ACTIVITY 1 – LETTER TO GANDHI The children of the school starting from class 4 will be given the following assignment in classroom. Write a letter to Gandhi: - You must have heard a lot about Gandhi…and you must be having an opinion of Gandhi. Now write a letter to him and write whatever you feel like writing. No instructions will be given by the teacher. I did an experiment with class 5 kids in Millennium School, Noida...and what came out were 'original communications' between students and Gandhi. Have a look at some excerpts from these letters. Now the plan is for the entire school to write letters to Gandhi.
ACTIVITY 2 – HATE GANDHI Write 5 things that you don’t like about Gandhi?...and say why you don’t like those 5 things? Find a person…who doesn’t like Gandhi? And ask him why? Speak to him? Interview him?
ACTIVITY 3 – PERSONAL APOLOGY Find 5 areas of your life where you are concerned about, where you are not ...'what you want to be' For example: - You may find that you are concerned that you don’t get good marks in Maths. And you want good marks in Maths. So, then Maths is an area of concern in your life. -
Or another example: You may find that you are not smart enough…you are not able impress friends teachers etc. But you obviously want to be smart. Now write at least one reason/s (what you think) why you don’t perform in Maths? Or why you are not smart?. You can write more than one reason. The concern could be petty - you think you are lazy. And you don’t want be lazy. So give one reason…you think…why you are lazy.
Once, this is exercise is done…the students are asked… - Is it fine for somebody to hate you for what you are not? So…if someone hates you because you are not performing in Maths…is it ok for somebody to hate you? The kids will obviously say no. Why? Because you have a reason for that non- performance. By this logic…it is also true that the person…whom you hate or dislike for something…also has a reason for his or her behaviour…no matter how small or petty the reason is. So, just as you wont like somebody hating you for some discrepancy in you. The person…whom you hate also has some reason of his or her own.
Also, just think...the moment we have a negative thought in your mind about someone...your brain becomes a dustbin with 'bad thoughts' about everyone. Why dont we love everyone and have hatred only for the 'negative action or behaviour' of someone? And as you have studied in school that thinking bad about someone is wrong…why don’t we actually identify 5 people in our lives …whom we think are wrong and we dislike. And apologise to them for two reasons:
- To dislike them because of some reason of ours
- For being dishonest with them…disliking them and not telling them…why you dislike them. Being inauthentic.
Find 5 people whom you dislike most in life or practically hate them? Be true to yourself…whom do you actually hate or dislike? It could be an old friend…whom you think…did something wrong to you.? It could be a teacher in your school…whom you hate or dislike for some reason.
Go and speak to these people? Go and speak to the teacher.
- Write a frank an open letter to these people about what you dislike them for and apologise in the letter.
- Finally go and meet these people…and tell them on their face that you didn’t like them. Tell them what do you dislike them for…Be frank…open and do not hesitate. Finally apologise to them for being dishonest with them and not telling them the truth
- Ultimately tell that person…that now the success of that person is in your hands and you will do all that is possible to make that person successful and happy.
Remember…this meeting is to be done alone with person…there should be no one around. Also, don’t show the letter to anyone. Just give it to the person it is meant to be given.
This is a unique Gandhi project in school in which we experience the principles of honesty, truth and authenticity in action. To feel what Gandhi meant by ‘honesty’ and ‘truth’ This would be done from Class 4 onwards in all schools.
Sharing: Later at a class level…there would be sharing by students about who these five people were and how was their experience of doing it. Later…based on the sharing session…teachers are going to choose students who did the best sharing.
School sharing: These people are then going to do the sharing in the morning assembly or any such gathering.
ACTIVITY 4 – COMICS WORKSHOP Some of these chosen people, who did the best sharing, will undergo a one day comics workshop on their experiences. The comics that they produce would be on their experiences doing the project. The comics coming out of the exhibition will then be displayed in the school gallery.
ACTIVITY 5 – DANDI MARCH AND SCHOOL APOLOGY The whole school will vote for the person they dislike or hate most in the society… it could be a politician…it could be a MCD employee…whom they hate because of the potholes in the city. Or whomever they hold responsible for some ill in the society. Finally on 2nd of October (now we will have to think of a new date)…the school students will do a Dandi March to meet this hated person in society…whom they hate most. A letter will be drafted by the school kids to the person they hate most…which will tell the person…why he is hated most…and finally apologise to that person…for hating him and keeping a bad feeling in our minds for that person. The letter will finally give full support of the school in ensuring the success of that person. Apart from that letter…one of kids will do a prepared speech to that person …may be read out that letter to him publically…when they go to meet him or her. All the kids will together tell the person…that they are with him… and will help him in all possible ways…for that person to achieve success in life. The Dandi March will be a silent march with some placards. And just to symbolize Gandhi in it…every child will carry a stick in his or her hand (or do suggest some other ideas) In both the personal apology and the public apology campaign…the other person will get a chance to respond only after… ‘we’ have finished our communication. And this project will not only include the students…but also the teachers…and the administrative staff…and the mali…and the guard…and the Principal. Even the school security guard would find 5 people and speak to them.
ACTIVITY 6 - Gandhi School Satyagraha Competition: This project will also include all schools. A competition will be done about the best sharing by a person. The competition is about who apologises best to the person…whom he hates most. This apology experience would then be shared in the competition. Each school will have two entries for ‘sharing their experience’. Posters will be made and letters would be sent to all schools in Delhi. The apologies would be rated on the basis of the following: - How potent was the hatred towards that person? - How frank was the sharing about the hatred? - How genuine was the apology? The genuineness of the project would be rated on the basis of Were you able to touch, move and inspire the person by your confession. Get the person along for the competition. Another criteria would be …what did you get out of it? The contestants would be rated by a panel of Gandhians including Director of Gandhi Smriti and Prof. Krishna Kumar, Subhadra Khosla, freedom fighter and Gandhian and some more people. Each participant would be given 7 minutes for sharing. Entries will be in the following categories: - School students - School teachers - School Principals - School administrative staff This competition would be the biggest event of the campaign. The competition would be called Gandhi School Satyagraha competition. This big gathering would also have a comics exhibition made by kids and would also have some of the best letters to Gandhi on display.
Terms and Conditions: Each child participating in this campaign would have a buddy. It will be announced that this campaign will be successful only if your buddy also does it. Kids will be made into teams of buddies. And if the buddy does not do the assignment…it is your responsibility. And you would fail if your buddy fails. Even if you succeed in doing your assignment…you will be considered fail if your buddy fails to get it done. So, you have to ensure that everyone does it. The buddies will be assigned randomly in the school. And anybody who asks for a change of the buddy will also fail. So, you have to work with whatever buddy you have.