Songs are powerful tools to inspire change in people. Samraksha teams and the communities have composed and popularized many songs. These are songs challenging stigma, promoting positive living and promoting bonding among and across communities. Here are some instances which particularly stuck me, about the power of songs.

One song speaks the story of a HIV affected child, who has been abandoned by her uncle and aunt. The song traces her life through the phase when she was abandoned and her loneliness, to her eventual joy when her uncle accepts her back. After hearing this song, Ramappa thought about his own neice, orphaned due to HIV. He had asked his parents to keep her in the village, since he did not want her living with his family. This was affecting her education. Ramappa was so moved by the song that he asked his parents to send his neice to him, and agreed to look after her.

Another song about the plight of a positive woman moved Lakshmi, a client in the care centre to tears. As she sobbed over it, one counselor asked her if she should switch off the song since it was so disturbing. But she wanted to continue hearing the song, which was having an almost catharatic effect on her, allowing her to cry over her own circumstances, before beginning to reconcile herself.

These were just two instances, which came to my attention, and stuck me. More than any other IEC material, songs speak powerfully to the people and inspire attitude changes.

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Comment by Sanghamitra Iyengar on January 24, 2010 at 12:22pm
Great, Bheri for sharing this. I too have found that these songs reach out to that inner consciousness. We feel bad about something, we want to change something, we care about something, the sings stir that part of us and move us towards action.... The song you sing about seeking inspiration from the cat does not observe any discrimination, entering all homes and eating at all without worrying about their caste , is so powerful and really moves people to be inclusive. Maybe you should sing it and put on NIng with a translation!!
Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on January 24, 2010 at 11:03am
Dear Bheri,

What a beautiful sharing! Thanks. Music reaches out to the heart. I have beautiful memories of songs sung by the Samraksha team.

Warmly,

Rituu
Comment by Jean-Louis Lamboray on January 21, 2010 at 12:15am
Thank you Beri!

I remember how your group started singing in Mumbay after presenting the self assessment framework in your own language. Slowly bu surely, everyone joined and celebrated in so many languages spoken in India!

Please upload the MP3's so that we all can listen!

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