BHARAT RATNA USTAD BISMILLAH KHAN ACADEMY ‘SANGEET GRAM’
An Initiative by MADHU MURCHHANA For Preserving Endangered Indian Instruments, Gharana Styles & Traditions
Ek Shuruat – The Begining
“SANGEET GRAM” – Ustad Bismillah Khan Academy for Promotion, Preservation and Propagation of the various forms of endangered Indian instruments, dance and traditions of the many Indian Gharanas.
A Non-Profit Organization “Madhu Murchhana”, founded by Dr. Soma Ghosh proposes to make a collective effort towards bringing together the many endangered musical instruments, dance and traditions of various Gharanas in India under one roof in “Sangeet Gram” and to preserve, promote and propagate them.
Uttar Pradesh has Lucknow & Banaras – “Kashi”, two of the oldest hubs of Indian Arts and culture, which gave us the immortal legends like Acharya Tulsidas, Sant Sangeetdas, Sant Ravi Das, Sant Kabir, Pandit Ram Sahay, Pandit Ravishankar, Pandit Samta Prasad, Pandit Kishan Maharaj, Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan Sahab and Birju Maharaj. Lucknow or Varanasi is proposed as the place where we plan to set up an Institute which will not only house the forms of Indian music and dance but would also help revive the endangered classical instruments and heritage styles of playing, thus giving them a new infusion of life.
The Proposal is divided into 3 major parts, which are as follows:
- Setting up ‘Sangeet Gram’ Institute in Varanasi/ Lucknow to bring together a fresh wave of national talent, nurture and grow it for the next generations
- Teaching and Promoting the Traditional Indian Music forms ( Dhrupad, Dhamar, Khayal, Thumri, Dadra, Ghazal Gayaki), Endangered Musical Instruments like – Vichitra Veena, Saraswati Veena, Sarangi, Esraj, Taar Shehnai, Tabla Tarang, Jal Tarang, etc. along with the various Presentation forms like Gulab Bari, Budhwa Mangal, Jatha, Darbari Mehfil. Also promote and propagate the various Dance forms of India by taking them to the International forums across the boundaries of our country, to showcase the heritage Indian Music, Dance and Culture.
- Research & Development of various forms of Dance & Music and Creation of a knowledge base for the sake of the future generation and their consumption in the times to come.
‘SANGEET GRAM’ INSTITUTE:
The proposed Institute shall be housed in Lucknow/ Varanasi for which we would approach the State/ Central Govt. to allot a land for construction of the Institute, if possible, near the River Ganges/ Gomti. The Institute shall be constructed on the concept of “SANGEET GRAM”, which will have SEVEN Buildings, like the seven notes of music.
Each building shall have a purpose, which shall be:
- Vocal – All forms of Classical singing in various Gharanas.
- Rhythm – for Indian and Western Rhythm instruments including Tabla Pakhawaj, Khol, Drums etc.
- Wind Forms – Bansuri, Shehnai, Sundari, etc.
- Percussion – Tabla and Jal Tarang, Bamboo Tarang, Ghatakam, Chanda, Madal, etc.
- Strings – Sitar, Veena, Esraj, Taar Shehnai, Sarangi, Violin, Guitar, Etc.
- Classical Dance Forms of India
- Regional/ Folk Music Forms of India
The other amenities needed to create an ambience and an atmosphere for the students and the visitors in the institute will include:
8. A lake, which will be in Sangeet Gram, surrounded by 7 Buildings teaching as above.
9. Open air amphitheatre amidst gardens facing the lakes and buildings
10. Hostel for the non-local students
Other Major Amenities’ would involve:
- Recording theatre
- Research & Development building
- Endangered musical instrument’s museum
- Indoor auditorium for performances/ recordings of gurus, and also by students.
- Quarters for the resident teachers
- Guest house for the visitors & musical dignitaries
- Dormitory and quarters for the Class IV staff & Security personnel.
- Archive to store Audio-Visual recordings of the Gurus and students.
We strongly believe that “if the artist survives, his instrument will survive the test of time”
Our vision is to create a center of excellence for traditional Indian music and dance by holistically developing future achievers/ performers, having the right knowledge, skills and attitude towards art and culture of India. We also aim at becoming one of the top most institutes in India providing quality education activities for forms of Indian traditional music and dance forms.
