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How is Children’s Day celebrated around the world

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By Anjali Gursahaney

New Delhi: Children’s Day is celebrated to reinforce the youth to be a responsible citizen. It is celebrated in different countries for different causes, but with a similar mindset. The values and disciplines learned as a child are responsible for the kind of adult one would become.

Children’s Day is a day observed all around the world to remind us about the children’s right to enjoy their childhood without any boundaries and to become educated well-developed adults in the future.

Children’s Day also emphasizes the need of proper methods of raising kids. After all, today’s children are tomorrow’s future and a nation is built with its youth. Thus, childhood is a very special time which needs to be celebrated.

Photo Credit : omep.usa.org
Photo Credit: omep.usa.org

The world doesn’t have just one Children’s Day, but many. Here are a few others that are celebrated in various countries on different dates:

Universal Children’s day
The Universal Children’s day is celebrated on November 20 every year. In 1954 when, children needed to be protected  from working long hours in an unsafe condition, the UN General Assembly recommend that all countries should establish a Universal Children’s Day. This was done with a view of achieving children’s rights and to allow all children to have proper access to education. On November 20, 1959, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, spelling out specific rights which all children should know about. Thus, Children’s Day started out as a celebration on the 20th November of every year.

World Children’s Day
The World Children’s Day is celebrated on the 20th of November. This is a day that the company McDonald’s uses to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House of Charities. It was on November 20th, 2002 when World Children’s Day was first held. The occasion is celebrated every year in honour of children in more than 100 countries.

International Children’s Day
The International Children’s Day was celebrated every year in December. This was an initiative by UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Later, after the ‘World Conference for the Well-Being of Children’ was held in Geneva, Switzerland in 1925, governments around the world decided to choose one day as Children’s Day to pay attention to children’s issues. Many countries chose June 1. And so, International children’s day is celebrated on the 1st of June every  year.

 

Photo Credit: mboogie.com
Photo Credit: mboogie.com

Children’s Day in Japan
In Japan, Children’s Day is a national holiday called, ‘Kodomo no Hi’ and is celebrated every year on May 5th. Kodomo no Hi means ‘Children’s Day’. Japanese Golden Week includes Children’s Day and is held in honour of children and to celebrate their happiness. In 1948, the Japanese government declared Children’s Day a national holiday. Children’s Day in Japan is a festive day to celebrate the life of children.

Children’s Day in India
Children’s Day or Bal Diwas is celebrated on 14th November every year in India. 14th November is also the birth date of India’s first Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He was keen on the welfare, education, and development of children in India. He was fond of children and was known as Chacha Nehru. On November 14, 1956, The Times of India reported the following event: “Nearly 100,000 children assembled at the National Stadium today to participate in a Children’s Day rally, which coincided with the Prime Minster’s 67th birthday celebrations.” A year later in 1957, 14th November was declared as Children’s Day or Bal Diwas on Chacha Nehru’s birthday.

Childhood is a special time, which should be enjoyed, and not wasted by working. It is a time when playful memories are made and they shouldn’t be tainted by the horrors of child employment and abuse. It’s an age when the human mind develops the most and care should be taken to protect the young ones from any sort of trauma which could turn them into anti-social, psychologically disturbed characters in future. Children just need love and care. They need to be educated on their human rights and be given books in their hands to read and not to sell.

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Wasting Food is like being “Carbon Criminal,” Campaigns to be Initiated soon against it, says Environment Minister of India

The ideology of some societies where leaving some food on the plate is considered "civilised" has to change

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Food waste in India, VOA

Marrakech, Nov 14, 2016: Pitching for India’s message of a lifestyle with minimum carbon footprint, Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave on Monday said here that wasting food is like being a “carbon criminal” and that soon campaigns will be initiated against it.

“Today is (first Prime Minister Jawaharlal) Nehru Ji’s birthday which is Children’s Day in India. I request children that take only that much food into your plate that you can eat. Please don’t waste food. We will soon initiate a movement in our country against wasting food and request other countries to do the same,” said Dave, who arrived here ahead of the UN high-level talks at COP22.

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He said that the ideology of some societies where leaving some food on the plate is considered “civilised” has to change.

The minister also quoted an American scholar, stating how total food wasted in the US can feed a small African nation.

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“Its not just about feeding a poor. Just imagine the emissions for cooking all that food. How much carbon would’ve produced,” he said.

