The lure of cities and its affluences drives migrants from these poor opportune regions. The Bhojpuri migrants do not migrate in isolation, they bring along with them their culture, tradition and habits and even to an extent acclimatize the culture of the destination region too. It is interesting to study this amalgam of different and varied cultural identities at destination. The accommodating cities turn to be melting pots of culture and traditions of the migrants.
In our pursuance to trace, preserve and provide an acknowledged platform to several unsung rural based poets, folk story tellers, singers and performers who have stood strongly against the winds of change, we created bank of their cultural biographies documenting their works and struggles. These cultural biographies provide an in-depth insight into their life struggles and quest to preserve the cultural heritage. This bank of cultural biographies signifies the role of such heroes in carrying forward the richness of folk traditions and culture which otherwise would have had been swept by the winds of commercialization.
A directory of cultural biographies is scheduled to shortly published wherein we provide a list of resource persons and their details. It also encompasses their short biography showcasing their life struggles, their folk form of expertise and credentials. Following are the biographies of some eminent Bhojpuri artists.
|Biography of Mainawati Devi Srivastava “Maina”
Born: 1st May 1945
Birth Place: Hasuaa Siwan Village,
Credentials: Playwright, lyricist, Folk singer, composer
“Gaon ke Geet” Part-I and Part II, ‘Bhojpuri Geet Sangrah’, ‘Papiha Sevati, ‘Pukhraan ki Thathi’ and several Bhojpuri Chalisa.
Mainwati hails from Gorakhpur, a central region of Bhojpuri culture of India’s North-Central Cultural zone. This region is known for its rich heritage and culture, particularly because of its association with cities like Varanasi, Gazipur, Mirzapur, Sasaram, Rohtas etc. Many pioneers of Bhojpuri culture have been born and associated with this region be it Mahant Digvijaynath, Baba Raghav Das, Dharikshan Mishra, Moti B.A Dudhnath Sharma, Janardhan Pandey ‘Anuragi’, or Rangpal. Alongwith these dignified names, is associated the name of Smt. Maina Devi Srivastava popularly known as ‘Maina’.
She was born with Bhojpuri cultural affluence in her home with her close kith and kins dedicated to Bhojpuri music and singing. She was always attracted to this culture since her childhood. She would spent hours speechlessly listening to music and songs being practiced by the male members of the family. Mainaji belonged to a family where women were not encouraged to pursue or follow music. She would make all attempts to learn about Bhojpuri music silently. Her mother never knew of her daughter’s latent talents in the field of music. It was only when her aunt who had heard Maina singing enticed her to encourage her to learn Bhojpuri music formally. She since her childhood days had strong inclination towards learning this culture. She would borrow and ardently read books of Chatriya Ghuguliya, Brijbhan, Nayika Banjara, Sortha. Though her mother insisted her father to send her for formal music classes yet it was all in vain. He chose to get her married where she could follow her dreams.
Maina got married at a tender age in Gorakhpur in the year 1958. She was fortunate to have a very supportive husband, Mr. Shambhu Sharan who supported her to get formal training in music. From here Maina did not look back chasing her dreams. She became the first female singer for Gorakhpur Akaashvani in 1973-74. Many of her features “Sangeet Rupak” were even aired internationally. She became a popular household name in Gorakhpur and Devaria even in remote villages. She was in great demand in Chappra concerts too. She earned many national and regional accolades for her exemplary contribution to Bhojpuri music. Some among them are ‘Swargiya Bhikhari Thakur Samman”, 1981, ‘Manjushri Samman’ from the Akhil Bhartiya Bhojpuri Parishad in 1993 and ‘Mahant Lal Das’ from Patna. Her contribution has been also through important compositions of Bhojpuri songs. She specializes in Jatsaar, Poorvi, Jhumar, Nat compositions and singing. Mainaji still remembers her each and every compositions by heart. Some of her important compositions are “Gaon ke Geet” Part-I and Part II, ‘Bhojpuri Geet Sangrah’, ‘Papiha Sevati, ‘Pukhraan ki Thathi’ and several Bhojpuri Chalisa. She is a lifetime member of Akhil Bhartiya Bhojpuri Sammelan, Patna and President Mahila Samiti, Shri Chitra Gupta Sabha, Gorakhpur and Vice President of Vishwa Bhojpuri Manch Balia, Uttar Pradesh. Given her credentials and strong contribution to the field of Bhojpuri music, Mainaji’s name stands tall.
|Current Mailing Address
Mainawati Devi Srivastava “Maina”
Ali Nagar, Charanlal Chauraha
(near Deep Studio)
|Biography of Kailash Nath Mishra
Birth Place: Delhupur, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Credentials: Playwright, lyricist, actor, Bhojpuri Folk singer
Notable works: Several Bhojpuri compositions, Hindi Ghazals and even Kavwallis. He has to his credit about 80-85 cassettes carrying his compositions and songs. Bhojpuri culture and traditions through his composition of traditional songs Lachahari, Kaharwa, viyog geet, Kajri, Dadra. Poorvi Chapariyaan, Vivah geet, Devi Geet.
The cherished memoirs of the beautiful unmettled pathways, shade of mango trees, lush green swaying crops bordering the riverlets, melody of chirping birds, thatched village cottages, mud houses, melodious seasonal songs of spring (Kajri) and monsoons, freely wandering animals, herds of sheep and goat, clear night sky, the twinkling of stars, cooling moon, the dawn sunrise shying between the trees, farmer carrying ploughs on his shoulder, the bulls ploughing, dancing peacocks and beautiful mesmerizing colourful butterflies still consume the thoughts of Kailsh ji. In this context it is worth mentioning a quote from Rabindranath Tagore’s composition in Gitanjali,
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth,
where tireless striving stretches its arms toward perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost it’s way
into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
into ever widening thought and action
In to that heaven of freedom, my father,
LET MY COUNTRY AWAKE!”
Kailash Nath Mishra is one of many famous Bhojpuri composers who thrive and earn livelihood through his compositions and its presentations. He still remembers and aspires for his village life but all this remains only as a dream that sustain his thoughts and activities.
Kailash Mishra was born in 1953 in a middle class family in village Sheetalganj, Dist. Jaunpur. Being the first child he was an apple of their eyes. Gradually, with growing liabilities of four more sons his parents struggled to make ends meet. Kailash ji had a very hard and challenging childhood. His father migrated and got employed at a textile mill in Mumbai. Kailash Nath did his intermediate from Balbhadra, Inter College, Pali, Subhashnagar, Jaunpur. He could not further pursue his studies and got engaged in doing petty jobs to run family expenses. But soon reeling under severe financial constraints, Kailashnath in the year 1966 joined his father’s steps. He served in the same mill on a contract basis where he would get employment for 10-12 days a month. In his leisure time he would spent time on music and songs. The economic hardships failed to subdue his keen interest in music, plays etc. when he reached Mumbai he got in touch with some musical groups and started giving his presentation of his Bhojpuri compositions in their programmes.
Soon Kailashnath was left alone in an unknown city like Mumbai after his father retired and went back to his native village. Now he engrossed himself totally in music to come out of his solitude. His passion for music now was widely being acknowledged and in great demand among the folk singers for his important compositions on Poorvi, Birha, Chapariyaan, Kajri, Dadra, Shringarik geet, lachhari and Kaharwa.
Fate took its turn and the textile mill in which he was employed underwent a prolonged labour strike. The managing committee resisted and fresh employers were employed firing the old employees. Kailash’s heart was with music. He resigned and resorted to pursue music as a profession. Gradually he formed his own music group or sangeet mandalees. He incorporated many instrumentalists in his group. On festive or other important occasions like Chat Puja, Ramayan, Jagarans etc he started giving his performances.
With strike of fate and coincidence he met a very famous lyricist and singer, Rafi Ahmed Ansari. He was very inspired by voice and composition and therefore, started singing his compositions and became a popular voice. It was only in 1972 that he completely involved himself with Bhojpuri compositions followed by his compositions of Hindi Ghazals and even Kavwallis. He has to his credit about 80-85 cassettes carrying his compositions and songs. He has been instrumental in carrying forward the Bhojpuri culture and traditions through his composition of traditional songs Kaharwa, viyog geet, Kajri, Dadra. Poorvi Chapariyaan, Vivah geet, Devi Geet, etc. Kailash Nath Mishra has carved a niche for himself and has been on great demand on several occasions in Mumbai. His format of programmes and presentation of his compositions were in keeping with the demand for Bhojpuri songs among the migrants from North India.
He soon acknowledged the great demand for traditional Bhojpuri compositions. To be more amicable and popular, he experimented the amalgam of Bhojpuri with local dialects in his compositions. Kailashji’s popularity was now not localized. He had become equally famous in other cities in Bhojpuri belt as well where he frequently travels and conducts his performances. The perpetual flow of migrants from North India belt to these metropolitan cities has kept alive the demand for local folk culture and traditions. Thus, the demand for Bhojpuri songs and compositions are on rising demand.
He now struggled to meet the growing demand for new compositions for his performances. For this he formed contacts with other composers supported by his own compositions as well. He has now become focused on Bhojpuri compositions.
Kailashji still visits his native village in Jaunpur but commits that amidst criticism there are also people who praise and encourage. Though he now earns a stable income from his programmes and performances but feels bad for the new Bhojpuri singers and composers who have kneeled to growing consumerism resorting to mix of filthy and indecent words and language to popularize their songs. Kailashji still prefers to maintain the sanctity and beauty of Bhojpuri dialect and believes that original compositions will never die in demand. He believes his identity rests with Bhojpuri and he would always strive for its growth.
Post: Sheetalganj, Jaunpur
|Biography of Shiv Lal at Chapra
Birth Place: Village: Mishrauliya, Jalalpur
Chapra, Bihar, India
Credentials: Playwright, lyricist, actor, Folk Dancer, Folk singer
Shiv Lal is the lone surviving member of the famous Bhikari Thakur Nataya Mandali who worked with Bhikariji in person. He shares with us his journey of music with us. Bhikari Thakur who was an Indian playwright, lyricist, actor, folk dancer, folk singer and social activist in Bhojpuri language popularly known as the “Shakespeare of Bhojpuri” for his literary creations dramas (Bidesiya including including, Bhai-Birodh, Beti-Viyog or Beti Bechba (daughter-seller), Kalyuga Prema (Love in Kalyuga), Radheshyam Behar (based on krisna-radha love), Ganga-asnan (ceremonial bath in the Ganges), Bidhwa-vilap, Putrabadh (filicide), Gabar-Ghichor (based on an illegitimate child), and Nanad and songs that still retain their audience and charm even today.
