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Total population
Regions with significant populations
Sindh, Pakistan Rajasthan, India
Sindhi and Marwari

[Sampravaahi Foundation]

The Manganiar or Manghanhar [Sindhi مڱڻھار] and related Langha are Muslim communities in Sindh, Pakistan and in the desert of Rajasthan, India in the districts of Barmer and Jaisalmer, along the border of Sindh province of Pakistan. Majority of Manghanhar are found in the districts of Tharparkar, Sanghar, Mirpur Khas, Tando Allahyar, Hyderabad, Badin, Sujawal, Thatta, Jamshoro in Sindh Pakistan. They are famous for their classical folk music. They are the groups of hereditary professional musicians, whose music has been supported by wealthy landlords and aristocrats for generations.

History and origin[edit]

The Manganiars consider themselves descendants of the Rajputs and are renowned as highly skilled folk musicians of the Thar desert. Their songs are passed on from generation to generation as a form of oral history of the desert. They sing songs about Alexander the Great, about the local Maharajas and past battles in the region. Manganiars have survived for centuries on the patronage of wealthy merchants in caravan towns, particularly Jaisalmer where there is an important settled community today. The traditional jajman (patrons) of the Manganiar are the locally dominant Rajput community, while the Langha have a similar relationship with the Sindhi-Sipahi, a community of Muslim Rajputs. At times of birth, marriage or any family festivity for their Rajput patrons, the Manganiar musicians are in attendance to evoke the right mood with songs of the desert and many specially composed songs to praise the patron and his family.[citation needed][dubious ]

Though Manganiar and Langhas communities are Muslim, in Rajasthan many Manganiar songs are in praise of Hindu deities and celebrate Hindu festivals such as Diwali and Holi where the performers traditionally invoke the Hindu God Krishna and seek his blessing before beginning their recital.[dubious ]

Present circumstances[edit]

In 1978, Jodhpur-based musician Komal Kothari provided the Manganiars with institutional support, allowing them to sing outside the state for the first time. Currently, several Manganiar groups tour internationally. The most well-known productions currently touring internationally are "Rhythm of Rajasthan" Rhythm of Rajasthan performed at Hollywood Bowl, Carnegie Hall. "Rajasthan josh group", "The Manganiyar Seduction - by Roysten Abel", and DESERT ROOTS by tabla/percussion maestro SUBHEN CHATTERJEE & The Langa Manganiyars ( ).

Socio-political controversy[edit]

In present day Jaisalmer and surrounding regions in Rajasthan, the term Manganiar, or Manganiyar, meaning 'beggar', is used as a debasing and derogatory title for folk musicians that are among the lowest castes in Rajasthan. These communities of folk musicians refer to themselves as Merasi, which translates as 'musicians' or 'keepers of the stories' and had been titled this by patrons, including wealthy and powerful Rajput patrons predating Komal Kothari's usage of Manganiar. Considered ‘untouchable’, denied access to education, healthcare, and political representation, most live in poverty yet aspire to improve their situation. Despite on-going caste-prejudice, they persist in their roles as oral genealogists, storytellers, and musicians. To reclaim their identity as storytellers, the Merasi of Jaisalmer have shed the derogatory caste label 'Manganiyar' and proudly embraced the name 'Merasi', meaning musicians and is also a poignant symbol of self-determination. New York City-based non-profit organization Folk Arts Rajasthan (FAR), partnered with Jaisalmer-based Lok Kala Sagar Sansthan (LKSS), currently seek to empower the Merasi community through education, community development, and by nurturing and preserving cultural identity.[1]


The 17-string khamaycha is a bowed instrument. Made of mango wood, its rounded resonator is covered with goat skin. Three of its strings are goat intestine while the other 14 strings are steel.

Classical Rajasthani Musical instrument,

The khartaal is a kind of castanet made of teak. Its name is derived from "Khar", meaning hand, and "Taal", meaning rhythm.

The dholak is a classical North Indian, Pakistani and Nepalese hand drum similar in timbre to a bongo. A dholak may have traditional lacing or turnbuckle tuning. The dholak has a simple membrane and a handle on the right hand side. The left hand membrane has a special coating on the inner surface. This coating is a mixture of tar, clay and sand (dholak masala) which lowers the pitch.

