Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Jungle Book Week 2


Johar greeting. We tried to go faster than last week. Maybe by the end of the semester we will just be zooming around the room. With the enrichment track class we just did the girls today; we will do the boys next week. We had so much exciting stuff to get to, we didn't want to take up too much time.

Bindis. We are always going to wear bindis, until the bindis run out.

Quiz. Here it is -- see how you do! Which of these statements are true?

1. Rudyard Kipling was an Indian author, but he was born in London, England.

2. During Kipling’s life, India was colonized by England, and ruled by England.

3. Kipling was named after the Rudyard Potato, the most delicious potato his parents had ever eaten.

4. Kipling’s father was a professor of sculpture at the School of Art and Industry in Bombay.

5. As a little child in Bombay, Kipling spoke native Indian languages as well as English, and had a Hindu nanny and caretaker.

6. When he was six years old, Kipling went every day to an Indian school, where he learned about Indian culture and the Indian languages.

7. Kipling became a writer for the Civil and Military Gazette, a newspaper in Lahore, India, and then a bigger newspaper, The Pioneer, in Allahabad.

8. When he was 24, Kipling signed on to the crew of a boat to become a deep sea diver and search for the elusive Indian elephant whale.

9. Kipling became a writer most famous for novels, essays, and cookbooks.

10. Kipling won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but refused to be knighted and refused to be the poet laureate of England.

If you want the answers, scroll to the bottom of this post.

Hindi phrase practice. Here are the phrases we learned today:

Hello - Namaste

Goodbye - Alvida

How are you? - Aap kaise hain?

I am fine. - Mai achchha hoon.

Rikki Tikki Tavi: We had two teaching points here. The first was about the setting. We discussed how these are English people, living in India on a military compound. Their lifestyle is definitely British and they bring a lot of their world with them from England. This will come back later when we talk about the Gond tribe in the Mowgli stories.

The second point touches on the way Kipling writes about animals. Rather than personifying his animal characters, making them behave as humans, Kipling's mongoose and cobra and other animals behave as animals -- they stay true to their natures. So even though they have language and we can understand their communications, they aren't making human choices and facing human conflicts. This is why Rikki Tikki Tavi goes right into the cobra hole without considering whether or not it's a good idea. We compared this type of animal story to something like Finding Nemo, where the animals (or fish in this case) are very human in their worldviews.

Songs and Poems. We sang Mandalay and If, and learned the Jungle Book TV Theme Song, from a 1970s animated series that was popular in India. The interesting thing about this song is that it was written, way back when, by the same songwriter whose song "Jai Ho" was recently featured in "Slumdog Millionaire." Here is a link to a video of the song. Warning: It will get stuck in your head.

Toomai of the Elephants preview: We read over the Working Elephant Fast Facts and discussed the role of elephants in Indian culture. In the enrichment class we talked about the following vocabulary words:


Bonus Links:

Here's a really cool video that shows decorated elephants working with their mahouts, getting all decked out for a temple ceremony. Cool detail: the elephant helps the mahout climb up by raising its back leg.

Something to listen to: A mantra to Ganesha, the elephant-headed Hindu god. After you get through the images of the singer's other CDs, there are lots of cool still images of Ganesha depicted in art. Here's another mantra to Ganesh, with a beat you can dance to. Disclaimer: I don't know what any of the words mean.

An elephant outside a temple, giving a blessing to people.

Elephants being made to lie down and take a rest by their mahouts. You can see one guy gently using an ankus.

Here's an elephant lifting a log and piling it up... like "elephints a'pilin' teak" in the poem.

WARNING: The use of elephants for work, festivals, or domestic purposes is by no means uncomplicated and beautiful. If you click around and look, you'll find horror stories and terrible pictures. So don't. Several of the "elephants at work" videos are a little disturbing, at least in my opinion; the animals look stressed and you can see rope marks, etc. The ones above are okay.

Next week we're going to make decorated elephant heads, so it would be great if they could look at a lot of pictures of elephant headdresses.

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