At 9am on August 15, every member of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan was singing the national anthem. Senior school teachers had gone over to campus to hoist the flag and while they sang from school, all class teachers simultaneously led their students over Google Meet.
And this was the culmination of a week-long celebration that kept different classes busy with activities on different days. “Music and dance to debate and story-telling, every event planned had a patriotic flavour,” said Mohua Kundu, an English teacher who is also the school’s cultural coordinator.
Pre-school students had dressed up as freedom fighters and danced to Nanha munna rahi hoon and I love my India, watching their teachers on screen. Classes I and II made collages of our national bird, animal, flower etc. and cards on the theme of “united we stand, divided we fall”. Class IV students made collages of freedom fighters.
Classes III and V were asked to make tricolour-themed salads and sandwiches. “They added ingredients like carrots, cheese and pudina chutney to get colours of the national flag,” said assistant teacher Mohua Banerjee, who was helping out with the junior school’s activities. “It was a change from their regular syllabus and they loved it.”
Students of Class VII took part in a Sanksrit singing contest. “This language is part of India’s heritage and we wanted to connect it with music to popularise it among the youth,” said Debi Sen, head of the Sanskrit department. The chosen song was Bharatam bhavatu Bharatam, that describes the culture of the country and the online link to the song was shared with students.
“Out of the 25 who participated, we short-listed seven for the finals and taught them the pronunciation and expressions of the lyrics,” Sen said. The results are yet to be declared.
Debates were held in both English and Bengali too. For students of Classes XI, the topic was ‘All of the British were our foes and not friends’. Since most of her friends were opting to speak against the motion, Sananda Ray of Class XI spoke for it. “I mentioned how the British divided and ruled over us, how they uprooted our impeccable education system and replaced it one meant to only churn out interpreters for their benefit,” said Sananda. “But I must admit my opponents were so good that I found my own resolve weakening at times.”
Class XII students were given the topic “Every citizen should be mandated to perform national public service”. The Bengali debate on the relevance of democracy was for Class XI students.
Students of Class IX took part in a sloganeering contest, in Hindi, using lines made famous by freedom-fighters. Another contest in Hindi was for students of Class VII — on story-telling on the freedom movement.