Early Life: Shiv lalji came across Bhikari Thakurji at a very tender age of 13 years through a haromonium player of Thakurji’s Mandali. Shiv Lal a theatre aficionado, soon found a much aspired opportunity to play a role in the theatre play ‘Putra-Vadhu’. In his first acquaintance with Bhikariji, he was taken away by his impressive personality. He sought permission from his father to let him join his nataya manadali for a monthly payment of Rs. 300-400. The first song he sung for him was, “Hawa mein udta jai re, mera lal dupatta”. He was so impressed by Lal’s performance that he never looked back. Now he bagged several important roles in his theatre plays. He grew professionally each day and his potential talents were groomed under Thakurji’s able guidance. He would burn the midnight oil learning his dialogues and practice his roles.
About Bhikari Thakur Nataya Mandali:
This Nataya Mandali was a vibrant mode of regional cultural expression in its crude (very close to realities of soil), unsophisticated and rich form. The pangs and bitter experiences of social discrimination based on class, caste and gender got reflected in their plays, songs and directions. Gradually the prime elements of Ramlila, Raslila, Birha and other performing traditional cultures transformed to accumulate the growing need to address the pangs of separation of migrating population from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Now, emerged the ‘Bidesiya’ style of showcasing plays and songs that were not only progressive, and revolutionary but also inclusive of new thoughts. The Bhojpuri audience especially the migrant laboureres of Bhojpuri belt origin would find solace and respite witnessing these performances. Like other folk performances, the female characters were played by the male artists and Shiv Lalji had by now mastered this art. Though many other forms of cultural enactments have emerged, yet, Bidesia remains the most popular and relaxing versions. This is because the migrant labourers from the UP and Bihar Bhojpuri belt who are earning their livelihood in a culturally alienated urban locale, find their voice to their ordeal. These plays also voice the voice of the poor and marginalized labourers trying to generate awareness amongst them against the social ills plaguing the Bhojpuri society.
Shiv Lal’s Eminent Role in Bhikari Thakur Nataya Mandali
During the period of Shiv Lal there were 23 people in this Mandali. He played important roles in several plays like the Bidesia, Ganga Snan, Krshna Leela, Putra Vadhu, Bhai Virodh, Jai Hind, Nanad Bhowjai, Gabar-Gijhor. After the demise of Bhikari Thakur, he has taken up his work. The plays have houseful audience and at times it even becomes difficult to manage and control the crowd. To ease the raging public and their demand they even had to repeat the plays in three shifts. Shiv Lal was only 20-22 years old when he played first in the Bidesia play.
Shiv Lal still remembers all the songs of the Bidesia play and also the dialogues of the important characters of the play. These plays were conducted in Allahabad, Kanpur, Shilong, Himachal and other places far and wide. His acquaintance with Bhikariji has been for more than 30 years. In these three decades he had become an important part in his life and learnt all the nuances of this field. Bikahriji was so fond of him that he gave 10 bighas (kathas) of land in his name that is now worth lakhs.
Bikariji himself used to play role of the ‘Batohi’ while Shiv Lal used to play the role of the son of the migrant. He travelled far and wide to varied places like Assam, Shillong, Delhi, Mumbai, Himanchal, Madhya Pradesh, Kanpur, Varanasi, Betia, Mugaffarnagar, Sivan, Sasaram, Hasan Bazar, Darbhanga, Allahabad and so on to conduct his programmes and shows. The unsophisticated medium of cultural expressions found in return from its poor audience return in kind in form of quintals of wheat or rice gunny bags. None of Shiv Lal’s son or grandsons follows his footsteps as they are gainfully employed in other professions.
Parting with Bhikari Thakur:
The eternal bonding between Shiv Lal and Bhikari Thakurji saw its culmination only after the death of Bhikariji at an age of 71 years. Shiv Lal still remembers his graceful and amicable presence in the lives of many artists associated with his Mandali. They remember him as a very caring person who would even of even the minute details of their problems.
Bikhari Thakur’s Work: A Mirror to Contemporary Society:
Reiterating the memoirs of Bhikari’s work on ‘Beti Bechba’ where he describes the ordeal of a daughter who would be lined up by her own parents to be prospectively selected by the groom’s family (market specifically organized for sale of daughters for marriage). This play was instrumental in voicing the social evils against girl child and enticed shame among the wrong doers. This was probably the reason that this show had to be closed down. This social evil has also now seen its end in this country.
Similary, Bhikariji’s work on Bidesia showcases how men folk migrate to cities in lure of better earning opportunities leaving behind their spouses. He describes the laments of the women who are left behind. Men in cities get allured with city life and culture and go for illegal marriage.
In his play Gabar Gijhor he describes a situation where a migrant labourer leaves behind his wife to work in the city. There back in the village his wife enters into a second marriage with another person. When the man comes back from the city to his wife he finds a child born. Now the tussle starts when the husband insists that the child belongs to him and the lover second husband insists that it is his. Shiv Lal now plays the role of the Panch who decides the case. Now there are only 18 people in this group.
Present status of the Bikhari Thakur Nataya Mandali:
The plays and shows are still in demand but the show formats have changed. Now we have dancers in our group who act as crowd gatherers or attracters. We also perform in marriage functions. The dancers play their role till 11 p.m. and then follow the play.
Village: Mishrauliya, Jalalpur
| Biography of Bhalchandra Tripathi
Born: 1st June 1966
Birth Place: Gauri Bazar, Azamgarh, Uttar Pradesh, India
Credentials: Renowned Bhojpuri poet, Folk writer, Playwright, lyricist,
Early Life: Born in 1966 in Azamgarh District of Uttar Pradesh developed his interest in writing and compositions from his uncle Shri. Rishi Tripathi who was a renowned for prose and literary compositions. With his upbringing in an academically sound family, Bhalchandra developed and nurtured his potentials and latent talents from early childhood.
Bhalchandra started his writings narratives of day to day incidents in village of solemn nature or happening that would have an imprint in his mind. These writings would be further furnished and brushed by his uncle who would detail him with even the minute aspects. With this his writings became sharp, crisp and interesting. Gradually with each publication his writings were encouraged and improved for better. Even during his study life he was involved in writing Gad, Chand, and poems. Life after completion of his studies was strugglesome. His writings survived with enragements from his presentations and publications. Suffering under severe economic crunch, Balchandraji managed to grab a service as an officer in the agriculture department. As this was an extension job, he managed to get time for his writings.
Compositions: he gradually expanded his horizon of work from his writings of peoms in Hindi Khadi Boli (crude language) to Bhojpuri folk song compositions. He soon became famous for his rhythmic performances and presentations that would grab the attention and interest of the people. He has two books to his credit that were published in Hindi Khadi Boli. His compiled collection Bhojpuri songs named ‘Paat also got published soon. This book was felicitated with Sarjana Award by the Rajya Hindi Santhan. Gradually he started participating in the Bhojpuri Sammelans (gatherings) far and wide. He travelled nation-wide to spread Bhojpuri culture. From time to time several Lokpatrikas got published. In the year 1993 his first publication got published in the ‘Lokmanya’ Journal from Kolkatta.
Present Status: He is heavily involved in his writings and compositions of Bhojpuri songs. He also writes on demand from the local folk singers for songs on Sringaar, Viraah, Visthapan and culture. Many of his compositions have been presented and sung by the famous folk singers on regional, national and even international platform. His compositions were sung by Bhojpui singers participating in Talent Search Contest 2013 in the very famous television programme dedicated to Bhojpuri songs and culture, ‘Mahuaa’.
He has stood by his ardent love for Bhojpuri culture and was never driven by the strides of change. He admits that with growing commoditization the Bhojpuri compositions have declined with quality to grab cheap publicity.
Gauri Bazar, Azamgarh
| Biography of Ravindra Srivastava ‘Zugaani’
Born: 12th May 1942
Birth Place: Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh, India
Credentials: Script writer, Radio, Doordarshan, Actor, Theatre, composer, preseantation of self composed poems on nationa and Interantional platforms, Bhojpuri Folk song Composer, orator.
Books: Motha Aur Maati, Geet Gaon Gaon, Nokiyaat Doobi
Literary Pillars: Bechungi Chalali Thonkawe Naal in Rashtriya Sahara
Dr. Ravindra Shrivastava pen named as ‘Jugaani’ is one of the main exponents of modern Bhojpuri literature in the Bhojpuri-region. He hails from a family renowned for its literary credentials. Renowned creative writer Firaq Gorakhpuri was his grandfather. Always surrounded with literary giants his latent literary potentials were ignited and furnished. He started writing articles at very tender age. These articles were encouraged by his teachers for publication. Inspired with this he took active part in cultural activities, debates and extempore. Gradually his creative writings improved and so were his stage performances. He developed an affinity towards public applauds, garlands and mikes. Many of his books were published. Now he wished to go for public expression of his creativities through Aakaashwani, Gorakhpur. Notable …. Shivani was among the interview panelists. She was aware of his writings and publications. The interview panel and therefore selected him. Soon he developed his love for Bhojpuri. He pioneered a channel show ‘Maati ki Boli” the language of the soil, to be aired from the Gorakhpur Akaashwani. His pen name ‘Jugaani’ became famous through his show.
He was new to Akaashwani and had the onus to prove his self. He literally structured the whole broadcast content, and became widely popular. In search of local performers meticulously conducted village surveys for more than three years. It was difficult in the initial stages to trace, contact and develop rapport with them. Many of his discoveries of folk performers became famous. One among them is the youth artist Malini Awasthi. Later, he set trends for Radio-presentations and organized many pure Bhojpuri-Kavi-Sammelans.
Now he wished to concentrate in his writings and compositions. With his publications he earned fame. He believes Bhojpuri songs bear the identity of Bhojpuri. The beauty of this language Bhojpuri is that it bears the harshest dialects (even slangs) in combination with the most subtle and delicate descriptions. Being employed in radio he was responsible for presentation and composition of musical features. It here he learnt to write songs. One who cannot visualize and comprehend larger issues in their diminutive or small reflections or vice-a-versa cannot compose. A music composer has the strength to hear the silence of words.
It is very difficult to speak on displacement. There is no straight way in which one can describe displacement. It is for this reason that there exist a variety of Birha songs. He believes economic compulsions drive people away from their homelands or say heartlands despite other compulsions.
These compositions become powerful to penetrate the hearts of the millions when they are expressed with local tunes and dialects. These expressions through Lokgeets are so powerful that they become eternal to be popular for generations. Our society acts as an invisible filter. Those folk songs that are simple and catch folk tunes and local issues they stay alive for long.
Jugaani laments at the state of Bhojpuri folk music and songs that has badly been affected by the growing commodification and marketization. Cheap and dirty publicity stunts to popularize Bhojpuri songs in the name of earning revenues have been responsible for the assassination of the heart of Bhojpuri music. Talking of the folk songs based on laments of the displaced Bhojpuri migrants he shares his concern that with growing migration the cultural essence and soul of the Bhojpuri music is dying. Showing resemblance to a local bird ‘Haril’ that carries its nest building materials like twigs or grass alongwith it wherever it migrates, he says the migrants carry along with them their culture, traits, habits and traditions. Thus the destination becomes a melting pot or amalgam of various cultural traditions of varying migrants. The culture at root that remains with the remaining women folks slowly dies off. Complaining of the growing use of mobiles among the present young generation, he holds it responsible for death of the rich Hindi language with the use of language typical of a mobile user that is faceless, rootless and ruthless. Government lacuna is also responsible for this unchecked growth of faceless language.
