Dogri Coming to Terms
From the Folk to the Contemporary in Dogri Literature
The panel discussion on ‘Dogri folk songs, literature and theatre’ took place at at ILF Samanvay 5th edition of the annual IHC Indian Languages Festival (26th – 29th Nov.’15). The panel looked at various aspects of Dogri literature, theatre and Folk songs.
Balwant Thakur, Lalit Mangotra and Promila Manhas
The Panel discussion saw Ms Promila Manhas talk about Dogri Folk songs, followed by Mr. Lalit Mangotra talking about Dogri literature and was concluded by Mr. Balwant Thakur’s talk mon Dogri theatre.
PROMILA MANHAS ( Dogri Folk Songs)
It is an off-shoot of Indo-Aryan linguistic talk and comes from our heart, breath, mind, body and soul. Dogri songs have rich tradition embedded in their rich culture and heritage. Dogri Folk songs have a large variety and many distinctive features. They can be found in abundance for every ritual, custom and audience ranging right from when we are born to the various phases of our life till death. Dogri folk songs have various textual themes from romantic, heroic to religious. There are no less occasions for singing these songs be it fairs, festivals and many more. She spoke about the ‘suhaag’ songs which typically means a bride’s place and sang the song beautifully for the reverated audience. Another ‘Suhaag’ she sang for the audience was ‘two banjaara’ based on love of a wife separated by her husband who was in the army on duty. There are a multitude of songs ranging from love songs, lullaby songs, cradle songs to festival songs in Dogri Folk songs. She elucidated the richness of Dogri folk songs and how it has never been oblivion, never lost its charm, is majestic and an edifice of contemporary literature.
Balwant Thakur (Dogri theatre)
Contemporary Dogri theatre relies on folk of Jammu. There is no theatre festival which is complete without ‘Dogri Theater’. The 1st play called ‘Achyut’ came out in 1935 and the 2nd play ‘Baba Jitho’ came out only after a span of 15 years. Both by Mr. Vishwanathan Khajuria. Plays were translated to ther languages like Bangali, Marathi, and many more. It was also explained in a nutshell that when we borrowed concepts from outside and based plays on them, they didn’t work. The same however became popular when local people were able to relate to it and connect with it. He concluded by talking about the most popular play ‘Ghumai’ which has been translated to German, Russian and many more. It potrays a Vidayi scene with a tragic ending i:e death of the bride.
Lalit Mangotra( Dogri literature)
Dogri literature is only 70-75 years too young. It has had an eventful journey and is most prominently spoken in J&K, Himachal Pradesh, states of Pakistan and many more. It was rather intriguing to know that before 1940 there were only 5 books on Dalit literature but with passage of time the number increased manifold. From 1950’s to 1986 there were a series of developments which took place. In 1950’s it was fancy and romantic , then came the phase of maturity and reality. In 1960 the famous ‘Sahitya Academy’ awards were introduced in this field. There were also many periodicals and and sansthas which were added to it. Another feather in the cap for the language was when ‘Dogri’ became a subject for the prestigious civil services exam. He concluded by saying that globalization, consumerism, changing ethos and the clash between the political and social factors have affected and had a major impact on the evolution of Dogri language.
Dogri literature, theatre and folk songs have created a huge impact our day-to-day lives and has given us some food for thought about our role in promoting it further.