on a per­sonal note with vo­cal­ist Ch­han­nu­lal mishra


Governance Now - - CONTENTS - As told to Swati Chan­dra

Pan­dit Ch­han­nu­lal Mishra is a noted ex­po­nent of Ba­naras and Kairana gha­ranas. Born in Har­i­harpur of Aza­m­garh district, he learnt mu­si­cal notes from var­i­ous gu­rus and thus his mu­sic is an amal­ga­ma­tion of var­i­ous forms and gha­ranas. His clas­si­cal folk mu­sic has been mes­meris­ing mu­sic lovers across the world for decades. Mishra has al­ways been pitch­ing to pre­serve the Ba­naras gha­rana and the fad­ing mu­si­cal her­itage of the city. He has been ad­vo­cat­ing the set­ting up of a cul­ture min­istry-run mu­sic acad­emy in Varanasi. He was hon­oured with the Padma Bhushan award in 2010. He has also re­ceived the Ut­tar Pradesh Sangeet Natak Akademi award, Naushad award and the Yash Bharti award of the UP gov­ern­ment. He was one of the peo­ple who en­dorsed Naren­dra Modi’s nom­i­na­tion from Varanasi in 2014.

At age of 81, you are as ac­tive as ever. What in­spires your mu­sic?

mu­sic is in my blood, bones and soul.

Who were your gu­rus?

I have learnt from dif­fer­ent gu­rus at var­i­ous stages of my life. my first guru was my fa­ther Badri Prasad mishra. I also learnt from my grand­fa­ther Shanta Prasad. later I was un­der us­tad ab­dul ghani Khan of Kairana gha­rana from whom I learnt Khayal gayaki. Then I learnt from Thakur Jaidev Singh in Ba­naras.

‘Khele masaan mein holi’ has be­come your sig­na­ture

song. Tell us about it.

Dekhiye, samshan sabse shuddh sthan hota hai, kyunki waha koi bada-chhota, ameer-ga­reeb nahi hota. Sab barabar hote hain aur sabka ant bhi barabar hota hai. [The cre­ma­tion ground is the purest of all places, as there is no dis­crim­i­na­tion of the high and the low, the rich and the poor. all are equal and all meet the same end.] This song, just like Ba­naras, cel­e­brates the ul­ti­mate truth of life, that is, death. It was writ­ten by a poet called man­gal Baba of this city. I was the first to sing it. It nar­rates how lord Shiva en­joys play­ing Holi on the cre­ma­tion ghat of Ba­naras and how ec­static and eu­phoric the en­tire en­vi­ron­ment of the place is.

How can Thumri and Dadra be re­vived?

First, th­ese forms of mu­sic should be in­cluded in school cur­ricu­lum so that fu­ture mu­sic dis­ci­ples know about th­ese clas­si­cal folk forms. also, it should be sup­ple­mented with op­por­tu­ni­ties to prac­tise con­stantly. a lot has dis­ap­peared with the pass­ing away of gir­ija Devi-ji. There is no com­pi­la­tion of var­i­ous forms of Thumri, Dadra, Khayal etc. Nahi toh hum bus yahi bol paenge ki ‘Thumri hoti thi’, na ki ‘Thumri hoti hai’. [oth­er­wise, we would be able to talk of Thumri only in the past tense.] Se­condly, mu­sic is given only a class pe­riod of 40 min­utes in schools and mu­si­cians are now keen on tak­ing up univer­sity and col­lege jobs for em­ploy­ment. They are judged based on their qual­i­fi­ca­tion. Sangeet to saad­hana aur tapasya ki cheez hai. It can­not be eval­u­ated on the ba­sis of de­grees. The re­ally de­voted aspi­rants are be­com­ing rare.

Tell us some­thing about Ba­narasi Thumri.

Ba­naras has about 10-11 forms of Thum­ris. Bol Banav is one pop­u­lar form. Thumri mein lachak aur loch hai. Thumri stri hai, pu­rush nahi hai. [Thumri has an el­e­ment of sup­ple­ness. It is ec­static and melo­di­ous. It is fem­i­nine, not mas­cu­line.]

What do you think of on­line mu­sic shar­ing and Youtube?

I will only say, ‘Jaki rahi bhawana jaisi, prabhu mu­rat dekhi tin taisi...!’ [laughs].

Courtesy: nam­rata mishra

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