AUGUST    2001
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 Traditional societies - Wisdom and Challenges
Isabel Allende


 Hands Across Borders
- Bringing south Asia closer



 Sunil Dutt


 Shantiniketan and origin  of  Modern Art
Vijay Kowshik

Modern Idiom in Pakistan's Art
Niilofur Farrukh

Contemporary Art of  Bangladesh


Reinventing India
Mira Kamdar


Sufis - the  poet-saints 
Salman Saeed


Music Gharanas & Generation 2000
Mukesh Khosla


The First People - Wanniyala Aetto of Sri Lanka and Jarawa of Andaman
Nalini Bakshi


Royal Bengal's last roar?
Dev Duggal


the craft shop

the print gallery


Page  2  of  3

Generation 2000 of Music Gharanas


Mukesh Khosla

bhattmusicfinal.jpg (41424 bytes)
Salil Mohan Bhatt - carrying on 500 years of family tradition


Salil Mohan Bhatt, son of Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, plays the Mohan Veena and released his debut album, Raga Puriya Kalyan in January 1998. Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, the legendary musician and Grammy award winner of the 1993 album A Meeting by the River, represents the tenth generation of the Bhatt lineage. Salil feels, being the son of a famous father may have its disadvantages but it sure gives a head start. " I've gone through it. Initially people judge your performances on the basis of the high standards set up by the father. They don't understand the son is just starting off whereas the father has been around for years," says Salil, who has trained on the Mohan Veena for 12 years under the tutelage of his father. The Mohan Veena is a creation of his father - a combination of the Hawaiian guitar and the Vichitra Veena - that catapulted Vishwa Mohan Bhatt from Rajasthan to world fame and fortune. However, 27 year old Salil, who gave his first solo performance at a youth music festival at Mangalore, is a trifle disappointed. " Though people have been praising my efforts they have already started comparing me with my father. They come up to me and say, 'You are good but you are still far behind Panditji. You'll have to work very hard to attain his eminence.' I think that's being very unfair. I may not be as great as my father but then, I am ready to team up with him."

Salil was selected for the Indian Military Academy in 1991 but  the pull of the 500 years old music tradition in the Bhatt household was stronger.  Salil considers his father his greatest inspiration and ultimate guru.

25 year old Rahul, too, is ready to compete with his father, santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma. Earlier Rahul was just one of the many musicians who accompanied his father in background scores. He gave a stirring jugalbandi performance with his father in Mumbai last December. "I want to popularise the santoor with my generation. I am now starting solo," says the young master.

Wasifuddin Dagar's emergence as the 20th generation Dhrupad singer of his family was heralded by rather tragic circumstances. Although he had been giving solo performances, it was his father, Faizuddin Dagar's death that came as the turning point. Just a few days after his father’s passing away Wasif was asked to accompany his paternal uncle on stage. "Just one day before the due date I came to know I was going on stage. I was not at all prepared. I expressed my apprehensions, whether I should accompany my uncle or not. But he was very encouraging. He made me believe I could captivate the listeners." And captivate he did. Wasifuddin now recalls fondly, " that was the most sentimental moment of my life. It was all due to my father's training, and because I was born in a family of great musicians." Many people might not take easily to a singer's son becoming a singer himself. `Undue advantage of father's position' is the thought that comes immediately to mind. But Dagar says this happens in every profession. " …in performing arts, it is all too visible. A photographer's work is confined to a dark room. And a writer writes in seclusion. Only the sound of music permeates in every corner of the house."

Legacy indeed makes a big difference, especially in performing arts. Psychologists say it is the environment more than the heredity that inculcates the urge for music in a young child. Thus, Amaan says his training started at the age of four. ".. When you are born into a musical family, the actual initiation starts from childhood. Even when I was a baby, my parents used to sing to me." Dhrupad singer Wasifuddin Dagar concurs with him, saying, "In the initial years I was not given training but what I had was the essential atmosphere. The value of the musical tradition was inculcated in me. The rest I began to comprehend subconsciously. It became a way of life for me". Dagar admits that as a child there were times when he would be distracted by other things. " Many a times I wanted to go out and play but I was made to sit for music lessons. But it never took more than five minutes for my attention to divert from the playground to music."

As a student Dagar was equally tunnel visioned. " While most of the students of my age were pondering what career to pursue, I had my future cut out in front of me. I wanted to be a musician and I never thought of doing anything else."

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