Today we all are celebrating the great festival of Chhath of faith. The mind becomes emotional as soon as the songs of Chhath come to our ears. Our soil starts calling. This is the reason why many songs are released every year on Chhath Puja. Some artists not only play Chhath songs with full faith, but are also preserving a rich heritage for the coming generations. According to him, it is not easy to do something new and different from the market trend. Urmila Kori’s special conversation with the artists.
Chhathi Maiya’s Mahima Pankaj Tripathi is behind becoming an actor
As soon as the name of Chhath is mentioned, a box of old memories opens. This year, on this special occasion, I am missing my father a lot. Although he is no more, the memories of Chhath associated with him are still in front of our eyes. How everyone used to celebrate this festival together. The wait for it started from Dussehra itself. How mother used to clean, make thekua together, prepare daura prasad, like sugarcane, turmeric, ginger, raw banana, radish, new paddy etc. we used to bring all this from the fields. There is a river behind the house in our village. First of all he used to go and clean the ghat. Then cleaning of the road from the village to the ghat. It was the responsibility of us children to plant banana trees on its banks and make other decorations. We used to do this with great enthusiasm.
After mother, now sister-in-law celebrates Chhath
Due to shooting, this time I will not be able to go to Bihar to celebrate Chhath. My mother used to celebrate Chhath earlier, but after four years, she stopped it. After that sister-in-law took it. My sister-in-law is Rita Tiwari in Patna. They perform Chhath Puja. This year also Chhath will be celebrated there, but I will not be able to go. I am shooting in a rural area of Madhya Pradesh, so I am not able to get a flight connection so that I can go there in one day, so I will salute Suraj Dev from there. After the shooting, I will try to go to some nearby river or pond in the morning, so that I can offer prayers to the Sun God.
The form of worship changed, but the faith remained the same
There has been a lot of displacement in the areas where Chhath Puja is celebrated. But the good thing is that even if he has gone, he has also taken this festival with him. Last year I had gone to the Chhath festival held at Juhu beach. It was a wonderful experience. There were a large number of faithful devotees. It was felt that when a man gets displaced, he brings his cultural heritage with him. A great example of this is the Chhath of Juhu, where lakhs of people used to celebrate it with full rituals. Often people also say that there has been a change in Chhath Puja in cities. People are celebrating Chhath in swimming pools or artificial ponds, but we need to understand that the same resources are available there, this has not reduced our faith in Chhath, rather it has increased.
Earlier there was no marketism, then there was more affinity
Yes, now commercialism has become more associated with Chhath Puja. This is the biggest change I see. In our times the entire village was like a family. Sugarcane was cultivated in our farm, so we used to distribute the sugarcane to other Chhath vratis and to others the goods from our farm. Whatever is in one’s house, he gives it to another house. In our childhood, very few Chhath items were available from the market. It used to be a festival by exchanging things with each other like this. Perhaps this is the reason why it is called ‘folk festival’. If you notice, there is no need of market in this festival. Sweets are not served, but home-made thekua is served. There is so much need for purity in it that only Chhath Vratis make it. Clothes were also not available readymade. Ten meters of cloth used to come from one place, which five people of the family used to wear the same type of shirt or kurta along with dhoti.
The first two plays of my life were performed on Chhath only.
My becoming an artist is also linked to Chhath. We used to perform plays on the day of Kharna, people who came from outside earning money used to donate a good amount. With that he used to bear the expenses of mike, loudspeaker and even generator. The first two plays of his life were performed on this festival. From there I got involved in acting. You can also consider this as the glory of Chhathi Maiya.
appeal to the people
On the occasion of Chhath, everyone from the government to the common people cleans the rivers, ponds and other reservoirs, but then spreads filth in them. This nature festival gives us the message of keeping our environment clean, which everyone should follow.
It hurts when people don’t promote good work: Sushant Asthana
Singer and composer Sushant Asthana, originally from Siwan, Bihar, is included among those artists who are connecting the young generation with their heritage by combining traditional songs with western music. It also includes Chhath songs. This year also he has released Chhath song on his YouTube channel. This is his Bhojpuri Chhath song titled ‘Uga Hey Dinanath..’. Regarding this song, Sushant says that while maintaining the folk intimacy of this festival, Indian music as well as Western music has been added to it. Flute is given by Pandit Ajay Prasanna and Shehnai is given by Pandit Lokesh Anand. Russian artist Lera has played the harp instrument, while Turkish artist Luisa has played the cello. Sushant further explains that the biggest problem is sponsorship, but people always come forward to help. This time Nitin Chandra of ‘Bezod’ is also included in it. I don’t have the trouble of finding sponsorship, but when people say that you guys are doing different and good work, but they don’t promote our work, then I feel bad. You can at least share it on social media to promote good work. But, I am not going to stop. I will continue to work like this to promote my language and tradition, so that I can connect the new generation with my language and tradition.
For me, Chhath songs are a campaign to promote faith and tradition: Nitin Chandra
On the occasion of Chhath, ‘Bejod’ has been making wonderful Chhath songs for the last seven years, but this time ‘Bejod’ has not released a Chhath song. Regarding this, Champaran Talkies producer, director and writer Nitin Chandra says that this time it was not possible. Actually, no sponsor was found on time. The three-year contract with Tata Tea had ended last year itself. We start working on Chhath songs from June-July itself. This time we were thinking of showing the story of two brothers in Chhath Geet, but no big sponsor was found till August, so we reluctantly had to stop. Every time I and Neetu (Chandra) have invested our money. Four out of seven Chhath songs were shot at our house, yes we also got support. This time, we could not get the same support in time. Unfortunately, some big enterprises advised us to include that Bhojpuri singer actor in their Chhath song, then we will fund it. I think Bhojpuri is the only industry in which even the artists who spread vulgarity throughout the year sing Devi and Chhath songs. This is not a business for me. For me, this is a campaign to promote faith and tradition. The good thing is that ‘Bejod’ has created an environment of good Chhath songs, of which many young artists have been continuously becoming a part for the last five years. It gives pleasure to see their work.