Lang Dance-Song: Folk Song

(Notes on Folk Dance-Songs by Professional Class in India, Folk Dance-Songs by Professional Class in Himalayan areas, Folk Dance-Songs by Professional Class in Uttarakhand,   Folk Dance-Songs by Professional Class in Garhwal) 
Brief about Badi a Professional class for dancing and singing
Badi is a professional class of dance-song of rural Uttarakhand. It is said that Badis are born by dross of body of lord Shiva. Badis are also called ‘Shivjee k phool’ or ‘flower of lord Shiva. Badis don’t touch plough or they don’t do farming. It is said that if they would plough there would be snakes all around. Badis have to depend on their skill of folk dancing, performing instant folk plays, creating folk song and singing folk song. In old age, each Badi family was attached to particular villages. Each village family used to offer ‘dadwar’ (portion of crop) for each harvesting to their Badi family as these villagers used to offer ‘dadwar ‘(portion of crop). Badis used to dance and sing at the time marriage, fairs and festive days too.  Part from getting ‘dadwar’ and award (inam) from their Thakurs(upper cast families attached to Badis) , Badis depend on hunting birds for their livelihood.
There is a very specific cultural custom in rural Uttarakhand where Badis used to perform their art. (Perhaps the tradition is diminishing due to various reasons). Badis perform a specific performance ‘Lang’ after every twelve years in every village in the month of Chait under them. ‘lang’ is performed as community ritual by villagers.  There are two specific kinds of performance ‘Lang’:
2- Badi Radan
The Lang or badi radan performance runs for fifteen days in the month of Chait only.
Lang means a bamboo rod. The bamboo rod should have nine knots. On an auspicious day, the rod is fixed in the earth that the rod is straight. The bamboo stick has to be thick and very strong as Badi has to perform on top of bamboo stick by his navel. At the rod fixing place, there is the ritual of praying lord Shiva before the bamboo rod is fixed at one place of  the courtyard of Padhan or village concil.  There is a big cloth knot on top of thick bamboo stick as Badi has to lie on it. On each day, there is ritual of praying for Lord Siva and goddess Parvati for fifteen das.  In evening, Badis do perform folk dramas and sing various types of folk songs.
On the fifteenth day, Badis take procession of lord Shiva-Parvati ‘swang’ in village and visit each family.  On a particular auspicious time of the fifteenth day, the ‘Lang’ starts. Before Badi starts ‘Lang’ performance, there is ritual prayer of lord Shiva and goddess Parvati. When the ritual is completed, Badi climb on top of bamboo rod and lie on top by his navel on cloth knot (deelu). Then Badi revolves round on deelu with the help of his navel.
At bottom the village ‘Padhan’ offers donation. Then each family offers donation in the form of money, food grains, cloths etc. The donation is supposed to be offering to Lord Shiva-goddess Parvati.
The Badi shouts Shiva –Shiva. When he completes a round the other family members of Badi sing one line of following folk song.             
लांग खेलते समय शिव-पार्वती पूजन

खंड बाजे हो खंड बाजे
शिव-पार्वती को खंड बाजे
पंचनाम देवतों को खंड बाजे
गौं कि भगवती को खंड बाजे
गौं को भूम्याळ को खंड बाजे
क्षेत्र का क्षेत्रपाल को खंड बाजे
नरसिंग नागर्जा को खंड बाजे
भैरों -निरंकार को खंड बाजे
गौं का पधान को खंड बाजे
सत धर्मी नारियों को खंड बाजे
दानि राजों को खंड बाजे
पंच हिस्सेदारों को खंड बाजे
खंड बाजे हो खंड बाजे
गीत-स्रोत्र डा. शिवानन्द नौटियाल , गढ़वाल के लोक-नृत्य-गीत

Khand baje means I am playing for .

There is shouting on the ground. The round is called ‘khand khelna’ . Many thakurs offer an exclusive Khand for themselves. Badi tells the name of Thakur and sing one lone ‘faln Thakur ka khand baje’.
When ‘Lang’ is complete, Badi gets down. At this occasion, people come with the soil-lumps from their various fields. When Badi comes down, each family touches the soil-lump on the hair of Badi and takes hair of Badi too.  People keep some portion of such soil-lump at home and balance they distribute on their farms. ‘Lang’ is performed for better harvesting and protection of crops from bad weather, wild animals and pests. Or it may be said that ‘Lang’is performed for prosperity of village.

2- Badi Radan

If any village does not have temple, there is performance of ‘Badi Radan’. In ‘Badi Radan’ performance by Badi, Badi has to slip through a big grass rope. All the rituals are performed as in lang. on the first day a grass rope or fiber rope is tied on a tree near the boundary of other village. The rope should be long enough to touch the boundary of other village. The tree should be on top. Badi slides on the rope either by sitting on wooden plate or with the help of his belly. The tree is always on hill top and last portion of rope is in a valley.
The song is same for both types of performances by Badi. However, ‘Badi radan’ or sliding through rope is more tedious and dangerous.

Copyright@ Bhishm Kukreti

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