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KathaVana 2014

The third KathaVana was held during September 10-13, 2014. Starting with the Teacher’s Professional Development on September 10-11, at Azim Premji University these two days brought in teachers largely from government schools, some private schools, students of the University and many other like -minded people. Panel discussions and workshops with teachers were held on a wide variety of topics and in both Kannada and English language. While inaugurating KathaVana 2014, H. S. Venkatesh Murthy, the renowned Kannada writer and poet stressed on how stories are a powerful tool to gain the confidence of children and help them learn. ‘One who loves stories loves life as well. One who loses confidence in stories loses the path of life,’ he said. Children from the Windmill Migrant School recited the poem ‘Bannada Hakki’, written by H .S.Venkatesha Murthy.

Two panel discussions, in English and Kannada, on the theme Children’s Voices in Literature brought in rich and varied experiences of experts engaged in children, children’s literature, theater , storytelling and folklore. Panelists Suresh Kusaraj from Manchi Pustakam, Rimli Bhattacharya of Centre for study of Social Sciences, author Poilee Sengupta and Radhika Menon of Tulika Publications dwelt on the challenges with the forms of story-telling, content of the stories, language used, the changed interest of the children, etc. in present times.

In another session on ‘Traditional Story Telling for a Modern World’, renowned story-teller Geetha Ramanujam of Kathalaya, demonstrated the art of story-telling to the teacher participants while T. Lakshminarayana spoke and demonstrated through folklore songs the importance of folklore in literature and learning , and how it can be used in teaching in schools. He said folk forms give a sense of identity and hence builds confidence in children.

The Kannada panelists, Krishnamurhty Biligere, writer and agriculturist, N.Mangala, Sanchari Theater, Shivanand Hombalu, Dhwani Trust and Dr. Mahabaleshwear Rao, educationist discussed the need to look inwards as adults to be open to letting children bring in their voices in literature.

This year the current engagement with schools for school projects, “Folklore in Schools”, enabled both teachers and children to experience and explore the history of places (their villages), traditional sports, traditional art forms, traditional medicines and the likes. These projects were jointly implemented by the teachers and students. The presentation in two parallel sessions were facilitated by S Kaladhar, teacher at GHP School, Kannamangala in KGF and Ravi, teacher from School for Migratory Labourers’ Children.

An ensemble of Stories, Drama and Poetry for Children was performed on September 13-14, 2014 at the historical Makkala Koota in the heart of old Bangalore. A huge congregation of children enjoyed the unfolding of stories in all its myriad forms. Children from various schools across Bangalore spent their day in storytelling, reading, puppet making, writing, drama performances, doll making, painting and the likes. The whole venue was buzzing with action.

Well-known Kannada writer Na Dsouza declared the activities open by sharing some popular Kannada rhymes and songs with the children. During a chat with media persons, he also recommended that old and popular forms of children’s literature like Hitopadesha and Panchatantra should be provided to children of today in a manner that is relevant in the current context. A Tamatey performance created through the school project of Government school Aragadakallu was presented at the inaugural session.

Organizations like Bookworm, Kathalaya, Bimba - Hanumanthnagar, Hippocampus ; students of Azim Premji University and various book publishers engaged the children through their activity centers. The children enjoyed every bit of the fun and colours.

English and Kannada authors and Illustrators like Sangita Kadur, Jahnavi Lakshminarayan, Vijyalaksmi Nagraj, Mala Kumar, Archana Srinivasan, Rajiv Eipe, Leela Garady met and interacted with children and teachers, discussed about the process of writings and illustrations. Short workshops for teachers and parents were held by Hippocampus, Srivi Kalyan, Poilee Sengupta, Arvinda Ananthraman and Gayathri Tirthapura over the two days.

A short film of 6 minutes’ duration has been made about the school projects, based on the process gone through by both teachers and children, and their experiences.

> View Next: KathaVana 2015