Chand tries to make changes in people’s lives with his music

Avikash Chand and his family. Picture: SUPPLIED

YOU would usually see him rushing around with his cameras on the football field at local tournaments, but little do people know that Avikash Chand is making a name for himself in lokgeet (Hindi folk singing).

Chand, 40, grew his interest in singing at the age of 10 since his father was a talented bhajan singer.

Thirty years later, he is now the president of the Haripur Ramayan Mandali at Lakena Hill Rd, Nausori.

Chand, who is also known as “Bablu”, usually sings at weddings and fundraising events for people in need.

“Late last year, I suffered a heart attack and after checks I was told I needed to get an operation done which cost more than $17,000. My family and friends got together and collected the money within weeks. I realised how important fundraising can be for people in need,” he said.

“Since then I have been organising fundraising events for cancer and heart patients. Just a couple of weeks ago I went to Tavua at my own cost to sing lokgeet at a competition and raise funds for a lady who has gone to India for an operation.”

According to Chand, he had sung at weddings free of charge knowing that the amount of money spent during weddings was huge.

“Especially, when girls are getting married. In the Indian culture, a lot of money is spent on a girl’s wedding and I understand that and try and help out wherever possible,” he said.

Chand said lokgeet singing was not easy because it required a lot of dedication.

“These days you have to keep the people entertained. Especially at weddings and competitions where you have to make up lokgeet in accordance to the latest Bollywood songs. That is what people want and if you want to entertain them, then you have to keep up to that.”

He also raised concerns that singers these days were misinterpreting lokgeet singing and the genre was losing its importance.

“People are mixing up qawali with lokgeet these days which I think is not right. Lokgeet itself has importance of its own and we shouldn’t lose that. A lot of singers are even using vulgar lyrics to sing lokgeet these days which is not right either.”

Apart from lokgeet, Chand is also a parcharak (preacher), and is the head of media by profession at the Fiji Football Association in Suva.

Chand’s 10-year-old son Avishaan Chand is also following in his father’s footsteps.

Avishaan is a dholakiya (plays dholak) and sings kirtan and bhajan. Chand said his family had been very supportive in his singing career and credited his success to them.

He has also advised young and upcoming singers to maintain their interest in lokgeet singing and follow the right path.

Chand has also urged parents to keep on motivating their children to take up folk singing because it helped keep the culture and tradition alive.

He also urged people in need to contact him on 9993196 should they require assistance in organising fundraising events.

“I and my Haripur Ramayan Mandali are forever ready to assist anyone in need. We do have contacts of lokgeet, bhajan and kirtan singers who are willing to help so please come forward and do not wait.”

Chand has 20 young men who help him during competitions while there are around six who help him out during wedding functions.

In today’s busy and changing world, it is people like Chand who are still trying their best to make changes in people’s lives with the little they can do for them.

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