- To provide a base to all Gurus of the endangered Indian Instruments and the Gharana Gurus, so that they may create new students as torch bears of their traditions and specialties.
- To create a new generation of trained and accomplished artists who will be encouraged to go out and perform their traditional art forms, all over the country and abroad.
- Every nation has its national anthem. At Sangeet Gram we would like to formulate the “Music of the World” for we believe that music has no barriers and is the universal combining factor.
Madhu Murchhana – The Society & Promoters
Madhu Murchhana, the NGOdedicatedly works through the Musician’s Welfare Fund, to support ailing musicians from humble, but of Gharana backgrounds, who need help to pursue their dreams. This has brought into limelight several rising talents who belong to traditional Gharanas. Madhu Murchhana gives ‘Sanmans’ through Shraddhanjali Programs to legendary Musicians of the various Gharana with cash awards. The NGO also focuses on saving the Endangered Musical Instruments & Gharanas by giving them a platform and encouraging people to play the dying instruments.
The NGO is committed to the promotion of Arts, Culture and especially Indian Classical Music. It aims to preserve our rich cultural heritage and promote it, by exposing society to the best of what we have in our tradition.
This aspect deserves special attention today as more and more of our youth are getting alienated from this rich classical tradition, overwhelmed as they are by the massive cultural invasion of our lives through television and now, the internet. Backed by massive financing from all over the world, these foreign cultures are monopolizing all the limelight. While there is nothing wrong with our younger generation knowing what is happening around the world, there is nevertheless an urgent need for them to be equally exposed to our traditional arts and music. And that is what drives the nascent organization of Madhu Murchhana, small but with big ambition, dedication and passionate zeal, for achieving the impossible.
Madhu Murchhana has taken initiative to introduce the methods involving music as the medium to reduce psychosomatic effects on adults as well as children, it being the subject chosen by Dr. Soma Ghosh for her doctorate.
Madhu Murchhana is also driven to introduce music therapy in India which has been successful as a therapeutic intervention for people with physical disabilities. These techniques have been used to develop and maintain joint and muscle function or to increase fine and gross motor coordination and control, increase muscle strength, increase range of motion, improve cardiopulmonary and respiratory functioning, improve oral-motor skills, facilitate relaxation and controlled movement, as well as provide an outlet for emotional self-expression and provide opportunities for social interaction.
Dr. Soma Ghosh, the founder trustee of Madhu Murchhana, has taken a strong four-pronged drive –
- Educating and training talented students.
- Promoting young artists.
- Musicians Welfare Fund.
- Preservation and promotion of endangered classical instruments and gharanas of India
Besides the above-mentioned activities, the organization is also trying to stretch out its helping hands to aspiring musicians, imparting training and support. Special effort is being made to provide support to visually impaired music students.
Padma Shri Dr. Soma Ghosh – Profile
- Dr. Soma Ghosh is the daughter of freedom fighter, Shri Manmohan Chakravarty and adopted daughter of Bharat Ratna Ustad Bismillah Khan, with whom she had the opportunity to perform five Jugalbandis (duets), two of which were at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and one at the Parliament of India where she was facilitated by Hon. President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, along with Smt. Sonia Gandhi and Shri Jaswant Singh and again in 2010 by Hon. President Smt. Pratibha Patil. She is also the first woman to perform at the Parliament of India.
- She is the only woman in the country to recreate traditional Court Mehfils and pure Ghazal mehfils in a new way, to cater to the corporate bigwigs in place of yesteryear’s kings. She has organized six ‘Darbari Mehfil’ concerts for the revival of the ancient Court Mehfils at which Bharat Ratna Pt. Bhimsen Joshi, Bharat Ratna Ust. Bismillah Khan and Pt. Birju Maharaj have performed.
- A literature graduate from Banaras Hindu University, Soma Ghosh mastered in Music and completed her Doctorate in Khayal. Under Smt. Bageshwari Devi she specialized in the genres that typify Banaras Gharana singing, namely Thumri, Tappa, Hori, Chaiti, Kajari, Dadra and Ghazal.
