Myth and Identity - The Narrative Construction of Self in the Oral Tradition of Vadar Communities

Guy Poitevin


Poitevin argues in this article that even though dantakatha or oral myths may have fallen into disuse, they have not lost their function of self-discovery. He studies 42 myths of the Vadar community or stone-workers in Maharashtra to show how they measure their past through their myths. The Vadars are Sudras, and Poitevin has used young men of lower social status to collect the material for the article. This article shows how the Vadars use myths and legend to justify their occupation, their lowly social status and their poverty. The tales bind the community together, and help them accept their lot.

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