Mahatma Gandhi Week 2015 Speech Contest

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HOUSTON: Many know him as Mahatma and many more know him as father of Bharat, India.  But the world knows him as an apostle of peace and non-violence.  Anyone ever wanted to know more about Gandhi ji and his values should have listened to the mesmerizing speeches delivered by about 40 children at Arya Samaj Greater Houston on Saturday September 26, during Mahatma Gandhi Library Speech Contest 2015 as part of annual ‘1000 Lights for Peace’ celebration.

The speech contests now in its 10th year and has seen a steady increase in the interest and number of children participating.  About 40 children took part in the contest divided in to two categories.  The age group 10 and below delivered a speech on the topic “Bullying: My Perspective”, whereas the age group 11 and up delivered a speech on the topic “Does War Lead to Peace?”.  Those who had a chance to listen to these young participants were simply hypnotized by the confidence and composure of the contestants.  ‘They were simply brilliant’ as Karam Gupta – the coordinator of this year’s contest said while commenting on the speeches delivered by children.  All the participants did an excellent job in presenting their thoughts about Gandhian values often relating their own personal experiences with the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.

Rajan Chawla – the co-coordinator for this year’s contest started the program with a brief orientation and extended a warm welcome to the participants.  He noted how encouraging it has been to see the enthusiasm of children and growing interest in the speech contest.  He also provided the rules and guidelines to ensure that the entire contest is conducted in an organized and timely manner.

The audience was treated to a fascinating experience with children as young as five years speaking about their perception and experiences of bullying.  It was amazing to see how much these kids are aware of as well as prepared to handle this prevalent social issue.  Elder age group presented a lot of diverse opinion about a complex topic “Does War Lead to Peace?”.  Many children quoted Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Ashoka and other great leaders.  They also quoted examples and verses from ancient scriptures that impressed the audience.  The topic seemed aptly suitable for the current days and time when the world is facing conflicts in many parts and when terrorism has become a new tool for some to inflict pain on humanity.  Children drawing examples and references from their own lives to illustrate points about peace, non-violence, truth and values was very impressive.

Vijay Singh, the board member of Mahatma Gandhi Library applauded the kids for their efforts and parents for their support.  He thanked the judges and volunteers for their selfless service towards spreading Gandhian values.  He also invited all the participants and parents to join the grand finale ‘1000 Lights for Peace’ – an international cultural program to be organized as part of Gandhi Jayanti week at 05:00pm on Sunday October 4 at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park Houston.