Tuesday, February 18, 2014


Importance of Folktales
Every society has its own folktales which are handed over from generation to generation by oral tradition. For the same reason we find many versions of the same tale because oral transmissions are never the same. It is not that every tale has many versions, but still many have. In this process many times the original version is lost and is not traceable at all until it is found in some kind of written format.

Folktales are an essential part of any society and thus constitute the important part of its literature. As the prose, poetry, drama, sayings are the parts of a body of any society's literature, in the same way folktales, fairy tales etc are also its parts.

About five to six centuries before the writings were very scarce and not available freely, as there was no modern paper and no modern printing press. But after that it has become much easier to record many things. And today there are many more means than ever to record anything. Now it has become a necessity to record everything and keep it for future reference and spread widely around.

Difficulties in Maintaining and Spreading Local Folktales
There are some difficulties in maintaining and spreading such literature -
(1) Keeping their any kind of literature for future reference is easier for educated societies, but it is not easy for those societies which have low literacy rate and little facilities for printing and storing. Thus even their own folktales are not preserved for their own children for their future.
(2) Then comes the language. It is big barrier to learn about other societies' literature. To break this barrier translation is the only answer. A good translation is only possible when the person knows the two languages very well. With the limitation of other translation problems, it is necessary to understand both languages and sometimes the society.
(3) It is very difficult to collect, translate and then publish folktales from Third World countries, especially from those countries whose language is less known.

There are still many societies whose folktales are still not available in written form. It is very difficult to collect those tales.

Folktales Translated  in Hindi Language
Keeping these problems in mind I decided to translate some folktales from African countries for our Indian children. I have translated more than 300 folktales in Hindi language from various written, unwritten and printed sources of African countries.

These folktales are mostly from Nigeria, Ethiopia and Tanzania including some from America, Canada, and Europe (Ireland).

I was fascinated with Raven's Tales, so I have collected them separately. They are also about 40 in number.
They all are waiting to be published......
The collection is still growing.....

Objective of This Translation
The objectives of the translation of these tales in Hindi are --
(1) to give these very less known tales to our Hindi knowing children who cannot procure those societies' folk literature in any case, even in English
(2) to build a body of translated foreign folktale literature in Hindi language
(3) to help social researchers in conducting research in these areas

Hopefully these translated stories in Hindi language will soon find their way into the hands of our Indian Hindi speaking children and into the body of our Hindi literature.

Folktales of Various Countries-1
Folktales of Various Countries-2
Touch Read Project

Sushma Gupta

Seeta's Exile

Raam and Seeta are the hero and heroine of Raamaayan. Who does not know them? And this is also very well known that She went to forest twice.

The first time She went with Raam when Raam was exiled for 14 years at the time of His coronation ceremony. When She insisted to go to forest with Him, Raam explained Her a lot to stay at home because of the difficulties of forest and to take care of the grieved parents, but Seetaa said - "Paraadheen Sapanehu Sukh Naaheen...." I cannot live without you so I will follow you only." And She went with Him.

The second time She was especially sent to forest by the same husband Raam who first time asked Her not to accompany Him, the Lord of Tri-Lok, because of the difficulties of the forest. Who could dare to harm Her even a bit when the Lord of Tri-Lok was with Her? When a small crow tried to, then Raam released His arrow which followed him up to the limits of the Tri-Lok and on Naarad Jee's advice he had to ask His forgiveness - "Raakhi na sakahi Koi Raam ko drohee...". After forgiving him He pierced his one eye, so that till today all crows can see only from one eye.

And the same Seetaa was abducted in the forest by Raakshas Raaj Raavan even when two great warriors were there to protect Her. It is shame for those to so called great warriors who could not protect a helpless woman. It took one whole year to recover Her from that Raakshas.

Such Seetaa was exiled again, second time, and that also alone, without telling Her that "you are being sent to forest to be left there alone." and in the condition when all women are taken special care.

Lakshman told Her this only when he reached the point where he was ordered Her to leave - in the wilderness, and wanted to come back to Ayodhyaa. He started crying and requested Her not to blame him for this action.

She could not even guess as why She was left there, so She asked - "Lakshman, Why do you cry so much?" Then only Lakshman tells Her the orders of Raam. Poor Seetaa gets unconscious. When She gathers Herself She Herself tells Lakshman to go back to Ayodhyaa and wishes that no defame should come to Raam because of Her.

Now why do I recall these two sensitive incidents of Seetaa's life? Because both incidents occurred just because of two very low level people - first time it was a maid-servant and second time it was a launderer.

It is really an irony that such low people decided the fate of a royal family.
The other irony is that
(1) first time when Seetaa wanted to accompany Raam, He was trying to stop Her to accompany Him;
(2) while second time Seetaa needed full love, affection and care of Raam, He Himself sent Her to forest without telling Her.
(3) She was left alone to struggle with Her circumstances.

When first time Seetaa was asked to take a test (Agni Pareekshaa), She took it, but when She was asked the same thing second time - to prove Herself pure, She broke and went where She came from. How many times She had to pass the purity test for others?
Is this the fate of a Satee woman?

Sushma Gupta