Tejaji - World Oral Literature Project
The Kota Heritage Society works to promote traditional local culture and has supported the recording and archiving of a Hadoti Ballad as part of the World Oral Literature Project based at Cambridge University, England.
Tejaji is a warrior snake deity honoured throughout SE Rajasthan and into Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh in rural areas where the danger of snake bites is very real. The 19-hour ballad in the unwritten local language of Hadoti describes his heroic deeds and tragic death from a snake bite on his tongue. (It supports the belief that a thread tied in Tejaji’s name will save the afflicted person from death as promised by the snake.)
The Ballad has never been transcribed and recorded to the necessary international standard. Dr Madan Meena and Victoria Singh are co-grantees. Although the main recording is of the Mali Community in Thikarda village near Bundi, who sang the ballad during five nightlong sessions, Madan also spent 21 other nights recording in over 20 villages during the monsoon period of July and August 2010 as part of the Project. A book of the Ballad has been published using the Hindi script, and has been distributed to the musicians, other participants in the project and schools in the area. It is also for sale to the public at Rs. 750 and to members for Rs. 500.
At a workshop on the challenges of archiving oral literature in Cambridge in December 2010, Dr Meena presented this Ballad to an audience of academics.
An English translation of the story of the Ballad, which is very detailed, is available to members on this page on logging-in.
The World Oral Literature Project also hosts the collection of Madan Meena's work and you can visit his webpage on their website by clicking here.