Dhrupad is one of the earliest extant musical forms of India. Derived from Dhruvapada, Dhrupad is believed to have descended from the genre of Pravandhasangeet, which derives the Sama Veda as its ultimate and primal source. However, the form has become one of the rarest in modern India, with only a handful of dedicated practitioners. Even within the ambit of classical music, it has lost out in popularity to khayal and thumri, and other arguably later forms of expression. Of the four original dhrupad schools of vanis, only Dagarvaani, or the school of the Dagars have continued as an unbroken chain for the last seven hundred years.
Daagarvaani is descended from Gopal Nayak, son of Miyan Tansen, and thus can be traced back to Akbar’s court. However, the credit of finalizing and formalizing the structural enunciation of dhrupad goes to Man Singh, the maharaja of Jaipur, and the exponents of his court. His treatise ‘Mankutuhal’ is considered to be the most authoritative enunciation on the subject.
We considered it as a part of our duty to acquaint the youth of today with this profound and ancient cultural heritage. With this idea in mind, the college organized the Malhar Festival on 4th September, 2018, which comprised a lecture demonstration and a performance of dhrupad in its true and unadulterated form. Vidushi Ashoka Dhar Nandy, one of the chief dhrupad practitioners of Bengal, and long time disciple of Ustad Amin Nasiruddin Khan Dagar was invited to preside over the program. The program was enthusiastically attended by the students of the college, as well as musical and cultural enthusiasts from other institutions and occupations.
The program was inaugurated by an introductory speech by the Principal, Dr. Santanu Chakraborty, who invited Vidushi Dhar Nandy on behalf of the cultural committee of the college. At 10:00 AM , ensued an hour long orientation in Naad Yoga, and ancient meditative technique which was delivered for the benefit of the students of the college. Naad Yoga is believed to be a holistic physical and mental training practiced in India since ancient times for the development of being. It is believed that concentration, memory and analytical faculties are amply developed through this practice, and it also imparts mental peace which is necessary in this fast paced time of ours. This was followed by a workshop of dhrupad which was well attended by students with initial musical training and also general enthusiasts. It was held on Raga Bhairava, one of the seminal ragas of the Indian classical system.
The afternoon post lunch session was characterized by a performance by Vidushi Ashoka Dhar Nandy, which remained a memorable experience for all present. She presented a dhrupad on Raag Multani, followed by compositions on ragas devoted to rain like Megh, Desh and Jaijawanti, in keeping with the motif and name of the festival. The program was drawn to a close by a composition of Vande Mataram in Raaga Megh, composed by Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Khan Dagar.
Images of the workshop and the dignitaries with the Principal and Faculties of Government General Degree College, Singur