ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS FOR WHICH DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PhD) DEGREE IN TELUGU WAS AWARDED TO DR. (Mrs) SURYA DHANANJAY BY THE OSMANIA UNIVERSITY, HYDERABAD, A.P, INDIA ON THE RESEARCH WORK DONE BY HER ON BANJARA LITERATURE.
‘Banjara’ a colorful Tribal group of Andhra Pradesh, India have their own significance with their own language, dialect and age old Traditions. They are y called as ‘Lambadis’ in Telangana and ‘Sugalis’ in Andhra and Rayalsima regions. They are living in backward interior areas of the state where basic amenities are not available as they are available to the other social groups and leading their lives in drastic poverty. Banjaras have their language but don’t have script for their language. Folklore Studies have not been studied for several years. Even though Banjara Literature is a part of Folklore, most of them and the other peoples of the Telugu society do not know the beauty of their Literature, as they do not have their own script and any written literature. However, the study of Banjara literature creates lot of enthusiasm among the scholars of literature because of its peculiar nature and integrity in the ocean of Folk literature. Being born in a Banjara family I like my language and songs of my language very much and would I like to spread the literary aspects of my language to others. I have chosen the Topic “Nalgonda Banjaras’ Literature – Vision of life” (NALLAGONDA JILLAA BANJARA SAHITYAM – JIVANA CHITRANA) for award of research degree leading to PhD in Telugu by the Osmania University.
Banjaras are living more in number in Nalgonda District after the Warangal District in A.P. I have been closely observing the traditions and culture of the Banjara Tribes. I have been participating in the festive and marital gatherings of my community use to sing songs and participate in games along with my other Banjara colleagues. In one word I can say that, I have total experience of my livelihood with my own community and I have put my best efforts to complete this research work successfully.
The task of mine is not a job of simply collecting the information by sitting at a single place. I have to go around the tandas (Villages of Lambadi Tribes) and collect the verbal information from the people. That is only the way of collecting the raw material for my research, as no written literature is available for me.
Few researchers carried out some work on history and culture of Banjaras earlier. In 1976 Dr. H. S. Brahmananda has carried out research on the Sugali language. Research has been done on the Sugalis for the last two decades. Dr. Ramesh Arya has been working on the Banjara language for the quite number of years. Dr. M. Gona Naik has worked on the culture and language of Sugalis for his Ph.D. Dr. Janapala Sankaraiah has also worked on songs of Lambadis of Karimnagar District. Mr. Ajmera Silmaa Naik has worked for his M.Phil on the marriage culture of Lambadis of Nutankal Mandal of Nalgonda District. The research carried out so far on history and culture of Banjaras is very little. Few freelancers from Banjara community have written books on history and literature of Banjaras. However, it can be said that, the efforts put to this direction is very meager. In view of the lack of work done on Bnajara Literature, an exhaustive work on the Banjara Literature was thought to through light on the culture and the living conditions of Banjaras. The Banjaras of Nalgonda District are chosen for carrying out the study.
The education imparted by the Lambadis in Nalgonda District is in either in Telugu medium or in English medium, due to which the Lambadis have been put away from their own language, culture and traditions. The non-development of their own language script and written literature is the main reason for their today’s downthraddenness. Banjaras are living in agriculturally, economically backward areas of the Nalgonda District. The tandas, in which the Lambadis living are the interior tribal villages. As their tandas do not have any basic amenities their lives are also badly in backward condition. They are leading their lives below poverty line, as they do not have proper approach to the educational, medical, legal and administrative system of the Government.
Though I am placed at Hyderabad City, I have visited the tandas several times, the places where the Lambadis Tribal Folk live and I have collected the information related to the songs, stories, folktales and proverbs sung and spoken by them. I wrote them in Telugu script and interpreted the same later systematically. As I know most of the literary elements to my own and I can sing most of the songs rythmatically, it has become easy for me to interpret the material collected from field. I have collected most of the literary elements such as stories, folktales and proverbs orally from the Old aged people of the Tribal folk of Lambadis.
