Shamsher Hakla Poonchi
Gujjars and Bakarwals generally speak Gojri language. Even passing through ups and downs of its history, the language continued to retain its originality and existence. Historians have different views about the coming of Gojri language in Jammu and Kashmir, but some historians and language experts agree that it came with the coming of Gujjar community.
During the present times of development, Gojri is behind other languages, even though Jammu and Kashmir Government took some steps for the progress of Gojri language and literature but still it needs much to be done in this respect. Gojri folk literature is also instilled in the language. Gujjars Bakarwals is happy to live in a peaceful atmosphere. During summer seasons these people migrate to mountain ride and hilltops jungles, deserted terrain and meadows along with their livestock and with the setting in of winters they return to plains. They come across and live with nature’s colorful atmosphere and due to the impact of nature they are pure in thoughts and deeds. Gojri folk literature, folk tales, songs and proverbs are abundantly hidden in the spoken Gojri language.
It goes without saying that much of the Gojri literature has not come to us in black and white shape but fortunately has been surviving from one generation to another and managed to reach us passing through hard times and this process of evolution is still continuing. Gojri language and literature is decorated with folk songs and folk tales. Gojri folk songs are not still lesser than those songs of other languages. Mostly Gojri folk songs are love songs, saying love stories, war events, national festivals, deaths, sorrows, separation, oppression, tyranny, cruel treatment, atrocity, perturbation, uneasiness, long wait, nomadic life, changing of seasons, past memories, present worries and arrival of the future etc. Gojri folk songs are mostly based upon folk stories. These folk songs go by names such as “Kainchi” and “Gogo Peer”. In addition to this there are common folk songs known as Bar, seeharfi, Beit, Spashiaji, Baramasi, Cuckoo, Basakh, Chahog or Doha, Doli, Sehra, Boli, Balo, Maya, Dhole and Chan and some others are: Shamas Te Rajwali, Marriages songs, popular.
Cuckoo: This type of folk song is very popular and common among Gujjars. Mostly they like to sing it at the coming of spring season when nature spreads beauty all over with the clear cool waters, the gentle breeze, lush growth of greenery on hills and meadows, chirping of colorful birds, start of ploughing of fields. With the setting in of winter season Cuckoo migrates from mountains to plains, then its sound is not heard and again with the coming of spring, Cuckoo flies to hills and mountains again. Those who listen to the voice of this bird feel that there is greenery all over and spring season dances like a fairy. For the people of Gujjars Bakarwals of Jammu and Kashmir, the month of Baisakh brings a new message of hopes, aspirations and happiness. At this time there is beginning season of farming. Farmers get engaged in farming. They work hard and try to finish farming operation as early as possible, so that on getting free of this farming they may again move to hilly meadows with their livestock.
Their folk songs are full of spirit and modernity, wisdom and depth. For these songs women’s voice is most suited.
Kainchi folk song: This folk song is related to the daughter of a Gujjar farmer. She was a beautiful girl whose fame had spread far and wide. Everyone was eager to own her. Without taking care of anybody her father got her married with a Munshi. However, another young man who wanted to own her hatched a plan to kill her husband (Munshi) to own her. One day, when her husband went to a nearby forest to tend his animals, the young man, along with his companions murdered him. In the evening when her husband did not return she was deeply shocked. In search of her husband she went to the forest named Darshi and searched for him for days and nights. Her husband’s separation deeply depressed her. She deeply sighed time and again as her husband’s separation was unbearable to her, so she expresses her sadness in the shape of a song known as “Kainchi” which continue to be a popular folk songs. This song is commonly sung by Gujjar community these days. The song is more popular than other songs.
Doli and Sehra: These folk songs are sung on the eve of reception of a marriage party and departure of a bride after marriage ceremony, sitting in a palanquin (Palki or Doli) or on the eve of Sehra Bandi or departure of bride sitting in a decorated palanquin. Such folk songs are sung by women standing in rows. Sometimes unmarried girls sing such songs by putting arms round each others necks.
Shamsher Hakla Poonchi