Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Friday, October 19, 2018 05:30:54 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Aspects of our Folklore

photo by

Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Syed Ali Ahsan :
Before we can come to know the proper nature of the Folklore of Bangladesh we should know and appreciate the particular culture and environment or in a word, civilization which gave birth to it. It is not possible for a Bengali of today to understand the truth underlying the unsophisticated beauty and charm of folk melody though he may be moved by it as he is moved by many other sentimental things of life. This is because our present-day world is town-centred and sophistication has become the key-note of our culture. The geniune folklore of Bangladesh is the product of the Middle Ages of Bengali Literature when poetry was the product of community living unperturbed in a world of economic well-being and mythological inheritance. I am leaving out of consideration the so-called folksongs and folktales of East which are of comparatively recent growth and show signs are of contact with urban life. Gunai Bibi, for example, is actually a modem tale told by villagers but villagers who had been to towns, like Barisal and Dhaka. It will not be difficult for an analytical mind to discover in this ballad a poet appealing to himself initially and therefore to the community. Here the appeal is not commensurate with the community itself. However, in this discussion I am not concerned with the folklore which has developed only recently as an outcome of the impact of urban culture on rural affability. I am concerned here with the genuine folklore of the Middle Ages when poetry had not reduced itself to a condition of stalemate but developed from the widest possible appeal. Though it is quite possible that the most significant types of modern Bengali poetry have elements in common with the folk poetry of the Middle Ages.
As with English poetry so with Bengali poetry, the folk measure is provided by the traditional ballad. Without going into the controversy as to whether the words of these ballads were invented by individuals for the community or whether these grew spontaneously out of the community, we can say that these ballads were sung by gayens the, trouvere of Bengal at social gatherings and at midnight concourses of village folk. We know for certain that these ballads appealed to and were adopted by the community. They were handed down from generation to generation. Let us now try to find out their invariable characteristics by considering an example, Kajal Rekha. It depicts the story of a poor girl destined to marry a prince who was covered with needles all over his body. Even his eyes were shut. Kajal Rekha plucks out the needles one after another, but before plucking out the two needles of the eyes she wanted to refresh herself by taking a dip in the river. While still in water, she saw a girl passing by the bank whom she buys as her slave with her gold bracelets. She instructs the slave-girl to go to the temple where her husband was lying in bed with needles in his eyes. The slave-girl goes near the prince, plucks out the needles from his eyes and deceives him by declaring herself as his wife and Kajal Rekha as the slave-maid. Kajal Rekha, passes her days in agony and after various interesting trials which both the girls undergo, Kajal Rekha ultimately regains her position and the mischievous slave girl is buried alive.
Kajal Rekha is a true ballad in so much as it is anonymous and has been handed down for centuries as an oral tradition. There is a directness of narrative without any comment, criticism or probing into motives. There is a definiteness of the visualization, that is, of the details. This definiteness is a striking characteristic of our ballads; note, for example, that the slave-girl plucks out from the eyes of the prince, not several, but two needles.
Unlike the Scotch ballads, the supernatural element does not play an important role in the ballads. Whereas in Scotch ballads we get the rendezvous made by the dead corpse or the mysterious ringing of the bells, in our ballads on the other hand we get a pointed sense of realism in their social settings and human life as a part of nature and not an antimony to it.
In Mahua, Malua, Dewan Bhabnai, Kamala and Dewana Madina there is deep complaint of unhappy, tragic love which can better be said a tragic conception of life. There is also an extreme simplicity in the mechanism of verse, the verse is not artificial and the rhythms are instinctive.
These characteristics of Ballads are direct reflection of the social environment within which this poetry was shaped. Whereas modern folk poetry is away from simplicity of diction, our traditional folk poetry is spontaneous, simple, objective as speech itself, and close to actual life. Once upon a time, it had a wide community of appeal.
Northern Mymensingh differs from other parts of this land in its rugged physical contour. Some of the ballads of Mymensingh express this ruggedness through superstition and gloom.
The environing physical hostility made men hardy and courageous in action in everyday affairs, in love and in dark adventures. And they boastfully talked about these things. The experience of an individual was a matter for open celebration; it was a common possession of the community.
The folklore of Bangladesh includes within its fold all kinds of folksongs, folktales, superstitions, local legends, proverbs, riddles and nursery rhymes. Riddles are probably, the oldest literary improvisation of the people. There is a beautiful riddle in Chandi Mangal of Kabikankan - “While alive he is silent, but clamerous when dead; God has not given any skin as his coating - But we want his assistance for sounding good omens.” It means a conch-shell.
While finishing a tale, the trouvere generally says something like this -
‘Thus my story endeth;’
‘The Natiya thorn withereth.’
‘Why, O Natiya, thorn, dost wither?’
‘Why does the cow on me browse?’
‘Why, O cow, dost thou browse?’
‘Why does thy neat-herd not send me?’
‘Why, O neat-herd, dost not send the cow?’
‘Why does thy daughter-in-law not give me rice?’
‘Why, O daughter-in-law, dost not give rice?’
‘Why does my child cry?’
‘Why, O child, dost thou cry?’
‘Why does the ant bite me?’
‘Why, O ant, dost thou bite?’
‘Koot, koot, koot.’
    -Essays by Syed Ali Ahsan

Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Football »

Chairperson of the Women's Football Committee of Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) Mahfuza Akter Kiron speaking at a press conference at the conference room in BFF House on Thursday.

