Folk Songs on birds and flowers can be found in abundance in the plethora of Indian folk music. As most of the folk music in India
is nature-based, such themes on nature, agriculture and the rural economy are common. Thus birds, flowers, snows, hills and even tigers and grasshoppers are used as thematic material for songs.
The different birds mentioned in the songs are representative of different aspects and emotions. The parrot is a symbol of wisdom and affection, according to Indian folk-lore. It is generally used as a love-symbol. The `maina` is a gentle bird, it is colourful and sprightly. To the folk-mind, it is an object of love and affection, a "blithe spirit". As such, it is highly suited as a girl-symbol. In the various folk songs where it is mentioned, the maina refers to a young girl. The quail is also a symbol of love and affection and a favourite of the Gonds and Baigas. It finds mention in many of the Gond songs. Many other birds find mention in the folk songs such as the Ak-Kati bird in Tamil folk songs etc.
A number of folk songs also make beautiful use of the flower reference. They are used either as ensembles of decoration for the beloved or for their own sake. Either they talk about how beautiful the beloved looks adorned with flowers, or the flowers signify certain virtues. For instance, the lotus is a symbol of purity; the episode of Lord Rama
and the lotus
is in the epic tradition. Certain flowers, like the Semar flower of Bihar
and the Madar flower of Assam
have no fragrance. They are scarlet red and beautiful. However, since they have no fragrance, they are discarded by both man and God. The feeling of dejection of the flower, symbolic of similar human feelings is sung of in a number of such folk songs. A girl without a lover is often called a Madar flower. As the Madar flower is odourless and does not draw any honey-bees to it, similar is the fate of the girl.
Thus discussed are some of the common aspects of the folk songs on birds and flowers.