Monday, December 25, 2023




After her marriage , when a  Kashmiri bride is about to enter her husband’s  house for the first time ,  the traditional  welcome is done with group singing ( Chhakri style with Tumbaknaari )  by Kashmiri  ladies . Quite often a Bacha ( male dressed as female) would also dance to high pitch beats and singing of ," Variv nish hai vaatch-khai " . They generally sing this :- ……..   

"Dhandhan kari  zchandan lisha
Variv nish-hai  vaatch_khaai
Zaamav korhaai kuthis gachcha
Variv nish-hai vaatch_khaai..'

( Polish your teeth with a piece of sandalwood ,
 You are  about to  enter  your inlaw’s  house .
Your husband’s sisters have decorated your room,
You are  about to  enter  your inlaw’s  house .)

I have heard this singing in Pandit and Muslim marriages. Pandits continue with the tradition in exile also.  Bachas are frequently engaged in marriages now. They are seen in Jammu and even in Delhi dancing in marriages. Presently, a Bacha is used by singing party to make people dance and collect extra money . A Bacha is introduced to make young and old dance . He is otherwise a member of the singing party . When the nav  nosh  enters variv for the first time after the lagan (which is generally a marriage hall) ,  the Bacha is there with singers . This is present position in at least 50 percent marriages. "Dhandhan kari zsndan lisha" is sung in evenings if it is day lagan and mornings if it is night lagan when the nav nosh enters variv. The singing party comes on Mehndiraat for almost full night and also for about  one hour when the nav nosh comes to variv after the lagan ceremony.

 Kashmiris had their traditional style of dance and music since ancient times. In Kashmiri  marriages,  the Vanvun singing can be traced to Vedic period and it bears close proximity to  Sama-Vedic chants of Rishis . Sama Veda is the Veda of melodies and chants. It is believed that the Sama Veda was compiled during 1200 or 1000 BCE . Sama Veda is exclusively compiled for ritual application. Its verses were chanted at the ceremonies such as the Soma-sacrifice. It praises deities such as Indra, Agni, and Soma. 

By and large , the Vanvun of Kashmiri Pandits  is governed by Varṇa (pronunciation), Svara (chanting notes), Mātrā (duration) Balam (force), Sāma (continuity) and Santāna (conjugation, punctuation). Sama-Vedic chants are also bound by these basic principles .

( Avtar Mota )

For those who don't know Kashmiri

Nav.....means new

Nosh....means daughter in law

Variv ...means in law's house

Bacha ...A male dressed in female attire and dancing with a music party generally in marriages. This dance known as Bacha Nagma was introduced by Afghans in Kashmir.

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