Many of them have no families and stay in shelter homes while some
are physically handicapped. But despite the odds, these kids are
all set to pay a musical tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his birth
Around 300 kids, a majority of them from shelter homes and slums
spread across the city, gather at Gandhi Smriti here for
rehearsals as they gear up for Sunday's celebration at Rajghat -
the memorial to the Mahatma - on Gandhi Jayanti.
According to Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti (GSDS), the
rehearsals began Thursday and will continue till Saturday. The
30-minute show will feature songs and bhajans on Gandhi with an
aim to inspire the youth to follow the path of peace.
"Every year we had students from public and government schools,
but this time we focussed on shelter homes and slum dwellers as
these kids hardly get a chance to showcase their talent," GSDS
director Manimala told IANS.
Said 17-year-old Savita who is visually challenged: "Although I
can't see what is happening around me, the bhajans and songs on
Gandhiji are very soothing and inspiring. I am very excited to
sing at Rajghat."
The Class 12 student of Rashtriya Virjanand Andh Kanya Vidyalaya
in West Delhi's Vikaspuri is a resident of Uttar Pradesh but she
lives in the school's hostel with several other blind girls
hailing from across the country.
"This is my first visit to Gandhi Smriti and I am thoroughly
enjoying myself. I will definitely participate every year from now
on," said Savita's best friend Bineeta, who stays in the hostel
for the blind and whose family resides in Orissa.
For 14-year-old Srikant, it is an opportunity of a lifetime to
sing at Rajghat before a host of luminaries he has only seen on
"I have never got a chance to get involved in something special
like this. I am cherishing every moment of it," said Srikant, an
orphan who walks with the help of crutches.
"I have read a lot about Gandhiji and I would love to become the
country's prime minister someday to bring about a change," added
the teenager who lives in a shelter provided by the NGO Salaam
Balak Trust in north Delhi.
As the songs reverberated in the air during rehearsals, visitors,
especially foreigners, thronged the Kirti Mandap auditorium at
Gandhi Smriti, merrily clicking pictures and showering the kids
The kids particularly are having a gala time as in between the
singing sessions, their teacher Sudhanshu Bahuguna, a Delhi-based
classical singer and composer, doesn't forget to tickle their
funny bone with witty one liners and comments.
"I've been training kids here for the last 15 years and this has
become my passion," 46-year-old Bahuguna said.
According to Bahuguna, he is relishing this year's experience to
the hilt because of the deprived kids who are "very hungry to
learn something new".
"Despite the challenges many of them face everyday at such a young
age, they have not lost hope and are very hungry to learn
something new," said Bahuguna who is one among the 25 members of
classical group Swar Trishna.
"I salute their spirit," he added.
(Rahul Vaishnavi can be contacted at email@example.com)