Monday, November 14, 2011

Happy Children's Day

Children's Day is celebrated in India on November 14, which is the birthday of Chacha Nehru whose real name was Jawaharlal.  He was called Chacha Nehru because he had to be an uncle to some of the children of his times. There is no truth in the myth that he was called Chacha because of his fondness for dancing though he was reported to be good at teaching others how to dance. He also wrote one of the nicest books on the history of India called The Discovery of India.



At schools, this day is celebrated like a return gift for all the things that kids do on Teachers Day. Very often teachers use this day to have some fun themselves by participating in cultural programs to entertain their students. I used to love Children's day celebration when I was in school, especially the comic skits that the teachers would perform for us. The school I went to as a child was a very propah school run by missionaries (missionaries are professional soldiers who are too old to be fighting). They believed in doing things in a spiritual way, so they would never punish us physically. If you did something that was really bad (like mixing fireworks powder in Fr. Grogan's pipe tobacco), they would send you with the class monitor and a slip of paper to the sports teacher, Mr. Ekka. There would be a number written on that piece of paper which Mr. Ekka would read and convert into beatings with a short leather strap either on our bum or on our hands, depending on which was in better health from the previous set of straps. But on teachers day, Mr. Ekka, would not beat anyone and any pending straps would be replaced with yummy strawberry flavored whistle lollipops. But we all knew that the real reason he would be so happy on Children's day was because he would be acting in a play with Ms. Toppo, the one who made moral sciences the most exciting class of them all.




Other than activities at school, Children's Day in India is also used to kickstart programs for children, launch film festivals, and election campaigns. The United Nations observes November 20 as Universal Children's Day, so that children on other planets and in other galaxies are also included.



This year, Google set its logo to a graphic by Varsha Gupta, a class 3 student from Delhi who won the Doodle for Google contest for the children's day logo. The Google Doodle has been a wonderful project by Google that uses its "google" logo on the search giant's homepage to honor various events, festivals, and people. Among recent ones, my favorite was the Flash video on Freddie Mercury which Google used on  the occasion of Teacher's Day this year. 



10 comments:

  1. A great day to make the students feel special! And our own children too! :)

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  2. -:) I dont remember children's day at all...I wonder why. And is that why Nehru was callled Chacha? Why was children's day celebrated on his birthday--who decided that? Why?

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    1. With Gandhi, Patel, and Jinnah around him, Nehru was forced to stop being a child himself and play uncle to them. I think.

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  3. Your post evoked many fond memories of this day.In Delhi there used to be large scale celebrations in the National stadium & children from many schools took part.Pandit Nehru used to be present there.

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    1. I see the pictures that some of the present generation children and their teachers put up on the occasion of Childrens day, and it worries me that innocence and joy have finally been replaced by appearances and bauble. I hope I am mistaken.

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  4. Funny, Subho, I a teacher am losing interest in Children's Day. Is it because I am growing old? No, I don't think so. I love children when I see them in front of me. But when I see the way the media and the publicity (especially advertisement) domains make use of children (and even the way parents do it) I detest it all.

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    1. I can totally see your point. We have failed as a generation to protect our children from the ills of a materialistic consumeristic mindset. Now advertisers are using children in ads, not so much to make it look appealing but to subliminally create an entire generation that identifies totally with brands and consumption patterns. Very sad.

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  5. I wouldn't want a dilphek chacha like Nehru, but any which way it is a nice way of thinking about our kids and cherishing their presence in our lives.

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  6. Childrens day is good, but I dont like it being associated with Nehru, he was hardly someone we would want our kids to follow ..

    I remember writing a couple of posts last year on this ..

    1. http://mannbikram.wordpress.com/2011/11/06/childrens-days-india/

    2. http://mannbikram.wordpress.com/2011/11/14/childrens-day/

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  7. What a lovely post on children's day. I think, my teachers conveniently forgot children's day as they might have had to entertain us but we did celebrate teacher's day.

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