Thursday, May 25, 2017 | ePaper

Folkloric Bangladesh

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Dr. Ashraf  Siddiqui :Back of all literature stretches and unmapped and immeasurable world of oral tradition which may roughly be called Folklore. As in other countries in the world in Bangladesh also we can discover an enormous amount of influence of folklore on our old and modern Bengali literature. It has now become proverbial that "necessary that he should be familiar with the folkloric heritage of the country." The writer however, will endeavor to give a short historical background of folklore scholarship and its prospect in Bangladesh.The abundant folklore of present-day Bangladesh, therefore, contains a variety of elements, which is partly to be explained by historical forces. From the third century A.D. on,  the Mouryas, the Guptas, the Palas, the Senas and the Muslims came one after another to rule the land and they grafted their ways of life and culture traits on the indigenous population. Subsequently Portuguese, French and English ships anchored in the harbours of Bengal, and left not only their merchandise but also their customs. Among these foreign traders, The British became most powerful and were able to consolidate their authority at the expense of the fading empire of the Mughal rulers. The battle of Plassey in 1757 ended with the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal. This British victory ensured the supremacy of the British East India Company over the entire Sub-continent including Bengal for nearly two hundred years. As a result the folklore of Bangladesh will present an interesting variety both anthropological and sociological.There is no denying the fact that the first phase of folklore collecting was started by the British rulers of India, though the purpose behind it was obviously political and administrative. As soon as the British East India Company became ruler of Bengal, it requested the British civil officers to learn about the people of the land through their traditions and customs. Consequently under the directives of the company, scholars like William Jones (1746-1794), a judge of the old Supreme Court, Calcutta, established the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal in the year 1784. This Society promoted the study of the humanities, including materials later recognised as folklore, which were published in the journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The first volume of Asiatic Research contains an interesting article, Trial by Ordeal by Ali Ebrahim Khan, a Magistrate, (vol. 1, 1798, pp. 389-404). Khan discussed in this article various kinds of ordeals then prevalent in this country. Solvyns Balt, a French artist, published The Costumes of Hindustan in four volumes from 1804-1812 which contained sixty coloured engravings explaining the costumes, manners and custom in India.Under the British initiative, the study of folklore was advanced primarily by British civil officers and European missionaries. In order to present the folklore activities of this period, the writer will discuss these two groups separately.After the Sepoy Revolution of 1857, we find a more congenial atmosphere in which to investigate folklore. In 1848. by the proclamation of Queen Victoria, the administration was transferred from the East India Company to a Viceroy, the representative of the Queen of England. From then on, the English officials, before leaving England, were instructed to mix with the Indian people, to try to gain their confidence, and also to respect their religion, culture and customs. The officers who came to India were clearly familiar with the importance of anthropology, ethnology and folklore. Such journals and serials were founded as : Indian Antiquary (Bombay, 1872-1933), The Journal of the Anthro pological Society of Bombay (Calcutta, 1886-1936), North Indian Notes and Queries (1891-1896), the Imperial Gazetteers (26 vols., London, 1892, 1907-9), the District Gazetteers, Journal and Proceedings, Asiatic Society of Bengal (Calcutta, 1905-) and Man in India (Ranchi, 1942-) etc. All of these publications recorded an enormous quantity of folkloristic, ethnological and anthropological material. Additional data on Indian folklore also appeared in non-Indian journals such as Folk-Lore (London, 1890-), Journal of the American Oriental Society (1843-), American Journal of Philology, (Baltimore, 1888-) journal of American Folklore (Bostan, 1888-) and many other native journals. Scholars must examine all these volumes and other journals in local languages very carefully.Because of space limitations, we wish to mention here only the contributions of prominent