Strength is the most prominent feature of her face and her eyes say it all. The journey that began in her childhood is now a diminishing art form, but she is all too busy preserving it and taking it forward.
Padma Shree Teejan Bai of Chattisgarh, a leading exponent of Pandvani ( Pandav Vani that celebrates stories of Pandavas from Mahabharat), left the Lucknow audience spellbound with her powerful renditions on Sunday.
Organised by Breakthrough, the event was aimed at empowering women and making them realize their strength. “Teejan Bai has breached a male bastion and has excelled in the art that was once only dominated by males. She was married off at the age of 13, yet she made a mark for herself,” said Sunita Menon of Breakthrough.
Narrating her own tale, she said, “I learnt the art from my nanaji while he did his rehearsals. Even he did not come to know that I had become his silent disciple except once when he caught me at his door. ” And once she started singing, nothing could stop her. Awards, recognitions and respect, followed only because she made an effort for it and realised her worth, confessed Teejan. “I am illiterate and have learnt only to write my signature. But, women don’t need any qualification to gain respect. They deserve it anyway,” she says.