Jugaani’s contribution to development and propagation of Bhojpuri will be remembered with his few poems published collection titled “Nokiyaat Doobi”, which would give a glimpse of what is being written in modern Bhojpuri literature, side-by side our great ‘Vaachik Parampara’ of eternal Bhojpuri geet. He would always be remembered as a vivid Bhojpuri presenter, a popular poet and satirist.
Ravindra Srivastava ‘Zugaani’
Opposite to Rawat Pathshala
|Biography of Gopal Maurya
Birth Place: Chausa village of Buxar district, Bihar, India
Credentials: Playwright, lyricist, composer, writer, singer
Notable works: Gulaami Nahi Goli Jagdev Sahab the, Himmat ka Himalaya Baba Sahab the, and other biographies of dignified personalities
Gopal Maurya was born to an ordinary peasant family of Chausa village of Buxar district. He was the only brother amongst six sisters. Gopalji is a singer as well as an adept Bhojpuri composer. Born to a very simple family, his father was a village folk singer proficient in Birha, Saranga, Niakawa etc. He learned this art since childhood. In his youthful years way back in 1987 to 1989 he went Punjab. He was an ardent reader and wanderer and loved to learn and explore new things. He came across a very interesting quote that said, “Quality is that which can be transformed into to act”. This quote became his perennial source of inspiration that transformed his life all together.
He believes in his strong moral values and is a social reformer. He wanted to live a free life and wished to earn his living without cheating anyone. He has transformed his art as his livelihood. He has been writing on the social and contemporary issues, social evils. With his writings he has been trying to rouse public sentiments on serious issues, generate awareness and educate them. He writes on religion, politics, and economy and even on Buddhist religion. With his writings he has brought to forefront the prevailing superstitions, orthodox beliefs, Baba Saheb Ambedkar’s initiatives etc. he insists that though this art is his profession he never presses on high payments or works on pure commercial basis. He has a team of expert instrumentalists who thrive on his expertise and connections. He mostly prefers to perform on his own compositions. He laments that there is a trend of fierce competition in his field. People who are recognized do not look back to support their own fellow artists. He strictly refrains from composing on demand sizzling numbers and compositions that usually have ribald lyrics to tantalize the audience. Unmoved by external pressures he sticks on to his simple living and high thinking style of living. His work is demanded in several regions of Uttar Pradesh like Allahabad, Bahraich, Mirzapur, Banaras, Azamgarh and Sonbhadra. When probed why he has not been interested to take benefits of the dynamic avenues in the music industry to earn name and fame, he innocently answers, “I do not wish to meet people who have sold culture for money.” He feels proud to be rooted and honest to his country and countrymen. In all his endeavours his rock support comes from his wife who though is illiterate but stood by him in all his ordeals.
| Biography of Kushdwaj Singh “Munna”
Born: 9th June 1964,
Birth Place: Saraura Village of Buxar district, Bihar, India
Credentials: Recorder, composer, writer, singer
Notable works: Recording studio “Mona Cassetes”
Book: Dher din Bhaiel (Aakhyaan) 2014
Popularly known as Munnaji, was born in Saraura village of Buxar to an ordinary peasant family. His parents were peasants though his uncles were Class 1 officers with the Bihar government. He completed his education from Gaya, Patna, Aara and Buxar. He qualified the BPSC examinations and stood 6th. Fatefully his elder brother was murdered and there was none to take care of his family of three children and his wife. His parents were old and infirm and could bear the domestic responsibilities. In the 1991 he got married when he was hardly 29 years old. Being the eldest responsible person in the family he renounced his academic pursuits and started a cassette company as Maya Cassette Company. At that time he had naive understanding of the complexities of this industry. He struggled in all ways to set up his own recording company. He was not financially very well off for this reason he even fell prey to many middlemen who took advantage of his situation. But meticulously and with hard work he learnt the art of this industry. He gave chance to several new comers and also associated with the established singers and composers in this industry. He humbly accepts that he is not a big name but has always refrained from cheap popularity. He faintly remembers the hits of Gopal Maurya’s “holi ke geet” recording that was a major hit.
To earn his living he also composes election party songs on demand. He even uses dialogue to attract public. He is involved in compositions for local parties as well as state and national level parties like BSP and leaders like Shyam Lal Kushwaha.
He accepts that in the present music industry there is growing reliance on trick system, computer generated techno music that fairly does not require talents. It is a market for remixes. Even renowned singers are also involved in their remix songs. Sharing his marketing strategy he says he has contacts with established wholesale traders in Aara and Patna. Some cassettes earn revenues in name of their singers. Some cassettes find good distributors. He modestly accepts that he is not a very high profile person. Reiterating the credentials of Gopal Maurya he informed us that his album on Lord Buddha received national and international fame. This album was released both in Bhojpuri and Hindi versions. Apart from his music as business he is also a good composer. His many compositions have been sung by Guddu Gawar, Gopal Maurya, Pawan Vyas and many other renowned Bhojpuri artists. He accepts that he anonymously composed for many singers.
He still highly reveres his guru Lt. Shri. Acharya Ganesh Dutta, known for his several known compositions. He was a great source of inspiration for Munnaji. These days Munnaji is inclining towards composing and writing.
In no cost did Munnaji kneel before the market pressures to introduced seductive and cheap numbers and compositions. He had strict instructions that to earn revenues cheap publicity will not be adhered to. He never compromised with his values. He was a big fan of Shri Laxman Shahwadi and believed that his singing and compositions had set landmark in music industry. But he was deeply hurt when he learnt that even he was taken off by the strides of cheap marketization. He opened a recording studio of his own named “Mona Cassettes” that remained functional from the 1991 to 2000. Gopal Maurya, Vishnu Ojha, Ravindra Kr. Raju, and other such Bhojpuri famous folk poets and singers gained platform from his studio.
He believes that the trajectory on which the present Bhojpuri music industry is moving will land it into deep trenches of cheap music. With raunchy music, cheap publicity, vulgar compositions and choreography the very essence of Bhojpuri music has got diluted. Everything has become commodified and monetized. He believes that with growing nuclear family pattern and break down of rural set ups, proliferation of urban demonstration effect; the values of life have become very cheap. Everyone is running for money. With this Bhojpuri music has yielding to the pressures of commercialization. Thus, the beauty and essence of Bhojpuri folk lore is losing its credence and even demand. Bhojpuri music has become cheap publicity materials for dance parties, political campaigns and other social gatherings etc.
Kushdwaj Singh “Munna”
| Biography of Awadesh Premji
Born: 3rd March 1964
Birth Place: Buxar district, Bihar, India
Credentials: Composer, writer, lyricist
Notable works: Poet, folk Composer
Premji had a very harsh childhood. With responsibility of two sisters and mother he struggled hard to make ends meet. After the early demise of his father he resorted to run petty errands to keep alive his quest for education along with his livelihood. But soon after passing Class11th he had to quit his studies and take up the responsibility of family sustenance full-flegedly. He laments under the cover of austerity, all ideals die.
He reiterates his pain that people who take advantage of him surpass him and do not even acknowledge his credentials. He admits that he writes for the established writers for money. But the pain of the writer remains deep in his heart as he writes, “Hamra dard ke jaani duniya laagi kaun bedardi…..geet banu le”. But he reiterates that it is only the pain in the heart of the poet that gives birth to poetry. Sharing concern over growing commercialization of Bhojpuri culture he says, in keeping with the commercial demands there is lot of experiments ongoing. It is the period of remix.. the essence of Bhojpuri lies in its purity but now there is growing trend of using double meaning words in Bhojpuri that add vulgarity appeasing the commercial demands. But he admits that such writings are his business as he needs to survive with his writings. He substantiates his work by admitting that with two sons opting for high education of MMBS and IIT it would be difficult if he did not yield to pressures. But to his heart he admits that such amalgams and remixes have ruined the essence of Bhojpuri.
Village & Post: Sondhika, Buxar
| Biography of Manoj Chaubey
Birth Place: Chausa village of Buxar district, Bihar, India
Credentials: Introducer, marketing of Bhopuri songs
Notable works: Successful recording of songs like Ku ku ku…, kesar k sang leke purwa chalal rahe, tohre ghar k khidki khulal rahe, Hamra ke Patha da Naiharwa ae Bhawji”. Chand Bijali- Natya katha for Bhojpuri Naach Mandali
Manoj Chaubey shows an entire list of playwriters, lyricists and performers who are known for their exemplary work on Bhojpuri culture. The list includes Nagina Pandey, Panchama Singh, Tarakeshwar Mishra Rahi, Acharya kiran Singh and others. Manoj Chaubey has been known for his efforts to conserve Bhajpuri literature. He had been instrumental in release of five major works of eminent Bhojpuri performer, also known as the Bhojpuri legend Bharat Sharma way back in 1989. He reiterates his struggles to establish himself as a Bhojpuri performer. He states his difficulties to find a platform to show his talent.
Manoj though has assisted in composition and recordings of many successful songs but could never establish a studio for recording of his own. He laments, “Poverty sucks”. “I established many but due to lack of financial support I failed to find a platform for my own self. I am totally broken”. On being questioned why he could not use his contacts to establish himself, he answers people forget and even prefer to forget for their own benefits.
Purana Bus Stand, Buxar, Bihar
| Biography of Suresh Katak
Born: 15th January, 1954
Birth Place: Kat, Brahmapur village, Buxar district, Bihar, India
Credentials: Poet, Writer, Banarsi Prasad Bhojpuri Samman in 1993, Jagannath Singh Puraskaar 1998, Akhil Bharatiya Sathiya Samman and Vishist Samman Bhojpuri Vikas Mandal Sevan in 2005
Notable works: Poems: Ek Banihaar ka Atam Nivedan, Zameen, Janta ki Adalat, Jaag Musafir Bhor Bhayo, Khandit Sapno ka nayak, Suraj ugane se Pehle
Kahani Sangrah: Aavaran
Prabandh Kavya: Raktimtaara
Publications in Bhojpuri:
Anhariya ke aag (novel)
Pichla mausam mein (poetry collection)
Julis Cesar (Bhojpuri translation)
Desh Videsh ke Mashhoor Kahaniya (Bhojpuri translation)
Special Forte: Conduct theatre programmes
Early Life: Suresh had a very hard childhood when he had struggles to meet even his petty needs. His family survived on daily wages earned from agriculture. Since childhood he saw harsh financial hardships. He saw how petty farmers and labourers remained clutched in the hands of the money lenders. Though his family was a normal family but he remembers the hardships and harassment faced by his grandfather during his father’s study period. He assimilated his harsh experiences of feudal tortures and trauma of the farmers in his life. His childhood stands testimony to the tortures and torments of zamindari and feudal lords. Therefore, his experiences get reflected in his works and writings. Tired of the feudal pressures his father chose to shift to Kolkata for a better future. Suresh had to quit his high school studies.
