Veteran artistes from the Benaras gharana are now looking up to Narendra Modi for revival of the glorious musical heritage of the ancient city.
The city that has produced musicians like shehnai maestro late Bismillah Khan, a Bharat Ratna, late sitar legend Pandit Ravi Shankar and thumri queen Girija Devi does not have a state-of-the-art music academy.
And now Padma Bhushan Devi, renowned classical singer Pandit Channulal Mishra, who was Modi’s proposer in the Lok Sabha elections and Khan’s family have expressed hope that Modi as prime minister will take interest in reviving the fortune of the city in the field of music.
“I have been demanding land for music academy in Varanasi since the past 50 years but no government cared for it. I could not get land for the proposed academy. If I was given the land, I would have built a world class academy of music,” 85-year-old Devi told PTI.
“If there would have been such an academy in Varanasi, I would not have gone to Kolkata,” she rued.
She is a faculty at Kolkata-based ITC Music Research Academy. She became the second recipient of Gujarat government’s Tanariri award in 2011 after Lata Mangeshkar and is hopeful that Modi will take the initiative to revive musical tradition of the holy city.
“I will meet him and talk to him about this,” said the legendary singer.
Pandit Mishra also wants a state-of-the-art music academy for the Benaras Gharana in the city which sent Modi to Parliament.
“I hope Modiji will do something for the musical fraternity of Varanasi. The city needs an academy where Thumri, Dadra, Hori, Chaiti, Khyal etc. are taught,” he said.
He also expressed concern over the dearth of talent to take the glorious tradition of Benaras Gharana forward.
“You won’t find many big names in last two or three decades. Artistes learn music in some school or university and then start teaching. They don’t practice and learn thereafter,” he said.