Folk musicians from 9 states to recount stories of freedom fighters

The spirit of patriotism will be displayed through the folk music traditions in the national capital as a total of 12 teams from nine states and nearly 100 artistes will present the stories of freedom fighters in a unique way that includes art forms such as ‘Ragni’ of Haryana, ‘Dastangoi’ of Uttar Pradesh to ‘Pandavani’, the famous folk singing style of Chhattisgarh.

The atmosphere of Delhi will be enthralled through devotional songs sung by Subhas Nagara and Group of Haryana, Rohtak, on musical instruments like nagada, chimta, bean, sarangi, dhol, tumba, banjo, shehnai and harmonium. On the other hand, Ramrath Pandey and fellow artistes will sing Uttar Pradesh’s folk music ‘alha’ praising the valour and bravery of freedom fighter Chandra Shekhar Azad.

The folk songs from nine states will be presented in Delhi honouring the memory of the freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives during the freedom struggle but they will also throw light on the origins and history of these folk songs.

‘Ragni’ is quite popular in Haryana and is a Kauravi folk song style which is famous throughout north India, especially in western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

Ragni is one of the most prominent songs sung for entertainment in Haryana. Rather, now people have started accepting it as an independent folklore.

Ragni is a type of folk song similar to ‘Kajri’ prevalent in Purvanchal region. There are competitions held with Kajri folk song held with Ragni folk music. With the passage of time, displaying patriotism and raising social problems is also done by the Ragnis.

‘Dastangoi’ of Uttar Pradesh is derived from two Farsi words, in which ‘Dastan’ means a long story and ‘Goi’ means to tell. It has been part of oral storytelling tradition.

The journey of Dastangoi reaching India took place centuries ago and in this long journey, there has been a change in the style of telling the story, the fun of using the story and change in language used.

The biggest feature of stories is that stories accept themselves in different situations and become a part of our lives.

In Rajasthan, ‘Pandun Ka Kada’ has a different significance. Originally, the Pandun Ka Kada was composed by Sadala Khan Mewati in the 17th century. It is the musical narration of the Mahabharata and is particularly popular in the Mewat and Nuh districts in Haryana as well as Alwar and Bharatpur districts of Rajasthan.

There are a total of 2,500 couplets in the original Pandun Ka Kada, which are sung in Raga Doha and Dhani. These singers sing Pandun ka Kada to the beat of instruments like jogi bhapang, jogia sarangi, dholak, nakkara, khanjari and harmonium and the language of the couplets is in local Mewati dialect.

‘Pandavani’ is the famous single folk singing style of Chhattisgarh. Pandavani not only contains the story of Mahabharata but the male and female singers also create a proper blend of regional fables and myths. However, these fables and myths are at times completely contrary to those written in the scriptures. The two styles of Pandavani are Kapalik and Vedamati.

The older the tradition of Pandavani, the more abundant is its literature. It can be presented anywhere and anytime. Male and female singers come to the dias in traditional attire with tambourines in their hands. The tambourine in their hands turns into a mace and sometimes a bow according to the occasion.

Telangana has also not lagged behind in terms of folklore, the traditional folk drama ‘Oggu-Katha’ is quite popular in the state. ‘Oggu’ means ‘Damrukam’. Therefore, telling the story in this way while playing it with ‘Damrukam’ in hand is called ‘Oggu-Katha’. This form of folk drama is purely related to Kuruma and Golla castes of Shaivism.

Dhadi singing is one of the famous folk ballad singing styles in Punjab. This singing tradition was started by the sixth guru of Sikhism, Guru Hargobind, to encourage sangat, or determination in warriors. According to Guru Hargobind, when there was a question of protecting the motherland or facing any kind of discrimination, then there was a need to take up arms and that is why this tradition was started with the aim of bringing enthusiasm to the soldiers fighting war.

‘Powada’ is a rich traditional style of singing ballads which is nearly 400-year-old originated from Maharashtra.

Powada singing has also played an important role in the socio-cultural and political development of the region. The performance of Powada begins with Ganesh Vandana ‘Gana’ and homage is also paid to the mother Goddess by singing Gandhal songs. The ballad singers are known as ‘Shahirs’.

In Powada, the story of the life struggle of the legendary Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji is presented, who was not only famous for his valour, but also for ensuring justice and service to every person of his kingdom. The work of inculcating new consciousness and awakening nationalism was done through singing Powada songs.

‘Dhimaryai’ is a caste folk dance of Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. This dance is performed by the people of Dhimar, Kewat, Navik and Kol castes. This is a male-dominated dance in which the dancer sings and dances with a sarangi.

In Dhimaryai, the performers dance wearing dhoti, kurta, saluka, bandi and safa on the head and ghungroo in their feet. On the other hand, instruments like Khanjari, sarangi, lota, dholak etc. are mainly used in musical instruments. Dhimaryai dance and songs are performed especially during marriage, birth, Navratri and Ganesh Chaturthi.

The Sangeet Natak Akademi presents a three-day Rang Swadhinata Utsav which is being organised in Delhi. There is also an initiative to save folk arts through this programme and it aims to celebrate the independence of India through different composition styles.

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