Tuesday, July 13, 2010


This was a recorded interview taken in 1988, a year before my grandfather's death. It was taken by an old student of Dakshinee, Debashish RoyChoudhury.
In it, Dadu gives us an image of the events of his life that led him in becoming a pioneer.



Dadu (D)

(D)In the beginning I had made a mistake. My first institute isn't Dakshinee, but Gitabitan.

D: Listen, from the year 1938 I have been going to Santiniketan, do you understand? The functions over there, I loved them so much, with it's music, their theatre, but when I would come back to Calcutta, I'd draw a blank. No one here practices Rabindrasangeet. After a lot of arrangements, something could happen in somebody's home with the help of 10 persons. 
But why should this happen? On top of that, this is about Rabindranath, Bengal's Stories…the person who is constantly saying that 'the Bengalis didn't take my music' … So, WHY should this happen? Why should this happen?
It is beautiful; 2500 songs of his.. why are people accepting them this way?

Then I, in 1939 went to Santiniketan during the month of May, with Sailajaranjan. I would sometimes even stay with Sailada. Then we would talk a lot. Then I told Sailada, " Sailada why this ill treatment?
Bengalis, people say that we are devoted to our culture. Is this devotion? In Bengal this great thing is neglected. 
This I do not approve of." Sailada said, " What will you do all by yourself? In Santiniketan, whatever has to work, works. Everything happens but not outside Santiniketan. 
Nobody else outside s'niketan knows what Rabindranath's music is all about. Nobody knows. Here in Calcutta, it's only magh-utsav[seasonal festivals in the month of magh, January 15- feb 15], this and that, and outside of this, it doesn't work. Then I thought that something should be done about this. Wherever I go, I get a lot of discouragement. 
They would say, that in the city of Calcutta there was one school. It was called 'Sangeet Sanmilani'. It was Mrs. Choudhurys'. There, big honorary members and other big names were affiliated with the school and they would teach everything and they told me, "When we cannot run this school with so much of variety, how do you think you will be able to carry on with a school dedicated to Rabindrasangeet alone." I said, " You have nothing to be afraid of. Just give me some time. Capital/funds whatever risks need to be taken regarding that is my burden, and I will handle that.

Everyone then started saying, " See, I will face a lot of problems. This is how I earn my bread and butter. This is my livelihood. I will waste so much time. All this nonsense/madness. By doing this, will a Rabindrasangeet school start? blah..blah..". Oh, why don't you wait and watch for it to happen. Wait for it. After that, the same kind of talks happen and I go to Santiniketan, attend functions and thereafter discussions take place regarding it….Rabindranath left in the year 1941, on 7th August. At that time I had just graduated with a B.Comm. degree. Just passed with B.comm. In my mind, I had plans of doing something during the period that I work, but then I understood that there wasn't any time for that. Where's the time now? He [Rabindranath] has anyway left. This is during July, August, September, October, November of this year…just a few months. Not this year.
Then,Both times, Sailada would stay at my house, during puja as well as summer. The convenient thing was lot of time was spent on discussions, if need be on various subjects,it was never a problem. 

I saw that this is the best time. It cannot be later than this. Then, there would be modern and classical music. There never was too much of classical; about one or two conferences take place.
Sailada asked, " You want to make a rabindrasangeet school? If you want to do it the right way, then there's a lot to do, syllabus, the functions..etc." I said, " Let us see about that. "
This way, almost everyone had a problem. Sailada had only encouraged me about this. The amount of respect that Sailaja had for Rabindranath, he didn't discourage me. But, what could he have done?  It is true that it is Anadida's livelihood. At that period in time, Im sure you can  understand what it must have meant to make Rabindranath and his music your livelihood?! Then, one tuition rate was Rs. 15/-, understand?
Anyway, whatever has to happen, we will see.

