During his late thirties, Dr Anand Patil took up a mission to spread children’s literature as far as possible. And ever since, for the next 24 years, he has given the joy of literary fiction to thousands of children and teens across Karnataka, not only with his own writing but by actually taking efforts to make children read and understand the books. And his area of interest is not only Kannada literature but extends to many regional languages and even English. In fact, he’s a big fan of Harry Potter.
The 61-year-old’s method is simple and effective — he scours for children’s books of any language having literary value, purchases them himself, and distributes them among students in schools. But that’s not all; he follows up on their understanding of the books by visiting them again to discuss their opinions and interpretation of the books. And he has been doing this religiously for years. “The students who I interact with range from tiny tots to high school students up to class X,” he says.
Currently a resident of Dharwad, Dr Patil previously worked as a station director with All India Radio for several years, before retiring last year.
Once a year, Dr Patil, with the help of an NGO, conducts a grand event — a large-scale literature fest of sorts, albeit for children. He selects a particular region wherein a plethora of activities are conducted. Enumerating the activities, he says, “Kids are provided with several books to read a month before the event, then discussions on the books are held, which sometimes also features the authors of those books. Students with a special interest in reading are identified and provided more books. Kathakathan is a regular programme we conduct wherein someone narrates selected tales from any local language to children in a very simple yet eloquent manner and then discussions are held. The kids with a talent for painting display their work. Presentation of poetry needs to be done differently for kids, so we get theatre artists to enact them.”
Dr Patil has accomplished both academic and literary work. He has authored newsletters, novels, poetry collections. He has published about 20 to 25 books. He frankly admits that while not many have read his books, they are increasing in popularity now. “Several PhD scholars are opting for my books now,” he says proudly.