Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation

PM’s address in the 16th Episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat 2.0’

  • My dear countrymen, Namaskar. During this ongoing period of Corona, the whole world is going through numerous phases of transformation.
  • Today, when the two yard social distancing has become imperative, this very crises period has also served in fostering bonding among family members, bringing them even closer. But, for such an extended span of time and when you are together, spending time with each other.
  • How do you ensure that every moment is filled with joy? Thus, many a family, faced challenges- and the reason being a lack of our traditions that once used to streamline the course of life through adherence to certain values in the family ‘The Sanskar Sarita.’
  • It seems, there are many families where all this has been lost…and that is why amid the dearth, it became a little difficult for families to spend time in this period of crisis. And what was an important aspect in this?
  • Well, there was a time when in every family, invariably, there used to be an elderly member, a senior person who would tell stories, infusing a new inspiration, a new energy in the household.
  • Surely, we must have realised, how significant the mores and conventions set by our ancestors are…. even today…. how their dearth can be deeply felt! And, as I said, one such form is the art of storytelling. Friends, the history of stories is as ancient as the human civilization itself.
  • ‘Where there is a soul, there is a story’. Stories express and bring to the fore, the creative and sensitive facets of human beings. If the power of stories is to be felt, one has to just watch a mother telling a story to her little one either to lull her to sleep or while feeding her a morsel.
  • I spent a major part of my life as a Parivrajak, an ascetic. Wayfaring was my life. Every day it used to be a new place and people, new families. But whenever I went to a family, I would make it a point to speak to the children.
  • At times, I would playfully ask them to tell me a story…..surprisingly, they would reply saying, No Uncle…not a story…We’ll tell you a joke! “They would ask me too to tell them a joke; evidently they had no clue of stories. It was jokes that had pervaded their lives, in a major way.
  • In India there has been a rich tradition of storytelling or Qissagoi. We are proud to be denizens of the land that nurtured the tradition of Hitopadesh and Panch Tantra in which, through an imaginary world of animals, birds and fairies woven into stories, lessons on prudence and wisdom could be explained easily.
  • We have a tradition of ‘katha’ here. This is an ancient form of religious storytelling. ‘Kathakalakshepam’ has been part of it. Myriad folk tales are prevalent here. In Tamilnadu and Kerala, there is a very interesting style of storytelling.
  • It is called ‘Villu paat’. It comprises a fascinating confluence of story and music. India has had a vibrant tradition of Kathputli, that is puppetry. These days, stories and storytelling based on science and science- fiction are gaining popularity.
  • I am noticing people who are taking commendable initiatives in promoting the art form of Qissagoi. I came to know about the website ‘Gathastory.in’, run by Amar Vyas, along with other colleagues.
  • Amar Vyas after completing his MBA from IIM Ahmedabad went abroad and later returned. Presently, he lives in Bengaluru and takes time out to pursue an interesting activity such as this, based on storytelling.
  • There are many endeavours that are popularising stories from rural India. People like Vaishali Vyawahare Deshpande are making this form popular in Marathi.
  • Srividya Veer Raghavan of Chennai is also engaged in popularizing and disseminating stories related to our culture, while two websites named, Kathalaya and The Indian Story Telling Network, are also doing commendable work in this field.
  • Geeta Ramanujan has focussed on stories at kathalaya.org, whereas a network of story tellers from various cities is being created through the Indian Storytelling Network.
  • There is Vikram Sridhar in Bengaluru, who is very enthusiastic about stories related to Bapu. Many more such people must be working in this field. You must share about them on social media.