Is Ghaggar river that flows in Haryana, the mythical river Saraswati? Several studies conducted along Ghaggar’s palaeochannel may suggest so.
“Several studies including explorations and excavations have been carried out both by the Government and non-governmental organizations along the palaeochannel, represented today by the Ghaggar river in Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat. Some researchers have ascribed this palaeochannel to the Saraswati river mentioned in ancient Indian literature, ” Minister of State for Culture Dr. Mahesh Sharma informed Lok Sabha.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had already conducted about 10 excavations under Saraswati Project since 2003, Sharma said, and added that the excavation work at the ancient mounds of Binjore, District Ganganagar, Rajasthan during the field season 2014-1015 is in progress.
Around four sites in Haryana namely Adibadri, Thanesar, Bhiranam, Hansi have been excavated by ASI to identify the mythological river. Similarly, in Rajasthan four sites namely Baror, Tarkhanwala Dera, Chak 86. Karanpura have been dug out. Two more sites in Gujarat’s Kachchha district have been surveyed by ASI to search the long lost river.
The desert of Rajasthan is home to a plethora of folk arts, and public festivals celebrating these folk forms are growing by the day. One such event, the Jodhpur Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF), in its 12th edition between October 10 and 14, will once again merge local folk sounds with global ones for a unique cross-cultural experience.
The Jodhpur RIFF, as it is called, takes place annually at the majestic Mehrangarh Fort, and is curated by Divya Bhatia, who feels music events or festivals are “among the few forums left that allow for a joyful, shared experience for all, irrespective of background or social standing. One needs no prior knowledge or understanding to lose oneself in the art form, he added.
Bhatia also gave IANS a sneak peek into the lineup of the upcoming festival. “We have a new thrust on original and contemporary writing in the regional traditions and will be exploring some new lyrics and poetry from Rajasthan and Punjab,” he said.
The festival will also feature a collaboration between Rajasthani and Irish musicians and new work with Ballake Sissoko from Senegal, with the Authentic Light Orchestra from Switzerland and with the master of the Armenian duduk, Emmanuel Hovhannisyan.
Yissy Garcia from Cuba will be at the gala as first woman ‘Rustler’ — an artiste who collaborates with musicians of diverse forms. Ghatam maestro and Grammy-winning Vikku Vinayakram is also scheduled to perform, along with a performance by wonderful Punjabi singer Bir Singh, Afrobrat DJ Jose Marquez and some legendary Rajasthani music.
“Jodhpur RIFF recognises and celebrates our Rajasthani intangible heritage. Moreover, it creates opportunities and facilitates the judicious use of resources for the revitalisation of this heritage – providing inspiration, engagement and livelihood for traditional artists.
“Today, because of the festival, our international collaborations and presentations across the world, Jodhpur RIFF has become the consistent single largest employer of Rajasthani folk musicians,” said Bhatia.
Does he find folk musicians stable and secure in their practice and livelihood?
“Folk musicians across India can do with much more stability and security. As listeners, I would encourage us to learn about them, discover them, buy their music, invite them to perform for us and attend all their live concerts,” he said. (IANS)