Gazi: local Bengali pir or Muslim saint who fought demons, overpowered dangerous animals and had power over tiger
La leyenda de Gazi
Gazi Pir fue un santo musulmán alque se atribuye haber propagado la religión islámica en Bengala. Según un mito local, podía controlar los animales peligrosos y hacerlos inofensivos y dóciles. Se le muestra montado en un temible tigre de Bengala, mientras sostiene una serpiente venenosa en la mano sin amenaza para su vida. Se dice que luchó con los cocodrilos, amenaza constante para los habitantes de la región pantanosa conocida como los Sunderbans, la selva acuosa donde el río Ganges desemboca en el mar. A través de su influencia sobre todos estos animales, se dice que han hecho posible que las personas vivan y trabajen en esa selva y la gente todavía le rezan por protección mientras hacen sus tareas diarias.
Este santón heróico es motivo de arte hindú. Cuando hablamos de arte pintado pat-chitra, en primer lugar, las imágenes de las pinturas en rollos de tela "Kalighater pat" vienen a nuestra mente. Este género de pintura, desarrollada en el siglo XIX, floreció en los mercados de Kalighat Mandir, a la orilla del Ganges en Calcuta. Sin embargo, según algunos historiadores, más antiguo que el estilo Kalighater pat era el "Gazir pat" que muy probablemente surgió alrededor del siglo XVI. La singularidad de Gazir pat es de gran importancia e influencia en la historia de la pintura y la literatura en Bengala, en materia y forma. Las pinturas en rollos de tela ( pat significa tela), presentan el valor de la legendaria figura de Gazi Pir, que era respetado y venerado como un santo guerrero.
Gazir Pir no se menciona en la historia, según algunos estudiosos, el musulmán santo Gazi , podría haber aparecido en el siglo XV y parecía estar relacionado con el aumento del sufismo en Bengala. Islam Gazi, general musulmán, sirvió al sultán Barbak (1459-1474) en Nueva Delhi y conquistó Orissa y Kamrup (ahora Assam). Hacia el final del siglo XVI, el jeque Faizullah elogió el valor y las cualidades espirituales de este general en su verso Gazi Bijoy, la victoria de Gazi.
Para los adoradores de Gazi, este santo guerrero protege a sus devotos de los ataques de animales salvajes y demonios en los bosques. En Bangladesh, en particular, en las regiones de la Sundarban, la historia y las imágenes de Gazi Pir han ganado mucha popularidad entre los habitantes de los bosques, como leñadores, apicultores y otros. Estas comunidades todavía creen en los poderes sobrenaturales del Gazi Pir y pronunciar su nombre cuando se aventuran en la selva. En las llanuras, Gazi es adorado como protector contra los demonios y deidades nocivos y salva a la gente de toda clase de peligros. Los lugareños suelen llamar a los cantantes populares (gayens), que conocen la historia de Gazi Pir, para cantar alabanzas al santo
La popularidad alcanzada por los mitos de los cantantes, creó una demanda de las pinturas en rollos de tela entre los devotos, sin distinción de casta, credo o comunidad. La enorme popularidad de las sagas hizo que este arte se difundiera por las zonas rurales de todo el país. Tradicionalmente, los cantantes eran musulmanes, mientras que los rollos pintados eran hindúes.
Hasta el pasado reciente, la narración de la historia de Gazi Pir con la ayuda de rollos pintados Gazir pat era una forma popular de entretenimiento en las zonas rurales, especialmente en Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Comilla, Noakhali, Faridpur, Jessore, Khulna y Rajshahi .
Una escena de la leyenda de Gazi, montado en un tigre. Uno de los muchos registros de un rollo de pintura que cuenta la historia de un local pir bengalí o santo musulmán que luchó demonios, dominado animales peligrosos y tenía poder sobre los tigres, las habilidades importantes para los colonos del sur de Bengala, a medida que penetraron en las selvas del delta del Ganges . Este tipo de scrollpainting tiempo fue utilizado por los narradores itinerantes como una ayuda visual a una narración oral.
A scene from the legend of Gazi, riding a tiger. One of the many registers of a scroll-painting telling the story of a local Bengali pir or Muslim saint who fought demons, overpowered dangerous animals and had power over tigers, abilities important to settlers of southern Bengal as they penetrated the jungles of the Ganges delta. This type of long scrollpainting was used by itinerant story tellers as a visual aid to a spoken narration.
la Escena de la Leyenda de Gazi
Scene from the Legend of Gazi
Museo Británico C. 1800 India
The Legend of Gazi
Gazi Pir was a Muslim saint who is said to have spread the Islamic religion in Bengal. According to local myth, he could control dangerous animals and make them harmless and gentle. He is shown riding a fearsome Bengal tiger while holding a poisonous snake in his hand without coming to any danger. He also battled with the crocodiles who were a constant threat to the people of the area called the Sunderbans, the watery jungle where the river Ganges meets the sea. Through his influence over all of these animals, he is said to have made it possible for people to live and farm in that jungle and people still pray to him to protect them while they go about their daily chores.
When we talk about patchitra, first of all, the images of Kalighater pats come in our mind. This genre of painting developed in the nineteenth century which flourished in the market places around the Kalighat Mandir on the bank of the Ganges in Kolkata. But according some historians, older than the Kalighater pat were Gazir pats which most probably emerged around the 16th century. Unlike the Kalighater pat, the uniqueness of Gazir pat is of profound importance and influence in the history of painting and literature in Bengal both in subject and form. The scroll paintings of Gazir pat (pat meaning cloth), present the valour of legendary figure Gazi Pir, who was respected and worshiped as a warrior-saint.
