Monday, January 13, 2020

How bhangra supports the benefit of bipedalism?

Bhangra is used as a bag for carrying materials from one place to another place. Gurungs, indigenous people of Nepal, use it as the best and easiest carrier throughout history. How bhangra is designed utilizing the benefits of bipedalism? How it reveals the secret of natural resources management? How bhangra dissolves the myth that Gurungs are migrated in Nepal from the southern side(India)? This article converges its focus into these relevant questions in a broad spectrum.
Gurung male and female in Bhangra

Benefit of bipedalism 

Bipedal simply means two-footed. Humans walk by two feet. Some animals by four feet.  Humans were also four-footed at an early stage of evolution. Through the unending process of evolution, humans became fully bipedal. This bipedalism makes human stronger than animals, more superior than animals. How?  Due to bipedalism, humans need just two legs to walk, but for the animal, they need four legs. This enabled humans to utilize legs and hands simultaneously for different purposes. When we walk on two legs and at the same time, we can use tools or weapons with hands to hunt animals. Humans can attack animal without reaching near to them. Is it possible for an animal?  No. If animals want to attack us, they should come to us. They cannot attack by being far from us. When they run, they have to use four feet which restricts them to do other activities. But humans can walk with two feet only. So the bipedalism of humans makes the hands free which helps us to handle tools efficiently. Gurungs designed the bhangra utilizing benefits of bipedalism. Even though bhangra serves carrying purposes, it can make hands free. 

How and why bhangra is different from polythene bag?

In this modern age, we use polythene and other bags to carry material in day to day activities. How bhangra is different from modern bags? We know, polythene bag is commonly used for carrying purposes but it engages our hand. It restricts our hands. But bhangra helps to carry materials without restricting hand. Our hands can be free when we carry material through bhangra. It makes carrying more convenient. Our hands are not free when we use a polythene bag. Why gurungs designed bhangra making the hand free? Bhangra is based on utilitarian motives. Due to nomadic life, gurungs had to travel from one place to another place. Gurungs couldn't hunt animals if hands were not free. Gurungs couldn't climb on tree for fruits if hands were not free. Gurungs couldn't hike on steep slope if hands were not free. 

But due to the effective design of bhangra(making hand free), gurungs able to hunt successfully, carrying essential materials on body. When climbing on trees, they able to collect fruits successfully without scattering on the slope grounds. The bhangra is designed in such a way that the axis of loads are intersected with each other on the chest, which makes it more convenient to carry material than modern bags.

How bhangra proves that Gurungs are migrated from the northern side in Nepal?

Some people claim that gurungs are migrated from the south direction(India). Bhangra simply proves that it is not true,  revealing they are migrated from the northern side. Bhangra is made up of Himalayan giant nettle(Nai polo, in local language). It is found at a high altitude of 1500-3000 meters. The nettle found in the Himalayan range is only appropriate for bhangra. The nettle below the Himalayan range is different and not appropriate for making bhangra. Bhangra has a very long history, it depicts a feature of hunting and gathering society. The requirement of the Himalayan nettle for Bhangra proves the origin and civilization of gurungs are from the northern direction.
Himalayan giant nettle
How gurungs manage natural resources through bhangra?

Natural resources are the basis of human life. Whatever materials we use in our culture emerge from the natural resources. The art of managing natural resources attributes to the sustainable utilization of natural resources which helps to maintain the environmental balance and satisfy human needs. Bhangra material, nettle, is of very distinctive characteristic. Every year the more we cut nettle, the more it grows well. The increase in population demands more bhangra. To fulfill those needs, gurungs do not exploit the environment. On one hand, they cut nettle for bhangra, and on the other hand, they allow nettle to grow well. This is how Gurungs manage their natural resources. They manage their increased population without disturbing the ecosystem. 

How Gurung social rules are aligned with the law of nature?

Every society has different norms and values, different rules and regulations. If the rules and regulation in harmonious relation, society functions well. Gurungs have particular rules for cutting nettle. They do not cut it haphazardly. Their rule is based to provide equilibrium in the ecosystem. Or they are based on natural resources management. Specifically, rules for cutting is based on biological characteristics of nettle. Neither member of society can cut nettle in their desire and free will. They have a rule:- members of society are permitted to cut nettle once in a year. On a particular favorable day, rule allows members of society to go to the forest and cut nettle. On other days, cutting nettle is strictly prohibited. These rules and regulations are aligned with the laws of nature. 

What and how we wear cloth determines who we are. Since bhangra has a very long history, this shows the art and skills of Gurungs throughout history. Bhangra is not only useful for nomadic life but also useful for sedentary life(agricultural age).  Gurungs have widely used bhangra in an agricultural state too. Bhangra is not only cloth gurungs wear, it provides a broader historical context and identity. 


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