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Rangle Sardar

COLOURING THE CANVAS OF LIFE WITH MUSIC

At a time when hip-hop and rock music is wielding its clout on the youngsters, ‘Rang Le Sardar’ has emerged as a quintessence by playing the rich folk songs, which depict the significance of the teachings of our great ancestors, and of course, LIFE. Arshdeep Singh, Maninderpal Singh, Inderjeet Singh, Jaskarn Singh, and Ajam Khan, are only in their twenties. But if one listens to their music, it would be difficult to believe so. Their voices as ‘buland’ (strong) as possible, but harmonious at the same time, they conquer the hearts of people wherever they perform. Standing in the open fields of Punjab, Arshdeep and Ajam Khan sing in unison:

Bade auliye peer faker aaye

There have come many saints and holy beings in the world..

Hami dukhi mazlooma di bhare koi

To sympathize with the destitute and the impoverished..

Badi damk ae kach de motiyan di

The pearls have a distinguishable sparkle..

Hunde laal boh kimti khare koi

Although some have been considered precious, a few are worthy…

The song beautifully exhibits the value and importance of a true Guru, and how to identify one.  

Arshdeep Singh is a young folk musician in his twenties, from Moga district in Punjab, who leads this group of four, which is known as ‘Rang Le Sardaar. He sings and plays Bhugchu, and Tumba. His close friends call him ‘Arsh Riyaz’. His interest in folk music was triggered when he was in school, as most of his friends were into the native folk music. He was around 10 years old when he started singing. He learnt singing folk from professor Major Singh. He finds himself devoted to folk music and wants to represent the rich cultural tradition of Punjab through his music. People deeply appreciate his music as the lyrics leave a social message as well. He feels that he still has a long way to go when it comes to folk singing, and he is learning further from his Guruji, Baba Jora Singh Ji in Dharamkot.

 When it comes to playing the Harmonium, Maninderpal Singh can never compromise. He is a 24 years old folk musician from a small village called Baaga Braana in Punjab.  He did his Bachelors and Masters in Indian music. His family is into farming, and his father has always encouraged his passion for music. He started learning singing folk from Ustad Baba Jora Singh in Dharamkot when he joined college. He has been playing for almost 6 years now. He is very fond of taking part in competitions organized in the fairs and festivals in his village. Giving him company is Inderjeet Singh, who is a 24 years old folk musician from a small hamlet called Baaga Brana in Punjab. He sings and plays Dhol, Tabla, and Dholak He is pursuing his masters in music- both vocals and instrumental from Punjabi University, Patiala. He started learning music at the age of 6 years from his Guruji Rakesh Kumar Ji, who is a famous Dhol player, who plays along with renowned folk musicians like Rajan Gill. His father does stitching work, but he has always been fond of folk music. He always motivates his children to learn music. His sister is pursuing M.Phil in music. Inderjeet belongs to Nirankari Mission, and he started singing by performing at Satsanga and jaagrans.  

Jaskarn Singh is a 23 years old folk musician who hails from Moga district in Punjab. He plays the harmonium with the group. He completed his masters from Punjabi University in Patiala. He also works as a music producer, and has just completed setting up his own studio, by the name of ‘Black Music Production’. He even did a couple of courses in music production from an institute in Chandigarh. Music is his passion, and he works day and night to excel in this field. His is father sings Kavishri, and out of his own interest in music, he gifted a Harmonium to Jaskarn in 2003. Since then he has been learning and practising the different folk songs on it.  

Ajam Khan simply loves to sing and plays the Sarangi with all his heart. At the age of just 20 years, he has released 4 songs. He has performed in various competitions and youth festivals. He had learnt to play the Sarangi from Ustad Kulvant Singh from Khanna. For Tabla, he took his training from Baba Sohan Singh Ji. He had interest in Tabla initially, inspired by his school teacher, he started playing the Sarangi too, and gradually it became his main instrument. He feels that people are deviating from their cultural values and morals, but through some of his songs, he has tried to show that there is still some good left- there are young people who are involved in devotional activities, who respect their elders and who are responsible as well. He also has a good interest in classical music as well. He thinks that passion is very important to pursue any goal.

