Dr. Md. Amirul Islam* Abstract: This essay discusses about some famous type of folksongs in Bangladesh, explaining their characteristics, texts and contexts, which introduces the relation of Intangible cultural heritage and folklore. Actually, as an artistic communicative sense, our folklore is our heritage. There because of Bangladesh a land of folksongs. Folksongs are set to..." />
Dr. Md. Amirul Islam*
Abstract: This essay discusses about some famous type of folksongs in Bangladesh, explaining their characteristics, texts and contexts, which introduces the relation of Intangible cultural heritage and folklore. Actually, as an artistic communicative sense, our folklore is our heritage. There because of Bangladesh a land of folksongs. Folksongs are set to tune and passed down orally from one generation to another. Our folksongs express the lifestyle of our people, with all their hopes, expectations, sorrows and dreams. Everything, starting from individuals to society and from religion to occupations, influences the form of folk songs. Nature, environment, seasonal diversity adds to the beauty of folksongs in our localities. Here, we discussed about Social mobility and changing flourishing in our folksongs as intangible cultural heritage so on.
The UNESCO strives to cooperate with countries around the world for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage. Bangladesh is highly enriched in folklore including Folksongs. Our folksongs also go for demandable play maker ingredients for social mobility of our homeland as intangible cultural heritage. As performing arts, our all kinds of folksongs may be safeguarded as intangible cultural heritage. That is why; a national cultural survey is very essential inventorying the folklore and cultural heritage of Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, Our Social changing and mobility reflects in our folksongs. As intangible cultural heritage, our folksongs influence our Society to mobilize or they hold the social mobility and changing. Here, we shall try to focus some popular type of folksongs as intangible cultural heritage and discuss about their impact ness for social mobility. To ensure the above purposes, Folksongs of Bangladesh may be considered such intangible cultural heritage ensuring the continued practice and transmission while maintaining its value and function for the people concerned. That may be compatible with existing human rights instruments, as well as the requirements of mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals and sustainable development. On the other side, our folksongs are implementation of our traditions and creative expressions which cooperate and play role as vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage as performing arts of our country.
Concept of Intangible Cultural Heritage
Material culture and non-material culture are two distinct types of culture. While tangible cultural heritage is based on material culture, intangible cultural heritage is based on both material culture and non-material culture. Nowadays intangible cultural heritage, when studied empirically, provides a distinctive type of data for understanding human behavior and creativity in different physical and social situations. The concept of intangible cultural heritage (ICH) emerged in the 1990s, as a counterpart to the World Heritage that focuses mainly on tangible aspects of culture. Intangible cultural heritage refers to aspects of culture that are non-physical, such as languages, music, dance, drama, ballads, folksongs, indigenous games, folk healing, beliefs and practices, folktales, folk legends, rituals and customs, festivals, cultural spaces, and material culture reflecting craftsmanship and creativity. These are the broad categories of intangible cultural heritage or folklore. Given the depth and intricacy of functional and innovative acts inherent in intangible cultural heritage, it is an embodiment of socially transmitted knowledge and skills, of behavior patterns, of practice and creativity, and of production and consumption. Research on intangible cultural heritage is not merely the study of performances, knowledge and skills. It is the interrelation of performances, knowledge and skills in social life or in community settings. It is, at bottom, a study of the cultural integration of people within a community or group and of cultural diversity and human creativity.
Intangible Cultural heritage
The `intangible cultural heritage’ means the practices, representations, expressions, knowledge, skills — as well as the instruments, objects, artifacts and cultural spaces associated therewith — that communities, groups and, in some cases, individuals recognize a part of their cultural heritage. This intangible cultural heritage, transmitted from generation to generation, is constantly recreated by communities and groups in response to their environment, their interaction with nature and their history, and provides them with a sense of identity and continuity, thus promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity.
`Safeguarding’ means measures aimed at ensuring the vialibility of the intangible cultural heritage, including the identification, documentation, research, preservation, protection, promotion, enhancement, transmission, particularly through formal and non-formal education, as well as the revitalization of the various aspects of such heritage.
Bangladesh is blessed with an idyllic environment. Her extensive green fields, flowing rivers, abounding foliage, the ever-varying clouds, and six distinct seasons with their panorama of nature’s manifestations have conferred on the land a certain vitality which has molded the character, mood and philosophy of her people. The people’s attitude towards life expresses itself in a rapturous yearning for the eternal and indestructible beauty intuitively captured by them. Their folksongs are illustrative of this mystical substratum of their consciousness. This is not to say that the folksongs wholly exclude the appeal of extraneous experience. The folksongs constitute one of the major categories of intangible cultural heritage in Bangladesh. In fact, Bangladesh is extremely rich in folksongs, which are a spontaneous outpouring of the simple spirit of smaller and more homogenous cultural groups. Of the folksongs particular mention may be made of alkap, baramasi, barongasi, baul, bhadu, bhatiyali, bhawaiya, bichar gan, bolan, chatka, dhamali, dhan bhanar gan, dhan katar gan, dhuwa, gajan, gajir gan, gambhira, ghatu, hapur gan, jag, jari, jhumur, kabigan, khemta, kirtan, Krishnalila, leto, Madar Pirer gan, marfati, murshidi, onni gan, patua, Ramlila, sakta, sapude, and sari. These folksongs with their diverse settings deal with themes pertaining to communal activity and harmony, mark the significance of certain times in the Bangla calendar, exemplify the moral code of an entire group and its shared heritage, or bind the life of an individual into the wider life of the community. Each folksong is an element of intangible cultural heritage. It is extremely important to identify those folksongs which are in need of urgent safeguarding.
