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The Art of Man-making: ‘Everyone, irrespective of gender, age or class, deserves respect’

A school student shares her thoughts on gender equality and racial discrimination

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Priyanshi Mahajan, a Class VII student of Apeejay School, Nerul, recently won the Dr Stya Paul Award for Human Values, for exhibiting admirable virtues. “After winning this award, I feel more responsible and of course, very happy,” she says. In an interview, she talks about how she is inspired by Swami Vivekananda’s ideology.

Edited excerpts:

Congratulations on winning the award! How do you feel?

I am honoured to have received this award. I am very grateful to my teachers and elders — especially my parents and grandparents — who constantly encourage and support me. They inculcate good values and ethics in me. I feel I have been awarded for being a good person and I hope to become a better version of myself as time goes.

What are some of the values that guide you in your daily life?

Every person, irrespective of gender, age, religion, ethnicity, or social standing, deserves respect. Not just human beings, every living being deserves respect and care. This is what I follow in my daily life.

Also Read: The Art of Man-making: ‘The most important human value is integrity’

How do you ensure you treat everybody equally?

Interestingly, in the interviews leading to the selection for the Dr Stya Paul Award, our academic coordinator Shakuntala Singh ma’am asked my opinion on gender equality and racial discrimination.

Fortunately, I have never been discriminated against on the basis of my gender. The environment I am inhabiting at school or at home is one where people are broad-minded. Having said that, I always ensure to treat every person equally because that is what I have been taught. Whether I am talking to somebody or working with them, I give them the respect they deserve and ensure I do not hurt their dignity in any way.

How is your school helping you imbibe good human values?

We have Vivekananda Study Circle (VSC) activities at school. This takes place every month and we get to learn about the good values that he represents and his great ideologies. He believed in equality and respect for all while acknowledging the diversity of cultures. This philosophy is integral to our identity as Indians and global citizens.

What other activities do you participate in?

I have good speaking skills, so I often participate in debate, declamation, or extempore. I am also interested in music, so I participate in cultural programmes that are organised at school as well.

Disha Roy Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent at Apeejay Newsroom. She has worked as a journalist at different media organisations. She is also passionate about music and has participated in reality shows.

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