September 28, Palpa. With the introduction of Nav Durga in the decade, the practice of singing Malashree songs has disappeared in recent years. It was the custom of the Gandharva youths that they used to go to the village and sing Malshree at night. Locals claim that now it is difficult to find anyone to sing Malshree.
Traditionally confined to the Gandharva community, the profession is in crisis due to its inability to attract the younger generation. Many people get mesmerized by the melodious melody of Sarangi.
Ram Bahadur Gandharva of Tansen Municipality Bus Park is now 70 years old. According to him, it was customary to go at three o’clock in the night before singing Malshree. Although many youths are singing the songs of Malashree, Gandharva is sad because there is no one there now. Due to lack of special interest in sarangi playing as before, the practice of singing songs while playing the sarangi disappeared in the decade.
As he grew older, his interest in playing the violin grew. Presently Ram Bahadur is the only character in Gandharva district who has the ability to sing to the tune of Sarangi. Due to the humiliation and untouchability of the Gandharva caste, the younger generation has been displaced from this profession. The younger generation has not been attracted towards the profession of playing the sarangi.
Along with the tune of the sarangi, the Gandharva caste used to inform the citizens through information and entertainment. Before the development of information technology, the sarangi was considered a reliable means of communication. Now the development and use of information technology has reduced the importance of this tool.
The traditional sporting profession is in jeopardy due to the lack of attractiveness of the younger generation living in the Gandharva caste. The reflection of Nepali origin folklore and folk culture comes while singing Sarangi Ratar. Dinesh Gandharva, former president of the Gandharva Toll Development Committee, said that the non-Dalit community would be able to buy vehicles from big palaces by singing songs, but the Gandharva caste could not attract the youth due to problems in their livelihood.
The Gandharvas live in the villages of Rambha and Ribdikot including Tansen Municipality. Although it has a great role in music, there is now a shortage of Nepali folk instrument players.
This profession has fallen into a trap as it has joined other professions of playing the violin. Though the Gandharva community has the skill of playing the sarangi, they have been forced to take up other professions due to the negligence of the state. According to the local Shalikram Gandharva, even though his son and daughter are literate, they have to go elsewhere for employment as they are not getting work in the country. According to Gandharva, he left this profession as he still had problems in making a living playing the sarangi.
Dalit rights activists say that the social and cultural system is an obstacle in the disappearance of the ancestral profession of the Gandharva caste. Despite being rich in art and talent, Gandharva has not been able to get respect at the national level. Dalit rights activist Teerth Prasad Gautam insists that the government should introduce incentive programs to attract the younger generation, apart from the Gandharva caste, to continue the profession of playing the violin.