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The Epic of Gopichanda in Chhattisgarh, गोपीचंद महाकाव्य, छत्तीसगढ़

Two artists from Chhattisgarh performing the Gopichanda Epic

This module is part of series of modules on performing genres from Chhattisgarh. They seek to reflect the richness of oral epics and folklore traditions from this region, and the modes in which they are performed and recited. The focus is the documentation of the entire epic or tale  known orally to a performing artist, as also the shifting contexts of performing these forms over the past 50 years.

The epic of  Gopichanda narrates the story of the young prince Gopichanda and his desire to revoke the spell on his father by becoming a yogi. The tale is linked intertextually to another tale, also recited in this region, that of Bharthari. Both are tales of kings who become renunciates and whose lives are linked to Nath yogis. Gopi Chand is Bharthari's nephew, also moved to adopt rennuniation  to save his father in the version of the tale recounted in Chhattisgarh. The epic is popular across northern and eastern India, particularly in Rajasthan and Bengal where it is known in several versions. It is not a tale that is sung widely in Chhattisgarh- the reasons are not clear, but  perhaps the tale was ecclipsed  by the popularity  of other tale and epics such as the Lorik Chanda, the Pandavani and  Bharthari. 

This module is based on the recitation of this epic by  Dani Ram Banjare and Janaki Bai Banjare both belonging to the Satnami community. It presents the entire epic known to them in Chhattisgarhi with a Hindi translation. 

 

This content has been created as part of a project commissioned by the Directorate of Culture and Archaeology, Government of Chhattisgarh, to document the cultural and natural heritage of the state of Chhattisgarh.