Teaching them to respect all religions

Dancing to harmony tunes.

Dancing to harmony tunes.  

``THE YOUTHS of today are influenced by a consumerist culture that makes them lose faith in themselves,'' said A. Pushparajan of the Department of Inter-Religious Relations, Madurai Kamaraj University, explaining the reason for his department organising an inter-school cultural programme to promote communal harmony.

More than 10,000 students from 37 schools, participated in the preliminary and final rounds of this cultural programme organised over a period of six months.

The underlying theme of all competitions, including a memory contest, quiz, dance, skit, singing and elocution competition, is `equality prescribed by all religions.'

``The theme attempts to enlighten the students that religions regard all human beings as fundamentally equal,'' Dr. Pushparajan said.

All competitions have been organised in such a way as to imbue the students with a sense of communal harmony and respect for other religions, he points out.

For example, the singing competition requires the participants to compose their own tune for passages of poetry composed by Sudhananda Bharati.

Similarly, the topics for the elocution contest are based on research papers on communal harmony and the themes of the dancing and skit contests revolve around fostering a spirit of communal harmony.

``The idea is not only to reach out to the students, but through them, to their parents and relatives as well,'' elucidates Dr.Pushparajan.

Students of all ages took part in this programme, which proved to be a cultural platform to spread the message of unity in diversity.

Depending on the class, the students were divided into four groups:

the budding stage (class 4-6), the growing stage (class 7 and 8), the blossoming stage (class 9 and 10) and the radiant stage (class 11 and 12).

Indeed, the 800 short listed students from the original 10,000 participants put their best foot forward, in unity, proving that adults have a lot to learn from children as well!

By Preethi Chandrasekar.

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