Kashmir and the Folktales

Kashmir and the Folktales

Kashmiri folklore is embedded in the "literature of the people" of India, which since ancient times has conveyed and mirrored the common aspirations and experiences of the people. The oldest collection of folktales now extant is the Panchatantra, which was composed in the first century AD. In this blog we are going to explore the Kashmiri folk tales and folk lores on which some students are doing their Ph.D in the School of Languages, Literature & Society at Jaipur National University, Jaipur, Rajasthan.

• The predominant language of the region, Kashmiri, is spoken by almost three million people and is derived from Sanskrit or Indo-Aryan.

• Kashmir has a rich tradition of storytelling and folklore.

• Stories used to be a common strategy for holding children's attention.

• The younger members of the family would gather around their grandparents to hear their favourite tales.

• These grandparents may have inherited the same stories from their elders, who gleaned them from their forebears.

Folktales abound in this region. They are as old as the hills. Many of them are of pure Kashmiri heritage, such as "Zohra Khatun and Haya Bund," "Gulala Shah," "Bombur and Loare," and "Himal Nagray." The people treasure the two well-known collections of fairy tales in the indigenous Kashmiri dialect, Wazir Mal and Lal Mal. These have been rendered into poetry in Kashmiri and Persian.

Quoting this famous lyrics of a renowned Kashmiri Song:

Dupate gov mai aabas daryaawas taraan taraan

Yaar chum aapare, be yapare maraan maraan

Kashmiri folk music has a wide range of subject matter, structure, and style. Opera and dance songs, pastoral lore, romantic ballads, play songs, semi-mystic songs, etc. are some general categories into which they can be divided. Then there are songs performed at specific times of the year or to accompany particular jobs; lullabies, wedding songs, dirges, etc. are also sung.

• When narrating the "Dastaans," a particular style of singing is used; the most well-known of these is "Ismal Mir's Dastaans," which is typically seen on Kashmiri TV networks and can also be heard on the radio.

• The stories of "Shireen Farhad," "Himal Nagraya," "Aka Nandun," "Gul Noor," stories about a dream translator, animal characters, and many more can be found among these folktales.

• There are many different interpretations of the same narrative in these tales, myths, and sagas. • Even though John Hinton Knowles, Sir Auriel Stein, SL Sadhu, and others have adapted some of the folktales into English, many of them have not yet been recorded.

• The Tale of a Pandith (Hindu) pair without children after many years of marriage is "Aka Nandun."

• A "Yogi" suddenly appears one day and approaches the woman, telling her that he can give the couple a son, but they must return the child to him after 12 years. The lady is perplexed, but she concurs.

• They are soon blessed with a kid, who they name Aka Nandun.

• The biggest joy in their lives is raising a child.

• The "Yogi" returns precisely twelve years later and demands that Aka Nandun be sacrificed in support of him.

• Even though they are devastated, the couple decides to carry out the agreement because it was what they had pledged. But the tale has a happy ending:

Yogi is moved by the loyalty and stops them from killing the son. If you find the blog interesting and informative, please share and forward to your friends.

Anmol Bhat,

Assistant Professor,

School of Languages, Literature &Society

Jaipur National University, Jaipur, India