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Paris: Presses Universitaires de la France. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. The Mwindo Epic from the Banyanga. Berkeley: University of California Press. Tradition and Design in the Iliad. Oxford: The Clarendon Press. Adelaide, Australia: University of Adelaide.

Krishnamurti, ed. Emeneau Sastipurti Volume. London: Longmans, Green and Co. The Ballad and the Folk. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul. London: Methuen and Co. The Growth of Literature, vol. I, Pt. The Growth of Literature , vol. II, Pt. III, Pt. Oral Epics of Central Asia. London: Cambridge University Press. English and Scottish Popular Ballads. I and II. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal. Reprint of edition.

Chess and Playing Cards. Washington, D. Heroic Song and Heroic Legend. London and Oxford: Oxford University Press. Kingship and Community in Early India. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Duggan, ed. Edinburgh: Scottish Academic Press. Paris: Gallimard. Homo hierarchicus. Beck, ed. Myths of Middle India. Madras: Oxford University Press. Tribal Myths of Orissa. Bombay: Oxford University Press. New York: Dover Publications. Fishman, C. Ferguson, and J. Gupta, eds. New York: Wiley.

New York: Viking Press. Calcutta: Royal Society of Bengal. Module no. Berkeley: University of California. I: vol. University of London. The Ancient Indian Royal Consecration. Oxford: Clarendon Press. The Ritual of Battle. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Smith, ed. Leiden: Brill. Caste, A Comparative Study. London: Methuen. French version: Les Castes, Paris: Geuthner, Later English Broadside Ballads. Calcutta: Punthi Pustak. British Popular Ballads. The Thirteen Principal Upanishads. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Shilappadikaram The Ankle Bracelet.

London: George Allen and Unwin Ltd. Jung, ed. Tamil Heroic Poetry. Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature. New York: Dover. Madras: V. Calcutta: Indian Publications. New York: Oxford University Press. The Savage Mind translation of the French original. Leach, ed. London: Tavistock Publications. The New Comparative Mythology , rev. Potter, M. Diaz, and G. Foster, eds. Boston: Little, Brown and Co. The Singer of Tales. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. Reprint New York: Atheneum Press, The Laws of Manu. The Sacred Books of the East , vol.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Phoenix edition, Kapferer, ed. In all the relevant tale types a woman's husband is threatened. As a result, her secure social position becomes endangered. All the magical techniques women use to revive their husbands from death, free them from the hands of enemies, or reidentify them after a long separation; seem to be directed at overcoming such a loss. If the males in these stories are motivated by desire in the simple sense, then their female counterparts are driven by fear of a social lack of a more formal kind.

A single tale, supported by one example only,C, speaks of an Obedient Husband who followed his wife's instructions and walked home slowly. Alas, he was thereby too late to find her lover visiting. Here, a trusting husband is made out to be a fool. The concern that women have in Indian folk stories with preserving their husbands parallels a similar concern for their children.

A common thread in these tales is the fear of being disowned if barrenness continues. The classic examples is tale She eventually informs the husband that she has a son, but that he must not see it. When the time for the child's wedding comes the woman then puts the doll image in a sedan chair.

A god pities her and gives the doll life. Afterwards the husband agrees to take his wife back. Various motif listings specific to India further indicate a special cultural concern with persecuted wives. These include: S The fact of the rejected female partner is also vividly portrayed in many stories.

Such typical motif patterns seem to document female fears about losing a husband. The search described features a juvenile male who seeks to retrieve a lost parent. This is a "lack" syndrome similar to that described above for females. Ramanujan has pointed out that South Asian Hindu stories favour inverted Oedipal themes. In tale type , for example, a young day seeks to restore his father to life. This lack provides a contrast with the focus on a son killing the father found in many Greek and European tales.

Many typical fourth frame stories also depict situations where a protagonist is unsuccessful in his or her quest. Here a man falls in love with a beautiful girl but she spurns him. He continues to try all sorts of tricks, but the girl is finally rescued and the suitor killed. The difference is that his object of affection was totally inappropriate. Unlike the stories about an unwed prince who sets off to find a queen, a holy man must strive for sexual abstinance. The burning sexual desires of holy men stand out as a particularly Indian theme and is extensively documented by classical documented by classical Hindu mythology O'Flaherty.

Another type of male oriented tale emphasizes the fool. A dumb man may seek something unattainable B, A Visit To the Sky , and fail through some silly error, or an incompetent son-in-law A may desire sustenance and even sexual satisfaction from his mother-in-law. All are highly inappropriate desires.

Though successful in attaining a limited goal, this protagonist makes a public fool of himself in a wider context. Similar patterns exist where women are concerned. In A an ungrateful wife becomes a prostitute, receives a boon from a king who is pleased with her, and then asks that her husband be killed. He cleverly asks her to return what she has given him, however, and she ends up being murdered instead. This female variant contains several of the motifs mentioned above, including inappropriate desires that backfire or remain unfulfilled.

It also places a high value on a clever escape from a tight fix. Two other tale types complete this category. They are where a faithless woman murders her husband, but is then spurned by her lover; and, where an ogress pursues married men but is finally slain. This sole tale type where a woman openly pursues, a man depicts an ogress who operates in the forest.

