बाल दिवस मनाना तभी सार्थक होगा, जब गरीब बच्चे मजदूरी नहीं बल्कि शिक्षा ग्रहण करेंगे

Article 21 deals with the rights of children. Call it lack of awareness, otherwise some people just don’t care. If we exercise the rights of children, no one enjoys crushing their childhood, there is no one to take care of them.

Chacha Nehru’s love for children was well known. For this reason, his birthday, November 14, began to be celebrated as Children’s Day. Now we celebrate it not as an ordinary day, but as a national festival. Along with this celebration comes the infamous images of child rights, which are taking a gruesome form year after year. Juvenile crimes have increased manifold as compared to general crimes. The annual report of NCRB has concerned numerous crimes against children in the last few years. Blame it on governments or your own negligence? No one can decide. Today is of course Children’s Day, even if you step out of the house, you will see thousands and millions of youngsters washing dishes in dhabas and factories, selling balloons etc. on the square and begging at red lights. These children don’t even know that today is Children’s Day and what it means. In fact, these pictures show how much child rights are being violated.

Article 21 deals with the rights of children. Call it lack of awareness, otherwise some people just don’t care. If we exercise the rights of children, no one enjoys crushing their childhood, there is no one to take care of them. There is no shortage of verbosity and paperwork. Important rights like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan have been mocked with them since independence till date. Millions of children are still illiterate, away from education. Only through equal education will the meaning of Children’s Day be understood. The upper class of the society has deprived only the poor children of education. In such a situation Children’s Day should be considered as a joke for exploited children. Children’s welfare can be done at a higher social level than rulers. But no one can pay attention in busy life. However, attention needs to be paid. If we can improve the lives of even a few children with our efforts, then our lives will be worth living. You can start it from around you. Poor children can be taken to neighborhood Anganwadi. Where free education and food is provided.

Also Read: Jawaharlal Nehru emerged as a great leader during the freedom struggle

The recent reports of the National Human Rights Commission on child rights are even more alarming. This shows that thousands of children are going missing in the country every year. 53.22 percent of children are being sexually abused in some form or the other. All children fall under the scope of this exploitation. The risks of child sexual exploitation are higher in luxury buildings and bungalows than in cramped estates. Certainly India is progressing now, but childhood has been left behind. The innocence is fading from the faces of the poor children. Despite the country’s economic progress, there has been no change in the lifestyle of the children of slums and unorganized workers. The number of innocent people looking for waste in dustbins outside settlements and foil collectors is in crores. Deprived of parental love, away from the shadow of government grants and concessions for various reasons, these outcast children do not even get two meals a day.

It is important to note that our progress depends only on the bright future of our children. India’s urban-rural and rich-poor divide divides children into two. The first class is the one who gets ready in the morning, goes to school with tiffin, the second row is the children who have to leave the house from morning till noon in search of a piece of bread. Both classes of children leave the house in the morning for sure but both have different routes. So it is obvious that children’s day has no importance for children who go through other paths. School children look very happy on Children’s Day. They go to their schools-educational institutions, participate in special programs there. But for the children of the poor, the routine remains the same. It will be good when all the children of the whole country celebrate this day together. This requires willpower. We talk about the success of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, but the truth is far and away from the reality.

We all have to come forward to save children’s childhood. They have to fight against the governments to get their rights. As much as this work can be done at the social level, it is not done at the government level? Governments will give you rights, laws, facilities and amenities. It will be your responsibility to get them and deliver them. If we look at the current statistics, currently around 25 crore children are burning in the furnace of child labour. These children are found as servants in tea shops, laborers in factories or street beggars. What does Children’s Day mean to them? Have to explain, have to say.

The focus should be that Children’s Day should be equal for all children. Good children can do everything, but if the government thinks about the small children of the country who are lying in garbage piles on the banks of dirty drains or covered in the dust of the footpaths. They neither get education nor freedom of childhood. Earning money is not a hobby of these children but a compulsion. The need of the hour is that if we are to celebrate Children’s Day, first of all we have to raise the standard of living of the children stuck in the pit of poverty and illiteracy and kindle the flame of education in their dark lives. Whoever does this, will gain more merit than building a temple.

-Doctor. Ramesh Thakur

Member, National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD), Government of India

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