Renowned Haryanvi folk artist Mahabir Guddu received the ‘Haryana Gaurav’ award in the UK last week.
Mahabir Guddu, the Haryanvi artist famous for his Shiv Gayan and many other folk songs, was in the UK on a special invitation from the Confluence Foundation.
Confluence Foundation Award Ceremony was organised at the House of Lords in the British parliament, where Mahabir Guddu performed his famous compositions in the presence of many dignitaries, including UK members of Parliament and business leaders.
Mahabir Guddu presented Khindka (Haryanvi style Turban) to Rajinder Paul Loomba, a member of the House of Lords and a Chundri (Dupatta) to his wife.
“I am humbled by this honour and award the community in the UK has bestowed upon me. It is always a moment of great satisfaction for me to present our culture before the international audience,” Mahabir Guddu told NRI Affairs.
Mahabir Guddu is one of the most famous contemporary artists of Haryana. He has composed numerous popular songs and bhajans. A pioneer in Haryanvi spiritual singing, Guddu has been active on stage for over 51 years.
“My beginning was humble,” remembers Mahabir Guddu, “I used to walk a few kilometres every day to go to the school as we did not have resources in those days. But I wanted to study.”
Mahabir Guddu has always been a trendsetter. He initiated many kinds of performances followed by young and old artists alike.
“When I was in college, boys used to dance wearing Damman’s (Haryanvi skirts). I was the first artist who danced in Dhoti and Kurta, and now institutions hold special competitions for this dance,” Mahabir Guddu notes.
He has always been a supporter of the young artists and mentored many groups that went on to perform at the international level. He also revived a dying art form Haryanvi Orchestra, later conserved by Haryana Government.
“If an artist respects his culture, the culture will never let him sleep empty stomach. So I strongly believe in performing honestly. This is because I believe in serving my culture. And I am a living proof that if you serve your culture, it takes you places,” observes Mahabir Guddu.