Story telling is the oldest form of teaching. One that nourishes the mind and the soul. In India, we are blessed to be part of a culture that is unparalleled in its depth and breadth. As Rati Hegde wisely says,“Every important temple in Bharat has its own Sthala Purana and every region of Bharat has ballads which speak of the greatness of the heroes and great women of that region. Even though foreign invaders and modern historians tried to wipe out vestiges of our culture, rituals, temples, great rules, our sacrifices and more, they have survived through our stories, sculpture, ballads and songs. Most of Bharat’s sculptures are stories chiseled in stone.
A child who grows up immersed in the stories of his/her culture grows up to be a very different adult than the child who did not have access to it. Stories connect us with our roots in ways that go beyond the physicality of the story.
The current edition of the Tales of Bharat of the first of the three volumes of the series. The second volume, which also a repository of folktales and stories from epics, is expected to be out soon. Threaded with gems collected from the glorious epics, folklores and history of the country, Tales of Bharat is an attempt not only to bring to the readers a treasure trove of stories but a book that would instil values in a curious mind. Through her subtle storytelling skills, Smt Rati Hegde has presented before us a feast that would be welcomed equally by children and adults.
On what inspired her to write the book, she states: “When I was nonplussed as to how to instil values in my three children, my Guruji suggested that I tell them a new story from our ancient scriptures every night. ‘These stories will permeate their subconscious mind and will help them stay on the path of Dharma when they grow up,’he said. My naman to the lotus feet of my Guruji, Jagadguru Shankaracharya Shree Shree Raghaveshwara Bharati Mahaswamiji. Without His blessings and advice, I would not have ventured into writing at all.”
The way Right to Education is a universal right for every child – the right to know the (authentic) stories of one’s culture must be enshrined as a right. Else we are raising children with functional skills at best
Smt Rati Hegde further states: “It was my father who filled my mind and soul with stories from our scriptures by encouraging me to read all these stories. He made sure that I read Greek and Roman mythologies, too, so that I could compare the similarities in their tales and ours. I can’t thank my parents enough for the way they shaped my personality.”
A child in urban India today knows more about Santa Claus than Shivaji Maharaj. There can be nothing more telling of the alarming state of affairs than this observation by the author.
She has been sharing insightful story gems on social media and WhatsApp. It was a unique initiative. I remember looking forward to her stories every week. It was for her, a labor of love.
Tales of Bharat is a great ally for parents to introduce their children to the wisdom and wonder of our culture via simple stories. Each story has an illustration that helps the child visualise the key characters of the story.Stories shape the imagination, mind and soul of the child. It helps to communicate values in an experiential way.
The story of Mohini and Bhasmasur makes a powerful point on how arrogance can be the end of a person. The story of Sri Rama and Bharata provides a context of sibling relationship that is tough to find in real life these days. Athithi Devo Bhava, Know the Value of Money are essential stories and values for every child.
The author has featured stories of child freedom fighters – Baji Raut – a 12-year-old hero from Odisha, Kodi Kaatha Kumaran from Tirupur who honoured our flag at the cost of his life, Khudiram Bose – an 18-year-old freedom fighter from Bengal who was sentenced to death for his role in the freedom struggle. The book has 35 insightful stories.
It’s extremely unfortunate that our education system has not yet recognised the importance of stories. And made the effort to incorporate stories into the syllabus. At this point even glaring errors in history books are yet to be corrected.
The way Right to Education is a universal right for every child – the right to know the (authentic) stories of one’s culture must be enshrined as a right. Else we are raising children with functional skills at best.
A must-read book for every parent and child. The book offers many insights for parents. Embark on a voyage of discovery into the magic of Bharat with the Tales of Bharat. Tales of Bharat is now for sale online at Amazon, Flipkart and Hindu e-shop.
(The writer is a Mumbai-based activist)