Representation and Ramification of Migration in the Folk and Popular Songs of Garhwal

Avantika Chamoli (University of Delhi)

Folksongs and popular songs from Garhwal provide a potentially fertile grounds for an inquiry, examination and understanding of the impact of the labour migration of men on the quotidian realities of their kith and kin left behind. The dynamic nature of folksongs because of the oral constitution furnishes pertinent and contextually contemporary insight into the consequences of these trans-locational practices necessitated by the dearth of opportunities (related to employment, education, health etc.) at their native places. What prominently emerges in these songs is the figure of the longing wife undergoing the anguish of “viraha” and the day-to-day hardship she faces as a consequence of separation from her husband. Another significant aspect present in the Garhwali folk and popular songs is the close symbiotic relationship that exists between humans and nature, migration fractures this bond as well, the resultant longing and implications are articulated in folk songs. The popular Garhwali music is significantly inspired by the folk traditions, in these too the theme of migration and its effects finds expression. In this paper I intend to further investigate and understand these points of inquiry.

Part of 31-06 Mapping the Poetics and Politics of Migration in Indian Folk Tradition, Wednesday, October 20, 9:30 am–11:00 am