Swaranandwan – Anandwan’s Musical Orchestra – consists primarily of disabled or “differently-abled” people that include leprosy-afflicted, blind, deaf, mute and physically-challenged. The third generation at Anandwan, who are educated and perfectly normal, are also part of the orchestra; they are the grandchildren of the first generation of leprosy-afflicted people who were married at Anandwan.
Dr. Vikas Amte calls it “Therapeutic Theatre” since both, dancing and music, are therapeutic for the soul. It was started by Dr. Amte as an outlet for what he called “untapped human potential”.
Below are a few videos from the sold-out Swaranandwan program that I thoroughly enjoyed watching at Thane’s Gadkari Rangayatan on November 4th, 2012. The program was emceed by Mr. Ravindra Nalgintwar.
Blind Girls Singing ‘Tum Asha Vishwas Humare’ ↓
This is a video of two blind girls beautifully singing Tum Asha Vishwas Humare, which was originally sung by Lata Mangeshkar.
Blind Girls Dancing to Koli Geet ↓
Nothing short of amazing and awe-inspiring, the video below is of a troupe of blind girls dancing with perfect synchronization to popular Koli geet.
‘Natarang Ubha’ Dance Performance ↓
This is a video of the first 2-minutes of dance performance to the popular Marathi song, Natarang Ubha, from the movie Natarang. The performers are the 3rd generation of Anandwan.
1 Person Singing Hindi Duet Song in Both, Male & Female, Voices (Part 1) ↓
The video below shows a differently-abled artiste singing a Hindi duet song (Janeman Janeman) in both, male and female, voices.
1 Person Singing Hindi Duet Song in Both, Male & Female, Voices (Part 2) ↓
The video below shows a differently-abled artiste singing a Hindi duet song (Shayad Meri Shaadi Ka Khayal) in both, male and female, voices.
Deaf & Mute Children’s Dance Performance ↓
The video below shows Anandwan’s deaf and mute children dancing to the popular Alisha Chinoy song Made in India. The audience show their appreciation by clapping with their hands above their head since deaf children cannot hear applause.
The video below features multiple differently-abled mimicry artistes. The first act features an artiste doing crow, chicken, goat, pig and horse mimicry; his act ends with the artiste making motorbike sounds. The second act features Santosh Kumar making the sounds of two fighting cats. The third and final act features Aman Kumar making flute sounds to the tune of a popular Hindi song Ankhiya Milau Kabhi Ankhiya Churau (Movie: Raja) with Sudhir Kumar giving music as a beat-boxer.
Bollywood Actors Mimicry ↓
A video showing Kiran, a differently-abled artiste, doing mimicry of well-known Bollywood actors Ajit and Nana Patekar!
Baba Amte’s Poem Performed by Dr. Bharati Amte (Part 1) ↓
Seen in this video is Dr. Bharati Amte (Dr. Vikas Amte’s wife) singing a poem composed by Baba Amte.
Baba Amte’s Poem Performed by Dr. Bharati Amte (Part 2) ↓
Seen in this video is Dr. Bharati Amte (Dr. Vikas Amte’s wife) singing the soul-touching poem “thambla na surya kadhi thambali na dhara” (थांबला ना सुर्य कधी थांबली ना धारा) composed by Baba Amte.
Fusion Dance Performance ↓
A Fusion dance performance by the 3rd generation of Anandwan, who are the educated children of the 1st generation of leprosy-afflicted people at Anandwan.
Dr. Vikas Amte’s Speech and Singing of Jodo Bharat’s Title Song ↓
The first part of this video is a speech by Dr. Vikas Amte (Secretary and Chief Functionary of Maharogi Sewa Samiti, Warora). The second part is a singing performance by Dr. Amte and his wife, Dr. Bharati Amte, along with several differently-abled girls singing Jodo Bharat’s title song Bharat Humko Pyara Hai.
Here is a rough translation of Dr. Amte’s speech. Please let me know if you feel something hasn’t been translated correctly.
Hello. I’m sorry, I’ve lost my voice. The doctors are performing a throat biopsy tomorrow.
Back in the day when I used to sing, people got up and left. My wife calls me “noise-maker” (“kallakar”)! I don’t know anything about notes, alto or tenor.
This is the world’s most unusual orchestra of which there have been 1500 performances! The very first program was in Thane’s Ghantali (Temple) organized by Mr. Anna Vyavahare many years ago; two Padmashrees, Dr. Gorakshakar and Dr. Padmaja Phenany, had graced the occasion. Today we are once again doing two programs in Thane.
Baba Amte had taken out two long marches and he had started three Movements:
1) Movement for the neglected and underprivileged
2) Jodo Bharat (Unite India) Movement
3) Movement for the conservation of environment
Baba Amte used to tell the neglected and underprivileged people that even God is my patient. He doesn’t walk, He doesn’t talk, He can’t hear poor people, and He can’t even see. An ombudsman is needed. 40 million people pray to God, but it still doesn’t rain there. God is my patient, lets treat him. Then he (Baba Amte) used to say there are one hundred thousand galaxies, God has lots of work – there are solar storms, black holes, Jupiter storms. So whatever you want to do, do it yourself, don’t delegate to God, God is very busy.
Food should be today’s “First Priority” and food should be today’s “Sacred Book” – that’s what Baba Amte used to say.
In 1990 Baba Amte received an award [Templeton Prize] whose value was 700,000 US dollars. How many of you were aware of this? The Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion is valued today at 2.1 million dollars and Nobel Prize is 1.05 million dollars.
I wore these very clothes (for the awards ceremony) [Baba Amte could not go] – my royal clothes. The British Prime Minister at Westminister Avenue asked me if I’m Arab, but I didn’t have a head-gear. The Deputy Prime Minister, Sir Geoffrey Howe, asked where are you from? I said I’m from India. He said, your people have a protocol – your Prime Minster, Rajiv Gandhi, comes wearing a closed-neck sherwani. I too have a protocol – I only wear clothes made in Anandwan.
Baba Amte never sought awards and media attention; this is a Public Trust. I’m the Chairman of this Public Trust. But my leprosy-afflicted brothers are still prohibited from entering movie theaters so I have not been to a theatre since 1970. We are on the other side of the theatre as performers, and I consider this as our moment of victory.
From the bottom of my heart I’m grateful to you for appreciating the performances and connecting with us. Going forward, please continue to stay connected with Anandwan through Body, Mind and Money.
We will end the program with Jodo Bharat, the title song of Baba Amte’s long march, which is written by late Vasant Bapat. This morning for five hours at my elder brother Eknath-ji Thakur’s office about 40 of us had gathered to plan the revival of the long march.
Baba Amte’s first march was from Kanyakumari to Kashmir and the second march was from Arunachal to Gujarat. 1300 people had participated in it; we will sing its title song.
In the interest of saving time, we will only sing the first and last stanza of the song, and then we will end the program with Vande Mataram.
See our Videos page for more clippings from our travels.
Like what you've read? Click here to get our articles delivered to your inbox. 'Like' our Facebook page and help us grow our Facebook community. We share some content exclusively on our Facebook page!