Notable people[edit]

  • Samandar Khan Manganiar, is another renowned manganiyar Sufi Singer Music Composer of Jaipur
  • Kachra Khan, one of the most renowned traditional singers of the Managniar community of western Rajasthan
  • Sakar Khan, most renowned Khamaicha player, Padmasree award winner.
  • Mame khan, traditional singer
  • Mai Dhai, is a Pakistani manganiar classical folk singer hails from Tharparkar, Sindh.
  • Ghazi khan is another renowned manganiyar of khuri a village of sodha Rajputs .
  • Allan Fakir
  • ((Misri Diplaie)) is a tharparker pakistan folk singer hails from diplo tharparker sindh.
  • ((Mustaq Ahmed Diplaie & Mehdi hassan Diplaie Son of misri diplaie folk singer tharparker diplo sindh

Langa are mainly settled in Kutch (Island once in Arabian Sea) region of frontier west of Gujarat. Touching Sindh and Rajsthan with west Dwarka side Gujarat. Mainly Music Community,Now as desert around is mainly habitat of Indian Hindu Warrior group called Rajputs (2nd after Brahmins in Manu Niti system in Hindu Cast system hierarchy) with Palaces and wars,temples,festivals and colorful clothing and great sandstone architecture.

As Langa are Musicians in Desesrt played in Palaces and deserts thus can be called 'Freelance Musician' many employed or played in Palaces,Festivals and Sung Sufi songs and many played in Hindu festivals of Navratri (Mainly in Gujarat) Langa people have many great people like Suleman Jumma Nagara Player (Bowl like 2 drums played with Sahenai ,mainly at Palace entrance to welcome guests during ceremonies ) who was awarded Gold medal by India's President Gyani Zail Singhji for his art. Master Kasam Abdula Sarayia(Suthri village,Abdasa,Kutch.Buried in Bhuj Kabratan ,Capital Of Kutch) who once connected to Music loving Nawab Of Junagadh's Palace,then shifted to Mumbai and was employed by Gramaphone co. H.M.V. Of Britain to manage Urdu section and had recorded many famous Qawalis,Gazals sung by many famous Qawals like Ismail Azad,Abdul Raheman Kachwala,Aziz Nazan etc. And Playback Singers like Mohamad Rafi,Mahendra Kapoor etc,In H.M.V. Studio,Universal Bldg.P.M.Road,Fort,Mumbai.

Mami Bachu-Music Director (whose name was Fakir Mohamad Bachu Khiyar,from Dumara Village,Abdasa,Kutch.Composed the Qawalis and Gazhals with him for the mentioned Singers in the mentioned H.M.V. Studio. Mami Bachu was Son in law of Kasam Abdula and both were from Musical Langa Communities. Grandson of Kasam Abdula and Son Of Music Director Mami Bachu is S.M.Yusuf, famous Interior & Landscape Architect (Cert.) Practicing In Mumbai.

Many of Langa have left the Music field after educating themselves and working in Kutch Police or other Govt.Dept Of Gujarat and working in other fields in Mumbai,Maharstra,India.

Langa are Muslims and Langa from Kutch Speak Kutchi Language as family language.

Langa people of Rajsthan have least exchange with Kutchi Langa now and Rajsthan Langa still wear Traditional dresses and sing old royal wedding,festival,Sufi songs. Which make Langa Of Kutch bit different in their own community Cultures.

Most of Kutchi Muslim Langa People are settled in Kutch and many in Mumbai City,India.

Many Langa are settled in the U.K. And Kenya and many Indian Kutchi Langa toured in European Countries to play on stage programmes within Hindu Gujarati Communities in Cultural Programmes and Mami Bachu like Music Composer (Check on Google for list of gramaphone records composed by him) toured Europe and world on live stage Qawali Programmes.

Most of them are settled in coastal villages and around of Southern Kutch,touching Arabian Sea.In India.


  1. ^ Folk Arts Rajasthan in partnership with Lok Kala Sagar Sansthan, accessed September 29, 2016

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