Indentured Labourers 11



On the plantations, the whites considered Christianity as the only religious faith and the Hindu religion was looked down upon by the whites. However, this did stop the Indians from practicing their religious activities and cultural practices as during their breaks and the weekends in which they had off. Here they sang songs known as bhajans kirtans and taans from Uttar Pradesh as well as they played musical instruments which they brought with them on their journey through the Kala Pani which included the dholak, tassa, tabla, tanpura, manjeera, bansuri, sitar, kartal, ghungross and harmonium. The Indians also had religious scriptures such as the Vedas, Puranas, Ramayan, Bhagavat Gita, Mahabharata which spoke about God in many different forms and aspects and how to lead a prosperous and noble lifestyle. The word of God was shared among the Indians in small groups during their free time as it was an important part of their culture and who they were as a people.


Indentured Labourers 25
Indians playing Indian musical instruments
Description of Indian Instruments
Dholak is a very popular folk drum of northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as well. It is barrel shaped, at times a cylindrical drum, with skins on both sides. Dholak has one side which has a high pitch and another side which has a lower pitch and is very popular in folk music.
Dumroo is probably the oldest and traditional form of percussion instrument in India. Dumroo is the only remaining form of hour-glass drums which are seen in ancient Indian statues. Its musical role is minimal and it is most commonly known for its association with Lord Shiva
Ghungroos are very famous Musical Instrument in India. Ghungroos are usually the small brass bells. It is a musical accessory used by performers of all classical dances. Number of bells are attached to a string or tied to a cotton cord, velvet pad or leather strap to form a ghungroo.
In India the word Kartal literally means rhythm of the hand which is made of wooden blocks with holes for the fingers and circular copper plates. Pairs of Kartals are played with both hands. Kartals usually accompany religious music in India played during the festivals and even near the holy places
Manjeera is known by many names like the jhanj, tala, mondira, (small size) kafi. Manjeera is basically a set of small cymbals and is a ubiquitous component of dance, music and bhajans. It is a very ancient instrument seen on temple walls going back to the earliest of times which are usually made of brass.
The wind instrument Bansuri has been in vogue since the times of the Rig Veda, and is even found in the murals of Ajanta and Ellora caves. Bansuri is basically a folk instrument, invariably linked to the lives and playfulnesses of Krishna.
Harmonium usually belongs to the family of free-reed aerophones. The instrument is a small, tabletop size organ which has bellows at the back that is pumped by one hand while the other hand plays the keyboard.
Sitar is one of the most popular Indian classical instruments and it comes under the category of a chordophone in the lute family. Sitar has neck crafted from toon or teakwood and a resonator carved from a large seasoned gourd.
Tanpura in India is a drone instrument that accompanies Dhrupad singing and is the most fundamental of all instruments of Indian Classical Music.

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Copyright © 2014 Reshma Ganness


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