FOLKLORE STUDIES IN KARNATAKA- History
systematic study of folklore had its beginnings in Karnataka, as else where in
Later, F. Kittel and J.F. Fleet gave a boost to folk studies. The article that Kittel wrote for a volume of Indian Antiquary (February 1873) about the belief systems of the people of Coorg is entirely dependent on field work. Another article by him in the same periodical is about the ghosts of Coorg. (June, 1873) However it is full of precious material about tribal customs and the rituals practiced in their weddings. KIttel’s celebrated lexicon contains a number of proverbs collected from the general public.
J.F. Fleet had different interests. He published a series of articles entitled “A Selection of Kanarese Ballads” as early as 1885. It contained seventeen historical ballads (lAvaNi) and four lullaby songs. His method of collecting folk material was quite scientific.
European scholars such as John Leiden, Abbe Du – Bois,(‘Hindu Manners Customs
and Ceremonies’, 1906) Mary Friar,)’Old Deccan days’, 1868) Charles E. Grover,’
(The Folk Songs of Southern India’), A.C. Burnell and C. Manor evinced keen
interest in various aspects of Kannada folklore and produced valuable material.
Gradually the Indian assistants of the European scholars started working on
their own. H.K. Mallappa wrote an article called ‘Rejuvenation of Kannada
Proverbs’. ‘GeLeyara Gumpu’ a small band of dedicated workers from
A.K. Ramanujan, Amritha Someshvara and K.M. Krishna Rao have contributed handsomely to the study and analysis of folklore.
Karnataka Folkloristics acquired academic dimensions in the sixties of the 20th century. It became a part of the curriculum in major Universities. B.S. gAddagimatha, G.S.Paramashivaiah and Viveka Rai motivated folklore studies in the Universities of Mysore, Karnataka and Mangalore respectively. Haa. Maa. Nayaka created a number of technical terms. A course leading to a Post Graduate Diploma in folklore was started in 1972. A number of scholars have obtained their doctoral degrees in folklore since 1974. They are continuing research as well as dissemination of knowledge through their writings. Chandrashekahara Kambara, D.K. Rajendra, B.A. Viveka Rai T.N.Shankaranarayana, Basavaraja Malashetty, P.K. Khandoba, Veeranna Dande, Hi.Shi. Ramachandragowda, Chennanna Walikar, Purushottama Bilimale, Hanuru Krishnamurthy, and K. Chinnappa Gowda are the important ones among this generation of scholars.
Publication of oral folk
epics such as Male Madeshvara Kavya and Mante Swami Kavya by P.K. Rajashekhara
and G.S. Paramashivayya has opened new doors in the field of folklore studies.
There is sustained effort to make folk literature a part of the main stream
Study of folklore is not
confined to literature any more. Anthropological approaches have lead to a
collection of a vast body of knowledge concerned with the life of common people
and marginalised communities. They are still being accumulated and studied.
Many scholars, a few with an academic background such as L.R.Hegde, Sudhakara,
M.S.Latthe, M.M. Kalburgi and Aravinda Malagatti and others such as S.K.
Karimkhan and H.L. Nagegowda are studying various aspects of folklore.
Institutions established by the government and private individuals such as