World has embraced sitar as their own: Pandit Gaurav Mazumdar in Ludhiana

By, Ludhiana
Nov 08, 2023 06:34 AM IST

Pandit Gaurav Mazumdar, a sitar maestro, is set to compose music for a ballet based on Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha". He says that the sitar is embraced by the world and foreign musicians would take offence if it were claimed as Indian. He credits the renewed popularity of classical music to its inclusion in schools and colleges. He advises children and music enthusiasts to work hard to pursue a career in the field. Dr Vinod Kumar Mishra, a tabla maestro, also spoke of his journey as a musician and the impact of digitization on widening the base of listeners.

Set to compose music for a ballet based on Nobel laureate Herman Hesse’s “Siddhartha”, Pandit Gaurav Mazumdar, says the world has embraced the Indian classical instrument sitar as their own.

Dr Vinod Kumar Mishra (left) and Pandit Gaurav Mazumdar during a classical music performance at the Kundan Vidya Mandir Civil Lines. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
Dr Vinod Kumar Mishra (left) and Pandit Gaurav Mazumdar during a classical music performance at the Kundan Vidya Mandir Civil Lines. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Pandit Mazumdar, who was in the city on Tuesday for a performance at KundanVidya Mandir, Civil Lines, goes as far as saying that foreign musicians would take offence if we were to claim sitar as Indian. He was accompanied by tabla maestro Dr Vinod Kumar Mishra.

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Born into a family of well-known musicians of Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh, said classical music has renewed popularity in recent time. He credits it to the subject being taken seriously in schools and colleges and students doing well in the field.

He advised children and music enthusiasts to put in hard work in pursuit of a career in the field.

The sitar maestro who had performed at major festivals both in India and abroad shared his journey, saying that he started out as a violin player before legendary musician Pandit Ravi Shankar encouraged him to play sitar in 1985. He learnt sitar for seven years and started performing.

From tin-made Dhol to perfection

Doctor Vinod Kumar Mishra is a first generation musician who opted for the road less travelled amid his family pushing him to pursue a career in medicine.

Mishra, who has been enthralling the audience with the tabla for decades, said digitisation has provided a platform to budding musicians and singers by widening the base of listeners or “kaansens”.

He added that a listener wanting to hear “Raag Bhairavi’ or any other form of classical music can do so using the internet. Hooked, they would go on to buy a ticket to a music concert near them for an even more enhanced experience.

Speaking of his journey, Mishra said he picked up music at the age of three. His father identified his talent as he tapped to perfection after picking up the rhythm during a baraat procession and made him a dholak using empty tins.

“I started playing the dholak in kirtans. People would visit to see a five-year-old boy beating a dholak to perfection. While playing at a temple, the priest gifted me a set of tabla, which a devotee had donated. Following his advice, my father sent me to Shiv Onkar Nath, who was my first ‘guru’,” he added.

He recalled running away from practice sessions as a kid only to develop an interest and passion for music that has grown with each passing day.

The duo enthralled the students, teachers with classical music in a concerned organized by Spic Macay.


    Tarsem Singh Deogan is a senior reporter at Ludhiana. He has 16 years of experience in journalism. He has covered all beats and now focuses on crime reporting.

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