Sant Kabir’s Ulatbansi | Bhojpuri folk song (with english subtitles)

“An ant died on a hill,
900 vultures gathered around,
An ant died on a hill,
900 vultures gathered around,
Few ate, a few litter, a few carry it in a vehicle,
O beloved! Save your soul,
The river is sinking in the boat.”

Not many know of a particularly intriguing category of Sant Kabir’s poems is the type known as Ulatbansi, poems in an “upside-down language”. They intrigue because they are absurd, paradoxical, crazy, impenetrable, and yet they purport to be meaningful. Kabir’s upside-down poems are part of a long tradition in India and can be related to similar expressions across the world.

We documented this folk song at Chiksil Village in Bihar. Do enjoy this unusual folk poetry accompanied by music made with two stones.

Espírito Kashi Folk Songs Archive Project
Video by Rajat Nayyar

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