All of the members met in college and decided to form the group two years ago. They have performed locally in fairs and festivals in Punjab only. Wherever they perform, they always win the hearts of the audience with their melodious music. They wish to exhibit their talent in front of more people so that they can make them acquainted with their culture. The group displays unity and mutual respect, which strengthens with each passing day. Their passion for folk music coupled with their determination to practice each and every day is what keeps the group going.

Jogiya Sarangi Party

Tales of Love, Heroism, and Tradition through Jogiya Sarangi 

From lands of Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, a musical treasure known as Jogiya Sarangi emerges, bearing the weight of history, culture, and tradition. This unique stringed instrument, crafted from a blend of wood, steel, horsehair, gut, ivory, and mango wood, finds its place as a cherished local instrument in these regions. However, it is in Haryana where Jogiya Sarangi truly comes alive, serving as the melodic narrator of the timeless Kissa folklore. Jogiya Sarangi, with its storied history and melodic prowess, is an embodiment of the enduring legacy of Kissa folklore in Haryana.

Kissa or Qissah folklore in Haryana is primarily an oral tradition, passed down through generations. Skilled storytellers, known as “kaviraj” or “qissewale,” embarked on journeys from village to village, sharing these tales with eager audiences. What made these narratives truly mesmerizing was the incorporation of musical elements, such as Jogiya Sarangi and Dafli, adding an enchanting layer to the storytelling experience.

At the heart of this musical tradition is Satbir Singh, a living legend from Hansi in his late seventies. His attire, including the kurta, saffron turban, and rudraksh mala, symbolizes unwavering devotion to his art and culture. Satbir Singh’s connection with Jogiya Sarangi is profound, as he carries the instrument adorned with stickers of ‘Gorakhnath,’ a revered deity in the Nath community, and the ‘Swastik,’ representing auspicious energy, on its age-old wooden plank.

These traditional narratives have been a vital part of Haryana’s oral tradition for centuries, Satbir Singh and his group members captivate their audiences with tales of love, heroism, morality, and social issues. Rooted in a deep cultural history, Kissa folklore is a testament to the power of storytelling in preserving and transmitting cultural values.

Jogiya Sarangi is the heart and soul of their performance, without which they cannot perform.

In their performances, they encompass a wide range of stories and themes including love, friendship or philosophies of life. Among the most famous are the tales of Heer-Ranjha, Mirza-Sahiban, Jaimal katha and Amar Singh Rathore. These narratives are more than just stories, they are cultural treasures that explore profound themes. Kissa folklore in Haryana goes beyond storytelling; it often serves as a medium for social commentary and critique. These stories shed light on societal injustices, gender roles, and the struggles faced by common people. They act as mirrors to society, reflecting both its virtues and vices.

Kissa folklore has had a profound influence on Haryana’s culture and art forms. It has inspired various artistic expressions, including folk music, dance, and theater. Satbir Singh, having dedicated his life to music since childhood, understands the challenges of this path and wishes for his children to pursue a different, more financially stable path. He  is a living testament to the passage of time and the enduring spirit of tradition. Although being the seventh generation of this tradition, Satbir is the last torchbearer of their family to carry forward the tradition of Jogiya Sarangi.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Been Jogi Group

“The Resilient Rhythms “

In the heart of Palwal district in Haryana, where traditions are passed down through generations like cherished heirlooms, resides Hawa Singh. He is not just a musician; he is a torchbearer of an ancient art form known as Been Jogi or Been Lehara. This art, as old as the land itself, finds its roots in the Nath and Jogi communities, where the rhythmic melodies of the been have been a source of solace, healing, and celebration for centuries.

