The Importance Of Oral Tradition In Writing History

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John Fage and David Tait have stated, “Oral tradition is often in reality an explanation, in quasi-historical terms, of existing or of currently relevant past social or socio-political relationships” (as cited in Showren, 2014). Thus, as reflections of the socio-political relationships of an era or a community, the oral traditions play a very important role in the study and documentation of history of cultures which otherwise relied on word of mouth transmission. But for a long time, and perhaps even now, researchers of history and historical writing are struggling with the problem of how best to use oral tradition source material for writing history; in addition to this there is another great argument as to whether it is appropriate to consider…show more content…
Thus, using oral traditions for writing history (if it is a possibility) can become very difficult and tricky; this difficulty mainly arises from the basic difference that the process of oral transmission and written transmission have between them. Written transmission has the tradition of keeping records which acts as data for the historians who can go back to those whenever required and write or re-write history accordingly. But the problem of oral transmission is that there is a continuous process of “selection” in practice, that is, only those aspects of the past which has relevance to the society are most likely to the passed down, and as the tradition is preserved because of its current relevance, it may be passed on in a form that upholds and conserves the significance of past events but not necessarily the actual narrative details (Harms,…show more content…
This work is essentially about the documentation and translation of Bodo oral culture; but it is not merely about the documentation and translation procedures. A lot of documented and translated (by different people across culture and time) folksongs and folktales have been collected during the entire period of the research. The idea is not just to give a glossary of the folksongs and tales of the Bodo oral tradition but to conduct a thorough case study of these orally transmitted songs and tales (later on documented and translated) so that the possibilities of carving a history of the Bodos through these oral traditions can be realized. As mentioned in this section, the issues that various historians and folklorists face during the process of history writing through folklores are more or less linear in nature, irrespective of oral societies. This section is a prelude to the issues that this dissertation has addressed through various translation theories, and folklores and folksongs of the
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