SPECTRUM Speaker Series – Justice Leila Seth’s Visit

Three children were called by a wise man, and given a challenge. The man gave each of them a 1000 rupees and asked them to use it for buying something which could fill an entire room. The first child went to the market and bought a cartload of grass with the thousand rupees, but it was insufficient to fill the room. The second child went to the market and bought cotton with a part of the money. With the leftover part of the money he got the same cotton fluffed up to a larger volume. Even this fluffed cotton was insufficient to fill the wise man’s room. The third child went to the market and with ten rupees, he bought an earthen lamp and a wick. Coming back to the wise man’s room, he lit the wick and the entire room was filled with the light of the lamp. Thus, by investing thought and creativity in his action, the child was able to fulfil the wise man’s task, as well as preserve 990 rupees for himself.

Among the many parables that Justice Leila Seth narrated to the eager students of Shiv Nadar School, the above was one which kids fondly remembered. In the form a simple puzzle like story, the veteran conversationalist that Mrs. Seth is, she was able to convey to the young minds the important of innovative thinking and creativity in order to stand tall in the face of challenges thrown by life.

On the morning of 14th July, a distinctive buzz was palpable in the air of Shiv Nadar School. The school was readying itself to receive a personality whose achievements were too many to be listed, and whose very aura commanded respect. Justice Leila Seth had consented to deliver the Inaugural Lecture in SPECTRUM Speaker Series, guiding little learners on the path of good and conscientious citizenship. At the core of her lecture were supposed to be the basics of the Indian Constitution – the one meticulously drafted document which guides, regulates and inspires the collective existence of Indians.


Inviting Justice Seth to interact with kids was a part of our larger aim of making education practical, live and experiential. We firmly believe that the horizons of little minds cannot be broadened while being constrained within the four walls of the classroom. To enhance their exposure to the various hues in which life teaches us, we conceptualised the SPECTRUM Speaker Series, where in we intend to invite people of eminence, coming from different fields and backgrounds, each with a unique story from which students can extract learnings for a lifetime.

Justice Leila Seth, in all her graceful humility, proved to be a glorious source of knowledge for our children. The woman who stands tall in the annuls of history as the first woman Chief Justice of a High Court in India, was more than eager to get lost in a flurry of questions which kids enthusiastically bounced at her. Having authored a book in the tone of our Preamble, “We, The Children of India”, she precisely understood the language in which little minds could be stimulated. While explaining a subject as complex and vast as the Constitution, Justice Seth was able to excite curiosity by simplifying the subject matter, peppering her narrative with lots of stories.


The imagination of kids was excited most by the fact that the lady sitting in front of them had been born before India got independence, and had hence experienced what life was like under the British Raj. A number of questions were put up by students about the kind of rules and restrictions which the British imposed on India, trying to fathom an era which is our common heritage as Indians. Kids left from her lecture as a joyous bunch, after hearing Justice Seth recite a poem from her book. Tia Chopra, our student, summed up the experience in the following words –

“Apart from understanding the constitution better, the part that impacted me the most was when she told us we should choose right path and not give up, in spite of all the twists and turns that come, even if others are not following the right path.  She also saidt that the right path can be taken by one so what if they aren't many to start off with ... people will follow if it is the right path.”


Jul 23, 2014 by Shiv Nadar School Noida

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