With support of his aunt he managed to matriculate and join Jain college of Aara. It was here where he identified his inherent writing skills. He was greatly influenced by Prem Chand’s writings. His reflections could be easily found in his writings. He found many well-wishers and friends who promoted and showed interest in his writing skills. He remembers one Mr. Yunus Miyan who directed him to one Mr. Navendu in Aara who was an eminent and influential writer of his times. Suresh got many contacts from his advice. One such contact was of Brijendra Jalani who found interest in his poems and stories. Suresh started with his fiery writings on many contemporary issues like naxalism.
He still repents that though he has written a lot but got published only with regional publishers. He laments that there exists lot of hierarchy in this field. Those writers who have urban base are having access to commercial publishers get more weigtage. The quality of work and its relevance becomes secondary in importance. Citing example of a recent workshop of writers meet in Patna, he says the urban writers were invited and paid hefty honorariums alongwith flight conveyance charges. But it is very painful that writers and performers from rural base are never invited in such symposiums.
Suresh Katak chose to live in his village far away from the urban hustle bustle. He writes from his roots but has maintained contacts with his fellow writers in Aara from where he gets published.
| Biography of Vinay Pathak (rural poet and singer)
Shri Vinay Pathak, rural poet and singer born in August 1976 is a resident of village Baderi, post Mariyahu, Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh. Vinay Pathak’s father Buddhi Ram Pathak worked in a mill in Mumbai and used to take his family to Mumbai at times. Vinay has one brother and two sisters and he is the eldest of them.
Vinay’s childhood days were spent in the village. He had less interest in studies and was more inclined towards singing. He used to participate in the musical programmes which were organized in school. Vinay has not received any formal music training.
The environment of his village and the atmosphere at his home provided him an opportunity to have an interaction with music since his early days.
Not only in his family but in his village too people had a deep interest in singing songs and playing musical instruments. His father was well versed in folk forms like Chautala, Kajri, Belwaria and whenever he came to the village during holidays he mesmerized everyone with his laudable songs. All this had a positive influence on Vinay’s mind and this built up his passion for singing.
His headmaster in school liked his singing very much and he constantly motivated and encouraged him to go ahead in his music career. Vinay began participating in small musical shows organized in his village and the close by villages. This helped him gradually to learn the tone and tune of the songs. He did rehearsals of his songs at home and with constant practice his voice became more refined and lucid. Now Vinay was determined to choose music as his career.
A Bhojpuri musical show was organized in Mariyahu. When Vinay came to know about the show he went there and persuaded the organizers to allow him to sing Bhojpuri songs. The organizers recognizing his talent gave their consent and Vinay sang the song. His performance was applauded very much by the audience and Vinay became popular among the people. Thereafter Vinay started singing songs amidst public and received widespread fame in his village.
Vinay not only sings Bhojpuri songs but he is also a good song writer. Till now he has written almost 150 Bhojpuri songs. He asked for songs from Kailash Mishra’s brother who lives in Mumbai but he refused to give him songs. Then Vinay thought of writing his own songs. His friend Vijay Upadhaya who lives in Mumbai also helped him in writing songs. His brother Ramanuj Pathak also provided him with songs to sing.
Vinay mostly performs in the village. He and his team of six members perform their shows with musical instruments like harmonium, dholak, manjeera, dibri and naal. Pathak speacialises in singing Bhojpuri devi geet, kajri and badodar.
Technology has played a big role in providing these unknown artists an opportunity to showcase their talent to the outside world. Vinay books all his programmes on the mobile. People contact him for booking his programmes on the phone. Vinay is called along with his team in the nearby villages for giving his performances on festivals like diwali, holi, durga puja.
There is no fixed amount which Vinay charges for his performances. He cannot charge a large amount because the village people cannot afford to spend much money on these performances. However Vinay charges 4000-5000 per programme in family functions like birthdays, janeu sanskaar etc. On an average he earns 20,000-30,000 per month during the festive seasons. At other times he earns only 5000 rupees per month.
Vinay has never thought of compiling his songs and bringing them out in the form of an album or cassette because he is not in favor of selling his songs. He feels that his songs are very valuable and akin to Saraswati which is priceless. He does not want his legal property to go in the hands of others. Vinay uses his songs during the election time to do campaigning of the candidates who stand in the election. As a livelihood option he writes songs for the candidates, sings it for them and also performs dramas and street shows for the candidates.
He also has a pan shop in Mumbai in the Mahalakshmi area which he runs when he goes to Mumbai.
Vinay has got many opportunities by musical companies. He was offered a salary of thirty thousand rupees by a Bhojpuri music company of Mariyahu, Varanasi to sing songs for them but he denied the offer because they were pressurizing him to sing vulgar songs. Vinay’s ethics do not allow him to do this.
Some of his famous songs are :
Hoi Ga Anaganwa Ajor
Utha More Lalana Bhayal Baate Bhor
(A mother asks her child to get up as the sun has risen and it is day now)
His famous song on migration is
Bhailu Udaas Kahe Sun Baari Dhaniya
Gadhai Debe Ho Tuhka Ke Jhulaniya
(Here the migrant is asking his wife not to be sad. He convinces her wife that
when he will earn money and come back he will buy jewels for her.)
Vinay Pathak comes from a poor family background. Inspite of all the hardships that he has faced he is trying his level best to construct his identity in the society. Though he sings on a local level he is gradually becoming popular among the public and it is hoped that time is not far when he will earn his name at the national and global level.
| Biography of priyanka Singh
Priyanka Singh, a popular Bhojpuri folk singer is a resident of Paharia, Varanasi. She was born on July 20, 1981. After completing her graduation degree from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi she embraced the profession of singing. She also came to limelight after becoming co-singer with renowned and already established singers.
At her birth place Priyanka had to face a lot of protest by the Gharana singers of Varanasi. She was not allowed to sing in the Ganga Mahotsava also. When Priyanka went for recording she was not given good songs to sing. Whatever was given to her she sang and was able to establish her name in the music world.
Then Priyanka sang with Dinesh Lal which was a superhit and the lines of the song “CD Player Dilada Ho Raja, Dekhab Nirhahua Ke Holi” were a super hit. She soon became a known figure in Bhojpuri singing in Varanasi.
This was not the end of her struggle. The Music Companies started creating problems for Priyanka. They endeavored to stop her from recording her songs in Varanasi. Having no other option left Priyanka then moved to Patna. There also her cassettes were a big hit and the same situation arose there. He recorded CDs were stopped from being marketed. It was then when Priyanka strongly made up her mind to adopt Mumbai as her future work place.
Priyanka first stepped in Mumbai as a show performer. There she got recognition by people of music companies. She also got an offer for recording. There also I had to face difficulty by already established singers and dealers. She could not make the deal. The music companies in Mumbai provide opportunities to the new singers but the music distributors are unwilling to launch their CDs in the market. The CDs were not marketed in the villages despite heavy demand. The dealers demand money for launching the CDs in the market. She had to use her own resources and money to launch her album in the market. When she sung a song composed by Pyarelal ji she received a lot of applause from him. Pyarelal ji also was a support for her during her initial days of struggle in Mumbai. Priyanka then sung for many music companies and did recordings.
Till now Priyanka Singh has to her fame more than two dozen cassettes. She has carved a niche for herself in the field of Bhojpuri singing especially devotional songs.
Priyanka did not receive any formal training in music. She had an inclination for singing since her childhood. Her ambition in life was to become a famous singer. Her family did not support her decision fully. Her home atmosphere was strict and her father Shri Bhimsen Singh was very upset when she went against his decision of not choosing medicine as a profession. However her mother stood tall beside her. Priyanka is the youngest of all the three siblings at home. Priyanka had been introduced to the world of music when she was a child. Her grandfather was a sitar maestro while her mother used to sing marriage songs. She did her first recording when she was in third standard. Her first album that was recorded by SK music, a local music company was ‘Saawan Ki Fuhar’. At that point of time Priyanka had never thought that she would become a professional singer one day.
Priyanka first completed her studies before entering into the music profession. Her voice was appreciated by people when they heard her for the first time. Ravindra Jain ji also praised her voice.
During her initial days of building her career Priyanka struggled a great deal. She used to travel all alone to Mumbai for auditions. First she got opportunity to sing in small albums. She didn’t sing Bhojpuri songs at that time. When Priyanka got a chance to perform with the famous Bhojpuri singer Kalpana at Gadha Mahotsava in Varanasi she received a lot of applause from people. Her performance was so brilliant that Kalpana ji also felt that one day she would surpass her. Priyanka continuously performed for nine years in the Gadha Mahotsava. She took a wild card entry in the talent hunt show Sur Sangram on the Mahua channel. Thereafter she constantly participated in the programmes on Mahua channel. She participated in the programme Mehfil on Mahua channel and also performed in the Ganga Music Channel.
Priyanka joined city cable and worked as a participant assistant for two years. She gradually became a part of the city cable group and sang songs with Shankar Mahadevan and Vinod Rathore. The first album that she recorded in the studio was ‘Nathuniya Jab Se Pahirle Bani’. Her other famous cassette is Nirhahua Ke Holi.
Priyanka’s goal is to sing good quality Bhojpuri songs. In her opinion the quality of Bhojpuri films has deteriorated and vulgarity has seeped in these films as opposed to Bhojpuri films in the previous days like Nadia Ke Paar which gained a lot of popularity among people. The Bhojpuri producers try to amass a large sum of money by putting in item numbers in their films for its wider publicity.
Priyanka has her own concepts of singing. She does not like to perform shows in marriages because people start demanding item songs which cannot be sung in a family function. She is against singing vulgar songs. Priyanka does not deny the fact that she sings item numbers but it is clear in her mind to sing only those item songs which do not showcase vulgarity. One of her albums ‘Le La Bahiya Me Le La’ has more than nine lakh viewers on U tube. Her cassettes are in heavy demand among the public. She has given Bhojpuri touch to many songs like the one ‘Lamba Lamba Ghunghat Kahe Ko Kadha’. The song goes like this:
‘Pehli Pehli raat Ke Kissa Kaise Kahi Bhauji,
Na Dekhli Saiyya Ji Ke Surat, Na Bhaili Munh Dikhauji
Aisan Hawa Bahel Lalten Phunkat Se Bujhail
Ghar ho Gail Hamar Dehia Sejia Pe Herail
Priyanka has also sung songs composed by Pyarelal ji , a renowned poet and lyricist in her album ‘Balam Rangeela’. Few lines of his song are:
‘Ye Kahiye Hamre Baap Ke, Tu Kahe Maare Hamke
Chali Aile Ae Balam Kahe Maare Humke’.
