Gwalior, the creative city of music, celebrates a new Guinness record - Hindustan Times
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Gwalior, the creative city of music, celebrates a new Guinness record

Dec 26, 2023 04:08 PM IST

Monday’s feat comes just a month after Gwalior was listed as the Creative City of Music in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in November.

Around 1,300 musicians played Vande Mataram on tabla on Monday to enter the Guinness World Record for the “largest table ensemble” during the ongoing 99th International Tansen Mahotsav in Gwalior.

Gwalior: Tabla player perform at the Taal Darbar program of Tansen festival in Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, Monday, December 25. (PTI)
Gwalior: Tabla player perform at the Taal Darbar program of Tansen festival in Gwalior Fort, Gwalior, Monday, December 25. (PTI)

“[The] musicians have once again brought glory to Gwalior by achieving the ‘Guinness World Record’ by performing together. Congratulations and best wishes to everyone for this achievement,” Union minister Jyotiraditya Scindia, whose family has immensely promoted music for generations, said in a post on X. “Music is a medium to connect our soul with God,” he said in another post.

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The feat comes just a month after Gwalior was designated as the Creative City of Music in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in November. The erstwhile royal family Scindia family is widely credited for promoting the arts, particularly music, over the years.

Musicologist and harmonium player Vaibhav Kunte underlined the role that the family has played. Bhaiya Ganpatrao Shinde (Scindia) of Gwalior (1852-1920) pioneered solo harmonium playing in India. “Using the technique of scale changing (Shadja-Chālan) and combination of various Ragas (Raga Mishran) which is a more familiar task for Harmonium players, he shaped up a new method of improvising Thumari, which was later popularized by famous Thumari singers such as Gauhar Jan, Malka Jan, Moujuddin, Pyara Saheb,” he said.

Tabla players perform at the Tal Darbar program of Tansen Mahotsav at Gwalior Fort, in Gwalior (PTI)
Tabla players perform at the Tal Darbar program of Tansen Mahotsav at Gwalior Fort, in Gwalior (PTI)

Musician Abhay Dubey said the family promoted Khayal singing.

When it comes to benefaction and supporting music, Gwalior became a state of high order with enormous prestige, particularly during the reign of Maharaja Jayaji Rao Scindia. He also learnt Indian classical music, practised under the guidance of Ustad Hassu Khan and Haddu Khan and learnt to play the Sitar from Ustad Amir Khan.

In his book ‘Bhartiya Sangeet ke Mahan Sangeetkar : Shankar Pandit’, Tushar Pandit said that “Jayaji Rao (Scindia) king of Gwalior once escorted Ustad Haddu Hassu, Nathu Khan to Jaipur, where both the singers presented an unparallel art of vocal music. “Ustad Hassu Khan’s disciples Pandit Ramakrishnabuwa Dev and Pandit Vasudeorao Joshi were appointed as court singers by Maharaja Scindia to promote music in the Gwalior court,” he said in the book.

Maharaja Jayajirao Scindia’s son Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia took forward his legacy of supporting musicians and was instrumental in the foundation of a music college - Shri Madhav Music School” in Gwalior.

Arunansh B. Goswami, head of Scindia Research Centre, said Pandit Bhatkande, a renowned musician, took the initiative to establish the music college and met the then king of Gwalior Madho Rao Scindia in Bombay. After visiting the music college established by Pt. Bhatkande at the Fort area in Bombay, Madho Rao invited him to Ganeshotsav in Shivpuri.

“During his participation in the Bhajan week in Shivpuri, he was quite impressed by the musical talent of Maharaja Scindia who sang bhajans during the Ganeshotsav. After the Ganeshotsav, Maharaja Scindia made a committee to plan the establishment of a music college in Gwalior with the help of Pt. Bhatkande,” he said, adding the college was set up in 1918.

Maharaja Madho Rao Scindia’s son Maharaja Jiwajirao Scindia developed an interest in music too, his wife former Rajmata of Gwalior and one of the founding members of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), Vijaya Raje Scindia, recalled their passion for listening to music in her autobiography.

Madhya Pradesh chief minister Mohan Yadav, who received the Guinness World Records certificate at the event on Monday, said December 25 will be celebrated as Tabla Day every year in Madhya Pradesh.

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