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.