Priyanka has also sung songs based on social issues in her albums like the one Chirkut Bana Vidhayak and Chirkut Chale Sasural. She has sung Poorvi song composed by Vinay ji ‘Kiria Kha Ke Kahila, Laag Chuti Naahi, Chahe Deh Par Laathi Tuti Laagi Naahi Chutti.’ She has also sung songs composed by Bablu Bawali of Delhi. Her song on migration which received a lot of popularity was
‘Phonwa Pe Kehat Baani Dil Ke Batiya,
Kehat Baani Ghar chala Aawa,
Rupaiyya Paisa Naahi Chahi,
aawa Tu Naukri Chod Ke,
Kaat Lebai Har Din Raja.’
Priyanka does stage performances with famous Bhojpuri singers like Manoj Tiwari, Nirhahua .
Priyanka criticizes those artists who try to gain publicity by taking undue support from renowned Bhojpuri channels like Mahua etc. People are resorting to other means to gain popularity like they are entering in the political domain.
Priyanka today finds herself on a platform shared by the already established singers in the music realm but still she is waiting for big opportunities to come in her way. Her struggle is still going on and she is disappointed when new people get opportunity in her name. Priyanka is thankful to the Lokdhwani programmes organized by the GB Pant Institute, Allahabad which can be a good platform for the folk singers and artists to record their songs and bring them in the market.
| Biography of Rakesh Tiwari (Bablu)
Safalta Ke Liye Mulyon Se Samjhauta Nahi Karunga
I will not make any compromise with my values for achieving success.
Born in Gamahapur (Nevadhia Bazaar) village in Jaunpur district of Uttar Pradesh on 12 August, 1983 Rakesh Tiwari is endeavoring to establish a realm of Bhojpuri songs which is clean and free from vulgarity. Tiwari opted for Bhojpuri folk singing after completing his higher secondary education. He relocated to Mumbai and struggled intensely for three years from 2001-2004 for carving his identity. He began his singing career in 2004 and his first music album ‘Mai Ki Mahima’ was released from RD music in 2006. He was launched for the first time by Dinesh Vishkarma. This album showered upon him incredible popularity and success.
Rakesh is the eldest among his three brothers and two sisters. He has seen hard times during his childhood days. His mother left for the heavenly abode when he was very small due to cancer.
Rakesh has not received any formal training in music. According to him singing is an art which one imbibes through family heritage, guru parampara and intense practice. He has a deep passion for singing. He feels that his talent is inborn and he has not inherited it from anywhere.
Rakesh Tiwari has dozens of albums to his credit. Though his albums like Maiyya Aaiye Hamre Gaaon, Bhojpuria Babua and Jaga Jaga He Maiya have been released by small music companies but big music companies like T series have also recognized his talent. Many of his devotional albums have been launched by T series. His albums which have been released by T series are Bhojpuri Babua and Jaunpur ke Shaan (latest album).
Rakesh has performed more than ten thousand successful stage shows in metro cities like Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Benaras, Patna etc where he received a lot of applause and admiration for his work by the audience. He is a big fan of Shri Ravi Kishan, the greatest hero of Bhojpuri films. He is thankful to Ravi Kishan ji for providing him exemplary support and cooperation during his struggle period. He also expresses his gratefulness to Bipin Bahar alias Swarganand Maharaj.
Rakesh is of the view that the new singers in industry have spread vulgarity through their songs. Double meaning words are being used excessively in Bhojpuri songs. This is being done by the singers to amass huge sums of money and gain popularity among the people. In Rakesh’s view one cannot blame the Bhojpuri society for this obscenity. He says ‘Na Bhai Na Hamara Bhojpuri Samaj to Doodh ki Tarah Se Dhawal, Gangajal Ki Bhaanti Pawan aur Nirmal Hai. Hamar Samaj Sanskaarit Hai, Sabhya Samaj Apni Maryada Bhala Kab Todta Hai?’ (His Bhojpuri society is pure and chaste like the Ganges, is cultured and has not lost its gentility).
Rakesh always selects good songs which are traditional and rooted to the village community. He always makes an effort to sing songs which touch the hearts of people. He strictly forbids from singing songs which carry an element of vulgarity. His most popular song which reminds the listeners about their village is ‘Pardes mein Ba Roji Roti, Sukh Ba Marhaiya ke Chanw mein’. Rakesh is a strong supporter of chastity in Bhojpuri songs. He does not resort to any incorrect means to gain prestige and recognition in the society. He firmly believes that he will prefer to leave his profession rather than choose singing vulgar Bhojpuri songs.
Rakesh has indelible self esteem and inner strength. His face reflects the virtues of honesty, determination and conviction. He says ‘Dekh Lena Bahi. Ek Din Yeh Tiwari Suchita Ke Bal Par Safal Hoga. Aishwarya, Maan Pratishtha Ke saath saath Dhan Bhi Kamayega.(You see one day I will become famous only due to my purity. Not only will I earn glory but also recognition and wealth.)
Rakesh believes that we can preserve our Bhojpuri folk songs only when we make an effort to protect our folk culture. The songs of Bhojpuri icon Bhikhari Thakhur are still alive in the memory of people. Although people are now linked to each other through mobiles, facebook, U-tube and other social sites but the people who are not associated with these technologies cannot connect with you and hear you. So there is a need to spread awareness among the people about their Bhojpuri culture and heritage through other mediums also.
Till now Rakesh has not got any break in the Bhojpuri films but he has no repentance over it. He knows that he will surely get a big chance in the coming days. People have always liked his songs and there is a heavy demand for his cassettes. One of his songs ‘Roji Roti, Mai Ke Lal’ is quite popular among the people. People like his songs so much that they have copied the caller tune of his songs in their mobiles too.
Rakesh Tiwari has not only accorded respect and increased the esteem of his parents but the entire society specifically Uttar Pradesh, his birth place. His message to the Bhojpuri society is
‘Raur sab, Kab Le Badnaami Li Hai. Are Hamra Bhojpuri Samaj Sammanit Samaj Bare. Ekre Maryada Ke khyal Rakhi. E Ashleel Film auron Album Ke Bahishkaar Kari. Jawan Samaj Ke Dooshit Kar Rehal Bia.’
(Our Bhojpuri society is a prestigious society. We have to preserve its heritage. We have to ostracize obscene films and albums because they are polluting the minds of the youth of our society.)
| Biography of Ramanuj Pathak
Ramanuj Pathak is a Bhojpuri folk singer and migrant in the city of Mumbai. He grew up in Mariahu, Jaunpur, Uttar Pradesh and now lives in Santosh Bhavan, Nalasopara, in the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation approximately 50km from Mumbai. Pathak composes music in the Bidesia Folk Tradition that rests heavily on the theme of separation. He regularly performs and organises shows on the periphery of Mumbai and Jaunpur. Apart from helping with mapping and community engagement, Pathak has also written songs in Bhojpuri which speak of his and the migrant’s experience living in the city.
From a very early age Ramanuj had to shoulder all his household responsibilities. Being fed up of his mental disease Ramanuj’s father Shri Ram Pathak committed suicide by jumping into a well in the village when Ramanuj was just eleven years old. This hampered Ramanuj’s education and he could not complete his studies. Ramanuj had to take care of his siblings, four sisters and three brothers. He educated them and got them married. He studied till eighth standard and then joined an iron industry in 1992 where he toiled very hard day and night for a living. Ramanuj did this work for three years at a meager wage of seventeen rupees a day. Due to his less age it was difficult for him to find work.
Ramanuj had an interest in singing since his childhood days. He used to recite Sundarkand at the Thakur Saheb’s house in Khaar, Mumbai. He began playing musical instruments like Manjeera and Dholak on these occasions. For two years he continued playing these instruments. He got a chance to sing on the occasion of Akhand Ramayana in Mumbai where big artists were called for singing. When the big artists slept at night the new artists were given a chance to sing. It was from here that Ramanuj started his journey as a singer.
Ramanuj met already established Bhojpuri folk artist Kailash Nath Mishra, in the year 1987. He used to play Dholak in his musical team for four years. During this period he had four to six hit cassettes of Bhojpuri songs. Kailash Nath Mishra praised his voice and had the belief that one day Ramanuj would become a renowned singer. He provided songs to Ramanuj for singing which had a good market. He encouraged and helped him at every step. During one of his programmes organized in Malad Pathanwari in 2005 Kailash Nath while singing had a bad throat so he had to take rest for some time. To continue the show he asked
Ramanuj to sing one or two songs. Ramanuj was hesitant to sing at first as he had not performed on stage with a large audience before. Naseem Khan along with other political leaders had participated in the programme. Naseem Khan liked Ramanuj’s singing so much that he rewarded him with a cash prize of eleven hundred rupees. Other people also rewarded him for his performance. It was here that Ramanuj’s talent was duly acknowledged in a public platform.
Then Ramanuj started booking his own shows. He sang chorus songs in various cassettes. In one of the cassettes he sang chorus song by playing Manjeera. He kept an artist for playing dholak. Due to lack of support from family Ramanuj had to struggle a lot to establish his identity in the music realm.
Ramanuj had to resort to other livelihood options also when he was not fully established in his singing profession. He learnt rickshaw and taxi driving. He is obliged to his friend Santosh ji for helping him at that point of time. Santosh ji collected charity from taxi drivers and kept Ramanuj’s programme at the Bandra Taxi stand and at the Ram Janki temple in Kherwadi. These opportunities helped Ramanuj to move up in his career. Ramanuj also organized many programmes in marriage parties in villages with his due support.
Ramanuj also learnt stitching and did tailoring for five to six years but he was not able to earn enough money to sustain himself and his family. Then he opened up a betel shop ‘Pathak Pan Bhandar’ in 2002. He did this work till 2005. It was during that time he met the famous documentary maker of Mumbai Ms. Surabhi Sharma who has made a documentary on migration ‘Bidesia in Bambai’. Ramanuj played a crucial role in this film.
Ramanuj’s shop was just like an office where people used to approach him for organizing musical programmes. Apart from running his shop Ramanuj gave musical performances also. The musical instruments which were used during his performances were Manjeera, Harmonium, Dholak and Banjo.
The first song was sung by Ramanuj at Bandra Terminal during the Holi programme. Their people demanded him to sing Bhojpuri songs. A song sung by him on that day is as follows. A wife persuades her husband not to migrate to a distant land. She says I will fulfil all your dreams here. She tries to stop her husband by singing this song:
Jin Ja Pardeswa Karai Ke Kamai Balma
Tohke Ghar Hi Mein Hum Dunia Dekhai Balma
Shimla Chaupati Ke Chalkat Bahar Ba
Sinwa Pe gumbad Ki Qutubminar Ba
Jhoola Bahia Mein Bharike Hum Jhulai Balma
Tohke Ghar hi Mein Dunia Dekhai Balma
Aaike nihara Ehaan Saara Jahan Ba
Hamri Kamaria Mein Aandhi Toofan Ba
Julum Hoi Jaala Jab Hum Hilai Balma
Jaaba Sheharia Mein Karba Majoori
Piya Ramanuj Hoi Na Chahat Puri
Toshak Takia Hum Eehi Par Lagai Balma
Tohke Ghar Hi Mein Hum Dunia Dekhai Balma
Many people applauded when Ramanuj sang this song and he was also rewarded for his performance. This song was very much hit at that time because many people who had migrated to Mumbai leaving behind their home and family could relate this song to their pain and loneliness.
