GoaWestern India

Goa’s rural women honours pandemic, enlace it into dhalo folk songs

The eco-feminist festival of dhalo is celebrated every winter in Goa

Keri: Traditions in India have always been vibrant and quite dynamic. They have always encompassed the ancient while also making a place for the modern. Celebrated every winter in Goa’s hinterlands by rural women, Nothing could reflect this more true than the eco-feminist festival of dhalo.

Onlookers were pleasantly surprised to find the lyrics making mention of masks and sanitizers when the women were performing the folk dance, fugdi, to the accompaniment of folk songs. This year, this performance took place at Savoi Verem. The lyrics comforted the women by asking them not to worry about these new requirements brought about by the pandemic.

The song included the iconic phrase coined by chief minister Pramod Sawant. The phrase is — ‘bhivpanchi garaz na’ which means, “there is no need to fear — during the pandemic in Goa ”.

Many citizens also use this phrase to criticize the state government’s response to the pandemic. This phrase was extensively discussed in the state.

“We usually recite songs that are passed down to us by the previous generations. But it was different this time. Sometimes we sing about incidents that have a profound impact on our minds in the present are also interwoven in the songs. Covid-19 has shaken our bodies, minds, and souls. Hence, the fugdi songs have been composed concerning the protocol,” said the folk artist from Kanvgal in Savoi Verem.

An oral record of the social-cultural ethos, traditions, and even momentous events of the time, The dhalo songs, sung by the women of the land, are songs that have been passed down from generation to generation via the medium of this eco-feminist festival.

Goa was under the Portuguese in 1948, but to date, the dhalo songs sung by the women of Varkhande in Ponda refer to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi that happened on January 30 of that year.

The women of Goa have now immortalized the pandemic in their folk songs, to be carried down from mother to daughter for as long as the folk tradition thrives.


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