Kumaoni Language and Literature
Kumaon by Category
Languages which are spoken at Kumaoni region belong to Aryan Family; however dialects of the Tibeto (Burmese family) are also used in some cases. Less influence of Kols, Kinnar-Kirats, Munds, Dard-Khasas can also be seen in these dialects. Hindi, that is the mother language of India is spoken by almost every Kumaonis excluding Biyans and Chaudans, Shaukas of Darma and the Banrajis of Askot and Chalthi. There are 13 dialects in Kumaon is described by G.A.Grierson; they are: Johari, Danpuriya, Majh Kumaiya, Askoti, Soryali, Sirali, Chaugarkhyali, Gangola, Kumaiya, Khasparjia, Pachhai, Phaldakoti, and Rauchaubhaisi. All these mentioned dialects of Garhwali and Kumaoni are jointly known as Central Pahari Group of Languages. Khaskura (Nepali) is spoken in the east of Kumaon region, Western Pahari (Himachali) in the west, Tibeto - Burmese family in the noth and western Hindi in the south.
Kumaon contains extremely wealthy tradition of folk literature, which deals with heroes, local/national myths, heroines, several aspects of nature and deeds of bravery. Anonymous poets wrote these songs which related to the deeds of Gods-Goddesses, creation of earth, local heroes/dynasties and several characters belong to Mahabharat and Ramayan. Some of those songs are also associated with exceptional love story of Rajula and Malushahi, the heroism of Sangram Singh Karki, the daring deeds of the twenty two Bafaul brothers and the unreal terrains across the Himalaya. These songs are sung by experts by considering the local history and bharau. You can experience these songs on agricultural activities and diverse cultural and social festivals.
Other varieties of songs are agricultural, pastoral and children’s songs that shows the sealed relationship between man and his surrounds. These songs also describe the natural beauty of this region that is really exceptional. Varieties of folk songs such as the invitation songs, Bhagnaul, Neoli, Chanchari, Jhora and Chhapeli. You will find the word ‘Suva’ or p’arrot that denotes lovers, whereas in the ‘Riturain’ songs, the ‘Nyoli’ bird denotes bothers and sisters. Neoli is also acknowledged as the style of singing. Some of the well-known singers of Kumain district are Mohan Singh Reethagari, Gopidas, Chakra Ram Damai and Jait Ram.
If you talk about the written literature of Kumaon then the most famous names are Krishna Pandey, Lok Ratna Pant 'Gumani', Shiv Datt Sati, Shyama Charan Datt Pant, Gorda, Ram Dutt Pant 'Kaviraj', Pitambar Pandey, Chandra Lal Chaudhary, Bachi Ram Arya, Kunwar Singh Bhandari, Jeevan Chandra Joshi, etc. Nowadays, writers and poets of Kumaon are not only famous inside Kumaon region but also outside the Kumaon. They gave their exceptional contribution to Hindi literature and journalism. Amongst the crowd, contribution of Sumitra Nandan Pant, Gumani, Laxmi Datt Joshi, Ela Chandra Joshi, Shailesh Matiyani, Hem Chandra Joshi, Pankaj Bisht and Mrinal Pande are broadly accepted.
The Shauka, Tharu, Banraji and Boksa tribes are also known for their outstanding folk songs and dances. You can experience these songs and dances during social cultural ceremonies and festivals. Talking about the extremely famous dance of Kumaon, the Chhalaria, or Chholia always takes the lead position amongst the availability. These dance forms are associated with the martial tradition of the region. View of the Bhagnaul, Jhora and Chanchari along with famous dance form of Uttarakhand is always outstanding. Nowadays, you can experience these songs during fairs and festivals.