I just thought I would share the text of the speech, in the Elocution for Group III, (Stds. 5, 6, and 7), with a time limit of 3 minutes, for the All Kerala Bhavan’s Schools Cultural Fest, 2008. This speech was delivered by Niranjana, a class VII student of my school, on the 22 November, 2008. She won the Second Place! Congrats, Niranjana… 🙂 I know, I have already told you, but then this day, I feel that this should be shared by more, and so this comes to be here:
“The only hope of preserving what is best, lies in the practice of an immense charity, a wide tolerance, a sincere respect for opinions that are not ours.”
Honourable Judges, Respected Teachers, Parents and dear friends, these words of Philip Gilbert Hamerton, speak of the importance of tolerance, and how much we need it at this critical hour in our nation, and indeed the world!!
Down the ages, the spirit of Tolerance has been part of the Indian Psyche – it is in her warp, weft and weave, displayed in moments we celebrate festivals, the spirit of humanity, cutting across the boards, at all levels – the strata, community, religion or region. It is this, within us, the almost instinctive feeling we have that binds us over narrow man made compartments, especially in the mind!
Even now this is manifest in our governance- is there another country that can boast of a Hindu President, a Muslim Vice President, a Sikh Prime Minister and a Catholic Defence Minister?
And that, dear friends, is the rosy idealistic picture! Reality often tells a different story.. Since Independence, which itself saw moments of deep intolerance, fundamentalism, regionalism and communalism are on the rise!. Witness the recent happenings in Mumbai, perhaps the most tolerant and cosmopolitan of our cities – is this a final countdown to a communal meltdown too? Isn’t it time we took stock of ourselves?
The simple act of accepting another, not just in spite of but because of their differences is the key to thinking tolerantly. I’d like to share the experience of listening to Dr APJ Abdul Kalam on the 10th of this month, at Trikkur.
Where there is righteousness,
It leads to beauty of character;
When there is beauty of character,
It leads to Harmony in the Home;
When there is Harmony in the home,
It leads to Order in the Nation;
Order in the Nation will lead to Peace in the World!
A timely reminder this! That you and I can make a difference! With education, awareness, and by beginning at the beginning – with the child! Imprint in its mind, heart and soul the courage of conviction, the need to do the right.
In the words of the Serenity Prayer :
May God Grant Us
The serenity to accept things we cannot change
The courage to change the things we can
And the wisdom to know the difference!
As always, I had bought little mementos for all the participants of the different groups, bookmarks, cards and little gifts for the little ones of the classes 1 – 5. But this time, this (above) is what came back… a lovely hand painted card a key chain from Niranjana (Class 7), and a lovely scrawl by Sreya (Class 2; she recited a beautiful poem, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” by Myra B. Welch, and a story of “The Cook and the King”; got A grades for both!!!) along with those cute pencils and a scented candle.
The pictures tell you :), don’t they? Treasured possessions, for me; and more, they (the children) are the reason I still believe… 🙂
1 December, 2008