Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spreading humanism, respect for other religions through children's magazines in India


On the left is the photograph of the title of a recent issue of Urdu magazine for kids, 'Bachchon ki Dunia'.

The front page has photo of fireworks with the line, 'Diwali Mubarak' written below it. The issue had come out when the festival was being celebrated.

Inside, the editorial and other columns also informed children about the festival. There is also a long article about 'Sikhism', which tells children in lucid language about Sikhs, their gurus and the religion.

The article is quite engaging and informative. An earlier issue had focused on Jainism. I am mentioning this because despite the fact that over 90% readership of the magazine is in Muslim households, they are sensitive enough and for this the editorial staff must be congratulated.

Firstly, children must get information about the world. They should know the customs of other religious groups and people across the world. It is important to inculcate certain values among kids, especially, the respect for all religions and the message of communal amity and harmony.

'Parag' set the standards among Hindi children's magazines

In the decade of seventies and eighties, it was common among certain Hindi magazines to carry stories during Id, Christmas or other festivals.

Especially, Parag, under the editorship of Kanhaiyalal Nandan and Harikrishna Devsare, ensured that were at least a few stories or message for readers belonging to other communities during their festivals.

On Id and Ramzan, there were such stories, that struck a chord with the readers.

There were amazing stories that told reader about the message behind Ramzan and fasting. What you read in childhood has lasting impact on your mind. I read entire Hindu mythology in Chandamama and Nandan, which ignored other religions.

English magazines Tinkle, Champak fare badly on this count

Certain other magazines like Kukkut and Balbharti were often more accommodating. Today, there are many magazines in different languages.

In English, magazines like Tinkle, Magicpot and Champak are quite popular. Tinkle's publishers were never known to be sensitive to this aspect.

A small message or a short story adds variety to the magazine and also earns goodwill. Hope, the publishers of these magazines realise the need for being attentive towards all sections of the society.

It just shows your maturity and sensitivity.

Read earlier posts on the same issue:

1. Secularism in India: Lessons on communal harmony, religious tolerance from the ground
2. Communal Vs Secular comic strips, magazines in India