Towards preserving a fading art form
Piroj Navanath Naik from Savoi Verem recently released her first book ‘Vanadevatechya Prangant’, a collection of dhalo folk songs. In conversation with NT BUZZ Piroj talks about her book
VENITA GOMES| NT BUZZ
Dhalo is a popular folk art form of Goa. Women belonging to various communities perform dhalo on several occasions. It is mostly the villages of Goa, where one can find people carrying forward this traditional practice. However, the practice is slowly fading away and in order to preserve the originality and to popularise dhalo, Savoi Verem-based Piroj Navanath Naik has written a book ‘Vanadevatechya Prangant’, a collection of 125 dhalo songs and information pertaining to its significance, practice and other rituals.
The thought of writing a book dawned upon Piroj when she noticed that the women in her community were interested in dhalo but did not know the songs and the other aspects and this made the writer pen down her knowledge through her book. “‘Vanadevatechya Prangant’ contains 125 dhalo songs. These are all the songs which I knew by heart, and I thought of writing them down so that it can help others to learn. At the same time I thought it was important to explain why a particular practice is done or what is its significance, therefore I gave information pertaining to the same in my book,” she says.
This book is quite handy for newly married people. She explains why: “During the ‘Paaus’ month, for nearly five days we perform dhalo at the maand in a traditional way in our village. And it is mostly performed by the married women; and thus for the newly married this book can be a guide which they can learn from and understand it much better.”
Though it took Piroj just four days to write the songs; it took her much longer to gather information about rituals and their significance. The book ‘Vanadevatechya Prangant’ is written both in Marathi and Konkani. She says that she was able to find a proper understanding about the folk form with the guidance of environmentalist, Rajendra Kerkar and folklore researcher, Pournima Kerkar. The cover of the book is painted by Anagha Bhagat, the daughter of artist Dayanand Bhagat.
Piroj, a retired teacher, during her childhood has seen dhalo performances in her village and feels that this form should be known by many and should be highlighted even more. “At my mother’s place we had the ‘maand’ just near the house and during the paaus month the women would perform dhalo there along with various games and songs. The five-day festival would bring a lot of cheer and festivity among the community. My grandmother and my mother were the ones who would explain the songs to me, and that was how I learnt it from them,” she says.
Piroj feels that if people don’t take initiative to practice this form, it will slowly fade away and therefore she appeals to people to carry forward the practice of dhalo and other folk forms.