Furthermore, she is ultimately unsuccessful. The type is important, as there are 24 Indian examples reported. Notable, too, is the fact that sch ogresses commonly assume the disguise of young girls. By contrast, men do not flaunt their sexual identify when wooing women; rather they try to conceal it. This completes my discussion of the Aarne-Thompson folk tale, joke and anecdote types reported uniquely from South Asia sources.

As a next step it will be helpful to take one popular folk tale as an example of how the materials in an individual folk tale collection can be usefully linked to this four frame scheme. This fanciful tale falls easily into frame four: Action motivated by the Strength of Individual Desire. A prince is unwilling to marry the woman selected for him by his parents, and in that way is different from his complaint elder brothers. He then sets out on his own quest for a bride, determined that he will marry the daughter of an arecanut king. Along the way he acquires magical objects from several saints and then uses these objects, as well as the saint's advice and aid, to ward off various monsters and fearful animals that threaten to block him from his goal.

The Arecanut Princess Once a king had five sons. The elder four married but the youngest prince did not marry the bride shown to him. Hence he had to search for a wife himself. He departed, hoping to marry the daughter of Arecanut King. O his way, however, he met a saint who blessed him with magical lemon, a stick, coal and some bits of turmeric. The saint also advised the prince to meet his brother. This the prince did, and that second saint also give him magical agents. He then asked the prince to meet a third brother.

This also the prince did. That saint gave the prince more magical agents and told him to use each one in turn if he got into trouble. This man also advised the prince not to place the arecanut in which he would find the princess on the ground once he had obtained it. The prince left, crossed seven seas and finally reached the Arecanut King's tree. There the princess lay inside an arecanut. The prince threw his magical lemon at it. At this point lions, tigers and other monstrous beings also appeared. The prince, out of fear, threw all of his magical things at them. But these animals and monsters killed the prince.

The third saint then happened to see this dead, half-eaten prince. He brought him back to life, and gave him back his magical things. This time the prince plucked the arecanut and returned. The animals and monsters pursued him, but the prince escaped to a town with the help of his magical objects. Feeling tired, he then put the arecanut on the ground and retired into a fast sleep beside a well.

While the prince was asleep, the princess came out of her arecanut. Soon a Kumbara girl came to fetch water and felt jealous of the princess; she then managed to change dress and jewellery with the princess and to push the latter into the well. Then the Kumbara girl assumed the position of princess and entered the nut. The prince, unaware of this, took her and walked home. Sometime later, however, the prince happened to pass by the same well again. There he saw a beautiful flower. He plucked the flower and gave it to his wife.

She recognized it as the real Arecanut princess and ordered it thrown into a ditch. A sandalwood tree grew from that blossom. Next she ordered the cutting and burning of that plant. However, the woodcutter hid a piece of the cut tree inside a huge pot at home. After some time the woodcutter and his wife saw that piece of wood change into a beautiful maiden whom they adopted as a daughter.

Later, the prince went on a hunting expedition and overheard some girls narrating the Arecanut princess' story. In this manner the prince finally came to know the truth about what had happened. He then buried the Kumbara girl alive, married the real princess, and ascended the throne. Adapted from Handoo, , pp. The link to the helpful saints is also a passing one. This illustrates the fact that several frames can be combined in one story in this case all four are present: siblings, patrons, adversaries and a quest motivated by individual desire but that one will be clearly dominant.

In this case, the prince's quest for a marriageable princess is the key perspective and hence frame that binds the protagonist's many adventures together. The unifying effect of the quest theme in this arecanut story can be seen clearly in the second phase of the action. After prince meets the various challenges provided by his forest adversaries, he finally finds the sought after arecanut. He plucks it, but then fails to follow one saint's instructions.

Next a jealous low caste girl comes along, finds the princess emerging from her nut. The conniving woman arranges to change clothes with the arecanut lady, pushes the princess into a well, and crawls into the nut to replace her. The prince wakes up unaware of this exchange of identities and takes the false spouse home. Suggestive similarities exist with all four tale types listed under the lover-seeks-exotic-bride principle. Type , The Quest for the wonderful Flower, provides the closest fit.

For "Flower", however, we must now read "arecanut". There is also tale type , Marriage by Stealing Clothing, since this is the way the low caste impostor makes herself the bride. Similarly, type B, The Abducted Princess, is important, since the arecanut woman is temporarily lost. And we cannot ignore type , where a youth is driven forth by his father when he announces whom he wants to marry.

In the original tale type, furthermore, the price becomes an impostor in order to elope. The arecanut story provides a simple inversion of this when a female decides to act as an impostor. These links suggest that much tale type material can be grouped thematically.

I shall call such groupings tale patterns. These patter, plus the four general frames bring us close to formulating a special iocotypes. Before completing the picture, however, I must finish the arecanut story. Sometime after the exchange of a true princess for a false one, the prince happens to pass by the well in which his true spouse was thrown. The rival woman, who is now by the prince's side, sees a flower growing from the well. She recognizes this as the real princess.

