Growing up every child will remember being highly excited on children’s day and going to school anticipating the glorious arrangements that their teachers might have put together for them on this day. In India children’s day is celebrated on the 14th of November every year. It is a joyous occasion meant especially for children all around the country.
Children’s day is not a national holiday, but nevertheless on this day classes are usually suspended at most schools and instead various festivities and arrangements are organised for the happiness of the children at these institutions.
A brief history on Children’s Day
Children’s day began in Chelsea , Massachusetts on the June of 1857 by Reverend Dr. Charles Leonard. He was a pastor of the Universalist Church of the Redeemer, situated in Chelsea. Pastor Leonard was extremely fond of children and the children held a very special place in his heart. He made various arrangements to help the children and make them happy.
In the beginning he named the day as Rose day. It was later on renamed as Flower Sunday. Finally on the June of 1857 the day was officially called as Children’s Day in Chelsea, Massachusetts. Similarly, Children’s day was officially declared to be a national holiday by the government of Turkey on the 23rd of April, 1920. In this fashion, the celebration of children’s day has become a global affair and is celebrated internationally in several countries all around the world.
In India, Children’s day was started by the first Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehru was extremely fond of children and he considered the children to be the most pure life forms in the world, free from exploitation and corruption. He considered the children the most important part of the society since they were the future generation and the country depended on them.
Therefore, to improve the living conditions of children in the country, to make sure they were nourished, loved, cared for and brought up with proper education and healthcare, Nehru started the celebration of children’s day in India on the 14th of November. Motivational and awareness programs and announcements take place on this day all around the country so as to make people aware of the importance of children in the future of a nation.
State of Children in India
India, as we know, is a developing country. It is still in the process of development and has a long way to go. One of the reasons why India has not yet made its way to the list of developed nations and first world countries is due to the deplorable state of the children of the country.
Sitting at home and getting proper healthcare, sanitation, comfort and the right education, we often overlook what is going on around us. If we stop a while to look around us we would see children sleeping on pavements and begging on the streets of the country. Underprivileged children can be spotted in each and every nook and corner of the city sitting with a bowl and begging for pennies.
They can also be spotted at signals, selling various items along with their brothers and sisters, some holding small babies in his arms. The condition of these children is truly horrifying and saddening.
When we sit back and recollect our childhood memories we are filled with a sense of joy and satisfaction. We recall memories of playing with our neighbours, stealing chocolates and cookies from the kitchen, going to school everyday, watching our favourite cartoon shows on the television etc.
But these street children, all they will have in the future to fall back on are the memories of the dark days, begging on the streets, getting thrown about from one corner of the street to another, going without a morsel of food or a drop of water for days and lying on the streets among the heat and the dust like animals. These poverty-stricken children spend their childhood among gravels and dust and the filth that we all stay away from inside the comfort of our houses.
Child trafficking is a social evil that is rampant in the Indian society to this day. Children become a part of child trafficking rackets in the city. Child labour is a nightmare, more horrifying than anything we can ever experience in our childhood days. Children are stripped off their right to a basic education and sent off in dozens to work as domestic help, as beggars in the streets, and even worse, to factories.
Factories produce harmful chemical effluents which are inhaled by these poor children day in and day out. These in turn causes various typed of cancer such as skin cancer and lung cancer and other fatal diseases. These children die an early death and no one even keeps a count or mourns for them since they have neither the money nor the means nor a family name. These news do not make headlines and the nation overlooks them just like the rest of us.
Just a year back, in 2018, the clip of a journalist interviewing a boy went viral over the internet. The name of the boy was Kamlesh and he appeared to be not more than 14 years of age. He lives by the dumb and worked all day in the factories trying to gather money which he uses to purchase a chemical drug which he refers to as “solution”.
This drug allows him to sleep at night and without it he find it difficult to relax. The boy further went on to say that when he doesn’t get his daily supply of the drug, he feels sick and nauseous and coughs up blood. The clip of this child was circulated all over the internet in the form of humorous memes and videos.
This highlights everything that is wrong with out society today and the deplorable state of underprivileged children in the country. Children at the tender age of 13 to 14, and even younger, who should be attending school and getting proper education are being exposed to a life of hard labour and drug abuse. It is deeply saddening that we live in a nation that fails to provide protection to its children.
True essence of Children’s Day celebration
The celebration of children’s day should not be limited to only those children who are the privileged and have a family to support them and to cater to their needs. The true essence of Children’s Day celebration should be celebrating every child living and breathing in India who do not have a well off family to fall back on.
We who are hiding behind the walls of our comfortable mansions should utilise this day to make an attempt of providing these children with the basic education and healthcare that they so truly deserve. It is true what some wise men have said, that “charity begins at home”.
If we take an initiative to put up small private institutions so as to provide education to the children living in slums close to our locality, this small attempt of ours will have a huge impact and will inspire more people around us to come forward and take similar initiatives as well. We can do small deeds that will form a bigger picture.
Children provide us with the small joys of our lives. They are innocent and pure. They do not have the maturity to distinguish between what is right for them and what will harm them, hence they are very susceptible to brainwashing by evil men who want to exploit them for their own selfish needs.
We must remember that no child is born a thief, or murderer, or a fraud or a person with an indecent character. A child is like water, which takes the shape of whichever container it is poured into. Therefore the proper upbringing of a child is very important to ensure that the child doesn’t grow up to become a threat to society. The government has opted for various propaganda and awareness programs on television and radio asking people to contribute to child education.
Laws have been passed making education till the age of 14 a compulsion for all children living in India. Educational loans and remunerations have been provided by the government in an attempt to increase educational rates among children in India. Even multinational companies have come forward to provide their help in this by contributing a few amounts of money from every product purchased towards child education.
Children’s Day is a joyous occasion and it is okay to celebrate it with children who are living life is comfort. But one shouldn’t forget that every child deserves to be a part of a day like this and be happy and live a carefree and contented life without the fear of starvation, abuse, poverty or diseases.