Tribal wind instruments, a melodious compliment to Mother Nature

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 10 Feb 2018 10:21:16


By Sandeep Sengupta,


The tribal populace by making as many as 200 wind instruments has left the footprint of the real art of living the life. Using the natural things from their surrounding, these people can make a melodious compliment to the nature.
By using various types of plants which grow abundantly in forests and also the vegetable like bottle-gourd and even with the body parts of the naturally dead animals the tribal people have made wind instruments. Their art reflects that gradually they made use of metals also in their way of melody making.

Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region is dwelt by a tribal ‘Dhuruva’ community and the gift in form of a wind instrument from this community is ‘Gugenada’. Near the water courses like rivers and ‘Nullahs’, a plant by the same name grows naturally. Just by making the roots of such a plant thinner, the tribal people used the natural wax from honey combs for adhesion and the wind instrument is complete, informed Anup Ranjan Pandey, who has collected as many as 200 wind instruments by exploring different tribal cultures of the country. The collections have been recently shown in an exhibition titled ‘Gandharva’, held in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, under the aegis of Adivasi Lok Kala Parishad.
Pandey hails from Kosa village which earlier fell in Bilaspur and now Janjgir district.

Explaining his viewpoint, Pandey said that eating a tomato looks to be very simple act, but it is after long quest that this knowledge was established that the red looking gift from nature is edible. The said wind instruments, known as ‘Sushir Vadya’ in the circles of musical exponents and erudite, too have a long journey in their fold of development, he says. In Manipur, a tribal community made a wind instrument from a plant ‘Makhikhebu’. Just by hollowing the stem, the instrument is ready and the sweet music it emanates can be understood from this community’s act of entertaining the birds all around with the instrument.
In Chhattisgarh, ‘Bansgeet’ has been prevalent among Yadav community and this is still a live example of how simply using ‘Bans’ (bamboo), this community people used to get engrossed in their own art of ‘Gatha Gayan’. The bottle-gourd and stems of various plants have been used by other tribal communities to make different types of wind instruments ‘Bin’. Using the bones, veins and horns of naturally dead animals, the tribal people made wind instruments. Gradually, they used metals like iron, bell-metal and cooper also.

To name a few are ‘Pawri’ of Gujarat, ‘Tarpa’ and ‘Nakdewan’ of Maharashtra and ‘Rel Rove’, ‘Pengkuin’ and ‘Rosem’ from other parts. In fact, the tribal community have their own ‘Purans’ and the need is to understand them and learn from their way of life-explore the nature to compliment it in the natural way. Attachment with their music and way of life can be inculcated through apt incorporation in curriculum. Truly, they deserve a place in academics and particularly in Chhattisgarh where the population is comprised of 40 percent tribal people. The terms Development, Culture and Education can be better understood in this way.

Pandey also briefed about ‘Bastar Band’ that is formed to revive the instruments so that they are not gone with the winds. Not just exhibition and showcasing, the instruments need to be brought into practice and there has been effort in this direction too.

Recognised with President’s Award in the field of folk dance, Rikhi Kshatriya said that incorporation of the instruments in the present day art will only give true indigenous identity. A ‘Jasgeet’ and ‘Lok Geet’ artist Gautam Choubey says that the music of the instruments can be associated with this art too. Theatre personality Anil Kalele, said that the wind instruments can be used in theatre. It will be a good experiment, but the difficulty in the urban context is that the theatre is mostly amateurish, lacking money. For using the instruments, the performers have to be called from tribal region and paid satisfactorily, he said.