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Zakir And His Tabla

Nominated | Book Awards 2021 | Writings/ Picture Books for Children

Zakir And His Tabla

Just a day and a half old, the very first words Zakir hears from his famous father, Allarakha, are bols — rhythms played out on tablas! From then on, rhythms sing and dance in his head, on Amma’s cheeks, on the pots and pans in the kitchen… Sandhya Rao follows these beats, stringing together little vignettes from his life. From a childhood around music to the highs of a performer who took the tabla to the world, this joyous story introduces children to a musical genius, whose busy fingers and flying curls make him the inimitable Zakir Hussain. Illustrator Priya Kuriyan’s fingers add their own magic with fine lines and subtle but striking use of colours. Her pictures bring to children a sense of place, time and the person, with warmth and energy.

Full Title: Zakir And His Tabla: Dha Dhin Na

Author: Sandhya Rao
Publisher: Tulika Publishers

Award Category: Writings/ Picture Books for Children
About the Book: 

From a childhood around music to the highs of a performer who took the tabla to the world, this joyous story introduces children to the musical genius, whose busy fingers and flying curls make him the inimitable Zakir Hussain.


About the Author: 

Sandhya Rao is one of the finest writers for children in India. Her books have won many awards and accolades: 'My Friend the Sea' won the Ambitious Children’s Book Project award at the Berlin Children and Youth Literature Festival, 2005. 'My Mother’s Sari' was chosen as an Outstanding International Book, 2007, by the United States Board for Books for Young People (USBBY) and the Children’s Book Council. Rights to the book have been sold for USA, Canada, Australia and the U.K. In 1996, she joined Radhika Menon to create multilingual books for children at a time when independent children’s publishing in India was nascent. She has written over 20 books. Chennai-based Sandhya has an eclectic taste in books, music and films and loves listening to stories, especially real stories.


Excerpt: 

When Bavi Begum brought her baby boy home from the hospital, he was about a day-and-a-half old. According to custom, he was placed in his father's lap so that he could pour blessings into the baby's ears. 'Dhe tta dha ga thun na ghe na' "What are you doing?" his mother cried out. "You are whispering bols. You are supposed to say prayers."

"These are my prayers," her husband replied. "This is what I learned from my teachers and this is what my son will learn from me."

From then on, every day, Allarakha Qureshi spoke bols to his baby, whom they named Zakir Hussain. Little Zakir's eyes grew rounder and rounder as the magical rhythms sang to him and danced in his head.


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