NREGA to statehood, musically
A rural boy band is making waves in Bundelkhand region. The boys entertain in regional dialect though none of their songs are romantic. The group is christened 'Sur Lehariya' and says its music is of 'awareness' genre.
Sur Lehariya sings songs on drought, farmer suicides, water problems, falling underground water level, education, health-hygiene, trees, animals, birds and mid-day meals or NREGA (a rural employment scheme). Their music also stresses on Bundelkhand statehood demand.
Ashok Bundelkar, 25, the group leader says, "Our entertainment is inspirational and motivational without being religious or spiritual. We musically educate rural people in the language they understand best."
So they have a song to nudge village students not to drop out and finish education till at least graduation level. The song goes like this, 'Gaon ki koilee raani masterni hoi gai re (a village girl has turned teacher)'
Ashok Bundelkar is the lead singer, lyricist and composer. Swami Deen, 28, plays 'harmonium'. Sunny, 14, plays 'ghada' (terracotta urn), Rajkumar, 24 plays 'dholak' (percussion) and Ashish Kumar, who is in class tenth plays 'tabla' (percussion).
A degree holder homeopath, SK Ranjan, who is not a musician, assembled Sur Lehariya. "Sur Lehariya was assembled as a cultural branch of our Bundelkhand Gana Parishad," said Dr Ranjan who is the chairperson of the parishad that works on drought and associated social issues.
Ranjan said that there were not any contemporary regional folk songs. "All the regional folk songs and lyrics that we hear are historical and do not talk about current issues. So I assembled this group to entertain and educate illiterate people who learn quickly through songs and dance," he said.
The group was assembled in March and has done 24 performances in Banda, Mahoba, Chitrakoot and Hamirpur. And has been getting invitation (to perform) from all the twelve Bundelkhand region districts of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
One of the songs that appeal all audience in the region is, 'Ghar-ghar mein anaaj hoi, Bundelkhand raaj jab hoi (every household will have food when Bundelkhand turns separate state)'.
All the group members have rural background-Rajkumar is a farmer, Swami Deen earns his living by teaching music to children, Ashok Bundelkar is a stenographer at a Sales Tax office in Banda and the other two are school students.