In a world where religious intolerance often leads to bomb blasts and riots, a play Gandhi Tum Zinda Ho staged by students of Modern School, Barakhamba Road, on Wednesday tried to spread the message of love, secularism and religious tolerance.
A total of 48 students from classes 6 to 12 participated in the play at Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
"The play was part of the 90th foundation day celebrations. We got tremendous response and the chief minister also heard from someone about the play and asked us to stage it at her own residence. It was an honour and privilege for the school and students to have been invited," said principal Lata Vaidyanathan.
The play examines and reaffirms the continuing relevance of Mahatma Gandhi's message of non-violence and tolerance in today's world.
The protagonist of the play, Tarkeshwar Pandey, and his adopted son Aftab, through their own lives, set example of sacrifice and non-violence to maintain peace and harmony in society.
It is set in 1947 when India and Pakistan was partitioned and riots broke out between Hindus and Muslims.
Tarkeshwar, a Hindu who is an ardent follower of Gandhian teachings adopts Aftab, a Muslim child who was orphaned due to the riots. Though he faces stiff opposition from society, he raises him as his own son Suraj, who too was killed in the riots.
When Aftab grows up, he gets influenced by the fundamentalists and turns to
terrorism but when Tarkeshwar dies trying to save him, he realizes his mistake and transforms.
"There is so much hatred and intolerance in our lives today. This play is an attempt to convey the importance of secularism in our country and how Gandhiji's messages are so relevant in pursuing it," said Pranay Bhageriya, a class 12 student, who played the character of Tarekeshwar Pandey.
Around 1,700 guests gave a standing ovation as the play concluded.
Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Gursharan Kaur, wife of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who watched the play at her former’s residence in the Capital, congratulated the school and the children for their efforts.