Music and Sport- The legacy of Punjab, India

(Tip: Watch video first.)

Music. Sport. Energy. Agriculture: the essence of rural Punjab in India.

This video, recently composed by musician Sneha Khanwalkar for Sound Trippin, a music show on MTV India, captures all these elements powerfully.

Sneha and her team traveled to Qila Raipur, a village located six kilometers away from the city of Ludhiana in Punjab, to record sounds and visuals at the Qila Raipur Rural Olympics. The Rural Olympics are an annual event hosted by the village since 1932. Along with regular events like foot races, gymnastics and jumps, there are special events and races by various animals such as bullocks, camels, horses and mules amongst others.

The most anticipated race of the Olympics is the bullock-cart race. The event is popular amongst Indian and International Sports enthusiasts.

Sneha spent three days at the event recording real ambient sounds including those of the commentator and then fused them together to create this song using DubStep technology.

The State of Punjab in India is the largest agricultural state and is well known for its robust culture and high-energy. It is also the state popular in India for producing a large percentage of sportsmen especially in the heavy weight category sports.

The song, sung by two sisters who are folk singers from the village, was composed over a day at their house. Sneha had met the sisters four years ago, when she spent time in Punjab composing music for a film. The sisters who had learnt music from their father growing up in the village, had impressed her even back then, and this time she went out looking for them.

The different sounds recorded and used in the video complete from the siren, the tractor, hand pump along with traditional Punjabi instruments such as the DhadhTumbi and the Algoza are culturally ingrained in Punjab.

The music, the smiles, the people, the atmosphere offers insights into the life of rural Punjab, something even I as a city-bred Indian was not aware of.

Now that I am, I know for a fact that it’s worth sharing with the world.

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Rethinking Muslim stereotypes

A Muslim woman wearing hijab

A Muslim woman wearing hijab (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had pre-concieved notions about Muslim women, lots of them. All of those and some more were challenged recently when I met a young Muslim girl from Saudi Arabia at JFK airport in the middle of the night.

This was an encounter that left me touched and provoked in innumerable ways. My article about the same went live on Matador Brave New Traveler today. Titled- Rethinking Muslim stereotypes, it raises the question of how we perceive Muslim women but more than that it also is an attempt to unravel how these women perceive themselves.

I’d love to hear what you have to say, here or on Matador.