History of Dogri Literature
On the basis of the published material available up to 1970, Dogri folk-tales may be classified into ten main types described in the following paragraphs.
(1)Those relating to play of gods and goddesses: Many of these are connected with the lila of Siva and Parvati and some are about Krishna and Hanuman. Those about Sivalila are 'Shiva Mehmā', 'Parja de bhāg', 'Asali Bhagat' and 'Mane dā khot'. One about Krishnalila is 'Bharuā', and the one about Hanuman is called 'Bhale laine de dene pe'. 'Parjā de bhag' is a very popular tale in Duggar. Siva and Parvati were passing over a place cursed with twelve-year drought and they saw the parched land, with men, birds and beasts dying of hunger and thirst and a lone lean farmer driving two emaciated bulls yoked to the plough in a wasteland that had not seen water for three years. Parvati's compassion had the better of Siva's stony in indifference and she asked, "What sort of land is this that has nothing green in it and what is that lonely cringing thing, my Lord?"
"This is the cursed land", replied Siva, "and there is going to be no rain here for 12 years. That man keeps on the play of ploughing lest the survivors should forget how to plough."
Parvati reminded her Lord that if he did not blow his [Page 17] Nada (a sort of bugle) for 12 years, he too was likely to forget how to blow it. "Lest I should have already forgotten it during these three years, I shall just try," saying so Siva put his Nada to his lips and lo and behold! Black clouds star-ted racing from all directions and there was rain and water all round. Parvati looked at Siva with a quizzical smile and he smiled back. "Strange is the destiny of a people," he said.
(4)Tales of wit and humour dealing with social inequalities, old tottering social values and customs, superstitions and so on: like the stories of 'Satt Murakh', 'Jahta masān', 'Dassen ānen di pheem'. 'Marjād', 'Khote di chori', 'Nakke di sedha jāyān te sāg sattun khāyān', 'Dumkā lārā', 'Alsi tabbar', 'Lekhā dhull', 'Vaihmi Rājā', and 'Rāni Khān dā sālā', 'Jahta Masān' and 'Rāni Khān dā sālā' are satires on easy gullibility. 'Vahmi Rājā' on superstition, 'Dassen ānen di phim' on corruption and bribery and 'Alsi Tabbar' on laziness. A passer-by saw a boy lying motionless under a fruit tree. He thought the boy was dead but when he approached him, the boy moved his eyes pointing to the fruit lying on his body and gesturing to the passer-by to place it in his mouth. Thinking that the boy was sick, he obliged, but was taken aback when the boy said, "What the fool you are! you placed the fruit on the left side of the mouth". The boy did not want to take the trouble of mov-ing his tongue. The passer-by went to complain against the boy [Page 18] to his father lying under another tree, only to be told, "Last night I shouted a dozen times beseeching the slothful mem-bers of a family to come and drive away the calf eating my beard, but nobody came."
Dogri proverbs and idioms form a very important element of Dogri folklore besides being treasuries of subtle and effective use of language. These are also store-houses of infor-mation about Dogra life and experiences of the community and practical wisdom, thinking and beliefs of the people. They are like pebbles shining on the banks of streams and rivers and water-ways and khadds of Duggar. Life flows on and these sayings and idioms are thrown aside by the flow of life and history. They enshrine a simple philosophy of life derived direct from daily living. They have the quality of saying much in the fewest words by hitting the nail on the head, of present-ing the essence of experience and bringing home a lesson effectively.
Dogri proverbs can be classified as under: [Page 21] 1.Those revealing close connection of religion and mythology with the daily life of the people:
2.Those revealing the philosophy of life of the people:
3.Those enshrining certain morals:
4.Those containing the essence of experience:
5. Those aimed at being witty, satirical and effective in bring-ing home a point:
(said in respect of a person who was maligned and maltreated when alive but is praised to the skies after his death.)
(said of a person who avoids doing work when there is time for it and speaks of doing it when it cannot be done.)
(meaning literally, Will not the day break if the cock does not crow?)
(said of a person of low means aspiring for a very high position.)
(meaning literally, She does not have even a dog in the house but she swears by a cow.)
(said of one who brags too much)
(also said of one who hides his real position and boasts of things he does not have.)
6.Those connected with the caste-system and characteristics of various castes:
(said ironically about Rajputs going to hunt and killing an itch-plagued dog.)
(said of a low-caste who aims too high.)
7.Those connected with changing seasons and their effects on the life of the community:
There is another proverb in verse about the cold season evoking images of Dogra life-a child is born, grows young and goes for fighting and is killed.
8.Those connected with agriculture:
(connecting the crop with the types of soil.)
Karakas deal with description of incidents in the lives of gods, goddesses, saints and martyrs. These are usually sung at the shrines of the concerned gods and goddesses and at the dehris of the martyrs. Kārakas of Bava Jitto, Data Ranu, Raja Bahu Rull are very popular in Duggar. Others less popular are about those of Bawa Bhaira, Bawa Surgala, Bawa Siddha Goria, Vipranath, Bawa Kura, Mai Moli, Bawa Nahar Singh and other martyrs. Jitto sacrificed his life for unholding his right. He stood against the extortion and forced exploitation by the local chief Mehta Bir Singh. Going up the heap of grains produced with the sweat of his brow, he thrust a dagger in his heart. (Later his small daughter burnt herself on the pyre of her dead father.)
Raja Bahu Rull allowed herself to be buried alive so that her father-in-law might see water flowing in the canal got dug by him for the benefit of his subjects. When she was sent for by her father-in-law, she went in a palanquin knowing fully well as to why she had been called. She touched the feet of her mother-in-law and was ready to die. As the workers raised the wall around her, she sang:
Bārs are heroic ballads which describe in stirring lines the sacrifice, valour, courage and skill in battle of renowned heroes. They are sung on occasions of fairs and festivals and in the courts of Rajas or assemblies of people. Bārs of Gugga, Ramsingh Pathania, Raja Gopichand, Raja Bhartrihari are among the most popular in Duggar. Bārs of Jaimal Fatta and Kalibir are also fairly popular. In the region of Jammu, Bārs of Miān Dido, Vazir Zorawar and his generals Basti Ram, Vazir Ratnu, Hoshiara and Raj Singh are also sung. In Sir-maur , 'Bār' is called 'Hār', and 'Hārs' of Madana, Kamana, Hoku, Sama and Noendi are current among the people there and around.
The Bārs of Gugga and Mirdas Chauhan have been published in the second volume of folk songs brought out by the Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages. The former finds a place in the collection of folk'-songs by Randhawa also. The Bār of Ramsingh Pathania appears in the collection of Dunichand and those of Raja Gopichand and Bhartrihari appear in Randhawa's collection in parts. The latter are full of the sentiment of compassion (Karuna rasa). Given below are examples from these two Bārs:
Chhinjān,Rittaris and Dholarus are sung on the occasion of change of seasons. Wandering minstrels go from house to house, sing to the beating of the drum and announce the name of the new month. An example of a Dholaru is given below:
Bārān Māh is the name given to songs describing the seasons of twelve months and description of the emotional state of one separated from her husband during the twelve months:
and so on to Phālguna.