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Challenges of Fieldwork and Documentation: A Case Study of Mudugar-Kurumbar Research Centre, Attappady



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P S, Sachindev 


The Mudugar are an indigenous community living in Attappady, South India. Having been displaced from the forest and resettled in the valley, they are now undergoing major transformation, including the corruption of their unique indigenous knowledge systems. It was in this context, and with the aim to create a repository of indigenous culture, that the Mudugar-Kurumbar Research Centre was established. In this paper, I will discuss the steps and challenges faced by the Centre in documenting and storing cultural knowledge. These challenges include working with the community (and against the weather) in fieldwork, where objections from some community members due to suspicion and inhibition adversely affected the documentation process. Community members also assisted in logging and classifying documents, and the Centre respects the sentiments of the members by using Mudugar words for nomenclature. The documents are made available to internal (community members) and external agencies (research scholars and public), and we are disseminating video documents to the public by collaborating with a local TV channel.


World Oral Literature Project Workshop 2010


oral literature, Attappady, Mudugar, fieldwork

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