Goa village kids shun mobile phone games to do this on Ganesh Chaturthi

Goa village kids shun mobile phone games to do this on Ganesh Chaturthi

Children in Goa village shun mobile phone games, learn to sing ‘ghumat aarti’ during Ganesh festival

Nish Nitesh Naik is just two years old, but his daily routine includes regular visits to a temple in his village in Goa where he and other children are learning to play ‘ghumat’, a percussion instrument made from an earthen pot. These children from Taravale village in South Goa district’s Shiroda area are not hooked on to mobile phone games, but rather learning ‘ghumat aarti’, a folk form of devotional songs specially sung during the 10-day Ganesh festival, which began on Wednesday this year.

Rahul Krishnanand Lotlikar, a singer and musician from the village, has taken up the task of honing the musical talent of these children. Fellow villager Mayur Naik told PTI how Lotlikar with the support of other locals has been able to generate the interest of children in playing instruments like ghumat, instead of they being busy playing games on mobile phones and making reels on social media platforms.

Mayur’s nephew Nish is the youngest among the group of children learning to play ghumat. “Nish is just two years old. He showed interest in ghumat when I used to sit and play it at home. So we introduced him to these classes and he is now a regular attendee,” Mayur said.

The Ratnadeep Cultural and Sports Club in Taravale has been providing all support to Lotlikar in this mission. Lotlikar, who is in his late 20s, recalls how as a child he along with other children used to sing ghumat aartis, but the tradition stopped over the last one decade.

“Ten years ago, we had a group of children who used to participate in the ghumat aarti competitions, but later they got busy with other activities. Five-six years later, no child from the village showed interest in learning ghumat aartis,” he said.

Village resident Deepak Sawardekar recently approached Lotlikar with the idea of restarting the ghumat aarti training for children in the village, which he accepted. “I started teaching children from the second week of June this year,” Lotlikar said. In the beginning, only seven to eight boys turned up for the training and the response later started increasing.

Lotlikar now teaches a group of 24 children – comprising an equal number of boys and girls. “We encouraged girls who were singing in their school to join the group,” he said. Manila Shirodkar, a Bharatnatyam teacher from the village, is happy to see her 15-year-old son playing ghumat in the group.

“He remains excited throughout the day and waits for the evening to go to his ghumat aarti classes,” she said. Mobile phone gaming activity is now a thing of the past for these children, Shirodar added. Lotlikar said it is not easy to teach children the art of playing ghumat or any other instrument. “You have to start from scratch, but when they get into the rhythm, there is no looking back,” he said.

Lotlikar said these children would be further trained to sing bhajans (devotional songs). “The group will participate in various ghumat aarti competitions across the coastal state and also perform in temples,” he added.

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