THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : "We should be treated equally despite our inability to see," said Rajaneesh SS, founder of 'Layatharangam', a blind orchestra team based in Thiruvananthapuram. The idea of formulating a blind orchestra team was suggested by Rajaneesh in 1998. According to him, the strength to begin such a team was derived from his school itself. "I was fortunate enough to complete my schooling from the Government School for the Visually Impaired, Vazhuthacaud.
The support and strength they have given are inexplicable. As a visually impaired person, I have experienced biased treatment while performing. This made me want to gather a group of visually-impaired people and do something together as a community," said Rajaneesh. Later, an eight-member team was formed wherein tabla, keyboard, mridangam, guitar, veena, vocals and even sound systems were managed by the team.
According to 'Layatharangam' members, it is a fight against the ill treatment towards the visually-impaired. Arya AP, the vocalist, mentioned it is difficult to get shows for them as people book them on the basis of pity and the hype around a 'blind orchestra' rather than talent.
The members complained they are booked for a certain amount which is not paid accurately after performance. "Unlike normal people, it takes hours for us to prepare for each show. We have to translate the lyrics in braille, practice instruments for hours and yet we are paid less.
In the case of Rajaneesh, who also manages the sound system, the work is arduous. Practice and concentration are the key words for us and we will strive against the biases towards our people," said Arya. The team will be performing on Wednesday at the 'Kanakolsavam' venue organised by Press Club, Thiruvananthapuram.