For children of the digital age, Ram and Sita will now come alive in an animated Ramayana application and the chaste Hindi of Munshi Premchand’s stories will make its way onto the e-reader.
In an attempt to boost traditional and regional language literature among children, Bangalore-based digital-content company EC Media International has launched a compilation of 1,000 Hindi digital books that can be read on its e-book reader brand Wink.
The books were launched in Delhi last week, and by next week the company will also make available a set of 150 ‘enhanced’ digital books for children that involve animated illustrations, audio-reading options and games and quizzes related to the text.
Classical Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata are two of the biggest titles in this series of enhanced books, which can be downloaded as applications for Android, Apple and other tablets.
“India is recognised for these rich epics and launching them on a digital platform is a way of reviving and preserving our heritage,” said Ravi DeeCee, founder and director of the company, who claims that the pilot launch of the Ramayana e-book received more than 10 downloads from around the world on the first day itself. The books are available for US$ 2.99.
The launch of the new enhanced books reflects a growing demand by Indians around the world to have traditional texts available on their fingertips.
Earlier this week, popular Indian calendar brand Kalnirnay launched its Marathi application on the iPhone, iPad and iPod in response to requests by users settled abroad.
The company will release the application in six other regional languages by the end of the month.
According to Kumar Ketkar, editor of Marathi daily Loksatta, this is a trend that was waiting to surface.
“E-readers and other digital gadgets will become much cheaper and economically accessible in another two decades, so this is the future of reading in the country,” said Ketkar.