A woman's sentiments are deftly woven into the fine fabric of the folk-songs of the Punjab. The main supposition at the back of these songs is that a woman has two lives and two minds, one for her parents and the other for her in-laws. She draws strength from both families. In her new home after marriage, she leans on the husband, whereas in the parental home her attention is concentrated more on the brother than anyone else.
 In all her childhood games, she idealises her brother, and after marriage, on all occasions of family celebrations, her brother brings her home from her husband's house. A Punjabi girl almost worships her brother. She is proud of him and custom has taught her to look forward to his visits, because on all festive occasions it 1$ the brother who brings gifts to her house.

And though she would like to show an extravagant hospitality towards her visiting brother, the inhibitions of the joint family stand in her way. She is afraid of the taunts of her mother-in-law.

Next to the brother it is the mother who is remembered most by the Punjabi girl for she is the sharer of her daughter's sorrows. A mother having borne much the same sort of suffering in her own life can understand her daughter's predicament best. The daughter comes to her and talks freely about the injustice and cruelty which she receives at the hands of her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law .

In her husband's home she is afraid of the mother-in-law's conventional tyranny. If the mother-in-law is good, life becomes a heaven, but what happens more often is that the cruel mother-in-law makes life a hell for her. She taunts her over small things, passes scathing remarks on her parents, brothers and sisters, and irritates her so much that her heart is filled with hatred for her. This dislike for the mother-in-law is expressed in many folk-songs of the Punjab.


Women seldom sit idle in the Punjab. When they are free from household chores, they bring out their spinning wheels and sit out in the open under a tree. Women of all ages and from all houses of the locality sit together and spin, and as they spin they sing. This is a common sight in the villages. Sometimes on a winter night they all assemble at someone's house and keep spinning and singing throughout the night.

 These spinning sessions are called trinjan -the day session is known as Chiri Chirunga (sparrows big and small) and the night session is called Rat Katni (spinning at night). Sometimes there are spinning competitions among young girls with a chain of songs in the background. Spinning is seldom independent of the song. Spinning goes on accompanied by spontaneous, unrestrained music.

Trinjan songs cover all aspects of life particularly the long cherished dreams of a woman, her aspirations, fears, love longings and tuggings at the heart. These songs combined with the drone of the spinning wheel create an enchanting atmosphere.


The festival of Teeyan is an occasion for all married girls to visit their parents for a few days, and thus enjoy again the carefree days of their childhood. They run to the swings on the peepal trees. It is fascinating to see the earth all round becoming green again, the welcome drops of rain falling, and the youthful girls in colourful dresses. The girls sing songs and dance Giddlia. Songs of Teeyati mostly speak of love, and are highly charged with emotion.


Love lyrics comprise the best part of Punjabi folklore. The songs of this category express the ecstasy of union as also the pangs of separation. These lyrics are short and absorbing, the most popular among them being Bolian, Mahiya and Dhola. The natural exuberance of a Punjabi does not allow him to put any limits to his appreciation of beauty.

As popular as Boli is Mahiya, which presents an expressive picture of the torments of separation and the thrills of reunion. Dhola like Mahlya is an appealing storehouse of the softest sentiments.

Considering that for centuries the Punjabis had to bear the brunt of foreign attacks, it was natural that sometimes when young men went out to fight, the wives expressed a wish to go and brave it with them rather than stay back and suffer the torments of separation.

Some folk-songs have a historical significance and reflect the attitude of the entire community towards certain events. The Punjab has.been a frontier province and Punjabis have always suffered from the aftereffects of foreign invasions. Every invasion brought plunder, rape and arson in its wake.

There is a song which gives a heart-rending description of the cruelty of a marauder who forcibly carries away a beautiful young lady. Her husband, father and brother, in spite of their earnest efforts, fail to rescue her, and the brave girl, instead of falling prey to that brute's passion, burns herself to death. The entire poignant tale is contained in a ballad.

The invasions of Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali created terror among the people of the Punjab. There are some songs expressing their indignation towards them. When the long enslaved Indians started their fight for freedom from the British yoke, the offended masters let loose upon them a bell of spiteful cruelty. Some folk-songs refer to these movements of rebellion in the Punjab.

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