Bharud is one of those important folk arts of Maharashtra, which is still alive and is going strong even in today’s times. After the tamasha, Bharud is next favorite form of folk art in the rural areas. Bharud is an important part of annual fairs, Dnyaneshwari Parayan (recital of Dnyaneshwari, saint Dnyaneshwar’s interpretation of the Bhagwad Geeta), or the recital of Tukaram Gatha (collection of Saint Tukaram’s Abhanga). This art form is as educative as it is enjoyable and it is a favorite among the people. It is an important medium to advocate spirituality through drama, elocution and music. Saint Eknath is known to be the originator of this form. Enthusiasm, flurry, catchy tunes, music and crisp compering are the strong points of Bharud. Once the Bhajan ends, the Bharudkar (compeer) stands up and in his engaging style begins narrating a story to the audience. He brings to life the picture of a village in the early hours of a morning: Chirping birds, mooing cows, the front yard of every house sprinkled with water and painted with rangoli. And in this fresh, magical atmosphere, the womenfolk of the village start singing ovi.
Each Bharud is interspersed with such songs from the folk culture. Then, the Bharudkar begins describing the village. Generally, these questions are of a humorous nature but also carry a message.
In this way, each folk artist comes on the stage one by one and displays his art form. The problems and dilemmas faced by the rural folk are discussed through these forms of art. The frustrations and happiness of life are expressed. Even while entertaining the people, the Bharud artists never loosen their grip on the audience. The Bharud lasts till the wee hours of the morning with a medley of compering, music and drama. Some Bharud songs like vinchu chavala (A scorpion has bit me) and dadlyaa nako ga baai (I don’t want a husband) keep the audience in splits while laying bare the secrets of married life.
The Bharud appears to be a simple form of comic entertainment; however, the Bharud is full of songs and stories replete with different figures of speech, and teach how to attain spiritual upliftment by controlling materialistic propensities.
Bharud is a prosperous, impressive and educative art of Maharashtra. And it is satisfying to note that many Bharudkar, keertankar, researchers and scholars are doing a wonderful yet difficult job of keeping this tradition alive.
From 1982 Bhanudas Bairagi started learning under the tutelage of Madhukar Dashrath Raut (Guruji), Ahemadnagar. He learnt Bharud, Bhajan, Abhang, Gavlan, etc. He learnt for continuas 5 years and then started performing allover Maharashtra. When he was in 8th standard he completed his training and started educating people from small villages through Bharud. He has done programs in Harinam Saptah, Varat, Yatra, Inogural functions, Ganeshotsav, Navaratri, etc. He has even performed on various subjects like Puls Pollio, Clean Bharat- Swachha Bharat, dowry system, Alcohol Prohibition, AIDS janajagaran Abhiyan.