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Saying ‘Balle-balle’ to wipe-out Gender-biasedness

Every time the boys used to perform Bhangra on the stage, the whole of the hall used to blow the whistles and get overwhelmed with their dance. While each time the girls performed Gidha on the stage, the crowd used to try and tease us during the performance as also after the performance. We saw this as a biased behavior in the male dominated society and decided to perform Bhangra with full zeal, enthusiasm and stamina. Therefore, we took-up the challenge and now we are the team consisting of eight girls who perform bhangra on the dhol without getting tired, say the girls of B Tech Sixth Semester (Information Technology) of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib. 

These eight girls-Rashmi Sharma(19), a resident of Bassi Pathana; Ravneet Kaur(21), a resident of village Rally of district Fatehgarh Sahib; Gurpreet Kaur(20), a resident
of village Pakho Kanchian of district Barnala; Shailza Sharma(21), a resident of Sirhind; Kamalpreet Kaur(20), a resident of village Naulakha of district Fatehgarh Sahib; Inderpreet Kaur(21), a resident of Sirhind; Deepika Bhardwah(21), a resident of Khanna; Harpreet Kaur (21), a resident of village Khalaspur, Bassi Pathana have teamed-up for performing Bhangra – the boys’ way, in the typical Chadra and Kurta – on the stage on various occasions at the College as also after their College. We wanted to drive home the point that the girls are not second to boys in any field, be it art, culture, profession or studies, add the girls. These girls are now daring the boys to wear the girls’ dress and perform Gidha – the girls way. They don’t consider Malwayi Gidha – a recently established group dance of men – as something, which boys do the girls way. Malwayi Gidha is a much modified form of Gidha, if at all. The boys wear outfits of boys and do it on Boliyan, unlike on the dholak as performed by the girls, the girls comment. The tragedy of our country has been that if a girl dresses-up in boys’ outfit, she is called as a brave girl while if a boy wears the outfit of a girl, he himself gets so ashamed of it. This is the indicator of the clearly evident gender biasedness prevalent in the country, says Kamaljit Kaur, a member of the team.

Their parents took it with both hands when the girls decided to perform Bhangra rather than Gidha. My mom was so surprised to see me in this outfit that for once she seemed to have not recognized me at all, says Deepika Bhardwaj.

The most interesting reaction on our performance was from the members of the Bhangra team of our College. Their faces turned red on seeing us in those dresses. Some of the boys even complemented them by acknowledging that with so less of practice, it is unassuming that it has been possible for them to perform Bhangra in such a good way. Bhangra is in the blood of the Punjabis, added a girl Rashmi Sharma.

My friends had been trying to stop me from performing the dance when we first started but now they are all feeling proud of my decision, maintains Shailza Sharma.

Of all the instruments used in Bhangra, these girls seem to be falling in love with the Khoonda. With Khoonda on my shoulders, I feel no short of the one who owns this entire world. It is such a feeling of supremacy, says Ravneet Kaur.

The girls plan to move ahead with their studies after completing their B Tech. However, foray into the dance industry is not ruled out. We’ll enter the market after our B Tech, that is for sure. However, once we are done with our studies, some of us may even try to form a professional dance team and show our different style to the entire world.

The troupe was established in last week of February , 2011. The students practice just for two weeks before their performance. So far the girls have performed only in college. After their exams, they plan to perform in all the competitions and other spots that they can. While performing, the girls dress up in Chadra Kurta, Pagri and Jacket. The girls liked most about bhangra ‘the aggressive approach in Bhagra the dress-up and the dhol, which is much faster than the dholki’. Some of the girls have also performed Gidha before but they prefer Bhangra to Gidha.

Under the coaching of Jasbir Singh, the girls say they always felt at home. We feel that it doesn’t matter whether a male or female is coaching you. It is the ability and skill that matters and Sir has been excellent when it comes to the coaching. I have played dhol for so many bangra performances but playing with this team of girls is so special – they are more energetic, demonstrate great stamina and are simply rocking, says Meshi Ustaad, the man who play dhol for the girls.

What is heartening to note that the girls are not only marvelous on the stage of Bhangra but also on the stage of their studies. The College will give every opportunity to these girls to unleash their real talent at the biggest level, says the College Principal Dr M S Grewal.

Photo Caption : Girls of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur Engineering College, Fatehgarh Sahib who performs Bhangra.

Contributed by: Gurpreet Singh Mahek
City: Fategarh Sahib
Country: India
Date: January 6, 2012