Book Review: The Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar

Book Name: The Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar

Author: Nalin Verma

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Rupa

Rating: 5/5

Book Burb: There are human skulls speaking to men. There are demonesses falling in love with their prey. There is a jackal pretending to be a priest and a donkey that goes beyond his duty. These are stories from the soil of Bihar, from the land of Bhojpuri and Maithili—stories that have traversed centuries and created a catalogue of oral wisdom. The Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar is a collection of timeless tales that have been told through generations, are adored for being a literature and treated as sacred testament of village wisdom. The stories are a source of joy for younger generations and a celebration of the past for the older ones. Firmly grounded in village life with characters both human and animals, The Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar is an enchanting read to draw you into a world of its own.

Review: The Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar is a compilation of popular folk tales. The author, Nalin Verma has meticulously collected lesser-known tales and compiled them into the form of a book.

These folk tales contain ancient wisdom and have been passed on for generations through oral renditions. This book is a good effort to collect and present these timeless tales to the new generation.

Some stories may seem familiar such as the story of the village crow vs city crow and the tale of Andher Nagri, Chowpat Raja. There are many lesser-known stories here and the author seems to have researched a great deal in bringing such stories to life.

Nalin has written the book in a colloquial tongue without any frills- this is important as this book must maintain a wider appeal and should be readable by all classes of readers. The language is simple yet delivers the message of the tale. The author has also provided the main message at the end of each tale.

The book could have also included illustrations or drawings as children tend to prefer and like such books. However, The Greatest Folk Tales of Bihar aims for a general readership and not a niche reader.

A bonus part is the inclusion of two popular plays by Bhikhari Thakur. Bhikhari Thakur was a stalwart of folklore tradition but is sadly not acknowledged in mainstream literature. Gabarghichor and The Daughter’s Suffering have been included in this book. Bhikhari Thakur’s contribution to folklore is as much (if not more) as the Brothers Grimm.

This is a good effort and deserves a read.

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