Fun for some, slog for the rest
While thousands of children celebrated Children's day, nine-year-old, Raju toiled away, chopping vegetables and scrubbing pots and pans. Read on...india Updated: Nov 14, 2007 13:29 IST
Nine-year-old Raju works in a dhaba in the national capital. He does not know what Children's Day is. While thousands of children celebrated on Wednesday, Raju toiled away, chopping vegetables and scrubbing pots and pans.
Raju is one of the million children whose tiny hands are tired, not of holding pens and pencils but of making tea in the dhabas, rolling out rotis and washing dishes in restaurants or scrubbing floors in houses.
Instead of a colourful dream, all they see are their chapped and scalding hands.
Giving a puzzled look on being asked what Children's Day meant to him, Raju said: "It's just a normal day...I will work until night".
Children's Day is celebrated in India on the birth anniversary of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
Raju's statement was yet another reminder of the failure of the law which came into effect last year and prohibits children below the age of 14 from working in hotels, restaurants, dhabas and homes.
So when on one hand you had kids dressed in their colourful best, going to school and having a gala time on Children's Day, the birth anniversary of India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru on the other there were many children who were slogging through the day and shivering to sleep at night.
For those kids who were luckier than the others, Children's Day was a day that they have been looking forward to eagerly. After all it's not everyday that one has no classes, gets to wear anything but their uniform to school and, for a change, have their teachers regale them.
Anoushka Gupta, a class four student of the Shri Ram School in the capital, for instance, was unusually excited by the thought of school on Wednesday.
"We went to school in clothes that we chose, and our teachers danced, staged plays and sang for us. Some of the children also painted their faces," she said.
Similarly, Shreya Ghosh of Amity International School said she and her friends had a gala time, with face painting and quiz competitions in their school.
To celebrate this day, the National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT) film club screened films focussing on children across the capital. The films included classics made by well-known filmmakers of India and films produced by Children's Film Society to promote good films among children and teachers. The film festival will be on till November 18.