He puts on his costume and picks up his instrument, time to go to work. Work for Kisan Kate comes when he goes around his village in Buldhana, Maharashtra performing the Gondhal. The Gondhal is a ritual of Maharashtra which includes narrative performance in order to obtain blessings from Goddess Renkua or Tuljabhavani. Community correspondent Vinod, from Buldhana district of Maharashtra travels with Kisan who performs this folk art for a living. He finds that behind the songs there is a difficult life. The devotees invite their families and the Gondhali-- the family’s traditional artist like Kisan who performs the Gondhal. The performance includes narration of mythological stories, hero-lauds and folk legends. Gondhal is one of those few important folk arts of Maharashtra that has become an inseparable part of the lifestyle of the people. In most societies, as it is the established practice for people of a particular caste, it is a common ritual. The limited number of people in the audience makes the performance an intimate one. An effect that would have been lost in an auditorium. Gondhal is one of the most extraordinary forms of folk art that is performed in rural as well as urban areas in Maharashtra. Sadly, very few people recognize the efforts and dedication of the artists who perform this art. That’s why people who perform don’t get paid enough for what they deserve. They live in a very poor economic condition. To give the folk artists a better life and to recognize their art, Sharad Pawar (ex Chief Minister of Maharashtra) had passed a law stating that the folk artists would get financial support from the state. But as is the story with many well meaning declarations of support, this too remained lip service. There have been several instances where despite the law being passed, concerned government officials have refused to give these folk artist any support, saying that they don’t have enough documents. There are 150-200 folk artists who do not get any financial assistance from the Government. Kisan Kate submitted his application in 2008 for financial assistance. In 2010, he was told that his form had some glitches and the government could not accept it. He made the corrections and did whatever he was asked and re-submitted the form. It is now 2013 and he is still waiting for the approval from the Government officials. “I don't want much more. Just the financial assistance, they promised” says Kisan Kate. Will you support those who keep the rich Indian heritage we are all so proud of? Call the Social Welfare Officer on 07262242245, and urge him to give the assistance that these folk artists were promised.
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