Tribal Myths & Legends of Orissa: The Story of Origins

Bastar Folk Art

Author: Tripathy, Biyotkesh, Basa Kishor K
Year: 2005 ISBN: 81-7702-100-1
Publisher: Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya, Bhopal
Intangible Cultural Heritage of India-Series 1

The 1st book in the series of Intangible Cultural Heritage of India, illustrates translated transcribed oral folkloric tales from indigenous populations, as well as commentary on mythology in general and comparative creation myths in particular.

This is a collection of primary source material on the myths and legends of the origin of the tribal people of Odisha, along with a section on the procedures of reading myths.

The purpose of the book is two fold. It tries to correct the popular urban/educated-elitist belief that our tribal people are ignorant, uneducated and uncultured and that the little "culture etc" they have is the gift of "mainstream" civilization. And second, it attempts to bring out the richness of tribal culture, carried in their myths and legends, and to establish its antiquity in the context of the Prime civilization of the world: the Mesopotamian, the Babylonian, the Hindu, the Egyptian, the Greek and the Judeo-Christian. The book introduces competitive readings to evaluate degrees of being civilized, if such things are possible.

Finally, it examines myths as a fossil field, which is layered and in which ancient facts are trapped and held as fossils. The book suggests ways of identifying, recovering and studying these in order to construct the tribe's prehistory and ethos. The main body of the book consists, of primary material on creation myths, myths of origin and history, and myths on the making of gods.

About the Author

Dr. Biyotksh Tripathy, with degrees from the Universities of Calcutta and Wisconsin, retired as the Professor and head of the Department of English, Utkal University in 1996. He had also headed the English Department of Himachal Pradesh University (Shimla) and Berhampur University (Berhampur). He is widely traveled and has lectured at the Universities of Buffalo, Wisconsin, Hong kong, Trier, Cambridge (Downing College), and Taipei (Center for European Studies). Since retirement he has engaged himself assiduously in collecting the intangible oral heritage of the tribal people of Orissa. He has now the single largest collection of tribal myths, legends, tales, songs and lore, which is housed in The National Museum of Mankind (Bhopal) and the Archives of Traditional Museum and Folklore, University of Indiana (Boomington). He has several books on D.H. Lawrence and on the American novels. He is also a creative writer in English and Oriya language.

Prof. Kishor K Basa is the former director of IGRMS. He has been teaching in Department of Anthropology in, Utkal University since 1980. He has co-edited 5 books and published papers in Anthropology, Archaeology and musicology. He is the General Editor of Intangible Cultural Heritage of India Series of IGRMS and annual Journal 'Humankind'

Source: IGRMS library, Bhopal and the Book itself

Contributed by: Satya Ranjan, CEE Central

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