Bijnor Poised To Spread Message Of Compassion Throughout District


For Immediate Release:

28 March 2012


Benazir Suraiya ; [email protected]

Puja Mahajan; [email protected]

Thousands of Government Schools Directed to Use PETA India’s Humane-Education Programme 

Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh – Showing kindness and respect for others – regardless of their race, religion, gender, wealth or species – is about to get a big boost in Bijnor District. That’s because the Basic Shiksha Adhikari, Shri Banwari Lal, has directed 4,600 government schools in Bijnor to start using People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India’s humane-education programme, Compassionate Citizen. Compassionate Citizen has been praised by numerous celebrities, including Lara Dutta, Raveena Tandon Thadani, Anupam Kher and Jackie Shroff as well as by educators and environmentalist Dr RK Pachauri, director general of the prestigious Energy and Resources Institute.

“[The] Compassionate Citizen programme is an effective educational tool through which children can develop compassion and respect for animals”, says Shri Banwari Lal. Rashtriya Gram Utthan Sansthan Charitable Trust is working with PETA India to take this programme to various schools in Bijnor and other districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Amroha, Meerut, Moradabad and Lucknow.

“It is said that teaching a child to be kind to an animal is as valuable to the child as it is for the animal, and studies bear this out”, says PETA India education coordinator Puja Mahajan. “Teaching children the importance of tolerance, compassion and being able to put themselves in someone else’s situation is key in the effort to stem violence in society at large.”

Compassionate Citizen offers teachers tools and lesson plans to teach children to view animals as feeling, sensitive beings. Most children naturally feel concern and affection for animals but learn cruelty from society and often lose sight of their compassion. It is well documented that violence against animals by children can often lead to future acts of violence towards fellow humans. Simply teaching kindness and compassion towards animals from an early age will go a long way towards encouraging respect for animals – and for other people. Currently, Compassionate Citizen is being used in nearly 8,652 private and government schools, reaching 1.7 million children across India.

Compassionate Citizen – versions of which are also currently in use in the US, the UK and elsewhere – consists of a 28-minute video featuring John Abraham and Jackie Shroff and can be used as it is, or relevant portions of it can be used with other lesson plans. It is suitable for language arts, science, social studies and environmental education curricula. Although designed to be included in the monthly curriculum, the programme can also be used for a shorter period of time, including a one-day workshop. Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Vedanta Academy and SSM Public School in Bijnor have already agreed to include the programme in their curricula.

Renowned schools already using the programme include The Doon School in Dehradun, The Mother’s International and Sanskriti schools in New Delhi and Ryan Global School in Mumbai. Vithika Rahul, head of Delhi Public School’s psychology department, stated, “After thoroughly studying the details of the programme, I find it to be effective in creating empathy, love and tolerance amongst students”.

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