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Pt Joshi’s loss marks end of musical era

With the passing away of the renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, the voice of Indian classic music has fallen silent marking the end of an era (news report, Jan 25). Pandit ji will always be remembered as the icon of the Indian classical music world. The maestro, a classical singer par excellence, remained popular without being populist, a purist who rendered the nuances of raagas with great tenderness. A practitioner of the Kirana gharana school of Hindustani classical music, Joshi will be known for his rendition of khayals and devotional music including abhangs and kirtans and to possess the singular ability to make ragas come alive and having the felicity to reach out to both the connoisseurs and the not so discerning.

The legend was a traditionalist to the core and never compromised with the purity of his sound, yet was a path-breaking vocalist in his own right. While his command over his dozen-odd favourite ragas like Todi, Yaman and Kalyan, was exceptional, he created new ragas like Kalashree, Lalit Bhatiyar and Marwa Shree as well. His daswanis are as popular in Kannada households as his santwanis are in Marathi homes.

One of his biggest contributions to music has been the Sawai Gandharva music festival, which he founded in 1952 in the memory of his guru and personally managed till 2002. Panditji was a tireless innovator and experimenter. Though a prominent and popular performer, his forays into playback singing have been few and far between. Blessed with a full-throated voice that could effortlessly traverse three octaves, he held his listeners captive wherever he performed. Few, not even fellow musicians, could grudge him the accolades including the Tansen Samman, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the ultimate civilian honour, Bharat Ratna, that came his way. His death in Pune on Monday, just short of his 89th birthday next month, may seem to mark the end of an era, but he would remain a shiningexample for a long time to come. A journey spanning decades of unswerving devotion to ‘saat swar’, Bhimsen Joshi’s was a life that musical history is made of. As in life, so in death, he will continue to inspire generations of classical musicians. In the present divisive scenario will the Indian society and the political parties harping on different tunes pay heed to his song “mile sure mera tumhara, to sur bane hamara”?

DILBAG RAI, Chandigarh

No spent force

R.K.Kapoor’s letter “Young brigade rules T20 format”(Jan 17)  not only supports the humiliation meted to the “spent force” Sourav Ganguly by the franchisees, he is also of the opinion that young blood has the ability to fire and score maximum runs in T20 cricket! But the irony lies in the fact that Sourav not only emerged as the fourth-highest scorer in IPL 2010 by aggregating 493 runs at a brilliant average of 37.92, he also simply dwarfed the reigning young superstars Dhoni, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Gambhir and scores of others.

Among the young blood, only Suresh Raina fared marginally better than Sourav, that too because he played a couple of more matches. Mr Kapoor should get his facts right.


Language bias

The editorial “Festival of literature” (Jan 28) has rightly highlighted the poor position of the Hindi writers, in comparison to the writers in the English language. This, despite the fact that Hindi writers attracted more heads at the Jaipur Literary Festival sessions than their English counterparts, and “the copies printed in Hindi outnumber the English print many times over”.

The editorial rightly attributed the reasons for the lower gradation of Hindi writers to the “lack of jingle of coins”.

However, this monetary bias is not the sole preserve of the book publishing industry. It prevails in the media also. A comparison between what English newspapers pay to its contributors and what the Hindi/Punjabi contributors get would explain the point.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

Foreign lure

The news report “Destitute Punjabis dot London streets”(Jan 28) by Shyam Bhatia is an eye-opener and has portrayed the pathetic condition of Punjabis (including Sikhs) on the streets of London. For a state like Punjab where everyone is obsessed with going to foreign shores, this report should serve as a good lesson. Punjabis were (or maybe are) known for their valour and hard work but today they are ready to go to any extent just to get a visa. No matter what a person does in Punjab he or she wants to go abroad and is even ready to do all kind of menial jobs on foreign shores.

Numerous Punjabis are trapped in Gulf countries; many are transported like animals across borders. But still we do not want to learn from these incidents. To make matters worse we have a large number of unscrupulous agents who mislead gullible Punjabis in the garb of a secure future abroad.

It is easy to blame the government, lack of jobs and mis-governance. But where is the Punjabi spirit of fighting back, hard work and valour? I hope these qualities have not migrated to Canada


Jats’ dilemma

I think The Tribune echoes the sentiments of the majority of the city and town dwellers when it says, “Jat stir turns into a public nightmare.”(editorial, “Holding Haryana to ransom, Jan 26). Many people in the state feel that the Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda’s soft attitude towards Jats has obviously emboldened them to take the law into their hands. They feel that Jats are not ready to respect even the law of the land and the decisions of the courts and their aggressive and overbearing attitude is reflecting in the frequent road blockades and disruptions of train services. Many people in the media and our society also presume that the Jats don’t have any valid reasons to go on an agitation, as they happen to be economically prosperous and socially dominant.

I would like to add that it is not right to project Jats as ‘traditional oppressors’.

In fact, with all our sympathy and concern for the victims of Mirchpur violence, we must try to understand the deep disillusionment and disenchantment of the Jats with the present day social realities. They are still socially and politically dominant, but economically they find themselves pushed to the periphery of society because of burgeoning unemployment and ever-shrinking land holdings.

They have been traditionally cultivating land and their proverbial aversion to business is well-known. Therefore, the state government must provide gainful employment to the rural youth in large numbers if it expects the Jats and other farming communities to remain peaceful in Haryana.




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