Indian education system has "failed" to create good human beings but music has contributed in a big way in bringing together different sections of the society, says Sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan.
"In last sixty years, our education (system) could not make the human being compassionate. It could not do away with hatred or create harmony. Then what has education actually contributed towards the society?" Khan, a 'Padma Vibhushan' recipient, wondered, while speaking to PTI.
Stating that country's education system needs urgent reforms as it failed in achieving its basic objectives, the Sarod legend requested former President and country's missile man APJ Abdul Kalam, HRD Minister Arjun Singh and the leading social activists to come forward in reforming the system for the nation's benefit.
The 62-year-old Khan apprehended that in the absence of an immediate and thorough introspection, the strides achieved by the country could take a backseat.
"The first teaching students should have got is that the almighty is one and only the names for calling him are different. But even this could not be conveyed. Is it not the failure of our system?" Khan, a devout, asked.
On the other hand, music has contributed in a big way in bringing together different sections of society, Khan said, adding across the globe wherever he performs, he requests the religious leaders to give freedom to their followers to use their wisdom to differentiate between the virtuous and the sinful acts.
Replying to a question on the North-South divide in Indian classical music, Khan said he had written letters to different gharanas and ustads saying that the artistes should do away with the words "Hindustani" and "Carnatic" music.
"We should use the term "Indian classical music of the North" and "Indian classical music of the South", said the renowned Sarod artiste who gave his first performance at the age of six in 1951.
"There is no essential difference between classical and popular music. Music is music. I want to communicate with the listener who finds Indian classical music remote," he added.
Taught by his father Hafeez Ali Khan, the musician to the royal family of Gwalior (MP), Khan was born to the illustrious Bangash lineage rooted in the Senia Bangash School of Music.
He said that "the Indian youth is peace loving but they should enjoy harmonious freedom, for which moral education is a must.
"I am performing across the world as an ambassador of the country and I get the same concern from the Indians living abroad. We are working to keep the esteem of the country high," Khan said.
He said that besides him, many others are doing the same service to the nation but they do not get the recognition.
"The real contributors in the society in our country remain unknown and the reason for this is that, even after so many reforms, actually babus (clerks) are ruling the country even today," he said.
The classical musician attributed his success to his wife Shubhalakshmi who has "contributed a lot". Moreover, Khan, who now sees his future in his two sons - Amaan and Ayaan - considers his audience to be the "soul of his motivation".
Amjad Ali Khan has mesmerised audiences at the WOMAD Festival in Adelaide and New Plymouth, Taranaki in New Zealand, WOMAD Rivermead Festival in UK, Edinburgh Music Festival, World Beat Festival in Brisbane, Summer Arts Festival in Seattle, BBC Proms, International Poets Festival in Rome, Shiraz Festival, UNESCO, Hong Kong Arts Festival, Adelaide Music Festival, 1200 Years celebration of Frankfurt and Schonbrunn in Vienna.
He also represented India in the first World Arts Summit in Venice and received Honorary Citizenship to the States of Texas, Massachusetts, Tennessee and the city of Atlanta in the US.
April 20th, has been declared as Amjad Ali Khan Day in Boston, Massachusetts since 1984. In 1995, Khan was awarded the Gandhi UNESCO Medal in Paris for his composition 'Bapukauns'.
He said that he has composed a piece for the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Yoshikazu Fukumora titled Tribute to Hong Kong. He has also composed duets with guitarist Charley Byrd, Violinist Igor Frolov, Suprano Glenda Simpson, Guitarist Barry Mason and UK Cellist Matthew Barley.
BBC Magazine had voted one of his CDs titled "Bhairav" among the best 50 classical albums of the world for the year in 1995.