Information and Digital Design
National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Storytelling in different states of India
Storytelling in India is a tradition that has been developed and modified over the years while maintaining the originality of the stories and the methods to tell these stories. Some human experiences—joy, sorrow, longing, despair—are universal and hence stories that grow out of such experiences can appeal to many people. The names and places can be diverse and spread around the various states of India, but the story itself can happen anywhere. Such stories, from people in all places and times, are part of the heritage of every storyteller and every story. In India each region has developed its own style and tradition of story telling in various regional languages. Epics such as the Ramayana & Mahabharata, the Panchtantras, Puranas - tales ancient stories of wisdom in Sanskrit and various other folk are the common story material for all or most of the regions of India. Many old traditions storytelling is synonymous with song, chant, music, or epic poetry, especially when it comes to Indian storytelling traditions. Stories may be chanted or sung, along with musical accompaniment on a certain instrument. Other forms of storytelling include illustrations which often have hymns sung along with it. The medium used for these illustrations range from clothes to palm leaves to earthenware. The colours used are usually natural colours and hence are limited. The fascinating aspect of these storytelling methods in India is that they are often restricted to a particular community of people in these states. They follow their age old traditions for the way they tell their stories and have stories of their own about their origin. With time, as the stories have changed, not only ancient epics and Sanskrit folk tales, but also modern and contemporary stories have been found to become a part of Indian traditional storytelling.For my project I intend to study these methods that are followed by the various storyteller communities of India. Using a story that is narrated in these diverse ways throughout India, I want to present the style and method used by these communities so as any one who is unaware of these storytelling traditions gets an overview. Their study and representation should be such that a person viewing the same story in various styles should be instantly able to make a comparison between the various styles and understands the nuances and minute differences between them which not only lie in the way they are illustrated but also in the choice of colours, difference in symbols used to represent the same thing, the medium used for these illustrations and the way in which the same story is narrated in various ways.