Music is like meditation, says Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia

Sipping on his evening tea, he chatted on India’s young classical musicians and music culture. Excerpts.

Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, flautist

Busy as a bee
This period from September to March is a hectic one for me. I have been travelling all over India and abroad in the past few weeks. I would like to thank God for keeping me in good health. I believe that a person should lead a disciplined life but the rest is in the hands of the Almighty. From my side, I try to eat on time and get enough sleep. That's all.

In tune with the times
I believe that if our young classical musicians had a chance, they would only showcase pure classical music. They would love to play what their gurus taught them. However, fusion is a better option for them as the corporate world is a huge fan of the concept of fusion. They easily agree to sponsor shows which allows the young brigade to earn their livelihood which is equally crucial. I am huge fan of India's young classical musicians who are hugely talented and knowledgeable. We didn’t have half the skill at their age.

Healing touch
Over the years, I used to see audiences in the US and Europe loving Indian classical music. Lately, I have seen that people from the Middle East too have started showing interest in our traditional music. When I performed there recently, a member of the audience told me that though he didn't understand the ragas, what he loved was the fact that this music put him in a trance. It was like meditation. We need this sense of harmony in our country now, especially with the violence around us.

A wakeup call
I feel that the government needs to step up if it wants the art of Indian classical music to survive and flourish. It would be great if they would nominate a artiste i.e. a well-known name from a state and give him or her the task of encouraging music in schools. He or she could select teachers, organise classes and assist in holding city, state and national level concerts. When a big artiste gets involved, the media interest also increases, which is imperative in modern times. Look at the manner in which cricket has been promoted across the length and breath of the country. We can do a similar thing with music if people at the helm take the right kind of initiatives.

A matter of sensibility
A lot of directors come to me with the request of composing music for their films. I am open to the idea, provided the storyline and filmmaker’s sensibilities appeals to me. I feel sad when I realise that most of the modern songs don’t have much recall value unlike the melodies made in the ’50-60s’.  

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