December 18 -Minorities Rights Day

Minorities Rights Day is observed on 18th December. The day reminds us of true rights of Minorities. Every nation has different ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities group. It is the duty of the state to provide all the rights to the minorities irrespective of their population and religion. Providing an equal right to minorities is true hallmark of a democracy. There are hundreds of instances in the world when a particular minority group had to suffer because of policy discrimination.

To handle such situations and to stop the occurrence of discrimination against the minorities, United Nations had adopted and promulgated the Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Linguistic and Religious minorities. The UN had declared that:-

“States shall protect the existence of the national or ethnic, cultural, religious and linguistic identity of minorities within their respective territories and encourage conditions for the promotion of that identity”.

This declaration was a huge step in protecting minorities group all over the world. It is a very important day in India because of frequent discussion and disagreements on majority-minority issues. Though the republic of India has always provided equal rights to all the religions, pertinent issues regarding minority rights keep creeping in. However, to the credit of the nation and its secular fabric, India remains a peaceful nation with no minority conflict.

The National Commission for Minorities celebrates the Minority Rights Day every year on December 18. The commission has played a major role in protecting the rights of the minority communities and in bringing about better understanding among the various religious minority communities in India.

April 18 -World Heritage Day

World Heritage is defined as the shared wealth of humankind. World heritage is a wonderful reminder of our rich past. It is our duty to protect the heritage and offer it to the coming generations. Heritage sites need to be protected and preserved. They are valuable assets of human civilization. The seeds of World Heritage Day were sown on April 18, 1982. The International Council for Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) had organized a symposium in African country Tunisia. The calls were made for celebration of an “International Day for Monuments and Sites” all over the world. The idea picked up the pace and the committee approved the suggestion. The proposal then moved to UNESCO General Conference where a resolution was passed in November 1983.

Since that fateful day, World has annually celebrated the “International Monuments and Sites Day” also known as “Word Heritage Day” on April 18. Our monuments and sites can only be protected with the collective efforts of the international community. On World Heritage Day, awareness campaigns are organized to educate public about the diversity of cultural heritage and the efforts that are required to protect and conserve it. Heritage sites are vulnerable to several factors and we must do everything in our rights to protect these valuable assets.

Every year, there is a different theme chosen on World Heritage Day. For instance, in the year 2010, the theme was “Agricultural Heritage”. The idea was to reflect the evolution of mankind and its interrelationship with nature. Agricultural Heritage focused on different agricultural practices, systems and landscapes and how they have shaped during the course of human civilization.

The World Heritage Day is celebrated in various ways. Visits to monuments and sites are scheduled with an aim of highlighting their importance and preservation. Restoration works are completed and public is often invited to these monuments. Extensive media coverage focuses on great monuments. Conferences and interviews are conducted all over the place. Discussions and debates are organized and exhibitions are also held.

October 10 -National Postal Day

Though, we are living in an age of emails, mobile phones and faxes etc but it is the postal service that has remained the largest mode of communication in India. This particularly holds true for last century when people relied on snail mail to send messages, drafts, cheques and other important information. Indian postal service owes its origin to British who introduced mailing services in India. With the arrival of new age technologies and new modes of communication, the usage of traditional mailing services has reduced but it is still the primary source of communication in semi-urban and rural India.
Indian postal service is an integral part of India. Whether it’s an army man sending letters to his family from the frontiers or a farmer dispatching money to his son receiving education in a town, postal services have always helped in uniting India and its population. It is not easy to operate postal services in India with such diversity in culture, tradition and difficult geographical terrains. Yet, the Indian postal department has kept serving the nation with admirable zeal and enthusiasm. It shows a different facet of the nation that binds us and brings us close to one another.
National Postal Day is celebrated on October 10 every year. Indian postal department is serving the country for over 150 years and that’s no mean achievement. Indian postal celebration is an extension of World Post Day. Universal Postal Union (UPU) was founded in Berne in 1874. The occasion is celebrated by countries all over the world. New postal products and services are introduced on this day. Other activities like open days at post offices, mail centres and postal museums, conferences, seminars and workshops, and cultural, sport and other recreation events are also organized on National Postal Day.

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March 15- World Consumer Rights Day

World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD) is an annual international occasion. The day aims to enhance solidarity within the international consumer movement. March 15 gives us an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers. This was the day when USA President John F Kennedy had first outlined the definition of Consumer Rights in 1962. WCRD demands consumer rights to be respected and protected. It also promotes peaceful protests against the market abuses and social injustices.

