Mahatma Gandhi Week 2016 Speech Contest


Mahatma Gandhi Week 2016 Speech Contest was held at the Ismaili Jamatkahna and Center located at 1700 First Colony Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479 on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

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 more than 30 children at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Sugarland on Saturday, September 24, during Mahatma Gandhi Library Speech Contest 2016 as part of their annual ‘1000 Lights for Peace’ celebration.

Under the able and proficient guidance of Dr. Rakesh Agarwal, the coordinator for this year, the speech contest, now in its 11th year, has sustained a keen interest amongst the many number of children participating. The contest was divided into two categories.  The age group 10 and below delivered a speech on the topic “Truth: My Story”, and the age group 11 and up delivered a speech on the topic “Non-Violence: Means of Conflict Resolution”.  Those who had a chance to listen to these young participants were simply hypnotized by the confidence and composure of the contestants.   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.

The distinguished judges for the speech contest included Dr. Vikas Jhingran, Dr. Huma Zafry, Rev. Gregory Hahn, and Col. R P S Bhalla. The winners from each category will have the opportunity to recite their speeches on stage at Miller Outdoor Theater during 1000 Lights for Peace celebration next Sunday, October 2.

Rajan Chawla, the MC for this year’s contest started the program with a prayer to the God of Ahimsa and extended a warm welcome to the participants and all those in attendance.  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 of truth.  It was amazing to see how much these kids are aware of as well as prepared to handle this value which we all want to deeply instill in our daily lives.  The older age contestants presented a diverse opinion about a complex topic “Non-Violence: Means of conflict resolution.”  Many children quoted Mahatma Gandhi,  Albert Einstein,  Martin Luther King, Malala Yousafzai 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 at a time when the world is facing conflicts in many parts and terrorism is becoming a tool for some to resolve conflicts.  Children drawing examples from their own lives to illustrate points about peace, non-violence, and truth was very impressive.

Atul Kothari, the founder of Mahatma Gandhi Library applauded the kids for their efforts and parents for their support.  He thanked the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center, the distinguished judges and the many volunteers for their selfless service towards spreading Gandhian values.  He invited all the participants and parents to the grand finale ‘1000 Lights for Peace’ – an international cultural program organized as part of Gandhi Jayanti week, at 05:00pm on Sunday October 2nd at Miller Outdoor Theater in Hermann Park Houston.