Friday, March 20, 2015

Ras Barse Utsav - 2015 #2

        UTSAV 2
A gem of India – A very Precious gem Of Ma Bhaarath – And that is why he is Bharath Rathna – Ustad Bismillah Khan Saheb, An Islamic Qamaruddin bihari of Bhirung Raut Ki Galim, Dumraon, by birth gained the name Bismillah – Looks like, he had began his blissful journey on earth, uttering this word “Bismillah” ( In the name of GOD) and hence his grand father Rasool Baksh Khan, named this blessed child, Bismillah Khan and from then on, Qamaruddin was called Bismillah Khan !  He was the second son of the Paigambar Khan and Mitthan.
Starting from the age of six, Khan Shahebh started to express his talent in Shenai and was mentored well by his uncle Ali Baksh 'Vilayatu', a renowned shehnai player. Interviews with this great man, proves that, he believed religion was not a constrain . He has worshipped goddess Saraswathi ( the Hindu Goddess of Art and knowledge), played in “Kasi Viswanath” temple. He mentioned that music has no caste or religion, 
His concert in All India Music Conference (1937) in Calcutta brought shehnai to limelight! The Badshah of Shehnai , had the pride of, or should it be recorded that the mother India had the pride of listening to one of his best son’s music on the occasion of her Independence. It did continue, even when Mother India was Re – Publicized, during January 1950 and from then on, the Kindgom of this Shehnai Badshah, started expanding across the globe. The king had subjects who loved and cherished him for being such a humble, wonderful, fit in any adjective – Fine, the Devotion and love that people had on him is all that matters!
And, Khan did not generally take students under him and the only people that he associated with in that capacity were S. Ballesh and his own sons - Nazim Hussain and Nayyar Hussain, says the history .No wonder, he had envisaged perfectly right - His student, Pandit.S.Ballesh, has really taken Shehnai to much greater heights! As a tribute to this blessed soul for his priceless sheva to music, Pandit.S.Ballesh and his team, has planned the Ras Barse Utsav on 11th of April 2015, at Chinmaya Hertitage Hall, Chennai! Dr. Balamuralikrishna & Ms.Vani Jairam had kindly consented to preside over the function and grace the occasion.
Excited? So is the crew and me! As the team starts the count down for this grand day, Wishing the team a grand success as I firmly believe, the blessing of the Shahensha Ustad Bismillah Khan Ji’s blessings is always assured upon the crew!
See in you in the next article, with few more interesting information.
Lots of love,

   Riya .

