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Music Rise above all Barriers: Meet the Mirasis of Rajasthan

When people belonging to Mirasi community of Rajasthan took liking for music, they lost all their property and prestige

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Mirasis of Rajasthan. Image source: 1080.plus
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  • The word Mirasi comes from the Arabic word “miras” which stands for glorious past or heritage
  • The children of the Mirasi caste were denied admission in public schools for a long time
  • Mirasis are trapped in an institutionalised caste system where there is no respect for their talent

Legend has it, the Mirasi caste of Rajasthan, has a glorious past where they were not  a backward community but immensely wealthy. Later, when they took liking to music, they lost all their property and prestige. Thereby, they took to the profession of singing for the pleasure of others. For as long as India can remember, they have written and composed folk songs, trying to keep the folk tradition of Rajasthani music alive. However, these people are looked down upon by others, especially those belonging to upper-caste Indian communities.

An ancient Mirasi. Image Source : Wikimedia Commons

The children of the Mirasi caste have been denied admission in public schools for a long time. These people go from place to place, performing to entertain the audience, yet, never earn any appreciation for their art. They are trapped in an institutionalised caste system where there is no respect for their talent but there is every scope for being ridiculed by the apparently well-off upper castes and classes of the society. They get the worst of the prejudiced Indian societies.

Mirasees of Rajasthan. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

About a decade ago, New York based non-governmental organisations like Folk Arts Rajasthan (FAR) and India-based Lok Kala Sagar Sansthan or folk arts organisation have taken over the responsibility to create better living and practising conditions for the Mirasi people. They encourage their music, aid them financially to ensure that they have whatever  they need to improve their music and provide them opportunities to showcase their talents in places where they will indeed be appreciated. All in all, the organisations are making an effort to re-establish the respectable position of the Mirasi people in the Indian society. They have made it possible for the Mirasi children to attend public school which was previously not allowed.

Mirasees perform at an event. Image Source: daijiworld.com

A representative of the Lok Kala Sagar Sansthan, Hanover Wadia told The Hindu, “The community is used to a ‘jajman’ system where it’s their mere duty to play music rather than it being appreciated as an art form. There is no dignity or respect left in the songs that they sing, and hence, they find a connect with larger audiences away from their villages who appreciate their music.”

Bollywood often uses the folk tracks of Merasis, by translating them to Hindi. Not just that, the Mirasis also get offers from musicians from other genres who want to collaborate with them to make fusion. However, they never pay heed to such things. They want to keep their culture of music, pure.

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It takes great courage to leave all wealth and take music just for the sake of others’ pleasure

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A Different Take on Masculinity: Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota

Abhimanyu and Radhika are childhood friends. She has seen him grow from pain to pain without feeling it.

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From The Shooting of the Movies. Flickr

Once Salman Khans heroine in “Maine Pyar Kiya”, Bhagyashree’s son Abhimanyu is now out to make his quirky debut as a boy-man who cant feel any physical pain.

The trailer of his first film “Mard Ko Dard Nahin Hota” has him bleeding through his head and nose as he walks down the street talking to us about the rare congenital disease that precludes pain.

Vasan Bala
A poster of the film ‘Raman Raghav’, directed by Anurag Kashyap. Wikimedia

The idea of not feeling any physical pain could serve as a decent metaphor for the desensitised times that we live in. But then I am not sure Vasan Bala, who has served as an assistant on dark films like “The Lunchbox” and “Raman Raghav”, wants us to assess his film as anything but what it is:a film about a guy who can’t feel any pain.

The protagonist’s ambition, perhaps echoing the modest aspirations of the film’s debutant hero, are severely restricted. So I suspect, is the appeal of this whimsical piece of cinema which also stars the very watchable Radhika Madan.

Also Read: Bollywood 2018: 10 Blockbuster Movies of First Half of the Year

Abhimanyu and Radhika are childhood friends. She has seen him grow from pain to pain without feeling it. We see the defiant repudiation of pain in the film. But we aren’t really sure if the film would be a painless exercise. It seems to stretch one idea beyond endurance.( IANS)