You must Sign In to post a response.
  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Hundreds of pages of research in six lines of a folk song!

    Some of my relatives had worked in tea-gardens of Assam. One of my childhood friends has been working in a tea-garden of Darjeeling. I have been interested to learn the history of settlement of Santhali workers from the Chhotanagpur plateau to the tea-gardens of Assam and Darjeeling. The terrible history has been written by great researchers. We feel for these simple-minded Santhali men and women who were ditched by the middlemen. We feel pained when we come to know about the extreme hard work and terrible life of the tea-garden workers during the initial days.

    As I have said, hundreds of pages have been written on this issue. But today morning I have heard a beautiful folk song of Iman Chakraborty. The folk song of Goalpara region of Assam beautifully depicts the simple aspiration and terrible life of Santhali women who were brought to the tea-gardens of Assam. Hundreds of pages of research has been aptly summarised in the following six simple lines:-

    "Mone kori Assam jabo,
    Jora pankha tangaibo,
    Babu bole: 'kaam kaam',
    Sardar bole: 'dhori aan'.
    Saheb bole: 'tulbo pither cham'…
    O Joduram, faki diya pathaili Assam"

    Those Members who know Bengali, Assamese or Santhali, can easily understand the meaning. For others, my inaccurate translation:

    "I thought I would go to Assam,
    Live in our sweet home (with you),
    (But what have I found?)
    The babu (clerk) says: 'work-more work',
    Sardar (superintendant) says: 'bring her here',
    Saheb (tea garden owner) says: 'whip her black and blue';
    O Joduram (name of the middleman),
    You ditched me by sending to Assam!"

    Like the lyrics, the music is also simple yet melodious. Friends, if possible, listen to the beautiful song in Youtube.
  • #616307
    What a moving poem which showcases the job ordeal in tea estates being faced by the women folk there. The respect to women is forgotten, her value of labor not cared and above all being abused and character assassination is also attempted. Thanks to the lyricists who penned this poem which has the great impact on the readers and I can understand the feelings of tea estate workers now. Surely I shall listen the song even though I may not know the full meaning of the song. My appreciation to author for bringing out such classic thread and the information shared is much more great.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #616323
    The middlemen will really play havoc in the lives of these people. The workers struggle a lot and the middlemen will get the benefit. Really we feel a lot for these people. Who can save them from this ordeal is not known.
    The middlemen play a similar role in case of farmers in our area. If you go to the East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh, there is an area called konaseema. That area is rich in coconut crop. Here the middlemen will purchase the coconut at the rate of Rs. 2 or Rs.3 per one unit. The same they will export to the cities and sell at Rs.20 per piece. The farmers are suffering a lot there and they are not financially well.But these middlemen will make a lot of money and enjoy their lives.

    always confident

  • #616339
    It was really a moving poem Mr. Partha. At first look, I could not understand the discussion about. But when read clearly, I could find out the terrible situation and the pain that must have been faced by the men and women who spend their whole time in gardening and caring of the tea leaves in Assam. They all work and the profits earned by the middlemen over there. It is harsh and nobody has right to behave badly with them. Wish there could have been justice given to them.
    Do what inspires you !!

  • #616382
    Folk literature, especially poem has that power. It summarises and condenses things in a way that will make even the illiterate understand the most complicated thing.
    That is why many revolutions and uprisings were preceded by certain writings and speeches.
    In modern Malayalam literature also we have many such.. Just to say one or two example-Kunjunni and Ayyappa Panicker. They use simple words, sometimes the sound of words reflect sound of the situation. They ply on words which have different meanings at different context.

  • #616462
    Excellent post Mr.Partha. Worthy six lines that convey the harsh life of the poor workers. Your translation has conveyed the meaning to others and myself. Middlemen are the bane of the uneducated or the unskilled labor class. They literally suck the life out of the poor worker who has to work long hours of a meager few rupees a day. Many times while I move around the city, I see groups of people with a spade or a crowbar sitting in the corners of bus stands or close to a circle and they and picked up by lorries after a few quick questions by the men in the lorry, then will get on to the lorry or tempo. These are the daily wage laborers being transported and supplied for the construction sites. There are middlemen right from these tea estates to farms right up to an international arms deal.

  • Sign In to post your comments