HOUSTON – Saturday, September 28, 2019: Children of all ages and backgrounds gathered at Arya Samaj Greater Houston for the 16th Annual Speech Contest, commemorating Mahatma Gandhi’s Sesquicentennial, 150th birthday. As the children registered for the contest with Ms Alka Agarwal they were excited, a bit nervous, but peaceful.
Speaking on “My dream of World Peace”, the 10-and-younger children inspired the audience. They spoke about how to be an agent of change and learn from Gandhi’s practice of non-violence, truth, environmental consciousness. Afterwards, many of the attendees participated in the Poster Contest, coordinated by Namita Sutaria. This round was followed by a round of speeches by a group of kids 11 and older, in which they spoke about the “Eternal Gandhi Museum – What I’d Like to See”. They presented their ideas to the Gandhi Library on how to present Gandhi’s teachings and life stories in new light.
The Gandhi Library’s goal is to attract the current, technology minded generation to the museum, which is slated to open in Houston in 2021 as indicated on www.eternagandhi.us. One of the speakers wanted the museum to be a celebration of ideas and not simply a collection of memorabilia. Another wanted Gandhi to be shown as an ordinary man, like you and I, with human fallacies and how he conquered them all. Yet another participant expressed her wishes to have the museum accommodate for the hearing impaired and blind.
The judges, Colonel Raj Bhalla, Dr. Renu Jain, Jasmine Pirani and Dr. Nidhi Trehan, were so impressed that each one of them took turn to iterate the high points and praise effort of the children at the end of the contest. The 10-and-under group had a tie for the 1st place between Ayushi Kawedia and Nathan Ndisang. The 3rd place winner was Ishan Narkar. First place winner of the 11-and-above group was Anusha Sathya. Second place went to Eesha Nair; third, to Marianne Duterte.
The contest was a fitting tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birthday. The volunteers that made the event possible were Dr. Rakesh Agarwal and Karam Gupta, coordinators of the contest, Shreya Chawla, MC, Rishika Sawale, Time Keeper, Aditya Talwar and Riya Gorji, Video and photography, Rita Kothari, snacks, Tej, audio, Rajan Chawla and parents of the participants. Many thanks to School of Science and Technology of Sugar Land who participated in this contest for the first time. Thanks to Arya Samaj Greater Houston for hosting this event.
*Please mark your calendar to attend the 1000 Lights for Peace program at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Sunday, October 6, 2019 from 6:00 to 9:00 PM to listen to the inspiring speeches from the contest winners and enjoy international multicultural dance and music show dedicated to peace. For more information, please visit www.gandhilibrary.org