Songs from Bollywood movies become chartbusters, whereas those sung using similar ragas in Indian classical, often go unnoticed. “It is because we don’t simplify a bandish or raga for the younger generation, to understand and develop interest in Indian classical,” says Dr Sarita Pathak Yajurvedi.
At a recent lecture demonstration by the artist at India Habitat Centre, the parallels drawn between literature and music became the talking point. Yajurvedi says, “Before we begin teaching India classical music, it becomes important to make the students understand the meaning of words. For example, in the bandish Jhanan jhanan tori baaje painjaniya, the language used is Braj. One needs to imagine Krishna wearing anklet that tinkles when he takes baby steps.”
The classical singer is the head of department of music at Bharati College, Delhi University (DU). She says that when students come to her to learn, she tries to ask them: “Which emotion does a popular Hindi movie song evoke in their mind? This needs to be understood even in the context of Indian classical compositions. In comes the role of literature in helping youngsters understand music. If Hindi literature and Indian classical music are studied together, it is much easier to decipher how a poetry can be sung in a raga.”
She adds that the new generation wants everything that’s instant but classical music needs patience and hence, there are not many takers for it. “People think Indian classical music is difficult and thus, it becomes a kind of danger zone. But nobody tries to decipher its grammar. We need to simplify the grammar, if we have to attract youngsters to Indian classical music.”