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Category: Culture

Saawan rut aayo rey..

India has an implicitly embedded affection for the season of monsoon and the cultural heritage conveys this beautiful tradition very affectionately. The rain has always been a messenger of celebration for the inhabitants of India. Though this celebration has an obvious reason, that is, the importance of rain for the agriculture, the primary way to earn a living in villages. India and the sense and heritage of India have been arisen from the rural India and for that matter, India is almost synonymous to the rural India. Besides, few decades ago, the economy of India was primarily based on the agriculture and hence, tradition and culture of most of the celebrations are very much related with the agriculture. The season of monsoon gives the birth to the celebration every year. So, if the rain is the cause of celebration for rural India, rain also plays the most vital part for India and its traditions. Precisely, rain gives the life to Indians every year. Every year, the monsoon is not only the initiator of the working season, but also of the celebration, love, relationship, art, music, and the colors of nature; as in the preface of “Meghdoot“, Kalidasa writes:

At the end of the summer, after having languished for months away from his Love and losing much weight, he(Yaksha) saw a large cloud nuzzling a mountain peak in the sky. That sight reminded him how he wanted to hold her close to his heart. Her. Who was not there. He held his tears back and stood there quietly. The monsoons were approaching. “May be the cloud can take my message to her”, he thought and he decided to suck up to the cloud. How a cloud, which is nothing but water vapor, can carry a message? But when you are heartbroken and sick with desire, you will try anything.

“Great Cloud. Please help me. I am away from my beloved and miss her very much. Please go to the city called Alaka where my beloved lives in our moonlit house. Lonely women brush their hair away from their eyes and look up to greet you. Because you bring cool rain. And with the rains return their loved ones. Who wouldn’t rather be with their Loves in this romantic season except the unfortunate ones like me who just cannot be there?..”

Since the history of India and its cultural heritage, clouds have been bringing the message of love, life, prosperity, color, and celebration to the people and lands of the country. After a long duration of hot summer, dull and lifeless earth, dry rivers and ponds, yellow leaves, grass-less mountains, and burning sun-rays; the clouds and the rains appear as the greatest blessings for the people and the nature from the heaven. Every cell of the creatures of the earth waits for the rain to appear, like the bird “chakor” waits with thirst and endless passion. Before the rains fall on the earth, everyone talks of and waits for the clouds. Every inch of soil desperately waits to get a new life and celebrate the blessings. A true India can be seen at the time monsoon appears and as long as it stays. Each cell and object of the earth gets a passion to celebrate its reason of existence. And why shouldn’t they? They exist for the celebration! Rivers and ponds poured with water, green grasses and leaves, singing birds and running calves, happy men and women, and much more than that. Men and women usually put one feet at home and another at their farms throughout the farming season, busy with giving life to the lands who further give them life in return. Everybody gets busy in the month of “Asaadh“, the first month of the monsoon season. For the next whole month, people work as never before and the earth decorates herself as the most beautiful peasant of the universe. The sense of life encompasses all the living and even, non-living children of the mother called earth.

If aasaadh is the month of rehabilitation, the next month “Saawan” is the month of true celebration. The job of life-care ends here, and the moments of festivals start. Saawan is a word which brings a feeling of freshness and life to the Indians just by murmuring the name itself. Today’s world refers India as a nation of democracy and spiritualism. I don’t know whether we really excel in democracy and spiritualism or not, but one has to come to India to realize that nobody and no culture on this earth have ever celebrated the life and the love with nature as the Indians have been doing it from the centuries. In the season of rains and the month of Saawan, the nature itself engages herself attentively and generously with each form of celebration of the people. Perhaps only Indians know the importance of singing “Kajri” after singing “Birhaa” for 4 continuous months. Perhaps only they can tell you the importance of music. In a country of sizzling hot summers – the black monsoon clouds bring with them relief and great joy – with a need to sing out and call for the love. As the folklore says, there was woman called Kajli whose husband was in a distant land. Monsoon arrived and the separation became unbearable and she started crying at the feet of the Kajmal Goddess. These cries took the form of the popular Kajri songs.

