Sawai Mahotsav hits the wrong note for Sambhaji Brigade

Updated: Dec 18, 2017, 12:23 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh

The group claimed the music festival had resulted in changes to timings of school, and left children unable to play on their ground

A right-wing political group has raised objections to the 65th Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav, one of the most prestigious classical music festivals, which is held for four days in a Pune school every year. While the Mahotsav concluded yesterday, the political group claimed children were unable to play on their school's ground, and even the school's timing was changed due to the festival. The mahotsav, which was held from December 14 to December 17, featured 28 renowned artistes from across India who included veterans as well as nine promising youngsters, who performed for the first time in it.

The Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav held at the New English School, Ramanbaug
The Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav held at the New English School, Ramanbaug

The festival took place at the New English School, Ramanbaug's ground. The timing for the first day was 3 pm to 10 pm. On Saturday the timing was from 3 pm to 12 am, while on Sunday it began at 11 am and went on till 10 pm. On Saturday, the Sambhaji Brigade gave a letter to the principal of the school, raising the objections. Sambhaji Brigade city president Santosh Shinde said, "The ground measures over one acre and the school lent the premises to the organisation behind the festival to create a pandal around 15 days prior to the event. For four days the school timings were also changed. The children could also not play on their ground."

Traffic was also in disorder and more than 100 cars and around 50 bikes were towed due to the Mahotsav. The school authority remained unavailable for comment. However, Shrinivas Joshi, Executive President of the Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal issued a press statement. He said in it, "The Arya Sangeet Prasarak Mandal has been organising the Sawai Gandharva Bhimsen Mahotsav at New English School, Ramanbaug since the past 30 years. Apart from this festival, many other large music events and programmes are organised here primarily because this is a central venue. Considering the growing response to Sawai we always take the help of Pune police for crowd and traffic management. I am happy to say that all the government authorities, including police, have been extremely supportive to the mandal."

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