Pradeep Chakravarthy’s upcoming workshops put the spotlight on Indian epics and the life lessons they offer

Chennai historian Pradeep Chakravarthy brings virtual story-telling sessions on the epics and South India’s history

“What does Shantanu’s story from The Mahabharatha teach us?” asks historian Pradeep Chakravarthy and replies after a pause, “The deeper lesson is the pain one undergoes to achieve one’s aspirations. There is a cost for everything, nothing comes free. Shantanu’s story makes us reflect on that.”

Chennai-based Pradeep who began organising workshops for young learners during the lockdown last year, now brings virtual story-telling sessions on the epics and South India’s history.

It is not about mythology but deeper life lessons, he assures. “Though they can read the stories of The Mahabharatha and The Ramayana from Amar Chitra Katha [comics], I ask reflective questions at the end of every session which the children have to discuss with their parents. It paves the way for more interactions between parents and children.”

Pradeep Chakravarthy  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

He also gives an example from The Ramayana. He says there are no straight answers to questions like, ‘Did Kumbhakarna put his brother over what is right? “It makes children think and approach the same problem in different ways. Once they discuss with parents, they understand their point of view as well,” explains Pradeep.

He goes on to add that one can learn how to convince and persuade others, build an exciting plot and also deal with the good and the bad that life sometimes offers, from Valmiki.

Last year, he highlighted topics like food, wars, and battles that were received well. “History is anyway taught in schools. I looked at history that is not taught in school and Tamil Nadu history in greater detail.”

When and where

  • The sessions will be conducted over Zoom. While sessions on The Mahabharatha are till May 16, the ones on The Ramayana will be from May 24 to 30 and on South Indian history from June 7 to13
  • For details, call 96000-98839

Based on the feedback from last year’s participants, he included topics on the history of Andhra, Karnataka and Kerala including the glorious Kakatiyas and Vijayanagara kings of Andhra/Telengana, the Chalukyas and Hoysalas of Karnataka and more. There is more to Indian history than the Mughals and Ashoka, he adds. “Though we can’t pack everything in 45 minutes, the session on political and art history gives a broader sense of what happened in these States in the last 2,000 years. We look at what we can learn from their mistakes and successes. Andhra’s epic poetry Palanaatu Veerakathalu has so much information for day-to-day life. History can be relevant to our immediate and future lives.”

The sessions are open for anyone over 10 years. “As the timing is from 8pm to 9 pm, participants are more than welcome to have dinner as they listen to stories, just like our ancient traditions of story-telling.”

Pradeep is currently working on a children’s book on South India’s history.

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