Bhilai (Chattisgarh), March 4 : A man in Bhilai has developed a deep liking for collecting musical instruments used by various tribal groups in Chattisgarh. He has collected 145 varieties of traditional musical instruments in the last 19 years.
The 40-year-old Rikhi Kshatriya, who is fond of music, intends to find ways and means to conserve the priceless tribal heritage attached with these musical instruments for which tribes worship them.
Rikhi tells it is not so easy to collect musical instruments from tribes, as they believe that these instruments increase their crop produce besides helping them in keeping wild beasts at bay. Most of the tribals do not easily part with their instrument and give them to strangers.
It has taken Rikhi a lot of persuasion and convincing skills to assure the tribals about his objective to conserve their artistic heritage, he adds.
"These instruments are not easily available in the market. Hence I need to keep them alive and safe. I have now started collecting these instruments with the hope that more people will know about them. This is what I have learnt and I want this historical culture to be preserved in the years ahead," said Rikhi Kshatriya, who works senior technician at the Bhilai Steel Plant.
He believes that collecting and displaying the well-known and not so much known instruments will benefit Chattisgarh's cultural history and keep alive the rich tribal culture.
He also documents tribal music.
Rikhi has played as well as displayed these instruments at many cultural events in India. He has also participated in the Republic Day parade in Chattisgarh and other celebrations in New Delhi.
"He has travelled deep in the jungles. Some of the tribals do not open up very easily. He makes them understand that these instruments will be displayed to uplift their culture and also the heritage of the Chattisgarh State," said Annapurna Kshatriya, Rikhi's wife.
Besides, Rikhi has made a big Tambura that he is most proud of. He is also good at playing instruments like Tabla, Thali and Bansuri (flutes). He has personally composed many tunes using these instruments.
Over a third of Chattisgarh's total population is tribal.
These indigenous people are known for their passion for dance and music, which are integral to their daily life. By Ajay Sharma