Monday September 24, 2018

From the Heart: BITS Pilani Students pay Tribute to the Music Maestro A. R. Rahman on World Music Day

The students have made an app DEXTRA so that they can reach out more people who want to meet their goals

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A.R Rahman sketch. Image source: muktojibon.com
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  • BITS Pilani is a prestigious Institute of technology located in Pilani, Rajasthan 
  • Recently, some students composed music using an app Dextra to pay tribute to AR Rahman 
  • The students used an aap ‘DEXTRA’ to compose their music video

On the occasion of ‘World Music Day’ the students of BITS (Birla Institute of Technology and Science) Pilani in Rajasthan, came up with the idea of paying tribute to the music maestro A. R. Rahman through a video composition.

Two-time Oscar winning composer A.R. Rahman is India’s one of the most loved musician. Pointless to say, he has always delivered and continues to deliver magic with his musical notes, that leaves his listeners with goosebumps.

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What makes the video interesting is that the students have picked Rahman’s one of the popular compositions and have improvised it to pay tribute to the music maestro.

Dextra app logo. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Behind this exercise lies a story. Kushal and Divyaansh are engineering students at BITS, Pilani. They were interested in the musical world but pursuing a career in engineering clearly changed the track for them. This, however, did not kill their love for the art. Using an innovative concept for budding artists- DEXTRA, a platform for all the upcoming talents in the field of creativity, they decided to give rendition to their Music.

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‘The students from BITS Pilani who feature in the video are Arya Arun (lead vocals), Kushal Jasoria (lead vocals, video and audio editing), Saksham Nagar, Abhinav Gandotra, Devam Jhanwar, Kriti Jain, Swathi Muddha and Shubham Rathi (backing vocals), Nikhil Jhingade (keys), Sanjay Ghosh (guitar), Ravneet Bansal (bass guitar), Sudevan Chandrasekharan (violin), Dishant Sangani (keys) and Samakshi Tiwari (cinematography).’

The video ends with famous artists like Parry G, Mala Mary Martina, Agam and Gurucharan, Akash Gautam, who have endorsed the platform in their words. These ‘tech savvy’ students have definitely given the world of music a new dimension.

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The students used an aap ‘DEXTRA’ to compose their music video. The makers of Dextra app claim: We provide a platform to various artists to come together and interact with each other.” It aims to teach all the participants on how one should network with people, who appreciate and consider something new and creative.

-Report compiled by Megha Sharma of NewsGram. Twitter: @meghash06510344

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    A R Rahman deserved this! He is indeed one of the best musicians the world has got.

  • Aparna Gupta

    AR Rahman is a world class musician and paying tribute to AR Rahman is a wise decision.

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Afghan Orchestra Flourishes Despite Social Issues

Afghanistan and Pakistan have experienced years of terrorist attacks, including massive casualties on both sides of their long shared border.

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Afghanistan
Negin Khpolwak, leader of the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women, practices on a piano at Afghanistan's National Institute of Music, in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

The consequences of Afghanistan’s increasingly deadly war are weighing heaviest on the nation’s civilians, with women bearing the brunt of the violence. The Taliban banned music and girls education, and restricted outdoor activities of women when the group was controlling most of Afghanistan.

But violence and social pressures have not deterred members of the country’s nascent orchestra of mostly young girls from using music to “heal wounds” and promote women’s rights in the strictly conservative Muslim society.

The ensemble, known as Zohra, was founded in 2014 as part of the Afghanistan National Institute of Music (ANIM) in Kabul, where suicide bombings lately have become routine.

Hope and music

Students and trainers are not losing hope and regularly come to the city’s only institute to rehearse and learn new lessons, says Ahmed Naser Sarmast, the director of ANIM and the founder of the orchestra. Zohra is the name of a music goddess in Persian literature, he explained.

The musicologist spoke to VOA while visiting neighboring Pakistan earlier this month with the young ensemble to perform in Islamabad as part of celebrations marking the 99th anniversary of Afghanistan’s Independence Day. Kabul’s embassy in Islamabad organized and arranged for the orchestra’s first visit to Pakistan.

Despite the many challenges in Afghanistan, Sarmast said, student enrollment has consistently grown and more parents are bringing their children to the institute to study music. Around 300 students are studying not only music at the institute but other subjects, including the Quran, he said.

Afghanistan
Members of the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women, attend a rehearsal at Afghanistan’s National Institute of Music, in Kabul. VOA

Advances for women

Negin Khpolwak, the orchestra’s first woman conductor, says Afghanistan has made significant advances in terms of promoting women’s rights in the past 17 years. She says there is a need to sustain the momentum irrespective of rising violence.

“We need to stand up to protect those gains and we need to open the doors for other Afghan girls,” Khpolwak said when asked whether deadly attacks around the country are reversing the gains women have made.

But violence alone is not the only challenge for women and girls, especially those who want to study music, she said.

“When you are going in the street with your instrument to the school and they are saying bad words to you and if you are giving a concert in public they are telling the bad words to you. But we are not caring about it,” Khpolwak said.

Afghanistan
Ahmad Naser Sarmast, head of Afghanistan’s National Institute of Music, speaks to members of the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women, in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

Ethnic groups help each other

Sarmast says that girls and boys in the orchestra come from different Afghan ethnic groups and they help each other when needed.

“It’s hope for the future,” he said.

Ethnic rivalries have been a hallmark of hostilities in Afghanistan and continue to pose a challenge to efforts promoting peace and stability.

“I strongly believe without arts and culture there cannot be security and we are using the soft power of music to make a small contribution to bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan and at the same time using this beautiful, if I can call it a beautiful weapon, to transform our community,” the director said.

Some of the members of the Afghan orchestra were born and brought up in refugee camps in Pakistan, which still hosts around 3 million registered and unregistered Afghan families displaced by years of war, poverty, persecution and drought.

Afghanistan
Members of the Zohra orchestra, an ensemble of 35 women, bring instruments to a class before a rehearsal at Afghanistan’s National Institute of Music, in Kabul, Afghanistan. VOA

“We are using the healing power of music to look after the wounds of the Afghan people as well as the Pakistani people. We are here with the message of peace, brotherhood and freedom,” Sarmast said.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have experienced years of terrorist attacks, including massive casualties on both sides of their long shared border. Bilateral relations are marred by mistrust and suspicion.

Also Read: OrchKids- Bringing Jot to Underprivileged Kids Through Music

The countries blame each other for supporting terrorist attacks. Afghans allege that sanctuaries in Pakistan have enabled Taliban insurgents to sustain and expand their violent acts inside Afghanistan. Pakistan rejects the charges.

The Islamist insurgency controls or is attempting to control nearly half of Afghanistan. (VOA)