Kailash ji and Vinay Upadhyaya write songs like Sehra songs, Sohar geet, Kajri geet, Purbi geet etc. for Ramanuj. During musical shows people are more interested in listening to Bhojpuri songs. The songs of homeland give an entirely different feel. For instance people sing Sohar songs when a boy is born in a village.
Ramanuj specializes in folk songs of departure and arrival. He also sings Birha and Purbi songs in Bhojpuri apart from singing Bollywood and patriotic songs. Ramanuj changes the tone and tune of the Bhojpuri songs according to the demand of the people. His Birha song in Bhojpuri ,“tumhar darad mein hum duniya dekha balma,” talks about a wife who laments about being left alone in the village. Pathak has just recorded a track for a Bhojpuri album, Chaar Aane ka Chumma.
Ramanuj’s cousin brother used to play dholak for him. He cooperated with Ramanuj at every step. He also got shows booked for Ramanuj. He got opportunity to sing in musical programmes due to his brother. During the shows people recognized his talent and invited him for other programmes also. His brother used to play dholak, his friend Ramashankar played harmonium, and Kailash ji’s brother Rajesh Mishra played Manjeera and did chorus with Ramanuj. Ramanuj is grateful to his friend Ramesh Singh for providing him opportunity to sing on big platforms.
Ramanuj’s career and his family life in Mumbai has been full of struggles. He came along with his family to Mumbai in the year 2000. He lived in Khaar area for 23 years. Ramanuj lived there in unhygienic conditions. A single room had to be shared by 20-22 people. His uncle bought a room in Khaar in 2002 and transferred it in Ramanuj’s name in 2011. When his uncle expired in 2013 his sons forced Ramanuj to vacate the room. Ramanuj demanded some time from them but they made the things worse for him. Ramanuj had to perform a big programme in Khaar on 26 January 2013. When he had gone to make arrangements for another room his cousin brothers came with hooligans and created a lot of ruckus in the house. They beat Ramanuj’s family members and broke all the household items. His family members hid in the bathroom and called up Ramanuj to bring the police. The police also did not listen to him because they had already been bribed by Ramanuj’s brothers. Then one of Ramanuj’s friend Prakash Upadhyaya rang up in the head office and arrested his brother’s wife. The rest of the hooligans eloped.
Despite all the hard times faced by Ramanuj he has been persevering hard to make his identity in the music world. His commitment to his work and his firm determination will in the long run bring laurels for him.
|Biography of Dr. Mannu Yadav ‘Krishna’
Born: 1st June 1972
Birth Place: Kashipur village, Purushottampu Chunaar, Mirzapur
Credentials: Traditional Birha Khadi Birha, Loriki,Chandaini, Kajri singer.
Notable works: Birha Darshan, Loriki Kavya Khand, Lalima, playback singer in Hindi film ‘Muhallah Assi’, co-actor in Bhojpuri film Rakhwala in 2012, more than 100 cassettes from notable music companies.
Mannu Yadav since his early childhood had inclination towards music and singing especially Bhojpuri traditional forms. He belonged to an economically settled family owning about 100 cows and 20-25 buffaloes. Family sustenance was never an issue for him. His free-going nature always got attracted towards nature and music. He would listen to his father’s tunes while grazing and get immersed in his sings. Studies rarely interested him. He opted to go for grazing cattle in a tender age of eight years, while his other brothers and sisters would go school for studies. His childhood was very closely associated with his father who loved him especially because of his inclination towards music. But gradually as time passed by his father realized that Mannu required special impetus for studies. He therefore requested one of his teachers to give him special tuitions. Soon he picked up. He would now sing the poems of his elder brother’s course books. His tuition teacher recognized his inherent talent and promoted it. Nurtured in close association with his father (a traditional Birha singer) and his teacher, his inherent talents as a singer got promoted. In a very tender age he started performing on stage. Then some of his close relatives who realized his talents started promoting him. When they shifted to Banaras, he soon started performing in programmes alongwith notable performers. Soon he was in Class IXth, he faced tough competition with child artists like Gullu, Ramdev. Gradually alongwith studies singing that was till now a passion for Mannu became his aim of life. He opted commerce and stood second position in his intermediate. In the year 1989 he got admission in Allahabad University and completed his doctorate. He also did his post graduate diploma in folk music. He also did his LLB. His passion for music never subsided. He used to do night shows and study in the day time.
He has been awarded with the ‘Ustaad Bismillah Khan Rashtriya Yuva Award” in the year 2008, stood first and received Rs. 50,000/- in the folk music contest organized by the UP government in the year 2009-2010.the Chhattisgarh government awarded him with ‘Bilasa Kala Samman’ on the 27th of June 2009. The Purvanchal Press Club awarded him with the ‘Kaimur Alankaran Samman’ on the 30th of May, 2009. On the 9th of January 2012 the villagers of Mauritus Virarlo awarded him with Lok Bhushan Samman.
Mannu Yadav has an image of a core Bhojpuri singer and has willfully avoided commercial versions of Bhojpuri singing. He has refrained from cheap and raunchy songs. His songs focus on social issues of contemporary times like untouchability, brotherhood, dowry, feticide and other issues that inspire people positively. He is presently working on Kajri and also creating a inventory of the dying folk forms of Bhojpuri in India with a motive to protect the rare genres of this cultural history over generations. Mannu emphasizes that folk forms and cultural traditions of Bhojpuri should gain the status of exclusive subject. Separate faculties for folk music need to be appointed as like music faculties. It is only then our efforts to preserve the folk traditions and culture of the nation can be materialized.
Mannu states that the folk base of Indian music thrives on its rooted agricultural base. There exist regional variations in different forms of Birha. The fundamental bases of all the folk forms draw their essence and life from the rural and agricultural base of India. Earlier when the impact of commercialization had not penetrated so deep singers used to sing on occasions and festivals for honour and not for money. But now everyone wants to be proving services on paid basis. The Birha forms have been able to stand up to address the contemporary issues like dowry, patriotism, sacrifice of soldiers on border, feticide etc.
Mannu reiterates that though folk singers who stick to their traditions and core folk forms are less accomplished as compared to those who chose to commercialization. But the fact that remains is that they are doing commendable job in reinstating the rare and fading folk forms and their pure versions.
|Biography of Kumar Nayan
Notable works:Sam Rogini k Ek Dawai (poem)
Kumar Nayan shares with us his childhood memories, having spent his childhood in Mother Nature’s lap and cherished love and affection of grandmother. Though he had all the love and affection of parents yet he specially loved his grandmother who was his soul. He remembers the huge inventory of stories, tales, idioms and phrases with popular use. Most of her stories were about princes, fairy tales, princesses, magic and woo doos, and other fiction stories. But all her stories were very close to the fundamental values and ethics of life and one could easily personalize them and feel one with it. Many a times she would shed tears narrating her tales. Nayanji remembers an incident and tells us about his early life and structuring of the poet in him. He says when he was barely of 12 years, he used make often visits to in his mother’s hometown in Dumrauv village situated 18 k.m. from Buxar. His maternal grandfather was a known devotional singer. His “ektara” used to mesmerize the passerby who would take a halt to listen to him. People used to be so captivated by his presentation of legendry Bhikhari Thakur’s song ‘Beti Bechna’ and ‘Bidesia’ that would cry and shed tears. He also used to sing poorvi songs too at times. Nayanji also reiterates his learning of Bhoujpuri traditions from one ‘Hansraaj’ Kaka who knew all the compositions and creations of Bhikhari Thakur by heart. He used to be his maternal uncle. Slowly he learnt from him the art of poorbi singing, folk songs, etc. Though he admits that he was not a very good singer yet people loved to listen to him. After completion of high school Kumar Nayan shifted to Buxar for matriculation studies. As a budding writer he was very impressed with the script of the Bhojpuri play ‘Loha Singh’ written by Rameshwar Singh ‘Kashyap’. Soon he lost his interest in regular studies and got immersed in doing theatres, street plays and nukkad nataks.
In the year 1972 he organized his first cultural programme that turned a huge success. Four of his folk song compositions were sung in this concert. It was now that Nayan ji recognized his inherent talents as a writer and lyricist. In the 1990 two of his song compositions were selected for Bhojpuri film ‘Dulha Dulhin’. He also had written the script of this film. It was here that Nayan got his first ever commercial break. Soon many more of his songs got popularity in films. Simultaneously his poems also started getting popularity. The legend of Bhojpuri literature, Dr. Shankar Prasad Ramji Singh ‘Sheredil’ who also was the president of the Sangeet Natak Academy of Bihar was very impressed with his poetic compositions.
The present situation of Bhojpuri literature and academic culture is very serious. Nayan feels that it is losing its essence and heart that rests on its fundamental love for humanity. To keep pace and replicate the good works of Bhikari Thakur and Mahendra Mishra, it is important to understand the contemporary literature and its structural depths. The Bhojpuri literature has not been very progressive in this sense. The lewd sense in which women are referred to in Bhojpuri compositions mostly carries double meaning. In this comparison the richness in which Bhikari Thakur’s compositions addressed the social issues and problems of its contemporary times was remarkable.
Bhikariji’s compositions had revolutionary impact on the society. His writings addressed the issues of women’s pain with migrating spouses, dowry system, empowerment issues, emancipation of women etc. In the present academic writings the pains of Dalits, the labour class or the proletariats is not addressed to its depth. As the issue of migration is not new and has a literary base laid by the strong foundation writings of eminent writers, this issue is given due importance even in the present writings and compositions. The present writings are plagued by issues of literary regionalism, communalism, and hierarchy. If the writings shed these inhibitions it gets the credit of the Hindi literature. But Nayan feels hopeful of the future of Bhojpuri literature.
Post and District: Buxar, Bihar
|Biography of Dr. Taiyaab Hussain ‘Peedit’
Born: 16th April, 1945
Birth Place: New Azimabad Colony, Mahendu, Patna-6
Credentials: Teacher, port (Hindi, Bhojpuri), story writer, novelist
Born in Saran district of Bihar in the Mirzapur Basant village of Garkha Block Dr. Taiyaab belonged to family that had squeezed sustenance at village level. Therefore, with sqeezed local sustenance livelihood options his father migration to Kolkatta in serah of work. There he got employemtn in Chatkal Jute Mill of Kolkatta. Taiyaab’s childhood education was completed in a primary school of the village. His high school education was done from the Bhagwan Singh village and it was here that the seeds of cultural inclination got rooted in Taiyaab. In his school days he took keen interest in singing, plays and also successfully completed his intermediate from science stream. Due to utter austerity it became extremely difficult to further his studies. He started searching for some private work to pursue his education. He got teaching jobs in private schools and then in Patna Municipal Corporation as a clerk. This job greatly supported Taiyaab. Soon he joined evening classes for studies. He did his diploma and did his training in theatre from Patna. His aspiration for higher education never ceased. He completed his graduation, post graduation and B.Ed. as he was inclined towards arts and culture, he started writing. His first composition got published in Dainik Jagaran news daily then his songs focussign youth got published. He then wrote songs for children, story of Chanda mama that got published in children’s special magazine. In the year 1966 he wrote stories in Bhojpuri that got published in magazines published from Varanasi.
