Folksong Chaumaso …The Song of Monsoon

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Chaumaso (چئوماسو monsoon) is one of such seasons in Thar. The season has been discussed at length in literature particularly in folklore. Rituals and traditions are attributed to it in shape of festivities. The festivities have special folk songs too. The ‘Chaumaso’ is one of such folksongs. The song tells about the weather situation, rainfall update and social behavior of people reflecting the glimpses of the society of Thar

By Noor Ahmed Janjhi

The earth is revolving around its axis without any interval. Moon revolves in its orbit. The sun has own revolutionary cycle. All the stars, moons and satellites revolve as they are destined by nature. The revolutionary movement of everything brings the changes in environment because all the phenomena of the nature are intermingled and interdependent directly or indirectly. The interdependence affects all of the happenings in nature in one or the other way. Many a things happen unnoticed and many occurrences take place before human eyes. Natural process of evolution evolves out of our whole natural system…the system of happenings and movement. On the other hand, several changes take place because of human activities and prove detrimental to the ecological context, and are concluded in a mostly repeated term of ‘climate change’. The slogan of the climate change has enthralled all….rich as well as poor. However, the destruction of environment is mostly because of rich countries, tagging them as developed world. Their development is being proved as destruction for entire globe.

Tharparkar, with its unique environment and geological conditions, has a specific ecological context and weather system. The area is rain-fed and rich in vegetation and biodiversity. The year has been divided in seasons as the foresee calculations about weather can be made accordingly. Chaumaso (چئوماسو monsoon) is one of such seasons in Thar. The season has been discussed at length in literature particularly in folklore. Rituals and traditions are attributed to it in shape of festivities. The festivities have special folk songs too. The ‘Chaumaso’ is one of such folksongs. The song tells about the weather situation, rainfall update and social behavior of people reflecting the glimpses of the society of Thar. Before the adaptation of the Gregorian calendar, there was a local system of seasons’ calculation depending on atmospheric conditions and climatic updates. It was in this order. Chet (چيٽ March-April), Vesakh (ويساکApril-May), Jjeth ( ڄيٺMay-June), Aasarr ( آساڙJune- July), Siramann (سرامڻJuly-Aug), Buddo ( بڊوAug-Sept), Assoo ( اسوSept-Oct), Katie ( ڪتيOct-Nov), Nasari ( ناساري Nov-Dec), Poh ( پوههDec-Jan), Maagh ( ماگههJan-Feb), Phagunn ( ڦڳڻFeb-March). Further, the calendar is divided into tith (تٿ )  and pakh (پک) . As the Gregorian calendar depends on the sun so this local calendar depends on lunar month of 30 days corresponding to 29.5 days month of sun. Each month consists of two pakh of fifteen days each. (The Wonder That Was India by A. L. Bhasham).  One pakh with moon called suhao and the other one dark pakh .To compensate and complimenting the calculations, there is a system of halves called ‘adhak’(اڌڪ). In this way Chaumaso (period of four months) consists of the four months of Aasarr (June- July), Siramann (July-Aug), Buddo (Aug-Sept), Assoo (Sept-Oct). It starts with rainfall and continues till four months step by step and concludes. If there comes rain during the month of Jjeth , then it is regarded as the early rainfall and sign of luck. There is a maxim in Sindhi “ڄيٺي مينهن پوڻيٺي پٽ” (first son and rain in the month of Jjeth are for fortune). Chaumaso or monsoon is a messenger of peace and prosperity as people as well as livestock depend on it. In his book LokGeet (P 322) on the study of folksongs, Dr. N A Baloch has written about the song with reference of Ustad Harchand, “Thari girls of same age sing this song together in the season of Sanwan(سانوڻ) . The central theme of the song is longing and nostalgia of the recently far away married girls for their parents, sisters, and relative and friend girls.” The major impetus of the song is atmospheric system of rainfall. It moves human inner self and creates longing for relatives, friends and fellow people. Consequently, one narrates some words in that nostalgia and longing and those words turn into folksongs. Girls and women are two steps forward in this regard. Relationships and marriages beyond to tribe, caste, sub-caste and village increase the nostalgia and longing. In the past, there were communication resources few and far between. There was no instant source of interaction and communication. The girls married in faraway villages felt nostalgic during rainy showers. They wept as they see the rows of dark clouds. When the clouds of heart moved then there falls the rain from the clouds of eyes. The song of Chaumaso presents a colorful picturesque account containing colors of season as well as aspirations and feelings of inner self besides twists of social interaction. The song starts as follows;