civil servants and some other important scholars. William Wilson Hunter, then a Commissioner at Dacca, published his Annals of Rural Bengal in 1868 in London. He was the first scholar to collect and publish Santal legends. His collection has proved to be of immense anthropological importance. The Santals, a tribe found in Bangladesh and in the north-east section of India, engaged such active British ethnologists as Dr. A. Campbell (Santal Folk-tales, Manbhum, 1891), C.H. Bompoas (Folk-lore of Santal Parganas, London, 1909), P.O. Bodding (A Chapter of Santal Folklore, Kristiania, 1924); and (Santal Folk-tales, 3 vols., Oslo, 1925-29). The importance of the Santals in the study of primitive races is now firmly recognized.Thomas Herbert Lewin, Deputy Commissioner at Chittagong Hill Tracts, offered an authentic ethnological survey of tribal people in his The Hill Tracts in Chittagong and the Dwellers Therein (1869) and the Wild Races of South-Eastern India (London, 1870). He recorded some myths, creation stories, customs and superstitions directly taken from oral tradition. He supported his comments with documentary notes and pictures.D.T. Dalton, Colonel, Bengal Staff Corps and Commissioner at Chuto-Nagpur, published his Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal under the direction of the Council of the Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1872. He studied the people of Bengal and presented a number of widespread folktales and legends. He was the first scholar to publish a comprehensive ethnological history of Bengali people.G.H. Damant, another Britisher, who was a Deputy Commissioner in Rangpur, contributed a series of folktales, legends, charms and myths to the Indian Antiquary. The very first volume of this journal (1872) contains some well-known tales of North Bengal (Dinajpur) which he collected. His harvest of twenty-two tales makes him the first major collector of Bengali tales from Bangladesh.Sir Georgn Grierson (1851-1941) whose love and deep interest for eastern folklore and language has already become proverbial. Ultimately he published material on 179 languages and 364 dialects of this continent. Because of this scholarship, he received a Knighthood in 1912 and the Order of Merit in 1928 from the King of England. Grierson spent 26 years in India. While in charge of Rangpur District, from 1873-1877, he collected from the peasants folk-rhymes, folksongs and ballads such as the widely known 'Manik Chandrer Gan' (the Song of Manik Chandra). After these songs were published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal (1878), the search for similar songs was carried out in earnest. In 1898 Grierson was appointed the Superintendent of the Linguistic Survey of India. The famous Norwegian linguist and folklorist Sten Konow assisted him in this work. They decided that a piece of folklore or some other passages in narrative prose or verse...[should be] 'taken down...from the mouth of the speaker on the spot" as a specimen of language of dialect. Grierson's nineteen volume Survey contains folklore specimens from many languages and dialects of Indian Sub-continent. Volume V. devoted to the Bengali language, is probably the most valuable one. Here he cites much folklore material, including ballads, songs and tales. Grierson is the first major collector of Bengali ballads, songs, and rhymes. His folklore essays published in the Indian Antiquary and Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Bengal still serve as authentic references. The scholars during this period were greatly influenced by the establishment of a Folk-Lore Society in London in 1878.Major Alan Playfair, then a Government officer, who studied the tribal people wrote 'The Garos' (1909) which gives an excellent account of the Garos, many of whom live in the Mymensingh district. This valuable contribution to the ethnology of the primitive peoples was one of the series published under the sponsorship of the Government of Eastern Bengal and Assam. S.A. Peal was one of the civilians who contributed excellent articles on the "River" and "Place" names in 1897 in the Journal of Asiatic Society of Bengal. Mention should also be made of H. Beveridge, District Magistrate, Bogra, who published excellent articles on the 'Antiquities of Bogra' in the same journal in 1878. J.D. Anderson's 'Some Chittagong Proverbs' (1897) contains excellent example of proverbs from the Chittagong area. Mention is needed of William Crooke, who in his 'The Popular Religion and Folk-Lore of Northern India (2 vols., 1893) gave a scientific explanation of what is known as folk-cult, folk-religion and folk-rituals.In 'The Tribes and Castes of Bengal' (2 vols., Calcutta 