The human brain is hard-wired to remember stories. That’s how history was passed down for generations and the brain evolved to better retain stories versus facts.
We come from a culture in India where our stories were told and not read. They were always ‘just a grandmother away’ as Karnataka poet A K Ramanujan said.
But the recent renaissance in Indian children’s literature is exciting.
Reading comes in several forms. While our deepest urge is to focus on the text, we also recognise that film, music, and art contain material that can be read, as these constitute the many ways that stories are told and received.
We read and explore the meanings that are written between the lines across different media all the time.
This booklist extends the ideas outlined below by the writer Siddhartha Sarma, the moderator of the August 15 panel discussions at the launch of NLF Imaginary Lines 2020.
In India today, it has become increasingly necessary to consider our journey so far, and to examine the course this nation, among the most complex in the world, is set to take. These questions and ideas are necessary to be examined not just by the upcoming generation, but by those who are in a position to guide and collaborate with them, including parents and teachers.
A point which has frequently been raised by historians and chroniclers of independent India is the absence of much public debate, or representation, of Partition and the specific events during the freedom struggle connected to it.
It is to be expected that a country as complex as India would have multiple peripheries simultaneously existing in different forms and manifestations.
These books strive to shine light on these peripheries, to help the rest of the country take informed and empathetic positions on the issues that occupy them.