Ektara is Takshila’s centre for children’s literature and art. We are located in Bhopal. We endeavour to make accessible literature to all children between the ages of 4 and 18 years. Our journey began with the publication of a bi-monthly Hindi magazine, Pluto, for early readers (4-8 years). In Pluto, we publish both fiction and non-fiction to address all four childhood impulses-social, exploratory, constructive and artistic impulses. You will find links to some of the pages of Pluto on our website.
We are in the process of bringing out another bi-monthly Hindi magazine, Cycle, for children between 9-12 years. Apart from stories and poems, this magazine would cover a wide range of topics such as art, history, environment, nature, animals, politics, social issues- caste and gender, philosophy, and anecdotes.
To strengthen the body of children’s literature in Hindi, we began a fellowship programme for senior writers- Srijanpeeth. In two years, we have collaborated with Vinod Kumar Shukla, Priyamvad, Asgar Wajahat, Naresh Saxena and Krishna Kumar. Their works have been published under the banner of Jugnoo Prakashan, an imprint of Takshila Publication. We also organise workshops for writers every two months.
A children’s book is incomplete without illustrations. To develop a dialogue between a word and a picture, we have added a newest feather in our cap, Riyaz- an academy for illustrators. This academy is funded by Tata Trust as part of Parag initiative.
Eklavya was set up in 1982 as a non-government registered society. It took up the academic responsibilities of the landmark Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme (HSTP). It developed and implemented the innovative Social Science Teaching Programme and the Primary Education Programme (PRASHIKA) in the government schools of Madhya Pradesh. More recently it worked with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) in developing the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2005 and the syllabuses and textbooks based on the NCF.
Eklavya continues to actively seed and develop academic programmes for curricular change in elementary education. It also works with the community in about 100 villages in five districts of MP to run learning centres (Shiksha Protsahan Kendras) for first generation school-goers. Eklavya’s publishing and dissemination efforts are guided by its school and community based programmes. The overriding concern is to keep the reading material close to the life and environment of the readers and also produce it at a price they can afford. In this context it publishes three magazines – Srote, a weekly feature service for newspapers focusing on science, technology and science-society interface issues, Sandarbh, a bi-monthly teachers’ resource magazine on science and education, and Chakmak, a science magazine for children. Eklavya has published book titles in Hindi, English, Marathi, Gujarati, Bangla and Urdu. It has also published some titles in non-mainstream languages like Gondi, Korku, Malwi and Bundeli. PITARA is a one-stop-education-store conceived by Eklavya that makes available a range of carefully selected books and educational materials of select publishers and organisations from India.
Parag is the flagship program of the Tata Trusts that aims to make literature a part of every childhood by supporting availability and access to quality children’s books. The initiative supports the development and dissemination of children’s books and literature in Indian languages. It works with partners to rejuvenate libraries for supporting literacy and learning through children’s meaningful engagement with books. Over the past 8 years, Parag books have reached out to over 1 crore readers by supporting development of 350 titles that have original stories. Parag has supported school and community libraries for ensuring access to quality books. It has created avenues to promote young talented authors and illustrators. Parag workshops and programmes have trained librarians, teachers and educators besides creating resources on setting up and running active libraries, book selection and using libraries to enhance reading skills.
Recently, Parag has started two flagship professional courses – Riyaaz and the Library Educators Course. Under the Library Educators Course Parag aims to strengthen the capacities of stakeholders working with children’s literature so that they can run vibrant libraries that inspire children to read for pleasure, thus strengthening their reading skill and exposing them to a wealth of ideas and perspectives.