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Recasting Folk in the HimalayasIndian Music, Media, and Social Mobility$
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Stefan Fiol

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780252041204

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5622/illinois/9780252041204.001.0001

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Genealogies of the Folk Concept in Colonial Uttarakhand

Genealogies of the Folk Concept in Colonial Uttarakhand

(p.25) 1 Genealogies of the Folk Concept in Colonial Uttarakhand
Recasting Folk in the Himalayas

Stefan Fiol

University of Illinois Press

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, indigenous and British colonial elites gathered local knowledge from low-status (Shilpkar) performers and inscribed this knowledge within the emerging discipline of folklore studies. Depending on the shifting ideological and political positions with respect to local caste hierarchies, Indo-Aryan migration theories, and colonial administrative agendas, scholars utilized folklore to call attention alternately to the exceptional character of central Himalayan society as a whole and to the backward and superstitious character of particular castes and communities. This chapter illuminates the ways in which the folk concept was a critical instrument of colonial domination even as it offered local Indian elites the opportunity to compare Himalayan societies favorably with European societies.

Keywords:   folklore studies, Indo-Aryan migration theory, colonialism, Ganga Datt Upreti, Tara Dutt Gairola, Himalayan races, caste hierarchy, Dom, Khasa

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