Background of intangible cultural heritage in Bangladesh
For the purpose of artistic communications, as a discipline, folklore reveals and helps us to understand our humanity. Communities throughout time and space have created stories, songs, dances, music, rituals, customs, festivals, and various material artistic genres to make sense of and to celebrate the world and the human condition. In Bengali, our expressions flourish when our traditions connect through communal wisdoms with innovative inspirations. As its name indicates, folklore involves both folk for a group of people, not only a group of people but also a group of associated people. And lore for creative expressions (Mary Magoulick). Hence folklorists study “artistic communication in small groups” (Ben-Amos 1972) or “creativity in its own context” (Glassie 1999). Formerly, a province of British India, Bengal now forms the state of west Bengal in India and the whole of Bangladesh. Bengal has a long history and a rich cultural heritage. Folklore of Bangladesh helps us to understand our society and her intangible cultural heritage also. On the contrary as a part of folklore, folk literature is created by preliterate communities and passed down orally from one generation to another.
Our communities create folk songs, Geetikas or palas, folktales, folk dramas, rhymes, incantations, riddles and proverbs that draw upon the indigenous culture of this land. As the texts of intangible cultural heritage, the baramasi (song of twelve months) describes the joys and sorrows of village women through the twelve months of the Bengal year. The lives of boatmen and the world of rudders, rivers, boats, sails, waves, banks inspire the long-drawn bhatiyali (song of the river), while the vast expanses of the land, the distant horizon, the sun and clouds, tiring afternoons and days inform the bhawaiya (song of the land). Folk songs are also inspired by the search for the perfect being and communal harmony as in baul songs. They are also inspired by the desire to have a happier, more harmonious conjugal life giving rise to the vratagan (song of vows) that accompany vrata puja (vow-taking). Muslim culture added jarigan (the song of sorrow, from zari, Persian for sorrow), which describes the sorrows and sufferings associated with Muharram. Other folk songs include the sari, Jhumur, Ghatu, murshidi, madarer gan, gajir gan, alkap, hudumdaoer gan, holir gan, Vuter gan, Jag gan, Dhua gan and gambhira etc.
Which method and why
The unique contribution of folklore as intangible cultural heritage is to strive to focus on systems of interrelationships between people and their artistic productions — we consider both the folk and the lore and how they influence each other. Most contemporary folklore study involves fieldwork, often in local communities. In search of intangible cultural heritage in Bangladesh, We may survey major branches of folklore, genres, concepts, historical–geographical-anthropological aspects, and theories within the academic field of folklore. We can study examples of myths, tales, legends, and literature connected to folklore. Open discussions may involve analysis on field study, concepts, genres, methodology as well as examples of music, folk art etc. For the contemporary phenomenon within its real life we may follow case study method during reasonable field surveys. For this study, Information on the Secondary sources may also help facilitate discussions. So, there is no alternative way except fieldwork to collect ingredients for the proposed title.
Objectives of the study
• To search social mobility of Bangladesh by folksong as intangible cultural heritage.
• To realize folklore and intangible cultural heritage deeply.
• To understand meaningful forms of folklore and components of cultural heritage.
• To investigate of inner core of people and their culture in Bangladesh,
• To build cooperation between folklore of rural pockets in Bangladesh.
• To feel Sensations for my own country, her people and cultural heritage.
Folk songs of Bangladesh as intangible Cultural Heritage
There are innumerable varieties of folksongs in Bangladesh, which are sung or performed by different groups, in different regions of the country. We may discuss here briefly on some most popular regional songs only. These songs are usually sung in particular regions as intangible cultural heritage.
