سيڪشن؛ شاعري

ڪتاب: لوڪ گيت

صفحو :26



This is the seventeenth book, in serial order, compiled under the Sindhi Adabi Board’s Folklore and Literature Project, approved in 1956, for the collection, compilation and publication of Sindhi Folklore and Literature.

The work on the project was started in January 1957, and the first two years were devoted mainly to the collection of material both from the oral tradition of the village fold and the written record. The oral tradition was reduced to writing through a network of field-workers, one stationed in each taluka area. The compilation and publication work commenced from 1959. So far, 19 volumes have been published, and this volume pertaining to "Folksongs" is the twentieth of the forth volumes proposed to be published under this project.


General Characteristics and Classification

Folksongs of the Lower Indus Valley have much in common with the folksongs of any other place of people and yet, both in sentiment and substance, they have many peculiarities of their own. Sindhi folksongs are predominantly pastoral in character. They represent the characteristic social environment and natural habitation of the unsophisticated folk, and are a ready vehicle of expressing their feelings of relaxation, informality and care-freeness. In their style there is certain facility and freedom in expression, which ignores any commonly, recognized principles of diction, and there is a sort of spontaneity which rules out all ideas of standardization. They inspire an elemental joy, and appeal more to the heart than to the head.

The fertile Lower Indus Valley of Sindh has been a land of peace and prosperity, where the care - free village folk have sung and danced since times immemorial. Although no written record of the songs of the older times has survived, references to that effect are found in the early works of history and literature. It is recorded in Fatahnamah (alias chachnamah) that in 712 A.D., the young Arab General Muhammad b. al-Qasim was entertained here by musicians, singers and dancers of the Samma community and he was greatly impressed by their Duhl- and- Sharni (Drum and pipe) performance.(1)

From the point of substance and sentiments, the Sindhi Folksongs may be classified into the following main categories:

A. Songs, which have gone out of fashion and become obsolete due to changed social, economic and political conditions, e.g.:

(a)       War songs, of three main varieties: (i) the Epics-Jangnamo or Fathnomo, (ii) the battlefield songs- Chalto and Chali, and (iii) the Kedaro songs or the dirges over the dead.

(b)       Songs of the womenfolk: (i) Atan or kapaitee (the spinner’s song in the weaving assembly), and (ii) the songs pertaining to the household work, such as Cheeno (songs pertaining to the sifting of the "cheena" grain), Loto (the water-pitcher) etc.

(c)       Romantic love songs: (i) Sanehroo (love message), (ii) Kangalrro (crow, the messenger), (iii) Khenhoon or the ball-game songs, etc.

(d)       The Kasabnamahs or guild-songs of the artisans and craftsmen.

(e)       Songs pertaining to historical events: Mir Bahram’s valour, the exploits of the Hurs, etc.

B. Songs which are still popular among the village folk:

(a)        Devotional songs: Madah, Maulud, Munajat, Marsiyyah.

(b)           Lyrical songs: Wai or Kafi(1) Baitu, Chhallo, Belan, etc.

(c)       Songs accompanying folk-dances: Jamalo, Baghi, Wahwal, Hanbochhi, Samah, etc.

(d)           Monsoon songs: varsaro, Panhari, Sawan Trij, etc.

(e)       Songs of workers and labourers: Ha-ma-ra-cho, bhaeeo, etc.

(f)       Songs of the womenfolk: (i) Marriage songs – Geech or Giyo or Sihro & Kamin, (ii) Festival songs of fun and merriment – Dhaunro, Koondo, Gandan, Khago, etc.

(iii) Lullabys or the cradle-songs – Phulano and Lolee.

The present survey shows that areas outside the influence of modern developments, particularly in education and agriculture, have retained their traditional way of life and also their typical age-honored folk-songs and folk-dances. Inquiries into the folklore of the Tharparkar area of Sindh region, which due to its peculiar geographical position and geological nature has remained outside the influence of modern developments, have indicated that along with its traditional way of life it has also preserved a large variety  of its typical folksongs.


Songs which have gone out of vogue

Folksongs in Sindh, as everywhere else, are a function of time, place and circumstances. At different periods, at different places and under different circumstances, the villagers in sindh have taken to different songs. With a change in time and circumstances, the older songs slowly and unwittingly became obsolete and the new ones came into vogue. Writing in 1851, Burton said that in Sindh “each trade- the smith, the carpenter, has its own kasabnamah, or collection of doggerel rhymes, explaining the origin of the craft, the invention of its tools, the patron saints, and other choice bits of useful knowledge, without which no workman would be respected by his fellows.”(1) On inquiry, the aged ones among the villagers have testified that they faintly remember to have heard such traditional verses at a certain smith’s or carpenter’s shop which has, since then, disappeared or dwindled due to the manufactured tools and articles imported from outside. Today, however, such Kasabnamahs have become obsolete.

