“They sing with wings”
Manganiyar Classroom directed by Roysten Abel is, in a way, continuation of his earlier work Manganiyar Seduction. With 35 little Manganiyar boys what Abel attempts in this production is not just an introduction to the glorious musical reserves of this community, but a kind of activism. He brings to centre stage an India that is not so shining but left far behind. In this one-hour performance, the Manganiyar kids stun you with their talent – each of them a repository of song, dance and rhythm. However, at the end of the performance, there is a painful recognition of how they are doomed to be carriers of a tradition, forgotten to be included in the programs of ‘progress’.
Manganiyar children my first response was negative but immediately I corrected myself and said yes to the idea. I have been greatly impressed at the skill and voice quality of the manganiyar When Gayathri Krishna of the Bhoomija Foundation asked me to create choir with the children for the last 10 years and have been wanting to do something with them but could not figure out what.
Over the last two years during my interactions with the bright kids I encountered 7 years ago I experience something very shocking. These bright kids had lost all the spark they had and a veil of glumness had descended over their faces. I realized what the education system in the villages was doing to these first generation school goers. It was time for the Manganiyar Classroom. Thank you Gayathri and Bhoomija for co-producing this.
With The Manganiyar Classroom Room, Roysten is on a mission to raise money and awareness to create a Unique, State of the Art and alternate educational institution for the children of poor artists.This he hopes would enable them to have a range of choices from being a world class musician to a nuclear physicist if they wish to.
He is already in touch with leading educationists of the country to realize this dream into a reality.