Have you got an opportunity to read some of popular Indian folk tales such as Panchratna tales, Jataka Tales, Vikram and Betaal or even stories of Akbar and Birbal. If not then shop around for these books online or even pick up VCDs available on them. A must buy if you have growing children for they provide great insights into morals which are much required in today’s stressful times. Most of them are available as picture books, comics and even as animated movies which make them truly interesting to read or view.
Akbar and Birbal:
Even today, the stories of Akbar and Birbal are immensely popular. Full of wit and intelligence, Birbal was the chief advisor of Akbar, the Mughal Emperor of India. Trusted the most by his emperor, Birbal had made a lot of enemies within the empire but he always managed to overcome their challenges, attacks to demean him. Most of these experiences and Emperor Akbar’s challenges have been recounted as folktales for quite some centuries now. The popular ones include Birbal’s Khichri, The Wicked Barber’s Plight, Birbal and the Foolish Brahmin, Birbal to the Rescue and so on.
Vikram and Betaal are the prime characters of a novel ‘Betaal Pachisi’ written by Mahakavi Somdev Bhatt nearly 2500 years ago. King Vikramaditya received a ruby as a gift from a hermit and decided to personally meet him. The meeting place was decided to be the cremation ground on the 14th day of the dark lunar fortnight. But for meeting the hermit, King Vikramaditya had to fetch a corpse hanging on a tree in the northern most corner of the cremation ground. The spirit of the corpse would then tell a story to the king with a riddle to answer in the end. But at the same time, if the king would answer the corpse would fly back to his place on the tree. This happened twenty five times and hence the title of the story ‘Betaal Pachisi’
Raman of Tenali:
Raman of Tenali was a court poet of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 16th century who came from the town of Tenali. He is known for his wit and wisdom and soon become the favourite of the King Krishnadevaraya. Known for his grammatical and poetic skills of Sanskrit and Telugu languages, he also excelled in the art of making extempore poetry. With many stories published on his anecdotes and a cartoon series, Raman Tenali is popular even today.
Popular even today, Panchatantra was written in the 3rd century B.C by an Indian scholar Pandit Vishnu Sharma. Panchatantra was written with the purpose of educating three royal princes in the most important life principles and how to deal with people. The stories in Panchtantra are suitable for all ages most of these stories have been adapted for young children. With central characters as animals and human beings most of these stories have moral at the end. On reading Panchtantra, you can learn how to live practically, solve issues with tact and wisdom, and live in peace and harmony while understanding human behaviour. Over the period of time, the tales of Panchratna have spread to Persia, Arabia, Greece and other parts of the world. Still a must read even today, Panchratna has been translated into nearly 50 languages across world.
These tales are considered to be stories relating to the past lives of Buddha in human as well as animal forms. Originally written in Pali language, many versions and adaptations exist today. On the other hand, Mahasamghika Caitika claims to have their own set of Jataka tales and collection. Over the centuries, these Jataka Tales have provided a base for moral conduct and good behaviour in the society. During the early centuries, a special story teller called as Jataka bhanaka was appointed to narrate these stories within the royal court and also to the general public. Popular even today, Jataka tales prove to be very popular amongst the children and have been adapted as story books and video films, animated films and so on.
Age has never been a barrier for these evergreen tales, so go ahead and choose your pick! Who knows they might provide solutions to problems faced by you even today!!