Elevating Democracy & Shared Values

Elevating Democracy & Shared Values

Coming together of world’s two largest democracies

“Do we act with compassion and empathy? Are we measured by our efforts -- by what Dr. King called “the content of our character” rather than the color of our skin or the manner in which we worship our God. In both our countries, in India and in America, our diversity is our strength. And we have to guard against any efforts to divide ourselves along sectarian lines or any other lines.” – These were the words of US President Barack Obama in response to what makes America and India world leaders.

26th January 2015 was of historical significant for India when heads of 2 of the largest democracies in the world came together celebrate the 66th Republic Day of India. On the occasion President Obama went on to say “The peace we seek in the world begins in human hearts. And it finds its glorious expression when we look beyond any differences in religion or tribe, and rejoice in the beauty of every soul.”

Bal Vihar and its students continue to outdo the efforts from the previous years by putting together an event splendid display of India’s states, their culture & heritage. India’s diversity was at full display at the Republic Day event organized by Bal Vihar of St. Louis. The event took place at Ladue Middle School on January 25, 2015.

The event was graced by Dr Smita & Dr Sharad Parikh, Dr Amita & Tony Bhalla, Deepika & Chand Vyas, and Rahul Parikh (Mahatma Gandhi’s great grandson). These dignitaries also formed the panel of judges that reviewed booths from various states and recognized the best display. Also present were Cecilia Nadal (Gitana Productions), Jeannetter Cooperman (STL Magazine) & Andrew Cooperman.

The day opened with a group of young musicians from Bal Vihar playing United States and India national anthem. It is a real treat to see a young orchestra playing so melodiously.

Each class put together a splendid display in their effort to outdo each other with so many facts even natives may not claim to know. Those present could get a glimpse of the largest democratic republic. The kids were dressed up in traditional Indian clothes. There were so many details and not enough time to capture them all. Every time I find there is much more to learn and know about different states of India and their culture. There were also food samples from these states that provided an insight into their cuisine.

It feels so good to see that we have been able to give our children a view into India’s culture, history and food among other aspects. Bal Vihar has been a leader in instilling the culture and sense of pride in our younger generation. All this has been possible as a result of countless and selfless efforts of its Teachers, Admin Staff and numerous volunteers that make it happen.

Center for Indian Cultural Education - Bal Vihar of St. Louis, a non-profit organization, since its inception in 1992 has been serving the Metro St. Louis Indian community. The primary focus of this organization is to provide Indian cultural education to students age 5-18, its application and integration with the global multicultural and multifaceted society. They are also taught discipline, tolerance and devotion in their daily routine. The ultimate goal is "to throw the light of cultural knowledge on every child, to make every child an outstanding citizen and to spread the song of peace and harmony around the world."