Posts filed under ‘Kosli Song’

Ganda Baja – a musical tradition of western Odisha

 Following article is from EPW:

Ganda Baja is a prominent folk musical tradition of western Odisha. The players of this art form belong to the Ganda community (a Dalit community, largely from parts of western Odisha that border Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh). Generally, the Ganda are landless people mainly dependent on Ganda Baja and weaving for their livelihood. Since their traditional occupation of weaving has been failing with mill-made clothes flooding the market, they have been reduced to landless agricultural labourers. Some among them have also migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood.

“Baja” is a collective of musical instruments, including membranophones (the dhol, nisan, and tasa or timkidi), an aerophone (muhuri), and an idiophone (jhumka). This Baja is traditionally played during marriages, childbirth ceremonies, idol immersion processions, some administrative occasions, funeral processions, etc. Each occasion’s music has a distinct beat and tenor. For example, the “Jhi Bahar Par” (music for daughter’s departure to her in-laws’ place) is played when a bride is escorted out of the village by friends and relatives as she leaves for her marital home. The “Dargad Par” is played when a wife wails and mourns her husband’s death. Songs are specifically learnt for the occasion. The composition of “Dargad Par” evokes fear and awe in the listener.

The Ganda Baja is a way of living, a cultural manifestation of life in western Odisha. These days, the traditional genre has undergone tremendous change. A Ganda Baja troop consists of a minimum of five members in different capacities. They are Muhuria (the person who operates the muhuri), Dhulia (the person who operates the dhol), Taslia (the person who operates the tasa), Nisnia (the person who operates the nisan), and Jhumkia (the person who operates the jhumka). Five members is the minimum strength of the troop, but six members is considered a sound quorum for the group, with one dhol, one muhuri, one jhumka, one tasa and two nisan. The group has the flexibility of extending it to eight members, if there is a demand for dancers (a man in the outfit of a woman) from their clients. It is believed that a troop is stronger with a larger number of members in varying capacities. The members have learnt this art form from their forefathers, having travelled together and performed with them since childhood. Due to the stigma associated with the community and the practice of untouchability, they learn this art form from their family members as a livelihood skill.

The members of the community mainly earn during the marriage season. Earlier, they used to perform for three to five days. Now, it has reduced to a maximum of two days. Earlier, the agreements between the patron and the Ganda Baja troop were through the jajmani system in these areas and were usually oral contracts. The wage rates offered to them were very low and they had to accept whatever amount was offered. Once they entered into an agreement, sometimes their patrons had exclusive and absolute rights over their services for a particular period of time (usually three or five days). For this stipulated time they were like bonded labourers. In some instances, the party engaging them would pressurise the troop to beat drums all night so they could drink and dance. Sometimes they would even have to walk for hours and cover long distances carrying heavy instruments to reach their destination. And, at times, they would have to wait for long hours for food, once they reached there.

Things, however, are changing. Currently, a contract is completely based on mutual agreement. Slowly, the community is demanding market-negotiated wage rates. Income encompasses payments in both cash and kind. The minimum rate is ₹ 5,000 per performance, and the maximum is ₹ 15,000, shared by the members of the troop. They have around 30 performances for different occasions over seven to eight months in a year.

Ganda Baja is still a major source of livelihood for this community in a large part of western Odisha. Modern music has seriously affected the livelihood of the Baja troops, resulting in the gradual disappearance of this age-old traditional art form. In 2014, folk artists from western Odisha had staged a protest in front of the legislative assembly demanding the status of Adikala (primitive art) for Ganda Baja. On that occasion, they tried to foreground two issues: their strong attachment to their culture, and their earnings from their occupation. They vociferously argued that their culture was their occupation too, which is why there is an urgent need for the revival and promotion of Ganda Baja.

Sujit Kumar Mishra (sujitkumar72@gmail.com) teaches economics at the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

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October 21, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Jitendra Haripal, an artiste par excellence

Following is a report from the TNIE:

SAMBALPUR: Jitendra Haripal, the voice behind ‘Rangabati’, had never hoped for a Padma Award. A Dalit with no formal training in music who took to singing out of passion, he hopes the recognition might help him change his financial condition.

It was  ‘Rangabati’, which took him to the zenith of popularity in the mid-70s. The song was recorded by All India Radio, Sambalpur in 1975-76 for Surmalika special programme and re-recorded (Disc) later on in Indian Record Company (INERCO), Kolkata in 1978-79. So far, he has sung in over 1,000 Koshali and Sambalpuri songs.
Even today, his voice continues to create euphoria among crowd whenever he sings at functions.

His first song recorded and broadcast was ‘Bhalu Palala Patarake’ followed by ‘Hai Kustan Hai Kustan’, ‘Mandal Bajila’, ‘Lenjera Ghanti Delana’ and many more such songs but it was ‘Ranagabati’  which made him popular.

