Wednesday, November 11, 2015






In my previous post , i have already explained the significance  of a VYOOG or RANGOLI in a  kashmiri  Pandit marriage ceremony  . The oldest   tradition  of   dancing around the marriage  VYOOG or RANGOLI   continues to remain with kashmiri Pandits till date   . Known as VEEGIS NATCHUN ,  this is  done by ladies in the house and is  typical to Kashmiri culture. When the bride groom leaves to the Bride's house for LAGAN , He is made to stand ( facing east ) on the  colorfully decorated  VYOOG ( RANGOLI )  while an elderly  woman relative brings a plateful of  burning lamps made from  powdered rice flour .  This particular lamp is known as RATTAN -TCHO'NG in kashmiri  The plate also has a piece of  Naabad or Candy ( Now Barfi ) and a glass of water .
                                              ( Oil Lamps ( Diya ) made from Rice Powder )

 After taking the plate around the head of the bridegromn, she throws away the water from the glass and offers the piece of Candy to the Groom.This ritual  is meant to  invoke  blessings of Surya ( Sun God ) and ward off evil eyes   as the bridegroom  leaves for   the bride's house . In olden days , a  pair of pigeons was  held in hand and  moved over the bridegroom’s head and then suddenly  set free  seeking blessings from skies above  . Coins are also thrown over the  bridegroom as he left for the bride’s house .
The moment the bridegroom  leaves  for Bride’s house  , his Mother , Aunts ,  Sisters  and other ladies in the house dance around the VYOOG  OR RANGOLI  singing verses depicting their love for the boy and wishing him happiness and Bliss .  One lady  stands in the centre of  the VYOOG or RANGOLI  while  the rest dance around  singing and showering flower petals  over her .  All  these dancing women or girls  take their turns  to stand in the centre of  the VYOOG or RANGOLI  while the rest keep dancing , singing and showering flower Petals .   This dancing is accompanied by  *VANVUN  but with little  a faster tempo.They also Congratulate and Bless each other while they sing and dance  . The women also express their love for parental home , Parents , brothers , sisters  and how they miss all that unmarried life  .

Through these songs , women also express  their attachment to Dejhurr ( a symbol of Suhaag for a  married girl )  and Sona Daav ( Mangal Sutra ).  So intense, moving  and emotional are the VEEGIS NATCHUN  songs  that these bring tears in many eyes . .

I quote some lines from this particular  VANVUN  singing with  simple English rendering    ..

 “Chhattrus Tchaanis Sonna sundh Zoluyi
Yendhraazun Yeni-voluaaai Draav “

“With golden threads  hanging  
 Over the Decorated  cover ( Umbrella )  over his  head  ,
Here  moves  Lord Indra’s Baraat “

“Sona daav Gandeim  ta dil hai go’m taaza
Bronth Bronth Draamai Saa’ba maharaazai”

“ Today I put the golden thread  around my neck
And my heart feels fresh .
Look ! Here departs my darling son to get his bride .”

“Haae’r Draayi Naatchiney Saae’r  Soa’nna  Seinziye
Haae’ri Gatchheim Dejhurr Sueti Sonna sundiye ..”

“Wearing   Golden jewellery ,
This Mynah like girl is out to dance.
Now she needs a Dejhurr ,
But surely made from shining Gold”

" Me chhum Bubb Laalein sathha
Rathh Ha Vandaai Maaleinyo"

" For me , you are the treasured   possession  Dear Father ,
O parental Home ! Here i bleed for you "

"Korrein Rozun Reithhaa Patchhaa
Baayi Myaanyo  Laggayo
Koothis  Tchaniss Karrun  Gatchha
Baayi Myaanyo  Laggyo"

" How Long ? A Month or a fortnight ,
We girls have  not to  stay   more at  parental home ..
My darling  Brother ! This life for you .
We are here  to decorate your room tastefully ,
My darling  Brother ! This life for you .”

