“T he children of today will make the India of tomorrow. The way we bring them up will determine the future of the country. ” - Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru
Every year, November 14, which is Nehru’s birthday, is celebrated as Children’s Day. This is because he loved children. Fondly known as Chacha Nehru, he was keen on the development and education of children. Thus, he oversaw the establishment of some of the most prominent educational institutions in India.
Over the years, there have been many people who have worked for the betterment of children and their rights. Let’s look at some of them, who can also be honoured on Children’s Day.
Abdul Kalam, our late president, loved children. He visited many schools and colleges to motivate students. He was giving a speech at a college minutes before his death. He loved answering questions from students. He was once asked, “If you were not a scientist what would you have liked to be?”. “I would like to be a teacher,” he replied. He encouraged students to think and dream big. Abdul Kalam was a president who genuinely cared about children.
K.Kamaraj, Tamil Nadu’s late Chief Minister, loved children. He introduced the mid-day meal scheme which provided one meal per day for school children. He got this idea when he saw a poor boy working in the fields. “Why haven't you gone to school?” he asked. “Who will give me food?” the boy retorted. This was how he got the idea. Kamaraj also introduced free and compulsory education up to Std XI. He built new schools so that no rural child would have to walk more than three kilometres, and also improved existing schools. Kamaraj cared for children’s future and was compassionate towards them.
Malala Yousafzi is a Pakistani activist who fights for girls’ rights. She is the youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate and has also won the International Children’s Peace Prize. She founded the Malala Fund, an international non-profit organisation that fights for girls’ rights. The goal of this organisation is to ensure free, safe, and quality education for every girl child.
Kailash Satyarthi is an Indian child rights activist. In 1998, he led the global march — an 80,000 kilometre-long march across 103 countries to put forth a global demand against child labour. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize of 2014. Satyarthi has been a member of a UNESCO body established with the goal of providing “Education for All”. He founded the Bachpan Bachao Andolan in 1980 as a mass movement to create a child-friendly society where all children are free from exclusion and exploitation, and receive free education.