Similarly, many songs pertaining to the past historical events and personages have gone out of fashion. Also the people of Sindh at different periods have had popular songs about the changes in the course of the river Indus, the foundation of the famous capital city of Thatta, the generosity of Sakhi Sapparr (the Prince of Lasbela), the bravery of Dodo, Nagar and Bhoongar (the princes of the Soomra dynasty) and the faithfulness of the Abro chief, the valour of Abdullah Khan – the ruler of Kalat (1715-1730 A.D), the magnanimity and forbearance of Mir Bahram Talpur (18th century), the exploits of Bullo of Badam and Gandubo Baloch, the tribal feuds of Kalmati Baloch, Jokhias, Burfats, Changs, Jatts etc., the British conquest of sindh (1843 A.D), the exploits of the Hurs (1896 & 1941), and the justice of the solitary English officer whose name the villagers remember as "Tarwat" (Captain Trywhitt). The complete versions of many of these songs of the good old days are either lost of have survived in some details and is still narrated by the professional minstrels.

In order to give the reader an idea of some of these "historical" songs, the following specimen are being selected for their brevity and compositeness.(2)

Forbearance of Mir Bahram. Mir Bahram Talpur was the trusted courtier of the kalhora princes. When main sarfraz ascended the throne (1772 A.D), he was instigated by his courtier, Tajo Likhi to get Mir Bahram assassinated. Mir Bahram knew the evil designs and got his faithful servant assassinated (1773-74). But before that the people had sung:

Should Bahram revolt, the steel would rain:

Sindh would beseech Allah and the Raja would incoke Ram

But an uprigt man is Mir Bahram,

Loyal to salt is his every vein.

Jawalasingh’s death at the hands of Hurs. During the first Hur rising (1896-97), one Sikh police officer, Jawalasingh, was too much enthused to win an award by catching the hur leaders. He encamped at a local fair held annually at the tomb of a saint, bahram Sher, from the 13th to the 15th of the lunar month. He harassed the keeper of the tomb Guhram faqir, on the pretext that he was harbouring the Hurs. He also snatched away from him the wooden sword which once belonged to the late saint. Finally jawalasingh said to him: “if you are a true faqir, pray that I should see the Hurs.” “you shall see them” replied the faqir. He saw the Hurs only a few hours later in the evening and they shot him dead. A village poet composed a ballad which was sung by the people and is partly remembered to this day:

Salutations to Bahram sher

The solitary saint of the desert,

“Your prestige was upheld

Through the faqir’s word.”

Jawalasingh did see the Hurs and perished

And the fair instantly dispersed:

It was a good show on the thirteenth

But on the fourteenth it all scattered.


The Current Varieties

The folksongs represented in this volume are currently popular among the village folk in different parts of the country. Of these, five (Nos. I, 2, 4, 54 & 57) are common to the whole of sindh, another five (Nos. 7,11,12,13 & 14) belong to the northern region, two (Nos. 3 & 28) to the western hilly region of Kohistan, another two (Nos. 24 and 35) to the Middle and lower regions, and the remaining 43 to the south-eastern area of Thar-&-Parkar. From the point of language, they are composed in standard sindhi speech as well as in its regional dialects of seraiki, Kohistani and Thari-Dhatki.

Though varied in content, some of the most popular folksongs belong to the following main categories: (a) love and romance, (b) certain functional activities of life, (c) the monsoon season, and (d) the sentiments of a newly married girl. In the following pages, it is proposed to introduce the reader to some representative version of songs from these categories.

(a) songs pertaining to love and romance. Jamalo, Moro, Belan and Chhalo are the typical folksongs belonging to this category.

JAMALO. This is one of the most popular folksongs and is always sung in chorus to the rhythm of Huhi (the kettle drum) along with a folk dance of the same name. It seems to have originated in Lar, the southern part of sindh, but gained wide popularily throughout the country. Probably it centers on the story of a youth, named Jamalo, whose separation and final return home are being recounted in the song by his sweet-hart. The contents of a representative version would be s follows:

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: Jamalo went, with camel men

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: He went afar, down to Lar

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: He had a golden wear, in little finger

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: He had a fine wand, in his hand

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: His eyes, were nice

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: His teeth, pearls wreath

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: His hair, curls bear

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

(After mentioning most of the features)…

Leader: Happy ho! He has come

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

Leader: Auspiciouc is his return

Chorus: Ho JA-MA-LO

MORO. This is the song of the peple of the western hilly region, and is usually sung to the tune of a stringed instrument called danburo. The song takes its name from the word "Moro" which occurs in its refrain, and which originally was probably the name of a town or locality where the beloved resided. The refrain in most of the versions refers to the permission sought by the lover from his superiors to allow him to visit "Moro". The first verse of each stanza is usually meaningless while the second verse gives the sense. It is a solo song, with a quick rhythm. Part of a typical traditional version of the Moro song is translated below:

Refrain: Moro I love more

Sir! Let me visit Moro.


