The Role of Oral Tradition with Special Reference to the Thadou-Kuki Society

By D. Mary Kim Haokip

Thadou-Kuki society is well known for its oral tradition that expresses valuable messages. The Thadous have a rich collection of folk literature in different genres that include folk narratives, songs, proverbs, riddles, tales, nursery rhymes, lullabies, war songs, sacrificial chants, etc. All forms of oral tradition in Thadou society contains various informational values on religion, history, customs and public practices, and information that has the values of local wisdom in the daily life of the community, as well as genealogical information or descendant of a family in the community. All of the information are received, developed, and derived and transmitted to the future generations through a wide variety of oral tradition. However, with the advent of education, modern entertainment, changing lifestyle and advanced technology, oral tradition has begun to be gradually abandoned and forgotten by the Thadou society. This has adversely affected the existence and transmission of the rich and valuable oral tradition of the Thadous. The aim of the present paper is to discuss the gradual decline in the role and status of oral tradition in Thadou society and the need for maintaining and preserving before it is lost forever. The paper argues for collective responsibility of every member to preserve and store this rich oral tradition. Additionally, documentation and information centres, such as libraries, archives institution, and museum can help to identify, collect, document the oral tradition and preserve the information contained in the oral tradition.

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