Anadi da heard and screamed right away, saying , "Have you gone mad? We are trying to eat with the little amount that we make and that also you cannot tolerate?!!
I, at this crossing, I do remember, around the park, at the bus stand. He was going to to give his tuition. I caught up with him. He heard what I had to say, and after thinking for a while he said, " Suvo, this is good. I am a person hailing from Santiniketan, so this is all very good to me. But then, according to me, this is impractical. The preliminary expenses that are there could be given by you, but the running cost wont be met up in this manner." I said, " So be it, let us see what happens." Rathindranathda, and a few from Santiniketan.. these few..Rathida, Protima Debi , and Indira Debi, she took me as her son and would, without telling anyone, on her own, come in a cycle rickshaw to my house. She stayed there and ate as well. 
I told Rathida this, to which he replied, "Very good, very good. There will be a school in my babamoshai (father)'s honor in Calcutta." I asked him, " I hope you have no objection"  He said, " What objection? You tell me what do you want? What kind of help do you want from me,you tell me." I said, " You are a copyright holder, I might require a few things."

I said that I have decided to do this, only with his music. Only with 'his' music. He said, "This is an even better reason to rejoice. For one, there aren't schools of such nature, and wherever there is, there's one teacher teaching just a few songs. [TILL 9.15]

To have a school for only Rabindrasangeet is a matter of pride for us. I said," You..if you desire and do one thing, it will be of great help to us. Why don't you give us Vishwa-Bharati's permission?]. Let the people of Calcutta know that this schools style of teaching, those who are there, they Vishwa bharatir onumodon koren[?]

He said, "Yes yes, you will get it, but there are formalities needed to be meted out…we cannot go ahead without the permission from the working committee…working committee means him…just as in dakshinee i make up the working committee,out there he is the WC…whatever happens,it will take some time…then a few days passed by...[TILL 9.53

10.08 - 10.18 : not required

Then,7th August, Rabindranath died. I was very upset and hurt. I went there a few days later..."Rathida, [??],How much more time will you take…
This is what is needed. Bengali's love Rabindranath and his music is also loved by lakhs and lakhs of people.
But this whole matter, just cannot be connected and brought to one place![TILL 10.48]bengali's are sentimental about his music,but...

He left remorsefully, " Nobody accepted my music, my songs. The Bengali's did not take my music. " This is the ideal time Rathida[?]. As soon as I reached Calcutta, I got a letter from Rathida which said that it had been decided that permission will be granted for[?] teaching Rabindrasangeet in it's pure and correct form in the city. But only in the presence of Anandida, Rathida, Kanak Das. ..No name was decided until then,but an House/address was located[TILL 11.40]

11.41-12.05 : not required.
Then i wrote to him a request, " I have another request. The word Gitabitan has copyright, isn't it?! Please grant me the permission to name the school Gitabitan. As copyright, I will not be able to do so without your say." That too was accepted. "Do with any name that pleases you. I have no qualms if you call it Gitabitan. ………" that was his own discretion,it had nothing to do with Viswa-Bharati.
This was the beginning…118 rashbehari avenue,your aunt also sang there…TILL [12.33] I sang as well…teachers associated at the time were..Anadi ad,Sujit Ranjan Ray and Kanak Biswas…started but where were the students?the fun was...

That night, 7th May..8th December …Japan bombed Calcutta. The same night we had our opening ceremony. [REST ALL UIA SHOULD HELP] we struggled…there was no school or funding at the time…it was all on me..however,.by god's grace business was slowly pacing ahead…it was tough but not going too bad…we arranged everything in the house…organized seating on the terrace…that night the bombing took place...

The role of Gitabitan's president had been given to Dr. Kalidash Nag. He got arrested. [TILL 14.20]they took him in as a japanese spy…another problem.
you have not seen,but Calcutta at the time was evacuated. Anadi da went back to his village in Sylhet, another person in the group, Prabhat Chandra Gupta…his office relocated to Benares…i was left alone,and Sujit my friend ,my soulmate…in the world of music he was second to none for me…there never was someone like him nor will be…
"what should i do? what should i do? " then…you know,Kanak Biswas…he was very shy….he was around at the time and was taking classes but,at his time he never received any formal higher education and training…there was no dhrupad etc then…he taught a selected few rabindrasangeet to girls and boys and it was a matter of great pride for the students to be under his tutelage…so a few students remained…but in general Calcutta was devoid of students…we could not even raise the house rent.
"What do i do?"….carried on for 2 months in that manner and then shut shop….house rent,electricity,salary to the bearers…basically how long can i support all this by myself...
Then, a lot of days had passed and the terror that had struck due to the bombs had reduced slowly slowly. Everybody returned and started their lives. Anadida also came back. Then, we could see that, after everyone returned, the number of students had increased too; so then there was a sense of attraction amongst the people towards Rabindranath's music. Anadida is there. Kanak Biswas is also there. People eagerly[??] starting sending their children back. At that time, I had put Niharbindu Sen as a staff member; reason being, not because Niharbindu Sen is a recognized teacher…he was capable in writing adhunik /modern songs..write adhunik songs and then record it. Plus, he was attached with Basanti Bidyapith I saw that though i was alone, while the music aspect was taken care by both of them, but why go through so much hassle to organize functions..i needed someone to undertake this responsibility….[TILL 17.59]

