[Previous] The Brown and the Gold - October 1997 [Next ]

'Today we sing the raga of freedom.'
a speech by Kavi Singh, made for Assembly during Independence Week

Kavi (H.K.) Singh ('47- India) visited the school during India Week. After Mr. Flaming's introduction, Mr. Singh delivered the following speech at high school assembly--apologies to Kavi for the loose transcription, but he didn't have notes either!

Well, there is a big lump in my throat. Anyway, since I'm here I'll have to perform.

Today we are all Indians despite what our passports say. Today we sing the raga of freedom.

There was an American kid at school before Indepen- dence who once said, "This is a free country. I have a right to say what I think." We Indians said, "No, not here." We remembered this in 1947, when we won that right.

At Woodstock Independence came with a bang. The boys got up at midnight, picked up bats, rackets, anything they could find, and literally made a bang. The Midlands girls heard it and came running out to the play-ground. Someone had the idea to lay out paper on the ground spelling FREEDOM and we set it on fire. (This was all being put on for the girls.)

The next morning we had our first lesson in freedom: responsibility. We had burnt all our toilet paper. The lucky ones were the guys with girl-friends who could give them TP.

There was a pageant on stage that day. It was about freedom and a moral life, what Jesus meant to be free of sin. That is one freedom really missing in this country, and we are not alone. But all over the world men are slowly, steadily winning more freedoms and it percolates throughout the world.

At the pageant I brought in the new Indian flag. We sang, not "Jana Gana Mana," for it hadn't been written yet, but "Sare Jahan Se Achha," about our beautiful country being our garden and its birds.

India's freedom was a remarkable achievement for being non-violent. It was the first time freedom was won without bloodshed.

What is India now? What will happen? Nobody knows. I think it will go up like a rocket taking off into space. You know how a rocket starts so slowly, it looks as if it won't get up and then it suddenly shoots up and takes off at speeds we can't imagine.

We have made achievements in these first 50 years. In 1947 we feared famine. The population was 350 million and is now nearly three times that, but we are exporting food! We can make our own mistakes now, and by God we are making them! But despite the divisions, we are still sticking together.

We have made great advances in technology, the judiciary, the armed forces. We are getting out and tackling things in beautiful and wonderful ways. I am trying to strengthen Shonila's heart, and my own. [Ms. S. Chander is head of social studies and less sanguine about the state of her country.]

Have you heard of Sanjay Ghosh? He was a social worker with the people in Assam, and lost his life in their service. He was an idealist, and there are hundreds and thousands and millions of them in this country. On the strength of these we can stand here and see India taking off like a rocket and say, "Go, India! Go!"

"Never falter in your faith in India's destiny."
-- S C Bose


Next
Back to The Brown and the Gold - 1997
Previous