Under the Neem Tree
Author: P Anuradha
Illustrated by A V Ilango
Translated by N Manohar Reddy
9789350460603 | Centre Stapled | pp. 24 | 2012 | Tulika Publishers
In Under the Neem Tree two stories one of fact, one of fiction (folklore) are woven together to give the reader an understanding of life in an Andhra Pradesh village.
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This story written originally in Telugu by a Dalit writer and teacher, is part of a collection of stories of the Dalit experience called ‘Different Tales’ collated by Anveshi Women’s Research Centre, Hyderabad. Worked around a well-known folktale about a couple who quarrel about who shall eat more rottis, the story is seamlessly woven into another story about the real lives of children in a small Andhra village, growing up playing, going to a typical government school, watching adults squabble, feeling hunger and understanding friendship and, most importantly, sitting under a neem tree and listening to stories from an old grandmother. The coming together of the two stories, one real and one folk gives the telling a tender yet amusing twist.
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About the Contributors
The author is a dalit writer and school teacher. With training in sociology and elementary education and a passion for writing for children, she hopes to work towards the creation of a more egalitarian culture through stories of marginalised communities and in which issues on children and children’s literature are discussed. This story is part of ‘Different Tales’, a project of the Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad, in which she Participated.
The illustrator is a leading Indian artist who has been on the national and international scene for about thirty years. “Paintings connect me with space, sculptures with form, and illustrations with emotions,” he says.
The translator has been an English lecturer in India and Saudi Arabia and guest faculty at the Centre for Comparative Literature, Hyderabad. He translated storiesfrom telugu to English for two anthologies of Dalit writing.
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