The Talaabs of Darbhanga
Anupam Mishra
Prashant Soni
age group: 
7+ yrs
Number of pages: 
Pratham Books
value education lakes folklore Bihar around India
picture book, fiction

Ayachi Pandit was a loyal and selfless advisor to the king of Darbhanga who never accepted any payment for his services. Hence, he remained poor. When his son was born and he had no money with which to pay for the services of the dai or midwife, he whispered something in her ears and she went away satisfied.

The young lad grew to be a smart and bright young boy. One day, he helped the king solve his problem. Pleased the king awarded him a bag ful of jewels, which he promptly handed over to his father.

Remembering the promise he had made to the dai when she had delivered his son, the honest Pandit summoned her and handed over the entire bag of jewels to her - for his promise to her was that he would hand over to her, the boy's first income!

Touched by this gesture, she in turn decided to use the money for social good and commissioned sixty-three ponds to be built all around the drought-ridden district. Thence, they came to be known as Dai ke Talaab or the Dai’s Ponds and many of them still exist in Darbhanga today!

The story subtly conveys the value of diligence, honesty, intelligence and generosity.

Note: Very rarely does one come across an actual legend based on a region of India. And hence, this story is very special not only because of the values that they convey but also because it gives children living in that part of the country an interesting perspective to its history.

The end pages also carry useful information in the various ways water was successfully harvested and conserved in the past and hence, the book will be a useful addition to the school library .

A commendable initiative by Pratham Books.




Reviewed by Shamim Padamsee