1891) Herbert H. Risley of the Indian Civil Service applied to Indian anthropology the methods of systematic research followed by European anthropologists. This work, besides containing a great deal of anthropological information, included myths, legends and fictional folktales from Bengal.Sir F.B. Bradley-Birt, a District Collector of Bengal, compiled 'Bengal Fairy Tales' (London, 1920). This book contains some excellent marchen typical of present-day Bangladesh; although Birt does not disclose his sources, however, the folklorist can easily identify international tale types in his collection. Many of these tales will be found in the collections of Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder, mentioned later.Along with the civil servants, the missionaries of Great Britain, Europe and the United States contributed importantly to folklore collection and publication. Since their aim was to preach Christianity among the natives, it was incumbent on them to know the native customs. Among the missionaries, the name of William Carey deserves special mention. Carey served in Fort William College from 1800-1831 and with the help of native munshis he published a series of Bengali books, edited newspapers and encouraged the translation from Sanskrit and Persian of folktales known in oral traditions.Right, Rev, Reginald Herber (Narrative of a Journey through Upper Provinces of India, from Calcutta to Bombay; 2 vols., 1824-25), Thomas Bacon (Oriental Annual, 2 vols.: 1840) and Caleb Wright (India and Its Inhabitants : 1856) on the other hand, were though casual travelers, kept excellent informations in their books about the customs and tradition of our country.Reverend James Long was a prolific collector of Bengali proverbs and sayings. His publications include Three Thousand Bengali Proverbs and Proverbial Sayings Ill   ustrating Native Life and Feelings Among Ryots and Women (1872), Eastern Proverbs and Emblems Illustrating Old Truth (London, 1881) and Two Thousand Bengali Proverbs (Probad Mala) Illustrating Native Life and Feelings (1868). Many folk rhymes and charms also have bean incorporated among these proverbs and sayings which were used by later compilers of Bengali rhymes.The missionaries were followed by such native collectors as Kanailal Ghosal (Probad Pustaka, A Book of Proverbs, 1890), Dwarakanath Basu (Probad Songroho, A Book of Proverbs, 1893), and Rajendranath Bannerjee (A Collection of Agricultural Sayings in Lower Bengal, 1893).William McCulloch's Bengali Household Tales (London, 1912) may be regarded as one of the best folktale collections of Bengal because of its notes and organization. Though the tales were collected from a Brahmin informant around 1886-87, the book was published in London in 1912 after McCulloch had retired. His notes refer to parallel examples of both literary and oral stories in other eastern and western collections. It should be noted that the above mentioned writers were influenced by the English Anthropological school headed by Darwin, Tylor and others.Lal Behari Day, a native Christian, whose father came from Dacca, published a series of books and essays on Bengali festivals, holidays sports and games, caste system, village folk and folk life in Bengal. His Folk-Tales of Bengal (London and Calcutta, 1883), collected from an old maid, mother of Govinda, created considerable interest among European and American readers. Many versions of these tales have since been collected in East Bengal. Day's Bengal Peasant's Life (1874) is a realistic and objective study of folk life. Day influenced a host of writers such as Kasindranath (Popular Tales of Bengal, 1905), Shovana Devi (Orient Pearls, 1915) and others in collecting and compiling oral tradition. It was, however, Sarat Chandra Mitra, who made excellent studies of folklore on the harvest made by former collectors and scholars. He published nearly 250 articles in various native and foreign journals which have always been referred to many research publications both in country and abroad. Another prolific writer was Abdul Wali of Khulna who also cortributed much to various journals including Asiatic and Anthropological Societies specially on Lalon Shah.The Second phase of the folklore movement was introduced by Bengali scholars of  nationalistic tendencies. Rabindranath Tagore was the pioneer during this period. From 1885 to 1899, he published four essays showing the importance of folk-literature. These four essays were compiled in his book Loka-Sahitya (Folk-Literature) in 1907. Tagore patronised others and he himself collected a large number of folklore materials from his vast estate in East Bengal. He himself wrote, "When I was at