An elephant is on the hill

I love my love, I will

Sir! Let me visit Moro.


On the hill are trees

Let the love increase

Sir! Let me visit Moro.


On the hill is a dove

I love my love, I love

Sir! Let me visit Moro.


A crow is on the mount

The love is all I count

Sir! Let me visit Moro.


On the mount is rain

I suffer in love’s pain

Sir! Let me visit Moro.


BELAN. It is a love song, and most of its varieties are composed in the Sindhi-Siraiki dialect. It is popular particularly among the Jutt folk. The name Belan is probably derived from belh signifying the double repetition of the second hemistich or the double nature of the verse. It is a solo song with a specific mode of singing. Of each stanza, the first two verses are sung by gradually raising the voice, which is technically called the Olani, and the last two verses are sung by lowering the voice gradually which is called lahini.

Olani: (raising the voice gradually)

You are coming and going my darling dear!

Please take care that the peple don’t stare.

Lahini: (Lowering the voice)

Oh, Alo, Alo, Oh Oh Oh, dear!

Do take care lest the people may stare.


Red is my spinning wheel, with a rod of steel

Unsatiated is the tove in my heart I feel.


Oh, Alo, Alo, Oh Oh Oh, dear!

Unquenched is the thirst in my eyes I feel.

CHHALO. It literally means a ring, token of love between the lover and the beloved. The verses of the Chhalo composition are usually short with a quick rhythm. It is a solo song. The difference between the Belan and the traditional type Chhalo, from the point of mode of singing, is that in the chhalo the olani is longer than the Lahini. The following stanzas are typical of the traditional type:

Olani: (raising the voice)

Chhala dear you

From here you go:

What migt happen!

When will you return!

Lahini: (lowering the voice)

Fly away ye pigeon

To my love’s region.


Ghhalo’s colour is red

which will never fade

I love my friend

Woe be to the fiend.


Fly away ye dove

I remember my love

(b) The functional songs: These are the songs pertaining to the various functional activites of life. Humaracho, Mandhiarro and valarro are the songs of this type. Humaracho is the farmlabourer’s song. Valarro is the song of the cattle-boys who sing this song while bringing the cattle home in the aftrernoon. Mandhiarro is sung by the womenfolk while churning the curds.

HUMARACHO. It originated as the farm labourer’s song in the Tharparkar district of Sindh. Most of its versions are composed in the Thari dialect. It is usually sung by the workers engaged in gudd (process of cleaning grass from the cotton fields) or labaro (harvesting). Parts of some versions, with different contents, are translated here:


Leader: Hum-Ma-Ra-cho ray bhai

(say Humaracho oh brethren!)

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The village folk are passing by

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The girls are going to fetch water

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The folks are preparing to clean the fields

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The harvesters come with zeal and vigour

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: See their swings in unison

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: They proceed shoulder to shoulder

Chourus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho.


Leader: Look at the fields of Khahurr (place)

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: Men have assembled for gudd

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: Time has come to scare away the birds

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The birds are hovering over the fields

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: Sparrow, doves, and the herrha birds

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The corn-ears have ripened in paur (place)

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The youth are crushing and eating the raw grain

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The girls are playing merrily

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The cattle are grazing in the fields

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The children are enjoing the drink of milk and curds

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho


(Representing the sentiments of a newly married wife whose husband has not yet returned).

Leader: I am yearning for my love

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: I am lonely without him

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: I keep remembering my love

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: Pray, he should return

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho


(About the Monsoon rains).

Leader: The monsoon season has set in

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: Clouds are swimming in the sky

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The taro bird is singing

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The drizzling rain has begun

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The southern breeze in blowing

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The lightning glitters now and then

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

Leader: The rain water has flooded the fields

Chorus: Hum-Ma-Ra-Cho

MANDHIARRO. It is means a long wooden churning stick, the lower ends of which rotate in the curds-jar making a soft rolling sound which the villagers consider to be the symbol of plenty and prosperity.

God has bestowed the green prosperity

The mandhiarro is murmuring.

