FOLK SONGS:listening to women's voices in garhwal Anjali capila
FOLK SONGS A lyrical, short, simple, less artistic rhythmic song of a community. It often reflects the socio-cultural heritage, the environment and the life of the community living in a particular territory (Srivastava, 1974). One of the oldest means of the expression of any community. Important because they reflect different aspects of tradition, customs, rituals, aspirations, values, attitudes, and so on. Deeply rooted in life of the people and therefore allow one to narrate the many faceted aspects and dimensions, interlinkages which songs tell us about the particular community. Chief characteristics of these songs- simple melodies that are fine blending of words with the tunes, which is highlighted by the spontaneity that springs from the emotions of common people arising out of their natural surroundings. Give respite from everyday monotony of life, reduce tedium of hard work & provide an outlet for suppressed emotions & desires which cannot be expressed in prose, in ordinary language.
GARHWAL- BRIEF TOPOGRAPHIC PROFILE Known for centuries as Devbhumi, the abode of the Gods, the territory of Uttrakhand in the Central Himalayas reffered to as garhwal., was unified by Ajaypal of the Panwar dynasty by constructing garrison fortresses on strategic hill-tops in order to consolidate his authority. Later Britishers for administrative convenience divided Garhwal into Tehri & Pauri. Topography is mostly rugged & the entire region is mountainous with vast tracts of bare rocks & forests.
Contextualizing the songs The Natural & Socio-cultural Framework Folk songs are being presented within six contextual sections (frameworks): Section I- Natural environment: The Ecological Perspective Section II- Songs of celebration: Life-cycle Events Section III- Social Relations Section IV- Work roles/Activities performed Section V- Aesthetic Depiction Section VI- Dissent, Protest and Social Change: New Songs on Contemporary Issues
Section I- Natural Environment : The Ecological Perspective Song of seasons Special features of each season Presence of the sacred Emotional state Social relations Work roles
Section I- Natural Environment : The Ecological Perspective Song in the praise of land My Garhwal has beautiful forests Groves of Bnana Plantation And tall Deodar trees ‘Santelu’ Pradhan makes money In exchange for his daughters And gives ‘daan’ To attain salvation! Song of seasons Basant ritu is here ! The hiilsides are covered with flowers The koel sings from mountain tops Its sound reverberates in the valley! The Manbabura flies from tree to tree singing His voice reminds me of my husband Away to a strange land! In Garhwal people sit on the banks of river Ganga And enjoy this season!
Section I- Natural Environment : The Ecological Perspective Song about trees/forests Dear sisters, do not cut trees If you cut trees, the soil, mud, earth Will disappear No fields, nor houses will remain on hillside Trees give us fodder for animals Keep our environment clean; the air pure Nurture and care for the trees Like your own children Look after them, raise them with care. Song about water scarcity In the month of Jeth The sun beats strongly My lips are dry Dear sky, create rain & quench my thirst It is evening And the water vessel lies empty All the daughters & daughters-in- law of the village Are waiting for water to come The path to spring Is steep and arduous.
Section II- Songs of Celebration: Life-Cycle Events Song of marriage- kanyadaan Dear father give kanyadaan Land and jewels, everyone gives But your dear father Give kanyadaan, And attain salvation. Birth of a child Dear son! You are the fruit of my sacrifice! To attain you, I underwent severe austerities And observed all rites and rituals For you, I bathed in the Holy Kund Of all the shrines in Garhwal I worshiped all the stones, in the name of God Dear son, may you become that ray Of light that illuminates the mountain peaks at dawn! My dear son, may you become the ‘light’ of my kul (family).
Section III- Social Relations Parental home Dear high mountain peaks Lower yourselves Let me see my mother’s home. Dear, tall Deodar trees Lower your branches So that I can see my mother’s home.
Section III- Social Relations In-laws home: Husband-wife song You my dear Swami (lord) are in the city of Delhi You travel the whole day by car! While I walk on stones To the forest, to cut grass, My hands & feet have become torn with deep marks I have become weak Doing such continuous hard work Please get transferred to Kotdwar I will meet you at Haridwar. Mother-in law/Daughter-in-law Dear “sasuji” Do not fight with me day and night I will run away to my husband. My husband will come in a rail I will burn you alive with tel (oil).
Section III- Social Relations Dialogue across the hills- Baju Band Geet A- There is a pile of books My brothers are close to my mother I am my mother’s enemy That is why she has sent me away B- just like butter cannot be formed from residual butter milk In the same way leave alone meeting even seeing my brother’s wife is impossible for me.
Section IV- Work Roles and Activities Performed Daily activities and work roles The hot sun is beating on me As I go to collect grass from the jungle. But alas! I find no grass I walk for miles and miles, In search for grass Not a handful do I find! My complexion was golden like haldi Now I have become dark like a tawa Roaming in these jungles, Oh! What a hard life I have!
Section V- Aesthetic Depiction Beauty of a woman You are as beautiful As stars shining brightly in the sky The beauty-spot on your face And the dimple on your cheeks All add to your beauty When your smile It is like a thousand flowers blooming! Your dark eyes And unruly fair Your soft hands and feet And beautiful teeth Indeed make you look like a ‘queen of beauty’.
Section VI- Dissent, Protest and Social Change Social issue: Changing status of a girl-child The Vedas and the Puranas Deny the selling of a girl by her father A daughter is born from the same womb As a son to a mother But only the son is entitled To the parent’s property Taking material wealth In exchange for a daughter is a crime Do not sell your daughter As though she was a cow! Stop doing this And take blessings from your daughters. Change in cultural fabric: Impact of Modernization Chamba town, situated on the main road Has beautiful little & big shops The students from the college near by Gather in the streets Their teachers urge them to study land Not to smoke tobacco And not to unkind words to others Chamba town, is a nice little town Even the road to New Tehri goes from here!
Section VI- Dissent, Protest and Social Change Environmental issues: Dissent & protest, exploitation of women While cutting grass You wandered off to an unknown field On your strength and courage And forest rangers did no good to you They confiscated the daratis From all the women cutting grass on hillsides The sound of your bangles resound in forest Sound lures people from here & there Come I will go with you to jungle And you can cut grass with no fear of the ‘patrol’ Mobilising women’s power: Creation of Mahila Mandals All the women got together To form a Mahila Mandal We went to the office of D.P.Maurya & Gupta at Tehri And lodge our protest If we are together we can fight any problem Dear brothers of village, support us! Do not spoil your life drinking alcohol Do not abuse Our Mahila Mandal will fight the Atrocities of the government.