Storytime in India

Storytime in India

Wedding Songs, Victorian Tales, and the Ethnographic Experience
Helen Priscilla Myers and Umesh Chandra Pandey
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 06/14/2019
Format: Paperback 1 b&w illus, 1 map
ISBN: 978-0-253-04163-0
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Description

Stories are the backbone of ethnographic research. During fieldwork, subjects describe their lives through stories. Afterward ethnographers come home from their journeys with stories of their own about their experiences in the field.


Storytime in India is an exploration of the stories that come out of ethnographic fieldwork. Helen Priscilla Myers and Umesh Chandra Pandey examine the ways in which their research collecting Bhojpuri wedding songs became interwoven with the stories of their lives, their work together, and their shared experience reading The Eustace Diamonds by Anthony Trollope. Moving through these intertwined stories, the reader learns about the complete Bhojpuri wedding tradition through songs sung by Gangajali and access to the original song recordings and their translations. In the interludes, Pandey reads and interprets The Eustace Diamonds, confronting the reader with the ever-present influence of colonialism, both in India and in ethnographic fieldwork. Interwoven throughout are stories of the everyday, highlighting the ups and downs of the ethnographic experience.


Storytime in India combines the style of the Victorian novel with the structure of traditional Indian village tales, in which stories are told within stories. This book questions how we can and should present ethnography as well as what we really learn in the field. As Myers and Pandey ultimately conclude, writers of scholarly books are storytellers themselves and scholarly books are a form of art, just like the traditions they study.

Author Bio

Helen Priscilla Myers has held numerous posts and published widely in the field of ethnomusicology. Currently she serves as Professor at Large at the American University of Ellis Hollow.

Umesh Chandra Pandey is an elder and a farmer from Karimganj, Western Uttar Pradesh, India. A subject of American anthropological research since birth, he has now turned to writing as a career.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments


List of Songs and Accessing the Audio Files


Prologue


Introduction: Umesh Explains Storytime


1. A Fulbright Grant to Banaras, India


2. Toast


Interlude I: Lizzy Greystock


3. Setting Up Our Apartment in Banaras, 2007


4. The Daily Routine


Interlude II: Sir Florian


5. Arranging an Indian Wedding


6. The Search for a Boy


7. Helen and Umesh Meet


8. Viewing the Bride


9. The Tilak Talk Begins


10. Gangajali


11. The Tilak, Explained by Umesh


12. Song Journey


13. Tilak Songs


14. "Dress Him in a Bra and Bodice": Gali for the Tilak


15. The Songs Become Personal


16. "We Sell Dreams"


17. Saguni Songs: "This night is ours"


Interlude III: Lady Eustace


18. Umesh Remembers Charlotte Wiser


19. Matikor: Sashi Interrupts, but We Do Not Hear "A Mare Has Pissed"


20. Helen's Pounding Pot


21. Umesh Explains Gali


Interlude IV. Lucy Morris


22. The Kalas and the Harish


23. Arranging a Priest


24. Wedding Expenses


25. The Island Diaspora: My Introduction to Indian Culture from Far Away


Interlude V: Frank Greystock


26. Grannie Music


27. Ethnomusicology


28. The Turmeric Is Pleasing


Interlude VI: The Eustace Necklace


29. Heat


30. Kissing


31. The Bride and Groom go to the Kohabar


32. Sahana Songs before the Wedding Ritual: The Blue Blue Horse


33. Umesh Tells the Krishna Story


Interlude VII: Lady Linlithgow's Mission,, The Sawab of Mygawb


34. And Love


35. Kabir


36. Great Novels and Lesser Novels


37. Trapping the Family Gods


Interlude VIII: Mr. Burke's Speeches


38. Helen Contracts Typhoid


39. Getting the Siri at the Home of the Potter


40. My Husband Is the Inspector of Police


Interlude IX: The Conquering Hero Comes


41. The Evil Eye


42. Umesh Gets Malaria


43. On the Stage, the Bridegroom Puts on His Garments


44. Preparing for Winter


45. Adorn the Elephant, Adorn the Horse


46. The Jaluaa


47. The Story of Krishna and the Crocodile: A Song with Many Many Stories


48. Umesh Tells the Remainder of the Krishna Story


49. More Jaluaa Songs and Stories


Interlude X: Showing What the Miss Fawns Said, and What Mrs. Hittaway Thought


50. Charlotte Wiser Leaves Karimganj


51. Wedding Night


52. Mona's Nacchu Nahawan in Rasalpur


53. Protecting the Bride from the Evil Eye


Interlude XI: Lizzie and Her Lover


54. Arrival at the Janmassa


55. Gali for Barati People and Bridegroom


56. What about Clothes and Ornaments


57. Bhajan Interlude


Interlude XII: Lord Fawn at His Office


58. Umesh Recalls His Wedding


59. Feeding the Wedding Party


60. Dwar Puja—The New System


61. The Animal Party


62. Departure of the Barat


Interlude XIII: I Only Thought of It


63. The Bridegroom Enters the Courtyard


64. The Bride Enters the Courtyard


65. Donation of the Virgin Daughter


66. Ceremony of the Puffed Rice


67. The Sindur Ritual


68. The Kohabar Ritual


69. Ceremony at the Ganges


Interlude XIV: Showing What Frank Greystock Did


70. Arrival of the Bride in her Sasural, the Gauna


71. Love Marriages


72. Five Days


73. Just One More Song


74. Gangajali's Story


Interlude XV: "Doan't Thou Marry for Munny"


75. One Last Song


Interlude XVI: I'll Give You a Hundred Guinea Broach


76. Preparing for China


77. Leaving Banaras in 2008


78. Conclusion


Interlude XVII: The Eustace Diamonds


79. Umesh Tells a Story from Karimganj


80. A Passage to India


81. Bangles in Ballia


82. Across the Seven Seas


83. Umesh Arranges for the Swan's Quill


84. The Religion of Humanity


85. Storytime


Appendix: Rituals of the Hindu Wedding in Ballia


Glossary


Bibliography


Index