The world of Astrid Lindgren’s books is the world children around the globe naturally belong to; it does not recognize the barriers of culture, class and climate created by the grown-ups. What Indian children need most at this point is a world of gay abandon; they unfortunately have not had a chance to know the world of Pippi Longstocking and her siblings, on which I was privileged to feast my imagination as a child in the 1960s. Creating a small bridge between the wide-eyed Indian children and the fun-packed works of Astrid Lindgren has been a moving experience.
The book I am preparing, an Omnibus of Astrid Lindgren in Hindi, spans 300 pages. The contents will include Pippi, Emil, Madicken, Karlsson and Ronja, and the selection is specially developed to bring plenty of fun, laughter and sunshine to the disadvantaged children of India, living in slums in big cities, and villages and towns in the interior of the country. Many of these children could be first generation learners, with childhood eclipsed by complexities.
Arvind Kumar Publishers plan to release the book in New Delhi on 14th November 2007 as a tribute to Astrid Lindgren. The cover price will be modest (less than 50 Swedish kronor) and the hope is that individuals, institutions and libraries in Sweden and beyond will buy copies as gifts to Government schools in India. The publisher will arrange this. For details of how to contribute, contact: arundhati.deosthale (at) gmail.com