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HomeindiaPresident Murmu touched hearts by praising Bihar folk songs, say artistes

President Murmu touched hearts by praising Bihar folk songs, say artistes

Patna: Bihar’s folk artistes said they were touched by praises for the state’s folk music from President Droupadi Murmu during her recent visit.

Murmu, during her visit to Bihar last week to inaugurate the ‘Fourth Agriculture Roadmap’ of the state government, had referred to the worldwide fame of the state’s popular folk song forms, which she had witnessed in Suriname, home to many people whose forefathers had migrated from Bihar decades ago.

The President had stated that agriculture is an important part of Bihar’s folk culture and that ‘Ropani’, ‘Katni’, ‘Bidesiya’ and ‘Batohiya’ song forms are famous worldwide. She had said people in Suriname in South America have kept their culture intact even decades after migrating from Bihar.

‘Ropani’ and ‘Katni’ songs are sung during sowing and harvesting of crops, while ‘Bidesiya’ speaks of love, separation and reunion and is themed on migration, and ‘Batohiya’ is about the pain of indentured labourers.

Kalpana Patowary, a well-known folk singer who has recorded songs in several Indian languages, with Bhojpuri music being the major genre, told PTI on Sunday, ‘The President’s appreciation of the folk song forms of Bihar is indeed a great honour for us (folk singers of the state).’

“Folk music is an integral part of Bihar’s culture and people of the state celebrate many aspects of their lives with folk music and dance… Ramlila, ‘nautanki’ (theatre) and legendary Bhikhari Thakur’s songs enthral men and women in gatherings and fairs,” she said.

Bhikhari Thakur’s ‘Bidesiya’ song form has a wide range of themes and usually targets drawbacks of the society, said Patowary, who enjoys a huge fan following in the Caribbean and several European countries.

“With the President praising Bhojpuri folk song forms, we are hopeful that now the Centre will soon take a decision on the inclusion of Bhojpuri in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, so that it can be accorded the status of an official language,” she added.

Jainendra Dost, director of ‘Naach Bhikari Naach’ movie based on Thakur’s works, said that the President’s praise gave a shot in the arm to Bihar’s ‘soft power’ and folk artistes of the state will get more exposure.

“Bhikari Thakur’s works in Bhojpuri were appealing to the masses,” said Dost, who along with popular folk singer Sarita Saaz, has been regularly organising musical programmes based on Thakur’s plays.

Another well-known Bhojpuri folk singer, Bharat Sharma Vyas, who has sung around 4,500 songs in the language and performed at several international events, said, “The President has touched the hearts of folk artistes of Bihar by praising local song forms ‘Bidesiya’, ‘Batohiya’, ‘Ropani’ and ‘Katni’, which are related to the farmers. The influence of Bihar’s folk music is also seen in Mauritius, South Africa and the Caribbean.”

Folk songs of Bihar express people’s emotions on events such as childbirth, marriage, sowing and harvesting of crops and issues such as migration.

State Art, Culture and Youth Minister Jitendra Kumar Rai also said that the President ‘touched people’s hearts’ by praising the song forms.

“Her praise is indeed a matter of great pride for those associated with the song forms,” he said.

Harjot Kaur Bamhrah, Additional Chief Secretary of Bihar’s Art, Culture and Youth department, said that the state government has been consistently trying to exert the state’s ‘soft power’ on the world stage.

“Folk songs, folk dance, and classical music are part of the rich culture of Bihar. Folk songs are a beautiful recital of the daily rural life. The state has folk songs for every occasion. Chhath puja songs, ‘Fagua’ (during Holi), Chaita, Hindola, Chaturmasa and Barhamasa are other internationally popular folk songs of Bihar,” she said.

(Published 23 October 2023, 10:54 IST)

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