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Badals out of power, dhadis out of favour 

Muktsar: The change of guard in the state has cost dhadis (balladeers) dear. They used to perform in almost every public programme of the Badals during the SAD-BJP regime. With hardly any work coming their way, the dhadis have demanded jobs in the state Public Relations Department.

Lakhwinder Singh, a dhadi, said, “We used to perform regularly in the Sangat Darshan progarmmes of the Badals. They called us for major events as well. We were also hired by the PR department for publicity programmes for a few months. We are jobless now. The government should give us some work to spread awareness on social issues.”

He said: “Except the SAD, no political party calls us for their programmes as they hire singers or other artistes. However, Akalis had never held any programme without dhadis. Even in their major programmes where singers were invited, the Akalis never ignored us.”

Surinder Singh Paras, another dhadi, said: “We used to get work for four-five days a month and earn Rs5,000 to Rs10,000 every programme. During summers, we used to get more work as the Badals held sangat darshans frequently. Now we are only performing on religious occasions in some gurdwaras. We don’t even have any side business.”

Another dhadi, Charhat Singh, said: “We were totally dependent on government events where even the public used to reward us for our performance.”

A dhadi jatha comprises four persons — one of them plays sarangi, two perform hourglass percussion instrument (dhadd) and one is parcharak (preacher). They sing ballads about Gurus and heroes of the Sikh community and give social message with their performance.

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