However, his struggle for existence continues till date with one of his son, Paras driving an auto rickshaw to support their big family while he had lost another son, Pratap, who worked as a daily wager and fell to death at a construction site. Haripal has been bestowed with many awards including the Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2001, Doctor of Literature (Honoris Causa) by Utkal University of Culture, Bhubaneswar, in 2015 for his unparalleled contribution to folk music.

Haripal got the news of his being chosen for Padma Shri Award from this paper while returning to Sambalpur from Panchmahalla in Ulunda block of Sonepur district.

February 3, 2017 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Sadhu Meher, Jitendra Haripal, Mukut Minz get Padma Shri

BHUBANESWAR: Three eminent personalities  from Odisha have been chosen for this year’s prestigious Padma Shri awards for their contribution to the fields of cinema, performing arts and music. Actor-director Sadhu Meher, Odissi dancer Aruna Mohanty and singer of the popular Sambalpuri song ‘Rangabati’, Jitendra Haripal, have been selected to receive the Padma Shri Awards-2017. Odisha-born, Dr Mukut Minz, now based in Chandigarh, has also been selected for Padma Shri.

Sadhu Meher

Although a delayed move, the veteran Sadhu Meher is happy that he has been chosen for the award. “I am delighted that my contribution to both Hindi and Odia cinemas has been recognised,” said Meher, who has acted in 38 Odia films and directed five __ ‘Abhimana’, ‘Aparichita’, ‘Abhilash’, ‘Gopa Re Badhhuchhi Kala Kanhei’ and ‘Babula’.

The  77-year-old artiste has also directed a Hindi film, ‘Yeh Jaan Meri Hai’. In fact, Meher began his acting career with Hindi films like ‘Bhuvan Shome’, ‘Ankur’ and ‘Mrigaya’ and then moved on to do Odia films.

He, however, is unhappy with the present set of actors in Ollywood.  “There are two kinds of actors. Someone who loves to act and one who likes to see himself on the screen. Today’s actors in Odia film industry belong to the second category. They just wear make-up and fancy clothes to appear on screen but have no dedication to learn the nuances of acting,” he said.

For Aruna Mohanty, the award is a recognition of her contribution towards propagating Odissi across the country and abroad. “I am extremely happy that the country has recognised my efforts towards promoting and propagating this ancient dance form,” said the dancer, who dedicated the award to Guru Gangadhar Pradhan.

Talking to ‘Express,’ Haripal said he owed his success to his wife Mallika.  He said the award will give a boost to folk song.
Dr Minz successfully undertook a kidney transplant surgery on External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. Minz is a native of Sundargarh district.

January 31, 2017 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Remembering legendary music director late Saroj Nanda

Following report is from the Sambad:
Nanda

October 1, 2013 at 9:39 am 2 comments

Kosli Song ‘Maati Maar Baasanaa’

May 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm Leave a comment

Binod Pasayat juggles pen and scissors with aplomb

Following is a report by TOI:

SAMBALPUR: He is the recipient of Sarala Samman in 2008. Odisha Sahitya Academy felicitated him in 2010 for his contribution to the field of literature. But 83-year-old renowned litterateur and lyricist Binod Pasayat never fails to open his barber shop every morning.

“This is my bread and butter and literature is my hobby. So I maintain an equilibrium between my two professions,” smiles the octogenarian, who has numerous prestigious awards and citations to his credit. The writer of several plays and songs, considered an important figure in the history of Sambalpuri language, has no other source of income apart from his inherited profession.

Born in the year 1935 in Balangir town, Pasayat had to drop out of school after Class VIII to help his father in their ancestral profession because of their poor financial condition. Though he could not complete his studies, his passion for literature led him to shift his workplace to Sambalpur in 1953. “I came in contact with Murari Prasad Mishra, a renowned cultural figure of Sambalpur, and with his encouragement and support I started my literary career in Sambalpur,” recalls Pasayat. “But it was famous musician Arun Prasanna Seth who gave a new shape to my songs and I created one Sambalpuri song after another,” he reminisces.

However, it was Pasayat’s famous Sambalpuri play ‘Mui Nai Mare’ (I will never die) that brought him fame. In the play, the actor playing Ravan, the demon king of Lanka, refused to die at the hands of Ram because his wife suggested him not to die this time. Everyone, including the director tried a lot to persuade him to die, but he was rigid not to die this time. The play was a hit and Pasayat’s work was appreciated by one and all.

“The government should recognize his contribution by providing him a pension as a mark of respect to the artist,” says retired teacher and educationist Laxmikant Mishra.

May 16, 2012 at 2:10 am Leave a comment

Pakhana upare jharana: a unique Kosli song

April 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm 1 comment

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