India fights Covid: Soulful cultural events, virtual tourism, here is how Rajasthan is helping Folk Artists

On occasion, CM Gehlot said that the initiative would support the artist community deprived of regular livelihood for several months.

Coronavirus has an adverse impact on the lives of thousands across the world and artists in Rajasthan have been badly hit during the pandemic. Rajasthan government led by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has launched “Padharo Mhare Des” digital COVID-19 relief concert series to support folk artists of the state. The digital concert will continue to reach out to folk artists in remote parts of the state to provide support.

What is ‘Padharo Mhare Des’ digital Covid-19 relief concert series?

The series is Rajasthan-based singer Manesha A Agarwal’s Arpan Foundation’s initiative to support the state’s folk artists. Renowned artist participating in the concert series include Manesha Ram and group – Meghvals of Jaisalmer; Dapu Khan Mirasi of the ‘Mumal’ fame; Bundu Khan and band – Langas of Jodhpur; Thanu Khan and Tarif Khan of Chala Mama Project; Sugni Devi – the singing sensation of the Kalbeliyas – Jodhpur; and Mehboob Khan Langa, among others.

Folk artists are solely dependent on their art for livelihood. This is a unique concept to support such folk artists during the coronavirus crisis. Such initiatives can play a crucial role in the growth of art forms in the state and promote virtual tourism. On occasion, CM Gehlot said that the initiative would support the artist community deprived of regular livelihood for several months.

“I was constantly concerned – an integral part of the state’s cultural fabric, folk artists of Rajasthan including Langas, Manganiyars, Bhopas, Merasis, Sehariyas, Kalbelias among others, have been severely hit during the pandemic. With tourism as well as cultural performances during celebrations scaled down almost entirely, many of them face an unprecedented threat, both to livelihood as well as the survival of their musical legacy. Arpan Foundation with a team of entertainment and media professionals reached out to the remotest parts of Rajasthan and recorded performances of these folk artists from where they live,” Manesha Agarwal, founder of Arpan Foundation, said.

The premiere episode of Padharo Mhare Des began with a Ganesh Vandana by Mahesha Ram and group from Jaisalmer. As a guest performance, Padma Bhushan Grammy Awardee Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt played a rendition of Padharo Mhare Des on his creation, the ‘Mohan Veena.’ This was followed by folk music performances and dance by the Langas and Kalbeliyas from Jodhpur and Manganiyars from Barmer.

Arpan Foundation has extended humble monetary support to each of the 70 Folk Artists who were recorded. The Foundation will continue efforts to reach out to folk artists in remote parts of the state.

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