Humour in Garhwali Folk Poems/Songs

Humor in Folk Poems and songs , Folk Literature

Humor in Asian Folk Songs , Folk Poems and Folk Literature

Humour in Garhwali Folk Poems/Songs

(Garhwali Folk Literature, Himalayan Folk Literature, Asian Folk Literature )

Bhishma Kukreti

The history of Garhwal (India) goes beyond Vedic and Khas era . Hence, the culture and its folk literature is very rich in terms of content and genres. The Garhwali folk literature is also rich in humour, wit, irony and laughter with sexual symbolic words. There are tens of Humorous Folk Songs in Garhwali language

Before, it is discussed the humour in Garhwali folk songs/poems, the review of folk songs/literature of other regions is advisable .

Humor in Russian Folk Songs

In Russia , there are various types of humor in Chatushka traditional folk poems . Even the people create folk poems in communist regime and they were never published till the strict regime was no more, Chatushka in Rusian means “ To Speak Rapidly” Chatushka poem is a folk poem which makes use of simple rhyming scheme for conveying humorous or ironic subjects or contents

Usually, the poems are put together for creating long song Balaaika /accordion supplement. Around 1900 Ad the young communist created folk poems in this form for anti religion and against Stallion too as

When Kirov was killed,
They allowed free trade in bread.
When Stalin is killed,
They will disband all the collective farms

Many Chastushka poems are vulgar as thr following poem:

Here we have a chicken farm,

The hens keep busy hour by hour,

But the only eggs’ the farmhand sees

Are between his legs in the shower

(Egg is aSlang word as Americans use “balls”, “Nuts”

Humour in Japanese Folk Literature

In Japanese Folk litere , there are hundreds of folk poems specially in Manyosha styled poems

In Japanese folk culture, Doditsu is a folk poem format . There are various humorous poems in Doditsu style.

The Chinese folk literature is also sound as far as Humor is concerned .’Huaji’ is equivalent word in Chinese for English word comic and Chinese word Youmo is equivalent to Humor of English . Michelle c Sun provides the reference of ‘The Book of Songs” and stresses that humor and satire were integral part of old Chinese society and folk literature as well.

Michele provides an example of humor here: a translation of old Chinese folk poems

The lady: The cock has crowed

The sun has risen.

The Lover: It is not yet cockcrow–

Only the buzzing of the bluebottles.

The Lady: The east is alight.

The sun is aflame.

The Lover: it is not the dawn–

Only the moon rising.

The Lady: The bluebottles must be drowsy.

It is sweet to lie by your side.

The Lover: Quick! Let me go from you.

Do not let me hate you.

Many humorous songs in China were systematically created as Feng and Ya. Good humour was an Indentity of Chinese culture from the beginning. We may find humrous poems in the litertaure of Liu Xie (465-522 AD)

Su Dungpo ( 1036-1100) created a poem full of anecdotes and fun as

On the clear moon’s speckles, silvery night!

When filling thy cup, be sure to fill it quite]

Strive not for frothy fame or bubble wealth:

A passing dream–

A Flashing flint–

A shadow’s flight!

O what is knowledge, fine and superfine?

To innocent and simple joys resign!

When I go home, I’ll carry on my back

A load of clouds–

A sweet-toned chin–

A pot of wine!

Humour in Irish Folk Literature

In the famous book , “ The Humor of Ireland“ , edited by editor W.R Dirks, J A O’Donoghue writes about Irish characters for humor , “That the Irish people have a wide reputation for wit and humour is a fact which will not be disputed. Irish humour is no recent growth, as may be seen by the folk-lore, the proverbs, and the other traditional matter of the country. It is one of Ireland’s ancient characteristics, as some of its untranslated early literature would conclusively prove” The twentieth century literature as “ The Vision of McConglinne” is the proof that Irish are /were naturally joyous cheerful, and they produce good humorous folk poems too. There is in the book Humour of Ireland “ , a translation of an Irish manuscript of twelfth century which is good example of humor in folk literature of Ireland : to the danger awaiting a guest — ale ; to a broken head — butter roll ; to hand-upon-all — dry bread; to the pregnant thing of a hearth — cheese; to the bubble-burster — new ale ; to the priest’s fancy — ^juicy kale; to the treasure that is smoothest and sweetest of all food — white porridge ; to the anchor — broth ; to the double-looped twins — sheep’s tripe; to the dues of a wall — sides (of bacon) ; to the bird of a cross — salt; to the entry of a gathering — sweet apples ; to the pearls of a household — hen’s eggs ; to the glance of nakedness — kernels. Humor in Norwegian Folk Literature
Vell Espelan d explains various types of humor in Norwegian folk literature specially in Ballads of Norway . Vell narrates about Jocular ballads of Norway as , “These songs have enjoyed great popular recognition, but because the humour is often burlesque and crudely erotic, they were neglected by the cultivated people who transcribed the ballads during the 1800s. These were not songs suited to creating national pride, and several songs containing erotic humour were censored.”

