There are five legends from different parts of India. Tejan Bal
comes from Pawari language, which is mostly spoken by Pawara
Bhills in north-western Maharashtra. Mansinha and Salvan is
oral in tradition and comes from Dangs district in the
south-eastern part of Gujarat. The Tale of a Takalong
Cucumber is from Khasi and Chhura. Their alluring culture is
very much in evidence in the description of Mizo legends. Kaba
and Baji describe Dhanger aspirations for martial success.
Songs have a
special place in tribal lives. These songs describe the tribals’
feelings of love, sadness, loneliness and happiness. The
metaphors that they use are earthy. It has songs in about ten
tribal languages, which are sung at various functions. There are
Garhwali, Saora, Chhatisgarhi songs.
section has four parts. Koletyache Por, Tanda, Uchalya ,
Upara are all by eminent writers. Budhan, a drama, is
by denotified Chharas. Budhan who belonged to the Sahar
community in Purulia district of West Bengal was killed in
February 1998. The last part of the book, Makar Saver by
Mahasweta Devi, is the story of a man belonging to the Saver
community of Purelia. In this Mahasweta Devi has exposed the
atrocities committed by the government during the Emergency
period, especially during the nasbandi campaign.
This book makes
for an interesting reading and gives an insight into the lives
of tribal, their culture, way of life, hardships, status of
women, joys, expressions, traditions, literature, art, etc.
Their way of telling stories is descriptive because of their
closeness to nature. All epics, legends, myths and songs have
been translated into English in a descriptive manner. These are
poetical, lyrical and picturesque. Though the songs have been
translated beautifully and the tribal atmosphere has been
captured but one cannot sing them as the original versions were
sung. The name Painted Words seems apt, as while reading
it seems as if pictures are moving in front of one’s eyes.