"Stories are a communal currency of humanity."
-Tahrir Shah, Alif Laila (Arabian Nights)
Once upon a time, and not very long ago at all, a baby girl was born. Her mother was Canadian, her father Pakistani...
Both were passionate about passing on their cultural heritage; while the mother was able to find an abundance or Scottish, Irish and Canadian stories, there was a deficit in bi-lingual Urdu children's literature. Disheartened, the mother purchased every volume she could find: two English stories that had been translated, and two vocabulary books; one on colors, the other on animals. Her husband convinced her to write an alphabet book, and that was the end of that.
6 years later...
One night, the father, mother and daughter curled up, ready for that evenings bedtime story. The daughter asked her father for a story in Urdu, to which he readily agreed. So began a nightly tradition of recounting oral tales from his childhood. Some were serious, and some were so funny that it made sleep impossible, causing the daughter and mother to descend into fits of laughter. One night, the father made up a story about a pomfret who lived in the Indus River. It entertained the mother and daughter so much, that they declared it simply must be written down.
And so began another nightly tradition: sitting and writing out stories, page by page, in both Urdu and English.
"Kahani" is born
Watching their daughter enthusiastically engage with these stories made both parents reflect: this could not happen earlier, simply due to a lack of Urdu-English children's literature in published form. And so, our founder, Morgan Khan, contacted several talented and passionate friends and community members, and pitched the idea of a community lead publishing initiative that would address this literary deficit.
Kahani's aim is to produce and provide access to digital English-Urdu stories from Pakistan and India. Our mission is to create a space for children of both homogeneous and mixed heritage homes to get excited about, and participate in, their families literary and linguistic heritage. This can be achieved not only through reading, but also by actively engaging in the writing, translating and illustrating of the very books we provide.
We will go further: as the books come from the community, Kahani will give back to it. All profits from the books produced by Kahani will go to charity in both India and Pakistan. For more information on these charities, click here.