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A Challenge of writing a Speech in English from Hindi on Sant Kabir Das, The Great Indian Philosopher

Updated on June 6, 2016

Kabir, the Great Philosopher


Some readers may not find this article to be very interesting if they do not understand Hindi, the national language of India. Still, I would suggest that if you read it thoroughly then, excluding those few excerpts in Hindi, it will help you to enlighten your mind and lead a perfect life.

Speech is a Medium of Communication

Some time back I wrote an article titled A Good Speech is a Great Form of Communication in which I dealt with the art of speech writing. Writing speech is a form of creative writing because speech is a medium of communication. Through speech people try to present their opinion and so speech has to be very articulate so that people can be inspired. That’s why there are many points to take care of while writing a speech. Well, in this article I am not going to deal with the nuances of speech writing because I have already discussed all the important points in the above mentioned article. This article has a speech on a great philosopher and mystic poet mainly for the students of class five or so but I believe that as a whole this article will make a strong impact upon human lives..

In the school where my son studies the classes are divided into four houses. Different type of competitions and other programmes are conducted on the basis of inter house or house level functions. His school has four houses and they are named as: Dayanand House, Guru Nanak House, Vivekananda House and Kabir House. The names of the Houses depict the great spiritual and religious preachers of India. All these great personalities had contributed a lot in changing the culture of the Indian society and the outlook of the Indian people.

Challenge of Writing a Speech

Recently, I faced a great challenge when my son informed me that he had got a chance to participate in the function of Kabir’s birth anniversary ('Kabir Jayanti' in Hindi) as he belongs to Kabir House. The challenge was not in his participation because it is a normal routine for him from day one of his school life but he had to deliver a speech on Kabir. Now, that was a great challenge for me because the speech had to be written in English while Kabir who expressed his thoughts in couplets popularly known as Doha were all in colloquial Hindi (mainly Awadhi language). His teacher had advised him to include some Dohas in his speech. A ten year old had no pressure because it was not of his standard to write the speech on Kabir and so it was my turn to face the challenge. I was literally in a dilemma on how to begin the speech and continue with it.

The first and foremost inputs which I took were from the internet and also from a book published by the school authorities on all the four great personalities but it is in Hindi. I had no option but started assembling my thoughts and ultimately wrote down the speech for my son to learn it by heart. While writing it down I faced some challenges as:

FIRSTLY, due to the language spoken by Kabir was colloquial Hindi. In the speech I had to include the Dohas in Hindi but as the speech was in English so I had to incorporate the meanings of the Dohas in English too.

SECONDLY, I got confused while finding out Kabir’s year of birth. Different years were mentioned in different sources so now it was quite difficult for me to find out the correct one. Lastly, I decided to consider the year which was mentioned in Wikipedia.

THIRDLY, there are numerous Dohas written by Kabir and for a speech I had to incorporate hardly four or five. Now, the confusion was which four or five were to be considered. Mainly because I had to keep it in mind that the speech was to be delivered by a ten year old of class five. Even, it had to be delivered in the assembly which would be attended by his batch mates and students of the classes below fifth other than the respected teachers.

FOURTHLY, a speech needs to have a meaningful continuation so while I wrote the speech it was always in my mind to put forth the couplets I mean Dohas in such a manner that the speech must not lose its flow and sound meaningful. I wanted to present a meaningful picture of Kabir by the end of the speech and it was a difficult presentation.

Speech on Sant Kabir Das

It’s time to present the speech on Kabir. Address the gathering and start the speech in the manner written below:

As we all know that we’ve gathered here to celebrate the Jayanti of Sant Kabir Das.

It is well known that Kabir is also known as Kabir Das and Sant Kabir Das too. He is known to be a great philosopher and mystic poet. There are many stories related to his birth and death. It is said that in 1440 A.D. Sant Kabir Das was found by a weaver couple Neeru and Neema near Lahartara Lake at Benaras Ghat.

He never believed in God having any particular image or shape so he was against idol worship. Sant Kabir believed that God is everywhere and if truly searched then people will find God in their hearts. Kabir was not at all an educated person but his viewpoints were thought provoking.

He was the disciple of ‘Ramanand’, a great Mahatma. His name ‘Kabir’ means ‘the great one’ which proved right as he received respect from people without any restriction of class and religion. Before his death in 1518 A.D. he imparted philosophical messages to people through verses of two lines each which in Hindi is called ‘Doha’ and in English is called ‘couplets’. Sant Kabir earned respect and this proved one of his Dohas absolutely appropriate. It is like this in Hindi:

Jab tum aaya jagat mein, log hanse tu royen

Aisi karni na kari, pache hanse sab koye

It means at the time of a baby’s birth the newborn baby cries and others laugh. Then the poet said that one must not do any wrong so that others get the chance to laugh when the one who commits wrong dies.

One Doha of his is very popular which is very much related with the people’s attitude who are lazy and are always willing to defer the work on their hand. Sant Kabir was against of wasting time and he recited a verse in Hindi:

Kal kare so aaj kar, aaj kare so ab

Pal mein pralay hoyegi, bahuri karoge kab.

The meaning of the above couplet is that the work of tomorrow is to be done today and the work of today is to be done right now. If one looses time then how the work will be completed.

There are almost more than 500 Dohas which are incorporated in Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh religion, too. He was an advocate of love which the world at present needs badly. Sant Kabir expressed his thought in his colloquial Hindi about love and education:

Pothi padh padh kar jag muaa, pundit bhayo na koye

Dhai aakhar prem ka jo padhe so pundit hoye.

It means no one becomes wise just by reading and gaining knowledge from books. Only learning and understanding that two and a half letters word called ‘love’ will make a person wise.

Almost 120 years, Kabir Das was alive and during it he constantly fought and raised voice against every type of social evils. Among his many Dohas which I would like to recite now in front of you all is as I said earlier is originally in Hindi. The couplet is:

Guru Govind dou khadre, kake langoo paye

Balihari Guru aapne, Govind dioo milay.

It depicts that Sant Kabir places teacher at a higher position than God. It’s so because he said in the couplet that if a person’s teacher and God both are standing in front of him then whose feet is to be touched at first. Then, Kabir said to the teacher that you are great as you have helped me to meet God.

Thus, hereby I pay my due respect to all my teachers and also to the wise thoughts of Sant Kabir Das.

Thank you

Kabir, the Great Philosopher

Hope all the readers will enjoy this speech and take some knowledge from the given Dohas. Imagine a man of 1440 A.D. expressed his viewpoints regarding life and society is still so very applicable in this modern age. It shows that what a great philosopher Sant Kabir Das was!

(In English ‘love’ is comprised of four letters while in Hindi it is ‘prem’ which is written in two and a half letters).


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