When the prince plucks it, she orders the flower thrown in a ditch. Later, when a sandalwood tree grows from the blossom she also orders it cut down. But the woodcutter saves a piece of the tree and hides it inside a pot. Later that wood chip becomes transformed into a beautiful young maiden. She is quickly adopted by the woodcutter's family. Still later, on a hunting expedition, the prince overhears some girls describing the adventures of an arecanut princess and they mention her current whereabouts. The prince understand s the truth about what has happened at this point.

He then buries his present wife alive, marries the real princess, and ascends a throne. The end of this story provides a happy outcome for the male bride-seeker. His heart's desire is won and his early rebellion against his father becomes justified.

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Many colourful motifs in this story give this theme its specific Indian flavor. For example, at least two of the tools the saints offer the hero are true cultural markers: the Lemon and a piece of turmeric. Similarly, the maiden is hidden in a series of magical containers: an arecanut, a well, a flower, a sandalwood tree and, finally, a woodcutter's pot.

Stre en Saint ngt speci provi h of al des Indi detail magi vid s cal ual Des ire 1 seeke r has patro n s tools Lem on, turm eric, etc. Maid 2 en is wom hidd an en in soug magi ht cal has cont an ainer exotic s ances arec try anut, well, flowe r, sand alwo od tree, pot Saint reviv es prota gonis t after his deat h. Exch ange of ident ities: false and true spou se Buri al alive Disc over y of truth thro ugh liste ning to a story The concept of motif markers has, unfortunately, never been adequately defined. Thompson suggests that a motif is the smallest element in a tale having the power to persist in tradition Dundes, a, p.

Baughman has further called the motif "a phenomena, a characteristic, a power, a happening, a creature, or an object" , Introduction. In other words, a motif is a relatively simple and concrete story element.

In this sense motifs are cultural markers. They indicate specific habits, beliefs, customs and settings. When motifs are described in a detailed fashion a donor saint gives a piece of turmeric to a protagonist and calls it a magical object they are culture-specific. An appendix to this paper provides a list of the most extensively indexed South Asian motifs.

This list ranges from motif N secrets overheard from animal conversation , which has been noticed in roughly thirty different sources, to T None of the motifs included in this list can be called unique to India in this crude form, but their special popularity in South Asia does add an important dimension to the oicotype concept and suggests a basis for further research work.

A frame is a general value context upon which a large number of folk tales, jokes and anecdotes draw for significance. A frame adds meaning to a story and gives it some bearing upon our understanding of the human condition in general. Frames vary significantly from culture area to culture area. Yet, without a reference to specific tale patterns and motifs, a given frame is too abstract to constitute an oicotype in itself. In order to build up culture and group-specific themes we must flesh out a set of general frames by linking them to more specific units of description.

This is the purpose of the tale patterns, which indicate particular social settings and social interaction structures. Tale types are sub-units of more general tale patterns. They focus on typical action sequences. Motifs provide the concrete and culture-rich details that add local color to a give account. In order to define specific oicotypes successfully, we must search for a association of specific frames with specific tale patterns, tale types and motif clusters. The chart describing the tale of the arecanut princess, approaches what I mean by an India oicotype.

It could be fleshed out further by discussing other variants. The final chart provides a rough outline of a number of other South Asian oicotypes. This table summarizes the discussion of our basic frames presented in the body of this paper. In it each tale pattern can be considered a separate, nascent oicotype, in relation to a general frame on the left and to a cluster of specific motifs on the right. Each resultant pattern needs to be further explored individually.

The arecanut story, for example, fills out one of the tale patterns contained by frame four. Much work needs to be done in linking motifs with specific tale patterns and frames. The appendix to this paper describing popular motifs in the Thompson-Balys index should be helpful in this task.

Is the sibling bond frame, for example, particularly prominent in Dravidian areas? Will relations by social class relate to differing kinds of resourceful solutions? Linking popular patterns to particular areas and groups will also help us to learn more about the social norms, mores and ideals of varied types of people who make up the South Asian culture area.

Finally, there is the question of genres. I have dealt with ordinary folk tales, jokes and anecdotes. Animal stories need to be studied for parallels and for differences. And what about myths? Can mythical material be fitted into these same frames? I am not sure. Myths tend to bend into each other more than stories do, so that discrete beginning and end points are harder to recognize. Neither of these two issues loom large I these present tale types. Other genres, such as the proverb, also seem to place more emphasis on nuclear bonds.

They need to be re-examined too. This paper has focussed solely on folk tales, jokes and anecdotes described in the Aarne-Thomson tale-type compendium. It represents a small first step. Others must now build on these findings. We are still a long way from finding a set of internationally viable oicotype patterns for the Indian culture area. Indiana Universit y Folktale Series, No. Beck, Brenda E. Bloomin gton: Indiana Universit y Press. Brown, W. New Haven: Yale Universit y Press.

Claus, Peter J. Dundes, Alan. Structur al Analysis of Oral Traditio n. Philadel phia: Universit y of Pennsylv ania Press, pp. The Hague: Mouton, pp. Emeneau, M. Hart, George L. The III. Oxford: Oxford Universit y Press. Ramanujan, A. Simla: Indian Institute of Advance d Study. The Types of the Folktales , 2nd revision based on original work by A. Aarne , FF Commu nications Helsinki: Suomala inen Tiedeaka temia.

