Folk Ballads Travel Across National Boundaries: A Report on Two day seminar on Folk Ballads

Dr H.S. Chandalia

Folk Ballads are such popular narratives which are sung and travel across national boundaries. They reach beyond the language in which they are composed and get a new form in another language. There is a need to preserve the tradition of the folk ballad singers who are leading a tough life. There is an equal need to document, digitalize and preserve these literary forms. These conclusions were drawn at the end of two-day seminar on Folk Ballads jointly organized by Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, Udaipur  and Kendriya Sahitya Academy, New Delhi on 12-13 March, 2022.

The inaugural function was chaired by the former Chairman of Rajasthani Sahitya and Sanskriti Academy, Dr. Dev Kothari. In his speech he mentioned popular folk ballads like Pabu Ji, Dhola Maru and Galaleng. The Chief Guest of the function was Prof. K.K. Sharma , former HoD , Department of Hindi, M.L.Sukhadia University, Udaipur. He stated his experiences with folk ballad singers while his research on Folk Ballads was going on in 1964-65. On the Inaugural day Ms. Vandana Joshi and Dr. Reena Menariya Presented their papers. Director of the Seminar Dr. Laik Hussain presented the welcome address.

The second day sessions were chaired by Prof. Satyendra Tripathi who dwelt on Bhojpuri Folk Ballads at length and said that the singing of folk ballads in his village continued for days together. The session began with the presentation of Kanu Bhai Patel from Anand , Gujarat. He said that when a story is sung it becomes a Gatha. He classified folk ballads into four categories namely Prem Pradhan, Virakt Vyanjan, Pouranik and Bhakti parak. He recited some parts of a Gujarati folk ballad titled Charan Kanya written by Javer Chand Meghani. He was followed by Dr. Nandini Panjwani from Jaipur who spoke about Singhi Folk Ballads and said that the folk ballads popular in Punjab like Sohni Mahiwal, Heer Ranjha etc. have reached Sindh in Pakistan and are sung in Sindhi. Jayendra Bhai , a theatre personality from Gujarat said that folk ballads have contributed a lot to theatre and cinema in Gujarat. He said that almost every folk ballad has been made into a film in Gujarati. Senior journalist and theatre personality from Rajasthan Ashok Rahi talked about the folk ballads of Mewat region which he said is called Kala Pahad. Talking about the popularity and belief of people in folk ballads and their magical powers he said that in the region where he lives Bagdawat is sung to cure the disease of oxen. This was followed by a presentation by Prof. Hemendra Chandalia who presented the role of instruments particularly Dhol in the performance of folk ballads in Rajasthan. He said that it is perhaps the oldest percussion instrument which can be traced back to the year 3000 B.C. Dr. Kamla Goklani from Ajmer explained some of the folk ballads of Sindh and said that Sindhis are people without a homeland and therefore there is a greater need to preserve literature of Sindhi language. The seminar concluded with the remarks of Director of Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal Dr. Laik Hussain who promised that the papers presented in the seminar will be published in Rangayan, the Journal of Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal.

About the Contributor:

Professor in English

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