I saw that i needed a hardworking person. I stay at Motilal Nehru road, and in front of my house Niharbindu Sen would often walk by. I knew him. Around there lived Supriti Ghosh…she started living in Hazra Road after marriage. He would teach Supriti music, and so he would take that road to her house. Then during one of our talks..I've had in my mind that I needed a worker because I wouldn't be able to work like this… for Rabindranath's music… He was going one day. I called out from the 1st floor verandah, " Niharbabu, can you please come up now if you have the time?" He looked at his watch and said, " Yes, I have the time now." He came up. I told him, "You know something, I need an assistant now who will do everything  from office-work, making routines, checking accounts, organizing and managing functions…"…Because Anadida couldn't do it.. couldn't do it in the sense that he would live his life[??] through teaching music..morning and evening he was busy giving tuitions… all that work would have been impossible for him to manage. And Sujit, my friend, my true friend was Sujit. He(NS) instantaneously agreed saying, " Yes yes, I love Rabindranath's music, but since I have no recognition in that line nobody calls me for anything. That you've offered me, I'm very happy." The next day itself he joined. 

At that time, we reopened Gitabitan. The Ashutosh College Library had given us one and a half rooms. There we started afresh and new, through the college. Whatever it is…gradually,no,actually very soon the school became big, in that 1 1/2 rooms we had was no longer sufficient… Making a house, renting a house was possible… but,losing money suddenly was not in my interest[??]…what was the salary at that point of time ?… [TILL 21.21]

21.22 - 21.45

'shaashto-ta bhalo na hoye, shahosh paachhi na' [Translate] my health is not upto the mark…so i don't have the strength of mind...

21.50 - 22.32 : He speaks of how there is a difference in quality and otherwise between singers of now and of yesteryears; and how they're not getting their opportunities to shine.

Gitabitan, the building that is there now, there was a problem with it. The owners of that building had given a mortgage to the Bengal Central Bank, but couldn't pay them back, so the bank had taken it away from them.

J.C. Das..it was his bank. I used to stay in the same neighborhood in Motilal Nehru Road. One day at the age of 23 I went. and sat at the table. He came downstairs, I stood up. He said, " Sit." While he kept me sitting there and waiting, he finished some other duties he had..he also had a lot of work regarding land development, and asked, "Tell me what you want." I told him, "The building that is opposite the Bijoli Cinema, and which is yours, you have to give that to me on rent. " He was  rash-bhari[??] person, and asked, "How did you know that that building is ours? There isn't any signboard there. How did you know?" I told him, " I heard that it belongs to you…". Then, he inquired, "That you want to rent it, will you able to pay for it? You know, nobody would give that building for a music school, but since you're a 'young paaraar-chhele'  and that you've come here, i'll give it. But will you able to pay the rent?"
I told him, "See, I am right in front of you (location wise). If you only stretch your arm out a bit, you will be able to pull me back by my hair ." He laughed, and then told his son, Khitish Das, " Khitish, he wants to do a good deed. Why don't you give it to him?" Khitish then said, "Father, we were talking of opening our branch there!!" His father said, "That will happen too. Keep the left portion of the 1st floor for our branch, and give the remaining rest." That happened. 
But the problem lay in the entrance of the building, it was at the back, plus 'Goaal Para' (tribal people) people stayed there. And then students would also come… so…I went back to J.C. Das. He asked, "Again, what do you want?" I told him, " Since you kept that, keep [listen??] to this also. How will people come into the house if there is no entrance in the front?" He exclaimed, "Why, there is a fine entrance from the back." I told him, " This is going to be a school as I said. Will the guardians of the students accept and enter the school when they can view the scene at the back?" He then said, "Now see, now if I take this into consideration, firstly our business will be at stake"..because they'd have to break the room to make the staircase. There would be expenses for the staircase, and also they'd have to make a door. "Who is going to pay for all that?" I told him, " You do all this for me, and then whoever is the contractor, tell him that altogether 'this-much' has been spent. I wont be able to pay off the whole amount right away, but i'll come and give the 'kissti' at your home." He agreed, and the work took place. The entrance of Gitabitan wasn't there before, it was only from the backside. So, the front doorway was made, the staircase, even for the 1st floor. Finally, Gitabitan was established formally.

