Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hukus Bukus Telwan Tsukus - From Mujtaba

Kailash Mehra Sadhu


The sequence of the whole song is:
The children start:

"hukus bukus telli wann che kus
onum batta lodum deag,
shaal kich kich waangano,
Brahmi charas puane chhokum,
Brahmish batanye tekhis tyakha."

The Teacher corrects:
"Itkayne ne Itkayne
Tse Kus Be Kus Teli Wan su Kus
Moh Batuk Logum Deg
Shwas Khich Khich Wang-mayam
Bhruman daras Poyun chokum
Tekis Takya bane Tyuk"

Tse Kus Be Kus Teli Wan su Kus
Who are you and who am I then tell us who is he the creator that permeates through both you and I

Moh Batuk Logum Deg
Each day I feed my senses/body with the food of worldly attachment and material love (Moh = attachment)

Shwas Khich Khich Wang-mayam
For when the breath that I take in reaches the point of complete purification (Shwas = Breath)

Bhruman daras Poyun chokum
It feels like my mind is bathing in the water of divine love (Bhruman = nerve center in the human brain, poyun = water)

Tekis Takya bane Tyuk
Then I know I am like that sandal wood which is pasted for divine fragrance symbolic of universal divinity. I realize that I am, indeed, divine (Tyuk = Tika applied on the forehead)

The message of this poem is rooted in Kashmiri spiritual tradition. The poem itself is ageless. Some say it came up during Lal Ded's time, other's say it dates back to the origin of Kashmir and Kashmiri culture itself. The poem, in later years, was made a song for children. For years it served as a poetic medium to pass down the essence of Kashmiri culture to little ones.

It is said that the tones produced by the arrangement of words in this poem as well as its rhythm has a calming effect for infants and toddlers of all times.

From :
Vinayak Razdan

Folk songs remain essential to Kashmiri way of life. The way in which these songs are being sung has changed. Folk songs still exist but you can now hear them on VCD/DVD produced especially for mass consumption. Naturally, purist sneer and they wonder: what happened to the genuine kashmiri folk songs? But, most people are happy knowing that these songs still exist and are sung, and hope that maybe the 'scene' is better in rural areas.

Here is a list detailing most of the types of Kashmiri folk Songs:

Love songs or Lol-gevun : Lyrics( known in Kashmiri as lol , the word for 'love') written by the beloved last queen of Kashmir, Habba Khatoon are famous in this category
Dance or Ruf songs: groups of girls or women stand in rows, facing each other, women in each row interlink their arms around each other’s waist, moving forward and backward, they sing these songs.
Pastoral songs: there are two type of such song, one sung by Kashmiris and the other by Gujjars (a separate ethnic group ) in their own dialect.
Spring songs or sont gevun: Songs celebrating the coming of spring season.
Wedding songs Wanwun: Common to both Kashmiri Muslims and Pandits, but Muslim songs have more Persian words while Pandit songs have Sanskrit vocabulary and some Vedic chants. Some of the best songs are sung on the night of the henna known as Maenzraath. Among others there are songs from the folktale about the legendary lovers, Himal and Nagiray.
Opera songs or Bhand Jashan: songs performed by the traveling band of folk theater (Bhand pather) artists known as Bhand. Salman Rushdie gave them a new literally life in his novel Shalimar The Clown.
Dancer’s songs (Bach nagma Jashan): Usually meant for occasions like marriage or other big festivity. A particular band of musician performs these songs accompanied by a lithesome (at times, effeminate) boy/man who dances comically attired like a woman. To listen to a real beautiful dancing girl hafiz-nagama would have to be arranged.
Ballads (called Bath or Kath, meaning 'stories' and literally in kashmiri meaning 'talk'): A particular variety of satarical ballads is popularly known as laddi shah. A man stirs the iron rings strung on an iron rod and makes witty comments on the social issues. A common refrain from the songs started with line: Laddi Shah, Laddi Shah draar’kin pyow, pya'waane pya'waane ha'patan khyow( Laddi Shah, Laddi Shah! fell off the window! And a Grizzly bit him just as he fell!)
Sacred Thread ceremony songs (Yagnopavit gevun) for Kashmiri Pandits again have more vedic chantings. In an almost equivalent ceremony for Kashmiri Muslims, there are separate songs for the circumcision ceremony.
There are also Cradle songs, lullaby (lala’vun) and ditties for children( most popular Kashmiri ditty: Bishte Bishte Braryo, khot’kho wan). An interesting thing to note is that with the passage of time the mystical poem hukus bukus telli wann che kus (Who’s he? Who are you? Now, tell me who am I?) by Lal Ded, the great poet-saint of Kashmir, morphed into a popular nonsensical childrens' ditty Akus Bakus Telivan Chakus.
Dirge or Van: recited in chorus by women of the family after the death of an old persons.
Then there are folk songs that depend on the occupation of the person singing them. There are songs of seed-sowers, harvesters and laborers doing their daily hard work. There are songs for workers involved in creating delicate embroidery weavers and makers of exquisite Kashmiri Ka'leens, creators of papier-mache. There are songs sung by saffron reapers (usually women), shepherds, village belles fetching water (some of Habba Khatoon’s lol songs are popular in this category). In Kashmir farm work like grinding, spinning yarn and stacking paddy are performed by women, unlike many other places in the India subcontinent, they also do sowing and harvesting, and they sing different song while doing these physically daunting tasks. Some of these are songs about the waters of Jhelum, songs of saffron fields of Pampore and song about Chinar.

The list is based on the excellent work titled Folklore of Kashmir (1945) by Somnath Dhar.
It can be found in the Encyclopaedia of Kashmir by Suresh K Sharma, Shiri Ram Bakshi.
Do read: An article on Bhand Pather by M K. Raina, one of India's best-known theater actors and directors

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