Could a children's book address the problems of family discrimination?
Pritisha Borthakur, a Delhi-based author, is ready to release her new book for children, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. According to her, this book, which caters to children, was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. As we have moved away from the conventional Indian joint family structure to a more nuclear family, it has become essential to show children appropriate representation in the stories they read. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms and sizes and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.
The author has named the book after her twin sons — Puhor and Niyor — and as a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond felt the need to do her part towards building social awareness. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist.
Through this book, she has tried to teach love, understanding and compassion towards unconventional families. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom and even multiracial family units, everyone deserves equal love.
Beyond race, gender, colour and ethnicity which have formed the basis for discrimination for a very long time, the aim of this book is to shine some light on largely ignore issues. For a very long time, single-parent families have had to face a lot of taboo and unnecessary exemption from society; no one cares how or why one's marriage ended but just want to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.
Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination based on sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background.
Borthakur has written the book with keeping the international audience in mind and has targeted it towards the kids between the ages of 5 and 10. The book is embellished with colourful images of families of different types to appeal and cater to the children's senses and drive home the message at the same time. Borthakur believes children are the best place to start because the ages between 5 and 10 are the most formative, where little ones pick up habits, beliefs and perceptions.
The Guwahati-born author says, "With this book, I'm not trying to take away the job of parents in forming habits I simply want to do my part as a parent. We must impart the right values in our kids in a bid to build a better, more inclusive and tolerant global society that is fair to everyone."
The author's first attempt at a book was an Assamese poetry 'Anubhav', published in 2010.
Set to be published under the label of Author's Channel, the book is like an adventure; a journey into uncharted territories untouched subjects and matters long ignored. In her words. "The book takes a critical stand in defence of people in society who have had to undergo severe emotional torture for no cause of theirs. It is a terrible conception to think such people any less of a human just for being different," says publisher Aruna Naidu.
This book, priced at Rs. 299 will be available in online and offline bookstores starting from September 30.