Modi’s school in Vadnagar
Drawing parallels between Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the principal of Vadnagar-based BN High School, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi studied between 1963 and 1967, described Nehru as “a leader whose policies might have gone wrong but his intention was never bad.”
Principal Ashokpuri R Goswami addressed the students at 11 am through a public address system from his office and the children heard his speech from their classrooms where speakers have been installed. Announcing the resolution to start the “Bal Swachh Mission” on Nehru’s 125th birth anniversary, Goswami spoke of how Nehru despite being born with a “golden spoon in his mouth” shunned western wear and wore khadi. “Friends, people who rule do have limitations, but his (Nehru) intentions were not bad… several countries in the world took advantage of his policies on war, the effects of which we are still facing, but his intentions were never bad,” he said. Goswami also said that Sardar Patel had joined the freedom movement along with Nehru. He said, “He had a long-term vision.”
After his speech, Goswami told The Indian Express that the students would participate in campus cleaning in groups along with the teachers so that their studies don’t get hampered. He said that campus has been divided among the teachers who will take up the cleaning exercise.
Sardar Patel’s School in Karamsad
At the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel High School, set up in 1929 and being run by the Karamsad Kelavni Mandal, the teachers spoke about Nehru-Patel relationship. As part of Children’s Day celebrations, a teacher Mukesh Mahida, in his five-minute speech during the morning assembly, said: “Both Nehru and Sardar were great friends who together served to build the nation.” Talking about Nehru’s contribution to the development of the country and his ideas about children, he said, “Nehru firmly believed that today’s kids are the nation’s future and have to be made to love their country.” Later, Mukesh Mahida said he wanted to remove the misconception among students that Nehru and Patel were not on good terms. “Many children think negatively about Nehru because they think he was wrongly made PM, a post that rightly belonged to Patel,” he told The Indian Express.
The Gujarati-medium section asked students to write a short essay on Nehru and a more detailed one on “How does cleanliness affect nation building and build healthy nation? How will you encourage your area to stay clean?”
Close to this school is the Sardar Smriti Shala, where Sardar Patel studied. Reopened and inaugurated on October 31 by CM Anandiben Patel, it now has an Anganwadi, museum and women’s centre. The workers are participating in a week-long cleanliness drive to mark Children’s Day.
Mahatma Gandhi’s school in Rajkot
A 15-minute quiz was held during the morning assembly at the Mohandas Gandhi Vidyalaya, the erstwhile Alfred High School in Rajkot, where Mahatma Gandhi studied.
“What is the importance of November 14?” asked Piyush Hindocha, biology teacher and in charge of the assembly. Majority of students knew it was Children’s Day and birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru. Hindocha followed up with “Who was Jawaharlal Nehru?” When some answers were not forthcoming during the question-answer session, the teachers prompted the students. Answers to questions like what Nehru loved and which flower did he keep were prompt, but moderators had to give answers to questions on Nehru’s life, his contribution in the Indian freedom struggle and as the first PM of the country. “There was no official circular from the state education department to celebrate the day in any particular manner. So, we kept it simple,” principal in charge Mukesh Khokhani said.
The school also launched the state health programme where around half of the total 135 students underwent check-ups. “I saw in the calendar that today is Children’s Day and also birthday of Nehru Chacha. Chacha loved children very much. Therefore, his birthday is celebrated as Children’s day,” said Jignesh Vaghela, a Class X student. Incidentally, this is also the alma mater of erstwhile Saurashtra state’s first CM Uchhagrai Dhebar and former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel. Till a decade ago, the government-run school used to enrol thousands of students. But now it has only 135 students for six classes from Class IX to XI.
The Muslim trust run FD High School at Juhapura screened a two-hour film titled Nehru, the Jewel of India. Based on the film, students will be asked questions on the life and works of Nehru. Principal M I Gena said that it was not necessary that all students give correct answers, but it would certainly help the students to learn more about India’s first PM. Gena said that he had procured CDs on the life of all prominent freedom fighters such as Mahatma Gandhi, Sardar Patel and Subhashchandra Bose and will be screening them every week. Students and teachers also took part in a cleanliness drive. On November 17, a programme will be held to create awareness about personal hygiene.
Meanwhile, with a view to creating awareness about the power of words, Delhi Public School (DPS)-East on Friday launched a “Library on Wheels”. Principal Hitesh Puri, on the occasion, said that the idea behind the campaign was to inculcate the habit of reading among children. Puri said that initially, the school had started with one bus only but would increase the frequency depending on the response.