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Friday, August 29, 2014

No Hitler

The Inter House Speech Declamation Competition was the third literary program conducted in my school this year. We had some larger-than-life personalities and like every year we had Adolf Hitler. As far as I can remember we have always had students declaiming Hitler in speech declamation competitions. Even as a student I remember many Hitlers winning the competition. Hitler would commence and end his speech with thunderous applause from the audience. As a student I didn't understand his speech but I liked seeing Hitler in these competitions because he was the loudest (most of the time) and the most amusingly dressed character with his most queer mustache. My teachers never told me more about what he did and why he is remembered.

The class twelve boy who took up the role this year, presented an impressive performance. He did well but he did not win. A part of me found joy that Hitler didn't win the competition but another part of me felt sorry for the boy who lost. It was not his fault that he lost nor was it because he choose to declaim Hitler. It was my fault as a teacher or our collective fault as a school for only teaching what is in the textbook. We did not and do not make our students realize that Hitler is responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews out of the 55 million deaths during the 2nd World War.

As the Hitler this year went on shouting "Jews!" "Jews!" "Jews!"the hall roared with laughter.

So starting next year, Hitler will be barred from the declamation competition and the teachers will explain why.