Reminiscing The Tales Of Panihari Folk Music

In Rajasthan, Panihari, Pabuji ke Phad, and Maand are some of the well-known folk songs. Aesthetically, they depict the culture of the Rajasthan behind their soulful lyrics.

Among them, Panihari is a famous, women-oriented song. The Rajasthani women developed the song on their way to fetch water from distant places. It is a melodious rhythm that narrates the necessity of water in the deserted areas. The women who bring water in the scorching heat are known as the Panihari.

Glorifying History Of Panihari Folk Music

Glorifying History Of Panihari Folk Music
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Since the biblical era, Rajasthan is recognized for its deserts and stunning sand mounds. However, water scarcity poses a challenge for women to travel across places to fetch water. It was difficult to procure and carry water in the burning dusty storms for women. They used to get exhausted while bringing water from distant places. Therefore, to share their experiences and express emotions, Rajasthani women developed this melody. The traditional Panihari folk music articulates the flowing waves and rushing rivers. 

Blending Creativity With Folk Music

Blending Creativity With Folk Music

The themes of the Panihari song highlighted the importance of rainfall, water, and tube-wells in a dry state like Rajasthan. With time, this traditional art became a significant part of Rajasthan folk culture as well as an eminent part of ladies. It further incorporated their everyday household duties, unacknowledged sacrifices, romance, and sweet-sour relationship with their mothers-in-law. 

The majority of the song deals with the unexpected meetings of beautiful women with their lovers or fiancés. Although there is no official chorus of these songs, its personification is incomplete without strings and percussion instruments with add zeal in such a culturally rich raag. In newer versions, Anuradha Paudwal and Seema Mishra gave their voice to this folk song. They had become famous by describing the evolution of love from generation to generation. To connect with life touching music of Paniharis, one can often hear it near the villages of Thar Desert.

Decoding The Conversation

One of the popular songs is about a chance encounter of a beautiful woman with her fiance. It begins with:

Kaali Kalayan umti e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo

Addressing Paniharis having dazzling eyes, the narrator states about heavy rains. 

Motodi chhanta ro barse meh, ba-la-jo 

Moreover, due to dense clouds, it has been heavily pouring.

Saat sahelyan ro jhulno e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo, Gayi gayi samad talaav, ba-la-jo

Talking about water, the protagonist says that along with her 7 friends she is going near the pond where she can swing and fetch water. 

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 

While taking water from the ponds, all Paniharis ask the heroine who built the canals. She replies that her father-law commanded to dug the pond and her husband constructed a massive reservoir.  

Auran re kaajal tikiya e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo, tharoda feeka feeka nain, ba-la-jo 

Addressing a beautiful woman who has dazzling eyes, the narrator asks that other Paniharis are applying cosmetics like kajal and Tikka to look beautiful, but why are she does not putting kajal.  

Auran ra parnya ghar base e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo, Mharoda base re pardes, ba-la-jo

She replies that all the women are married and living with their husbands. However, my husband is living abroad because of which I don’t apply Kajal.

Ghado patak dyu ni chowk me mhara sasuji e lo, o mhara sasuji e lo, Ubi chhitkaau chukliyo, ba-la-jo

Kun thane mota boliya e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo, kun thane di ni gaal, ba-la-jo

After coming back home, this lovely heroine is sad and distressed. Therefore, her mother-in-law asked her if someone offended her?  

Ek athido mhane iso milyo mhara sasuji e lo, o mhara sasuji e lo, Puchhi mhare mande ri baat, ba-la-jo

She states that while carrying the water back home, she met a stranger and offered him water with kindness. However, he started praising her beauty and questioned her about her wants. 

Kinji sariso dingo paatlo e pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo, Kinji sariso uniyar, ba-la-jo

He was tall and had physic like deverji (brother-in-law). 

Dever ji sariso dingo paatlo, mhara sasuji e lo, o mhara sasuji e lo, Nainakdi nandal re uniyar, ba-la-jo

Mhe to kahu ji mhara bhola ghana o pinhari ji e lo, o mirga naini ji e lo, Wo to tharodo bhartar, ba-la-jo

Mother-in-law responded to her that she is so innocent and that he is non-other than her husband, who has come back from abroad.

With immense happiness, she rushes back to her husband.

Reflecting The Value Of Paniharis In Todays World

Reflecting The Value Of Paniharis In Todays World

It is a well-known fact that folk music is powerful in connecting diverse cultures. It can make one relive the moments with its legendary stories and magical performances. In the same way, Panihari traditional music’s folk tales touch the life of every woman in Rajasthan.  

Panihari women sacrifice their comfort for the survival of her children and husband are similar to the lifestyle of modern women who go to work and strive hard to give a better future to their kids. These songs mirror the life of women by giving them an oulet. 

Since the current generation is ignorant about all such enthralling ballads, it becomes essential to arouse their interest through dramatic plays and dances. In this way, they will not only understand the importance of water but also of womanly love. The government can make it popular among the youth through wall art adjacent to roads and bridges.

After reviewing the notable facts about Panihari women of Rajasthan, it can be enunciated that the colourful traditions of Rajasthan have numerous stories to tell its listeners, which take them roller coaster ride of emotions, love, and sweet relationships of dutiful Panihari.  

The lyrics and music have more to offer to the listeners as harmonious stories of love, wait, unexpected encounters can bind you till the end.

Follow Rajasthan Studio on Instagram for more amazing art and travel content. Reach out to us on email at contact[at]rajasthanstudio[dot]com. This blog is curated by Rajasthan Studio and written by Prachi Batra.

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