Only Indians know the relevance of festivals, when in “Teej“, a brother goes to the house of her sister and when in “Rakshaabandhan“, a sister goes to the brother’s house. And the relations, when a brother brings sweets, clothes, and other stuffs for a married sister in her “sasuraal” and gives a message every year that her family in her father’s place have always been with her and every stages of her life. The relation when a sister goes to a brother with Rakhi and the brother promises every year that he’ll protect her for his entire life-span.

In the month of Saawan, every form of celebration can be seen in India. Women and girls go to the gardens and sing and dance together. Jhoolas can be encountered in every part of the rural India. People relive all the relationship and families enjoy all kind of Indian cuisines. Saawan in rural India says it every year that everybody has a reason to live, love, and celebrate.

I basically hail from a village and, however, the urbanization etc are slowly vanishing the original cultural heritage of the India that appears in villages, I have encountered several such moments. There are 12 months in an Indian year and Saawan is the only month that is worshipped in villages. In almost each village, people offer prayers to the nature, god, and their ancestors. It usually takes form of a festival. We call it “Saawani Pujaai” and we usually performs it at the end of the Saawan, with a sense of gratitude and thankfulness. The day of this pooja can differ in villages and locations. People living out of the village visit the place to perform the pooja. The heritage of celebration and tradition gets inherited in each generation and it takes its place quite deeply in people’s heart. For most of the occasions of the gatherings, pooja, festivals, and celebrations; it doesn’t matter whether families are living in villages or have left the villages to earn their living. Families come to villages in Saawan Pooja, youth studying outside come in Rakhsabandhan, and Teej is still important for the newly married girls and her father’s family. Even those living in foreign countries and distant locations still receive parcels containing rakhis every year. The vanishing traditions can be seen in the acts and the methods, but it is almost impossible to eradicate this heritage from people’s heart, mind, and reasons. The reminiscence relives and refreshes the feeling and respect for our culture, traditions, existence, and the vital relation between the nature and the human lives.

India is truly a place of all rational behaviors that exist and there are indisputable reasons behind everything that Indians do, be it music, dance, festivals, tradition, culture, relations, prayers, or cuisines. The culture and tradition of India defends its existence itself. Though Saawan is the ultimate of all, Indians get a feeling of life and a reason of existence throughout the year from their cultural heritage and traditions, in the form of festivals, celebrations, music, gatherings, and all kind of appearances of the nature. It is the cultural heritage of India which proves that everything exists for a reason, though silently and by taking several forms. It is India which truly tells the world the importance of the humanity, peace, art, love, and life. And why not? Indian celebrate every relationship joyously and selflessly in the form of festivals every year. Indians sing, dance, laugh, love, enjoy the sweets, celebrate its heritage, relive the feeling that they exist for a reason and with the same passion, they still celebrate the importance of life and love in the world that is full of inhumanity, fanaticism, selfishness, killings, and depressions. Indians know that why the humans need to celebrate. Indians know the importance of being a human and existence of life.

The Saawan ends today with the celebration finale of the season of rains in the country where the rains fall on the earth with a message of love, life, and tender. It is Rakshabandhan today, the last festival of Saawan, when almost every brother and sister relive their relationships that they shared in their childhood & youth and will share with equal passion, love, and liveliness in their entire lives. Saawan ends today by giving a message of hope that Indian will celebrate it next year again and the farewell song can easily be heard in a distant village, somewhere in UP (perhaps Mirzapur district) where a beautiful young woman is singing this song, popularly known as Kajri :

Bhaiyya more aaye amwaiwaa sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi
Bhaiyya more aaya amwaiwaa sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi
Na jaibo nanadi, na jaibo nanadi, saawanwaa mein na jaibo
Bhaiyya more aaye amwaiwaa sawanwaa mein na jaibo nanadi

Jhanajhare ke dubawaa gangaajal paani,
chaahe bhaiyya piyen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Sonawaa ke thaari me jewanaa parosen ho,
chaahe bhaiyya jewen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Lawangaa ilaaichi ka bidwaa lagayo,
chaahe bhaiyya poojen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Chun chun kaliyaan main sej bichhaayo,
chaahe bhaiyya soyen chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

Naa jaibo nanadi, naa jaibo nanadi,
saawanwaa mein naa jaibo;
chaahe bhaiyya aawein chaahe jaayen ho,
sawanwaa mein naa jaibo nanadi.

(listen to its beautiful rendition by Pt.Channulal Mishra)