Certain crimes against children and women have gone up in the country in the recent past due to the exposure of films, both our own and foreign, which sometimes are very explicit, said Mr Ruskin Bond, the eminent writer of children stories and recipient of Padma Bhushan, Padma Shri and Sahitya Academy awards.

The novelist, who is at present in the city to attend a literary meet, said, “While exposure to films is one reason, the accessibility to pornography is another cause for the increase in the number of certain crimes against women and children in the recent years. Also, in some parts of the country where lots of kids are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, crime rates have gone up.”

The children’s favourite poet, who has also served as a journalist for a short span of time in his early days, reacting to the question of some of the writers and journalists being killed in the country in the recent past, said, “Periods of intolerance and conflicts, have always been there in the country and other parts of the world over the years, but in the present era of visual media, incidents are reported at a fast pace and people are aware of the developments around them. Fifty years back, even terrible incidents in a small town, were hardly reported. But since it is being reported more rapidly than in the past, the awareness of incidents enables a person to get up and say that this is wrong because we know about it.”

The Indian writer of British origin has been a witness through the country’s thick and thin for above eighty years and still chooses to continue living in India over other European countries. On the subject of the evolution of the country over the years, Ruskin Bond pointed out, “In some ways, the country is the same while in other ways it has evolved. There still exists a big gap between haves and havenots. On the contrary, the English educated middle class has grown a lot being more influential than it used to be.”

The legendary author, who is known for his beautiful writings that depict a close relation between childhood and nature, feels that the digital era to some extent has robbed the children of their innocence and drew them apart from nature.

“Now, a lot of children are addicted to social media. They spend more time on social sites than enjoying nature. However, there are children who are different and who look forward to be different in life and do take an interest in outdoor games and open spaces. Simultaneously, some of the good schools are also encouraging children to take interest in the natural world,” said Ruskin Bond.

On the question of existential crisis of writers of children’s books, the essayist rued that area needs more people. “The young adult is a new concept. We never had such an expression. People grew up on children’s books as soon as they started reading. Although publishers are bringing out books for children, in the west they get more encouragements. We need more people writing for children.’’