The folk literature of Rajasthan is rich, varied and lively. The folk literature comprises the folk songs or Lok Geet; ballads or Lok Gatha; folktales or Lok Katha; folk plays or Lok Natyas and Lok Subhasit that include proverbs, sayings and idioms. Amongst these the folk songs of Rajasthan are quite popular. These are regarded as the natural expression of human emotions. Songs relating to rituals, worship, jagaran, etc are religious, as distinct from those pertaining to particular occasions, events and other aspects of human life. Apart from the folk songs there are other forms of folk literature in Rajasthan too.
Ballads in Rajasthani Folk Literature
Ballads in Rajasthan
are of various kinds. Whilst some of these are heroic or romantic, others are mythological or historical in character. For instance, Pabui ka Pawada is a heroic gatha or ballad. It is said to be 52 in number and describes the heroism of Rathore Pabuji. The Bhopas are the singers of these Pawada. They also keep a phad or a picture-curtain to illustrate the contents of this song. On the other hand, Bagadawat is a romantic ballad and is about the battles of 24 Bagadawat brothers. They were the sons of Bagh Rav. Nihalde Sultan is also a romantic tale of Sultan and Nihalde. Amba Ras, Draupad Puran, Narasiji ro Mahero are some of the mythological and historical ballads of Rajasthan. Besides these there are Nirved Gathas describing the life and work of famous Nath siddhas, Gopichand and Bharatari, and their detachment, are popular in Rajasthan. These are sung by jogis and have inspired many poets for ages.
Folktales in Rajasthani Folk Literature
Folktales in Rajasthan have attracted many modern writers including Vijaydan Detha and Govind Agrawal. These writers have presented such tales. Giving touches of their own diction, keeping in view brevity, effectiveness and aim, but generally maintaining a narration similar to the prevalent folk style. Detha has been systematically bringing out tales, such as, Batan ri Phulwadi, but his language is often colloquial. The Rajasthani folktales of Govind Agarwal have become popular due to their effectiveness and lucidity. Laksmikumari Cundawat has also retold many lok kathas or folktales.
Folk Plays in Rajasthani Folk Literature
The folk plays from Rajasthan can be broadly classified into Khyal, Swang and Lila. The Khyals are on social, historical, religious or secular subjects. According to craft and style, the Khyals are popular in different regions of Rajasthan. On the other hand, well known Swangs include Khyal Jhamatda, Tuntiya Tuntaki, Jamara Bij, Bahurupiya ki Sawari and others. Lilas are based on mythological episodes. Raslila
, Ras Dhari Lila, Sanakadik Lila and Gawari are few examples. Devilal Samar, Mahendra Bhanawat and others have made notable contributions to the study of this form of art.
Lok Subhasit in Rajasthani Folk Literature
Many proverbs, idioms, riddles, sayings have been compiled scholars like Muralidhar Vyas, A.C. Nahata, N.D. Swami, K.L. Sahal and Govind Agrawal.