Dr.M.Gnavel, a Trichy based pediatrician who serves as the Member of Trichy District Child welfare Committee spoke on the children’s day function and said, “It is celebrated on 14 November every year as a tribute to India’s First Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Fondly known as Chacha Nehru among children, Nehru advocated for children to have fulfilled education”.
The pediatrician said, “Children’s Day is celebrated across India to increase awareness of the rights, care and education of children. Dr.M.Gnavel also remembered the services of of Kamaraj, then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu who introduced mid day meal scheme to Tamilnadu school children. Kamaraj, is widely acknowledged as “Kalvi Thanthai”, Father of Education in Tamilnadu.Kamaraj was a rarity in Indian politics, and undoubtedly the tallest leader in Tamil Nadu.
A school dropout and freedom fighter who went on to become the Congress president despite knowing no Hindi and no English, he played the kingmaker in national politics for over two decades by picking two prime ministers, Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi. Tamil Nadu still remembers Kamaraj affectionately for the governance he provided as chief minister from April 1954 to October 1963.
Kamaraj’s genuine concern for the poor was matched only by his scrupulous honesty and integrity. His pioneering reforms in education included the mid day meal scheme aimed at wooing children from poor families to schools. Since its inception, his Mid-day Meal Scheme has been enhanced by successive governments and has now been adopted across the country.
In Tamil Nadu, the scheme has undergone several changes such as the inclusion of eggs and vitamin tablets to improve the nutritional value of the meals. Its contribution to reduction of drop-out rates, increasing enrolment and improving nutritional status of children is very well acknowledged.
On this occasion, Dr.Gnavel exhibited to children, a rare group photo of then Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Indiragandhi, Kamaraj, Lal Bahadur Shastri along with Pondicherry “The Mother” a collaborator of Sri Aurobindo.This photo was published by Overman Foundation.