Hunday asley ton naalo wadh danger chamar (Chamars are more dangerous than any weapon) – Ginni Mahi in one of her songs.
Ginni Mahi, a teenaged dalit singer from Jalandhar has been singing songs on the teachings of Sant Guru Ravi Dass and Dr B R Ambedkar
Jalandhar: At an age when most of her peers are discovering the world around them, this is one girl who has devoted herself to strengthen the self-esteem of her community. Leaving aside the carefree life of a teenager, Ginni Mahi (17) has taken up a ‘mission’ to propagate Sant Guru Ravi Dass and Dr B R Ambedkar’s philosophy through her songs in the Dalit belt of Doaba.
Mahi has a melodious, bold voice that soars fuelled by the power of lyrics inspired by Dalit philosophy of Ambedkar and Guru Ravi Dass. Popularly known as Ginni Mahi , her original name is Gurkanwal Bharti, and she has been hitting the right chords with the shabads, teachings and hymns of Guru Ravidass and Dr Ambedkar. In the process she has emerged as a sensation among fans on Facebook and YouTube, carving a niche for herself in the long list of Dalit singers in Jalandhar.
Belonging to the strong Ravidassia community, Ginni seems to have found the passion of her life. “We might have been living in a globally hi-tech and fast paced world but people still find it hard to accept ‘Dalits’ in the main stream. I want to dedicate my life to bringing ‘equality for dalits’ and an end to ‘casteism’ in the society”, she said.
When asked why she had chosen to limit herself to ‘Dalit singing’, Ginni quoted a shabad of Guru Ravidass, ‘Aisa Chahu Raj mai, Jaha mile sabar ko ‘ann’, Chot Bade Sabh Sam base, Ravidass Rahe Parsan’. “I have been born and brought up in a Ravidassia family, where teachings of Guru Ravidass, Dr BR Ambedkar and the Sufi saints were discussed randomly. I felt inspired by what I learnt and started singing nine years ago, though I started professional singing five years ago only.”
Talking about one of her latest hit song, ‘Fan Baba Sahib di’, where Ginni sings ‘Main dhee (daughter) Baba Sahib di, jine likheya samvidhan’ (I am the daughter of Baba Sahib who wrote the Indian constitution). “I gave it a folk song like treatment, where the teachings of Dr Ambedkar were also explained. This song has been receiving a tremendous response and became an instant hit”, he added.
Similarly, her other hit songs include- ‘Guran di Deewani’, ‘Suno Kaum Valeyo’ and ‘Gurpurab hai Kanshi wale da’. Ginni Mahi has also been performing at religious melas in Punjab and the neighboring states. Till date, she has brought out as many as five albums. “I am glad that people love my work and share it further through social media. Even if, I am able to mobilise some percentage of society, my target would be achieved”, she said.
Rakesh Mahi and Paramjit Kaur Mahi, the parents of Ginni also shared that seeing their daughter working on such a mission at a tender age makes them feel proud. “We know, how difficult it is to get social and psychological ‘acceptance’ among the upper castes people in the society. Even if she turns to commercial singing at a later stage, her work for dalits would continue”, he added.
Recently, Ginni completed her class XII exams from Kendriya Vidyalaya No 3, Jalandhar Cantt, where she said that her teachers had been a big support. “Especially, my principal SC Lal was a rock support. I wish to pursue PhD in music and take up some research project on dalits icons- Guru Ravidass and Dr Ambedkar”, she quipped.
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