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MFC-008: Folk Representations

MFC-008: Folk Representations

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

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Assignment Code: MFC-008 / TMA-01 / 2022-23

Course Code: MFC-008

Assignment Name: Folk Representations

Year: 2022 - 2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer any 5 questions. All questions carry equal marks. (20 x 5 = 100)


Q 1. Write a note on the oral epics in India. What are the relationships between Indian folk epics and Sanskrit epics?

Ans) The rich cultural heritage of India includes a substantial number of oral epics that have been passed down through the generations. Oral tradition was the means by which these epics were initially transmitted from one generation to the next, and only much later did they make the transition into written form. They are tales that have been spoken verbally from one generation to the next and have been kept alive in a variety of formats. These epics have been extremely significant in the formation of the cultural identity of India and continue to be an important component of the folklore of the country. There are many different oral epics in India, and each one is original and different from the others.


The Ramayana, the Mahabharata, and the Puranas are three of the most well-known examples of these texts. Bards, who are considered to be the principal keepers of this culture, will frequently sing or recite these epics for audiences. These bards move about from community to community, reciting these epics and telling the tales to the people they meet along the way. There is a strong connection between Indian folk epics and epics written in Sanskrit. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are two examples of important works of Indian literature that have been written in the ancient language of Sanskrit. Other examples include the Puranas. It is thought that they represent the earliest type of written literature to have been produced in India. On the other hand, the folk epics have been passed down through the generations through the oral tradition and have developed over time. There are a number of parallels that can be drawn between the two, despite the fact that they are communicated in different ways and use different languages.


One of the most important connections that can be made between Sanskrit epics and Indian folk epics is the fact that both types of epics deal with a similar topic. The concept of dharma, often known as the morally correct way to live one's life, is discussed in both the folk epics and the Sanskrit epics. Both of them stress the significance of maintaining moral standards and ethical behaviour, as well as the virtue of leading a life that is in tune with the natural world and its rhythms. The Sanskrit epics have had an impact not just on the Indian folk epics but also on the Indian epics written in Sanskrit. For instance, the Ramayana, which is an important Sanskrit epic, can be interpreted in a variety of ways depending on where you are in India. The local history and customs have had an impact on each of these regional differences, and those differences, in turn, are a reflection of the one-of-a-kind character of the local culture. In a similar vein, the Mahabharata, which is another famous Sanskrit epic, has served as the impetus for several Indian folk epics throughout the country's history.


There is some evidence that the Indian folk epics had an influence on the development of the Sanskrit epics. The folk epics have shed illuminating light on the day-to-day activities of the common people, and the Sanskrit epics have taken this information into consideration while developing their characters. The characters in the Mahabharata, for instance, are depicted as having flaws and being less than ideal, which is meant to reflect the intricacies of human nature.


Both the folk epics of India and the epics written in Sanskrit have had an impact on the storytelling styles of each other. The Sanskrit epics are typically written in a more sophisticated language, but the folk epics are told in a manner that is more conversational and casual. The folk epics were an important part of the process that led to the development of a narrative style that was easier to understand and that was subsequently used in later works of Sanskrit literature.


To summarise, the Indian folk epics and the epics written in Sanskrit have a strong connection to one another. They are related in that they deal with related topics, and the Sanskrit epics served as an inspiration for the Indian folk epics. In a similar manner, the narrative form of the Sanskrit epics was developed in response to the Indian folk epics, which served as a major source of inspiration for the creation of these works. Both the folk epics and the Sanskrit epics are vital components of India's cultural history, despite the fact that they were transmitted in quite different ways and use different languages. Nevertheless, they continue to have a significant impact on modern Indian society.


Q 2. What is the contribution to the oral tradition of the tribes?

Ans) The oral tradition of the tribes has a long and eventful past, with various tribes and groups having their own distinctive customs and tales to tell. This has resulted in a rich and diversified history. This custom has been handed down from one generation to the next through the telling of tales, the singing of songs, and the performance of dances, in addition to other forms of cultural expression. The contribution of the oral tradition of the tribes is significant, not only in terms of preserving their cultural heritage but also in terms of understanding the history and social fabric of India. This is because the oral tradition is passed down from generation to generation through the tribes' elders.


The oral tradition of the tribes is an expression of their culture that is singular and ever-changing; it reflects the social, economic, and political circumstances of the tribes. These traditions shed light on the worldviews held by the tribes, as well as their histories and the ways in which they interacted with the natural environment. The tribes' histories, myths, and tales are frequently intertwined with the natural environment in which they live, which is reflected in their linguistic practises, cultural practises, and historical practises.


