Ancient scriptures of the land, particularly the voluminous texts of Sanskrit verses, much of which script is not attributed to any identified author, have come to later successive generations as a legacy through the process of passing on verbally, according to scholars. The four vedas figure prominently in that class of India’s ancient literature which has fascinated littérateurs from many other countries of Asia as well as the West. Literature in verse form is accepted by the cognoscenti as having rich chances of memorising while prose has to rest in the books headed for the shelf. Musical rendering of the lyrics in a variety of tunes has contributed to the enduring nature of the sayings of Scholars, Social Reformers, Philosophers, Saints and Seers of the past, crossing the barriers of languages, cultures and regions across the land. Chroniclers have done their bit by scripting their perception of society in their times but the outreach of their writings is limited to a small fraction of the populations for obvious reasons.
The land’s monumental epics, one attributed to sage Valmiki and the other to sage Vedavyasa, have proved the power of creating deep interest in listening to narratives in story form like no other source of literature. Even highly acclaimed and award winning novels by renowned authors at different periods of time and also in our times stay in the memory of people at large for a short time.
The abundant stock of folklore and songs such as in laavani form in many languages of the country including Kannada as it is spoken in different styles across the State take the listening audiences to the land’s golden era of a distant past. While the grandpas in the family are the living repository of the societal ambience of their childhood days, there is hardly any grandson around to hear their narratives sounding like fiction, particularly how large families lived happily with a two-digit family income. The boys have no mood even to get wonder-struck by learning about a hearty breakfast consisting of masala dosa and a cuppa costing a few paise. Nobody can convince the old guard why society has come to this pass in our times.
A popular regional daily in English is regularly publishing brief feature articles by citizens past their middle age narrating with graphic details the boundless happy times they had with their classmates. Peeping into the past is proving to be a double-edged sword generating feelings of both nostalgia and depression. Remembering the past needs to be guarded against the desire to live in the past.