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Mahatma Gandhi Week 2017 Annual Speech Contest

The 14th annual Mahatma Gandhi Week Speech Contest was held at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centere located at 1700 First Colony Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479 on Saturday, September 23, 2017

The 14th annual Mahatma Gandhi Week Speech Contest was held at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Centere located at 1700 First Colony Blvd, Sugar Land, TX 77479 on Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mohandas K Gandhi also known as ‘Mahatma Gandhi’ and more fondly “Bapu” in India, was a believer of non-violence who fought for India’s freedom from the British Raj. After India became independent in 1947, he came to be known as the father of the nation. After his death in 1948, the world has come to know him as disciple of Truth, Non-violence, Peace and Service.
Gandhiji’s work and teachings was brought to light by many young kids at 14th annual Speech Contest organized by Mahatma Gandhi Library. A week long celebration was held to commemorate Gandhi’s birth anniversary.
Dr. Rakesh Agarwal was the proficient coordinator of the speech contest. The contestants were in two groups; the age group 10 and below delivered speeches on the topic “Love Never Claims, It Ever Gives”, and the age group 11 and above delivered speeches on the topic “Peace is the Goal, Non-Violence is the Way”.
Emcee Mr. Rajan Chawla started the program with a prayer and extended a warm welcome to the participants stating how encouraging it was to see such enthusiasm and growing interest of children every year in the speech contest. He later provided the rules and guidelines to the participants. Announcing the upcoming weeklong celebration of Gandhi Jayanti would culminate into “1000 Lights for Peace’ celebration at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Herman Park on Saturday, Oct 1st 2017 at 6 PM, he urged all participants and parents to attend and enjoy the international cultural program and candle lighting.
The Speech Contest was organized at the Ismaili Jamatkhana and Center in Sugarland on Saturday, on September 23, 2017. Ms. Waheeda Kara representing the president of His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council for the Southwestern United States welcomed Mahatma Gandhi Library and the participants and spoke briefly about the Center. She also gave an account of activities of Ismaili community in general and during the hurricane Harvey, in particular. In all, 32 students had registered for the Speech Contest. However as many as half of registrants could not participate due to hurricane Harvey that hit Houston recently. 17 students participated in contest, 7 from under ten years of age group and 17 from eleven years plus age group.
Speeches by these contestants were engaging and captivating and brought back memories and incidences from the life and work of Gandhiji. All the participants did an excellent job in presenting their thoughts about Gandhian values often relating their own personal life experiences with the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
The distinguished judges for the speech contest included Mr. Rashid N. Kapadia from Necessary Bridges, Dr. Huma Jafry of Nanoinnovations, Rev. Gregory Hahn from Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, 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 1, 2017 at 6 PM.
Quoting Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other great leaders the contestants in both categories amazed the audience. Children as young as five years spoke about their perception of love and how it gives. Equally fascinating were the older contestants who presented a diverse opinion about a complex topic “Peace is the Goal, Non-Violence is the Way”. Some of them put forward theories about how peace can be achieved through non-violent means, even when faced by violent forces. Contestant’s awareness of Gandhian philosophy was very gratifying, since one of the objective of the contest is to instill such values in the lives of our future generations to build up civic asset of our society.
Mr. Atul Kothari, founder of the Mahatma Gandhi Library applauded the kids for their efforts and parents for their support. He thanked His Highness Prince Aga Khan Shia Imami Ismaili Council of The Southwestern United States, judges and all volunteers for their selfless service. Dr. Barkat Charania talked about current issues of violence appealing for the need of ongoing and continuous conversation to impress upon the need of Nonviolence and Peace in our daily lives.
Result of the contest was declared by the judges as follows: Ages 10 and under – Love never claims, it ever gives 1st place – Khushi Kawedia 2nd place – Naresh Sathya 3rd place – Ayushi Kawedia Ages 11 and over – Peace is the goal, non-violence is the way 1st place – Tony Jha 2nd place – Anusha Sathya 3rd place – Aamani Shree Pillutla As mentioned earlier, the first place winners of each group namely Khushi Kawedia and Tony Jha will present their speeches at 1000 Lights of Peace event at Miller Outdoor Theatre on Sunday, Oct 1st 2017. For more information please visit gandhilibrary.org

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