The oral tradition of the tribes has helped to preserve their cultural identity, which was in danger of being lost due to colonisation, urbanisation, and modernization's effects. The tribal communities' distinctive ways of life, beliefs, and values are reflected in the tales, songs, and dances that they perform. They not only serve as a wellspring of pride and motivation for the people who make up the community, but they also play an essential part in the passing down of cultural wisdom from one generation to the next.


The ability of the oral tradition of the tribes to play a role in the promotion of social cohesion and harmony is one of the key achievements that it has made. Celebrations of significant life events, including as birth, coming of age, marriage, and death, are traditionally marked by the telling of stories, singing of songs, and performing of dances unique to each tribe. These events help to foster stronger social bonds within the community and create a sense of continuity as well as belonging to those who participate.


The oral history passed down through the tribes has played an important role in the evolution of a variety of cultural forms, including music, dance, and drama. These art forms are frequently an essential component of tribal life and are intricately intertwined with the cultural traditions of the tribes that practise them. The distinctive rhythmic patterns, colourful costumes, and unusual musical instruments of tribal music and dance help to define these cultural expressions. The live performance of various art forms serves not just as a method of pleasure but also as a means of imparting cultural knowledge and values to an audience.


The significance that it plays in preserving the history and mythology of the area is another crucial contribution that the oral tradition of the tribes has played. The legends and myths that have been passed down through generations of a people can contain insights into the past that cannot be found in official histories or written documents. They shed light on the social, political, and economic institutions of the tribes, as well as the ways in which the tribes interacted with other communities in the area.


The flexibility and suppleness of the oral tradition passed down via the tribes is another distinguishing feature of it. It has developed over time to reflect the shifts that have taken place in the social, economic, and political climate of the region. The myths and legends of the tribes have been retold and reimagined in order to accommodate the shifting requirements of the community, and new legends have been crafted in order to reflect the reality of the modern world.


In conclusion, the oral tradition that has been passed down through the generations among the tribes in India has made a substantial contribution to the country's cultural history. It has been an instrument for maintaining their cultural identity, fostering social solidarity, and transferring cultural information from one generation to the next. It is imperative that the oral tradition of the various tribes in India, which is a crucial component of India's social and cultural fabric, be maintained and honoured for the benefit of future generations.


Q 3. Discuss A K Ramanujan as a pioneer folklorist.

Ans) A.K. Ramanujan was a renowned Indian poet, scholar, and folklorist. He was also a translator. It is generally agreed upon that he is one of the most influential academics of Indian literature and folklore to have worked throughout the 20th century. His works contributed to the development of a new tradition of folkloristics in India that moved beyond colonial and nationalist frameworks. This new tradition of folkloristics used innovative theoretical perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches to investigate the cultural diversity and creativity of India's oral traditions. His works contributed to this development. His scholarship was distinguished by an intense interest in the numerous oral traditions of India, particularly those of the South, and he made seminal contributions to the fields of folklore, mythology, poetics, and literary translation. Ramanujan was also a pioneer in the field of literary translation. It was of interest to him to investigate the relationships between oral and written traditions, as well as between other cultural and linguistic contexts; his work, which continues to inspire and challenge scholars working in these fields, explores these relationships.


During his upbringing in Mysore, where he was exposed to the rich and diverse oral traditions of South India, Ramanujan developed an early interest in folklore. This curiosity began at an early age. After that, he attended the University of Mysore and the University of Indiana to pursue his education in literature, linguistics, and philosophy, respectively. In 1959, he received his Ph.D. from the University of Indiana for his research on South Indian folktales. It was a ground-breaking work that challenged the colonial and nationalist approaches to the study of Indian folklore and instead stressed the cultural diversity and hybridity of the oral traditions of India. His dissertation was published in 1991 under the title "The Folktales of India."


His research on folklore was distinguished by a profound engagement with the social and cultural settings of the oral traditions he investigated, and he drew on a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches to investigate the importance and meanings of the oral traditions he studied. His work demonstrated a remarkable sensitivity to the aesthetic, symbolic, and moral components of folktales, songs, and rituals. He was interested in the performative and dialogic dimensions of oral traditions. In addition to this, he had an interest in the politics of representation as well as the ways in which folklore has been used to establish and dispute identities, power, and knowledge over time.


