In 2010, when Puffin Books launched Justice Leila Seth’s book ‘We, the Children: The Preamble to Our Constitution’, I had the good fortune to meet her for the first time. When she heard that I was with Pratham Books, she mentioned that we were doing a good job by publishing books in many Indian languages. “I wish this book could reach every child of India. Would Pratham Books want to publish it in other languages?”. Thanks to the efforts of her Penguin editor Sudeshna Shome Ghosh, Pratham Books was able to get the book translated into many languages. My colleague Manisha Chaudhry spent many hours with Justice Leila Seth, who was very eager to see at least the Hindi translation.
In 2014, when the people at Bangalore Literature Festival had invited Justice Leila Seth to be a guest at the fest, she promptly called us to say she would love to make use of her visit to Bangalore to interact with children. At the venue, Justice Leila Seth was absolutely delightful. “Do you know how old I am?” she asked the children. She spoke to the children in an even tone, answering all their questions patiently and clearly.
“I think I like the role of a grandmother quite a lot,” she said when I asked her which of her roles she liked, “it made me want to write for children.”
For that, and for her advice to the children of India, we are grateful to Justice Leila Seth.
Read about Justice Leila’s session on the constitution.