Rajasthan gears up to empower grandmothers and preserve storytelling tradition

25th May 2017
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My mother and a lot of people her age constantly worry about the next generation missing out on the rich tradition of storytelling, wherein grandparents (mostly grandmothers) tell children stories.

One could argue that with the advent of technology, most of the stories are being carried forward. But the fact that it lacks a personal touch cannot be denied. Keeping this in mind, Rajasthan’s Education Department has issued an order that will enable grandmothers to tell stories to students from class I to V once a week.

Deputy Director of Secondary Education, Arun Kumar Sharma told The Hindustan Times,

"The idea behind the initiative is to increase community involvement by roping in family elders, and through their involvement, ensure the strengthening of our family values and flow of human wisdom to children.”
Image: (L) – Flickr; (R) – Parent Map

Grandmothers who are willing to narrate stories can come to school every Saturday. If they are not available, old teachers in the schools are expected to pitch in. Initially the plan was to have teachers tell stories. But this way, grandmothers who feel neglected in their old age can feel empowered. They would also have a certain amount of agency.

Though it is a welcome initiative, the schools have to be careful about the kind of stories that are being told. It is essential to ensure that they are not biased. Educationist and social activist Charanjeet Dhillon, speaking to Deccan Herald said,

"Such initiatives are much needed at the present time when technology has infiltrated our lives. Children will get moral education and affection while listening to tales from grandparents. It's the easiest way to touch, teach, and reach a student. But the department should ensure that stories selected for the session will have no religious or political affiliation."

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