TABLA MAESTRO Pandit Kishan Maharaj still enjoys his daily three-hour ‘riyaz’. At 84, Panditji teaches four-five students. But is the resonating vibration of the tabla beats that keeps him mentally and physically agile.
“From my childhood I have had the habit of eating less. This has helped me a lot,” he says. Reminiscing about his childhood he says, “My father used to churn out some music in the afternoon and used to ask me to make it unique. For my efforts I used to be rewarded with either Re 1 or Rs 2. With the money earned, I used to buy rasgullas and distribute them to all children in the colony. Even today, if you go to Kashi, people know me by the name of Malik.”
Observing that classical music had undergone many changes, he said, “The traditional notes of music should not be tampered with. I don’t understand why the age-old Ragas and ‘taals’ are being distorted. Let the old remain as it is.”
“Music is the pathway to attain Moksha. Sangeet is the easiest way to reach God.” Panditji has also played tabla in a few films like Badi Ma, Ravi Shankar’s Neecha Nagar and Ali Akbar Khan’s Aandhiyan. “I particularly liked the music of Lekin, Umrao Jaan (the old one) and Rehman’s rendition of Vande Mataram.”
“I, however feel that today 80 per cent people sing without any ‘sur’. Only 20 per cent deliver soulful renditions.” So what’s on his agenda next? “I am 84 and perhaps by 85 I will take sanyas from tabla. I also intend to write a book on tabla. Many books have been penned on tabla, but all have many errors. I want to rectify those errors.”
Panditiji will perform at Ravindra Bhavan on Monday as part of the two-day programme Anushruti.