Children to tell heritage stories, through the lens

January 19th, 2011 - 11:27 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 19 (IANS) They have stories that narrate the history of places and people lost in layers of time. They are no historians or archaeologists but children set to explore their cities and tell the forgotten tales through the lens.Five children, from different parts of the country, are all set to tell their stories from behind the lens, making documentaries on special cultural and historical features of their cities for the Fox History channel.

The five are Rohini Mohan from Kochi in Kerala, Khan Tauseef Ahmed from Aurangabad in Maharashtra, Raksha Rai from Sikkim and Ayush Ganpathy of Kodag in Karnataka.

“This is the second year of ‘My City My History’. The initiative inspires young minds to showcase the heritage of their cities and become more responsible towards our historical treasure,” said Ramon Chibb, senior vice president (content), Fox History and Entertainment.

The channel, in partnership with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (Intach), conducted a nationwide competition for children to come forward with stories of cultural and historical heritage of their cities.

Of a million children from 28 states who participated in the competition, 12 finalists were selected. From these, five were declared winners and they have got a chance to make documentaries on their stories.

“I wanted to bring the heritage of my city to the world; usually people don’t look beyond the well-known places,” said Rohini Mohan, a Class 8 student from Kochi.

Her entry, “Mattancherry and The Pardesi Synagogue” of Kochi, proved a winner.

“The Pardesi Synagogue is the oldest synagogue in Commonwealth nations; it was built in 1568 A.D. by the Jewish community here,” she explained.

The story behind the catchy name is its construction and use by white “pardesi” (foreigners).

Khan Tauseef Ahmed from Aurangabad will tell the story of the canal system in the city that is one of the oldest in the country.

“It was constructed in 1617 A.D. by local ruler Malik Ambar to cater to the needs of the nearly 700,000 population in the city. His idea was criticized as being impractical and impossible but it was completed within 15 months, spending a nominal of sum of Rs.2.5 lakh,” he said.

The boy also pitched for the revival of the system. “Water still flows through it but is not used. If it is renovated, it can be of use to the town.”

Raksha Rai, a Class 8 student from Sikkim is set to narrate the tale of the special ‘Sakewa dance’ performed during ‘Kirat Khambu Rai’, a festival to worship nature, while Srishti Soni, a Class 9 student would tell the tale of the ghats of Banaras in Uttar Pradesh.

Ayush Ganpathy of Kodag, the fifth winner, has with him the story of his own family, a warrior clan called Puliyanda.

“One of my ancestors killed a tiger with bare hands, and thus comes the name Puliyanda,” he said.

These children will now be given the training and equipment for making a documentary based on the stories.

“We Indians are proud of our heritage but we often neglect it; India does not have a single heritage city,” said A.G.K. Menon, convenor of Intach’s Delhi chapter.

“This attempt will make the children sensitive about their heritage,” he said.

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