Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday inaugurated 'Padharo Mhare Des' Digital Covid Relief Concert Series - an initiative of Rajasthan-based singer Manesha A. Agarwal's Arpan Foundation to support the state's folk artists.Renowned artists participating in the concert series include Manesha Ram and group - Meghvals of Jaisalmer; Dapu Khan Mirasi of the 'Mumal' fame; Bundu Khan and band - Langas of Jodhpur; Thanu Khan and Tarif Khan of Chala Mama Project; Sugni Devi - the singing sensation of the Kalbeliyas - Jodhpur; and Mehboob Khan Langa, among others.On the occasion, the Chief Minister said that the initiative would support the artist community deprived of regular livelihood for several months. Folk artists are solely dependent on their art for livelihood. This is a unique concept to support such folk artists during the coronavirus crisis. Such initiatives can play a crucial role in the growth of art forms in the state and promote virtual tourism.Manesha Agarwal said, "We are extremely grateful to the honourable Ashok Gehlotji for supporting this initiative. He has always given a boost to the state's art and culture and his support is very encouraging for the folk artists and us". 'Padharo Mhare Des' series will feature 70 folk artists from the interiors of Jodhpur, Jaisalmer and Barmer.
Agarwal said, "I was constantly concerned - an integral part of the state's cultural fabric, folk artists of Rajasthan including Langas, Manganiyars, Bhopas, Merasis, Sehariyas, Kalbelias among others, have been severely hit during the pandemic. With tourism as well as cultural performances during celebrations scaled down almost entirely, many of them face an unprecedented threat, both to livelihood as well as the survival of their musical legacy. Arpan Foundation with a team of entertainment and media professionals reached out to the remotest parts of Rajasthan and recorded performances of these folk artists from where they live."The premiere episode of 'Padharo Mhare Des' began with Ganesh Vandana by Mahesha Ram and group from Jaisalmer. As a guest performance, Padma Bhushan and Grammy awardee Pandit Vishwamohan Bhatt played a rendition of 'Padharo Mhare Des' on his creation, the 'Mohan Veena.'This was followed by folk music performances and dance by the Langas and Kalbeliyas from Jodhpur and Manganiyars from Barmer.Arpan Foundation has extended monetary support to each of the 70 artists who were recorded. The foundation will continue efforts to reach out to folk artists in the remote parts of the state.