Festival of happiness –– that’s how Punjabi singer-songwriter Gurdas Maan, describes Baisakhi. Speaking about the essence and the significance of the day, he shares, “The festival of harvest is a big festival for us. Jo log khaate hai, peete hain woh sab kheti baadi se juda hua hai. It’s a moment of happiness when a farmer’s effort reaps rewards. It’s the day that commemorated the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj and also to commemorate the martyrs of Jallianwalah Bagh.”
Sharing anecdotes of the festival during his growing up years in Punjab, he shares, “To celebrate the harvest, there used to be a fair, wherein the farmers would dress in their best clothes and celebrate it in full fervour by performing bhangra. One could gorge sweets such as laddoo, jalebi, at the fair. And apart from the food, there used to be hordes of games, wrestling and kabaddi matches,” says Maan, who will be performing at a Baisakhi festival in Mumbai on April 14, to support children suffering from Cancer.
Maan adds that he would perform bhangra at school functions, and win accolades for it as well. “That would give me utmost happiness. These are the memories I cherish the most of the festival,” says the singer, popular for songs such as Ki Banu Duniya Da, Aisa Des Hai Mera.
Maan recently met Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace, and performed at The Royal Albert Hall, Madison Square, New York, and Wembley Arena London. He says that the presence of Punjabi culture has spread far and wide, through cinema and music.
“The essence of Punjabi culture lies in giving respect to others, which is still prevalent in today’s times. We sing songs to celebrate a child’s birth to various stages of his life through the years. The culture of Punjab is associated with it. Even in a top chartbuster list, its music is among the top ten. Punjabi culture saari culture mein samaar ho gaya hai.There is no boundary between Western and folk music. English ke words bhi hamare geeton mein aane lage hai.Unki gayak shaili mein hamare words jaane lage hai,” he signs off.