Thursday, March 19, 2015

To my Scientific synonym- Dr.RUS

According to me, Science was born today – A new definition for Science – redefined today, 59 years ago, to be fairly precise !  Every one shall have a person in their live – or let me pluralize, persons. To reiterate from my previous article, “To many of us, we have perfect keep sake that makes us feel proud of having lived in few person’s era! Unlike all of us, I too have a bigger list, in fact, and I deem it to be a real blessing to have just existed, should I say, in the times of such great - greater and the greatest people! And here is the list, the Musical Synonym Shri.MSViswanathan, Stupendous Scientist Prof. Umaa Shanker Raman, … Oh, now let me tell you, I would love to stay behind, at this level as such, for, many of you might be thinking that I should be adding HH Ravishankar or HH Parthi Sai Ram or whom so Holy ever for that matter as “TOP PRIORITIES”! Apologies to disappoint you, definitely in this list, I shall have these people, but may be somewhere near the bottom – Coz, my very little knowledge in spirituality had never allowed me so far to write about them!”
And, now, for Science – true to the words – service to science is service to humankind – Professor.Dr.Uma Shaanker Raman, lives up to the words point perfectly. It all began when I read Bio-resources and empire building: what favoured the growth of Vijayanagara Empire? during 2007! Despite the many authors, I was more carried away by his name! Then, from Sanjeevani plant paper to the sandal paper, read almost all his collections of general articles! Slowly started following him on google alerts. Most of his works, fed my hunger to do science! Every student – a science aspirant – would want to have a flawless mentor who not only helps in mere learning but also teaches experiences, moulds to be a better person and all that ! Realizing that my thirst of meeting a real mentor for life, will end, with Prof.Uma Shaanker, I started to explore ways and means to enter his lab as a student! Fellowships, internships or whar ever you name it, I had a strong burning desire to join his lab! Three full years went in vain, for, I had to miss all possible fellowships that could take me to this lab, to work under his guidance! But, I must confess, I still remember the attitude of simplicity and the responses that he shared for every single call or mail of mine, warming my heart.! Finally, a day came, when I had met him in life for the first time and Oh, What a simple man he was, then ( He IS, now, as well)! The passion and energy he had for explaining science is simply unimaginable. He changed the course of history for me, a newly floundering graduate student, when he introduced me what science is. Over the period of my association with him, I have learned much from him about the value of different approaches to scientific inquiry, attention to detail, and taking risks in the name of discovery and above all enjoying work especially in lab n field among other things.  His knowledge, ideas, enthusiasm, and vision are pervasive throughout. It was more like a dream come true, meeting sir and his crew of fantabulous researchers, working with them in the same lab, under sir’s guidance, I, I fall short of words to express how I felt…! A person with overwhelming work schedules, still never losing the pace and temper, trying his best to attend to every student friend of his, a real multi faceted personality he is ! I was simply impressed with his profile the first time..
It took 3 full years for me to meet him... eager, excited and dumb founded I was! You know, there are very less even a hand full of people, who could carry themselves so perfectly even in the way they response and my sir is one of them ! And of course, the best, second to none ! His role in my life is very many, yeah, very many! His exemplary nature of being a human, an ultimate scientist, a quintessential mentor, an archetypal teacher. . ! Whew! He taught me to open up and question, understand and proceed and all that! His talks about EGO and HOPE, Brainstorming on statistics, the Poles apart joke session, the trek with “showww camera” tune with Roshan, every single, every minute happening is etched in my mind and shall remain for ever! 
Its been roughly 8 years, since I started “following” him (thank you, google alerts!), and ever since, the mid of March will always remind me, that, Science was born, on earth, few decades back, defying the myths and paradox and enlightening Science for Human kind ! And, this is just a small gratitude, for making me proud student of his, aspiring me to be what I am now, I know, mere THANKS will NOT SUFFICE. A pride that I shall cherish for ever, is, I am a student of him, ever! And, I am sure, that every student of yours will carry the same pride as I do ! 
Happy Birthday, Professor Dr. Uma Shaanker Raman Sir ! 
Wishing you more and more years on earth, with good health and smiles!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Ras Barse Utsav - 2015 #1

