Dhadis, Mirasis and the Performance of Devotional Music in Punjab
Devotional music in Punjab, outside the realm of the Sikh scriptural music from the Guru Granth Sahib, has largely been the preserve of two castes of genealogists-musicians called Dhadis and Mirasis. For generations, these castes have been the oral historians, panegyrists, and bards of Punjab. Dhadis and Mirasis stand apart, and in a relation of marginalization to the performers of Sikh scriptural music known as Raagis and Kirtanis who perform hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib set to prescribed classical Ragas. This paper examines the historical and socio-cultural context in the which Dhadis and Mirasis of Punjab are situated, and traces the trajectory through the profession of the devotional performer-cum-genealogist has evolved into the twenty-first century.