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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
  • 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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Three Projects Help India to Stop its Share of Water to Pakistan after Pulwama

The waters of the western rivers - the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab - averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan.

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Picture Courtesy:-www.economylead.com

The government has envisaged three projects to give intent to its decision to stop its share of water from three eastern rivers of the Indus system – the Beas, Ravi and Sutlej – from going to Pakistan.

The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack though the Union cabinet had approved implementation of one of the key projects – Shahpurkandi dam – in December last year.

The waters of the western rivers – the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab – averaging around 135 MAF, were allocated to Pakistan except for “specified domestic, non-consumptive and agricultural use permitted to India”, according to a treaty.

India has also been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through run-of-the-river (RoR) projects on the western rivers which, subject to specific criteria for design and operation, is unrestricted.

pakistan, india, water ban
However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. VOA

To utilise the waters of the Eastern rivers, India has constructed the Bhakra Dam on Satluj, Pong and Pandoh Dam on Beas and Thein (Ranjitsagar) on Ravi. These storage works, together with other works like Beas-Sutlej Link, Madhopur-Beas Link and Indira Gandhi Nahar Project have helped India utilise nearly the entire share (95 per cent) of the eastern river waters.

However, about 2 MAF of water annually from Ravi is reported to be still flowing unutilised to Pakistan. The other two projects are Ujh multipurpose project and the second Ravi Beas link below Ujh.

Here’s the reality check of the three projects:

Shahpurkandi Project: It aims to utilise the waters coming from powerhouse of Thein dam in order to irrigate 37,000 hectares of land in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab by generating 206 MW of power.

The project was scheduled to be completed by September 2016. However, following a dispute between the two states, work was suspended in August 2014 but they reached an agreement last September and the construction work has now resumed with the Centre monitoring its progress. The central government had in December last year announced assistance of Rs 485 crore for the project and it would be completed by June 2022.

 

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The decision was affirmed by Water Resource Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday in the wake of Pulwama terror attack. VOA

The project will create irrigation potential of 5,000 hectare in Punjab and 32,173 hectare in Jammu and Kashmir.

Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir.

The total balance cost of pending work in ShahpurKandi Dam project is estimated Rs 1,973.53 crore (irrigation component: Rs 564.63 crore, power component Rs1408.90 crore).

The Shahpurkandi Project was initially approved by the Planning Commission in November, 2001. Revised costs were approved, but there was delay in its execution both because of lack of funds with Punjab and inter-state issues with Jammu and Kashmir.

An agreement was finally reached between the two states under the aegis of Water Resources Ministry in September last year.

Ujh multipurpose project: Construction of the Ujh multipurpose project will create a storage of about 781 million cubic metres of water on Ujh, a tributary of Ravi, for irrigation and power generation and provide a total irrigation benefits of 31,380 hectares in Kathua, Hiranagar and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir.

The total estimated cost of the project is Rs 5,850 crore and the Central assistance of Rs 4,892.47 crore on works portion of irrigation component as well as the special grant is under consideration. The project is yet to be implemented and it will take about six years for completion.

Second Ravi Beas link below Ujh: The project has been planned to tap excess water flowing down to Pakistan through Ravi by constructing a barrage across it for diverting water through a tunnel link to the Beas basin.

The project is expected to utilise about 0.58 MAF of surplus waters below Ujh dam by diverting the same to the Beas basin.

 

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Officials said that some water of the Ravi is going waste through the Madhopur Headworks downstream to Pakistan and it is required in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Wikimedia

The water distribution treaty between India and Pakistan was brokered by the World Bank in 1960 to use the water available in the Indus system of rivers originating in India.

 

ALSO READ: IOC Cancels Places for 2020 Tokyo Games from India after it Refused Visas to Pakistan

The Indus system comprises Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej rivers. The basin is mainly shared by India and Pakistan with a small share for China and Afghanistan.

Under the treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the three eastern rivers, averaging around 33 million acre feet (MAF), were allocated to India for exclusive use.  (IANS)