INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE FAMILY
May 15 is celebrated as the International Day of the Family. This day highlights the importance of families. It aims at fostering equality, bringing about a fuller sharing of domestic responsibilities and employment opportunities. The programmes undertaken to commemorate the day, work towards supporting families in the discharge of their functions. They tend to promote the inherent strengths of families, including their great capacity of self-reliance, and stimulate self-sustaining activities.
Family constitutes the basic unit of society. Hence, the widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to families so that they fully assume their responsibilities within the community to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on Social Progress and Developments and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against women.
What is a family?
According to Murdock, an anthropologist, a family is "a group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes, at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship, and one or more of their children of their own or adopted by the sexually cohabiting adults."
The Family as a Functional Unit
The biological, emotional and economic needs are the foundation of a family. It grows out of biological needs, particularly those of the expectant mother and the infant child, who cannot support and live by themselves.
Every association of people; it be a state, a nation, or a tribe -- has its own distinctive culture, its modes of living and thought, which are developed as a response to the peculiar circumstances of the environment, natural and ideological. Family is the agency through which the impressionable rising generation is made familiar with such traditions. It teaches the individual what situations to anticipate, how to behave and what behaviour to expect, by giving one the gifts of language and dress which integrate within ones cultural ethos. It facilitates adjustment to people and groups outside the family circle.
Family plays an important role in transmission of the cultural traditions from one generation to another. It acts as an educative unit and a socio-cultural agency. The importance of this aspect lies in the fact that children all over the world get their earliest instruction in the family beginning with language.
Distinctive Features of the Family
Family has the following distinctive features:-
Universality. In view of the fact that all aspects of an individuals life, are considerably influenced and made possible by family grouping, it is found all over the world and at all levels of culture. Besides, there is no conclusive or convincing evidence that there ever was a time when this institution did not exist. Modern civilization has not so far succeeded in providing a complete and fully satisfying substitute to this grouping. Family is the most universal and the most important organization for socialization.
Emotional basis. The integrative bonds in a family are of mutual affection and blood ties. This emotional basis makes it ideally suited for the all-important role of early education, which makes it an institution of considerable importance as a transmitter of culture.
Educative role. The most plastic year of every individuals life, that is, childhood, is spent in the family. It is here that one gets the earliest and the most fundamental lessons in socialization. One is mentally formed according to the norms of society, which get ingrained in one to re-appear in adult life as conscience or super-ego. The cultural traditions that are imbibed by an individual are imbibed in the familial setting, making the formative influence of the family supreme.
Limited size. The family, throughout the world, is characterized by its precision as compared to other types of groupings like the sib or clan for instance.
Nuclear position. With regard to all the different types of groupings, family plays an important role in so far as it prepares the individual for participation in all these secondary groups, for their demands and situations. It serves as the nucleus for the growth of other types of groupings which never deal with the cultureless creature that a newly-born child is.
Sense of responsibility among members. Even though emotions and feelings are the main basis of family life, it is not completely devoid of reason. A sense of responsibility among its members in relation to one another is an aspect, which is more rational and reasoned than emotional and instinctive. This feeling of personal responsibility towards one another is very important to ensure the smooth working of the familial grouping, and consequently of society as a whole; and, therefore, we find society stepping in to ensure it through customs and mores.
Social regulations. Society has to ensure, by evolving mores and folkways, that the individual members in a family do perform all those functions towards each other on the basis of which the wider network of social relationships is dependent for its success. For example, there are social restrictions on divorce varying in intensity, in almost every society.
Persistence and change. Whereas family as an institution is the most permanent and universal one in human societies, as an association it is subject to constant change in composition and structure, even within the same society.
Effect of Modernization on Family
In the simple and peasant societies, family was the unit of production as well as a primary unit of society. In the industrial society, the family has lost the place of being the unit of production and has been replaced by individual as the primary unit of society who works as a wage-earner or professional. The roles of family and marriage have undergone significant change in industrial societies. But even today, family occupies a unique place in industrial as well as pre-industrial societies. Families assume diverse forms and functions that vary from region to region, and express the social condition. It is seen that the family in Asia is moving slowly towards the Western nuclear family model, but retaining certain structural forms and traditional values.
Global Trends Emerging in the Family
Some of the general trends in family today, with the progress of industrialization, urbanization, and modernization, are towards greater degree of:
Egalitarian family relations, with less sexual segregation and limited subjugation of women to an inferior status;
Emphasis on individualism and independence;
Greater differentiation and specialized functioning of social institutions;
Life in an urban setting;
Birth control and family planning;
Marital disruption and divorce;
Neglect and improper care for the elderly;
Formal education for children; and
Governmental influence on family activities.
Institution of Family in India
Indian family, which is predominantly joint or extended, has remained remarkably stable despite some marked and drastic social, political, economic and religious changes over the last thirty years. Family has retained its primarily joint or extended characteristics. In general, Indian family has the following structural features: In the cyclical family pattern, that is, joint family nuclear family-joint family, landowners maintain the multi-couple life style for a longer time while non-cultivating landowners retain this family pattern for a shorter period; landless labourers tend to adhere to the extended family system for at least a while, despite the hindrance of early mortality. The socialization process is composed of a series of ceremonies beginning with the bathing and naming of the infant.
In a society as large and culturally diverse and complex as India, changes take place at different speeds and at different levels of population. As such, the directions and patterns of change among women tend to vary not only among different segments of society, but also in different kinds of family organizations which vary considerably both structurally and functionally.
Families on the Indian fringe are undergoing a change. The main factors of change are modern education, development programmes and urbanization. The direction of change is from the hold of collectivity (tribe, clan and family) to increasing individuality.
Woman in Indian Family
Women are the arbiters of social change. They play an important role in teaching the human entrants to this world the first lessons of life and making them accept values which are helpful later in shaping their personality, attitude and behaviour.
Women set the pattern of the familyh. If womens reproductive health needs are met through good quality services, they will themselves become the best supporters of the family planning programmes. Many people and even the Eighth Five Year Plan document have criticised the so-called "target" approach because it distorted the attention of health needs of people, and led to falsifying of information.