- Dr. Soma Ghosh has released 23 albums till date, one of which was a request by Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam to have his poem, Whispers of Jasmine, sung by Dr. Soma Ghosh. Her albums, ‘Ishq’ and ‘Uski Dulhan Sajaungi’ were released by Smt. Sonia Gandhi and she won a Big Star IMA award under Best Ghazal singer 2012 for her album ‘Ishq’.
- She has been conferred the titles of ‘Gandharva Kokila’ by the Rotary Club of Bombay Sea Coast and ‘Kashi Kokila’ by Ustad Bismillah Khan at the Swarangana Sangeet Sammelan, in Varanasi.
- She performed at four concerts in Fiji in 2013 organized by the Indian High Commission and Fiji National University where she presented Indian classical music along with tribal dancers and Fijian folk and was later invited to teach at Fiji National University as the Adjunct Professor in the Department of Music.
- In 2014, she organized ‘Fusion Harmony’, a concert through which she amalgamated Fijian and Indian Classical music in Suva, Fiji which was attended by Parliamentarians and High Commissioners. Later, the program was organized again, this time in Nadi, at the International food festival.
- She is constantly trying to bring the societal problems like female infanticide; the poor state and neglected elderly musicians, environmental issues etc. through music, so that it reaches attention of the masses.
- Dr. Soma Ghosh also organizes a series of Parampara concerts to help conserve our culture through music and presents Indian classical music in a way which is more appealing to the younger generations and modern-day audience but still retains our heritage. Parampara 2006 was inaugurated by former President of India Hon. Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and attended by former Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, Shri S.M. Krishna, Governor of Maharashtraand Shri R.R. Patil,Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra.
Various Forms of Endangered Forms of Indian Instruments, Music and Dance Forms
Interestingly, South Indian classical music has remained more or less unchanged because, unlike the North, it did not come under the influence of any foreign invaders. Instruments like veena, gottu vadyam, mridangam and nadaswaram have not undergone any alternation and are still widely performed in their original shape or size.
North India came first under the sway of successive invaders from the Slave Dynasty Kings to the Sultanates and then from the Mughals to the British, all of whom brought in their own music and grafted it into Hindustani music and also introduced a number of new instruments. The shetar from the Middle East was redesigned as sitar. The sarod was a derivation of the rabab.
Many Islamic instruments like the santoor, shehnai, tabla, pakhawaj, Surbahar and Sursringar were over the years accepted into Hindustani music.
The decline of Indian music originally began in the late Mughal era. Aurangzeb abolished court musicians saying that music was profane and nonreligious. This was a turnaround from the Hindu culture which had attributed music to the Brahmins, because of its divine origin. It is still referred to as the fifth Veda by the puritans.
The puritanical Brahmins of ancient India desisted from using wind instruments as these involved blowing them from the lips. Exceptions were made to the conch shell and the flute as these had religious overtones having been used by Lord Krishna. But still, the kind of flutes used by the Brahmins were blown by the nostrils and not touched by the lips.
Unlike in the West, most of the Indian instruments have not changed over the years. Old temple paintings and sculptures show that the ancient Indian musicians used almost the same kind of instruments prevalent these days. The only difference is that because of first the Muslim and later the British influence, a lot of newer instruments were introduced in the modern Indian repertoire.
The orchestra (Vadya Vrinda) is again an import from the West although ensembles have not been unknown in our ancient culture. There are sculptural and pictorial representations of instrumental groups especially in Ajanta (2nd to 7th century AD). The ensemble included instruments like the Eddaka (drums), Sangu (conch shell) and Talam (cymbals). A reliable proof of the antiquity of Indian instruments can be found in the Pali works (400 B.C.) which talk of Veenas, Sankhas and bansuris.
Instruments like ‘Dahara’ from Kashmir comprising a 73 centimeter iron bar twisted at both ends holding 40 iron and bronze rings. When shaken the rings produce rhythmic sounds. It was traditionally used as an accompaniment to Laddishah – one of the most popular folk songs of the region. Today there are hardly any craftsmen to make the instrument.
Similarly, ‘Ravan-hatta’, an instrument unique to Mewar in Rajasthan is largely limited to this region, has yet to become a part of our mainstream culture. Further, ‘Pena’ once used widely in Assam and Manipur is consigned to history. Even the ‘Been’ is in the endangered list and is now confined to small towns and villages.
