I’ll pass it all on to young ones | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 29, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:47 AM, March 29, 2021

I’ll pass it all on to young ones

Says Pandit Ajay Chakrabarty about his knowledge on music

Dreaming of taking this part of the world at the highest echelon in the global stage, Pandit Ajoy Chakrabarty plans to pass on his wealth of knowledge to young musicians of Bangladesh and India.

The classical music maestro said music should be taught to every child in schools to help them develop discipline and the sense of humanity.

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"At this age, I dream that the people of Bangladesh and India would reach the highest position in the music industry. I want to do something for them in the next 10 years," Ajoy Chakrabarty told The Daily Star in an exclusive interview at a city hotel yesterday.

The famous Patiala-Kasur gharana torch bearer also urged everyone to help achieve this dream, adding that music makes people perfect and pure and helps develop a sense of aesthetic.

Starting his career as a performing artist of the Patiala gharana, Chakrbarty, however, did not confine himself in one particular genre.

The 68-yrear-old champion vocalist and trainer said talent is aplenty in this part of the world. 

"There are a number of young talented singers but they need proper training. It is our duty to keep them alive in the music industry," he said, adding that the young talents of Bangladesh are not interested in working hard.

"If they work hard, they will take the lead in world music. Unfortunately, the young talents are not aware of their own abilities," he said, adding that Bangladesh is the land of music, especially instrumentals. "This is the place where Baba Alauddin Khan was born."

Reflecting on his struggles, Chakrabarty said his father was a primary school teacher and his family could not eat even just two meals a day until he was 16.

"My father earned Tk 54.50 at that time and it was insufficient to bear the expenses of our family. I used to sell kantha [quilts] door-to-door, on my bicycle, to earn some extra money," Chakrabarty recalled. 

A composer, lyricist and trainer, he got admitted to Rabindra Bharati University with scholarship and gained first position in his BA and MA.

He said that his father supported him unconditionally to build his career as a musician.

Recipient of the Padma Bhushan Award, the third highest civilian award in India in 2020, Ajoy said, "I got a job in a bank. But my father tore apart the appointment letter and said 'if my son earns one taka through music, it is ok but through other means will not be acceptable'."

He said when he realised that hard work is required to reach a different level, he started practicing for 14-15 hours a day and continued this for seven years.

"And it paid off. I never looked back after that. There is no alternative to hard work."

The legendary Indian classical vocalists said music develops consciousness which is very important for a person to see the bigger picture.

"Concentration gives you an extra power to develop your inner vision through your consciousness. If we close our eyes, we can see a bigger sky. So, to develop inner vision, music is a must."

He also treasures his memories with former Indian president and renowned scientist APJ Abdul Kalam.

"I will take one month off. I will come and will sit in the corner and learn music from Ajoy Ji. Because I like his music. I will have a month off from my duty," Chakrabarty said quoting Kalam, who was visiting Shrutinandan to mark its 10 years celebration.

He said all the famous people crave for music.

"At one stage of life, they realise the frequency of perfection needed to celebrate a fulfilling life," he said.

Asked why Shastriya Sangeet (classical music) is not popular among the masses, Chakrabarty, who was trained under legendary musician Pandit Gyan Prakash Ghosh, said the main issue is time constrains.

"People love to see the Tajmahal but they have less interest in how it was built. It is a natural phenomenon for the common people not to go deeper into anything," he explained.

He said musicians' ego and decision not to teach the masses also played a role.

"Some do not want to teach others. It is a wrong way to look at things. The other point is that people have become too commercial. They are busy for their bread and butter and not many are interested in the amount of time that requires to learn the art."

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