Morning Ragas with prisoners
More than a thousand inmates, seated on plastic sheets filled the vast ground, as around a dozen policemen stood guard surrounding them.
Many possessed a fine sense of music as they enthusiastically applauded the complex compositions. The recital at Rohini Jail had a special significance as it introduced a new instrument ‘Siddha Veena’ created by Siddhartha Banerjee.
Siddha Veena is a stringed musical instrument equally adept at interpreting Indian Classical Music and World Music. It derives its name from its inventor, Siddhartha. Its sound resembles that of Vichitra Veena, Sitar and Sarod, but with its own special character.
The instrument has 21 strings: 4 melody, 3 drone,2 chikaris and 12 tarab (sympathetic strings). The only other such creator has been Grammy Award recipient Vishwamohan Bhatt who has created the “Mohan Veena”.
“This is an unique initiative in collaboration with the Delhi Prisons (Tihar) to accelerate and augment the rehabilitation process of the jail inmates. It is an opportunity to provide a platform for the upcoming and lesser known artistes,” said Dipayan Mazumdar, Founder Chairman, Legends of India.
The morning began with the cloud breaking performance of Nabanita Chowdhary who began the concert with a raga of ‘Todi Aang’ followed by ‘Kajri’, a rendition apt to the drizzling morning.
The prisoners intently listened to her recital seemed to be thoroughly enjoying her gayaki. Nabonita is presently maturing her artistry and musical sophistication under the guidance of Pt Rajan Sajan Misra of Benaras Gharana.