39 -years-old Meghamala Panda, is a lady with 100% blindness. She lost her father at an early age. The dwelling house of her family was forcibly taken away by others. Despite all odds, the inspiration of her parents motivated Meghamala and she started learning music at the age of six.
Crossing through extreme poverty and limited opportunity in the KBK region in Odisha, she acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Hindustani Vocal Classical music at Allahabad Kala Parishad and a Bachelor’s Degree in Odissi Vocal from Prachina Kala Kendra, Chandigarh. She didn’t even have a harmonium to rehearse and practise her music. Despite facing all the challenges, she sings songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Anuradha Paudwal and Asha Bhosle.
Now, Meghamala is placed as a music teacher in a Red Cross School for the blind in Bhawanipatna Kalahandi district in Odisha at a remuneration of rupee 4000 per month, which is mostly spent on the auto fare to commute to and from home to school.
Her mother is a senior citizen. Her elder sister Sunita Panda was helping her in her work. But, soon after her marriage, Sunita was blessed with a daughter with multiple disabilities. Her daughter was born with incomplete brain development. No doubt, if Meghamala was properly trained and provided with other supports she could have competed with other female singers of her age.
Due to financial constraints, Meghamala could not achieve her master’s degree. Generous people can contribute to help the distress and blind lady of Odisha to take admission in Master of Music course under Akhila Bharatiya Gandharaba Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai. To her credit, Meghamala qualified in audition test of All India Radio, Jaipur and newly recognized as a big high-grade artist. She has also participated in some music festivals at the district and state level. She can become a good playback singer in Hindi and Odia Cinema industry and TV serials if she gets a chance to perform.
Sannyashai Ku Behera
Sannyashai Ku Behera is an advisor at the Institute of Social Work and research, Odisha. He himself is 100% visually challenged person. We came in contact at an event where he introduced me to Meghamala ji and asked if we could help her in any way possible.
Since I had the medium, I said yes. It is our sincere request to kindly share her story so much that she can get any assistance possible. Let us all help the deserving one get the due share she deserves. Please, do share her story with anyone and everywhere which can help her, if the #OdishaGovernment hears it, it will be even more helpful.
Thank you! Here is a small clipping of her singing at an event of Swabhiman, Anjali in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.