Selaidah, I would always keep close contact with the Bauls (mystic folksingers) and have discussions with them, and it is a fact that I infused tunes of Baul songs into many of my own songs." (Folklore, II, Calcutta, 1961, p. 14). Dr. Dusan Zbavitel, Professor of Indology in the Oriental Institute of Czechoslovakia, writes : "It is my firm belief that without staying in the countryside for as long as he did, Rabindranath could never have become what he was, either as a man or a poet." (ibid., p. 14). Critics have commented that Tagore has used numerous folklore themes in many of his poems, songs, dramas, novels and short stories. Tagore's example was followed by the leading Bengali journals. Bangiya Sahitya Parisat, a Bengali literary society, which was established under his encouragement in 1893. The Sahitya Parisat Journal, form the year of its inception (1894), began publishing folklore materials collected from  the various regions now comprising Bangladesh.The first decade of the century Jwentieth witnessed a turbulent nationalistic and political agitation, better known as the Non-Cooperation Movement." British merchandise was boycotted and home made products received preference. Traditions and folklore now were acclaimed. Calcutta University encouraged its professor of Modern Indian Language Dr. Dinesh Chandra Sen, to collect ballads. Dinesh Chandra, a resident of East Bengal, who read Percy and others ballad collections, was aware of the rich ballad heritage of Mymenshingh. Chandra Kumar De of Mymenshingh was appointed to collect ballads from this area, including information about the singers. Four large volumes of Eastern Bengal ballads: (one Mymensingh) with  separate texts in both Bengali and English, were published from 1923 to1932. These ballads attracted attention all over the world. His other works, Glimpses of Bengal Life (1915), Prachin Bangla Sahitye Musalmaner Abodan (1940 : (Contribution of Muslims to Old Bengali Literature) and especially, Folk-Literature of Bengal (1920) are invaluable. In the latter book, a comparative study of some Bengali tales with those of Europe he boldly expressed the view that in India, the highest level of culture was for ages represented by Magadha. Since lower Bengal, the Banga proper, was an important gateway for enterprising foreign people who traded with India, one consequence was the circulation of the Jatakas, the birth-stories of Buddha, from Bengal or more probably Magadha, throughout the countries of Europe and the Middle East.Abdul Gafur Siddiqui of Khulna, Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisarada of Chittagong and Ashraf Hossain Sahitya-Ratna of Sylhet, all in Bangladesh, collected a considerable amount of folklore from their own areas and published articles in various popular journals. Scholars are using this material in comparative studies.The folktale collections by Upendra Kishore Roy Choudhury and Daksinaranjan Mitra Majumder deserve praise. Choudhury's collection of animals tales, Toontoonir Boi (1910; Book of Toontooni) and Majumder's marchen and ritual tales Thakur Dadar Jhuli (1908; Grandfather's story), Thakur Mar Jhuli (1906; Grandmother's story), Than Didir Thale (1911; Grandmother's bag), Dadamoshaer Thale (1924; Grandfather's bag) and others were published during this period. Majumder was probably the first collector to use a phonograph in field collecting, and all his books faithfully reproduce typical folktales and folk life in the then East Bengal. Jogindra Nath Sirker's Khukumanir Chara (1902; Folk Rhymes for Children) is an authentic collection of Bengali rhymes. It is interesting to note that almost all of these writers used materials found mostly in East Bengal-now Bangladesh.Mansur Uddin, another prominent folklorist of Bangladesh, took up the task of collecting  Baul songs, which had been started by Tagore. After the publication of the first volume (1939) with perface form Tagore, in 1942, Calcutta University published his second volume of Hara-Mani (Lost Gems), which included a few hundred songs. Since then 12 additional volumes of his collections have been published in Dacca. Jasim Uddin, who started his career as a collector of folksongs and folktales..................... He was, however, most famous for his use of folklore themes in dramas and in poetry. His published folksong collections include Rangila Nayer Majhi (The Boatman of the Green Boat) in 1938. His collection of humorous folktales, published in Bengali as Bangalir Hashir Galpa (1960) appeared along with English translation. He also published Jarigan (1968) and many other publications. Special mention should be made of Late Abbas Uddin, a scholar, accomplished singer, and