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Pauri

‘Pauri’ is a distinct pattern or a verse structure of Panjabi heroic-poetry (var). In other words pauri is that genre of poetry that is especially employed for the creation of a var. “Actually, there is a traditional relationship between var and pauri. Poetry on war cannot be called a var if it is not composed in the pauri form. ‘Nādarshāh Dī Vār’ (ballad of Nadirshah) is written as ‘Nādarshāh Dī Pauri’ (pauri of Nadirshah) even today. The author of ‘Lau Kush Dī Vār’ has stated ‘kīrati dās suṇāī paṛi paṛi paüṛīāṁ; dās thīā kurbāṇe paüṛī ākhi ākhi’ (Kirati Das recited by reading pauris repeatedly; Das was humbled by repeating the pauris) at a lot of places in the ballad. Even at the end of ‘Canḍī Dī Vār’ (ballad of Chandi), it says ‘durgā pāṭh baṇāiā sabhe paüṛīāṁ’ (Durga composition was created entirely in the form pauri). It is clear that pauri is an inseparable part of a var, and both are based on each other. Dr. Charan Singh has described pauri as a genre of ballad in ‘Bāṇī Biurā’. Bhai Kahn Singh Nabha has offered pauri as one meaning for var amongst others in Mahān Kosh.”

A pauri cannot be categorized into any particular poetic genre, though it is commonly used in poetic forms such as ‘sirkhanḍī’ and ‘nishānī.’ Just as a poem or stanza of six verses (musaddas), is usaged in Urdu-Farsi, pauri has been used similarly in Panjabi poetry to accommodate long compositions.

Poetic forms like two-line verse (doharā/dohā) and four-line verse (caupaī), etc. have been used in the pauris of the vars recorded in the Guru Granth Sahib. That is why there is no uniformity in the number of lines used in these pauris. Pauris in Asa Ki Var are mostly four or five lines long; the last line is half in length. According to Dr. Ratan Singh Jaggi, the last phase of a pauri is shortened to highlight its meaning.

At the time of the compilation of the Guru Granth Sahib, Guru Arjan Sahib retained the prominence of pauri in a var. He recorded the first line of the pauris in the table of contents of Guru Granth Sahib instead of the saloks.