Thursday, February 2, 2023
Jammu and Kashmir


Arts in Kashmir Province


Hafiza  dances is common in Kashmir during wedding celebrations at the homes or when the wedding processions would be taken out on boats on the Jhelum river. Along with Hafiza dance which is generally catered to the elite among the Hindus and Muslims, there evolved the popular dance form known as Bacha Nagma. It was introduced by Afghans from Kabul, in which a teenaged boy dressed as a girl dancer, is trained in the Hafiza style of dancing. Bacha Nagma is popular in the villages, particularly at harvest time.

Among the folk dance forms of today, the only one popular is the Ruf. Mainly danced by women on festive occasions and by boy dancers in the Bacha  Nagma opera, Ruf  is an off shoot of Chakkri which is a form of collective singing by men and women. Ruf has thus descended of a dance form of collective folk  merry-making in items when singing and dancing were in vogue. Another dance form, Dambaeli danced to the accompaniment of naghara (drum) and suranai (a kind of shehnai, the reed pipe) has lost much of the cadence of step and music and is practiced by the so-called backward class of watals (mostly sweepers) only. Another lesser known dance form is the Wuegi-nachun, danced by the Kashmiri pandit women round the bridal rangoli (pattern made with henna and lime and others colours) after the bride has left for her husband's home.


Kashmiri in course of time developed its own idiom, Sufiana Kalam, chorus. The most favoured instrument is the 100 stringed Santoor (San means 'hundred' and toor means string,  in Persian) which is the Sitar  of Kashmir. The most popular instrument in folk music is the Rabab, introduced by Zain-ul-Abidin from Turkistan. The Sitar  of Kashmiri musician is the Saz (or Saz-i-Kashmir) which is the bowed instrument and is accompanied by a Dukra.