As my research is concentrated to the extent of literature of Banjaras of Nalgonda District, I took up mainly the field work mainly in around Tribal Villages of Nalgonda District. I have an advantage of speaking, understanding the ‘Goaar Boli’ language of Banjaras and knowing the life style and customs of the Tribal Folk and the same has facilitated me well to administer the thesis systematically. The oral information given by the Tribals were recorded through Tape Recorders and information drawn from Tapes and noted record was discussed with my supervisor and the same was systematically analyzed so as to bring in to a thesis. The literary forms and feelings of the tribal folk taken from field were taken in to thesis, as they are so as to retain the original essence and beauty of Lambadi literature. It can be added that, it has become difficult to collect the literary information from the Banjaras living in Tandas, as most of the Banjaras are now a days forgetting their tradition due to their routine life, and as they are adopting the modern traditions.
The thesis was divided into seven chapters. The life style and cultural traditions and customs of Lambadis are being analyzed systematically and presented in each chapter. The first chapter contains the various aspects of the origin and history and historic versions about Banjaras based on the written literature and oral information. The second chapter contains the geography of Nalgonda District, distribution of Banjaras in Nalgonda District, their sociological and political system, morphology of tanda and living conditions of Banjaras. The third chapter contains the details of literary forms of Lambadi literature. The fourth chapter gives a vide spread version of the traditions related to birth and marriage which are derived from the songs collected from the field which were narrated in full length. The fifth chapter throws light on the traditions and living conditions reflected in the form of their songs sung during the festive, sports and dance occasions. The details of performance of festivals, sports and dances were narrated in full length. The sixth chapter contains the living conditions of Banjaras reflected from their stories and folktales. The seventh chapter consists of the life reflected from the proverbs of Banjaras. The photographs relevant to the subject are also incorporated in the thesis.
There was news in Vartha daily dated. 28-08-1985, publication.1, issue. 257, that Sri Ch. Varaprasad formulated a script for Banjara language. But, somehow the script does not gain much popularity even after two decades of its origin. As such it can be considered that Banjaras do not have any script as of now. In this context it can be said that, the Banjara language ”Goaar Boli” is having relevance with the North Indian Languages the Devnagari script may be adopted for popularizing the language. But, there was no effort put in this direction so far. There is a necessity for development of a new script for Banjara language or adoption of the ‘Devnagari’ script for popularizing and development of literature in Banjara language i.e. ‘Goaar Boli’. The education for children can be introduced in Banjara medium so that, the children of the community can understand well in their own language.
The Banjara language and its literature would be developed if some script is adopted for Banjara language. It can be also said that, several facts of sociological and cultural aspects would be known by the world and it will open new vistas for conducting detailed research on their language, traditions and culture. The Banjara life is reflected in their Language and Literature. In one word it can be said that, the society as a whole is being reflected in their literature. That is why the researchers chose to take up studies on the specialized Banjara literature. The aim of the topic chosen by me is also to bring out the picture of the sociological and cultural lifestyle of Banjaras.
Most of the Banjaras are illiterates and little educated. Even though they are mingling with the modern world, they still have belief on their traditions and customs. Banjaras express their happiness, difficulties, thoughts, emotions and expectations through their different types of literary forms. These literary forms reflect the activities of their daily life, family traditions, caste, religion, sociological and economical aspects. As of now the Banjara literature is known to be oral literature. They are expressing the Banjara literature during the different circumstances and stages of their life in different forms. Starting from birth to death the various forms of Banjara literature are being expressed. Based on the studies Banjara literature was divided in to three branches of Prose, Poetry and Performing Arts. The banjara literary forms were identified to be songs, stories, folktales and proverbs. When these different literary forms systematically studied, several aspects of their life style, culture and sociology were known and understood.
Most of the literary forms such as songs, stories, folktales and proverbs are being collected by going around the Tandas of Nalgonda District for study. The studies on the traditions, marriage customs of Lambadis are revealed to be very different from the normal society. Their marriage songs are assimilation of their old customs and carrying the essence of all sentiments, emotions and feelings of happiness and difficulty. A song is built of full of comedy and another song is filled with lots of humanity and the series of songs show different kinds of feelings. The cultural aspects of marriages of Lambadis were narrated in full length in fourth chapter and proved how their marriage traditions are different than the others. The various traditions of Banjaras were drawn from the oral Literature and based on the same thesis was concluded.