Sunday, October 23, 2011

Ma Ganga And The Razai Box

Title: Ma Ganga And The Razai Box
Author: Geetha Dharmarajan
Illustrator: Sonali Biswas
Ages: 6 - 9

Nature, when left to her own devices, has a well established control system. The problem happens when man throws variables in to this delicately balanced equation. When things get too complicated, it is up to man to step in and rectify the damage before it is too late. This is the underlying message of Ma Ganga And The Razai Box.

The water cycle, for example, involves movement of water between earth and earth’s atmosphere. Water from the snow covered mountains melt and form perennial glacial rivers, thus creating a rich ecosystem along its path. Evaporation and condensation involves energy absorption and release, thus cooling and heating the environment. As rivers move, they move minerals from one region to another aiding and abetting agriculture. This a self correcting and self propagating system. Harm is done when man tries to take more than his share from nature, like using rivers as dump yards, cutting down trees and removing soil from river beds. This makes it impossible for nature to restore herself to her optimum potential.

The story starts with Yasho, a young girl observing rain pouring and her village being flooded by the Ganges. Upset by the floods and soil erosion, Yasho calls out to Mother Ganga and demands an explanation. Mother Ganga is angry at the impertinence of Yasho. In a way, Yasho’s question is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. Mother Ganga goes away for good and hides in Yasho’s razai box, but only before she gives Yasho a puzzle. She tells Yasho that  Shiva’s matted hair is the only thing that will slow her down and prevent the soil being washed off. Now it is up to Yasho and the village people to find Shiva’s matted hair.

After long discussions the village people take a step in the right direction, an initiative Mother Ganges approves of. Pick a book to find out how they solve this problem.

Ma Ganga And The Razai Box is a symbolic story that combines mythology and the contemporary challenges faced by nature. This unique style makes it simple for the young reader to understand the complex issue, without being overly pedantic. The language is simple and makes it an easy read for an independent reader. The illustrations by Sonali Biswas, complements the text without over whelming the reader. The earth tones keep the book less busy and the focus on the text and the issue being discussed.


sathish said...

utbt, Sounds very interesting.

The cover page is enticing as well.

Tharini said...

Wow. I.n.t.r.i.g.u.i.n.g.

Do you think you could let on to more over an email? :)

ranjani.sathish said...

Love the idea of this book and loved your review too ! I think it would be a great supplement to science teaching in primary schools.

utbtkids said...

@Satish - Thanks.

@Tharini - Sure Y. Will send you some clues.

@Ranjani - Yes Ranjani. The book would complement the curriculum.

Tulika Publishers said...

Familiar with the myth, but this is an interesting take. Curious to see book now!

sandhya said...

Wow! Loved the spin on the myth of the Ganga being caught in Shiva's locks.

We have loved 'The magical web bridge' by this writer-illustrator duo. Must look this up.

utbtkids said...

@ Tulika ..... and I am bursting to lay my hands on Water Stories...ever since the water memories blog post contest you had last year. Art's review is making it more exciting.

@Sandhya, I think I have Magical web bridge in my stash some where. I need to look it up!

Choxbox said...

Seen it, will pick it up next time.

Praba Ram said...

Love the way how naturally-occuring processes and myth are threaded together in this. The Razai box sounds intriguing though! :)

"This a self correcting and self propagating system." - so true!

Tersely rendered! Beautiful. Thanks,utbt!

Anusha said...

mystical and mysterious! and a science lesson too? a perfect package and your review has left us wanting more.

utbtkids said...

@Chox, you will not regret it.

@Praba - Thanks.

@Anusha, Thanks.

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