One of the main reasons for the unpopularity of Ravan-hatta, Dahara, Pena and hundreds of similar musical instruments is perhaps the ‘automation’ of music. Due to the technological advancement in music today, classical and folk instruments and the musicians who play them are being replaced by synthesizers.
All our art forms are essentially methods of meditation. Hence, there is a oneness among the goals of Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar (the great Dhrupad exponent), late Smt Ganga Devi (the great Madhubani painter) and Guru Ammannur Madhav Chakyar (the great Kuttiyattam actor). Our ancestors have developed many meditative routes and each has taken many centuries to be perfected.
Kutiyattam, one of the oldest dramatic forms of the world in Sanskrit from Kerala, is becoming extinct because of a lack of patronage. It implies that one route will be lost, which in turn means the country and the world becomes poorer due to a lost opportunity for a number of young people in the generations to come. Many such routes are on the verge of extinction. It is time for us to sit up and think.
We can take inspiration in this regard from Japan. When the three great Japanese art forms – Noh, Kubuki and Bumraku were in a state of great neglect, three national theatres were set up, one for each form. But though reforestation has taken place, a large part of the beautiful undergrowth has been lost. We hope we can avoid that in India.
About the Project:
“Sangeet Gram”, a unique ‘Gurukul’ concept to bring the endangered forms of Indian music and dance forms together under one roof and help revive the ‘soon to be extinct’ heritage of Indian art and culture and also to provide a new dimension to it. India has a history which is the richest in the world and it’s our duty to preserve, protect and propagate the old and rich forms of musical instruments, vocal and dance forms.
We reiterate that “if the artist survives, his instrument will survive the test of time” – and in this light, we have the following aims:
- Madhu Murchhana has centers at Mumbai, Delhi, Varanasi and Kolkata. It is planned to operate Parampara training activity from Mumbai and Varanasi centers initially, till land is obtained at Lucknow.
- To welcome Gurus of various endangered musical instruments to come and teach their Parampara at Sangeet Gram. They will be paid for their time and will train students in true ‘Gurukul Parampara.’
- Students will be selected after proper scrutiny for training in each endangered musical instrument and put under the guidance of their Guru. The student will be given free training for a period of 3 years.
- After trainingthe student will be provided performance opportunities through the concerts of Madhu Murchhana in major cities of our country.
- A Research Unit will be created that will visit various cities to identify, locate and set into motion the process of preservation of the various endangered musical instruments, Gharana styles & traditions.
The Parampara Concept
The format of the Institute:
The courses offered:
In the olden days, the performing artists from various Gharanas got excellent training under the Gurus, but did not have any academic certificates or degrees. This debarred them from getting mainstream jobs. Thus, these artists and their instruments never got an opportunity to enter the formal labour force and due to this disincentive, their numbers dwindled creating a situation where their instruments also became endangered.
To overcome this predicament, we aim that Sangeet Gram will not only teach and train the students in performance virtuosity but also give them a sound academic grounding, so that they can have the option of formal employment and commensurate incomes, and their performing instruments and traditions survive the test of changing times.
The courses offered in the institute shall be graduate and post-graduate courses. It will also have various vocational courses.
Proposed Courses at Sangeet Gram:
Proposed courses to be offered at Sangeet Gram Art and Culture School are as follow:
|Courses to be offered||Proposed Affiliation|
|Sangeet Prabhakar and Sangeet Praveen||Prayag Sangeet Samiti|
|B.Mus,M.Mus and D.Mus||M G Kashi Vidyapeeth|
|Diploma||Bhatkhande Sangit Vidyapith, Lucknow|
Partially funded/ sponsored by the State and Central Government.
The institute shall be a partially funded government project and the Board shall comprise of the Trustees of Madhu Murchhana and few eminent personalities from the world of music and film.
Guru- Shishya Parampara
- Shishayas to complete classroom courses as well as learn performance techniques and perform with their gurus at least at 2 major locations of India.
- Corporate tie ups for long term training courses and incentives for the next generation.
- Overseas tours of students for performance.
- Overseas student and teacher exchange program – exposure to foreign maestros and training styles.