Gazir Pir is not mentioned in history, according to some scholars, the Muslim saint Gazi, might have appeared around the 15th century and seemed to be related to the rise of Sufism in Bengal. Islam Gazi, a Muslim general, served Sultan Barbak (1459-74) in Delhi and conquered Orissa and Kamrup (now Assam). Towards the end of the 16th century, Shaikh Faizullah praised the valour and spiritual qualities of this general in his verse Gazi Bijoy, the victory of Gazi.
To the worshipers of Gazi, this warrior-saint protected his devotees from attacks of wild animals and demons in the forests. In Bangladesh, particularly, in the regions of the Sundarban, the story and images of Gazi Pir had earned much popularity among the forest dwellers, like woodcutters, beekeepers and others. These communities still believe in the supernatural powers of the Pir and utter his name when they venture in to the forest. In the plains, Gazi is worshiped as the protector against demons and harmful deities and saves them from all sorts of dangers. The villagers usually call the gayens or folksingers, who know the story of Gazi Pir to sing the saint praise
The singers·preaching created a demand for the pats among the devotees, irrespective of caste, creed and community and the pats had gained a huge popularity in the rural areas across the country, in the early years. Traditionally, the singers were Muslims while the patuas belonged to the Hindu religion. Sadly, at present, this combined form of art, paintings on pats and rendering of Gazir praise, has lost its purpose as a savoir from evil.
Until the recent past, the narration of the story of Gazi Pir with the help of a Gazir pat was a popular form of entertainment in rural areas, especially in greater Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet, Comilla, Noakhali, Faridpur, Jessore, Khulna and Rajshahi.
Gazir pat has specific images painted on a single canvas which have remained unchanged through the centuries. These images have been honoured as sacred symbols of good omen. There are twenty seven panels in a traditional Gazir pat, which measures 60 inches X 22 inches. The ankaiya (painter) follows the traditional styles in depicting the images. In the twenty-seven panels, the ankiya draws the images of a shimul tree; a cow; drum to depict triumph of Kalu Gazi; sawdagar or merchant; a deer being slaughtered; Asha or hope, the symbol of Gazi; Kahelia; Andura and Khandura; tiger; umbrella in the hand of Gazi? disciple; Suk and Sari birds sitting on the umbrella; Lakhmi; charka, the spinning wheel; two witches; goala or milkman; mother of the goala; a cow and a tiger; an old woman beautifying herself; Baksila; Ganga; Jamdut; Kaldut; mother of Jam raja; and in the centre Gazi riding on a tiger. The singer or singers narrate sometimes the night long story, pointing at the characters, which appear in the twenty seven panels of the pat.
Red and blue are the two pigments mainly used in the pats. There are slight variations of colour, with crimson and pink from red, and grey and sky-blue from blue. Every figure is flat and two-dimensional. In order to bring in variety, various abstract designs (such as diagonal, vertical and horizontal lines and small circles) are often used. Trees, Gazi? mace, the tasbih or prayer beads, birds, deer, hookahs etc, are extremely stylised. The figures of Gazi, his disciples Kalu and Manik Pir, Jama? (the Hindu god of death) messengers, etc appear rigid and lifeless. Though there is no attempt at realism in the images of Gazir pats, the sort of painting has a time value as primitive work.
Gazir Gan songs to a legendary saint popularly known as Gazi Pir. Gazi songs were particularly popular in the districts of faridpur, noakhali, chittagong and sylhet. They were performed for boons received or wished for, such as for a child, after a cure, for the fertility of the soil, for the well-being of cattle, for success in business, etc. Gazi songs would be presented while unfurling a scroll depicting different events in the life of Gazi Pir. On the scroll would also be depicted the field of Karbala, the Ka'aba, Hindu temples, etc. Sometimes these paintings were also done on earthenware pots.
The lead singer or gain, wearing a long robe and a turban, would twirl an asa and move about in the performance area and sing. He would be accompanied by drummers, flautists and four or five dohars or choral singers, who would sing the refrain.
Gazi songs were preceded by a bandana or hymn, sung by the main singer. He would sing: 'I turn to the east in reverence to Bhanushvar (sun) whose rise brightens the world. Then I adore Gazi, the kind-hearted, who is saluted by Hindus and Mussalmans'. Then he would narrate the story of Gazi's birth, his wars with the demons and the evil spirits, as well as his rescue of a merchant at sea. Although Gazi Pir was a Muslim, his followers included people from other religious communities as well. Many Gazi songs point out how people who did not respect him were punished. At least one song narrates how Gazi Pir saved the peasantry from the oppression of a zamindar. Another song describes how a devotee won a court case. In Gazi songs spiritual and material interests are often intertwined. The audience give money in charity in the name of Gazi Pir. This genre of songs is almost extinct in Bangladesh today. [Ashraf Siddiqui] The tradition of Gazir pat can be traced back to the 7th century. It is also possible that the scroll paintings of Bangladesh are linked to the traditional pictorial art of continental India of the pre-Buddhist and pre-Ajanta epochs, and of Tibet, Nepal, China and Japan of later times.