- =History of AUSTOK SONG=
In Bengali, Austok means “relating to eight”. The name is derived from the ancient time as the songs are performed by 8 persons on various religious festivals. This song is performed in two ways- firstly through play of a drama and secondly through play and dance. The Austok song has multiple effect to the audience, It arouses faith in the religion and is amusing and can be displayed any where without any special stage or decoration using local musical instruments. Usually it is played from house to house during the spring.
- =SUMMARY OF POT SONG=
There are variations of understanding and opinion amongst the folk culture researchers on the origin of the term POT. But the majorities are in the opinion that the term is derived from the Sanskrit word “pot’ or “relating to pot”. In general, Pot picture means any picture painted on paper or cloth. Many other have the view that the word is a derivative of Tamil word “Padam” meaning picture.
If we review the history of Pot or discuss on its ancient origin, we may say that man had started its language through pictures. The art of painting in this sub-continent is quite old. The ancient Indian poetical publications provide many instances of the use of pictures and also Pot.
“Harshacharit” written by Ban Bhatta in the seventeenth century describes about the Jompot businessmen. King Harshabardhan himself saw a painter explaining a group of boys on Pot. In the eighth century Bishaka Dutta in “Mudra Rakkhash” described about the Jompot. Furthermore, “Abhigyan Shakuntalam” and “Malobika Agnimitra” of Kali Das, “Uttar Ramcharit” of Bhababhuti and “Hari Bhakti Bilash” of Bhatta describes a number of Pot and proves that in the ancient India had the practice of using Pot and Pot songs throughout the sub-continent.
It is now difficult to get any direct evidential document or testimonial relics anywhere in Bangladesh. But in many of the museums out of the country there are some pot are being preserved. Various types of pot have been transferred to England and Ireland during the period between 1700 and 1940 through various documents, publications and punthi. Out of these, seven or eight attractive Pot are available in All Souls College of Oxford, John Rylands Library of Manchester and Chester Batty Library of Ireland are important. The pot painting available in Chester Batty Library is the oldest. This Pot is prepared on the basis of Puran and Bhagabat and is 170 feet length but is of 2” in breadth. The pot is painted on fine Moslin cloth with local dyes. The Pot preserved in All Souls College is of 16th century while the one preserved in John Rylands Library is painted in 1780. The subjects are all from Puran used in these pot paintings.
At one time Pot was popular in all parts of Indian sub-continent. Pot is still being used in Gujrat. The Pot painters and Pot singers used to move from village to village and earn their living on it.
There is no doubt about it that the Pot painters and singers were very much active during 12th and 13th century to 1950 in Bangladesh, even some of them were existing even after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971. The last evidence of use of Pot is found in the Sundarbans region. In the past, the Pot painters and singers used to earn for their livelihood one hand and on the other hand used to educate poor people on folk education. Some of the Pot of the then period may be mentioned here and these are Chandi Das, Manasha Pot, Shakti Pot, Dash Abatar Pot, Rash Lila Pot, Krishna Lila Pot, Jo Pot, Gazir Pot, Shib Pot, Chash Pot etc. In these pots based on Puran have given importance not only to Parbatti-Shiba-Manasha but also Radha-Krishna. Although these stories and characters are from Puran- Mohabharat and folk stories but in the hand of the painters all the characters appear as Bangalee. The Brindaban became Bangladesh, Ayodha became Bangladesh, the Koilash of Shib became Bangladesh, even Krishna-Radha, Gope-Gopies became Bangalee in the paintings by the Pot painters. The painter and singers used to present Shib-Parbatti, Radha-Krishna and the other in familial Bangalee form. As result of this the rural audience used to become very much intimate with these Pot songs. They used to find rivers, canals and forests etc. as known and familial. So, the characters of the stories used to be focused to the audience as live as movie picture.
The ancient Pot song and paintings focused on Gods and Goddesses. Later alongside the Gods and Goddesses there appeared the Peer and Gazi in the Pot. However, if we analyze the ancient Pot, we would find five specific characteristics in these Pot songs and paintings. These characteristics pertain to - 1) Puran, 2) Nature, 3) History, 4) Livelihood & 5) Jokes and cartoons.