Folk-lore of Kashmir
by Rita Kaul
'folk-lore' is very rich and symbolic. Therein lies the varied influence of
Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. Not only have the poets written great devotional
songs merging into deep God realization, but they also manifested into subtle
romanticism. In order to blend varied poetry with music, for the purpose of
orchestra, special musical instruments are used.
Chhakri is one such local modes of presenting 'folk-lore'.
The main instruments are 'Tumbakhnär' and 'Nót'. 'Tumbakhnär' a sort of
percussion instrument is made of baked clay. The drainpipe like instruments has
on one side a circular wider opening which is covered by a hide. 'Nót' is an
earthen pitcher, the hollowness of which is harnessed into soothing music.
Other instruments, which also play prominent part are the
Harmonium, the Rabab, the Sarangi and a pair of Cymbals. Chhakri unlike the
other medium of folk singing can treat any type of song with vibrant music - be
it devotional, romantic or even an opera-based.
The artistes with their instruments sit in a semi-circle and
at the head sits the leading artist. He is generally blessed with good voice and
gives the lead line of the song and the other artists follow it, keeping the
musical accompaniment in the background. Once again the main artist sings the
second lead line and the others follow him. Finally the artist recites the last
line - this time the musical instruments play prominent role in such a way that
it produces a lovely musical blend.
Chhakri is the most common mode of lore rendering in Kashmir.
It really reverberates in the Valley of Kashmir.