اونڏوگجي گاج گهوري جائون، ورساڙو آيو ڏيس

گهوري جان، چئوماسو آيو ڏيس

Deep thunderstorm is happening,

Sacrificing on arrival of rain

Rainy season came to homeland

Sacrificing on arrival of rain

Monsoon came to homeland

It is welcome to monsoon showers. It rains after thunderstorm and lightening and natural water ponds have been full of water. Some ponds are small; some are huge with a good storing capacity. The atmosphere of such rainfall, not only makes wet to the body of travelers but also their eyes become wet to see the torrents from clouds. The brother of the faraway married girl has come to take his sister to parents. The brother is called ‘terraiyo’(تيڙئيو) or fetching one. His mother advises him;

اونڏو منڏي ويراگاسيئڙو، ڌيئا ٻائي نان تيڙئيو جا

Equip camel with soft harness

Go to take dear sister from in-laws

The camel is equipped with harness called pakhrro. The pakhro is covered with soft ‘ralies’ called ‘ghashiyo’(غاشيو). Soft equipment is necessary as the travelers can sit easily. Ridding on camel has also a code in this bringing and dropping girls to the parents and in-laws. The brother sits at the back seat with sister in front seat of pakhrro (پاکڙو). The husband leads the wife by sitting at the front seat in pakhrro. Now they are on their way and it rained by cats and dogs. Everything has been wet. Reins of the camel are wet. Turban of the brother has been wet. The wet situation is presented in the song as follows;

ڀيجي ڪرهلئي ري مهار، ڀڄيو مانهنجي ويرئي رو مورهيڙو

Reins of the camel became wet,

Wet became turban of my brother.

The farmland has been irrigated due to rainfall. It is thought that the seed of millet (ٻاجهري) has been also wet and the garland of the daughter in this rain. The mention of millet seed is meaningful because its crop is cultivated in the beginning of the cultivation process as it requires 60 days to be ripened away. The glimpse of it is as;

ڀيڄي هرکيڙتي رو ٻاجهرو، ڀيڄي ڌيئا ٻائي رو هار

The millet seeds of the farmer have been wet

Dear daughter’s garland has been wet.

The mention of the garland reflects about ornament wearing. Everyone puts on ornaments as per financial capability. It has been a common tradition. Generally the golden ornaments are in vogue. Those who cannot afford the golden ornaments, they opt for silver and the ornaments made from synthetic material or artificial jewellery. The tradition is continued till today.

Discussing the months of monsoon, Sanwann, Jjeth and Aasarr are mentioned because these are the full swing months of monsoon. Such pleasant atmosphere motivates for kacheri and discussion among family members. The sister invites the brother to sit with her in courtyard of the house and do kachehri;

سانوڻ تو آيو مين سُڻيو، آيوڙو ڄيٺ آساڙ

آئوويرا! ٻيسو آڱڻئي، ڪران منڙي ري وات

I heard about Sanwan

Came Jjeth and Aasarr

Come to me O brave brother!

As we may do kachehri in courtyard

After telling about kachehri, the sister began to prepare four dishes for her brother. She constructs four different hearths from clay for that purpose. She cooks Lapsi (لاپسي), Chashni  (چاشني), Khichrri (کچڙي) and Mareerro (مريڙو) on all of the four hearths differently. Lapsi is a tasty traditional dish made of grain with gurr ( ڳڙ jaggery). Sweet dish is necessary for guests also. Khichrri is light and easily digestible dish. Mareerro is a plant and prepared and eat as a single dish because it is full of nutrients especially iron. It grows soon after rainfall. She talks about offering these dishes to her brother along with her husband;

مٽي منگاڙان ويرا چيڪڻي، چلها گهتاڙان چار

هيڪ رڌاڙان لاپسي، ٻيجو رڌاڙان ڪُسار

ٽيجو  رڌاڙان کيچڙي، چوٿون چندني رو ساڳ

سالو ڀيڻويو ڀيڙا جهيمي، ڪري منڙي ري وات

I may get constructed hearths four

Out of alluvial clay

One dish of Lapsi and one of Chashni

Third of Khichri and the fourth

Should be dish of mareerro plant

Eat both of you

Both of brother in-laws of each other

The main point of the discussion between both of them will be to get permission of the sister for parent’s village. The brother presents festivity of Siramann Teej (سرامڻ ٽيج) for its justification. The husband replies to the brother of his wife that if he will give leave to his wife then who would take care of him to bring meals to farmland, to grind flour and to churn milk? The points are described in a good manner in the song as:

ميلهو ڀيڻويا مانهجي ڀيڻ نان، آئي سرامڻ ٽيج

منان ميلهي نا سري ، ڪوڻ مانهنجي ڀتولائي

ڪوڻ ري پيسي پيسڻو، ڪوڻ مهي ولوڙ

“O my brother in law,

Send my sister with me,

Reached the festivity

Of Siramann Teej”

“How may I send her away?