During this period his family liabilities was high. He had to take care of this elder brother’s family too. But when he got work in railways his financial tensions eased. Taiyaab’s youngest brother was deaf and dumb and therefore he was entirely Taiyaab’s responsibility. Taiyaab’s family struggles fueled his thoughts and gave substance for his writings. The pain, agony and struggle continuously metamorphosed him to an emerging writer. With father facing slack in his business, it was only all his efforts to ensure meals for the family. The Bengal communal riots between Hindus and Muslims completely ruined his father’s business. His shop in Tikagarh, was leveled to ashes in a fire outbreak. Taiyaab himself faced and at times even became victim of these communal riots. The final jolt in his life came when his elder brother and his only financially supporting member in the family met a fatal death in a train accident.
Fighting the odds in his life he named himself ‘Peedit’ or the ‘Sufferer’. The cultural ambience and rich traditions of Bhaikhari Thakur and Mahendra Mishra in Saran district played an indelible mark on his life. He completed his D. Phil on the works and character of Bhikhari Thakur from the Z A Islamia College. He then became a lecturer in the same college in Saran. In his academic and literary works his writings became famous by his pen name, ‘Peedit’. Soon he mastered the art of songs, ghazals, poetry, etc. for his exemplary work in Bhojpuri he was rewarded.
Many of his notable works are like Azab, Hindi-Bhojpuri, prose and poetry collection. His writings are also published in publications by Baudhik Vikas Mandal, Gopalganj in the 2004. Some of them are ‘ek aur ek gyarah’. His Bhojpuri comedietta collection got published by the Shabd Sansaar, Patna in 2009, Rangmanch par Mauritius (three comedietta collections on Bhojpuri in Mauritius) by Bhartiya Bhojpuri Sathiya Sammelan, patna 2010, Bhojpuri plays and comediettas by National Book Trust, New Delhi in 2011, Ago Bad Parivaar (collection of 14 Desi Videshi stories) in 2015. His Lok Narayan Natak was published from Kota, Rajasthan in 1999 and Ek Gumshuda Etihaas play from the Shabd Sansaar Patna in 2009. His Bhojpuri song collection Sur Mein Sab Sur ( Geet, Gazal and folk tunes) from Patna in 2011, An Sohato Kavita Sangraha, Patna 2011, Vichitiya (story collection) from ek prakashan in 1974, Patna, Sidth Saanp, Story collection, Vancal Prakashan, Jharkhand in 2015, Sir Khar (Sketch) from Patna in 2014, Idgah se Aage (comedietta collection) from Patna in 2009, a precise sketch of Bhojpuri literature from patna in 2004, Critic of Social Context of Bhojpuri poetries from Aalochna, Patna.
In the year 2005 Taiyaab Hussain ‘Peedit’ retired from Z A Islamia College of Siwan in Patna. Taiyaab fighting odds of his life decided not to marry ever in his life. Peedit ji got accomplishments for his work and was awarded with several awards in his life. He has been awarded by the Rashtrabhasha Parishad of Bihar government. Taiyaab ji now spends his retired life in “T.H Thaur”, New Azimabaad Colony, Post Mahendru Ghat in Patna. He is deeply involved in Bhojpuri literature and academic output.
|Biography of Kanhaiya Prasad Singh
Father’s Name: Chaudhary Siddheshwar Singh
Born: January 2, 1941
Birth Place: Nonar, Bhojpur, Bihar
Credentials: Popular Bhojpuri folk poet, story writer
Chaudhary Kanhaiya Prasad Singh was born on January 2, 1941 in village Nonar, post Peero of Bhojpur district, Bihar. He completed his primary education from the village. He was a brilliant student and was awarded for singing at his college. After completing his graduate degree in agriculture he worked with the rural agricultural department of Bihar government. In addition to performing his job duties he also endeavored for the progress of Bhojpuri, Magahi and Maithili languages. He carved his identity in Santhali, Paharia, Suripuri, Panch Pargania, Maithili, Magahi, Magadha, Bhojpuri speaking belts inspite of being in his job. Even after retiring from the government services in 1999 he continued penning down his songs and poems.
Chaudhary Kanhaiya Prasad Singh is counted amongst one of the established artists of Bhojpuri and he has dedicated his entire life for the progress of the Bhojpuri society and culture. Our conversations with him and his behavior portray him as a standard in Bhojpuri. He led a simple and austere life and spent his whole life for the emancipation of the society. He has developed a Bhojpuri library in his house. He has written numerous poems and spread consciousness among the people through his poems. He has published his books himself and disseminated them among the public. He distributed his books free of cost during the Bhojpuri programmes.
Kanhaiya Prasad has more than two dozen poetry collection, Ekanki, Ghazals to his credit. He has also been awarded by the Bihar government for his poems. In his books Bhojpuri Sahityakar Darpan, Bhojpuri Kathakosh he has written research relevant literature which is a valuable creation for the Bhojpuri collection. His works apart from being published from Aarah district in Bihar have also been published from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. In his Ekanki Anumanta the Bhojpuri writers have written in their counter reaction “Aankh acchait aahar’ Saksharta Abhiyan Khatir Sarkaari Prachar Nimn Laagal’. It is a good creation to arouse the literate society, for the illiterates it provides preachings.
Kanahiya Prasad’s works have been published in Hindi literary magazines like Nirbhik, Mai, Bhinsehra, nirbhik Sandeh, Bhojpuri vishwa, Hori Ke Haal Chaal, Aangna, Bhojpuri Vishwa Sandesh, Deshaj.
Kanhaiya Prasad is an established singer in the Bhojpuri district. He is a full time artist. He has devoted his personal life to Bhojpuri. Sleep or awake, sitting or standing, day night, dusk dawn his time is spent thinking and writing about Bhojpuri. He respects punctuality and strictly follows his daily schedule. He feels that unless we experiment with new things we will not be able to create novelty in our works. There will be repetitions.
Due to the age factor his eyes have become weak and do not support him in his writings though he craves for writing even at this age. His published works are Aarohi Hazara, Barbai Brahma Ramayana, Sahstra Dal, Bhojpuri Sahitya Darpan, Satsai. He has written about one thousand Dohas in Bhojpuri which have been recorded. His Sortha, Dohas are very popular in Bhojpuri.
Kanhaiya Prasad adheres firmly to his tune, is extremely industrious and committed to his work. Indubitabely he has been like a literary mirror for the Bhojpuri readers.
Bajaj Gali, Pakdi, Aarah-802301
|Biography of Shri Akhilesh
Born: 6th July, 1960
Birth Place: New Azimabad Colony, Mahendu, Patna-6
Credentials: Story writer, writer, editor of literary magazine ‘Tadbhav’.
Shri Akhilesh ji was born in a middle class Srivastava family in Kadipur village of Sultanpur district, Uttar Pradesh. His native village is in Alde Pargana of Mau in Sultanpur district. Akhilesh’s grandfather Awadh Narayan Lal was a clerk in the Kadipur tehsil. Akhilesh’s father Shri Vidya Prakash was the only son of his parents. Akhilesh has three siblings, one elder brother and two younger sisters.
Akhilesh got his primary education from the primary school at Kadipur village. His father was transferred to Sultanpur when he passed the fifth standard. He resumed his further education from government Inter College Sultanpur in 1970 and completed his Senior Secondary there.
Akhilesh used to participate in cultural programmes, debates, speeches organized in his school on Independence Day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanti. In this way he created his identity amongst the teachers and students of the school. He was inclined towards literature after completing his Inter and he took the membership of Mehta library. His father wanted him to study Science as a subject but Akhilesh was more interested in creative and literary works. His creative development took place at this time and his political and literary knowledge also sharpened. He started participating in musical shows and got a chance to come in contact with numerous litterateurs, comrades, story writers and politicians. During the emergency in the country in 1975-77 the scenes that Akhilesh encountered left an imprint on his writings. In the initial stage he wrote important stories just like Premchand, Sudarshan but they could not be published. His 1977 his first creation ‘Navjeevan mein Badalte Arthon Wala Prem’ was published in Dainik Newspaper of Lucknow.
He joined BA in 1977 at Babu Ganpat Sahay Degree College, Sultanpur and completed it successfully in 1979 and then sought admission in the Masters programme at Kamla Nehru Post graduate University, Sultanpur. But he chose the path to Allahabad due to his affiliation towards literature and the affection he got from the notable poets and writers. He then took admission in MA Hindi in the Allahabad University. During this period he met big noted litterateurs and his life changed completely.
Akhilesh also had a political affiliation. He became active in the students organizations and SFI at the Allahabad University. Due to aggressive atmosphere at the university Akhilesh could not learn much from his teachers in this environment. He took part in intellectual discourses at the Lalla Chungi near Allahabad University and started penning down his stories. The result of these discussions was that he secured first position in his Masters programme.
He got associated with writers association in 1982 and his story ‘Pinjare Ki Khushbu’ was published in the same year. His first book ‘Aadmi Tuttaa Nahi’ which was a collection of stories was published in the year 1983.In the same year his story was published in Smarika and was awarded also.
He was assigned the task of editor for the magazine Vartaman Sahitya after he came in contact with Shri Vibhuti Narayan Rai. Akhilesh did editing of four issues, then he became the co-editor of popular magazine Maya published from the Maya Press. Being dissatisfied with his job he resigned from there and then his struggle phase began. He was in financial trouble at that time so he had to go back to Sultanpur.
Overcoming his struggles he got married in the year 1990 and he was also awarded the Parimal Samman. Thereafter Akhilesh moved forward in the magazine field and became the Bureau head of the Lucknow branch of Sutradhar newspaper published from Delhi. Shri Akhilesh showed his presence as a journalist at the site of Ayodhya Babri Mosque demolition and did reporting from there. Sutradhar closed forever in 1993 and again Akhilesh was left without a job. He had to struggle till 1998. From 1999 he started the publication and editing of the literary magazine Tadbhav. He achieved much recognition in the society when he was sent as a representative of the Sahitya Akademy in the World Hindi Sammelan held in Mexico and Johannesburg in September 2006.
