Book Launch: The Great Rifasa written by Rohini Nilekani and illustrated by Sangeetha Kadur

Rohini Nilekani, philanthropist and co-founder of Pratham Books, has authored many delightful and beloved storybooks for children. The Great Rifasa, her latest book illustrated by Sangeetha Kadur, offers a unique perspective of the pandemic’s impact on wildlife.

Rohini Nilekani and Sangeetha Kadur interact with children at the Cosy Nook community library in Bangalore, during the launch of The Great Rifasa. Photos credit: Cosy Nook Library

Animals in national parks share a close relationship with humans, and are accustomed to humans encroaching on their homes for a glimpse into their lives. But what happened when nationwide lockdowns restricted humans from going on safaris and gave the animals unexpected freedom to move about as they liked in their natural habitat? 

The Great Rifasa flips the usual outside-in narrative around, exploring the perspective of the residents of Kabini Forest in Karnataka and bringing to life the puzzled reactions of the forest’s inhabitants to the sudden disappearance of their regular visitors.

Storybooks on wildlife for children are important, because they spread the message of compassion and empathy from a young age. As The Great Rifasa is set in Kabini, one of Karnataka’s best known forests, the Anuvada team at Pratham Books reached out to the renowned wildlife photographer duo Krupakar-Senani to translate the book into Kannada. 

Krupakar and Senani are also conservationists, writers, and award-winning filmmakers who have worked with National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet and Discovery. Their films have won the prestigious Panda Award, known as the ‘Green Oscar’, and received recognition at international film festivals. They have also co-authored numerous books and photo journals based on their experiences.


Krupakar and Senani generously took time out of their busy schedules to work with the Anuvada team, delivering a wonderful Kannada translation of The Great Rifasa. It was a perfect opportunity for a children’s book about living in harmony with nature to be translated by two people who have dedicated their lives to the conservation and protection of the natural world. 

Get your copy of The Great Rifasa, available in English, Hindi and Kannada here: https://bit.ly/3ODE8Iu

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