The genesis of this melodic journey can be traced back to Hawa Singh. For seven decades, Hawa Singh has breathed life into the been, earning fame not just in the village but in the hearts of all who have had the privilege of hearing his soul-stirring tunes. His guru recognized his unparalleled talent and aptly named him Hawa Singh, after the wind instrument he mastered with such finesse. Now at the age of 90, Hawa Singh is the eldest member of the team, a living legend who continues to inspire and mentor the youth in the art of playing the been. His legacy is a testament to the power of dedication and passion in preserving our cultural heritage.

The journey of this musical ensemble began 15 years ago, with Rambir Nath at its helm. Over the years, they have graced various state events and programs with their mesmerizing melodies. Their philosophy is simple yet profound: there is no small stage. Every performance is an opportunity to share their art, to touch the souls of those who listen. For them, music is not just a performance; it’s a celebration of life, a way to forget the troubles of the world and be enveloped in the beauty of sound.

The Been, an ancient wind instrument, is a treasure handed down through the generations. It’s an art that transcends time, surviving only within the Nath and Jogi communities. Its roots can be traced to Kanipa Nath, the guru of this musical tradition. Legend has it that wherever Kanipa Nath played the been, illness vanished. People would summon him in times of sickness, and the soothing melodies of his instrument would work miracles. This tradition of healing and music soon spread from village to village, as these musicians carried their been and medicines to cure the ailing.

In the winter, as Lord Krishna’s divine bansuri would attract cows from afar, the melodies of the been would draw snakes from their winter slumber. The connection between the natural world and the ethereal tunes of the been is a testament to the profound impact of music on all living creatures.

Watching the performance of Rambir Nath and his group is like stepping into a time capsule of ancient melodies. Their music transcends language, speaking directly to the heart and soul. In their folk costumes, they not only look the part but embody the spirit of their art. Their dedication to preserving this heritage is evident in every note they play.

Rambir Nath and his fellow musicians are not just keepers of a tradition; they are the living, breathing heartbeats of Haryana’s musical legacy. As they continue to share the mesmerizing melodies of the been, they carry forward a precious heritage that deserves to be celebrated and cherished by all who hear its enchanting tunes.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Krishan Lal And Group

“The Resilient Rhythms of Haryanvi Lokgeet”

Nestled in the picturesque village of Puthi Mangal, where the breeze carries the melodies of ancient traditions, we discovered a hidden gem – Kirshan and his dedicated group of folk musicians. Their passion for preserving Haryana’s rich cultural heritage through music left us spellbound during our visit with Team Anahad. From the moment we arrived, the warmth of the villagers enveloped us, and we were greeted with open arms and love. The excitement in their eyes was palpable, a testament to the importance of music and art in their lives.

Kirshan, the torchbearer of this musical legacy, learned the art of music from his father, Chhaju Ram. Their journey together began as his father sang at various gatherings, and Kirshan penned down heartfelt lyrics. In 2002, Kirshan embarked on his own musical voyage, starting with humble performances at school. Today, he not only sings professionally but also leads a group formed in 2012, spreading the magic of folk music far and wide.

What sets Kirshan apart is his commitment to using music as a powerful medium for change. He writes his own songs, addressing critical issues such as alcoholism, dowry, the importance of education, and gender equality. His lyrics are a testament to the belief that strong messages can be conveyed through folk songs, and he strives to inspire the youth to embrace their roots.

One of Kirshan’s most poignant songs highlights the importance of serving one’s parents, transcending duty to become a privilege, a path to prosperity, and a reflection of one’s character. Through his heartfelt rendition, he encapsulates the deep-rooted cultural values of gratitude and respect, reminding us of the enduring significance of family bonds.

But Kirshan’s mission goes beyond music. He aspires to maintain love and peace in his village and the hearts of its people. His group is a harmonious blend of members from different parts of the village, a symbol of unity and diversity. Through his music, he aims to uplift his community and convey the message that toils and aspirations are the essence of rural life in Haryana.