First observed on 15 March 1983, World Consumer Rights Day is a very important day in the era of capitalization. Companies have no right to fool the customers. Each and every customer is entitled to his basic rights. The day mobilizes citizen action against unfair policies of corporate. 15 March is marked with celebrations all around the world by numerous consumer organizations. Public exhibitions, press conference, special campaigns, street events and workshops etc are organized to make consumers aware of their rights. The ultimate aim of this day is to bring about important and needed benefits for consumers.

A consumer has eight basic rights including, safety, satisfaction of basic needs, redress, information, consumer education, choice, healthy environment and to be heard. Infringement of any of these rights is clearly against the consumer rights and he can file suit against the firm. It is believed that protection of consumer rights is a means of developing a responsible civic society.

Now companies can no longer take consumers for granted. Rising awareness amongst the consumers has forced firms to provide accurate information to the customers and redress the unsavory issues. WCRD is a reminder of the rights and power available to the consumers. Consumers must be made aware of their basic rights so that they can make informed decisions. They have access to essential goods and services. They are also protected against products or services which are hazardous to health or life. It is the duty of the companies to inform consumers with needed facts so that customers can make informed choice.

April 5- National Maritime Day

National Maritime Day of India falls on April 5. First celebrated on 5th April, 1964, the day marks the journey of SS Loyalty, the first ship of the Scindia Steam Navigation Company, to the United Kingdom. It was a red letter day in the history of Indian navigation. Because of vast expanse of the seas around the country, Indian culture always gave a huge importance to seafaring. According to historians, even during the Indus Valley civilization, India had a remarkable expertise in sea trade and maritime activities. The Indian sub-continent is strategically very crucial because of the geographical location of seas around it. Indian ship industry has shown incredible advancements since the time immemorial. During the ancient eras, sailing ships with wooden hull were in vogue.

India has thousands of kilometers of coastline serviced by a hundreds of ports. That explains India’s participation in international sea-borne commerce. Trade and commerce in India through sea route picked up the pace only after the advent of Europeans. The country has registered a notable growth in shipping post-independence era. If we talk about maritime history, United Nation has designated International Maritime Organization in charge of maritime safety and preventing pollution from ships. India became a member of this agency in 1959. The organization convenes maritime conferences and drafts international maritime conventions on a regular basis.

It is believed that nearly 90 per cent of India’s international trade in terms of volume and 77 per cent in terms of value is moved by sea. It comes as no surprise to know that India has the honor of having the largest merchant shipping fleet among the developing countries. Maritime Day is wonderful reminder of nation’s abiding faith in the importance of maritime zone. Sea route development and preservation is absolutely essential for the all-round development of the country. April 5 repeats the necessity of protecting, preserving and defending our maritime zone.

December 23 -Farmers Day [Kisan Divas]

India is a land of villages and most of the populations residing in villages are farmers. Agriculture employs more than half of the Indian population. Though, there was a time when approximately 75% of the Indian population was living on agricultural income. But the emergence of service sector and strong manufacturing industry has helped in attracting people from agriculture to these sectors. Yet, agriculture is the main occupation of the country. India had an interesting agricultural journey. The green revolution changed the agricultural landscape of the nation. Productivity increased and India became self-reliant in many agro-commodities. States like Punjab thrive on agricultural income.

However, a lot needs to be done in improving the state of the farmers.
Farmers are the backbone of the nation. India celebrates Farmers Day in the memory of Chaudhary Charan Singh, the ex-Prime Minister. He was primarily a farmer and his personal life-style was extremely simple. He was a son of the soil and contributed a lot to improve the situation of the Indian farmers. His brief stay at the top witnessed a slew of agricultural reforms and policies being introduced in India. Charan Singh’s peasantry background helped him understand real problems of the farmer and he did his best to help them.
Chaudhary Charan Singh is credited to formulate and implement the famous Zamindari Abolition Act. His passionate appeal and magnetic persona united all the farmers against the moneylenders and landlords. He was also a very effective writer and penned his thoughts on farmers and their problems and solutions. Charan Singh passed away on 29 May 1987. Kisan Divas is recognition of his valuable services rendered to the farmers of India. Entire India celebrates Farmers day. Farmers and members of rural community organize agricultural shows, functions and pay homage to their beloved leaders. New policies concerning farming, agriculture, seeds etc are also announced by the governments.