We cover the four main branches of folkloristic study in Bangladesh: oral, material, gestures, and customary, with examples including stories, folk art, music, food ways, traditions, rituals, festivals, folk belief, and other lore from a wide variety of folk groups. In some areas of Bangladesh as a folksong Madarer gan is called in various names as Madar pirer gan, Madar gan, Madarer jari etc. This song reflects folk matters including folk religions in Islam. I have collected seven numbers of Geetika on the song of madar pir. In rural Bengali these are called palas. All palas are enriched with religious tales, philosophical thoughts and tentative songs. Its performing presentation is very attractive. The performer explains their own thoughts about God, world and creates in performing periods. Sayed Jamil Ahmed, Saymon Zakaria, Samiul Islam and many others have worked on song of madar. As a researcher, P A Nazir was the pioneer and only one authentic specialist on Madar pir in Bangladesh. Muhammad Shahidullah, Muhammad Monsur uddin, Muhammad Enamul Haque, Wakil Ahmed, Girindranath das, Khodeja khatun, Kazi Mohammad Meser, Sardar Mohammad Abdul Hamid, Misbahul haque and A R Mulik worked on madar, gesturing as pir literature and Sufism in Islam to focus cultural historical views of Bangladesh. My experiences say this song may help us to establish a non-communal society. Her ingredients may be applied for the development of humanity as folk media. This song may be listed as intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO. Madar song is performed or arranged by his followers expressing honor or credit of Madar pir. West Bengal of India and inside of Bangladesh rural pockets of greater Rajshahi (specially natore and greater chalanbil region), Dhaka, Mymensing and Manikgonj district; Madar pir is venerated by the common people of Muslim and Hindu community alike, as the guardian of fire or protector against cholera or other various diseases. Actually this song is a one dialogic oral folk-drama enriched with Anthropological and traditional components, as like folk-beliefs, rituals and customs of Bengali culture. Texts of Madar song (Chalanbil) are all based on popular legends associated with Madar, Jumal, Ali, Fatima, Hasan, Hossain, Baropir and others. This song has been composed in rhymed metrical verses and also includes prose narration. Prose and verse dialogues are its main attraction also.
The woman, whose husband lives at abroad, singing songs about the purpose of absences of her husband or lover in twelve months or six seasons are called Baramasi, Among the ancient poets of Bengali literature who wrote poetry in Bangla under the patronage of the Arakan court was daulat qazi (about 1600-1638) whose Satimayna O Lorchandrani was the first Bangla romance, Contains baramasi. So, history of baramasi in Bengal is traditionally ancient. Baramasi especially song of women but maximum times male persons share feelings with this one.
That is why Baramasi Gan literally songs for twelve successive Bangla months, describes the feelings of a woman who has been separated from her lover. While narrating her pleasures and pains, her hope and despair, she describes the twelve months of the Bangla year. Generally, the song begins with Baishakh, the first month of the Bangla year. The baramasi can be sung at any season of the year. Usually, the singer is a woman who gives vent to her own sorrows while describing the changing faces of nature. Baramasi songs are rooted in Bengali culture and are popular all over Bangladesh. They invoke gods and goddesses and narrate mythical stories or traditional and social events. They contain stories of love as well as accounts of agricultural life. They are valuable literary and social documents. Baramasi songs can also be called ‘work songs’. Female farmers often sing them while weeding the fields to lessen the tedium of their work. No musical accompaniment is used. The tune of the baramasi is mournful, conveying the sadness of separation.
When the singer of Chalanbil, sings, `Agun mase lotun khana, poush mase laior mana re/ magh maisa shit galo narir bukete/ Bidashete roila pran bondhu re. (New food in Agrohaon [8th month of bangla], Naior [a custom of woman, going father’s home for long days] is forbidden in poush [9th month of bangla], the winter of magh [10th month of bangla] passes away in woman’s breast, oh my friend of heart, staying still in oversees.) Here we see the heart break love of women during the absence period of her husband or lover. But, individual month of Bengal attacks with new senses of love in woman’s heart. In other song we heard that, son-in-law in misunderstanding with his mother-in-law, the son-in-law insults his mother-in-law, and then mother-in-law wants to punishment her son-in-law turning off from her home. `Ghorjamata thaika jakhon swasurike dilo gali/prothome korilo churi vat khaoaina thali, vat ar khaibar dibi nare/ tui kan bam hoili darun bidhire. (Staying as domestic husband, rebuked the mother-in-law/ at first stole rice feeding plate/ you will not give me rice to eat, why you are unkind, oh my cruel god.) Continuously the mother-in-law steals fishing basket, pot of salt, ripe banana from tree, jute sticks of making fenches, the chili threshing stone, at last use the bedroom as toilet to turn out the son-in-law from her home. Thus type of Baramasi flourishes the social events in various stanzas and impacts as social mobility in many forms.
A traditional folksong of Bangladesh which is sung as solo. It expresses hopeless, sorrows and unfinished feelings of love. Sometimes, Limitations of the life and spiritual thoughts may its themes also. When the boatman drives his boat on the river then a sense of despair grows inside his mind and he stand in front of his silence to open his heart clearly. The song of this leisure time is called Bhatiyaly song. That is why the present riverine Bangladesh is the birthing land of Bhatiyaly. How the river goes away for unknown destination, as such the human life goes— `Nodir kul nai kinar nai re/ Ami kon kul hoite kon kule jabo / kahare shudhai re. (There is no bank ok river, where I will go, whom I will ask.)’ As traditional boat song of eastern Bengal, sung in a specific mode, noted for its long-drawn notes. In riverine Bangladesh, boatmen spent a lot of time in their boats. While sailing downstream, they had plenty of leisure to sing comfortably in the drawn out and elevated notes characteristic of the bhatiyali. In course of time, this song gained popularity particularly in MYMENSINGH and SYLHET districts. At one time, there were five types of bhatiyali in Bangladesh. But some of these forms are extinct at present. The songs known as murshidi and bichchhedi are also forms of the bhatiyali. Strains of bhatiyali can be found in Bangla folk drama, especially in the form known as GAZIR GAN. In many instances, the word bhatiyali is used in a song to point out the note of a specific verse.