Thomson, Stith and Types of Warren e. Most Extensively Indexed Motifs in the Thompson-Balys Volume on India: The column on the left indicates the number of lines devoted to listing sources: roughly three sources are cited on each line No. Love 1 throug h sight of hair of unkno wn princes s Rescue d animal threate ns rescuer 7 B Knowle 21 dge 6 animal B languag 3 es 6 Animal 0 s B grateful 5 for 0 rescue 5 from D peril of 6 death 3 Magic 0 object D receive 18 d from 12 animal.

N Dupe 6 persua 8 ded 3 that sheep N have 71 been 1. Picked up by scared elephan t Prince finds maiden in woods tree and marries her Deity as helper usuall y in answer to prayer Adulter y punish ed Human sacrific e Periodi c sacrific es to a monste r Outcast e wife at last united with husban d and childre n 6 B Flying 41 horse. King 1 selecte H d 3 elephan 4 t 6 bowing H to him 9 Princes 31 s given H to man 12 who 12 can H heal 12 her 3 Tasks 5 assigne J d 16 order 3. Order K of 18 executi 3 on 7 Compa K ssionat 19 e 11 executi. Weddin 1.

Recogn 5 ition of H son by 13 gushing 8 up 5. The vast area of folklore is stretched from the past to the present. Folklore is a rich treasure of cities as well as of villages and it belongs to literates and illiterates alike. It is not languishing in nothingness, rather its creation is a continuous process. As civilization progresses, it will grow and adapt to the changing shapes and patterns of the culture. Folklorists have spent a long time and their valuable energy to trace the origins of folklore.

But now that "past-oriented" enthusiasm has softened down and the attention of the folklorists has been diverted to other directions. The methodologies followed in the structural analysis of folklore are the results of this new consciousness and trend. The study of folklore which was diachronic for a long time, has now embraced synchronism with the development of new methods of analysis as a consequence.

It is obvious that folklore changes in subject matter and theme, but its structure remains almost unaffected. There are certain patterns through which folklore is shaped and these patterns are followed repeatedly by the creators of folklore. Vladimir J. Propp, a Russian Folklorist, was the first to nice the adherence of Russian folktale to a set pattern. This led him to the serious study of the Russian folktale in terms of its structural patterns. Propp's results appeared in his book Morfologiye Skazki Kongas Maranda, P. Marada and William O. Hendricks have attained a remarkable level of sophistication in structural analysis of various folk genre so far as Bengali folklore is concerned, structural analysis has not yet even begun.

It is a matter of regret that the scholars of folklore in Bangladesh and India are still hesitant to adopt this method and prefer to remain in the dark age of the diachronic study of folklore. In this short paper, I have, due to reasons of space and time, selected one Bengali folksong for structural analysis. Bit I am convinced that this method can be successfully applied to hundred of Bengali folksongs of various categories.

This particular song comes from the hand of a great folk poet Pagla Kanai who was born in the district of Jessore, a southwestern district of Bangladesh. He sang most of his songs between the fourth and eighth decades of the nineteenth century. All his songs are still found in oral tradition. In fact his songs became so popular that one can collect them even now from almost half of the population of Bangladesh.

I myself, collected over songs, Islam, in press. Pagla Kanai was one of the prominent mystic folk-poets known in Bengali as Baul. This particular song has mysticism in it which is reflected in its structure. Its analysis should concentrate on those aspects which are most common in all the mystic songs prevalent in Bengal oral tradition. A Bengali Folksong of Pagla Kanai A peculiar vessel was made And then the Creator set the vessel on the earth It does not glide on water, But floats on soil surface Its helm is in the hands of the mind-helmsman?

It moves by two oars. What a miraculous mechanism is there in the Vessel! It floats on the ground, but within it is the water. Besides water and fire there are valuable contents in it, O brother helsman! Be alert and upright, Do not loose your grip The Vessel may sink under water any moment! Pagla Kanai is deeply concerned As to what will happen to the vessel When it will lose its strength The joints of the vessel would be loosened, too; And the water will enter in to its body.

The six senses, as the hemsmen, would take leave And then the vessel will get drowned even in the ground Then the vessel will go to eternity I would like to explain three aspects of this song before taking up its structural analysis. There are also functions containing the subject for indirect object and direct object. In the functions of the main character, the vessel, helped from behind by the Creator, initially we find goodness, but soon after it starts functioning, it compromises with badness.

The Creator creates the vessel, which is the human being, with his body to be guided by his mind. With good intention, he sends it to the earth. But after coming to the earth, the vessel leaves the Creator and accepts worldly things. In spite of the caution, the vessel comes under the grip of evil force and is ultimately drowned. This is apparently the end of the physical being, but from this end a new life begins. Thus although the evil forces seem to have won, they really do not; goodness ultimately prevails.

In almost all the Bengali folksongs, this conflict between the good and evil is usually noticeable. For example, he makes a caution, "O, brother helmsman, be careful, the vessel may get drowned". He is also personally concerned about the future of the vessel.

