HAPPY CHILDREN'S DAY 2019
Children's Day is celebrated India to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children. It is held on 14 November every year as a tribute to India's First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, fondly known as 'Chacha Nehru' among children, he advocated for children to have fulfilled education. On this day, many educational and motivational programs are held across India, by and for the children. The real story of Children’s Day is far from what most of the media would have people believe. The story dates back to one VM Kulkarni who was a United Nations Social Welfare Fellow who was carrying out a study on the rehabilitation of children who had been victims of crimes in the UK. He realised that India has no such mechanism to take of underprivileged children. He got inspired by the fact that in England, June 19, Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday, is observed as Flag Day to raise money for Save the Child Fund and suggested that Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday too, be observed as Flag Day to raise money. This report by The Tribune states that his proposal to the UN was accepted, and though Jawaharlal Nehru was ’embarrassed at first’, he accepted it too when his permission was sought. An international fair was organised by the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) in 1951 and it was in 1951 that the day started being observed as Children’s Day. So not only the first Children’s Day was celebrated on 14th November when Pandit Nehru was alive, it was celebrated after he agreed to the idea. ICCW was not an independent body as one might believe, either. It was inextricably linked to the political dispensation and the Nehru-Gandhi family. The first President of ICCW, from 1952 to 1958 was Rajkumari Amrit Kaur. Amrit Kaur became part of Jawaharlal Nehru’s first Cabinet and was the first woman to hold Cabinet rank. She was also a strong moving force behind the establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi and became its first president. The next President of ICCW, from 1958 to 1964 was former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi herself. Not just historical accounts, there are stamps commemorating ‘Children’s Day’ that were issued as early as 1957, which go on to prove beyond doubt that Children’s Day was celebrated while Pandit Nehru was alive. On November 2018, Google's doodle on Children's Day was designed to depict a child looking at a sky dotted with stars with a telescope. Crafted by a student from Mumbai, the design had won the 2018 ‘Doodle 4 Google’ competition in India for her fascination with space exploration. In 2018, after Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister, sixty BJP MPs have requested him to designate 26 December as the new Children's Day in India.