The Family Welfare Programme is being implemented all over India by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and by major donor agencies on the basis of "target-free" approach. This approach, renamed Community Needs Assessment Approach envisages replacement of the system of setting contraceptive targets from the top by a system of decentralized participatory planning at the grassroots level. The decentralized planning will take into action the needs of the community and is expected to lead the improvement in quality of services, client satisfaction as well as greater acceptance by people.
The Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Programme launched on 15 October 1997, draws its mandate from the programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. Under the Programme, a comprehensive package of services for family planning, maternal and child health and management of reproductive tract infections is being implemented. Inputs are provided to improve the delivery system of facilities provided to bridge the gap between services provided and unmet needs. The emphasis is on ensuring quality service by making available requisite logistics, in service training and monitoring and supervision.
The Child Survival and Safe Motherhood (CSSM) programme has brought about great improvements in the field of immunization.
A population policy whose basic premise is peoples welfare and womens health and rights, is the need of the hour. With the constitution of the National Population Commission, the stage is now set for fine-tuning the multifaceted population policy. It is clear that achieving the goals of decelerating population growth requires a degree of social change rather than the technology inputs offered in the family welfare programmes.
If indeed the objective of a population policy is to understand the dynamics of growth and to help people exercise right options, family with all its new and emerging dimensions needs to be reinstated as an area of sociological concern..
Public discourse in India concerns itself with the supposed threat to traditional Indian family life and values by the "cultural invasion" from the West. Disintegration of joint families, decline in the value system and emergence of television as a powerful medium have posed a serious threat to the senior citizens of the country. The fastest growing section of the Indian population, older persons, have increasingly been marginalised and emotionally isolated from the mainstream of society.
Industrialization and westernization have considerably modified the traditional Indian value-system. Side by side the caste system has been weakened through social and political reforms.
While keeping pace with the fast changing modern standards and lifestyles, the Indian family still appears adaptive and robust.
The Family in Asia Man Singh Das, Panos D Bardis.
Family, Marriage and Social Change on the Indian Fringe S.M. Dubey, P.K.Bordoloi, B.N. Borbhakur.
An Introduction to Social Anthropology D.N.Majumdar and T.N.Madan
Yearbook of Events 2001
Economic Political Weekly-September 2000
reflect the health of a nation. If
they are healthy, active, educated, informed, disciplined the future of a
nation is secure. This paper
takes a brief look at what constitutes the right of every child.
REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
of Information and Broadcasting)
treat all children as your own to ensure their rights and the joy of childhood.
ccording to the Census of India persons below the age
of fourteen are termed as children, though there is a variance as was
illustrated and defined by different Acts and Codes of the Law of the country.
The word "child" has been used in various legislations as a
term denoting relationship, as a term indicating capacity; and as a term of
special protection. Children are
innocent and therefore most vulnerable and that they have no way of representing
their own cases. They may not even
realise that they need to assert their rights.
In their childlike approach to all things, they gloss over suffering and
take it in their stride.
Consciously promoting childhood for all children,
whatever family or community they belong to is a stupendous task and the
question of children's rights is a very big one covering all aspects of their
lives and therefore it has to be dealt with in a 'holistic' manner remembering
that rights are 'indivisible' and 'interdependent'. We may have to deal with many categories of 'problem'
children or those with 'problems', such as children of nomads, of victims of
terrorism, of sex workers, of women in jail, of immigrants or aliens, and of
consanguineous marriages. There are
juvenile delinquents, children with disease or children with physical handicaps
and children who are just very poor.
Among the children too the gender differential
increases the vulnerability of girls in any situation, the girl child is worse
off than the boy, not only because she has to contend with her biological makeup
but because of how society views the role of females and males, otherwise called
'social conditioning' (arising from biological differences between boys and
The problems of adolescence are inter alia gender related as they cover physical and emotional
aspects of 'growing up' and becoming aware about sexual urges and responses.
This period or age, is 'fragile' from the 'child's feelings' point of
view and require an approach of 'tender loving care'.
Infact all stages of childhood are years of 'discovery' and feelings' for
the child and require encouragement and understanding.
A child's growth and his/her mental and cognitive development is
influenced by a host of factors wherein adequate nutrition, proper care and the
much-needed stimulation play a vital role.
The idea that children have special needs has given
way to the conviction that children have rights, the same full spectrum of
rights as adults: civil and political, social, cultural and economic.
This conviction, expressed as the Convention on the Rights of the Child,
entered into international law on 2 September 1990, nine months after the
Convention's adoption by the UN General Assembly.
Since then, all countries except a few have ratified the Convention.
The Convention has produced a profound change that is
already beginning to have substantive effects on the world's attitude towards
its children. Once a country
ratifies, it is obliged in law to undertake all appropriate measure to assist
parents and other responsible parties in fulfilling their obligations to
children under the Convention. Now,
96 per cent of the world's children live in States that are legally obligated to
protect children's rights.
Those rights are comprehensive.
The Convention defines children as people below the age of 18 year whose
"best interests" must be taken into account in their full potential,
and among its provisions are those affirming children's right to the highest
attainable standard of health care and to express views and receive information.
Children have a right to be registered immediately after birth and to
have a name and nationality, a right to play and to protection from all forms of
The Convention recognises that not all governments
have the resources necessary to ensure all economic, social and cultural rights
immediately. But it commits them to
make those rights a priority and to ensure them to the maximum extent of
Fulfilling their obligations sometimes requires
States to make fundamental changes in national laws, institutions, plans,
policies and practices to bring them into line with the principles of the
India and the Child Rights
ndia's commitment to the care of children since
independence is enshrined in our Constitutional provisions.
The Constitution of India in its Directive Principles of State Policy
pledges that the State shall direct its policy for children towards securing
opportunities and facilities to develop in a healthy manner and in conditions of
freedom and dignity and that childhood and youth are protected against
exploitation and against moral and material abandonment.
As a follow up to this commitment, the Government of India adopted a
National Policy for Children in 1974 which reaffirms the Constitutional
provisions and declared that it shall be the policy of the State to provide
adequate services to children both before and after birth and through the period
of growth, to ensure their full physical, mental and social development.
