Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BaramasiGan

Literally songs for twelve successive Bangla months, describes the feelings of a woman who has been separated from her lover. While narrating her pleasure and pain, her hope and despair, she describes the twelve months of the Bangla year. Generally, the song begins with Baishakh, the first month of the Bangla year. The baramasi can be sung at any season of the year. Usually, the singer is a woman who gives vent to her own sorrows while describing the changing faces of nature.
Baramasi songs are rooted in Bengali culture and are popular all over Bangladesh. They invoke gods and goddesses and narrate mythical stories or traditional and social events. They contain stories of love as well as accounts of agricultural life. They are valuable literary and social documents. Baramasi songs can also be called 'work songs'. Female farmers often sing them while weeding the fields to lessen the tedium of their work. No musical accompaniment is used. The tune of the baramasi is mournful, conveying the sadness of separation.
The baramasi songs of some areas are called Sita's Baramasi and Nila's Baramasi. The stories of the two songs are similar in many ways. In the following lines from Sita's Baramasi, SITA laments her separation from RAMACHANDRA during the month of Asadh. She describes the heavy rains during this month and longs to be reunited with her husband: 'Asadh masete dekha ghana barasan/kotha prabhu Ramachandra and devar Laksman/Karmaphale Dashanane aniyachhe hari/ Dharmik Laksman more nao na hari' (Look at the heavy rainfall of the month of Asadh./where is Lord Ramachandra and my brother-in-law, Laksman?/The ten-headed [Ravana] stole me away because of my misdeeds./Devout Laksman take me back.)
Kalketu Upakhyan by the 16th-century poet MUKUNDADAS contains Phullarar Baramasi, which describes the sufferings that Phullara endured for twelve months.
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