Editorial »

Finally a big loan defaulter held: Others must be nabbed soon

AFTER letting many businessmen get away with loan defaults, the government has finally become stern towards loan default and loan scammers by arresting Chattogram-based SA Group's managing director. Also a director of Mercantile Bank, Sahabuddin Alam was arrested on Wednesday on at least five counts of loan irregularities. The irregularities ...

International »

US first lady`s plane lands safely after smoke filled cabin

Reuters, Philadelphia :U.S. President Donald Trump said his wife, first lady Melania Trump, was safe on Wednesday after a mechanical problem forced her airplane, which was headed for Philadelphia, to return to the Joint Base Andrews military facility in Maryland."They had a problem, but she's fine," Trump said in an ...

Entertainment »

Tale of a rock legend

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Ayub Bachchu, mostly known as AB, is the legendary name in the history of Bangladeshi band music. He was born in Chattogram on August 16, 1962. With tremendous fan acceptance Ayub Bachchu is famous for his fabulous guitar playing. He has started his music career from his ...

City »

A view of the protest meeting organized by United Students Forum held at the Jatiya Press Club demanding release of BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia and stoppage of giving farcical judgement in fake cases against Tarek Rahman on Thursday. Among others, Senior leader Nazrul Islam Khan was present on the occasion.

Football »

Groeneveld scores as Netherlands draw 1-1 with Belgium

AP, Brussels :Arnaut Groeneveld celebrated his first start for the Netherlands by scoring a first-half equalizer Tuesday as the Dutch drew 1-1 with neighbor Belgium.The 21-year-old midfielder who plays for Belgium's Club Brugge rounded off a flowing Dutch move in the 27th minute, controlling the ball with his left foot ...

Football »

Brazil's Miranda silences Argentina with last-gasp winner

AFP, Jeddah :Brazil snatched a dramatic 1-0 win over Argentina with an injury-time header from Miranda in their friendly match in front of a sell-out crowd in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Tuesday.The Inter Milan centre-back was left all alone to thump in a 93rd-minute effort from Neymar's corner when the ...

Editorial »

EC failed to prove its neutrality

WHEN the country is facing a political uncertainty over the polls-time government coupled with the dissatisfactory role of the Election Commission, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda on Tuesday said the Election Commission will do everything necessary to hold free and fair elections. Its sound good but the hollowness ...

International »

Irish author Anna Burns wins 2018 Man Booker Prize

Reuters, London :"Milkman" by writer Anna Burns scooped the 2018 Man Booker Prize on Tuesday, with the Northern Irish writer winning the literary award for her third full-length novel.Set in an unnamed city during the bloody "Troubles" of Northern Ireland, the "Milkman" tells the coming-of-age story of a young girl's ...

City »

Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ) leaders covering their months with blackclothes, demanding amendment of 9 Sections of the Digital Security Act as black law in front of Jatiya Press Club on Wednesday.

Entertainment »

Affri Selina in three films

Sheikh Arif Bulbon :Affri Selina is establishing her position in media slowly day by day. Earlier, she had interest to perform as a model in showbiz but later she became interested to acting. So, now she has full concentration to acting. Yesterday she took part in shooting of a music ...

Cricket »

ICC WC Trophy to arrive in Bangladesh today

ICC World Cup (WC) Trophy will arrive in Bangladesh today as part of its worldwide 'Trophy Tour' ahead of ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 scheduled to be held in England.The trophy will be visiting Bangladesh's three cities - Dhaka, Sylhet and Chattogram over five days period. It will be displayed ...

Sports »

In this photo provided by the OIS/IOC, Russia's Mariya Kochanova competes in the Women's High Jump at the Athletics Field during the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina on Monday.

International »

Maldives court rejects Yameen's secret witnesses

AFP, Colombo :The Maldives' top court rejected on Tuesday three "secret" witnesses offered by President Abdulla Yameen in his petition to have his September election defeat annulled, in what is likely a major blow to his case.The refusal came as the Supreme Court concluded its hearings, which also saw Yameen ...

Business & Economy »

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies

AFP, San Francisco :Paul Allen, who founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in the 1970s and later went on to become an investor, philanthropist and sports team owner, died Monday after his latest battle with cancer at age 65."My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul ...

Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Write a comment to this news