When the singer of chalanbil expresses his feelings `Bajlo banshi porvate, bol chheri tor buker sharee, vija uthlo kar doshe. ` (While whistle plays in morning/ young lady, say/ why your sharee of breast goes to wet/ who is guilt for this?) Or, `boitha jhake tol, boitha jhake tol, barit jaya khabo amra Ilish machher jhol, boitha jhake tol.’ (Play the boat handles in GroupWise, play the boat handles in GroupWise, going home, we will take soup of hilsha fish, play the boat handles in GroupWise.) Now, in winter season the chalanbil is used as paddy production field, the high way and rail way divide her number of parts. Many towns, educational institutes and government administrative offices established everywhere. Today, hilshas are out from this watery boundary. But, in the rainy season, when the water covered all of the area, the amateur boatmen and singer remind the hilsha fishing days. The society of Bangladesh changing, lifestyle of Chalanbil is changing also, such the folksongs of Bangladesh mobilizing our sociality.
The two-stringed DOTARA is the main musical accompaniment of this song. During the fieldwork time of Dinajpur I had collected folksong Tistaparer bhawaiya by name. `Arye oh re pagela re nodi, eki tomar dharmer o reeti, basat bari korlaje chharachhari’ (oh, the restless river, what is the custom of your religion, turned me out from my destination). The singer was migrated from Rangpur to Dinajpur; the Tista River destroyed his destination. Like this many others lost their destinations also. Actually this song expresses sorrows and happiness of riverside people.
A genre of north Bengal folk song, believed to have originated in RANGPUR and Cooch Bihar, India. The name of this folk song, generally about love between man and woman, derives from bhava (emotion). Bhawaiya songs, however, may also be spiritual in theme as in ‘fande pariya baga kande re’ (The heron cries entrapped in a net), ‘chhar re man bhaver khela’ (O my mind, leave earthly games), etc. Bhawaiya may be of two types: one draws out the voice in melancholy notes, while the other has a chatka or skipping tone. The first type is emotional in theme and usually about a young woman’s tender feelings of love and separation. Some popular songs on these themes include ‘oki gariyal bhai’ (Hey, cart-driver), ‘je jan premer bhav jane na’ (He who does not know the feelings of love), ‘kon dyashe jan maishal bandure’ (Which country are you off to, oh buffalo rider, my friend?), ‘nauton piritir baro jwala’ (New love is highly painful), etc. The fast paced chatka is comic and light. It is about expectations and ambitions, about conflicts between husband and wife as well as about the ups and downs of family life. A few of these songs include ‘ore patidhan bari chhariya na yan’ (O dear husband, please don’t leave home) etc.
`Am ghuma ghum kalachander biti shali tui, hal baite jabohini mui/ hal baite jabohini mui, panta sjaya liya jabu tui/ hal baite jabuhini minsa, panta sajya lebnani mui/ ta dhina dhin kalachander jamai nare tui.’ Here, the farmer calls his wife that he will go to field for tilling, he also tells his wife sending water rice for him as breakfast. But the house wife refused and disagreed to send water rice for her husband. At a time, the husband wants to beat his wife with his ploughing stick. The wife told that she would go her father’s house. The husband replied that he will get her from her father’s house, pulling out her branches of hair. After a long time event the peasant couple finish their complexity and build a happy family. Here the social mobility and the changing society cooperate with intangible cultural heritage as such folksong.
Baul song mainly inspired by Lalon Fakir and almost exclusively performed by hermits. This is a spiritual devotional song of Bengali also. The Bauls say, `Human body is the best temple of God.’ It reflects erotic mysticism in the Vaisnava Sahajya cult of Bengal also. Lalon Shah is the most effective person of Bauls with his tremendous and mystical impact ness. A mendicant folk sect, generally inhabiting the districts of kushtia, meherpur, chuadanga, jhenaidah, Faridpur, Jessore, and Pabna and associated with devotional songs known as Baul songs. Bauls practice secret devotional rites, centering on the belief that the human body is the seat of all truths. In this there is a fusion of the sahajiya and Sufi concepts of devotion with Sufism enjoying some predominance. Bauls do not believe in organized religion and do not frequent mosques or temples. They are iconoclasts and humanists who believe that all human beings are equal, irrespective of caste and creed. One is not born a Baul, but becomes one, after initiation by a guru. While there is some ascetic Bauls, there are no restrictions on men and women living together. In fact, certain Baul rites are based on the combined devotional practices of a man and a woman. Little is known about when the sect originated or of the origin of the word ‘Baul’. By the 15th century, however, the sect had made its appearance as is evident from the use of the term in Shah Muhammad Sagir’s yusuf-zulekha, Maladhar Basu’s srikrishna vijay, Bahram Khan’s laily-majnu, and Krishnadas Kaviraj’s Srichaitanya charitamrita.