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This personal feeling of the poet forms one of the basic characteristics of Bengali folksongs. The description of the vessel floating on the ground, for example, ironically reminds us of the reveraine landscape of Bangladesh where hundreds of boats float everyday on the rivers.

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Besides these three aspects, there exist some dramatic elements in this song. Without any preface, the song starts from the middle of the narration: "A peculiar vessel is made". The vessel then proceeds to embrace conflicts, conflicts fro within the helm and the oars. The poet puts an end to this narration in a dramatic manner and reveals his own anxiety about the future of the vessel in a very short but effective sentence. Immediately after giving the hint of his own concern, the poet narrates the decrease of the vessel's strength, the loosening of the joints of the vessel and flow of water entering the body of the vessel causing its ultimate sinking and that too o the ground!

The six friends who were friends of better days, finding the distressed condition of the vessel, now depart heartlessly. The poet has dramatically depicted this truth in the betrayal of six friends. The end of the vessel is described through a dramatic expression. The deepest tragedy of human life is thus expressed through this short but poetic description. These dramatic elements can also be noticed in other Bengali mystic or Baul songs and some other types of Bengali folksongs including the ballads. But the aims and objectives of all the methodologies followed by different scholars so far are directed towards a common goal.

Propp's observations seem rational and reasonable in this respect: 1 "Function is understood as an act of a character, defined from the point of its significance for the course of the action". They constitute the fundamental components of the tale". The vessel functions to satisfy goodness and succeeds.

The structural analysis symbolically represented by brackets and letters above demonstrates that the Creator who created the vessel to the earth, but does not leave it completely. The physical frame of man has some similarities with the steam vessel or a steamer. Man cannot exist and move, like the steamer, without fire and water in him. Although the Creator exists in man in the guise of the mind-helmsman, the man abandons Him and accepts worldly affairs as his best friends.

He thus comes within the grip of the worldly evils. Then the conflicts begin. The poet expresses a word of caution. But this proves no good. We find the victory of the worldly affairs over man. This results gradually in the worn-out condition of the man when the worldly affairs or the evil forces abandon him. Then the man becomes free of the possession of the worldly affairs and the Creator's predominance is again established. The end of physical existence of man gives him the freedom from the influence of the worldly affairs and evil forces and allows him an opportunity to be with the Creator.

Thus, the Creator is the main force in this song who guides and controls the course of the theme and functions of the song and the destiny of the main character, the vessel, i. Man plays, in this song, a role of the performer in between the Creator on the one side, and the worldly affairs and evil forces o the other. In the conflict, man abandons the Creator, but later on, he himself is abandoned by the worldly affairs and evil forces. With friends gone, forlorned as he is, he comes back to his own abode, the home of Creator. There are lacks L and liquidations of lacks LL in this song: 1.

The earth suffers from the lack of vessel - L 2. The Creator sends the vessel - LL 3. The vessel does not float and move on the ground L 4. The vessel floats and moves on the ground - LL 5. The vessel does not move with only two 6. The vessel moves with two rows - LL 7. If the helm is abandoned, the vessel is drowned - the Lack of a helm - L 8.

The helm is not abandoned and the vessel is not drowned - the presence of the helm - LL 9. What will happen with the Vessel?


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A sense of lack of Security - L Pagla Kanai is concerned, lack of unconsciousness out of a sense of insecurity - L The vessel loses strength - lack of - L strength, gets loose breached joints - - L lack of tightness of the joints; the - L joints do not prevent water from entering the vessel -lack of preventive force - L Six friends, the passions, do not remain present; lack of Presence - L Too much lack brings the vessel to its fatal destination. Upto line 9 steady trend is indicated. But from line 10 onwards the "lacks" bring it downwards.

The abbreviated symbols used here may differ to some extent from Propp. This is because Propp used the abbreviations in the analysis of folktale, while I have used them for analyzing a folksong. The song is a mystical song and I had to bring out some hidden truth from the expressed and unexpressed language of the song. In doing so, I must say that I have immensely profited by the methods of these three scholars. I would not claim that my presentation is flawless. But I made a sincere attempt to prove that there is great potential in analyzing the vast and varied field of Bengali folksongs using the structural models of these three scholars Models may, of course, differ.

But through the structural analysis of folksongs of Bangladesh as well as of Indian Bengalispeaking area I am sure, some truth, hitherto unknown to us, will be revealed. Our emphasis should be now on the importance of synchronic study of Bengali folklore along with the diachronic study which we have been pursuing for a long time, largely devoid of any strong scientific basis. SouthWestern of Anthropology, 19, The Journal Morphology of North American Indian Folktales. Helsinki: Folklore Fellows Communications Essays Folkloristics.

Dundes, The Study of Alan Folklore. Mysore: Institute of Kannada Studies. University Mysore. Hendricks, Essays on William O. Semiolinguistics andVerbal Art. Islam, The Mazharul. Academy Katz, and J. Analysis of Oral Kongas Tradition. Maranda Philadelphia: ed. Austin: University Texas of Press. Proverbs are the wisdom of a community: the essence of thoughts and philosophy that a group of people acquire through the ages. Sometimes proverbs serve as impersonal vehicles for personal communication. These neglected fragments of wisdom still offer many interesting insights to a people's past both to the philosopher and the historian.