Then, it was decided that the play ' Mayar Khela ' would be staged. No, it was firstly decided that ' Chitrangada ' would be staged. I quickly went to Sanitiniketan to meet Rathida, who took me as his son and who never said no to me. I told him, " Rathida, we are going to stage Chitrangada, so I have come to take your permission. " He exclaimed gleefully, " You're going to stage Chitrangada?!! ". I said, " Yes, considering that play is the most attractive in the lot. I want to do that! " He paused for a bit, and after some thought said, " Suvo, Babamoshai(Father) is no more…father is no more. There will be no more plays as such …. there are 3 complete plays [??] Shyama, Chitrangada, Chandalika. Now, if everyone performs only these three, then what happens to Viswa Bharati. We have thought it over and decided that barring Vishwa Bharati, no one else will get the opportunity to perform these plays…but,somehow or the other santosh sengupta  chi kori ami shyama ads hoye gechilam[TILL 28.57]

I understood that Rathida probably couldn't protect his vow'[??]. He told me so, and also the reason why I took upon ' Mayar Khela '. ….. I forgot to mention one more thing, the Gitabitan signboard that was there had something else written on it. It read ' Gitabitan Vishwa Bharati Anumodito Rabindrasangeet Shikhayatan[??][TILL 30.05]**

I don't like it, you see. When i was 23 I had made that school. I brought that school up, put so many students there, went through so many problems to have that building established. Do you know that in the Gitabitan building, all the fans that are being used, the sataranchis/rugs laid out ,the tabla's the many harmoniums in the classroom, are all given by me.All from my own money, all given by me. I didn't even take them back with me. When I left that place, I left it silently. …All given by me. 

(d) why? why did you leave?
(D) I have to write a book now to tell you why i left... Take it as difference of opinion [??]. In short, this is about apt. Now why did I leave that place…I left  and then did nothing for a whole year… I didn't do anything for a year. Then only Dakshinee was found. 