History says that traditions have kept the institution of Indian music alive due to which there has been a continuity observed in the development of the music. Traditions bring-in a balance, perseverance and persistence in Indian music. A lot of importance has been given to the system of Parampara, which is a well-known truth, and the fact that without keeping Parampara of music in mind it is very difficult to learn Hindustani Classical music.
We do not mean to imply that there is no scope for new experiments and inventions in Hindustani classical music; in fact, they we have always encouraged growth. But growth and advancement cannot eclipse the core i.e. traditional music and heritage. We propose to continue a Guru-Shishya Parampara consisting of all the three aspects: gaayan, vaadan and nritya and which has evolved over the ages yet retains the core heritage of the Gharanas.
To gain the best from Hindustani Classical music it is advised that a student learn the traditions from a skilled ‘Guru’. However, over the last 60-50 years we see that most Gurus do not provided complete knowledge to anyone except their own children. It is due to this element of nepotism on part of the Gurus that has led to a decline in the credibility of the Guru-Shishya Parampara.
To revive the Gurukul Paddhati, a serious endeavor is being made by Madhu Murchhana and Sangeet Gram will give students the opportunity to benefit from this priceless ancient pedagogy. In this effort Dr. Soma Ghosh continues to draw inspiration from her own gurus Smt. Baageshwari and Shri Narayan Chakravarty who have selflessly taught her, in her formative years.
Merits of Guru Shishya Parampara
- This Parampara ensures that a wealth of unconventional ‘word of mouth’ knowledge and lived experiences of the Guru is passed on to the Shishya. This ensures that the Shishya learns the finer aspects of musical rendering e.g. emotion, character, imagination and expansion of Ragas far better than through mere books.
- This teaching method ensures that the Shishya receives ample personal attention and direct supervision by the Guru which is crucial in any performing arts. Thus, none of the finer nuances of classical music are ‘lost in translation’’.
- This method ensures that discipline and humility is ingrained in the Shishya and hence students learn the right the attitude towards art
- This Parampara ensures that well-trained torchbearers are created in the coming generations who will eventually become Gurus themselves and sustain the Gharana.
- Sangeet Gram ensures that the possibility of nepotism is excluded from this venerable teaching method.
Facilities at the Academy:
- Infrastructure Facilities:
Sangeet Gram will offer an ideal and conducive learning environment. Spread over an expanse of 10-15 acres of land, the campus will have state-of-the-art lecture halls, an excellent library and reading hall. The campus will be equipped with internet facilities to ensure instant global connectivity and all this will be housed in lush green surroundings.
- Campus with ultra-modern amenities
The institution will be airy and expansive. The campus will have beautiful landscaping and will be surrounded by greenery, away from all pollution of the city. The academic campus willconsist of well-ventilated teaching and research blocks, classrooms furnished with comfortable furniture, spacious lecture halls, a fully equipped modern library which will host literature on art, culture, music and dance forms of the country. The campus will also have – a fully equipped studio with audiovisual facilities, computer lab, broadband facility, administrative offices, student’s activity center and canteen.
Arrangements will be made for indoor and outdoor games like table tennis, carom, chess, badminton and cricket.
2. Information Technology Facilities
Sangeet Gram will have a fully air-conditioned computer lab with modern internet facilities. A well-equipped lab is essential for students to have better insight into the latest technology pertaining to music.
3. Library facility
The library of the institute will have an excellent collection of reference books and periodicals related to various fields of Indian culture. From time to time, books and journals will be updated to fullfil the demands of the faculty and the students. The Institute will subscribe to a number of reputed journals, Indian and foreign periodicals and catalogues covering various fields of art and culture in the library.
4. Recreational facilities
The Institute shall offer various recreational facilities. There will be a well-equipped modern gymnasium and sport’s center. There will be many events for students that happen throughout the year including trips to various places.
The students will also have the opportunity to take part in a variety of fund raising activities that happen at the Institute throughout the year. The purpose of these social activities is to provide students with organizational and event management skills. Sangeet Gram aims to involve students in diverse social programs so as to allow students to develop socially, while simultaneously attempting to create a more unified campus.
