Spotlight on tribal storytellers

An initiative by the National Book Trust (NBT) to bring out children’s books based on the stories told by raconteurs from eight tribal groups in Kerala is expected to help the mainstream literary world explore tribespeoples’ rich traditions of spinning a yarn.

A two-day workshop organised by NBT in Kochi ended on Tuesday after storytellers from Kurumba, Kuruchya, Oorali, Vettakkuruma, Kattunaikkan, Paniya, Thachanad Mooppan and Pathinayka communities interacted, among others, with tribal poet Dhanya Vengacheri and Kanakashree prize winning poet D. Anilkumar.

During the interactions, tribal storytellers, who can neither read nor write, told their stories to those from within their own tribes, who then took down the stories using the Malayalam script. Ms. Dhanya, who has a postgraduate degree in Malayalam, hails from the Mavilan tribe in Kasaragod and writes poetry in Tulu. She said tribal languages did not have their scripts and the stories would be published using the Malayalam script. She said the stories she listened to were interesting and would be liked by readers.

The stories will be brought out as eight books by NBT with a compressed Malayalam translation at the end. The project is part of the efforts to bring out bilingual books as part of the new national education policy, said a communication issued by NBT here. There will also be pictures to go with these books, said E.N. Nandakumar, NBT executive member.

According to the Tribal Welfare department, there are 37 tribal groups in Kerala.

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Printable version | May 29, 2022 3:14:41 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/spotlight-on-tribal-storytellers/article38326308.ece