Kudale Kaniphnath Malhari

School of Interdisciplinary Studies

Ph.D. Scholar in English (Social Exclusion Studies)

The English and Foreign Languages University





This paper tries to map the problems and challenges faced by the researchers in researching and interpreting the oral literature especially Dhangar[1] oral literature and Dhangari Ovis[2].  The Main idea of this paper has evolved from Joseph Muleka’s study on African Oral literature.[3] and has been contextualized in Maharashtra to understand the rural Dhangar Oral literature. We, as researchers, always find it difficult to choose theory which is more relevant to the topic related to a particular community Oral literature and its analysis to build a more reliable narrative of the community. It is easy to find out the theory for written work or for literary analysis of that particular literature. This theory can facilitate to the researcher who works on written literary work. On the other hand, the problem arises when a particular community is least researched or the availability of written literature on that community is scanty. In such scenario, the researcher has to rely on the oral literature of that community. Here the role of the performer comes into picture. At the same time the researcher is grappled with another problem of choice of theory because the nature of oral literature is unpredictable and transient. It is the performer who decides how to present or perform the literary piece. This puts the researcher of the oral literature in to dilemma about the choice of theory to analyze the oral literature to build the history of a particular community. Even many scholars have argued on this issue what I believe there is acute need of theory to analyze the local oral literature as the academia still uses the western theories to do so. But the complexity grows when these theories fail to grab the essence of the community people who speak of their existence using folk tales, oral art forms. The dilemma comes when there is no alternative, for oral literary forms are important for research on nomadic  communities.

[1] Dhangar is a Nomadic tribe Community in Maharashtra. They are known by different names all over the Country in different States. For Example they are known Kuruma/Kuruba  in  AP , TS.

[2] It is oral art form of Dhangars, especially it is sung during some occasions

[3] University of Nairobi, Kenya, Email: Josephmuleka@yahoo.com

Click to View and Download Full Research Paper in PDF:

Theory and Scope in Dhangar Oral Literature Research from Maharashtra: Some Observations.