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Children’s day: Did anyone ask the children?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to put his stamp on Jawaharlal Nehru's 125th birthday celebrations.

Updated: November 14, 2014 9:39 am
Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a reception organised by the Indian community in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Thursday. (Source: PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a reception organised by the Indian community in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Thursday. (Source: PTI)

After the longest Teachers’ Day, a longer Children’s Day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to put his stamp on Jawaharlal Nehru’s 125th birthday celebrations. States have been asked to celebrate the day as the launch of a weeklong ‘Bal Swachhta Mission’. Modi is in Australia on Friday, but no one expects him not to be present in spirit. Least of all the Congress, which had hoped to hold a show befitting the 125th birthday — and perhaps escape being eclipsed by Modi, but there is little chance of that. Watch this space — and Twitter, Facebook, and now Instagram.

THE CENTRE

On October 18, the Ministry of Women and Child Development wrote to all states and UTs asking that November 14-19 be focused on the Bal Swachhta Mission theme, and seeking daily updates on activities along with pictures and videos. “Children at anganwadi centres would be sensitised and involved in different aspects of hygiene and safe sanitation,” the letter said. The six main themes: clean anganwadis, clean surroundings (such as playgrounds), clean self (personal hygiene/child health), clean food, clean drinking water and clean toilets.

CONG: Sonia and Rahul Gandhi began the celebrations a day earlier, with a pledge to party men and women, in Delhi on Thursday. November 14 will see a prayer meeting at Shanti Van; and a two-day international conference will be held next week. Many world leaders and former heads of state have been invited, but not Modi.

DELHI

The government will involve children in the six-day Bal Swachhta Mission from Nehru’s birthday to Indira’s (on November 19). Municipalities have been asked to involve staff, and sanitation supervisers directed to felicitate children.

CONG: Campaign started with the Sonia-Rahul function. Manmohan Singh and Sheila Dikshit were present.

PUNJAB

Schools, anganwadis, and the Health and Social Security Departments have been told to administer a “pledge of cleanliness” to children on November 14. District authorities have been instructed to help involve the children.

CONG: Workers will take an oath to fight “divisive forces”. The party will launch a ‘Save Punjab’ campaign in five districts to tackle the problem of drugs.

HARYANA

Activities like Bal Mela, Weight and Measurement of Child, Healthy Baby Competition, Village Health Nutrition Day, Nutrition and Health Education, and competitions like painting and clay modelling will be held at anganwadi centres.

CONG: Functions at all district headquarters, especially Chandigarh, “the city commissioned by PM Nehru to reflect the new nation’s modern, progressive outlook”.

MADHYA PRADESH

Detailed week-long schedule that includes Bal Cabinet discussions on cleanliness, elocution competitions, and a rally and Swachhta pledge (Nov 14); q&a sessions on cleanliness in schools and a handwashing drive before mid-day meals (Nov 15); teachers’ address to students on cleanliness, and creation of ‘soap banks’ by students (Nov 16); reiteration of the importance of cleanliness (Nov 17); focus on personal hygiene, protecting water sources at school and home (Nov 18); cleanliness pledge and shram-daan for cleaning schools, toilets, water sources (Nov 19).

CONG: Small programme to offer floral tributes to Nehru at PCC office.

KERALA

In Congress-ruled state, schools will have normal Children’s Day celebrations, including cultural programmes and processions.

BJP: No special events, spokesman V V Rajesh said.

ASSAM

Also Congress-ruled; won’t implement Bal Swachhta Mission. State-level children’s rally in Guwahati, where new schemes will be announced, particularly for disabled.

BJP: No special plans.

ORISSA

More than 2,500 students will take part in ‘Suravi’, a 3-day cultural extravaganza from November 12-14.

CONG: “We don’t need to copy anything from BJP,” PCC chief Jaydev Jena said.

GUJARAT

Bal Swachhta Mission in all government schools. Additional Chief Secretary (Primary and Secondary Education) Arvind Agrawal said the word ‘Nehru’ did not figure in the plans. “We received the programme as ‘Bal Swachhta Mission’ and will be celebrating it as such, without adding or subtracting any word from the title.”

CONG: Painting competitions, lamp-lighting, lecture on Nehru. At “oath-taking” event, party leaders and workers will pledge to work for country’s unity and integrity.

UTTAR PRADESH

SP government doing nothing special. Basic Education Department director Dinesh Babu Sharma said they had received no instructions on Swachhta Mission. But several private schools have organised programmes around the theme of cleanliness.

CONG: Week-long celebrations planned, starting with a “grand launch” at Allahabad.

RAJASTHAN

No special activities. The BJP is busy with local body elections later this month. The WCD Department has asked anganwadi workers and sathins to ensure hygiene at their centres.

CHHATTISGARH

Bal Swachhta Week is being held from Friday; on November 18 and 19, the cleanest centre will be honoured. The sterilisation camp deaths have cast a shadow on celebrations.

MAHARASHTRA

Government is set for Bal Swachhta Mission; instructions have been sent out to officials.

UTTARAKHAND

“Normal celebrations”, with the Swachhta Abhiyan already ongoing, said Additional Secretary Radhika Jha. BJP state president T S Rawat said union minister Thawar Chanda Gehlot will attend a programme at a school for visually handicapped in Dehradun.

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  1. k
    k.madhukar
    Nov 14, 2014 at 4:11 am
    Chacha Nehru did not ask children either when he wanted them to celebrate his birth day. Now Modi is not asking children to celebrate his birth day but use Nehru's birth day as Swatchatha Diwas, so that idea of cleanliness is imbibed by the children at schools, a right place to start as they are not taught this at Indian homes.
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    1. V
      vishal
      Nov 14, 2014 at 5:40 am
      this is the internet era. a small google search would lead the children to letters between nehru and patel, and between patel and rajendra prasad, our first president on the RSS' bigotry, their brahminical supremacist agenda, their dubious role during independence movement and what even sardar thought of the RSS .........
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      1. V
        vishal
        Nov 14, 2014 at 5:41 am
        this is the internet era. a small google search would lead the children to letters between nehru and patel, and between patel and rajendra prasad, our first president on the RSS' bigotry, their supremacist agenda, their dubious role during independence movement(their support of the british) and what even sardar thought of the RSS .........
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        1. N
          nitin
          Nov 14, 2014 at 11:09 am
          Why do we celebrate this horrible man's birthday as Children's Day? Shouldn't children have a say in that? Or will Hinduphobic bigots like Aurangzeb, Nehru, Duratma, Tipu continue to be celebrated?
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          1. I
            indian
            Nov 14, 2014 at 1:15 am
            Ask the children what.They are innocent and unaware of Chacha Nehrus's bigotry;appeasing Muslims and demonising Hindus.They need to be informed of the truth.
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