What is a ‘baraat’ without a ‘band’ or ‘baaja’? The grooms in this wedding season are being forced to cut out the band and the baaja from their baraat because demand is outstripping the supply.
At a time, when they should be relaxing, soaking in the celebrations and getting pampered by friends and family members, the grooms are huffing and puffing from one office to another, trying to get permission for playing music in their wedding.
And more importantly, getting bands booked for the wedding.
Following a Supreme Court order, the Yogi Adityanath-led Uttar Pradesh government had strictly imposed a ban on loudspeakers and high decibel sounds.
To play high decibel music or get a DJ at the weddings or other functions, one will have to seek permission from the designated magistrate, then take the form to the local police station and from there to the traffic police. The form will have to be taken back to the magistrate, who will put the final seal of approval.
Since it is the immediate family member, who has to take the permission, it is the grooms, in most cases, who are doing the running around.
“I had to run around for permission for almost one week before I succeeded in the mission. Most of the time, the magistrate was not available, then the local police officials played hard to get and it was another onerous task to get back to the magistrate. If you questioned their absence, the answer was ‘We have better things to do than grant permission for music’,” said Siddhartha Srivastava, who managed the permission a day before his wedding on December 2.
Sudhansu Mishra of Prayagraj was not so lucky and had to forego the ‘baaja’ for his ‘baraat’ on December 4.
“My friends decided to help me out and played the guitar for me at the wedding. Of course, we had to cut out the dancing from the celebrations,” he said.
Apart from permission, the availability of a band for the ‘baraat’ is also a major problem.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the band business was adversely impacted and most of the band members have switched to other professions.
“We are left with nearly half of the strength of the band. Our drummers left us and so did the sole saxophone player. We are working with minimum musicians because new people do not want to join the business as they find it risky,” said Deepraj, owner of ‘Deepu Brass Band’.
Deepraj added that as per his knowledge, at least nine bands have wound up business during the pandemic.
Naturally, demand is exceeding supply in this season that has an unusually large number of weddings taking place.
According to rough estimates, there are 1,000 to 1,500 weddings taking place every day in Lucknow alone.
“This is because many weddings had been postponed during the pandemic and so this huge backlog. People are not finding venues and weddings are being held in farmhouses that are almost 20 kilometre away from the city, because of this we cannot solemnize more than one wedding a day because of the long distances between one venue to another,” said Pandit Sandeep Tiwari.