Bihar’s all-women band is shattering stereotypes one gig at a time

[India], December 18 (ANI): A group of women belonging to the Mahadalit community in Bihar are breaking stereotypes and freeing themselves from the clutches of patriarchal society.

Painting a picture of women empowerment, Sargam Musical Bandgroup, this all-women band of drummers is marching to the beat of their own drums in the Dhibra village near Patna.

Sudha Varghese, a social worker from an NGO called Nari Gunjan Sanstha, encouraged them to form the band and train for a year and a half to learn the craft. A bandmaster from Patna would come to teach them the nuances of playing the drum and soon their lives took a new turn.

The band performs at weddings, ceremonies and festivals not only in Patna, but also in various parts of the country and has received appreciation for their performances. Savita Devi, the head of the 10-member group said that initially they were dissuaded by their husbands and families, but they continued to strive for learning, while managing their work at agricultural fields and household chores.

“Society used to laugh at us saying that we are doing men’s work. We said women are doing everything these days, from driving autos to trains. So why can’t we be band drummers,” Savita Devi told ANI, while highlighting that now this job is giving them a lot of respect and acclaim.

The economic situation of the women has been strengthened and there is a spirit of self-reliance in the group members. The band charges Rs 10,000-15,000 for their performances depending on the time, venue and customers. They are now financially better off with some even sending their kids to private schools for education.

“A lot of happiness has come into our lives. We are not educated but we are now able to send our children to schools to get education,” Pancham Devi, a member of the group said.

Mukesh Kumar, a resident of the Dhibra village, said that these women are setting an example for not only the village, but also the nation, adding, “It gives us happiness that our village has the first all women group of drummers in the country”.

Clad in traditional sarees and wearing makeup, these women feel liberated and happy that they are able to use their hard earned money on themselves and are role models in their own spheres. (ANI)

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