A ?Vanvun? is a music session in which songs are sung by women folk in Kashmir. Vanvun is a prayer in the form of folk music particularly in Kashmiri Pandit community. The subjects of Vanvun also refer to the events of the Vedic period.
Vanvun played a leading role in maintaining the continuity of Kashmiri Pandits? culture from the Vedic period through the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Shrimad Bhagwat till the present day. Kashmiri Pandits? Vanvun preserves faith in spiritual form with ancient beliefs; besides it provides religious fervour and divine grace to the occasions as welcoming Lord Siva and Parvati to participate at the outset of every ceremony. The fact is that the Kashmiri language, cultures as well as religious ceremonies have a direct bearing on the speakers of Rigvedic language. Vanvun thus, is the pure reflection of the same.
Vanvun has played a leading role in maintaining the continuity of Kashmiri Pandits? culture. This folklore, which has so far come down to us by word of mouth, was gradually at extinct stage because of no record in book form.
Thanks to Shiv Nath Hundoo who placed Vanvun in original on permanent record in a book form published for the benefit of coming generation. The transcription of Kashmiri verses is in ?Devanagari? script.
The book entitled Vanvun contains 1,157 verses spread over 3,005 lines, never before attempted or published. Credit goes to his mother the late Janaki Devi, having no formal education whatsoever, who dictated Shiv Nath Handoo verses etched in her memory.
The author divides Vanvun recited on the auspicious occasions like mekhal (yagopaveet) ceremony and marriage ceremony into ten categories?garnavaya (house cleaning and washing), dapun (personal invitation of guests for the approaching function), manzirath (heena dye and night singing), kroor (after a whitewash flowery decoration at the main door), shran (sitting on stool and dropping milk, curd and bathing), devgun (welcome to Vedic gods), varidan (gifts to the relatives), yonya (holy fire), tekya narivan (holy mark on the forehead and sacred thread tied around the wrist), kalash lava (after the worship of kalash, sprinkling of water).
Known as folk-literature, it comprises the traditional literature of a mass of people? generally an unlettered mass?living in one integrated social group.
?It is orally transmitted language and can be claimed to be of the people, by the people and for the people?.
The chanting of the Vanvun has ever appealed to the Kashmiri psyche in general and has at the same time served to uphold, sustain and preserve the socio-cultural ethos and identity of Kashmiri Pandit community through the centuries that have gone by.
Sir George A. Grierson, the great linguists from England admits that Kashmiri language though known very little is of great importance for the purpose of comparative philology.
By writing the Vanvun, it is author'ssignificant contribution to the Kashmiri Pandit community as they can save their cultural heritage even living in exile.