Sundeep Bhutoria

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Friday, August 30, 2013

Pandit ji's `home coming'

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August 30, 2013: I returned from Jaipur yesterday. The Jaipur trip was mainly for the second Prabha Khaitan Foundation Memorial lecture held at the Marriott on the evening of August 28, 2013. The lecture was delivered by Padma Vibhushan Pandit Ram Narayan and the event organised by Hotel Marriott in association with Siyahi.
With Pandit Ram Narayan
Last Monday when I landed in Jaipur, there was already a buzz in the media and the cultural and social circles about the fact that Pandit ji had given his consent for the proposed visit after a spell of 30 years. Sarangi maestro Pt Ram Narayan's visit to the Pink City was a sort of “home coming” after three decades of self-imposed absence.
I was elated when Pandit ji consented to come to Jaipur to attend the Prabha Khaitan Foundation Memorial lecture series. I had been in touch with him for the past six months to convince him to come to the city and the state from which he had stayed away for a very long long time.
The octogenarian master had last performed in Jaipur in 1952 and only once before that in Udaipur. He left for Delhi and then went on to Mumbai and never looked back at Rajasthan which, he felt, had never recognized his talent.
I am glad that he finally set foot in Jaipur and Rajasthan where he was born in 1927 at Amber village in Udaipur. This time Jaipur received him with open arms as Pandit ji addressed the PKF Memorial Lecture on “Indian Classical Music in World Scenario” at the Jaipur Mariott Hotel. The Rajasthan Government too made an official announcement recently to felicitate Pandit Ram Narayan ji in a big way.
Speaking at the PKF Memorial Lecture
The event was a huge success and attended by eminent artistes and citizens of Jaipur including Dharmendra Kanwar, Mita Kapur of Siyahi, Arjun Prajapati, Rani Vidya Devi, son of Ram Narayan ji Pandit Brij Narayan and others. Pandit ji also engaged in an interactive session with the audience answering many questions posed by them.
Recipient of Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, Pandit Ram Narayan was the first Indian to put sarangi or `sau rangi' (hundred colours), as he fondly calls it, on the global map as a solo concert instrument in Hindustani classical music. He became the first internationally popular sarangi player. More than that, he brought much respect to this traditional bowed instrument from India which had a low social status because of its traditional link with courtesan music and was looked down upon by many.
Pandit ji has, in his career spanning nearly seven decades, succeeded in elevating sarangi on the international map, igniting interest and research in the instrument across the world, especially in Europe.
With Brij Narayan
I may mention the Pandit Ram Narayan ji is the fifth generation musician in his family and the tradition is being carried on further by his son Brij Narayan who is a renowned sarod player.
I feel very happy that my efforts to bring back to the city one of its great sons-of-the-soil has finally been successful though I missed out on the Vanamahotsava 2013 at the West Bengal Legislative Assembly House gardens on August 27th in which Mamata Banerjee was the Chief Guest and attended by senior ministers and dignitaries. Each year I look forward to this event as I am the vice-president of the organisation.
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