Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Gandhi at my school: a tribute by Darcy Road Public School

Reading Time: 4 minutesEighty nine years after Mahatma Gandhi performed his Salt March in defiance against the oppressive regime of the British in India, a small school community in Sydney’s west got a good feel of the sacrifice and the fortitude involved in the endeavour.
Students, teachers, parents and special guests at the Darcy Road Public School in Wentworthville huffed and puffed as they followed a bunch of students round the school campus, imitating the Mahatma’s game-changing walk.
They were led by a group of Indian-origin students, all of them dressed as Gandhi – in white robes and Gandhi caps. The main Gandhi for the day, wore a bald head cap and the trademark glasses.They said, “This salt is made by the Indian ocean and air and water. It’s our birth right to have our salt. Let’s march with non- violence for our freedom.”
They were re-enacting Gandhi’s famous breaking of the Salt Law laid down by the British, which required them to buy salt from the British at hefty prices rather than produce their own. The simple ceremony was not only a history lesson, but also a lesson to the kids that protest can be made by peaceful non-violent means.
It is an important message and one that will be reiterated many times the world over as the Indian diaspora marks the 150th birth anniversary of its best known citizen.The event at Darcy Road Public School also featured a photographic exhibition of the life of Mahatma Gandhi, organised in association with Mala Mehta of the IABBV Hindi School.

Presented also, was poetry recitation in Hindi, by students under the care of teacher Ekta Chanana. Kindergarten student Shivaga impressed with her poem based on freedom. Senior student Devi’s poem, another highlight, was about the Tiranga (India’s tricolour flag): she swayed her hands expansively, mentioned Ahimsa (nonviolence) in her poem and finished with a loud proud “Jai Hind”.A roughly 40-strong choir comprised of students from Kindergarten to Year 6 sang the national song Vande Mataram with great gusto under the guidance of their teacher Kulwinder Kaur.
A group of about 12 students staged a projection of interview style quotes from Gandhi, with their teachers Ekta and Kulwinder.Principal Trudy Hopkins said in her address that she would like the school to channel Gandhi’s ideals, and to teach its students to respect others’ opinions. Hindi has been offered at Darcy Road Public School for two years now. Of the 27 nationalities present in the school, the majority of students are of Indian background.
Indian Consul Chandru Appar in his address observed to the students that they were polite and respectful, and were thus already following Gandhi’s ideals. He also urged the students to do their bit to protect the environment, by adopting behaviours such as reducing the use of plastic.
Mark Taylor MP was shown around the photographic exhibition, its salient points explained to him by the students. Mala Mehta in her speech spoke about the need to introduce
Hindi in more schools. Ekta Chanana told Indian Link later, “I think it was a wonderful
experience that introduced Gandhi to all our students. They have now learnt that he was a leading world figure of modern times, and that his ideals still hold a place in our lives today. I am very grateful to our Principal Trudy Hopkins and Deputy Principal Amanda Dippneaar for organising this, and to Mala Didi for her guidance and for the exhibition.” She added, “I am very proud of my students who presented on the occasion. We worked together on their poems and songs for a month, and they truly impressed with their level of involvement and keenness to learn.”
The photographic exhibition, entitled ‘Mahatma Gandhi: My life is My Message’ is produced by India’s National Gandhi Museum and the Government of India’s Ministry of External Affairs. It was presented to IABBV School by the former Consul General in Sydney Amit Dasgupta in 2009. As an exhibition on the move, it has been seen by students in nearly 20 schools now.
Shikha Chandra and Rajni Anand Luthra

- Advertisement -

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -


Ep 9: What do young Indians want from love?

  Growing up in Indian culture, most of us know that love has never been as popular as marriage. Even in the movies, the main...

Ep 8: Indian links in Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann’s...

  To celebrate NAIDOC week 2020 (between 8-15 November) I spoke to Yakunytjatjara poet Ali Cobby Eckermann about her time in India where she taught...

Ep 7: In the case of Sushant Singh Rajput

  The torrid and high-octane Sushant Singh Rajput case has been fodder for Indian people and press for the last few months. The actor’s tragic death...
- Advertisement -

Latest News

bottled up

Bottled Up: creating conversations around men’s mental health

  When was the last time you took stock of your emotional wellbeing? When was the last time you checked in with yourself? These are...
Sydney's Gopal Garg has partnered up with Indian organisations Deepalaya and Nanhi Kali. Image: supplied

Business for good: Sydney’s Gopal Garg on helping teachers in rural...

  For Sydney entrepreneur Gopal Garg, education, charity, and business have all come together in a recent project that is seeing many thousands of lives...
Here Out West Sydney Film Festival 2021

Indian links at Sydney Film Festival 2021

  It’s been a while since we have had such an interesting bunch of Indian films at the Sydney Film Festival. India’s only all-female newspaper. A...
phone line

NSW’s first multilingual mental health phone line

  The NSW Government has announced a $130 million investment over four years towards sporting clubs and multicultural communities, to support mental health needs from...
Vicky Kaushal in Sardar Udham

Review: Sardar Udham (Amazon Prime)

  The Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919 may be an incident etched in the memories of all Indians owing to its mention in...