Over the weekend, we attended the third edition of Bangalore Literature Festival held at Crowne Plaza, Electronic city. Unlike the previous years, we didn't have Abhay accompany us this time as there were no children's events on Day 3, the only day we could find time attend! Though we wished we could take Abhay too, we didn't mind not having to carry home made food for the picky eater or not having to find ways of engaging him amidst a serious discussion/ session with Arun Shourie or not having to run to the restrooms every other hour !:-)))
However, I still came back with the book to read to Abhay. Though I was aware of this book and had seen it in bookstores and libraries before, I always thought Abhay needs to be a little older to be able fully comprehend the essence of it. But it was only when Justice Leila Seth mentioned that children as young as seven were able to understand the basic tenets, like equality and freedom enshrined in the Constitution of India, that I picked up for tonight's read. Of course, this is not a book your young reader can finish in one sitting and requires an explanation here and there.
When I read, "We the children of India" by retired Justice Leila Seth, the first woman Chief Justice of a High Court in India, whom I had the privilege to meet at the BLF 2014, I was plain jealous! I wish this book was written when I was in school, considering I had set my heart on law very early! The book starts off with a basic introduction to the National book of India called the Constitution, throwing light on the circumstances under which the Constituent Assembly sought to adopt the same. With the aid of suitable examples and colourful illustrations featuring children, Justice Leila Seth, explains the meaning and effect of each of the principles -Sovereign, socialist, secular, Democratic Republic, and constitutional guarantees like Justice, Liberty, Equality and fraternity, in a succinct and an age appropriate manner! We the children of India also has everything a young reader needs to know about workings of the Indian democratic system and the rights of its people, including our little ones! Characteristically, the former high court judge has saved the best for last - she draws up a preamble for the children of India with a message of love, respect and hope!!! A must read for all the children of India!!! However, don't be surprised if your young reader quotes this book to challenge the constitutionality of your house rules!!!!:-)