Indian English Literature: A Storehouse of Oral Tradition


  • Dr. Rashmi Jain Assistant Professor Department of English Iswar Saran Degree College, Allahabad India


Indian English Literature can be considered as the storehouse of oral tradition as innumerable stories are drawn from fables, folklores, folktales and so on. Oral narratives are indispensible part of Indian culture which is represented in Indian English Literature through the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Girish Karnad, Devdutt Pattanaik and many other writers. They have drawn inspiration from The Ramayana, the Mahabharata, Buddhist tales, the Puranas, The Panchatantra and others. Tagore’s Chitra, Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana and Flowers, Pattanaik’s Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You, The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni explored the kathas, tales from the past and stressed on its importance in the present. Karnad’s Flowers shows the importance of faith which makes God help his devotee. Pattanaik deals with many such oral narratives which make us peep into the kathas of the past. The story ‘Aaravan, whose wife was a complete man’ has been extracted from Tamil Mahabharata. This story exposes the sacrifice of Aaravan- son of Arjuna and serpant princess for victory in the battle of Kurukshetra. Tagore’s Chitra deals with the story of Chitrangada and Arjuna.  An oral narrative revisits the past and helps the present generation to preserve the moral and ethical values and guide one at the time of turmoil.


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