HUBBALLI: Local health department officials have hit on the old public address system of drummers going around villages, passing on important information, to draw awareness to Covid-19 vaccine and get senior citizens to come forward to take the jab.
The indigenous style of the drummers has appealed to many, including health minister K Sudhakar, who shared a video of drummers in action on Twitter and tagged Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sangamesh Menasigi, a resident of Jakkali in Gadag district, who shot the video which was shared by the health minister, said: “I heard Veerappa Kali, 76, a Bhajan and Doddata singer, appealing to people on Saturday to take the vaccine. He was singing and beating a traditional drum. I quickly shot a video of him in action and shared it on social media. I did not think it would generate such a huge response. Gadag zilla panchayat put in on their app.”
Menasigi said he shot several videos during the lockdown and shared them with villagers to create awareness.
Kali said he has been visiting villages for the past 40 years, beating drums and spreading information released by government departments. “I get a measly Rs 100 from gram panchayats for each announcement, but I do it to help people,” Kali said. “I am thrilled that my video has reached the Prime Minister.”
Dr Yalaguresh Sankanal, from Benal Punarvasati Kendra, Vijayapura, but currently residing in Bengaluru, said he received a similar video clip sent by people in his village and he shared it with his contacts.Like Kali, Laxman Chandrappa Kolkar, 62, has been going around beating drums while informing people in villages in Vijayapura district of government notifications. “I shared video clips with my contacts on social media and it is being widely shared by many,” Kolkar said.
Prof Onkar Kakade, a communication expert in Vijayapura, said traditional drummers have played a crucial role in the NK region for centuries and are very effective in communicating messages. “Though they are paid measly sums, they reach a bigger group of people,” Kakade said. “Although many rural people now have smartphones and are connected on social media, they believe information passed on by drummers is credible.”