I am extremely happy to put forward the proceedings of
the 39thSession (Conference) of Indian Folklore
Congress(IFC) held at Postgraduate Department of
Gujarati (Folk and Indigenous Studies), N. S. Patel Arts
College, Anand (Gujarat) on October 9-11, 2015. This
volume is a collection of total sixteenth research papers
presented by the scholars from across India. There is a
dearth of qualitative references on the study of the folk
epics in the Indian context. Except The Epic Oral and
Written (CIIL: Mysore, 1998) edited by Lauri Honko,
Jawaharlal Handoo and John Miles Foley, perhaps there
is no text that can be theoretically beneficial to the
Indian researchers. I personally felt that there was a need
of an up-to-date reference on Indian folk-epics. I thought
that by organising a conference or a scholarly dialogue
on the topic a corpus on the study of Indian folk-epics
could be formed. Hence, I requested my friend, Prof.
Jawaharlal Handoo, the President of IFC, to organise the
39th session of IFC at N. S. Patel Arts College, Anand.
Prof. Handoo accepted our proposal and thus obliged our
Institution. I grab this opportunity to thank Dr. Mohan
Patel, the Principal of N. S. Patel Arts College and Dr.
Prashant Patel, the Head, Postgraduate Department of
Gujarati (Folk and Indigenous Studies) for their financial]
support and warm hospitality.
The main theme of the conference was "Folk-Epics of
India". It also focused on the sub-themes like the path
makers of Indian folklore study, folklore and traditional
knowledge, folklore and world view, folklore and ethnic
identity, and folklore and regional concerns. Out of total
thirty two research papers presented in this conference,
we found these sixteenth papers illuminating (of course others were also good but could not be included in this volume due
to certain reasons).
The first paper, "Folklore, Public Sphere and Civil
Society: The Case of the Marginalised" was in fact a key-note address
delivered by Prof. Jawaharlal Handoo. In his keynote address Prof.
Handoo shows the limitation of verbative material-based old ways of
studying folklore. The true and innovative folklore study must base
itself on folk-culture and public sphere. He has stressed that the
verbative narrative songs and others lore is the voice of the people
for change and better condition has not been so well received and
This limitation of our folklore study is rooted in our traditional
paradigms that gave more importance to lore than folk. It is the main
limitation of our folk-lore study that we focus more on the text rather
than context. He also notes that Jhaverchand Meghani was not only
a collector of folklore but also an excellent fieldworker, a folk singer
and a good analyser of folklore and oral discourse. He had a perfect
understanding of public sphere and the civil society. Prof. Handoo has
also discussed other aspects of folklore, oral discourse in the context
of marginalization and public spare.
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