India News | Folk songs are always a vibrant platform to raise awareness, says singer and songwriter of over 700 such songs

“Give me a topic and in a few minutes I’ll compose a folk song and sing it to you,” says A Pazhania Pillai, for whom folk media is an innate exchange of information and an effective tool for educating people.

Pillai, who chronicles human problems and offers solutions through his songs, believes that popular media is always relevant and a dynamic platform to raise awareness, especially about health and social evil.

Heads spontaneously turn to him as he sings during the performance, and when his long beard swings his chin, people stop listening to his entire songs. His songs are invariably played during state government information campaigns, in bustling markets, or at scenic tourist spots such as Kanyakumari.

In a career spanning over three decades, he composed over 700 folk songs. This folk artist, singer and songwriter – all in one, has released over 25 CDs of his songs which have been distributed to the public and also used by the field publicity departments of Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry for their publicity programs. sensitization.

“My journey with folk songs started in 1984. Initially I sang songs composed by others, mainly those composed by G Nammalwar (a deceased agricultural scientist), and gradually I started to use the medium folklore in outreach programs,” Pillai told PTI.

He composed his first song in 1984 and over the years he has staged over 2,000 street plays and trained over 500 theater artists. Two of his National Leprosy Program songs have been translated into Hindi and are being used to spread the message of early diagnosis and treatment, in addition to eliminating stigma.

His songs on Blood Donation, HIV/AIDS, Leprosy, Tsunami, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Elephantiasis, Dengue Fever, Clean India and COVID-19 Campaigns are very popular all over Tamil Nadu especially in Kanyakumari district where he is from. The district borders Kerala.

Tuberculosis, Reforestation, Reducing School Dropout Rates, Eliminating Child Labor, Swine Flu Awareness, Voter Outreach, Rainwater Harvesting, Disaster Management, Education at hand, promoting tourism, empowering women, road safety and a caste-free society are just a few of the issues he has picked up.

“I composed (and sang) 20 songs about the tsunami and 20 songs about the pandemic, during which I undertook a month-long bicycle awareness campaign,” he said.

Pillai, who is Swachh Kanyakumari’s ambassador, was awarded the prestigious Kalaimamani Award by the Government of Tamil Nadu in 2020, and previously the Kalaisudarmani Award. He is currently a Resource Officer at Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society.

“This art should be encouraged and folk artists should be able to stand out and be recognized,” says Pazhania Pillai, who stands out with her bright jacket.

Is there anything he can’t achieve? “My only regret is that I didn’t learn Hindi,” Pillai, 60, replied.

“I would take my songs to different parts of India if I could learn Hindi. songs have been restricted to Tamil Nadu only,” he said and added that he hopes his songs will be heard across the country as they all contain valuable news for people.

Born as the fifth child of an ordinary family in the village of Bhoothapandi in the coastal district of Kanyakumari, near the home of the late communist leader P Jeevanandam, Pillai lost his father who was a former soldier when he was only 9 years old.

Life is a constant struggle for him and his siblings. His mother got up early, made appalamas (papad) and sold them. With her income, she went home to prepare meals for them.

“I am happy to have seen the silver and golden jubilee of our independence. And now the celebration of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. My daughter got married and I wish my son who graduated from ME will get a government job,” he said.

(This story has not been edited by our team of editors and was generated from the stream.)

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