Folk Culture Forms of Bundelkhand
Several local religious cults exist in Bundelkhand independent
of mainstream Hindu religious tradition (see
Cults and Local Deities).
Many folk arts have evolved around regional festivals, such as 'Navami'
drawings and designs made on the occasion of Kajri Navami in the monsoons.
The drawings are made with a solution of pounded rice on floor
cleaned with cattle dung, in a dark room of the house in which women place cups
made of leaves containing mud from a particular field. Seedlines of wheat or
barley are grown in the cups and worshipped for 15 days. Only then are sowing
Over the centuries, a rich and diverse tradition of song and
dance emerged across the region.
Specific forms are related to seasons or life events:
Hori or Phag is sung in the spring and is appropriately
romantic and sensual
Kajri is sung in the monsoons
Sohar is sung on the occasion of the birth of a child
Rai dance is performed by women dancers as well as men
Diwari dances are performed during Diwali by acrobatic male
groups holding long poles and dressed in very colourful and unusual attire.
Some forms are specific to certain occupational caste groups,
and sung during work, such as when drawing water from a well, or when grinding
flour by hand.
Many forms of folk song and dance in Bundelkhand appear to have
evolved as a response to harsh social and economic circumstances, and most folk
artistes are from scheduled caste groups.
Among the well known forms are:
Achri, a folk song form performed in honour of mother
goddesses especially during Navratri
Alha songs celebrating the heroic exploits of mythologised
historical figures Alha and Udal, who fought on the side of the
Chandelas in the war against Prithiviraj Chauhan
Lamtera songs sung in honour of Ganesh and Shakti
Pahunai song and dance performed to welcome guests
Got (pronounced 'goat'), a song form with a strange rhythm
sung through the night to seek good health for all cattle in the village
Kacchiyahi, song and dance performed by women and men of
the backward Kacchi caste
Kahri songs sung to welcome the rains
Khayal, a competitive form of singing performed by two
groups of singers
Tambura Bhajans, which are songs usually sung to Kabir's
lyrics, celebrating a nirguni (formless) godhead, and
Kolhai song and dance peculiar to the Kol tribals of the
Accompanying instruments include percussion instruments like the dholak,
nagadiya and pakhawaj; string instruments like the one-string tambura; wind
instruments like the flute and shennai; and several rare instruments like the
algoja, a double flute.
With the exception of Alha and Phag, the forms seemed to have
come down the ages unchanged.
The Alha repertoire of lyrics has been continuously enriched by
different authors at different times.
Phag was enriched in the early twentieth century by a folk poet
Isuri (born 1881, in Mauranipur, Jhansi) who is credited to have composed over a
thousand love songs.
Some attempts have been made to compose and popularise new folk
songs with messages on issues such as literacy, assertion of rights and
empowerment of women.
Courtesy : bundelkhandinfo.org