"A Guru is not a mere person, but a concept"
Eminent vocalist, composer and lyricist, Pandit Ajoy Chakraborty, whose musical career spans more than four decades, has set himself an epitome in the Hindustani Classical music fraternity. Although the doyen belongs to the Patiala-Kasur Gharana, he can equally and boldly demonstrate his proficiency in other classical styles of India as well including those of Agra, Jaipur, Kirana, Delhi and Rampur. The Guru also stands distinguished when it comes to his performance in Carnatic music of South India. On the occasion of 'Delhi Classical Music Festival' held in the capital, Millennium Post speaks to the maestro who shares his experiences of his performances with his daughter, his musical journey with his Gurus, who he draws his inspiration from and his teachings he passed on to his disciples.
Share your learning experiences with your father, late Shri Ajit Kumar Chakraborty, and your teachers Shri Pannalal Samanta, Shri Kanaidas Bairagi and Shri Jnan Prakash Ghosh
Music has no certificate and a Guru is not a mere person, but a concept. By this statement, I feel that a teacher is one who unconditionally loves his student and instills knowledge in his or her mind demanding nothing in return. With the passage of time,I have realised that my gurujis are my Almighty who have all taken me out from darkness and shown me the path of enlightenment. A Guru is one with whom you develop the thirst for knowledge. With their teachings and ideologies, I could cultivate the inquisitiveness in me and enroot the idea of self criticism in music. This is how I understood the true meaning of music and am still exploring.
You have trained your daughter Kaushiki since the very beginning. And today, she is an accomplished artist. So how does it feel to see her grow and shine in her career?
I had a strong belief from day one that Kaushiki is a woman blessed with boundless talents and that she would attain success. I knew that she will add seven stars in her performances one day. The entire concept of music (nuances, pitch, tone, texture, structure, dynamics) was experimented on Kaushiki. But most importantly, before teaching her what music is, I taught her first to be a good human being.
Can you recall any of your memorable experiences while performing with your daughter?
Every musical experience I had with her while performing is unforgettable. I cannot actually trace one out of many. I have always tried to polish her up in a manner so that she finds a 'new Kaushiki' through music rather than simply imitating how I perform as music is all about experimentations and versatility.
Your music academy Shrutinandan in Kolkata is working wonders. So how do you motivate your students in your school?
My students are like my own children. If you cannot consider them your own, then how will you give them the right kind of education? I have never kept any distinction in the education between Kaushiki and my other students and always try to implant in them that music is humanity. By this term, I refer to the qualities of love, devotion, dedication and respect that one needs to have to know music. Only then can one be a singer. If you can surrender yourself to music, music will embrace you. I personally have acquired such qualities primarily from my ultimate Guru Pandit Jnan Prakash Ghosh.