Mrs. Babita Mehra has done her masters in sociology and Personnel Management and Industrial Relations and M.Phil in Sociology from Panjab University. She is a triple gold medallist. She taught at Thapar University, Patiala and Aditi Mahavidyalaya, Delhi University and then in management colleges in Delhi. Currently, she runs her school of English Grammar and Public Speaking called Zenith. She enjoys cooking, reading, and imparting her knowledge.
Question: According to you, in the present scenario, is folk culture still prevalent in a metropolitan like Delhi?
Answer: I think there is no doubt folk culture has been facing a steep decline since quite some time now, but nowadays, thanks to social media and internet, there are attempts to revive our traditional folk culture. In a metropolitan like Delhi, with people of all communities, religions and regions coexisting, a uniformity of culture brought by interaction is bound to take place. But thanks to social media and internet, people nowadays are more aware about their own culture. People are educating themselves about their customs, their cultural heritage, and their community specific traditions, all just by a click.
Question: Do you feel that folkloric traditions have undergone some sort of modification or are they being passed on as it is?
Answer: Although I see nostalgia in people for the simpler times and attempts to go back to the traditional ways, but as it is said, ‘badalte samay ke sath badalna zaroori hai’ (change is necessary to keep with the pace of times), folk traditions too, have modified. From the traditional Ladies Sangeet to DJ, we may still be listening to the same old wedding songs with the same old lyrics, but the beats and the medium of dispensation have surely changed. To sustain themselves, folkloric traditions have surely modified to match the consumerist and materialist culture of the time.
Question: When was the last time you remember attending a wedding with all the rituals and ceremonies performed in a traditional way? Do you see a marked difference in the way weddings take place these days and the way they took place in the earlier times?
Answer: Just recently, I attended a Punjabi wedding in which everything was planned in a traditional way. The bride was adorned with traditional flower jewellery for ladies sangeet and DJ gave way to Dholki. I think nowadays, there is a trend of big fat weddings, whereas in our times, weddings were way simpler and traditional. I remember how I and my sisters were the ‘star performers’ of our family. We could endlessly go on with our tappe and bolian. Nobody could beat us in it, we would always have a tappa face-off, and I would always have a comeback to everyone.
Question: Do you recall any Punjabi phrases and idioms used by your family members in your childhood?
Answers: Yes, quite a few. 4 I remember quite well are Buhe ayi jann, vinno kudi de kann; gunge diyaan ramjan, maa behen jaane; mootar de jaal ch macchliyaan; Bukkhe ocche jatt, katora labhiya paani pi pi aafriya.
Question: What according to you are threats to passing on of folk tradition?
Answer: In my opinion, there is a decline in folk tradition due to modern lifestyle. Although there are attempts of revival of folk culture, but not a large scale, there is a long way to go. Schools and colleges can play a big role in educating young minds about our traditional folk culture. I have noticed we tend to idolize and glorify western culture but we often belittle our own traditions and do not often. We should appreciate our culture more and print media too, can play a big role in informing people about our culture. I remember few years ago National Book Trust came up with books on folklore; more such initiatives would revive folk culture on a large scale.