How often do children visit the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS) and peep into the gallery of Indian sculpture, which houses antiquities dating back more than thousands of years?
A Ganesha sculpture
This Saturday, Dr Prachi Jariwala, Odissi danseuse and Indologist who holds a doctorate in Ancient Indian culture will conduct a walk for children at the Kahani Karnival, festival of stories, being held at the museum and educate them on the history of sculptures through the medium of storytelling and dance.
The walk will be conducted in the gallery that houses Hindu sculptures and Jariwala plans to begin by introducing children to the three ancient religions that find their roots in India — Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism. She will also talk about the holy trinity — Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and then take them through the three sects of ancient Hinduism (Vaishnavism, Shaivism and Shakti), which are represented, in the sculptural styles seen at the gallery.
Dancer Prachi Jariwala
The walk will be peppered with engaging stories like the reason why Ganesha’s tummy has a certain shape or why Goddess Durga holds Mahisasura in a particular posture. “I will try to show them how to recognise iconography,” she relates. The complete talk will be demonstrated by hand gestures and postures. Jariwala feels that dance is a moving expression of sculptures because both use face, hand and body to convey stories.
Jariwala, who has conducted these walks at the CSMVS earlier for her dance students, explained that such sessions were important for children. According to her with the breakdown of the joint family structure, oral storytelling of ancient myths and folktales has been disappearing, “We grew up hearing stories about our epics and ancient history from our grandmothers.” One of the best ways to get children to know about their history, Jariwala says is to take them to visit monuments and museums. “The CSMVS has some incredible treasures,” she signs off.