eBook | Free catalogue: Banam: One of the ancient musical instruments of the Santals – West Bengal

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This bilingual catalogue in English and Santali documents the “Banam” music instrument making workshop hosted by the Museum of Santal Culture, Bishnubati village (Birbhum District, West Bengal, India) from September to November 2018.

English text by Dr. Boro Baski assisted by Dr. Martin Kämpchen (Santiniketan)
Santali transcription by Sunder Manoj Hembrom 
Photos, book layout & cover design by Samiran Nandy (Santiniketan)
First printing February 2019 with financial support from the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, Norway 
Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust © 2019

About Banams
Banam, a single-string wooden lute or fiddle, is one of the ancient musical instruments of the Santal tribe. The instrument is made of wood; the lower part is covered with the hide of the Bengal monitor lizard and tightened with bamboo pegs. According to its different shapes, sizes and types, the Banam has different names and creates various tunes. Banam-Making is an art, and not many people among the Santals are still engaged in it. […]

The Banam Making Workshop
Banam plays an important role in the Santal cultural heritage. However, the making and use of the Banam is declining among Santals and is threatened by extinction. The old villagers who have imbibed our traditional knowledge and normally make and play the Banams are unable to transmit their skills and knowledge to the young generations. The young mostly remain busy preparing school lessons and therefore get little time to sit with the elderly people of their village and learn from them. Another reason is the young generations’ attraction to the fast and loud music from Bollywood and from other modern sources.
Against this background, the Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust organized a Workshop on Banam Making in the campus of the Museum of Santal Culture at Bishnubati. Traditional Banam makers and the young generation of Santals who have an inclination towards Banam making have been invited to make Banams during a three- month workshop (September to November 2018). In the last phase of the workshop the Banam makers have given final touches to their instruments, like covering them with cow-hide and reptile-skin and arranging the strings in their respective homes. The main objective of the Banam Workshop was to preserve and to transmit the traditional art and the knowledge of Banam making and to create awareness of the importance of this art that incorporates such rich stories and histories about our lives. We illustrate this booklet with pictures of the Banams that have been produced during the workshop. Further, the Banam makers have shared their personal journeys with their own Banams.

Dr. Boro Baski works for the community-based organisation Ghosaldanga Adibasi Seva Sangha in West Bengal. The NGO is supported by the German NGO Freundeskreis Ghosaldanga und Bishnubati. He was the first person from his village to go to college as well as the first to earn a PhD (in social work) at Viswa-Bharati. This university was founded by Rabindranath Tagore to foster integrated rural development with respect for cultural diversity. The cooperation he inspired helps local communities to improve agriculture, economical and environmental conditions locally, besides facilitating education and health care based on modern science.

He authored Santali translations of two major works by Rabindranath Tagore, the essay “Vidyasagar-Charit” and the drama Raktakarabi (English “Red Oleanders”), jointly published by the Asiatic Society & Sahitya Akademi (India’s National Academy of Letters) in 2020.

Other posts contributed by Dr. Boro Baski >>

Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust
Registration under Trust Registration Act 1982
P.O. Sattore, Dist. Birbhum
West Bengal-731 236

For inquiries on Santal cultural and educational programs, please contact:
Mob. 094323 57160 or [email protected]

Research the above issues with the help of Shodhganga: A reservoir of theses from universities all over India, made available under Open Access >>

Tip: when using the above link type “banam santal music” and other word combinations while searching Shodhganga and several other websites

See also

Audio | Santali Traditional and Fusion Songs: Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust – West Bengal

Banam (Santal string instrument)
– eBook: Banam Making Workshop at Bishnubati | Daricha Foundation
– Video: Banam Raja | Interview with Nunulal Marndi | Reviving the Huka Banam

eBook | Background guide for education

eBook | Free catalogue: Banam: One of the ancient musical instruments of the Santals

eBook | Free catalogue: Museum of Santal Culture (Bishnubati) – West Bengal

eBook | “Santals Celebrate the Seasons”: Creativity fostered by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra – West Bengal

India’s tribal, folk and devotional music: Secular and ceremonial songs

eJournal | Writing and teaching Santali in different alphabets: A success story calling for a stronger sense of self-confidence

Infusing the Santhali Element in Schooling by Rina Mukherji

Museum collections – India

Museum of Santal Culture Bishnubati

Music album and video by Santal village children and youths (DVD, CD): “Children see world around them differently” – West Bengal & Odisha

Music and dance | Adivasi music and the public stage by Jayasri Banerjee

Puppetry | Santali Chadar Badni / Chadar Bad(o)ni”| Daricha Foundation
– eBook: Cadence-and-counterpoint-documenting-santal-musical-traditions
– Video: Damon Murmu | Sahadev Kisku | Shibdhan Murmu

Santal | Santal creation myth | Santal Parganas | The Santals by Boro Baski

Santal cultural traditions documented on the Daricha Foundation website

Santal flute music: Audio resource by Adivaani.org – West Bengal & Jharkhand

Santali language | eBook | A Santali-English dictionary – Archive.org

Santali script – Ol Chiki

Santal mission | Santali songs recorded in 1931 at Kairabani (Jharkhand)

Santal music | Santal Musical Traditions: National Museum (exhibition catalogue)

Video | Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village)

Video & eLearning | “Cadence and Counterpoint: Documenting Santal Musical Traditions” – A virtual exhibition on Google Cultural Institute

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