India’s first all-female rural band beats its drums to freedom from physical abuse

Image Courtesy: The Hindu

Despite having no musical background, women from the ‘Nari Gunjan Band’ use their kettledrum beats to fight the male bastion in Patna.

12 women determined to put an end to the domestic violence in Bihar, after 6 months of extensive practice, came forward to form the first all-female rural band in India. Members of the band play drums in front of the houses where women are physically abused to make the villagers aware of the domestic violence. Trained under Aditi Gunjan, the Nari Gunjan Band runs 98 centers in Bihar. The drummers are from the Mahadalit community of the Danapur village in Patna.
These women were originally farm labourers and maids, but under Sudha Varghese’s guidance they started to perform perform at events around their district and even in luxury hotels. Sudha is a social worker and a catholic nun, and works for the upliftment of Musahars and Dalits in Bihar.
Sudha founded ‘Nari Gunjan’ to provide the women from the Musahar and Mahadalit community with better lifestyle. The organization was formally recognized in 2000 and since has helped women earn a minimum of Rs 500 per performance. The band also performed during the opening ceremony of the 5th Shashi Bhushan memorial theatre festival at Kalidas Rangalaya in 2014.
Padma Shri Sudha Varghese conceived the idea of such a band after she saw men playing drums for Perunnal (a Christian festival) in Kerala. Pancham, Anita, Sona, Vijyanti, Lalitha, Savita, Chitralekha, Damini, Manti and Chathiya are few members of the ‘Nari Gunjan Band’ who decided sound their drums for freedom from abuse.
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