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Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to Children

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Letter from Jawaharlal Nehru to Children

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Dear Children,
 
I like being with children and talking to them and, even more, playing with them. For the moment I forget that I am terribly old and it is very long ago since I was a child.  
But when I sit down to write, I cannot forget my age and the distance that separates you from me. Old people have a habit of delivering sermons and good advice to the young.  
I remember that I disliked this very much long ago when I was a boy. So I suppose you do not like it very much either. Grown-ups also have a habit of appearing to be very wise, even though very few of them possess much wisdom. I have not yet quite made up my mind whether I am wise or not.  

Sometimes listening to others I feel that I must be wise and brilliant and important. Then, looking at myself, I begin to doubt this. In any event, people who are wise do not talk about their wisdom and do not behave as if they were very superior persons...  

What then shall I write about? If you were with me, I would love to talk to you about this beautiful world of ours, about flowers, trees, birds, animals, stars, mountains, glaciers and all the other beautiful things that surround us in the world. We have all this beauty all around us and yet we, who are grown-ups, often forget about it and lose ourselves in our arguments or in our quarrels. We sit in our offices and imagine that we are doing very important work.  

I hope you will be more sensible and open your eyes and ears to this beauty and life that surrounds you. Can you recognise the flowers by their names and the birds by their singing? How easy it is to make friends with them and with everything in nature, if you go to them affectionately and with friendship. You must have read many fairy tales and stories of long ago. But the world itself is the greatest fairy tale and story of adventure that was ever written. Only we must have eyes to see and ears to hear and a mind that opens out to the life and beauty of the world.  

Grown-ups have a strange...