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by Smt. Anjali Ambekar
Children's day, in hindi known as "Bal Diwas", in India falls on November 14th every year and for good reason. Children's day in India is celebrated on Pandit Nehru's birthday as a day of fun and frolic, a celebration of childhood, children and Nehruji's love for them.
About Jawahar Lal Nehru
On November14, 1889, a son was born to an eminent lawyer, Motilal Nehru and his wife Swaroop Rani at Allahabad. They named him Jawaharlal. He was a brilliant, kindhearted child who was greatly loved by all.
His father wanted to give him the best education and hence sent him to England for his M.A. from Cambridge. The British ruled India at that time. When he returned to India, young Jawaharlal realized that he wanted to help the poor and the downtrodden. He took part in the Freedom Struggle of India and became a follower of Mahatma Gandhi who had just returned from South Africa at that time. When India gained its independence, he became the first Prime Minister of free India.
He was a perfect blend of eastern philosophical values and western scientific thinking and encouraged technological progress. But he was also a man of letters and a great poet and wrote some famous works like, ‘Glimpses of World History’ and ‘Discovery of India’. His letters to his daughter, Indira, were also compiled into a book and reflects his philosophical outlook, his compassion and above all, his tender heart.
The Birth of Chacha Nehru
Chacha Nehru as the children fondly referred to him, was fond of both children and roses. In fact he often compared the two, saying that children were like the buds in a garden. They should be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they were the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow. He felt that children are the real strength of a country and the very foundation of society. He was the ‘beloved’ of all the children who gave him the endearing name of ‘Chacha Nehru’.
Children’s day celebrations
Children's Day is to celebrate "childhood". On Children’s Day tribute is given to all children in the world. Children are loved by one and all. They win over our hearts with their angelic eyes and innocent smiles. It makes one realise that maybe that’s the way God wanted us to be.
Children's Day is not just a day to let the future generation have its say. It is a day to remember a leader who, in his quiet but determined way, laid the foundation to convert a nascent nation into a world power.
But why Children's Day? Apart from being known for his skills as a statesman, Nehru was also immensely fond of children. The more popular and famous of Nehru's pictures show him with children. In all the photographs Nehru's joy at being with children is apparent. When he is not sharing pleasantries with them, the expression of intense concentration as he listens to them reveals his commitment and attitude to children. Children to Nehru were little adults in the making. Nehru, to children, is never the Indian political leader and prime minister. He is always Chacha Nehru - Nehru Uncle.
The story also goes that he started to wear a rose on his jacket after a child pinned one on it. The national children's centre, Jawahar Bal Bhavan, is also named after Jawaharlal Nehru. Children's Day is literally that. It is the day when children all over the country are pampered with goodies. From the schoolchild's point of view, the best thing perhaps is that it is a special day at school - they need not wear uniforms and are given sweets.
Celebrations in School
Most schools have cultural programmes for the day, with the students managing it all. All over the country, various cultural, social, and even corporate, institutions conduct competitions for children. Children's Day is a day for children to engage in fun and frolic. Schools celebrate this day by organising cultural programmes.
Teachers of the school perform songs and dances for their students. Various competitions like quizzes, fancy dress competitions, and elocutions are organised on this day. Children are also treated to a movie and lunch. Television networks have in the recent years started to air special programmes all day for kids on November 14, making this day a special treat.