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Tazim Ali, a nine year old was elected President of Varanasi children’s parliament, the first of its kind run by kids in India.

‘Tazim keeps his cellphone by his side all night and listens to reports of problems such as children falling down uncovered manholes, forced early marriages and sexual abuse by relatives and teachers.’

‘Sometimes children can’t always go to their parents with a problem. It was a crime not to figure out a way to give them a voice,” says Rajeev Srivastava of Vishal Bharat Sansthan, the non-profit behind the children’s parliament.

It was started with the hope of giving a voice to these kids, and teaching them about democracy. The next generation would hopefully have ‘learned’ politicians. Here is something all our present-day politicians should learn. The children’s parliament elections had strict campaign rules (which were followed).

Candy and cookies are banned. Candidates can spend only about $10 on posters. There’s a minimum voting age: 6. And a maximum: 13. Winners are limited to a single term in office.

With its passionate leaders and reputation for prompt action, the four-member children’s parliament is not just a cute idea. It has become an example of honest, functional politics, and the excitement it inspires contrasts sharply with the disillusionment that many adults here say they feel about their politicians.

I have no words to appreciate the commitment and maturity shown by these kids. Wonder how many of our politicians would enroll for this Democracy 101 class. Read more at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/13/AR2009051303758.html