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Bhai Balwinder Singh Rangila

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FOR Balwinder Singh Rangila, a well known raagi of Chandigarh, music is the very essence of life. And when he was asked by his father to use his talent to spread the message of love and peace through Gurmat sangeet at the age of seven, nothing could have refrained him from doing so, not even 20 years of hardship and poverty which he faced throughout the prime of his life.

But times have changed for him now. One of the most sought after raagi (religious singer) of this region, Balwinder Singh now runs a Gurmat Sangeet Academy in Sector 40, imparting religious education to more than 2000 students free of cost. Fame has eventually come to him and so has money, but it is the pleasure of knowing that he has been able to contribute his bit towards popularising gurmat sangeet among the young and old is that moves him the most.

“I was still a child when I was given an opportunity by my father to sing and play tabla along with him in a gurdwara in Delhi,” recalls Balwinder Singh. “It was at that moment I knew what I wanted to do in life,” he says. He followed his instinct, with so much will that he dropped from his school to dedicate his entire time honing his skill — voice modulation and learning the tabla and harmonium.

Life as a raagi had been hard on him. His passion had made him so unpopular among his own relatives that no help was forthcoming when his mother and sister died due to lack of medical attention and proper food. “But we — three brothers — remained loyal to our belief and kept on and over the years nothing has wavered our objective to sing the pure raag based gurmat sangeet,” he says.

File:Balwinder singh rangila jatha.jpg

The changes that have come in the gurmat sangeet styles have overwhelmed him from time to time. “During my long association with Gurbani I have seen changes in gurmat sangeet, changing trend from pure raag based sabads to the ones based on filmi tunes,” says Balwinder. He claims to have raised objection towards such adulterations and according to him the last 10 years which saw a major influx of gurmat sangeet based on filmi tunes now seems to be passing.

What about people who are coming away from gurmat sangeet and adopting pop music for name and fame? “It is true that youngsters even from raagi families have gone towards pop music, but then this is a stage when everybody is running after name and fame and raagi’s life is a hard life,” he says.

Commenting on the controversy which was erupted by a comment made by one of the Sikh scholars in Panjab University sometime back that the gurus were not the original people who gave music to their compositions but the raags came later on, Balwinder Singh says: “Only those people who know nothing about gurmat sangeet can make such a comment. All the 10 gurus were famous musicians in their own right. It was Guru Nanak Dev who started teaching through songs and music created through an instrument called Rabab, a tradition which was later carried on by all other Sikh gurus.”

Taken from

Contact Details

For Further Information Please Contact:-

  • Bhai Balwinder Singh Rangila Ji (Founder)
  • Sri Guru Ram Das Ji (Free) Gurmat Sangeet Academy (Regd.), Kothi No 1438, Sector 40-B, Chandigarh, 160036 India
  • Tel: 0091 172 268 7916 or 0091 981 412 3294
  • Fax: 0091 172 269 6820

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