His work on the Tamil epic "Cilappatikaram" is considered to be one of the most important contributions that Ramanujan made to the field of Indian folklore research. He also wrote extensively on the epic's poetics, themes, and cultural relevance in addition to translating and annotating it in the English language. The conventional interpretation of the epic as a work of pure literature was called into question by his work on the "Cilappatikaram," which placed an emphasis on the epic's origins in the oral traditions of Tamil Nadu. Ramanujan argued that the epic was the product of the dynamic interaction between various forms of folk performance, such as songs, dance, drama, and storytelling, and that the epic's themes and values were profoundly ingrained in the cultural and social contexts of Tamil Nadu. These forms of performance include songs, dance, drama, and storytelling.

Challenge the colonial and nationalist frameworks that had dominated the study of Indian literature and culture with Ramanujan's work on "Cilappatikaram," which was a part of a larger attempt to explore the relationships between oral and written traditions. He argued that oral traditions were not merely primitive precursors to written traditions; rather, they were dynamic and creative forms of expression that were continually evolving and adapting to changing cultural and social contexts. He believed this to be the case because oral traditions were dynamic and creative forms of expression. In addition, he stressed the significance of translation and intercultural dialogue in the field of folklore research, viewing the latter as a means of broadening India's cultural perspectives and contributing to India's cultural development.


The work that Ramanujan did on folklore continues to motivate and test the knowledge of academics in India and all around the world. His multidisciplinary approach, his sensitivity to the cultural and social contexts of oral traditions, and his commitment to exploring the aesthetic, symbolic, and moral dimensions of folklore have influenced a new generation of academics who are interested in comprehending the extensive and varied oral traditions of India in the contexts of both their global and historical development. His legacy as a forerunner in the field of folklore.


Q 5. Discuss Naga-mandala as a companion play to Hayavadana.

Ans) Naga-Mandala is a play written by Girish Karnad, which was first published in 1988. It is a part of his trilogy of plays, along with Hayavadana and Tughlaq. Naga-Mandala is a play that is based on a folk tale from Karnataka, which deals with the themes of love, desire, and transformation. The play is a companion to Hayavadana, as both plays deal with similar themes and are based on folk tales.


The play Naga-Mandala is set in a village in Karnataka and tells the story of a young woman named Rani, who is married to a man who is older than her. Rani is not happy in her marriage and is attracted to a young man named Appanna. However, Appanna is not interested in Rani and is in love with another woman. Rani goes to a local snake charmer to get a potion that will make Appanna fall in love with her. The snake charmer gives her a potion that will make a snake fall in love with her instead. Rani uses the potion and the snake falls in love with her. She names the snake Vasuki and keeps it in a basket in her house. However, the snake becomes too big for the basket and escapes. It is believed that the snake has killed a man in the village and the villagers want to kill it. Rani protects the snake and tells the villagers that it is her husband. Eventually, Rani and Vasuki fall in love with each other and they have a child together.


Naga-Mandala deals with the theme of desire and transformation. Rani is not happy in her marriage and is attracted to a young man. She wants to be with him and is willing to use magic to make him fall in love with her. However, her plan backfires and she falls in love with a snake instead. The play explores the idea of transformation and how people can change their identities and become something else. Rani transforms from a young woman who is unhappy in her marriage to a woman who is in love with a snake. Vasuki transforms from a snake to a man and back to a snake again.


The play is also a commentary on the social structure of the village in which it is set. The villagers are shown to be superstitious and are willing to believe that the snake has killed a man without any proof. They are also shown to be conservative and are not willing to accept Rani's relationship with the snake. The play also deals with the theme of power and how people in power can use it to control others. The snake charmer is shown to be a powerful person who can control snakes and can give potions that can control people.


Naga-Mandala is a companion play to Hayavadana, as both plays deal with similar themes and are based on folk tales. Hayavadana is a play that is based on a story from the Kathasaritsagara, which is a collection of Indian folk tales. The play deals with the theme of identity and how people can have multiple identities. The main characters in the play are two men, who are best friends. One of them is a man with a perfect body and the other is a man with a perfect head. They both fall in love with the same woman and the woman is unable to choose between them. In the end, the man with the perfect head asks a goddess to give him a perfect body and the man with the perfect body asks the goddess to give him a perfect head. The goddess grants their wishes and they both become unhappy with their new identities.


Naga-mandala can be seen as a companion play to Hayavadana, as both plays explore similar themes and motifs. Like Hayavadana, Naga-mandala also examines the complexities of desire and identity. Both plays explore the idea of self-fulfilment and the cost of sacrificing one's true identity. Additionally, both plays also deal with the theme of the body, particularly the idea of the body as a site of transformation and change.


