Showing posts from April 16, 2014

Pure magic and a dash of realism in Basanti's Stories: Sewabharati

She is a gifted storyteller who doesn't have any formal education. Born into a poor Kondh family in Jharipani village of Kandhamal district in Odisha, it was her grandmother, who ignited her imagination by narrating to her tales about the thrilling world of magical birds, stunning flowers and terrible demons. Ever since that time, it is these fantastical creatures that have enabled her to face tough times and get over the disappointments of a deprived life. 

Meet Basanti Majhi, the author of a rare collection of stories penned in Kui, the language of a quarter of a million tribal people in Odisha. 'Kutia Kondh Lok Kahani' is her way of introducing a new generation of Kondh children to their native traditions and folklore, which until now had been passed down over the generations only through the oral tradition.

Majhi can dream up a wonderful imaginary world in a trifle. With the settings invariably being the jungle - she calls herself "a child of the greens" - her …