The stories of Akhilesh which have been dramatized are Shraapgrasta under the direction of Devendra Raj Ankur, Agli Shatabdi Ka Pyaar, Chithi dramatized under the direction of Dinesh Khanna. Akhilesh also has two novels to his credit ‘Anveshan’ published from Radhakrishna Prakashan, New Delhi in 1992 and Nirvasan published from Rajkamal Prakashan, New Delhi in 2014.
The novel ‘Nirvasan’ highlights the pain of migration and shows us the mirror to reality. Nirvasan is neither a novel of the past nor a novel of the present. It is also not a novel of the future but Akhilesh in this novel has penned down the pains he has undergone in his process of migration from village to towns to cities. Akhilesh has been awarded the ‘Kasap’ Manohar Joshi award by eminent writer and critic Namvar Singh for his literary creations. Akhilesh through his literary magazine Tadbhav has been spreading consciousness in the society on the importance of Bhojpuri folk culture and its dying forms. His endeavors have been crucial in spreading intellectual discourses and dissemination of Bhojpuri tradition.
18/201 Indira Nagar Lucknow-226016
Moble No. : 0522-2345301
|Biography of Manoranjan Ojha
Born: 12th January, 1967
Birth Place: Uttari Mandiri, Patna
Shri Manoranjan Ojha was born on 12 January, 1967 in village Ojhvalia (Kala) Andhari, district Bhojpur in Bihar. His primary education took place from the village. His father who was a veterinary doctor was transferred to various districts during his job period so Manoranjan had to change schools often. His education also suffered in this process. At last when his father settled in Patna then only he could concentrate on his education smoothly. He did his senior secondary from Patna Science College and did his graduation from Magadh University. He got training of classical singing from Pracheen Kala Kendra, Chandigarh. Due to his deep interest in singing he could not pay heed to other academics examinations.
Shri Manoranjan had never thought that singing would become his profession one day but he listened to musical songs on the radio from a very young age which drew him towards this profession. During his childhood days he attentively listened to the movie songs and rehearsed them. His throat was so good that during his school days his teachers, and the school guards stopped him after the school and asked him to sing songs for them. He continued his singing in this manner and when he was in eighth standard everyone was astonished when he obtained the second prize in the national level singing competition at Patna. He received his award from the hands of the then governor of Bihar. He continued his journey as a singer after making everyone proud by his achievement.
Things were not so smooth for Manoranjan ji at home. His family members did not support him in his singing career and tried to stop him from taking it too seriously. But at the same time they were quite happy when they saw Manoranjan’s photo in the newspaper with such renowned figures.
His singing career began in 1978-79 and he performed on the stage for the first time without any formal training. He was praised for his performance and thereafter he sought the refuge of Pandit Jawahar Mishra ji for acquiring training of classical singing.
Manoranjan did not have any musical background in his paternal family. But he got a good music environment at his maternal grandparents house. His mother’s voice was also melodious. Manoranjan was so much influenced by his mother’s voice that whenever he is on the stage he starts thinking about the melodic tunes of his mother. Surely Manoranjan ji begins his songs on the stage in a very different manner. His performance on the stage is very beautiful and the tunes of his songs are sure to mesmerize his listeners.
Shri Manoranjan Ojha received so much acclaim from his audience and the wider public for his singing that he was invited in the parties organized by the Bihar government. His presentation on the stage was appreciated by the reputed guests, Governor and Chief Minister of Bihar which all the more refined his singing.
Manoranjan Ojha has entertained the audience with almost all the folk forms of Bhojpuri by his emotional performances.
When Manoranjan ji went to his relatives in the village he was only recognized as a rural singer. They did not accord him any respect. When Manoranjan ji said that I am a Bhojpuri singer they all mocked at him. They all discouraged him to such an extent that one of his uncles in the village taunted by saying ‘Tu Badka Gavaiyya Ho Gailo Ta Tohar Kapda France se Istri karawe bade jai’. (It seems you have become a very big singer so your clothes should be ironed from France now). But the taunts that had disappointed and discouraged Manoranjan ji became correct with the passage of time and he was invited to countries like France, Mauritius, Cuba (Havanna), Port of Spain for international singing.
Due to his laudable performances Manoranjan ji had made his place in the category of Aakashwani and Doordarshan artists. On many occasions he had sung folk songs at the Doordarshan Kendra, Patna. He also did music direction in TV serials like Maryada (tele film), Sar Mundaate Jutte Padte (comedy drama), Jeevant Prastuti, Kaya Kalp Sharbat and Veer Kunwar Singh etc. Some of his commendable musical works are Jeevan Rag(2013),a programme broadcasted by aakashwani, Sangeet Rupak (13 episodes) based on Bhojpuri folksongs of Bihar, Neelvansh (2008), Tutti Bedia (2008) based on women empowerment , Bol Jamura Bol, Kanti Raag, Nadi Ke Dhaar, Bhor Ke Pahrubha, Munia Maun Nahi Rahegi.
He has also given his performances in open stage programmes ‘Chaupal’ in Saran, Shekhpura, Gaya, Aarah, Harihar region (Sonpur), Purnia, Vaishali, Patna and many other places. Manoranjan ji also performed musical shows at places like Bihar, Patna, Betia, Buxar, Purnia at the interstate youth festival organized by the Art and Culture Department of Bihar. He also gave his programmes in the workshops and meetings of Bihar government and the Bhartiya Nrityakala Mandir.
He also performed in states like Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram, Darjeeling, Tamil Nadu under the aegis of Central Music and Drama Academy, New Delhi. Manoranjan’s affiliation for music did not stop here but he also spread his word of music in the Cultural festivals organized at NCZCC, Allahabad and the Kumbh Fair held at Allahabad. He also registered his presence in the Himalayan festival organized at Kasauli in Uttarakhand and also gave his performance at Udaipur, Rajasthan in Northwest zonal cultural platform.
Manoranjan was invited by the Bihar Tourism Department and various other Ministries of Indian government to showcase his musical proclivity and he also received many awards and certificates as an honour for his commendable performances.
Not only has been Manoranjan acknowledged nationally but he has received much international fame too. He participated as a cultural representative of the art and Culture Department of the Bihar at the fourteenth International Youth Festival organized in Cuba (Havana) in 1997 where he gave his folk performance. On the occasion of 160th Anniversary of Indian Arrival in Trinidad (West Indies) he performed at various places including the Port of Spain and also directed the folk dance performances.
Shri Ojha performed at the Shatabdi Bihar Festival 2012 along with his team in Udaipur and Delhi. He also performed at the Rajgir Mahotsava of Bihar, Vaishali Mahotsava, Harihar Shetra Mahotsava (Sonpur), Basant utsav (Patna) in front of tightly packed audience and sang Bhojpuri songs.
Apart from these musical performances Manoranjan Ojha also concentrated on the fairs and festivals organized in the Bhojppuri region and performed Bhojpuri folk forms like Purvi, Chaiti, Holi etc.
Currently Manoranjan ji is employed as a teacher of folk music in the Bhartiya Nritya Kala Mandir, Patna. He also provides training to amateurs to develop their understanding of folk music. He is persistently providing training to the students on the finesse of Folk music, its content, tone and tune etc.
Being counted as a reputed artist in the field of folk music Manoranjan Ojha has been awarded the highest category ‘B’ in Bhojpuri folk singing by the Doordarshan. Shortly he has received the Rajya Kala Award for the year 2015 and the Vindyawasini Devi eminent folk singer award. He has also received the state level award in 2012.
02 Ganga Mahal, Uttari Mandiri
|Biography of Prof. Pandit Hariram Dwivedi
Born: March 12, 1936
Birth Place: Uttari Mandiri, Patna
Credentials: established Hindi and Bhojpuri poet, reading writing
Pandit Hariram Dwivedi was born in village Sherwa of Mirzapur district of Uttar Pradesh on March 12, 1936. He completed his primary and middle education from the village. At the age of fifteen in 1951 he migrated to Varanasi where he completed his Inter from BHU Central school, Kamaksha and did his graduation and post-graduation from Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi from the Education department.
After acquiring his graduation degree he moved forward in the direction of singing and writing. The Mirzapur region has been a culturally vibrant region and this led Hariram Dwivedi to associate himself with songs, poetries, folk forms like Birha, Kajri and folk dramas. His elder brother also had an interest in music.
Hariram got into the education line after completing his MA and B.Ed but due to his interest in poetry and music he got associated with the broadcasting service of Aakashvani. Performing his job as a Programme Officer he constantly created poems. Harirram Dwivedi belonged to the Chunar tehsil of Mirzapur so he was tied up to the culture and tradition of the village and the historical heritage of Chunar and the stories of valour of that region left an indelible imprint on his mind and on his life. The influence of the cultural ambience of the coasts of the Ganges river had a deep impact on his career. Due to this reason he could not wipe out the memories of village from his folk mind and during his job in the radio station he could not stop himself from creating poetries and songs having a feel of the village milieu.
Hariram has passed on his musical legacy in his family too. His elder son is also associated with music and currently he is a music teacher at DPS college in Varanasi.
His important works are Nadiyon Gail Dubram (anthology of Bhojpuri songs), Aangnaiya, Jeevan Dayini Ganga, Bain Fakeera (compilation of Bhojpuri songs), Paani Kahe Kahani (Compilation of Bhojpuri and Hindi music forms), Patri Peer (creations of Barwaii Chand in Bhojpuri), Hashiye Ka Dard and Ramta Jogi (Hindi creations) and He Dekha Ho (a Bhojpuri satire).
He presented folk songs like Phulwari, Parivesh, Aaina (Hindi Ghazal) for Aakashwani and also presented his exemplary collection of sanskaar Geet and paarivarik Geet. His other known collections are Kaashi Mahima, Padya Gathayein.
Due to his creditable efforts in the field of music Hariram Dwivedi has been conferred with many awards. He has been awarded the ‘Setu Samman’ by the World Bhojpuri Symposium for his poetries, writing and singing. He has also been awarded the ‘Purbiya Gaurav Samman’ by the World Bhojpuri association, Purbiya samman by the Purbiya Ekta Manch, Manishi Ratna Samman by the Manishi Parishad, Varanasi and Bhasha Samman by the Sahiyta academy for his contribution to Bhojpuri language and literature in the year 2013.
In addition his other distinctive achievements are the Lok Purush Samman, Lokmani Puraskar, Vidya Nivas Mishra Lok Kavi Samman and UP Ratna Samman. He has also received the reputed Rahul Sankrityayan Award by the Uttar Pradesh Hindi institute, Sahitya Saraswat Samman and the Ashokpriyadarshi Samman by the Ashok Mission Society, Varanasi.
He was sent by ICCR to Myanmar as a Bhojpuri poet representative from India in the year 2006.
After retiring from his job in 1994 Hariram Dwivedi travelled to the village belts and is working for the emancipation of the folk culture and traditions with full dedication and commitment. He is trying to relive the village traditions and folk life by being a part of their village environment. His efforts are no doubt making the people more aware about their cultural heritage and folk forms which are on the verge of extinction.