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Gajan: A Cultural Heritage of the Marginalized People in Kulpi CD Block, West Bengal
Published in Springer Science and Business Media B.V.
2021
Pages: 193 - 204
Abstract
Rich folk culture and traditional heritage have always been the most important part of Indian art and culture. The state West Bengal is also famous for some of its very indigenous folk culture, and Gajan is one of them. It is a part of Charak festival observed on the occasion of the worship of the lord Shiva; as He is revered as the prime-mover. Gajan is a particular branch of local culture in the southern part of Kulpi C D Block, South 24 Parganas, and Gajan-gaan (Gajan songs) originate in the heart of common people, and this expresses their social, religious and political status, demonstrating the history of class struggle, social stratification and exploitations of marginal class by the upper class and political hegemony. Gajan generally deals with two types of marginalized groups: firstly, the Namsudras (untouchable) and secondly, the group of women. This festival gives the subaltern masses the power to sabotage caste system; order of hierarchy and in every form of classification possible, like caste, class, gender, dialect and so on. It also expresses different feelings of a woman like anger, hunger, thirst and fear which gives men an “anti-penis envy”. It is observed that rich people seldom participate in Gajan; it’s only the backward sections of the society who participate in it. The so-called upper class (or caste) people show the least interest in this festival. Thus, the financially weaker people are its sole organizers. As a result, due to lack of sponsorship, this rich culture of Bengal is in the threshold of abolishment. The aim of this study is to understand the involvement of marginalized group of population in Gajan, their class struggle and the reasons behind the decreasing interest of educated mass in this festival. Some steps have been taken by few organizations to help the Gajan artists. The Government of West Bengal too has adopted some policies for the artists to save this cultural heritage, because Gajan is a big asset for the society, being the reflection of social, economic, political and religious life of the marginal class of people. © 2021, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
About the journal
JournalData powered by TypesetAdvances in Asian Human-Environmental Research
PublisherData powered by TypesetSpringer Science and Business Media B.V.
ISSN18797180