Discuss the various forms of Traditional Media of India.

India’s rich culture and tradition include the various forms of traditional media like: Storytelling, Tamasha, Katha, Bhavai, Jatra, Keertana, Pahad, Tarja, Kavigaan, Nautanki, Kathakata, Burakatha, Gazal, Kawaki, Mushaira. Some of the most commonly used forms are being explained here under

List of various forms of Traditional Media of India


The most commonly used forms of folk media wherein the storyteller use theatrical poses and rhythmic language to narrate the story. Many rural societies have a rich tradition of storytelling. The stories are woven around the old tales taken from the historic and religious background and legends.

The response of the audiences includes laughter and body movements. Colorful costumes and musical instruments etc. are extensively used while storytelling sessions. The programme runs till late in the night and people generally get together in the village chaupals and courtyards of temple or community centers.


Belonging to Maharashtra is a lively form of folk theater. Its origin dates back around 400 years during the period of the ‘Peshwas’. A clown named Songadya acts as the master of the programme. He makes witty and hilarious remarks. Artists from both genders perform in tamasha.

Earlier this form was used as a medium of entertainment and communicating religious stories. Its contemporary use is to create awareness about social and political issues and generate public opinion. The government uses this folk form to spread awareness among masses on issues like family planning and ill effects alcohol consumption etc.


Belongs to Northern India, it is a form of folk drama performed in open theaters. This traditional form got its name from Rani Nautanki, whose beloved use to disguise himself as a woman to get an entry into her chamber. Nautanki generally has a narrator who is called the sutradhar of the show. Kettledrum and dholak are commonly used musical instruments and the dialogues are given out in a rhythmic tone based on the popular folk melodies.


A popular folk theater from Bengal and Orissa, it means a journey. The art form got its name because the performers involved in the theater roam from one place to another and give performances. Most performances revolve around stories of Lord Krishna and Radha and popularized bhakti cult among people. Later it also involved stories to popularize the Shakti cult. During independence movements this art form was liberally used to mobilize the masses. Jatra involve choral singing and acting.


This traditional folk form belongs to the state of Gujarat in which a clown called the Ranglo and sutradhar or Naik initiate the drama with their dialogue. The exchange of teasing dialogues, satire and funny actions of Ranglo creates laughter among the audience. Ranglo connects the past with present and makes fun of the social and political evils of the society. This art form uses dance, singing, mime, dialogue, acrobatics and magic tricks etc.


Also called Hari-katha or Hari-keertan is a mono drama in which the actor alone portrays various characters and different moods. It is a hundred fifty year old art form primarily performed in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Popularized during the period of Bhakti Movement, it was used by Sant Kabir and Tukaram. A different version of art this form was used in areas of Gujarat also.

Ballad Forms:

A narrative poem from the folk origin having simple stanzas. These are mostly sung using simple musical instruments. India has a variety of ballad forms which originated in the different regions of the country. To name a few: Alha from Uttar Pradesh, Burra Katha from Andhra Pradesh, Jugni and Vaar from Punjab, Powada from Maharashtra, Villupattu from Tamil Nadu and Villadicham Pattu from Kerala.

Folk Music:

A very effective traditional media, India has approx. 300 different types of folk music. Some of the most popularly heard aBoliyan from Punjab, Mand and Panihari (Rajasthan), Kajari (U.P.), Bihu(Assam), Doha and Garba of Gujarat, Chakri from Kashmir and many more.

Folk Sayings and Riddles:

A very interesting mode of traditional communication that not only entertains but also educates. Widely used irrespective of one’s social and economic status. This form is part of the tradition and culture of the group it is being used into. They also help in creating a strong bond amongst members of the group or community.


This is one of the oldest folk art in the country. It has also evolved with the changing times and today is being performed in its modem avatar. It entertains, educates and is therapeutic. Puppetry is an art of animating human and animal figures through which a dance and drama is created. There are primarily four kind of puppetry which are commonly used in India:

  • Sutradharika: Figures are manipulated with the help of strings.
  • Rod Puppets: Big sized puppets supported by bamboos.
  • Shadow Puppets: Flat figures which are illuminated from behind to create a shadow that falls on the transparent screen.
  • Hand Puppet: Also called glove puppets
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