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Suprabhat Group

Folk from the Land of Jaisindhar


You return to those lines, and they hold the song in place.

That’s what a song is mostly.

The songs of Jalal Khan possess such captivating powers. This eminent artist is from Barmer who is carrying forward his family tradition of folk music. He has been learning and performing music from a very young age. He plays the harmonium along with singing. He was studying till 10th standard and after that, he learnt music.

He sings songs of love and betrayal, birth and death. He says, “Such is the juxtapose of artists. We delve into anomalies.”

A father of two young girls, Jalal Khan sang a beautiful song blessing for a young girl/ daughter.

Baisa mahare laad ka Ghana
Baisa mahare footra Ghana

(My daughter is adorable and loving.

She is very beautiful)

Mamosa mamera dese hai
Kakosa kariya dese hai

(Maternal uncle would give lots of gifts,

Paternal uncle would gift a camel)

Telling more about the song he mentions how the emotions and love for a daughter are beautifully portrayed in this folk piece. No wonder that artists, who render these beautiful lyrics day in and day out, get influenced by their spirit too. He says, “I see my daughters and I think that I am not able to give them all that deserve. Folk musicians struggle for a living. This is a hard reality. I am sending them to school now, but I don’t know till when I would be able to take care of them. It makes me sad sometimes.”

Jalal Khan is from Jaisindhar village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He has been following the tradition of singing his folk from the very beginning. He says that they after taking birth their parent’s hand over them with different instruments and thus they learn them without any formal training. Such is the music of Jaisalmer, embedded in its golden sand dunes and engraved in every stone of the majestic living fort-city. Manganiyaar communities like that of Jalal Khan have kept their tradition alive through all these years through Guru-Shishya parampara, (teacher-disciple tradition). They have been entertaining the royal families since generations and their contribution to musical history is as vast as the Thar desert itself. The elegant use of poetry and numerous metaphors is what makes them different. Every nook and corner of Jaisalmer is filled with several Jalal Khans who are trying to carve a niche with their individual uniqueness.

His voice is jewelled with the gems of semi-classical tone. He sands us another beautiful song to cover his melancholy with a big and warm smile. This was the song of welcome. Such is the warmth of the Manganiyaar tribes. Perhaps, such is the life of these artists who translate their pain into beautiful folk songs.

Thana kehdi karada manvare re
Mahra mithiya mehmaan ghar aaveya
They revo to randhana shiya laapsi
Thana Chadtana Chodmo chaand re

(How should I please my guests

My beloved guests have come home

If you stay, then I’ll make sweet

But don’t make me panic like growing moon)

This beautiful song also talks about the warm welcoming culture of Rajasthan. Jalal Khan puts this in his melodious voice and sings other songs of royalty, bravery, love and pain. His songs touch a chord strongly. They reach where they are supposed to.

The music is infinite, and the possibilities of his melodies are endless. The music itself is so vast that it cannot be confined to a textbook and standardized, as there are no set standards for learning music which is imbibed in his blood through generations. India is known for its colours and various layers of culture and the culture of Jaisalmer is rich enough with harmonious melodies promulgating in unforgettable renditions. He sings all kind of songs and all the ragas, amongst which is favourite is Kalyan raag which is the mother of all six the ragas. Jalal has performed almost everywhere in the country in most of the major cities. He wishes to go out of the country and spread the invaluableness of his culture in the world. He wants to make his country proud. He dreams of taking his community and the talent in them to the world and uplift them.

He also sings Sufi and hopes that his songs of prayers reach the one. Someday, he will shower his love and kindness upon him, he says with a great belief.

He calls himself blessed to have performed all across the country. But when it comes to making a living, the struggle still exists. It is not easy. Money is an issue, an impediment. But the hope is that people will find them someday on the internet; that someone will notice them, and launch them.

He will always sing. Whether it’ll give us anything or not. But you do few things because you are born to do that. Music is that for us, Jalal says.

Rasool Kan and Group

Enigmatic Tales of Folks


On hearing this song, one cannot resist but smell the air of Rajasthan:
Ghoomar hai nakrali hai maa
Ghoomar ramva mai jaasa

( Let me enjoy the dance, let me go there)

This is the song of fun and dance and all those emotions that a young girl beholds. Those emotions when translated in the beautiful and distinguished voice of the legendary Rasool Khan, they strike a chord in the heart.

Rasool Khan, an illustrious artist of Manganihar tribe of folk musicians of Rajasthan. He sings songs of love and betrayal. Songs of hope, and fear. Songs of faith, and of defiance. Rasool Khan is from Khuri, Jaisalmer and has been entertaining people from the age of 14 with his music. He is a singer and has learnt from his grandfather Baghe Khan. Simple, humble and not very talkative, Satto Khan explains about his music with a sense of calm, and with a composed articulated manner. Being a Manganiyaar he is a born musician and can have songs in his treasure right from birth to death and for all the occasions. Rasool is a very simple gentleman who believes in simple living and following ones’ passion with the whole heart. He can sing in all the raags.

When it comes to studies he hasn’t attended school after class 7th but still remembers the age-old songs coming from generations just like that. He now feels that education is very important and therefore he made sure that his children are studying. He wants his children to study more than him and become a competent person in life such that they cannot be fooled. Apart from music he also drives auto in the city of Jaisalmer for some extra earnings.

He has performed at most of the places on both national and international levels from Deli, Punjab, Haryana, Mumbai to the USA, Sydney, London, etc. The music is infinite, and the possibilities of his melodies are endless. The music itself is so vast that it cannot be confined to a textbook and standardized, as there are no set standards for learning music which is imbibed in his blood through generations.