For one year, I sat and thought. Everybody else does this too. They break up one group to form another group. Do i do the same thing? Does it look good upon my character that I follow the same path? On one side, we speak of culture, and then we do this??! I thought for a year. 
Whether notations can be taught, this led to a fight between Anadida and me. I thought, " Why not? Give somebody an education, but give them the full and complete education. Why wont they be able handle 'Shorolipi'? How do I understand it? How do you understand it?  So then, why not them?  teach them the process and make them learn - I will show them the way." Anadida said that Suvo has gone mad, " Who teaches 'Shorolipi' to anybody? That person learns it by him/herself. " I said, " A lot of people cannot do it by themselves. There needs to be a class for that in the 3rd year of the program " This was the 'swaralipir shuchona' [??] 
Then, Kanak Das got married, and became Kanak Biswas. Her husband, Ajay Biswas. You know, these people aren't from a Rabindrasangeet world or background. Even, Niharbindu Sen wasn't. The difference came in both our outlooks. I'm telling you this in short. What these people want, I don't. They want the tabla to be taught here, like any other school. I said, "  I'm not a part of this. I don't approve of this. " At that time, nobody could dare go against my will, because they knew that he (Suvo) had established this, but…….. Niharbabu was a professional.The more they gain, the more they benefit.  They wanted little more power.  I allotted power in the most just way.  JUST a teacher. And the reason for which I brought him there,  all the hard work that went into organizing and managing a function. This was Niharbabu. You understand? He had worked hard. He did a lot. Because who else, Anadida, Kanak Biswas, who would have done this, you tell me? Niharbabu did so, along with me." Shotto-ke Oshik Shikaar koraai halo [??]" Then, I waited for a whole year wondering what to do. So then, at my Ballygunge residence, I took in a few children, as a private class, and not as a school.. like Kalim Sarafi, Torit Chowdhury..all of them learnt in that class. In my home class. I kept on doing this when someone told me, " Why are you sitting and moping about? Whatever has happened has happened. Now do it properly. " I said, " Where?" He told me, " I'll give you the space." There was this club in the neighborhood, and he said, " Our club only starts after evening. You guys practice in the day time." " Saturday?, " I ask. I requested him to push the timings of their evening session a little later. He said, " You guys have it a little before, bad they'll have it a little after. " So it started with this house. Then again, after a few days, I go to Bengal Central Bank. At that time, J.C.Das wasn't alive, but his son Khitish was the all-in-all. He did everything; we are forever grateful to Khitish Das. You see this new house of Dakshinee, when this house was built, we had Rs. 32,000/-  with us. I told Khitishbabu, " Khitishbabu, I heard ,that old house, that 'jhojjhore' house is being sold at a cheap rate? If you could buy it and remodel it… you know that a school exists , then it becomes beneficial to all 5 people [??] . If you could do so…".  He said, " That house doesn't have any owner as such." I asked, " Why? I " He told me, " If there had been an owner, I'd have bought that house a long time back. That house belongs to the Bank of Assam. " I then told him, "  You are part of the 'bank-circle'. Please get it done." The next day I went to visit. [TILL 38.02]

i will tell The person who is the liquidator now amongst them to pay, will have to handle it legally… [???] we might get it...

The house was bought at 30,000 or 32,000/-. It was a single storeyed building then. Broken, they rented it out at Rs. 30 /- per month. After that,..the usual happened…court case,hearing  etc…ousting the tenant [??]

They also owned Calcutta Insurance[??] . So he[??] called for a contractor, planned everything..he took a lot of interest then. Through their own contractor, through him gave a loan of Rs. 80,000 /-. Since the bank can't give anymore money , we had to repay them every month. I checked and figured that if they kept the EMI / installment at a lesser rate, then it would be possible for us…otherwise the way it was increasing…!! … So, I told them that. "Yes, whatever you can give. Don't come one month and say it isn't possible. This is the bank's money., I was told. Then it was sorted out..a sum of money with it's interest.. [??] [TILL 40.17]

In 1958, the money got repaid [??]. Dakhshinee free from any 'incumberances…….' [??] Though I had given the money a year and half before itself. Because then, the school had become bigger, the income had increased, surplus too, so according to our EMI / installment due on 1960, I repaid it in 1958 and made Dakshinee 'loan-free'.And then you can see. 
From the teaching aspect of it, what can I tell you? You guys are the true recipients [??]. You' have learnt... [TILL 41.11]

41.12 - 41.24 : Referring to something he doesn't want publicized. 

Do you know how I could get out of Gitabitan? I went there one day. I had a problem with a proposition; that the Vishwa Bharati Anumodito Rabindrasangeet Shikhyatan signboard is taken from you and then you're teaching them this. Is this a matter of Vishwa Bharati? All these other things, Manipuri dance class, this tabla class…teachers had vestid interest…votes...[TILL 42.00]

