South Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Folk Tradition, Delta Ecology and Connected Social History in Littoral Bay of Bengal

Friday, July 6
12:10 PM - 1:40 PM
Location: Rudraksha, Lower Ground Floor

The Bengal delta has been recipient to Islamic influences since the medieval times through trade, commerce and cultural exchanges with South East and West Asia via the Bay of Bengal-Indian Ocean trade route. This aspect of Bengal’s cultural history and engagement with diverse religious traditions has gained the spotlight in recent times through works done in subaltern literature and cultural history. The folk tradition of littoral Bengal presents a strong frontrunner for this. Through jatra (theater), pala (lyrical play), scroll painting of pir, gazi, fakir and poetic discourse, locally known as Tarja, demonstrate the diverse forms of folk philosophy in the littoral Bay of Bengal. In this paper, I will engage with Bonbibis Jahaurnama, an Islamic text that illustrates the struggle of the protagonist Dukhe who is protected by Banbibi (forest goddess) from the man-eating tiger personified as Dakhin Rai the Hindu god. The paper will explore the cosmic and mundane aspects of marginalized seafaring communities who depend on the delta’s backwaters and the mangrove forest for livelihood. Bonbibi is venerated as the ultimate protector in this amorphous landscape. The folk history of the region exposes the serendipity and the mundane everyday activities of a fisherman who ventures into the forest and backwaters to collect honey and wax. The maritime trade links with the wider littoral world have been the obvious influence towards the creation of laminal religiosity as expressed in the folk dramatic literary ballads that connect the littoral with the outside world.

Debojyoti Das

Yale University, United States

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Debojyoti Das


Assets

1 - Folk Tradition, Delta Ecology and Connected Social History in Littoral Bay of Bengal



Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Folk Tradition, Delta Ecology and Connected Social History in Littoral Bay of Bengal