An engineer by profession and a student at the Alliance Française in Chandigarh, Dhriti Gupta is passionate about theatre. The 25-year-old Indian woman won the eloquence competition in Chennai in August 2019 on the theme of inequality. On 17 March, she took part in the "À mots ouverts" eloquence competition at the Institut de France in Paris.
What does eloquence mean to you?
In my opinion, eloquence is the power that each of us has. Being eloquent gives me the power to take a stand. I feel more present and heard. I think if you're eloquent in your life, you don't need someone to support you, you become a support for others.
Ever since I was a child I've struggled with what feels unfair, whether that unfairness has manifested itself in speaking or in the theatre, and that has helped me find my place here. Like kindness, respect and listening, eloquence is also about sharing, courage and action.
Does the French language sound particularly eloquent to you?
French is one of the richest and most precise languages in terms of vocabulary and sentence structure. It gives us the opportunity to express ourselves in more detail, to play with words, to be clearer and more fluid. Because of all these qualities, I find that French is, in fact, the most eloquent language. Even though I speak three languages already, French was the first language I learned that I did not just acquire. French gives me the opportunity to see the world in a more rational sense, to feel emotions more intensely and to think in a richer way. I have a different personality when I use it to communicate, and this one is the best.
Why did you take part in the first eloquence competition in India in August 2019?
The first time I saw the poster for the eloquence competition, I was sure of three things: the first was that I was going to participate, the second was that I was going to talk about gender inequality in India; and the third was that I was going to use this opportunity to change people’s perspective and mentality on this topic. It's something that affects me very deeply and it's one of India's biggest problems! Indian school curricula do not give us the chance to position ourselves for or against what we think is important. The consequence is that young people are demotivated and lose their voice.
While inequality is a visible and continuing problem in India, most Indians accept it as a way of life. Some have started to fight these problems and make progress – and there is quite a positive change, but there is still a long way to go.
Dhriti Gupta won the public speaking competition organised in Chennai in August 2019 with the support of the Institut français.
The international public speaking competition organised at the Institut de France in March 2020 and the public speaking competitions set up around the world by the French diplomatic network are one of the measures of the presidential programme "Ambitions for the French Language and Multilingualism" launched by Emmanuel Macron in March 2018. The organisation of public speaking competitions and training in collaboration with the Eloquentia Association are supported by the Institut français. More information about the "A mots ouverts" competition
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