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ASGH and Indian Consulate in Houston initiate children’s awareness project on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

Essay competition participants Photo credit: Aditya Talwar.

Essay competition participants Photo credit: Aditya Talwar.

by Kanika Talwar,

Arya Kishore Mandal member
On October 31st, the Consulate General of India, along with several other prominent Houston Indian community organizations, eminent speakers, and students of the University of Houston celebrated the 142nd birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India by coming together on the occasion and recognizing the statesmanship and legacy of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the creator, unifier, and statesman of modern India. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, along with the Consulate General of India, took it one step further by creating a brand-new project to spread awareness on the inspirational achievements of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to this community’s youth–an essay competition for all children in the greater Houston area.
The topic of the essay competition was the “Life and Contributions of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel” for Junior and High School Students. After receiving enthusiastic response, the winner of the Middle School Junior competition was Alisha Flexwala, the runner-up was Khuishi Kawedia, and the second runner-up was Soumil Goyal. In the high school competition, the winner was Krishna Naik, the runner up was Jai Sehgal, and the second runner-up was Kanika Talwar. On Sunday, Nov 19th, at Arya Samaj of Greater Houston, the Deputy Consul General of India in Houston, Shri Surendra Adana, along with Arya Samaj’s own Shri Dev Mahajan ji and Acharya Dr. Kavita Vachaknavee of the DAV Sansrkiti School, recognized these children for their hard work and thoughtful responses. These essays were the perfect way to impart motivation into the Indian youth community to go out and learn about this influential hero of India on their own, because they will carry this knowledge of their heritage with them for the rest of their lives.

Winners receiving the certificate from Dy. Consul General of India in Houston, Surendra Adhana.

Winners receiving the certificate from Dy. Consul General of India in Houston, Surendra Adhana.

Shri Adhana’s speech reminded the entire Arya Samaj audience of India’s rich 5000-year-old history and its progress since independence. In fact, in 1947, India’s literacy rates were only 12%, and life expectancy was just 32 years! Today, India has earned for itself a literacy rate of more than 75%, and life expectancy has raised to 70 years, showing its clear transformation made possible by stalwarts like Sardar Patel. Sardar Patel was a person of genuine selflessness and perseverance. He was India’s first Deputy Prime minister and home minster. And prime unifier post-independence, creating the one political entity that is modern India out of 526 chaotic princely states. This celebration of his life helped create an understanding and feel of this leader who sacrificed himself for Indian civilization. The Deputy Consul General ended his speech by reciting and interpreting an ancient Subhashita (good speech, wise saying) sloka for younger audiences on five qualities of a student to prepare them for the next few decades.
“Kaaka-cheshTaa bakodhyaanam shvaana-nidraa tathaiva cha
Alpaahaari brahmachaari vidyaarthee pancha-lakshaNam”
Meaning: A student should have the agility of a crow (kaaka), the concentration of a crane (baka), light sleep like a dog (shvaana), be a light and healthy eater (alpaa-haari), and explore the world (brahmachaari).
These are the five qualities a student (vidyaa-arthee) needs to be a leader and to make this world a better place for all. Arya Samaj of Greater Houston can be reached at https://www.facebook.com/AryaSamajOfGreaterHouston/ or http://aryasamajhouston.org/


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