Promoters & Preservers of Sindhyat

Promoters & Preservers of Sindhyat

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Note About Sindhi Bhagats



As “Tamasha” in Maharashtra, “Garba” in Gujarat, “Ras” in Utter Pradesh, is an age-old popular folk art form of mass entertainment so is “Bharat” in Sindhi, which of course is tinted with moral tones and social awareness.

As a matter of fact Sindhi “Bhagat is a unique form of folk art incomparable to any other form of mass entertainment.  It has four dimensions- song-dance-story and touch of drama.  It is synthesis of these four arts, making it vehicle of abundant enjoyment for the spectators.

“Bhagat developed through the years, its origin could be traced to the ancient Bards, who wandered through the countryside singing and narrating the old heroic ballads of the lovers and warriors of the olden times.  The Sindhi Bhagat acquired its distinct form over a century ago.  Gradually developed into very popular source of cultural entertainment.  It became even professionalised performance and collectively a creative folk-art form.

The pivotal character in the performance is the “Bhagat” so the art form is known after him.  He is the key character in the total show.  He is the prime dancer, he is the storyteller, and he is the soul of the performance.  The others are the “Boldias” (the supporters) and also the players on the musical instruments, harmonium, tabla, and dholak, Khanjri, etc. simple rhythmical instruments.

The Bhagat combines the finer qualities of different performing arts in such an effective and appealing order that the audience are kept spell bound for hours, together, because the “Bhagat” is supposed to start late in the evening, when the village or town folks have taken night meal and are ready to sit till early hours of the next morning.  Men, women and children partake the bewitching pleasure of the performance sitting through the night.

The “Bhagat” with his melodious voice, rhythm of his delicate steps, body movements and very effective story telling, dramatising it, keeps the audience glued to their seats without even blinking their eyes through out the show.  He has a variegated voice creating different moods – be it pathos, agony, humour, melody, glory, tragedy, as required by the need of the narration.  He moves the hearts bringing laughter or tears as the situation demands.

“Bhagat” is most important and integral part of Sindhi folk-art and a rich cultural heritage of the Sindhi community and widely acclaimed.  There were scores of these verstile artists in the countryside as well as in the urban pockets of Sind.

However, after partition of the country this folk art is on the decline due to variety of reasons including the influence of electronic mass media and socio-economic compulsion.  However there are still a few prominent ‘Bhagats’ who are dedicated and perform occasionally. 

- Kirat Babani

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