Within a year of its formation, Sahmat published ten books for children based on Safdar Hashmi’s poems, stories, and plays for children, which were illustrated by both emerging and established artists. Conceived as a collaborative project to bring together artists and writers, the success of this series prompted Sahmat, in later years, to commission and publish several more artist-illustrated books for children. They have been reprinted multiple times and translated into several Indian languages. Hundreds of thousands of copies of the various editions have been —and continue to be— sold.
In this feature on Sahmat’s children’s books by the ICF team, Nilima Sheikh, Malini Bhattacharya and Rajinder Arora speak about their experiences working on these books, what the process entails, the objectives and more. Outwardly simple and whimsical, the books are replete with parables from history, engagement with the material world around, and tell stories of harmony and acceptance. The books reinforce Sahmat’s commitment to disseminating progressive art across boundaries of class, religion, and age. These books draw their readers, young and old, into their colourful, playful and all encompassing world, as told in Safdar Hashmi’s iconic poem Kitabein.
किताबों में कितना बड़ा संसार है
क्या तुम इस संसार में
नहीं जाना चाहोगे?
किताबें कुछ कहना चाहती हैं।
तुम्हारे पास रहना चाहती है।
These books are available to purchase from Sahmat.in.