Real worlds and Ideal worlds

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In children's literature in India, we tend to focus on the ideal rather than the real.


<ul><li> 1. Childrens Books in India:Real Worlds and Ideal Worlds <ul><li>Deepa Agarwal </li></ul></li></ul> <p> 2. Childhood As an Age of Innocence </p> <ul><li> But trailing clouds of glory do we come </li></ul> <ul><li>From god, who is our home: </li></ul> <ul><li>Heaven lies about us in our infancy! </li></ul> <ul><li>William Wordsworth </li></ul> <ul><li>in Ode, Intimations of Immortality </li></ul> <p> 3. Childrens Reality in India </p> <ul><li>Vast social and economic divides. </li></ul> <ul><li>Tradition and religion are powerful forces.</li></ul> <ul><li>A host of problems affect the young but books ignore them. </li></ul> <p> 4. Most Childrens Books IgnoreReal Life Problems </p> <ul><li>The reasons are: </li></ul> <ul><li>Conservative mindset means that taboos still linger.</li></ul> <ul><li> Hidden censorship prevents authors from being realistic . </li></ul> <p> 5. Whats Right, Whats Wrong </p> <ul><li>Focuses on real issues: </li></ul> <ul><li>Lack of access to good education </li></ul> <ul><li>Child labour </li></ul> <ul><li>Gender discrimination </li></ul> <ul><li>HIV/aids</li></ul> <ul><li>Disaster </li></ul> <ul><li>Hunger </li></ul> <ul><li>Some writers and reviewers found it unsuitable for children </li></ul> <p> 6. A Parent Found This Depiction of a Teacher Objectionable 7. Shantis Friend </p> <ul><li>Exploitation of a child domestic helper not an acceptable topic. </li></ul> <ul><li>Changes were requested because it was felt it might upset readers.</li></ul> <ul><li>The child had to be transformed into a poor relation. </li></ul> <p> 8. ThePanchatantraThe Monkey and the Crocodile </p> <ul><li>The theme of friendship betrayed.</li></ul> <ul><li>In the end the monkey parts company with his false friend, the crocodile. </li></ul> <ul><li>In a contemporary story the traitor would repent of her/his actions and the relationship be restored. </li></ul> <p> 9. King Vikram and the Vetal </p> <ul><li>Gruesome setting.</li></ul> <ul><li>Gory ending. </li></ul> <ul><li>Extremely popular with children, parents and publishers. </li></ul> <p> 10. The Death of the Saintly Prahalads Wicked Father Hiranyakashipu </p> <ul><li>Writer and critic Nandini Nayar comments: I cringed at Prahaladscalmness in the face of the horrible death his father suffers.</li></ul> <p> 11. Target Encouraging Realistic Stories</p> <ul><li>A number of stories that addressed the real problems real children faced were regularly published in this magazine.</li></ul> <p> 12. Manisha Chaudhry, Editor with Pratham Books Says: </p> <ul><li> It really depends on the treatment of the issue.</li></ul> <ul><li>The authenticity and empathy that the writer feels or exhibits a lack of.</li></ul> <ul><li>Children sense out insincerity very fast. </li></ul> <ul><li>I would not reject a manuscript because it deals with a painful aspect of reality. If it brings up something in a way organic to the book and talks to children naturally, I'd go for it. </li></ul> <p> 13. Suresh Readingat Pratham Library </p> <ul><li> No adverse reactions from the children or theBal Sakhis (childrens friends), librarians or parents. </li></ul> <ul><li>I can say this with some certainty as we get feedback through questionnaires and at meetings </li></ul> <ul><li>Pratham runs 4000 libraries across 14 states of India Each library services 150-200 children. </li></ul> <p> 14. Angry River by Ruskin Bond </p> <ul><li>An amazingly calm portrayal of a village girl, Sita coping stoically with calamitythe destruction caused by a flood.</li></ul> <p> 15. A Village by the Sea byAnita Desai </p> <ul><li>A sometimes painfully realistic story about two poor children Hari and Lila trying to survive in adverse conditions and growing in strength and maturity.</li></ul> <p> 16. Growing Up by Devika Rangachari </p> <ul><li>A realistic depiction of middle-class life. </li></ul> <ul><li>Credible characters </li></ul> <ul><li>Real life situations</li></ul> <ul><li>Actual problems children face. </li></ul> <p> 17. No Guns at my Sons Funeral By Paro Anand </p> <ul><li>The making of a boy terrorist in Kashmir </li></ul> <ul><li>Compelling, even terrifying clarity. </li></ul> <ul><li>Climax as brutal as any television image of a terrorist attack. </li></ul> <ul><li>End strikes a positive note. </li></ul> <p> 18. Paro Anands Comments </p> <ul><li> We don't live in an ideal world. </li></ul> <ul><li>Today's young are more willing and able to confront reality and deal with it.</li></ul> <ul><li>Found it too much to handle when the hero, Akram is made to kill a puppy and a kitten during his training. </li></ul> <ul><li>Human deaths were somehow easier for them to handle than the animal deaths. </li></ul> <p> 19. What Do Children Say? </p> <ul><li>Q. Should stories always have happy endings? </li></ul> <ul><li>Purva,11not alwaysthey should show humans as they truly are. </li></ul> <ul><li>Saloni, 9sometimesI wish books would be more real.</li></ul> <p> 20. Children Say </p> <ul><li>Radhika, 10sometimesthey usually show the world as a better place than it is.</li></ul> <ul><li>Tanya, 8alwaysthey should show the world as a better place but make us think. </li></ul> <ul><li>Dhruva, 9sometimessometimes they do have children who seem real like us. </li></ul> <p> 21. Nandini Nayar, Writer and Critic Comments </p> <ul><li>To write books that conclude with all strings tied off neatly, no loose ends visible, is unrealistic.</li></ul> <ul><li>This does not happen because of the kind of 'safe' topics that writers in India stick to.</li></ul> <ul><li>Children are protected from reality, so serious subjects are a taboo. And so is anything like a reality check in the form of open-ended books. </li></ul> <p> 22. Alison Lurie inDont Tell the Grown-ups </p> <ul><li> Though there are some interesting exceptions, even the most subversive of contemporary childrens books usually follow these conventions. </li></ul> <p> 23. Alison Lurie inDont Tell the Grown-ups </p> <ul><li>They portray an ideal world of perfectible beings, free of the necessity for survival and reproduction: not only a pastoral but a paradisal universefor without sex and death, humans may become as angels.</li></ul> <ul><li>The romantic child, trailing clouds of glory, is not as far off as we might think. </li></ul> <p> 24. THANK YOU! </p>