As the shoot concluded, the artists appreciated the initiative of using technology to support and promote folk artists. Kirshan and his fellow musicians ardently desire the younger generation to learn the art of their homeland. They believe that folk music carries lessons that must not be forgotten, passed down through generations, lest the vibrant tapestry of folk culture fades into obscurity.

In Kirshan’s melodies and the stories of his village, we find a profound connection to the soul of rural India. Through music, unity, and unwavering dedication, Kirshan and his group are sowing the seeds of cultural preservation, one note at a time. Their harmonious journey is a reminder that traditions are not relics of the past but living legacies, waiting for the youth to embrace and nurture.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Suresh And Party

“Harmonizing Traditions: Suresh and the Timeless Legacy of Haryana’s Ragini Folk Theater”

Our journey into Haryana’s musical realm began in the company of the talented Suresh Ji and his enthralling group, a quest to capture their mesmerizing performances. The challenge lay not only in finding the perfect backdrop but also in keeping up with their infectious enthusiasm. Suresh and his group had a burning desire to share their musical prowess, and their high-energy performances left us spellbound. They transported us into the heart of Haryana with their soulful Haryanvi bhajans, delving deep into the profound themes of karma and the truth of Kalyug. Their music carried messages so beautiful and profound that they resonated effortlessly with our hearts. One bhajan, crafted by Pandit Lakhmichand nearly a century ago, prophesies the future of humanity, its words echoing across generations as timeless lessons. These bhajans aren’t just songs; they are life lessons etched into the very fabric of daily existence. Rooted in the rich tradition of Haryana’s folk music, they cater to the needs and interests of every stratum of society. Gathered in satsangs, these musical gatherings become a collective exploration of poetic narratives and historical stories, a celebration of shared culture and wisdom. Suresh Kumar’s journey into music began in his childhood, mentored by his grandmother and mother, both passionate singers. His uncle’s radio artistry added depth to his musical education. Suresh Kumar’s unique singing style captivated audiences during stage performances, making him a sought-after voice at any opportunity. He takes immense pride and joy in using music as a medium to impart life’s invaluable lessons, guiding people on their path. In 1980, Suresh embarked on a musical journey of his own, forming his group. His mission is clear: to enrich lives through his music, a desire to see people embrace the wisdom within his songs. The enchanting rhythm of the earthen matka, the melodies of the benjo and harmonium, and Suresh Ji’s captivating voice compelled us all to dance with unbridled joy as we recorded their mesmerizing performance. The two bhajans performed carry profound significance. The first emphasizes the importance of virtuous deeds and karma in one’s life, reminding us that our actions shape our destiny. The second, attributed to Saint Samand and influenced by Vedavyas, offers a prophetic vision of Kalyug, a world gripped by moral decay and spiritual decline.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Chandan Singh and Group

Preserving the Musical Legacy of Brij Nagara

Our initial knowledge of the Nagara was limited to its role as a musical instrument rather than recognizing it as an art form. The Nagara, also known as the Indian Drum about one to two feet in diameter, is a large single percussion instrument played with sticks. Crafted from a combination of wood and metal, it traditionally held a prominent position as the primary musical instrument in temple ceremonies and wedding celebrations. However, within the confines of the small village of Palwal, situated in the Banchari district of Haryana, something remarkable has transpired. The Sorot Jat community here has nurtured a unique musical tradition over generations, transforming the Nagara into an integral component of an art form known as Brij-Nagara.

Deriving its name from its central musical instrument, Brij-Nagara is an art form that weaves together ballads and anecdotes from the lives of Radha and Krishna in the sacred context of Barsana, Mathura, and Vrindavan. The term “Brij”(also spelt as Braj) or “Brijbhumi” holds a special place in the hearts of millions of Hindus worldwide. It is the sacred region where Lord Krishna, the divine lover and playful deity, embarked on his childhood adventures. Brij encompasses both sides of the Yamuna River, with its spiritual centre residing in Mathura-Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh. However, its influence stretches into Haryana, including the towns of Palwal and Ballabhgarh.