As a result of the implementation of various
developmental policies and programmes, all the crucial indicators like infant
and child mortality rates, school dropout rates, and levels of malnutrition have
shown significant improvement in the status of children.
India has been fully involved with successive
reaffirmations of global commitment to the cause of children.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989, the World
Conference on Education for All at Jomtien, the Global Consultation on Water and
Sanitation, the World Summit on Children in 1990 and the SAARC conference on
children soon after the World Summit, were all part of this reaffirmation
process which transcends national barriers.
India is a signatory to the World Declaration in September 1990 on the
Survival, Protection and Development of Children and the Plan of Action for
The National Plan of Action formulated in 1992
represents India's response to meeting its commitments towards child
development. The Plan of Action
identifies quantifiable targets in terms of major as well as supporting sectoral
goals. In this effort the country
also have the benefit of expert assistance from UN specialised agencies and
Today India has a sizeable proportion of young
population. In 1991, the child
population (0 to 14 years) constituted around 36 per cent of the total
population. Achieving rights for
the children requires concerted actions and positive interventions with full
commitment from the major groups in every society, human rights groups and
organisations, media and government. The
Government has taken significant step in this direction by making education for
children aged 6 - 14 years a fundamental right.
The country has been one of the leading nations to
espouse the cause of the children and promote the efforts of the international
community that led to the declaration of 1979 as the "International Year of
the Child". The advocacy of
the cause of the children and the enhanced emphasis on the programmes for the
welfare of children were not confined to the year 1979 alone, rather, it was the
launch pad to promote programmes of a larger dimension and create a greater
awareness in the nation for the cause of children.
Voluntary efforts have a special place in the total
efforts of the country to promote the well-being of the children.
A number of voluntary organisations are already engaged in this work.
As a system of state recognition of voluntary efforts
for the cause of children, the Government of India initiated, in 1979, the Scheme
of State Recognition of Voluntary Effort, in the cause of children in the country.
The scheme as revised from time to time, now
envisages awards to (i) three individuals who have done the best work in the
cause of children; and (ii) five institutions that have done the best work in
any branch of child welfare.
The award for every individual shall consist a cash
prize of Rs 50,000/- and a citation, whereas the award to each institution shall
consist of a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh and a citation.
Rajiv Gandhi Manav Seva Award
Under this scheme, every year an individual will be
selected by the national selection committee and the award will be presented to
one individual selected for the purpose on Rajiv Gandhi's birth anniversary.
The Award will be presented to an individual who
makes outstanding contribution towards service for children including service
for children with various kinds of disabilities. The individual to be selected should have worked for the
cause of children for over ten years. The
sole basis of selection will be quality of work performed by the individual for
the cause of children and its significance for the cause. The Award carries a cash prize of Rs one lakh and a citation.
National Child Awards for Exceptional Achievement
Children between the age of 4 - 15 years who have
shown an exceptional achievements in any field including academics, arts and
culture and sports, etc. will be considered for this award.
One gold medal and rest all Silver Medals (one for each State/UT) are to
be given annually.
The winner of the gold medal will collect a cash
prize of Rs 10,000/- and a citation and certificate and the gold medal.
Among the silver medal winners each will get a cash prize of Rs 5,000/-,
a citation and certificate and a silver medal.
Now with decentralised self-governing institutions at
the panchayat and town level, it should be possible to have local solutions for
local problems. At the individual
level, introspection to cover our own attitude and determining what we would
like to do is important.
Many different approaches are needed for different
situations but if one's thought is tempered with goodwill and affection for
children, no matter what caste, class, community, sex or age they belong to,
then the outcome of one's actions will be children-rights-friendly.
Sarojini Naidu has expressed what children may hope
for, in these beautiful words,
Yours is the
Yours are the
hands that will reap,
we'll sow while you sleep,
Fed with our
hopes and our sorrow,
Rich with the
tears that we weep.
Vol. 49 10 November 2004 R.No.10
(19 Kartik, 1926)
Let us Save Our Children
“Children are Our Future,
And our Future Lies Before Us.
Like a Path of Driven Snow.
Carefully We Have to Tread it,
For Every Mark Will Show.
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING
of Information and Broadcasting)
Let us Save Our Children
Children are a Nation’s strength and most important asset. If we do not look after Children today, we will be creating many more new problems for tomorrow. India’s population is young comprising nearly 380 million children below the age of 14 years. The status of children, who represent 40 per cent of the ‘Human Capital’ of India, not only reflects the quality of life of people in the country but also measures its Human Development Index. Therefore, the development of children should be the key concern as in the ultimate analysis, it is childhood that holds the potential and sets the limit for the future development of society. Former President, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan once said ‘Development of Human Resources is as important as the development of material resources. The best way to develop national human resources is to take care of children, as they constitute the nation’s principle human assets’.
India’s commitment towards children is evident from the Constitutional provisions, including the Directive Principles of State Policy. A number of policies have been adopted especially for children, and a host of welfare and development programmes have been launched. The Government has also enacted legislation to reaffirm its commitment to the cause of child survival, growth and development in all spheres of life. Moreover, there has also been a massive expansion of administrative machinery and infrastructure of child development. All these efforts have resulted in a marked improvement in the situation of children. However, the Balance Sheet of Child Development is somewhat mixed. While the progress made in various child survival indicators like IMR, education, immunization etc. over the last 50 years is impressive, each year about 2 million infants still die. Almost the same number as in 1960 and most of these deaths are preventable. Despite the fact, that we have a large buffer stock of food grains, about 53 per cent of children below the age of 5 years are undernourished. Although the literacy rate has more than doubled from 24 per cent in 1961 to 62 per cent in 1997, there are nearly 60 million more illiterate persons in the country that there were in 1961. Only 60 per cent of all children reach grade V, and many of those completing primary school cannot even read and write.
Children in difficult circumstances continue to face greater deprivation and neglect. It is estimated that there are 17.38 million working children, 5 million street children and 4 lakh child prostitutes in the country. Also, one in every ten child suffer from one form of disability or the other, (75 per cent of such childhood disabilities are preventable) and incidences of crime against children are on the increase. The situation is disturbing more so because progress in the current century will depend heavily on the present condition of children.
