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“Ragini” is a folk theatrical performance in Haryana. It is a unique form of music, which has not only entertained audiences for generations but has also played a significant role in bridging societal divides. The Ragini form of theater was popularized by the legendary Lakhmi Chand. Singing is a great way of demolishing societal differences as folk singers are highly esteemed and they are sought after and invited for events, ceremonies and special occasions regardless of their caste or status. This folk music of Haryana has been spread by the Bhats, Saangis and Jogis community of northern India. Baje Bhagat, Bharatchandra Kaushik, Dayachand Mayna, and Lakhmi Chand are some popular early era Haryana artists who started this kind of folk music in the region.

At the heart of this enchanting art form is Suresh, a middle-aged talented folk singer from Karnal who has dedicated his life to Ragini. Born into a family of folk singers, Suresh inherited his musical prowess from his parents. Suresh learned singing from his mother and developed a passion for music from a young age, ultimately deciding to pursue it as his profession.

He typically takes the stage with four “gharas,” locally crafted pitchers with rubber-covered tops that produce distinctive sounds when struck with a piece of rubber or a stone. Ghara is accompanied by a Harmonium and an Indian Banjo. Indian Banjo, also known as bulbul tarang (literally “waves of nightingales”) is a string instrument used by folk artists of Punjab and Haryana. The instrument employs two sets of strings, one set for drone, and one for melody. The strings run over a plate or fretboard, while above are keys resembling typewriter keys, which when depressed fret or shorten the strings to raise their pitch. 

Suresh uses a rich range of vocal tones, and expressive gestures and makes sure that he himself enjoys the performance first and then the audience. These songs are typically delivered in the region’s native dialect, which makes it raw and natural to listen to. The group performs Chetna Geet and updeshak bhajan in their Haryanvi dialect which includes topics on social issues, patriotism, etc.

All these are inter-caste songs, which are fluid in nature, and are never personalized for specific castes. These are sung collectively by women from different strata, castes, dialects so these songs do change fluidly in dialect, style, words, etc. This adoptive style can be seen from the adoption of tunes of Bollywood movie songs into Haryanvi songs. Despite this fluid nature, Haryanvi songs have a distinct style of their own.




Randhir Singh

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Contact SURESH KUMAR at +91 7496839800