A Quest on Overdrive … :)

An eccentric rambler on life's lessons and mercies, found and lost… :)

Tolerance, the need of the Hour!


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:

She said:



“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,

he said,

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!

Thank you!


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

Author: Usha Pisharody

A rambler, pretends to be a teacher, loves to dream, and go on Quixotic Quests in the Realm of Romance With Life...

13 thoughts on “Tolerance, the need of the Hour!

  1. I’m completely over-awed at the level of maturity of thoughts that a 7th grader like Niranjana has shown. Her thoughts are so apt to our current situation. Please convey my heartiest congratulations to her.
    However I cant help wondering how the speech that fetched the first prize must have been if the one Niranjana delivered got her the second prize only!!


  2. Deeps, actually the speech was prepared for her; but she understood every word, and presented it beautifully. And indeed she connected really well. Unfortunately I had not been able to see her deliver it, so I too wonder. 🙂
    Thanks again. Shall pass on your wishes.


  3. Congratulations to Niranjana for the very heart warming and clairvoyant speech that she delivered on 22 Nov 08.

    ‘The simple act of accepting another, not just in spite of but because of their differences is the key to thinking tolerantly’. What wisdom.

    The gifts to the teacher are very beautiful and richly deserved by the worthy recepient.


  4. oh my god!! thank you sooo much ma’am!! this is the first time someone has done something so nice for me!!you are definitely a person i look up to very much, and one day i hope to become like you!!
    -lots and lots of love -niranjana


  5. Very nice. The speech was simple-yet to the point. I especially liked the example of Dr. APJ(sorry- I may be biased-lolzz. I am a big fan of him!) . What he said can be referred to as an ‘evergreen quote’, no?

    By the way-really nice blog. I am blogrolling you:)


  6. Niranjana, 🙂 You know. And that is an honour indeed, your words! Thank you for that!

    Mithe, yes, Dr APJ is like no other!!
    Thank you for the kind words, and for blogrolling. Honoured!


  7. A prize well deserved.


  8. Would have loved to hear that kid speak… My greetings on an award richly deserved.



  9. Thanks Aareet. Shall convey that message.

    Karthik, Wish I could have seen her perform too.. of course we had our practice sessions, but nothing would be like seeing it happening on The Day. Thanks for the wishes, shall convey it to her.


  10. That was a really thought provoking speech! ..and by a 7th grader no less.!!just to deliver such a speech requires immense confidence and an understanding of the ideas one is presenting…and so for all of that I congratulate you Niranjana…:)Keep up the good work kiddo!:)
    These are awesome lines…and so true…
    ”Where there is righteousness,
    he said,
    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!

    Usha Pisharody,that was really a great speech and an even more wonderful way of sharing it with us…:)Your love for your students shines through…..
    and they love you back too..that’s visble too….:)….
    Keep rocking!Keep making them think!
    From one teacher to another…..:)


  11. Indyeah, to have these words from another teacher, is an experience like no other! Thank you, immensely, for the way that fills me with a sense of accomplishment like no other 🙂

    And I shall tell Niranjana to take a look and post a reply here 🙂 On her behalf, thank you 🙂


  12. congratulations Niranjana…:)


  13. Pingback: For Meggie… | A Quest on Overdrive ... :)

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