Vice President Venkaiah Naidu today called for reviving the traditions of Indian folklore and using their potential to advocate for social causes such as preventing gender discrimination and protecting girls.
Expressing concern over the gradual decline in popularity of various traditional folk forms, he said communities that once practiced folk art forms are disappearing. He suggested acquiring skills and training young people from these families to revive them and hoped that young people would use popular media as tools for advocacy and social change.
Naidu also stressed the need to develop a rich database of folk traditions in our country. “Extensive documentation must be done using audiovisual media while taking care not to lose their essence in the process of translation to a modern format,” he added.
Virtually addressing an event celebrating Indian folk traditions, the vice president highlighted the great history and rich diversity of folk art and oral traditions in India and called for popularizing them. “The nuances of our language, all of our traditional practices and the collective wisdom of our ancestors flow organically into folklore. Folk traditions also played a vital role in the political and social awareness of our masses during the struggle for independence. Folklore is, in the truest sense of the word, popular literature, ”said Shri Naidu.
Noting how Indian folklore has flourished in history largely thanks to the patronage it enjoys in rural areas, the Vice President said that “rural India and folklore cannot be separated”. Our civilizational values and cultural traditions are rooted in our rural life, he added.
Calling folklore the most important vector of our culture, Shri Naidu expressed concern over the erosion of oral traditions which are struggling to remain relevant due to a lack of patronage.
He cited pervasive globalization and commercialized mass media that target traditional art forms as possible reasons for their decline. He called for the protection of these traditions because these “cultural roots, once permanently lost, cannot be recovered”, he recalled.
In order to rekindle folklore and enlighten the younger generations, the vice president suggested that annual events, especially in schools and colleges, focus on local and folk art forms. He observed that mass media, such as film, television and radio, could also incorporate aspects of our folklore into their format appropriately and reach their audiences.
Shri Naidu advised leveraging online and digital platforms to revive and spread our folk art forms. He also called on public broadcasters like Doordarshan and All India Radio to give prominence to folk arts in their programs.
On this occasion, the Vice-President congratulated the Government of Karnataka for establishing the University of Folklore of Karnataka, also known as Karnataka Janapada Vishwavidyalaya, dedicated exclusively to the study and research on folklore. “It responds to a vital need to create much needed awareness of our folk forms,” he said.
The Vice President expressed his appreciation for the artists who recently performed in the cultural programs organized by the State Cultural Department and the Ballari District Collector in his honor. In particular, he complimented the folk songs performed by Meera of Hospet, 15, and the Karnataka folk dance by Shri Satyanrayana and his troupe.
Popular folk singer Shri Damodaram Ganapati Rao, folklore researcher Dr Sagili Sudharani, folk singer Dr Linga Srinivas and other folk and passionate artists virtually participated in the event.