Books that provide insight into tribal literature: Glimpses of a different world that “dissolve the borders that divide us”

Voices Unheard: Tribal Literature from India to Read Now

Pooja Shankar, Words Without Borders, March 29, 2017 | Read the full article with more details of the books discussed >>

India is rich with a diversity of religions, arts, customs, races, traditions, and languages. While the government of India recognizes twenty-two official languages, there are over 880 languages spoken in the country. Until recently, the tribal literature created in non-mainstream languages has not been very recognized or available for an Indian or global audience. One of the primary reasons for this is that tribal discourse, including folktales and songs, is mainly oral in nature. […]

  1. Mizo Songs and Folk Tales, edited by Laltluangliana Khiangte […]
  2. Painted Words: An Anthology of Tribal Literature, edited by G. N. Devy […]
  3. Black Lilies: Telugu Dalit Poetry in English Translation, edited by K. Purushotham […]
  4. Kocharethi: The Araya Woman by Narayan, translated by Catherine Thankamma […]
  5. Khasi Folk Songs and Tales, documented and translated by Desmond L. Kharmawphlang […]

These five books provide insight into a completely different world. They offer a fresh perspective to global audiences and reflect the importance of conserving rare literature through translation. Though our languages are different, the intensity of our emotions is the same. Literature allows us to recognize this. It speaks to our souls and imprints in our hearts, and it has the power to dissolve the borders that divide us.

Date visited: 12 April 2018

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Secretary, Tribal Cultural Heritage in India Foundation (2010-2022)
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