding the time limit would mean disqualification, and it was an uphill task all the way, trying to encapsulate the beauty of our nation, in 3 minutes. But needs must, and, the following was what came to me, as I prepared. With a bit of work on it, and editing, and nail-biting sessions where we timed, re-timed and honed the brilliant little girl, Ashna, to a perfect delivery, this , below is the finished product. She got the second place too; and a first place for English Recitation, [3 minutes again] for the touching poem, “Daddy’s Day” by Cheryl Costello Forshey, which for reasons of time constraint, had to be edited down to 3 minutes. But a first place for the poem, was truly deserving. She studies in Class 4, and is a prodigy; a wonderful, sincere, and entirely “there” child!! Congrats, again, Ashna. I shall also share some poetry that her elder sister, Anjana D. writes, on the other blog, A Quest.. Soon, I hope.
So here is the text of the speech, on the topic, India, My Beautiful Country!!!
A thing of Beauty is Joy Forever;
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness…
these lines from John Keats, Most Honorable Judges, Respected Teachers, Parents and all of you dear friends describe the one thing we have in common, India, Our Beautiful Country!!!
For me, the loveliness of our land is seen, felt and known at the most basic levels. I’d suggest experiencing the fascination of India through these Thresholds – The Physical, The Emotional, and finally, the Spiritual.
All through the vastness of its length and breadth, India is unique in its tantalizing topography, colours and brilliance of flora and fauna! Is there another country so varied as to host golden beaches, on three sides, snowy mountainscapes, tropical forests, mesmerizing deserts, perennial rivers, fertile plains, plateaus, lagoons, bays… and Oh! So very many features?
On an emotional level, it’s the warmth of her peoples, their hospitality, their vitality and the energy that is the most remarkable. So pliant and warm is her welcome, reflected in her people, that they embody –Athithi Devo Bhava- our Guest is akin to God – the tradition that I do believe, makes her one among the top destinations on Tourist Maps! With fascinating variety of languages, customs, traditions, even an Indian is yet to know her fully in all her hues!
The Soul of India is the Spiritual Legacy of her Vedas, ancient Scriptures, the Science of Yoga and meditation, which are the unparalleled kind that even today Scholars from all over want to delve deeper into, and sip from, as if it were the nectar of Life. The creed of non-violence, unique to her, also marks this inner loveliness that is India.
This is best summed up in the words of Keith Bellows, the Editor in Chief, National Geographic Society, when he says, It was as if all my life I had been seeing the world in black and white and, when brought face to face with India,, experienced everything re-rendered in brilliant technicolour!!
Beauty at its simplest and most Profound – India, my beautiful country, steeped in the culture and knowledge of her rich heritage!
There is something about this topic and speech that rings out clearly , this day, when her peoples come together again, to clarify and underscore the emotional strength, and hope to revive her political strength too. Salutes to those brave souls who gave their lives, so that we can still breathe her free, inspiring air!