Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Last week my cousin was teaching her three year old kid some rhymes and being the ultimate vetti that I am I was just listening to them when suddenly I felt that the English rhymes which we teach children and those which we have grown up learning are in really bad taste. here are a few examples

humpty dumpty sat on a wall
humpty dumpty had a great fall and so on…

now tell me does a three year old kid have to read such violent stuff about poor humpty falling and cracking his head(and the book my niece was reading had pictures of humpty falling and cracking his head)
they could atleast have ended it on a positive note by saying that the kings men were able to lift humpty…but no..they have to be as crude and heartless as possible
I felt like re writing the poem like this

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty dumpty had a great ball
He liked to play with one and all
Or something like that…

little miss muffet sat on a tuffet
eating her curds and whey
there came a big spider and sat down beside her
and frightened miss muffet away

now again we have poor miss muffet being scared away by a mean spider and not able to eat in peace..and they also give pictures in these rhyme books where miss muffet upturns the whole bowl of curds and whey on herself and my niece promptly wanted to try the same thing with her bowl of cerelac..

jack and jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water
jack fell down and broke his crown and jill came tumbling after

this is one of the worst rhymes ever…I mean what is the purpose of having rhymes..just have easy small words which rhyme with each other right?? Well I can think of so many words to rhyme with water and down..for that matter I can change this rhyme with the same words in the following manner

jack and jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water
jack came down and found a crown and jill came running after..

see what I mean…I can think of so many other examples.. about little bo peep losing her sheep,ten little soldiers standing on a wall and one by one they fall and finally the last one commits suicide or something like that…. as if we don’t have enough violence in this world we expose our children to stuff like this even before they start teething…
but if u take our own traditional rhymes in our regional languages we have so many sensible and sweet lullabies and rhymes
I can think of a few which my grandmother used to say to put us to sleep..

One was “nila nila odi va..malia melai odi va….”
Another one was “amma ingey va va..aasai mutham that ha….”

And so many others…
Personally I have nothing against the English language or anything but after I listened to my cousin teaching those rhymes to her daughter I just felt that we could have better and non-violent rhymes with morals like our regional languages..


Sheks said...

something to ponder upon.such poems are ok as long as children are not subjected to action-comedy movies like tirupaachi or sivakasi or tirupati.

Revathi said...

LOL!!yeah thats true..u see one u ve seen them all..:):)

dante said...

Humpty dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty dumpty had a "great ball"

is it just me or does that seem funny to anybody else .... not tat i am a vulgar person or anything like tat but doesn't tat line convey double meanings ..... even though u didn't really mean to, thanks for cracking me up .... *grin*

Srikanth said...

Most English rhymes were not suited for us.. esp the rain rain go away was always on hitlist of water starved chennai tamils..

Ragesh said...

I really liked your version of Jack and Jill, Cool. Ya seriously we need to curb such poems and let them know that violence is bad, it's not funny. They should be encouraged to empathise with another person's pain and sorrow and not to make fun of it or derive pleasure from it..

R@hul said...

What an truly astounding observation.......!!! I seriously commend you for it. Congratulations. just makes me think...
I need to do a li'l more research and some experiments about this....and I'm not being sarcastic.

senthil said...

Are there no rhymes from indian history or culture to teach those childrens.

cant we teach those holy mantras from vedha like, "ohm sahana vavathu, sahanav punakthu", which are nothing but the great thoughts of our ancient culture. Those mantras doesnt belong to any religion, but they pray for the prosperity of our whole mankind. They stress mainly on peace. we could see from the ending lines of the shanthi mantras.. (ohm shanthi.. shanthi... shanti)

But the sad fact is that these were dubbed as Hindutva, and completely excluded from our education system.