We all love to read Ruskin Bond’s short story. He is one of the pioneers of children literature in India. Here is the life story of him.
Ruskin Bond is a well-known English-language Indian author. He has authored over a hundred short stories, six novels, three poetry collections, and over thirty children’s books. In 1992, Ruskin Bond got the Sahitya Academy Award for his work “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra,” and in 1999, he was awarded the title “Padam Shree” for his lifetime contribution to Indian English literature. He has been writing in many genres of literature for the past fifty years.
In India, Ruskin Bond is regarded as a pioneer of children’s literature. Ruskin Bond came close to writing for youngsters.
Because Ruskin Bond cherished his childhood, all of his children’s stories, whether autobiographical or semi-autobiographical, reflected his desire for a happy upbringing. Children appeal to Ruskin Bond because they are more forthright, open-minded, and emotive. Two children, according to Ruskin Bond, can become excellent friends simply by swapping a pebble, a coin, a toy, and bangles. Children despise the constraints that their elders impose on them. Children are Ruskin Bond’s favourite since they are not misleading.
Ruskin Bond is more connected to children throughout the world because they all enjoy freedom, leaping in pools, climbing trees, and being curious about their surroundings.
Ruskin Bond had written a number of accidental short stories for children in magazines and newspapers in India and abroad, but when he moved from Delhi to Mussorie, he began to write regularly for children. As a grandfather to Prem Singh’s children after moving to Ivy Cottage, he is always penning children’s stories to entertain his adopted grand children, Rakesh, Mukesh, and Savitri. He also satisfied his own unmet dreams and longings as a child by writing children’s stories.
“I don’t imagine I would have written so much about childhood, or even about other children, if my own childhood had been all sweetness and light,” he writes in Scenes from a Writer’s Life (4). Ruskin Bond is a children’s author who focuses on having fun with his readers. Ruskin Bond’s positive attitude toward childhood is affected by his adolescent reading of British and Indian Romantic poets, such as Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry; Raja Rao, R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand’s simple attitude; and Sudhin Ghoshe’s representation of an Indian childhood in his main works. He adopts Wordsworth’s, Shelly’s, and Coleridge’s romantic viewpoints. He recognises dignity in the people who dwell in the steep Garhwali towns and villages, as well as in their subdued lifestyle.
Ruskin Bond dislikes traditional Indian children’s stories and instead favours Rudyard Kipling’s “Maugli.” Many people criticise Ruskin Bond for being autobiographical and subjective, however by comparing him to Charles Lamb, Ruskin Bond can be justified. The characters in Ruskin Bond’s novels are a mix of types and individuals, with the majority of them representing the middle class.Ruskin Bond, like Maugham, chose persons from his own environment, rather than abstract or fictitious characters.
The affluent and poor, children and adults, vendors, traders, schoolboys, and gardeners are all depicted in their various lives. Some of his characters, such as Somi, Mr. Kapoor, Meena, and caricatures such as Rusty, Kishan, and others, are based on his father.
The Hidden Pool, a collection of short stories for children, is his first book. Laurie, Anil, and Kamal tell their storey in The Hidden Pool. Laurie is the son of a British engineer in India, and his Indian friends Anil and Kamal show him around the country’s festivals, delicacies, and traditions. Laurie discovers a secret swimming hole in the mountains, cementing their connection. They swim, wrestle, and plot a journey to a glacier 12,000 feet above sea level at the Hidden Pool.
Grandfather’s Private Zoo, Ruskin Bond’s other children’s book, is a collection of ten short stories that were previously published in various publications and newspapers, some of which were written in Delhi in the early 1960s. Ruskin Bond had joyful times at his grandmother’s house in Dehra, and in these stories, he derives the idea from claims made by village residents about his Grandfather, Clerk’s passion for strange house creatures. Only to make it authentic, Ruskin Bond delivers the book in first person narration as his autobiography.
He appreciated all religions, as evidenced by the characters in his books, who come from all sects, cultures, and religions. Ruskin Bond thought India and Indians were superior than cultured people in the West. Many of his stories are blatant parodies of western society and civilisation. In India, he discovered humanism, whereas in the West, individuals have become nothing more than a machine for accumulating wealth. India is known as the “Land of Fables” because Indian children like listening to their grandparents tell stories before going to bed.
After achieving success as an adult writer, Ruskin Bond became interested in penning children’s stories. In the introduction of The Night Train at Deoli and Other Stories, he notes that in the 1970s, when he was dealing with a variety of issues, his stories about children helped him survive. He had previously written a few stories for children and had them published in journals and newspapers in India and abroad, but after moving to his new house, Ivy Cottage, in Mussorie, he began writing more frequently for children because he was grandfather to Prem Singh’s children.
He was always coming up with new tales to tell Rakesh, Mukesh, and Savitri. His novel idea was to make youngsters the main characters in his writings. These stories also satisfied his own yearning to write about his long-forgotten upbringing.
Fortunately, his trauma was channelled into children’s classics, which provided him with an outlet for his pain. Ruskin Bond drew parallels with David Copperfield, a man who persevered in the face of adversity. He became more empathetic to children when he realised that their adults rarely pay attention to them. The children he met in villages and their day-to-day experiences provided inspiration for his stories.
Ruskin Bond was always delighted to be in their company. The children’s stories by Ruskin Bond can be divided into two types: “personal” and “impersonal.” He recalls his own reflections, unmet passions, and minor adventures in his personal stories, which are autobiographical or semi-autobiographical in tone.
Stories like “My Father’s Trees in Dehra,” “The Funeral,” “When I Can’t Climb Anymore,” “The Tiger in the House,” “The Playing Fields of Shimla,” “Life with Uncle Ken,” “The Cherry Tree,” “The Last Tonga Ride,” “Coming Home to Dehra,” “All Creatures Great and Small,” and “The Tree Lover” are among them. Ruskin Bond’s fondness for trees and dogs, as well as his love for the town of Dehra, are demonstrated in these stories.
His stories are nostalgic and colourful, bringing to life quaint tiny towns, colonial bungalows, and fruit-laden orchards where he walked about as a youth. His children’s books are a reflection of his vivid imagination.