Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
Children's Literature | Don't you just love children's books… | Flickr

By Prakhar PatidarThe Sour Grapes

The Rabbit and The Tortoise


The Crocodile and The Monkey

Tales from Panchatantra

How Ganesha Got His Elephant's Head

Hanuman's Tail

These are some of the stories I recall being told by my grandparents while growing up. Your list might have some other names. They may be fables from the holy books of your religion, prevalent stories from your culture or folktales from your locality. All of us start our learning with stories. Children and adults enjoy listening to stories alike. Some of us transition from listeners to readers and new books with colourful pictures and characters who go on wonderful adventures bring us joy.

It would not have been possible without a unique world of Indian Children's literature that borrows from our history, culture and sometimes the world around us to bring to Indian children stories worth reading. These stories create a dynamic space of learning, entertainment and engagement for children and provide adults with a medium to communicate well with children.

Most of us may have been told stories in our mother tongues but, our reading began with western writers such as Enid Blyton, Rold Dahl, E.B White, etc. Even the stories and books written by Indian authors mostly adhered to the English language and its rules for writing for children.

Looking back, the traditions of stories for children stretched to skilful practices of oral storytelling like Panchatantra. These tales on wisdom were told by Vishnusharma to three young princes to give them life lessons and are still read and told widely in India. Ramanujan, who has worked extensively on Indian mythology, says that similar traditions were observed in South India.

The stories for children can be categorised into being socially conscious, melting pot and culturally relevant, as outlined by the African-American literature. Socially conscious stories stick to dominant narratives, melting pot stories take into consideration the inter-cultural ignorance in the world where the culturally relevant stories take the responsibility of spinning needed narratives closest to reality.

Radhika Menon, managing editor at Tulika Publishers; a leading children's literature publishing house of India wrote about the trajectory of children's literature India in a paper presented in 2000, The observation she makes is that India has a fair share of gifted children's writers: Sankara Pillai, Arup Kumar Dutta, Poile Sen Gupta, Paro Anand, Swapna Dutta, Sandhya Rao, Vayu Naidu, Zai Whitaker, Kalpana Swaminathan, to name a few but despite their best efforts Indian literary sphere hasn't been able to find an authentic voice. Moreover, the domain is dominated by works in the English language. Let alone all the languages spoken in the country, even the 28 official ones don't enjoy qualitative publication of children's literature.

This may sound disheartening but in the past 20 years, things have changed. International publishing houses like scholastic have expanded the landscape with good quality written, illustrated, audio and visual texts whereas the emergence of independent Indian publishing houses such as Tulika, Katha, and Tara Publishing has opened doors for culturally relevant stories and storytellers of different languages to meet publishing opportunities that meet international standards.All of us start our learning with stories. Children and adults enjoy listening to stories alike. Some of us transition from listeners to readers and new books with colourful pictures and characters who go on wonderful adventures bring us joy.


Popular

Unsplash

Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal.

"In India, to be born as a man is a crime, to question a woman is an atrocious crime, and this all because of those women who keep suppressing men in the name of feminism."

Feminism, a worldwide movement that started to establish, define and defend equal rights for women in all sections- economically, politically, and socially. India, being a patriarchal society gives a gender advantage to the men in the society thus, Indian feminists sought to fight against the culture-specific issue for women in India. Feminism itself is nothing but a simple movement that pursues equal rights for women (including transwomen) and against misogyny both external and internal. It states nowhere that women should get more wages than men, that women deserve more respect than men, that's pseudo-feminism.

Keep Reading Show less
wikimedia commons

Yakshi statue by Kanayi Kunjiraman at Malampuzha garden, Kerala

Kerala is a land of many good things. It has an abundance of nature, culture, art, and food. It is also a place of legend and myth, and is known for its popular folklore, the legend of Yakshi. This is not a popular tale outside the state, but it is common knowledge for travellers, especially those who fare through forests at night.

The legend of the yakshi is believed to be India's equivalent of the Romanian Dracula, except of course, the Yakshi is a female. Many Malayalis believe that the Yakshi wears a white saree and had long hair. She has a particular fragrance, which is believed to be the fragrance of the Indian devil-tree flowers. She seduces travellers with her beauty, and kills them brutally.

Keep Reading Show less
Pinterest

Ancient India not only made mentions of homosexuality but accepted it as well.


The LGBTQ+ acronym stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and others. In India LGBTQ+ community also include a specific social group, part religious cult, and part caste: the Hijras. They are culturally defined either as "neither men nor women" or as men who become women by adopting women's dress and behavior. Section 377 of the India Penal code that criminalized all sexual acts "against the order of nature" i.e. engaging in oral sex or anal sex along with other homosexual activities were against the law, ripping homosexual people off of their basic human rights. Thus, the Indian Supreme Court ruled a portion of Section 377 unconstitutional on 6th September 2018.

Keep reading... Show less