Saturday, March 13, 2010

Koshur British Rhymes

I saw a glimpse of it in Aldous Huxley's description of year 1925-26 Kashmir in his book Jesting Pilate (1948). He heard 'Dum-dum, BONG; diddy-dum, BONG'. He wasn't the first British person to hear it. Much much earlier, around 1835, another Brit, G.T. Vigne heard in it an old comic song. He thought he was hearing 'Kitty Clover'. I managed to re-create (unfaithfully) the old song from his notes and some software. But I failed to see a patter until I read about it in introduction to 'Kashmiri Lyrics' (first published in 1945) by J.L. Kaul:
There is indeed a "nursery rhyme thrill", a certain Hickery-Dickery-Dock patter of rhythm, which anyone can hear (as Aldous Huxley heard it) any time, of day, in the streets of Kashmir with which a group of coolies enliven the heavy loads they carry collectively. Several Englishman have told me that they can catch and appreciate the lilt of a Kashmiri song (say), a boatman's chant more easily than they can do elsewhere in India. here is what Mary Hallowes caught of the tune of a chant sung by boatmen punting up their cargo boats "Khocu"  in the Jhelum. [published at the time in The Illustrated Weekly of India]

"Swift the current,dark the night,
(Ya-illa,la-illa)
Stars above our guide and light
(Kraliar,baliar!...)
All together on the rope,
(Ya Pir-Dust Gir)
In our sinews lies our hope
Khaliko,Malik-ko!..."

4 comments:

  1. Once again I must say that tussi great ho. Just one request. I want to know from where can i download kashmiri songs. I got some from Coaltoad, Kashmi.net, etc. But i want few older songs. Can u suggest some site?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wouldn't know. There are a lot of songs now available on Youtube. Some of the best songs are available on amazon.com. i suggest buying.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Vinayak,
    i must say the blogs u r running are one stop shop for nearly everything connected with kashmir.
    I would like to contribute some photos from the biscoe school annual book from 1930's when i reach home .Tell me how can i send them to u.
    It gives me so much pride that someone like u has been doing this .our children can learn about our culture from ur blog about our heritage.Kudos to you.Keep it going.

    Regards,
    Ajay Bhan

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the appreciation Ajay Ji! You are free to contribute stuff to this blog. You can directly send the images by emailing them to me. Images will be uploaded giving credit to the contributor. You can find my email by following the 'view my complete profile' link left below of this page.

    ReplyDelete

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