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UP's ancient musical instruments going extinct

india Updated: Oct 05, 2010 08:37 IST
Akanksha Sarraff
Akanksha Sarraff
Hindustan Times
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UP's ancient musical instruments going extinct Akanksha Sarraff

Varanasi: This more than hundred-year-old music organization 'Kashi Sangeet Samaj' possesses the old and rare musical instruments that used to adore mehfils of music.

These rare musical instruments that are now on the verge of extinction, are still safe in the store of Kashi Sangeet Samaj situated at Chowkhambha area in cultural city Varanasi from ages.

More than 150-year-old rare 18 musical instruments including 'Israj', 'Kashyap Veena', 'Rudraveena', 'Dilruba', 'Majeera', 'Surbharati' are still in the museum of institution.

Famous musician Pt Vishnunarayan Bhatkhande and Pt Vishnu Digambar Pulaskar have been associated with this old musical institution that was established in 1906.

Among these instruments, there are three instruments made by famous artist Lakhpat Yadav who used to sing in the court of Maharaj Kashi Raj includes a rare Tanpura structured like the crocodile face, Surbahar and Israj.

GC Company's Paris reed and scale changer Harmonium is also in store of the collection of this institution. Famous artists of Gwalior Ganpat Rao Bhaiyaji, Shyam Lal Khatri (Kolkata) and many other renowned vocalists and musicians have performed in this harmonium.

“The instruments started coming in our store as many renowned artists have been associated with the institution and some of them have been purchased from other sources,” said Rastogi.

There is also a Tabla that has a quality to give the sound of Mridung (a musical instrument), Majeera (which was used to show the raag while singing Dhrupad Dhamar) and many other musical instruments.

“It is very difficult to preserve these instruments. They need maintenance within one or two years. We don't have any government aid to preserve these musical instruments, as it's very costly to bear the maintenance charges. We have to call artisans from Kolkata to mend these instruments on our own cost,” added Rastogi.

In spite of no support from the government, Kashi Sangeet Samaj still organizes time-to-time musical shows.

“Now the artists are not here to perform with these musical instruments. Some of the instruments need more Riyaaz (practice) and strength to perform,” said Rastogi.

“Very soon, the organization is planning to exhibit the instrument collection in Bharat Kala Bhawan, Banaras Hindu University with the name of 'Dharohar'. We are talking to BHU officials and within one or two months, instruments will be showcased. Last time in 1996, we organized an exhibition of these musical instruments,” said Krishna Kumar Rastogi, Convener of the organization.