‘Generations to come will scarce believe that such a one as this ever in flesh and blood walked upon this earth’ Albert Einstein

October 2, 2022, started with a cycle race as part of Rotary’s End Polio and Leprosy Rally. The lead clubs hosting the event were Rotary Club of Delhi South and Rotary Club Delhi Regency Next with sponsorship from Cycling to Serve, Delhi Fellowship Cycling to Serve and Imagine Rotary. 

Before the cyclists embarked on the 14 km journey from DPS RK Puram to the Police National Memorial, they were engaged in an invigorating zumba session as a warm-up session with trainers. Shortly after, Rtn. Ashok Kantoor, District Governor, along with other dignitaries flagged the cyclists off from the school campus, with an accompaniment of motivating dhol beats.

The route was dotted with pit stops offering refreshments like water and lemonade to ensure the participants remained hydrated. There also was a camp working for leprosy on the 13 km course. And donors stood every 2-3 km, cheering the cyclists on. A sum of INR 25 lakh had been collected as part of Rotary’s rally, this would further be added to 25 lakhs from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation, mounting to a sum total of 50 lakh rupees towards the noble cause.

The day also witnessed a spectacular Gandhi Jayanti celebration in the Open Air Theatre of Delhi Public School R. K. Puram, commemorating 153 glorious years of the Mahatma and his teachings.

The special assembly was graced by the presence of Shri Himanshu Gupta (IAS AGMUT 2012), Director, Directorate of Education, as the chief guest.

The event commenced with the customary lighting of the lamp by the Chief Guest, the Principal, the Vice Principals Mr Naresh Miglani, Mr Anil Kathuria and Mr Mukesh Kumar and the Headmistress Ms Rashmi Malhotra, to invoke the Almighty’s blessings. The serene mood was complemented by a chorus of ‘Hey Sharde Ma’.

This was followed by the Chief Guest, Shri Himanshu Gupta’s felicitation by the principal Ms Padma Srinivasan followed by the address by the Principal, Ms Padma Srinivasan. She spoke about how much we owe Mahatma Gandhi regarding our freedom struggle and the humanitarian values he propagated. Ms Srinivasan went on to talk about why the school partnered with Rotary International District 3011 on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, to help prevent and mitigate the stigma around polio and leprosy – a cause that Gandhiji worked towards untiringly. She urged all students to remember the icon for his values and to keep him not only in their memory but in their way of life forever.

Hence, the brilliant budding actors, through a ‘nukkad natak’ (street play), portrayed the indispensable role Mahatma Gandhi and his principle of ahimsa played and still play in the creation of a peaceful society. By highlighting a few incidences from India’s independence struggle, they brought out the essence and relevance of Gandhian principles, even in this day and age.

After this phenomenal performance, the Chief Guest and Principal gave away certificates for a painting competition that had been held earlier that morning. 

In the Junior category, Anusha Dhawan (VII J) secured the first position, followed by Aditya Kumar (VI J) and Mohd Sameer (VIII D). In the Senior category, the first prize was bagged by Riju Chanda (XII U), followed by Seerat Saini (XI S) and Ayushi Maskara (XI S).

The Chief Guest, Shri Himanshu Gupta, then addressed the gathering. Expressing his pleasure in being part of the august event, he quoted Mahatma Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others” and spoke about every individual’s responsibility and duty of giving back to the community. The Director elaborated on the idea of how true, long-lasting happiness lies in intangible acts of kindness towards others while speaking of the Government’s introduction of the happiness curriculum in schools. He said that serving others and changing one’s perception from individualistic to socialistic is an essential part of paying homage to the father of the nation.

Soon after, the Principal addressed all Cyclists and Rotarians in the assembly area. She expressed her pleasure at having the opportunity to host such a marvellous event and help promote a great noble cause. Furthermore, she commented on how the idea of bringing people who are alienated into the mainstream, through help, care and affection, is in tandem with the humane attitude and ideals that Mahatma Gandhi wanted everyone to imbibe. Subsequently, she was presented with a token of appreciation from the Rotary Club.

This was followed by the Chief Guest’s address wherein he appreciated the enthusiasm of each cyclist and spoke of the eradication of leprosy and polio from a statistical point of view. He was thereafter presented with a token of appreciation from the Rotary Club.

Henceforth, Dr Ritu Chaudhary, State Leprosy Officer, who had been instrumental in the fight against the disease explained what leprosy actually is and said that increased awareness and a humane attitude bring us one step closer to 100% eradication of it. After this, she, among other dignitaries, Rotarians and Dr Rashmi Shukla (WHO) was presented with a token of the Rotary International District 3011’s appreciation.

Subsequently, Rtn Ashok Kantoor, District Governor, spoke about the importance of spreading awareness about such diseases and the vast leaps India has taken in the arena of polio eradication while securing hope for the future. He thanked everyone for their zealous efforts and participation.The vote of thanks was delivered by the Headmistress, Ms Rashmi Malhotra. The programme concluded on a patriotic note with the national anthem.