With the future of oral traditions threatened by modernity in India, the department of education in Rajasthan are making efforts to keep it alive by recruiting grandmothers.
Government schools in Rajasthan will soon open its doors to grandmothers.
The elderly women will be invited to hold storytelling sessions for the children, starting with one Saturday morning every month.
Based on a recent order from the department of secondary education, the schools will see the grandmothers of students speaking at special sessions titled ‘Bal Sabhas with Grandmothers.’
Arun Kumar Sharma, deputy director in secondary education told 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.”
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The sessions have been planned in the hope that they will help to restore oral traditions which have been largely disrupted by technology pervading the lives of children today. The department also hopes that the sessions will help elderly people who often feel lonely and left out in old age, and aid in strengthening inter-generational bonds.
They will have no financial burdens on the schools and will call on senior teachers of the schools to fill in for the grandmothers should they not be able to attend the session.
India has a strong tradition of oral storytelling, as epics and stories have been passed down the ages in the form of stories or performances to the accompaniment of song and dance. Within these traditions lies a wealth of knowledge. One might argue that grandparents are the best storytellers, unfurling old tales with their wise words and years of experience.