Downtown

A book can be your best friend: J.K. Sivan

J.K. Sivan tells children books can be their best friends. He is also out to show them how. This 77-year-old resident of Nanganallur has written 11 books for children, in two years, to show them that books can be a substitute for gadgets. “A mechanical life as a shipping executive for over four decades in Maldives helped me develop a friendship with books. I became a voracious reader. This is when I decided to write for children.”

An invitation to judge a quiz programme at a private school only strengthened this resolve. “It was sad to see this generation totally unaware of our tradition. They were not able to provide answers to simple questions from our epics,” says Sivan. 

Sivan first started sending stories in Tamil to his friends through email, who would read them out to their children. He also started posting several interesting stories on his blog. Later, at the prodding of friends, he translated Tamil stories into English. “It was mainly because of my friend Sundaram Ramachandran that I started writing. My first book on Lord Krishna was released in November 2012,” says Sivan. Now, Sivan writes stories in both Tamil and English.

“These days, children fail to appreciate the values of our two great epics — The Ramayana and the Mahabharata — as well as our other traditional values. They must understand that the epics are a rich source of information and that there are lessons to be learnt and there are hidden solutions for many problems. Thus, I started writing on various deities and saints,” adds Sivan.

Sivan brings out books on occasions such as navarathri or Deepavali too.

For example he wrote a book on Andal Nachiyar and got it published in the month of Margazhi and on Lord Rama to coincide with Sri Rama Navami.

Sivan, along with his friends, started the Sri Krishnarpanam Seva Society (SKSS), through which he distributes short story books to children as gifts or prizes during competitions and festivals held at schools and temples. And contributions by the audience on these occasions are used to give cash prizes to the winners. 

“A couple of books on Bharatiyar and Adi Sankarar’s slokas will be published soon,” says Sivan. The SKSS seeks donations from like-minded people, only for meeting printing costs. The books written by Sivan are not meant for sale and it is distributed free to children. For details, contact J.K. Sivan at 9840279080.


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Printable version | Oct 18, 2021 1:45:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/downtown/a-book-can-be-your-best-friend-jk-sivan/article7238882.ece

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