Where Should the Children Go?

A few lines by Gijubhai Badheka, affectionately called 'Moochhali Maa' by Gandhiji, on children.

Tell me
Where shall I play?
Where shall I jump?
To whom shall I talk?
When I talk my mummy feels interrupted,
When I play my daddy is irritated,
When I jump I am told to sit down,
When I sing I am told to be quiet,
Tell me, where shall I go, what shall I do?

How can I rest?
As long as child is battered at home
and abused at school.
How can I rest?
As long as children have no playgrounds,
No gardens to work, no places to learn.
No homes to grow in freedom,
How can I rest?
As long as children are not able to receive
love and reverence
How can I rest?
Will we let our millions of children
Wander about in dirty and dangerous streets?
No, we should provide them with good homes
Where they can be creatively engaged,
 And we should provide them with good playgrounds
At every street corner so that they can develop body and soul.
Playground are the best easiest and the cheapest
Means for the true development of a child.

A letter by Arvind Gupta Ji to the Commissioner of Pune:

Respected Commissioner of Pune,  
I have worked with children for 35 years but have yet to come across a more genuine and pro-children institution like the Garware Balbhavan in Pune. Since its very inception in 1985 this exemplary institution has served the interests of children. So, it comes as no surprise that its founder Shobha Bhagwat translated DIVASWAPNA (Daydreaming) into Marathi. This book is in the 12th edition, published by the Indian Institute of Education (IIE), Pune. DIVASWAPNA is our country’s greatest contribution to pedagogy in the last century. It was written by Gijubhai Badheka in the 1920’s. Inspired by the work of Maria Montessori Gijubhai ran a school for children for over 24 years in his native Bhavnagar. Gandhiji called Gijubhai “Muchali Ma” – the Mustachioed Mother for his immense love for children. 
Despite the non-commercial, child-friendly work done by the Garware Balbhavan this center is facing an imminent danger of closure. Politicians and builders of all hues and shades have been eyeing this prime patch of land for their nefarious design interests. Some wish to make a ropeway, others a mall, third a memorial. Pune has always shown the “enlightened path”. Maharishi Karve started the first school for girls. Mahatma Phule and Ambedkar voiced the rights of the oppressed. Our city also produced Sane Guruji who worked all his life for the inclusive development of children of all religions and castes. The children are the most “marginalized” sections of our society. The great pedagogue Janusz Korczak called children “The oldest proletariat of the world”. 
In a segregated society where most people live on the margins of survival we need to use our “wisdom”. Market forces should not determine all our deeds. The children, the most vulnerable section of any society need protection and nurturance. 
As the head caretaker and Commissioner of our district I appeal to your good sense of morality to preserve this oasis for the good of the city’s children.
 With love and peace 
Arvind Gupta
Visiting Scientist
Inter-University Center of Astronomy & Astrophysics
Pune University Campus, Pune 411007
Tel 020-25604602
Website: http://arvindguptatoys.com
Here's to the hope that someone finds this moving enough to find out more! 


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