November 14 is celebrated as Children’s Day throughout the country. To mark the birth anniversary of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru , this day is celebrated in schools, educational institutions and other places of importance for children. The freedom fighter and politician was extremely fond of children and was fondly called ‘Chacha Nehru’ by them. Even after years of his death, he is remembered by that name and in honour of his legacy and fondness for children, his birth anniversary is celebrated as Children’s Day.
Initially, Children’s Day in India was celebrated on November 20 in accordance with the Universal Children’s Day declared by the United Nations . However, after Jawaharlal Nehru’s demise in 1964, a resolution was passed in the Indian Parliament that declared November 14 as Children’s Day to honour the legacy of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. The day, as opposed to popular belief, is not a gazetted holiday but children are encouraged to go to school and be a part of the celebrations of this day. In schools and educational institutions, this day is marked with special assemblies and functions. Events like quizzes, cultural activities, plays, fancy dress competitions, etc are held in order to increase participation and make children aware of the rich historical past of the country and the eminent personalities that were a part of it. The freedom struggle and what followed it is often included in the narration and children are given details about the life of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who believed them to be the greatest assets for the nation. “The children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country,” he had once said.
The freedom fighter was credited with making great changes in the educational set up of the country and in bringing about much-needed changes in the overall working of the system. Since he believed so deeply in the potential of children, he laid great emphasis on education which is a great tool to harness the calibre of young minds. He established several educational institutions such as the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), all of which form the back bone of the Indian Educational set up. They are the most prominent educational institutions in the country run by the government that provide quality education to the youth.
In addition to commemorating the great leader, the day is also a reminder that every child, irrespective of theri caste, creed, financial or political status, deserves basic amenities that include education, nurturing, healthcare and sanitation. Since they are the future of the nation, they hold within them immense potential and to channel it constructively, is a responsibility that the entire nation should shoulder. Apart from providing basic rights to children, it is also important to save them from prominent social evils like child trafficking, assault and child labour, which is a sheer atrocity and wastage of priceless human resources.
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