Best known of all folk music and the most important sub-genre of Baul, almost entirely attributed to Lalon Fakir of Kushtia. Baul song is enacted and transmitted by people. They hold the `the knowledge and skills’ required for that enactment and they enact or perform `the practices, representations and expressions’ are using their bodies. The thoughts of bauls change over time. The symbols and internal matters of baul song during lalon fakir and baul fakir of today are individual but their emotional expression is same.
Ghulam Maqsud Hilali says about Jarigan, `Elegy dealing with the tragedy of Karbala, poetical recitations of dealing with the incidents of Karbala.’ In Bengali Jarigan means the song of sorrws or Shokgiti. The Shokgiti was built with the memory of the miserable death of hazrat Imam Hossain, son of hazrat Fatima (R) and hazrat Ali (R), grandson of the Prophet hazrat Muhamgmad (Sm). Not only, is the death of Hasan, Hossain and their Followers the main theme of Jarigan but also folktales of Bangladesh, pir literary tales, heroic tales and social incidents sometimes reflects on it. When I was staying at panchagarh to collect folk elements, I met some Jarigan singer. They sung many kinds of Jarigan. The main topic was Karbala tales but I noticed changing social matters comes during performing periods. Dudu Gayen of gurudaspur on the district of Natore A Performer and master of Madar gan. He and his group usually perform on Madar gan and padmapuran gan, but during the Muharram day he plays with sword and stick. When he tales the event of Muharram, the audience washed out with tears. With the events of Karbala tales he added orally transmitted tales also. Thus history and social matters always put forth new branches of folklore.
Jarigan, however, includes other stories besides that of Karbala. Thus, along with Makkar Janmakatha, Jaharnama, Saddader Jari, Shah Jalaler Jari, Sohrab-Rustamer Jari, jari songs may also include social, religious, political subjects as well as natural calamities, riots, violence, family planning etc. the origins of jarigan may be traced back to the early 17th century when poetry started being written on the tragic stories of Karbala. One of the earliest recorded is Muhammad Khan’s poem on Karbala titled Maktul Hussain (The Martyrdom of Hussain) in 1645, when Shi’ism had reached Bengal via Persia. The Muslim rulers of Bengal, even when they were not SHI’AH, were patrons of Shi’ism. For example, SHAH SHUJA, the Mughal governor of Bengal, was a Sunni but his mother, Momtaz Begum, was a Shiah as were many of his amirs. All the nawabs in the early 18th century belonged to the Shiah sect. Over time, Muharram turned out to be one of the biggest festivals of Bengal. (Persian zari, lamentation + Bangla gan, song) Bangla songs originating in the elegiac literature of MUHARRAM. In commemoration of the sufferings and subsequent deaths of Hazrat Imam Hossain, grandson of the Prophet HAZRAT MUHAMMAD (Sm), and other members of his family, at Karbala, marsiya and jarigan are sung for the first ten days of Muharram.
The centre of observances of Muharram in Dhaka is the HUSAINI DALAN Imambara. As mark of mourning, Shiahs dress in black for at least ten days of Muharram. During this time, they refrain from merrymaking, listening to music, or seeing plays or movies. They also do not arrange weddings during this month. Keeping in mind that Imam Hossain (R) and his followers suffered from unavailability of water, some Shiahs refrain from eating fish.During these first ten days of the month, majlis (mourning assemblies), are held at the imambaras, separately for men and women.
Imam Hossain (R) was killed on this day at the hands of the troops of Yazid, the son of Muawiyah, the Umaiyya caliph. Shiahs take out processions with tazia, the replica of the tomb of Imam Hossain (R) and they show their grief by clapping on their chests or flagellating themselves with knives or chains. The mourning continues for forty days till the first ten days of the next month Safar. Muharram processions were common in Bengal in the 18th century. Horses and elephants were also used in the processions. Processions nowadays are much smaller. In Dhaka, the procession begins at Husaini Dalan and, after winding its way through the streets, terminates at a place designated Karbala on the banks of the Dhanmandi Lake. The replica of Duldul, the horse of Imam Husain (R) and the flags in the procession show a symbolic presence of Imam Husain (R). Also latikhela (stick fights) are organised to remind of the battle between the troops of Imam Husain (R) and Yazid. As with other festivals in Bangladesh, Muharram has become an occasion for fairs at various places.
