Punjabi Review
Epic endeavour
B. S. Thaur

Mahabharat de Atharan Kuknoos
by B. S. Bir. Page 128. Rs 135.

Mahabharat de Atharan KuknoosKuknoos (phoenix) is an imaginary bird in ancient stories which burns but rises from the ashes again and again. The title of the book is meaningful and befits its contents. It is a study of ancient Indian epics the Mahabharat and Pauranik Kathas (stories) and is written in verse. The author has attempted to interpret the characters of these epics identifying the similar characters in the modern-day world.

The poem Shantnu shows how Bhisham Pitamah of the Mahabharat took a vow to remain bachelor for whole life and later cleared the way to the throne for the sons and daughters to be born to the second wife of his father Shantnu who married in old age for lust. The similar incident is found in the well-known Puran Bhagat episode of yester years, where Puran suffered cruelty at the hands of his stepmother whom his father Raja Salwan married in old age to satisfy his lust.

The poem Mahabharat Jaari Hai depicts that today’s chess game of politics is taught and played the same way as it was taught by Shakuni to Kaurvas in the Mahabharat. It describes how sitting in the Columbus land, America (Shakuni) befools the Pandavs (Karl Marx, Lenin, Mao and Khrushev) and manipulates the UNO, with an eye on oil reserves in the world. The author avers that the Mahabharat has been continuing and will continue in the world till eternity.

Appasassaran, the extremely beautiful women of Vishnu’s darbar, are found in this age as call-girls or massage women. At times these women are used by the rivals like the Vishkanyas of ancient courts. The book has euphemistically brought out the ills and ailments of today’s society. The comparison of Mahabharat characters with those of the modern times is a bold attempt. The book deserves to be welcomed widely.

Malwai Gidda or Mardan da Gidda
by Dalbar Singh. Pages 144. Rs 150.

Malwai Gidda or Mardan da GiddaTHE book is a good attempt by a known folk dancer Dalbar Singh to revive and re-establish Malwai Gidda, a folk dance of the Malwa region of Punjab, which has lost its sheen due to more free-flowing modern dance forms. It has also been overshadowed by bhangra which has won accolades not only at the national level but also at international forums.

Gidda is a well-known Punjabi folk dance of women. Apart from featuring in marriage celebrations and the festival of ‘Teean’ in rainy season, it is also performed at various functions in colleges and schools.

Earlier, Malwai Gidda was confined to the Sangrur region only. Later, Gulbar Singh and his associates like Satpal Sharma tried to keep this traditional dance from alive and made effort to promote it. They first brought it on stage in the town of Sunam in 1976 in coordination with the North Indian Cultural Centre, Patiala.

The book traces the historical background of Malwai Gidda, boliyan and musical instruments accompanying the dance. The book is a befitting tribute to Punjabi folk culture.