Lok Pu’zay Zem’mu Té Dilli,
Tu Me’ri Gai’ta Bhalesh’shere Chilly

Folks have reached thus far ahead like Jammu and Delhi;
you’re nonetheless lagging right here within the distant area like Bhalessa’s Chilly village

Pent’ann Te Talli, Te Rubber’ere Boot
Saa’lay Ma Mel’tu Thu Khali Eak Swimsuit,
Gishi Gishi Boota Keri Kad’tay Thi Jaan,
Yaad Mi Ajjay Az Mere Bhagwan.

Patching the pants, utilizing rubber sneakers,
after we get solely a single go well with in a yr.
I recall sporting the rubber sneakers over
and over till they have been worn out, Oh My God!

These traces in Bhaderwahi language – a local language of Jammu’s Chenab area – sound like a poet’s lament about remaining caught in a landlocked world. However they don’t belong to a poet. 

Meet 28-year-old Bikram Singh Manhas, higher identified by his stage title Vicky Manhas, who’s maybe the one rapper in Bhaderwahi – a scriptless language which is slowly fading into extinction.

In response to the 2011 census, 1.2 lakh individuals spoke Bhaderwahi as their first language in Jammu and Kashmir’s far-flung Chenab area. But when latest native survey estimates are to be believed, there are solely about 50,000 individuals who converse the language. 

It’s this concern which has compelled Manhas to mix his distinctive expertise of composing and producing songs in Bhaderwahi and current them to the world. Be it ‘On The Highway’ or ‘Pahadi Jawala’ or ‘Bhaderwahi Mashup’, Manhas’ songs will not be solely on YouTube, Amazon and numerous different streaming platforms however are sung at weddings and birthday events too.

Vicky Manhas recording the video for his new music, “Ish’hello Bhad’layi Bha’sha”(Our Bhaderwahi Language). Photograph: Anzer Ayoob

From behavior to ardour 

Although he was captivated with music since his childhood, Manhas didn’t consider pursuing it as a profession. His brush with rap began when he was in his sixth class. However it was a tragedy which made him decide to music.

Throughout his college days, Manhas would merely jot down lyrics after which file them on his cellphone. His uncooked makes an attempt at music would then be shared amongst his buddies – there was no YouTube or WhatsApp then. “I used to hearken to rap and was additionally writing for a very long time, however I didn’t take it significantly till my youthful brother handed away as a result of a motorbike accident in 2014,” he recalled. “Once I checked my brother’s cell phone after his dying, there have been solely my songs. That day, I promised myself that I might fulfil my brother’s dream of turning into a rapper.” 

Manhas, a local of Thathri village in Jammu’s Doda district, shuttles between a store and the makeshift studio in his bed room. After his brother’s dying, Manhas left his post-graduation course in Administration halfway to deal with his household. However the flame of his ardour didn’t die. The daddy of an 11-month-old daughter, Manhas’ music manufacturing expertise are self-taught. 

“I come from a area the place we don’t have any music institute the place I can be taught to make beats or edit movies. And if I wanted to be taught at an institute outdoors my area, it will price me lakhs of rupees,” underlined Manhas. “I merely watched tutorials on YouTube, however at first I used to be unable to practise them, however slowly I purchased some devices in order that I can not less than practise.” 

Manhas recorded his first rap in 2015 and named it ‘On the Highway’. The rap is about Vicky’s way of life and private life, his tradition. It was principally in his native language. He shared the music through WhatsApp with individuals in his native city. The audio grew to become viral within the locality in a single day, incomes him appreciation calls and messages from locals. 

“I used to be stunned that my freestyle rap audio went viral,” he stated. “Much more stunning was that it was the primary time the Bhaderwahi language was used to rap.” 

From that day, Manhas determined to advertise his native language in his rap songs. Presently, he has round 60 movies on his YouTube channel, which incorporates principally Bhaderwahi rap songs and another Pahadi and Hindi rap songs additionally. Manhas has greater than 5,000 subscribers on YouTube and about 4,000 followers on Fb. The preferred songs – not less than going by the variety of feedback – are those in Bhaderwahi.  

A mix of way of life and tradition 

Manhas raps principally about way of life and native tradition in his songs. 

In his first Bhaderwahi rap, he stated, “Hey! Bhadlayi Lagtay Tere Pat Mel’ow, Pi’ta Na’chay!” Kuyi Ze’ra Shiva kero Chaylo, Kuye Pasand ann Dhauns’ere Taal, Ba’jai Mi Nach Ha’thay Bendh’ta Rumaal“. This line discusses Mela Pat, a competition which dates again to the sixteenth century, when Mughal emperor Akbar was impressed by the miraculous non secular energy of Raja Nagpal, the ruler of Bhaderwah principality, on the Mughal Court docket. His powers have been attributed to the blessings of the serpent God Nag Raj Vasuki. 

