Have you ever imagined link between water and music?! Here comes such an interesting story of Pani-Hari folk music and dance from Rajasthan. Rajasthan is one of the water deficient states of India, with an average annual rainfall of just 300 mm. Hence, the images of women fetching water in earthen pots or brass pitchers from faraway places for their homes, has become a synonym for any reference about Rajasthan. Their trails through the sand-dunes is one of the liveliest ever photo-opps ever that India can offer!
In fact, during the bygone times, such water trails used to eat out a major part of the lives of the women folk in the desert state. Of late, though the canal waters brought from three Punjab rivers –the Satluj, Beas and Ravi has changed fortunes of the state to some extent, many regions of the state remains as water deficient with an average rainfall of less than 100 mm.
The overworking women who used to carry water from faraway places was called Panihari (also Pinhari). Their feelings, worries and thoughts about their dear ones who are left at home during their water trail has happen to come out in the form of Panihari folk music, which is now one of the most celebrated part of Rajasthani folk tradition.
Panihari folk music and dance is most often performed in form of a dialogue between women who are on their way to home after fetching water from the water bodies. The most famous couplets from the Panihari folk goes like this....
“Kinji khudaya naada-naadiya e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo,
Kinji khudaya samad talaav, ba-la-jo
Susro ji khudaya naada nadiya e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo,
Pivji khudaya samad talaav, ba-la-jo”
(Here, in the first couplet, the singer questions who has created all this canals - naada-naadiya and ponds. In the second couplet, the singer answers the question herself that her father in law had created all these canals - naada-naadiya and ponds on the demand of my husband- Pivji)
Panihari also reminds us of the age old culture of collecting the rainwater and preserving it in the storages like talab (pond), taanka (underground water storage), and bawoli (step wells).
You can watch the chronicles of Panihari from the following link:-
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