Wednesday October 18, 2017

Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan to establish Indian Classical music academy in Punjab

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

With an eye to revive the glory of Indian Classical music, Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan has accepted Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s offer to set up a modern music academy in Punjab.

The project is expected to come up either at Mohali or Mullanpur in Mohali district.

At the launch of the Gurbani album, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal felicitated both Harbhajan Singh and Amjad Ali Khan for their unique creation.

“This collection of shabads from the Gurbani Album would prove to be a ‘food for soul’ for tormented minds of millions of people in the world,” said Badal.

The Punjab state-head said that he was really impressed with Khan’s contribution in the field of music and he wished that the new school would be an ideal place for musical aspirants.

The Chief Minister also assured Khan of all necessary assistance and asked him to file a report on this project.

Khan, on his part, said that he was really passionate about starting the music academy in Punjab and that the government had already offered him a suitable land for the project.

“It is one of my cherished desire to build a music academy in my own soil. And I will work hard to promote Indian classical music in every nook and corner of the country”, said Khan.

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Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan worries about future of classical music

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Jodhpur: Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, who has fascinated audiences all around the world with his honeyed music, is concerned that people are today more interested in fusion than pure classical music.

“Today people are more interested to see collaborations. Why are people more interested in fusion, what is the reason and why is it happening? It is a very big question and it bothers me,” Amjad Ali Khan told IANS in an interview on the sidelines of the World Sacred Spirit Festival (WSSF) here.

“Why are people losing interest in pure classical music? It is not only a problem in India but also of the whole world right now as they want to see more collaborations,” added the veteran artiste, who has performed around the world.

Amjad Ali Khan and his sons Amaan and Ayaan mesmerised the audience with their soulful performance at the recently concluded WSSF, which saw a confluence of global musical exponents showcasing traditions from the Orient, the East and Africa.

Talking about fusion, he revealed that his sons – who just last month performed in Delhi with Grammy nominated violinist Elmira Darvarova — often decline to play such collaborative shows.

“Even my sons are invited for fusion shows but they respectfully decline saying that they would perform only if people would want to listen to the sarod,” said the father, who has impressed music aficionados for years altogether with innovation of complex ragas.

The 70-year-old musician, who has performed internationally for over four decades, doesn’t want to blame the audience if they are not able to connect with the instrument.

“If my sarod doesn’t affect the audience, then it is a minus point, an issue in me and not in the audience. The classes and masses classification has got nothing to do with the art. It is very easy to say that audience is bad, but I would say that you don’t know your art then,” asserted the Padma Vibhushan awardee.

He also lamented that despite adapting “so much from the British”, India hasn’t been able to “produce a symphony orchestra like theirs on both national and international levels”.

“Now there is however a little awareness and small orchestra groups are coming up in Chennai and Mumbai, but the sad part is that they all get musicians from outside,” Amjad Ali added.

One response to “Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan worries about future of classical music”

  1. If the music critics and concert presenters were more informed and knowlegeable and indeed truly relished the classical arts, if the media actually wrote about a variety of performers instead of just one or two, if performers were more generous with each other, recognizing an artistic culture’s need for true creative competition and tension to enrich the art, recognizing that this must win out over celebrity, then we will see more of a revival of this great tradition or at least its sustenance, This will become a time when true musicianship is recognized and rewarded and not punted aside for those few who have access to performances and concert organizers. We need to see in our media all of the artists that this great country has produced, most of whom have had to struggle mightily to learn, sacrificing their economic well-being for the love and nurturing of this profound art form. Where is the hope for most learned musicians to become a contributor to the field as artistic excellence is not valued on its own and the the doors have closed to but a few. In Europe many years ago, they began what is called “blind auditions”, wherein most artists must audition behind a curtain so to give the music itself a chance to be the chosen performer. And those who review those auditions and performance are genuine in their desire to see the art form thrive and live on.

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Punjab farmers to continue stir as talks with Badal fail

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Chandigarh: The ongoing ‘rail roko’ agitation by Punjab farmers and farm labourers will continue, they announced on Monday as a meeting between their representatives and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and senior government functionaries failed to produce any result.

No conclusive breakthrough could be achieved as the government said it was not in a position to accept the demands of the 18 organisations of farmers and farm hands, government sources said after the meeting that lasted over four hours in the evening.

Sources said that Punjab government refused to accept the demand of farmers for considerable enhancement in compensation for losses due to whitefly pest attack on cotton crop.

