Indian Embassy Launches “Kwentong Jataka” Podcast

India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran delivers remarks at the launch of ‘Kwentong Jataka’.

The Embassy of India is proud to launch “Kwentong Jataka” – a Filipino language podcast series based on the educational Jataka tales. The project is made possible in partnership with Areté Ateneo, the creativity and innovation hub of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Kwentong Jataka is made up of stories from the Jataka Tales – a collection of folk stories from India about the life of Buddha and his path to enlightenment. It consists of 12 short and engaging stories in podcast format. Each tale ends with a deep teaching and a moral lesson.

While the tales’ diverse and memorable characters, powerful imagery, and moral lessons to reflect on make them appealing to children, Kwentong Jataka applies to all ages.

“These are very simple stories but they contain a lot of practical wisdom of the ages. So they are accessible to everyone. They are universal stories that bring out universal truths,” Indian Ambassador Shambhu Kumaran said.

It turns out that Jataka tales are also incorporated into the Indian educational system.

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“These stories form a lot of textbooks. Not all in the same place but in different stories found in different textbooks. And they are also told by parents and grandparents to their children so that they become part of the system of informal education,” the Ambassador further explained.

Through this project, the Indian Embassy aims to provide additional learning resources, especially mother tongue-based teaching materials, to young students in the country.

Additionally, the Embassy hopes that Kwentong Jataka can further strengthen Indo-Philippine relations, making Indian culture accessible to the Filipino public and, in turn, enhancing cultural understanding.

“We have a very old, centuries-old relationship. Some of those connections are no longer easily accessible. So by bringing in Indian folklore, we hope we can get more young Filipinos interested in India and therefore the India- Philippines,” Ambassador Kumaran said, adding that the embassy has more cultural projects in store for Filipinos.

Finally, besides questions about the podcast, the Ambassador was also asked about what the Embassy would focus on under the new administration.

He replied: “I had the opportunity to call the president-elect. I basically said that we were going to work on the overall development of a partnership covering very targeted development aspects – that is, say trade and investment, agriculture, health, financial industries, FinTech, and digital governance. So there’s a whole development partnership envelope. We also have the national security partnership in terms of capacity building of the armed forces, capacity development, maritime security, cybersecurity, etc. It is very comprehensive.

“We have made a lot of progress in the Duterte administration and we would like to continue this momentum,” he finally added.

Podcast episodes are available for free on the Indian Embassy’s website and YouTube channel, as well as Areté Ateneo’s Spotify and Apple podcast channels.

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