Aziza Dhamaskar is a 60-year-old homemaker and resident of the village of Shringar Tali, Ratnagiri. One among several of her age group who used to participate in the joint celebrations of Urs, Lejim and wedding festivals in Shringar Tali and the adjoining villages, Aziza used to sing in public where men, women and children listened in absolute thrall. Given how this shared culture has eroded over the last 20 years or so, Aziza Dhamaskar is referred to by villagers as probably the only one who has several songs committed to memory.
She sings—as is recorded in separate videos—popular wedding songs and one birth celebration song. These songs have stood the brunt of cultural erasure and would perhaps not be heard a few years down the line because women such as Aziza find it safer to sing them in the confines of a private gathering with mostly women or close family members. This private space is also shrinking fast. With time, the songs are becoming obsolete owing to the influence of the mainstream culture, Bollywood, and restrictions primarily administered by a religious faction that discourages songs and music as expression of shared community celebration.
‘Chand nikal aya’ (Hindi/Urdu birth celebration song)
The moon is out shedding its beautiful rays,
And lighting up the entire world.
The newborn is playing in the cradle,
The infant is playing in Bibi Maryam's lap.
---- (repeats with Bibi Aziza, Bibi Rashida, Bibi Nargis, etc.)