Ways of Framing the Ponnivala Story

(Audience specific approaches)

Ways of Understanding the Legend of Ponnivala Story as a Whole:


 A big picture window on another culture and another historical time (YOUNG CHILDREN IN GENERAL)

A necklace of moral tales with an ethical or social-behavioural lesson embedded in each, picking and choosing sub-stories as appropriate (KINDERGARTEN AND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS)

One South Asian example of a universal historical process: the difficulties in transitioning from a herder-hunter-trader lifestyle to one of large-scale plough-and-irrigation farming. (ADVANCED ELEMENTARY SCHOOL STUDENTS, Canada or India, plus NATIVE STUDIES COURSES, (at any level)  

A South Asian story about immigrants and their struggles over three generations in a new environment (CHILDREN, ANY AGE, ESPECIALLY BELONGING TO FAMILIES OF RECENT IMMIGRANTS)


 A somewhat fanciful but roughly “true” story-history of one’s own region. Alternately, a part-history of one’s own people (HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS IN INDIA)

A story-driven case study that highlights the social and political tensions typically accompanying a fundamental shift in the means of production and the new technologies that drive this (HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS)

A story about female heroism and women’s special gender-linked powers. (HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS IN GENERAL, PLUS WOMENS’ STUDIES).

A story about male heroism and male weaknesses, particularly in association with a wide range of possible leadership styles and their likely outcomes. (HIGH SCHOOL AND COLLEGE STUDENTS IN GENERAL)


A story depicting an orthodox Hindu worldview of gradual yuga deterioration and the accompanying degeneration of mankind into darkness, all in preparation for a grand renewal (COLLEGE-LEVEL RELIGIOUS STUDIES STUDENTS)

An expression of a medieval Indian tantric-infused Hindu worldview where ascetics can store up amazing powers, especially using liquids, and then manipulate or influence human actions in various ways. (COLLEGE-LEVEL RELIGIOUS OR HISTORICALLY-FOCUSED ASIAN STUDIES STUDENTS)

A story about the nature of fate and its expression through depicting the roles of various key Hindu gods, particularly as they intervene and partially manipulate human life outcomes. (COLLEGE LEVEL PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGIOUS STUDIES STUDENTS. ALSO SUITABLE FOR A FOLKLORE COURSE)

A traditional Socratic-style teaching story where no one is all good or all bad. A deep, rich legend where all shades of grey to flourish, allowing the perceptive student to examine his or her own ethical assumptions and action strategies in situations of challenge. (ANY LEVEL OF STUDENT, ASSUMING A SENSITIVE GUIDE AIDS IN THE UNDERSTANDING OF SPECIFIC STORY EVENTS)