A crowdsourced database to help artists during pandemic

It will form key part of a new policy expected to be announced by the Rajasthan govt. shortly

October 10, 2020 12:58 am | Updated 12:58 am IST - JAIPUR

 Rajasthan folk music artistes performing.

Rajasthan folk music artistes performing.

In an attempt to extend benefits of the government's schemes during the COVID-19 pandemic, a database of artists practising in different spheres of crafts and techniques in Rajasthan is being created with the help of crowdsourcing. The initiative will ensure support to the artist community that has been deprived of regular livelihood for several months.

State Art and Culture Minister B.D. Kalla will formally launch the campaign at a function here on Saturday. The database will include basic details along with genre of art forms, such as performing arts, visual arts, literary arts, dying arts, wandering arts, folk arts and tribal arts.

The initiative follows a social media campaign undertaken by civil society groups and research institutions for helping out the Langa-Manganiyar folk artistes of western Rajasthan. The “Maru Mani” (Jewels of Desert) campaign was launched in June this year for getting and distributing monetary support to preserve the rich heritage of traditional music and dance forms of the Thar desert. Mugdha Sinha, Secretary, Art and Culture Department, said on Friday that Rajasthan was the first State in the country to take this initiative. “Reaching out to and involving stakeholder artists themselves in collecting the data through Google Form is going to be a participative policy making and inclusive approach,” she said.

New policy

The digital database will form a key part of a new policy on art and culture expected to be announced shortly in the State. Ms. Sinha, who is also Director-General, Jawahar Kala Kendra, said the Chief Minister's Lok Kalakar Protsahan Yojana, launched in April, had extended support to 337 artists with an expenditure of Rs.9 lakh.

The “Maru Mani” campaign involved holding of virtual events on safeguarding the intangible cultural heritage and diverse cultural traditions from Jodhpur district's Moklawas village, where a Thar desert museum has been established. At a two-day event in August, experts called for preservation of socio-cultural practices of indigenous people through community-based and government's initiatives.

Jodhpur-based Rupayan Sansthan, which established the Moklawas museum, has also opened a folk music school for training young underprivileged boys from the Langa community, whose popular art form faces the challenge of survival because of their global performances having been halted in the pandemic.

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