i never do any work without at least giving it a thought for one day. Even today. Never have done so. This is my rule; a lot of people make a lot of decisions when they're hot-headed, I will only make a big decision keeping one whole day to think and ponder over it.  I will think then I will pursue it. I saw that,in whose hands it's fallen into.. now I have no majority . If I say no, it wont happen, nobody is there to back me up. Over there, there is none to support me. I told them, " I don't teach music. Whom else can I take, if the teachers themselves go against me, and disapprove." Then, I silently signed a resignation letter. Prabhat Chandra Gupta was the General Secretary only by name, since I was only 23 years of age. Everyone told me that nobody would have taken a 23 year old man seriously.Then Prabhat Chandra Gupta, who was an ex-professor of Santiniketan, met me. He told me, " I will be right there with you. You will do everything.
I went and gave in my resignation letter. I called him 'Prabhatda'. "Prabhatda, here, take this. " On seeing the letter, he became all 'flabbergasted'[??], and said, " What? You made this school, and roped us all in this together, and now you say you're leaving the school?? What is this? Have you ever heard of anyone in any place who has started a school and then left it?  Not done. I will not accept this!  I will not accept this letter. "  
" Prabhatda, i had a vision of  starting a cultural centre of Rabindranath, i had decided on this. I didn't plan on making it a Basanti bidya peethi or a bani sangeet chakra……. [??] . I want to do this solely based on Rabindranath. The idea and system are taking a different direction now. They are making this into a 'so-called' music school ,for the interest of the staff/teachers[??] . In my mind, I cannot tolerate this any further. And I can never go against the will of my conscience. I'm giving you the letter today, but only because I've made my decision two days beforehand. I've thought for 2 days what I should do and shouldn't. I saw that if I had to change their mind, problems would arise in school. Maybe, I'd get the majority, maybe none will talk against me, but problems will start arising in the school. So, I alone would move out. Let everyone else stay. Even you can't do anything, because the system runs based on the teacher and the student. There is only a direct relation between the student and the teacher. Whatever is said to them, they will understand. It wont work on your or my say.  "
He retorted, " But how can this be? You've brought us together and now you're saying you're leaving, this and that. "Kanak Biswas also said the same to me…
[TILL 46.00]

I told Prabhatda, " Prabhatda, you have to accept this letter. I need a written acceptance." He said, " No, I wont accept this letter." I told him back, " You HAVE to do it. This is the rule. If you do not do so within 7 days, I'll put an insertion [??] in the newspaper that I've ceased my connection with Gitabitan." Then he kept quiet..What else could he have done, what else? He took the letter. I had thought that after he'd take the letter, that I'd put it up in the papers[??] that I've no relation with Gitabitan anymore, but I didn't. I figured why should i harm them. It's functioning. a few people are benefitting...[??] Let it run.

(d) In talks of Classical music, we speak of different 'gharanas', so then do you think there exists any gharana with Rabindrasangeet? Or, is it just a gayaki/style of rendition[??] difference?

(D) Okay, now let me ask you something. You sing, my second son, Ronu sings, Prodipto sings, do all their songs sound similar? 
(d) No, it's not supposed to sound alike, because everyone has a different voice. 
(D) So then, what is gharana? 
(d) I think, a style exists. There is a common factor. 
(D) No, find out Kanika Bandhyopadhyays' then. Suchitra Mitra has that slightly because her pronunciation is a bit peculiar. I don't accept the word 'gharana'. I say 'gaayon-podhotti'[??] 
(d) Meaning Gayaki? [??] 
(D) Yes, that blind copying[??]. That has no relevance nor any meaning. The people who have learnt music from me, like Tarit, Kalim,Ronu, Ritu, Krishna, does their music sound alike? 
(d) But there must be some common factor. What do we call that? 
(D) I'm telling you about that. Rabindranath insisted that his music should be as such. Firstly that 'onukoron okra hole'. The way he has thought over something like this, respecting him then would be one such reason. The way someone sings, that is god-gifted[??]. you will never ever find among my students that one is copying the other's style [TILL 3.18 needs to be translated]  

