Title: The unfolding of a Kaavad
In chapter three we discuss the fieldwork undertaken in the practitioners’ natural settings and the visual ethnographic material brought together. The ethnographic model is extrapolated to include visual methods such as film and photography in addition to interviews and conversations. Detailed descriptions about the maker, storyteller and patron, follow; including their home and work environment, their village and everyday work life and the Kaavad’s role within it. Origin myths that connect them to each other and their practice are documented. In the case of the makers and tellers processes by which they transfer their knowledge to the next generation, their perceptions and point of views about the tradition, the purpose it serves and its future are reported. Practitioners also discuss the past and present patronage and how they interact with each other. Recordings of a Kaavad performance in its natural settings form a part of this chapter. The patrons also discuss the significance of a Kaavad recitation in their lives.
Chapter four explicates the Design and Structure of the Kaavad. The Kaavad anatomy includes the physical/material structure, the visual structure, the narrative structure and the navigation through the Kaavad. Samples for studying the physical and visual structures include Kaavads from storytellers, extant ones in Indian museums and from the Kaavad makers. For the narratives we examine transcripts of performances from three storytellers. This chapter concludes with a short discussion on the relation between the structures and the unfolding of the Kaavad.
In chapter five the methodological approach is discussed in relation to the investigation of the Kaavad. The Kaavad, a folklore object may be examined from the perspectives of oral narratives, material culture, social customs and as performance. The rationale for using a structural and semiotic approach is described and discussed. Brief introductions are given about key figures related to structuralism and semiotics with an emphasis on Vladimir Propp and the binary discriminations of Lévi-Strauss. Proppian methods are discussed in detail as well as the work of contemporary Indian scholars who have used these methods with success. The concluding discussion integrates the approaches of semiotic, structural theoretical analysis and visual ethnography in strengthening the inquiry and analysis of the Kaavad as a symbolic pilgrimage. A sample analysis illustrates the use of methods.
In chapter six analytical tools are used to examine the similarities between the Kaavad recitation and the journey undertaken by a pilgrim. Proppian analysis is used to identify the key functions in the Kaavad stories, Kaavad performances and that of a pilgrimage followed by a comparison between both. The binary discriminations of Lévi-Strauss further explain the narratives within the Kaavad and semiotics analysis explains the role of images and restricted code in the Kaavad narration. With the findings it is argued how the Kaavad comes to be a ‘pilgrimage’ in space and an ‘identity’ in time.
Chapter seven summarizes and discusses the findings from the previous chapters. The significance of pilgrimage and recitation of genealogies is explained with reference to its role in the lives of the Kaavad communities. Unique characteristics of the Kaavad phenomenon that contribute to creating the experience of pilgrimage are identified and elucidated. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the implications for design and designers.
Appendix I has fifty four stories elicited and collected from one storyteller that have been translated and organized with their concerned images from the Kaavad. These are arranged with the corresponding image and their specific locations in the Kaavad.
Structural analysis of 54 individual stories using Proppian methods is included in Appendix II. Each story is analyzed separately and then collated together for a comparison.
Appendix III has three performances by three different storytellers recited for three different patrons. They have been transcribed in Hindi and translated in English although many more performances were recorded in the field. These performances were recorded on location in the presence of patrons with their permission. We accompanied the storytellers to the residences of their patrons in the desert regions of Jodhpur, Barmer and Jaisalmer districts.
Appendix IV is a glossary of terms used in the thesis and the stories. The glossary explains their meanings in the context of the Kaavad tradition.
Other appendices include an illustrated book “Home’, published papers, and a 23 mins ethnographic film titled: ‘The Makers of Tales’.
- ‘A Structural Analysis of the Kaavad phenomenon using Propp’s methods’
- ‘A Note on Using Digital Media for the Study and Documentation of Kaavad Tradition in Rajasthan’Journal of Indian Folklore Vol 9, Zooni Publications, Mysore 2008
- The Challenges of a Sleeping Giant: DESIGN ISSUES, MIT, USA vol. XXI # 4, 2005
Papers in conference proceedings (Published):
- Sharing Stories: Learning with Stories, HCI 2007 Conference Beijing, China, 2007
Papers presented in conferences:
- ‘Kaavad: A site for Multiple Identities’ at a conference organized by the 34thIndian Folklore Congress at the Nagaland University, Kohima, on 9th December, 2010.
- ‘Homing in with Stories’ at the International conference Designing for Children, organized and hosted by IDC on February 3rd 2010
- ‘A Structural Analysis of the Kaavad Phenomenon using Propp’s methods’ at a conference organized by the 33rdIndian Folklore Congress at the Manipur University, Imphal, Manipur on16th November 2009.
-‘Traveling Stories’ at the International conference on Storytelling, Sutra: Storytelling in the Digital Age, organized by NID and MIT Media Lab, NID, Ahmedabad, in December, 2002
Chapters in Books (Published):
- (The Kaavad phenomenon: a folk tradition of Rajasthan in the book: Indian Painting: The Lesser Known Traditions Edited by Anna Dallapiccola. Niyogi Books, Delhi, 2011
- 'About myself, about my work' Contributed towards a book WOMEN IN DESIGN by Liz McQuiston, Rizzoli, NY 1987
- ‘A Student Remembers’ Contributed towards a book NASREEN IN RETROSPECT edited Altaf