StoryTelling in India – A book to own

I became interested in story telling about a year back and have devouring resources on story telling and specifically seek out best practices to apply it in corporate context. One of the most resources that I came across recently was a book published by Tulika titled “The world of Indian Stories – a teaching resource of folktales from every state” by Cathy Spagnoli.

Tulika publishes phenomenally good books for children and we own a large number of them – it is a pity that I discovered them only this weekend, though my wife has been using them for over a year now to educate my daughter.

My knowledge of story telling from an Indian perspective was that we own a rich heritage of them through Panchatantra, Mahabharata, Bhagwat etc. For some reason it did not strike me that each region may have its own unique culture and history which translates into different hues of story telling.

Cathy giving an overview writes:

Storytellers have roamed across India for ages, and the country today remains rich in storytelling with an amazing variety of tales and techniques. A number of storytelling forms still use visual props: the intricately painted phad scroll and the ingenious story box, kavad, with folding doors are both from Rajasthan. In West Bengal, a long vertical scroll, the pata, is used as singing tellers share a story in homes or at funerals and functions.

A long, wide, vertical scroll, the padam, is still used at times in AP to present a vivid painted version of the Ramayana or Mahabharata. And in Maharashtra, the storytelling form of chitrakatha was popular in earlier days, when a teller and musician shared the epics using small, painted pictures, often pasted back to back and displayed during the telling.

She talks of Kirtan in Maharashtra to harikatha and kathakalakshepa in South India Pandavani in MP….to villupaattu which is currently being used by storytellers to communicate the messages of AIDS, literacy, current events, rural sanitations, nutrition and so on.

This is an amazingly interesting introduction of story telling in India and comes with a story map of India. If you are remotely interested in story telling, this is a book to own.


2 thoughts on “StoryTelling in India – A book to own

  1. this is great.. the kids have stopped reading Amar Chitra Katha which was a great way to educate kids of our culture through illustrations… 🙂

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