Saturday, August 26, 2006
The Telegraph School Awards for Excellence
Today morning I attended The Telegraph School Awards for Excellence at Science City, Calcutta. This is an annual event (in its 10th year now) to recognise and honour students, teachers, principals and non-teaching staff at schools in West Bengal.
Scholarships endowed by people in memory of their loved ones are also awarded to bright students from needy backgrounds.
Most of all, the awards try to highlight and celebrate the exceptional courage and struggles of students, and the commitment and compassion of teachers, parents and school-builders in the state.
The chief guest this year was the West Bengal governor, Mr Gopal Krishna Gandhi (grandson of the Mahatma). Like the chief guests of earlier years (Chief Minister Mr Buddhadev Bhattacharjee, Dr Manmohan Singh, Mrs Sonia Gandhi, Mr Narayanamoorthy), Mr Gandhi said he was moved, humbled and filled with hope hearing the tales of extraordinary courage of young boys and girls who had overcome mighty challenges and hardships in their quest for learning.
A bonus was the presence of Indian cricket hero Kapil Dev, who, moved to tears, gave away the awards in the “courage” category. In a voice choked with emotion he said: "I am proud to have shared the stage with such champions and true heroes. ... Don't lie to yourself, always be true to yourself, and you will emerge a champion."
What a large-hearted man Kapil is, and that is what makes him beloved of Indians.