Who will take care of me?

Who will take my meal?

Who will grind flour?

Who will churn milk?”

By pocketing that answer, the brother of sister still argues for leave of her sister that all of those activities can be done by the sister and the mother of brother in law. The brother in law responds that his sister is like a home sparrow and shall be flown away today or tomorrow. The mother is too old to discharge these tasks and she may depart today or tomorrow. The sister’s brother becomes angry on that response and he prepares his horse for returning back. At this, his sister quests him to stay for a while and to take her message. She says, “I have no foot- wear and living with leaves of akk plant as my chappal. My head is uncovered and covering it with leaves of pipal tree. Don’t tell that situation to beloved mother as she will weep like monsoon. Don’t share it with the father as he may come there to take care of me.” The song goes on;

ڀيڻ پيهسي ٿانري پيسڻو، ماتا مهي ولوڙ

ٻهن مانري چڙڪلي، آج اُڏي پرڀات

ماتا مان ڏوڪري، آج مري يا رات

اتو ڪهي سالو سالو ريساڻو، ڪريو گهوڙليئو تيار

گهڙي ٿنب ٿانرو ويراگهوڙلو، ڪران منڙي ري وات

پڳي ٻڙتي هون ڦران، ويرا! ٻڌان اڪ راپان

مٿي موڏي هون ڦران، ٻاڌان پيپلي راپان

ماتانان ويرا مت ڪهي، جهرسي ورساري ري رات

ڀاڀج نا سُڻي ويرا، مت ڪهي، ڪرسي پيهر ۾ وات

ٻاپ نا سڻي  ويرا، مت ڪهي ڪرسي ڪرهيو تيار

“Your sister will grind the flour

And the mother will churn milk

My sister is like a sparrow

May fly away today or tomorrow

My mother is too old to survive

She may leave away today or tomorrow

It made angry the brother in law

He prepared his horse to go back.

“Stay your horse for a moment,

O brother!

As we may discuss something

I am barefoot and using leaves

Of akk plant as chapals,

My head is uncovered,

Covering it with leaves of pipal tree,

Don’t tell it to beloved mother

She may weep like monsoon,

Don’t tell it to your wife,

She me share it to her parents

Don’t tell it to beloved father

He may come here on his camel”

The observance of social interaction has been developed through this song by focusing on the arrival of monsoon, torrential scenic beauty of rain through the relationship of a sister and a brother. It tells about the sophisticated relationship between a sister and a brother.  The sister addresses the brother with word ‘veero’(ويرو). It means a brave person. She values her brother as a brave person to safeguard her in time of difficulties. It is a touchy expression when there comes the rain and everything becomes wet…..rein of the camel, turban of the brother and the millet seed of farmer. She makes special arrangements of luncheon for her brother and serves it to him along with her husband. By doing so, she tries to provide an environment conducive for discussion on her leave for Teej festivity. Both men argue and counter argue on the leave issue and ultimately the brother fails to get leave for her and starts to return back. She requests her brother to stay for a while and listen to her about her deprived situation. How she was living barefoot and was wearing leaves of the plants and covering her head with leaves of fig tree. After telling the situation she requests her brother not to share it with the beloved mother and father and his wife. She gives justification for it that the mother would feel her sister’s anguish and agony and she would weep like monsoon. She is afraid that her babhi may tell it to her parentage and it will be embarrassment for whole family. If the story would be told to the father, he would be angry and may reach at daughter’s village. All of the three situations were difficult. However, she shared it with the brother in reaction after she was not allowed to leave with brother to the native village. She knew that the news of her bad situation may worsen relationship between both the families.

By and large, the song describes social relationships and conflict resolution systems under the pleasant topic of monsoon rainfall. It is a good depiction of the society and folk songs provide a real reflection of such dimensions of the society.


The Mithi-Tharparkar-based writer is a senior educationist and author of several books on folklore of Thar Desert  








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