Ananda K. Coomaraswamy correctly pointed out, folklore in India
should not be contrasted with the classical traditions, as it is in
Europe. "Whereas in Europe folk and classical traditions
are separate, in India they share a common base.... In fact, these
terms represent only different (the local and pan-Indian)
expressions of the same tradition, not different traditions".
[See Stuart H. Blackburn and A.K. Ramanujan (eds.), Another Harmony:
New Essays on the Folklore of India.]7
This unity covered not only Dravida India, if indeed a
distinct Dravida speech community existed, but also tribal India. We
have a pretty good idea now of the interaction between tribal India
and Hindu India in the rise of Gods, for example.
Orissa is ideal for studying this
phenomenon for a variety of reasons. While it is a distinct
geographical unit with a distinct cultural and political history,
north-eastern and southern influences have met there and it has been
in direct contact with Central and North India through the Mahanadi
valley. Its regional tradition has remained relatively unbroken. It
was, for instance, able to withstand Muslim conquest till 1568, more
than three centuries after much of North and Central India had come
under Muslim rule.