 Kashmiri Pandit Ladies also dance around the VYOOG or RANGOLI  in a similar manner once a   Yageopavit or Sacred Thread  ceremony  is over and the  Boy ( Mekhala  Maharaaza )  departs  to the Temple along with the family  priest .This age old  Tradition of VEEGIS NATCHUN    has been carried down to the  present day from VEDIC PERIOD.   

  (Yageopavit  ceremony in a Kashmiri Pandit family )
The VANVUN  singing performed in kashmiri marriages has its firm   roots and origin  in SAMA VEDA . During   Vedic age  , people devotedly  chanted verses from SAMA VEDA to perform   religious rituals and cermonies  so as to invoke the  blessings from  Agni, Indra  and Soma .

According to  Prof. P N Pushp ( Sanskrit Scholar ) ,

“  The conventional rendering of HENZEY  ( VANVUN ) in kashmir is a reminiscent of the SAMA VEDIC legacy which seems to have lingered on in the valley as an interplay of traditional tones   accented ,unaccented and circumflex. Exactly in high pitch , low pitch and a pitch peculiar to SAMA recitation. Obviously , the old SAMA chant underwent  a series of transformations during its transmission at  the folk level  and reached us as an echo of the ancient convention trans-shaped  by various pressures of innovation in tune with the changing times . The echo thus preserved in the HENZE has become a vital link of the flexible present with stratified past ."

Here I need to add that kashmiri Pandits would start  VANUVUN chants  with SHOKLAM or SUKLAM derived from the the popular Sanskrit Sloka “ Suklam Bhardaram Devam… “ . This sloka is chanted by Hindus for Bliss and happiness and known as Mangal Sloka  . So the kashmiri pandit  Vanvun traditionally begins with HENZE ( Meaning  come ladies assemble or  Dear ladies chant . It is addressed to a group ) followed by the common  verse” Shoklam  karithh Heyatov Vanuvunaye ….” followed by verses meant to be chanted for various ceremonies and occassions   .

 Henze……..Shoklam  karithh Heyatov Vanuvunaye
Shub Phal Deut maejji bhawani ye

( Listen  You ladies .. Begin with word Suklam
  And  start  Chanting of the  VANAVUN  Verses .
Mother Bhawani has granted a  boon to us )

With the arrival of Islam in kashmir , vanvun also underwent some changes to suit the socio- religious aspirations of the   section of the kashmirin society that had adopted the New faith.  Muslims discovered BISMILLAH as a suitable term and comparable for word  SHOKLAM or SUKLAM . The  Ceremonial  VANVUN also   underwent religious colouring  on account of different rituals and religious ceremonies of native Hindu and Muslim population.Inspite of  these changes ,  the context and emotions  in the verses (   Especially chanted during marriage ceremonies )   remained almost common .    This ensured   a collective participation of Hindus and Muslims   in Marriage Vanvun . Muslim women   started   their  ceremonial VANVUN  chants  with word BISMILLAH followed by the common  verse equivalent in meaning to “Shoklam  karithh Heyatov Vanuvunaye ..Shub Phal Deut maejji bhawani ye “ followed by verses meant to be chanted for various ceremonies and occassions   . This is how the common opening verse finally turned up in Muslim  Vanvun Chants …

“Bismillah karithh Hemav Vanuvunaye
Saahiban Anjaam Onuyae .”

“Saying   Bismillah ,  Let us begin   the vanvun Chants ,
Our Lord has finally brought this day for us  .”

( Autar Mota )

*VANVUN is an  oral literature accumulated over centuries in kashmir and comprises of songs that have mass appeal. These songs are sung by women during festivities and marriages  across the religious divide .  We find ladies (  Both Hindu and Muslim )  singing these songs in marriage rituals  , circumcision of the male child  in Muslim Families and Yageopavit  ( Sacred Thread ) ceremony in Pandit families  . This singing lends grace and  a Holy Aura to the ceremony .In kashmir, Vanvun has survived as a part of  Folk  Literature  essentially  preserved and protected by women through a simple oral tradition.

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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