As per the existing situation, a large proportion of the country’s strength is at risk, and not all of those who survive will grow into healthy productive adults. It is clear that we have miles to go to meet the unmet needs of a large number of children who are at risk of being deprived of their childhood. To save the future of the country it is imperative that we must save our children.
Child Advocacy is the art of giving support to a cause concerning children, and a democratic tool for bringing about the change in the situation of children through education, awareness creation and mobilization. In India, early childhood development has been accorded a high priority from the beginning as the foundation of human development. The history of child advocacy dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries when social reformers raised their voice against the infanticide, child marriage, child slavery and female illiteracy. Traditionally, the care of the child, as a concept and in practice was the responsibility of the family. Prior to independence the voluntary sector, shouldered the major responsibility for the welfare and development of children outside the family. The constitution of India adopted in 1950, set the basis for economic and social planning with an impressive list of provisions for children governing their rights. Article 39 of the Indian Constitution says, “The state shall, in particular direct its policy towards securing that …the tender age of children are not abused, and that citizens are not forced by economic necessity to enter vocations unsuited to their age or strength, that children are given opportunities to develop in a healthy manner and that child hood and youth are protected against exploitation, and against moral and material abandonment”.
The Planning Commission established in 1951 gave emphasis in the
successive Five Year Plans on welfare of the family and its most precious asset
– the child. Thus, began the new
era of child advocacy in India, enriching the environment with policies,
programmes and legislation, and making child development a publicly sensitive
subject. While the first four five
year plans laid foundation and focused on child welfare and development, the
fifth five year plan (1974 to 79) saw a shift in focus from child welfare to
child development and an emphasis on Integration and coordination of
services. Child welfare was
given a major thrust in terms of allocations and introduction of new schemes.
During this period the National Children’s Board, the National
Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development was set up.
The plan also saw the launching of the scheme of Integrated Child
Development Services. The end year
of the plan 1979 was significant as the United Nations declared it as the
International Year of the Child. The
6th Five Year Plan reiterated the approach and strategy outlined in
the fifth plan and promoted consolidation and expansion of the programmes
started earlier. This was the era of Strengthening of Child Welfare
The 7th Five Year Plan led to Spatial Expansion and Enrichment of Child Development Services through programmes in different sectors. With effect from 25th Sept., 1985, the department of Women’s Welfare of the Ministry of Social and Women’s Welfare was placed under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, as the Department of Women and Child Development. The Juvenile Justice Act was legislated in 1986 repealing the Children’s Act of 1960. During the plan period legislations on child labour and national policy on education were also adopted.
During the 8th Five Year Plan, the Infant Milk Substitutes, Feeding Bottles and Infant Foods (Regulation and production, supply and distribution), Act was formulated. National Nutrition Policy and National Plan of Action for Nutrition have been major developments during the plan period. It also saw the setting up of National Crèche Fund in 1993-94. The Department of Women and Child Development brought out a comprehensive communication strategy for child development in 1996.
The Government has declared its commitment to ‘every child’
in the 9th Plan. 10th Plan’s
strategy and challenge is to reach every young child and his/her family,
including the disadvantage with the active participation of the community to
promote their holistic development and growth.
The Children’s Hour has Come to India.
National Programmes for Child
India has a fully developed organizational set up to meet the challenging needs and rights of children. The national machinery, and above all the commitment at the highest government level gives an impetus to the efforts being made to ensure child survival, growth and development. The Department of Child and Women Development is the nodal department to guide, coordinate and review the efforts of both government and non-government organizations for the development of children and women. Other government ministries/departments implementing national programmes for development of children include the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Education, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Information and Broadcasting .
The ICDS programme started in 1975, has emerged as the worlds most unique and largest early child hood development programme. The programme delivers an integrated package of basic services and improved child care, early stimulation, learning and health and nutrition care, targeting and reaching out to 4.15 crore beneficiaries including 3.42 crore children below the age of 6, and 73.58 lakh pregnant and lactating women through more than 6.41 lakh front line workers.
The Scheme provides the package of services to children below six years and pregnant women and nursing mothers:
(i) Supplementary nutrition
(iii) Health Check up
(iv) Reference Services
(v) Pre-school non-formal education
(vi) Nutrition and health education
The scheme has been approved for implementation in the 10th Plan within the already sanctioned 5652 projects.
The Department of Family Welfare has the nodal responsibility of providing maternal and child health care (MCH) services. In 1992 the MCH programme was strengthened with the launch of the Child Survival and Safe Motherhood Programme (CSSM). The assessment of CSSM programme led to the formulation of Reproductive and Child Health Programme (RCH) and includes child survival and safe motherhood inputs.
The programme covers the entire country and addresses the needs of 192 million children in 11 lakh habitations. 8.5 lakh existing primary and upper primary schools and 33 lakh existing teachers would be covered under the scheme. The programme seeks to open new schools in habitations which do not have schooling facilities and strengthen existing school infrastructure through provisions of additional classrooms, toilets, drinking water, maintenance grant and school improvement grant. The programme has a special focus on girls and children of weaker sections. A number of initiatives, including free text books, target these children under the programme. The programme also seeks to provide computer education even in rural areas to bridge the digital divide. During 10th plan an allocation of Rs. 17,000 crore has been made for SSA. The total expenditure under SSA for the year 2003-04 was Rs. 3,650 crore.
The District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) is a centrally sponsored scheme for holistic development of primary education covering class I to V. The three major objectives of the DPEP are to (i) reduce drop out rates to less than 10 per cent, (ii) reduce disparities among gender and social groups in the areas of enrolment, learning achievement to less than 5 per cent, (iii) improve the level of learning achievement compared to the base line service. At present DPEP is in operation in nine states covering 129 districts.
