Kajri – Voices Of
Lonely Women

Folk music ‘Kajri’ provides glimpses into the lives of ordinary women in rural India. In villages and towns across Uttar Pradesh (UP), men travel to faraway places for jobs and business. Most of them leave their wives at home and visit them only once in a few years. The loneliness and sadness of these women are expressed through songs of ‘Kajri’ which in Hindi means ‘Kohl’.

Ajeet Bahadur tells us about the legend attached to Kajri. In Mirzapur – a small town of UP where Kajri is believed to have been originated, once a woman named 'Kajri lived.. Kajri’s husband had left her to work in a distant land. In monsoon the lonely woman cried her heartfelt sorrows which subsequently took the form of Kajri.

Kajri also is also reflective of special emotion that average Indian feels about monsoon. In the agrarian society of India monsoon not only means relief from heat, but also a symbolic beginning of new life. In the rural belt especially, farmers are still largely dependent on rainfall and so when monsoon comes, it means they can finally grow their crops. So it is time to celebrate. Village women, whose husbands are not with them in this celebration, sing kajri to express sadness for missing out on the most beautiful time of the year.

Today all over India we see a common trend in which the young generation prefers Bollywood film songs over traditional or folk music. In addition to Bollywood music, in UP there are also songs from the local Bhojpuri film industry.

But Ajeet says that Kajri is alive in the state and is sung widely by women in both villages and in urban areas because the relevance and realities of the music are still the same. Click here to watch more videos by Ajeet

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