Partial blindness did not stop Harshvardhan Vartak, a drummer, from turning entrepreneur and setting up an orchestra group, which now does 10-12 shows a month; the group has given 21 other disabled people the chance to lead a life of respect
His vision may extend only to one foot, but that hasn’t stopped Harshvardhan Vartak (44) from taking long strides to empower himself and those like him. Suffering from partial blindness, the Virar resident decided to turn entrepreneur and, in 1997, started his own orchestra group, which performs at concerts and even gets contracts for weddings.
Harshvardhan Vartak (right) says he was always interested in music and wanted to be a drummer
Today, the group consists of 22 disabled people, who depend on it to make a living. Equally importantly, group members say, being part of the orchestra has helped them lead a life of respect.
Speaking to mid-day, Vartak said, “I was always interested in music and wanted to be a drummer, and so my brother, Bipin, and I came up with the idea of forming an orchestra group called ‘Dil Ki Nazron Se’. Initially, there were 10-12 members in our group, who used to play various instruments. Now, we have a group of 22, some of whom are also singers.
The group’s speciality is that it not only performs Bollywood songs, but also classical and devotional music. Apart from Hindi, the band also performs in Marathi and Gujarati. The group does 10-12 performances a month and some of its members have also been part of events that have taken place in the US and UK.
Life of respect
“For all our group members, the orchestra and the shows we do on individual levels are the only source of income. Music has given our entire team the opportunity to earn a respectful living,” added Vartak.
The group is invited to perform during weddings, parties, cultural events, and religious functions. A group member said, “Earlier, some in the audience used to get shocked seeing disabled people like us perform.
But, over time, people have started appreciating our talent and we have been getting more and more invitations of late. That is a good sign, because people have begun to think of us like any other orchestra group. It was only because we got associated with this group that we are able to lead happy lives.”