5. Canteen and Cafeteria
Highest standards of quality will be maintained in our Canteens and Cafeterias and the food will be prepared with superior ingredients. The canteen will be made spacious with variety of delicacies providing a chill out time to the students. A place where they can refresh their minds and recreate their ideas. The canteens and cafeterias will conveniently spread over the huge campus so as to provide easy access to students.
Sangeet Gram – Unique Features
Audiovisual Recording Facilities:
We aim to create a state of the art audiovisual recording facility at the Institute to maintain an archival library consisting the recordings of the various Gurus/experts along with their instruments. The idea is to ensure that no instrument or musical style dies out due to lack of available instructional/training materials.
We will recruit highly competent faculty who are enthusiastic, talented and well qualified to take students through the most rigorous curriculum. Faculty will consist of both academicians and Gurus (experts) from the field of music, dance and folk forms to ensure a balance of theory and practical knowledge. Senior professors and Gurus from various spectrums of academic and music world will share their expertise with students through workshops and seminars. Students’ training will also be supplemented through guest lectures by visiting faculty. Besides academic qualifications, we aim to have faculty members with musical pedigree and passion for both education and performances.
Seminars and Guest Lectures:
The first step towards gaining knowledge is to ask the right questions. Seminars and workshops are the opportunities where questions are born and minds are lit with new sparks. Apart from workshops, another method of education will be interactions with musical maestros the likes of Pt. Birju Maharaj, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, Ustad Zakir Hussain etc.
- Acquisition of Land:
We propose to approach the State Govt of Uttar Pradesh to provide us the land on long-term lease or on ownership basis for the Institute in Lucknow.
- Building & Site Development:
The Building construction and development shall be done under the supervision of the NGO ‘Madhu Murchhana’
- Furniture and Fixtures:
To provide musical instrument (of student’s choice) and a Tabla player for practice for each student, as explained above.
“Everyone has a talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent”
|Annual Functions:||Two Annual Music Festivals at the campus with special invitees from the world of music and dance|
|Public Speaking:||Two seminars to reach out to the global music community|
|Extra-curricular and Hobby Clubs:||As per student’s choice from the facilities available at the campus|
|Career Support:||Each student to participate in two musical concerts in any two cities of India.|
Cost of project
|COST OF PROJECT||AMOUNT|
|(Rs. In Crores)|
|Land inclusive registration charges||–|
|Construction @ Rs.1000 PSF for 200,000 sq. ft. (Of Main Office, Boys/Girls Students Hostel, Theatre/Auditorium, Recording Theatre, Video Studio, Garage, Staff Rest Rooms, Mini Medical Centre, Cafeteria, Playground & Parking Area).||20.00|
|All Musical Instruments for regular use of students & Gurus as well as for the Instrumental Museum, and library facilities i.e. Music books, journals, audio and video recordings.||2.00|
|Computers, printers, scanners, internet facilities, CCTVs, Air Conditioners.||2.00|
|Furniture and fixtures of standard quality, sourced from local brands; AV Facilities and recording studio with basic amenities, Multi Cameras, Lights sourced from local brands||5.00|
|Diesel Generator sets/ Electrical Generator, Electrical Installations and Solar Systems of C – Category||1.50|
|Teaching and other classroom equipment including audio system & play-back system in all classes.||1.50|
|Landscaping and plantation @ Rs. 100 psf for 200,000 sq ft||2.00|
|Preliminary & pre-operative Expenses and Working Capital||10.00|
|Professional Fees to Architect, Engineers, Lawyers & Govt. Fee||1.00|
Means of Finance
|MEANS OF FINANCE||AMOUNT|
|Requested land support from Govt. of Uttar Pradesh||(Rs. In Crores)|
|Grant from Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, Private Individual’s donations and Corporate Grants||15.00|
|Grant from Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.||30.00|
The List of Architects who can be approached:
- Vastushilpa Foundation:
Architect BV Doshi is the head architect of the firm. The environment designed is greatly a influence of Le Corbusier. Vastushilpa Foundation is one of the top architecture companies in India. The company has won several national and international awards for its architectural designs.
Morphogenesis is into generative design and algorithmic modelling, They are best in India in terms of pursuing architecture in energy efficiency and optimization of resources is mostly every typology.
Or other eminent architects.