India is a partner with UNICEF in the implementation of Child related strategies and programmes since the signing of the Basic Agreement between Government of India and UNICEF on 10th May 1949 as amended on 5th April 1978. On 10th May 2002, the United Nations General Assembly Special Session adopted an ambitious agenda for children for the current decade titled “A World Fit for Children”. This document acknowledges the convention on the rights of the child and its Optional Protocols as a comprehensive set of international standards for the protection and well-being of children. The UN Agenda upholds the commitments to the following principles and objectives :
§ Eradicate poverty : Invest in Children;
§ Leave no child behind;
§ Care for every child;
§ Educate every child
§ Protect children from harm and exploitation;
§ Protect children from war;
§ Combat HIV/AIDS;
§ Listen to children and ensure their participation; and
§ Protect the Earth for children
In consonance with the above principles, and on the basis of Prime Minister’s announcement on the occasion of Independence Day, 2002 a National Plan of Action to address issues pertaining to children in terms of monitoring targets has been prepared. The approval of the cabinet could not be obtained due to dissolution of the Lok Sabha.
India had also ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in December 1992. Since many of the commitments under the above agreements are in consonance with the National Policy for Children (1974), the National Plan of Action for Children, 1992 and the Principles outlined in the Tenth Five Year Plan, the Govt. of India have entered into an agreement with UNICEF to implement their country programme through Master Plan of Operation (MPO). An MPO for the period 1999-2002 has already been implemented. Another MPO covering the period 2003-07 was signed with the following priorities:
§ Reduction in IMR and MMR through appropriate interventions in health, nutrition, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, and special care for girls and women;
§ Reduction in child mal-nutrition and incidence of low birth weight to improve proper early childhood development and improvement in caring practices;
§ Ensuring quality elementary education for all children;
§ Enhancing child protection including progressive elimination of child labour, prevention of child sexual exploitation and child trafficking; and
§ Protecting children and adolescents from HIV/AIDS.
The Development of Children is essential for the future development of society. The situation calls for concerted efforts, commitment and partnership between all concerned mobilized political, material and financial resources and create an environment where no child will be exploited or deprived of childhood.
The task of realizing the goals and objectives associated with multi dimensional and inter-linked needs of children are time bound and cannot remain unattended. In the endeavour, we have to build up the capacity of all concerned through advocacy and social mobilization. Empowerment of the communities to assume their primary responsibility to renew themselves through the development of children is the need of the hour. May be, the very moral and socio-cultural system of the society has to under go a renaissance. Unless, concerted action is taken to meet the time bound needs of children on a war footing safeguarding children’s rights and reaching the unreached in a congenial environment free from crime and violence may remain a distant dream. The situation certainly exemplifies the challenge before us to promote early childhood development, as in development of children lies the strength of the nation from times to come.
‘Children Are Our Future,
And our Future Lies Before Us.
Like a Path of Driven Snow.
Carefully We Have to Tread it,
For Every Mark Will Show.
Vol. XLVIII 26 July 2004 R.No.5
(4 Shravana, 1926)
“The important thing in these Olympics is not so much winning as taking part”.
19 July, 1908
RESEARCH, REFERENCE AND TRAINING DIVISION
of Information and Broadcasting)
On 13th August, 2004, the Olympic Games
are returning to their ancient birthplace and the city of their revival after
108 years. Athletes from all nations will unite in Greece to engage in noble
competition. According to the organisers, the Athens Olympic Games will combine
history, culture and peace with sports and Olympism.
"As in the
daytime there is no star in the sky warmer and brighter than the sun, likewise
there is no competition greater than the Olympic Games." Pindar, Greek
lyric poet, 5th century bc.
This view of the Olympic Games has its roots in ancient Greece. Early historic records date the first Ancient Olympic Games to 776 BC, when the core values of Olympism first began to develop into benchmarks of human creativity and excellence. The ancient Greeks were highly competitive and believed strongly in the concept of agon, or “competition” “contest”. The ultimate Greek goal was to be the best. All aspects of life, especially athletics were centred on this concept . Games were dedicated to the Olympian Gods and were staged on the ancient plains of Olympia, famous for its magnificent temples of the gods Zeus and Hera. They initially had a religious character and combined a number of ancient sporting events, many of which were based on ancient Greek myths.
It was, therefore, considered one of the greatest
honours to win at Olympia. The fact that the only prize given at Olympia was an
olive wreath illustrates this point. The athletes competed for honours, not for
material good. The ancient Games actually occupied an
important position in the life of Greece citizens. An Olympiad was a time unit,
measuring the four-year interval between two Games. Participants
came to compete from every corner of the Greek world
aiming at the ultimate prize: an olive wreath and
a "heroic" return to their city-states. But apart from the glorious
victory, it was the Olympic values themselves which accorded special meaning to
the Games: noble competition and the effort to combine body, will, and mind in a
balanced whole.Over the centuries, the Games would illuminate examples of
extraordinary achievement. They would become the stage for the celebration of
noble competition and the educational value of sport.
As the Games developed, so did a set of
procedures such as a standardised
schedule of events and the practice of the Olympic
sacred truce, or ekcheiria, was instituted during the month of the
Olympiad. Messengers known as spondorophoroi
carried the word of truce and announced the date of the games all over
the Greek world. The truce called for a cessation of all hostilities for a
period of one-month (later three months) to all for the safe travel of athletes to and from Olympia. Armies
and armed individuals were barred from
entering the sanctuary. In addition, no death penalties could be carried out
during the period of the truce. They continued for nearly 12 centuries, until
Emperor Theodosius decreed, in 393 AD, that all such 'pagan cults' be banned.
Ancient Olympic Games events.
became a Olympic sport with the addition of wrestling in 708 BC and included
Running, Jumping, Discus throw , Javelin throw, Wrestling, Pankration and
Equestrian (Horse Race and Chariot Race).
In 1896, thanks to the great efforts of Frenchman
Pierre de Coubertin, Dimitrios Vikelas, and other contributors, the first Modern
Olympic Games were held in the country of their birth. The Greek
nation and the whole world embraced their revival and once again turned them
into the greatest celebration on earth. In the century to follow, the Games
travelled to countries around the world, encountering a wide range of cultures
and civilisations, facing new challenges, growing, and evolving.
The world has travelled a long way since that
memorable day in Athens in 1896 when
the King of Greece launched the modern Olympic Games on its exciting but
uncertain course. The faith of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who masterminded the
revival of this ancient and precious heritage of mankind, has been more than
fulfilled. His prophetic hope expressed in these beautiful words. “May
the Olympic flame be handed down throughout the ages, for the good of humanity,
with always greater enthusiasm, loyalty and
fervour” has not been in vain.