Chandan Singh, a member of the Sorot Jat community from Palwal district, has dedicated his life to preserving and promoting the Brij Nagara tradition. He learned this art form from his Guru, Masterji Dharamlal and has been performing with his group for over 27 years. Unlike most of the groups that we saw in Haryana, where people are moving away from their tradition of pursuing folk music as a profession, Singh teaches singing, harmonium, jhanjh and nagara to the kids in his village so that they can carry forward this legacy. What sets Chandan Singh apart is his commitment to ensuring that the vibrant tunes of Brij-Nagara continue to resonate in the hearts of future generations.

The artists dressed as Brijwasis have been performing the melodious tunes of ‘Brij Ke Gaane’ in white, yellow, and orange kurta and turbans, emulating the attire of Lord Krishna’s era, creating a visual and auditory experience deeply rooted in tradition. Jhanjh or cymbals accompany the Nagara in Brij Nagara performances. These silver cymbals, used in pairs, add a unique layer to the music and are typically palm-sized or slightly larger. During the festive month of Holi, they are summoned to participate in larger gatherings, where a collective of approximately 5 to 7 Nagaras come together. This amalgamation of vibrant musical instruments, accompanied by splashes of colours, creates a visually captivating spectacle.

Chandan Singh and his group of Brijwasi have a simple yet profound wish to continue receiving love and appreciation from people for their talent. More importantly, they hope to inspire the younger generation to follow the same path and carry forward this musical legacy that is deeply intertwined with the culture and spirituality of the region.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Gulab Singh And Group

Celebrating the Vibrant Phag and Ghoomar

In the heartland of green fields, where tradition and culture are deeply rooted, we encountered Gulab Singh and his group, custodians of Haryana’s vibrant folk heritage. Gulab Singh, a prolific songwriter and composer, led us into the rich tapestry of Haryana’s musical traditions, showcasing the timeless beauty of Faag and Ghoomar.

Gulab Singh’s musical journey began in 1983, and he honed his skills under the guidance of the Allahabad Sangeet Samiti. In 1994, he formed his group, a collective of passionate individuals dedicated to preserving and promoting the folk arts of Haryana. Their repertoire extends beyond music, encompassing various folk forms such as Saang, Naatak, Raasleela, and Rasiya.

One of Gulab Singh’s significant contributions to Haryana’s cultural heritage is the Baramasi Ramleela, which he initiated in 1988. This folk art has become an integral part of the region’s festivities, connecting people to their roots and traditions.

Not content with keeping his talent to himself, Gulab Singh is a mentor who imparts his knowledge of folk music to eager students in Haryana, ensuring that the legacy lives on. His vision extends beyond the classroom, as he and his group actively seek to promote Haryana’s folk arts and encourage the youth to embrace their cultural roots.

Faag, a traditional seasonal dance, holds a special place in Haryana’s cultural calendar. It is a joyful expression of the agricultural community’s spirit during the months of February and March. As the crops flourish, rural folks celebrate with song and dance, bringing men and women together in rhythmic harmony. The dance involves intricate movements and requires precise coordination, with participants adorned in vibrant traditional attire. The ancient Daamal style, a fusion of dance and song, takes center stage, with unique songs accompanying each performance.

The lyrics of these Faag songs are brimming with the spirit of Holi, a vibrant Hindu festival celebrated with fervor and color. The playful exchanges and references to ornaments create a joyful atmosphere that captures the essence of the festival. It’s a time when music, dance, and colorful revelry unite communities.

Ghoomar, another captivating folk dance of Haryana, hails from the western region of the state. Characterized by graceful circular movements, this dance is often performed by girls who sing while swirling, clapping, and forming pairs. The songs accompanying Ghoomar are marked by satire, humor, and references to contemporary events, adding depth to the performance. This dance is a highlight of festivals like Holi, Gangaur Puja, and Teej, infusing these celebrations with cultural vibrancy.

