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FOLK SONGS AND FOLK DANCES OF RAJOURI

 

pahari dance

Rajouri is a land of matchless unique and unimaginable beauty in the form of exotic landscape,verdant meadows, sparkling and shimmering snow white streams, towering snow clad mountains, rich fauna and flora, ancient mountains, rich heritage, vivid cultural life and wonderful folk songs and folk dances. The main languages spoken in the region are Gujri, Pahari, Poonchi, Dogri and Kashmari. The life of the people of Rajouri is a blend of Dogri, Poonchi, Pahari, Gujri and Kashmiri culture. Folk songs and folk dances of a particular region depict the living style of people, their tastes, traditions, costumes, rituals and culture. Different cultural forms and styles of singing and dances are still prevalent in the region. Folk forms have remained the favorites of the masses. Festivals, fairs, marriages and other rituals, each have a style to suit the occasion.

Pahari Dance1

Photo Maharajkar Singh Isher

 Gujjars are one of the most important segment of the population of the district. The main ballads of the region are "Noora" & "Taago". Folk song "Dhindi", "Baisakh", "Kench", "Lucko", "Chann", "Dholan", "Sahibn", "Mehndi", "Laari", "Saif-ul-Malook" and "Bar-Shams" are very famous amongst the people. Kashmiri songs like Wanawun, Chakri, Rouf, Dogri "Chann", Punjabi "Mahiya" also echo in the mountains, originally hailing from Gujot, Gujjars had once ruled the area and the story of the heroic deed of their Chief Roul-Allah still resounds in the area.

 

 

NOORA 

 

 

Noora was Gujjar Chief of Gursai who was ditched by his own servant namely "Mitha" and brutally killed by his opponents. His life history is explained in the folk song "Noora". Similarly balled "Taajo" is a famous number in which bravery of "Taajo" has been woven beautifully. Taajo was born in Uri.

 

 

DHINDI

 

 

Dhindi was a beautiful charming girl who falls in love with the hero of the tale Nathiya Deedarh. This song is in romantic from and talks about her immortal love.

 

 

BAISAKH

 

 

Baisakh is the folk song of summer when the people migrate to Dhoks with their livestock. The beauty of the nature, flora and fauna of the area, lush green meadows oozing and gushing springs are beautifully described in the song

 

 

CUCKOO

 

 

Cuckoo is a symbolic song in which the bird "Cuckoo" is used as a symbol. This song is very famous amongst the women folk as it is a song of separation and remembrance.

 

 

KENCHI

 

 

Kenchi is a love song of a pahari belle, in other words is a true love story of a pahari girl with "Munshi" of a forest contractor. Kenchi expresses the broken heart of the heroine and still brings tears in the eyes of the villagers.

 

 

SOPAHIYA

 

 

Sopahiya is a song in the praise of a lover who has gone to fight war. Armed Forces Personnels leave their wives at their native places and leave for services and the song is sung by the lovely wives remembering their Sepahies,

 

 

CHANN & DHOLAN

 

 

Chann & Dholan are pahari romantic songs & are full of praise of beloved, who is compared with, Chann, (Moon). Dholan word is also used for lover. Every line of the song ends with the word, Dholan.

 

 

SAIF-UL-MALOOK

 

 

Saif-ul-Malook is compilation of traditional spiritual poems and verses, which teach that if a man passes through odds and obstacles but reaches the goal, so one should never give up.

 

NATT

 

Natt is devotional song sung in Ziarat for praise of Prophet Hazarat Mohd. Kashmiri folk song Chakri and Rouf is also sung in the region due to Kashmiri population.

 

FOLK DANCES

 

Dances express the innermost joy and happiness of a man. These are the real pictures of the life of the people and their folk culture. Dances are always connected with some fairs, festivals or worship of God or Goddess. District Rajouri touches the border of Poonch, Jammu and Udhampur, So that the main dances of Rajouri are Dogri Bhangra, Gogri Dance, Letri Naach, Chowki Naach, Jattar, Jagarana, Keekli and Rouf etc.

In actions, costumes and songs, Dogri Bhangra is totally different from Punjabi Bhangra. These dances performed on the fairs and festivals, every action depicts the harvesting process. Performers with sticks and handkerchiefs dance in a circle on the drumbeat. The Bhangra details the joys and sorrows of lover's meetings and partings.

 

 

GUJJRI NAACH

 

This form of dance is very famous amongst the Gujjar community. Performance of the dance is arranged on the marriage ceremony of a boy. This folk dance is very simple but charming. Male dances in their traditional costumes form a line with sticks in their hands and on the other side female dances change formations on the rhythm of Dhol. The dancers take a long step in forward direction, a small in backward direction then jump forward and start dancing. The dance is also accompanied by a folk song.

 

 

LETRI

 

This dance is performed while cutting the grass hence known as labor dance. The person who wants to get the grass cut from his land invites the professional grass cutters and a drum player is also invited. The grass cutters, which can be 10 to 50 in number, start dancing, cutting grass on rhythm. The Hindus serve them with lunch and ghee, while the Muslims serve rice, sugar and ghee.

 

CHOWKI NAACH

 

The dance is similar to that of Dogri folk dance "FUMMANIYAN". People from all communities perform this dance jointly, which shows a nice picture of communal harmony and natural integration. This dance is purely a religious dance in the honor of the Gram-Devta or Kul-Devta. People assemble in the temple or place or worship on a particular date and perform Jaatar with iron chains (Saunglan) in their hands and devotional songs are also accompanied with it.

 

 

JAGARNA

 

The Bindloo and the Jagarna are the dances set to the theme of marriage and martial relationships. Women perform Jagarna. Children and men cannot even witness this dance. It is performed after the Baraat leaves for Bridegrooms house and is carried out whole night. Hence it is called JAGARNA. Bolian & Dholak is also accompanied with this dance.

 

 

KEEKLI

 

 

It is a simple but entertaining dance. No instrument is used. The girls perform this dance. They catch hold of each other's opposite hand and rotate themselves fastly but in a balanced way. The main instruments played with these folk songs and folk dances are algoza, Dokra, Sarnai, Glass, Thumbak Nari, Sargi, flute, Dholak and Dhol etc.

 

 

ROFF AND CHHAKRI

 

It is in Thanna and Budhal that the Folk players or Panthers are popular. The notable dance is the Rouf, which is performed by women on the occasion of Idd. Popular songs are Chhakri and Hafiz Naghma. The most popular instrument of Kashmiri action song is Tumbak Nari.

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