‘Happy Childhood Pledge’
The basic document & inspiration for ‘Happy Childhood Campaign’ adopted in the 1st Interreligious Parliament held at Patna on 4 & 5 August 2017 (Note: As per the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and India’s National Policy for Children, every individual up to the age of 18 Years is considered a child).
“We believe that it is the inalienable duty of all parents and teachers as well as of all citizens of India and the State & Central Governments to provide conducive environment and necessary protection & facilities for a happy and healthy childhood for every child below 18 years of age in our country without any religious, caste, class or gender discrimination.
“We also believe that our children need caring love, nutritious food, creative learning and opportunities for playing, singing and dancing for their childhood to be happy and healthy. We are sad to acknowledge with heavy hearts that the development models and education systems adopted and promoted by us today are influenced by a self-centered consumerist culture and loveless materialistic philosophy that do not give much importance to these essential requirements of happy and healthy childhood.
“We are shamefully and painfully aware of the many threats like child marriage, child labour, child trafficking and sexual abuse faced by helpless children in India today. Children need to be protected from these and any other form of physical or emotional abuse. We also need to understand the impact of conflict, disaster, poverty, discrimination and injustice on children and protect them from these. As adults, we need to become role-models of good values/behavior and create positive environment which can inspire children to become good citizens and good human beings. But we have often failed in these duties. We seek pardon from God and Mother India for these sins of commissions and omissions.
“We believe that it is a crime against humanity, more so against the future generation, to deny our children their basic right to a happy and healthy childhood because of our selfish, greedy and lustful life styles motivated by the all-pervasive consumerist culture and materialistic philosophy that have very little or no place for caring love and selfless service within them.
“It is our conviction that the negative forces of consumerism and materialism controlling the lives of people, developmental models and education systems today can be overcome effectively only by a spiritual and moral regeneration of our individual and collective lives.
“We believe that this much-needed spiritual and moral regeneration is the collective responsibility of members of different faith traditions, religious communities and educational institutions. We also believe that as Indian citizens belonging to different faith traditions and religious communities in the country our primary responsibility is to promote harmony, peace, prosperity and happiness in India.
“It is our firm conviction that a strong and abiding foundation for peace and sustainable development on earth can be laid only by providing happy and healthy childhood for all children in the world. Our mission has to begin with a concerted effort to promote happy and healthy childhood for all children in our own country, in our own neighborhood and in our homes without any religious, caste, class or gender discrimination.
“With these beliefs and convictions we hereby pledge to work together with all concerned parents, teachers and other fellow Indian citizens for providing happy and healthy childhood for all children in India below 18 years of age.
“We also hereby pledge to seek active cooperation and support from our State and Central Governments and from the various political parties and religious communities and other stake holders including corporate organizations and civil society in India for the success of this historic mission of the millennium entrusted to us by Divine Providence.”