In Haryana’s rural landscape, love and affection find expression in the form of traditional folk songs. These songs embody the endearing exchanges between a husband and wife, painted against the backdrop of rustic life and the charm of moonlit nights.

Gulab Singh and his group are the torchbearers of a rich legacy, ensuring that the folk traditions of Haryana remain alive and vibrant. Their commitment to preserving and promoting these art forms is not just a tribute to their ancestors but also an invitation for the youth to connect with their cultural roots and celebrate the tapestry of Haryana’s folk heritage. Through their music and performances, Gulab Singh and his group continue to weave the timeless melodies of Haryana’s cultural fabric.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Ravi Kumar Group

Exploring the World of Ragini

In the realm of music, where words are not cloaked in sweetness but boldly spoken, Ragini emerges as an art form that seeks clarity in expression. It’s a musical genre that places greater emphasis on lyrics than on the traditional elements of music, like tune and rhythm. Instead, Ragini’s primary focus lies in conveying compelling stories through its songs.

One individual who has dedicated his musical journey to Ragini is Ravi Kumar, a talented vocalist from Charkhi Dadri. He finds his artistic inspiration in Haryana’s folk songs through Ragini. Haryana, a state rich in musical traditions, has given birth to this unique art form. In fact, numerous villages in his native place, Charkhi Dadri district of Haryana, have been named after ragas, for example, Nandyam, Sarangpur, Bilawala, Brindabana, Todi, Asaveri, Jaisri, Malakoshna, Hindola, Bhairvi and Gopi Kalyana. 

Ravi Kumar’s involvement in Ragini began in his early years, performing alongside his father at various gatherings. He was introduced to the world of ghazals and Raaganis during his school days, where he serenaded the beauty of Haryana’s musical heritage. As he grew older, his passion for this art form deepened. Seeking guidance from esteemed mentors such as Pandit Satendar Mishra, Mahaveer Singh, Dr Ashok Verma, and Ustad Tanvir Ahmed Khan from the Delhi gharana, Ravi honed his skills and enriched his understanding of Haryana’s folk music. 

In 2007, Ravi Kumar took a significant step in his musical journey by forming his own group. He assumed the role of the lead vocalist, accompanied by 61-year-old Ram Meher Singh and Naveen Kumar on harmonium and chorus, Rajesh Kumar on Nagada, and Mausam on Dholak. Together, they perform, preserve and promote the cultural heritage of Haryana through Ragini.

In a conversation with Ravi Kumar, he shared his admiration for Rai Dhanpat Singh, a Ragini singer from Nidana village. He mentions that he looks up to Rai Dhanpat Singh and finds him to be the most skilled and versatile Haryanvi folk singer, with impeccable taste in music combined with his apt choice of words. Other notable Ragini singers in Haryana, such as Mange Ram and Lakhmichand, have also contributed a lot to the vibrancy of this unique art form.

To understand Ragini better, it’s crucial to grasp its essence. As Ravi Kumar puts it, “Ragini ka main focus ‘laya’ nahi hai, humare Haryana me main ‘Bol’ hai” (“Ragini’s main focus is not rhythm; in our Haryana, it’s all about the words”). Ragini seamlessly merges literature and music, creating a powerful storytelling medium that resonates with its audience.

In Haryana’s musical landscape, Ragini has found its place, and talented artists like Ravi Kumar play a pivotal role in conveying its significance. Thanks to dedicated artists like Ravi Kumar, this traditional art form continues to thrive, weaving the tales of Haryana into unforgettable musical experiences.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Niazi Brothers

“The Niyazis at the Nizamuddin Dargah”

The Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah, located in Delhi, India, is a revered Sufi shrine that attracts devotees, tourists, and scholars alike. It is dedicated to the 13th-century Sufi saint Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya, who was a prominent figure in the Chishti order of Sufism. One of the most captivating and cherished traditions at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Dargah is the qawwali performances that take place regularly. Qawwali is a form of devotional music rooted in Sufi traditions, known for its soul-stirring melodies and powerful lyrics that celebrate the divine and seek a connection with the higher realm. The qawwali forms that are held in the courtyard of the dargah, creates an enchanting atmosphere for all the listeners. There are days when the qawwali sessions go on the whole night, transporting all the listeners to another realm altogether. If you are in Delhi, make sure you head to the revered dargah and experience the magic of qawwali.