Music is just a pure magic. A magical gift bestowed on humanity – a gift that nourishes, soothes, moves the giver and the receiver, extremely subtle and lovingly dulcet. Don’t you dare – conceptualizing a world without music! Music is good enough to educe the emotions of a human mind and in that case music is far beyond the communication aspect. Every point on the geographical location has got its own style of music… And every genre of Music has its own uncrowned kings and queens for it, who have touched the souls of  many people.
The Indian Classical music – the eastern pride is generally classified into two – the Hindusthani Sangeeth and the Carnatic Sangeetham!
The Hindusthani Sangeeth covers an area that extends roughly from Bangladesh through northern and central India into Pakistan and as far as Afghanistan. This kind of music has got lot  of instruments in it. Associated commonly with sitar and tabala, Hindustani Music has also conjured up very well with SHEHNAI, Sarod, flute, Sarangi and all those lovely instruments on board.
If it is Ustad Zahir Hussain Sahebh for tabala, it is Bharath Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahebh for shehnai! The Banaresi King of Shehnai would be 99, if he were alive and it so happened that, for the first time, in South India, at the capital of Tamil Nadu, you are to witness,  Hindustani performances live – with the stalwarts of Music - ! Awestruck . . .? Read on / / /
Barath Matha ki Ratna - Ustad – Yuva Puraskar – Tansen Award winner - Talar Mausiquee – Sahebh Bismillah Khan ji – The Badhshah of Shehnai – is very fondly remembered by his disciples from Tansen Academy of Music school, on his centenary year!
A tribute to the king by his disciples – the very instance sounded too good and a perfect  sheva to guru on 11 th of April, 2015 at Chinmaya Heritage Hall, Chennai in the name of RAS BARSE. During these wonderful moments, I was indeed blessed enough to have a short conversation with the team – Ras Barse Event organizers under the eminent guidance of Pandit S.Ballesh, Pandit Krishna Ballesh and few more Students of the Tansen Academy of Music School.
“Shehnai Chakravarthy“ Pandit S.Ballesh, a veteran performer and specialist in Patiala gharana, also an internationally celebrated “A grade” Shehnai artist from South India . He is one of the disciple Of world renowned Shehnai Nawaz Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahab.
Being a Disciple of Ustad Sahab, it is his strong classical training that has brought him to this level. No doubt he is the strong pillar of Tansen academy of music. With his down to earth, humble and child like nature, he definitely has a major share of spreading Hindustani classical down south.
Shri.Krishna Ballesh, an Indian Classical musician, a Shehnai artist and a Hindustani classical vocalist with specialization in Patiala, Kirana and Gwalior gharanas. He is also a remarkable ghazal singer. He performs at all major music festivals in India and abroad. Proudly he is also a software engineer.
When asked Shri Krishna Ballesh, how this idea of organizing a centenary celebration to pay a tribute to the Badshah emerged to him, his nostalgic reply was, “It was about 09.00 am on a fine weekday class and we were all discussing on the eminency of Ustad – My Babajan – Khan ji, as how he would take his listeners to a different world, opening up a hotline with the Divinity as such. It was during one such blissful moment when Swathi came up saying  that Ustad Sahebh’s birthday falls on 21 of March which marks his centenary year.” The blissful musician had a pause to significantly express his feel of awe and continued, “We have a wonderful team of student friends who readily came forward to give soul and life for a mere idea. Slowly, we started to plan for the event in a grand manner and thought, Dr.Balamurali Krishna would be the apt person to join and bless us all by gracing this occasion as the chief Guest. Thanks to the social media, we are slowly popularizing the event Rasbarse – 2015!”
Mrs. Swathi Venkatraman, another member of the organizing team is just an embodiment of bubbling enthusiasm. She considers herself to be a blessed person to involve herself in music and her associateship with Mr.Ballesh , is what she claims, has got a very positive impact on her very life! While talking about the event Ms.Swathi, She shared“It is indeed an honor to be a part of such a great event. I am equally excited as every one is, for this is the first time, to have a Live concert in Chennai, for Hindustani music and for Ustad Khan Ji ! All of us have put in our best to make this event a grand success.”
Ms Vidhya, a student organizer of the event, proudly says, “Chennaivasis do not get to hear as much Hindustani  as we like .  This event , we hope will create that platform for such music lovers to engage with Hindustani music on a sustained basis .  And also will deepen the understanding and appreciation of the diff gaayakis of the gharanas, each unique in their presentation styles.” She also adds a few more about Shehnai, “Most of us don't know how versatile it is. IIlayaraja sir has used it in almost every mood in his composition breaking the stereotype of soulful melancholy associated with Shehnai.  How else can you explain a range like
‘Kasturi Maane’ and ‘Vaadi Vaadi’. .”
Mr. Vijay, an IT Mastero by profession, has the guts to follow his passion for hindusthani Music, at the Tansen Music shares his thoughts, “Though Southern India was highly dominated by Carnatic Classical, slowly and steadily the influence of Hindustani is being felt. Film music, also has contributed much, to its spreading wings down south. Film industry also has its share of influence by using various North Indian instruments like Shehnai, Sarangi, Santoor Tabla and lot more in the songs. More specifically Shehnai has found an important position. No one would think, the composers would squeeze their brain to get the most of the Shehnai in their songs.” While speaking of his Guru Pandit Ballesh Ji, his pride gleams to a greater extent and he continues, “For around 30 years in film industry, the pride solely goes to Pandit Balesh ji, for being so versatile in breathing his life to songs of various genre s using Shehnai. Be it classical, western, folk, melody, name it, and he had played.”
Ms. Anusha, a nascent Student of the Academy, is a lady with a highly contagious enthusiasm and an ardent lover of music. She has been constantly supporting along with Mr Maha. She says her search for guru was quenched only after meeting Shri.Krishna Sir and his father Pandit Ballesh Sir. For, to her, they are the gurus to impart knowledge of Hindustani music and she also adds, every one of her classmates, or in other words, their disciples would have felt the same!
Mr.Vishwaram Shankar, yet another novel entry to the Hindustani classes, also voiced out his feel of gratitude. In his words, he says it to be a great honor to us all to witness the event as such! Appreciating Ustad Ji’s services to music, this event is the first of its kind, happening at Chennai for Ustad Ji.
When so much of music lovers have put in their constant efforts to bring up this event a grand one, I believe, this event IS going to be a greatly appreciated "Music Feast", as this is definitely blessed and witnessed by the Unsung hero of the event, Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahebh!
See you all in the next article with details of how the event preparations are going on . . .
Lots of love,