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Timeless Tales from Marwar

Longlisted | Book Awards 2021 | Writings for Young Adults

Timeless Tales from Marwar (Batan ri Phulwari)

Full Title: Puffin Classics: Timeless Tales from Marwar

Author: Vijaydan Detha
Publisher: Penguin Random House India
Translator: Vishes Kothari
Original Language: Rajasthani

Award Category: Writings for Young Adults
About the Book: 

For centuries, Rajasthan has been a gold mine of oral traditions and histories with Padma Shri Vijaydan Detha being one of the foremost storytellers of all time.

Timeless Tales from Marwar gives a new lease of life to his folk tales. It is a hand-picked compilation from the much-celebrated Batan ri Phulwari–‘Garden of Tales’–a fourteen-volume collection written over a span of nearly fifty years.

Retold in Detha’s magical narrative style complete with imagery, this selection offers some of the oldest and most popular fables from the Thar Desert region. Discover tales of handsome rajkanwars, evil witches, exploitative thakars, miserly seths, clever insects, benevolent snakes and more. Vishes Kothari’s vivid English translation introduces one of the most venerated figures in Rajasthani folk culture to a wider audience.


About the Author: 

Rajasthani writer Vijaydan Detha is one of the most prolific and celebrated voices in India. He has been conferred with the Padma Shri, Rajasthan Ratna Award and the Sahitya Akademi Award among various others for his writings that span decades. Popularly known as Bijji, Detha has written more than 800 short stories many of which have been translated into multiple languages. Detha's timeless classics have been adapted into major plays and movies, some notable names being Paheli, Charandas Chor and Duvidha.

About the Translator:

A financial consultant by profession, Vishes Kothari has a keen interest in the oral and musical traditions of Rajasthan. He completed his masters in mathematics from the University of Cambridge, prior to which he studied at St Stephen's College, Delhi, and King's College, London. He has been associated with UNESCO-Sahapedia on projects focussed on the musical traditions of women in Rajasthan, and as a language expert with the Jaipur Virasat Foundation.


Excerpt: 

"Below a tree lay a pebble. All alone. Whom to talk to? Who to speak to? Lying there alone, he got suffocated. As fate would have it, one day, a leaf came there, flying from a distance. All of a sudden, the pebble found a chance to talk to someone. He was delighted. He accorded great honour and respect to the leaf who had come to his home.

One day, the pebble told the leaf, ‘My dear friend, please don’t go anywhere and leave me alone. I cannot even live a second without you now.’

‘Leave a friend like you and go?’ replied the leaf. ‘I’m not that big a fool! But if strong winds blow, how will I stay in one place? I will have to fly with the winds.’

The pebble thought hard and finally came up with a solution. ‘Don’t you worry about this! I won’t let you fly away even if the father of all storms passes through here. As soon as the winds blow, I will sit on you. Even if gusts of winds blow, I won’t let you be blown away with it. But friend,’ continued the pebble, ‘in front of the rain I am powerless . . . If it pours, I’ll melt.’"


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