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When Sur comes into existence,
a uniquely constructed form
in the design of nature,
with its own space in
the grand harmony.
It creates a flame
of an ever-increasing brightness
and a definite structure
तब मैं करीब 15 साल का था और उज्जैन में हाईस्कूल की पढ़ाई कर रहा था। बात 1982 या 83 की है जब उज्जैन के कालिदास समारोह में गाने के लिए उस्ताद जि़या फरीदुद्दीन डागर आए थे। भोपाल से उनके साथ पखावज संगत के लिए पं. श्रीकांत मिश्र और तानपुरा बजाने के लिए मेरे दोनों भाई (जो उस समय ध्रुपद केन्द्र भोपाल में उस्ताद से ध्रुपद सीख रहे थे) आए थे। कार्यक्रम के अगले दिन उस्ताद और श्रीकांत जी हमारे घर पर भोजन के लिए आए थे। मैं श्रीकांत जी को नहीं जानता था। बड़े भाई ने उनसे मेरा परिचय करवाया और कहा कि "तुम्हें इनसे पखावज सीखना है इनके पाँव छुओ"।
हमारे शास्त्रो में लिखा है और ऋषि मुनियो ने भी इसे स्वानुभव से सिद्ध किया है कि सभी योग क्रियाओ में नाद योग सबसे उत्तम है। लेकिन यह उत्तम क्यों है और कैसे है इसका विस्तृत उल्लेख कही देखने को नहीं मिला। अनेक योगा साधको से चर्चा की जिनकी अलग-अलग योग पद्धतियाँ है। इन सबका एक ही केंद्रीय विचार सामने आया कि ध्यान को केंद्रित करना अर्थात ध्यान को वर्तमान में रखना यह अत्यंत कठिन कार्य है। क्योकि आप जब भी ध्यान को केंद्रित कर वर्तमान में रखने की कोशिश करेंगे वह विचलित होगा और भूत और भविष्य में चला जाएगा।
अन्य भाषाओँ की तरह संस्कृत भाषा का जन्म मानव समाज के बीच केवल संवाद के लिए ही नहीं हुआ बल्कि संस्कृत भाषा का जन्म - यन्त्र, मन्त्र और तन्त्र की इस त्रिपुटी से उत्पन्न होकर उसे सिद्ध और अर्थ पूर्ण बनाने के लिए हुआ।
Words are the poetry of everyday life, of this grand and chaotic drama we are all a part of; this bandish of feelings and yearnings we must steer through to glimpse what lies beyond. So long as we dwell in this physical body in this world we will continue to remain in maya, using physical contours, words, colours, emotions to try and express abstractions. Maya is the route through birth, growth and sadhana to Brahm. Even a highly evolved soul like Sri Ramakrishna still sought his Kali Ma, as did Meera her Krishna. This devotion through bhakti guides the seeker to the Supreme.
Margi and Desi sangeet have been differentiated with a range of definitions. Classical music, derived from Vedic chanting, particularly Samgana from the Sama Veda, is given the status of Margi sangeet. The music of the common people, that arises from their daily living, their surroundings, the very soil from where they have emerged, is termed Desi sangeet. This differentiation of the classical from the common has its use, but the general opinion of the classicist that Margi Sangeet is superior to Desi is questionable.
Humra Quraishi’s elegantly written Dagars and Dhrupad: Divine legacy published by Niyogi Books is an important document for Dhrupad. The narration is swift and effective, capturing clear images as it moves retrospectively through the lives and stories of the lineage. Rare photgraphs from Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar’s private collection bring alive historical contexts, while the
more recent ones support the narrative with the warmth, cheer and togetherness of their wonderful family.
Darbhanga Gharana or Darbhanga Mallick Gharana is one of the two main and live Dhrupad traditions of India. It is believed that the forefathers of the Darbhanga Mallick tradition learnt music from the maternal great grand son of the legendary Tansen, named BHUPAT KHAN, who was appointed as court musician in Awadh Darbar of Emperor Shuja-ud-Daula. This is dated around the mid-1700s.
