Bhangra (dance)

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Statue of men performing the Bhangra dance in Amritsar, India.

The term Bhaṅgṛā (Punjabi: ਭੰਗੜਾ (Gurmukhi), بھنگڑا (Shahmukhi); pronounced [pə̀ŋɡɽaː]Listen) refers to the traditional dance from the Indian subcontinent originating in the Majha area of the Punjab region.[1]


Traditional Bhangra/folk dance of Majha[edit]

The origins of traditional Bhangra are speculative. According to Dhillon (1998), Bhangra is related to the Punjabi dance 'bagaa', which is a martial dance of Punjab.[2] However, the folk dance of Majha originated in Sialkot and took root in Gujranwalla, Sheikhupur, Gujrat (districts in Punjab, Pakistan) and Gurdaspur (district in Punjab, India).[2][3][4] The traditional form of Bhangra danced in the villages of Sialkot district is regarded as the standard.[5] Although the main districts where traditional Bhangra is performed are in Punjab, Pakistan, the community form of traditional Bhangra has been maintained in Gurdaspur district, India, and has been maintained by people who have settled in Hoshiarpur, Punjab, India,[2] after leaving what is now Punjab, Pakistan. Traditional Bhangra is performed in a circle[6] and is performed using traditional dance steps. Traditional Bhangra is now also performed on occasions other than during the harvest season[7] and is popular in Pakistan.[8]

According to Ganhar (1975),[9] Bhangra has been imported into Jammu which is danced on Baisakhi. Other Punjabi folk dances such as Giddha and Luddi have also been imported into Jammu.[9][10][11][12][13][14] Punjabi language influences can be observed when people dance such dances.[15] Jammu falls within the Punjab region and shares an affinity with Punjab.[16]

Free form traditional bhangra[edit]

The 1950s saw the development of the free form traditional Bhangra in Punjab, India, which was patronized by the Maharaja of Patiala, who requested a staged performance of Bhangra in 1953. The first significant developers of this style were a dance troupe led by brothers from the Deepak family of Sunam (Manohar, Avtar and Gurbachan) and the dhol player Bhana Ram Sunami.[17] Free form traditional Bhangra developed during stage performances which incorporate traditional Bhangra moves and also include sequences from other Punjabi dances, namely, Luddi, Jhummar, Dhamaal, and Gham Luddi. The singing of Punjabi folk songs, boliyan, are incorporated from Malwai Giddha.[2]

Bhangra competitions have been held in Punjab, India, for many decades, with Mohindra College in Patiala being involved in the 1950s.[17]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "bhangra - dance".
  2. ^ a b c d Dhillon, Iqbal S. (1998). Folk Dances of Panjab. Delhi: National Book Shop.
  3. ^ Ballantyne, Tony. Between Colonialism and Diaspora: Sikh Cultural Formations in an Imperial World [1]
  4. ^ Singh, Khushwant (23 May 2017). Land of Five Rivers. Orient Paperbacks. ISBN 9788122201079 – via Google Books.
  5. ^ Ballantyne, Tony (2007). Textures of the Sikh Past: New Historical Perspectives [2]
  6. ^ Bedell, J. M. (23 May 2017). Teens in Pakistan. Capstone. ISBN 9780756540432 – via Google Books.
  7. ^ Black, Carolyn (2003). Pakistan: The culture. ISBN 9780778793489.
  8. ^ "Pakistan Almanac". Royal Book Company. 23 May 2017 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ a b Ganhar, J. N. (23 May 1975). "Jammu, Shrines and Pilgrimages". Ganhar Publications – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Harjap Singh Aujla Bhangra as an art is flourishing in India and appears to be on the verge of extinction in Pakistan [3]
  11. ^ Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Mohinder Singh Randhawa (1959) Farmers of India: Punjab Himachal Pradesh, Jammy & Kashmir, by M. S. Randhawa and P. Nath [4] g
  12. ^ "Gidha Folk Dance". 12 May 2012.
  13. ^ Balraj Puri (1983). Simmering Volcano: Study of Jammu's Relations with Kashmir [5]
  14. ^ Hāṇḍā, Omacanda (1 January 2006). Western Himalayan Folk Arts. Pentagon Press. ISBN 9788182741959 – via Google Books.
  15. ^ Datta, Amaresh (23 May 1988). Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature. Sahitya Akademi. ISBN 9788126011940 – via Google Books.
  16. ^ Manohar Sajnan (2001). Encyclopaedia of Tourism Resources in India, Volume 1 [6]
  17. ^ a b Gregory D. Booth, Bradley Shope (2014). More Than Bollywood: Studies in Indian Popular Music [7]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]