Happy Children's Day: When 'Chacha Nehru' bought balloons for kids
New Delhi, Nov 13: India's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was not only an astute leader who led the nation during tough times, but also someone who was immensely loved by children. Children used to, and still do, call him 'Chacha Nehru' (Uncle Nehru).
From offering dinner to urchins at the Teen Murti to buying balloons for children, there are many anecdotes about Pandit Nehru which show how much he adored children. Nehru may have gone long ago, but his charisma and appeal has not faded with time. Many who knew him have written that he was a friendly spirit who loved befriending children. He would laugh with them, wave at them enthusiastically during his interactions with public and even toss flowers at them.
Once during a trip to Tamil Nadu, large crowds had lined the roads to have a glimpse of Nehru and many children had climbed up the trees to see the then prime minister, who was a very popular leader in his times.
Set behind the crowd was a balloon seller. The strings of the balloons were gathered in his hand, but the balloons, of all shapes and sizes provided a colorful panorama, a sport of drifting halo behind the crowd. On an impulse, Pandit Nehru instructed the motorcade to stop. He jumped out of the open jeep, signaled to the balloon seller to his side, wrote RK Murthi in a musing that was first published in Meghdutam.com.
He bowed, held his head bent. "Buy up all his balloons. Give them to the children," Nehru told his aide who knew Tamil, wrote Mr Murti.
In another incident recalled by Dr. Anil K. Rajvanshi, Pandit Nehru had invited all the newly elected MPs of his party for a dinner at his house, the Teen Murti in Delhi.
"During dinner Nehru saw that some street urchins had climbed the boundary wall and were sitting on it looking at the guests who were having dinner. So he took his plate and went to the wall and gave it to a young boy. Immediately all the MPs also gave their dinner plates to the urchins!" Mr Rajvanshi recalled in a blog.
It is also said that Jawaharlal Nehru gifted an elephant to Japanese children in 1949, during a visit to Tokyo.
Children's Day is celebrated in India on November 14 every year which is also the birth anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, who was born in 1889. Universal Children's Day is observed by the United Nations on November 20 every year. After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, it was unanimously decided to celebrate his birthday or November 14 as Children's Day in India. Nehru is often cited as saying that children should always be carefully and lovingly nurtured, as they are the future of the nation and the citizens of tomorrow.