Nepal is a country rich in various culture, tradition and religion. In Nepal, the society was structured in a caste-based system, folk music and traditional musical instruments are ascribed to a traditional occupation. A particular minority group residing in Nepalese hills, also known as musician castes or Damai, has been traditionally engaged in playing musical instruments called Panche Baja or Naumati Baja within the social structure of Nepalese society.
Panche Baja includes an ensemble of five traditional musical instruments such as Damaha, Sahanai, Tyamko, Dholaki and Jhyali. Whereas, Naumati Baja is all inclusive of Panche Baja, a set of Narsingha along with a pair of Damaha and Sahanai. The beauty, melody and tune of Naumati Baja are captivating.
Unfortunately, the unique folk musical instruments of Nepal displaying the rich cultural heritage of Nepal are in extinction. Various forces of socio-cultural and economic changes like modernization, low social status, market intervention, lack of government support etc. are causing the decline in the use of traditional musical instruments.
There have been very few programs organized to address the preservation of the remarkable intangible cultural heritages in the rural villages of Nepal. As a consequence, there should be an emphasis on safeguarding the folk musical instruments such as Naumati Baja so that future generations can get to experience our rich folk culture.
Initially, this project will commence in 20 villages of Arughat Rural Municipality and afterwards, we’ll expand to other areas of Gorkha Constituency 1 (B) regions. They include Dharche Rural Municipality, Bhimsen Thapa Rural Municipality and Tsum Nubri Rural Municipality. Altogether, this project will benefit 108 active musician groups of Damai communities and youths residing in Gorkha.
Naumati Baja Preservation Project is a great initiative for the preservation and enhancement of traditional musical instruments such as Naumati Baja and safeguarding folk culture in the rural villages of Gorkha. Our goal is to provide an entire set of Naumati Baja along with traditional Nepali dresses to musician castes or Damai communities residing in the hills of Gorkha.
With the popularity of western musical instruments, the traditional Naumati Baja which represents the richness of Nepali culture is declining in use over the past decade. Likewise, the high ownership cost for the musical instruments and economic inconsistency are other major reasons leading to its diminishing popularity.
Thus, this project focuses on supporting and facilitating the Damai community as well as interested youths and active musician groups from other castes to play musical instruments and revive our culture. We’ll provide them with a new set of musical instruments and repair the old ones if needed, so that they can play and make a living.
The project will help to uplift their economic condition while encouraging them to preserve and transfer this cultural heritage for the future generations. Besides the enhancement of cultural heritages in Gorkha, this project will involve local communities and local government, and encourage them to preserve and promote the folk culture of their areas.
The set of a Naumati Baja
You can watch the video of Naumati Baja here:
Community and Local Government Support
Sambhav Nepal always plans its work without any discriminative attitude in its process. It tries to work for the welfare of marginalized group of people as well. The inclusive nature of our organization is always appreciated by the beneficiaries of our project location.
Moreover, Sambhav Nepal through the help, support, guidance and suggestions of the community and the local government tries to promote the community and its importance from every aspect. Because of this, the community and the local government precisely support the work, plan and projects of Sambhav Nepal to a greater extent for generating a meaningful result from it. Moreover, they show their commitment to organize various cultural programs in the community to promote the use of Naumati Baja as well as participating local youths to actively safeguard our folk culture.