“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”Civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this in a letter in 1963.
Cut to July 2020. Hundreds of school students, teachers and parents came together for an exciting online event – a contest – organised by Desh Apnayen on July 17, the World Day for International Justice, to collectively underscore the fact that justice matters…
Occasion: World Day for International Justice
Event: Secure the Future of World Justice
Competition: Inter-school discussion
Activity: Panel discussion (2 students plus one teacher/parent) about how as ACTIZENS we can secure the future of world justice (Bhavishya Bachayen)
The Chief Guest and Judge was Ms. Khushbu Jain, Advocate, Supreme Court of India. Desh Apnayen’s Founder and Mentor, Mr. Vallabh Bhanshali set the context by shedding light on why conflicts within and between nations seem inevitable.
Students Gayatri Patwardhan from The Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai and Ziya Oberoi from DCM Presidency School, Ludhiana gave a brief background on some of the events that shook the world in 2020 – the Australian wildfires, the US-Iran conflict, the India-China conflict, the Hong Kong-China conflict, the corona virus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, the situation in Kashmir, among others.
The students asked, “What recourse do we have as citizens of the world? Should we fight against such happenings? If yes, then how?”
Over the next hour, students from various parts of the country articulated their perspectives on the above and on the cases that they think need intervention from the International Courts and why.
The event was live streamed. Watch it here:
The winner of Desh Apnayen’s online contest was St. John’s Universal School, Mumbai! The team members were students Manya Mathur and Meet Sarda and parent Mr. Priyal Sarda.
Children’s Academy School, Thakur Complex, Mumbai bagged the second place. The team members were students Tanvi Kamat and Trinab Goswamy and teacher Ms. Jahnavi Sanghavi.
Dass and Brown World School, Ferozepur bagged the third place. The team members were students Arpita Khanna and Jennisa Gupta.
It was heartening to see young students come up with many ideas on how people could become better informed as well as how world justice could be served more effectively by the system.
The opportunity for students and teachers to deepen their knowledge of national and global issues, to learn from their peers, to hone their public speaking and critical thinking skills was appreciated by many. Here are some of the messages that we received:
“We have learnt a great deal in preparing for the contest through research and writing. The students and myself feel grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow. I would have never thought a year ago that such a programme could be successfully implemented without physical interaction.”
– Natasha Irani, HVB Academy, Mumbai
“That was a thoroughly enjoyable and a brilliant way to get young minds involved.”
– Nilakshi Sinha, The Cathedral and John Connon School, Mumbai
“The session was enriching, and it was a pleasure to find young citizens ALERT and INFORMED.”
– Swati Biswas, Delhi Private School, Dubai
“It was really a different experience for me as I got to know a lot of things. I will explain those things to my colleagues and also to my students. Thank you so much.”
– Tamizh Ellakhya S, Bharrathi Vidyashram School, Tamil Nadu
“Loved the event. Thank you for the opportunity. We had a great time learning.”
– Jahnavi Sanghavi, Children’s Academy, Thakur Complex, Mumbai
Let us hope that just as these young students took the effort to stand up for what they believe are human rights violations, all of us, too, pause to reflect on ways in which we can make this world a fairer and happier place.
If we want to change the world, we need to start with ourselves. After all, Mahatma Gandhiji had rightly said, “There is a higher court than courts of justice and that is the court of conscience. It supercedes all other courts.”