Music can help motivate and heal people in times of the coronavirus pandemic, says Bhojpuri musician Pramod Kumar who hopes to build a bridge between people and the government through his songs. Kumar, who hails from Buxar district in Bihar, is a seasoned musician from the Bhojpuri music industry and specialises in the Chutney Music, an amalgamation of English and Bhojpuri, which is quite popular in the Caribbean countries having a huge Indian diaspora.
Ever since the coronavirus-forced lockdown started, the 44-year-old journalist-singer has been continuously coming up with new songs to spread awareness about the disease. So far, he has posted 50-60 songs on his social media platforms. The aim, Kumar said, is to motivate, uplift and help people get through this difficult phase.
"I want to console people through my music and bring them healing in these tough times. I wanted to act as a messenger of people's voices to the government and vice versa. I want them to not lose hope," he told PTI in an interview.
His songs cover a range of issues like unemployment, hunger, poverty and migrant exodus in the country since the lockdown was announced on March 24.
"There were a number of stories being done about migrant labourers and it is a well-known fact that majority of them belong to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
So I thought I should interact with them in their own language.
"I wanted to make them aware of the disease and also to tell them that they should not panic as this phase too shall pass."
Kumar, who has been primarily working as a journalist for a national daily for over 20 years, said though his songs highlight the issues faced by the people, he has never taken a swipe at any government.
"I was absolutely clear about one thing when I started this -- I won't criticise anyone through my work, neither the central government nor the states. This pandemic is unprecedented and no one has expertise in how to deal with it. Everything is working on a trial and error basis.
"However, through some of the songs, I have spoken about how things are not good and governments should pay attention to people."
As a journalist, Kumar said tries to keep abreast of the state of affairs in the country, which in turn helps him in his music.
"There is no dearth of material for a song since I'm a journalist first. We are well aware of the facts as it is a part of our job. From morning to 7.
30 in the evening, I do my work as a journalist and during this period, I figure out the topic for my song of the day.
"My effort everyday is to bring something new for the listeners. In my songs, you will find everything, be it coronavirus awareness messages or stories about common people and their struggles. I dedicated two songs to Mahatma Gandhi since we celebrated his 150th birth anniversary last year."
In his upcoming songs, Kumar will be touching upon the Indo-China relations, which have come under severe strain after Chinese military killed 20 Indian Army personnel and injured around 76 in a violent clash in Ladakh's Galwan Valley on June 15.
As for the Bhojpuri music, which has often been criticised for crude and misogynistic lyrics in songs, the singer said the problem is about what people are being offered.
"Criticising is not a solution to a problem. The Bhojpuri music is on autopilot mode today as there is no experiment happening. Listeners are being given the same type of content that they have been getting for the past few years.
"But they are now starting to get bored of it. People have liked the Bhojpuri music whenever something new is offered to them.
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