Why does the Koli community worship the moon? What is the significance of this natural satellite? earlier before most of the Hindu deities entered into Koli homes, Moon and Ocean was their earliest deity, it was a very foremost choice as the moon controlled ocean tides, and the whole pattern of fishing was dependent on Moon cycles. One of the examples I can give you is you will always find crabs as food in most of the Koli homes during the new moon, as crabs are more healthy and fleshy during the new moon, the reason is, during full moon tide is high and the current is strong so Marine species have to work hard to survive and they lose fats, but during new moon tides are low and marine species develop good fat which is healthy and nutritious. These indigenous peoples have important cognitive skills related to the Oceanic environment. Their fishing patterns depend on the moon cycle. There are very few homes now that perform ‘Chandra Pooja’ every month but now it is replaced by the Chaturthi, it is very disturbing to see how these indigenous peoples of seven islands are getting away from naturalism.
Dhavla folk songs are the oldest song tradition of the Koli (fisherfolks) community of Seven islands now Mobai/Mumbai. Dhavlarine is a folk songstress. Before brahminical influences, Dhavlarines solemnized the Koli community’s marriages. Dhavla poetry is an ancient poetry form, it has been found mentioned in ‘Manasollasa’ a 12th century Sanskrit text. These are short explanatory poems of each ritual of Koli marriages and other rituals. Documentation is part of ‘Estuaries of waning sound-2019’ ongoing socially engaged word bank of local indigenous communities of Mobai/Mumbai.
Bhagwat Dandekar was born in Mumbai, in Danda Koliwada, Khar a Western suburb of Mumbai. He studied Mechanical diploma in engineering, At present, he is working as an executive engineer in Oil and Natural gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Mumbai. Since childhood, Dandekar was inclined to the history of Koliwadas. He is independent resercher. A few years back he had written ‘History of Danda Koliwada’ which was published by Danda Koliwada trust, TFA is republishing the same book with new updates and historical narratives next year 2022. His passion for Koli folk songs is furthermore penned into the long thesis form, we are curious to see this research about Koli Ethnomusicology soon in tangible form. TFA’s book publishing projects are inspired by Dandekar’s work. He is the custodian of our Koli community, who is relentlessly working for the Koli community’s Documentation through essays, dissertations, narratives of past and contemporary situations of the community. It seems his alert mind is constantly perceiving changes that are affecting Kolis of Mumbai, who are going through the trauma of post displacement.