There was a hilarious incident that took place in SRA when I was there. We used to organize event called ‘Jhalapala’. In the performing artists all the artists who were known for their singing or Tabla playing or some other you know forte, they were supposed to switch roles and do something else like a singer was supposed to dance, a table player supposed to sing or vice versa. So the hall was full when we organized this in 1998 I think or 1999. Because Mr. Kichlu was there, was still director of SRA at that time.
Mr. Kichlu we discovered that he was trained by none other than UdayShankarji in his Almora ashram. As a boy he had learnt how to dance. Earlier also I had heard from Deepalidi, Deepali Nag that once they had done Shah Jahan and Anarkali soDeepalidihad become Anarkali and Mr. Kichlu was Shah Jahan. Sorry Jahangir and Anarkali. So on this day we requested Mr. Kichlu to present an item. He said that – ‘I’ll show you how Ram walks, his dignified way of carrying himself and how Sita walks’. And it was fantastic, it was really fantastic. He was in plain white pajama kurta, but then one could see that Sita is walking, lifting her lehenga, covering her head with curni. It was very nicely done.
Then Ustad Rashid Khan was asked to sing sorry asked to dance in given item odissi. He very nicely gave a tribhangi mudra and I was singing the item for him Pallavi and he tried to copy Pratima Bediji. Then there was Pandit Lakshmi Narayan Mishra. He is a veteran Tabla player. He said that he wants to sing Thumri. So he came and sang beautiful Thumri for all of us. AnandaGopalBandopadhyay, he also sang Thumri in that. He is a wonderful singer. Incidentally he is the disciple of Mahadev Prasad Mishraji who used to teach Tabla and Thumri. And Anandada learnt Tabla from him and Thumrihis one of the best known disciples was Vidusi Purnima Chowdhury.
There were many other artists also who were associated with SRA’s activities. One of them was Tanmoy Bose, the aced tabla player. He was asked to present an item and he came up with BirjuMaharajji’s way of talking or doing the Kathakata while dancing. After dance naturally one gets breathless. So Tanmoy presented that so beautifully, you know, catching his breath and then again saying some words…it was beautifully presented. There were so many artists there and we all enjoyed you know, you want artist name like Arun Bhaduri was there, Deepalidi was there, Purnima Sen, then Ullhasji was there I remember and the younger artists were there, all the scholars were there who would learning from various Gurus. There was Ustad Abdul Rashid Khan Sahab. He is well-known poet, everybody knows. His way of reciting the gazals, I am saying reciting not singing…that was also fantastic. So he recited his self-composed gazals and that was also…it still clings on my mind.
Note:- In this recording Jyoti Goho has referred to his Guru Pandit A.T.Kanan as Guruji. Here he has also mentioned A.N.Haksar (Ajit Narain Haksar) as a Director of ITC Sangeet Research Academy. Actually Mr. A.N. Haksar was the Chairman of ITC Sangeet Research Academy – Editor
It was the year 1985. Nisar Hussain Khan, the grandfather of Rashid Khan was the Guru of S. R. A. (Sangeet Research Academy). NisarHussain Khan was to be awarded the Bhuwalka Award, and it was decided that he would also sing at the Award Ceremony. My Guru encouraged me to play the Harmonium with him, and I agreed.
Nisar Hussain Khan used to sit on a high stool while performing, because he couldn’t sit with his legs folded owing to his old age. He was running on his 83rd or 84th year at that time. The program started and he asked me on stage to play the note for tuning other instrument accordingly. Thus I began to follow him with the Harmonium, suddenly he asked me to play it softly, said, “Why are you playing it so loud? Play it softly.” So I tuned the Hamonium to play it softly. He again interrupted and said. “No no. You are playing it too loud. Slow it down…” Amidst this, the Tanpura was also tuned and Nisar Khan started singing. In between songs, he would ask me to play softer. It was not that I was playing it very loud, but still he kept on insisting that I play it softly. He was renowned musician after all and also the Grandfather of Rashid… and I too was a bit intimidated.
At one point, I was playing the harmonium so low, that I myself was unable to hear it. But even then, he found it to be too loud. At the end of the program, my Guruji, who happened to be a South Indian, came to me and scolded me in broken Bangla, complaining that my harmonium was not audible at all. He said, “Are you mad or what! What were you playing up there? We couldn’t even hear you play the harmonium!” I told him that it was Nisar Khan, who himself had asked me to play it softly. Guruji said, “Yes, I had noticed that he was instructing you about something, but couldn’t make it what he was asking for…”
Later the Tabla player, Aslam Khan revealed to us that Nisar Hussain Khan had his hearing aid on high volume. His son in law was Gulam Akhbar Khan and his son was Julfikar, who had told the Tabla player about this. Since the volume of the hearing aid was pitched very high on the side where I was sitting, NisarHussain Khan always felt that I was being too loud. Later, I had also told Rashid about this incident, and he too assured me that this had happened a lot of times in the past as well. Rashid also told me that at home, when Nisar Khan would have his morning tea, he gets very irritated at the crows screeching outside, though the noise wasn’t that unbearable. He would also get angry at the crows and ask others to scare them off.