In one other line, he says, “Tere Saam’ny Su’baar, Mere Jant’leri Dhar, Tes Pa’say Duggay Na’lay Ra’tay Tero Yaar,” which promotes “Jantleri Dhar,” an unexplored vacationer place and a big meadow in Doda district generally generally known as Jantroon. In his rap, ‘Saran Kara Alagg’, he says, “Hu’ny Manhasa Kad’ay Pu’ray Panch Dha, Jant’lenay Chinj, Badi Mali Azma,” discussing the annual conventional three-day dangal (wrestling) competitors at Jantroon.

In, ‘Choora 90’s Ka’, which can be a Bhaderwahi rap, he says, “Yaad Mi Ajjay Te Nab’bhay Kae’ro Daur, Dal Nihanay Siddi Thakki Bharmour.” This line speaks in regards to the Manimahesh yatra, a Hindu conventional pilgrimage for which native Bhaderwahi individuals go to Bharmour, a spot in neighbouring Himachal Pradesh. 

Curiously, greater than some other a part of Jammu and Kashmir, the Bhaderwahi language finds a placing similarity with the tradition of Himachal Pradesh – which shares its borders with the area. 

“In most truck or minibuses, the songs which can be performed are Himachali,” stated Manhas. He linked with totally different artists of Pahadi tradition in Himachal Pradesh. His subsequent music is a collaboration with Himachal’s Sirmur-based singer Rajesh Tyagi. The music goals to attach Himachali and Bhaderwahi cultures.

An ignored Language

Zargar Adil Ahmad, a linguist and researcher who has labored on the Bhaderwahi language, stated that it’s a Pahari language. Quoting Nineteenth-century Irish linguist G.A. Grierson’s work, Ahmad stated that the phrase ‘Pahari’ applies to the group of languages spoken within the sub-Himalayan hills extending from Bhaderwah, north of Punjab, to the jap elements of Nepal. 

Moreover Bhaderwahi, based on Ahmad, the group of Western Pahari languages additionally included Bhalessi and Paddari languages. However the distinct identification and tradition of the area by no means bought due consideration from the federal government. 

In September 2020, the parliament handed the Jammu and Kashmir Official Languages Invoice, which made Hindi, Kashmiri, and Dogri the official languages of the Union Territory. With this, locals within the Chenab valley felt ignored. 

“The Chenab area’s tradition, literature, and historical past have been nearly fully obscured in order that they may rule us by imposing their very own tradition. However the actuality is that our area has a definite tradition and historical past from each Jammu and Kashmir,” stated Jalal Din (70), popularly generally known as Taskeen Badanvi, a outstanding poet and author from the Doda district. 

Din additionally rued the shortage of efforts in selling the Bhaderwahi language on the social and institutional stage. “There was a time when there have been mushairas within the Bhaderwahi language. Many Bhaderwahi poets attend them to advertise the language with their poems. However now we not often see these kinds of applications,” stated Din, who’s affiliated with the Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Arts, Tradition, and Languages, a cultural organisation of the federal government. 

Maybe, that’s why Din is all praises for Manhas’ peppy songs within the language. “He writes properly,” Din defined. “He’s doing job of selling Bhaderwahi. His songs resonate with the heartbeat of our youth.” 

The Chenab passing through the Doda district in Jammu & Kashmir [image by: Raqib Hameed Naik]

The Chenab passes via the Doda district in Jammu and Kashmir. Photograph: Raqib Hameed Naik

An extended street forward 

In the meantime, Manhas continues to be determining the trajectory of his profession. Whereas he’s but to make any cash from his work, he’s certain sometime he’ll. 

As of now, he’s content material with the love he’s getting from the individuals of Chenab valley. His father, Ishwar Singh Manhas, a retired veteran of the Military, feels the identical. “I really feel so pleased with my son when somebody praises his expertise in entrance of me,” he stated. 

However for Manhas, the street forward is actually in addition to figuratively stuffed with challenges. “I come from a distant space the place I don’t have many choices or alternatives right here to develop my expertise,” he shared. 

It’s this actuality which has compelled Manhas to decide on social media and video-sharing platforms to make his music audible to the skin world. 

“I need my area to get some recognition from authorities officers,” he identified. “I additionally need vacationers to have a glimpse of our tradition and area so that they journey to this area as properly.” 

Anzer Ayoob is a journalist primarily based in Jammu and Kashmir and is the founding father of The Chenab Occasions. He may be reached @AnzerAyoob on Twitter.

Photograph 2: Vicky Manhas.[Photo by Anzer Ayoob]

Photograph 3: Vicky Manhas.[Photo by Anzer Ayoob]

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