The minister also lauched a book “Lifestyle for minimum carbon footprint”, and gave example of Gandhi, Buddha, Nalsen Mandela and others as an example of life with minimum carbon footprint. (IANS)

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Jawaharlal Nehru and his views on Education

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Jawaharlal Nehru’s views on education are partly influenced by Karl Marx and partly by Gandhi’s ideas. His theory of knowledge is based on rationalism, empiricism, and positivism. As a rationalist, Nehru kept more faith in science than in religion and based his facts on intelligence, experience, and reason. Philosophical problems were not his concern and his sole focus was the man himself. In this way, he formulated the religion of humanity, where he substituted God with humanity.

Nehru had always criticized organized religion of every kind and felt it was detrimental to progress. He was mainly against superstitions and blind faith as opposed to spirituality and wanted to spread a rational and scientific view of life. His thoughts bore the influence of the teachings of the Gita and he admitted the importance of the text in human society. Dr Radha Krishnan said that Nehru was not a religious man in the sectarian sense but that he had the deepest faith in spiritual values.

Nehru accepted that education was the most important means to social change. “Only through right education can a better order of Society be built up”, said Nehru (Nehru JL, Soviet Russia). He believed that freedom from ignorance is as essential as freedom from hunger (Nehru J L Speeches vol IV). He realized that a country’s problems cannot be solved only through social and political reforms. Improved human relations are also required to achieve social development and that cannot be carried out without adequate mental development.

Nehru, in his address to Allahabad University students, said, “A university stands for humanism, for tolerance, for reason, for the adventure of ideas and for the search for truth” (Nehru JL, Independence and After). Rabindranath Tagore expressed similar ideas when Vishwabharati University was established.

Nehru stressed on the spiritual aspect of social development, without which, “the disintegration of society will proceed in spite of all material advance” (Nehru JL, Speeches vol IV). Nehru supported the Russian approach to education and said that the object of education was to “produce a desire to serve the community as a whole and to apply the Knowledge gained not only for personal but for public welfare” (Nehru JL, Soviet Russia).

Education, according to Nehru had economic as well as social objectives. It should culturally improve a man and also enable him to generate wealth in society.

“Unless you produce the amount you consume you are a burden to society,” he said (Nehru JL, Speeches vol III).

Gandhi’s concept of basic education was welcomed by Nehru who believed education must be based on the actual environment and experiences of the child and it must fit him for the work he will have to do in after life” (Nehru JL, Soviet Russia). Keeping in view the expenses that would be required to educate the millions of uneducated children in India, Nehru believed India’s massive unemployment crisis could be solved with basic education. This gave people the capacity “to coordinate manual labor with mental and intellectual ability” (Nehru JL, Speeches vol III).

Technology and industry are the primary requirements to battle poverty and unemployment. As such, Nehru, who introduced the concept of five-year plans for the overall development of India, laid great importance upon scientific education. This was done so that the nation could produce a workforce, which was skilled enough to implement the plans.

He also established national science laboratories in core areas of science all over India and started the IITs, which together helped take India to great heights in technical development. However, Nehru also warned that “we should accept technology without leaving basic values which are the essence of civilized man” (Nehru JL, Recent Essays and Writings).

Nehru gave equal importance to cultural education as well as it was integral to the development of human personality. He advised for the establishment of special institutions to propagate rapid growth in art and culture in the culture. As the president of Sahitya Academy, he was of the opinion that the government should interfere as little as possible in this field and should only move in if art and culture turned into a social menace.

Developing countries such as India have a huge gap between the different sections of society and one of the aims of education is to shorten this gap by uplifting the backward sections. Nehru brought attention to the fact that educating the nation’s women would make them economically independent and “everybody should be a producer as well as a good citizen” (Nehru JL, Discovery of India). He also felt that educating the rural women would help in the success of family planning and other rural development schemes.

Nehru’s main objective via education was to do away with the narrow religious and communalistic views and promote a scientific and humanitarian mindset. Being Western-educated himself, he believed English education helped broaden India’s horizons and created a “revolt against some customs and aspects of Indian life, and a growing demand for political reform” (Nehru JL, Discovery of India). However, he also believed that regional languages ought to be the primary medium for the success of educational programs.

Nehru is considered the architect of the modern educational system in India as he formulated the educational policy on becoming Independent India’s first Prime Minister. Impressed by the scientific progress of the West, he visualized western aims and means for primary, secondary, and university levels of education. This may be called his weakness, but it was also the strength behind his educational policy.

The ideal education system in present day India would entail an amalgamation of ancient Indian values and the techniques suggested by western educational thinkers. Nehru’s humanism was based upon naturalism, which was different from the idealistic humanism of other contemporary Indian educational thinkers such as Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo, and Swami Dayananda Saraswati.

However, Nehru’s contribution to the scientific development of the country cannot be ignored as it helped India to become of the top five nations in the world to boast of an all-round development.