//Loknaad: Spreading awareness through music

Loknaad: Spreading awareness through music

Music is the only medium for this couple to reach out to the masses and create social awareness. Though not formally trained in music, they use the tool beautifully to magical effects!

Meet Vinay Mahajan and Charul Bharwada of `Loknaad` (people`s voice), who use songs, accompanied with ‘ghungroo’ and ‘dafli’ to take the results of their findings from studies and field experience to the people for collective reflection and action.

"What began as a way to express feelings against injustice at meetings and rallies gradually took shape of a platform – a form to voice people`s agony and aspiration," says Charul.

Vinay, an agricultural engineeer and Charul, an architect left their corporate jobs and initiated Loknaad in 1992 with an aim towards "building the culture of peace, dignity and democracy."

The duo has written and composed 50 songs in Hindi, Gujarati and Punjabi, and given over 250 performances focused on marginalised communities — with special emphasis on women and children, and the issues related to agriculture and water resources.

"We had no formal training in music. Neither we were performers. While doing our professional work we came across what we call `True India`," says Vinay.

The Ahmedabad based couple, who won the `Sanskriti Award 2005 for outstanding social achievement` recently, say that choosing songs as a medium was not their "conscious decision."

"We had seen such performances in our childhood and we had ideas to express," he says.

"We had developed a keen interest in using songs as a way to take the findings of our field experiences and the ground realities to people," adds Charul.

"Most of the time people only talk about different issues or violence be it social or religious and leave the task of improving the situation to others.

"We through our performance — which is a mixture of commentary, story and songs — create social awareness and try to put across the message to people to think how they can improve the situation, " she says.

The Loknaad team, which has performed for audiences in rural and urban areas, schools, citizen fora, for farmers and tribals is of the opinion that definition of violence is getting "narrower" day by day.

"People only react to social and religious violence. But there are different types of violence happening everyday around us which go unnoticed," says Charul.

"Any violation of human rights and dignity of a human being is a violence. We are living with violence around us and so its defination is getting narrower day by day," opines Vinay.

"Look at child labour issue. These children are losing their childhood when they are very young. They are forced to work. Is this not a violence? aren`t we living with it?" asks Charul.

Be it child labour issue, organic farming campaign in Gujarat, people`s struggle against the displacement due to developmental projects or the right to information, the Loknaad team has been a part of these campaigns through specific songs.

Bureau Report, Zee News
http://www.zeenews.com/nri/inner1.asp?aid=195717&sid=ART