unliked – the UNLIKE DESIGN CO. blog

in books we trust

Posted in 1, books, indiandesign by unliked on December 7, 2015



One can read about the history of the National Book Trust on the website and several other government htmls. Like many other organisations and government bodies, the original and often genuine intention at the time of establishment has stayed constant. It’s time that has moved on. Whether this is a consequence of the usual government-body culture or a deliberate intention, it is by both perspectives a nice thing.

At Unlike, we have a special interest in the children’s titles – the ones that speak of an innocent India – where children wake up at the crack of dawn and don eager smiles as they get ready for a beautiful sunny day at school. The father drives a scooter and the mother packs everyone off before sitting down to knit or chop green mangoes for the yearly pickling. Parents seldom quarrel and old clothes can still be exchanged for steel vessels via loud travelling saleswomen.

As much as it is about an erstwhile era, it is also about an alternate India that still exists in majority and is a bit removed from the culture of her large cities. In a nostalgic few minutes that it takes to read a story, readers like us whose childhoods have been immersed in the modest and frugal eighties can look back and remember the good times.

In Japanese culture, there is a word that somehow encapsulates the subject, characters and nature of these children’s stories – Ninjô: translated roughly as “the heart or feelings common to man; human affections; humanity; kindness”. 

It will be interesting to see how the National Book Trust manages to generate contemporary content while retaining this inherent goodness – which continues to be a relevant and craving need in these modern times.



National Book Trust publications can be ordered here.

Illustration by Shaival Chatterjee / Text on Ninjô reference: The Circle of On, Giri and Ninjo – Sociologist’s Point of View – Kiyohide SEKI, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan (Hokkaido University Library)





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