SARANGI

The perfectly harmonised words with the music produced from the strings of Sarangi, a Gaine (person who sings by playing the Sarangi) sings: Jaati pitchhau pita baru tehi malai sahi chha, bhabanama chota lage antarghata hundu rai chha, maryo malai nisthuri mayale (you can slap me if you want. Being injured emotionally means to suffer heartache. Malicious love marred me). He sings in his melodious and mellifluous voice. The song is so powerful that I am almost nostalgic. Like D H Lawrence wrote in his poem “Piano” thus: “my manhood is cast down in the flood of remembrance. I weep like a child for the past.” I just cannot help being emotional by the melodious Sarangi tune. I hear this Gaine singing incessantly and fall in love with him and his music. He holds me spellbound. I stop and stand as a statue, and then stare at his musical instrument. Surely, he is a Gaine who is sharing his sorrows and miseries, dreams and desires with the pedestrians. He lives on the footpath, selling his throat and art, and scrounging for whatever little he can amass. All this he does not for entertainment, but to earn his daily bread and butter. Unfortunately, no passer-by even looks at him. I count only ten rupees collected on his handkerchief spread on the floor. I add five rupees to it, but I he needs not less than Rs 30 for dinner at night, I guess.

I cannot let go of his sight. His spontaneous song spills over on the themes of betrayed lovers, tragedy of common man and the story of Ramayana, Mahabharata and Muna Madan. I listen to each of them in awe and curiosity and cannot control the tears rolling down my cheeks. His song reflects time, place, and circumstances. However, no one pays attention as if they can hardly understand the music, which actually bridges the generational gap. I guess the Bandbaza and remix songs have supplanted the folk music of its identity. Sarangi interprets the ups and downs as well as ebb and flow of human life. It unfolds the story of many common folks who live miserable lives in different nook and cranny of the country. It divulges into details that are hidden and remain secret. Cannot any one protect and promote true Nepali folk culture? Cannot the position of many Gaines be alleviated in our society? Cannot we hear the pathos and bathos of the poor? Gaines are archives that carry the voice of the marginalized, the poor, the downtrodden, the squatter, and the widow. They play the culture and the practices of different nooks and crannies of the country in the strings of Sarangi. When I am in pain or hear the untimely demise of innocent lives, I muse on the strings of Sarangi. (Published: June 30, 2005. Link: https://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/midway-melodious-sarangi/)

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