Storytelling Traditions of India – How many of them exist or existed – we would never know. It is impossible to count the number of traditions. Every few kilometers you go, you meet a new way of storytelling. When you look at some of these traditions you wonder how they came to the evolved stage. You wonder how the storytelling tools like puppets, scrolls, boxes emerged over time. We would never know the artist who developed these but maybe it was never one artist but a whole community that was responsible.
Among all these questions, one thing that diverse storytelling traditions of India tell us is our innate needs to tell and listen to stories. Stories were our education, our modes of communication, our culture carriers.
Lore of the Land – Storytelling traditions of India, takes us through the storytelling traditions of each and every state and union territory of India. Beginning with Andaman & Nicobar Islands and ending with the West Bengal – you crisscross the country as the two protagonists of this storybook. Through the eyes of Mohini – a young girl, you hop from here to there learning about storytelling traditions of India.
I have been to most states in India. I could guess some traditions and some of them really surprised me. And I did not know that Sanjhi Art of Braj Bhumi has its origins in the legends of Radha-Krishna. Stories and the million ways in which they can be told is what Lore of the Land tries to tell you.
The story begins with an adventure of the young girl Mohini to escape storytelling. However, through a web of spirited travels, she discovers stories and storytelling traditions of India one after the other, till she discovers the storyteller in her.
The author takes the reader through states of India in a chronological order. It made the sequence very predictable for me. An element of surprise could have made it more interesting. Stories are short and sweet. There are blurbs where needed. A thread of quirky duo – a kid and a spirit bind all the tales in a thread beautifully.
Illustrations in the book are very interesting. They literally make it a heavy book to hold. Colorful illustrations with the images and designs bring alive the stories. They also keep the pages light and cheerful, with a children’s play area kind of feel all along.
It is a perfect book to gift to children around you. I would love to read it with young children and see their interpretation of so many ways to tell stories. My hunch is children would make their parents travel a lot if they take to this book.
Lovely Compilation of stories and storytelling traditions of India Nalini Ramachandran.
Buy Lore of the Land – – Storytelling Traditions of India by Nalini Ramachandran from Amazon India
I think at this point in time in the publishing history of India, Children’s books are the best books being published. Go read them and let the child in you believe in the fairy tales and the general goodness of the world. With this book, I enjoyed a bedtime story or two for few days. Yes, read them one at a time, savor them, live with them and then move on to the next one.
Go read it.