I have always felt that 'gayaki/rendition[??] is something that is a gift from God[??]. As a teacher, my duty is to make them understand and correct their mistakes. " Don't do this. Do that. You're not supposed to do this. If you do this, then it is considered non-'rabindrik' . if you don't  breathe / correctly.etc".. THIS. But the flow that comes when one sings, that natural flow, that is in-born, if you kill it then it will ruin you[??] then there will at least be 20 Kanika Banerjee's. My job is, if someone comes to learn, and if I understand that he/she is able to sing , I will tell that person, " You should breathe here, accurately. Do not breathe in the middle of uttering words, What will be the 'Olonkaar' /ornamentation[??], and how. " I said this to someone just some days back. There is some boy who got a job with the radio..Nitai. Nitai. Nitai came and told me. Then I told him, " Nitai, please stop mimicking the way Hemanta Mukherjee sings[??]." He tells me, " What do I do, Suvoda, it's become such that… I stopped him saying, " No, it's nothing. When you sing, you take a finger and hit each okhor while singing. " Make sure you don't skip it. I told him, " If you want true recognition in the world of Rabindrasangeet, then you can't sing 'chute diye'[??]. That is not Rabindrasangeet. [TILL 5.08]
This way, I'd correct my students. 
(d) Nowadays, people are saying as well as writing, like Desh had also published. So reading that, I had thought that in Rabindrasangeet, as they claimed, Dinu Thakur had a gayiki[??] which was followed by Shanti Deb Ghosh and then Suchitra Mitra. And another thing, Sailajada had his own unique way, also Mohordi, then later Dakshinee. So then this division.. I was asking you about this. Is this really a division?
(D) Listen, what I have learnt from Sailajada, that is 'totto' and 'tottho'. I have hardly learnt 10-12 songs under him, because I didn't have time then. I was busy trying to make a stand in the world. I would get out at 6:30 a.m. in the morning and return at 10 in the night.  After that, my body couldn't give way to learning music. If there were any gaps in the middle due to a holiday, I would learn then. Approximately,  I have learnt about 10-12 songs from him. [TILL 7.04]

Nobody follows anything. So to speak, Kanika…she's like a daughter to Sailaja. Does she also listen to everything Sailaja tells her. Ok, Sailaja has another student named Nilima Sen. Is Nilima Sen's music similar to that of Kanika's? It cannot be one. Because the gift of God also lies in this[??]. This is why I say 'Gaayon Bhongi'[??] . I never say gharana. To say gharana is to say it's one. One thing that everyone follows. Isn't it? [TILL 7.57]
(d) So, let's say in terms of Rabindrasangeet, ……[??]
(D) There is only one person, Kanika Banerjee. She's the best female-artiste, whom else can I call so? You tell me?  Nilima is good. Kanika is better . [TILL 8.55] 

(d) popularization of rabindra sangeet in the 60's during rabindranath tagore's 100yrs and grew further in 70's,but declined in the 80's…what about this?
(D) That is my only suffering at the moment. And it will decrease with a few years. It's become so much that in place of 30 artistes, now we have 300. We listen to over 25,000 songs of rabindranath, but you get to hear around 100 songs of his here and there. 
(d) So does this mean, that these 'artistes' are so called only to get a name?
(D) Yes, yes. More have come from this modern music area. They have no formal training in Rabindrasangeet. Nothing. You ask around how many will you be able to find those who are appropriately tutored'[??] ? You wont find anyone. 
(d) The newcomers,…….[??]aspiring performers…students most likely...
(D) This is what is most needed. If you can manage to put this in the newspaper, then it will help people. Rabindrasangeet will live if a new lot of youth come, and sing[??]. What's happening now….why do you think tickets don't get sold now? why will people pay to listen to the same songs each time...


I will,if my health permits, through these students [??] , will host a function at Rabindra Sadan. I will show everyone that these kids aren't smaller than anyone else. That is my plan. But now, I am not in good health. Only with new artistes…eligible 'dakshinee puroshkar prapto' candidates…10-12 of them

(d) do you not think that even the audience have a role to play here?they have an expectation to hear the same known 100-150 songs…

A lot of people like listening to known music. My understanding is that 'the man' has written 2500 songs for what then? To only make known 20 songs of his?  And there are better songs. Nothing else, nobody wants to work hard…to look up the sworolipi  etc…they listen to the record and they hear thrice and think they have learnt it well…this is the irony
(d)these days in the radio,tv,cassette,record…who do you like to hear or not?
(D)i always like to listen to the newcomers/aspirants…i hear minutely when it;s a new voice in the 7:40 a.m show...
(d)Do you not feel that a lot of the newcomers copy the senior artistes…esp the boys
(D) yes… i agree that not everyone is extraordinary….but a lot of them are good,but are not getting the correct scope or opening.
(d)those who are still in the process of learning…what would be your advise to them…what should they absorb and what should they discard…for rabindrasangeet
(D)pronunciation is very characteristic,technically one should not take a breath in the middle of uttering a word…very important is respecting the emotion of the song…if you neglect the lyrics and give prominence to the music…that will not do justice.one has to bear in mind the attitude and emotion that rabindranath had whilst writing the song
'(d) 'sworokkhepon' characteristics…different from other songs.
(D) distortion of pronunciation can be a thing from birth….people rectify the problem over a period of time as well once they realize the problem.
(d) the most common thing noticed is the addition of Tremelo while singing…
(D) nobody pinpoints their defects to them …they hear a pleasant voice on the records…and that's where the learning ends...

