ANDE DI GAL
By Kanchan Shine. Translated from the original English by Sushil Shukla. Illustrations by Radhika Tipnis
Eklavya, 2021 (first published 2018), pp. 24, `80.00
LADDUS FOR RAKHI
By Muskaan Pandey. Illustrations by Sagar Kolwankar
Eklavya, 2020, pp. 14, `50.00
Written and illustrated by Nishith Mehta
Eklavya, 2020, pp.14, `55.00
BAITHA AAS LAGAYE JALDI SAAL POORA HO JAYE
By Rani Ahire. Illustrated by Shilpa Rande
Eklavya, 2021, pp. 24, `175.00
SHALJAM: A FOLKTALE (Ek Lok Katha)
Illustrated by Niharika Shenoy
Eklavya, 2020, pp. 16, `225.00
These books are a fascinating example of the kind of good that a regional publisher publishing in a regional language can do for children to develop critical thinking skills, a scientific outlook, pique their curiosity about natural phenomena or sensitize them to the gradient of social difference and inequality that is often actively and conveniently ignored in school syllabi or made invisible in social discourse. Stories for children have been used to instruct and entertain, but these books are special not only because they take their inspiration from the world around them where the context, art and language are familiar and relatable, but also because their printing and pricing makes them attractive and accessible.
One crucial feature of most of these books is that they are translations from English, Malayalam and Telugu into Hindi. The publisher—Eklavya—based in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) publishes educational material which includes three different magazines: one, Chakmak—a monthly magazine of stories and poems for children; two, Sandarbh–a pedagogic resource for teachers; and three, Srote—a monthly magazine which features independent articles on the latest in the world of science and technology to foster a scientific temperament among students and teachers alike. All these publications are in Hindi. This is indeed a praiseworthy enterprise to shape the minds of children in social, political and cultural circumstances which, even without the pandemic, make early-school education a very challenging field. These books and resources if used well by parents, teachers and school administrators can potentially supplement the classroom to leave a marked developmental change in attitudes and thought processes for those encouraged to read them.