The Jarigan bears different character at Chalanbil area. There are various types of Jarigan in this area, as for Kali Babur jari, Machher jari, Veda machher jari, Darka machher biar jari etc. As for example `fatka jale atka poira/ Veda jai swasur bari/ Veda machhe nosto korlo gol alur torkari. Veda jokhon motion kore/ jalke tokhon sabdhan kore/ sabdhan hoio suter jal/ ami ai thelay debo pari/ amar je re aslo hasi/ tai jal chhirte na pari. (Veda machher jari)’ Here, Veda, one akind of foolishly innocent fish of chalanbil. This is a black colored tasty fish, always opening teething mouth, while it comes to the net, jumps, hits and wants to cross the net. But, bind with the net permanently by its own teeth. In social life, some people are as Veda fish. They do not know how to cross the complex situations of life. The clever persons think before doing any work, but the foolish persons do not think. So, they attacked with trap and fell into trouble. Here, the Veda, symbol of foolish person. The machher jari of chalanbil, publishes name of about one hundred types’ fishes, their nature, color, size, taste etc. But, while the performer presents it, he expresses the social mobility including social, religious, political subjects as well as natural calamities, riots, violence, family planning etc. So, the Jarigan of chalanbil typically different rather than jarigan of other part of Bangladesh.
Murshidi gan is a spiritual and guruism song. When the singer says, `Chaire kone chaire prithibi bonde/ moiddhe korlam than/ awlia harofe bonde/ kitab ar Quran/ Madarer murshid bonde/ bage bondi sthan.’ There is no confusion that murshid is the only one rescuer to his followers. The main objective of the Murshidi song is to get the creator devoting to murshid or master. The word ‘murshid’, derives from the Arabic ‘ershad’, and means ‘to order or give advice’.
A murshid gives advice to his disciples and leads them to the spiritual way by means of devotional rites. A murshid has the same place in Muslim religious meditation as a guru has in yoga. Bengal has a long tradition of guruism in the Hindu, Buddhist and Nath creeds. After the Muslim conquest of Bengal, the people of this land became exposed to the concept of murshid derived from sufistic and mystic practice. A murshid or pir is thought to have attained divine grace through which human beings can find Allah; the belief has given birth to the concept that ‘the one who is murshid is maula (God)’. The murshid is the saviour both in this world and the world after. He is the guide who helps people enter the spiritual world. He shows the way of salvation from worldly illusions. The devotee surrenders himself without reservation before a murshid or seeks a place at his feet for salvation. Songs in praise of murshids are called murshidi gans.The murshid’s followers beseech him through songs such as o tumi aisare dayal amar murshid re ‘O my murshid, be kind and come to me’, dayal amar kandari haio re ‘O my kind murshid, lead me through’, and tumi dao dekha daradi re amay ‘O my kind murshid, reveal yourself to me’. Unlike baul songs, which are about mysticism, arguments and conflicts, murshidi songs praise the murshid and appeal to him to guide the devotee. Apart from eulogizing the murshid, murshidi songs also speak of divine love. Rivers, boats, birds and Radha and Krishna are used in these songs symbolically. What makes them different from other types of songs is that they are about spiritual love and devotion. The tunes of murshidi songs are essentially sorrowful and heart-rending, arising out of the pain of the followers’ perception of inability, ignorance and non-attainment of spiritual bliss. Songs of bicched, marfati, dhuya gan as well as Baul songs praise murshids and crave their blessings. Murshidi songs are usually sung in slow measures, but sometimes rapid measures are employed to make them more attractive.
Madarer gan and gazir gan also express guruism as murshidi gan. Because, inside these songs Madar pir and Gazi pir rescued their followers from miserable conditions. The followers make praising tales for the honor of their guru or master and sing. Murshidi song of chalanbil as such, `khyapa ghonta polo ghumaye roli/ ticket koi nili/ arye chollo gari dhua chhere, sokale satarka hao vai/ somoy achhe koi? The body vehicle is running fast, creating smoke in the air, but where the storage of asset for next world is (after death)? So, everyone should aware during aliving time.
Shiva (a popular god of the Hindus) is the main character of Gambhira Gan but its social impacts are most enjoyable during performing moments. The name of Shiva is Gambhir. So, name of Gambhira song goes from Gambhir. After liberation of Bangladesh Gambhira holds the social inequality, cultivation, conjugal love, political concepts, and narrative socio-economical matters as its subject. As a type of folk song popular in the northwestern region of Bangladesh. Gambhira songs are assumed to have originated from the worship of the god Shiva, which is also known as ‘Gambhir’.
In ancient times, gambhira used to be celebrated as puja (worship) only. In the medieval period, most Hindu communities celebrated the puja of dharma thakur on the last three days of the Bengali year; this came to be known as the gajan of Shiva later on. In the past Shiva was imagined to be present at the performance.Gambhira songs originated among the Hindu community of Maldah in west Bengal. Initially, gambhira was of two kinds: the primary gambhira and the narrative gambhira. The primary gambhira would address gods and goddesses and describe human joys and sorrows, and, sometimes, important events of the year. In the narrative gambhira, every character would represent a social problem. After the creation of Pakistan, Chapai Nawabganj in rajshahi became the main centre of gambhira songs, which underwent major changes in theme and mode of presentation. Muslims became the custodians of this song and made it an integral part of their social life and their culture. Apart from Rajshahi, gambhira songs are also popular in nawabganj and naogaon. At present the main characters of a gambhira are a maternal grandfather and his grandson. The performance is structured as a dialogue, interspersed with songs. Both prose and verse are used for the dialogue. The gambhira reflects contemporary social problems through witty dialogue, songs, dances and jokes. Both the actors wear lungi. The grey-bearded grandfather wears a mathal (straw hat) on his head and holds a stick in his hand. The grandson wears a torn jersey and has a gamchha (local checked towel) tied round his waist. In the past gambhira songs were sung in the measures of ektal, trital, dadra, khemta, kaharba etc. Today the tunes are influenced by songs from popular Bangla and Hindi movies. Kutubul Alam, Rakibuddin, Biren Ghosh and Mahbubul Alam of Nawabganj have made the gambhira song popular in Bangladesh by introducing new subjects and characters and interesting and witty dialogue.
