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Sithanian (Punjabi "insult"/taunting songs)

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Published on Aug 17, 2009

'"SIthanian" (siTThaNIA~) is a genre of "traditional" (ravaiti) songs in Punjabi. More so in the past, they were sung at Punjabi weddings by women. At weddings, the bride's family and guests, especially her father, are put in an "inferior" position to that of the groom's people. In this context, it is the "right" of women from the bride's people to cut down their superiors with mild insults in the form of these songs. The father of the groom is a particular target. It gives a way to ease some of the tension and let them blow off frustration since, after all, they're not REALLY insulting, right? -- they're just singing songs! (wink wink)

These verses of sithanian are being presented by a group of college girls during a Heritage Festival at DAV College, Chandigarh, 29 October 2004. (If anyone knows the particular college they are from or their names, please let me know.) They are making as if groups of women from both sides were tossing insults back and forth. Although they are sitting, in a realistic context they'd probably standing at a distance from each other, when the groom's party arrives at the bride's place.

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