In Poll Season, Folk Singers Roped in to Sway Voters in Rajasthan
Artistes prepare satirical songs on various issues — social, political and economic to entertain people and in support of particular candidates to woo local voters.
Representative image. (Image: Twitter/@MithunMalakar)
Jaipur: As the full-throated singing of a group of men in turbans to the melodious Rajasthan folk-tunes fills the air, the crowd starts to build up.
Amid the sounds of 'nagara' and hand cymbals is an attempt to send a message to voters in Rajasthan where folk music is an integral part of poll campaigning.
Artistes prepare satirical songs on various issues — social, political and economic to entertain people. During elections, they make songs mainly on political issues and in support of particular candidates to woo local voters, says Vijendra Meena, who organises such events.
Khela-Kayal is one such form of traditional music which is used to draw masses. It is popular in Dausa, Karauli, Sawaimadhopur and nearby areas in eastern Rajasthan where new songs praising candidates emerge in elections and are liked by locals.
Such songs are being posted on social media too and their reach is spreading.
Local singers prepare songs in praise of a candidate. If the music is good and lyrics are catchy, it draws attention of the public. It helps in building momentum in certain areas, Omprakash Hudla, an independent MLA who is planning to contest Lok Sabha elections, says.
It is also a means to establish a connection with people. Voters usually consider the overall image of the politician and his works before casting the vote, he says.
Manraj Deewana, a singer based in Tonk, says that the demand for songs on candidates during elections comes from their supporters and the candidate is glorified and praised in lyrics.
We appreciate the candidate, highlight his works and create a public-friendly image. It is made in local dialect and circulated on social media. Such songs are used in campaigning and help them in image building, he says.
Deewana adds that a normal song is composed and prepared for Rs. 3000-4000 and while it costs around Rs 8000-10,000 if a video shoot is also done.
There are several songs on local leaders. They are projected like heroes. There is a craze for such songs which are played not only during elections but on other occasions like social gatherings, another composer says.
Satire remains a key element of these songs as various issues are highlighted. Ghotalo kand hai bhari, vaaku jaane janta saari, PNB bank se inne dekho, rakam to khub dakari, ba rupyoo se jo se hi ye chuhupe hai bhrastrachari. (It's a big scam (PNB) which is known by all. Look how the corrupt swindled PNB bank money and they are now hiding with that money) , sings an artiste.
State Food and civil supply minister Ramesh Meena, who belongs to Karauli, feels that use of traditional folk art and music during elections has reduced over the period of time. However, he says, such practices are still prevalent.
In western Rajasthan, the Manganiyar folk singers are roped by supporters of candidates from both the Congress and the BJP to go door-to-door to spread their message. They cleverly weave in the lyrics in popular traditional songs to attract listeners.
During the assembly elections in December last year, members of both the parties used folksingers for canvassing.
Paanch saal me dhang ko na koi kaam karwayo, batan me hi time gawayo, Janta pe eeko dhyan na gayo'. (No remarkable work was done in five years, time was just wasted in talks and he did not care for public), is a song used to target any incumbent.
Rajasthan has 25 Lok Sabha seats. It goes to polls in two phases on April 29 and May 6.
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