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A Prelude to the Future: Folklore Heritage of Bengal

 

 

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Those a bit acquainted to the lifestyle in Bengal must have had come across the numerous gems, which remained strewn across the path that led them towards the enlightenment. The Bengali culture has a rich polish in terms of the tales, songs, ballads, proverbs, riddles, superstitions and myths that passed on from one generation to another but seldom escaped the set boundary, the diversity in the regional languages being the prime cause. But globalization made the doors ajar; though a lot has occurred as the aftermaths of commercialization, it has nevertheless helped us in recovering a considerable portion of the old-wives’-tales that once used to deliver certain innuendos to keep the tie intact. It is thus a meager effort to bring them up in front of the newer generation, who haven’t had a chance to hear them from the mouths of the famous Bengali Thaku’ma or ‘granny’. But before that, it is essential to know that it’s not only the tales or proverbs or everything aforementioned; the influence of Bangla folklores reaches beyond those parameters to make itself available through the forms of lullabies sung to a child, through tongue twisters, through riddles, through the age-old adages and also rituals, to name a few. A far more intensity of the same can be noticed at Bangladesh, the cradle from which these folklores step foot on the soil of West Bengal; those who would like to know further details may have a quick glance on the morbid event described as the partition of Bengal in history to understand the relation. Now, a historical survey of Bangla folktales is to follow. 

 

 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com    

It’s vital to make one’s own self aware of the social and ethnic conditions of the country, if a person is inquisitive on its literature. Bangladesh, once been the land trodden by multiple races collected bits and pieces from every culture that it came across; what started from the third century (AD) onwards with the rise of the Mourya, Gupta, Pala and Sena dynasties gradually came in touch with the Muslim settlers to gather the cultural traits before incorporating the Portuguese, French and English similitude within the jurisdictions of the authentic Bangla folklores. As varied and interesting as it can get, hadn’t it been for the foreign settlers, Bangla folklores wouldn’t have received its anthropological and sociological edge that it exhibits as of now. 

 

 

For Bengali translation by native translator contact www.indianscripts.com    

Religions, culture and customs formed the trinity of the Bangla folklore tradition; as examples, we may cite the Tales of Jataka and Panchatantra that were born long before Aesop’s Fables came into being. But Bangla folklore included them all within its dominion; what was once a gauche representation of olden people received a new lease of life in the hands of Bengali scholars Upendrakishore RayChowdhury (Mojontali Sorkar), Rabindranath Tagore (Loka-Sahitya) and later on Jasimuddin (poet and dramatist) and Abbas Uddin. Till now, it was the second phase of Bangla folklore tradition. 

 

The third phase initiated at Dhaka. The year was 1938 and it marked the advent of the Eastern Moymonsingha Literary Society whose mission was to promote the collection and study of folklore. 1955 saw Bangla Academy being established at Dhaka; the enthusiasm for the collection, preservation and publication of folklore materials attained a new height that also promoted the two contending groups: communalistic folklores and individualistic folklores. These are, however, ballads, that found form primarily through two musical genres, Kavigaan and Jarigaan that often go beyond the limit of the particular subject to drag in modern socialistic topics. And this again proves Bangla folklores as the meeting point for social, cultural and ethnic issues that imparted to the tradition a distinct flavor to enjoy for many years to come. 

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