Celebration of Children’s Day in India-Its Potential and Value-Jaswant Singh Puri
Jaswant Singh Puri
Children’s day is celebrated across India on November 14 as a tribute to India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru who was born on 14 November, 1889 at Allahabad. He was fondly known as ‘Chacha Nehru’ among children.
He was the eldest of the four children of Motilal Nehru who was a renowned lawyer and leader of the Indian Independence Movement. Nehru believed that ‘we live in deeds and not years’ and children were the true strength of India.
India used to celebrate ‘Children’s Day’ on November 20 every year before 1956 as the United Nations in 1954, had declared this day as Universal Children’s Day. But after Nehru’s death on 27th May, 1964, it was unanimously passed in the Parliament to celebrate ‘Children’s Day’ in India on 14 November to commemorate the birth anniversary of independent India’s First Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He was very fond of kids and advocated children’s education since he strongly believed that they were the future leaders of the nation. They should be moulded in the budding age so that they can become responsible citizens. So ‘Children’s Day’ is celebrated with much zeal and zest, fervor and enthusiasm all across the country. The main motive of celebration is to create awareness among the citizens of India to impart rights to children in the realm of education, their growth in the right direction and ultimately to develop a well-organized nation. Children should be recognised as the wealth of the country who need protection right from the beginning.
Children should be freed of child labour which is the responsibility of the government as well as it is our moral duty to catch them young. A country can become prosperous and great if we pay attention to the innocent kids who can be moulded the way we wish. Children’s Day should not be limited to its celebration in schools but must expand its horizon amongst under privileged and needy children. We ought to offer them food and books etc for their betterment.
Nehru as a broad-spectrum leader of the nation laid the foundation of independent India as sovereign, socialist, secular and a democratic republic. He is well known for his nonaligned policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the leaders of India’s independence movement in the 1930’s and 1940’s. He studied in various foreign schools and got Barrister Degree during his tenure at London. He spent seven years in England but his heart always craved for his Indian land. He developed interest in politics by virtue of Gandhi Ji- popularly known as ‘Bapu’.
Being himself educated and experienced, he practically emphasized the value of education for children and framed Five Year Plans with stress on children’s growth. So ‘Children’s Day’ is not merely a birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru but its celebration should ignite a feeling of strength and energy among the youth. This day should be celebrated to allow the children to have wings so that they fly rather than restricting their activity. Nehru himself was a tireless worker and taught the children to work consistently and lovingly and derive pleasure out of it. “Children are like buds in a garden and should be carefully and lovingly nurtured as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow”. Celebrating with pomposity is not important but it is more important to bring a difference into the lives of children who are underprivileged. The NGOs and other welfare organizations should provide better living conditions for street children so that they have the rights to enjoy and grow into educated citizens of the country. It is important to remember that this special occasion is celebrated to cherish the dream of providing broad-spectrum education so that they have rewarding contribution towards the greater benefit of the society. This day should remind us about the value and potential of children who are the pillars of nation. The American poet Ralph Waldo Emerson had very correctly composed the lines for all times to come that:
“Not gold, but only men can
make people great and strong;
Men who, for truth and honour’s sake,
stand fast and suffer long.”
People can become great and strong only if we nurture our children in an environment of love and character-oriented upbringing. Children are the real gold of upcoming nations.
Let every child learn these poetic lines and imbibe the spirit in hearts, in their action, in their moves for a better and better future. It will be a befitting tribute to celebration of ‘Children’s Day’ and Jawaharlal Nehru.
It is a day when children should learn that each day is a milestone to achieve as Nehru ventured to move ahead in his life. They need this learning to move and move on and get inspiration from the following lines of Robert Frost which Nehru had in writing form on his table and reminded him to move onwards with victory. The lines can inspire everyone as:
“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
Note: This article is dedicated to Mrs Alka Puri (M.A. Hindi, B.Ed) who was the Secretary, Ladies Club, Punjabi University, Patiala during the tenure of Vice-chancellor Dr. S.S Johal, awarded with Padma Bhushan in 2004. Alka Puri was the wife of Dr. Ajit Singh Puri and mother of Jaswant Singh Puri.
(The views expressed are personal)