Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Question of questions!

Questions questions and more questions, Abhay is full of them just like any average five year old. But Abhay’s repository of questions has increased multifold after we’ve moved back to India. Questions on everyday things we take for granted – “why are the roads so bumpy? Why do drivers honk all the time? Or Why is the Indian police dressed in brown?”; Questions that are hard to answer even for adults – Why are there so many mosquitoes when there were none in Portland? Questions leading to further questions – Why do I have to ride the school bus? Why can’t you drop me to school like you used to? Questions that make you squirm – Why don’t I have a sister? Finally questions that would delight my mother in law – Why don’t you wear a bindi like ajji

Anyway, in response to a friend’s request to dig up some local stuff, today I read “The Why Why girl” by  Mahasweta Devi. Narrated by the famous writer herself, this is a true story of a ten year old Tribal girl named Moyna. While working with the tribal group named Shabars, the author saw a girl chasing a snake and when stopped, she asks “But why shouldn’t I?” Fascinated by the curious little girl, the author encourages her to question even more! Moyna then boldly raises questions about everything from nature to science to society to lack of basic amenities in the tribal world to exploitation by the landlords and there is no stopping her! One day, she decides to go to school but finds the school timings unsuitable for cowherds and goatherds like her. With the power of her questions, she becomes the first girl admitted to her village primary school! Moyna grows up to be a teacher in the same school and now it’s not only Moyna but her students too  aren’t afraid to ask “why”! Though an educative story, it failed sustain Abhay’s interest till the end as he couldn’t quite relate to the harsh realities of a tribal’s life.  I feel its a  book more for parents than kids so that the next time your child asks “Why” …you can pause and answer him “Why not”!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Nice blog!
    Been going through your posts and trying to guess the book based on the title!

    Did you go to the play based on this book - was at Rangashankara and Jagriti. Was awesome.