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Independence Day

Into That Heaven Of Freedom Let My Country Awake

Independence Day at HFSI, 2020

“Who says one has to physically witness the tricolour flying high. It is always felt and thought of in mind and spirit when every child is made to contribute towards the Independence Day celebrations 2020-21”. These strong words by Principal Kalyani Patnaik echoed in virtual classrooms across the whole school. Students who were physically located in different parts of the world stood in reverence as the Indian national anthem was played. And so began the August 15th celebrations.

The pandemic did not deter the students and staff of HFSI. The struggle of India’s freedom fighters are more important and must never be forgotten. In this spirit and with cheer and smiles, we at HFSI, determinedly celebrated Independence Day. Teachers planned engaging and fun learning activities for students. Every grade commemorated the occasion in a distinct way.

Students in the IB Diploma Programme donned their saris, salwar-kameez and other traditional Indian wear as they recited Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Where the Mind is Without Fear’. A promnesia of sorts, more than a century after Tagore prayed for the birth of a new country and for an enlightened citizenry, the IBDP students implored, “into that heaven of freedom let my country awake”. Tanisha Satish’s sweet melodies of ‘Tere Mitthi’ invoked among her mates a deep sense of gratitude to every person of this land who resisted imperialist regimes and sacrificed themselves for the sake of our freedom.

In the Secondary section, students participated in engaging activities ranging from lively discussions on what the Indian independence movement means to them, patriotic songs to quizzes and presentations on favourite Independence leaders. In harmony with Principal Patnaik’s speech, some students dressed up in the tricolour and explored its symbolic value. Some other students delved into at the constitution of India and brought it to life in their classrooms. They learned about their fundamental rights and in one voice recited the preamble of the Indian constitution.

Learners at the Primary level had some of the most fun activities. Over the past month they had been introduced to prominent national figures. This learning exercise culminated with Independence day celebrations. Enthusiastic learners dressed up as and assumed the personas of their favourite national figures, from famous cricketers, singers to freedom fighters and national leaders. A whirlwind of emotions and activity took over the Primary classrooms. Love and patriotism towards India sparkled in the eyes of these little ones as they prayed for the nation’s health and safety.

Kindergarten kids at Beaumont celebrated India’s 74th Independence day with an explosion of the tricolour through arts and crafts. Some even had tricolour treats like sandwiches and desserts. The joy and merriment ultimately ended with toddlers singing along to Independence music.

As the events came to an end, a sense of patriotic zeal resonated across K-12. It is vital to our dear Principal Patnaik that our students understand the significance of the Indian independence movement and that we as teachers, nurture in them such patriotic sentiments from early on. Eventually, it is they, through their magnificent performances and deeds of kindness, who reignite in that spirit in us.

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;

Where knowledge is free;

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;

Where words come out from the depth of truth;

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;

Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

- Rabindranath Tagore

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