The proverbial phrases survive the ruins of empires and civilizations and are like wildflowers, which outlive ruin, and mark the flora of the regional ecology. Proverbs, in short, reflect the social usages, the time-long experience of an age and people crystallized in pithy aphorism. The Chakmas are a tribe living in the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh and in the Tripura area of India. Physiologically, they are short statured, pale-faced and hardy. They belong to a Sino-Tibetan linguistic group, but they speak a corrupt form of Chittagong dialect of Bengali.

The Chakmas believe I Theravada Buddhism on one hand and in animism on the other. The rural folk, especially, continue to practice animism, but also attend the temple of the Lord Buddha. Presumably, the Chakmas were originally all animists, but due to the impact of the spread of Buddhism in Chittagong and its hill areas, most have embraced Buddhism at least nominally.

The Hill tracts of Chittagong are surrounded on the west by the maritime coastal area of Chittagong; on the south and east, as far as the Blue Mountain, by the province of Arracan, Burma; and on the north by the Fenny River, which divides thehill tracts from Tippera. In the course of their history, a group of Chakmas migrated to Tripura India and settled there. In the State of Tripura, Chakmas form the third major ethnic group now.

They form the largest Buddhist community in Bangladesh. The people of the Chittagong hill tracts are ethnically different from the settled populace who live in the plains of Bangladesh. They have closer ethno-historical links with the hilly peoples of the vast region that extends from Tibet to Indo-China, or Southeast Asia. There are a number of customs which hint at a form of 'animism' which is very similar to the religion of the peoples of theBurmese and Shan groups before their conversion to Buddhism" The Chakmas form a majority among the various tribal settlers of Chitagong hill tracts who exhibit physical affinities with the "Monogoloid type of people".

Captain Lewin, an authority of Chittagong hill tracts and surrounding areas broadly classifies the tribes into two categories: "Toungtha" children of the hills and "Khyoungtha" children of the rivers.


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Conflicting traditional stories are told regarding the origin of Chakmas. According to some, they originally came from the Malay Peninsula. On the other hand, in some traditional narratives their ancestors are linked with the Chaus-Bansi Kshatriyas of Champanagar in Hindoosthan, who invaded the Hill Tracts at the end of the 14th century. They are also, according to some legends, believed to be the descendants of the survivors of a Mogul army sent by the Vazir of Chittagong to attack the king of Arakan. However, available literary references suggest that the Chakmas migrated from Thailand border known as Chiang Mai.

The Chakmas, as do the other tribes of equal antiquity, have an ancient cultural tradition. The folklore of these people bear the testimony of their laws, customs, beliefs, food, habits, the art of making dwelling, dress, home-life, education, marriage, taboo, patriotism, social justice, agriculture, weather and everything that connects folklife and ancient wisdom of these people. Proverbs are echoes of history, religion, and ethos of the people who speak them. Furthermore, proverbs are not only a powerful vehicle for communication in a folk society, they also integrate the group which creates them.

Therefore, it becomes imperative for scholars to examine these traditional communicative aspects of proverb lore. Needless to say that such studies are possible only when alongside the proverb lore, the folk who is responsible for the creation of such lore are also studied with equal seriousness.

In this paper, I shall present a few proverbs of the Chakmas which were collected in from Rangamati, Chittagong hill tracts, Bangladesh. These proverbs, as we shall see, are a great resource for understanding the Chakmas. It means: the jhum cultivators get everything whichthey eat from the jhum. Girling and chiring are two favorites of the Chakmas. The analogy is very popular. I shall se the Karnaphuli, and at the same time wash my red breast-cloth It means: to achieve two things at the same time. It means: the light baskets serve best for carrying.

The Chakmas are traditionally agriculturists and practise jhum and terrace cultivation. Originally, the Chakmas used to live in traditional tong bamboosupported wooden house built on hill-slopes ; but most of them now-a-days live in modern houses of wooden frames and with tile roofs. In one above proverbs we find a reference to jhum which is a traditional tribal mode of cultivation of paddy, pulses and green vegetables.

Culture And Heritage - Folk And Tribal Art - Know India: National Portal of India

A piece of bushy land is selected every year o a hill for jhum cultivation. The lands for this type of cultivation are not personal property of any one of the Chakmas. The leadman of mouza discharges the duties of an arbitrator as a legal agent of the Chakma king in any dispute arising out of lands for necessary jhum cultivation in Chakma locality. Now the Bangladesh government has taken over all the lands for legal distribution among the cultivators. Similarly there is a reference to a particular kind of rice named giring in another proverb.

This kind of rice is grown in Chittagong District which, however, according to folk belief, yields more produce if cultivated by Jhum method. Whatever the truth, giring is a favourite rice for the Chakmas. Chiring is a riverine fish which is very tasty. These are found near their locality. Ranga khadi is a red breast-cloth used by the Chakma maidens. The Karnaphuli river flows down quietly along the valley of the Chittagong hill tracts. Ranga khadi like any other cloth is being woven by the girls and women out of the indigenous fibres and weaving apparatus and coloured with the juice of wild creepers and plants.

