The recent Dhrupad Samaroh proves that this stream of Indian music has a bright future.
The three-day Dhrupad Samaroh, organised recently by Dhrupad Society in collaboration with the India International Centre at its auditorium, opened with the screening of a film by Arvind Sinha titled ‘Dhrupad in the time of liberalisation’. This was followed by a panel discussion on “Past, Present and Future of Dhrupad” provoking a lively interaction of experts with the audience. The panel comprised journalist-author Mrinal Pande, German scholar Dagmar Bernstoff, Faiyaz Wasifuddin Dagar and the documentary filmmaker Arvind Sinha who spoke on topics like ‘Mainstreaming Dhrupad’, ‘Role of the West in Perpetuating Dhrupad’, Guru-Shishya parampara, etc.
Mrinal Pande said, “Nowhere in the world the classical is as popular as Popular Music. Why should we insist on mainstreaming Dhrupad? People should come to Dhrupad instead of Dhrupad descending to the lowest common denominator.” Bernstroff dealt in detail the role of West in perpetuating Indian classical music in general and Dhrupad in particular citing the contribution of William Johns and Hazrat Inayat Khan to Yehudi Menuin and Allen Danielo. She also stated that she doesn’t see the future of Dhrupad bleak. Sinha felt that Dhrupad was being marginalised while Wasifuddin Dagar, President, Dhrupad Society, stated, “We need support”. He, in fact, proved much more than what he had to say about guru-shishya parampara by presenting his disciple Harinath Jha the very next day.
Born in Darbhanga, Harinath Jha came under the tutelage Wasifuddin Dagar since 1991 in the typical guru-shishya tradition of the Dagar gharana. It was heartening to listen to his detailed alapchaari in raga Kambhoji and watch the way he has imbibed the authentic gayaki of this illustrious gharana. Harinath went on to sing a pada of the medieval poet Raskhan, “Manus haun to….” as a Dhrupad composition set to Chautala and treated it with the technical flourishes like the bol-baant with equal command over melody and rhythm.
There were vocal duets by S. Nafeesuddin and S. Aneesuddin Dagar and by Prashant and Nishant Kumar Mallick who represented the Darbhanga gharana. The young Dagar brothers presented raga Adbhut Kalyan, an uncommon variety of Kalyan which is ‘Adbhut’ or unusual because it omits the two most important notes of a raga, namely Madhyam and Pancham. Nafees and Anees did full justice to the challenging raga presenting a detailed alap followed by a Dhrupad composition in Chautala. The instrumental aspect of Dhrupad was represented by a violin recital by R.S. Tiwari and the rudra veena recital by Suvir Mishra.
One of the few left-hand practitioners of veena, Suvir is a gifted disciple of Zia Fariduddin Dagar. He chose raga Jaijaivanti for his performance and played alap-jod-jhaala followed by a composition in Chautala. His delectable treatment of the raga during the alap was specially striking in the lower register.
The Dhrupad Samaroh had its grand finale with the impressive recital by the veteran Rahim Fahimuddin Dagar. The festival proved that if disciples like Harinath Jha are dedicated enough, there is no danger to the future of this austere form of Indian classical music.