Why do we trudge and traverse
and sing to gore the heart,
when what we seek is nowhere here?
Why the raga
when the sur coheres?
Oh, why this thirst to learn
when all must be emptied?
Watercolour by Kamakshi Barley
I will begin with one of my most favourite quotes by Swami Rama, who said, “beauty remains bound within the limitations of human realms if it is not appreciated heartily. When one becomes aware of the higher level of beauty which projects itself through nature, he becomes a true artist”. The question is, how does one define beauty? And how, then, does one appreciate this beauty heartily? I believe the answer becomes evident when one’s approach towards learning any art is two-fold: holistic and fundamental.
A few months back, I had undertaken what is called the “Chilla”, which involves a forty-day commitment under specific contexts and circumstance. It was one of the most momentous experiences for both my musical journey, and the larger journey of life in general. I've been wanting to pen down my experiences of and around this, but it was very challenging to find words to describe such an experience. The written language is just too limited to do justice to the entire experience, but we try to make the best of what we have available.
I find that as I move deeper into this art, it is nothing but a reflection of my own self. When I say self it doesn't imply the physical self, but the compounds that create me and run through me. It presents a magnified version of myself. It brings forth my internal conflicts and shortcomings. Under good encouragement and guidance I have been able to keep at these shortcomings and overcome them.
All of us musicians evoke the voice of God in our playing. Whatever our tapasya, howsoever much we may have practiced, our gratitude to the Lord exceeds that effort, because we are blessed to be the vehicle of His Word. When asked, “How come you can play the violin and I can’t?” or “How come you have a sense of laya but I don’t”, every musician is stumped. Questions like “Where does your inspiration come from?” leave us in silence, feeling that there is no answer to such a query, only gratitude.
My mother maintained a hard cover book of music in which she sketched a picture of her tanpura instrument on the very first page. On the second page, she maintained an index page that catalogued more than two dozen ragas described in her book. She neatly notated khyaal and taraana compositions followed by alaaps and taans for developing the ragas.
It was the end of the summer of 2004, and three friends from Spain were visiting me in New Delhi—Valo, Moncho and Hugo. Valo was the eldest, and had already lived in India for many years, studying tabla under Ustad Hashmat Ali Khan on an ICCR scholarship. Now he had returned, bearing tales of a tabla made in Benares that emitted a mystical ‘na’ sound. I was intrigued, he was convinced; he had, after all already flown some 8,000 kms based on that fable, so I went ahead and booked train tickets for all four of us on the first available train.
Nothing I had read or heard prepared me for the experience that was Gwalior. As a child, I would sit facing my Guru, and listen in fascination as he narrated the birth of the Gwalior gharana, the fountainhead of all the khayal gharanas in existence today. Founded by Ustad Naththan Pir Baksh and his three grandsons Haddu, Hassu and Nathan Khan, this was
the birthplace of a simple and balanced style of singing that shares many features in common with dhrupad.
Ustad Imamuddin Khan Dagar Indian Music, Art and Culture Society and the Dagar Archives
In memory of PadmaShree Late Pandit Siyaram Tiwari
In memory of Ustad Zia Mohiuddin and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar
From the very beginning of civilization we have heard, read, and seen innumerable stories and writings about the greatness of the Guru. I am extremely fortunate to experience this blessing in the form of my Guruji, Dhrupad maestro, respected Pt. Uday Bhawalkarji.
He roams them now,
soaring and gliding, free
as the great mountain eagle,
pinning them in his mind’s eye.
Sharp as the razor’s edge,
they say, is the path
and sharper still
what lies between.
I attended a Hindustani music concert with a friend at the Southbank Centre. And though I’ve attended other Hindustani music recitals at the same venue in the past, this one was quite distinctive and special and like no other that I’ve ever attended before.