Manipuri Ramkatha through Wari Leeba: A Dialogue between Text and Oral Renditions

Ahanthem Homen Singh

Abstract

The paper seeks to highlight the dynamism of Indian Literary traditions which blurs the strict compartmentalization of written and oral traditions. Taking an instance from the Manipuri Ramayana in written text and its oral rendition through the narrative art of Wari Leeba, the paper tries to delineate the negotiation and interaction between the various forms of expressions in Indian literary scenario. From a detailed study of how the Manipuri Ramkatha tradition develops in Manipur to the way how Wari Leeba as a narrative art evolves and associates itself with recitation of Ramkatha in Manipur, the paper gives an insight into the various aspects of their interaction and corresponding cultural ethos. Social and religious context associated with the evolution and development of Ramkatha and Wari Leeba has been dealt with in this paper.

Keywords

Ramkatha; Manipuri Ramayana; Wari Leeba; written and oral traditions; performance; narrative art; scripto-centric; phono-centric

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