The changing forms and presenting information’s of gambhira should be collected in a systematic way. The researchers should be comprehensive and regularly updated. Their inventorying may be preceded by the identification and analysis about gambhira in close cooperation with the communities and groups concerned. The research works can require inventorying to contribute to safeguarding, which suggests that the viability of the gambhira should assessed and indicated. Inventory may also contribute to awareness raising, one of the main objectives of safeguarding gambhira.
The word Alkap comes from Arabic. The word means joke or comic. This is one kind of folk drama. During the beginning of 20th century the remarkable part of Alkap spreads in Gaur. According to structural analysis of folksongs it may be decided that Khaur and Jhumur are the main source of Alkap. Subalkana a master of Alkap, at first make the Alkap as present form. As, a performer he was famous at Maldah, Murshidabad, Birbhum and other places. A rhyme of subalkana says names of Alkap Sarkars from Chapai Nawabgonj, Jangipur, Noorpur, Rajmahal and Murshidabad. As a regional folk performance, somewhat similar to jatra, popular in Rajshahi as well as in Murshidabad, Birbhum and Maldah, west Bengal. It is a composite performance comprising acting, dancing, singing, recitation. An alkap group consists of ten to twelve artistes, led by a sarkar (master) or guru. The group also includes two or three young men called chhokras and one or two gayens or singers. The rest comprise dohar, choristers, and musicians. Alkap performances take place at night on an open stage, which is lit by lanterns, popularly known as hyajak bati. The audiences stand or sit around the stage, leaving a narrow passage for the performers.There is two main parts of an alkap performance: songs and witty dialogue in prose or verse. Usually, the themes of the songs are drawn from mythological tales, particularly the story of radha and krishna, while the subjects of the dialogue relate to contemporary social events. Sometimes the audience also joins in. The main attractions of alkap performances, however, are the chhokras who dance, dressed as girls, between the singing and acting.
Handsome boys are trained to become chhokras and become quite expert in performing the salacious dances known as khemta and jhumur. There are also clowns to make the audience laugh.The singers sit on the stage while the musicians sit below the stage, on one side. The instruments that accompany the alkap performance are the drum, harmonium, tabla, tambourine, flute etc. The musicians sit throughout the performance. The sarkar enters first, singing a vandana or hymn. He then recites verses that introduce the main theme of the drama. Then he and the main singers start the alkap, while the choristers help them by repeating the burden of the song.Though the alkap is similar to the jatra, it is more of a song-and-dance performance than the jatra which is closer to a play. The actors in a jatra have designated parts and a set dialogue to speak. In the alkap, however, the performers have a notion of the storyline and, in the manner of the Italian commedia dell’ arte, improvise on stage. The attraction of the alkap lies in the vulgar jokes and sexual dances, which also make it necessary for alkap performances to be staged late at night and at some distance from the village. At present, when television and films have reached the remotest villages, the popularity of the alkap has decreased and it is on its way to extinction.
This song is famous as Mangar gan or Sonapirer gan at Chalanbil area in Bangladesh. Every year in poush (9th month of Bengal) the young generation of villages make a group of 10-12 members. Some villages’ more than one group is looked at. The young men sing praise of sona pir and collect rice, dal, chllis, onion, garlic etc. In Hindu community Sona pir is famous as Sona Roy. Sona pir and Sona Roy is same person. So, Hindus and Muslims both communities respect him equally. About 5-6 feet bark less jute stick is the symbol of Sona pir. Top of the stick is bind with colorful fiber of jute or cotton. This is one of the symbols of non communal and peaceful society of Bengal. The head singer sings, the participants’ chorus with him after every verses `Subol Subol.’ This is a common dialouge of all singers. All singers are addressed as Kheru in Jag gan. The main singer is called Mull or chief Kheru. Sona pir is also famous as jongli pir by name in some areas. The oral myth says, Sona pir and Manik pir were two brothers. This tale is similar with the tale of Domer madar-pagal Madar and Gazi-Kalu tales. Greater Chalanbil of Rajshahi Division is Very famous for Jag Gan. It expresses the praising of various folkloric pir and Goddess also. A Jag gan of Chalanbil explains, `Haita jaite umur jhumur, sonar nupur pay, O pir kalo jama gai.’ Sardar M A Hamid collected and published a numbers of Jag gan in his Chalanbiler Lokasahitya. As for example, `Aslore lal shalika/ paye dia moja/ teler harit dub dia/ faska (one kind of bird), faska uthia bole hamto boro jani/ tirvuboner pakhire/ tene tolo pani.’ The red sister-in-law came wearing red socks, swimming into oil pot the faska (one kind of bird) becomes the king of birds. After rising up, the faska says I know many things; birds of trivuban collect water by pulling.
