Dimapur, April 15 (EMN): The Naga Scholars Association (NSA) organized a panel discussion on the subject of reviving folk literature and storytelling, on Sat. April 13 at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, in New Delhi.
The NSA issued a press release on Monday informing about the event.
The first speaker was associate professor at Amity University Dr. Walunir, no surname given. He spoke about the trends and issues in folk culture. He examined how traditionally organized groups of people told their practices and beliefs, the updates stated.
Walunir opined that “folkloristics” mostly engage either with “folklife” and folklore in their enclosed natural milieu or in its post-rupture event of ‘becoming’.
“What involves in both the cases is transcription and documentation and a serious question to be posed here is whether this act of ‘retrieving’ folklore does justice or damage to an otherwise living corpus of life and knowledge,” Walunir said. He opined that folklore materials get ‘frozen’ in the written and digitized forms, losing their ‘original’ significance.
Further, he stated that the ‘most unethical element’ in this act of documentation was the shifting of folklore knowledge from public domain to private domain: institutionalization, privatization and control of an otherwise free circulatory public knowledge.
The speaker concluded that “folkloristics” need to find ethical means of moving forward from ‘relics’ or ‘perishing’ traditions towards continuities and relevance in the changing world. Interdisciplinary approaches can be employed with faithfulness towards traditional milieu of folklore, he added.
Another speaker was Dr. Theyiesinuo Keditsu, assistant professor at Kohima College. She gave a discourse a paper about ‘Indigenising poetry in English through folklore.” She began her presentation by highlighting the need to embrace the broader definitions of folklore, “which is no longer limited to the past but includes the present day practices.”
Keditsu was stated to have rued “the fact” the Nagas were still trapped in the ‘colonized mindset,’ be it the nature of “our pedagogical methods and the way our school syllabuses are structured.”
“We learn about the culture, polities and histories of the others at the cost of forgetting our own. The supremacy of English as a language was established on account of the pioneering works of the Christian missionaries in the region which unfortunately continue to hold sway amongst the Naga society.”
‘The extent of dominance is such that, the Nagas write about their past by using modern terminologies which our forefathers would not have idea,’ she said.
Kaikho Ashuni, producer at Electronic Media Production Centre at the IGNOU was another speaker of the event. In her presentation on “Storytelling in the age of digital media,” she opined that writing alone cannot do justice to indigenous folklore and culture. Reading and listening using multimedia can offer rich experiences of preserving folk literature and storytelling, she said.
Ashuni started her presentation by playing a pre-recorded audio to draw an analogy about how spoken words are equally powerful in conveying a message.
‘Even in this age of modern science and technology, oral mode of communication continues to dominate our society,’ she was quoted as having said.
‘Digital media offers a ray of hope in the preservation of our culture which can be recorded in digital format and act as a repository of knowledge production,’ she said.
Further, Ashuni was quoted as having stated that “every digital literate should make use of digital media to further the process of storytelling and not confined to written oral history alone.” Moreover, because digital media is not exclusive to few privileges, she said, it enlarges the scope of engagement within and outside the society.
‘The content flow of traditional media like television, radio, print media are limited. However the content flow of digital media is unlimited where people themselves become both the producer and consumes itself or “prosumer,”’ the updates quoted Ashuni as having said in her address.