It is interesting to note that a married or unmarried girl of Chakma tribe can be distinguished from her counter part in other tribes by the patterns of her garments. This semeotics of dress and design is a special characteristics of tribal groups such as Chakmas. Dhingee is an indigenous husking apparatus made of wood. Therural population, throughout Bengal use this husking apparatus. The Chakmas, it seems, might have adopted this useful tool from the people of Chittagong valley after they came I cultural contact wit them, long after their final settlement in Chittagong hill tracts. Dhingee, because of it's usefulness, has become a cultural methaphor for the essential success of work in both worlds as one notices in the proverb.

Dareng is a basket made of bamboo collected from the forest nearby. Dareng is used for carrying essential goods of daily use. In fact it has no many uses in this culture and therefore has become a symbol of necessity and usefulness. Baskets are an essential items for tribal's life. The fact that a basket phool bareng is gifted as an important item in marriages underlines this theme as is clear from the above proverb in which its essentiality is symbolically compared with the human service itself.

Every community is best known, besides other things, by the folklore it creates and transmits. The above proverbs of the Chakmas evidence this fact. One can, of course, use materials from equally important other henres of folklore to make the point. The point is not which genre are more powerful in reflecting the folklife of tribal groups much as Chakmas - all put together might perhaps do it well - but that one might fail to get a true picture of Chakmas life without studying their folklore.

Having presented a general introduction of Chakmas and their proverb samples let us look at their proverb structures. Structural analysis thus consists of the discovery of significant elements and their order" The key ideas of Structure are: a wholeness b idea of transformation c idea of units d significant elements units and their order or inner relationship A proverb can be morphologically divided into the following divisions: i.

Topic ii. Comment A "topic" may be expressed as "head" H and a "comment" as "tail" T in a proverb. The prefix and the suffix may be expressed symbolically in this manner: prefix as A1 and suffix as A2. H : T :: A1 : A2 Every proverb has one or more negative and positive statements. Maranda and Maranda, It means "one's occupation is one's life". Here "marade giri" is a positive head H and "na are aaj" is a negative tail T. Analogous pool: marade giri: dhayade chaja: na are aaj: na are chaj: All proverbs are composed of two opposites and analogies.

By abnegating the negative aspects of a statement, the folk society establishes a positive thesis and vice-versa. Human societies are full of contradictions and conflicts. These conflicts of ideas are aptly reflected in the folklore of a community. Proverb is a very small but powerful, explicit artifact for expressing sentiments.

Every folk art form is deeply ingrained, even in its deep structure, by the life situations of a culture. In the deep-structure frame out of cultural artifacts one does not fail to notice the structural elements, opposed to each other, but expressing a positive relation or aspect of the culture. This becomes more obvious when one examines the proverb structure.

The Chakmas, as said earlier, were migratory people. While moving, they used to settle in the hills for Jhum cultivation. After a few months they had to abandon the area and search for new land. So they used this proverb to denote this migratory phenomenon: One never forgets one's skill of ploughing as a dying man never looses hope for life. Dundes describes a proverb as being made up of a minimal unit called a descriptive element.

This I turn is made up of a topic and a comment. The comment is an assertion about the topic, usually concerning the form, function, or action of the topic" Dundes and Gorges, According to Dundes, the simplest form of the proverb would be two words like "money talks" where "money" is the topic and "talks" is the comment. If we look at this in context, however, a slightly different analysis must emerge.

Two men go to a restaurant, but they can't get in as they don't have reservations. They tip the head waiter and are taken to a table where one man comments to the others: "Money talks". What he actually is saying is that money persuades people to act. In effect, there are two descriptions here "money persuades" and "people to act" , the second being understood. Dundes' analysis can thus be related to Milner's if we see each proverb as having two descriptions: a head H and a tail T each of which has a topic T and a comment [C]. New York: E.

The Hague : Mouton. Maranda, Structural Models in E. Folklore Kongas Transformational and Essays.

File history

Risley, Tribes and Castes of H. In non-specialized genres like proverb, joke, game, riddle, omen, or folktale, as well as in the more professional oral epic or folk-drama, such systems are embedded, enacted, transmitted from childhood -- especially in a still largely non-literate culture like South Asia. Yet, till recently, neither humanists nor social scientists have taken such materials seriously. This is partly because folklore requires an intimate knowledge of local dialects on the part of the foreign scholar, or a certain open-minded respect for the deeply familiar on the part of the native scholar -- both of which have been rare.

But in the last decade, a new wave of interest has swept the field both in India and in the U. The language programs of the 60's in this country have produced a significant number of field-workers capable of working directly in the languages of the area -- notably in literature, history, and anthropology. In India, the literature departments have begun to include linguistics and folklore, and become interested in notions of "region", "tradition", and "folk".

Marga and desi, an old Indian pair -- loosely translated as "classical" and "folk", technical terms in native discussions of literature, music, drama and dance have been linked to, or reincarnated as, "Great and Little Traditions". These interests have naturally led to the collection and analysis of regional folk-materials. For instance, in a language like Kannada, over books were published in the field of folklore in the last two decades Nayak ; all the three major universities in the Kannada area have opened special departments and publication series for folklore.

