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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

‘It’s a shame...we are not able to give you fresh air to breath’: A teacher’s message to her students on Children’s Day

cities Updated: Nov 14, 2019 23:01 IST
Hindustantimes
         

New Delhi

What would have been a day full of games and lively interaction with teachers was turned into a dull occasion for school children across the national capital on Thursday. As pollution levels soared in Delhi, the government had ordered schools to remain closed on November 14 and 15 — leading to cancellation of all Children’s Day celebrations.

“I am sitting in my office and looking sadly at all the balloons and streamers that were put up to welcome you on your special day. The school should have been resonating with your laughter,” said Sanghamitra Ghosh, principal of Mother’s International School in an email to her students, adding that she was “missing” their noise.

“It is a shame that we have been compelled to close the school because we are not able to give you fresh air to breathe! I do hope you will learn from the mistakes that the older generation made and grow up to be more conscious citizens caring for our environment,” she told her students.

Ghosh added that children usually wait for Delhi winters. “It is sad that we have to ask them to remain indoors on a day they are supposed to enjoy,” she said.

Several students from different parts of the capital said they spent a “dull and boring” Children’s Day at their homes since they were not allowed to step out due to the plummeting air quality index (AQI). In India, Children’s Day is celebrated on November 14 to mark India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s birthday.

“In our school, we are given chocolates and we have discussions on Nehru’s life. Today, only my father gave us a chocolate,” said Anushka Sharma, a class 9 student at Mount Abu Public School, Rohini. “This time around we were looking forward to some fun activities planned by our teachers. Everybody felt bad that we just spent our days mostly indoors watching television.”

“We generally have informal games, poetry recitations, and interactions with our teachers. At least one of them would be dressed up as Jawaharlal Nehru. It is so much fun. It is ironic that we have to spend Children’s Day indoors. All my classmates and friends are so upset about this,” said Veer Khanna, a class 10 student at The Shri Ram School Aravalli.

The official Facebook page of The Shri Ram Schools also published a message for their students calling Thursday “darkest day in our recent history”. “We have failed to provide them (children) with clean air, the most basic of rights. With a pen in one hand and an inhaler in the other, our children continue writing letters. They continue to march on the streets, breathing in smoke equivalent to 40 cigarettes a day in the hope that someone may take notice. But is anyone really listening?”the statement read.

Students from across the country also wrote messages to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with #BachonKiMannKiBaat. In one of the messages, a student Ishan Mahant said, “I used to enjoy soccer earlier but now I can only enjoy it on TV. I cannot play outside because the air is too toxic to breathe in.”

Alisha Wankhade, 9, a student from Gurugram requested the Prime Minister to help. “Dear Prime Minister, Namaste, Happy Children’s Day. Today, we were supposed to have fun at school. But schools are closed due to pollution and we are stuck at home. Some of my friends are getting sick, including me. Please can you do something to help? And also how can we help to fight air pollution?” she wrote in the letter.