14.54 - 15.34, about how Suvo thinks people should maintain a certain discipline whilst singing Rabindrasangeet

You need to understand the feel and emotions of Rabindranath's music. I've always told my class, when I'd announce the name of the next song that I'd teach them, that they need to read the song 4 times and then attend class. What he is trying to say is written there in his music. 4 times and only then can one attend the class. 
like,I can't render a song full of emotions in a galloping style…like baul…that is simply not done.

(d) whoever you learned rabindrasangeet from, what was their method of teaching?

(D) i told you earlier that i have collectively learnt 10-12 songs…from Sailada…there will never be a teacher of such high calibre as him in the world of rabindrasangeet yet again…he cared for details and was perfection personified.
Hear me out,let me narrate this…
the song "aaji godhulilogoney' 
one day for what reason i cannot recollect …if it was a holiday or not,i came home in the evening…took a shower,had tea ..sat with sailada.whenever i got a chance …i never asked he pulled me to learn…he taught me this song…he started at 7p.m …we got called for dinner at 10p.m…and got back to it at 10:30 p.m and wrapped up at 1:30 a.m…it took him that long…he never compromised.until it was properly done he would not give up…there is no teacher like him ever.no wonder the best in the field are his…
kanika was his student,so was nilima,subinoy partly his student…and most important,samaresh choudhury,who is no longer there.
you know what,…i will not take names…the rest are function oriented...ask them to chose between song and dance ,they will prefer the latter.

(d) in future what do you think will be the end result of rabindrasangeet?

(D) rabindrasangeet's future is very bright…if new singers and songs arrive and we cross over the boundary of 100 songs…then it will rise again.

(d) currently is there a dearth of teachers in this field?

(D) no no …it has increased…these days everybody roams with  a 'sworolipi' in their hand.

(d) sworolipi is not song

(D) nobody believes that…are you trying to say that a big artist like hemanta mukhopadhyay if he teaches a song can someone disregard it?nobody can... this is the thing…
there is one thing…never keep 'gayaki' in your mind…whatever you sing,and if you teach that to someone,do not expect to hear the exact version.it cannot happen
.gayaki is god given…your job is to just teach the correct methods …
Sailada's students …kanika and nilima…but do you think that they sing in the exact same way?never…people unnecessary fuss about it...

(d) Non bengalis students? How do they cope with the theory?

(D) we see answer scripts in english….or even in regional languages
THIS IS SOMEWHERE IN 21.00.[translate]

(d) asks something about tagore
(D) I met him only once. I have heard from people, from Sailada. What do I say about him? I have nothing to say about him. It is the truth. The person, who can create this rich literature and music… that kind of a person comes only in a lifetime. People who want to pursue this, my advice would be to understand the meaning of the poetry primarily. The fun in this is the majority of the songs are incidental. There is always a reason. If you do not learn that, you will be able to delve deep into it's meaning. People are only just singing the songs. 'Ami poth bhola..monjori", read the next few lines. If you understand the meaning the character of the song changes. Rabindranath is Rabindranath. There is no duplicate, just like Swami Paramahansa, he too has no duplicate. It's unfortunate that tagore could not leave behind able assistants. Those who live on, they look at their interests greater than anything else.
[ v.v.IMP. Suvo speaks about Tagore]

1 comment:

Sam Michael said...

Absolutely ridiculous interview. It's a pity and utterly unfortunate that the comments about stalwarts like Suchitra Mitra had to be blocked off. A self-fulfilling interview where the person being interviewed never had a reputation as a singer.
With the exception of Ritu Guha, the so-called singers produced by the Guhathakurta family had been mediocre at best.