Telling the Tale across Mediums: The Teleology of Multiple Lives of a Work
In a multilingual context like India, even after the inception of the print culture, there had been a consistent adherence to the music, songs, folktales, and performance when it came to retelling/ reproducing a particular tale/story. A tale just went on to live several lives in different times. Popular tales such as TotaKahani, Gul Bakawali, Bagh-O-Bahar, Premsagar, and Baital Pacchisi have been performed and re-produced in different mediums at different points of time.The terms such as dastan, kissa, fasana, kahani are the popular terms employed in Hindi/Urdu to designate the long literary tradition of tales.
Researchers have focused on how very often the studies on these works, generally categorized as part of ‘oral literature’, have offered significant insights into understanding and constructing the alternative histories and traditions. In the oral narratives in the past, and even today in some restricted sense, “diffusion” and “borrowing” have been an integral part of the travel of a tale across cultures. However, when we shift our focus from ‘traditional’ to more ‘contemporary’ literary genres such as short story or fiction, one can count innumerable instances where one text continues to travel, more often than not, from one medium to another.