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Local write of passage

Posted August 10th, 2018, 10:25 AM IST

Local write of passage

Language and culture, the most intricately linked elements often gets disregarded as Kannada literature, with the many lessons it has to impart, stays barely noticed on book shelves. The challenge only gets harder for those who cater to children’s literature in regional languages.

Tata Trust’s initiative, Parag, is celebrating the third edition of Big Little Book Award to raise a toast to the diversity and culture-rich works regional languages offer in children’s literature. The language chosen for the current year, is Kannada. For which, they are looking at Kannada authors. We find out more about the present scenario.

Pratibha Nandakumar, an author, brushing away the illusion that Kannada literature is hitting a steep, says, “It is important for us to understand that literature is a way for the artist to express themselves; the rewards are out of the creative. Kannada literature is rich with tradition and text. There is no scarcity of our books in the market; the problem today is that various other mediums have taken over literature. Be it technology or books that are more appealing to children in terms of texture and appearance.”

Are Educational institutes turning a blind eye to the crisis? Prof Malati Pattanashetty, the chairperson of Karnataka Sahitya Academy says, “Kannada is only the second or third language in most schools. Our education system should include more of Kannada literature and emphasise on its importance. The teachers should make an extra effort and suggest books apart from those in the syllabus to the children. Also, as a writer catering to children, it is important to keep the writing brisk, simple and interesting. They expect a surprise at the end of the story; that is what keeps the curiosity on for them.”

Kannada writer Prema, tells us about her experience of writing in the language. “I have written more than 50 stories. It has never occurred to me to publish a compilation of my works because I never knew people would be interested. Regional works are often underestimated and compared to those in English for the texture of the books or the values our stories carry. It is unfair, because what we write is rich with tradition and culture. There is no space, whatsoever, for any comparison.”

Illustrators, the ones who capture the attention of little minds, often go unnoticed. Amritha Patwardhana, Head of education and sports, Tata Trust, says,“The initial response to a book is often determined by the illustrations. Illustration have their way of taking the child into certain nuances.The awards are at par to each other because we believe that both illustrators and writers play an important role in children’s writing.”