After the meeting with representatives of the coordination committee of 18 farmer and farm labour unions here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, however, reiterated that the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government was committed to the welfare of farmers and farm labourers in the state.

Senior Akali Dal leader and parliament member Prem Singh Chandumajra also told the media that the meeting was held in a “positive atmosphere”.

On the other hand, farmer leaders who attended the meeting left for another venue to discuss among themselves the issues raised with Badal and state government functionaries.

“We will discuss the issues and let you know later,” farmer leader Sukhdev Singh Khokriwala told the media at Punjab Bhawan here after the meeting.

The ‘rail roko’ (railway blockade) agitation by farmers in Punjab continued for the sixth day on Monday as farmers blocked rail traffic at several places in Amritsar, Moga, Mansa and other districts.

Over 800 trains, including the Samjhauta Express peace train between India and Pakistan, have been cancelled or diverted by railway authorities due to the ongoing agitation by farmers.

Thousands of passengers have been left stranded due to cancellation of trains. The loss to the railways and other agencies is said to be over Rs.100 crore in these six days.

Agitating farmers are demanding compensation of Rs.40,000 per acre for loss of cotton crop due to whitefly pest attack, purchase of basmati rice at minimum support price, and immediate release of payments to sugar cane growers.

(IANS)

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Gurdaspur attack: Five killed as terror attack shatters Punjab calm

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Dinanagar: At least five people were killed and 10 injured when heavily-armed terrorists wearing army fatigues hijacked a car, drove down to this town in Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, peppered the bus stand with bullets and then stormed a police station — shattering two decades of calm in the state.

Authorities said that five people were killed in the terror attack, while unconfirmed reports said the toll may be higher.

“So far reports of five deaths including three civilians and two police personnel confirmed from Gurudaspur. Operation is still on,” tweeted Press Information Bureau in Delhi.

Three home guard personnel who were inside the police station were among those feared killed. Other victims were civilians, including a person inside an adjoining hospital.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that he had spoken to director general of Border Security Force (BSF) D.K. Pathak and instructed him to step up the vigil on India-Pakistan border in the wake of attack in Gurdaspur.

Special forces of the army and NSG as well as police commandos took up position around the Dinanagar police station.

This was the first major terror attack in Punjab following the assassination of then chief minister Beant Singh on August 31, 1995.

Monday’s attack began at 5.30 a.m. at Dinanagar town in Punjab’s frontier district of Gurdaspur, close to the India-Pakistan border and near the border with Jammu and Kashmir state.

A gun battle raged between the terrorists, holed up inside the Dinanagar police station, and security forces, including soldiers. Continuous sound of firing and lobbying of grenades could be heard even hours after the first shots were fired by the militants.

The police station, adjoining government hospital, residential quarters inside the police station and nearby private houses were quickly cordoned off by security forces.

Minister of state for home Kirren Rijiju told IANS in Delhi that “as of now there is no information regarding hostages being held. We are looking into it and once I get some more information, I will come out with it”.

The terrorists, numbering four, are believed to have come from Pakistan. They arrived in a Maruti 800 car which they had hijacked after firing at the driver and killing a person in a dhaba nearby. They also fired at people near the Dinanagar bus stand and then attacked the Dinanagar police station, located about 100 metres away.

Eyewitnesses said the terrorists fired on a bus going towards Jammu and later entered the police station.

“We were hit by a burst of gunfire suddenly. I was hit on the shoulder. They are firing indiscriminately every five minutes,” a Punjab police official, who was injured in the attack, told media as he was being taken to the hospital.

The town is about 15 km from the India-Pakistan border and 25 km from the border of Jammu and Kashmir state. It is about 235 km from Chandigarh.

Additional Director-General of Punjab Police, Dinkar Gupta, told media the “attack took the Dinanagar police by surprised”.

Army and police reinforcements were rushed to the spot.

Punjab Police sources said the incident indicated may be a suicide attack.

The attack took place just a day after Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal faced pro-Khalistan slogans while attending a function at Punjab University in Patiala.

In a related development, five live bombs were found on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway track.

The bombs were found by passersby on a bridge near Parmanand railway station on the Amritsar-Pathankot railway section, who informed security forces. Trains on the route were stopped immediately.

A major railway tragedy was averted as the bombs were carefully wired to the railway track at a small bridge near Parmanand railway station, five km from Dinanagar. A police spokesman told media that the army bomb disposal unit had defused the bombs.

A train, which was to pass on the railway track, was stopped just 200 metres from the spot where the bombs had been planted.

(IANS)