At the market yesterday, I was amused to see this little clay toy of a crow sitting on a water pitcher, holding what looks like a pebble in its mouth. It is obviously inspired by the famous old fable of the crow and the water pitcher — which I think every country and culture has a version of. In India this story is part of The Panchatantra Tales and in the west it is attributed to The Aesop’s Fables. But the story is the same:
A thirsty crow, in search of water came across a pitcher in which there was a little bit of water at the bottom. But it was too deep for him to reach. The crow then picked up pebbles with his beak (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on March 23, 2012
What makes people voluntarily deaf, dumb and blind to the workings of their culture and tradition?
Take the festival of Diwali in India — also sometimes called “the festival of lamps” because once a year, everyone lights their houses with lamps.
The symbolism here is that of lighting a lamp in the dark — good over evil, etc. — which is what makes it so appealing to people visiting India at this time. That in addition to the fact, that everything looks so pretty with hundreds of lamps lit everywhere.
The story behind Diwali, that millions of us in India have grown up with, is that of the victory of the Indian king Ram. Ram’s wife, Sita, is said to have been kidnapped by the Sri Lankan king Ravana. After a massive, bloody battle, Ram rescues Sita and brings her home. And to welcome him home and celebrate his victory over evil, the people of India lit lamps. Thus today essentially marks Ram’s victory in battle over Ravana — who in India is considered a force of evil.
Across the strait, in neighboring Sri Lanka, however, there is another version of this story (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on October 26, 2011