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Republic Day Celebrated by Prayas Children
26 January 2016

Celebrated Republic Day personally with four different groups of Prayas family, each one perceiving the day through own experience and worldview. Tughlakabad home for girls- the princesses and our community centre kids , with whom we spend lot of our routine time, seemed to know the significance of the republic and constitution that came in 1950 following our Independence in 1947. Song and dance, as usual, occupied centre stage. Our Children at Ferozshah Kotla Observation Home for juveniles was not so dramatically different though they appeared more responsible and enthusiastic, keenly absorbing the the thought for the day, bit of law and discipline. They put up excellent parade led by a security guard and cultural program organised by our seasoned team who have looked after these wonderful kids( suddenly projected as vicious lads) for over 17 years now. Dandi Park DUSIB Prayas Shelter for 'Homeless' inhabited by the most devastated chunk of humanity for whom any hope or desire to live appeared to be a distant dream when I asked them to come . One of them, who appeared really suffering, would not join the reluctant others until I held him close to myself and pulled him near the flag- post. It wasn't so easy to explain to them the meaning and value of the day , but even the most ailing and extremely disheveled one told, ' jhanda to meri jaan hai'. Don't know why he said so when our 'socialist democratic republic' has nothing to offer him. Slowly, during our discussion on the occasion, all of them betrayed glimmers of hope in their lifeless eyes. They loved it all and enjoyed laddoos and refreshment much more than the food they get from donors. The fourth location, our grand Jahangirpuri home for children and the skill centre with hundreds of children and youth, was a scene of huge activity-colour, music, play, and endless tricolour scarfs, banners, caps and decorations. We enjoyed it thoroughly, and they all seemed to know the importance of the day- but my mind kept asking questions about our unutilized 'demographic dividend' on this 67th year of India' s Republic.