Thursday, February 4, 2010

Balkumar Sahitya Sammelan

Sandhya Taksale (from our editorial team) writes about her experience at a book exhibition held near Nasik.

A little boy looks a little worried and asks, "But how could you cut the tail" ? Others promptly reply, "Because it is a story !!!". And everyone starts laughing.

The children were listening to the story - Chulbul's Tail. Chulbul's Tail is a sweet story by Pratham Books about Chulbul, the squirrel who is not happy with her tail and tries to get another. The kids who were deeply engrossed in listening to the story, once again proved that a good story is a weak point of every child.

This read aloud story session was conducted informally with a small group on the sunny lawns outside the main Pendol at the Balkumar Sahitya Sammelan at Sangamner (near Nasik). In the last week of January, children from 20 Marathi, English and Urdu medium schools participated in the Sammelan. The book exhibition was part of this event and it was wonderful to see school children from rural areas around the town flocking to the Pratham Books stall.

Children were handling and reading books. One could see them bending over the books, going through the pages, thrilled by the illustrations, amazed by the colours and excited by the pictures, They were enjoying, sharing, pointing at the books and shouting - 'Hey, look at this..Abu Khan ki Bakri'. One of our books happens to feature in one of their text books. Those interested in angels and demons were seen picking up 'Dhoban ne dhoye Rakshas' just on the basis of the title. 'Pehelwan Ji ' attracted the kids by its title and black and white illustrations. Children admired the illustrations from 'Cheenu's Gift' and 'Khilkhil Tota' while parents picked up 'Cauvery' and 'Man called Bapu'. The same amount of enthusiasm was visible in the other stalls also.

It was interesting to watch and listen to the children at this book exhibition. Even at the Taluka (block) level, one hardly gets a chance to look at so many books for the simple reason that there are no book stalls. If this is the condition at Taluka level, one can imagine the state of the rural areas. This is where book exhibitions like this one fill the gap and spread the joy of reading.

And this is exactly what happened at Sangamner.

Take a look at the pictures
from the Balkumar Sahitya Sammelan.

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