Ruchika Kher on unraveling the delights of children’s literature in Hindi…
But with changing preferences, lack of good writing and substandard promotional strategies, the demand for Hindi literature for kids has been witnessing stagnation and in some cases, a steady decline even.
“Almost every eminent writer in Hindi, starting from Premchand to Mohan Rakesh, has written children’s books. The problem is of availability, and inadequate efforts to market these books,” rues Manisha Chaudhry, head of content, Pratham Books. She explains that most prominent Hindi publishers don’t promote their children’s list (if they have one) and also don’t invest in good illustrations or take care of production values. “So most children’s brush with Hindi literature is through prose and poetry that has been put in Hindi language textbooks,” she adds.
Shobha Viswanath, publishing director, Karadi Tales Company, adds another view that the potential for those who’ve had Hindi as their mother tongue or those who would like to relate to Hindi, is huge. However, the encouragement of general reading among children is prevalent more, among affluent classes who prefer that their children read in English. “The absence of a strong market for children’s literature in Hindi has also meant that writing for children in Hindi has not been nurtured. When there is good writing, the illustration and production qualities are quite poor because the books have to sell for a low price,” she says.