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Palav – A Traditional Sindhi Prayer

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Palav – A Traditional Sindhi Prayer
Bhagwanti Navani singing a Palav song

Palav is derived from the word pallu, the loose end-portion of a saree or Chunhri. A piece of cloth is extended as an empty receptacle to accept any blessing from the Lord.

Milind Teckchandani

Most Sindhi programs around the world usually end up with a Palau which is a traditional Sindhi prayer sung in praise of Lal Saeen. Whilst growing up, going to Sindhu Samaj when Palav(u) was being recited was always fun especially on Cheti Chand. As a young child, i enjoyed watching elders holding end-portions of their shirts or chunni whilst Palau was being recited. Also singing of Palau usually meant the end of the program and that Tairi and Saibhaji (Sweetened Rice and Spinach) would be served shortly.  Author Tulsidas Pahuja in his book “Sindhiyat” writes about “Palav”:-

“Palav ceremony is an essential part of Hindu-Sindhi culture. Any celebration, ritual or religious function concludes with a Palav. In the olden days it would be a daily evening prayer. Palav is derived from the word pallu, the loose end-portion of a saree or Chunhri. A piece of cloth is extended as an empty receptacle to accept any blessing from the Lord. The belief being if one approaches lord with sincerity and surrenders in a spirit of selflessness, he shall be bestowed peace and happiness. Both rich and poor seek together, for the welfare of each other. This prayer is generally performed in groups. It builds harmony and removes ill feelings of envy, jealously, selfishness, hatred etc. Sindhis lived in harmony for centuries full of examples of their glittering sacrifices for the protection of the lives and properties of each other.”

There are a number of variants of Palav; even though the lyrics vary , the spirit of hope and gratitude  remains the same. The lyrics usually read as follows:-

O’ Palau je paeen lal,

O’ ta khavand khali na kareen,

Aasaa hoon ahin lal vapari har naam ja

Achanje aas kare lal to vat ghot gharan

Biya bhi datar deh mein, ka tome mard mariya

Haaren joshi juga gharan, O’ jo kayam aa kaljug mein

Kayam aa kaljug mein data dayam tuhinja kam

Haaren rakhje lak sharam

O’ dhakiya saan ta guzari tu

Lalan lalan man kariya mujho lalan kariya kunda

Maan bariya thi lakriyon mukhinjo lalan baare bunda

Lalan mumein kajhri hoonda

O’ jo liki vethe ton daat mein

Dulah tuhinje dara te

Maan ta aayus san ukira

Jot jagande moon dithi

Muhinje dil khe aayum dheer

Haren pujaeendo zindahpeer

O’ umendu, aasa vadan jiyoon

I end with these two videos on Palav – the first one is a musical of rendition of Palav by the great sindhi singer, (Late) Dadi Bhagwanti Navani who is (till date) lovingly referred to as “Sindhi Koel”. This rendition is absolutely mesmerizing.

Watch Video: Palav Song

The second video on this subject is a Hindi translation of Palav by His Highness Sadhguru Sri Narayan Baba of Panvel, Maharashtra. It is a wonderful stanza by stanza translation of Palav and is an informative watch. I hadn’t heard about Baba Sahib before but came across this video on you-tube whilst I was researching on this topic.

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Courtesy: Sindhi Chokro Blogs (Published on September 20, 2019)