A. Throughout this recording Jyoti Goho has addressed Pandit Bhimsen Joshi as Panditji. B. The incident happened after 15 days of ITC-SRA Music Program in memory of Ustd. Nisar Hussain Khan in 1994. – Editor
When Gurujifirst came to Kolkata, he stayed in a house as a paying guest which was in 20C, NilmaniMitra Street, close to Darjipara. He was there for few days. It was on his initial days in Kolkata,probably during 1944-45. Then he moved from that place to someone’s house in Bowbazar. The landlord of that house was a lover of music and dance and often visited at classical concerts. So when that man had a discussion about keeping Guruji as paying guest, the man did not like the fact of having an atmosphere of music in his own house, the fact that someone will sing and he will be seen, though the owner himself visited concerts. So, Gurujiknew that the man did not like to have an atmosphere of music in his house.
The gentleman had asked Guruji if he was into music. Then Guruji had replied “No, no I don’t do all that” otherwise the man would not had let him stay. So finally the man had let Guruji stay. Now, Guruji had to practice or he atleast need to something, how to do that now? So, when the gentleman used to go out of the house, in that house there was water pump, so when the pump used to start then a musical sound used to come out of it, at that time Guruji used to practice a bit. He used to practice completely in a naked voice. Other than that he could not practice at all. In the meantime when it was going on like that, one fine day the gentleman told Guruji that there was a whole night concert, “Would you like to go with me?” Guruji said, “Yes”. Then he took him to the concert.
That was Pathuriaghata Street, house of ManmathaNathGhosh. The concert was held there. First was Bade Ghulam Ali Khan Sahab, then was Ravi Shankarji. Both of them did it half-half, whole. At first was Bade Ghulam Ali’s vocal. Everybody was sitting in the hall room wearing Punjabi and dhoti, on those days mug dhoti, and all were lover of music. Guruji was sitting beside the gentleman. When Ghulam Ali Khansahab’s performance was over suddenly Guruji was saying to the gentleman, and before that he noticed that ManmathNathBabu, who happens to be the owner of that place was coming and talking to the gentleman few times. Guruji thought that Manmath nath Babu must be a friend of the gentleman.
(Guruji asked) – “Well, will you please let me sing here? He is a great friend of yours. Could you please kindly request him to let me sing here?” The gentleman said – “You will sing here. What are you saying? Shut up! .Ghulam Ali Khansahab has sung here and you will sing after that. Yes, don’t speak at all. You have come with me so just quietly be seated.” The gentleman got angry and was shouting. In the meantime Manmatha Nath babu was passing that place. Manmatha Nath babu stood and enquired “What’s the matter? What happened?” Meanwhile, some interview was going on and few people from the audience had gone out to have some tea. The gentleman said “Look! This boy is just desperate. He is constantly saying that he will sing. He has never listened to songs, nothing, now he is saying that he will sing”. ManmathaNathbabu said “Does he want to sing? Alright, he can sing but only 10 minutes. People are having tea now. Let him sing for 10 minutes. What’s the problem? But not more than 10 minutes, Ravi Shankarji will sit after that. Guruji said, “ Yes, 10 minutes will be enough”. He agreed. Now, the accompanists who played with Ghulam Ali Khansahab, all of them denied. They said that they don’t know him and what they would play. They said “ Nahi, nahi, hum log nahi bajayenge”. All of them were denying. So a tabla player from the same para who came to see the concert and well known to the gentleman was being told to accompany with him. He was told, “Play with him, he is saying he will sing and all” . Only a tanpura was put in sync, there was no other instrument, a tanpura and a tabla. He sang the Malkauns which he had heard from Abdul Karim Khan sahab. He completed it within 10 minutes. As soon as he finished, all people were extremely, not only when he finished rather when he had begun then only within 2- 1 minute people started coming in with their tea cups and sat quietly. And audience of those days were quite socialist. They were sitting and quietly listening. And after listening they started developing a curiosity “Where did he come from? What is the matter? Such a great voice”. People started going in front of the stage and started asking him, “What is your father’s name?.Guruji’s father ‘s name was quite known to the people on those days. Audience said, “Oh, you are his son!” Ghulam Ali Khan sahab was on backstage . Ghulam Ali Khan asked the organizer to bring the person in front of him whoever was singing. He did not see Guruji then. Then Guruji went in front of him. Ghulam Ali Khan praised Guruji and said “Your voice is very nice and your taans are very clean. You will do well.” He said all that.
This is wonderful incident that he showed the courge to sing after Ghulam Ali Khansab’s performance. And after Guruji’s performance the gentleman was quite proud. The gentleman said “Yes. He lives in my house.” Actually, everybody was enquiring “Who brought him? From where?”. The gentleman felt very proud.