April 6, 2013

Dying vernacular characters of kid's world!

One thing I am really proud of is, my schooling. I studied in Gujarati Medium from KG to 12th Standard. Not that I had put lots of efforts in College to suddenly start with English! I never felt weird,even for a day. My parents and school actually had taken enough care!

As my mom says, she and my dad had a big fight over this when I was to be admitted in a school. My father adamantly said and still stays, a kid should be taught in the kitchen language! Yeah not even the mother tongue, the language which a toddler is used to when he/she is fed by her parents. This ideology was given to him by my grand father who himself was a doctor, who studied in Mumbai state at that time. My mom whose brought up was of Kolkata, felt I might feel inferior when other kids talk to their parents and friends in English. The fight I guess was won by my father who actually admitted me in the Gujarati medium school , 'The Shantiniketan of Gujarat'! Just like my grand father who made my father learn 'Pathamala' which is an oxford level seriese to learn English, I was made to study all parts of the series in vacations. It was fun I tell you. Of course my grand mom made my lessons so interesting with stories- how my grand dad made her speak English! One thing my parents and grand parents never missed, the avid little reader of the family-Bubblegum should never feel bad/inferior/odd while reading vernacular books!In fact I was encouraged a lot. I picked my first English book (other than text books and news papers) in 7th standard. By the time I had started with history Novels in Gujarati- K.M.Munshi and Zaverchand Meghani! I guess, my morals were shaped by characters of Gujarati Kids literature.

When I see today's kids, reading lots of books in English which is good, I feel nervous about those Gujarati kids literature books! There are hundreds of characters which were portrayed by those stories, who inspired many directors to direct theaters for kids and who taught me the difference between right things and wrong things!

As now I have reached almost 1/4th of my age (yeah I might live hundred years!), I can safely comment on authors who wrote amazing stories and created amazing characters!

Miya fusaki and Tabha Bhatt: Stories of Hindu Muslim friendships, never a single story promoted communal differences! The sharm Miya and a hogger Bhattji!

Bakor Patel: This character  based in Mumbai was created almost in 1930s! I can still connect to all of them. The best kid's character ever portrayed in Gujarati Bal sahitya! My grand father got 24 books of the same seriese for my father, with hard covers, same is passed on to me. I still have in the very same safe condition. I will keep them with me all my life.Amen for that!

Gappidas: The simple comic character which falls in some trouble every time he lied. The morals of each of the stories which made them unique.

Inspector Kumar and Jamadar Husainkha: These two gentlemen cops were our heroes, just like Sherlock holmes! Those amazing little story books made me go under the table and read, so that my dadi or my mom don't disturb me! :D

These are some of the characters and even when I write this, I feel nostalgic and sad. May be they are dying with the English crazy parents and kids. It is not the story of only Gujarat, I think all states are fighting to save vernacular kids literature.

English is important but killing vernacular characters is almost a crime for me, specially of kids literature!

PS: I tried to Google images for some other characters, I almost find nothing. May be the post is a pure rant.


  1. I feel I was lucky to study in Gujarati medium. Gujarati literature is very rich and those childhood story books were awesome !! I still have collection of those and our Gujarati textbooks. There was so much to learn for a kid..

    Have you read those "Panchtantra" stories, I still enjoy reading them when I go to home :)

    1. Of course, not only in Gujarati and English! I have read in Marathi too! :P Or say tried to read!!

  2. Really well written

  3. I fully agree with your father. A child should start learning in kitchen-language.

    I also fully agree with you that English is important but killing vernacular is a real (not almost) crime.

    Recently relative of mine visited us with her family including her baby granddaughter. To show us how intelligent the child was, she called the baby and asked the kid questions in English like, "Where is your nose?", "Where are your eyes?" And the baby performed her part. I asked the lady, "Can you not teach her words in Odia?" I am sure she did not like this.

    1. True! I had seen a mom asking her kid- 'Kyon so many tears?!I almost got a mild heart attack! :P

  4. True.. when i see my cousins talking to their kids in English right from age one, i wonder <<..are we doing de right thing..>>