The singing daabdadu of Santipur
and • Nadia, West Bengal

The singing daabdadu of Santipur

Sukumar Biswas is a coconut seller, a daily wage worker and a musician who sings about his homeland

November 2, 2023 | Tarpan Sarkar

Vajesinh Pargi: a life in letters, and worse

An Adivasi poet from Gujarat, Vajesinh Pargi, died on September 23, 2023. From the margins of mainstream Gujarati literature to which he was relegated, he wrote powerful poems about hope, hardships, and hunger. A tribute to the fine poet who wrote in Panchmahali Bhili and Gujarati

October 11, 2023 | Pratishtha Pandya

In Bihar, Muslim Khalifa keeps Alha-Udal alive

A lone folk singer takes the Alha-Udal (Rudal) epic across the state, singing in fields, wedding parties and home events. He recalls a time when he was much in demand, but says now interest is dwindling in this long musical – an 800-year-old story of a warrior duo

September 22, 2023 | Umesh Kumar Ray
In Puruliya: songs of love and freedom
and • Puruliya, West Bengal

In Puruliya: songs of love and freedom

Folk songs acquired a new meaning during the freedom struggle as the drum-beating messengers and singers also spread the message of rebellion against British rule

August 17, 2023 | P. Sainath

The songs of Kohinoor Begum
, and • Murshidabad, West Bengal

The songs of Kohinoor Begum

In Murshidabad, West Bengal, Kohinoor sings for the rights of women, labour, farming and more. Her music brings people together and bolsters solidarity

May 18, 2023 | Smita Khator
Beedi workers: songs of life and labour
, and • Murshidabad, West Bengal

Beedi workers: songs of life and labour

In West Bengal’s Beldanga, Kohinoor Begum sings about the exploitative work of rolling beedis

February 11, 2023 | Smita Khator

A buffalo herder sings of life and love

Satyajit Morang is from the Mising tribe in Assam. In this video he sings a love song in the Oinitom style, and talks about herding buffaloes on the islands formed in the Brahmaputra river

January 2, 2023 | Himanshu Chutia Saikia

Assam’s Santo Tanti sings a jhumur

The 25-year-old musician sings about an inclusive Assam in the jhumur style of music, accompanied by the madol, jhumur dhol and flute

December 26, 2022 | Himanshu Chutia Saikia

Atmaram Salve: sowing the sparks of revolution

On his birth anniversary, a tribute to Shahir Atmaram Salve, whose fiery poetry shaped the Namantar movement in Marathwada in the 1970s-80s. His songs stir the struggle for Dalit rights even today

June 9, 2022 | Keshav Waghmare

Inspired by Ambedkar: Salve's liberation song

On Ambedkar Jayanti, Shahir Atmaram Salve’s poetry exhorts the listener to give up the old ways and follow the path shown by Babasaheb

April 14, 2022 | Keshav Waghmare

Santo Tanti’s songs of sadness, work and hope

This youngster in Jorhat performs songs of jhumur – a folk art form in several states of eastern India. Those he sings, though, have evolved across generations in the tea garden communities of Assam

September 11, 2021 | Himanshu Chutia Saikia

‘Dancing like flowers in a garland’
, and • Bastar, Chhattisgarh

‘Dancing like flowers in a garland’

At celebrations and commemorations during the winter months, young men and women from Chhattisgarh's Gond community travel together to perform the Hulki Mandri and Kolang dances, and sing Rela songs

March 30, 2021 | Purusottam Thakur

Fading out: Maniram's flutes, Orchha's forests

Maniram Mandawi, a flute-maker from the Gond Adivasi community in Chhattisgarh’s Narayanpur district, recalls a time when forests were rich in animals, trees and bamboo for his signature 'swinging flute'

February 24, 2021 | Priti David

With rhyme and reason – rap song for migrants

In Kalahandi district, Duleshwar Tandi – ‘Rapper Dule Rocker’ – a tuition teacher, construction worker and occasional migrant, expresses anguish through this song at the plight of migrants in the lockdown

July 04, 2020 | Purusottam Thakur

Dealing with dissonance, restoring harmony

Several hereditary harmonium repairmen – now a very rare occupation – from Jabalpur, MP, were trapped in Renapur, Maharashtra, for over two months due to the lockdown. They tell PARI how they coped

June 15, 2020 | Ira Deulgaonkar

In Tamil Nadu: playing Parai on lockdown, live!

Parai artists Manimaran and Magizhini are tapping into social media to continue performing under lockdown, and spreading awareness about Covid-19 through talks and recorded videos

April 4, 2020 | Kavitha Muralidharan

‘Tell me how to do farming?’