Vell explains in detail about the creation style of many wity folk poems , “ Many of these songs make fun of gender roles, often by turning them upside down. A typical example is the song “Ungersven på tinget” (“The Young Man at the Moot”) which tells of a strong and aggressive woman who rapes a man. In the morning he goes to court and tries to have her arrested, but is merely ridiculed. Another large group of Jocular ballads deals with animals. In “Kråkevisa” (“The Tremendous Crow”) the humour lies in the description of an impossibly huge crow. Other popular songs such as “Tordivelen og flua” (“The Beetle marries the Fly”) deal with animals who act like humans. The animal songs have a naïve humour that children still find appealing. “

Vell further provides the familiarity of humorous folk songs ,”When we sing ballads in our day we are almost always motivated by the age of the song, but “The Tremendous Crow” and “The Miller’s Daughter” (“Møllardottera”) are still sung simply because they are funny. “The Tremendous Crow” is quite probably the most popular folk song in the entire Norwegian repertoire.”

Humour in Italian Folk Literature

The book Medieval Italy :A Encyclopaedia edited by Christopher Cleinhenz provide many details of humour and wit in Italian folklores, folk songs and lyrical folk drama and poetic folktales . between 300 and 1400, folklores, folktales, folk literature played a great role in Italian society. Therefore, the essence of humour is there in every genre of folk literature The genre of folk literature contains many ridiculous characters, stupid characters and witty circumstances in the Italian lyrical folktales and non lyrical folktales. As found in many society, the love governs the genre of folk songs in Italy too. However, humorous folk songs have been created in Italian society in every age.

Humour in folk literature of German language

There are hundreds of folk songs in German language across Europe .

Humour in Slovene Folk Literature

Marko Terseglav in his book Ljudsko pesnistvo (1987), provided examples of a few folk songs of European languages such as English, French, German and Russian wherein there is humour or wit , Ben Amos, Bausinger, Herder, Bowra, Isacenko, Jackobson, Putilov also provided the details of humour in Slovene or Servo-Croatian regions .

Turkish Humour

The humour is found in Turkish folk literature – anecdotes , proverbs, legends, stories, tales, , , lullabies, folksongs, riddles, folk music forms, wailing etc.

Humour in Greek Folk Literature

Roderick Beaton offers examples of humour in folk literature of Greek language in his widely read book The Oral tradition of Modern Greece.

Humour in African Folklores

Harold Courlander (The Treasury of African Folklores), Roger D Abrahar (African Folktales) , Leo Frobenious (African Genesis ) , Richard Mercer ( African Folklores), Patricia Ann Lynch (African Mythology A to Z ) , provided humorous folklores of various regions and eras.

Wit and Humour in Bulgaria

Bulgarian folk literature is rich in terms of varied subjects and styles. There famous folk comic characters as Hitur Petur , Nastraddin Hodja around whom various folk poems, jokes, sayings are woven in Bulgarian oral literature. Wit and humour exhale from the folklores of various of Bulgarian tribes , Thrako-iliri, proto-Bulgarians and Slavs .

Humour in Folk literature of Tennessee

It is said, “Often there is a broad vein of humor in the folk expressions of the people. “I’m so hungry I could eat a bull – and it bellering!” “He’s as lazy as the hound that leaned against the fence to bark.” “She’s as ugly as a mud fence dabbed over with toad frogs”

Humour in Garhwali Folk Songs/poems

In Garhwali folk songs humour is created through describing an unusual animal characters as Moto Dhanga (a Bull) , Musi mouse, goat, sheep etc ; by showing comparisons of age or richness; ridicules, uncouth behaviours of narrators or characters of poem, unusual words,

The emotions – laughter, remorse, apprehension, envy, fatigue, indolence, agility, slumber, dream, awakening and dissimilation are clearly visible in different forms in humorous folk poems of Garhwali language .

