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Children's day out at Rashtrapati Bhavan

July 24, 2008

For 10-year-old Roshni, it was a moment to relish when President Pratibha Patil [Images] invited her to come up to the podium and ask her a question.

Roshni, a class five student, was among several children who were invited at the Rashtrapati Bhawan for a luncheon tete-a-tete with Patil.

As Roshni stood up and put her question from a third row seat in the Ashoka Hall, the President could not spot her first. "Ghabrao nahin... yahan aa jao (Do not worry... come here)," Patil said. The children sitting around gave Roshni the way to move forward.

Some of the Presidential staff also ran to help her but Roshni, dressed in a grey tunic and white-lined shirt, made it right up to the President herself.

"What kind of education should children get?" Roshni asked amid a flurry of camera clicks.

"Children should be taught moral values and humble nature. The education should be such that they can differentiate between good and bad," Patil replied.

Roshni liked the experience. "I relished it. The President is nice."

Alisa Golmes, another girl, also got an opportunity to stand next to the first citizen of the country when Patil asked her to run up to her and put her question.

"Main sun nahi pa rahi hoon...daud ke aa jao...bachchon ko to khub daudna chahiye (I cannot hear you...come running...children should run a lot)," said the President.

The children, some of them in their school uniforms while others in kurta-payjama and salwar-kameez, talked to Patil for an hour, asking questions on education, development and her vision for the country in 21st century.

The 100-odd children also had the privilege of having lunch with the President. They were served delicacies like paneer pasanda, special vegetable curry and desserts with ice-cream and gulab jamun.

Earlier, President Patil said the society must provide education and equal opportunities for girls.

"A girl should perform her duties towards her country, family and her home. Education, moral values and virtues of the rich Indian culture should be the cornerstones of your success. Good thoughts will take the country forward."

Rajat, a class five student, asked the President if sports and games are important for a child. "Absolutely," she replied. "Sports and games are very important for a child. Sports develops a sportsman spirit in an individual and the desire to excel."
The children were from Bal Vikas Samiti, Nehru Bal Samiti, Literacy India, Arya Orphanage and Bachchon Ka Ghar.

Text: PTI | Image: Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images]

An all-woman day at Rashtrapati Bhavan

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