I still remember the 15 year old me opening my textbook and uttering the words, ”The principles of justice and equality aim at ending discrimination in social status such as superior or inferior on the basis of caste, religion, language and gender, place of birth, race, property and giving equality of opportunity for development to every individual.”
I was reading about the fundamental rights of the citizens and the significance of equality,
But when I looked around me,
I saw a world which was far away from what reality should be.
With every passing day,
I find myself striving to make it to the day’s end,
With gloomy dusks and lamenting dawns,
Concealing millions of enigmas inside this soul,
I felt that this catastrophic world was trying to put me in a box.
A box of their aged ideologies demarcating my deeds,
A box of their expectations which were unexecuted, unaccomplished and unfinished by me,
A box of a their anticipations being denied by me,
A box of toxic masculinity and gender stereotypes being propagated on every corner of this world with none to critique them.
The only way I could seek happiness from this brutal world was in the world of my imagination,
A world where people are given the absolute freedom to be who they are,
A world where bonds are filled with kindness, understanding and empathy,
A world where happiness is given more importance than money,
A world that is equitable, liberal, inclusive and compassionate.
But I could only find this world in my imagination,
Whereas reality is a world where words end up being trapped on paper but aren’t implemented.
Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
We are currently living in a state where education is denied to many,
But those with access still take it for granted.
It’s time that we start reimagining the educational system by redefining the purpose of education.
It’s time that we emphasize on inclusivity and adaptability over rigidity and inculpation.
I set off on a journey of decoding the norms,
With the armour of leadership and a sword of hope.
In this world of inequalities,
The problems have been tougher than ever before,
As the conditions have been severe than ever before
So we need more action than ever before
For which we need more student leadership than ever before.
When I think about the future
And about what can lead us to an India that we envision,
The answer to that is leadership.
For which we need true leaders –
Leaders who seek endless opportunities in every challenge,
Leaders who strive towards perfection by not getting off their vision,
Leaders who value the quality of impact over the quantity,
Leaders who believe in solidarity rather than complaining about diversity by building bonds of understanding and love,
Leaders who believe in humanitarianism over all the other differences,
Leaders who believe in inclusivity and value equity over equality,
Leaders who believe that democracy and criticism can go hand in hand,
Leaders who critically analyse and critique on things around them,
Leaders who leverage and foster safe spaces for others around them,
Leaders who are able maintain a balance between the academics and extracurriculars,
Leaders who wish towards making a difference and measure their success not through materialistic desires but with the impact that they’ve created,
Leaders who can give us the India that all of us have envisioned – free of poverty and filled with love,
Leaders who are able to adapt to the changing circumstances,
Leaders who enact deeds by inculcating kindness, empathy, love and compassion,
Leaders who believe in the power of hope…
Hope that has been leading us since the past 18 months,
Hope that lifts us up in the darkest times of our life,
Hope that empowers us to work harder for a change,
Hope that binds all of together,
Hope for a reimagined world,
Hope for things to be better.
As Malala says, ”Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher, can change the world.” Change only comes when we wish to make it and work tirelessly towards making that difference. Today I want to leave all of you with the question that I ask myself every single day:
What is the kind of leader I have been and what kind of leader do I look up to be?
How am I making a difference in this world by creating an impact through my existence?
Am I able to fulfill my role in this society? If not then how can I do so?
How can we make the India that we envision a reality?
– Rupesh Chaurasia, Grade 11 Student at Claylab