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Sh. Hardwar Yadav | Biraha Folk Poetry | U.P

A video documentation of 25 live poem recitals by Sh. Hardwar Yadav, an 80 year old Biraha poet from Sahajaur Village in the Chandauli district of Uttar Pradesh.

Biraha folk songs are associated with the Ahir castes. The Ahiri castes include the Yaduvanshi, the Nandvanshi and the Gwalvanshi, who trace their ancestry back to the king Yayati. Kin to Lord Krishna, the cow herders left their titles and took their cows into the forests to await the coming of Vishnu, according to religious myth. Krishna is said to be a Yaduvanshi. In the Bhojpuri belt the Ahirs began the practice of singing the biraha. The name biraha has two possible etymologies. The first from “birah” meaning separation, or the second from “vir/bir” meaning brave. In the Varanasi belt, the biraha is performed as a highly charged political tool used by the Ahirs to challenge and subvert caste-ist practices.

You can also find the full interview film with Sh. Hardwar Yadav here.

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