Preserving the tradition of storytelling
Bhutanese society’s oral tradition of storytelling has always played an important role in imparting social beliefs along with the moral value of entertainment. In olden times, storytelling was done through folktales, songs, dances, and various means the communities adopted to pass down tales to the new generation. This kind of culture and tradition of storytelling has been a unique measure to preserve the culture and tradition of the country.
However, due to the digital world, the traditional way of storytelling has diminished giving rise to the possible danger of eradication of stories.
To give a new lease of life to the lost oral tradition of storytelling in the country, iBest Institute launched the initiative for Dragon Tales, a collection of stories for children last week. Dragon tales will contain various themes in the form of illustrated books, audio, and video.
Dragon Tales is expected to promote a shared sense of community and history, reinforce cultural values, and highlight important traditions through various stories. It will be available both in Dzongkha and English language.
CEO of iBest institute, Tharchen said that with drastic socioeconomic changes over the last five decades or so, “the way we share or tell stories have transformed immensely and the days of sharing stories by the hearth of fire: the oral storytelling is fading away drastically.”
He said most Bhutanese especially the younger ones are comfortable and familiar with the use of the internet and social media. With easier access to modern media such as TV, Internet, and various social media avenues, which are much more user friendly and cheaper, the formats of storytelling has undergone a transformation. “As much as social media has brought information or stories closer to people, it has led to decreasing interactions among people in person like in the olden times,” he said adding, such trends have to lead to diminishing of culture: the age-old practice of oral storytelling.
He said: “We cannot take away the internet and its related by-products away from the people rather we should see this as an opportunity and avenue through which we can engage people and younger ones for useful and educational conversation and learning opportunities.”
With the Dragon Tales initiative iBest intends to bring forward the best and most useful and educational oral stories and then curate them into the illustrated series, animation, and audios, he added. These different versions of stories will be all available online which the public can freely access.
The project aims to curate folktales, folklore, and legends from different regions in the country which are relevant to the younger generations.
For now, artists, animators, writers, and other team members are busily engaged in developing the content. The team has currently compiled and finished working on nearly 100 stories.
Besides, the project will also include contemporary issues such as themes on waste management, women empowerment, sex education, mental health, hygiene, and abuse of social media. Themes like space, science, technology, nature, and other co-curricular activities will also be explored to generate interest in young minds.
The project Dragon Tales will be officially launched next year coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck.
Pic Courtesy: Facebook
Sonam Tashi from Thimphu