The Children of Don Bosco’s (Odxel) Perform for Unity

Iris C F Gomes

The students of Don Bosco Primary School at Odxel shone in their respective performances in the school’s Annual Day function on the 5th of February 2018. The school that began in 2011 has 187 students enrolled and has a pre-primary section too. The occasion presented the skills of the bright youngsters with themes that centred round religious tolerance and unity in diversity – concepts that are extremely pertinent in these times of communal and religious strife, taking place globally as well as at home in India. 

The children enacted a skit that showed that the innocence of childhood knows no boundaries of caste, class, creed or race. A Hindu boy called Shivam makes friends with some Muslim children, but the friendship is frowned upon by his father Mr Sharma who bears prejudice against them for belonging to a different religion. In the course of the play, the Hindu boy has an accident and it is Mr Sheikh and his family that come to the rescue. Mr Sharma’s eyes are opened to the kindness of his neighbours, and he realises that his hatred of the Sheikh family has no basis. With gratitude, he embraces them in the spirit of brotherhood.

The skit brought to mind a viral video by Nas Daily on Facebook. It showed how Nas, the creator of Nas Daily, who is of Palestinian-Israeli origin, had to deal with the unwarranted hate speech of a young Jewish girl when he was filming in Jerusalem. The girl believed that all Palestinians wanted to kill Jews. We know this to be untrue. Nas believes that people on the opposite sides need to learn about each other and realise that most common folk would prefer to live in peace – something that was resonated in the skit.  

One of the group dances at the event was set to ‘Des Rangila’ from the Aamir Khan film Fanaa. The focus was on Indians being a united force despite our diverse cultures. There is a thread of solidarity that binds us notwithstanding distinct cultures as evinced by the 29 states that make up this country.

The featured programmes reminded the audience that whatever religion or region we may belong to, we are Indians, and that is a bond that should obliterate all efforts to fan the flames of communalism and foster a more pluralistic society. Fr Jose Sequeira, Provincial Economer and Executive Director of the Konkan Development Society, says, ‘I’m hoping that the parents, after seeing the play and the programmes, will be able to build communities of love and forgiveness, and be more united, living in religious harmony.’

The programmes, albeit bearing such a meaningful message, were not without high entertainment quality. The children were collectively enthusiastic and the time and effort put in by their teachers was clearly evident in the performances. Pavan Divkar (Std 2) engaged the audience by singing ‘Kachhi Doriya’ while Mayank Gomes (Std 2) amazed everyone with his dance moves to the song ‘Bezubaan Phir Se’ from ABCD 2.

The Don Bosco Primary School Annual Day was a perfect vehicle to send across positive ideas of respect and love for each other through the medium of entertainment.