Full discussion with Sh. Hardwar Yadav, a Biraha poet, been writing for 53 years.

Biraha folk songs are associated with the Ahir castes. The Ahiri castes include the Yaduvanshi, the Nandvanshi and the Gwalvanshi, who trace their ancestry back to the king Yayati. Kin to Lord Krishna, the cow herders left their titles and took their cows into the forests to await the coming of Vishnu, according to religious myth. Krishna is said to be a Yaduvanshi. In the Bhojpuri belt the Ahirs began the practice of singing the biraha. The name biraha has two possible etymologies. The first from “birah” meaning separation, or the second from “vir/bir” meaning brave. In the Varanasi belt, the biraha is performed as a highly charged political tool used by the Ahirs to challenge and subvert caste-ist practices.

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