In Quest of Indian Folktales: Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube and William Crooke / Edition 1

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Overview

""[A] rare piece of scholarly detective work."" --Margaret Mills, Ohio State University

In Quest of Indian Folktales publishes for the first time a collection of northern Indian folktales from the late 19th century. Reputedly the work of William Crooke, a well-known folklorist and British colonial official, the tales were actually collected, selected, and translated by a certain Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube. In 1996, Sadhana Naithani discovered this unpublished collection in the archive of the Folklore Society, London. Since then, she has uncovered the identity of the mysterious Chaube and the details of his collaboration with the famous folklorist. In an extensive four-chapter introduction, Naithani describes Chaube's relationship to Crooke and the essential role he played in Crooke's work, as both a native informant and a trained scholar. By unearthing the fragmented story of Chaube's life, Naithani gives voice to a new identity of an Indian folklore scholar in colonial India. The publication of these tales and the discovery of Chaube's role in their collection reveal the complexity of the colonial intellectual world and problematize our own views of folklore in a postcolonial world.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"A useful contribution to postcolonial and Indianist studies and to folklore.... Recommended." —Choice
W. B. McCarthy
The discovery of an unknown manuscript led to the publication of this book. Naithani (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) found these Indian folktales, many Muslim, in the archives of the Folklore Society in London. The depositor of the manuscript, William Crooke, was an important early, 20th-century scholar of Indian folklore, and the apparent compiler/translator, Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube, was largely unknown. Intrigued, Naithani sought to clarify the relationship between these two folklorists, who had identical degrees from Irish and Indian colonial universities. Her search raised some additional questions, but her discoveries suggests that the two men shared intense, respectful mutual interest in folk materials but could not bridge in their wider lives the social gaps that separated them. To say, however, that Crooke exploited Chaube is simplistic. Publication of this manuscript was worth the wait. The longer märchen-like (marchen-like) stories are sometimes compressed and hard to follow, but the shorter fables and wisdom tales are wonderfully ironic. And a surprising number of tales feature strong women. The book has a skimpy glossary but a complete tale-type index. A useful contribution to postcolonial and Indianist studies and to folklore. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers; all levels.W. B. McCarthy, emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, DuBois Campus, CHOICE, Feb. 2007
Margaret Mills
"[A] rare piece of scholarly detective work." —Margaret Mills, Ohio State University
From the Publisher
The discovery of an unknown manuscript led to the publication of this book. Naithani (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi) found these Indian folktales, many Muslim, in the archives of the Folklore Society in London. The depositor of the manuscript, William Crooke, was an important early, 20th-century scholar of Indian folklore, and the apparent compiler/translator, Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube, was largely unknown. Intrigued, Naithani sought to clarify the relationship between these two folklorists, who had identical degrees from Irish and Indian colonial universities. Her search raised some additional questions, but her discoveries suggests that the two men shared intense, respectful mutual interest in folk materials but could not bridge in their wider lives the social gaps that separated them. To say, however, that Crooke exploited Chaube is simplistic. Publication of this manuscript was worth the wait. The longer marchen-like (marchen-like) stories are sometimes compressed and hard to follow, but the shorter fables and wisdom tales are wonderfully ironic. And a surprising number of tales feature strong women. The book has a skimpy glossary but a complete tale-type index. A useful contribution to postcolonial and Indianist studies and to folklore. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers; all levels.W. B. McCarthy, emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, DuBois Campus, CHOICE, Feb. 2007—W. B. McCarthy, emeritus, Pennsylvania State University, DuBois Campus, CHOICE, Feb. 2007
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253345448
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Sadhana Naithani is Assistant Professor of Language, Literature and Culture Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

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Table of Contents

Contents
Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I. The Quest for Indian Folktales
1. Pandit Ram Gharib Chaube and William Crooke
2. The Golden Manuscripts
3. Crooke, Chaube, and Colonial Folkloristics, 1868-1914
4. Post-colonial Conclusions
Part II. Tales from the Manuscripts of Chaube and Crooke
Colors of Life: Tales 1 to 87
So Wise Some Women Are: Tales 88 to 103
Magical Mind: Tales 104 to 125
Corrective Measures: Tales 126 to 158
Appendix: Aarne-Thompson Tale Type Index Numbers
Glossary of Terms within Tales
Bibliography
Index

Indiana University Press

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