TW Newsdesk, November 14: The 14th of November is a special day for every student’s life for one particular reason. While the whole year children put in efforts to organize and participate in cultural programs, on this day it is the teachers who perform for their students showing them a completely different side to the disciplinarians they meet in class.
But actually, what is the significance of this day?
The 14th of November is celebrated in India as Children’s Day in honour of the first Prime Minister of independent India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. However, in 1948 this day was celebrated on 5th November as “Flower Day” while the focus was the same, the welfare of children.
In 1951, a United Nations Social Welfare Fellow, V.M Kulkarni, presented a report recommending that Children’s Day be declared on the occasion of Nehru’s birthday where the focus of the day would take the form of the “Flag Day” in England, dedicated to the welfare of underprivileged kids and their rights. In 1957, the first Children’s Day, as we know it, was celebrated after being declared officially in a special government edict.
Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday was specifically chosen for this day mainly because of his well-known fondness for children. For this, he was even affectionately called Chacha Nehru (“Uncle Nehru”) by children, and their faith in him was a constant source of happiness for him. Nehru strived to “create an atmosphere in the country where the attention is constantly focused on children and their welfare”. He also established the “Children’s Film Society India” in 1955 so that Indian children could see themselves represented in the films they watched.
In his book “My Days With Nehru” (1979), M.O Mathai wrote, “Nehru saw in their innocent faces and sparkling eyes the future of India. He was convinced that no amount of money spent on children and their mothers was too much and that it was a sound investment for the future.”
In 1958, when Ram Narayan Chaudhary asked him in an interview if he was fond of children because the future of the country depended on the children, Nehru replied, “I have always felt that the children of today will make the India of tomorrow, and, the way we bring them up will determine the future of the country.”
Interestingly, in 2018, the current Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, received a request to change Children’s Day from the 14th of November to the 26th of December in honour of the martyrdom of the younger sons of Guru Gobind Singh. Nehru’s birthday was requested to be celebrated as “Chacha Diwas” (Uncles’ Day).
However, to this day, the request was never granted and Nehru’s dedication and contribution to the educational and social rights of children have continued to preserve his seat as a champion of children’s rights in India and the rightful person whose birthday deserves to be commemorated as “Children’s Day”.