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Reann Kersenhout won the first prize for prose in the Junior section of the National Tagore Art

competition held in May 2011. This is her speech.

To Us
A great Sind once said, Forced as we are to live in a society which is itself tyrannical, and which cannot always be gainsaid, I was often obliged to concede what I did not believe in, but what others around me insisted on. But I always had it in my mind to create an atmosphere. This Sind, who goes by the name of Rabindranath Tagore, awakened us to acknowledge the difficulties that lie ahead. One of these difficulties is grasping our freedom. Freedom from greed, fear, anger, and narrow-minded convictions is a challenge we need to face. Because we are surrounded and influenced by illusions and walls even in our own society, it reaches our inmost being. Yet our thoughts, our feelings, our truth should not be trapped; as long as that is free we can all escape. But what is freedom? Freedom is not an object, and therefore free from is different from freedom. It all starts with the freedom of mind, the thoughts, the sensitivity, the awareness. To allow your moral thoughts to wander freely and guide you, it would mean that you have mastered one of the basic senses of freedom. And it is because you allow these thoughts in, you will realize that disciplining yourself is also a form of freedom. Being free means upholding the truth, for only then can you really face the lies that form a blinded vision. It will also make you see that freedom is not only what is desired, but being able to control that desire. Naturally freedom brings peace for it satisfies an inner calmness. This and many more are the inner realms we are looking for. But we should not look far into vanity to search for our freedom, for Nature is constantly reminding us that freedom is right here to allow us to change for the better; to strive for perfection. Nature, with its very grace, is telling us through the changing of the days that we have a new chance everyday to become better. In fact we receive freedom from the universe; we just need to appreciate and allow ourselves to connect with it. Strangely enough, the restrictions that do not permit us to be free are of our own doing. Somehow we have allowed our thoughts to become corrupted and have therefore created systems that confine us. Generations pass, and now the illusions are controlling- or even worse -shaping us. Look at education, for example. The task of guiding our childrens knowledge and development has become too much concerned with whether you understand the text rather than becoming wise in life. Yes, even education is part of the difficulty, but it is not only education. What about laws? What is it based on these days? Do free people, free minds need law? The creation of such restrictions is due to the belief that we were not free. Free people are never really concerned with just law but with justice, which should be what law is based on. And this justice is really found in our own inner court, in our moral consciousness, which brings us back to the freedom of mind. Although we are at this stage of the world, we should not degrade ourselves. We could for example, redeem ourselves from a tyrannical society by creating an atmosphere. But what exactly is the atmosphere? It is the energy glowing from us, encouraging our thoughts to direct

itself in a direction that will show us our path of freedom. And to create an atmosphere is to create a space that will allow us to do this. A great way to apply this atmosphere is in education in order to start with the children. This is what it is about, educating our children in the free way so they can create a better tomorrow. There are certain reasons why people such as Tagore come and bring us something. He reminded us that there are ways to improve. And that is freedom; it is a chance to get better. So now we as humankind, as children of the Universe, are at a new age, and are asked to accept this chance. The real question is: will we do it? Will we stay in our confined space, or shall we head in a new direction? Change is something that will always happen, but the only thing to do is to change to become perfect; to become free. It is true that we are facing growing challenges, and major successes. It is therefore our job to get rid of the foolishness of the world, and bring a proud, unified, and free name to our Age.