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Tarzan Kishori: The Journey of a Silenced Children’s Book

Diti Vyas
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Diti Vyas: Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management, Ahmedabad

Conference Papers from Adani Institute of Infrastructure Management, Ahmedabad

Abstract: Through the case-study of children’s literature in Gujarati language, this paper shows how the publishing industry and literary canons silence texts that challenge the status quo, subtly and strategically rather than by imposing taboos, bans and censorship controls. By adopting the book history approach, the paper studies the creation, dissemination and reception of one such silenced text — Tarzan Kishori (1957) by a prolific Gujarati author Harish Nayak. This text attempts to undo the focus on the male character and hegemonic masculinity by centralizing a female character and feminine virtues in an adventure narrative even before such awareness was ushered in Indian children’s literature in English through Keshav Shanker Pillai’s Sujata and the Wild Elephant in 1965. The paper argues that while conventionally gendered texts by the same author such as Tillu Bhillu Na Parakramo, Sarhad Na Shurviro, Harish Nayak ni Vigyan Shreni, Detective Dattu ni Rahasyakatha Sreni, were “heard†repeatedly through multiple reprints, anthologizing, indexing in the bibliographical listings and historical accounts, because Tarzan Kishori attempts a feminist revision, the market forces manipulated its availability and accessibility and critical fraternity eschewed its presence, thereby “silencing†it. The paper ends with a discussion of how unlike Tarzan Kishori which gives into the silencing, Anjali Khandwala’s Lilo Chokro (1986) resurrects itself through translation and makes itself “heard†.

Pages: 10 pages
Date: 2019
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