With eminent classical music vocalist Pandit Ulhash Kashalkar as principal, Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay is now running full swing. The opening of the school, spells the realisation of a long cherished ambition of Abul Khair, Chairman of Bengal Foundation-- to open a new horizon of Bangladeshi classical music where Bangladeshi artistes will receive meticulous training in Indian Classical Music under world renowned stalwarts.
Sanjivani Kashalkar, the administrative head of the school, says, “Bangladesh is basically a treasure trove of artistes, Earlier on, there were many great artistes like Vilayat Khan, Ali Akbar Khan and Pandit Ravi Shankar who belonged here. Now for the last three years, Bengal Foundation is organising a festival where so many stalwarts from India are coming and performing. The large audience turnout reveals the Bangladeshi people's love for classical music. People want to learn classical music. There are schools of classical music in Bangladesh, but not in a Guru-Shishya Parampara that is a fertile ground to learn classical music. So, Bengal Foundation is establishing a Gurukul called Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay here.”
Ustad Bahauddin Dagar said, “Thirty students have been selected for kheyal; 40for tabla and nine for dhrupad. Now we are waiting for the instrumental section to come up. So there will be sitar, surbahar and rudra veena in dhrupad style which I will be teaching. Hari ji will be teaching flute, Shivkumar ji will be teaching santoor, Alarmel Valli will be teaching Bharatnatyam. All the gurus will come every month to teach for eight-10 days. During their absence, their senior disciples will take over. The prospects of the school are very bright, because there are many brilliant students in this country. Bengal Foundation deserves a very big hand because without such infrastructure, ambience and positive thinking, the school would not have been possible.”
Pandit Ulhash Kashalkar said, “Bangladesh has produced many world class artistes but guidance in classical music was lacking. Through the efforts of the gurus of the school, we hope to bring back the rich legacy of classical music in Bangladesh.”
Pandit Uday Bhawalkar, who will be teaching dhrupad, said, “We all know that this land has produced so many classical music artistes. I am very honoured, privileged and happy to be here. I must say that the Abul Khair ji, Luva ji and all the people here in Bengal Foundation are so caring and meticulous in their organisation. If you get love and respect, you are happy and will give your best. There are many talented and dedicated students here.”
It is good news for us all that the celebrated stalwarts of classical music are teaching Bangladeshi students at Bengal Parampara Sangeetalay. We hope that the school will bring back the lost pride, heritage and legacy of classical music.