Powada & Lavni

Side by side with Bhakti movement of the traditional narrative poets dedicated to ‘spiritual democracy’, the Shāhīrs or the composers of historical ballads (Powāḍās) and lyrics of love (Lāvņīs) inspired the people with national spirit, as well as romantic love, the natural instinct in human life. […] The Powāḍās or ballads are much older than the Lāvņīs.

“Apart from their (ballads) value as a national poetry,” says H. A. Acworth. “their phraseology is well worthy of study as an example of the flexibility, the force, the richness, and capacity of the vernacular language of the Marāthā ryot.”

If the Powāḍā is masculine in its robust vigour, the Lāvņī is feminine in its tone and tenor. […] Although some of the Lāvņīs are pornographic, a great majority of them are undoubtedly poetic. Honājī’s Ghanashyām Sundarā Shridharā (an invocation to Lord Krishna at dawn) is a case in point.

~ from “Language and Literature in the Eighteenth Century – Marathi”, by R.V. Herwadkar; in “The History and Culture of the Indian People – Volume Eight, The Maratha Supremacy”, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai.

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2 thoughts on “Powada & Lavni

  1. Capt Ankush Popat Mandve says:

    Unable understand how a Lavani is termed as pornographic. Have you had a look at the complete attire of a lavani performer? A Lavani performer wears more cloths, which could cover her entire body. It has never been vulgar of pornographic as you have termed.

    Basically Lavani is a expression of personnel feelings garlanded in a song. Yes you may term it as seducing, but not pornographic. Lavani is a great cultural heritage of Marathi culture. There are so many shows which are broadcasted on a television channels day in and day out on Lavni. Had it been pornographic, would it have been allowed to broadcast.

    Had this lavani being on the pornographic side, marathi movies based on Lavni would have been issued “A” certificate by sensor board. There are so many great movies based on Lavni in Marathi.

    It seems that you are not aware of this. If you consider Lavani as a pornography, then what about lavni singers which includes greats as Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhosale, Sulochana Chavan and so on.

    Request please change your mindset and attitude towards Lavni. This shows that, you have either been unaware of, what is Lavni or have some personal reasons for quoting it as “Pornographic Material”

    • Atul Sabnis says:

      Hello Capt. Mandve, welcome to this blog. I acknowledge what you say in your comment above. However, firstly, the quote is from a book issued by Bharti Vidya Bhavan, and those statements are made by a person who has much more knowledge than I ever will. So, it is not me, who is saying that Lavni is pornographic. Secondly, the quote mentions that only some of them are pornographic and a great majority of them are poetic. So in a way, the quote actually says the same thing you are saying.

      It is not difficult to see that popular movie lavnis have racy double entendres. Perhaps RV Herwadkar would have liked to use the word erotic, titillating or risqué. 🙂

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