The epic of Pābūjī: video extracts

Here you can watch three extracts from a video recording of a performance of the epic of Pābūjī. The recording was made in 1982 in the village of Marwar Junction: the performers are Parbū Bhopo and his wife Rukmā Devī.

Extract 1: the performance begins

After applying rosin to the bow of his rāvaṇhattho fiddle, Parbū begins to play and sing solo. The first song is an āratī in honour of Pābūjī and his companions. When it is over, Parbū briefly puts his hands together in a gesture of respect towards the central image of Pābūjī on the painted paṛ. Next, against a background of barking dogs and train-whistles, he declaims in arthāv the opening jalampatrī (“horoscope”); this can be found at ll. 1-27 of the text and translation contained in The epic of Pābūjī (second edition available here). Then, without a break, he begins the episode of Pushkar (ll. 418 ff.). The extract ends with Parbū signalling that he wants a break to smoke a beedi (country cigarette).

Extract 2: Kelam and her friends go to swing in the garden

Parbū is now joined by his wife Rukmā Devī, who remains fully veiled throughout the performance. They begin their song sequence, as often, with a slow tune, in this case khaṛāū ḍhāḷ, of which they sing one verse (ll. 550-1). Parbū then switches to a dance tune, nācvā rī ḍhāḷ (no. 8 in the list on p. 24 of The epic of Pābūjī); they sing two verses of this (ll. 552-5), and during the fast, repetitive sections Parbū dances. Last comes a single verse of āḍī ḍhāḷ (ll. 557-8). Parbū now performs a section in declamatory arthāv, using the bow of his fiddle to point out the relevant details on the painted paṛ: the girls swinging in the trees, the black snake, the gardener (actually one of the attendants fanning the central figure of Pābūjī), and so forth. A member of the audience responds to the arthāv by calling back the last word of each line; sometimes Parbū tests him by substituting the wrong word. The arthāv runs from l. 548 to l. 569.

Extract 3: the invitations to the Goddess and the bhomiyo

After a brief introductory arthāv (ll. 778-83), Parbū and his wife perform the hymn to the Goddess which constitutes her invitation to the wedding of Gogo and Kelam. For a translation of this hymn as sung in another performance, see The epic of Pābūjī, pp. 63-4. A second short arthāv (ll. 784-7) introduces the song of the bhomiyo, the deified rescuer of stolen cows (see pp. 57-8). Finally comes a concluding couplet of arthāv: ll. 795-6.

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