Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On the Teaching Peace Prize-Winning School: Run by a Gandhi, Baha'i

Uploaded on September 8, 2007 by sheisdesign on flickr
Ankita Yaur
8th Grade
Age: 13.5
School: City Montessori School
Lucknow, India

At his City Montessori School in Lucknow, India, Jagdish Gandhi teaches kids how to change the world.

Seventy percent of City Montessori School pupils are Hindu, one-quarter are Muslim and the rest are Christian, Buddhist, Sikh or Jewish. In daily life, however, it makes no difference. "You can come to Lucknow by bus, plane or train, right? The ways are different, but the goal is the same," says Sudersh Kaur, a Sikh and one of the 20 principals.

For such tolerant views, the school won the UNESCO prize five years ago for teaching peace. That's a special recognition in the conflict-ridden Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. At the same time Gandhi was speaking to his pupils, for example, Muslims were being chased through the streets of a neighbouring city, their businesses destroyed in revenge for the murder of a Hindu parliament member.

Gandhi, himself a practising member of the Baha'i sect, which embraces equality between the sexes and tolerance of all religions, believes religious racism is one of the major evils of the day. "Krishna came to us 5,000 years ago, Christ 2,000 years ago, Muhammad 1,400 years ago," he says. "All of them are messengers sent from the same God." What better recipients of this message than children? Teach them while they're young, according to Gandhi.

Oh, the good the Baha'is are doing in the world. -gw


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