By Syed Akbar
As the sun takes rest for the day, a group of young people sits together in Hyderabad rending the famous songs of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, creating an aura of patriotism, communal harmony and in the process relieving their stress.
"Sabarmati Sangeet", as the patriotic and religious songs sung by Mahatma Gandhi and his followers at the historic Sabarmati Ashram are fondly called by this group, has been helping stress-ridden youngsters to improve upon their health.
DVK Vasudevan, a young music instructor in the University of Hyderabad, and his group of friends have found a new way of fighting stress through the rendition of the Sabarmati Sangeet. He now plans to involve the common public by organising such events in public every weekend at the Bapu Ghat in the city.
"Sabarmati Sangeet helps us in two ways. First, to spread the message of peace, patriotism and communal harmony among our youngsters. Second, it will help in relieving tension and stress. The songs are so powerful that they give a soothing effect to the listeners. Any song that brings peace to the body and the mind will improve blood circulation thus relieving stress," says Vasudevan.
The Sabarmati songs are excellent and enthralling as well. The songs were written by great saints like Meerabai, Tulasidas, Kabir and Gurunanak and were quite popular in those days. "Except for a couple of songs, most of our present day generations do not remember them. The idea is to revive the Sabarmati tradition in Hyderabad to achieve peace for the mind and good health for the body," he points out.
Unfortunately most of the Sabarmati songs have lost their importance after the assassination of the Mahatma in 1948. The group wants to wean away the modern youths from pop and foreign culture and imbibe in them the cultural, devotional, religious and moral values of India.
He said the members of Sanskriti, an organisation run by Vasudevan and his friends, took an oath to fill the gap by building a bridge in the name of Sabarmati Sangeet between traditional and posh cultures. They
designed a programme by taking very popular bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi and giving a free training to all those interested.
Some of the songs being popularised by the young group are:
1. Raghupathi raghava rajaram pateeta pavan seetharam; 2. Vaishnava janatho tene kahiye; 3. Hey jagatratha viswa vidhatha hey sukh santhiniketanhe; 4. Tuhi ram hai, tu rahim hai, tu karim krishna khuda huva; 5. Man lago mere yaar fakeereeme man lago mere yaar phakeereeme; 6. Janakinath sahay kare jab, kon bigaadu kare nar tero;
7. Ka ranjale ganjale, pyasi mhano jo aaple; 8. Chakar rakho ji, man chakar rakho ji, giridhar lala; 9. Ram kaho rehman kaho, kovu kanh kaho mahadevari; 10. Utha jag musaphir bhor bhayee, ab raina kahan jo sovath hai; 11. Payoji maine ram ratan dhan payo; 12. Sri ramachandra kripalu bhaja man harana bhava - bhaya darunaam; 13. Deenana dukh haran deva santhan hitakari; 14. Mero to giridhar gopal, doosara na koyi and 15. Sadho manka maan tyago, kaam krodh sangath durjankitate ahanis bhago.
"Music has its own importance, the reason being that it is omnipresent. Sabarmati sangeet plays a crucial role because of their beautiful meaning in the lyrics. These songs have their own importance and power," points out group member G Dronendra Phani Kumar.
Nature has its own rhythm and pitch and even the human body has its own rhythm and pitch like heart beat and pulse rate and this rhythm is nothing but the main part of music, he argues while propagating the cause of Sabarmati Sangeet as part of their music therapy programme.
The group has now approached the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation and the Tourism Department for permission to use the premises of Bapu Ghat where the ashes of the Mahatma are buried. "There's no place better than Bapu Ghat to spread the message of Sabarmati Sangeet," they argue.
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