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You gotta be kidding

When schoolchildren demand a ban on junk food, you know that something has changed.

india Updated: Dec 22, 2011 23:42 IST
Hindustan Times

Oh, kids these days. There was a time when youngsters would go behind the backs of grown-ups and pig out on tasty but unhealthy food. The spinach and the fruits would be forced on to them, but only after a generous consumption of chips and cola was undertaken in stealth. Recently, the Delhi high court sought the Centre's response on a plea from a private school seeking a ban on the sale of junk food and soft drinks in and around all schools. Did the plea come from the school administration? From the parents, perhaps? Nope. The plea came from the students of Father Angel School in the capital.

To read the tone of the plea note from the students is to understand their psyche: "The State is ignoring the fact that due to the harm done to children's health, they will only end up with obesity and other lifestyle diseases which will cost the nation heavily." These are not the words of boisterous youngsters; this is the voice of kids trying to play adults. While the plea is based on facts - and even the health ministry admits that junk food causes health hazards - the enforced manner in which fun but unhea-lthy food is being sought to be out of reach of children is a bit worrisome about how India's young are sounding like India's old.

Without sanctioning behaviour that teachers or parents won't approve of, we do wonder whether most school kids are turning into moralisers. The happy joys of breaking a rule or two here and there can lead to youngsters growing up into adults who don't become part of the 'herd' - a requisite for independent thinking. And when schoolkids are found to link the possibilities of health hazards stemming from consuming junk food to that of the nation's future, we can't help but worry about a generation that puts abstract society above the flesh and bones reality of the individual. The demand for a ban on junk food and aerated drinks in and around schools, however, is legitimate. It's just sad that it com-es from folks whom we expected to resist it with naughty relish.

First Published: Dec 22, 2011 23:39 IST