Polish legends delight children in Delhi
Beginning with the touching story about hundreds of Polish children who were provided refuge in India during World War II, storyteller Seema Anand transported children into Poland through literature performances staged at different venues in the national capital.
"During the World War Maharajah Digvijaysinhji offered sanctuary to around 600 children who had arrived in India on small ships after country after country refused to provide them shelter. The children lived in this village in the Kathiawar region in Gujarat till they found other places and to this day the event is fondly remembered in Poland," says Anand.
Anand, who holds a doctorate in narrative practice specialising in story telling, regaled children aged between 8 and 12 years with legends of the picturesque Polish city of Krackow and myths about the famous basilica located there.
"For the past hundreds of years the bugle has sounded the over the rooftops of the Krakow on the hour every hour in memory of the brave watchman whose timely action helped in defeat of the ferocious hordes of Ghengis Khan," the narrator told children.
According to legend, the watchman sounded the bugle alerting the residents and the army who proceeded to thwart an attack on the city and drove away the army of Ghengis Khan.
In another session, Seema Anand intertwined legends and myths about rats sourced both from Poland and India. "My real interest lies in oral traditions and how stories travel from different countries and make it accessible especially for children," says UK-based Anand who was here for the Literature Performances, a segment of the European Union- Sanskriti festival for children.
A member state of the EU, Poland, is presently officiating as the president of the Council of the European Union. "While the Polish know a little bit about India, we don`t seem to be very familiar with their customs, and legends," says Anand who spends a chunk of her time researching translating and telling stories that are in danger of being lost.
Apart from Anand two more groups from Poland Tecza (Rainbow)- the state puppet theatre as well as Masala- a music collective performed during the festival here.
"Poland has a long tradition of vibrant cultural offering to children and youth and this festival is one of the highlights of Poland`s Presidency over EU in the second part
of the year in India," Poland`s ambassador Piotr Klodkowski told reporters earlier at a press meet announcing the festival.
The EU-Sanskriti festival for children that includes films, music, dance, theatre and literature from countries of the European Union concludes on November 17.