The country is rid of draught and famine

The mandhiarro is murmuring

Those who have stored grain for the next year’s sowing

My their hopes be fulfilled

The mandhiarro is murmuring

Those who have hoarded it for profits

May their plans be wrecked

The mandhiarro is murmuring

Thanks for the plentiful livelihood

Thanks for the mati(1) jar full of buffalo’s milk

The mandhiarro is murmuring

May the unbetrothed be betrothed

And may the betrothed be married

The mandhiarro is murmuring

(c) Songs pertaining to the monsoon season. These are the songs mainly of the Tharparkar area which is a dry region with high earth mounds of peculiar geological formation. There are no springs and no oases. The wells dug be man are very few and far in between, and during the dry season most of the people have to fetch drinking water from a distance of miles. Under these severe conditions, people look to the monsoon rains with anxiety. Their millet crops as well as their sattle depend upon the monsoon rains. It is, therefore, natural for the people of this area to sing their monsoon songs. While reference to Sawan, the monsoon month, is common to many of the songs, the Varsaro and the panhari may be considered to be the typical monsoon folksongs.

During the dry season (December-May) a substantial part of the population migrates westwards to the Central Indus Valley in search of livelihood. Many families from near by come and settle down in the central Valley, but only the male members of the families from the more distant areas leave their homes and take employment in the central plain. When the monsoon season sets in, they return home with their earnings to the immense joy of their families. This coming back home at the onset of the monsoon season, which is anxiously awaited by one and all, has assumed a romantic significance and is the central theme of the Varsaro and the panhari folksongs.

VARSARO. It literally means "the monsoon shower". The burden of this song is the anxiety of the loving mother who is anxiously waiting for the return of her dear son because there have been showers and the monsoon season has already set in.

My sweet son!

The tracks are wet with rain,

Your homeland is all green

Welcome back home,

After earnings abroad.

I may be sacrificed for your sweet name,

Come oh dear son!

That we may pass together, the monsoon.

Oh my sweet son!

Prepare a young she-camel

And send her to this side

To bring seed for your land

Oh fruit of my heart!

Come! Oh dear son!

That we may pass together, the monsoon.


Your sister goes up the mound-pass

And watches the distant track,

And says to those who cross:

“Kind folk! Look for my elder brother

And send him if he be there.”

May I be sacrificed

For the direction from which you arrive

Come! Oh dear son!

That we may pass together, the monsoon.

The skirt of your bride

Measures a hundred "hands"(1)

And the necklace costing nine hundred thousand

Adorns her beautiful neck.

Oh husband of the lovely wife!

Welcome beck home,

That we may pass together the monsoon.

PANHARI. Panhari is the girl who goes to fetch water. During the monsoon season, the village ponds are filled with rain water. Availability of palur (the rain water) is an occasion for unbounded joy for the people. Every morning, women of the village, wearing their colourful costumes and ornaments, carry double jars (one over the other) on their heads and walk leisurely in parties to the village pond to fetch water.

The substance of the following version is that a young bride goes to fetch water from the pond. The monsoon season heas already set in but her husband has not yet returned home. In a romantic mood, she sits beside the pond, recounts the monsoon scenes and remembers him. Incidentally, her husband riding the camel arrives at that time and begins to console her without disclosing his identity. He asks her to accompany him to the village. Not recognizing him, she resents the overtures of this stranger, hurries back home and complains to her mother-in-law who breaks the good news to her that the stranger was no other than her husband himself.

Formations of black clouds have appeared in the north,

Oh young girls fetching water!

And slowly, slowly, the rain is falling,

Oh my dear love!

All the seven girl-friends in a party,

Oh young girls fetching water!

Have gone to the pond to fetch water

Oh my dear love!

All the seven girls have put on beautiful clothes,

Oh young girls fetching water!

But your fair wife wears the unwashed clothes

Oh my dear love!

“Oh ye camel-man coming from the eastern side,

Oh young girls fetching water!

Please help the jar on my head-

Oh my dear love!”

“Why are you so depressed,

Oh you girl fetching water?

And why your clothes are unclean

Oh my dear love!”

“Throw that veil down

Oh you girl fetching water!

And come along with me

Oh my dear love!”

“The veil goes with my head

Oh you camel-man!

I won’t accompany you

Oh my dear love!”

“There were no clouds, nor any thunder

Oh my daughter-in-law!

Then how is it that your frock is wet?

Oh my dear love!”

“There came a camel-man, as I fetched water,

Oh my mother-in-law!

His words made me weep,

Oh my dear love!”

“That camel-man was my son

Oh my simple daughter-in-law!

He was the husband of my fair-maid

Oh my dear love!”