Today , the Olympic family of nations has
200 members and each Olympic festival attracts
a larger number of participants from an increasing number of countries.
The Olympic Movement has not only survived two World Wars but has emerged
stronger, as men and women have
sought sanctuary in the Games an escape from the tragic animosities and
conflicts that divide this world. Breaking down the walls that have made so many
prisons we call nations, the youth
of the world is seeking to create the Brotherhood of Man. The Olympics, where
people forget old enmities and
forge new friendships, is providing the healing touch.
In another direction also the Olympic Games, more
than any other sports competition, has spearheaded man’s quest for ever higher
standards of performance. It has inspired the
youth all over the world to high
endeavour, which has made “records” and “barriers” meaningless. Indeed ,
the remarkable achievements of men and women in the sports arenas of the world
would have seemed incredible, even fantastic, only a decade ago. This is not the
result only of improved techniques, better coaching and other facilities, but
also of better quality human material. The contribution of the Olympic Games to
this forward march of youth has
been profound. There is no doubt that the Olympics have provided youth with the
incentive and opportunity to strive for excellence.
From the very start, the modern Olympic Games were
different from other national and international sports competitions. The Olympic
Games were not revived by Coubertin to give an opportunity to sportsmen to win
medal or break records, to amuse
and entertain the public, nor as an instrument for promoting the careers of
competitors, nor still less to establish the superiority of one country or one
political system over another.
The purposes that Coubertin had in mind were:
the attention of the world to the fact that a national programme of physical
training the competitive sport not only helps in developing
the health of young people, but creates better citizens and promotes the
development of their character and personality.
in them a sense of loyalty, companionship and team spirit, to enable young
people to be more useful in life.
stimulate the fine arts by the organisation of exhibition or similar displays in
order to broaden their outlook and make life happier for them.
inculcate among all sportsmen the concept that sport is
a pastime and not an instrument for material gain.
a spirit of international amity and goodwill, and to contribute to better
understanding among people and nations.
Based on these well-defined ideals, there are two
fundamental principles of the Olympic Games, one, there is no distinction of
caste, creed, colour or race, and the
other all competitors have to be amateurs.
The aim of the Olympic movement is to enhance the
status among the youth of the world’s nations of physical performance and the
moral virtues underlying amateur sport; the
aim is also to make contribution to peace and understanding
among people of the world .
The supreme authority of the Olympic movement is the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) with its headquarters at Lousanne,
Switzerland. To this body Coubertin
assigned two watchwords Independence and Stabilise.
In a famous speech in 1908, he declared
this independence we would have, as far as we are concerned, inconveniences it,
for example, dictating strict regulations, destined to become compulsory.
We do not tread on the privileges of Socities; we are not a technical
police council. We are simply the trustees of the Olympic idea”.
The International Olympic Committee, entrusted by the Paris Congress of 25 June 1894 with the control and development of the modern Olympic Game has the following terms of reference:
the Games to be regularly held.
To see to
it that the Games are increasingly worthy of their glorious history and the
noble ideal that was the inspiration of Baron P. Coubertin and his
collaborators, when they took action to revive the Games.
encourage the organisation of amateur sporting competitions;
encouraging and consolidating friendship between sportsmen from all countries,
to direct and maintain amateur sport on the right road.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a
standing Committee electing its own members, it elects to its membership those
personalities in deems fit to sit on the committee provided they speak French or
English and are nationals, residing in a country having a national Olympic
Committee duly recognized by the IOC. The
latter receives them as members at a brief ceremony in which they accept the
obligations and assume their responsibilities.
The members of the IOC are the representatives of the Committee in their
respective countries and they are not the delegates of their country on the
Committee. They may not accept from their Government or any other
person any duties likely to create obligations for them or to hamper their
freedom of action.
The Olympic Flag has a plain white background with no bonds. In the center are five rings forming two rows of three rings above and two below. The rings of the upper row are, from left to right, blue, black and red. The rings of the lower row are yellow and green. The rings are thought to symbolize the five continent in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America. It is widely believed that the colours of the rings were chosen because at least one of them can be found in the flag of every nation of the continent, though this has never been confirmed as the intention of the designer.
The flag was presented by the Games founder de Couberds at the 1914 Olympic Congress, celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding the IOC. It was first flown in Alexandria, Greece, but made its Olympic debut at the 19 Antwerp Games. This well-worn flag was finally retired after the 1984 Games. And a new one flown at the 1988 Seoul Games.
At the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, the mayor of the current Olympic host city presents the flag to the mayor of the next host city. The flag is then kept in the town hall of the host city until the next Olympic Games.
The Olympic flame is a symbol carried over from the ancient Olympics, where a sacred flame burned at the altar of Zeus throughout competitions. It was finally reintroduced at the 1924 Amsterdam Games, and again lit in 1932. Car Diem. Chairman of the organizing committee for the 1936 Berlin Games proposed that the flame be lit in Greece and transported to Berlin via a torch relay. The idea was adopted and continued at every Olympic Games since 1952.
The flame is lit at the ancient site of Olympia by the natural rays of the sun reflected off a curved mirror. It is lit at a ceremony by women dressed in robed resembling those worn in ancient times, who then pass it to the first relay runner.
“Citius, altius, fortius” is a latin phrase meaning “swifter, higher, stronger” which Baron de Coubertin borrowed from father Henri Martin Dideon of Paris. Dideon headmaster of Arcueil College, used the phrase to describe the athletic achievements of students at the school.
“In the name of all competitors, I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games, respecting and abiding by the rules that govern them. In the true spirit of sportsmanship, for the glory of sport and the honour of our team”.
Written by Baron de Courbertin, the oath is taken by an athlete from the host nation while holding a corner of the Olympic flag. The athletes’ oath was first taken by Belgian fencer Victor Boin at the 1920 Antwerp Games. A judge from the host country also speaks the oath, with slightly different wording.
“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win and to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well”. There have been many permutations of this basic messages throughout Games history, though this is the current creed, which appears on the scoreboard during the Opening Ceremony. Baron de Coubertin adopted and later quoted, this creed after hearing the Bishop of Central Pennsylvania, Ethelbert Talbot, speak at a service for Olympic athletes during the 1908 London Games.