collector of folksongs. His influence in the contemporary folklore movement of our country is immense. Hundreds of his genuine folksong records pressed by commercial recording companies sold like hot cakes. Popularly known as the father of Bengali Folk-songs Abbas Uddin has made folksongs popular and has created a school of folksingers in Bangladesh. These three scholars, Mansur Uddin, Jasim Uddin and Abbas Uddin, represented the country at Folklore Conferences held in London, at Indiana University in Bloomington and the Germany, in past years.The third phase of the folklore movement was begun in Dacca, then East Bengal, in the year 1938. In that year a conference was held under the auspices of the Eastern Mymensingh-Literary-Society, at Kishoreganj. Dr. Mohammad Shahidullah, then Chairman of the Department of Bengali at Dacca University, a lover of folk-tradition, in his presidential address lauded the great value of folklore study and his remarks were carried by many of the journals and newspapers of the country. This enthusiasm resulted in the formation of the 'Eastern Bengal Folklore Collection Society' at Dacca University. Dr. Shahidullah became its President, and Asutosh Bhattacharya its Secretary. Chandra Kumar De, a collector of Eastern Bengal Ballads, Sirajuddin Kashimpuri, Ashutosh Choudhury and Purna Chandra Bhattacharya, other enthusiastic collectors, and Jassim Uddin joined their efforts in this project. A.K. Fazlul Huq, then Chief Minister of Bengal, patronized the project and promised substantial monetary support. Shortly, courses in folklore were included upto the graduate level in Dacca University.Shahidullah's contribution (a follower of Benfey's Indianist school) was important because he clearly pointed out that folklore materials pass form one country to another and hence a comparative outlook was a must. While Dr. Shahidullah showed the international aspect of folklore, Guru Saday Dutt, and inhabitant of Sylhet and late posted in various districts of East Bengal, as a civilian, contributed a series of articles on folk arts and crafts of Bengali in international journals. Asutosh Bhattachayra's Bangla Mangal Kavjer Itihas (1939) and Banglar Loka-Sahitya, (1954) are however, prominent works during this period. His books include much materials from his native East Bengal which he collected while he was residing here.Folklore activities was, however, much accelerated when the then Government established The Bengali Academy in Dacca in 1955 to promote research work on Bengali language and literature. The council of the Bengali Academy, in its very first meeting made a decision to promote collecting, preserving and publishing of folklore materials. Sufficient funds were allocated for this purpose. Circulars were issued all over the country through newspapers, private organizations and government agencies, requesting that folklore materials be sent to the Academy.(To be continued)A number of folklore collectors were appointed by the Academy to work on the project in the regions rich in folklore. As a result, folklore materials of high quality poured in an unending stream. While collecting was thus being established on a systematic basis, the Academy began to publish folklore collections. The first publication, Momenshahir Loka-Sahitya (Folklore of Mymensingh), collected and edited by Rowshan Izdani, came out in 1957. His book contains specimens of different genres of folklore material of his native Mymensingh district. Izdani was, however, a good collector.In May, 1960, mainly based on the proposal of the present writer, a fresh graduate from the Indiana University and chief of Culture and Folklore section the Folklore Committee of the Bengali Academy resolved that the folklore materials collected by the Academy should be edited by eminent scholars before publication in a scientific method. The Committee decided that each editor should work with a particular kind of material from a specific region. In the introductory chapter, the editor was instructed to cover the following points:1. Information about the field and the informants2. Social and cultural background of the material3. Functional use of each genre4. Typical regional characteristics, if there are any5. Historical elements, if there are any6. International circulation, if it can be determined7. Literary value, etc.So far the Bengali Academy has published a huge number of books including some in English, thousands of books may now be compiled from the huge material collected by the Academy.So to conclude that the establishment of the Folk-Lore Society in London in 1878 and Asiatic Society of Bengal in 1784, mentioned earlier, mark the beginning of a emphasis on scientific procedure in the study and collecting of folklore.  