(d) songs pertaining to the sentiments of the newly married girl. Doro, Sawan Trij, jhalario, jhonbkio, Rahorro Relan, Popiri and vindul, all belonging to the Tharparkar area, and the songs of this category. Due to the predominance of the hindu joint family systerm in this area, the lot of the newly married girl foten becomes miserable. Her husband is a demi-god for her, whose pleasure largely depends upon the pleasure of his mother, the bride’s mother-in-law, who is always beyond reproach and always right.

Of these songs pertaining to the newly married girl, (i) the Doro portrays the yearning of a newly married bried bride for her parents and relatives. (ii) ‘Jhalario’ is a kind of ear-ring which the bride’s brother wants to purchase as a gift for her. The song represents the affectionate sentiments of the brother and other relatives for the newly married bride. (iii-iv) Jhanbkio and Rahorro Relan portray the concern of the bride’s brothers to do everything to please their brother-in-law. (v) ‘popiri’ is the only song pertaining to a muslim girl, named Halima, who is a "delicate beauty" and hence called "popiri". Her complaint is not against the mother-in-law but against the strenuous task of fetching water from the distant village well. Vindul song exposes the extremely cruel behaviour of the mother-in-law. It relates the sad story of a newly married girl, named Vindul, who was supposed to have been done to death by her cruel mother-in-law.

The following is the version of a sawan Trij song. Sawan Trij literally means the third day of the monsoon month of Sawan. This day is celebrated as a festival day of the monsoon season. On this day the young bride remembers her mother and recounts her own hardships due to the maltreatment by her mother-in-law:

Oh dear mother! It is the third day of Sawan

Oh what a Sawan Month! But your daughter is in her husband’s home!

Rest of the girl-friends are going out to play,

But the mother-in-law has given your little daughter the bajhra grain to sift

And your daughter will go on sifting the grain

Four of five full sifting-pans-

Nay, I have sifted half a maund.

Rest of the girl-friends are going for bath

Except your daughter! Oh dear mother!

The mother-in-law has put her to grind the corn-

I have had to grind one full pan

Of bajhra grain, measuring half a maund!

I wish I could break the hand-mill into pieces

And throw to dust all the grain- oh dear mother!


Rest of the girl-friends are going out for the duthh-

To collect the wild seeds, fruits and flowers.

But the mother-in-law has detained your daughter to bake loaves.

I have baked and baked – oh dear mother!

Four hundred loaves

And my hands are burning with blisters.


Oh dear mother! Rest of the family members eat loaves of wheat flour


Your daughter gets but a dry bajhra-loaf

Oh dear mother! All the rest get plenty of milk,

But the mother-in-law gives a potful of boiled-grain to this young daughter of your.


Oh dear mother! There is a downpour of heavy monsoon showers

But this sister of brothers is lying alone, wet and cold

Oh mother! Send them (brothers) to invite home this young sister of theirs,

Who has not eaten for nights and is yearning for the parental home.


The Present Survey

The present survey has brought to light 57 generic types of folksongs current in the Lower Indus Valley of sindh, all of which are included in this volume. Each type represents a specific mode of music, a method of singing and a basic refrain which distinguish it from other types. Apart from these distinguishing characteristics, each generic type may have a number of versions (texts or compositions) with differing substance and content’s, which may be common to the other varieties as well. The number of versions collected and included in this volume is 301.

Each generic variety in the text is preceded by a brief yet compete descriptions, while other details are discussed in the Sindhi introduction to this volume (pp.1-21).


University of sindh.                               N.A.BALOCH

Hyderabad.                              13th October, 1965

(1) Fathnamah-e-sindh, being the history of the Arab conquest of Sindh: (i) Persian Text, published by the ‘Majlis Makhtat-e-Farsiyyah, Hydeabad Deccan (India), 1358 A.H./1939 A.C. p. 220 and (ii) The Urdu translation with annotations published by the Sindhi Adabi Board, Jamshoro (Pakistan), 1963, P. 312.

(1) Separate volumes are to be compiled on each of these varieties under the current Folklore Project. The volume on Geech or the marriage songs has already been published (Book XVI, 1963), while two volumes on the baitu (Books XVIII & XIX) are in the press.

(1) Burton, (Sir) Richard f: Sindh and the Races That Inhabit the Valley of the Indus, London, 1851, p. 61.

(2) Book XXVIII of the Folklore Series is devoted to the epic of ‘Dodo- And- Chanesar’ while some composition pertaining to historical events have been compiled under book IX of this series. The surviving war ballads have been brought together in Book VIII.

(1) The large earthen jar in which the milk is churned.

(1) Roughly 1-1/2 hand = one yard.

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