Another way in which Naga-mandala can be seen as a companion play to Hayavadana is through the use of folklore and mythology. In both plays, Girish Karnad draws heavily on Indian folklore and mythology to explore his themes. In Naga-mandala, Karnad draws on the folklore of the serpent king, which is prevalent in many Indian cultures. Through this folklore, Karnad explores the idea of female desire and agency, and the cost of transgressing traditional gender roles. The use of folklore in the play also highlights the importance of oral traditions and the role they play in shaping cultural identity.


In conclusion, Naga-mandala can be seen as a companion play to Hayavadana in terms of the themes and motifs explored in both plays. Both plays examine issues of desire, identity, and tradition, and use folklore and mythology as a way of exploring these themes. Additionally, both plays highlight the complexities of gender and power dynamics, particularly in relation to the female characters. The plays demonstrate Girish Karnad's ability to blend traditional Indian mythology and folklore with contemporary themes and issues and cement his place as one of the most important playwrights in contemporary Indian drama.

Q 6. What is Cinderella Complex? Discuss Cinderella Tales bringing out the folk elements.

Ans) Colette Dowling, an American psychotherapist, was the first to explain what is now known as the Cinderella complex. She did so in a book she authored on women's fear of independence, which she referred to as an unconscious desire to be taken care of by other people. The book's title was The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence, and it was a New York Times Best Seller.


It is claimed that as a person ages, the complexity of the situation becomes more evident. Cinderella, a figure from a well-known children's storey, provided the inspiration for the complex's moniker. It is based on the concept of femininity that was portrayed in that storey, in which a woman is beautiful, graceful, polite, supportive, hardworking, independent, and maligned by the females of her society, but she is not capable of changing her situations with her own actions and must be helped by an outside force, which is typically a male (i.e., the Prince).


The Cinderella Complex refers to a popular psychological concept coined by the writer Colette Dowling, which suggests that women have an inherent tendency to feel helpless and require saving from their male counterparts, much like Cinderella in the traditional fairy tale. Cinderella is one of the most famous and widely recognized tales, with variations found in different cultures and regions around the world. The story's enduring popularity is largely due to the way it portrays the transformative power of kindness and the triumph of good over evil, often through the intervention of supernatural forces.


Cinderella is a classic rags-to-riches tale that typically involves a mistreated young woman who is magically transformed into a beautiful princess, wins the heart of a handsome prince, and lives happily ever after. The story has been adapted into numerous retellings, including films, books, and plays, and has become a symbol of perseverance and hope, especially for young girls.


Folk Elements of Cinderella

The Cinderella story has many folk elements that have been passed down through oral tradition. For example, in the original tale, Cinderella's father is a wealthy merchant, and her stepmother and stepsisters are cruel and selfish, forcing her to do menial tasks while they live a life of luxury. However, Cinderella remains kind and virtuous, and her good deeds are rewarded when a fairy godmother appears and helps her attend the royal ball, where she meets the prince.


The employment of a supernatural entity, the fairy godmother, who assists Cinderella in accomplishing her goals and achieving her ambitions is a traditional component of the Cinderella storey. Cinderella's mother appears to her in the form of a ghost in certain retellings of the storey, such as the one that the Grimm Brothers wrote called "Accentuate," and provides her with the wherewithal to go to the ball. The deployment of a magical person to assist the protagonist is a common motif in folklore, and it serves to stress the transformational power of love and generosity.


The use of a missing item as a catalyst for the plot is yet another folkloric component of the Cinderella tale. Cinderella's storey has always included a scene during the ball where she misplaces a glass slipper, which the prince uses to recognise her as the enigmatical beauty he had fallen in love with. In modern retellings, this scene has been omitted. This motif appears in a number of different folk tales, including "The Red Shoes," where it serves as a metaphor for the protagonist's singular identity as well as the transformational power of love.


The tale of Cinderella is famous for a number of reasons, one of which is that it examines gender and social class in a number of different ways during the course of the storey. Cinderella is a symbol of those who are disadvantaged and oppressed, and her transformation from rags to riches serves as a commentary on the oppressive character of the patriarchal system as well as the societal expectations that are placed on women. However, the storey also depicts the prince as a saviour figure who saves Cinderella from the oppression she is subjected to. This perpetuates the perception that women are helpless and in need of male protection.


In conclusion, the Cinderella story is a prime example of how folk elements can be adapted into different retellings and serve as a commentary on societal issues. The story's popularity and enduring appeal can be attributed to its universal themes of perseverance, transformation, and hope, and its ability to adapt to changing times and cultural contexts.

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