Kafi is a kind of poetic composition native to Punjab
. It forms an inseparable part of the folk songs of this region. ‘Kafi’ is an Arabic word meaning ‘beginning of a song.’ The beginning of the song, which is considered as the theme of the entire Kafi, is repeatedly sung. This central theme is called ‘rahaoo tuk.’
Kafis were originally composed by the Sufi saints. A saint would sing verses in praise of the god. Each verse sung by the saint would be followed by a one-lined response by his followers. These verses and their responses formed the base of the Kafi composition. A Kafi comprises of several verses, with no particular limit to the total number of verses. The theme is mostly centered on divine love. The composition also includes elements found in traditional life like the spinning wheel and loom, the experiences of travelers or lovers and the flow of the rivers into the sea. These songs basically stress on love, peace and contentment.