Niyazi Brothers, a qawwali ensemble from Delhi, has a long history of singing and performing qawwali. When we asked them, “Aapne kin jagaon main shows kiye hai,” they playfully responded “Aap ye puchiye hamne kaha performance nahi kiya hai,” such is their heritage. Because of their upbringing in a traditional qawwali household, where they witnessed their parents and all family members refining their qawwali skills since childhood. They shared that they grew up listening to qawwali and learning by simply observing. This actually helped them perfect the artform, and it reflects in their performances. With a penchant for captivating audiences, they entwine the intricacies of qawwali, guiding listeners to dance harmoniously to its cadence. A symphony of energy and rhythm, the Niyazi Brothers unite all in their qawwali tapestry.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)

Bhoop Singh Group

The Soulful Melodies of Desi Bhajans in Haryana

 

Haryana, a land of rich cultural heritage, has been witness to the divine mysticism of Desi Bhajans for centuries. These soul-stirring devotional songs have not only played a significant role in shaping the religious and spiritual beliefs of the local communities but have also become an integral part of their cultural celebrations. For the first time in the past 10 years, Anahad delved into the world of Desi Bhajans in Haryana, exploring their essence, evolution, and the joy they bring to people’s lives.

Bhoop Singh, now in his late eighties, has been singing Desi Bhajans since his childhood. He never pursued formal education but instead learned everything by listening to his elders. Despite being partially blind, he is a passionate Desi bhajan singer from the Charkhi Dadri district of Haryana, located approximately 90 km from the national capital, Delhi. The Charkhi Dadri district in Haryana boasts a rich musical tradition, and even some of its places are named after ragas. For instance, there are villages with names like Nandyam, Sarangpur, Bilawala, Brindabana, Todi, Asaveri, Jaisri, Malakoshna, Hindola, Bhairvi, and Gopi Kalyana.

Desi Bhajans, also known as folk devotional songs, have their roots deeply embedded in the local traditions of Haryana. The songs sung by Bhoop Singh revere the divine qualities of revered figures in Hindu mythology. They reflect on the art form of devotional music in the context of Hindu spirituality and philosophy. These melodious hymns express profound spirituality and devotion towards various Hindu deities like Lord Krishna, Lord Shiva, and Goddess Durga. The lyrics are written in the local dialect, making them easily relatable and resonating with the hearts of the people.

Bhoop Singh’s voice is accompanied by traditional musical instruments like the dholak, harmonium, and tabla, creating an ethereal atmosphere. The rhythmic beats and melodious tunes resonate with the vibrant energy of the place. Bhoop Singh possesses exceptional vocal skills and has been passing down his talent from one generation to another. Over time, this artform has undergone subtle transformations while staying true to its essence. Contemporary musicians have infused modern elements into the traditional folk songs, adding a new flavor to the age-old melodies. This fusion has expanded the reach of Desi Bhajans, attracting a wider audience and bridging the generation gap.

Desi Bhajans in Haryana are not just religious hymns; they are an integral part of the cultural fabric, embracing the spiritual heritage of the land. These bhajans form an essential part of various festivals and ceremonies, be it weddings, birth celebrations, or religious processions. Whether sung during festivals or in private gatherings, these melodious tunes carry the essence of devotion and instill a sense of peace in those who listen. The evolution of Desi Bhajans has kept them relevant and appealing to the younger generation, ensuring that this ancient tradition continues to thrive.

Hrisha Rashmi (Volunteer)