PATNA: Born in a remote village, Sonbarsa in Rohtas district, Mrityunjay Kumar Singh's childhood rolled in elements of nativity and folk culture of Bhojpur. Decades later, even as he is a top cop, serving as the IG (Hq) of West Bengal, he loves and cherishes every single thread of the culture and language he belongs to.
This has resulted into the 1987-batch IPS officerwriting good Bhojpuri lyrics and singing folk Bhojpuri songs at several events.
"It was my concern over Bhojpuri as a language being abused by making its elements sound lewd and frivolous that I decided to try my pen writing some good lyrics dipped in the essence of yesteryears traditions," Singh told TOI over phone.
"Though I loved singing right since my childhood and kept singing for friends, and participated in school and college functions, I could afford to have lessons in classical music only in 2003 in Kolkata from my guru Deb Kumar Bannerjee of Rampur 'Seswan Gharana' and disciple of Ustad Rashid Khan," said Singh, who is well versed in six languages, including Bahasa of Indonesia.
"Unfortunately, my assignment abroad for three-and-a-half years between January 2008 and 2011 deprived me once again of regular training. I have resumed the same with the same guru after coming back to Kolkata," he stated.
Kolkata being his second home, as he is assigned to West Bengal cadre of IPS, enriched his cultural sensitivity further, and gave him a horde of friends from literature and music world.
"It was from here that I produced my first Bhojpuri music album 'Ae Babua' by T-Series, followed by yet another title 'Ruk Ja Sajanwa' during 2003-05. In fact, I am empanelled with the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR), with the group known as 'Ae Babua' only," Singh said.
At the Cultural Centre, Jakarta and Indian Cultural Centre, Bali, he worked to innovate ways for breaking new grounds in people-to-people contact, collaboration, sharing and deeper understanding of diverse views and cultures.
"I hosted a very successful 'Festival of India' in Indonesia in 2009-10 with 48 events in seven cities of that country," he said.
As an ICCR empanelled artist, he travelled to Guyana and Surinam on sponsorship in 2004, and to Mauritius on the sponsorship of ministry of culture of India in 2005 to render Bhojpuri folk songs during various events organized by the Indian diaspora.
He wrote lyrics, co-composed music with Debajyoti Misra (who is known for his work in films like 'Hazaar Chaurasi ki Ma', 'Raincoat', 'Chokher Bali', 'Dharm' etc) and sang a Bhojpuri folk song for an album 'Suranjali' produced by Eastern Zonal Culture Centre, ministry of culture, Government of India, in December 2006, which was released by the President.
He also has the credit of organizing the translation of Rabindra Nath Tagore's chosen works for children (Tagore Dan Masa Kanak) by Indonesian author Ayu Utami, exhibition of Tagore's paintings and presentation of songs and collaborative musical drama based on his poem 'Sagarika' as a part of the celebration of 150th birth anniversary of Tagore in Indonesia in May, 2011.