(From jag, awake + gan, song) a kind of folk song sung by a group usually throughout the night, praising the divine grace of saints or deities. In some places it is also called jagaran gan (sleepless song) and asan gan (sitting song). A jag gan group consists of a main singer and his chorus. This genre of song is common to both Hindu and Muslim communities in PABNA, RAJSHAHI, BOGRA, RANGPUR, FARIDPUR and NARAIL as well as in some parts of WEST BENGAL. Women also take part in jag gan. When someone is ill, Hindu women in Narail recite the names of goddesses all night long, hoping that this will relieve the sick family member. This song is called vrnda gan (group song) as well. About 25-30 girls generally take part in it. Jag gan are usually composed and sung on Manik Pir, Sona Pir, RADHA and KRISHNA, Nimai Sannyas etc.
`Ami to noni khai nai ma, Bolai khayachhe, ar amare maris na ma.oh, mother I did not take the ghee, Bolai had taken, so, mercy me, don’t beat me mother.’ `opar dia keshob sadhu nouka baiya jai/ Epar hoite pir Gazi dak chharia koy (corus)/ taka nai re, taka nai re banalo company/ takar pithe lekha achhe, bibi company. This song, reminds the British rule in India. Here, rani for, the great queen Victoria. So, this type of song bears our history and tradition. This song is a popular jag gan of chalanbil in Bangladesh also.
Gazir gan is one of the performing arts of Bengali folklore. The folk-culture and rural life lies in this folk drama traditionally. The Gazir gan is famous among districts of Khulna division, nearby sundarban. In this area Gazir gan contains such rituals and beliefs, which reflect the syncretistic tradition of Bengal forever. Gazi pir is a historical famous person but his followers make folktales with him. Now he is the folkloric god of Hindus and Muslims of southern jone of Bangladesh. He is also the symbol of communal peace in Bengali life of rural pockets near Sundarban areas in Bangladesh and West Bengal. The boatmen of southern region say, `Gazi achhe nighaban, amra achhi polapan, shire ganga doria, panchpir badar badar.’ The Fishmen and botmen of southern area of Bangladesh count Gazi pir as the master of the pirs or Sufi of the Sufis. Khoda Bux was the ancient writer of Gazir punthi. He wrote his punthi at 1798-99 A D. Sayed Halumir 1827 A D, Abdur Rahim at 1853 A D, Khandokar Mahmud Ali at 1878 A D, Muhammad Munsi at 1896 A D and Abdul Gafur during the beginning of 20th century wrote puthis on Gazipir. Songs to a legendary saint popularly known as Gazi Pir.
Gazi songs were particularly popular in the districts of FARIDPUR, NOAKHALI, CHITTAGONG and SYLHET. They were performed for boons received or wished for, such as for a child, after a cure, for the fertility of the soil, for the well-being of cattle, for success in business, etc. Gazi songs would be presented while unfurling a scroll depicting different events in the life of Gazi Pir. On the scroll would also be depicted the field of Karbala, the Ka’aba, Hindu temples, etc. Sometimes these paintings were also done on earthenware pots. The lead singer or gain, wearing a long robe and a turban, would twirl an ASA and move about in the performance area and sing. He would be accompanied by drummers, flautists and four or five dohars or choral singers, who would sing the refrain. Gazi songs were preceded by a bandana or hymn, sung by the main singer. He would sing: ‘I turn to the east in reverence to Bhanushvar (sun) whose rise brightens the world. Then I adore Gazi, the kind-hearted, who is saluted by Hindus and Mussalmans’. Then he would narrate the story of Gazi’s birth, his wars with the demons and the evil spirits, as well as his rescue of a merchant at sea. Although Gazi Pir was a Muslim, his followers included people from other religious communities as well. Many Gazi songs point out how people who did not respect him were punished. At least one song narrates how Gazi Pir saved the peasantry from the oppression of a zamindar. Another song describes how a devotee won a court case. In Gazi songs spiritual and material interests are often intertwined. The audiences give money in charity in the name of Gazi Pir. This genre of songs is almost extinct in Bangladesh today. Many possible tasks may be indicated; individual experts and various kinds of institutions and organizations should be aware about the implementation to safeguarding of Gazirgan.
Innumerable folksongs are found scattered over the length and breadth of Bangladesh. The joys and sorrows, the smiles and tears of everyday life of common people reflect on folksongs. In order to know Bangladesh properly, to be able to form some idea of the thoughts and aspirations that animate this, we have to establish contact with its bearers in rural pockets. As cultural heritage, our folklore and as intangible cultural heritage, our folksongs preserve the minutest details of history and evaluation of thought and civilization of our country and people for social mobility. So, a cultural survey by the government or information department from Bangladesh Government is very essential to investigate of inner core of people and their culture.
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