Monthly Archives: April 2014

Let the Children Play

Let the Children Play

The space provided for kids to play in Municipal parks in Delhi is less than 0.009% of the total park space available.

In what can only be called callous, inhuman, and utterly stupid, our planners have shown a total lack of foresight in this area. Land is expensive and the greedy have commercialized it.

In their absurd fixation of making more and more parks ornamental -which is to say that you can walk and relax there but playing is prohibited – they are forcing more and more children to take to online and digital gaming.

Not only that, in their thoughtless obsession to make all parks ornamental, the elderly and those in power have made sure that out of a total of 14000 municipal parks, there are only 126 parks for the young; unthinkable !

Common sense would indicate that large grounds should be lit up, fenced or netted to walk and jog on the perimeter and the ground itself is left for free play. For kids to run across, playing football, cricket, Frisbee, kabaddi etc. Logically smaller ones be earmarked and beautified/landscaped etc for people to sit on benches to socialize. Our planners have reversed that. Old people have large parks to sit and young people have small corners to play in!

What is worrisome is the current set of young parents who are completely oblivious of the natural requirement of growing children for informal and regular play. Running, jostling, pushing, falling, dusting themselves and standing up to run again, provides motor skill, resilience and muscular stability like no fancy gymnasium, or tennis coaching can. It also teaches socialization and negotiating skills like no air-conditioned, ‘human development,’ workshop can.

There is something very special about informal & unstructured play, full of screaming, sweating and laughter.

It is indeed disappointing that the current generation of parents have made no serious attempt to challenge the establishment in any significant way, to demand the right to play for their own kids.

The odd protest does not constitute a significant and persistent demand.

Whimpers don’t change entrenched inequities.

No amount of lip service to tree plantation, greening and ‘holistic growth’ will make any sense if our society is made up of young people who grow up without an affinity for the outdoors, and are forced to spending their time peering into screens; children who don’t go, “out to play.” India may be a signatory to the right of the Child to Play, but parents of teenagers have clearly abdicated a major part of their responsibility.

There is absolutely no argument that can justify stifling the adolescents, the teenagers and the young and grabbing open spaces for ornamental parks and exotic gardens.

There is every moral and logical argument to agitate for the return & restoration of open areas to the young for playing and sport.

Children are suffering a serious deficit of play.

100% unmitigated righteousness is on the side of the right to play.