“Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha is one of the most prolific and celebrated voices in India.”
NO MAJOR SPOILERS
Rajasthan is known as the land of princes and chivalry, filled with tales of derring do like the story of Prithvi Raj Chauhan carrying off his bride in Young Lochinvar fashion. However, few readers outside Rajasthan, or Marwar as it is referred to, are aware of a down to earth tradition of local folktales repeated by women observing fasts and trying to pass the time or putting recalcitrant children to sleep. Vijayan Detha collected these stories and retold them. The ones gathered in this book have been curated from his celebrated Batan ri Phulwari–‘Garden of Tales’–a fourteen-volume collection written over a span of half a century or more.
The stories while they do feature princes, also make characters of lice and dress them in bridal jewellery to win the hearts of an odd assortment of animals and birds. There are glimpses of folk wisdom and culture, not to mention miserly financiers. Vishes Kothari’s translation makes one of the seminal figures in Rajasthani folk culture accessible to a wider audience and not just one comprising children.
Added 23rd April 2020