Friday, October 12, 2012

Guru Nanak Roff

A painting of Guru Nanak and his followers done in Kashmiri style.
Early 19th century. [Kashmiri Painting by Karuna Goswamy, 1998]

A couple of months back I found my Bua singing these lines to herself. We were preparing for my sister's wedding, it was late at night, we were having a group singing session, like Kashmiris do, striking a spoon on metal platse and  kids beating an odd tumbakhnaer out of beat, everyone singing a song of their choice, often all at the same time. Hindi songs. Kashmiri songs. General fun. In this happy melee, I found my Bua singing some very odd lines. It was obvious she didn't know the entire song as she kept repeating the same line over and over.

The lines went like this:

Guru Nanak yelli pyau thannay 

Zool kari'tyav
Heri'tay Bon'yay




A Kashmiri song referring to birth celebration of Guru Nanak. Roughly translated the lines mean:

The day Guru Nanak
was born
We light up our
houses
from top
to bottom

Intrigued, much later I asked her more about the song. She said she danced to it when she was in Matric. Back in 1976 a bunch of girls of Katleshwar School danced Roff, traditional Kashmiri dance, to these lines.

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