| Ustad Mohi Bahauddin Dagar plays the rudra veena at Don Bosco School on Wednesday. Telegraph picture |
Feb. 13: “Ustadji, could you please name the strings of the rudra veena? Sir, have you ever performed Western tunes on the veena? ” These and many more posers, most of them technical, were dished out by a section of Bosconians to rudra veena exponent Ustad Mohi Bahauddin Dagar during an open session at Don Bosco School, Panbazar, today.
While their ustadji answered all the questions, also telling them about a jugalbandi with jazz musician Louis Banks, he was happy with the curiosity shown by the students.
“I am very happy that you all are so curious about the finer nuances of Indian classical music as well as musical instruments. Your questions really give me an idea as to how interested you are about the traditional music genres of this country,” the maestro told the inquisitive gathering at the Mama Margaret auditorium.
The interaction was followed by an hourlong performance of raga Ahir Bhairav (a Hindustani classical raga) by the maestro and two of his disciples — the German-born Hafize Daniel on the tanpura and Tapas Das on the pakhawaj.
As many as 400 students of Classes VIII and IX were treated to an enthralling afternoon of Indian classical music — aalaap, jod and jhala renditions of raga Ahir Bhairav with choutaal (12 beats) compositions of pakhawaj.
Ustad Dagar had last performed in the school during the National Convention of SPIC MACAY in 1993.
He is a descendant of legendary rudra veena maestro Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar.
Echoing his views on his performance, Ustad Dagar said, “It’s nice to be back here at Don Bosco, Guwahati, after two decades. I hope all the students were immensely benefited today, as much as I enjoyed performing here today.”
Teachers, principal Fr Antony Thekkel, school administrator Fr Kuricheal Sebastian and SPIC MACAY members of Guwahati chapter were also present.
Appreciating the performance, Fr Thekkel said, “This was a wonderful opportunity for the Bosconians to be familiar with Indian classical music, to appreciate the rich and varied cultural heritage that we have in our country.”
“I am so thrilled to get a chance to watch the maestro play the rudra veena in our school. We, the younger generation, need to admire these classical musical instruments, rather than the noisy Western ones,” Binay Didwania, a Class IX student, said after the show.
The Don Bosco Spic Macay Club in collaboration with Spic Macay, Guwahati chapter, invited the artistes to the school.
Over the past two decades, the Don Bosco Spic Macay Club has hosted greats like Sonal Mansingh, Pt Shiv Kumar Sarma and Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia apart from Kathakali dancers and Sufi singers.
“The objective of inviting musicians to our school is to acquaint the younger generation with Indian classical music and traditional instruments. In May last year, Kathak exponent Mahua Shankar had delivered a lecture-cum-demonstration in our school. In November, a Norwegian quartet was invited to the school, while Chau dancers from Purulia, Bengal performed in December,” Saikh Md Sabah Al-Ahmed, media in-charge of Don Bosco School, Guwahati, told The Telegraph.