Rendezvous with author Lakhmir Singh

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The list of books must not be long – typically not long for an author like Lakhmir Singh who has been writing science textbooks since 1980. But his 17 school books published by S. Chand are widely recommended by schools, perceptively read by students and comprehensively appreciated by teachers for being written in a lucid style to easily explain complicated science concepts. The Progressive Teacher reproduces a brief note on this most sought after science author.

Right after M Sc in 1969, Lakhmir Singh started teaching Organic Chemistry at Dayal Singh College of Delhi University in New Delhi. What inspired him to write a book in 1979 was an incident when a class Xth student approached him for a tuition class. The young girl showed him her poorly written science textbooks. He thought school students would not require extra tuition classes if they could enjoy reading their textbooks. For that Lakhmir Singh believed textbooks should be like a classroom which could make students feel the presence of a teacher. “I was unhappy to see the girl’s school textbooks which failed to provoke her,” says Lakhmir adding that he eventually decided to write books that were not just student-friendly but also would make science easy.

Chemistry for Secondary School was the first book which debutant Lakhmir Singh wrote in 1980. His wife Manjit Kaur, who also had vast experience of teaching science at various schools, joined as co-author in every single book Lakhmir has written till date. “I’m thankful to my wife for her helping hand as well as motivation without which it would have been tedious for me to attain what I have achieved today,” he remarks. So far, they have written 17 science textbooks for class VI to X on different subjects including awareness of science, Physics, Biology and, of course, Chemistry.

Talking about the essential characteristic features of a science book, Lakhmir Singh mentions that student-friendly lessons as well as multicolour pictures, diagrams and illustrations printed using ultra-modern printing technologies are vital prerequisites to make a textbook perfect. “Relevant and good pictures and neatly sketched illustrative figures in science books attract students and help them easily grasp a model or theory,” asserts Lakhmir Singh adding that an effective visual effect in layout is tantamount to a thousand words.

Critically acclaimed author Lakhmir Singh receives praises and plaudits from the teaching community from far and near corners of the country. He remembers, “Just about a few years ago a teacher from Gorakhpur sent me a long letter praising a revised edition of my Biology textbook. She said her tuition classes had been called off right after her students purchased the book that was easy to read and required no extra coaching.” However, Lakhmir Singh felt sorry for the lady teacher who lost her extra earnings.

Lakhmir Singh disagrees with the general perception that science is a tough subject.

“As long as good teachers, simplified textbooks and well-equipped laboratories are around, there’s nothing tough about science at all,” he says. Being an author who always believes in quality books, Lakhmir heralds a message to all budding authors or those who are looking forward to writing science textbooks, “One can write five books in five years. But what counts for me is not the number but the quality of the book that can replace the existing or established ones by its value and virtue.”