In London for
the fifth conference of Anglican Bishops, Talbot’s exact words at the service
on 19 July 1908 were “The important thing in these Olympics is not so much
winning as taking part”.
Venues of Modern Olympic
1896 – GAMES 1 Athens (Greece)
1900 – GAMES II Paris (France)
1904 – GAMES III St. Louis (US)
1908 – GAMES IV London (Britain)
1916 – Games VI: Berlin (Germany)
1920 – GAMES VII: Antwerp (Belgium)
1924 – GAMES VIII Paris (France)
1928 – GAMES IX Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
1932 – GAMES X: Los Angeles (US)
1936 – GAMES XI: Berlin (Germany)
1940 – GAMES XII Tokyo (Japan) – Not held
1944 – GAMES XIII: London (Britain) – Not held
1948 – GAMES XIV: London (Britain)
1952 – GAMES XV: Helsinki (Finland)
1956 – GAMES XVI : Melbourne (Australia)
XVII : Rome (Italy)
XVIII: Tokyo (Japan)
1968 – GAMES XIX
: Mexico City (Mexico)
1972 - GAMES XX: Munich (W.Germany)
1976 – GAMES XXI : Montreal (Canada)
1980 – GAMES XXII: Moscow (USSR)
XXIII: Los Angeles (US)
1988 – GAMES XXIV – Seoul (S.Korea)
1992 – GAMES XXV
- Barcelona (Spain)
1996 – GAMES XXVI -
2000 – GAMES XXVII – Sydney (Australia)
Athens Olympic Games scheduled to be held between
13-29 August, 2004 will attract more than 10500 Athletes from about 200
countries. Within the 28 sports of
the ATHENS 2004 Olympic Games, there are a total of 37 disciplines. A discipline
is a branch of an Olympic sport comprising one or more events. For example,
aquatics is an Olympic sport with four Olympic disciplines: swimming, diving,
water polo and synchronised swimming. According to rules, an Olympic sport must
be "widely practiced by men in at least 75 countries and on four
continents, and by women in at least 40 countries and on three continents”.
The following sports will be organised at the Athens Games : Aquatics,
Hockey, Archery, Judo Athletics,
Modern Pentathlon, Badminton, Rowing,
Baseball, Sailing, Basketball,
Shooting, Boxing, Softball, Canoeing, Table
Tennis, Cycling, Taekwondo, Equestrian, Tennis,
Fencing, Triathlon, Football, Volleyball, Gymnastics, Weightlifting, Handball
and Wrestling. The
only new feature from the Sydney Games is inclusion of women’s freestyle
wrestling. The Games will also be
watched curiously because of terrorists threats world over especially as the US
currently under constant threat of terrorist organizations like Al-Qaueda will
send one of the largest contingent of athletes.
Organisers are taking unprecedented security measures to thwart any
the Modern Games
One of the most dramatic feats of the Olympics was
the triumph of the United States track and field team in 1896. Competing as
unofficial representatives, the ten-man squad reached Athens barely in time to
participate. They won nine out of 12 events.
In 1912 Jim Thorpe, a Native American, became the
only man to win both the decathlon and pentathlon in one year. Officials
canceled his record and took back his medals when they learned that he had
played professional baseball. His medals were restored posthumously in 1982 . In
track and field, Jesse Owens, a black American, won four gold medals including a
team medal in 1936 . The first woman to win three individual gold medals was
Fanny Blankers-Koen of The Netherlands. The first athletes to win the decathlon
twice were Bob Mathias of the United States, in 1948 and 1952, and Daley
Thompson of Great Britain, in 1980 and 1984. The first perfect 10.0 in Olympic
gymnastics was scored by Nadia Comaneci of Romania, who received seven perfect
scores and three gold medals in 1976.
In 1972 the United States swimmer Mark Spitz won a
record seven gold medals at a single Olympics. Swimmers John Naber of the United
States and Kornelia Ender of East Germany each won four gold medals in the
Summer Games in 1976.
The all-time individual medal winner was the American
track athlete Ray C. Ewry, who won eight events in the 1900, 1904, and 1908
The 1972 Summer Games in Munich, West Germany, became
a tragedy when Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Olympic team members from
Israel. In a protest against a New Zealand rugby tour of South Africa about 30
African nations boycotted the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal, Que. To protest the
1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan more than 60 countries, led by the United
States, withdrew from the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow. The Soviet Union, which
first participated in 1952, withdrew from the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.
Scandals rocked the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Ten
athletes were disqualified after drug tests revealed steroid abuse. Charges of
bias and incompetence in the officiating at the boxing events led to two-year
suspensions of five Korean boxers and officials and several other judges and
The 1992 games were unusual in that there were no
more Soviet teams; the Soviet Union had split up in December 1991. The teams
that participated from its former republics, sometimes still wearing the old
Soviet uniforms, represented either now-independent Baltic states or the
Commonwealth of Independent States, which had been formed from 11 of the former
Soviet republics. Nevertheless, at the Winter Games in Albertville the
Commonwealth's United Team came in second, after Germany, in number of medals
In the 1896 Olympic Games there were fewer than 500
athletes representing 13 nations. In 1988 the Seoul games drew entries from a
record total of 160 countries. While the number of athletes who competed in Los
Angeles did not surpass the high of 10,000 set at Munich in 1972, the 1984 games
set records for the largest total attendance--almost 5.8 million people--and the
most gold medals for one country--83 for the United States.
The centennial Olympic Games opened in Atlanta, USA, with more than 10,000 athletes from a record 197 nations in attendance. The opening ceremonies, which began 16 days of athletic competition, featured a tribute to the ancient Greek games and slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Former world heavyweight boxing champion and Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch, which completed a 84-day, 15,000-mile (24,000-kilometer) trek across the United States. The games featured 28 delegations that were participating for the first time, including athletes from the Czech Republic, FYROM, and Burundi, and Palestinians competing under the name Palestine. Tight security and Atlanta's hot and humid August weather were major concerns for Olympic organizers and those attending the games. In spite of security precautions, a homemade pipe bomb loaded with nails and screws exploded at a late-night concert in Centennial Olympic Park, killing one person and wounding more than 100 others. In addition, a Turkish television cameraman died of a heart attack while running to film the blast. No one claimed responsibility for the attack.
