Punyabhoomi Bharatam
Yuva Bharati|August 2021
When I was Principal in Vivekananda Kendra Vidyalaya at Kanyakumari, I had made it a point to go to all the classes in a week. I used to take ‘moral science’ classes. Whatever is to be told to children to mould them and develop proper attitude and good habits in them I used to tell through stories. After experimenting with various suggested courses, I came to the conclusion that a story can be the most effective tool. So, I made my plan that in each class a specific great principle of our culture should be communicated through suitable stories.
Nivedita Raghunath Bhide

In class II, through the stories of Prahlad, the great truth that Ishvara is everywhere was impressed upon their mind. The story would go on elaborately for three-four months, as the class was once a week. The names of the students also would appear in the stories. For example, Prahlad was sent to school by a teacher who was asked by Hiranyakashyapu to teach Prahlad that Hiranyakashyapu was the only all-powerful God and all others were no Gods or were false Gods. But Prahlad instead of learning from the teacher started teaching his classmates about Sri Narayana who pervades everything and protects us.

There would be many dialogues in the story between Prahlad and his friends. The names of his friends would be the names of all the students in the class where I would be telling the story. Whatever I wanted to tell the students, would be told through the mouth of Prahlad. The students immensely enjoyed listening to them being part of the story. They would prompt me, urge me to tell their name as friends of Prahlad, Dhruva, or Krishna as whatever was the story. Children enjoyed it thoroughly. Thus, as per the main character in the story, the friends of Prahlad or Dhruva and Krishna would be Manikanthan, Muthulakshmi, Ahamad, Xaviour, Vignesh, Selvi, Jennifer, etc. As per the syllabus made by me, regarding values, practices, principles to be taught to them a story would be told. In the story of Prahlad, they would learn that God is everywhere and therefore we should treat everyone and everything with respect. Ishvara takes care of us. Ishvara is also within us, so we should work with confidence, etc.

I used to combine both the sections of the class so there would be around 80 children in lower classes and to direct their enthusiasm and imagination to the story in the class was a great job. It is difficult to tell who enjoyed it more, me telling the story very creatively or they listening to the story of which they were part. But we enjoyed it thoroughly.

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