In Uttar Pradesh even folk songs for children prohibits the cutting of peepal (Ficus religiosa Linn.), banyan (Ficus bengalensis Linn.) and sandal (Santalum album Linn.) trees . In Kumoan , cutting of timber after sunset is believed to attract illness o
By Ashwani Kumar
| September 28th 2009 02:30 AM | Print
Taboos of certain trees and plants : It is considered bad to pluck flowers in afternoon. In Uttar Pradesh even folk songs for children prohibits the cutting of peepal (Ficus religiosa Linn.), banyan (Ficus bengalensis Linn.) and sandal (Santalum album Linn.) trees . In Kumoan , cutting of timber after sunset is believed to attract illness of children (Anonymous, 1959) .
Totems based on trees and flowers : Childless women do a number of totems for having a son . In Bhojpur, the offering of sesame (Sesamum indica Linn.), rice (Oryza sativa Linn.) etc to the sun near a river bank is a totem (Upadhyaya, 1960).
Tribal women offer many totems on bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris Schard. ex. J.C.Wendl) or babul (Acacia arabica Linn.) for successful completion of son’s marriage. The people of Oudh believe that if flowers of Ketaki (Pandanus fascicularis Linn.) and Palas (Butea monosperma O.Kuntze.) are touched to the body of a snake bitten person accompanied with some Mantras, he is cured .
Trees and flowers in decoration : The use of flowers in decorating hair is a speciality of Bihar, Gujrat and several other states. According to Gujrati folk songs Rama fell in love with Sita mainly due to the beautiful floral decoration of her hair.
Sandal (Santalum album Linn.), turmeric (Curcuma domestica Valeton.) and other plants are used in the formation of a paste for improving the complexion of a bride . Brides use sandal (Santalum album Linn.), rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) to perfume their body. References to the use of palas(Butea monosperma O.Kuntze.) for dying clothes are common in folk songs, particularly of Kumaon. In Bengali songs, references are made for decorating the walls of houses with straws of rice (Oryza sativa Linn.) and several flowers (Agarwal, 1997) .
Plants in similes and metaphors : Many plant names appear in similes and metaphors in Hindi literature e.g. the red lips of the beloved have been compared with red flowers of kachnar (Bauhinia variegata Linn.) and of the silk cotton tree.
In a Magahi song there is a mention of sandalwood (Santalum album Linn.) tree crying when the king takes Vanaprastha and becomes a Yogi. Aryani, 1965 stated that how beautiful is such personification of the qualities of plants and their parts in the human beings?
Folk proverbs : Things which cannot be remembered or explained easily are learnt, taught and emphasised through proverbs. A person who understands the tricks of the cunnings tell him that Tum dar dar Hum pat pat i.e. I will keep away from you.
Talking of very high prices, the proverb says “Chana chironji ho gaya, gehun ho gaya dakh” i.e. The gram become as expensive as chironji and wheat as grapes (Sahal, 1949).