Far away from the influence of urban life, a village close to the India-Pakistan border in District Banaskantha of Gujarat, Joravargadh has a government primary school in the village that has 32 students between the ages of 8 years and 13 years who have become writers and poets, each of whom has penned between five and 35 original stories and poems already.
Twenty students of the village have already participated in the state-level story and essay-writing competitions. Further, school principal BG Patel and language teacher Rita Parmar are compiling the stories and poems written by the children into a book. Some of these children say they are intent on taking up writing as a profession.
“We began the concept of creative writing in 2015-16 with the intention of ensuring overall development of the children. However, to our surprise, many students have shown great promise and have been writing quality original stories,” said the Gujarat village primary school principal.
Kajal Luhar, 13, who has penned more than 30 stories so far, said she and others started writing because the teachers were teaching the art, but soon she realised she had developed a passion for it. “Writing is now a passion for us. We love to write original stories and poems,” said Kajal, whose parents do subsistence farming (consuming whatever is produced without crops to spare for sale).
Her classmate Kinjal Chaudhari, who also has written more than 35 original stories, said that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. “I spend a majority of my free time writing. I want to be a writer when I grow up,” said the 13-year-old. Both girls have been writing original stories since they were in Class IV.
Rita Parmar, who teaches languages to students from Class 6 to Class 8 in this school in remote Gujarat, says when the authorities had begun the experiment in 2015-16, it was not so successful, but gradually, students picked up the flair of creativity and writing. “Now, students of lower classes are getting inspired by the feat of their seniors,” she said.