The influence of the Asiatic and the Folk-Lore Societies were greatly felt in the then India because many of the government officials and missionaries active there were affiliated with them. Dorson has described the foundation of the folk-Lore Society and its influence on English folklorists thus :In a period roughly bounded by 1870 and 1910 England witnessed a vigorous activity in folklore. Within these years the first folklore society in the world was formed; the first folklore journal (Folk-Lore Record, 1878-1882) was issued, and filled with brilliant articles; collectors handbooks (Gomme, The Handbook of Folk-Lore, 1st ed. 1887; 2nd ed. 1890; enlarged ed. by Burne, 1914) were compiled, and systematic country collections were undertaken; folk materials hidden in magazine files, chapbooks, and similar antiquarian sources were located and reprinted; and International Folklore Congress was held at London in 1891, dominated by English scholars: and a steady outpour of theoretical and controversial treatises wrestled with the problems of the new science.In the first issue of Folk-Lore (1890), the organ of the Folk Lore Society, which succeeded Folk-Lore Record (1878-1882) and Folk-Lore Journal (1883-1889),  the editor Joseph Jacobs clearly stated :Since Mr. Thoms invented the term in 1846, Folk-Lore has undergone a continual widening of its meaning and its reference...Folk-Lore has now been extended to include the whole vast background of popular thought, feeling and usages, out of which, and in contrast to which have been developed all the individual products of human activity which go to make up what is called History."And in all the studies an attempt will be made to give exact and prompt bibliographical information of noteworthy contributions in books or articles published at home and abroad.In the same way Burne in her Handbook wrote :"Whatever country be the scene of operations, the first requisite in collecting folklore is to enter into friendly relations with the folk...he (the collector) must adopt a sympathetic attitude and show an interest in the people themselves."The impulse of the new science of anthropology, of course, formed the background for the new group of folklorists in this era. The anthropological influence can be traced to the work of Darwin.Darwin published his great work on the Origin of Species in 1859 with a call for evolutionary treatment in the science of man. Darwin felt that all morality was the result of evolution and that in man it had been produced not by natural selection working on the individual, but by the improvement of various communities moral standards which increased their survival potential. In The Descent of Man (1871) he made cultural studies the legitimate heirs of evolutionary biology.In response to the Origin of Species, Tylor in his Researches into the Early History of Mankind (1865) and his Primitive Culture (1871) crystallized the concept of cultural ascent for folklorists as well as anthropologists. His Primitive Culture covered a broad field, including mythology, philosophy, religion, language, are and culture. Tylor's emphasis was on 'survival' and he concerned himself with the unity of human culture envisaged as a continuity. He contended that all people have gone through the same stages of culture in a direct line of evolution, and that in each stage they react to the world and express themselves in the same way. Thus in the higher stage there may be survivals' of the earlier stages.Tylor's evolutionary anthropology was carried on by Frazer, who found in primitive culture an opportunity to indulge his interest in ancient survivals. His The Golden Bough (2 vols., 1890; several volumes published under different titles were issued in an enlarged edition of 12 vols.; 3rd ed. from 1911-1915), a comparative study of myths, tales, rituals, and other genres of folklore, drew equally from ethnology, ancient history and European and Oriental folklore. Among many areas and cultures Frazer refers to, we find numerous references to material from various parts of Bengal collected and studied by English civil servants, missionaries, and native collectors. His Totemism (1887), Questions on the Customs, Beliefs and Languages of Savages (1907), The Belief in Immortality and the Worship of the Dead (3 vols., 1913, 1922, and 1924), The Worship of Nature (1926), The Fear of the Dead in Primitive Religion (3 vols. 1933, 1934 and 1936) were stimulating studies which threw light on the various explanations of folklore. Frazer's data was second-hand and often inaccurate, but his theories on religion were stimulating. The study of direct