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Honesty even in face of punishment!

Narendra, whom we know as Swami Vivekananda, was a master story-teller whose words were as magnetic as his personality. When he spoke everyone listened in rapt attention forgetting their work. One day while in school, Narendra was talking animatedly to his friends during a class recess. Meanwhile, the teacher had entered the classroom and had begun to teach his subject. But the students were too absorbed in Narendra’s story to pay any attention to the lesson. After some time had passed, the teacher heard the whispering and understood what was going on! Visibly annoyed, he now asked each student what he had been lecturing on. None could answer. But Narendra was remarkably talented; his mind could work simultaneously on two planes. While he had engaged one part of his mind in talking, he had kept the other half on the lesson. So when the teacher asked him that question, he answered correctly. Quite nonplussed, the teacher inquired who had been talking so long. Everybody pointed at Narendranath, but the teacher refused to believe them. He then asked all the students except Narendra to stand up on the bench. Narendra also joined his friends and stood up. The teacher asked him to sit down.

But Narendra replied: ‘No sir, I must also stand up because it was I who was talking to them.’


The boy who never cheated!

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was a shy boy. As soon as the school bell rang, he collected his books and hurried home. Other boys chatted and stopped on the way; some to play, others to eat, but Mohan always went straight home. He was afraid that the boys might stop him and make fun of him.

One day, the Inspector of Schools, Mr. Giles, came to Mohan's school. He read out five English words to the class and asked the boys to write them down. Mohan wrote four words correctly, but he could not spell the fifth word 'Kettle'. Seeing Mohan's hesitation, the teacher made a sign behind the Inspector's back that he should copy the word from his neighbour's slate. But Mohan ignored his signs. The other boys wrote all the five words correctly; Mohan wrote only four. After the Inspector left, the teacher scolded him. "I told you to copy from your neighbour," he said angrily. "Couldn't you even do that correctly" Everyone laughed.

As he went home that evening, Mohan was not unhappy. He knew he had done the right thing.


The young martyr!

In the 1942 Quit India Movement, Indians – adults and school children – took part alike. In a small town in Maharashtra called Nandurbar, Shirish Kumar Mehta and his friends organised daily morning rallies spreading the message of independence amongst the citizens of Nandurbar and the importance of participation. On 10th August 1942, as the students started their rally British officials came forth with pistols and sticks. They warned Shirish Kumar and his friends that if the continued with the rallies, the consequences would be dire.

Undeterred by the threat Shirish Kumar shouted, “We will not stop till we gain freedom. If you dare, go on shoot me.”  Hearing this, the angered British official opened fire and shot Shirish Kumar and 3 of his friends dead. Shirish Kumar was a brave, young martyr whose death inspired millions of youths across the country to jump into the freedom movement.