Uttarakhand Folk Songs and Tales : An Inclusive Window to the Intricacies of Hill Ethos

H. S. Randhawa, Shipra Joshi


That literature always remains momentous that arises from the core of people’s
heart without any adornment or polish. It reveals the intricacies of their life without
hiding or exaggerating the ground socio-cultural reality present before them. It may
not be able to express things in well-chiselled words but the simple words have the
strength of the glacier to affect the chords of readers’ heart. The folk literature of
Uttarakhand encompasses all those aspects within its fold which give significance to
any folk literature. This state has divergent tribal communities and linguistic groups
which showcase their inherent talent acquired since time immemorial in the form of
folk lore. Being the medium of communication of the locals, these languages have also
contributed in the enrichment and dissemination of folk traditions and multi-faced
culture of Uttarakhand. There is no gainsaying the fact that the biodiversity of
Uttarakhand reflects the abundance of the flora and fauna of the region. Sixty five
percent of the total area of the state is covered with forests. The land is known as
“Devabhumi” because all the four famous Dhams – Kedarnath; Badrinath; Gangotri;
Yamunotri, are situated here. Uttarakhand people have shown creativity of human
mind in different thirteen folk languages of this state. Out of them eight are tribal
languages like Buksari, Jad, Jaunsari, Johari, Marcha, Raji, Ranglvu, Tharu and five nonscheduled
languages like Bangani, Garhwali, Kumaoni, Jonpuri and Ranwalti. There is a
diversity of theme in folk literature and it reveals the amalgamation of rich cultural
values of this area. The simplicity of the folksongs and tales of these languages lies in
their tranquil expression and guileless communication. Motifs found in the songs and
stories are mainly about the daily domestic chores that the residents have to perform
under harsh environment. They testify the fact that mountain life is a much of a laborious
challenge. Other themes in mountain literature exemplify the emotional vulnerabilities
of a lover’s longings or a daughter’s yearning for her motherland including several
other celebration songs of childbirth and marriage. In the portrayal of Uttarakhand
folklore, the folksongs and folktales (translated by us for the purpose of clarification)
have been taken for review .In this paper all eight tribal languages have been analyzed
threadbare one by one.



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