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Reading: Folk Ideas and Worldview Inscribed in a Selection of Folktales Attributed to the Muslim Comm...

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Folk Ideas and Worldview Inscribed in a Selection of Folktales Attributed to the Muslim Community of the East Coast of Sri Lanka

Author:

Lal Medawattegedara

The Open University of Sri Lanka, LK
About Lal

Department of Language Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

 

Fiction writer

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Abstract

Seeming absence of focused scholarly intervention has not deterred folklorists from considering, orally transmitted imaginative speech acts—such as folktales—as a specific community’s“ autobiographical ethnography” (Dundes,2007) or their "own descriptions of themselves"(Dundes,2007).  In Sri Lanka, (Sinhala) folktales are an essential feature in school texts books, children’s newspapers, mass media, and Sinhala folktale collections are frequently released for public consumption with some prominent bookshops offering exclusive shelf space for this genre. A collection of Sri Lankan folktales attributed to a specific geography and an ethnic community is the focus of this study. The collection is titled Digamadulle Muslim Janakatha and its collector/compiler is Gunasekera Gunasoma, a popular folktale collector in Sri Lanka, and a fiction writer. Gunasoma offers 16 folktales collected from Digamadulle in this book and his endeavor could possibly be the first such collection of folktales attributed to the Muslim ethnic community living in Digamadulle, or for that matter anywhere else in Sri Lanka. The present study attempts to extract the cultural postulates featured in these tales, theoretically identified as ‘folk ideas’ and ‘worldview’ by folklorists. Using definitions of the folklorist Allan Dundes, this study undertakes a close reading of the folktale sample under consideration to comprehend how the Muslim story tellers/creators/listeners of Digamadulle perceived and imagined the ‘world’ and its nature. Scholar Samarsinghe’s (2014) view that folktales facilitate ‘social cohesion’ would also play into the motivations of this study, whose primary objective is cultural comprehension.
How to Cite: Medawattegedara, L., (2017). Folk Ideas and Worldview Inscribed in a Selection of Folktales Attributed to the Muslim Community of the East Coast of Sri Lanka. OUSL Journal. 12(2), pp.5–17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/ouslj.v12i2.7396
Published on 27 Dec 2017.
Peer Reviewed

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