Spotlight on folklores

Young minds

Spotlight on folklores

Remember those Sunday mornings when the entire family used to be seated before the television set to watch those elaborate episodes of ‘Mahabharat’ and ‘Ramayana’? Well, those were the days when mythological serials and its values had a hold on the young and old alike.

Mythological characters in recent times have, however, been taking a new avatar for children. A few Indian mythology-based animated series and movies like ‘Little Krishna’, ‘Bal Ganesh’, ‘Hanuman Returns’ and ‘Chhota Bheem’ are helping the little ones stay in touch with their culture. These explore the age-old folklores of the country and the pictorial representations make it easier for them to understand it.

At a time when children are increasingly becoming addicted to violent games and series, at least some of the mythological cartoons come as a blessing, say many parents. Gowri BM, mother of two boys — three-year-old Keshav and seven-year-old Raghav — points out that the stories of ‘Little Krishna’ have more mythological elements than any other series.

She says that, usually, most cartoons don’t stick to the storyline for a long time. She wants these shows to be purely mythological. “Instead of letting the kids watch these shows alone, parents should sit with them and explain to them the background of these tales. This will help them understand exactly what they are watching,” says Gowri. “We introduced our elder son to these folklores before he started watching television through DVDs and storybooks,” she adds.

But not all cartoons paint a perfect picture. Tapaswini Das, mother of three-and-half-year-old Siyona, says though these cartoons are helping kids learn about one’s culture and mythology, those like ‘Chhota Bheem’ is having a reverse effect, especially on her daughter.

“There are fight scenes shown in it and Siyona tries to imitate them at home. Even at school and when she is asked about anything, her reply usually is ‘Chhota Bheem’ does the same’. This is one reason I prefer kids watching ‘Little Krishna’, which is more realistic in its approach and provides a good insight into our culture and mythology. I want her to know these stories. It’s good that she is inclined more towards Ganesha tales, and her bedtime stories are mostly about him,” informs Tapaswini.

She believes that there should be more cartoons which show all kinds of values like sharing and making friends rather than just fighting and showing the triumph of ‘good over evil’. Recalling her childhood days, Tapaswini says, “As a kid, I loved reading stories of ‘Mahabharata’, so when I grew up and watched the serial, I could relate to it. Similarly, only if this generation sees shows like ‘Ramayana’ or stories on Krishna would they be able to visualise it better. Otherwise, it would be difficult for them to grasp it,” she adds.

There are parents who feel that there are some foreign cartoons on television which neither do any good for children nor offer any values. “Cartoons like ‘Doraemon’ imparts no moral values at all for children. It is surprising to see that even cultural programmes in schools adopt themes related to cartoons like these rather than going for something that is useful and enlightening,” says Sunaina Bhat, mother of five-year-old Avni and eight-year-old Aryan.

She says that children tend to sit in front of the television the whole day. This could result in them mugging up the dialogues of these shows and imitating the actions on small screen. “The cartoons they watch should help them imbibe positive lessons rather than offer valueless experiences,” she avers.

As a parent, Gowri prefers her sons watching Indian cartoons rather than those like ‘Power Rangers’, a superhero series, and pick up something worthy. She is glad that her son is inherently inclined towards mythology and there are times when he even watches them online. “I think the perfect age to educate kids about these tales is when they are about two as the mind is fresh and have a better ability to remember things that are taught to them,” says Gowri.

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