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Lockdown Forces ‘Violin Man’ to Play & Live on Kolkata Streets

Bhogoban Mali and his wife Sarita came from Malda to Kolkata, where they are now stranded due to the lockdown.

My Report
2 min read

Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor:
Abhishek Sharma & Sandeep Suman

Last week, videos of an old man playing the violin on the streets of Kolkata had gone viral. Netizens were charmed by his melodious tunes. My friend Koushik and I were highly impressed and were keen to know why he was playing on the silent streets of Kolkata. So, we decided to find him.

We scraped through social media and figured out that he lived near Girish Park. We found him playing under Vivekananda Flyover.

  • Bohgoban Mali playing violin on the streets of Kolkata

    Photo Credit: Koushik Das and Ayan Dawn

When we spoke to him, we got to know that Bhogoban and his wife Sarita had come from Malda and were stranded in Kolkata due to the lockdown. His only source of income is by playing the violin on the streets.

Two months ago, he and his wife came to Kolkata to be by their daughter during her delivery. Their financial condition is poor and, seeing no other way, he started playing the violin to gather money for his daughter’s treatment. Due to the pandemic, they struggled to get their daughter hospitalised.

Bhogoban’s daughter lives in a small house and pays Rs 2,000 as rent for the space, which they got after doling out a deposit of Rs 50,000.

“There is no space at my daughter’s house. How can I live there? That would only increase her problems. We have to live on the streets.”
Bhogoban Mali, violin player

His wife Sarita says, “After the lockdown ends, we will return to Malda. We live there on rent. That is our home.” On being asked about his favourite artists, he says, “I love Manna De, Kishore da, and Lata di. My favourite is Mukesh and Kishore.”


Locals are absolutely in love with Bhogoban’s art.

“Whenever I see him, he is preparing and playing by himself. If his instrument develops any problem, he repairs it himself. His art is amazing.”
Mohammad Asif, tailor

The elderly couple will leave for Malda as soon as the lockdown ends. They will take their daughter with them after she recovers.

“My art is such that wherever we go, we won’t die of hunger. We can go anywhere and play the violin and earn at least our dal-roti,” Bhogoban said.

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Topics:  violin 

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