Sarod Maestro Amjad Ali Khan dwells on pandemic, education, music at virtual Mysuru Literature Festival-2020
Mysore/Mysuru: The ‘Wafts of Melody’ virtual session last evening held as part of the fifth day of Mysuru Literature Festival-2020 that had Sarod Maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan on the panel was a mixture of topics from music, education, family time and COVID lockdown.
The Festival is hosted by Mysuru Literary Forum and Charitable Trust and Mysuru Book Clubs – 2015 and last evening’s session was hosted by writer Roopa Pai. Chairperson of Mysuru Literary Forum and Charitable Trust Shubha Sanjay Urs was present. Roopa Pai is a computer engineer by profession, a journalist and children’s author by passion.
The session started off on a high note with Roopa Pai introducing the legend as a ‘National Treasure.’ Then on, the conversation flowed just like ragas wafting out of the Ustad’s Sarod — beautiful and effortless. He said he connects to God through music, “Swar hi Ishwar Hai” for it cannot be manipulated.
“Divine music brings peace and unifies the whole world. A musician surrenders to God. There is no difference between Hindustani and Karnatak styles. Music is music, only the approach differs. What is ‘Raag Bhoopali’ in Hindustani is ‘Raag Mohanam’ in Karnatak,” he said.
During the course of conversation, the Ustad opined that there was a need to redefine education. To prove his point, the maestro said that it was unfortunate that the most educated become communal or radical. “We need to ask what education did to them. It is sad that people kill each other in the name of religion. How did their education not reform them to respect each other’s faith,” he questioned.
“There is violence because we don’t respect each other and individual faith. Education must encourage creative students and their talent and teachers should dedicate one hour each day to interact with students to discuss love, compassion and contribution of one’s parents to their lives. Books are not everything,” he opined.
Amjad Ali Khan also spoke about the Sarod Ghar he set up in Gwalior on the lines of Beethoven House in Germany and was ever thankful to Infosys Foundation Chairperson Sudha Murty for taking over the maintenance of Sarod Ghar.
To a question from one of the viewer, “Is it important for an instrumentalist to sing?” he said, “I sing through my Sarod” and when asked what is more important to be a successful musician — talent or hard work, he said success has no logic but ‘Sadhana’ is most important.
Speaking about lockdown due to COVID pandemic, the Ustad said that he enjoyed being with his family, especially grandchildren and he also spent time practicing and discovering new melodies. “Lockdown was a boon in disguise for me personally. I could spend more time with family, sons and grandsons. The lockdown was able to control COVID-19 spread and at my house, all the children were attracted towards Sarod. I have to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for this,” he said.
A loving husband and a doting father, the maestro said that every parent should encourage creativity in their children and instil moral values in them. As a final message, he appealed to viewers to respect all religions as there is only one God and to work towards universal peace and love.