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Journey to space with Dinesh Manerkar

Dinesh Manerkar has been publishing books by different writers on a variety of topics through Sanjana Publications. But it is interesting to note how he himself loves to write books for children as he released his Konkani series on space and related topics recently. In conversation with Dinesh, NT BUZZ finds out about his books and more

SACHI NAIK | NT BUZZ

Writer and Publisher from Sanjana Publication, Dinesh Manerkar, released two books of his Konkani series for children under the title ‘Manshachi Antaraal Bhovni Pustakmaal’, on August 28, 2017 at MCC Hall, Margao.

‘Manshachi Antaraal Bhovni Pustakmaal’ in Konkani is a book series based on the journey to space. The first book of this series titled ‘Anataraalatlo Pravas’ gives information on how to travel to space, and the facilities available in the rocket, while the second book ‘Antaraalatlo Raabito’ provides information on how to survive in the space, how the astronauts perform their regular activities while travelling and much more.

‘Manshachi Antaraal Bhovni Pustakmaal’ is a book of six series. Dinesh says that there are four more books to release in this series that will provide additional information on the astronauts who travelled to space, vehicles or rockets that travelled to space from India and abroad, how spacecrafts have travelled beyond the inventor’s imagination and the experiences it collected. The book will also throw some light about how one can become an astronaut and the educational requirements for the same.

Dinesh who is known for his works in Konkani for children has targeted to write this series for children. He says: “I intend to pass on this information to Goan children who aspire to become astronauts in future. We are hardly aware of the education needed for these kinds of stream, or where can one get this education. All these topics will be talked about in my following series.” He adds that his series will be successful only when a Goan child who aspires to become an astronaut will read these books to gain knowledge about this stream and further utilise it to move on in the direction of his dream job.

Dinesh grew fond of this topic due to his writer friend Ashok Kamat. “Ashok is my good friend and we often discuss various topics related to writing in Konkani. During one of our usual discussions, we spent hours discussing about the ways to enhance our Konkani literature for children. Soon, after this discussion he went to Mumbai, from where he got me a Hindi book ‘Antariksha Jeevan’. He asked me to read it and further research on the topic and write on the same if possible. The book was enchanting and got me closer to space related topics, this is how I began researching extensively through books and internet for my own knowledge,” says Dinesh.

Later, when Dinesh was approached by a Konkani newspaper to start a weekly column for children, he decided to share his knowledge on the same topic. “In 2008, I began writing a column on space related topics which went on for about a year.”  Later he also wrote for a column on his research on dinosaurs and their existence in the bygone eras. “I also have plans to bring out another book or series in Konkani on dinosaurs,’ he says.

Many adults prefer reading children’s book for their distinctive font, colour and pictures is what grabs their attention. Moreover, these books are informative. “Children nowadays are innovative and they research on internet. So when you write books for children, you must be certain not to repeat the information,” he says adding that new topics for writing books increases the scope for new information, however demands intensive research.

Dinesh opines that Konkani is comparatively a new language in terms of literature and this is an advantage to try experiments in literature. “Books for children in Konkani are mostly based on short moral stories, folk or mythological tales. But now children are getting innovative and I feel we must write such stories that match the imagination of their modern mind,” says Dinesh.

Sharing his experience as a publisher Dinesh says: “I always suggest children’s literature writers to publish their books in coloured print, but this automatically increases the cost of production and printing. My first book for children was published in 1996 by Rajhauns Publications, titled ‘Saimache Vardaan’ which was printed in black and white. After this book, I released another book for children – ‘Raanval’ that happened to be in colour print as per my pre-decision. But the sale of the book dropped owning to its high pricing.”

He adds: “I spoke to the marketing people who informed me that children wished to buy ‘Raanval’ but could not because of its price; hence it took me half a decade to sell thousand copies of ‘Raanval’. In 2014, I received Bal Sahitya Puraskar for this book from Goa Konkani Akademi. Keeping in mind a certain tips from my experience as a writer and publisher, I have managed to price these newly released books lesser than the others. I compromised with pages, but have maintained the quality and colour of the print.”

As a publisher, Dinesh says that it is through such kind of writing that the readers benefit the most. “I hardly gain any profit from these books, but I didn’t want any royalty as a writer. My first and the only intention is to share my knowledge and research about the journey to space with the children who are not aware of it and to add something new to the Konkani literature for children,” says Dinesh.

Speaking about the book release function, Dinesh says that chief guest and writer Uday Bhembre articulated his thoughts on Konkani literature for children. “Since my books were related to astronomy, and science related topics, Uday Bhembre spoke about the fact that children should be taught religious rituals or beliefs with a valid scientific reason behind it rather than just teaching it to them as a ritual. Only then will children understand the true reason for abiding them,” says Dinesh adding that Rajashree Bandodkar Karapurkar, Sanjay Talwadkar, Vandana Manerkar were the special invitees for the release function.

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