India has been known in the Olympics as a hockey
playing nation, mainly because since 1928 it has won eight golds, one silver and
two bronze medals, this is no doubt an illuminating piece of history. However,
our record in this games also in the last two decades has been abysmal with the
team having slipped to 5th at Los Angeles (1984), 6th at
Seoul (1988), 7th at Barcelona (1992) and finishing as low as eight
at Atlanta (1996).
India was without a medal for 16 years until Leander
Paes won bronze at Atanta in 1996. This effort in an individual event came after
44 years since Jadhav picked up a bronze in wrestling at Helsinki in 1952.
Some of the events/athletes are upper most in the
minds of the Indian supporters as the medal prospects for the Country at the
Athens Olympics. They are :
After Norman G. Pritchard, the Anglo-Indian athlete from Kolkata who had represented India on his own in the second Olympic Games in Paris in 1900 and had claimed two silver medals in 200 metres sprint and now defunct 200 metres hurdles, no Indian could win a medal in the prestigious athletics events despite participation in the 19 straight Olympic Games during the last century. This time at Athens Anju Bobby George of India is determined to break this jinx and bring glory to the nation. Among the Indian athletes who have qualified for the Athens Games, Anju George has the best credentials for a podium finish in her pet event, long jump. She is the only Indian athlete to win a medal in the elite World Athletics Championship when she was placed third in long jump in the 9th World Athletics Championship in Paris in August, 2003. The best thing about Anju is her total dedication and amazing consistency, which is why she is unbeaten in India both in long jump and triple jump, another of her pet event since 1999. She has many firsts to her credit. She is the first Indian woman to win an Asiad gold in long jump. She is the first Indian athlete to win a medal in the World Athletics Championship. She is the highest ranked Indian athlete, ranked as high as fourth in the world in long jump. Her best performance in long jump till date was in Qatar, Super and grand prix in Doha on May 14, 2004 where she won the gold with a leap of 6.82 metres. Her American coach, the current world record holder in long jump, Mike Powell, feels that Anju has the potential to clear even the 7 metre barrier. If she does that or repeats her Doha feat, then she can claim a medal of better hue at Athens.
A number of other Indian athletes have also attained the qualifying standard for the Athens Games. They include, among men Bahadur Singh (shot put), Anil Kumar (discus), Vikas Gowda (discus), K. M. Binu (400 M) and Amritpal Singh (long jump). Among women three discus throwers – Neelam J. Singh, Seema Antil and Harwant Kaur, hepotathlete J. J. Sobha and 400 metres runners Manjit Kaur, Rajwinder Kaur and S. Geetha will be the notable competitors.
Paes - Bhupathi
Apart from Anju George, there is a fair chance that India may secure a medal through veterans Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi in the men’s doubles event of tennis. Though Paes and Bhupathi are nowadays pairing with other partners in various international tournaments, they do play together for India in the Davis Cup and Asiad events. Once ranked as high as World No. 1 in doubles, they are a formidable pair when they play together. Bhupathi now usually pairs with Belarussian Max Mirnyi and Paes partners David Rikl of the Czech Republic. The old pals are planning to play in a few important tournaments before the Athens Olympics to regain their old touch.
Shooting is another discipline in which India is keen to do well in the August 13-29 Games at Athens as it has some highly talented world-class shooters. Eight of those classy shooters have qualified for the Athens Games. They include: Anjali Vedpathak Bhagwat (air rifle and sports rifle three position) and Abhinav Bindra (air rifle), Major Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore (double trap), Mansher Singh (trap), Manavjit Singh (trap), Gagan Narang (air rifle), Suma Shirur (air rifle) and Deepali Deshpande (sport rifle three positions). Although all of them are highly skilled marksmen and can give a medal winning performance on their day, the fans have high hopes from Anjali Vedpathak, young Abhinav and Major Rathore.
Although India is currently ranked only sixth in world hockey and has not won a medal in it in the last five Olympics, yet hockey continues to strike a sentimental chord in the hearts of the Indian sports fans. At the junior level India is on the top of the world. But surprisingly the seniors despite being a talented lot are not doing well in the tournaments which count.
The Indian hockey team’s task at Athens will not be easy as it has been grouped with the defending champion, The Netherlands and hot contender Australia in Pool ‘B’. The other three teams in India’s pool are Argentina, New Zealand and South Africa, which are also very tough. The comparatively easier Pool ‘A’ comprises Germany, Pakistan, Britain, Spain, South Korea and Egypt. The Indian team, therefore, will have to play to its full potential to end the medal drought.
Although Karnam Malleswari’s historic success at Sydney has inspired many a youngster to take up the rather unglamorous sport of weightlifting, yet the weightlifters, both men and women, have not been able to catch up with the other Asian nations in recent times. For Athens, India has four quota places for the women lifters. 28-year-old Karnam Malleswari, the Sydney bronze medallist and the legendary, 38-year-old N. Kunjarani Devi will spearhead India’s lifting challenge. This will be Kunjarani’s first Olympics, although she is listed by the international weightlifting body as one of the all-time greats.
In July last year the unheralded Indian archers created waves by their superb performance in the world archery championship in New York, where the men’s team had reached the semifinals and the women’s team quarterfinals. The men’s team finished fourth and the women’s team sixth in the final placings and had thus ensured their participation in the Athens Games. Since then the archers in the country deservedly received appropriate attention and are now rated as possible medal winners. It is a huge task as the competition in the Olympics is always more tough and intense than in any other tournament including the world championships. The archers are aware of this and they are training hard to accomplish the mission Olympic medal.
A regular participant in the Olympics since the Antwerp Games of 1920, India’s presence at Athens will be significant as it is expected to put up a good show in several disciplines. India has been doing well in the Asian as well as the Commonwealth Games. Its successes in the individual events of the Olympics, however, have been few and far between. Will this trend be reversed this time? Will Athens prove to be a turning point for the Indians? That is a big question and every Indian is waiting for the D-Day to know the answer.