Who Will be Ningthou?

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Author: Indira Mukherjee Genre : picture book, realistic fiction
Illustrator: A.V. IIlango Age : 7+ yrs
ISBN : 81-86895-34-5 20 Pages
Publisher : Tulika  
Shipping available in the following country: india (click for details) 
 

An endearing tale set in Manipur in which the Ningthou and Leima - King and Queen of the land - nurture not only their subjects but also all living creatures.

"Everybody in Kangleipak should live in peace. Not only the people, but the birds, animals and trees."

One day, the king decides to name the future king.  He holds a contest to select one of the three princes.  The princes prove their strength, prowess and skill but in the bargain they destroy an old banyan tree and along with it the homes of many creatures who lived in it. be

The five year old princess is upset to see the magnificent tree lay lifeless by the throne and "sad and lonely as birds flapped worriedly around searching for their home in the tree."

Who will be selected the Ningthou?  Everyone wondered.   Can a young girl be the Ningthou?  How important are strength and valour versus caring for all living creatures.   Very subtly the author weaves in the twin themes of gender bias and sensitivity towards all living creatures.  A debate that alas continues even today.

The folk-style black and white sketches with touches of red are strongly suggestive of the Northeastern states and make a strong impression.b

A must read for every child.

The book is also available in Hindi, Malayalam, Kannada and Tamil

Reviewed by Razia Mitha