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The Art of Man-making: ‘Community service is the highest human value’

The student of class X at Apeejay School, Noida says even helping an elderly person cross the street is an act of kindness



He was in class IX when he was nominated for the Dr Stya Paul Award of Human Values. Sadly, he had no prior knowledge that such an award was given to the students who exhibited human values. Of course, he had heard of Dr Stya Paul since his name features in the student dairies.

“It was my class teacher (In class IX), Jyoti ma’am, who had nominated me. Before I won this prestigious award, I had to go through numerous rounds that entailed a written test and interviews. Once I won this award, I was on top of the world,” Dhruv Guha said, who wants to be an astrophysicist and robotic engineer.

Excerpts from the interview.

Tell us about yourself.

I have recently been promoted to class X. I plan to take up Science in class XI. While I do want to go to the US and study there, I would prefer it if I got admission to one of the IITs in India.

What inspires you from Dr Stya Paul’s life?

As I mentioned, his name is on our diaries and so are so many of his quotes. But what inspired me was that he was a true visionary. He started from one room by teaching a handful of students and today, we have an entire Apeejay Education Society that has around 14 schools across India and a university. It is amazing what he managed to accomplish from such humble beginnings.

How would you define human values?

These are qualities that must be present in every human being. Kindness, empathy, and community service are only some of the things that each one of us should inculcate in our lives. I would rate community service as the highest human value. Doing things for others has been part and parcel of my life since I was 12 years old.

Back then, on my birthday, I told my parents that I don’t want to celebrate my birthday, instead of that money, I wanted to donate wheelchairs to people with disabilities. At that time, I had donated around 50 mobility devices to the school.

What are the activities that you are part of?

There is an orphanage near where I live. I visit them from time to time and give them things that they may need. I spend time with them as well to understand them better. And I found that they are no different from us. They too have dreams and want to achieve great things. It is amazing to interact with them.

If a person wanted to do an act of kindness, what would you recommend?

An act of kindness doesn’t have to be big. Even a small act like helping an elderly cross the street or helping them carry their heavy load is a step in the right direction. One doesn’t have to donate huge sums of money for it to be called kindness or doing community service. You can start small and slowly build on that.

What were your parents and friends’ reactions that you had won?

They were so happy for me. It was my parents who knew first that I had won this award. Jyoti ma’am called my mother and told her that I should be in full school uniform when I went the next day. I wondered why this was the case. It was then that I came to know I had won. It was such a surprise for me.

You are in class X and soon going into class XII. Would it still be possible for you to do these acts of kindness?

Displaying human values is not governed by where you are placed in life. Kindness doesn’t stop because your goals have changed. Human values remain with you irrespective of what your situation is in life.

How much credit would you give to your parents and teachers?

My parents have been my pillar of strength, especially my mother. She has been my biggest supporter and has been there with me at every step. She is the one who has taught me human values. My teachers are my gurus and helped me wherever I needed their guidance as well.

Shalini is an Executive Editor with Apeejay Newsroom. With a PG Diploma in Business Management and Industrial Administration and an MA in Mass Communication, she was a former Associate Editor with News9live. She has worked on varied topics - from news-based to feature articles.