My grandmother shares a Kinnauri folk song about Thakur Moni, a young woman from Kamru village, who was in love with Ganga Sukh, but was married off against her wishes to another man and the tragic story that unfolds. She shares how, in her time, girls were married off without their consent. But now both society and times have changed and the girls from Kinnaur have the freedom to choose their own partners and pursue an education.
Storyteller: Isha Dames
Meeru, District Kinnaur,
इस कहानी को हिन्दी में यहां पढ़िये
While working with my Aapi (grandmother) one day, she started singing, as she often does. I enjoy listening to songs from Aapi as I have spent most of my childhood with my Aapi–Tete (grandparents). They have taught me many things which have been useful to me today. Aapi loves traditional Kinnauri folk songs and dance and never lets an opportunity pass.
The song that Aapi sang is about a true incident of the past that happened in Kinnaur. Traditional folk songs of Kinnaur are based either on true events or festivals and beliefs related to the world of deities. I asked Aapi about when would this song have been written and she said that it was from before she was born and has been prevalent since the time of her grandparents.
The Kinnauri folk song about Thakur Moni is based on a tragic incident. Thakur Moni was the daughter of the Dudhyan clan of Kamru village of Kinnaur and were quite rich. According to a famous saying, the family boasted that they could cover the hills of the village with salt, as salt was very expensive in those times.
Thakur Moni had a lover named Ganga Sukh who was the son of Raipaltu clan of Sangla village, a well-known family of Kinnaur. At that time, animal wealth represented economic wealth and they had a large number of sheep and goats. Thakur Moni wanted to marry Ganga Sukh and settle down with him. But her family probably did not approve of this relationship, and got Thakur Moni married to a man named Bhagwan Das, who was the son of Sangchyan family of Rogi village of Kinnaur. Sangchyan was also a big family of Rogi village and they were also very rich. He was so rich that his house was built with decorated stone work instead of wood work.
One day Thakur Moni and her 17 friends were sitting together and sharing stories about who was suffering the most. As they talked, it became apparent that Thakur Moni was the saddest.
Thakur Moni says-
“I had thought that after marrying my lover, I would go to the three-floor house of the Raipaltu family in Sangla village. But my parents are sinners because they did not get me married to the person whom I loved and where I wanted to get married. I have been wronged.”
At the end of the song, Thakur Moni dies at the hands of her husband. Suspicion and misunderstandings became the cause of her losing her life.
My Aapi told me that in her time too, there was a similar custom in which girls’ views were ignored and they were married off without their consent. In fact, there was a custom that has now ended, in which girls were ‘dragged’ away (against the girl’s wishes) to get married by boys. With time things are changing and girls are being understood by the society. Today girls are independent and getting an education. They are not forced to marry and can choose their partners. Whenever I listen to this song, I feel that the thinking of my family and the region has progressed a lot.