and parallel evolution of cultures and of survivals in culture, as enlarged by Frazer, encouraged such folklorists as MacCulloch in his The Childhood of Fiction (1905) to study folklores primarily as the products of primitive societies, being filled with motifs going back to remote periods of beliefs in Europe and Asia. Frazer and MacCulloch overlooked the consideration that each people has its own historical development and its own culture.However, these synthesis seemingly gave a scientific basis to the doctrine of survivals cherished by the anthropological folklorists, and prolific scholars such as Gomme, Hartland, Lang, Clodd and Nutt, who together combated and vanquished the solar mythologists' led by MaxMuller, Cox, Gubernatis and Robert Brown etc.In short, Lang's Custom and Myth (1884) and Myth, Ritual and Religion (1887), Hartland's The Science of Fairy Tales (1891), The Legend of Perseus (1894-96), Gomme's Ethnology in Folklore (1892), Folklore as a Historical Science (1908), Clodd's Tom Tit Tot (1898) and Cox's Cinderella (1893), were more or less echoes of this survival theory, and thus the doctrine of survivals adopted from the theory of biological evolution unified the works of Victorian scholars.With the development of anthropological theory under the influence of such men as Van Gennep, Naumann, and Boas, the theory of uniliner cultural evolution was rejected in favour of cultural pluralism. Neither they realised the importance of Finish School, type, motif, variations and above all 'personal complex' of the informants enlarged by the Russian scholars. Accordingly, the influence of the British folklore scholars diminished, and by the end of the second decade of the twentieth century their theories had been completely replaced.It was quite natural that folklore collection and study in the then India by British civil servants and missionaries from 1870 on received much impetus from survivalist scholarship prosecuted in England Richard Cornac Temple, William Crooke, Herbet Risley, George Grierson, C.H. Bompas, Rev, James Long, and others who spent long years in India were acquainted with the folklore scholarship in London and they employed these theories in their work in India. Crook, Log, Grierson and many other civil servants contributed original articles to Folk-Lore and other journals. Native scholars such as Sarat Chandra Mitra and Abdul Wali directly or indirectly were also influenced by the folklore scholars in England. Mitra himself was a contributor of Folk-Lore and other international journals.It is true that folklore activities in England gave a great impetus to the European civil servants and missionaries residing in India. But all of them were not equally good scholars. Neither did they rigidly follow the methods by English folklorists. Local scholars and collectors, on the other hand, imbued with a nationalistic spirit, saw in folklore a long continuing cultural heritage and in some cases they allowed emotion to colour and sweeten their discussions and scholarship. Among the nationalist folklorists the names of Rabindranath Tagore and Dinesh Chandra Sen rank high. Their impetus and encouragement inspired a whole generation of collectors and scholars to collect and study folklore, as has been observed in this study.It is needless to say that the British anthropologists and survivalists headed by Darwin, Tylor, Frazer, MacCulloch, Gomme, Hartland Lang, Clodd, Nutt, Andrew Lang and others on the one hand and such prolific Indianists Benfey, Max Muller, Bloomfield, Cowell, Tawney and Penzer and on the other hand, reigned over the folklore scene of Indo-Bangladesh subcontinent almost from the beginning till the last days of British supremacy. The anthropological and survival theories changed but their followers still clinged to the old theories, they talked, debated, essayed which in some cases, though were illuminating, national, but in no ways were international. Folklore scholarship during the British period, nay, even today in our country, has less comparatively been influenced by the Finish Historic-Geographic method, the modern anthropological and ethnological theories, the Psychoanalytical Schools or even Structuralists. While Finland, Ireland, Sweden and American are emphasising on the modern 'field method' and specially on the 'style', 'contents' and 'functions' of folklore or folksong, we are still gossiping on  the same Victorian armchair, our eyes kept wide-open on printed materials, books or theories. What is needed now is a first hand knowledge of folklore in our field, its life-story, the people, tellers, informants, singers and cultural hinte

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