Last year, I got a call from a Delhi newspaper asking me to jot down some lyrics of folk songs sung on Diwali in Bihar. Ram is ubiquitous in the folk songs of Bihar or Purabiya, the regions consisting of eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. However, a Google search was of little help. This was a sudden request, and I had never paid too much attention to this subject. So, I talked to some experts and explored several mediums. It turned out that the traditional world in the Purabiya region, considered rich in folk songs, did not take much interest in Ram the warrior or Ram the victor, though Ram appears as one of the main inspirations for the folk oeuvre of the region.
In the traditional folk world of the region, Ram is popular as bridegroom and Ram as groom or son-in-law takes precedence over Ram the victor, with the former being the subject of a large number of songs. After Ram’s wedding with Janaki, the Purabiya folk songs follow them until their vanavas, when they are banished to the forest. However, there are not too many songs about what Ram accomplished afterwards: going to Lanka, fighting a war with Ravan and the subsequent celebrations upon his triumphant return to Ayodhya.