The essay has been written by G.N. Devy, a professor of English par Maharaja SayajiRao University of Baroda. He has been a prominent scholar and person who has worked on the tribal literature, philosophy and documentation of their way of life. He has also served as the founder and director of the tribal academy of Tejgarh, Gujrat.
According to the writer, tribal literature can be studied in the written form and the pictorial form, utilising tribal stories and tribal paintings. The writer gives examples of tribal songs; among them is the song sung by the Munda tribals on birth occasions and the song sung by Kondh tribals on death. The essay also contains the ritualistic chantings of the Adi tribes. The three songs give a deep insight into the tribals' living patterns, and it is a very small glimpse into the huge collection of folk songs that these communities have in their literary repository.
The tribal paintings have a definite uniqueness about them. The tribals have a unique outlook of this world, where they consider the land around them as an extension of themselves and their way of living. The tribal paintings show this feature efficiently as their paintings depict just the natural way of life without using modern painting concepts. These paintings show the external world the difference between a cultivated thought and raw imagination. The tribal paintings are always a result of raw and unhindered imagination where the developed or the so-called civilised world moved towards cultivated thought.
The literature of the tribals has also been affected by them being bilingual. They have taken in concepts from this outward world because they had their language, which they preserved in the form of stories and songs, and they needed the common language to converse with the rest of the world. So they have brought in ideas from the world, and their way of thinking remains secluded to the language barrier.
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