Hindi Traditional Folks and Dance in Durban

The Hindi speaking Hindus in Durban makes up a generous percentage of the Indian population that were part of our indentured labourers. Their main challenge as with other cultures there was a need to maintain their own culture and traditions. The song and dance is an important aspect across cultures and is an expression of emotions as well as a form of finding solace. The Hindi language in Durban eventually became known as Natalie Hindi, a version created by the evolution of the Hindi language in Durban.

The traditional Hindi folk music can be classified according to the emotions and context in which they are performed in. The term Bhajan refers to songs that are sung under holy contexts of prayers and worships to the Hindu deities at temples, ceremonies and holy festivals. The bhajans are dedications to the Creator, normally sang with traditional music instruments such as the thabla which is a drum like structure, with a drum beat created by the fast movements of the players hands. The Pachras songs are songs dedicated solely to the Mother Earth for Her Blessings. The Birhas songs are songs that are sang at a fast beat and the dancer has to keep pace, and normally performed at celebrations in a festive mood. The Nirguns are generally good songs with a beat of naughtiness in words used. The Jooma songs are songs that express joy and happiness. The Gaddhi are songs that are associated with death and is normally sung at funerals or ceremonies with a sad tone in a mourning context. The entertainment of singing and dancing is mostly practises at holy festivals and celebrations such as holi, weddings.

In Durban, it was common for women to form a group and sing with Indian musical instruments such as the dholak and manjeera during the occasions of hurdee ceremony which is a pre wedding ceremony, the kitchri khawayee which is a farewell party or dinner held for the bridegroom. The groups perform while the guests eat and are either hired for the occasion or could be family members. They also perform at the Chatee which is a ritual done on the 6th day of the birth of a baby. In the 1960’s the Indian township of Chatsworth had already created these group of female singers that offered their talents. The men also were fond of performing dances and the term given to men that dresses in women’s clothing and jewellery to dance were Nachanyas. They performed at weddings, usually performed with a romantic beat, accompanied by musicians. Lastly, Chutney music which is still the most popular form of song and dance. It is spicy songs that are accompanied by clapping and tapping of the feet, with free style dancing and is a trend with the Indian youth.

The first indentured Indian labourer to revive and formally introduce traditional Hindi folk entertainment in Durban was Saadhu Mungal who started the Sanathan Dharma Dancing Society in 1860 to teach and uplift the culture of dancing and singing in the Hindi community. His student Jugnunan Bhandan followed in his path and started the Riverside Santhan Dancing Company in 1930 and the first public performance was held at the Shiv Temple in Reservoir Hills in Durban.

IsiZulu Summary
AmaHindu ayingxenye yamaNdiya ayizizukulwane zalawo afika ezosebenza emasimini ezakhathini zakudala. Njengawo wonke amasiko abantu nabo babenezingqinamba ngokuthi bakwazi ukugcina indlela yabo yokuphila kanye namasiko abo. Umculo nokudansa kuyingxenye ebalulekile kuwo wonke amasiko futhi kuyindlela abakhombisa ngayo imizwa yabo kanye nokuthi bathole ukuthula emphefumlweni. AmaHindu akhuluma isiHindi ayaziwa ngokuthi ngama Natalie Hindi ngenxa yokufika kolimi lwawo eThekwini.

Umculo wesiHindi ungahlukaniswa ngezigaba ezahlukene ukuthi ume siphi isimo. Kunalawo abizwa ngokuthi iBhajan okungamaculo aculwa uma kuthandazwa noma abantu bekhonza onkulunkulu babo emathempeleni. Lamaculo angumnikelo kumdali kusetshenziswa nezinsimbi zomculo zesintu njenge thabla okwakhiwe njengesigubha. Kube khona abizwa ngokuthi i-Pachras lawa aculwa kunkulunkulu owaziwa njengomama womhlaba ngezibusiso abaphe zona. Kube khona i-birha yona ekusheshwayo uma iculwa kuthi nalowo odansayo ahambisane nomculo lawa kusuke kujatshuliwe uma eculwa. Bese kuba khona abizwa ngokuthi i-Nirghuns kanye ne Jooma nayo ekusuke kujatshuliwe ngawo. Uma kushoniwe kuculwa amaculo aziwa nge Gaddhi.

Yoveshine Pillay
Ref: The Post 2010 Nov 16. Page 106

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