Parents today are a worried lot. Their young children want them to buy things that are not healthy for the proper development of their minds and personalities. Attracted by the trendy goods of our materialistic world, they force their obliging parents to buy the latest mobile phones, MP3s and so on. The children do not know anything about the harmful effects of these things.
Munshi Prem Chand, in his short story, Chimta, has beautifully dealt with this theme and he has shown how children can be made to think in a more positive and constructive way. Prem Chand writes about a small village near Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where Id fair used to be a great attraction every year. A young boy, Hamid, was living with his grandmother. He used to call her Khalajaan. His parents had died when plague had broken out in the village and the old grandmother had brought him up with the best of values. One day a few boys of the village asked Hamid to join them in their visit to the fair. His grandmother gave him two paise, not a small sum in those days, and asked him to go and enjoy with his friends.
The boys rushed to the fair. Some bought toys, some ate sweets and others bought other things of their liking. Hamid too was keen to buy something. He moved around seriously, looking for his choice of things. He purchased a chappati-catcher (chimta). The boys laughed at him. But he didn’t bother. He returned home and gave the chimta to his grandmother, and said, “ Khalajaan, now your fingers will not burn when you make chappatis.” His grandmother embraced him with tears in her eyes.
Why cannot we have this kind of stories in the primary schools books? Our children need to imbibe good values that promote healthy thoughts and habits.
By Kamal Wadhwani
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