[Gist of Kurushetra April 2021] Role of Folk Media in Nation Building

Mains Paper 2: National
Prelims level: Folk Media
Mains level: Role of Folk Media in Nation Building


• Rural India is a treasure trove of folk art, theatre, music, dance, art and croft. Folk media are the arts which have been transmitting values, thoughts, norms, beliefs and experiences of people in a homogenous society through its various forms.

• This media can play an important role in nation building as it is depicting realistic culture of people. It is a term used to denote people’s performances.

Role of Folk Media:

• Rural India is a treasure trove of folk art, theatre, music, dance, art and craft. Folk media are the arts which have been transmitting values, thoughts, norms, beliefs and experiences of people in a homogenous society through its various forms. This media can play an important role in nation building as it is depicting realistic culture of the people. It is a term used to denote ‘people’s performances’. This term refers to the performing arts which can be described as the cultural symbols of the people. Folk dance, rural drama and musical variety of the village people; all come under traditional media. Traditional folk media is not just confined to dance and music, but also includes art and crafts. Traditional folk media originated as a consequence of people’s need to express themselves. These performing arts pulsate with life and slowly change through the flux of time.

• In India, folk performance is a composite art. It is a total art created by the fusion of elements from music, dance, pantomime, versification, epic ballad recitation, religion and festival peasantry. It absorbs ceremonials, rituals, beliefs and of course the social system. Hence, it has been noticed as a medium of developmental communication.

• Even in the era of advanced technology, the folk media have more propounded effect as we can use this media based on our flexibility of time, space and attract the audience via adequate idioms, purposeful significance and entertainment component. The reach of folk media is higher as it breaks the language and literacy barriers, and adds curiosity in the listeners, which can change the attitude and perception of people.

• The first significant international recognition of the traditional media in the communication and development strategies of the developing countries, came in the year 1972, when the international parenthood federation and UNESCO organised a series of meetings in London relating to integrated use of folk and traditional media in family planning communication programmes. The interest generated by this meeting, and the continued efforts to highlight the folk media as an effective form to convey developmental messages resulted in a number of seminars and workshops around the world.

• “Baul”, “Kavigan”, “Chhau” dance of Bengal, “Lavani” of Maharashtra, “Gee-Gee” of Karnataka, and “Villupattu” of Tamil Nadu, change their content and focus, depending on the contemporary needs, and were effective in arousing the conscience of the people against the colonial rule of the British.

• The traditional media were effective in many political and social campaigns launched by Mahatma Gandhi. Likewise, the eminent Tamil poet Sumbramania Bharati started using folk music to evoke patriotic feelings. Folk tunes were used to popularise songs and glories of spinning wheels and consequently boycotting British goods. Similarly, in 1940’s India People Theatre Association successfully handled some of the popular regional theatre like “Jatra” of Bengal, “Bavai” of Gujarat, “Tamsa” of Maharastra, “Burkatha” of Andhra Pradesh, to increase social awareness and political education. Rapid transformation of mass media can be used as an effective blend along with folk media for bringing about effective participation of people in nation building activity. All these together can contribute immensely for making AatmaNirbhar Bharat a reality.

Prerequisites for Using Folk Media in Nation Building:

• An understanding of the rural audience.

• Careful consideration of its content.

• Characterisation for their possible adaptation for development purposes.

• Consistency with the needs of the social context.

• Integration with the customs and beliefs of the local communities.

• Provide rural people with entertainment in order to attract their attention and to ensure their participation in developmental activities.

• Efforts should be made to preserve the originality of each folk form, and any adaptation, need not alter nor destroy the form.

• For effective community-level communication strategies, the integrated and planned use of both folk and mass media is necessary.

• Collaboration between the folk artistes and the media producers is absolutely essential.

Strategies for Promoting Role of Folk Media for Nation Building:

1. Identifying Interest, Needs and Attitude of Rural community: For the success of any developmental programme there is a need for identification of interests and requirements of rural community in different regions of country. This will result in proper understanding of grass root situation and will be helpful in drawing attention of people towards making country AatmaNirbhar.

Assessment of various folk media channels in terms of preference and attitude towards these channels needs to be taken up so as to ensure the reach of message to the target community.

2. Planning: Planning is needed for implementation and success of any developmental programmes. Through proper planning, the gaps in communicating the message will be eliminated. Communication gap and time lag are major barrier in communication. A proper plan depicting who should do what, when, where, why, to whom and how; is needed to be developed for dissemination of messages, which would eliminate gaps in communication and persuade them to act accordingly.

3. Utilising the Social Structure of Village In a rural situation there are change agents who act as a source for reinforcement of decisions. For example, we see farmers look for the advice of progressive farmers in village in the adoption of new technology. If the progressive farmers have adopted the new technology, subsequently other farmers in village readily take up the technology as these progressive farmers act as change agents. So, in order to promote development of nation, there is need for understanding the rural situation, its social structure and potential change agents.

4. Integration of Folk Media, Mass Media and Social Media: Folk media persuades the individual through a face-to-face situation in the rural setting and convinces the large number of audiences about the message through personal touch. Integration of folk media with mass media and social media channels would add a flavour which would create great value to the dissemination of message. The advantage of integration of folk media is to spread message to large number of masses in a short period of time. The added benefit is the credibility of folk media which makes communication productive for the audience.

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