We would discuss two Hindi novels; first, Shekhar Ek Jivani: Bhag 1 that is written by Agyeya, and second, Apka Banti, written by Manu Bhandari. Both novels deal with the child’s minds very well, and must-read novels on child psychology. Though the context and environment of Shekhar and Banti are different, their confusion and curiosity are of the same kind that has influenced their personality and growth.
In Apka Banti, Banti is a 7- 8 years old child whose parents are going through a divorce. He is a smart, confident, and talkative kind but he, in the latter part of the novel, loses his confidence and his whole personality starts getting changed. Moreover, the novel focuses on how the separation, remarriage of both of his parents, and his confusion about bodily attraction affect his mind and his growth as a person.
Whereas, Agyeya’s Shekhar is like any other teenager who is curious to know what is unknown to him. But there is one curiosity that he is not able to satisfy, that is, how children are born. He asked the same question to many people, but he knows that the answers he gets are not the right answers. He could not find any book in his home that could answer this question. The novel articulates how the findings of the answer have impacted his thought process.
These two novels show how children’s curiosity about sex is shaping their personality. They are trying to understand but could not grasp it completely. Indian societies have developed taboos about sex and sexuality. They pretend like sex is an immoral act but forget that having sexual desires are natural and nature cannot be judged as moral or immoral.
However, in society human actions are judged as moral or immoral. Therefore, sexual acts are also judged by these standards. Marriage as a social institution regulates the sexual activity of people. But our Banti is not able to understand it. The ideas of love, marriage, and sex and their relationship with one another create more puzzles for him. He is confused about how these three are related to each other, and their impact on human life and relationship. The confusion gradually leads him to depression and anxiety.
Moreover, both novels convey that talking about sexual desires and acts is important to our children. Thus, there is a need for sex education in Indian society. It allows them to understand it without guilts and confusions that will help them to manage or to express their sexual desires in a healthy manner.