Ajit Shelke or ‘Rapboss’ sings powerfully in this Marathi rap song about the acute distress of farmers in Maharashtra: ‘I see there is now only one option to choose, Around my neck, do I hang the noose?’

June 24, 2019 | Rapboss and Chetan Garud Productions

‘The mountain, forest and streams are our gods’

The Adivasis of the Niyamgiri hills of Odisha won a victory in 2013 against mining, but the threats to their ancestral land remain. Rajkishor Sunani, poet-activist, sang about at the recent Niyamgiri festival

April 20, 2018 | Purusottam Thakur

Possessed by his art, a Bahurupi transforms

Raju Chowdhury of West Bengal's Bishaypur village is a storyteller, a feverish singer, an impersonator. His income is modest, the work is hard. This film features his stunning dance as the imaginary Tara sundori

March 23, 2018 | Sinchita Maji

'I am a farmer, I walk this long journey'

A moving poem, along with a video, on the anguish of farmers who marched 180 kilometres from Nashik to Mumbai from March 6 to March 12, 2018, with the desperate hope of being heard, and with determination too

March 14, 2018 | The PARI team
Little Barsha's big journey
and • Birbhum, West Bengal

Little Barsha's big journey

Barsha Garai of Shyambati village in West Bengal’s Birbhum district is the only girl of her age training with veteran Baul musician Basudeb Das, and singing philosophical Baul songs since she was four years old

March 12, 2018 | Ananya Chakroborty

‘We are the children of the earth’

Students of the zilla parishad primary school in Nandgaon village in Pune district sing of equality and a freedom yet to be achieved in this country of 1.3 billion – a reminder for Children's Day, November 14

November 13, 2017 | Samyukta Shastri
‘O country of stones!’
and • Kolhapur, Maharashtra

‘O country of stones!’

That’s the title of a poem an outraged and anguished Suyash Kamble wrote after witnessing the violence at Koregaon Bhima on January 1 this year. The prolific 20-year old Dalit poet from Shiradwad village in Kolhapur district wants to be a journalist, because, he says, ‘… a good journalist will never be silent’

January 22, 2018 | Sanket Jain

‘Mahua flowers fall like a red shower of rain’

In the seven audio songs here, Adivasi girls from a residential school in Farsegarh village of Chhattisgarh's Bijapur district sing of trees and fields, friends and families, of dressing up and dancing, and the tricolour

November 08, 2017 | Shobha R. and Arundhati V .

Skipping rope, songs and a game of cricket

A chance visit to a primary school in Malthan village of Pune district during the children’s play hour leaves us with their sense of joy

October 21, 2017 | Namita Waikar

Basudeb Baul: singing the ballads of Bengal

The Baul culture of music is distinctive, with a syncretic philosophy of life. In the film featured here, Basudeb Das Baul, a practitioner and teacher from Bolpur in Birbhum district, speaks of this way of life and art form

August 1, 2017 | Sinchita Maji

The poet of small thingis
• Beed, Maharashtra

The poet of small thingis

Shahir Atmaram Salve was a Dalit poet from Majalgaon taluka whose work has not received due recognition. His son Pradeep sings us a revolutionary song by Salve from a compilation titled 'Thingi' – or spark

July 12, 2017 | Namita Waikar
Melodies of Mahila Holi in Munsiari
and • Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand

Melodies of Mahila Holi in Munsiari

In the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, different types of Holi are celebrated across many days, and the festivities are a time for the women in the villages here to dance and let their songs reverberate amid the mountains. A photo story for PARI's International Women’s Day series throughout March

March 17, 2017 | Arpita Chakrabarty
The song of Sohrai
and • Banka, Bihar

The song of Sohrai

The song of Sohrai During the harvest festival, Santal women in Chirchirya hamlet in Bihar sing about their way of life while men play the instruments, and there is a feast and some mahua as well

March 16, 2017 | Shreya Katyayini

A potato a day kept the doctor away for years

Adivasi boys in Edamalakudi's primary school in the Idukki Hills of Kerala robustly sing an ode to a doctor in competition to the earnest 'Potato song' sung by the girls in their class

February 15, 2017 | P. Sainath
Songs of the Sundarbans
and • South 24 Paraganas, West Bengal

Songs of the Sundarbans

The songs and dance by the Santal, Munda, Oraon and Ho preserve their languages and bring in an income

December 16, 2016 | Urvashi Sarkar

The poet-singer of Dhinkia

Back To South Korea (Go Back POSCO)

September 20, 2014 | Purusottam Thakur
The Potato Song
• Idukki, Kerala

The Potato Song

Adivasi girls in Edamalakudi sing a unique song in English in honour of the potato that they don't eat, in a village where no English is spoken

July 21, 2014 | P. Sainath