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A Generation Called Z: Awareness and Activism

VoW 2020 | November 22 – 3:10 pm to 4:10 pm | Savoy State Room | English Literature, Writings for Young Adults

A Generation Called Z: Awareness and Activism

Supriya Sehgal and Bijal Vachharajani in conversation with Gauri Parashar Joshi

A Generation Called Z: Awareness and Activism

Report

A Generation Called Z: Awareness and Activism
State Room

The conversation took place between these amazing three authors, who have published their
books and got acclaim in their fields. Gauri Parashar Joshi acted as the moderator in the
discussion involving Bijal Vachharajan and Supriya Sehgal. It commenced with Gauri giving
concise, apt descriptions of the two speakers. Bijal Vachharajan has earlier worked as a
journalist and editor at Time Out Mumbai. She is passionate about making development more
ecologically sustainable and loves children’s literature. Supriya Sehgal has been working as a
writer and editor at many renowned publications, is passionate about travel, and has written
books like A Tigress called Machhli, Let’s go adventuring: 25 Exciting Trips Around India, etc.
Supriya Sehgal was the first to talk about her recently published book, A Tigress called Machhli.
The book is a collection of 25 short stories, which involve different animals from different parts of
India. Its main theme is the relationship between man and nature and the love and harmony
with which they coexist. She ended her short introduction of her book by playfully telling the
audience to find out more from the book.
Bijal Vachharajani talked about her book, A Cloud called Bhura: Climate Champions to the
Rescue. It’s a story of how some friends wake up one day to find a huge brown cloud in the sky
that doesn’t look very friendly. In fact, it looks quite threatening. Just listening to the short
description must’ve surely piqued the curiosity of many in the audience, as the issues and the
themes in discussion were pertinent to our global world and the pressing concerns that we’re
facing.
After the short introductions got over, Gauri Joshi asked them a very intriguing question that is
very relevant. She asked them if they’ve considered translations in other languages since their
writings and medium of choice target mainly the urban, privileged, English-speaking elites. She
asked important questions to decide the level of accessibility and if any measures can be taken
up to make their texts more accessible.
Bijal replied that because the question of accessibility is an urgent question for many, she with
her colleagues constantly push for publishing of more books in their own mother tongues. This
could contribute to more children of varying socio-economic backgrounds getting access to
valuable literature that can help impact the lives of many and transform them for the better.
Supriya agreed with Bijal and voiced her opinion that should schools and literature festivals like
VoW take up this cause of getting books across to children, it’d be a wonderful venture with
wide positive ramifications.
Surpriya was asked one question about how she sees herself within the larger context of travel
writing in India. Also, Gauri mentioned that travel writing for children has been widely popular
and wondered if this could be localized and replicated too in India. To this, Supriya replied that
her book wasn’t originally written to be a travel writing book. In fact, though it isn’t, it’s still a

fascinating read for children since it involves adventure and fantasy. She also commented that
children always have a lot of say in helping their parents make travel plans. Parents have to
always consider whether it’s safe for kids, plan activities for them to keep them engaged, etc.
Though travel writing isn’t the main thing in her book, travel is always looming in the
background. She also ended on an optimistic note that she sees a positive future for the genre.
The discussion was enlightening and fun. It was very insightful and mind-blowing to see how
children’s literature can be politically conscious as well as promote environment-friendly
messages. Maybe, this could spell a new beginning for not just a new hybrid of different literary
genres but also for a new world that is free from pollution and climate change.