Beyond Boundaries: A Peek into Rural India

The PARI series

“While the stories are all based on real people, what makes them stand out is that they open up a whole world for the readers, becoming great inter-disciplinary subjects…[they] humanise textbook concepts and put a face to statistics – of migrant workers, people living below the poverty line, young persons with disabilities.”

– The News Minute

The PARI series uses real stories of rural India, disenfranchised people and communities, and the unique challenges they overcome every day. They are stories of triumph – of children who participate cheerfully in civic issues, athletes who power past their disabilities, citizens who demand their right to be heard – and an attempt to give these voices a platform. They also seek to address the serious dearth of children’s books that are set in non-urban locations. The series features five stories set in different parts of rural India – No Nonsense Nandhini; No Ticket, Will Travel; Coming Home; A Big Splash; House of Uncommons. They are tales of courage, adversity, success, and hope.

Beyond Boundaries

How much do our children know about where their food comes from, or how their local flower-seller gets her flowers? How much do any of us living in urban India know about centuries of indigenous knowledge that continue to be practiced daily in rural India?
The National Education Policy 2020 is a clarion call to nurture young learners as well-rounded citizens. It aims to shape them to be at once resilient and empathetic and possess the creative imagination to contribute to an inclusive society. To achieve this, children need exposure to a wide variety of literature and rich experiences that help them think critically. They need to be offered an idea of India that is diverse and pluralistic, through which empathy and understanding can be built.
The Beyond Boundaries curriculum, through the PARI books, aims to help children in the urban milieu learn about their counterparts in rural India with empathy, sensitivity and fellow feeling.

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Curriculum Structure

Class 6

Class 7

Class 8

Class 9

  1. The curriculum contains four core fields – Read, Research, Write, and Discuss
  2. Through a series of activities, extra reading, field work, script writing, article writing, and art and craft, Beyond Boundaries throws open the door to fascinating discussions on current events, geography, social studies, civics, ethnography, diversity, and inclusion.
  3. Each book will be accompanied by resource material and a lesson plan for teachers.
  4. The lesson plan for each book will cover 8 sessions, with each session covering a major theme from the book.
  5. The resource material for teachers will contain suggestions for related reading, and a note to set the context for each book from the authors themselves.

About the Books

Coming Home by Priti David is about a group of children from Sittilingi Valley who, at one point, were forced to drop out of school and find work in far-flung factories and mills. Until one day, they decide to start their own school and also help create jobs in their own valley in the process.

Core topics: Migration, education, farming, indigenous tribes, indigenous art and craft.

A Big Splash by Nivedha Ganesh follows Dhivya, a young farmer and an ace swimmer who had previously only swum in the tank and lake in her village, from her cotton fields to the Paralympics, braving all odds.

Core topics: Disability, farming, sports, rural infrastructure.

No Nonsense Nandhini by Aparna Karthikeyan is based on the life of Chandra Subramanian, a Sivagangai district farmer, retailer, and mother, who received a ‘homepreneur’ award.

Core topics: Farming, gender inequality, indigenous crops and flowers.

No Ticket, Will Travel by Subuhi Jiwani is a series of short stories on migrant labourers who travel in search of work, determined to make a living although their lives are rife with uncertainty.

Core topics: Migration, wage labour.

House of Uncommons by Vishaka George is a peek into the lives of the students at Snehagram, an institute for HIV positive children, and their struggles, triumphs, and achievements.

Core topics: HIV AIDs, stigma, the parliamentary system, education, sports.