The data is piling up, and there is a great deal more to be collected. Ramanujan Kannada, Tamil , V. Narayana Rao Telugu. These and other scholars have a great deal of material yet to be published, yet to be analyzed. This is the time to ask new questions of the data we have here, and, with our Indian colleagues, to make connections with wider points of view. About two decades ago, the teaching and research of Indian civilization in the U. The causes for this shift were not entirely academic, and merit a separate inquiry.

No longer were Sanskrit and classical India deemed enough to represent the "many Indias". Ideas like the "Great and Little Traditions" became important in anthropology, and the controversy over them stimulated the search for finer detail and more adequate conceptions. The next task to be undertaken is at least two-fold: a to deepen our work in the regional language, to go beyond literacy and text to the pervasive, non-literature, verbal and non-verbal 2, expressive systems: tale, riddle, dance, game, curse, gesture, design, folk-theatre, folk-healing and folk science; and b to integrate them, may be by contrast, may be by tracing possible underlying or over-arching connections, with our knowledge of classical systems carried both by Sanskrit and by the standard regional languages.

There is, of course, the challenge of relating such materials to the human sciences -- which is leading us to think of new fields and topics like medical anthropology, or the relevance of Hindu mythology of folklore to psychoanalysis, and vice versa. This may force us to re-examine the notion of the Great and Little Traditions carried by Sanskrit as a "father-tongue" and by the standard regional "mothertongues".

Further complexities of difference and interaction and "affective presence" will be suggested when we enter the dialectal, so-called sub-standard, sub-literary world of folk materials, available everywhere in city as in country, among the literate and the non-literature. Would we find there just broken-down classical mythologies, garbled versions of what we already know, or inversions and transformations, or would we find alternatives, always quick and active, but never fully acknowledged by the written texts?

I suggest, in this paper, that we might find co-existent "context-sensitive" systems in South Asia, held and used deftly and pervasively to perceive and solve the culture's special dilemmas. They may contradict each other as different proverbs do, within a language when treated as a single facetless systems, but they would be seen as viable, flexible "strategies" when treated in context.

In cultures and in languages, there are rules of structure and there are rules of use: novel is only onehalf of creativity; appropriateness is the other half. This context-sensitivity is, I think, systematic; not just piecemeal and opportunistic, as a whole Western sociological tradition suggests, beginning with Max Weber, "rationalized Vs.

Folklore where ethos, aesthetics, and worldview meet is an excellent place to examine such notions. But folklore is full of ingenious, promiscuous betrayers of the ideal. I legend, women saints break every rule in Manu's code-book, disobey husbands, take on divine liaisons, walk the streets naked. One may summarize some other features of folklore, that make it especially useful in comparative and other studies: a Folklore displays similar surface structures, with different functions, uses, meanings: a proverb like "It's dark under the lamp" occurs in hundreds of versions, within and outside India, and it means different things in different cultures, even in different contexts within a culture.

Bibliographic tools like indexes of types and motifs, are available on a world-wide scale, and also for South Asia. Based on these, sensitive crosscultural, cross-regional, cross-media comparisons like the ones we are suggesting here, need to be done. I turn, such comparisons may question and revolutionize the indexes, types etc. The new pragmatics and semiotics should find South Asian Folklore particularly exciting.

Contrasts with other kinds of material like written literature, historical records are obvious and need not be labored here. South Asian folklore is a good place for such testing. For instance, Freddian and Piagetian schemes of emotional or cognitive or moral development could be tested against Indian folktales, child-rearing practices, and the role of folklore in indigenous methods of education.

What kinds of tales are told or not told to children of certain ages? How do Indian Oedipus tales look? One may examine many Indian Lear-tales that have sons instead of daughters as the Cordelia-figures; and in the Kannada "Narcissus-tale" the hero is androgynous, marries his own left half like Adam? How do these tales square with a other Indian patterns and values and b Western schemes e.

Do classical and folk materials agree in this respect? A triangulation, a comparison between South Asian and Western materials as well as a comparison between folk and classical materials, would be instructive. Goody : folklore as a source of central metaphors; metafolklore e.

In this working paper, I shall examine five of these questions in detail. My examples will be drawn mostly from me and my colleagues' fieldwork in the Kannada area. I hope what is presented here will serve to point to similar, as well as new, questions, doubts, terms and materials elsewhere.

I shall close this section with a couple of my biases: 1 We said earlier that aesthetics, ethos and world view meet in expressions like myth and folklore. In our discussions of myth and folklore, very little is usually said about the first term of the three. Without aesthetic impact, expressive culture would have neither its immediacy nor prevailing power. I studying Indian concepts like Karma, we have necessarily studied explicit categories of thought - but not ways of feeling.

We have studied world-view without ethos, ethos without aesthetics, strands without texture. Folklore items have an aesthetic presence that must be experienced, and thereby explored, for themselves. Every folk-text, even a verbal one like a proverb, is a performance. One should not be too quick to "rescue the said from the saying", but dwell on the saying in its oneness with the said, before we extract the latter. This is, of course, best done in the original language and in performance. Unfortunately, this is only a paper, and in English. Here we can only point to the original knowing full well that "the pointing finger is not the moon".

Having a density of their own, they refract as well as reflect.