Water Stories

(Rashmi Gopal handles the Schools Water Portal at Arghyam. She has been working in the field of environment education for over 7 years now and is trying to spread water literacy in schools using ‘fun’ methods through the portal. Rashmi agreed to guest blog for our blog to enter Tulika’s second blogathon edition)

Stories can capture the imagination of young and old. Indian folklore and mythology has many stories on water bodies. Here’s one on Lake Chilika, India’s largest brackish water lake:
In mythical times, king Raktabahu came to ransack the rich temple city of Puri in Orissa. Being a successful pirate he had a huge fleet of pirate ships. As he wanted to attack the city stealthily, he anchored the ships in deeper waters, where he could lie low undetected. But the sea gave him away for the waves carried in the refuse from the ships!
As soon the people got wind of his visit, they gathered all their precious articles and fled. When Raktabahu entered the city, he found it completely deserted. Furious with the sea, he ordered his people to attack it. To save itself the sea went into the sea bed. Then gathering its mighty strength, the sea surged back and drowned Rakabahu’s entire fleet and formed the Lake Chilika.
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The Schools Water Portal (www.schools.indiawaterportal) has many such stories / folklore on water bodies around the world. Check these out at http://schools.indiawaterportal.org/teachers/waterstories. Some of my favourites are the stories about the Kosi and the Narmada. As a child I lived in Jabalpur and we often went boating down the Narmada through the marble rocks of Bhedaghat. I remember the boatman pointing out to a cave high up in the rocks and telling us that a sage has been living there for many years and doing tapas. For a seven year old, that sounded so fascinating.
My grandmother would throw in a rupee coin whenever we went to a river. Rivers, she said, are to be worshipped and just as we make an offering of money to a temple, we should make an offering to the river. A couple of years ago we were driving by the river Cauvery. I gave my son a rupee and asked him to put it in the water. I gave him my grandmothers logic. He gave me back the coin and said that he was not going to be party to polluting the river. It is now time to go with the flow and listen to our next generation. But let’s keep the stories alive.

Image Source : Rita Willaert


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