“eh rangaboti re rangaboti
ho rangaboti re rangaboti
hai rangaboti rangaboti kanaka lata hasi pade kaha lo katha
eh rangabati rangabati kanaka lata hasi pade kaha lo katha………”
Years of struggle came to an end when Jitender Haripal was awarded the Padmashri for his continuous support to Sambalpuri music. One of the most popular hits of all times in Odisha, this song was first recorded in the 1970s. Jitendra Haripal the first singer of this song is famous and has been recognized for lending his voice to “Rangabati”. The song was first recorded by All India Radio and seeing its popularity Indian Record Manufacturing Company Ltd, one of the oldest recording company in Kolkata (then Calcutta) recorded it in 1976 and the disc was released sometime in 1978.This Sambalpuri song written by Mitrabhanu Gauntia gained much popularity in the 1970’s and 80’s.Jitendra Haripal came to be recognized as the voice behind this popular number everywhere across the country.
Jitendra Haripal’s Journey:
Music ran in Jitendra’s family. He got his first lessons from his father, Mandhata Haripal who was also a well-known singer in his area. However, being a Dalit was considered to be a big hurdle in learning and pursuing music. Poverty was also a big impediment in his journey. Poverty deprived him of a formal training in music and being a Dalit he was forbidden from attending music sabha. For years he would stand outside music sabha and listen to songs and tried singing them of his own. Once in an interview, Jitendra mentioned that although he knows all the ragas but not their names.
Jitender Haripal gradually went on to become a versatile singer. His popularity can be judged from the fact that at a particular railway station passengers recognized him and did not let the train move till he finished rendering the Rangabati Song.
Awards and Accolades for Jitender Haripal:
Awards and accolades for ‘Rangabati’ followed him wherever he went. However, his financial condition always remained pitiable. Coupled with poverty and bad luck Jitender had to face the ups and downs of life. A stray incident destroyed all his musical instruments. Jitendra never lost hope. He started singing with the help of borrowed instruments. The journey was never easy but he never gave up on singing. There were times when Jitender had to even work as a part-time laborer to feed him and his family. During these bad days, music was his only solace. The cassette company which had signed him for a period of three years went into a lockout. Jitendra lost his royalties which had helped him to survive.
On receiving the Padmashri, his eyes were filled with tears as all his efforts and hard work has finally been recognized. He was chosen for this prestigious award for his lifetime contribution to music. Today, Jitendra Haripal is a legend and is well-known as an exponent in Sambalpuri music and ‘Rangabati‘ is still a popular number.