India is rich in culture, tradition and yes, even folktales. Especially the latter.

These folktales were first told by song, dance and puppetry around camp fires to entertain the elderly and children alike for thousands of years.

While many have been turned into children's books and cartoons, it would be pretty cool to see these tales on the big screen as either live-action or animated films.

Here are India's three major folktales that have been told and retold over the years.

Jataka Tales

While the Western world has Aesop's Fables, India has the Jataka Tales. First written in the Pali language, the Jataka tales come with moral values that are Buddhist in nature. It is believed that the tales were first written in 300 B.C. to instill good values in human beings. According to Buddhists, these stories concern the previous and future lives of the Buddha. In fact, the word "Jataka" means birth in the Pali language.

The Panchatantra

Considered one of the most frequently translated literary products of India, the Panchatantra is a huge collection of short stories written by one Vishnu Sharma way back in 2 B.C. That's right, this collection of folktales are even more older than the Jataka Tales and they were first written in Sanskrit. These stories are then categorised into five treatises and it is believed they were used to educate three young princes of Amarasakti on how to manage their kingdom. Just like the Jataka Tales, the Panchatantra also has numerous animal characters that are metaphors of human qualities.

Hitopadesha Tales

Believed to be a thousand years old, the Hitopadesha is yet another huge collection of short stories written by Narayana Pandit. Indians regard the Hitopadesha as Panchatantra's equal because it is too written in Sanskrit. Unlike the Panchatantra, the Hitopadesha apparently is a lot more reader friendly and it is the second best selling book in India after the Bhagavad Gita.

All of these stories have also been translated into numerous languages across the globe. In fact, they've also been adopted by other cultures as well.

Seeing them turned into films could potentially revive the world's interest in Indian folktales because they all carry profound messages.

Article Source: Buddha Weekly, The Culture Trip, Cultural India
Photo source: Buddha Weekly, Madras Courier, Academic Dictionaries and Encyclopedia, Bharatendu