Vinod Joshi - His work and contribution towards Rajasthani Folk music and Art and the Momasar Utsav

Vinod Joshi has been one of the key promoters of Rajasthani culture in recent times. Over the last two decades, Vinod Joshi has extensively documented indigenous traditions of Rajasthan and showcasing the state’s culture. He has been devoting his life to the magnification of Rajasthani culture, including music as well as the various art forms of the diverse local communities in the region. Over the years, Vinod Joshi has played a key role in conceiving and shaping over 40 regional festivals, most notably the Momasar Utsav, which provides a platform for thousands of folk artists to display their creativity.

Besides this, Vinod Joshi has also ventured into many territories. He has played a pivotal role in creating a series of pioneering heritage-based development initiatives. Being at the helm of things at Jaipur Virasat Foundation (JVF), Jodhpur Rajasthan International Folk Festival (RIFF) and Jajam Foundation, he has shared his know-how and experience in multiple avenues. In addition, Joshi’s contributions to Rajasthani culture have also been through research papers and articles which have been published globally.

His street documentation of the heritage of Jaipur paved the way for the city’s first heritage walk. Over the years, eminent personalities, namely, Prince Charles, Minja Yang, William Dalrymple, Maharaja Gaj Singh and Mark Tully have walked with him as a part of the events. His contributions to community arts earned him the Raja Kakil Dev Award by Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II at the Museum Trust of Jaipur in 2014.

One of the major events that Vinod Joshi is involved in is the Momasar Utsav. The festival is organised at Vinod’s birthplace, Momasar, a small town in the Shekhawati region in Rajasthan. Held annually during the month of November, when the festival of lights, Diwali, grips the entire nation, the small town of Momasar also comes alive with this. This two day event is known to bring together over 200 artists and craftsmen from across seven cultural regions of the state. The festival sees around ten thousand people every year - from nearby villages and far-off cities or countries.

The festival gives local musicians, folk singers and dancers a stage and opportunity to perform alongside internationally acclaimed artists. This festival is so structured that visitors mingle freely with artists and local residents, making an enriching experience for all of them. Visitors are able to venture into these traditional art forms through intense interactions with the artists. Simon Broughton, who is a writer, filmmaker and the editor-in-chief of Songlines in the United Kingdom, heaps praises for Joshi’s contributions in this festival. Broughton says,

“The work Vinod is doing at Momasar Utsav is important in showcasing Rajasthani music and keeping it sustainable within the region.”

Presently, a number of art forms like miniature art and other traditional art forms are on the verge of getting lost forever. Vinod Joshi’s work in the areas of promoting local artists is expected to go a long way in saving their craft. David Roche, an ethnomusicologist based in the United Kingdom also feels that the efforts of people like Vinod Joshi play a massive role in preserving Rajasthani culture. Roche says,

“Vinod Joshi’s knowledge and leadership abilities will definitely make a difference for Rajasthani cultural production in the years ahead.”