In real time

In real time

This short story regarding the Indian folk fool Tenali Rama illustrates perfectly the literalness of the fool, which you might have encountered in children, perhaps with occasional exasperation.  I shared this during a talk to a group which included professional...
Moote Ram the Dwarf

Moote Ram the Dwarf

A curious drawing, from the late 18th century, of a named dwarf dancing in the presence of a pair of Indian soldiers (‘sepoys’ in the title of the sketch).  I stumbled across this in the same search that yielded a 17th century Dutch painting of a dancing...
A fool feigned or real?

A fool feigned or real?

This sketch of an individual, done by an Anglo-Indian artist around 1790, has the intriguing title of ‘A fool named Gungarum’.  At first I wondered if it was a portrait of a recognised or quasi-professional fool, but noting the similarity between the...
More than you bargained for

More than you bargained for

There is a class of stories featuring jesters requesting favours or gifts from the ruler. Many jesters were dwarfs, and here we have a god disguised as a dwarf couching a request to a king in humble terms.It costs Bali his throne and sees him kicked all the way to...

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