In many poems , laughter is worked by showing ridiculous works of others, by exaggerating situations, and remorse by slackness of villain characters . Same way negative emotions to create smile or humour are shown by insult of villains .

Moti Dhangu Folk Song a Humorous Song

Moti Dhangu a Garhwali Folk Song is familiar folk song. the song deals a Bull who is very slow in ploughing but very much anxious eating green grass

There is comparision too as the price of bull is nine rupees and cost of horns are hundred bucks. Humour is created by showing wrong size and unusual behaviour

1- घोटे जाली हींग , घोटे जालि हींग
नौ रूप्या को मोती ढाण्गो सौ रूप्या को सींग , सबसे म्यारो मोती ढाण्गो
गुठ्यारो को दांद गुठ्यारो क दांद
हळस्यूं देखिक ल्म्स्त ह्वेई जांद ससे म्यारो मोती ढागो
गुठ्यारो क दांद गुठ्यारो क दांद हुरु घास देखि च्चम खड़ो ह्वेई जांद सबसे मीरो मोती ढाण्गो
कलोड्यों देखि बुड्या क्न घुरयोंद आंखी

Ghughtin Biyan : Humour by unusual behaviour and exaggeration

Ghughtn Biyan is fine example of creating humour in any language literature . .Here the Gughti a bird is equalled to a caw and then situation is founded as the caw becomes pregnant and the caw delivers child and then she offers milk . here in this poem, the bird is pictured as caw and by that humor is created

२- घुघती न बियाण ल़ा घुग्ती मोल
घुग्ती न बियाण तै चैत का मैना
घुग्ती बिये ज्ञ कारो बालण कु पूजा
क्न घुग्ती तौंकी छई माणा दूध
घुग्ती की छांछ छोल़े छोलण सेर घीउ

The Garhwali Poetic Fold drama
The poetic drama is of rapture of humour and there is full of opportunity to create laughter, However, there is definitely a hidden tragedy which is capable of creating sharp satire too
मैं नि आन्दु त्वेकू , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तेरी फूलीं च दाड़ी, संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तू बुड्या ह्व़े गे , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
मैं नि आन्दु त्वेकू , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तेरी डूडी कमरी , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तू खंकारा को भोगी , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तू आँख को काणो , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
मैं नि आन्दु त्वेकू , संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तेरी फूलीं च दाड़ी, संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
तेरी फूलीं च दाड़ी, संगरामु बुड्या रम छम I
A white bearded old aged person shows his keen desire to marry a beautiful girl in her teen and the girl replies in songs which is melodious and there is tremendous scope for delightful drama in the song
The girl says that she will not marry the old man who has white beard a bent back, , who ha asthma, who is half blind as his one ey is no where on the head. She bluntly refuse to marry with old man
The stage may be on a courtyard, filed, Bisaun (resting place) or in forest or anywhere. It is not necessary that the performers are male and female. In our student life, the child performer used to wear the beard of Syolu (a fiber of Bheemal/Bhyunl) or Fiber of Bhang (hemp)
The act is very laud and female performer may show arrogance of her beauty, tenderness and teen age; scorning or slandering old aged person, . The old performer may perform by showing old age and can bring pathos too by begging her as wife, and this pathos will be converted into ridicules by uncouth behaviour or strange body movements by old person performer which will bring smile, laughter and excessive laughter.
The folk drama clearly shows the sensitivity, social awareness , of folk song creator who are bent to provide realistic picture with a clear message of social reform

Dr Shiva Nand a learned expert of Garhwali folk Literature position this song in Hansodi Folk Song-Dance” or Humorous Folk Song-Dance

(Ref: Dr Shiva Nand Nautiyal, Shyam Chham Ghungaru Bajla, page 50 for folk song )

  • Surya Bhandari

    Please translate these in Hindi. I’m one of those unfortunates who don’t understand Garhwali very well. Though I will learn it in soon :P

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