Context: 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 follows a social media campaign undertaken by civil society groups and research institutions for helping out the Langa-Manganiyar folk artists 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.
- The “Maru Mani” campaign involved holding 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.
- 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.
- Langas and Manganiyars are hereditary professional Muslim musicians residing mostly in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer and Barmer districts, and Sindh province’s Tharparkar and Sanghar districts on the other side of the international border.