Skip to main content

St Xavier’s Annual Day programme ‘Be a Rainbow’: Celebrating Unity in Diversity

By Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ*
St Xavier’s School Loyola Hall, Ahmedabad had its Annual Day programme on today! Actually, it was one of a series of Annual Days; today it was the turn of the Junior KG, Senior KG, Stds. I and II. The littlest ones in the school, all between the ages of four to seven years. Being an event of a community ministry and on the campus itself, I planned to be at the programme for a short while and return since I had some other deadlines to meet. That was not to be! I stayed right through the more than two hours programme and enjoyed every moment of it! I am now back in my room, penning down some of my thoughts that flowed all through the programme and continue to do so!
The theme of the Annual Day programme was ‘Be a Rainbow’. The tiny tots performed about a dozen different programmes: mainly dance and action songs! After months of closure due to the pandemic, physical schooling began for them, less than a month ago. Putting up any programme, in such a short time-span, would have been a herculean task for anyone. Much more when one has to deal with those who are so very small. The teachers and trainers and others concerned would surely have put in their heart and soul to get the children to perform.
They did perform: With gay abandonment! In simplicity and in spontaneity! Some did not stand in the place which was assigned to them; some of them were desperately trying to locate their parents in the pavilion and to wave to them; the actions of some just did not synchronise with the rest – but all this did NOT matter! With the innocence which childhood is all about – they were there on stage to be themselves, to enjoy. They did so with gusto and to the vociferous delight of the huge crowd which was present to witness a child-centred performance!
Be a Rainbow that celebrates diversity: The programme was also about that! The children undoubtedly belonged to different faiths and cultures; sizes and capacities. Nothing mattered! They were all there! Giving of their best! A reflection of what India is all about! The beauty in diversity! The wealth it should mean to all of us! The courage to adapt to and to learn from another!
Be a Rainbow that symbolises unity: That’s what they were obviously celebrating! Unity in diversity! That togetherness! A synergy which Mahatma Gandhi forged on 12 March 1930 from the banks of the River Sabarmati in Ahmedabad to Dandi in South Gujarat! A salt satyagraha! Very different from what some patriarchs were plotting and strategizing today in Ahmedabad, in order to destroy our unity in diversity; the wealth of our pluralistic fabric – by denigrating the ‘other’!
Be a Rainbow that vibrates colours: It was indeed a festival of colour! An early celebration of Holi- which is just a week away. The children were dolled up in a colourful array of costumes. They wore them with the pride and exuberance of someone on a cat-walk! They were fully conscious of the graceful colours they brought to the occasion. They were not shy: they were the rainbow!
Be a Rainbow that communicates love: There was absolutely nothing that kept them away from ‘being friendly’ all through the evening. It would certainly have been exhausting for the little ones. Their parents had to bring them to the school, much before the actual start of the programme! But nothing mattered as they daintily held the hands of each other! It was far more than a ‘dil maange more’ scene. It was a love that transcended exclusiveness, pettiness and bigotness!
Be a Rainbow that exudes joy: It was sheer joy as they danced (and sang) the disco and the bhangra, the raas and the garba and much more! There was the traditional music and modern off-beat ones – even ‘waka, waka’! They demonstrated the impact of digital technology on their lives and exhibited their care for Mother Earth. The atmosphere was pregnant with joy!
Be a Rainbow that radiates light: It has been scientifically proved that rainbows appear after dark and heavy clouds. In more ways than one, rainbows dispel the darkness. After days of being marooned, the ark is opened to the welcome light of the rainbow. The children this evening were certainly rainbows who radiated light. A light so that we, who were watching them, could see!
Be a Rainbow that is full of hope: That is exactly what a rainbow is all about! A hope for the future! The promise for a better tomorrow! The staff and the children will ensure that their performance next time will be even better! The children today gave to all a very strong message: that they want unity to vanquish divisiveness, love to negate hate, diversity to kayo majoritarianism, colour to outdo uniformity and truth to triumph over untruth. This is their rainbow of hope!
Jesuit Fr Xavier Amalraj, the Principal of the School, in his address to the gathering said:
“Through such a theme (Be a Rainbow) we wish to convey a message of hope and joy; of peace and harmony; this message radiates so beautifully from our little ones who through their innocence have so much to teach all of us. Their spontaneity, their inclusiveness, their simplicity, their joys, their creativity all contribute to the colourful diversity that make up a rainbow. This rainbow is about our children: a sign of hope, of the radiance in their lives, of the happiness they give all of us. The rainbow is about the diversity which characterizes our beloved motherland reflected so much in St Xavier’s School Loyola Hall all these years.”
The great American civil rights leader and poet Maya Angelou says:
“To be the rainbow in someone’s cloud means to cultivate loving kindness as a daily practice in your life. It means tuning in to your heart, practicing empathy and using that empathy to connect to the people around you in a meaningful way. We all have the opportunity to be someone’s rainbow”.
How very true! We need to learn from her wisdom! All through the programme I could not help humming that song by the famous Swedish duo Nina and Frederik ‘Counting colours in a rainbow.’ It was quite a hit tune, way back when I was a little child. The song goes:

Counting colours in a rainbow
When the sun has made the rain go
In all those colours I see above me
I count the blessings of someone who loves me

Counting colours in a rainbow
Every time the clouds of grey go
A thrill it gives me to know that with me
There will be millions who can share my rainbow

When our world is dark with stormy weather
Should we fear and tremble? Never, never
Someone who takes care of us forever
Paints a lovely miracle on high

I am still humming that song as I lay my weary self to sleep. I feel all the more challenged now to ‘be a rainbow’!

*Human rights, reconciliation and peace activist/writer. Penned on March 13



Global Ambedkarites in deep shock over killing of Buddhist Ambedkarite youth in Nanded

Joint  Ambedkar International Mission and Ambedkar Association of North America statement on killing of an Ambedkarite Buddhist youth for celebrating Dr Ambedkar Jayanti (birth anniversary) in his village on 1st June 2023 in Bondhar Haveli village, Nanded, Maharashtra: *** Every single public event hosted by any social or political organization in Maharashtra is not completed without citing Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar and yet an Ambedkarite Buddhist youth, Akshay Bhalerao was brutally murdered for celebrating Dr Ambedkar Jayanti in the village Bondhar, Nanded, Maharashtra by dominant caste goons. Caste Atrocities are common in such villages where the Scheduled Castes and Buddhists are daily humiliated, mocked, or abused with caste slurs and women subjected to sexual violence. 

How this top Maoist leader couldn't extricate completely from the Left adventurist line

By Harsh Thakor  On the 31st of May Katakam Sudarshan, known as Comrade Anand, breathed his last, at the age of 69. Anand was a member of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India (Maoists) and an important leader of the revolutionary movement of India.

Discussion on making school education meaningful to vulnerable communities

ActionAid note on workshop to boost National Curriculum Framework operations: *** Leading educationists and activists striving to make education meaningful to vulnerable communities gathered in Delhi to discuss the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE). Acting in response to the call of the NCF Steering Committee appointed by the Ministry of Education, Government of India, ActionAid Association had organised the meeting to gather feedback on the draft NCFSE. This is part of ActionAid Association’s commitment to promote inclusive and gender-responsive education. The two-day national workshop titled ‘NCF Perspectives: Seeking Feedback on National Curriculum Framework (NCF)’ on May 30 and 31, 2023, was held at India International Centre, New Delhi. The workshop aimed to ensure a structured approach to gathering feedback from key stakeholders and enhancing their active participation in shaping the response sought by the Government of India. Stakeholders representing e

Abrogation of Art 370: Increasing alienation, relentless repression, simmering conflict

One year after the abrogation by the Central Government of Art. 370 in Kashmir, what is the situation in the Valley. Have the promises of peace, normalcy and development been realised? What is the current status in the Valley? Here is a detailed note by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties , “Jammu & Kashmir: One Year after Abrogation of Art. 370: Increasing Alienation, Relentless Repression, Simmering Conflict”:

Release of dabang neta: Rule of law can't be allowed to be slave to political rhetoric

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  When we look to politicians for solutions and politics as the 'final solution' for every evil then we are disappointed most of the time. In politics, we knowingly or unknowingly become part of the propaganda tool of the ruling elite which exists everywhere across different castes. We often provide issues and talk about them in binaries which suit our elites. The minorities among the marginalised who have no political space and representation rarely get heard by these majoritarian parties whose agenda remain power communities. Every political party in today's time is following the 'successful' formula of 'democracy' which is keeping the 'powerful' 'jaatis' with them leaving aside the marginalised one. The BJP started this but yes they cobbled together all other communities too through a diverse narrative.

J&K RTI activist denied opportunity to address audience, bring forward critical issues

Statement by Er. Irfan Banka, Founder of J&K RTI Foundation and convener of the Nalae Ferozpora Bachav Movement, regarding the incident of official misconduct during the My Town My Pride Jan Abhiyan Program and communication to Raj Bhavan: *** Er. Irfan Banka, a prominent RTI Activist and advocate, has come forward to address an incident of misconduct that occurred during the My Town My Pride Jan Abhiyan Program held at Mugam Town Hall in  Budgam. Additionally, Er. Irfan Banka has communicated the matter to Raj Bhavan, seeking appropriate action. During the event, Er. Irfan Banka was denied the opportunity to address the audience and bring forward critical issues concerning the people and services in the community, including waste management, traffic management, and the achievement of sustainable development goals. The incident involved the Additional Registrar Co-operative Kashmir, who not only prevented Er. Irfan Banka from speaking but also subjected him to public humiliation. E

Why are 17 Indian cos, including Sterlite, blacklisted by Norway bank

By Venkatesh Nayak* Readers may recall the gory incidents that took place at Thoothukudi (Tuticorin) in Tamil Nadu in the southern part of India on 22 May, 2018. Thirteen protesters died on the spot when the police opened fire to disperse an assemblage of thousands of local residents and representatives of civil society groups. They were protesting against the adverse environmental impact of the industrial operations of Sterlite Copper which runs a copper smelter plant in the area. Accusations against the company have ranged from polluting local water resources to plans for expanding the installed capacity of the plant without the necessary environmental clearances. A ground report published in The Wire recently, mentions the decision taken by Norges Bank a few years ago to not invest funds from Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) in Sterlite “due to an unacceptable risk of complicity in current and future severe environmental damage and systematic human rights violations

Sengol imbroglio suggests reason why Modi, BJP don't respect modern Indian history

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  The new parliament building opened on February 28. It looks it is not the Parliament but part of #Pratinidhisabhas ' started by earstwhile #princelystates in India. The #BJP for long has been acting as if India is a #Kingdom and Modi ji the new #King of India. Even at the coronations of Kings, you find a large number of people, and dignitaries but look at the opening ceremony we have only one face as if he build everything. Is it the dream of a republic.

Danger ahead: Smartphones making teens sexually smart, but mentally disturbed

By Harasankar Adhikari  We live in a digitally globalised society. Bombarded consumerism and imitation of foreign cultures and practises reshape our everyday lives. Life choices and lifestyles are the driving forces of modernity at present. People of almost all ages are within this realm and rhythm of consumerism for happiness.

Cave of Spleen - a feminist perspective: Status of women in early 18th century England

The Cave of Spleen: Aubrey Beardsley's illustration for Pope's “The Rape of the Lock” By Pragya Ranjan  "The Rape of the Lock" by Alexander Pope published in 1712 is a mock-heroic narrative which satirically glorifies trivial incident of cutting of locks of protagonist Belinda. This poem was written in the Augustan Era (1660-1784) which is marked by the period of scientific reason and rationality, whose effect can be seen on the writers of those times. This timeline is particularly important to analyse the episode of the Cave of Spleen.