Spotlight on Jammu Folk Dances

O P Sharma

Name of book : Folk Dances of Jammu Region-A Study
Author : Satya Pal Shrivatsa
Publisher : Yak Publishing Channel,
Pacca Danga, Jammu.
Price : Rs. 1100

The eminent writer Dr. Satya Pal Shrivatsa has authored yet another important book titled “Folk Dances of Jammu region” depicting the main distinguishing features of folk dances. Dr. Shrivatsa himself hailing from Jammu and Kashmir has made an elaborate study of all forms and styles of Dogra folk dances. It is, in fact, a well documented and in-depth account of the folk dances’ study sponsored by the Union Ministry of Culture under its senior Fellowship programmes.
The enterprising publisher: Yak Publishing Channel, Jammu has rendered a commendable service to the people by publishing the well documented and illustrated book covering the different folk dances of Jammu Region. It is duty of a local publishing house to focus on research work, historical, social and various other fields related especially to Jammu and Kashmir. This part of the country needs to be brought under sharper focus and highlighted for faster move forward.
The Forward has been written by Lt. Gen (Retd.) S.K Sinha, former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. Aptly he opines: “Folk Lore, folk music and folk dances need to be nurtured and nourished. He said “Duggar Desh is not only home of warriors who have left their imprints on the pages of history but also have produced renewed interests in music, dance and paintings, who have made remarkable impact on the culture and heritage of our country. S.P Shrivatsa, an erudite scholar has produced this book of great merit”, he added.
The 136-page book has chapters containing detailed description of all the major dance forms like Phunmani, Dheku, Chowki, Kikkali, Dhamachada, Dandaras, Chajja, Harna and Gitabi. The folk dances of Gujjar and Gaddi communities, who generally reside in high mountains, have particular interest and traditions of singing and dancing. These people in hilly natural surroundings have tradition of merry-making by way of singing and dancing throughout the year specially in local melas and pilgrimages. For years these cultural features have growth in stature and strength across the country with Jammu region included. The simple people enjoy life in cultural activities for all reasons and every seasons.
Dr. Shrivatsa had undertaken this task of depicting Dogra’s folk dances by consulting authentic and authoritative source material from different libraries, cultural centres archives, interviews with noted artists and folk dancers for this valuable work.
He has made description of various folk dances – their style, costumes, accompanying music instruments as also tunes, the special occasions and surroundings for the display of this folk art activity. Dr. Shrivatsa has appended a detailed bibliography as also a number of coloured-pictures of different modes and moods of folk music as well as dances which has added to the value of this book. The book is highly priced but it should be remembered that the cost of paper as well as production has gone up. Index should have been provided in this book.
It makes interesting and informative reading. The academicians, artists, students and even common citizens must go through this book to have a grand view of our rich cultural heritage prevailing in folk dances having their own charms.


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