WE NEED FOLK TRADITION
Folk tradition represents the rural culture which stands in contrast to the present-day high-tech way of life in metro cities. Today’s pragmatic times demand a more candid answer to the question “Do We need folk tradition?” as these days as the urban life with its sophisticated technological advancement sees retreat to the villages as only as a mark of regression. Of course, the modern denizens do view folk tradition as a cultural heritage and some handicraft exhibitions, intellectual seminars and conferences, programs or festivals are purely dedicated to retrieve the folk values of the rustic dwellers in front of the educated urban crowd. Nevertheless, modernization has so cleanly distinguished between the village and the city that it has stereotyped folk as essentially traditional and estranged from the sophistication of the urban life. This thinking has generated the oblivion among the inhabitants of the cities regarding the value of the Folk tradition.
The ostensible reality that urbanization has resulted into a more technologically productive and commercial environment with lucrative benefits has overshadowed the integral role that the folk culture plays in spreading humanitarian values of camaraderie and kinship in human society. A known fact is that folk tradition is a joint endeavor of groups that get together and celebrate the spirit of communal harmony reflected in the varied folk art forms like music, dance, drama, puppetry, painting, story-telling etc. This debilitates the individualistic attitude which is an offspring of modernization as the village folk that gathers and celebrates various occasions like birth, marriage, harvest, various sacred rituals etc., helps bringing people close to one another. This spirit of communal solidarity witnessed in folk tradition also serves as the means of uniting regional and even national differences. Not only does folk tradition merge communities of the same culture but it also invites people from other cultures, regions and even nations to participate in their joint endeavor of celebration. India has an exhaustive range of folk festivals, customs and ritualistic practices that welcome foreigners with open arms and make them feel a part of the ethnic tradition. The distinction between practitioners and onlookers is also negligible in folk performances wherein the separation of performers and spectators which is a characteristic of the urban proscenium world is essentially undermined. The performers exhibit their uninhibited talent in front of the spectators and fully involve them into their performance by encouraging their comments even in the midst of the rendition. It goads the affinity between people thus redefining the meaning of entertainment.
In the cities, entertainment has a commodity value. People pay to get regaled. Theater and cinema, or any form of art caters to those that afford tickets. Folk traditions are the delegates of a non-commercial mode of pursuit meant for all without class difference. The rich and the poor equally become a part of this tradition and this is where the spirit of equality is encouraged in the society. It reminds us of the fact that entertainment is not fundamentally directed towards minting money. Dedicated folk performers selflessly proclaim the need to keep a tradition ongoing without caring about fiscal benefits. This is what sets them apart from the so-called practical erudite urban community whose goal is material profit. Thus, spreading the message of togetherness, equality and selflessness, folk culture becomes worthy of appreciation.
Let us together enrich the rich and exhaustive tradition of such non-commercial folk performances practiced in the varied parts world that afford entertainment without constraints of material profit or consciousness of communal boundaries. In short, let us be practical and acknowledge that today folk tradition is needed to promulgate the global message Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam-“World is a family”.