Before he sings, he touches his ears, folds hands, and ask for forgiveness. In Islam, the religion he and other Manganihars follow, music — ‘ useless entertainment’ — is forbidden for it leads away from the path of spirituality, they say.

But he is a believer like others of his tribe and believes in the mystic power of music to reach God.

Music, they have been told, creates arousal, and passion. Hearts should not be moved with desire. Stretching, raising, and softening the voice could lead to sins of passion.

Rasool Khan has travelled places for his music. He has performed all across the globe in various countries. He says, “I can’t name all of them in one go. But what’s the benefit? We still struggle. May God listen to our songs (prayers).”

He has been learning music from a very young age. He first learnt it from Ustad Baage Khan when he was a child. It is a lifelong journey, he says. It never ends.

Rasool has studied till the seventh standard and could not pursue further studies. But, now he wants his children to study hard and also learn music knowing the condition of Indian tribal music he doesn’t want them to starve like himself. He feels that education will take his children ahead and would also help them take music all across. He also drives auto-riksha for a living since folk music is only a seasonal work.

“I sing while driving auto-rickshaw too. It entertains my passengers. Afterall, I have to take care of my family and money is a challenge through music.” He says.

He quotes from his song, ‘Shayanayo Badariyo jino madro baje’

Kaagaj hue to baach lu
Karm na baacho jae

(If it would have been paper, I would have read it

But I cannot read my karmas)

Though it’s a romantic song he picks these lines to convey the irony of life. It is a difficult paradox. But music is all that we love. Hope someday our songs shall be heard.

Gullu Khan and Group

Folks Weaving the Generations!


Gullu Khan is a folk singer from Jangra village in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. He is from the Manganiyaar community and is blessed to perform in Hindu’s temple and as well as Muslim’s mosque. He is welcomed by both the religions whether Hindu or Muslim. He has been singing and following his age old generation’s traditions of cultural folk songs. Talking about the importance of music in his life, he says, that even when new-born cries in their family, it’s in a perfect melodious pitch!

Personally, his favourite genre is Sufi music. As is the case of most popular Manganiyaar singers, his patron is the Thakurs. While he has performed in many countries to date, his favourite place to perform in Paris. He fondly speaks about the importance of education in his and his children’s life. Apart from music, this talented man from Jaisalmer wants his children to be well educated apart from providing them with a training in music. His children are equally passionate about music and want to pursue it further. His musical themes are deeply inspired by and embedded in the culture of Jaisalmer. Gullu Khan, an illustrious singer of Manganiyaar tribe beautiful weaves various tales of love and bravery together when he sings,

Aade aade nadiyon jaddo ghanero
Teru dero betu lijiyo thaare saath

There are a lot of rivers in your front,

Take someone with you who can swim and take you across rivers

Selabandh mas dheema dheema bol
Raje mhaara raj

Talk to me sweetly, you are a Royal Rajput by blood, and you are mine.

Aade aade doongariya vana ghaner
Ghodliya lijiyo thaare saath

There are a lot of forests in your way,

So take a horse for your travel, so you won’t have to walk.

Raj dhabarnayanira sahiba

I am Your beloved with big eyes,

Raje mhaara raj

Talk to me sweetly, you are a Royal Rajput by blood, and you are mine.

Thane, 60 says that he has been learning from a very young age. This is what everyone in our tribe used to do, so did I. But I could not study much. Regretfully he says as there was no school in the village.

But life has its own way and one should not interfere much with the universal plans, he says. Music has taken him all over the world. He has performed in as many countries as he says, “Cannot be named all in one go”. He has also performed in a circus in Europe and has stayed there for four years. He says, those days were different, but now I am old and I hardly get any work. Such is the life of artists. You cannot claim your success.

He sings songs of a bouquet of human emotions meticulously weaved in folk tales.

In the song, Pehlo pehlo, he beautifully describes the sweet-salty relationship of a couple.

Pehlo pehlo dhaalo re banna sa dhaliyo
Daavdeo pad gayo kuda
Mhaaro bhanwar khile shoghti
Dhaavadlo pad gayo sudaao
Mhaaro banno sa khole shoghti

The husband and wife are playing a board game,

The husband’s move is quite a bad one and the wife’s move is excellent.

Therefore, the husband gets mad and throws the board game

So the wife gets upset and shuts herself is a room

Pehla manao nanadal, aaviya
Kholo bhabaj, kamdhajiya kiwad

The husband’s sister comes first and asks her to come out, and open the door

Mhaare beero sa kaiso roshno

She says to her, why are you angry with my brother?

Thaari manayi nanadal baesa nahi maanu
Thaare beero sa goonthiyo janjaal

In reply, the wife says: I will not be convinced,

Your brother ruined the game.

Such is the nature of folklore. They describe human emotions in the rawest but entertaining manner.

Gullu Khan has witnessed how folk music is neglected and is a subject to the vices of middleman who take innocent folk artists abroad and pay them nuts. He sadly says, there are no mediums, no platforms for us to have our copyright. Our songs are stolen. We preserve them in our blood and sweat but at the end, we are the ones who starve while others make money through that. This is unfortunate, he says.

Like other artists of Manganiyaar tribe, Gullu Khan also struggles for living in spite of being the custodian of this age-old folk art and a trained melodious voice. He is disappointed by the fact that this culture of folk music is gradually dying and it is high time to preserve this age-old tradition.

He hopes that the youth of this generation should understand and preserves the folk music. He is sad about the fact that today’s generation prefers Bollywood music over the folk music of the country.

But he says hope is something we should never lose.