28 September, 2020

Buxar Melody

An academic book with a rare degree of empathy, intuition and literary style.

Buxar Melody

The Desi-Margi divides of Indian classical and folk literature inhabit distinct social and cultural realities. Smita Tewari Jassal’s moving and insightful study brings alive the songs of sorority that form such a vital part of feminine social networks and collective memory.

As the author observes, “One might argue that the narratives succeed in preparing women to confront misfortune and face adversity...it would be useful, for instance, to know how to deal with unwanted pregnancy, how to handle an elder brother’s advances, even how to handle the consequences of elopement”.

Tewari scans Hindi, Bhojpuri and Purabiya repertoires of ballads, wedding songs, verses sung while grinding grain or transplanting rice, celebrating festivals and seasons, and various rites of passage commemorating the daily life of unsung women across north India. Drawn from labouring castes and classes, the humour, subversion and survival strategies conveyed through these folksongs resonate at a level far removed from mere musical...



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