'It is time to realise that unless we modify the established notion of literature as something written, we will silently witness the decline of various Indian oral traditions'

Literature is usually thought of including those compositions like poetry and prose which are written. But going by this notion, one may miss the aesthetic beauty of the compositions as prevalent in many oral traditions. There is another stream of literature containing compositions which are rich both thematically and aesthetically. But as we have a rigid criteria of regarding compositions as literature only when these are written so these do not get the status of literature. This is the case with many Indian oral traditions. Unless we modify our notions of literature there is every possibility that we will silently witness the decline of various Indian oral traditions.

Another perspective

Oral literary tradition is not a unique phenomenon in India. Oral traditions have been in existence in all parts of the world. Oral traditions do not die out because of their very nature of being transmitted

orally. So it hardly matters whether we modify our notion about literature or not , the oral traditions will continue to exist. What needs to be done is promotion of oral literary tradition through patronage of the state.

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