Tales from the Region
Anju Virmani
AND THAT IS WHY: MANIPURI MYTHS RETOLD by L. Somi Roy. Puffin books, 2021, 97 pp., 350.00
October 2022, volume 46, No 10

Manipur means the Land of Gems. Indeed, an appropriate name, when you talk of a State with moderate climate, blue-green hills crisscrossed by streams, joining to form river basins rich in alluvial soil. Rivers draining into the fresh water Loktak Lake. A lake with many floating weed islands, some of which house people, the only floating school in the world, the only floating national park in the world! Teeming with flora and fauna. It is only natural that such a wondrous place would also have a vibrant folklore, with grandparents telling their grandchildren of wise and powerful gods, of heroic and beautiful humans, of curious birds and animals, and intriguing explanations for observations of natural phenomena. A story can pack in not just histories and natural observations, but also concepts, morals, challenges…

And That is Why is a delightful book, endearingly written, which will be enjoyed by young children reading it on their own, or read to by parents, grandparents, teachers, or anyone involved with children. It is well researched, with the author relying on scholars familiar with the ancient Manipuri manuscripts, some of which were profusely illustrated.

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