Ramachandra Guha, Indira Chandrasekhar and Radha Kumar
Eminent historian Ramachandra Guha delivering a speech at the Kodaikanal Gandhi Prize awards ceremony in Kodaikanal, October 2; on the stage with him, far left, are Indira Chandrasekhar of Out of Print magazine and Radha Kumar, donor, KGP (Photo: The Kodai Chronicle Staff)

Gandhi Through the Eyes of Our Future: The Kodaikanal Gandhi Prize 2021

What would Gandhi have made of the current moment? We will never know the answer to this, but young people continue to add to the endless interpretations and understandings of Gandhi’s ideals to make them current.

Kodaikanal residents watching as Ramachandra Guha speaks at the Kodaikanal Gandhi Prize awards ceremony (Photo: The Kodai Chronicle Staff)

In its second year, the Kodaikanal Gandhi Prize (KGP), co-sponsored by the Gandhi Peace Foundation and Out of Print magazine, was organized by Radha Kumar (founder and donor, KGP) and The Kodai Chronicle. It attracted entries from over a hundred students aged 16-18, from prestigious schools all over India. The students were given a range of topics related to Gandhi, which they could choose to share their thoughts on. These covered Gandhi’s life, work, teachings and impact – not just on our country, but in the world right into the present, and beyond. 

This year the entries were judged by teacher Anjuli Kaul, in Goa, Out of Print’s Indira Chandrasekhar in Bengaluru and Radha Kumar and The Kodai Club’s secretary, Krishna Rajendran (Tamil), in Kodaikanal.  

The KGP team included Namitha Jassem and TKC staffers Jegu Markam and Yashasvi Harikrishna, as well as volunteers including Zarreen Babu, Jayashree Kumar, and Aruna Rajkumar. 

Ramachandra Guha, seen delivering his speech here, is the author of numerous renowned works, including India after Gandhi (Photo: The Kodai Chronicle Staff)

The winners were announced at a low-key awards ceremony (in keeping with the Covid times) on October 2nd, Gandhi Jayanti, at The Kodai Club, Kodaikanal. KGP and The Kodai Chronicle showcased a special keynote address by renowned historian Ramachandra Guha, acclaimed author of India after Gandhi and many other respected works.

Most of the top prizes were shared: a testament to the high quality of the entries.

TKC presents short excerpts below. The complete essays have been published in the blog attendant on Out of Print magazine.


First Place (Shared)


Janhavi Desai, Fravashi International Academy, Nashik, Maharashtra, deciphers Gandhi’s views on violence.


‘Without the use of weapons and brute force, “Black Lives Matter” was a viral protest. Just imagine if it was an organized, armed movement instead of a peaceful protest, mass bloodshed, destruction, pain, and irreparable damage would’ve been caused. The protest would’ve turned into a civil war. The massacre wouldn’t bring back George Floyd. Instead, it would ruin everything else. You can’t love someone back to life, and non-violence didn’t bring the victims of police brutality back to life either. But non-violence didn’t damage whatever we had left. It was non-violence that was capable of making tremendous reforms in the flawed justice system of the United States of America. All in all, violence was not required to get the point across in this situation.’

First Place (Shared – Withdrawn)

Nikhil Joseph, Hebron School, Ooty, Tamil Nadu

Creative Expression (Awarded by Out of Print)

Hania Raashid, Delhi Public School, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir, puts her thoughts across succinctly, as a poem.


‘But then I feel the verisimilitude,
Of their suffering
Of their cries
And then I think of Gandhi’


Second Place (Shared) 
 

Sara Daniel, Delhi Public School, Noida, UP, traces the impact of Gandhi and his thoughts through history, and across borders. 

‘Today, we live in a conflict-ridden world where everyone has differing opinions and viewpoints that often clash. There is growing hate, polarisation and divisiveness. But, as peaceful protest movements in various parts of the world have demonstrated, never before has Gandhi been more relevant than he is today.’

Second Place (Shared) 

Noor Sabharwal, Neev Academy, Bangalore, Karnataka, elucidates how she is inspired by Gandhi’s ability to balance practicality and idealism.

‘His stand for the freedom of India was not based on hatred for the British. He famously said, “I am patriotic because I am human and humane” proving that his intentions did not focus on destroying the oppressors, but rather empowering the oppressed. While non-violence in a battle for independence from a colonial power seemed far-fetched, Gandhi grounded his ambition with action, determination, and faith.’

Third Place (Shared) 

Annapoorani Pandiyan, The Gandhigram Rural Institute, Tamil Nadu, presents a compelling ethical argument using local examples.

‘Rapid growth of science and technology and the present day education system are making us cowards. The corporate world would rather have us become a coward than a protestor. To bring peace and harmony, one should understand the difference between submissive, violent and non-violent. Students should learn to be a correct person, rather than striving to be a good person.’

Third Place (Shared) 

Deeksha Pasupulati, Kodaikanal International School, Kodai, Tamil Nadu, makes a strong case in favour of Satyagraha in the modern world.

‘Satyagraha is a way of human understanding rather than a political tool. It is driven by a pure sense for justice and love. Although its ways of execution have transformed over time, the main idea still remains the same.’

First Place (Tamil)

Abitha A, RC Higher Secondary School, Trichy, Tamilnadu

Second Place (Tamil)

Shasswatha, Fairlands – A Foundation School, Theni, Tamilnadu

Honorable Mentions

Jasmine Beth Kurien, Hebron School, Ooty, Tamil Nadu
Samuael Earnest Kantharaj, Kodaikanal International School, Kodai, Tamil Nadu
Shatakshee Kar, Delhi Public School, Noida, UP
Pranvi Khare, Neev Academy, Bangalore, Karnataka
Shourya Sharma, Delhi Public School, Noida, UP
Shashmitha J, Fairlands – A Foundation School, Theni, Tamil Nadu

The Kodai Chronicle Staff

This is the official account for The Kodai Chronicle staff used to publish content that is not attributed to any of our contributors or editor, and is for general purposes.

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