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The many joys of Children's Day in Delhi

Instead to of the usual music and dance revelry, children in the capital spent their day in an orphanage and spread joy among less fortunate kids.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2008 20:19 IST

Sarita Sharma, a teacher at a playschool in the capital, decided on a different Children's Day Friday. Instead of the usual music and dance revelry, she took her students to an orphanage to spread joy among less fortunate kids.

"Developing a feeling of compassion in children is very important so that they grow up to be sensitive individuals," Sharma, who teaches at the Little Star school in Pitampura in north Delhi, told IANS.

"Generally, we have dance and music programmes on Children's Day but this year I decided to take my students to a nearby orphanage and spend a few hours there. Undoubtedly, it multiplied their fun."

Celebrated with a lot of fanfare, Children's Day is observed in India Nov 14 - the birth anniversary of India's first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru - because he was very fond of children.

Most schools have an unofficial holiday on this day with virtually no classes and cultural programmes in which both students and teachers take part.

Avantika Das, a student of Delhi Public school in the capital said: "I am a student of Class 12 and this is my final year in school. Therefore, my friends and I were eagerly awaiting the celebrations as this would be our last."

"We had a number of cultural programmes but my favourite was the skit in which our teachers acted... it was totally unexpected! It was a spoof on themselves and we were in splits after that," Das said.

Many schools, especially those for toddlers, organised picnics as the weather was perfect for a day out.

Kavita Jha, a former college lecturer who now works for an NGO, held a special book reading session at her house for the neighbourhood children and threw a party.

"Book reading, which is such a pleasure, is slowly, and sadly, on the wane among the younger lot. Since it was an unofficial holiday in most schools, I invited some of the neighbourhood children to my house for a book reading session and then for a small party later on," Jha said.

"I have a library with a number of children's books which my children, now grown up, don't read. So I thought other kids should benefit from them," Jha said.

On the occasion, over 100 children from the national capital, its neighbouring areas and even Arunachal Pradesh and Tibetan refugee schools were hosted by President Pratibha Patil at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

"The great leaders of the country in the past have emphasised the role of children. Jawaharlal Nehruji said if you educate a boy - it's just an individual that learns, but if you educate a girl the whole household learns - this empowers them as Indians," Patil, the country's first woman president, told the gathering.

The kids were of course proud to have been invited. Many were excited about the photo-opportunity, but others wished she had spent a little more time with them.

A group of 20 street kids who also attended the function were bowled over by the sight of the lavishly done up walls and rooms at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

First Published: Nov 14, 2008 19:15 IST