This is a cover plate I had drawn for Punchtantra by Gautam Bhatia (Penguin, 1998) . The book was a wacky take-off on Vishnu Sharma’s Panchatantra (300 BC), in which, the characters engage with the burning issues of the day—unemployment, oppression, environmental pollution, sexual incompatibility – as they lay bare the hilarious absurdities of our muddled world. The Penguin edition has been out of print for several years now. A revised version of this illustration is now available on my Etsy store: LunaSpace
The original Panchatantra is a collection of tales of wisdom and rightful conduct. They are, for most part, set in the jungles of India, where animals play central characters. So, it only made sense to set this image in a jungle, with a large Pipal tree as its central motif – the same tree species under which, the Buddha attained enlightenment.
Sustainer of life, cleaner of air, moderator of climate, and home to thousands of species – where would we be without trees? And, where would be we without the wisdom to honor them? The parrots who roost here, are a-buzz with these stories – passing them on from generation to generation, as was done, when these tales about living honorably, first started to appear – perhaps, as teachings from a guru to his students seated under the cool shade of the Pipal tree, or, from the mouth of a grandma putting her grandchild to sleep
Publishing Date: 1998
Publisher: Penguin Books India
Number of Pages: 232