Leila Seth's book is a well-illustrated read that will help kids understand the Preamble better
"I was having a chat with my eight year-old granddaughter Nandini about our Constitution, who was lost whenever terms like equality, citizens and integrity crept into the conversation," Leila Seth, author Vikram Seth's mother, tells us in a telephonic interview, while admitting that being one of India's most respected judicial figures didn't make writing We, the Children of India, any easier.
Seth's book, with fantastic illustrations by Bindia Thapar, lucidly breaks down the Preamble of our Constitution to India's young citizens.
Filled with interesting trivia and rare photographs, the book is bound to find fans across Indian classrooms.
Leila Seth holds up a copy of her book, We, The Children Of India
"India has a very good Constitution that sadly, isn't taught to our children at the right time. When they are younger, it becomes part of their consciousness.
By the time they are 12, opinions are already established and it's too late. Whereas in the US, it's compulsory education at a much younger age," she says.
Seth adds that Indian children aren't exposed to a universal value system, which is where the Constitution steps in.
"The Preamble is one long sentence that gives you the essence of the Constitution, which if learnt will make them better equipped for tomorrow."
Leila, who broke the gender barrier in the judiciary, whether it was by becoming the first woman judge of the Delhi High Court or the first woman to be the Chief Justice of an Indian state, believes that unless kids understand the full meaning of the Preamble, they will never be equipped to respect equality of any kind be it dignity of labour or respect for the opposite sex.
We, The Children Of India, The Preamble to our Constitution, Puffin Books, Leila Seth, Rs 150, 40 pages. Available at all leading bookstores.
Pandit Nehru was the first person to sign the Indian Constitution; he was so excited that he did so without leaving any space for the President, Dr Rajendra Prasad, who had to squeeze his signature above Nehru's.