ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Articles by Gunther SontheimerSubscribe to Gunther Sontheimer

In Search of the Indian Concept of Tradition

An attempt to bring the current of folk culture, hitherto delinked from the Maharashtrian tradition, back into the mainstream. 'TRADITION' is one of the much- discussed and essentially culture-specific concepts which have engaged the minds of scholars from a variety of disciplines. The Indian concept sees tradition as a perennially flowing current of folk culture, in contrast to the western concept which treats it as a remnant of the past. Folk culture in India is thus, far from being an exotic topic for isolated research, a living backdrop against which all major socio-cultural movements emerged and from which they drew sustenance. In fact, these movements, whether 'bhakti' or social reform, made conscious use of folk culture in order to create new traditions ecclectically. Thus we have the self- activated and self-perpetuating folk cultural tradition on the one hand, and the deliberately created and consciously activated movements on the other, both being an integral part of the same Indian, and Maharashtrian, tradition. This point was highlighted at the Third International conference on 'Maharashtra: Culture and Society; held at Heidelberg, Germany
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