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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

Chapter:
(p.25) 1 Genealogies of the Folk Concept in Colonial Uttarakhand
Source:
Recasting Folk in the Himalayas
Author(s):

Stefan Fiol

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5622/illinois/9780252041204.003.0002

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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