IITians script songs of change and hope

Student initiative

IITians script songs of change and hope

Playing his mouth organ, when this pied piper sauntered inside the cramped lanes of the slum in Munirka, the children peered out of their homes, jumped up and followed him.

Sidharth Ranjan, the young 21-year-old electrical engineering student from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Delhi), humorously mentions being likened to Hamlin’s famous Pied Piper, but one who doesn’t lure the children out of their town; instead one, who along with his friends teach them music in their own surroundings and give wings to their dreams.

Under the Music Masti programme of the NSS wing of the college, Sidharth, the co-ordinator, and a number of student volunteers from IIT-D teach mellifluous notes to the underprivileged children living around their campus.

The foundation of the programme that kicked off in mid-February this year, was laid almost two years ago. “We have a teaching programme, up and running successfully in these slums. So, whenever I got a chance to invite them over for a show by our music club, we would get them to open air theatre and introduce them to music, to add a bit of creativity to what we were teaching. We had around 100 students back then, and incidentally, every time we organised this show, it was called ‘Music Masti’.”

In a way, the programme is an extension of the oft-repeated show where various IIT clubs performed to expose the underprivileged children to extra-curricular activities. “In one of our shows, a child raised his hand and said he wanted to play music as well,” says Sidharth, a percussionist, exclaiming that he was thrilled to call that child up on the stage.

Taking a cue from that episode, they decided, “We need to add real meaning and creativity to these children. The way we were exposed to music, astronomy and other such interesting things in life, they needed to observe and enjoy such pleasures of life too.”

Another special dimension of this programme is that it teaches children music through trash!“We make them tap their tables, to learn tabla. The same goes for other instruments, since we support the programme through our own personal instruments.”

Enthused by the response from both students and volunteers from other colleges, the coordinator shares a wish, “It’s easy to start an initiative, but difficult to sustain it. We are getting a good response from interested volunteers from other colleges as well and they are most welcome to join us.  Step by step, we will take it from music to astronomy, introducing them to the beauty of the night and the wondrous sky.” 

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