Oral Literature and Memory: A Study of Tribal Folklore: Papers presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi

Abstract 5: Oral Literature and Memory: A Study of Tribal Folklore

Paper presented for “Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative” (National Conference) – New Delhi


Centre for Culture, Media & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi


Oral literature does not stress authorship but the focus is on interpretation. It is collectively owned by the community and every member has the right and authority to interpret and translate as per one’s ability and genius to the best to make it accurate and appropriate. Since the literature is not preserved/stored in the form of text and print, interpreting and translating from memory that has been handed down from generation to another is the only way to obtain accuracy. The interpretation is essentially based on memory as there is no written text to depend. Memory plays a significant role in unfolding and revealing the tribal literature. Looking back the memory is the source to resolve the differences while interpreting. 

Folklore in the form of adages, sayings, riddles, dances, songs, festivals and feasts, agricultural practices, handicrafts, woodcrafts, carpentry works, yells, steps and cries, knowledge and skill of constructing house, terrace field, bridge, caring and nursing of sickness and diseases, believes, worldviews and cosmos or anything that one can name of constitute oral literature, which is passing and communicating through oral mode. So, folklore is anything that includes traditional art, literature, knowledge and practice, which are disseminated through oral and behavioural mode of everyday life. Every community and group possessed a shared tradition and culture, which is central to its identity that differentiates from those does not belonged to it, is the folklore of the community. The folklorist work’s merely reflects everyday life of the tribal community. The paper while intending to focus the understanding of literature from the broader perspective, will tries to investigate how memory unveiled and unfolded the body of tribal literature through folklore. 

BIONOTE: Dr. Athikho Kaisii is currently employed as Assistant Professor at the Centre for Culture, Media & Governance, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He may be contacted at the email ID: akasmao@gmail.com

Source: Book of Abstracts for the ICSSR-sponsored Two-Day National Conference Tribes In Transition-II: Reaffirming Indigenous Identity Through Narrative organised by The Department of English & Outreach Programme Jamia Millia Islamia (New Delhi, 27-28 February 2017)

Courtesy: Convener Dr. Ivy Imogene Hansdak

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